To follow knowledge like a sinking star

...Death closes all:
                           but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices.
                                                    Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides;
                                                       and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find...
                                       ... and not to yield.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from "Ulysses"

Doubt about self-doubt

Everything's been busy.  Classes this semester have required a fair bit more work.  I'm doing well and haven't hit the mental crash-and-burn point I hit last semester (so, yay for that), but it's still a lot of work.

What I'm noticing more and more, though, is that I have trouble assessing my performance and capabilities.  I mean, I know I know this stuff.  I definitely understand the relationships and the concepts, and I actually like the material.

I've had at least one test in each of my classes now.  After finishing them, my general impression is "high B, low A": usually, I can point to one or two problems that I'm almost positive I missed.  Sometimes we have extra credit problems to make up a little, but not always.

Like, my first math test (Linear Algebra), I was pretty sure I got a mid to high B.  I could pinpoint things that I remembered doing incorrectly.  I got the test back, and it turns out I did most of it right; I ended up getting about 93%, the highest score in the class.

My second math test was similar: there were two problems I was reasonably sure I'd missed, and while I tried to work out the extra credit, I hadn't ever seen the items before and thus wasn't sure of them at all.  I ended up only missing one of the problems, and I more than made up the difference with the extra credit (which it turns out I reasoned my way through pretty well).  Final score, 101% - again, the highest score in the class (tied this time).

For Physics, I walked out convinced I'd blown one problem badly enough to maybe get a low or mid B on the test (there were only 4 problems plus one extra credit, which I thought I got partly right but wasn't sure about).  It turns out I got the test 100% correct and got part of the extra credit, ending up with 118% as my final score (again, the highest grade in the class).

(Physics has a *lot* of extra credit, because the class is a hybrid where we're only on campus for labs.  The rest is online without much actual instruction, so the professor makes up for it with extra credit - most of which is rather difficult or at least time-consuming, so it's not like "free points".)

Don't get me wrong - I'm glad to be doing this well.  But I'd also like to be able to realistically assess how I'm doing as I go.  I think it's a side-effect of the ADHD - or, rather, of living with it untreated for decades.  I don't think the medication is making that much difference over the caffeine I used to self-medicate with, but I spent so long without any treatment (even figuring out the caffeine thing) that I just got used to screwing things up.

I spent most of my time in school being told I was a lazy genius but feeling like someone totally out of whack: I knew the material but couldn't stick with the day-to-day work.  It seems like that self-doubt is still around.  I mean, I know that I don't handle praise well - it's been a thing here at work - but this is a bit more than that.

I've always felt like I knew what I was good at, like I knew my limits and was totally comfortable within them.  Now, I'm finding that I'm not quite as sure of what I'm good at - or, rather, that I'm better at some things that I seem to think I am.  I'm not sure how to fix that.


So, back in March, I wrote this:
This last month really kicked my ass. The first week of March, I was totally exhausted.  It was the half-way point for the school year.  My parents were back from vacation (which meant picking them up from the airport and dealing with traffic both ways; about 4 hours of driving total).  I had a fairly difficult math test (got an 87%; not happy, but livable).  Work was just being overwhelming.
Yesterday, I was working from home and took a late lunch to drag a friend (who is currently unemployed and basically alone in his apartment all day while his hubby is off at work) out to get some fresh air and socialization.

While we were out, he asked me how classes were going.  I told him I'd just finished my summer class (Psych 1, unofficially an A that will be official in a week or so) and was ready for a break.

"Well," he said, "because around March you were in pretty bad shape. ... I mean, and even asked about you, because we could all tell you were pretty far gone."

A few thoughts about this.

1) February, March, and April are my "down" months.  For whatever reason, since I was 13, they've been the time of year when I seem more likely to get into a funk or just get stressed out.  I know this and can prepare a little for it, but there it is.

2) I didn't realize I was so obviously overloaded.  I mean, I tried to keep up appearances at least to an extent.  I made and effort to hang out with the guys and goof off when I could.  But I guess it still showed, and apparently showed a lot.

3) I'm... not really used to having people express concern about me like that.  I like that they care that much, but it's still weird.  I'm usually the one who notices details like that.

In the same vein, I had a meeting on Tuesday with my division (about 20 people).  Our executive director is a social worker, so he comes once every few months and does a "check-in", where the question is an honest, "how are you feeling in your core?"  People are generally pretty open and truthful about both work and home stress and how things are going.

