Omnibus — Weeks 22–25
25 May–21 June
So, dear readers, this is what happens if you allow yourself to skip a day, a week of journal updates… You end up at 4 am nearly a month later compiling an omnibus edition and telling yourself that you really MUST do better.
The first thing I’ve noticed is that over the month, this has digressed from a thoughtful retrospective to a mere history, something that I shall have to work on… But for the nonce, here’s what’s been going on since last I posted to The Week that Was.
25–31 May On Wednesday night, I drove to Charleston, and slept for a few hours at Joe’s house before rising early for our flight to Las Vegas. Joe had been up all night playing poker, and I was just worn out in general, so we both slept through both the flight to Atlanta and the longer leg to Las Vegas.
Arrived in the evening, checked into our lovely room at the Paris Casino, and went straight into a poker tournament at the Monte Carlo — neither of us finished in the money, and we ended up spending about an hour in the registration line for our World Series event.
Up at a reasonable hour the next morning, though already a bit short on sleep, and played the first day of the World Series Colossus event — which I won’t describe in great detail, because I already wrote about it here.
I will say that I made it to the second round, which wasn’t played until Sunday, giving me Saturday as a sort of Sabbath. Made use of that to get in a trip to the gym for a hard workout, the spa for some hot soaking, sauna, and cold plunges, and the pool for a bit of a tan. I also went online and booked my brother Rich a flight from Denver to Las Vegas, with a direct return to his hometown of Durango, so that he wouldn’t have to make the long and tedious drive out to meet us on Sunday.
Spent the rest of the day playing in various small poker tournaments and following Joe’s progress as he bought in and busted out of successive Colossus flights.
Flew out from Las Vegas to Charleston early Wednesday morning, having a goodbye breakfast with Rich at the airport and basically slept all the way home. Got in to Charleston, drove to Joe’s house, had lunch at the bar across the street, and met a cute, nerdy waitress who upsold us on our pizza (only old ladies eat 10-inch pizzas, apparently!) compared Clash of Clans bases with us, and tried to recruit us into her Clan… Saucy! Went back to Joe’s, got caught up on Game of Thrones, and then drove down to Beaufort.
Got back to work, pretty slow day, grabbed a haircut in the afternoon, and generally got caught up on old e-mails, etc… It was a short week at work, nothing interesting to speak of, and as I had made plans for Sunday brunch with my dear friend Sarah Watson on Sunday, I drove up to Charleston on Saturday night, played a little poker, and went to see Entourage with Joe, before going back to his place and playing Heroes of the Storm until about 2 am…
Went for brunch at 1130 with Sarah, started with mimosas, and then pretty much worked our way through the cocktail list at the Hominy Grill. Although they’re highly recommended as a brunch spot, I found the food much less satisfactory than the drinks. Joe and Sarah hit it off just as well as I thought they would, since they’re two of the most awesome people I know, and we ended up walking off our brunch, and somehow ending up in La Hacienda where we proceeded to consume about 32 ounces worth of margaritas (Sarah) and pina coladas (Joe and I) — after which a nap was definitely required, consuming pretty much the rest of the afternoon. Watched Game of Thrones, and then made the late-night run back down to Beaufort. 8–14 June As a result of the late night on Sunday, I started Monday very tired, but had to get the office tidied and play host to my replacement, walking him through all the places on base he needed to check in, and checking out of most of them myself. Managed to have a vaguely productive day at work, but completely wasted the late afternoon with a much-needed nap, and the evening with a 2-hour Clash of Clans push to the next level, which due to a few failed attacks, ended up with me, at the end, pretty much back where I’d started a month ago. Tuesday was more of the same; Wednesday I submitted my applications for both the Foreign Security Advisor specialty, and for the Command Board, the latter of which required me to take a new picture in uniform. The Command Screening is a double-edged sword; if selected on this board, it will mean I’m afforded a great opportunity that few ever get, but also that I’ll likely be pulled out of Hawaii after just a year.
