Archive for July, 2007

Brave New Jon – reflections on the past

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Photo: Part of my permanent tattoo.

Since I’m in a mood to try to explain how I feel, I thought I’d share a fun game that you too can play along with at home. Go into any bookstore, pick my latest book off the shelf, and take a look at the dedication. Then, try the same thing in the next bookstore you happen to find yourself in. Repeat until nauseous.

Yep, the Barnes and Noble on Comm. Ave also stock my book (as do all of the Borders I happen to find myself in on the average week), as I discovered yesterday when trying to Not. Think. About. It. That book has really become a source of such mixed emotion for me. On the one hand, I’m absolutely proud that I managed to achieve writing a 500 page book, at the same time as planning my move across the Atlantic, and holding down a demanding (fun) job. But on the other hand, every time I see that book, I am almost moved to tears (and have been, on occasion).

For several months, right after it was published, I couldn’t even bring myself to open it. At all. This is largely why I’ve not engaged in any active promotion – I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. It’s been *that* painful for me, that something I spent months of my life working on really can only cause me to become upset at this point. And that in itself is extremely upsetting. I keep a copy in the office – in a closet – and one on my bookshelf at home, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to read beyond the first pages really, since about March.

They say “never get a tattoo of a girlfriend”. I learned this lesson the hard way, and now, it’s printed and happily sitting on around 20,000 bookshelves around the world, as a permanent reminder of what might have been but never was. I meant every word of what I wrote, and I (again, I guess, somewhat unfortunately) think I still do now. Ever wonder what it’s like to meet someone who rocks your world so fundamentally that you have trouble sleeping at night, and need to completely re-invent yourself just to even remotely get over them?

I guess it’s a healthy part of the healing process to finally admit to myself that I’m not over her, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. Brave New Jon was initially some kind of giant effort to turn myself into the person I know I always could have been – the kind who now looks back with regret at my naive actions – but that new Jon is now realizing that my initial goal will never be realized. I’m never going to be with her, no matter how much I give of myself, no matter what I do. I know that. She deserved better, she deserves to be happy – and in spite of how she’s (unintentionally) made me feel for months, I wish her only the best. The most upsetting thing of all, really, is that I still (deep down) care so much for that girl that I would rather she be happy without me, as is obviously the case, than be truly happy myself.

Getting over her (or not) has cost me thousands of dollars, a lot of time spent in remote places (for example, sitting in the middle of the Mojave desert one Sunday afternoon), and has radically reshaped me (largely for the better). I would never have done those things that I have without some kind of impetus. I’d never have learned to drive and bought my “midlife crisis car” (my Miata MX5) without a strong desire to go on random roadtrips (a shared interest we had), I’d never have gone on a crazy “Californian” diet and fitness regime without such a wonderful self-created feeling of physical inadequacy and imperfection (I never officially got this as a reason), and I would never have engaged in such a level of introspection as I have, were it not all for her. Why do you think I originally learned to surf (which, I found, I actually quite enjoy – hence the “East Coast” wetsuit I have in my closet now), and why I covered so many thousands of miles of California on so many roadtrips? I wanted to understand her viewpoint, I wanted to understand “why”. She was both the best, and also the most painful, thing that has ever happened to me.

I’ve taken a couple of days of vacation this week. Partly because of the fact that I’ve had flu-like symptoms for a few days (though I am feeling somewhat better now) and in part so I can get up at a crack of dawn and go watch the sunrise, as I lie on the beach and pine quietly to myself. I love living in the United States, and I love my job – I really do – but there’s a part of me that feels a tremendous emptiness, the kind that can really only be filled by a special someone. She was that special someone, at least in my mind, and although I am willing to try again, I just don’t know if I’ll ever again find someone who makes me feel like she did.

I know, this blog seems particularly depressing tonight – and I’m sorry about that – I just thought I might, for once, share a story of how I really feel inside. There’s no need to email me, or call me about it, it won’t change the reality of the situation. Don’t worry, happy Jon will return tomorrow ;-)


Coolidge Corner Theatre – Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

So, I was moping around the apartment feeling a little crappy earlier when a few friends asked if I felt like joining them for dinner and a show, which as it turns out, I actually did. I also discovered that I now live around the corner from an old friend (congrats to her and her bf on their new appointments, and I hope they enjoy living in Cambridge), which makes for yet another British expat I know living around these parts.

