Friday, December 30, 2016

Focus on what you can control; Have something to look forward to


My friend recently gave the title of this post as sound advice during a Thanksgiving party. Focus not on the craziness of life, because bad things happen and you can’t always stop bad things from happening. You definitely cannot control the past, you can’t control other people, and you can’t control every circumstance you fall in.
Focus instead on what you can control. The future, yourself, and your actions to put yourself into better circumstances.

I’m not sure my friend realizes this, but he gave me this advice before, a long time ago when I was getting divorced.

He told me to make a list, set small goals. Life was spiraling out of control, then, and I did what he suggested. I went to the FedEx store and bought 3 white chocolate KitKat Bars and moving boxes. My goal was to pack. That was my only goal. Packing was what I could control that day, and so I did that.

My life is MUCH better now, haha. I’m at a new point in which I want to push myself in new directions, but I am in control.

So the rest of this post is about the second half of his advice: Have something to look forward to. I’ve made a list of fun things for me to look forward to in the next year. Many are things I did this past year, which I want to do again, others are fun events like movies and video games releasing on the dates.

And my list does make me feel hopeful. There’s a lot of fun upcoming!

Things to look forward to in 2017 (updated as more comes):


Holidays and Days Off
Video Games
Movies and TV
Cool Events
L

January

12        Switch Direct 
13        Snow Day
16        MLK Day
21        Women's March on Washington

February

5          Superbowl
20        Presidents’ Day
28        Horizon: Zero Dawn


March

3          Nintendo Switch
6          Pulaski Day
21        Mass Effect: Andromeda 
28        Fantastic Beasts Bluray

April

7          PRIME 24/Hour New Play Festival
9          Wizard World Comic Con
8          Spring Break
11        Yooka-Laylee


May

29        Memorial Day
            Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales


June

2          SOHO Music Festival
13-15   E3 Expo
25        Game of Thrones Returns


July    

4          Independence Day


August

5 & 6   Pixelpop Game Festival
12        Missouri Games Con
20        Opening of Halloween Stores


September

Renaissance Festival
Strange Folk Festival
4          Labor Day
8          It Remake
22        Autumn
            Red Dead Redemption 2 (sometime in autumn)
25        My Birthday
29        Archon – sci fi con


October

31        Halloween


November

11        Veteran’s Day
16        Fantastic Beasts 2
23        Thanksgiving
            Macy’s Parade


December

6          St. Nick’s Day
15        Star Wars Episode 8
24        Christmas Eve
25        Christmas Day
31        New Year’s Eve


Without known dates:

secret thing
Snow Days
ending this post with a pic of me (from the other day) next to something I'm NOT looking forward to


Friday, November 25, 2016

Brand New Cell Phone




I have finally gotten a new cell phone. I haven’t had one since leaving Seattle, mostly because I hate phones. But, I have one now, and I wanted to write a bit about that. I bought a Galaxy 7 Edge. It’s got this cool case that protects the screen and also can be used as a touchscreen through the hard case. It uses NFC for a cool “closed case” screen. 
 
touch-shell closed
BTW, after years without, I’m pretty out of the loop about what good apps and phone games there are. I’m playing Pokémon Go, of course, but if you have recommendations please let me know!

One of the first things I did with my phone was prank my friends. With a brand-new number, not a single person would know who I was, so I used that to send text message pranks.

 

To one, I said, “Hey Jeffrey (his name’s not Jeff) can we talk?”


He replied – “Wrong number.”


I said, “Stop playing, Jeff. I want to tell you about the ghost I saw in the attic. The white lady appeared again.”


 

I went on to tell a ghost story, leading up to the ghost saying the actual name of my friend, then me revealing the prank. I pranked another friend by telling him he was subscribed to premium updates from a fake organization, leading into the organization knowing things that he keeps in his apartment and where he was traveling to next, haha. People that know me irl know I’m mischievous like that, and my friends are quick to figure me out. 


I love Halloween
After posting my actual number to my friends on social media, someone [unknown] texted me asking me to play 20 Questions to try and figure out who they are. We had fun, but I didn’t get it right. It was someone from my college years who I lived next to in my dorms. Very cool person!

Something else I’ve been doing is toying with the voice command. When you say “OK Google” the phone listens to you and tries to do what you tell it. But sometimes it outsmarts me. 