This time, I ended up being last.  While everyone else was talking, I didn't really think about what I was going to say; when it finally came to be my turn, I just paused a second and said, "I'm tired."

And it's true.  June was going to be a busy month at work no matter what; projects just worked out that way.  Then a few social things hit at the same time (a bachelor party, a wedding, some other stuff).  Then Pulse happened, and all the fallout from that.

At this point, I don't feel burned out.  I don't feel like I did in March - there's no depression-type dissociation or deadening.  I'm just exhausted, socially and mentally.  I'm on vacation next week, going to a resort in Palm Springs and hanging out with friends a little, but I need the break badly.

It wasn't school this time; I could do a Psych survey course in my sleep.  Hell, I was correcting the textbook and sending notes to the professor (who forwarded them to the publisher) while we were going through the chapters.  It was just too much to do with work and friends.

I don't know that I'm going to have any more 14-unit semesters any more; mathematically, I should be able to do 12-13 each semester without issue (I don't want to go below 12 or I'm no longer "full time").  But I definitely need to get back to taking my week off every quarter.  I need the breaks.


I plan.  It's what I do.  I make predictions about the future, decide which results are most likely, decide which results I want, and then make plans.  Sometimes it's just about walking through a crowd.  Sometimes it's about driving down the freeway, or getting a new computer, or going on vacation.

And sometimes it's about how to escape a crowded place if someone starts shooting.

It's possible that many people have heard of the Abbey.  It's "the most popular gay bar in the world", according to some.  It's certainly an icon in West Hollywood and has been for decades - about as long as I've been going there, actually.  A big chunk of it is a building that used to house statuary (the Terra Cotta Inc, which Cooley bought years ago), and the whole front is brick pillars with rod-iron gates.

Many times, I've sat there and wondered what would happen if someone started shooting.  I know about a third of the staff, including some of the security, and know they have contingency plans for some things.  But someone could just drive by and shoot into the crowd.  Someone could come in before security starts checking people.  Someone could manage to get in the back door.  A lot of things could happen.

After the shooting at Pulse this weekend and the separate capture of a heavily armed man in Santa Monica reportedly heading to West Hollywood, I assume a lot of people are going to be making plans.  Well, fifty less than would have before :(

But I'm having trouble reacting to this.  I don't think anyone knows that this exact kind of situation is something that has run through my mind, and I can't talk about it without scaring people who are already reasonably scared.  So, I haven't really said much.  I probably won't.

But I think my plans are going to get a little more explicit.

The Glorius 25th of May

How do they rise up?
All the little angels rise up, rise up.
All the little angels rise up high!
How do they rise up, rise up, rise up?
How do they rise up, rise up high?
They rise heads up, heads up, heads up, they rise heads up, heads up high!

“That's a nice song," said young Sam, and Vimes remembered that he was hearing it for the first time.
"It's an old soldiers' song," he said.
"Really, sarge? But it's about angels."
Yes, thought Vimes, and it's amazing what bits those angels cause to rise up as the song progresses. It's a real soldiers' song: sentimental, with dirty bits.
"As I recall, they used to sing it after battles," he said. "I've seen old men cry when they sing it," he added.
"Why? It sounds cheerful."
They were remembering who they were not singing it with, thought Vimes. You'll learn. I know you will.


School's out - for a few days, anyway.  I'm taking an online summer course, just 6 weeks of online Psychology.  I don't even have to buy a book (it's online and free).  Should be pretty easy - 3 units, and it'll be over before my birthday.  Definitely something I think I can handle.

... Especially after pulling straight As for 14 units while working (more than) full time.  Going into the finals,  I needed C's on everything to get As in the classes, so it wasn't necessarily much of a risk.  This is why I stress out early on: so I don't have to stress out later :)  I was still a little concerned about the CalcB test, just because it was so comprehensive with a lot to memorize, but I did well enough to get the A (not sure of the exact score; I just see the final class grades generally).

My last essay for English got a 96%; the prof's only comment was that I probably tried to tackle too much.  Basically, it was analyzing the treatment of gays in the US from the civil war to the 1960s and comparing some of the underlying factors to the treatment of Jews in pre-WWII Germany.  It's actually a pretty good paper, though rather depressing.  I may post it at some point.

