Usually, I do not sunburn badly. So when I took off my shirt on Saturday while playing ultimate to stay cool during the hottest day of the year so far, I thought little of the red glow I acquired in the process. I thought little of it, that is, until yesterday, at about 1:00pm. At that time, over the course of just a few minutes, my sunburned back went from a mostly comfortable tenderness to a burning volcano of firery indignation. Lava boiled from within my back like needles threading their way between the layers of my skin. I convulsed and contorted, pricked by the searing itch inside. Anyone who might have seen me would have surely thought I was having some sort of seizure. It was, I am convinced, the most physically unfomfortable I have ever been in my entire life.
Scratching brought only temporary, painful relief. Aloe Vera, Hydrocortisone, and Vitamin E, applied in frenzies of itch-induced rage, only exacerbated the symptoms. I found extended relief in a shower, with water gently massaging the entire affected area. However, only after steeling my resolve, asking for divine intervention, and, against all odds, defying the urge for temporary relief by, among other things, pounding a carpetted floor with all my strength and walking backwards while reading the comics, was I able to find relief outside of the shower.
The erruption slowly subsided, and soon I was able to funcation as a normal human being once again. However, all of my resolve to actually complete homework, for example, was drained. It was a terribly non-productive day. I failed on all four of my resolutions. Sunday, on the other hand, had gone quite well, missing only the push-ups part of the exercise routine. Welcome to the roller coaster ride that is my life.
Today, I went to see the Fly Filmmaking Festival, an annual staple of the Seattle International Film Festival where directors are given ten days along with a set of other restrictions (such as just 5 hours of tape) to make a ten minute film. In years past, this apparently has been devoted to documentaries on subjects drawn out of a hat. This year, it fetured narative films with open subjects, but with requirements including a location, an actress, a prop, and an action that had to appear in the film. The first film, about a girl who can’t drive, called Driver’s Ed, I enjoyed. It was mindless, but fun, and used the ten minutes well enough. Nothing to rave about, though. The second film was called …Loving Martha, about a man disenchanted with his life as an office worker who falls in love with a copy machine. It was an interesting idea, but not as well executed as the first film. The third film was a disgrace. Called “Circus of Infinity,” its attempt at creating art fell flat and fell hard. It was a real shame they chose to end with such a terrible film. But yes, it got worse. Afterwards, the directors came up, as did several “on the fly” critics. Well, there was no critiquing going on, just adolation. Since about half the audience were somehow involved in the making of the movies, I suppose it was the only PC thing to do at the time. Still, this is definitely a SIFF production I’ll be happy to miss in the future.
Well, day 2 (that would be Saturday – I can’t really report on this beforehand since it involves me going to bed by a certain time) went pretty well.
#1 Bed by midnight: I got into bed at midnight, without a laptop computer, and with a book instead. I pass!
#2 Read one page from a book: Passed. I read from Seven Habits of Highly Effective people until my eyes got heavy, well more than a page. Woo-hoo!
#3 Exercise regimen: I played ultimate for nearly two hours, getting quite the sunburn along the way. I did pushups and sit-ups before going to bed for the night. Excellent!
#4 Limit CS to 1 hour: Well, I played probably about an hour and a half. Still, I didn’t let it get out of control. Just something to improve on.
Overall, a very good day.
Days like I had yesterday are why I need to follow through with my resolutions so badly. It was one of my “dysfunctional” days – slept in (because I went to sleep late), felt unmotivated most of the day, got next to nothing done, and generally made a mess out of things.
#1: Sleep before midnight: I get a bye, because I wasn’t home at midnight. Rather I was at Jon’s, and I got to bed without any problems once I got home around 1:30. I had all sorts of trouble falling asleep, and the fact that I am up already is only further testament to how little energy I expended yesterday.
#2: Read one page from a book: Failed. Yes, I know it’s ridiculous that I didn’t get this one done. But like I said, I have these resolutions for a reason.
#3: Daily exercise: Failed. See explanation of #2, above.
#4: Limit Counter-Strike to one hour: Well, I did basically nothing yesterday, including Counter-Strike. So I pass on this one, but not for any good reason.
Heed these writings, both on politics and society. Powered by a keen mind that processes a lot of information, the Well of Mimir seldom fails to provide exceptional reading.
Some of my recent favorites:
Inspired by Chris Vincent’s recent post “Practical self-improvement,” I have decided to make public some of the plans I have to improve myself to remain a healthy and well-rounded individual. This is in the well–founded hope that making such a thing public will ultimately help me live up to the commitment. I have learned about myself that I am much better with commitments to others than I am with commitments to myself; and while this is a commitment to myself, making it public in a sense makes it a commitment to all of you also. Well, here goes:
- I will go to bed – without my laptop – by midnight, every night that I am at home
My eventual goal is to wake up before it becomes light outside. However, I realize that this is a way off, and these resolutions are to remain practical. Besides, going to sleep after it becomes light outside must be dealt with first. By adding in the “at home” clause, I will still allow myself to, for example, hang out with friends well past midnight as the occasion may arise. However, there are no good reasons for me to stay up past midnight in my day-to-day life.
- I will read at least one page from a book every day
I find it really sad how little I read, especially since when I do read, I tend to enjoy it so much. I figure that reading at least one page is a reasonable goal that will get me started. Hopefully, and I think it likely, I’ll get going and read well more than just one page.
- I will exercise daily
Another activity that, like Chris, I put off entirely too much. Again, keeping things practical, the plan is simply a daily regimen of at least push-ups, sit-ups, and something aerobic.
- I will limit Counter-Stike to one hour a day
I enojoy Counter-Strike quite a bit, but I find that I’ll get into a playing rut where I’m not really having fun, but rather I’m playing out of habit. This not only wastes copious amount of time and hurts my chances at my first goal (above), but it also turns out to be not so much fun afterwards. Limiting my playing time should address both problems.
I will overcome my irrational fears by consciously forcing myself to face them
There are plenty of legitimate things to be wary of, but irrational fears are the foundation of so much that wrong with humantiy, and as much as possible, I don’t want to be a part of this unfortunate reality. So I will overcome my irrational fears by putting myself into situations where I am forced to deal with them, learning at the emotional level that there is indeed nothing to fear.
I think these four items will be a good start to improving myself in very real, yet quite practical ways. I hope to add to these slowly as time goes on and I achieve some level of mastery over the weaknesses these goals are intended to overome.
I kicked my 8-movie SIFF run off on Wednesday with “Shake Hands with the Devil,” a documentary about the return of Canadian Leuitenant General Romeo Dallaire, commander of the UN forces in Rwanda in 1994, to the land that was ravaged by genocide as he watched helpless, undermanned, underfunded, and ignored by the whole world. It was an excellent compliment to the also excellent Hotel Rwanda, also recommended.