yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Oh god.  Most depressing thing ever.  I'm sitting here reading blogs and chatting to Kevin, and I'm fading fast.  So finally it's time to go to bed, and I turn around to see... crap strewn everywhere, leftovers from me sorting through mass amounts of old stuff.  I have nowhere to sleep.  Guess it's time to put on an ep of Sports Night (season 2!) and clean this shit up, ugh.

Brief notes: 

-- I have 15.5 boxes of books, notebooks, class notes, and class handouts.  Actually the latter three categories are only 1.25 boxes.  The rest is just books, plain and simple.

-- Farewell dinner with Lafayette (read: CBC) folk tonight at Café Habana City.  Mm, vaca frita.  Mm, tostones.  Mm, rice and Cuban red beans.  Double mm, mojitos.  Nice to see the world there.

-- Gas price in Lafayette?  $2.69!  So exciting.  So depressing that it's so exciting.

-- So THAT'S what happened to my pretty wooden cat statue!  I've missed you!

-- I can't figure out whether to throw out some old pairs (yes, plural) of eyeglasses.  They're pretty beat up and I have no idea of the prescriptions, but... shouldn't I donate them?  But to whom?

-- I have put about a ream's worth of paper in the recycling bin today.

-- I think I'm getting better at this strange skill of "actually getting rid of things instead of hoarding every random scrap of paper for years and years."

EDIT: It should be noted that "clean[ing] this shit up" consisted almost entirely of me picking things up, looking at them sorrowfully, and then setting them down in places that weren't my bed. I say almost entirely because I did put some papers in a large manila envelope. Go me.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Hey there--

Just thought I'd say that I'm home, back in Baton Rouge, camp now being over.  I'm currently going through the post-camp withdrawal/depression period, which I knew was coming but forgot to prepare for.  It's basically a long bout of loneliness, when you're suddenly no longer surrounded by people day in and day out.  I'll be better once I've slept a night in my own bed.  Anyway, Kate and Kevin, I got your messages, but teardown lasted until 6:30, and then there was the eating and drinking.  Now I'm just worn-out (I think I was teetering toward a major heat-related illness today, what with the flushed skin and dizziness), and don't really want to subject anyone to my mopes.  I'll call you both tomorrow, K?  Sleep well, everyone.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
I had thought that I might type about the fabulous day I had today, with all its craziness, and the boats made of cardboard and duct tape, and the firemen making jambalaya and spraying their hoses on us, or the jam session in the boys' lobby.

Or I had thought I might write about the current geopolitical status, and how it scares me but absolutely, positively, fails to surprise me in any way.

Instead, I'm going to write this little brief and bitchy open letter, because I just read a long entry from an old, dear friend that set my teeth on edge, and because I don't want to pick up the phone and THROTTLE YOU ALL TELEPHONICALLY, I'm going to use this as a cathartic outlet.  I have campers to teach and mold into sane, socially and personally responsible members of society tomorrow, and I'd prefer to get this out of my head, thank you very much.

Dear Jeff:  Cut the crap.  I know that writing is more formal, but really?  Come on.  We've talked a lot, man, I mean a whole damn lot, and I like to think that I know your thought process pretty well.  And you couch it in these technical phrases of enlightenment and big pictures, but jesus christ, it's a big fucking linguistic barrier, are you not getting this?  You scare me, you honestly do, because this Jeff that shows up in your entries is not the man I know, and I hate -- really, truly hate -- to think that the guy that I know and love and trust has somehow lost himself inside the overanalyzed persona that falls out onto the page.  We've got very different styles of dealing with life, the universe, and everything, and I know and respect that (to the best of my occasionally inadequate abilities), but there comes a point when it feels like you've gone off the deep end and I would be the worse a friend not to say so.  This is that point.  "I don't care what I eat, or who I have sex with, or blah blah blah so long as it gets me through to the future"? [Obviously paraphrasing and summarizing there.]  Jeff, what's the point of living for the future if all that means is you slog through the bleak, vacant wasteland of the present?  What about when you get to that mystical land of milk and honey, The Future?  It's going to be the present, and then are you just going to slog through it like the current one?  That's no way to live.  At some point you've got to decide that you're in a present worth engaging in.  Take the advice you gave Jan, and decide to actually live your life.  I love you, and I'm looking forward to seeing you in September, and I hope that I can be a part of that life.

