What makes you you?

I had a discussion with a friend tonight. He's older, with a grey/white beard but still (mostly) brown hair. He dislikes the way it looks but adamantly refuses to dye it. "Older men who dye their hair are vain," he says, seemingly ignoring the fact that caring about how one looks is vain whether one does anything about it or not.

A few minutes later and in a completely different conversation, he mentions that he would never wear a "flowered shirt"; this comes up in the context of a luau, where "luau attire" is generally requested. He asked me if I'd ever wear a flowered shirt, and I mentioned that I actually wore a bright aqua-marine shirt to the luau I attended; no one seemed to care. "I'd never wear a brightly-colored shirt," he says. "An attraction to bright colors signifies a low IQ."

When I tied these two concepts together for him, he seemed taken aback and, instead, shifted the argument to "it's just not me; I wouldn't do it." I didn't push the issue any further, but it raised an interesting thought.

How do you define yourself? I mean, I've lightened my hair in the past; I think, in general, I look better as a blonde but don't always have the ability to get out in the sun where it lightens naturally. I also wear a widely varying array of styles in clothing. I don't consider either thing to be a significant characteristic of who I am as an individual.

Nor do I think it vain to change something about yourself that you don't like - or, at least, not in a negative way. That is, after all, why most people work out, lose weight, dress how they dress, shave, get their hair styled a certain way, etc. I think those things only add into who I am in the sense that they help portray how I want people to see me - that want or desire is significant, not the actual presentation.

I suppose self-esteem also factors into it. One excuse he gave was "other people would think I look funny", to which I replied that I didn't care what other people thought. "Then why do it?" he asked. "Because I like it," I told him. He still didn't seem to grasp the difference.

Oh well. I suppose it's "to each their own", but it still seems like a strange perspective to me: insisting on not doing something you want to do for fear of being perceived as if you're doing it to impress others. Seems to be a catch-22 to me.

On an entirely different note, it's quite literally freezing outside right now. I shut off the sprinkler systems so I don't wake up to ice sculptures in the morning. And no, I'm not watching the Oscars.

Under the weather

It's supposed to snow here this weekend.

I realize to most of the country, that statement isn't really significant - considering I know people whose multi-story houses were quite literally buried, a few inches on the ground is more of a joke than a calamity.

This, however, is Los Angeles - or near-enough, anyway. We had a little bit of snow the weekend of New Year's, but it was almost summer weather there for a month or so. It's been colder lately, and this weekend we're supposed to have the magic combination of another monster rainstorm combined with sub-freezing temps at the 1600' range.

That means snow on them thar hills, and that I'll be trapped for the weekend (I live at about 1800', but the passes from here to pretty much anywhere go up to at least 2000'). That isn't necessarily bad, of course - nothing like a forced weekend at home to relax. But it'll be unusual anyway.

On the home front, I've slipped into my big-boy pants long enough to make significant progress towards getting all my debts paid off and moving out (to less snow-prone areas). I'm still on the original targets I set, which involve apartment-hunting in late March and April, and moving before the end of May. It may not seem like much, but for someone who makes a good living explicitly so he doesn't have to grow up, playing "adult" for any duration is pretty exhausting.

I can't wait to be done with all this "responsible behavior" crap and get back to being silly.

Lift and tuck

Well, it's been a while.

My lack-of-consistent-posting is mainly due to the new job. [Insert Company Here] (I may abbreviate that as [ICH]) keeps me pretty busy during the day with stuff I actually like doing, especially when compared to the old company where I spent 80% of my time sitting around waiting for the disasters that would occupy the other 20% (but take 100% of my energy). Here, I'm busy doing moderately-difficult things most of the day.

So, whereas at the old company I had time to goof off (and in fact spent a good portion of any day "goofing off", since I was constantly in a hurry-up-and-wait mode), I don't really have that now. Which is good, of course, but also means I generally only get to blog at night.

So, anyway, that's the sob story.

I think I mentioned before that I'm getting back into working out. I've acquired, over the years, a decent dumbell set and a barbell; that means I can to a lot of stuff at home. However, the one thing I always wanted to work on and always found difficult without the proper equipment was my chest. You can only do certain exercises that efficiently target the chest muscles, and many of those require a bench or other equivalent so you can lower the weights down to chest level.

Well, I finally ordered a folding weight bench. It'll collapse down and be stored under a bed or in a closet or something, but it'll still do the job of letting me do real dumbell presses (and even has various inclination/declination settings).

Since a lack of progress in the pectoral region is usually what disuades me from exercising, here's hoping I can really stick with it this time. I'm not looking to get muscle-man buff, but I think more definition than I currently have would be a very good thing.