Written the morning before I left for NYC - Thursday night blending into Friday morning.

Many things going on; can't keep track of them all. Take scheduled dives through conversations as quickly and deeply as you can, ask for help keeping up with the news. The test is whether you can get things done in a way that responds appropriately to what's going on - and sometimes the appropriate response is not paying attention to what's going on because the noise will pass and you can catch up later. The question is what point I find my balance at.

This the hard part; despite whatever else is going on and despite what anybody else around me may be doing, what choices do I make to be responsible, to keep my promises, to do the best I can to help the people and the causes that I care about?

And what do I ignore?

Pick a thing and do a thing. It looks like I won't be sleeping tonight except on the bus to New York.

Pick a thing: Get everything off the floor of my room and into either its rightful place in my room or in some location that isn't my room.

Do a thing: My room is now a human-habitable place. I am proud!

Pick a thing: Handle the computers strewn about my apartment.

Do a thing: A shelf has been set aside for laptop storage when not in use. Amusing point: the XOs in my testbed have been labeled with small circular EFF stickers, so Sugar Journal entries may contain things like "Fair Use shared a Write document with Free Speech 3 days ago." Reminds me of the Game Night where our profs played... it might have been Quake? on the big screen in the cafeteria, and chose Honor Code clauses for their handles. "Openness To Change has died. Respect for Others just fragged Patience and Understanding. Do Something bites the dust."

The muscles behind my shoulder blades have ossified, and I'm trying to stretch them out.

I've learned a lot recently by watching how different people handle change and crisis. I've decided that I want to learn how to handle crisis well, and that most of that means (1) learning how to fight fires really well, so that I'm not afraid of them, and then (2) learning how to act so that fires don't happen in the first place. The second is far more important than the first; still, there are times when it is worth it to cultivate an unneeded skill. Sometimes acquiring a skill is a prerequisite for that skill being unneeded.

My archival box contains a few journal entries from when I was 12; my parents made me keep a travel log when we went to visit relatives in Canada. I was not very pleased about this, and half the pages are filled with emphatic complaints about being forced to write a journal (except for one page written in spotty ink markedly different from the rest, which complains about fountain pens). I chuckle with amusement to think about how immature my 22-year-old self will seem to me in another decade. For instance, it's 3:41am and I'm still cleaning the house.

For that later self - who, after all, is the primary audience of this blog - I'll note a few things that seem particularly apparent to me today, often not for the first time. No person is perfect; projects and organizations are made of many individual people. Perfection is not a prerequisite for doing good things. Small bits of wire are very difficult to extricate from carpet. Characters in interesting historical stories didn't know, at the time, that things would work out, or how they would.

6 hours of pre-travel productivity later: I have a brand-spankin'-new room, a clear kitchen, and a growing pile of things to get rid of. I have some website layouts and a business card design. (Thanks for the prod, Sumana!) I caught up with and touched base with several people and projects, wrote the next round of draft proposals for my law school seminar, did my first round of software testing pre-class paperwork, learned the A section of a new Mingus piece, learned the first voice of a guitar duet, and checked - again - to see if FOSDEM folks had picked up business cards. I also wrote a really long and rambly blog post chronicling some of my efforts and thoughts. The most productive time was when I was too busy doing things to write about them, but the writing helped me get there, so I feel vindicated in the time I spent on this. Whee!