Dear world:  OMG, teh dramas.  OK, I've been informed innumerable times in the past that I'm a Pollyanna, forever lamenting, "Why can't people just get along?"  For the most part, I've gone along with the implicit judgment that I'm a silly, silly little boy to have my cute little fantasies of people being nice to each other and just getting along.  You know what?  I am so through with that bullshit.  I am not wrong here, people.  Fine, great, not everybody's going to get along.  Hell, I don't get along with everybody, I'll be the first to admit it.  But in general, I look at people around me, and I just do not understand why everyone takes everything so goddam seriously.  There are certain things in this life that are deathly serious, and they should be regarded with a great deal of respect.  The list of deathly serious things?  Really quite short.  I won't even attempt to enumerate it, since it's different for different people, but I'm reasonably sure that most people's personally compiled list is FAR longer than it needs to be.  Chill the fuck out.  Get along, like normal civilized people.  And I don't mean just put a nice face on it and smile at cocktail parties, I mean really and truly let it go.  The really, really, really important things?  Strive for them.  The rest?  Dross, and distractions.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Really though, it's raining quite heavily right now.  I'm a little disgusted; I hate driving in the rain to begin with, and when I get to Lafayette, we'll have to load the moving van (you guessed it) in the rain.  So I looked at the forecast to see what the rest of the encampment would be like, and it's a little depressing.  Solid scattered T-storms all the way through the 18th.  On the 19th, the last day currently forecast, they think it'll be partly cloudy; bet it rains.  Oh July in Louisiana.  What a ridiculous month you are.

See y'all in a couple of weeks!
yrmencyn: (Default)
Hello, all!  I'm back from staff training as of last night, and I'm off until Monday morning.  It's already been a fun-filled couple of days, oy.  Yesterday after we left the camp noonish, I elected not to go immediately back to Baton Rouge, since the words "drive-thru margaritas" popped up suddenly.  How could I not?  I've worked hard, thus I deserve a break composed of alcoholic beverages served to me in my idling car.  Louisiana, I salute you and your staunch support of drive-thru daiquiri stands.  Yankeeland, catch on fast.  So yes, we got various flavors of daiquiri (mm, chocolate cherry bomb) and then adjourned to Susannah's carport to talk and watch the rain fall.  It was even worth the slight embarrassment of driving with three other people in the car (I drive a standard decently, but the skill of 'starting into 1st on a steep incline in the rain' still eludes me).

Dinner followed at Zeus, a ridiculously tasty Greek/Lebanese place that has multiple locations in Lafayette.  The lamb kabobs were very nicely cooked, but the appetizer was the real revelation: pieces of haloumi cheese, fried (unbreaded) and served with olives and tomatoes in a spiced oil.  They were so amazing I can't even describe.  The goings-on were also quite enjoyable: it was Mike Z's birthday.  If it had been a weekend, a belly dancer would have come out and danced for him, but as it was a Thursday that didn't happen, which disappointed Susannah deeply.  Thus, because we were all still in camp mode, we went and snatched up costumes and danced for ourselves.  I think we scared the waiter a little bit, but one of the cooks came out and made sure we were wearing everything properly.

