Sunday, March 06, 2011

Looking back at the blog, and looking ahead...

When I started blogging, nearly seven years ago, I was originally working with LiveJournal. I kept that blog for about a year before I began to switch over to Blogger, to City in the Trees here.

I’ve had recent discussions with a fellow blogger whose work I admire and follow closely. He suggested moving over to WordPress for some of the features there. I looked into it and while a few things intrigued me, some other aspects, like the requirement to pay to embed video and the not-quite-accurate conversion of my Blogger formatting, were enough to dissuade me. Nevertheless, it got me started on a different project: finally porting over my LJ entries to City in the Trees. I’ve spent most of the weekend reviewing, reformatting, and reposting the entries here.

Not all of them made it. A handful were complete rubbish, puzzling babblings I made while drunk, and they were dropped as being without value, either to me or anyone else. But, on the whole, I think about 90-95% of them are now here. Pretty much anything prior to May, 2005, will be from that period.

Obviously in reviewing them, I’ve had to read them, some of them for the first time in many years. I’m struck by how my focus has changed, both in blogging and in my life.

For one thing, most of the early entries are centred around Jody, a friend I knew online for ten years, and who died in his mid-20s of cancer. I was obsessive about it, but I think that’s understandable and excusable, though I have to admit—with a little bit of shame—that I find myself now surprised at the focus of it. I don’t remember it looming as large in my life as it apparently did. I also find the spiritual references a little strange. In thinking about it now, I do remember I was trying very hard to connect to something deeper at the time. I went through a lot of that over a couple of years. What’s lacking is any indication of when I finally gave up on that. I know I did at some point. I know it isn’t real for me now. I don’t think it was then, either, though it’s abundantly clear I wanted it to be.

Another thing I noticed is that my posts back then were largely about either what I was feeling, or the mundane day-to-day things going on in my life. I suppose there’s still some of that, but nowhere near as much. My postings now are much more sporadic and I don’t feel the need to blog about things like baking spaghetti squash or that it snowed yesterday. Now it seems to be much more about the exceptional things (explorations, weird dreams, strange observations, concerts, movies, political events, and so on). It’s less about me, and more about what I think about things out there.

I also notice, with rather a degree of discomfort, that six or seven years ago I was spending a lot of time sitting around boozing, and writing about sitting around boozing. It’s particularly striking in light of that fact that I essentially undertook three months ago to give up drinking altogether for a year, without anything like that level of alcohol in my life anymore. It’s been a long time since my idea of a good weekend was sitting around with my head swimming, stuffing down pizzas, and then agonizing about it the next day. Relatedly, I noticed a constant bemoaning of my increasing weight... oh no, 205! Oh no, 215! Oh no, 228!! Well, yeah. It’s currently 233, and that’s down from 251 at the start of December. 228 once seemed terrible... now it’s a goal for the month. Why did I let that happen?

Blogging has a bad rep... even I was amused by Ron James’s tweaking our noses about it: “I just brushed my hair and now I’m eatin’ chips!” There’s a narcissistic aspect in sharing your thoughts with the world, sure. But I’ve also found it valuable in remembering what I’ve done, where I’ve been, what I was feeling, and when. I suppose a diary would serve the same purpose but it wouldn’t be as fun, and there'd be no chance of interesting feedback or anyone building on what you've said or asked. Anyway, if nothing else, it’s providing an impetus to stay the course in terms of watching what I eat, and keeping the bottle at bay.

* * * * *

Other things. I don’t talk about my home life much here anymore... at least, not like I once did... but I’m on the verge of some changes that I suppose warrant mention, if only for myself one day. I’ve known Larry for about 20 years, and for the last year and a half, he’s been subletting my spare room. Well, he’s expressed an intention, “no offense, but...”, that he wants to strike out on his own, probably this summer. He raised the matter late last fall, when I was switching internet providers and he thought I was doing so to accommodate some increasing need for bandwidth. So this has been in the back of my mind for a while.

