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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Matthew Harris' LiveJournal:

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    Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
    1:13 am
    The Underpants Gnomes, 15 years later
    January has been a very good month for me in my quest to "clean out my closet", metaphorically or literally. I am pretty proud of the progress I made there, although I also can't say I am ready to jump up and leave. The garage is still...the garage. As for the metaphorical cleaning, well, that doesn't happen in just a month.

    And still, the problem is kind of the same as in the now 15-year old joke about the Underpants Gnomes. Right now my plans are:

    1. Clean up the cruft that is hovering around my life.
    2. ?????
    3. Live a fruitful, productive and independent life.

    Kind of don't have anything in mind specifically for the mid-game, there. Even imagining I do have a magic wand and all my books are in tubs in storage, or whatever...what do I do next? All those problems are still hovering, but, whatever.
    Monday, January 26th, 2015
    2:54 am
    3 AM, which means:
    It is almost 3 AM, which means either that
    a) It is time to go to sleep or
    b) It is time to watch another episode of Adventure Time.

    I mean, they are only 12 minutes, right? Why not watch another one! :)
    Friday, January 23rd, 2015
    11:29 am
    An early spring?
    It feels very spring-ish here in Montana, although that should be taken in context. Yesterday, with the temperature around 35F, I went for a 20+ mile bike ride, which while just a brief jaunt by my spring standards, is pretty far for January. And things seem very bright here.

    My knee is sore today.

    Anyway, it would be nice if I can actually start my riding season in January, which means that I would be able to get to full length rides by March. But winter here can be tricky, last year it almost didn't snow at all until the beginning of February, and then there was more or less a solid month of 6+ inches of snow.
    Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
    8:58 am
    Hello Wednesday Morning
    How are you doing? Oh really? Yes, me too.


    Posted via m.livejournal.com.

    Sunday, January 18th, 2015
    6:38 pm
    Completion and Victory
    So this is a bit abstract, and a bit wordy, but I realized a pattern in my life today.

    From the time I was about 6 or 7 to the time I was...12 or 13? I was very interested in completing things. I think it started when I was in second grade (or first?) with Transformers. I didn't just like playing with Transformers. I wanted to know everything about them. I wanted to complete the collection. Until I reached puberty, I would go through a series of "collections", where I would get very interested in one thing, and want to collect as much as possible. It would usually last 3-6 months (sometimes a year), before switching to something else. Transformers, comic books, hermit crabs, legos, comic books again, basketball cards...and then I started to hit puberty and then the collecting/organizing urge left me.

    Sometime around puberty, I started to look at the world a bit differently. And not just because in my newly-awakened mind, comic books couldn't keep me happy. I started looking at the world in terms of change and victory. Things were going to change for me, get better, and above all, transcend their current situation. How this would happen would differ depending on my worldview at the time, but it involved social change and personal recognition. "Once capitalism falls and we all go live in teepees, the girls will realize what a cool dude I am". Of course. Not that it was all that self-centered, even when it was silly. But my teenage years were infused with this sense of challenge, and transformation, and eventual victory.

    One thing about the collector mindset is it deals with a world that is basically static. There is always small changes to keep things interesting for the collector (and any Lego fan around my age will remember the thrill of novelty when Lego introduced the Pirate series), but in general being a collector is about sorting through a rather static world. Then, as a teenager, that static world broke for me and I had about a half-dozen years where I was always running towards a new goal.

    And then...hmmm, well, I don't know what happened next, still trying to figure that out.
    Thursday, January 15th, 2015
    4:33 pm
    Frozen, frosted
    There are many types of winter in Montana. Surprisingly to some, at least in my part of Montana it doesn't snow and stay snowy from November through March. Sometimes it is warm and rainy, sometimes it is snowy, and sometimes it is cold and frosted. Like today.

    IMG_1216

    But of course this isn't just an update about the weather. As 2015 starts, and I try to avoid having another 2014, which was basically another 2013, I am trying to warm up, get excited, get moving...and looking out on that totally frozen, inert earth makes it hard to believe that it will happen.