Today I was gloriously slothly.  I did wake up without an alarm at 8:15 or so, but after reading for about 10 minutes on the couch I felt tired again, and thus went back to bed until 1:10pm.  Beautimous.  After going through all my comics and other internet things (even skimming, LJ took FOREVER), I finally headed out to the store and bought food, then went over to Fritz's to see him and the out-of-towners staying with him.  No sooner had I got there than I was dragged into a game of Texas Hold 'Em, a game which has never really been my cup of tea, simply because the rules of poker betting (who bets when and how much) have never really made a lot of sense to me.  Apparently I managed to get it down somewhat decently, since I ended up with all the chips (although I'll admit that Mike W [yes, there are three Mikes on staff] probably deserved to win; the last sudden death all-in hand was quite the toss-up, and he was winning until then).  Homemade ice cream followed (because a trip to Fritz's house always involves culinary goodness), along with a viewing of Nightwatch, which seems to have just recently made it out to DVD.  Two unfortunate things: one, this DVD had no Russian audio track, and no super-cool subtitles like the theatrical release.  I hope there's another DVD version, because I really really really want the theatrical edit.  Two, the rest of the viewers strongly disliked the movie.  *shrugs* De gustibus non est disputandum.

The movie was still great to me, regardless.  'Course, I skipped out on a chunk to talk with Kevin (with side conversation with friends and amazingly loud fireworks), so I guess I have a merrily skewed view.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
I cannot find a lantern battery to save my soul.  You all know the batteries I'm talking about, the ones with the little conical springs sprouting from the top.  I have an incredibly cheap-ass flashlight that takes one.  I use this light not because it's fancy or anything (like I said, it's cheap-ass), nor because it's light and packable (it takes a lantern battery, for chrissakes), but because it throws a whole, whole lot of light, yet I don't worry about losing it or breaking it, since it cost me something like $5 dollars about an equal number of years ago.

But I can't use my giant flashlight, because I can't find a battery.  First I tried at Albertson's, a long shot to be sure, but it's the closest store, and they have ziploc containers, some of which I needed.  I couldn't even find the batteries there, so I gave up on that jaunt.  I then decided to make a drive out to Target, because hey, it's a bigger store.  And if Wal-Mart carries lantern batteries (as I'm pretty sure they still do), surely Target does too.  No luck.  Seriously, I looked all over that blasted store, and there is nary a lantern battery to be had.  They have lanterns in their sporting goods section that appear to require them (although an increasing number seem to be plug-in-rechargeable, which may explain the sudden dearth of gigantic single-use batteries that have no other conceivable purpose), but no batteries.  It's maddening.

You also can't buy a 4- or 6-pack of AA's anymore, I think.  I had to buy 16 AA batteries -- what is that?  I just don't use that many batteries.  I was only barely consoled by .99$ key lime-white chocolate cookies in the checkout line.

So, yes, in about 30 minutes I'm headed out.  I'll have my phone with me, but I generally have it turned to silent in camp situations.  Feel free to leave me a message, or maybe I'll even be both free and aware of the flashing screen.  What an idea!  I'll be back from training the night of the 6th, unless it's like last year and I get sucked into dinner and drinks in Lafayette (or was that just after the encampment itself?  I can't recall).
yrmencyn: (Default)
I just added 81 photos to my Flickr account, notably the photos from the ACA HOS conference trip and the ones from Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade, etc.  I was, as always, reliably verborrheic in many of the descriptions, so I think they could be a pretty good read.  Plus the floats in this year's parade were all but uniformly hilarious, so it's worth checking out the pictures for that alone.  Nothing is sacred.
yrmencyn: (food)
Thank you all for your comments on my last entry.  I want you to bear in mind that I do appreciate them, despite whatever else I may say.  You should also know that I just went and re-read them, and I'm reacting much more positively toward them; but this is based off an earlier reading, which stewed and led to a big bout of introspection.

I really should have disabled comments before I posted that damn thing.  Here's the deal: I know you meant well, but I don't take criticism well.  Sure, I can pretend to take it well, but in actuality even slight criticism elicits a seething defensiveness inside my head.  I get ridiculously steamed.  It's a flaw I'm working on, with middling success - hard to take constructive criticism, even from yourself, when it pisses you off.

What's that you say?  You weren't critical?  We-e-e-ell.... yes.  It's true, you weren't.  I know this intellectually.  That being said, the comments, to my diseased mind, lightly imply a lack of perspective on my part.  And my diseased mind further extrapolates that to criticism.  And then my panties spontaneously bunch.  Like I said, middling success.

