Thursday, August 30, 2007

Happenings and Goings On

Currently I'm watching the Cubs attempt to lose a game to the Brewers. It's 1-1 for the series, and my Cubbies really need to win this one. So...everyone get your rootin' hats on.

So things with the therapist didn't really go that well. I don't honestly know what I expected to hear, but hearing that there's essentially nothing wrong with me that time and a bit of determination won't cure wasn't it. Strangely enough my displeasure over this encounter has re-animated me.

In my kitchen I've always had a dry erase board that I mostly use for keeping notes, to-do lists, phone numbers and the like. The day after my therapy session I wiped it clean and got restarted.

The list of things to do is broken down one by one. The house is being thorougly cleaned one room at a time. Kitchen, living room, guest bathroom, office/guest bedroom, my bathroom, my bedroom. So far I've made it to guest bathroom, but my apartment is already looking alot more liveable. As long as whoever stays out of the 'unclean' areas then I think I'm OK.

I made another list. The therapist said I needed to reconnect with life, and to do so I'd have to establish some things I feel passionate about, and set some goals.

I've always been a fan of the action hero movie genre so I asked myself this question: "Conan, what is best in life?"

I came up with the following answers:

To feel your heart beat strong in a body fit enough to achieve greatness.

To imagine wondrous things, and communicate these imaginings to others.

To be at peace in one's castle. The responsibilities of life mastered, relaxation your only aim.

I also wrote the following in black marker at the very top:

Get up, you are a man. Not an oxygen/glucose conversion factory.

So far so good. I'm not wasting every day, and I try each day to do SOMETHING productive, no matter how small.

I did however lose my prized and pricey Oakley sunglasses somewhere. If anyone's seen them, drop me a note.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

WTF is the matter with me?

Sunday a buddy and I went for a long ride. As many twisties as we could find in SE Nebraska (not many) some speed, some sun, some cheeseburgers. It was a good time.

After about five hours of hard pushing and pulling on the Ducati I was very happy to park it. I pulled into my garage, hit the kill switch and parked it for the day.

Monday morning I had a dentist appointment. Moving around a little slowly. Sore and resigned to another week back at civilian work, I grabbed my helmet and headed back out to my garage. Key in, bike in neutral, mash the starter button and nothing. WTH? Shift down to first, and back into neutral and mash again. Nothing. Pull in clutch. Nada. What the hell?

Well, Ducatis have this strange key setting. If you turn the key all the way past steering lock you can turn on the tail light for some reason known only to Italians. I didn't think I'd done this, but I've already turned the key so that must be what happened. I drive my truck to the dentist.

Monday night I run by Menards and grab a trickle charger ($70). I get home and suffer my usual emotional zero once stepping in the door. Once the work shoes are off and I find myself on the couch I can hardly get up the energy to move. So, the bike sits wanting for attention.

Tuesday, work again, but some friends of mine have been on my case about my lethargy/slothfullness and tell me to take this online test about depression. I do. I win.

Oddly enough knowing that I'm not just some loser but might actually just be having some adjustment issues perks me up a bit. I write a blog entry. It gets a lot of positive comments from friends and family. I feel better about myself. Then I get home and *kabang* into the dumpster again. WTF is wrong with me? Why do I suck so much? I'm just a terrible miserable person who's taking up space and oxygen that most other people could probably use alot more effectively.

Wednesday, up and off to work. Caffeinated. Busy busy day at the office. Everything's crashing, everything's going wrong. I love it! I'm doing stuff, I'm fixing things, I'm having an impact and my work and intellect are making things better. Yay, I'm a winner.

I leave work kind of manic and decide tonight the bike gets fixed dammit. Out I go and disconnect the battery. Easy peasy. Hook the battery to the charger (after having to go buy tools, no metric sockets $150). Wow, it only took about thirty minutes to reach full charge. That's one hell of a charger!

I take the now charged battery back out to the bike and hook up. This requires a little more 'tongue out the side of the mouth' dexterity and some swear words but eventually the battery is mounted and I'm feeling good.

The key is in, lights look good. I mash the starter button. The EXACT same thing! WTF? I know I need to head in for the 750 mile break-in service, but they wouldn't cause the bike to fail to start due to late maintenance. I'm sitting there staring at the handlebars when I notice the kill switch on the right handlebar. Oh. The setting it's on has a little ghostbuster's line through it.

I mash the kill switch the other way and va-ROOM. One sweet sounding V-Twin waking up the neighbors (OK, it's like 7:30pm the neighbors are likely fine). So, now I feel idiotic again. $70 worth of battery charger, $150 in a socket set (well, if you're gonna get a socket, might as well buy a whole good quality set, right?) all because I forgot I'd shut the bike down with the kill switch instead of the key Sunday afternoon. And...I feel worthless again.

That therapist had better have something pretty damn good to say to me next week, 'cuz I do NOT like myself much right now.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Breaking the cycle

Everyone always asks me, either question one or shortly thereafter; "So, how are you adjusting." Generally I give the same reply. "Eh, it's some changes, but I'm doing OK."

And honestly I am. Mostly.

But there are things that are giving me problems. Once I get home from work I'm lazy as hell. Typically I'll settle onto the couch, turn on the TV, fire up my laptop and watch televsion and surf the internet until I'm too hungry to avoid dinner any longer. So I'll cook something. Usually something pretty easy. Pasta and ragu sauce, burgers on the Foreman, microwave a couple hot dogs. Whatever. Eventually it's after 10pm and I'm starting to get tired for some inexplicable reason. So it's off to bed I go. I'll read for an hour or so, watch more TV, then eventually turn off the lights and try to sleep until my alarm goes off. The next morning starts this cycle all over again.

My house is a mess full of dirty clothes, I manage to dishes often enough to keep the place from smelling but there's usually a day or twos worth in the sink all the time. My motorcycle battery is dead, I really enjoyed going out and buying a new battery charger that now sits on the floor in my entry way, decidedly NOT charging my battery.

So I'm being not just lazy, but really monumentally lazy. A mountain of chores and tasks sit awaiting my attention. And I avoid them, procrastinate, and sink into self-loathing.

I don't usually post like this, I don't like admitting that I need help with anything. I guess I probably just need a kick in the ass, but I seem incapable of giving it to myself. I'm a couch potato with a dirty house, a dirty truck, and a motorcycle that won't start. So how do I break out of this? Where do I get my kick in the ass?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


I've been keeping a blog on myspace for about a year and a half now. I'm going to try to import it over to here. How successful I'll be remains to be seen.

I'm a 38 year old National Guardsman. A citizen soldier, which is why I chose 'American Hoplite' as my name.

I'm a big aficionado of the classical period of history. I think I became interested in it back in 1996 when I read Steven Pressfield's excellent historical novel 'Gates of Fire'. If you haven't read this book yet, you really need to pick it up. It's an excellent and timeless insight into the minds and emotions of Soldiers.

I hope to put up entries of great import, or at least something interesting. Or at a minimum stuff that doesn't make me sound too moronic.

Thanks for reading thus far, and I'll see everyone in the cybersphere.