A thing I’ve been trying to do this month is keep track of what I do. What it is I spend my time at. I’m not quite going for a minute by minute breakdown, but there are a lot of tools out there that can make this sort of thing work. I’ve been using ifttt to consolidate information about my activities in a kind of log.
It’s all feeding into a spreadsheet, a gloriously multicolumned spreadsheet so I can piece together charts about what my life is like. To see the days when it’s cold and I bloody-mindedly do go for a bike ride, or not.
What the data-view of me seems to indicate is that I Work, Read, Bike and Write. I might add a Play Games tracker at some point, but I don’t play many games any more (I wish I did).
The thing about this is that I’m feeding it into my spreadsheet, collecting my own data. It’s stuff that I give to different online services and I don’t know exactly how I feel about being my own surveillance apparatus. But my budget tracking has helped me be aware of how I spend my money, so maybe this will help. And I’m not giving it all to a company to track it for me. Well, the spreadsheet is a Google Document so I guess they could be grabbing it all. Maybe this is a stupid experiment.
But what I wanted was something to feel like my memories and experiences are real. People I admire are into bullet-journalling, which is a way of maintaining todo lists and logging a life. I feel like my approach is good for capturing the quantitative data and letting me be a bit more haphazard in my qualitative data like journalling or writing here or what have you. I don’t know. Still probably all terrible and hypocritical for a person who tries to talk about privacy in my dayjob. Selah.
I guess having 5 things in life to care about (at least enough to track) is all right. It feels narrow though. It feels like life is funnelling me down into someone I’m not sure I want to be. Wheeeeeeee.
It is cold here.
I have not been cold like this in years. Not right now of course; right now I’m inside a well-insulated house which my girlfriend hates but I find has its charms. I wish I could unpack the books but that would be a step to homey for us right now, and besides the walls don’t need the insulation. Not like we needed it in Nanaimo.
The cold, the constant cold inside the house out there wore me down. Here is different. I don’t want to get into the dry vs wet cold thing, because that’s not really how I feel it. The difference is more sharp vs pressing in my body. That goes for the recovery hotwater baths for my fingers as well. So cold, but recoverable.
The last time I lived in Winnipeg I whined and complained about the cold all the time. I’m sorry to all the people who had to deal with me. I must have been unbearable. This time I have to be the one who bears the cold, because it’s my fault we came here. It would be bad form to do otherwise I think. Bad form, like I’m some posh fucker, no that’s a misspeaking: it would just be bad for me to complain about the cold this time around.
So instead, I’ve been throwing myself into it. I read a book about winter cycling after I’d already started biking to work. It was a good book, because it wasn’t just about what kind of bike to ride but what kind of city to build and what kind of person to be. And to winter-cycle in a place like Edmonton you need to embrace the winter. It can’t be your enemy. I’m really trying not to make the entire world my enemy here, because I remember that turns out with me being miserable.
And yet I pass by the enemy every day. I prefer taking the Baseline Road route to work and back because that goes by the refineries. In the cold they’re pumping out steam and smoke and it’s hard not to think of the fires of mount doom. And I have this notion that living next to these things, that seeing them every day makes me better somehow, better than being off in a bubble of a perfect environment until it goes horribly wrong.
We watched The Two Towers the other night, and I do get frustrated with the simplifications in that movie most out of the trilogy. But I can see why the people of Gondor think what they do about the toughness of their situation, being right in Sauron’s path. I feel a little bit more for Gondor, watching it in the path of winter.
My girlfriend doesn’t agree. This is a stupid place to be and humans shouldn’t be here. It’s like the winter biking; what do you think you’re proving by doing this?
And I’m not changing anything or doing anything important by being here, in the cold, riding a bike (some days). I suppose it is an ego thing, but not in the praise-seeking way I hope. I think it’s more in the trying to do something to do this differently. To do something hard and not utterly fuck it up. To do something that might make some people miserable but lets me cope or even have fun.
I have been told I don’t have fun like a normal person, that I don’t behave like a normal person, that I’m all fucked up and should change everything about me. And I can’t. But I can. But the only thing I’m changing right now is not complaining about the cold, about meeting it and flowing with it. And we’ll see where we end up.
We’re here and it is below zero. There is snow on the ground and when I bike it is cold on my fingers. I don’t have a mount on my mountain bike for a headlight so I got a ride in today. Tomorrow I might be able to use the ‘cross bike again.
For whatever reason I felt this was a good time to revamp the blog. To strip it down and rehost it and get into the guts a bit more. So it’s less pretty. Apologies. I know no one reads it anyway.
In followup to the last post, yes, I did enjoy Nanaimo more than Campbell River. But now it’s time to be moving again. My partner and I are headed to Edmonton to start new jobs on November 7th. It’s a return to the prairies for me and I think I’ll like it better than I did when last I lived in Winnipeg.
I’ve spent most of my 30s out on the west coast and I do like the mildness of the winters here. But maybe it’s okay to live somewhere a little harder to deal with. A little (lot) colder, but with better food (non-sushi division). The new job should be much better than working for my former employer.
Maybe I’ll write more. I hope to, but am not promising anything.
Tomorrow I finish my month-long move down to Nanaimo for my new job. By this time next week though, I’ll be on vacation.
I hope I like Nanaimo better than Campbell River. I feel kind of bad for not liking it here. There are some very nice people in this town, but nothing ever really clicked for me. I will miss the folks from Coho Books.
In Nanaimo there are comic & game shops I’ll be able to bike to. The ferry to Vancouver is way closer and easier. I know a bunch of people there already (yes, most of them are librarians) so maybe I won’t have to live on the internet quite so much.
Back when I decided to get an MLIS it was basically so I wouldn’t be stuck in Winnipeg. And I’m still not stuck anywhere, so it seems my mission is being accomplished. Go me.