Returning to Work

Getting up this morning was hard.

As is typical for me, it was actually easy to achieve consciousness – my dogs have me well trained to wake up around 7:45 no matter how late I went to sleep the evening before. What is always hard is the simple process of scraping myself off the mattress and starting the mechanical process of preparing for the returning to normalcy after a nice, long break.

My first struggle for the day was an internal one versus the little voice inside that whispered seductively how it would be so much easier if I just skipped exercise this morning. I have a month-to-month membership at a gym that is about five minutes from my house. I am trying to get into the habit of daily exercise in the morning before going into the office. I’ve been doing it on and off since November. One thing that always makes it a little hard to find proper motivation is that I have to drive (even if only for five minutes) to get to the gym. Instead of fighting a perhaps losing battle to get into the car, this morning, I decided to try out my wife’s treadmill desk. This substitution may very well have secured victory for me as the voice of temptation was very strong this morning.

While I prefer the treadmill at the gym with its slope adjustment and heart rate monitoring, the treadmill desk got the job done today and allowed me to get some exercise while I read some more Anna Karenina on my Kindle. I love how eReaders allow you to read under many conditions where in the past it ranged from difficult to impossible to get by with something as clumsy as a hardback or worse a paperback.

With my exercise accomplished, I showered and dressed before heading downstairs to prepare a simple breakfast of instant oatmeal and coffee for myself and a gluten-free breakfast bar and coffee for my wife. When I looked out the kitchen windows, I found myself again confronting a grey, uninviting day much like the one on the first of the year. Fortunately, it was no longer raining and this meant that little coaxing was required to get my dog Perrin to go outside in the backyard along side my other dog Doobie. Perrin seems almost terrified at the prospect of getting even a few drops of water on him. When he does get wet from a visit outdoors, afterwards, he comes back inside and immediately proceeds to rub himself against the couch as though he were a vampire trying to rub off the hateful burning influence of holy water.

After finishing breakfast, I packed up my things and prepared for the thirty minute car trip to the office. I decided to listen to some Nick Cave followed by a little classic Nine Inch Nails to wake me up.

It was an uncharacteristically quiet day at the office. While some people are still on vacation until next week, there are still plenty of people here. I think the stillness has more to do with everyone still adjusting from their holiday schedule to the normal office routine.

Tonight, I start a course called Computing for Data Analysis that is being offered via Coursera. I’m looking forward to it and hope that it will be a fun way to get better acquainted with the R language and its capabilities. It’s also a nice precursor to a second course that I’m taking towards the end of the month that will use R and focus more on the actual techniques of data analysis.

The Rainy Start to 2013

I really love Christmas time. I love the lights, the classic carols, the cinnamon and nutmeg coffee, the eggnog, and the ritual of putting up a Christmas tree in our house. It fills me with a deep joy every year as I look forward to taking a break from my job and being around my friends and family. It’s probably the one cultural tradition that I really connect with on an emotional level. It taps into so many pleasant nostalgic memories of Christmases past. And I cannot express how wonderful it is to simply disconnect from the daily concerns of my job (even though I rather enjoy my job on most days).

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My Last.FM Top 25 for 2010

Here’s the top 25 artists that I’ve spent the most time listening to this year (as taken from my Last.FM page:

Rank Artist Listens
1 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 360
2 Katatonia 326
3 Kylie Minogue 307
4 Bat for Lashes 289
5 Neurosis 282
6 King Crimson 225
7 Iron Maiden 207
8 Paradise Lost 189
9 Lady Gaga 162
10 Goldfrapp 152
11 Cocteau Twins 145
12 Atheist 144
13 Ulcerate 140
14 Johann Sebastian Bach 139
15 Swallow the Sun 137
16 Slayer 130
17 Type O Negative 127
18 Ludwig van Beethoven 122
19 Novembre 115
20 Helloween 114
21 Siouxsie and the Banshees 111
22 Suffocation 109
23 Dead Can Dance 104
24 Morbid Angel 103
25 Agalloch 97