Also, the paper I was working on with my boss is officially "in publication", meaning I'm now (or shortly will be) a published researcher.  Okay, yes, I'm 5th author, and it's a pretty crappy paper (in the sense that I don't really think it's all that valuable to science), but it's a publication in a reputable psychology journal nonetheless.  I wonder if I should mention that to my Psych prof when the class starts.  I bet I'll be the only student with an RG score :)  No h-index yet, though.

Still trying to decide what to do for my birthday.  I definitely want to go to a gay resort of some kind, but I don't want to spend a grand doing it.

Speaking of, I need to lose weight.  School 4 nights a week + homework the rest of the week means I haven't done much exercising for 4 months.  I started up again last week, and am keeping it pretty regularly (nothing too intensive), so hopefully I'll start seeing some results soon.  I'm also trying to eat healthier again: school also screwed with my making-meals-at-home schedule, so I was eating out way too much.

Getting sorted

So, still getting used to the Concerta.  It seems to really get going about 3-4 hours after I take it - I get a period of feeling a bit weird, but then it clears up.  I definitely know when it wears off in the afternoon.  It seems to be helping while it lasts  without having some of the personality-effects that caffeine has, so, all in all I'm optimistic.

I got a 95% on my math test.  His overall grading is a bit odd: there are four chapter tests, then a final which "counts" as two tests.  He drops the lowest of the tests: if a chapter test is the lowest, then he counts the remaining three plus twice the final; if the final is the lowest, he counts it as one test and uses the four chapter tests.

Based on that logic, I've got a 91.6% average on 3 tests right now - that's essentially 3 90% tests plus 5 "extra" percentage points between them.  That means that if I bomb the next test, I need an 87.5% on the final to get an A in the class.  If I get anything higher than an 87% on the next test, then I can go lower on the final (my lowest test score was an 87%).  Because of how it works, if I get, say, a 90% on the next test, I could theoretically count all four tests (giving me 87%, 93%, 95%, and 90%, or 4 90% test with 5% extra) and get an 85% on the final.  If I pulled off a 100% on the next test (not likely, but hey), I could get a 75% on the final.

And even then, I've got a few extra percentage points to play with, since the grade isn't based exclusively on the tests: we've got homework that we get credit for.  It's only 5% of the grade, but that's enough for a half-percent leeway on tests.  Plus, I've got a couple extra credit percentages that are raw percents added to the final grade, so really I could average 87.5% on the tests and still get an A.

I don't want to push it to that, and I'd rather have more leeway than I have, but it's much better than being behind and needing to catch up.  Essentially, it's almost certain I'll get straight As this semester provided I actually take the finals and turn in my essays.

Only a month left in classes.  Haven't fully decided what to do for the summer sessions; my math teacher from last semester actually hit me up to take his calc C class this summer, but agreed with me that it is going to be rough (6 weeks, 4 hours a night and 4 nights a week).  So, that probably won't happen, though I'm honored he sought me out and asked me.  My English teacher also asked if I'd be his TA - not sure if he was joking or not, and he hasn't clarified yet.

First Day

So, I'm not sure what this is.

I'm off caffeine for the next two weeks, because apparently it and the meds can interact.  That normally means I get less-focused and really hyper (which is why I drink it and why I'm looking into meds).

Today, I'm not that. I don't know what I am.

I feel tired.  That's probably the stimulant - a cup of coffee is enough to make me want to nap (if I can't sleep, I'll usually make myself a cup of Kona coffee; 30 minutes later, I'll be fast asleep), so it makes sense that one of the effects would be relaxing me.  But in my head, I'm just kind of fuzzy right now.

People I've spoken to have said it can take up to two weeks to adjust and have the intended effects start to surface.  I've got time, so we'll see this through.  But it's a good thing I had no meetings today.

Lookit all them letters

So, it's official.  I am an Adult with ADHD (primarily hyperactive type, some inattentive).  I've got a piece of paper that says so.

I've also got a prescription for Concerta that I'll be starting on Thursday - I've got a test Wednesday, and we both agreed that fucking around with psychoactive substances before a test is a bad idea.  After Wednesday, I've got a couple of low-key weeks, which should be enough time to figure out if it's helping or not.

To do so, though, I have to stop the ritual caffeine, so I need to warn the coworkers about that.  Could be interesting.

Got 100% on my last essay for English.  Just turned in the first draft for the next one.  Also, the summer schedule has been released; I don't register until mid-April, but I'm going to try to take two 3-unit online classes, Psych and US Government.  They'd both end by 6/23, so I would still have a summer and time to take vacation for my birthday.

