Growing Pains

Wow! I suck at posting so far this year. Have not touched this thing in at least 6 weeks. Not really sure why, but part of it is probably due to my uncertainty as to what to do with this thing exactly. Last year, I tried a thrice a week post schedule with specific topics/ideas for each day. I actually enjoyed the structure of the writing, yet I don’t know if I should keep it up within that parameter. I could revert to a more personal journal or blog style, but the random posting of whenever I feel like it does not really appeal to me at the moment. Plus, I will probably not post much if I do. So, not sure what I will do, but I think I’ll figure something out soon.

That’s kind of what this year has been so far even though it’s only been two months. I had made a few moves to get the hell out of dodge, so to speak. So far, I have only received rejection. It sucks, obviously, but it has not been as bad or devastating as I thought it would have been. Perhaps even just a few years ago, I would have been broken for a bit and stewed in my bitterness for awhile. Now, I read the rejections, made a mental not of their “suckage”, and went to perform my job minutes later. (Should be noted that I did kick some ass at work that day)

I guess that’s called ‘growth’ or something. Honestly, it was simply that I still need to leave my current circumstances and those avenues were closed off. I did what I could and it was not enough for those opportunities. That’s fine. All that really means is that I have to rely on other avenues that I am working on. Maybe that’s what I had trouble understanding before: that sometimes, no matter your efforts, things won’t workout simply because they won’t. At that point, I can wallow or move on and do something else. Before, I would do the former, but now I concentrate more on the latter. We’ll see if that makes a difference. If not, I’ll try something else. Not much else to do.

Time to get to work.

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On Attachments

So I have returned from my adventure of PAX South and had an amazing time. I wish I could have taken many more pictures and met infinitely more people than I did, but alas it was not to be. However, most of my tour of PAX, I primarily worked as an Enforcer. It sounds far more menacing than it actually is. Basically, I was one of several hundred volunteers that made helped PAX happen (I worked the Main Theater and TableTop sections). Here is a short (relatively) rundown of what I am talking about:

Yeah, I became part of that glorious group over the course of three days. During this experience, I made friends, helped several tens of people, and, in a sense, kind of became part of something bigger than myself. Now, calm down. Obviously, I am not trying to compare the experience to truly noble endeavors, crusades, or beliefs. I merely mean that it has been a long time since I have been part of a group with a clearly defined goal legitimately helping each other and complete strangers to achieve said goal.

Seriously, all throughout graduate school, it was basically a clusterfuck of idiotic infighting, intellectual masturbation, and genital measuring contests over irrelevant (even by academia standards) that ended in passive aggressive bullshit. That might explain why most of our social outings involved alcohol.

Anyhow, I grew attached to the event, to the people, and to the enthusiastic, crazy, optimistic, and endlessly helpful group known as Enforcers. They have a saying “Once an E, always an E” and I understand what they mean. I miss the experience of being at PAX, but I definitely miss the people more.

I suppose this first adventure of the year definitely taught me something. I am still looking for more than I have. I thought this was simply my desire for a different career, but it might be that I am searching for a purpose as well beyond a job. It is another thing to add to a seemingly growing list, but one that I look forward to figuring out.

If you get the opportunity, go to a PAX, maybe even PAX South next year because it is really a different experience that you will likely not forget.

Sounding Board

I honestly do not know why, but for some reason my friends have tended to use me as a sounding board. Whether they wanted advice on relationships, work, movie recommendations, or simply someone to bounce their ideas off of, I was able to enjoy some odd and interesting conversations. I cannot tell if I was helpful to my friends or if I provided anything more than a pair of ears, yet they kept coming back and seemed to derive as much enjoyment from these talks as I did.

I wish there was some way to monetize this skill because talking to intelligent and intriguing people and figuring out how to help them in completing their endeavors would be far more satisfying than my current employment. Recently, I had an idea for a project a friend should undertake. Deciding that I should actually do something about it, I sent him a proposal outlining how it would work and what he should do. It seems that he is very interested and is actually going to listen to me for once and do what I suggested. So hopefully soon I will be able to shill for his work in a few months.

Seriously, though, it was rather fulfilling even just giving him my idea for a project that I know he would be good at and would work toward his own individual goals. Events like this make me seriously question certain academic choices and have the constant thoughts of what could have been. I believe this is one of the main reasons why I listened to Bryan when he suggested that I start this blog. I want to be part of a community or group that encourages progress. I do not mean any ideological, social, or political agenda, but actual progress in the sense of working toward completion of goals and the creation of new plans.

I am unsure if I have managed to do this yet, but will work toward fostering such an atmosphere around me. After all, success, in whatever measure, is far more enjoyable when your friends and peers are along for the ride.