    Its only January 15th, though.
    Sunday, January 4th, 2015
    2:30 am
    Job offer
    The other day, I did get a phone call with a "job offer" of sorts. Well, a man calling to ask if I was local because he had a six hour a week teaching job. And I wasn't local, so he didn't, but he said he liked my resume and letters and would call back in spring.

    This made me feel moderately better about things.
    2:26 am
    What I was going to say about 2010 and what I also need to say about 2010
    I was looking through my picture folder at old pictures, all jumbled together from when I transferred them over from my old computer in the autumn of 2012, and went over bits and pieces of what I did in 2010. There was a lot of mountain climbing in 2010: my first full year in Montana, and one in which I was first learning to use my bicycle to the fullest (at least vertically: horizontally and temporally that would really wait until 2012, or perhaps 2013). And I tried to remember 2010, a year in which I didn't really do anything. Well, I went up mountains and I tutored, and I waited, in some corner of my emotions, for Katrina to "come back" (spoiler alert: she didn't).

    But those lovely vantages! So I was thinking about this, and I was thinking that 2010 was the year I tried to get perspective. Tried to ascend above things. And at times, at least physically, I did:

    IMG_1984

    I mean, look at that? Doesn't that look like serenity and transcendence!

    ...but then I went and reread my LJ from 2010, and goodness I was a little ball of rage and frustration, and so lonely and alone. At least, much of the time.

    So which story is the real story?
    Saturday, January 3rd, 2015
    4:32 pm
    It was the PBA bowling tour flier that I couldn't get rid of
    I may have mentioned the boxes: the two large boxes in my garage, full of stuff that I hastily packed away during my move from Portland five years ago. Some of it is priceless mementos of my 20s, other of it is...I don't even know. Half a broken crayon.

    And I have also mentioned that as 2015 starts, and I have hopes of moving out and moving on, I am trying to winnow this stuff down to what is important. Today I spent an hour or so going through one of those boxes, discarding and shredding. I think I might have cleared half of the boxes' contents, a pretty good rate of progress given how much time I had to unfold and remember what stuff was.

    I found a PBA world tour schedule from 2006, or maybe 2007. Something that, by all rights, I should discard. My spectatorship of bowling consists of a half hour in a Subway restaurant that was showing women's professional bowling for some reason. A decade old list of places to see professional bowling is not relevant to my interests or aspirations at the moment. Yet it was one of the things I left back in the box, to gently sift itself to the broken crayons and tarnished pennies on the bottom. Why?

    Perhaps because I found the poses of the bowlers amusing. Athletes often look menacing and touch on promotional materials, although it doesn't look quite natural on bowlers. Or maybe I just kept it because it is so "random", as we used to say.

    But I am also a bit sentimental about an era (10 short years ago!) when we still needed paper for so many things. I suppose you can still find things like that, but the turn of the century was a golden age for printed material like that: desktop publishing was advanced enough that anyone could put together a bright glossy flier with CGI backgrounds to advertise everything from bowling to raves, but internet wasn't on phones yet and paper was still needed to distribute news like this. Perhaps some day my PBA tour flier will be an important landmark of a bygone era.
    Friday, January 2nd, 2015
    1:48 am
    First accomplishment of 2015
    My first accomplishment of 2015 was cleaning out my closet, namely the pile of clothing that I didn't actually use that was sitting in a big heap there. Many of them were damaged and I ended up throwing them away. I then moved the piles of cruft on top of my bookshelves into the now empty space on my closet floor! Achievements!

    Still a long way to go towards my goal of getting rid of unnecessary stuff.
    Thursday, January 1st, 2015
    1:22 am
    Last accomplishment of 2014 was:
    I have now watched all of Doctor Who, from An Unearthly Child to Last Christmas.


    Posted via m.livejournal.com.

    Sunday, December 28th, 2014
    2:55 pm
    I might have pneumonia
    I felt fine when I went to bed last night. I woke up at 7 AM feeling exhausted, where I could only barely get a drink of water. I woke up twice since then, and I still feel very weak feverish. I've managed to make myself some tea, but even the walk to the kitchen exhausts me.

    I don't really have any respiratory or GI symptoms though. Just feel very weak. I guess I do have a bit of a hacking cough. I hope I get better.


