Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sometimes I think I made a horrible mistake...

I am an architect. Sounds pretty good, eh? Almost glamorous.

So what went wrong? Maybe its a midlife crisis thing, settling in early. Seeing how I plan to live comfortably into my buck-forties, I suppose it is alright for me to have a third-life crisis.

So what the Helen Duncan am I doing with my life, career wise? Somewhere along the way, I got lost. If you went all Jay Ward style and travelled through time you would find a long haired idealistic version of Yours Truly stating boldly: I would like to find a solution to Homelessness by the time I am thirty. Eyebrows would raise, and folks would be impressed with both my altruism and my go-gettedness.

Well, as all you folk know truly well, my thirties have come, settled in, had a few laughs and are now fixing to leave in a little bit, glancing down at their watches and eyeing the exit while I struggle to keep them entertained with ever more desperate attempts to keep them chuckling mirthfully, even as they know their time is up. Soon they will gather up their coats, shake my hand, and head out into the night, leaving me to clean up their dishes, scrape the remains of the cake into the firegrate, and take myself up to bed.

I have done absolutely nothing in my career to affect other peoples lives on anything but a very microscopic scale, I have not saved one homeless person, or reached out to my professional community to affect political or societal changes. I work, fairly inconsistently, at various projects, and for as long as I can remember, I make the lives of really rich people that much better. I think that I am also on my way to being fairly well off as well, which I suppose is nice.

So what happened? Architecture was something that I wanted to do ever since I learned what the word meant. You would think that because of that kind of realization of What I Wanted To Do With My Entire Life so early, that I would have had an amazing head start on the other kiddies, reading books, playing with blocks and learning an awful lot about the profession that i was planning to dedicate my life to.

Well, it never happened. I slipped by, all laissez faire style, and just assumed that it would all work out, and that I would just become this very accomplished architect, all set to save the world from itself. I didn't pursue knowledge or accomplishment, but sort of stood on the side of the road with my thumb out and my skirt hiked up, hoping Accomplishment would come by and give me a ride somewhere. As a result, I barely got into college, barely graduated, and bounced from job to job to job over the course of the last 15 years or so. I sit here now in my office, unfulfilled and wondering what to do.

A huge part of this is why I will most likely never work at the Renaissance Faire. Once you take something that you like, and turn it into a job, it will most likely sour on some level. Think howmuch fun the Faire is....wearing costumes, engaging in hijinkery, and flirting unabashedly with the wenches. Now think of it with a timetable, a schedule, not being able to drink, and all the usual diva-esque infighting and 90210 style infighting that must go on backstage. Ugh, I would go crazy in a week. Oh, and don't even TELL me about how you can't drink while you work at the Faire.

So yeah, a huge part of my problem is that Architecture is real to me, and not a hobby of any kind. I spend 12 hours a day getting ready for work, getting here, doing my job and driving home. Where and when am I supposed to, after spending this time paying the bills, derive the groove and the spiritual gravy from the creation of built space? By the time the budgets, contractors, clients and OMG, the beauracracy of what can and cannot be built in a given juridiction gets through batting me around like the a cat with a catnip chewie, there is very little in me that wants to read about how others are doing what I do better, cheaper, faster and with more social awareness and sustainability that I have ever strived for. I feel like I am failing, and I am danger of just giving up.

I know that still...still after all these years that this isn't just a day job for me....that I couldn't (or could I?) just come in and do some working drawings, get a paycheck and go home. Something about architecture fills me with the longing and the desire to do more, to be more, to create something better...but so far, it seems that my ambition or my actual drive to fulfill this destiny has escaped me. I would really just rather putter around my house, play video games, and maybe do some gardening. If I make it to retirement, will it be worth all this time working?

I know that I am not a self motivator, and perhaps need for someone to help guide me through my career woes, like a personal trainer would do for my flabbinessitude. If it weren't for that initial outreach effort, perhaps I could find that person.

/sigh, such a tough thing, to look at one's life and one's career and judge it objectively. Let me know what you think, and maybe we can sort something out together.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Resting in our Haven

My friends and I play a great game called Vampire: the Requiem. Its a roleplaying game, like Dungeons and Dragons, but much more adult and sophisticated, IMHO. We gather around, and act out scenes of incredible violence, subtle intrigue, and macabre horror. Think of it like a play, with one person creating the sets and scenery, the rest of the players portraying different characters, but the script is made up as you go along. We have rulebooks to cover different aspects of game life, character sheets to list all of our attributes and statistics, and use dice to handle random occurences and happenstantials.