Anyway, clarifying: the problem I mentioned yesterday is not a question of making things work together harmoniously, or of a fictive exclusive choice between options.  Y'all seem to think I meant that, and I blame it on the verb mesh.  In fact, it's a question of timing and scheduling.  It's just shitty timing, really.  No, not everything has to happen right this second, but right now I'm in a little bit of limbo, not even knowing where I am next year and the years after, so it's a mite stressful.  I'm also feeling a little bit like I'm betraying myself, like I'm in danger of abandoning a writing dream, which really upsets me.

I'm flighty.  I know I am.  I rely more on emotion than on logic and reason in my decision-making progress, I always have.  There is an inherent danger in this: I run the risk of latching onto the new and interesting rather than the deep and enduring.  Luckily, I've got enough practicality/healthy sense of self-preservation to enforce a sort of waiting period in which to discern which category my newest idea belongs in.  And in the end, it's an acceptable risk, because I think I do better with this sort of thought.  Although I always think of practicalities, my emotional response to my environment is very important.  Also, without getting all spiritual-weird, I think I'm more open this way to an understanding of what my 'calling' is, and that's important to me.

Going at this from a different angle, let me just respond a bit to various ideas that have been floated to me both in comments and in IM chats.  First off, I don't, at least at this point, wish to do anything with a writing camp.  Maybe I might get interested in it at some point, but it doesn't really strike me as something I want to do.  A writing component in a more generalist camp perhaps.  Really, though, if my pipe dreams were coming true I'd be getting my MFA, then working on site at a camp (as a ranger?  director?) and writing *not* as a part of my job.

Second, it's been suggested that there are camps that might be nearer to wherever I end up next year.  This is true, there are.  However, for the moment at least I am quite committed to Camp Bon Coeur.  No matter where I end up next year, I fully intend to come back to Louisiana to work camp.  People come from Ohio, New York, and New Jersey to do so, not to mention Scotland and Germany -- surely I can too.  The main difficulty is that I don't want to be just a counselor/instructor, I want to become more involved in planning and development (which is the course I'm currently on)-- that's hard enough from an hour away in Baton Rouge, yet more so out-of-state.

A final note here: we would desperately love to have our own facility, instead of renting.  This is way out of reach for us.  Luke, Andrea, and I sat around on Tuesday night plotting to marry old rich people Anna Nicole Smith-style, and we even sent a video to that show Ty Pennington does, although the project's WAY bigger than anything they've ever done.  Seriously, we're thinking so far outside the box we can't see it anymore.  In all honesty it was more joking that anything else, but the sentiment's real.  So, on the extreme off-chance that someone knows of an individual or company that's trying to find a worthy recipient for a generous donation, you can inform them of our camp.  We're very professional, we do a world of good for our campers, and we can guarantee that the money would be well-spent.  Just so you know.  It's either that or sell ourselves into indentured servitude, probably to an oil company.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
The American Camp Association Heart of the South Conference at Camp Sumatanga, Gallant, AL... was wonderful.  It was really, truly amazing.  There were so many talented, dedicated camping professionals there, and I gathered HUGE amounts of ideas to bring back to my program.  I basically told Susannah that while I loved doing drama, and wouldn't mind doing some drama program this summer, I was going to do nature.  I came out of Heather Montgomery's session on nature programs this morning passionate, excited, and convinced of what I need to do.  We're a camp, and nature is an irremovable and more importantly an absolutely vital part of a camp experience.  So much of our program has to be indoors because of the heat of the Louisiana summer and the nature of our clientele... I think that we have done a real disservice to the kids.  This summer I will try with everything I have to show those kids why it is that I am never happier than in the out of doors, why the natural world is something to be cherished, protected, and most of all: lived.