Reading the Signs…

“You remind me of the man that lived by the river. He heard a radio report that the river was going to rush up and flood the town, and that the all the residents should evacuate their homes. But the man said, “I’m religious. I pray. God loves me. God will save me.” The waters rose up. A guy in a rowboat came along and he shouted, “Hey, hey you, you in there. The town is flooding. Let me take you to safety.” But the man shouted back, “I’m religious. I pray. God loves me. God will save me.” A helicopter was hovering overhead and a guy with a megaphone shouted, “Hey you, you down there. The town is flooding. Let me drop this ladder and I’ll take you to safety.” But the man shouted back that he was religious, that he prayed, that God loved him and that God will take him to safety. Well… the man drowned. And standing at the gates of St. Peter he demanded an audience with God. “Lord,” he said, “I’m a religious man, I pray, I thought you loved me. Why did this happen?” God said, “I sent you a radio report, a helicopter and a guy in a rowboat. What the hell are you doing here?””

Father Thomas Cavanaugh talking to President Josiah Bartlett in The West Wing S1E14 “Take This Sabbath Day”

 Something you should probably know about me; I am a huge Aaron Sorkin fan. Sports Night, West Wing, Newsroom, even Studio 60; I have seen each and every one multiple times. Is his work perfect? No, but no piece of art is without criticism and I tend to look at Sorkin’s with a more positive eye, especially West Wing. The preceding quote has been in my head for awhile after a few friends had a ‘quote off’ of season one. An example of the many time wasting word games my friends and I play, to an obsessive degree.

Sorkin claims to be an atheist, at other times an agnostic at most, and I have no reason to disbelieve him. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, he has always included some degree of faith and religion into his programming, both to mock and to demonstrate a sense of respect and dignity. Now, before you exit from this post, this is not meant to begin a discussion about faith or religion or the role of either. Not saying those posts might not come late, but this is not it.

To me the quote above could have God replaced with Buddha, Allah, fate, life, Cthulu, the Easter bunny, or merely the universe for all I care. (Quick trip outside to make sure no one is trying to smite me…all clear). Honestly, it is not about placing one’s faith or life in specifically God’s hands but in looking for the signs to take action. I vehemently believe that there is some sort of code or pattern that makes the universe function. Even amidst the chaos and uncertainty, there are some underlying elements that we can see and observe and use to guide us. Not sure how accurate this belief is, but I am sure I could find some reputable scientists and theorists to back me up.

If we are willing to listen, observe, and act upon the signals and signs we see, I think we would be more fulfilled and less regretful. Will events and actions always work out in our favor? No, not at all. Sometimes the cute girl in the corner is smiling because she is remembering something funny and has nothing to do with you. Sometimes taking that risky dream job will end with you fired and on the market again a year later. Nonetheless, even with those instances you will have done something and learned from the experience without ever having to think about what could have been. This seems like a better way to have a life, or is it just me?

Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where I do not fully practice what I preach, but I am working on it and, with a little effort it, soon it will stop simply being words.

Day After the Day of Love

So for Americans, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. It is a day set aside to commemorate love in all its forms, but more specifically for those involved in a romantic relationship. People make plans and arrangements for luxurious dinners and surprises and lavish their significant others with flowers, chocolates, and gifts.

As for me, I have somehow managed to avoid being in a relationship on February 14th since senior year of high school. This was in no way an intentional action, merely the way circumstances shaped themselves. The last few years have found me in the company of good friends sharing drinks, breaking bread, and finding random ways to spend the night (movies, video games, poker, billiards, etc.). Don’t know if this was a way of either ignoring or acknowledging our mutual single status, but it was still fun.

This was the first time that I spent the day completely alone in quite some time. I spent Valentine’s Day watching movies and eating pizza. I also read a large section of a book. Frankly, it was a great night, though the pizza could have been better, that I really enjoyed. Don’t get me wrong. I look forward to finding someone to share and celebrate Valentine’s Day with, hopefully in the near future. Until then, I will continue to grow, learn, and find amusement and pleasure in whatever experiences I can find and have. I want to be the type of person and have the type of life that the kind of partner I want to have would join me in. I am not quite there yet, but definitely working on it.

So for those who enjoyed yesterday with their significant others; I hope you had a wonderful time and have a healthy relationship. For those who spent the night with friends; I hope you had fun and have a few memories and stories for the future. Finally, for those who were alone, whether by choice or not; I hope you enjoyed the solace of the evening and did something that put a smile on your face.

Also, a few last things: watch, as soon as possible, Much Ado About Nothing by Joss Whedon and In A World, read Paddle your Own Canoe, and remember that Valentine’s candy is now on sale so go get as much as possible.