Archive for the ‘Private’ Category

Brave New Jon – Photo Update

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Photo: Thin Jon at Harvard University.

So I guess there’s nothing quite like a photo to show just how much I’ve changed over the last few years – from fat Jon to thin Jon (and there’s no going back now) – this year in particular, and it continues.

Brave New Jon started out as a giant pining exercise (and continues as such), an attempt at self distraction, and a way to do something about her. If you ever wondered why I’ve done all of the crazy things that I have this year, well, don’t wonder, the answer is somewhat obvious. I don’t think I’ll ever quite get over Karin (not having a reason really helps to cut you up inside), but life certainly does seem to move on, whether you always want it to or not.

Fat Jon existed for way too long. A combination of lack of interest in exercise, spending too much time in front of a computer eating junk food, being a meat eater, and trying all the most disgustingly good foods when traveling. To show you what I mean, here’s a historical photo of me at the Computer History Museum, taken back in 2005:

Photo: Fat Jon, at the Computer History Museum.

Since then, I’ve given up meat (I’m a pescetarian, with a slant toward fruitarianism), taken up exercise, changed in countless other ways beyond that person. I don’t even live in the same country any more (though the photos are all taken in the United States, where I used to spend most of my spare time anyway).

Here is a photo taken last weekend:

Photo: Thin Jon at Nantasket Beach.

One thing I thank her for is forcing me to finally do this.


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 ;-)


What’s up?

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

It’s been a good week, in some respects, in others, not so much. On the plus side:

  • Decided to work harder on Red Hat stuff, because I really love that company. A lot. I don’t generally talk about RH on this blog, but I will say that they get it. These are some of the finest examples of human beings you’ve ever met in your life. And even if you don’t believe that, believe that this is not the kind of Microsoft-wannabe you might somehow think it is.
  • I have decided that I feel at home here, and working where I do. I love living in the US so much more than the UK. And the British government can go shove their stupid decline toward a totalitarian regime. I won’t live there again. If I ever leave the US, I’m going to end up someplace else – but not back in that place, not on a permanent basis. It’s a nice place to visit, but it’s otherwise long since gone to pot with utterly broken government. Sure, the US government is fucked up too – everyone’s is – but the UK has some uniquely British fuckedupisms, dating back centuries, never getting fixed.
  • Took up sailing again. Joined the local sailing club, been down a couple times and have membership that allows me to turn up and go most days. There’s a historical irony to being British and sailing on the Charles. More than that, it’s just damned good fun being on the water at times like this – relaxing and a way to take your mind off evil things, like sleeping any more than is absolutely necessary.
  • Restrung my violin and got a practice mute. I’m playing most days now and I’ve bought a finger grip to help strengthen my infamous 4th finger. I am seriously considering getting an electric violin – I’ll keep that under review before I go spending more than a grand, but I am liking the idea. A lot. I’m also liking the idea of taking up the piano, also a lot. And the Cello too. I love listening to the Cello, and a friend is selling one, maybe, but the problem is – again – playing such an instrument in an apartment building without really pissing off the (not particularly bad) neighbors. They make electric ones though, I’m sure. I love to join a local choir too, but I don’t know of any that appeal to my weird tastes really.
  • Bought more jeans. I’ve gone from a size 36 to almost a 32. I guess that’s where I’ll end up, but that’s not so bad. I can wear size medium now, without looking like I’ve shoe-horned myself somehow into my clothing. I’m far from a thin guy, but I’m so much better for being a bit less fat. Well, in some ways at least. I feel ok, physically, at any rate.
  • Bought more books. Got one on sailing techniques and another on music theory. Decided to brush up on my music theory, and read a bit more of these other books that I have – on math, electronics, fiction, whatever. I have more time to read in the evenings and on weekends and I might aswell use it. Certainly beats some of the alternatives. My TV goes on roughly twice a day – mostly for the news at the moment, I need my BBC News fix. I nearly saw a movie last night, nearly, but by the time I walked down to the movie theatre, I decided that I wasn’t really feeling in a “Blades of Glory” mood.
  • Went down to the RMV, determined that they give me a permit this time without any crap. I wasn’t in a mood to be trifled with, and it worked. I gave them no flexibility, was armed with all the relevant documentation, and was fully versed in the law. They tried to fuck me over, but were unable, and in the end had to give me a permit after I passed their trivially stupid test. I have no idea how big an ounce is, but it’s trivial to work out how many ounces of alcohol there are in a 12 ounce American beer (half as many as in a decent beer). They could ask useful, other, multiple choice questions, but whatever (yes, drink driving is wrong – now fucking more on, you weirdly broken broken people. Ask questions to do with driving, tell people drink driving is wrong. Move fucking on). Screw them, anyway. I’ve never seen such unprofessional people in my life than the RMV. I hope I only have to deal with them once more when I get my license.

There are a few negatives, too:

  • I’m in love with someone who’s not in love with me. I’ve never had my heart ripped out quite like this – being told she’s not in love with me, but that I’m great and she doesn’t understand why she’s not in love. At least we were honest and civil about it. And I can’t hate her – I never could. I am actually only capable of feeling love for her. I’m just so cut up about it because I would do anything on this Earth just to make her happy. And even more depressing than that, I found myself saying (and this is true, too) that I care more about her happiness than my own. I’d rather she were happy with someone who wasn’t me. Isn’t that fun? I would do anything to be with her, anything on this Earth, but it’s not enough. On the plus side, I’ve decided not to date again. It’s too painful. I want love, companionship, things like that – not one night stands or short term stuff. I’d rather be alone for the rest of my life than have to go through this again.
  • I bought a copy of The Crucifixion and listened to it. I’m not religious – I’m a hardcore atheist – but at times like this, I enjoy that kind of music. I’m looking for some concerts in the Boston metro area, but it’s tougher than getting tickets to a Genesis concert (yes, I have a ticket, too – is that a good or a bad thing?). I’ve got some super depressing music (no, not just the Roxette, it gets much more fun) here, it’s great. I enjoy taking long walks along the Charles, listening to this at full volume.
  • I went to the RMV. I actually got to a point where even they couldn’t annoy me any more, and decided to capitalize on it. They tried their best to annoy me, they tried to screw me over, but I just didn’t care. It was great. See, this is both a good and a bad thing – only thing that makes them better than the DVLA/DSA in the UK is that you don’t need to wait years for a test. You turn up, you take a test, you go. I felt sorry for the Asian dude in line next to me who just wanted an ID, but they fucked him over because he couldn’t express his intentions properly in English. Rather than helping, they simply did that stupid condescending thing with hand gestures and shouting. I had prepared for their terse, surly attitude with one of my own.

Other stuff happened too, I’m sure. I’m just mentioning a few things (who the fuck knows why I write this here?) because – oh, I don’t know – whatever. I’m ok, I’m just wondering where the fuck I went wrong. And not knowing what it is that I did wrong – apparently nothing – is so painful. Until later, have a good weekend (and day off, if you got/get Friday and/or Monday as a quasi-religious holiday).

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