One of the tenents of Vapire life is something called Haven. A vampire's haven is the location where they sleep the day away, safe from the prying eyes of human interlopers and other Buffy-types. One of the side effects of spending a day in your Haven (as opposed to crammed into a drainpipe or the trunk of a car in a parking garage) is that you recover a game attribute called Willpower. Willpower determines how dedicated you are to living life according to your rules, and not getting pushed around by the world at large.

Well, I told you that to tell you this: The Goodely Wyfe (GW) and I had a great weekend just soaking in our "Haven". We were slated to go and visit her Aunt and Uncle's beach house, but backed off and really just sat around the house. It was wonderful and sublime. We watched a great deal of Battlestar Galactica, did a minimum of housework, went to a movie, and sat on the couch a great deal.

The results? It looks like I have replenished my Willpower score to maximum. All things seem a little better, and I am ready for the world at large. Sometimes, you really do have to pull a strategic retreat in order to regroup and recover your strength before you can come back and win the day, or at least win one more day. And that's what we are going for, isn't it? Winning one day at a time.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ah, Fuck.

Some will tell you that vulgarity is the crutch used by the barely literate to express themselves when finer language continues to elude them. For me, there are times when profanity is totally justified, acceptable and understandable.

Like when you miscarry your second pregnancy attempt.

Yes, its true, Jingles now joins Frodo in the books of history. We lost our most recent pregnancy attempt last Wednesday. The Goodley Wyfe and I are doing alright, many thanks, and we are oddly hardened and still planning to continue with our efforts, like weary frontierspeoples. We have to wait out a few cycles before jumping all double dutch style back into the mix of In Utero This or In Vetro That or Chinese Adoption The Other Thing, but jump back in we will.

Thanks to those what knew of and celebrated our attempts, and that are now cognicent of our setbacks and tears. There is a school of thought that says one shouldn't go public with pregnancy news until at least the first trimester is over, but I never really grokked that. A joy shared is a joy made greater, a sorrow shared is a sorrow lessened. THAT is the school of thought your humble author subscribes to. That, and "Robert likes Boobies."

Thanks for taking the ride with us....we never promised that it wouldn't be bumpy, but we do promise to hold your hand the whole way through.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Chicago!

More than just a musical, Chicago is on the horizon for an extended dance remix weekend of fun and hijinx. We leave this Friday morning, suited and booted, for the Windy City. I can hardly wait.

I know what you are saying. Being an architect, this is an excellent opportunity to hone one's skills, bring the sketchbook, and walk in the footsteps of past Masters. Ah, what a learning experience this will be, to broaden my horizons as I worship at the cathedrals of glass and steel.

Well, true believer, that is where you would be wrong! My two best buds and I are going out to Chicago for no finer reason than to be maniacs for four days. The homage that we will be paying will not be to Mies, Sullivan and Wright, but to Frank, Sammy and Dean. Heck, I wouldn't mind tipping my hat and my sloshy scotch tumbler to Lowe, Estevez and Ringwald while we are at it! If you need me for any reason, you can find me staying at the rock star hotel, eating brats, drinking beer, going to man spas, and yes, hooking up with an all female fight correography troupe.

Oh, did you miss that last line? Here it is again. We are going to be hooking up with an all female fight correography troupe.

I am not sure what planets had to align to get me into a workshop with a small hordeling of stage fighting warrior women, but I am not arguing one bit. To be quite honest, as Penthouse Forumy as it may sound, the fight workshop that we have planned will be very professional, and maybe even not all that much fun. Fight correography is very technical, and inherently dangerous, so of course, I will be drinking.

Admittedly, in our free time, I am planning on doing some sightseeing, and maybe even looking at a building or two. It seems a shame not to. I am not sure if Dame Mother Nature is agreeable to my plans of accomplishing at least one walking tour of Chicago's architectural wonders, but perhaps I can work my masculine wiles on her as well, and she will provide a light dusting to be the backdrop for my perambulations, as I gaze out at what some would call the finest examples of American architecture through eyes fogged over with hangover induced bursting bloodvessels, all the while stumbling through the city as this run on sentence has gone stumbling through this blog entry. I imagine that I won't be able to be in Chicago and not have some of the culture rub off on me like inspirational body glitter from an architectural lap dancer. Here's to hoping!

How much living can one man pack into four days? We are about to find out. If I survive, I will endeavor to present the trip in full upon my return. Until then, send your wishes, prayers and muttered jealous curses my way for a safe trip and boisterous Chicago chicanery!