The Week(s) That Was (Were)

Although I have been better at writing entries more often, it has been a busy couple of weeks. I have gone to a concert, been assigned to a big project at work, went up to Madison, and ran a 10 mile race.

It’s been a great end of July. Days can sometimes bring me down, but overall, I have a lot of hang my hat on.

Work is going very well. I’m feeling more comfortable each day. I feel I do a good job at what I’m assigned to do and I try to go out of my way to do better. I like what I do and really there is nothing more important that that.

I also have had the opportunity to see some of my best friends. Although I do not get to see them all, the past weekend may have been one of the best weekends that I can remember. I had a fun Friday night at the Olive Garden with Mike and Erin, ran a race (73:30 for 10 miles), got dizzy at a carnival, and hit the town of Madison for the first time. There are a lot of new experiences and feelings involved in the past few weeks, but I like that. I need that opportunity to explore and luckily I have friends who are willing to slowly take me into these experiences that I would more likely than not never do on my own.

I hope it all continues.

Next to Normal

When I watched the Tony Awards a few months back, one musical caught my attention. One musical made me look up its current end date and if I would be able to get to Broadway before it closed. One musical will lure me to NYC in September.

I got the soundtrack and have listened to it at least twenty times through. I know most of the words to the entire score and have dissected its meanings and its musical variations. I haven’t had this feeling about a show since I first heard the soundtrack to Company.

The story revolves around a family that is falling apart as the mother struggles with bipolar disorder and the family copes with her illness. Many of the songs are quite depressing, but the story and music make you think about the disease and its repercussions. It looks at the mental health industry and does not batter one eye lash. It’s a phenomenal look at what it does feel like to be lost in your head and to watch those around you struggle with whatever it is you’re struggling with.

I related to many moments of the story. Luckily, I never went through the severe treatments that the mother has to survive, but I did understand going to the psychopharmacologist and the utter helplessness of the situation.

It’s a brilliant example of what musical theater can be at its core. Many of the great musicals revolve around social issues of the day and very controversial scenarios.  I will be seeing the show in September some time and cannot wait.

The IT Crowd

Last week, I used my NetFlix Instant Watch to download the first season of the British sitcom, The IT Crowd. Although it came out in 2006, two other seasons have came and went since then and a fourth is planned to come out in the coming year.

The premise is a young up-and-coming female executive, Jen, becomes the new head of the IT Department of a major corporation after lying that she knows a lot about computers on her resume. She is sent down to the basement where the two IT staff members reside, or are there three???

From there, she becomes their relationship manager as she tries to make the group stand out more and to highlight their successes. In the first season, we learn a lot about the staff: Roy and Moss.

Roy is a typical slacker, computer guy. Moss is your typical computer nerd who does not understand anything else. Yet, I have never seen three very stereotypical characters put through so many hilarious situations.

The show is increasingly surreal with twists and turns that logically make little sense, but story-wise, you buy into it.

I have since bought the second season on DVD and await the upcoming third season release in September.

My favorite two episodes of the first two seasons are:

Jen is attracted to a temp security guard after Roy has a miserable date where he realizes that women do not like nice guys, but prefer jerks.

Jen is going out with a man who got her tickets to a musical. Roy and Moss believe he is also inviting them, so they go along. During a five minute portion of the episode, I have not laughed so much since Dwight’s fire drill during the Super Bowl episode of The Office.

I highly recommend that you find a copy of The IT Crowd. It’s perfect comedy with a nice hint of subtle nerdom.

Across The Sea

My summer has gone well thus far. Much better than a typical summer would go. I believe being comfortable at work and a little bit of therapy helps me immensely.

Today was a 5 mile run. It went well. I think I can finish the 10 miler next week. Not like I have much of a choice though.

I feel I could be doing a better job keeping in touch with people though. I’m horrible with remembering to call people and I typically wait for someone to make the first move when it comes to just about everything. It’s a lack of confidence thing. I’m working on it, just don’t expect too much.

In strange news, recently at work, a few of our production staff members from Malaysia jumped over to these shores for a few weeks. They recently went back but wanted to take a picture with me as, for some reason, I have become one of the editorial staff they communicate with. So, I got my picture taken. Just yesterday, I got the picture back and it’s not a bad picture, but it was the note that made me squirm. She wrote, and I’m paraphrasing, “After seeing your picture, you have more fans over here. [emoticon]” I don’t know what that means.  I hope it’s good. I did have a nice shirt on that day.

[D]iversity is very, very important.

I enjoy committee hearings. Not for the democratic process or for the breadth of new information that is produced, though. But because it gives the chance for several self-important politicians make the case of their importance. I listened today to the morning session and for part of the afternoon as Judge Sotomayor listened to them repeat themselves over and over again. The best part was when Sen. Orrin Hatch added a law review article he recently wrote to the Congressional Record. What is the point of that? There really isn’t one. It just looks good.

Other than that, nothing new came out. “Wise Latina” this… “activist judge” that. “Chief Justice Roberts” this… “individual freedoms” that. A series of generalities did not lead to anything today that was not a waste of everyone’s time. But that is democracy at its finest – a lot of waste.

Like many Senators, I am concerned about Judge Sotomayor. Not for abortion or gay rights or union rights. The typical ideological issues do not interest me. I am more concerned with her opinions on police procedures and want to know her thoughts on executive power.

The moving of the Court to the right may be important to interest groups to collect money, but the Court must stand up to ensure that the three branches do have meanings. Since United States v. Nixon, executive power has become greater, yet regulations and Congress’s powers have diminished. I got the sense that there may be a few questions related to this issue, but I would imagine national security issues will dominate.

Overall, it’s a useless display of questions. As Sen. Graham stated today, unless she goes off the wall, she will be confirmed. Either way, the next week will provide a lot of interesting sound bites. Any time Senators can talk, they will. And who knows what newly Democratic Senator Specter will do or say. His statement today was very unlike Sen. Specter, it can only get crazier.

Update (7/14) : Wouldn’t it be nice if she said something interesting? She could not even get into what her judicial temperament or philosophy is because she is afraid of losing votes. This is not a good system. There must be a better way.

Rebirth!

I need to refocus. I need a schedule. I am in another process of reboot. This needs more structure. A daily entry becomes necessary for me to get anything out of this process. So, starting this week, I am going to have some sort of schedule.

Sunday: The Week That Will Be
Monday: Politics
Tuesday: Personal
Wednesday: Culture
Thursday: Comic Review Day
Friday: Fiction
Saturday: The Week That Was

It will be a bit of a struggle, but I need to start using this better. So, here goes nothing!