Off to calc shortly for the pre-test review session.

Over half way

Wow, and I was doing so well at posting regularly for a while.

This last month really kicked my ass.  The first week of March, I was totally exhausted.  It was the half-way point for the school year.  My parents were back from vacation (which meant picking them up from the airport and dealing with traffic both ways; about 4 hours of driving total).  I had a fairly difficult math test (got an 87%; not happy, but livable).  Work was just being overwhelming.

The second week of March was spring break, and I took it off from work as well as school.  I ended up getting sick at the start and didn't feel better until Wednesday, so half the time I had off just disappeared.  I did manage to catch up on my sleep, however, and things have been a bit better since then.

Case in point, we had a Physics test on Tuesday and got our scores back last night.  The average for the class was a 62%, with the lowest grade at 27%.  I and three others got 100%.  So, that tells you just how badly most of the class did.  I'm thrilled about the 100%, though - that means that without even taking the final test, I've passed the class, and I only need a 72% on the final to get an A.

There's a calc test next week, though, and I need to get a decent A on that one to be comfortable.  It's doable - even on the last test, I didn't miss any of the fundamentals.  My problem was, as usual, the dyslexia and ADD: transposing numbers, dropping things, and on one problem, I set it up perfectly with the right substitution and then just totally didn't carry it through (no idea what happened there - it's like my brain reset half-way through the problem without realizing it).  So, I'm going to try and make sure I get enough sleep that day and relax a bit before class, as being tired makes both disorders that much worse.

Speaking of which, my appointment to be officially diagnosed with adult ADHD is on Monday.  At that point, we start talking about medication (either triage or long-term), which makes me both nervous and excited.

Anyway, I've got an install I'm doing remotely for a customer here in about 15 minutes (which is why I'm up and on the computer at 6:45 am local time; my alarm is normally set for 6:55).  Off to pretend to be professional!

Fitting in

Okay, so, here's a different thing here - I'm going to ask for advice.  I mean, I know not many people read, but hey, can't hurt.

So, here's my schedule:

Monday: up at 6:55ish.  At work by 7:30.  Leave work around 4, home by 4:30.  Change, get some dinner, do some homework, leave by 6 for class.  Home by 10.

Tuesday: up at 6:55ish.  At work by 7:30.  Leave work around 4, home by 4:30.  Change, run out the door by 5 for class.  Home by 8ish, then dinner and homework.

Wednesday: same as Monday

Thursday: up at 6:55ish.  At work by 7:30.  Leave work around 12 (usually skipping lunch), in class until 7 to 8 (varies).  Home by 8, then dinner and homework.

Friday: up at 6:55ish.  At work by 7:30.  Leave work around 4, home by 4:30.  Friday nights I "take off" from school, so dinner at some point, maybe a night out at friends' places.

Saturday: up at 9:30, school work until noon or 1, eat lunch, housework until 4, shower and leave to go out for Saturday night, home by midnight generally.

Sunday: up at 10.  My most open day; usually I'll do a little homework at some point, but I try to relax.

(I also do homework as much as possible while at work - during conference calls, during my lunch break, etc.)

So, given all that... how the hell do I fit any kind of workout routine in there?  I'm not an hours-at-the-gym kind of person anyway, so that's not a concern, but I would like to have at least some kind of focused effort a few days a week.  I'd also like to get in my walks and such again, even if just on the treadmill, as I feel better when I do more.  But I can't really do math or physics problems while walking.  I can get up a little earlier (say, 10-15 minutes maybe) and do some stuff in the morning, but realistically (just being honest) if I'm not in bed from 10 to mostly 7 most nights I go downhill fast (yes, I need 9 hours of sleep to be healthy; I'm a teenager at heart).

Also, I need tips on quick, easy, healthy meals (not necessarily low-call, but just healthier in general) that I can prepare on Sundays for the week since most of the time I don't have time to really cook.  I'd love to be able to eat between work and class most nights, as I hate eating late, and I need to stop the fast-food cycle.

So, anyway, if you have any suggestions, please leave them below, and thanks :)

Voices carry


So, math test last Wednesday.  I know I screwed up at least part of one problem, and walking out of the test, I felt like that was the only issue.

I think we're getting them back today - in just over an hour, actually - and all day my anxiety level has been ramping up.  If I got partial credit and that was the only thing I missed, I probably got mid-90s.  If I didn't get partial credit or I messed up on something else, best I can hope for is likely a 90.  If both, then less than 90.  And as the day goes on, the little voices just keep ratcheting up.

