Back to the grind...
Well, it was a holiday season of firsts for ol' Tony Alva. It was the first time I've taken two weeks off in a row the entirety of my work life (time off not related to periods of unemployment of course ‘cause let’s be real, you can’t really enjoy drinking beer, playing guitar, and generally doing nothing when you’ve got no revenue coming in the door right?). Without announcing it to anyone including my family or my three blog readers, I also decided to challenge myself to do what my friend Fred hasn’t been able to do in forever and that is go off the tech grid for the duration of my vacation. Like he’d tell you, it isn’t easy when you’re used to being wired in and are addicted to news and information of all varieties and sources. Of course, I’m not nearly as important to my employer as Fred is to his, but I did take my laptop home and was EXTREMELY tempted many times to get on and take care of the work piling up in my queue (okay, I mean to check my feed reader, troll blogs, Facebook, AND stay caught up with work), but I was successfully in my efforts for the most part.
Much of my time off was spent with family. There were a few days in which showers were not taken and the three of us did nothing but hang out in bed read and watch TV. One particularly good day was spent going through MANY shoeboxes of photos myself and the Mrs. have been collecting over the years. There is a plan to actually catalog and organize them or so I’ve been told. For me it was just a great excuse to take a look at them again and show the more interesting ones to my 6 year old daughter. I also found a gold mine of blogging and Facebook worthy photos that I’ll be scanning and posting in the coming weeks. It was a pretty chill couple of weeks with only the rarest bits of boredom. It was cool just to hang out with my girls and have no schedule at all. For those who have resisted going off the grid, all I can tell you is that it is worth the effort.
I got nothing really all that exciting for Christmas, although my father surprised me by actually going out and SHOPPING for my gift this year. Not only did he put forth the effort to shop, it was a thoughtful gift ta boot (a GPS navigation system). Unbeknownst to him, my iPhone pretty much covers that function for me, and since my wife carries an iPhone too thus negating the option of keeping the nav system in her car, I ultimately caved and returned it for store credit (another first for me, since I have NEVER returned any gift given to me previously). I am grateful for the effort nonetheless.
A buddy of mine got last minute tickets to the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl and five of us guys made our way downtown for tailgating and what we hoped would be a barnburner of a game on New Years Eve. Boy were we sadly mistaken. LSU rolled on Georgia Tech so badly that we bolted at half time to meet our ladies to ring in the New Year with them. As a matter of fact, it was a shitty two weeks of football on the Alva front. GT got crushed, Penn State got crushed, Alabama got crushed, and the Falcons got crushed by the crappy Cardinals costing me $30 to my not as good looking and much older brother Mathdude. They don’t hold much chance, but it would be cool to see his Cardinals ruin everybody else’s Super Bowl dreams as well. We’ll see. As for the last couple of college bowl games, who cares? That’s the funny thing about the college game for me: If it’s not one of the teams that I follow I could hardly care who’s playing for a Nat’l championship.
As if having to get up early, shower, shave, and drive into work after being off for two weeks isn’t bad enough I discovered after walking into the lobby of our building this morning that the restaurant that I eat lunch at everyday closed New Years Day. No, the food wasn’t good. That’s not why I ate there everyday. You see, I’ve been working on an Atkin’s diet and have been successful in dropping a decent amount of weight from my aging frame since undertaking the effort last February. I suspended the diet during the holidays knowing how hopeless it is to stay “sober” during Thanksgiving through New Years period, but fully planned on getting back on the wagon starting today. One of the things I’ve learned about dieting as a means of weight loss is that building GOOD habits are as paramount to success as breaking bad ones are. “Habit” being the operative word. One of the good habits I had developed was foregoing leaving the building for any of the local eateries during lunch and instead sticking to a short list of “in plan” items off the menu at the lobby restaurant. It really worked well since lunch was my biggest opportunity to give into temptation. Now I’ve got to find another place, and pretty much anything else is going to be a great deal less convenient than my lobby place. Still, I’ve got to come up with a plan and quick. I know I’ve given back at least five pounds over the holidays and want to get the gut contraction thing going again post haste.
It’s now 2009. I’m not sure if I’d claim to be optimistic at this early stage of the game (I suffer from serious seasonal blues. Certainly not the only one, but it’s one of the bigger factors in my leaving the Northeast for a warmer climate 18 years ago), but I do have an odd sense that better times are lying there beneath the rocks and snow just waiting for the spring melt to start. I didn’t make any silly resolutions, but I am committed to posting more often and staying on top of my tech comms (blog, e-mail, FB, etc…) better than I did in 2008.
So HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody! Let’s get through this week and celebrate hard on Friday.