*steps down off soapbox*

And herein lies the problem.  Do you see that above paragraph?  That is always, always, always present in the back of my head.  Ever since I first worked at Pirtle, all of 14 years old, teaching basic scoutcraft skills to over-sugared little hellions, I've loved working camp.  Sure, it started out as enjoying the fun time with the rest of the staff -- let's face it, Pirtle is an extremely loosely run camp with a spoiled staff that resists even reasonable restrictions on behavior, so it's a constant party -- but over the course of five summers I started to realize what a weighty responsibility is entrusted to camp counselors and instructors, and to truly enjoy the connection with the kids.  And then I got a real job and all that stuff wandered away to the back burner.

But it was still there, and then in a fit of scheduling desperation I got a job at Camp Bon Coeur... and it all came surging back, in one of the richest and most rewarding experiences of my life, both within the milieu of camping and without.  And now I find myself spending more and more of my mental energies on camp and camp-related things.  And as if that wasn't enough, talking with all these wonderful people ratcheted up my investment to a still higher level.

Sounds great doesn't it?  Yeah, well... it is.  It is.  That being said, I just don't need this shit!  Every single damn time I think I know what I'm doing, where I'm going with my life, something else comes along and throws me for a loop.  Do I still want to get my MFA, be a writer?  Hell yes.  But I also want to do this, and I feel like it's something I need to do.  Everybody's got a calling, everybody has a purpose in this world, a way that they can make it better; maybe this is mine.

The problem is that it doesn't really seem to mesh right now.  My studies are likely to take me away from South Louisiana, where my home camp is for the moment, and that makes it even harder to be involved -- being an hour away in Baton Rouge is hard enough.  I just don't know.  I know that this will turn out well, and I know I'll end up doing what I'm supposed to do, eventually, but damned if the crooked path isn't maddening.  I'd love to see a vista instead.

Bye, y'all

Feb. 19th, 2006 02:21 am
yrmencyn: (Default)
I'm off to Alabama Sunday AM, not to return 'til Wednesday evening.  Since apparently I've forgotten to tell anybody about this, an explanation: it's the American Camp Association's Heart of the South Regional Conference.  Education/training/etc.  Anyway, yeah.  I'll have my phone on me, although it'll probably be mostly turned to silent, and I haven't the vaguest idea as to reception quality at Camp Sumatanga, Gallant, AL.  Nevertheless, I'm reachable if it's necessary.

Talked to Mr. Daigle (my Cajun speaker) today, and it went quite well.  He, his wife, and I talked for a good 3 hours almost, and I had a lot of fun.  She doesn't speak much French at all (although she's trying admirably to learn), so it was sometimes a bit crazy with the multilingual.  They talked about maybe organizing something later in the Spring for Frenchy folks, a cookout or whatnot, which would be all kinds of fun. 

Relatedly, I'm quite proud of myself.  I finished my dictionary review work I had to have done before I left, AND I finished transcribing a 2-minute section of my interview today, which means I don't have to schlepp my laptop with me à l'Alabama, woohoo!  And I just finished laundry and packing, so that's not left to the morning.  Damn I'm good.  Anyway, Luke and Andrea will theoretically be here to pick me up in a little more than 7 hours (yeah, that'll happen; I'm betting it'll be more like 10 than 9:30, but whatever), so I need to brush my teeth and go to bed.  Night.
yrmencyn: (Default)
First thing's first: classes.  I have nothing to say about classes, since for my only class today Dr. Ancelet never showed, and we had no communication from him whatsoever.  So... yeah.  Mark and I went to eat at Red Flower (Chinese restaurant) up north of campus on the ghettoier part of Highland.  I gave my leftovers box to a bum on a street bench when he asked for it since I was in a generous mood... I've been doing that a lot lately (with money), and feeling good about it.  This is odd, given my general annoyance with people asking me for money... even odder is the weird flashes of feeling like a good Christian that accompany it.  No analysis from me here today, though, just observation.

