I wish I could say I was on an actual vacation for most of this month. I haven’t actually written a real post here for most of July, as I’ve been unusually busy. Not really with busy work here and there, but I feel I’m occupying my time, for the most part, more wisely. There is a better sense of purpose. So here, I will try to do a brief (haha) synopsis of my month, picking up where I last left off.

My weekend getaway.

View from top of lighthouse

View from top of lighthouse

On July 4, I saw my friend and his wife, and caught up on life over the past year. I have grown so much in the time since we had last met, at their wedding, and it was good to hang out. Then it was off to an undisclosed location, which, by a number of readers of my blog had figured out from my photos, was in Rockland, Maine. I had hoped for a beach to lay out and just vegetate, but I ended up getting a ripe red farmer’s tan (burn) just walking from my motel to the Rockland Breakwater, and beach time lasted only nearly two hours, tops. I got a free four-day three-night stay at the motel for resisting buying one of their timeshares after taking a tour of one of their condos. I decided to drive back to Massachusetts via Route 1, but after four hours and STILL in Maine, I hopped onto I-95, which ended up having worse holiday traffic. Six hours later, I landed in my neck of the woods and went straight to the last hour of the Cambridge tango practica, before heading home. All in all, it was a good trip, but I realized I could really do with a two-week vacation, which I haven’t done since my trip to the U.K. over eight years ago during spring break of 2000.

Staples | Corporate Express acquisition (I mean, integration) website
Just before going to Maine I started work on the integration website of Staples and Corporate Express. And when I came back, I was working full-throttle on getting it done. One week I actually got an hour of overtime. It took me and a number of people on my team (I’m currently a contract web developer at Staples headquarters, for those who don’t know) the better part of three or so weeks to get done what normally would have been months of work, according to one higher-up who applauded our efforts once we were done. I did most of the HTML, CSS, javascript and a dash of ASP (someone else did the Flash and design). I had some help on the javascript part from one former contractor who has gone full time. The Staples Corporate Express site is now live, but you need to have login access.

Then it is on to a new, big project, which I am knee deep in now. And once that’s done, my duties will completely change. Sounds like good job security for now.

Life is a one-man play on a stage
Poster of Ken Howard in "According to Tip"One evening earlier this month, a friend of mine from New Hampshire and I went to the New Rep Theatre in Watertown to see “According to Tip“, a one-man play performed by Broadway and TV star Ken Howard. I don’t know anything about Broadway, or Tip O’Neill, but my friend is a political junkie. And because the New Reperatory Theatre is in my neighborhood, and because I am interested in the arts (even though I haven’t done much with it), I thought what the hell. Ken Howard was great. Because he sang a handful of Irish drinking songs, does it count as a musical?

Howard has been around for a long time, and apparently he is sometimes in the U.S. version of “The Office,” and he was in the (fantastic) movie “Michael Clayton,” which starred George Clooney. I’m the type of person who can’t do movie quotes to save my life, and therefore I cannot remember who Howard was in the movie. I’d have to watch it again.

Life is a one-man play on a stage, Part 2
The same night as “According to Tip” there was an Argentine tango milonga in Brookline. The play was done at 10:30pm-ish, and the milonga still had at least two hours left, so I decided to go. That was the most interesting two hours at a milonga I’ve had in a long time, if not ever. And that’s putting it lightly. I saw my ex arrive there with a guy friend of hers, and I (apparently?) jumped to conclusions and had to step outside for a while to clear my head (see more about meditation, below). I stepped back inside and ended up having incredible dances with some of my favorite dancers, and with those I haven’t danced with before (they were added to my list of favorites).

There are the types of good dancers who are so pre-occupied with doing a particular move RIGHT, as in pointing the foot at the correct angle to floor and juxtaposed to the leg blah blah blah, and there are the types of good dancers who move with feeling — it may not be 100% correct but it FEELS goooood. I lean toward the latter, and I love dancing with those types of dancers too. For a while, I lost sight of that, and I’m comfortable with where I am. (I do know that if you combine both of those types of good dancers, the precise with the feeling, then your eyes roll back into your head with bliss. Been there, done that. That happens when the stars are aligned just perfectly.)

Hosting practica
In other tango news, I had been asked to be host to the Sunday practica in Cambridge. I was host on July 13, and will be host this Sunday. Basically, all this means is that I’m responsible for bringing water for everyone, ensuring that the vibe of practica remains friendly, be welcoming and dancing with new faces on the scene. I have no control over how freaking hot and muggy it gets in there, even when all three air conditioners and industrial fans are on at full blast. Thankfully, I don’t need to mop up the drops of sweat on the floor. But I am responsible for having enough money to cover the rent.

Creative writing update
I haven’t done much writing this month, other than writing prolific late-night (into early morning) entries in my journal after a long day (see “Life is a one-man play,” parts 1 and 2, above, for example). Other than that, I have submitted a very small slice-of-life story as an entry to Grub Street‘s new literary magazine, the Rag Mag, which will debut Sept. 1. The story is labeled as fiction, although it’s definitely based on a true story. In fact, I wrote it during a Grub Street writing class in early June, and it became one of my early blog entries, The revenge of the mysterious green plate monster. I hope it will be published in the Mag in one way or another. So far, I know that two people in my life have read it and that they loved it. I hope the rest of you do, too.

Crowning achievement
I finally got my second crown put in. This time porcelain instead of gold. I waited awhile to get it done, and therefore there were slight complications. I was under nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for about three long hours, and coming out of that consious yet coma-like state was rough. I had to sit down and drink some water to let my convulsing body iron out the shakes. Really weird.

Think twice about asking me to fix your computer
I messed up my computer bad. It actually happened the end of last month, and I let my computer whiz-kid friend up in Maine make a diagnosis. Yup, I lost all my files. Had I actually looked for my Windows XP setup CD, instead of using the PC Recovery Disc, I would have been A-OK. But the PC Recovery Disc reverted my computer as if I had just bought it this morning, taking me through the tour of Windows. Bizarrely, all my programs were fine, even Firefox 3, which I had downloaded a week before my computer wouldn’t load. All the files that were stored in the My Documents folder? GONE. All the free videos I got from Amazon Unbox that were stored in a separate shared folder, videos I downloaded but don’t have time to watch, and probably never will, were SAVED. Family and friends’ photos? Gone. Budget spreadsheet I painstakingly built over the last year? Gone. Website source files for my previous clients? Gone. It’s high time I invest in an external hard drive to back all my shit up. Now I’m re-building my budget with Google Docs (read: online).

Meditation and mindfulness
In many ways this should be first on this list. This has been one of the most important things I have done in a long while. It has been occupying most of my free time, when it’s not spent dancing Argentine tango, surfing the Web, or taking walks. So because this section deserves more attention, and rightly so has turned from a brief synopsis on the list to a lengthy description of where I am at, “meditation and mindfulness” has become its own blog post.

One more week
There’s still one more week to go for July. What more could possibly be in store for me?