don't read this

Entry #1480, Mon, June 11, 2007, 22:39 CEST (Life in General)
(posted when I was 28 years old.)

I'm sitting on my balcony wearing only boxers and a t-shirt. This being Germany makes this not a big deal. Since it's dark out, it's actually entirely inconsequential.

I cooked myself some spaghetti with a mean sauce tonight. This was something of a breakthrough. My not-so-recent illness put a bit of a dent in my goal of cooking more. It totally killed my momentum on that front, actually. This weekend I did a good amount of cleaning; and after work I finally went on a shopping trip that involved replenishment of my fresh ingredient store. So now my kitchen has hopefully been reimbued with the sort of positive energy a kitchen should have. Wish me luck.

Now, my momentum on other fronts that I set goals on has fared better. And on that note, I'd like to share some thoughts I've been having on public speaking. Looking back on my recent icebreaker, there were two aspects which I was consistently told need work. One was that I needed to use the space on the stage more. I had intentionally decided to stay put, because the manual said I could stay in one place during my first speech. I figured reducing the number of variables to worry about was a good thing. So even though it is a valid criticism, I don't feel like I should worry about it until I actually try to use the space.

The second criticism was that I did not make enough eye contact with people. I acknowledge that this is true. In fact, it was something I was giving major thought to as I gave the speech. Eye contact has never been one of my strong suits. So I paid attention to it during my speech. I found it difficult, however, to make good eye contact with about half the crowd. It is these people that gave feedback on this aspect, for the most part.

First, there are the people who are not looking at me. As I move my eyes across the crowd, they are not going to stay on somebody who is not looking. Sorry. I don't know how to improve this. Second, there are the people who are looking, but with whom eye contact feels strange. The people with whom I regularly made and maintained eye contact during the speech were the people who looked most attentive and friendly. These people were safe havens. Luckily, about half the crowd met this criteria, and thus I was spared having to look at my feet.

But this led me to realize that I ought to become more aware of what sort of audience member I am. I'm going to try to be a safe haven for eye contact myself. And in the future, I'll just have to be more aggressive with those who don't offer these safe havens. Whatever that means.

Returning to the topic of public nudity in Germany (which I thought about, but didn't really broach, in my first paragraph), however, I'd like to point out that I made a brief, fully nude appearance in the English Garden last Thursday. After a frisbee game, we headed to the Eisbach for our usual post-game dunk. There were far fewer of us than usual, and far more naked Germans than normal. Ordinarily, I change into my swim trunks under protection of a towel. I felt, however, that given the prevalence of naked Germans, being prudish about changing would just be silly. So I showed my ass to the world. Or at least to the couple dozen people present. I hope reading this story has made your life more complete.

Also, I just want the world to be aware of this: the washing machine in my building takes two hours to do a load of laundry. This appears to be by design.


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