Monday, January 08, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

[Blogger's Note: I did not edit this, so I apologize.]

Another year is upon us and it has the potential to be one of the greatest in recent memory.

My reasons are as follows:

1. I am waking up every morning at 4:30AM (give or take) to go to the gym. This way, I don't have to drag myself to lift in the evening, which happened maybe twice a week for the past few months. I'm setting my new coffee maker to start brewing at 5, and I get up a little bit earlier every day. My goal is to be up at 4:30, and at the gym at 5. So far, I enjoy this very much. Last year for a few months I was in the habit of going to the gym as soon as I woke up, but once I started working at Tatnuck again in the spring, I couldn't bring myself to continuing that trend. This year, though, is different.

2. I have a new job which I neither love, nor hate. I am an Administrative Assistant (er, receptionist) for Victory Productions, a publishing company in Worcester. I still don't completely understand what exactly Victory Productions does, but they give me money, so those are just details. I sit at a desk all and make phone calls to their clients, count words on pages, and make copies. An interesting note about this place which many of you already know, is that Victory is owned by a family of South American Scientologists with its head honcho and namesake, Victoria. The company is about half-Hispanic, and I'm told that they are all related to Victoria in some way. A Scientologist army that size is not to be reckoned with. Everyone at Victory is nice, but it is also a cold, sterile, serious place. I haven't decided whether or not I will go back to Tatnuck in the spring, but for a few couple hours a day the publishing industry isn't too bad. I might stick with it.

3. I may have finally solved my organization troubles. I've taken the time this winter break to fully clean out my apartment and set of a system of in-boxes and out-boxes for all work that needs to be done. For the last month of last semester, I used a pack of notecards and a binder clip ("the hipster PDA") and that helped me to get things done right away. I will continue to use this in the spring, but I've also filled out about 4 calenders (including the neat little "rainlander," google it) and planners. I know I've said this kind of stuff every year of my academic life, but I'm going to get things done right away. I'm even washing my dishes the second I'm done using them. Hopefully paying attention to these little things will keep me on task for the big ones.

4. I've conquered a fear of the phone. I believe one of my old posts was called "The Phone and Why I (Expletive) Hate It." Now that I'm a receptionist, I have to use the phone a lot. My main assignment for the month has been to call all the company's clients and verify their contact information. I was given a list of 1,300 people at big production companies all over the country and a phone. I was incredibly nervous at first and I hesitated in making most of the initial calls, but in the past month just from being forced to work on it, I can make them with no hesitation and with decent fluency. I think my fluency improved greatly during the fall thanks to group therapy and a better grasp of stuttering modification, and for my first few weeks at work it really showed. Then, I called some asshole at some business I've never heard of who started giving me crap about talking a little slower on the phone, and it flustered me. He said he would transfer me to someone else, and when he did that I hung up. I was embarrassed, and following that call, I struggled with speaking for a couple weeks. I don't want to say that this instance was the cause of my increased stuttering, but I was having a lot of success before and it went downhill after that call. I'm willing to acknowledge a correlation. Unfortunately this time was also over Christmas and New Years', so it was disappointing to not succeed in controlling it. Everything is just now starting to click again. In any case, the phone doesn't really bother me much anymore.

4. My outrageous spending is now in control. No more Dunkin' Donuts, no more Cumberland Farms between classes, no more iTunes. Unless I have a gift card, I'm not spending a dime on any of these things. I've always had an issue with failing to see how little expenses add up, and this is a way of fixing that. Subtracting the little things means I can buy more big things, e.g., my new video iPod, a nicer wardrobe, automotive repairs, shiny things for my better half, etc. So far it's been a good deal.

So, these resolutions combined with some anti-resolutions (watch more TV, tip less on checks at restaurants) have helped to start off 2007 as the greatest year ever. I hope everyone has a great one too.
----------------------------------------------------
I'm understandably disappointed by the Patriots' loss to the Colts in the AFC Championship, but I'm not jumping off a bridge. I need to remind myself that before Tom Brady and these recent Superbowl years, Peyton Manning was my favorite player dating back to his days at Tennessee. I owned his neon orange #16 Volunteers jersey, which is throwback-worthy at this point. I remember almost punching a hole in a wall when Charles Woodson won the Heisman Trophy over him. I played NCAA Gamebreaker '98 and threw for over 6,000 and 70 touchdowns with Peyton. We were boys.

