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

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Sunday, February 19th, 2017
9:46 pm
Semicama

I'm on a bus going south for my vacation. There is a bit of anxiety as always because I'm heading into the unknown. But I feel encapsulated as I look out at the dark and see the miles slide by.

Mostly this makes me look forward to the day when I can go from Whitehorse to Puerta Arenas by bus.

Thursday, February 16th, 2017
7:20 pm
Cocooning: A History
I just bought myself a box of chocolate fudge covered Oreos, and am about ready to eat Oreos and internet and ignore the world and gradually get rid of my hangover. My vacation has been kind of slow, other than my trip up Cerro San Cristobal to see the tarantulas.

Anyway! I have a long history of doing this, of having periods where I basically cocoon and stare at a screen and don't think about the outside world. I often romanticize those periods afterwards, thinking of them as meditative, stress-free periods where I allow my mind to be untouched by what is going on outside. While I am in them, though, they often seem stressful, with me feeling I should do more and balancing boredom and anxiety. Such is now, really. I feel I should be doing something but don't want to, and don't even have the concentration to fulfill my goal of watching The Regular Show.

Periods of cocooning like this are probably best when there is some type of nascent thought or experience going on, under the surface. And maybe one is...I am not sure. My mind feels scattered.

All the cookies and Heroes of Might and Magic II in the world might not change that.
Tuesday, February 7th, 2017
11:46 am
One week until vacation
Next week I am taking a two week vacation. It is summer here, and most of my students are on vacation, so my vacation will coincide with them.

There were a couple of slack periods in the spring when I had very little to do (September and October), and I had some (at the time) boring five and six day weekends, but in general, I've not had a time when my mind wasn't preoccupied with work since early May, when I started my first class. Combined with the steep learning curve of a new job and a new country, its certainly been a lot of work. It might be the first time in my life that I've been inside the work tunnel that is so familiar to some.

Anyway, I am hoping that over the next few weeks I can kind of take some perspective on my situation. Perspective is lacking for me, things have gone so fast that I don't really understand the incredible changes that have been made in my life. But, I still have...four more days of work.
Friday, February 3rd, 2017
1:46 am
As requested: television
My prime television years were about 9 to 12 years old, I think, which corresponds to the years 1988 and 1991. I watched television before that, and after that, but those years were when I was a television watcher.

When I was a child, we often didn't have a television, and when we did, it was second hand and didn't last for long. I don't remember the exact years. I remember stretches of no television. I would watch TV at friends or relatives houses, but I remember also being somewhat left out when my friends talked about TV.

When we moved from Battle Ground to near Salem was when I remember watching a lot of TV. In those days, before cable, the distance (about 60 miles) from Portland meant that we had a weak signal, and of the five or six stations available, usually half of them showed up. The late 80s and early 90s were the last tie when Domestic Situation comedies were the basis of prime time TV. I don't remember watching a lot of them. For some reason, either because of reception or because of some sense of my proper domain, I mostly watched syndicated TV, which was carried on two channels, and the new programming I did watch was more the non-family comedies. I really liked Night Court, for example.

In those days, to know what was on television we used tv guides, either the name brand TV Guide that you bought, or the free ones that you could get in the checkout aisles. TV Guide was 75 cents, and the free ones were free. They also had TV listings in the newspapers. Between these three sources, I could navigate a course for television. Like many of my other hobbies, I could get obsessive: I remember at times looking at the schedule and planning like six hours straight of television viewing. Many of my leisure activities become overly scheduled and goal-driven.

Looking back at it, the times of maximum television watching seemed long, but they might have only been something I did for a month or so, before another hobby intruded. Looking back at it, television probably had a lot to do with stress and isolation, neither of which occurred in Battle Ground. Those years were when I first experienced my cocooning instinct.

I could probably have more to say about television, but that is it for now.
Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
5:38 pm
Do you know what I could make a long post about?
Do you know what I could make a long post about?

My history with television.

It is surprisingly relevant right now.
Monday, January 30th, 2017
12:36 am
It is hot and smoky.
It is hot and smoky. There are forest fires nearby, and the sky is a orange haze, and as it did in Montana, the heat and smoke make me stupid and sick and lazy. I can't quite connect the dull ache in my left knee and calf with the muddy sky, but I am going to say they are related. As an explanation of why, this weekend, I couldn't even manage to watch TV. Like, goals for this weekend that weren't met: watching The Regular Show.

Ah well, they can't all be great ones. Although not reported here, January was a pretty good month.
Friday, January 20th, 2017
6:19 pm
Have a bee from Monday
Is it the end of the week already?

On Monday, after a dreary weekend, I climbed San Cristobal Hill for the first time in month, having forgotten to do everything else I was supposed to do that weekend. San Cristobal has changed for me, I went there often in my first four months here but I don't think I had visited since October before this Monday. Now it seems rather old hat. But it still has some surprises, like this bee:

20170116_194049
Sunday, January 15th, 2017
2:03 am
Weekend

I didn't feel that I did enough with my Saturday so now I'm watching Regular Show at 2 AM because that gives me a feeling of some sort of accomplishment.

