Peter Lyons


November 05, 2012

Well, I felt a lot of bloggable feelings during the month of October, but decided to bunch them all up into one big blog post. I think my home-grown blog software puts too much friction on posting and I may have to make a system where I can write posts and publish them without quite so many steps.

Anyway, reflecting back on the past few Octobers, I had several good years in a row. I spent most of October 2007 in Romania on my funnest business trip thus far. That was the start of this blog and of my post-NJ adventures. In 2008, I was living up in the mountains of Colorado at 8500 feet elevation. I was shopping for houses near Boulder, dating (briefly) a super cute med student, and doing lots of climbing around Boulder. In 2009, I was settling in to my own home, doing some fun dating, and met Michale whom I dated for the 15 subsequent months. I remember that being a really great month. October 2010 I was still dating Michale and we went to some fun burner and halloween parties.

October 2011 I was playing with both The Afronauts and Turtle Dove. I had just switched from rock climbing to aerial fabric as my primary active hobby. March Fourth played Boulder and I was (again briefly) dating. I was also in my second month working at Dojo4 in downtown Boulder.

This October was much less blissed out and a lot more work and stress. I started a new job this month. In the big picture, it's a win, but the beginning has been a bit tougher than I anticipated. It's a fully distributed small team and we communicate mostly via chat online. Technically, it's been right up my alley, but the team dynamics have been a bit of a struggle. In particular I made one single errant remark on IRC resulting from a miscommunication and that produced a day or two of elevated stress and put my reputation in a hole I had to dig out of. That was the first negative/stressful thing. I guess I didn't really allow it to register in my mind that this is a big change and thus I charged ahead with my ungoing quest for increased frugality and I ventured onto craigslist to buy a used car.

I ended up purchasing a 2001 Honda Insight 2-seater hatchback hybrid with 105000 miles on it. It took more errands and repairs and logistical wheeling and dealing than I had anticipted, so it really put a damper on that 3rd and 4th week of the month. Specifically, I could have done a better job at scrutinizing the vehicle, and the seller was dishonest about multiple things.

The dashboard is cracked and hanging out from the housing a bit near the stereo, which I didn't notice during my nighttime test drive. There's also a small chip in the windshield I didn't notice. There was a bunch of dog hair in the car that again due to the darkness I didn't notice. I should have caught those things myself. None of them are really a big deal though. However, the seller advertised on craigslist that the car gets 75 MPG which is complete horse shit. The seller also posted a stock photo instead of a photo of this particular vehicle. The registration had been allowed to lapse so I could only test drive it around the block. The seller bullshitted me about the tires being OK as well as having a "spare" set of tires. The reality was he drove 50,000 miles on the original tires, bought new ones, drove 55,000 miles on those, and hung on to the old ones, so the car came with 8 tires, all of which were completely worn. The 4 "spares" just needed to be recycled. The tire skirts were not installed, which the seller claimed was to save weight, which is also complete mallarky as the Honda engineers put them on there for aerodynamics and they are plastic and weight about 1/2 pound each. He also said he remembered hooking up an iPod to the stereo. Again, complete delusion. I did have the vehicle inspected at a mechanic, so they called his bullshit about the tires and found a few other maintenance things it needed, but overall they said it was well maintained and in good shape. Between tires, crank seal leak, transmission fluid, repairing the driver's side window molding, a new stereo, and an alignment, I ended up needing to put in the ballpark of $1300 of repairs into it. If I had more experience and my wits a little better about me, I probably would have passed on the car or negotiated the price much lower.

However, this was my first experience buying a used car from a private party. I have driven numerous hand-me-down cars since I'm the youngest of 3 children, and also purchased a used car from a reputable used car dealer. Hopefully, given that I'm aiming to drive no more than 7000 miles per year, this thing will last me 10 years and run at about 48 MPG (suck it, Prius, as Mr. Money Mustache would say). But if and when I do need to purchase another used car, hopefully it will go a bit better than this.

So that was the first stressful part of October 2012. The second thing was a bummer gig that The Afronauts played. Actually, the gig itself was fine, but there was a disagreement between us and the booker at the venue that didn't end well and had me pretty upset for a day or so. Stephen our tenor player was also quite livid. I'm going to skip the details, but we're past it now and it's all to the good as that venue was no longer a good deal for us. My main gripe was that we have played 7 shows there playing for tips only and the booker failed to show a single shred of gratitude or appreciation for us, and just wanted us to feel like we had violated our "contract" for the volunteer performances we have given. Grr. Anyway. Things go on.

Upsetting thing number 3 was just a mindless/insensitive offhand remark by a close friend, but it took me by surprise, and tapped a sensitive nerve. I guess it was a telling lesson for me in where my vulnerabilities lie, but this was from a close friend that I trust and is otherwise an extremely sensitive person. I don't think this friend meant it to be malicious or hurtful and I got over it pretty quickly, but I think it was the shock of it that hit me. I remember a similar incident years ago when I was playing cards at Bill's house and as I'm deep in concentration on the game, the person across the table from me snaps a rubber band at me intending to flick the cards out of my hand. However, the aim is off and the rubber band shoots over the top of my cards and hits me square on the thin skin of my throat. It was such a complete surprise that the wind was knocked out of me and I couldn't express myself for a moment or two while my brain tried to figure out what the fuck just happened and why.

Then of course my sister had to have unexpected emergency surgery and Hurricane Sandy put my parents and sister's houses out of power for several days. And for some more turmoil, both my roommates ended their month to month leases. I was able to rent the downstairs room right away but I'm still hunting for 1 or 2 additional housemates for the upstairs bedroom(s). Oh yeah, and my hot water heater died. It cost me $875 to get a new one installed, but it's a high-end model that should last a long time and the previous one was a 1993 install that lasted an unbelievable 19 years. Normally I understand gas hot water heaters to be good for about 7-10 years.

Howewer, there were fun highlights! March Fourth played at the Gothic! I actually talked with Alice from The Afronauts about them last night. She played trumpet with DeVotchka this weekend (awesome!) and March Fourth was opening that show for them. Apparently they are always looking for musicians that can tour with them. Their sax section seems well populated and reasonably stable (they did have a new alto player at this gig vs their Boulder gig in August), but it got me thinking maybe at some point I could make a shot to go on tour with them. How great would it be if they let me do some aerial fabric in the show!?!

I also went to the Fantastic Hosts Halloween burner dance party, which was a pretty fun time. But overall, I'm glad October is over.

The Afronauts gigged Saturday night at Twisted Pine Brewery, which definitely could have been a disaster as they are not set up to be a live music venue, but it was actually a pretty fun gig and everyone had a good time and lots of delicious beer. I had their American Amber, Strong Irish Ale, and Rocky Mountain Red. I almost set a personal record of 3 beers in a single day, but I couldn't quite finish the 3rd one.