 

Me - OK Google, sing to me.


Google - OK! *procedes to play Justin Beiber music*

Me - *frantically lowering the volume and closing apps, trying to kill it*

Google - *music is still playing* "As long as you love me, love me, love me..."

Me - *No apps open, no browsers open... song is still playing when the volume goes up* "OK GOOGLE STAHP!"

Google - OK! [lol] *music stops*

Me - laughing crazily at being outsmarted by a phone



...
...
PART 2

Me - Driving home thinking about how weird it is to give voice commands to a phone. Nothing works like using a keyboard and mouse, imo

Google - [try me]

Me - "OK Google, what are Voldemort's seven horcruxes, then?"

Google - "According to the Harry Potter wiki, there is the Tom Riddle diary, Tom Riddle's father's ring, Slytherin's necklace, the RavenClaw diadem, the Hufflepuff cup, the snake and finally Harry himself. Notice that nothing of Griffendor's was ever used."

Me - ...




That’s all for now, but why not follow me on Twitter and then check out this blog post about a phone game I recently played [Fallout Shelter]?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Election Update 2: WHO WILL I VOTE FOR?


I posted about the primaries awhile back and said I would do an update for the general. Well, here it is, my last post about the 2016 election (barring any major shakeups).

In case you couldn’t work it out from my personality, I’m a Democrat. I know, shocking. Why would anyone expect a theatre-loving musician, writer, and artist to be an Obama fan?

But hey… I’m the kind of person who can speak to people I don’t politically match with. Some great people I know are Republican, and we can chat politics without hating each other.

Just had to say that. My personal PSA. I don’t hate you if you’re a Trump voter. 

If you get angry when you find out that someone supports a different political person than yourself, then please close your browser window. This blog is not for you.



Sunday, September 25, 2016

30

Today is my birthday.

I've left my 20s.

I'm 3 decades old.

Cool.

I have a philosophy about aging. Yeah, it'd be great to be a Lost Boy. To stay young and crazy forever.

But.

Growing older is better than dying.

I've reached 30. I'm lucky.

Some people are killed in car crashes. Some face diseases and depression and other terrible things. Just the other day, another people I knew from high school passed away from a heroine overdose. Yeah, this blog post got heavy real fast. Why am I thinking about this on my special day?

Because I'm lucky, and I need to remind myself.

I'm alive.

I could lose weight, but otherwise I'm seemingly healthy.

I'm not dealing with addiction.

I have a job. Friends. Family. A roof.

I have food to eat.

There are children far younger than I that will not be eating at all today, however someone bought me a cake today and I'll probably have a slice.

It hurts to think about it, but I'm lucky. I'm privileged.

Sometimes I think about what I want to do with my life, in full. The big picture.

I want to help people. I want to give clean drinking water to countries where there is no Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Cakes.

Sorry, not trying to be a downer. I am looking forward to eating some cake. I've been avoiding snacking much because of that weight thing. I haven't had McDonalds or Taco Bell since the new year began, my resolution is still going strong.

But, it is good to remember that growing older is better than not, because the only alternative is dying.

I want to be a writer more than anything else. That's my selfish desire. If I could sell a million books and strike a movie deal, I would put half my earnings into helping other people. I'm not saying that's what I want to do. I think we're all a little selfish inside. There's always another thing to buy.

But.

I think it's a duty to remember that there are other things outside our personal bubbles.

I'm 30. That's cool.

Makes me think of my legacy. What can I work on now that I can leave behind when my time is up? I'm hoping that is books to inspire literacy. Help that improves the global society. My first submission-worthy novel is nearly finished. I hope to be submitting it to agents by Christmas.

That's my plan.

This next decade is about completing that objective and being successful at it. Also, establishing something more for myself, I guess. I should start saving for retirement, right? That's ridic to think about.

I'm rambling.

Reflecting, I suppose. A better way to put it.

I want to do something cool and creative. That's my goal.

No good way to end this post, so.

I'm blessed. I'm lucky. I'm thankful. Thankful for everyone in my life and everyone that supports me. Thankful for my situation and my luck and my positive nature. Thankful for cake and my willpower to not eat fast food for the last 10 months. Thankful for having the ability to write and be creative. Thankful for the Internet and blogs and such. I hope I can give back to the universe twice what it's given me.