I drove over to Grasshopper – a vegetarian restaurant over in Allston-Brighton – and ate a bunch of good food, without really violating my crazy diet, and then headed to the Coolidge Corner Theatre ahead of the rest of the group (Chris, Mad, Mako, etc.) – who swung by Sunset en route. Good thing I got there early too, as there were exactly seven tickets left for Dr. Bronner’s, and so I wound up buying all of them. It was a tiny theatre, but the show was fantastic – really an interesting documentary indeed.

Having seen this movie, I’m more inclined to purchase this soap, and go to Trader Joes in order to do it. I’m also highly interested in purchasing an electric piano, something I’ve been putting off, because I would really enjoy being able to practice and compliment my violin self-tuition.


Brave New Jon – clean apartment

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

Photo: Jon Masters, in his newly clean apartment.

So I’ve been cleaning and re-modeling my apartment some more, partly to distract myself (I’ve got a lot of stuff to finish, but I’ve been feeling sick) and partly because it just needed doing. This place is so much better than it was when I moved in, or when this self-improvement project first began.

Photo: Too much coffee.

I bought another coffee machine the other day – a filter coffee machine – having decided I spend way too much in Starbucks. So, I now have, in my kitchen (not counting spares…):

* an espresso machine
* a filter coffee machine
* several French Presses (UK: cafetieres)
* various other forms of coffee

I drink too much coffee (so says the sign I put up in my cube in the office), but everyone has a vice. I bought some tea strainers too – and other pretentiousness – in order to have greater variety, especially if I’m entertaining guests (who presumably expect me to have tea on hand).

Anyway. I finally feel like I’m “moved in”, and it’s only taken me the best part of a year to reach this point. I’ve got one room ‘o’ junk that needs to be sorted out – aka the study – but that will happen, because I’m much happier when the place is clean and tidy. I’ve finally realized this, after so many years of just not understanding the need for tidiness…as my dear beloved sister (and my friends) will attest to, when not asked.



Brave New Jon – The last vestiges of fat Jon

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Photo: 5 black bags filled with clothes, donated to the Salvation Army.

So today, I donated 5 black bags filled with clothes to the Salvation Army in Cambridge. They can make more use of XL/XXL sizes than I can. I’ve also been remodeling my apartment recently, and have a few photos of where things are headed – I still think it’s a little bland in places.

Photo: What’s in your closet?

I now only own size medium (and a few size large that are small enough to get away with) t-shirts, shirts, and a wetsuit. I also have only size 30 jeans, trousers, and other clothing. In short, I’m not nearly as fat as I used to be back in March, when this project first started. There’s more to go, but there’s always more to be done, when it comes to diets.

Photo: An anthropologie of apartment ornamentation.

A visit to Ikea here, and a visit to Anthropologie there, and I have a few accents for the apartment – a little augmentation in the ornamentation. Once I have some giant photos of my family in Europe, I’ll add one or two more picture frames.

I’ve started playing with my B4 XO, but not much progress yet.


I’m Interviewed by Don Marti: driver updates in enterprise Linux

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

LinuxWorld interviewed me concerning the Driver Update Program in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, and the future for driver updates in enterprise Linux.



Free clothes available for a worthy cause in Boston/Cambridge

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

I recently lost a lot of weight. A lot. Like a whole new person kind of weight loss, and as a result I’m now a “medium”. On Sunday, I tried on a variety of clothes I haven’t worn in months, just for amusement, as I filled 4 huge tashbags (UK: “black bags”, “bin bags”) with old clothes. Anything larger than a size 30, or larger than a “medium” must go.

Some of this stuff isn’t very old at all – e.g. at least several pairs of Banana Republic jeans purchased this year – and it’s all clean and in great condition, just it doesn’t have a place in my wardrobe any more. So, if you know of a good charity I can give washed, clean clothes to, I’ll happily drop them down there this week (sooner the better).


Brave New Jon – water skiing

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Photo: One of my colleagues makes it look easy.

So I’d never been water skiing before, and the opportunity arose today to use the wetsuit that has been sitting in the trunk of my car for the past couple weeks without use. It was awesome. I had a great time. Of course, I sucked, but that’s not the point. It was exciting, and new, and something that generally was far more fun than I had thought it would be.

We headed up to the Merrimack River, and hooked up with a mutual friend of my colleagues, who happens to have a nifty little speedboat. Of course, the guys I went with are hard core types who were quickly performing various stunts, while I tried to figure out how to not slam into the water at high velocity…not that I cared being the beginner amongst the bunch. Everyone has to try something for the first time once in their life ;-)