    Posted via m.livejournal.com.

    Saturday, December 27th, 2014
    6:06 pm
    Where do socks come from? What do I do with them.
    This entry is mostly about socks.

    As part of my seemingly endless quest to clean and winnow before moving, I have been sorting through my room lately. "Cleaning out my closet", literally. And what I find in my closet is...socks. I was sorting through papers, but interspersed with my papers were socks. Socks of every size and style and condition, and most of them being socks that I wouldn't wear. I don't know where they came from. I don't know what they are good for. I don't know if they have matches, even in someone's imagination.

    Their very existence seems so apropros of nothing, and I don't know how to categorize them. I move them from one place to another, but I can't find a final place for them.

    So my entire future, predicated on me getting my possessions down to the point where I can move easily unburdened by pointless cruft and clutter, is threatened and haunted by these socks.
    Friday, December 19th, 2014
    6:09 pm
    FNNLC: Solstice edition
    It is almost solstice! This is the closest to the middle of winter we are going to get here at the NLC.

    So with hardly any daylight, and with the rush of the holidays, what are you doing to keep yourself warm and entertained on this cold dark night?

    I am just eating some hashbrowns and wondering what I am going to do with my "vacation"
    Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
    4:07 am
    "Wake up sheeple", a retrospective
    I don't know the last time the use "sheeple" was used on the internet unironically.

    And although I was never the type to go quite to the extent of thinking of people that way, or using that term, I kind of did have that mindset for many years.

    Back in the days when information was more sparse, before the internet, I thought that having access to information or culture could change people, and change things radically and quickly. "Punk rock changed my life". Back in the days when we got music as used cassette tapes, and it was hard to find non-current releases, I thought that as soon as people could listen to different music, or read underground newspapers, that they would change their way of thinking, change their lifestyle.

    Obviously I am a bit more cynical now! Back in the 1990s, in the 2000s, I was mostly looking at the "high culture"...culture produced by people who were themselves culturally aware, and I was thinking that was representative of the common culture. But I've come to realize that the decades and centuries of crusty tradition are just too much.

    And I am sure that makes lots of sense. Also, speaking of sleeping and waking, it is 4 AM so I should sleep.
    Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
    1:54 am
    As the year ends...
    As the year ends, I...
    Well, I don't know.
    Usually I have some goals for a year. It can range from a general concept like "learn" to a detailed plan of where I want to go. Sometimes it is big, sometimes it is a collection of microgoals. Minigoals? Like a list of books I want to read or places I want to go.

    But right now...nothing, really.
    1:49 am
    I posted this elsewhere, so now I will post it here: Steganobarn:
    steganobarn

    I don't think I need to add an explanation here! :)
    Thursday, December 11th, 2014
    2:39 am
    Also, one plan:
    One plan involves this picture:barnmodified

    I like what I've done with it so far, but I have even more plans for it! One reason I am putting it here is because it will remind me of my great idea.
    2:36 am
    I am feeling better because lists
    So today while at the pharmacy in town, I found a free 2015 Daily Planner! Also, a free clicky pen!

    And so I picked it up, and it has made me feel a little bit better because I like making lists. My life is pretty fluid and I have had trouble imagining what could be going right, but now I can make lists, and the future is like clay under my skillful hands. It is like the scene in ghost, kind of, but without a hunky Patrick Swayze guiding me through my temporal manipulations.

    And since there is only two weeks left in the year, I better get to planning.

    And since it is 2:36, I better get to bed.
    Monday, December 8th, 2014
    10:27 am
    I didn't mean to flounce
    I've been "off of" the internet for a while, well mostly just off of Facebook.
    I didn't mean to flounce.
    I just feel tired and the benefit I get from being online was outweighed by the costs.

    It is a common complaint, but the internet and social networking provide a feeling of belonging and being close to people that doesn't really match what is really going on. Sometimes I can get deceived because I get "feedback"...but then I realize how tightly curtailed I have been for getting what seems to be interaction with people. That isn't me up there. That is a character I've played for too long.

    Thus, spending time off of the more overwhelming of social networks, just looking out at the fog.

    2014 will be over soon, I don't know what to make of this year.
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