His living here has landed pretty lightly on me. I haven’t changed my lifestyle much at all. And his contribution to the rent has been valuable. It’s enabled me to wipe out both an outstanding loan of around $3500 and credit card debt of around $6000 in the space of about a year of assiduous application on my part. The only debt I currently have is a car loan, and I ashcanned the credit card last month (I’m currently using a net-rechargeable pre-paid MasterCard from Bank of Montreal for things like online purchases... using my own money, rather than borrowing someone else's). His help with the rent is money I admit I’m going to miss.

I also realize I’m going to miss him. I lived on my own for nearly a decade before he moved in, and at first I was kind of worried we might really get on each other’s nerves and damage the friendship. To my relief, that didn’t happen. He does his thing, I do mine, and every so often we put on a movie, order out for roast chicken, and have fun heckling. He’s a blast at it. I guess I’ve grown accustomed to having someone else around, even if we’re not interacting. I’m not alone. If I want to talk about something, or make a joke, or bounce an idea of someone, he’s right down the hall. Sometime this year, that’s going to end. It’s going to go away. He’s gonna go away. The weird thing is, as used as I was to being alone, I’m really not looking forward to going back to it. Kinda sucks, to tell the truth. I expect we’ll still be friends but it’s not going to be the same. It’ll be like it used to be. I’ll see him a couple of times a month... maybe. He's always been a social butterfly. After sharing space for about two years (or whatever, whenever), that’s going to be really weird. Now I’m afraid that will end the friendship, not with a bang but a whimper. I dunno. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

In truth, his latest admission of it has kind of spurred me to action. It happened like this: last Monday (N.B., March 17th: it was actually Sunday, the day before), we were sitting around in the living room, talking animatedly about buying new computers this month. Kind of by accident six or seven years ago, my main computer is here in the living room, and Larry remarked that I should get a big flat screen TV so I can connect the computer to it and watch media on it. Sensing something was up, I asked what was wrong with the big Sony rear projector we have (technically, it's his, so my immediate reaction was, is it going to disappear sometime soon...?). There was a moment of silence, and then that "well, no offense" soliloquy opening. And I guess at that moment, I decided I didn't want to be stuck here by myself again. So...

For my part, last week, I started looking for a place to buy. I’ve been lamenting flushing $1200 a month down the toilet in rent for a long time now but I've always had too much immediate debt to really move on it. Now there's a chance. I’d like to start building equity, and hopefully own a place I can retire in one day. It’s a big step. Geographically, financially, it really ties you down. I asked Larry if he were interested in going in with me, at least for a couple of years, to build up some equity, but he’s politely turned me down. He wants his wings. I guess I can’t blame him, though in terms of what he’s said he’d like to acquire himself eventually, I think it’s a mistake. But that’s strictly my opinion, and I don't presume I'm right.

Anyway, as I say, I’ve started looking around. I’ve signed with an agent. I’ve sent my info to a mortgage broker. I’ve looked at local listings. I even went to a showing on Thursday... ugh, the place was awful. It was two-thirds, maybe half the size of my current apartment. It looked chintzy, and it seemed like the last time anyone took an interest in remodeling it Saturday Night Fever was top of the box office. Empty, too, and had been for a while, I think. This could be a long haul. Especially since I have no idea, yet, what anyone’s willing to lend me. I suppose I’ll find that out sometime this week. But the ball’s finally rolling. I should have done it years ago, but at least I’ve actually made the first move, for real, at last. I wonder if this time next year, I’ll be blogging from my own place.

And I wonder if I’ll be seeing much of Larry in it.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Well, one of the things that keeps me coming back to your blog is your honesty. You really lay it all out there, Mr Primate. It's a rare and good thing.
Also: looking for property to buy is a whole world of pain. I wish you all the best, Friend. However, when you find a good joint, it'll be a world of significant pleasure, I hear.