Loose Leaves 07.23.13

Okay. I think I've calmed down a little.

Some day, I will be able to explain strong feelings in measured, well articulated tones. Until then, I have learned to be emotional and to aim at other people's emotional centers. I am not hoping to become more moderate. I hope that I will always be "an earnest," "as uncompromising as justice," and all that -- but I also know that the last entry was mostly steam. And steam isn't substantial enough, not if I want it to stick around.

I very recently just got off the road. I'll write about that trip some day, when it has gestated in my head for long enough. It was mostly a success, with some outstanding and unfortunate events that make it worth turning into something. But not right now.

Right now I'm listening to SILENCE YOURSELF by Savages because Sufjan went pedantic on their typography. My listening habits this season have split into two branches: stripped, guitar-centric, time displaced 90's alt-rock (Yuck, Hebronix, Wavves) and electronic indie pop (CHVRCHES, Geographer, even something pure pop like Charli XCX who has great production.) I don't think it's because I've outgrown all the folk-descendent music that I've always followed, but there isn't a lot happening in that scene right now. Waxahatchee was the last great one to break through earlier this year, and I'd be hard pressed to think of the break through before her.

There's this new Broken Social Scene song, though. It's fine. It kind of reads to my mind as a jam. The rap equivalent would be a freestyle or a mixtape. Just something fun to put out there, fun to make, but not a meticulous or labored over assignment. Evidence of productivity. I don't anticipate anything else from them for years.

My concerns these days are all about the various ways my ancient body of 26 is breaking down. I've never been "healthier" than I am today — I exercise with increasing difficulty, I am hands off with the oreos, and I drink plenty of water. Yet, somehow, I have also never been more concerned with all the mysterious and random aches and pains.

Maybe it's a result of never being athletic for 24 years and then suddenly trying to turn that ship around, but sometimes I feel injury riddled. My thrown out back from months ago resurfaces sometimes as a weird, wrangling feeling that requires extensive stretching or icing or lying down. A couple nights ago my spine felt compressed, like I had suddenly lost an inch in height. At the forefront of my concerns is my left elbow, which almost definitely is suffering from ulnar tunnel syndrome, carpal's lesser known cousin. The thing is, I've had symptoms for weeks before I even bothered to look it up. I couldn't bend my elbow and use my phone on my bed for very long without my pinky & ring finger going numb. Doing push-ups and bench presses exacerbated it to the point I realized this wasn't normal.

The only "treatment" outside of going to a doctor without health insurance is avoiding straining it. So I don't fully bend my elbow for more than a few minutes (if I remember), I sleep with my arm fully extended (if I remember) and I'm taking a few weeks away from any strenuous pushing activities (this one's easy.) I'm relying on the miracles of youth to heal it up within a week or two, but still I am annoyed. I am trying now, more than ever, to be a paragon of health but I am simultaneously more injured than I've ever been (barring car accidents). I should have just stayed on the couch.

I've just started watching ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Only two episodes in, and they're good, but I was promised landmark television. I'm sure it will come. The right people are saying smart things about it. It's certainly a ripe playground for themes on race, gender, sexuality, class and all things prison industrial. Netflix is so cool you guys.

The Steam sale has come and gone, and I left with a basket of FTL: FASTER THAN LIGHT, MARK OF THE NINJA, LEFT4DEAD 2 and AWESOMENAUTS. All small, cheap games — I think the total was something like $8.00. I've played an hour of the first two and none of the latter two. That's how these sales work. From what I've played, FTL is a very difficult strategy game with the promise of rewards that will make it easier and NINJA plays more like a platforming puzzle game than a stealth game. Everyone was right about them. They're good.

I'd tell you what I'm reading (Comics, mostly, as a palette cleanser for some civil war non-fiction) but the truth is I haven't had a lot of time because I'm swamped with work. Or I do have the time, but the work-swamp drains so much of my willpower. It's not just the 8 hour cubicle camp, it's all this freelance stuff I've taken on which is rewarding in its own way. Did you know I do a regional thing? Or that I offer services for this other thing? I'm all about these things, and the hope is that this is all depositing points into the bucket of my ultimate goals. Eventually the bucket will fill because these are real, tangible benefits that all add up to some benchmark reward. Right?