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
1:18 am
Did I mention the beach is all alike?
Its still hot, even though it is almost 1 AM, and my brain is not working as well as it should, so I can't quite find the words to describe the weekend.

Other than:

The beach house here that I visited this weekend felt exactly like so many other beach houses I've stayed at in the US. Same closet full of books, pantry full of food, and cupboard full of old board games. Same feeling of unlimited time. Same drifting. Even the same smells.

But after a full 48 hours of that, I am back in Santiago, ready to take on a busy week.
Saturday, January 7th, 2017
2:24 am
Its the new year
I was going to make a big summing up post on New Year's Day, when it seemed like the world was opening up for me with lots of time.

Then things got busy again, I haven't known what to say, and my life in Chile continues to run along with me!

I am going to the beach this weekend.
Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
10:38 am
Its been a really busy month, now it might be summer
Hello

I noticed my last three entries were called "Waking up early", "Tunnel Vision" and "Waking Up Early", which gives a really good short version of what my month is like.

But now it is summer vacation.

I don't really have any thoughts on what has been going on. Its been too busy to even think about it! I might have longer words in the days ahead.
Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
8:14 am
Waking up early

Waking up early for me is never as hard as I think it's going to be, and sometimes I feel a lift of energy. Sometimes in my deprived state I feel a type of energy and awareness that I don't feel otherwise.
Sometimes the ridiculousness of what I'm doing doesn't even occur to me. I'm sitting on a park bench between a cancelled class and another class, 2 hours later. Of all the places I could be or activities I could be doing, I'm on a park bench in Las Condes surrounded by roses and the sound of water.

And while all of this is something I can do, I will pay for it later.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
1:38 pm
Tunnel vision
As described in a series of posts, my life has kind of become a type of tunnel vision.
There is so many things that I could be doing, but my life is mostly about clearing the hurdles in front of me...and then I think "I can get through this week, so I am okay", but I have forgotten how many of my long term plans I have given up just because my mind is kind of stuck in a tunnel. I haven't forgotten them out of despair or anything, it just doesn't occur to me on a day to day level how big the world around me is. Its more "Yeah, I can get up early that day and ride a bus to this new location..." and everything else kind of fades into the background.

There is a bigger story to be told, and I hope I can live it soon.
Monday, December 5th, 2016
7:45 am
Waking up early

One of the hardest parts about early morning classes for me is I wake up even earlier than I have to. I have an 8 AM class which means I set my alarm for 6:30 but I woke up at 5:30 and laid in bed for an hour.
The bus didn't take as long as I thought it would so I end up here a half hour early.
All this early morning sunshine and energetic people out running. It should fill me with every but nope.

Sunday, December 4th, 2016
6:12 pm
The Sunday Paradox
If someone was to go back to the first entries of this LJ, in the fall of 2002, they would find college Matthew complaining about being bored all weekend and then trying to do all his homework late on a Sunday night.

And here in 2016, when I don't even feel like I am the same person as I was two years ago, I can see my habits haven't changed all that much since then...it is 6 PM on a Sunday, I am bored and listless, want something to do, but also feel a bit pressured because tomorrow is going to be a long day, that I don't really want to prepare for.

I will probably start "waking up" and wanting to do things in an hour or two...right when I should be getting ready to sleep, because I have an early class tomorrow morning.

I know this isn't an original complaint.
Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
11:27 am

I finally did the obvious and got an LJ client for my phone. Amongst it's many other advantages, it makes posting pictures a lot easier: like this one!


Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
5:00 pm
December is not settling down
Its getting close to the beginning of summer, and based on the weather here, it is already summer.

I had reason to predict that December would slow down as classes ended and people went on vacation. The thing is, my fellow teachers are leaving as well, meaning I have a lot of sudden classes to teach, for two or three weeks. So it might be until Christmas before things calm down.

So, that is my November and will probably be my December.
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
5:08 pm
Things I've done recently:
1. Been very tired

2. Read about Tolkien and Middle Earth on tumblr
Saturday, November 19th, 2016
1:13 pm
I lost my phone and got a new one
So this Tuesday, my phone bricked, totally. I went through all the stages of grief as I realized I would have to spend money on a new phone, and do it in a country where...that could be difficult. But it went easier than I thought and by that evening, I was happily enphoned again.


One minor difference: I didn't install Facebook on my phone.

The past few weeks, Facebook got pretty maddening, and it became such a habit to check it on the Metro, to feel like the little "notiications" that kept popping up meant something.

Lets see how long I can keep it off.
Friday, November 18th, 2016
2:51 pm
Somehow 17 days have passed since I updated
These last two weeks have been a turning point for me.

Well, not a point. A point is a point. They've been a long, not so-slow curve where I find myself pointing in a different direction at the end of them as when I begin.

And I don't think I've slept eight or even seven hours in all that time.
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