Monday, September 25, 2006

Well, if you're gonna splurge on something...

You might as well have a really good excuse. Or make sure that what you splurge on is undeniably a good idea. That is, a lot less deniably than a host of other horrible ideas for splurging that might have crossed your mind. That's a good rule to go by, I think. So yes, I splurged. Arguably, it wasn't really splurging at all, but I can't help but see it that way, given the surrounding circumstances. Here... see if you buy the argument.

Since we're Fordham students, John and I get to work out for free at the Fordham gym at Rose Hill. Very nice of them. Anyway, that's all well and good until it becomes clear how useless that priveledge is, since I don't have much time at Rose Hill to devote to a workout, and John, well, never even goes there. Basically, it would mean that we'd both have to make extra time in the week to travel all the way to the Bronx for a workout. And, the way our schedules are looking, that amounts to about once a week. No good for a workout regimen, I'd say. So things were looking bleak; John had resigned himself to a life of getting fat again, and I was wondering when my clothes were going to start fitting instead of being too loose (which makes it easy to show everyone how much weight you've lost by doing that thing where you tug on your pantswaist and show the space there while you stand at profile... I do have clothes that actually fit, of course, but I like to keep some of the big ones around, just for show). That's when I had the really bad idea.

To be honest, it's a good idea, just not a very economically sound one. A block away from the Lincoln Center campus, there just so happens to be an Equinox fitness club. We pass by it every day while walking from the subway stop to campus... you can actually see the door of one building from the door of the other. You really can't beat that for convenience, right? Besides, it's like a ninja of gyms... the front looks like a really fancy smoothie/juice bar (which it is, actually), and then you take an elvevator (which you can't see from the door) to an underground level, where the gym is. Cool, yeah? Sure... so I decided to go online and look it up. I expected it to be really posh and pricy, given the location. Thie pictures I found were definitely very nice, and I didn't even have to ask about the price, since it was pretty obvious it would be out of our leauge. So I asked about it anyway. I made an appointment to meet with one of their reps, and I got the grand tour, which, of course, was fantastic. (Incidentally, I called a couple of trusted resources who helped me do some competitive pricing on the nicer gyms in NYC, just to check on how this one stacked up, and so I could have some ammo when I went in there.) After about four hours of haggling and math, I walked out of there with two gym memberships and a free tee shirt. And yeah, it cost me... but here's why I think it's okay.

First, and most importantly, there's the issue of convenience. It's RIGHT THERE. Seriously... it's on the way to school, and it's on the way home, without throwing a kink into the way we already do things. Second, the place is pretty primo. They have everything you'd expect (towel service, bad-ass locker room, dry sauna, brand-spanking new equipment, people who work there being so nice that it's a little scary) and a few nifty extras (a three-lane lap pool, wet sauna, lots of really cool classes for which you never pay extra, comfortable blend of extremely hot people and regular joes). A friend of mine basically sealed the deal for me when he said that if the place is so nice that I really want to be there, I'm probably gonna work out more. Between that and the location, I don't see how I don't work out at least every weekday.

Third, it adds a new fantastic element to our lives. The shower in our apartment is nice, except for the fact that it isn't necessarily always able to give you the water at the temperature you request... basically, there's a serious shortage of hot water in our building. Come wintertime, I don't think John and I will be willing to test fate with the shower. Enter the new gym. We leave home in our workout clothes and bring our other clothes along, then get a morning workout in, after which we shower and spruce at the amazing facilities they have there. The showers are really fantastic, and they have everything there for you already, from shampoo/ conditioner/ bath gell/ shaving creme in the shower to lotion/ q tips/ mouthwash/ towels/ hair dryers/ deodorant waiting for you at little vanity stations. And then, when you're done, it's just a walk down the block to campus. Freakin' fabulous. I actually tried ithe morning regimen thing out today, and it went beatifully. Besides, it seems a lot of folks up there do the same thing (granted, not in terms of being Fordham students, although there are a few who work there, and I've seen a couple of professors there already). And, thanks to my resources, it turns out that the price was below comparable to the other high-end gyms, so I wasn't being cheated or anything. Actually, I managed to get a really good deal, so I'm not complaining there.

