Friday, September 28, 2007

12 months, 12 goals

I have decided to set some goals for myself - 12 things I want to accomplish within a year. If I can knock one off the list each month, I'm doing great. The clock starts this coming Monday, October 1, 2007; I intend to have all 12 done by Wednesday, October 1, 2008. I will revisit the list every month on the 1st and post an update here. This is no meme, I just decided today that I need to get going on some stuff.

1. Take some guitar lessons.

  • I don't want to be the next Jimi Hendrix or anything...just want to be able to play a few blues and rock'n'roll tunes.

2. Weight loss plan - goal is 220 lbs. lean mass, 30-40 lbs. fat

  • One of the hardest goals on here, but damn it, I'm going to do it. I intend to document my progress on this in each monthly update, so if I'm slacking all my readers (both of you) can call me on it.

3. Go to a Canucks vs. Avalanche game.

  • I've been meaning to do this for a long time. This year, the Avs are at Vancouver 4 times: 11/9, 2/9, 2/27, and 4/1. Who's up for a trip to Van and when?

4. Complete at least one short film.

  • Got my script. Just have to get off my lazy ass and do this thing.

5. Update my will.

  • Haven't updated it since we had it done 5 years ago. Marriage changes some of the particulars, so we need to update it.

6. Start my son's college fund.

  • I've been meaning to do this since he was born. Need to do this one ASAP.

7. Design and make a good Steampunk costume for myself.

  • I've been thinking about making and selling Steampunk costume and prop stuff as a sideline. Could tie in to #10 below.

8. Fix my motorcycle.

  • I need to ride, damn it!

9. Play in a casino poker tournament.

  • Maybe I'll be the next Chris Moneymaker. Or maybe I'll get busted out on the first hand. Either way, I want to try.

10. Start a small side business.

  • I think everyone should have their own business at least once in their life.

11. Go on at least one decent length road trip.

  • It's about the drive, not the destination.

12. Visit either Vegas (could combine with #11!) or Amsterdam.

  • Preferably with friends. Got a preference? Gimme a vote for one or the other.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Small (and probably temporary) victory for our rights

It's no secret that I am not a fan of the (un)Patriot Act. So I was overjoyed today to see that a federal judge in Oregon ruled that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA, that thing Bush ignored by ordering warrantless wiretaps), as amended by the Patriot Act, is unconstitutional and violates the 4th Amendment.

I've been saying for a long time that the Patriot Act pisses all over the Bill of Rights. It's nice to be validated by someone with actual jurisprudence and power. Of course, this ruling will probably get overturned as it gets appealed up the (increasingly neo-con) chain of courts. But for now, I like the feeling of a small victory for our rights.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I am hurty.

Sunday I managed to pull some muscles in my lower back, and have been next to immobile for the last couple days. I'm back to work today, sitting made bearable by muscle relaxants and pain killers. I hate it when my back goes out. It's only happened this bad one other time.

This has inspired me to get back on my weight loss plan. Being this out of shape sucks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Institution of Marriage

Whilst surfing about the internet I stumbled on an amusing story, although I find it somewhat suspect and wonder if it's a myth:

A husband is having intimate online discussions with a woman, frequently talking about how horrible his marriage is. The woman commiserates, as she too is in a horrible marriage.
Meanwhile, his wife is having intimate online discussions with a man, frequently talking about how horrible her marriage is. The man commiserates, as he too is in a horrible marriage.

Surprise, surprise - they were really talking to each other without knowing it. And now they're both filing for divorce on the grounds of unfaithfulness.

It is a well-known fact that (even though I am married) I generally frown on the institution of marriage. The biggest reason being that I have seen so many go so badly, either because they were ill-conceived or ill-maintained.

Ill-conceived seems to be the most common culprit. If your boyfriend is a jackass, marrying him isn't going to make him better. If your relationship is falling apart, that's NOT the time to get married. You have to start with a sound, stable relationship if you want a marriage to succeed.

Ill-maintained is the harder one to conquer. It's very easy to slip into this.

A quick aside: some years ago, at a party, a friend asked me something about her relationship (I think). I said, "I'm the last person you should ask for relationship advice." Another friend said, "You should be the best person to ask - you've been with the same woman for 11 years!" (much longer than any of the friends present had been together - and now closing in on 17!).
"Go ahead, ask me how I did that!" I said.
"Ok, how'd you do that?" my friend asked.
"I have no idea!" I exclaimed. "I've bumbled along for 11 years, and somehow it's worked out!"

This is largely true. However, over the years I've had time to analyze what I did do (without knowing what I was doing), and figured out some of what worked, and what didn't. The old saying goes that "communication is the key", but I would say that "constructive communication is the key". It's too easy to argue and complain and call it communication. You have to discuss, negotiate, reason.

I would guess that - if that couple is real - they did none of that. Whining to each other online is probably the most communication they ever did, and that isn't very constructive.

Aside from "constructive communication", some of the few tips I can give anyone in a relationship:

1. Never go to sleep angry. (This is the only good piece of relationship advice I ever got from my father). Always sort out the problem before you go to sleep for the night - even if it means staying up until 5am talking. It's ok to go to bed angry - but the discussion better follow you there, and you better not sleep until it's settled.

2. For a successful relationship, you each have to give up a part of yourselves, but you each have to keep a part of yourselves. The trick is in finding the balance. You have to spend x amount of time together, and y amount of time apart. You have to agree on and like x things, but have different opinions on y things. Figure out how to balance x and y.

3. Come to an agreement on mutual goals. Financial considerations, home (ownership, what type of home, etc.), to some extent career (is one of you willing to work hard while the other goes to school to fulfill their dream of being a gastroenterologist?), kids, anything else that you must achieve together.

4. Nothing destroys a relationship faster than jealousy. You must have trust and a lack of jealousy to succeed. If you don't have that now, figure out a way to get there.

And then there's one thing I aspire to, but haven't attained yet - when asked how he staid happily married for 50+ years, Larry Hagman said simply: "Separate bathrooms."

I dream of that. Oh lord, how I dream of that.

-Mattbear, marriage counselor, out.