Then Tom Brady showed up and won 3 Superbowls, creating a rivalry between the Patriots and the Colts. I think peoples' hatred of the Peyton and the Colts is akin to peoples hatred of Derick Jeter and the Yankees when Nomar in Boston and still a great player. We always want our guy to be better than the foil who gets more media praise. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm over my Jeter and A-Rod Hating simply because we don't have anybody who can compete with them, at least at their positions. But I'm probably being too rational.

Peyton is a great player, always has been, and has suffered through enough to deserve a trip to the Superbowl. The Patriots had chances to put the Colts away and didn't. I'm still plenty upset about how the game turned out, but it was the Colts' time. Good luck, old friend.

-------------------------
iMix:

Arctic Monkeys, "A Certain Romance"
At The Drive-In, "Quarantine"
The Beatles, anything from Abbey Road
Ben Harper, "The Drugs Don't Work" "More Than Sorry"
Bob Dylan, "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away"
Clipse, "Mr. Me Too" "Wamp Wamp" "Chinese New Year"
Death Cab for Cutie, "Soul Meets Body"
Elliot Smith, "Son of Sam"
Fiona Apple "Tymps"
The Game, "One Blood"
Led Zeppelin, "No Quarter" "In The Light" "Bring It On Home"
Lupe Fiasco, "Hurt Me Soul" "Just Might Be Okay"
Motion City Soundtrack, "My Favorite Accident"
My Morning Jacket, "I Will Sing You Songs"
Pink Floyd, anything from the "Wish You Were Here" album
Radiohead, "Pyramid Song" ""
Smashing Pumpkins, "Bodies"
T.I., "Undertaker" "Top Back"
Thom Yorke, "The Eraser"
Tom Waits, "I Hope I Don't Fall in Love With You"
TV on the Radio, "Wash The Day Away"
Wolfmother, "Dimension"
Young Jeezy, "I Luv It"

15 comments:

SlickWilly said...

I've been reading some of your entries and I wish you luck as an SLP. I am a 36 year old male with a mild to moderate stutter. I, too, have a degree in CSD. I attempted grad school and had to admit the field was not for me. Lots of stress and little reward as I saw it. But that's just me. Luckily I have another skill which requires very little oral communication to do it well!
I haven't read all of your entries, but it sounds like you take the school thing and the stuttering very seriously. I have, too. I guess I'm getting to a point where I'm asking myself "If this is the way I was made, why should I take it upon myself to change who I am?" I'm all for improving fluency as I have gone through therapy myself. I relate to most everything you've remarked upon with regards to being a person who stutters. I've done the support groups a little, I've had trouble finding a good "day-job", and I've let stuttering somewhat dictate what I choose for work. I've tried sales, and I crack under the pressure. I'll be ok during the interview, but trying to be a fast, smooth talker just isn't me.
So what's my point? I really don't know except I think I'm either falling off of the optimism wagon, or I'm coming to a new level of acceptance about my stuttering. If I am this way, it may be for a reason, or maybe not? I spend my days cold-calling on a telephone, and I do ok most of the time. I get stuck on words that start with vowel sounds. Sure, sure...deep breath, air flow, light contacts and such. But as you said, in the heat of the moment is where it really counts. I know all too well the feeling of saying "This time I'll do it right" and resulting in getting stuck. I've gotten to the point where I don't really care what others think, but I get emotional about the perpetual quality of stuttering.
I can go out and voluntarily stutter all day if I want. I actually use this to my advantage, my friend. I use it on people that have shown discomfort towards communicating with me. It's quite liberating. Make 'em wait, Patrick. I do. If they laugh or ignore, I just stutter more! Screw 'em!! For every joker, there's an understanding person. I did this to a female I asked out while in school for CSD. She was making fun of me and laughing with our colleagues. Poor behavior from a future SLP, eh? She asked me how I was doing one day and, boy, did I let her have it! It took me 20 seconds to spit out "I'm ok, thanks." It was all voluntary, man! I grinned openly afterwards, too!
Good luck to you, Patrick. I hope being an SLP will be satisfying for you. I have a lot of admiration for you. I know all to well how challenging being an SLP grad student is. Feel free to contact me at sweetwilldrums@yahoo.com if you want. If not, that's cool, too!

Later!

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