So okay, yes, we could have just bitten the bullet and taken stock of the fact that we had free use of a facility at our disposal. But sorry, the whole quality-of-life argument seems to be winning out more and more these days. In the past year, I've done my share of accomodating a tight budget, and this sort of thing would have made me slap myself at the mere thought of it. Now, seeing the way things are unfolding this semester, and noting the limited time John and I have to breathe, let alone to do so in each other's presence, I decided it wasn't asking too much of our finances to approprite this little luxury. John actually went for the first time today, so I've yet to hear his thoughts on the place, but I've already been three times, and I have to say that I'm loving the decision. And, as far as I can tell, so is my expanding wardrobe of loose-fitting, waist-tug pants.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Relaxed relapsing

Since John's arrival, I've been particularly keen on actually caring a little about what I wear on a daily basis. Don't read too much into that, though. You see, last year I was living a ten minute walk away from campus, and usually had a workout of fencing in the evening, so most of what I wore consisted of sweat pants, tee shirts (and sweatshirts, when the weather demanded it), and cross trainers. Since moving to Brooklyn, I find that I'm in the City every day, regardless of what I have planned. Therefore, sweats seem to be a little less appropriate for daily wear.

Today, however, I made an exception. Since this will be the first day of sabre fencing for my crew, and since this is also the day I earmarked as my long-awaited return to the gym, I decided that, rather than lug around a big bag full of clothes to change into, I'd simply wear my workout clothes to campus. Meaning, of course, that I'd be wearing my workout clothes to Lincoln Center, which I don't believe I've ever consciously done before. It was strange, I'll admit, to walk by the Time Warner Center and see my reflection as I passed, donning a blue tee-shirt and purple sweatpants. I jerked my head away from that sight so fast that I nearly injured myself. When I got to campus, a couple of my students saw me, but I honestly think they failed to recognize me, which was fine to me either way. I'm a student, too, and I'm entitled to being slovenly. Besides, I don't look homeless or anything... it's just workout clothing, after all. People walk around in tee shirts and sweat pants all day, all the time... why on earth should it bother me? Strange, how what seems like such a small change can make you take entirely different perspectives on your day-to-day. It has for me, anyway.

Meanwhile, I get my reading and my work done, I go to my classes when they spring up in my schedule, and now, starting tomorrow, I sing in choir once more. Not to mention fencing, which will be on Mondays and Thursdays. Lurking in the background, of course, is my damn CD, which is now completely mixed (save a tweak or two, which I go back to finalize this Friday), and I've officially set the order for the tracks. Mark will have the absolute final mix in his hand on Monday of next week for mastering, and it'll be in duplication about a week after that. See? Progress. I mean, I knew this wasn't going to be easy, but I didn't realize there were so many stupid hoops to jump through, and I'm not much for hoop-jumping.

Ugh... I have a class to go to. Frankly, I'd rather sit here and complain about the class I have to go to (Regression Analysis... you'd complain, too) than actually go. So much for what I'd rather do.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Discovering a new kind of boredom

Not boredom, per se... well, maybe. Just kind of stagnating a little, I guess.

I'm not used to being this un-busy. And I'm busy, according to some. But I'm usually slammed with crap to do, and I'm just not feeling it. Shouldn't I be reveling in this? On the other hand, maybe I'm supposed to be really busy, and I'm screwing things up so bad that I don't even realize the fifty other things I'm supposed to be doing. Actually, I could make myself busier. I could crank out early work on my thesis, even my dissertation. I could write random papers and submit them for publication or conferences. I could train for a marathon.

Funny... I can't seem to bring myself to do any of that.

