Gray Matter Grab-Bag

You don't get many opportunities to summarize a moment in your life, and this isn't really one of them, so I've decided to just force it.

Right now, my life, and my thoughts, consist of (in no particular order except the order in which I think of them, which, yes, is actually an order too):

Netflix movies, which I watch at least two nights per week in my basement. I think about the last one I saw, and the ones at home now waiting to be viewed. At the moment, that's Primary Colors, and Ladyhawke and Strange Days. After I watch them, I go to imdb.com to find out more about them, and that's another part of my life right now.

Home improvement, which I can't afford to do much of but nevertheless occupies my attention. I think about what to do to the house next, and how to go about it. Last weekend we printed out Ireland pictures from our honeymoon and mounted them in frames we got with our wedding gift certificates. Then we hung them on the wall in the front room, and felt good about it. I wish we could build a storage shed in the backyard, so there would be more room in the garage without the riding lawnmower, but that will probably have to wait until next year.

Beer, which I end up drinking two or three of most nights, and almost never think about until 5:30 or 6:00 when I walk in the door, but always think of at that time of day. I'm not sure if this should concern me or not. My hunch is no.

Advertising, which I do all day, sort of, and pay attention to at other times as well. Good ads, bad ads, the difference between the two, which kind I'm doing more of, the importance of either, and how much longer I'll be doing ads at all. And What Else There Is.

Motorcycles, which I ride one of to work more often than not and read about at motorcycle.com and advrider.com more often than once per day. I think about what to change on my motorcycle, how it compares to others, where I should go to ride, whether I should get an electric vest or not, and sometimes I think about my old motorcycle, and hope the guy I sold it to is riding it sometimes. I wonder if I'll ever ride it again and how I'll think of it in twenty years.

Writing, which I try to do here as often as I can, and appreciate greatly when I see others doing well, and reason with myself is better to do hastily and poorly than not at all, which explains this particular entry. I'm deciding what to do with the realization that I'm this funny, articulate insightful guy; that's my thing; but that many, many other people really are funnier, more articulate and more insightful. I think I'm still coming out of that phase in your life when you accept that you're not going to be the greatest man alive and conclude that being a pretty good man is pretty great in itself. You always think that you'll find your purpose when you find the thing you're best at, the one thing in the world that only you can do, and then you find out that there's not necessarily anything like that out there, unless you mean one thing in the world that only you can do *in your particular way*, and from then on, that's the way you mean it.

My mom, who just got two little kittens and gets to take occasional day trips to go shopping and sightseeing in places like Chicago. I often hope she's happy.

Music, which I find myself searching for online at the iTunes music store and every once in a while at epitonic.com, even though I've got lots of old music I haven't listened to in a while and would probably like a lot if I'd just drag it back out. Stuff on minidiscs, lps... even cds that just sort of drifted out of the rotation a while back. I love getting infatuated with new songs, and I love getting re-infatuated with songs I used to love but somehow forgot.

How others think of me, and how much it has to do with how I really am, and who's more qualified to say.

My bulging stomach, and when and how I'll eventually get around to making it flattish again.

My destiny, and whether there really is such a thing, and whether it will come for me no matter what I do or it is something I can miss somehow, through hesitance or distraction.

My thoughts, and how different I know they will be in five years. I think about how inane and self-absorbed they are, the silly, comfy little world of my construction, and whether there's anything wrong or exceptional about that.

Indianapolis, and its status in my mind as everyplace and noplace at the same time, just a standard cluster of human beings, with its own distinctive quirks no doubt, but having no real place in history or geography. It's just... here... being what it is and doing what it does - like everyplace else and all places as a whole. Here there are heroes and dynasties, and rivalries, and triumphs, all within the little clump of blinking lights down here in flyover country, and nobody else cares what happens here, just like we don't care what happens there, unless their team is playing in our dome. Doesn't this mean anything?

My company, and where I might like to go within it, and how I would get there. Same goes for my industry.

My lawn, of all things.

My family, the five of us in our house, Penny, Vince, Noah, Bailey and me, and how we're usually all in the same room together and so few people ever stop by.

Cable television, which may or may not be worth the money and the connection to culture it would immediately forge for me and my wife. Vince wouldn't really mind one way or the other.

The elections, (to make this entry extra-time-specific), and whether I'll ever be able to care about politics again if Bush gets elected. Probably, I guess - you have to care about something.

The incalculable factor that seems present in almost all activities, some unknown element that makes the outcome unpredictable and interesting, like a diamond mine where you never know what's down there. That's how I see my mind, as a writer, how I need to see it, like it's not just a standard conversion process where the output is just a version of the input - there has to be some intangible something that surprises and delights you. Otherwise, why do it? Conversations: you know the person on one side, and you know the person on the other, but you never can know where it will go. That's why you have them. Lately everything has seemed that way to me. I'm always striving to see universal themes like that - some kind of liberal arts version of the Unified Field Theory. And if it's not really there, by god, I'll see it anyway. I really don't want to just settle for an idea that makes sense of life, no matter how much I'd love for life to make sense, but I fear that I'll ultimately cave and chalk everything up to... I dunno... wheat sticks or something. That seems a lot more likely than me ever really figuring it out, don't you think?

And Penny. Always, always Penelope. The one thing I know for sure, the bright eyes that show me the path, the love of my life and the love that makes up my life, making it up as we go along together. She is always in my mind, and I love having her here.

That, I know, is not going to change.

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