"I probably blew it.  This is going to be my lowest score ever.  I'm going to start off the semester with a B - or worse - and spend the rest trying to catch up.  I won't be able to catch up.  I'm going to get a B in the class, and it'll be the first in the slide down.  I won't get the grades I need.  I'm a failure.  Of course I blew it."

I know it isn't rational, but *because* it's not rational pointing that out isn't useful.  I mean, yes, there's a chance I got a B - of course there is - but I don't think so.  I just don't know how he grades.  There's also some (limited) extra credit, as well as the fact that he drops the lowest test score.

But this is important to me, and because it's important, the OCD really hammers down.

I'm not going to post this until after class - I'll update it with the actual grade.  But writing it down helps, at least a little.  Getting it out of my head, even just temporarily, makes it a little less powerful.

Anyway, off to class.


So, a 92/100. A-.  That's worse than I wanted to do, but still an A, so I'll live.  The mistakes were silly, and if I took the same test again, I likely wouldn't make them.  Hopefully this will be my lowest score.  It also doesn't include any extra credit points (which don't count until the end of the semester), so realistically, I'm probably at a 95% or higher in the class right now.

What's scary is that I apparently got the only A.  Which means I also have the only A in the class at this point.  I fully suspect that the next class session will have about half as many people in attendance.  The professor seemed pretty depressed, actually.  I think he took the general failure of the students personally.

Oh well, I know now, and the anxiety of anticipation is gone.  Up, up, and away.

Keeping up

I'm... annoyed.

(That seems to be common lately.)

Math is going well; the first test is on Wednesday.  I expect to do well (I never say 100%, because ADHD and dyslexia make that last 1% really really tough), and I've already got the most extra credit in the class (don't ask; apparently, no one else is even trying), so, should be fine.

It's the other classes.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying physics.  Even the labs where the equipment is being all funky and throwing my OCD off.  The problem is that we've turned in two labs already and are about to turn in our third, but the professor hasn't even returned the first.  So, I've got no idea if the format and process I'm using for the labs is what he wants, and I won't know until 25% of the labs are turned in.  Meaning, if they're not, I could be blowing a quarter of my lab grade.  Grr.

And with English, it's even worse.  I just turned in my first draft of my first English essay, but the professor hasn't "graded" or commented on our outlines at all.  Or graded or commented on any assignment with actual writing samples that we've done.  Or, frankly, anything after the two assignments due the first 3 days of class.  We know he's alive - he's posted stuff - but you'd never know it by the grading.

And that's what frustrates me.  College is about education and learning, and - yes - students need to bring their best to the classes.  But that's only half the equation: instructors are there to do a job, and I'm feeling like these two instructors are (at least at this point) not holding up their end of the bargain.

At least my Physics prof apologized for not having the labs back last Tuesday; I'm hoping we get at least one of them tomorrow.  But the final English essay is due on Saturday; while we're supposed to have peer review due Wednesday, I don't know that he's actually looked at any of the essays at all yet.  If it gets to be tomorrow night and we haven't been assigned papers to review, I'm going to email him.

... Oh well, it'll work out somehow.  But I'm annoyed.

I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but I got a 100% on my calc final last semester; I ran into my old professor and asked him if he could send me the grade, and he finally did.  So, that's pretty awesome (especially given the ADHD/dyslexia thing above).

Speaking of ADHD/dyslexia, still no appointment to confirm diagnosis yet.  Might not be until the end of the month.  I'm also taking Spring Break off from work, so the second week of March will be totally open.


I came across an article in the LA Times today about a woman in Montana who came to the US illegally and then set up a restaurant.  Apparently, this woman has more complications in the story, but a line towards the end of the article struck a nerve.  In referring to the anti-immigration folks who hang out in her restaurant and like her, the following statement is made.

"Mora said she just wishes that, when it comes to illegal immigration, 'they didn't see me as the exception. There are many like me across the nation. We had to come illegally. There was no other way.'"

Ignore the politics of illegal immigration.  Ignore left-wing/right-wing.  Focus on this one phrase.

The exception.

Like Mora, I'm generally the exception.  I'm the gay guy who doesn't "act gay."  I'm the smart guy who isn't "weird and awkward."  I've been the younger guy who didn't "act like a twink."  I'm now an older guy who doesn't "act 40."  I'm the dyslexic who likes to read.  I'm the ADHD guy with a successful career.