I'll get to it. Honest. And I'm not being a slacker. I'm just taking a different approach to things. John, suprisingly, hasn't been a distraction. In fact, I think we actually manage to motivate each other to get quite a bit of work done. We've actually both been a little suprised at that one. No complaints, though. It's nice to have him here, and we're having a really good time. Maybe that's got something to do with this new approach. I seem to have... what do they call it again... free time? Yeah. Weird. But I ike it. I mean, don't get me wrong. By free time, I mean, like, a day, maybe two, where I only have a couple of major things on my schedule, and then it's five, maybe six hours of down time. I can live with that. I don't think it's gonna last too much longer, though... I'll be starting choir next week, and fencing. Still, it won't take up nearly as much time as last year... choir will only be once a week, and fencing snuggles right up to time during which I'd be hanging out on campus doing nothing anyway. Now all I have to do is get my workout schedule to wedge in there somehow, and I'm pretty much set for the semester. So okay... I'm starting to feel a smidge better about this boredom thing. But seriously, it really does feel odd.

No worries. I've been jotting down ideas for new songs, putting melodies together here and there while scribbling them all down in this nifty little notebook I take everywhere I go. When I'm not reading for class, I'm pretty much scribbling down music and lyrics and the like. I haven't really given any of them a full treatment, though, so I suppose that's why I'm feeling a little unproductive on the music end of things. I am working on new music, though, even if I haven't exactly played or sung any of it yet.

It's been raining all day, and it's supposed to keep at it into the evening. The New York fall uniform of the hoodie/blazer combo is starting to opp up everywhere, now that the heat of summer is officially on its last legs. Fine with me... I'm up for a change of season.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

And the beat goes on

Steve Irwin died, and it hit me a lot harder than I thought such a thing could. The last two days have been taken up a great deal by thoughts of him and his passing, and I hardly think I'm alone in that. Feeling a little embarassed by my odd state of grief, I told John about it, and he confessed the exact same sentiment. I wouldn't be surprised if there are thousands of people out there going through exactly the same thing.

Everything keeps rolling along, though. I lost my two pups, and many dear friends and family lost loved ones in the past months. This feels like yet one more dear friend is gone, and I hardly consider that to be an exaggeration. And here we are, rolling along with our lives, as I suppose we must all do. tking the time to pause and reflect is the natural and expected thing to do, sure, but then it's back to living. I've often found it odd, actually, that this culture is so devoted to this ideal. Other cultures spend a very long time mourning such losses, and it would seem garrish and highly inappropriate to do otherwise. Anyway, I stand somewhere in the middle of all of it. We go on living, and we go on in rememberance. Should it be a solemn rememberance? On that point, I'm not so sure. Loss of those we love saddens us, to be sure, but it shouldn't stop us all from living on. Easier said than done, I think, when cnsidering the grief I know has stricken so many people in such cases, the kind of grief that has on occassion racked my own soul.

And the beat goes on...

Craig and I just finished the first half of the final mix for the CD, finishing up the rest of it this weekend and sending it off for good to Mark for mastering and being officially done with this album. From there, I send it off for duplication, and I get back to weekly erformances for promoting te album and getting the word out that I do this little music thing. Classes have given me plenty of reading to chew on, and I've been chipping away at it the best I can so far. John's at school today, first teaching in the morning, then going to his course at NYU. This is my day off, so I'll be working on the apartment, doing a good bit of reading, and hopefully stealing away for a few minutes to play some guitar. John Sauvey is staying with us tomorrow evening, so I have an apartment to make look as though we live like normal people and didn't just move in. I have my work cut out for me, but I don't think it's insurmountable. Besides, I can hear the beat from here, and that's my cue to get a move on.

Oh, yeah... Happy birthday, Mom. You look amazing, you deserve the world of happiness, and I'm just one of countless people that absolutely love you, so don't forget that you're one of the best people that most of us will ever know. Remember fun? Pay it a visit some time soon, will you?