Trying to break out of the malaise that’s characterized my off-duty frame of mind by getting a foot massage, going to bed around 9 pm, getting back on my supplement routine, and planning an early start. Rose around 4 am, gemmed my Clash of Clans base, and was off to a great start, gaining 34 points in the first hour, only to lose 25 of them by attacking a deceptively weak level 10 base (I’m only a level 8) — so, lesson learned, again, the hard way. Don’t attack level 10 bases that aren’t located outside their walls — especially when you don’t have your strongest possible army. Sigh. There are actually a lot of similarities between good Clash of Clans play, and good poker. One of these days I’ll need to write an article about that. Lost another 33 points — no more weak attacks. 200-man armies, all-in to win. Ridiculous nickel-and-diming is wasting my time and resources — and losing, even in a game, is psychologically draining. It does help teach you resilience, though.
Still feeling behind on preparations for departure — lots to do in the next few days, and I’ve wasted a good bit of my off-duty time with drowsing about — so will have to get motivated and accelerate progress in the next few days. Also have gotten way behind on my journaling — getting that caught up will be a big help as well.
Finished turnover with my replacement, Major Jason Moore, attended Colonel Lieblein’s change of command, and made a 4-hour push for Master League, accomplishing that silly task, getting my 1000-gem reward, and now being able to devote much less time to Clash of Clans (not that there was really much purpose in devoting any time to it in the first place — though it is a way to stay connected with Joe, and one feels a small sense of community with the clan…)
Had an appointment to take my car to the Hyundai dealership in Santa Fe first thing Saturday morning for some minor repairs prior to shipping it to Hawaii — so drove up Friday night. Joe was supposed to be headed out on the town with his friend Wayne — but Wayne got caught up playing poker, so Joe and I went out ourselves for a few quiet drinks at a bar which is walking distance from his apartment.
Took the car in Saturday, and then took the nephews for Mexican food and a movie — Jurassic World. The little guys were pretty big fans of the raptors, go figure. Shop was absolutely useless, couldn’t even get through the diagnostics on the car, let alone fix it… I suppose I’ll just take it to Hawaii as-is…
Sunday was a day of playing with the nephews, including a walk in the woods, family dinner, and the final episode of this season’s Game of Thrones, then the usual late-night drive down to Beaufort, listening to a very motivating TED talk on the way.
A couple of stories regarding my dear nephews. Woke first thing to find them playing in Adi’s bedroom, and as soon as they saw I was awake, Adi said loudly, “Uncle, come in here, I have something to show you!” — I walked in expecting it to be something mundane, and was a bit surprised to see a blackened electric socket (where the nightlight was plugged in) and a scorched penny with a pair of melted ridges in it, where the boys had pushed it down behind the nightlight. “How did this happen?” I asked. “Ummm, maybe Kieran put it in there… Maybe I told him to… Actually, ummm, I’m not sure how it got there.” This from Adi, while Kieran sat there smiling. “Did anyone get hurt?” Adi again: “I got a couple of freckles on my finger.” By the time the scene was replayed out with Dad, the story had changed to “I thinked the penny jumped in there by itself.” Rascals.
The second story has to do with another intersection between technology and the real world. Joe has one of those ridonkulously complex televisions which I can’t operate, so when the boys ask me for a show, I have to pull out my cell phone and YouTube them up some entertainment. The perennial favorite lately has been “Fat Animals” —
— which is pretty hilarious, but having watched it repeatedly, we needed something new, which turned out to be the ol’ “Alligator or Log” question, as posed and answered by a pair of wildebeests.
This resulted in us playing the “Log Game” — uncle lays on the floor, under a blanket, while the boys sit on the couch debating whether the lump “under the water” is a log or an alligator. Eventually one of them will hop off the couch (and on to uncle) to prove that the lump is just a harmless log — whereupon, sooner or later, the blanket-water erupts in an explosion of arms and legs and much growling, and the hapless lad disappears beneath the covers to sound of screams and laughter.
Monday and Tuesday were a predictable grind — feeling like I’m falling further and further behind, in many ways. Got one fitness report done, wrote two letters of recommendation, got rid of 3 boxes of junk from storage, gave away several big items that I don’t need, but that were still useful… Spent a couple of hours a day on gaming with Joe, which it might be tempting to write off as a waste of time, but it wasn’t (at least according to this great TED talk by one of my favorite speakers, Jane McGonigal.
Managed to royally screw up the installation of a new water fill port on the Gypsy Danger, and (probably foolishly) made a booking for an AirBNB guest during the last week of July. What to do with my little boat for the next year is a bit of a sort of stress, but it’s really self-imposed, and I’m going to let go of all that for now. Whether I get selected for command in July, and whether that command tour will be back here in Beaufort will determine whether I ultimately sell the boat or keep it.