And every time someone around me stereotypes a group I belong to and I point out that I don't fit the stereotype, I hear, "But you're different," or, "You're the exception."

It's some kind shitty no-true-Scotsman in reverse: because I don't fit the stereotype, I can't be part of the group and, therefore, people can like me or trust me or be friends with me and still talk shit about the group to which I belong.  I'm the excuse, the clearance that says it's okay to continue being bigots, even if they only hear it in their own heads.

And it comes pretty damned close to feeling abusive.  It's making me a party to bigotry, even if I don't want to be.  Like some company I hate using my image without my permission to advertise their product.

And to top it off, when I challenge it, I'll get some version of the quote, "It's the exception that proves the rule."  And they'll smirk and continue on as if they've won the discussion.

In that context, to "prove" means to test, assholes, not to confirm.  Exceptions test rules - and often find them faulty.

I guess knowing that makes me yet another exception.

Back and forth

Classes start today.

They did something weird on the financial side - they gave me a credit for the entire amount of my enrollment fees, which is exactly what they'd do if I were dropping all my classes.  Except I'm still enrolled and still have all the classes on my schedule in every way I can view it, so I had no idea what the heck was going on.  The financial office over the phone said, "Oh, it looks like you dropped all your classes," and then couldn't confirm or deny if I was actually still enrolled in anything.

And, of course, admissions is slammed with first-day-of-classes stuff, so they're only taking voicemail messages over the phone with a 72-hour turnaround.  The net result is that I just had to drive over to campus in morning traffic, pay for parking (because my parking pass is at home), and wait in line for 20 minutes to get told, "Oh, it's just a glitch.  Yes, you're still enrolled, and we show your balance as $0."  And it looks like it's all corrected online now.  So, yay for knowing and there being no issue, not-yay for all the hassle.

Also, tomorrow morning at 3 a.m. I get to drive my parents to the airport, which means heading over there after class tonight (I get out at 9:30, theoretically, but since it's the first class, it'll likely be earlier), spending the night there, driving them to LAX, then going home and sleeping for a couple more hours.  Then off to work and my first physics class after work tomorrow.  I will sleep well tomorrow night.

Another wrinkle is the fact that I have to pick my parents up in early March at exactly the time of one of my classes, so I'm guaranteed to miss one day.  I hope it's not the day of something like a midterm, because that would get really complicated.  The fact that it's the week before spring break makes me nervous, but as the labs are on Thursday, I hope most of the tests and such will be as well.  I won't know about that until tomorrow, though.

I need a nap.

Back to work

I had lunch with the bestie on Wednesday, something that is always fun and never happens often enough.

The conversation meandered across topics, like the best ones do, but a couple of important things came up.  One, I helped him realize that some of the mania he's going through is almost certainly due to stress (whereas my ADHD and OCD ramp up when I get stressed out, his mania ramps up) that he wasn't necessarily directly aware of.

Two, we were talking about my going back to school and such.  And he said something that is probably important.  I was going on about the SpaceX landing and KSP and some of the math from last semester.  A few minutes later, he said, "I want you to realize something.  I've seen you display interest in things and ideas and geek out about stuff, but I've never seen you get actually animated and excited about anything.  Until you start talking about going to school."

Bear in mind, this is someone who has been my best friend for about 15 years now.  He's right, of course - I don't really get passionate about anything.  I have a lot of interests, but they're casual.  I'm an information junkie, so learning new things is just something I do.  But I've started shifting from anxiety-freefall about school to actually being excited about it.  I find myself smiling when I think about classes (which start next week).

This is certainly going to be an interesting year.

I have decided, however, I need to get back into taking time off.  Even if I'm not traveling anywhere, just having vacation time when I'm not worried about work is important.  This last week was great.  I didn't get in the car from Monday afternoon until Saturday noon (and that was to go get an oil change).  Now, with school, it's going to get a little weird, but it's definitely something I need to do.

Oh, and today (well, yesterday, really) is my 5-year anniversary at the current job.  Yay for that, I guess :)

Also, renewing my lease (technically, it's up in March), which has me thinking about planning my eventual move.  2.5 years isn't really that long a time, and the next lease is for 14 months, making it come due at the end of June in 2017.  At that point, it'll be a year or so until I'm hopefully off to college.  Weird to be planning for such a thing this far in advance, but it's what we do.