Some things require some solitude.
      Coldsmoke, for example, is one of them. Writing is not a gregarious occupation. One guy (Warren Least Heat Moon, for those interested) said something like, "When I'm being a good writer I'm generally not being a good human." What he means is that you're not interacting properly with other people when you're crawled inside of your own head and trying to change that into words on paper. I go for a long walk, or a swim at the Springs, or a trip somewhere, and I spend a lot of time by myself thinking and it turns into something that I can write about.
All is quiet
On New Year's Day
-- U2, New Year's Day
      Training, in the physical fitness sense, is another one. I have never been and most likely will never be much of a team sport guy. Soccer at a young age pretty much took care of that, and I have no yearn for the camaraderie of a casual soft ball team or bowling league. Triathlon, where you put in lots of long, lonesome hours with nothing but your legs and your noggin, fits the bill for me. Running can be excruciatingly boring, but at least you're only boring yourself.
      Don't get me wrong: I like the occasional training run with a partner, or a long bike ride with Lucky Jimi, or taking a friend or two to the pool with me. But I like it only for a change. I much prefer the solitary work out for the bread and butter work. I get distracted when I'm training and I know the people around me. It's a combination of competitiveness and compassion: I either want to talk to them or to beat them, and both are distracting. So, in general, it's big Al off around Town Lake by himself and I'll see you in an hour.
      Now some things tend to preclude solitude, like being in a relationship.
      Or maybe I should say "Relationship."
      I'll spend an awful lot of time with the woman that I am dating. I remember reading some women's magazine that had an article about "semi-co-habitating," which is just a fancy way of saying "spending all of your time together but having a separate, albeit empty, apartment." That's a pretty good description of every serious relationship that I've had. Or maybe I should say Serious Relationship. We spend all of our time together, and maybe that's good and maybe that's bad.
Out of site, but not out of mind:

Leslie, who changes domains like some people change bad habits. Box doesn't seem very accessible right now, so you might give her a shot here. Or here.
Cantone (who's been reading too much superbad)
Scream Design, which provided the great spinning ying/yang on the home page
Jennifer, my reunion escort
• And someone I work with asked me to plug our site, garden.com

      I don't think it's going to change that much. I'm twenty-eight and set in my ways, and I'm just not happy with dating someone casually and trying to justify to myself that we're having a real relationship. If it's real, or maybe I should say Real, we spend all of our time together. Otherwise it's just friends, or "uhm-friends" as in "Her? Oh, she's an... uhm... friend."
      So what the hell am I talking about?
      Well, it looks like Jong and I are a done deal. The good news is that I can spend more time on solitary pursuits: a second update of Coldsmoke in just two weeks, and tonight I went for a two mile run.
      The bad new is obvious, you punk.

      I don't have any big new stories this week, though I should have been saving them up. Holiday parties, trips to Atlanta, and New Years are always good for a write up. I have been on an unprecedented detective story kick, devouring Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet these past two weeks. So I've updated Big Al's Bookshelf to ruminate on things, and threw in some other books I've read in the past few months just to round things out.
      I do have one New Year's story: my old man called me up on New Year's Eve, tanked up on a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, and hollered over the phone for awhile about good cheer and auld lang syne. Among other things, he told me that his New Year's resolution for 2000 was "let's have more fun this year."
      Like father like son. See you at the end of the week on the slopes, Dad.
      This web site was last updated on 1/2/2000. Happy New Year, y'all.

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