So instead I'll talk about Family Camp.  Camp was really quite a good time.  I'm glad of this, since I wasn't really in a mood to deal with camp when I headed out toward Lafayette on Friday... just not in the mood to be constantly upbeat and friendly.  Luckily, even though the first night felt forced from my end, I think I put on the right face and did my job.  The experience of family camp was a little different than I expected - I'd never done this before, so I only knew that this a mini-camp for families (i.e. parents and siblings) to accompany our heart kids and see what camp's all about.  What I *didn't* know was that not only did our current campers attend, but also potential campers who were below our minimum age, so we had a 5 yr old heart kid, a 2 yr old (Andrea, was Remy a heart kid?) and a 10 month old heart kid.  It was great to watch the families talk together and share; the weekend was a sort of bonding and therapy for families who often may not get a lot of support framework in their communities.  I got a direct eye on this when Luke and I were sorting shirts (ugh.  we forgot the list of ordered sizes and winged it) in the same room where Susannah was leading a discussion on various topics.  Also the parents were just great in general; although I'm sure it must be a very difficult thing to have a child with a cardiac problem, they were all happy and cheerful, very accepting of what had come to them and eager to do what was right for their children.

Family Camp was also a good experience for me personally, because it gave me a little time to try and wrench myself into a new mode of thinking.  I've been working at summer camps for a long time, on various levels of authority, but I've always worked in a subordinate position, and it's really one that I'm comfortable with.  I'm very capable of executing orders efficiently and delegating those orders to people underneath me, but I'm not always very confident in my own instincts as to what needs to be done.  As a program director, I need to take a lot more responsibility unto myself without checking back with a higher-up.  I do have superiors, but it's neither desirable nor efficient to rely on them solely for action, so I need to use more self-initiative.  This weekend was a useful transition, in that I was both teaching drama and easing my way into working jointly with Luke to get things done.  I still have a long way to go, but I think that the upcoming training will help with that, as will simply being forced to take on that role at camp -- baptism by fire is often the most effective form of acclimation.

Camp was *also* good for seeing people again.  Riggs came down from Boston, which was unexpected, and I got to see the whole slew of Louisiana folk.  I was especially glad to chat with Geoff (we roomed together), since he's always seemed like a smart, capable guy, but I've never really gotten to know him that well.  Oh, and did I mention the food Fritz and the campers cooked for Saturday night?  Nine fried turkeys with Fritz's superb injection marinade, chicken/sausage/venison/goose jambalaya, and a big pudding cake.  So good.

I had another tele-date with my lovely Swedish chef tonight.  She made a black currant (mmm) and a dill (o...kay...) schnapps, along with a quick gravlax that looked just scrumptious.  Ah, Tina, my love.  (This is a joke, people.  I'm not actually mooning over a TV chef (much)).

I was feeling homesick earlier today, especially after I posted about the GDB show.  To be clear: I was homesick/nostalgic for Ohio, not for Texas.  I dunno, I think it's mostly the start of the semester... it makes me weird.  But all of my friends, be you in whatever state, I love you and miss you.  I'm not feeling homesick anymore tonight, so don't worry about that :)

Tomorrow I have absolutely nothing scheduled.  I must work hard on translation, and get in my fall semester self-eval to Dr. Protevi.
yrmencyn: (Default)
I'm back in BR.  Family Camp was wonderfuliforous, although I'm currently about this close (*holds thumb and forefinger 2.4 picometers apart) to falling asleep right here in my chair which would be bad because then I wouldn't get my contacts out and then my eyes would bleed and I would wake up screaming in pain at 3am plus I wouldn't be able to finish this wretchedly run-on (runned-on? ran-on?) sentence ach what a pity.

Plus I decided to go have food and margaritas in Laf. with CBC folk instead of rushing home to catch West Wing and Grey's Anatomy, so I'll have to download those (bugger.) -- no one spoil me, K?  Thanks.
yrmencyn: (Default)
Over MLK weekend, Camp Bon Coeur does a family camp, where siblings and parents can come out for the weekend with our usual campers and see what camp's all about.  I'm headed out to Lafayette tomorrow (Friday) morning, not to return until Sunday (pretty sure about Sunday).  See y'all later, have fun times, make wise choices, schedule BYODAs in my absence (that's Bring Your Own Dead Animal parties, i.e grillouts -- one holds these on long weekends).

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