Made a late-night run down to Tampa, Florida on Thursday night, accompanied by my brother Joe, so that I could accept the Navy League’s Alfred Thayer Mahan award for Literary Excellence on Friday.
A good event, the award was presented by LtGen McKenzie, Commanding General of Marine Forces, Central Command, and I now owe him an e-mail update on the Gypsy Danger, since he himself is looking to buy and live on a boat in the future. Played in a poker tournament at the Hard Rock in Tampa on Friday night, and another in Jacksonville on the way back up to Beaufort on Saturday. Listened to Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and started in on The Graveyard Book while I drove. Sunday got all my files copied off my old work computer, did the final cleaning of my office, and that was that.
So, that brings us to the end of the omnibus, and the most important part, which is the retrospective analysis. I had to scroll back to last September and the beginning of these monologues to remind myself of this:
The framework for my self-analysis consists of two parts; the Zen mantra that is my phone’s screensaver, & the article I wrote about life lessons from Burning Man.
Lessons from Burning Man.
Stay hydrated. Did a pretty bad job of this — still carrying my liter water bottle around, but not nearly consistent enough about drinking 3–4 liters per day…(0.25)
Dress up (and down). I wore a special “tour shirt” for poker in Las Vegas, got dressed up in club clothes one time, and wore a uniform in public for an awards ceremony, so maybe partial credit for this one. (0.25)
Give hugs, get hugs, smile and laugh. Shared hugs and laughter with Joe, Sarah, and the kids. (1.0)
Clean as you go. Still doing fine with this one — picking up and disposing of trash wherever I find it as I wander through the world. (1)
Stay shiny. Nope, no shine or glitter for me this month. Sigh. (0)
Value your time. Tough call… I’m not entirely happy with my productivity as a writer or my engagement on social media, and I feel a bit behind in my professional transition to Hawaii — that said, I have actually done a lot of “bucket-listy stuff” this month, so I’m giving myself at least half points for this. (0.5)
Let your inner child play / release your inner artist. My inner child played a lot of poker, Clash of Clans, and Heroes of the Storm, and introduced Sarah to hneftafal; the artist (writer) accomplished pretty much nothing. (0.5)
Adopt polyphasic sleep. Although I know it can be done, and I’ve used it a bit, I’m really off of any particular cycle or regular stimulant/supplement program right now. (0.25)
Live small. Between hotel rooms, the Gypsy Danger, and the couch in Joe’s apartment, I think I’m doing OK with this one. (1)
Clean as you go, redux. Moving has forced me to clean up my act, the office is 100% clean, the storage unit is getting there, same with the boat. (0.5)
Walk and bike more. Still walk everywhere at work, but the biking didn’t happen. Must improve on this in Hawaii (0.5)
Volunteer. No points here. Bad hamster! (0)
Give gifts. I gave Sarah a hneftafal set, and gave copies of my book to a few people… But I really think for a month, I could have done a lot better. (0.25)
Total Score? 6 out of a possible 13… 46 percent is not a great score. OK, what about achieving a little more balance in my life through the application of Zen Principles?
Do one thing at a time; do it slowly, deliberately, and completely. Still, pretty bad at this one, but I’m trying. (0)
Do less. Ditto. (0)
Put space between things. Nope, pretty much bouncing from one thing to the next. (0)
Develop rituals; designate time for certain things. Hmmm. Nope. Still hasn’t happened. (0)
Devote time to sitting. I think I’ve gotten in about one meditation session with Headspace per week during this month. It should be one per day. (0.25)
Smile and serve others. I’ve written 3 letters of recommendation, sent m Marines off on a fun day of whitewater rafting and rock climbing, and left my department at work better than I found it for the next guy. That’s gotta be worth at least half points. (0.5)
Make cleaning and cooking become meditation. Cooking has been non-existent, and cleaning forced upon my by my impending move. I award me no points. (0)
Think about what is necessary. Still trying to answer this question — could I live with just 100 things for a year? What would they be? (0)
Live simply. Life doesn’t feel simple, just now. (0)
Hardly any positive change since I started this, on the Zen front. But at least I’m aware of where I stand, and can make an honest evaluation. The choice to change is all mine.
Au revoir pour maintenant!