it's that time again.

I had a New Year's Eve about as lovely as they come. My voice is shot and at 11:30pm on January 1st my body thinks it's morning and I just haven't slept much, but other than that I'm fine.

I went to the annual dojo New Year's Eve celebration. O-Sensei, the founder of aikido, apparently used to have people doing the basic technique suwari-waza shomen-uchi ikkyo (he probably didn't call it that, since he wasn't big on naming techniques, but suwari == "seated", waza == "technique", shomen == "front/top", uchi == "strike", ikkyo == something like "first") as the clocked turned midnight. So we have class from 11:30pm to 12:30am, doing that technique as midnight passes, with the lights turned off except for the light on the picture of O-Sensei at the front of the dojo, and then we eat food. With traveling and being sick, I hadn't trained in ten days or so, and it was important to reconnect with that community and my physical/spiritual practice. My relationships there have really blossomed in the past six to nine months, as I've made some leaps in my training, and the people there have more and more decided or seen that I'm committed to the practice, and opened themselves up (most people don't stick with the practice, and it's difficult to really open up to being friends with someone when you don't know if they'll be in your life in a year or two). And I've changed quite a bit as a person this past year as well, so with that and being a better aikidoist, the dojo relationships, which communicate so much in the dialogue between bodies, have a much greater range to work with. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but maybe that's another entry.

One thing I noted about class: I didn't get out of breath, or even start breathing fast. At all. The entire hour. Even though Sensei started class with the annual five-minute run around the dojo. I kept my breathing steady. Cool.

Eventually I made my way to Cataclysmic Megashear Ranch in the city, where I retrieved the girl, and we headed over to Ploosh, the NYE collaboration between my SLA group and the Vibrant collective.

Being sick, I eventually decided not to do any work for Ploosh, but I got sort of called in anyway...the afternoon before the party, people were frazzled and various chaotic events (mostly there was some question about getting a sound system, since the guy providing it was unsurprisingly late getting back from Thailand) left the people at the site feeling undirected. I had ended up with the day off, so to be helpful I went up to provide direction. Not that I've ever coordinated anything at a party before, but I've helped with enough of them, and far be it from me to not try something just because I think I'm unqualified. As it happened, mostly everyone just needed someone calm, appearing to take charge and handling the overall checklist of stuff, and believing that everything would be okay. I ran over the basics--lighting, sound, power, toilets, toilet paper--but in fact everything was well under control; it's just that everyone was immersed in their jobs and unable to see that everything was fine. So I didn't get in anyone's way, just collected information, made a few suggestions, and acted supportive and knowledgeable (which is generally what I guess I can now call "my leadership style", which I should think and write more about later). I've played this role before, particularly in organizing the Skidmore Dynamics back in 1995, and it's a matter of acting calm and confident when no one else is, and even if you're not; but all the other times I've been the leader, I've actually been doing work, and this time all I really did was supervise, and not actually accomplish anything myself, just enable other people to accomplish their things. I gather from observation that that's essentially the job of a manager, and while I can't rule anything out, I can't say that I like it much.

And, of course, Ploosh came out well. The girl and I had a lovely time, and I lost my voice talking to all my friends and a couple strangers, and the music was good. We got there around 3am and left around 6am.

For some reason, only two hours of sleep were in the cards, so we were up and putzing around for a while before hitting breakfast and generally spending the day being cracked out around the house. ("Cracked out" comes from raver culture, and describes the state you're in after being out all night [until 6am, say, or even later] and then sleeping a bit. It's kind of tiredness, but since you've slept, it's mostly just a zombified state, perfectly suited to sitting around on the couch with friends and watching TV, and paying for some nice restaurant to make dinner for you. Then you sleep again, and the next day you're fine, or fine enough--we find as we get older that it takes a little bit longer to fully recover from the all-nighter.) Of course, I couldn't take it any more and I had to pass out for a 2-hour nap around 8pm, and now it's past midnight and my body is highly confused and I feel like it's morning and I just haven't slept enough.

I'm going to be 28 in a few weeks. How'd I end up with my shit so completely together?