Sunday, August 28, 2016

August Break

As a teacher, I get time off in August, right after summer school ends.

My break was mostly spent finishing my novel. I did that every single day for most of the day. I worked hard, and I'm nearly finished now. But, just for fun, I'm going to post something else from each day of August Break.

Each number is a day:




1 Messaged a friend (who thinks Batman is hilarious) that there is a town called Batman in Turkey. (I discovered this doing research for a novel).

2 I cooked 3 pizzas using hand-chopped ingredients and Pillsbury dough.

3 I watched The Giver movie (it was OK) and then I did some scrapbooking.

4 I beat a trophy challenge in Arkham Knight called Brutality 101.

5 I got stood up.

6 I went on a solo adventure to Twilight Comics and At Home.

7 Tried to fix a car (not mine) that was fried on the side of the street. It needed a new engine, no joke.

8 Went to the Alpine Shop and also bought pumpkin spiced coffee creamer.

9 Began playing a new game called No Man's Sky.

10 Saw my cousin and aunt.

11 Had a weird dream about Hillary and Donald fighting for control of the universe in space-warfare.

12 Heard rumors and gossip all over facebook.

13 Went to a retro gaming convention with my cousin.

14 Had breakfast with a close friend and then prepared to return to school.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Life Update – SOHO 2016, Teaching, and Gateway Grizzlies



I realize that I haven’t really just written a general life update for my blog since November, so I think I’ll just talk about what’s been going on with me.
     
I’m still teaching at a school for autistic kids. That’s my day job. Summer school has been really fun, and the kids have been very relaxed. I feel sad that I’m losing certain kids after summer, though. I really like teaching them how to read, but I’m going to be working with a non-reading crowd in August.

I’m working on writing novels by night. It’s a real challenge, but I’m positive that what I’ve been doing will be worthwhile. I paid off my car in February, and that has been an awesome feeling (also, no car payments keeps money in my wallet). Then, in March, I got rear-ended by a woman driving too fast. It was her fault. The dent was small and hard to see, so I didn’t press the woman for insurance cash, and I feel good about that. I try to be a good person when I can, and that would have been very expensive for her for such a small dent. She seemed grateful, anyway. 

Also, I cut my hair. Crazy. It's been years and years since my last cut (seriously, like 8, I think).
Lately, I’ve been driving up to Springfield a bunch to see my friends. Birthday parties, engagements, music festivals… The last few months have been really fun.

My Aunt Rose had a big birthday party, too. My uncle rented out a suite at the Grizzlies Baseball Field and we had a gathering. I’m very lucky to have such an awesome family. We all care about each other. I never knew my father’s side, but my mother’s side has more than made up for what I missed out on.

Looking forward, I am a week away from having 16 days in a row off from school for summer break. I’m planning on working on my writing and going to a retro-gaming convention, but other than that, not much else. I’ve been apartment hunting. I have not found anything yet, though.
Overall, life is going well. I have a good job, good friends, good family, and I’m having fun. What else is there?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Should I move to Seattle?

Recently, a friend of mine asked me if, as a former Seattle resident, he and his wife should move out there. I had a lot to say, and I thought I'd turn my conversation with him into a blog post. So, this question isn't for me. I am not considering moving back. However, here are my thoughts for anyone considering the move.


In general:

Seattle is a hip place with lots to do. People say that it’s hard to make friends (the “Seattle Freeze”), but I found the people nice enough. Many are glued to their headphones while on buses or walking down the street, so I think that's where the stigma comes from. Don't be pushy. Get a hobby or meet your work friends somewhere.



Jobs:


I think finding a job there is relatively easy. There are lots of cool companies to work for, especially tech ones. Amazon, Nintendo, Google and Facebook have offices there, Microsoft. The economy feels pretty great there, compared to the rest of America.



If you're considering working for Nintendo:

(my friend wanted to know about Nintendo specifically)

Friends of mine who worked for the Big N said they hire many positions in the telephone customer service (and they give those staff free systems to keep, too!). Nintendo is also not in Seattle proper, but Redmond, and it’s across Lake Washington. There are two bridges over that lake (it’s BIG), and one of the bridges (520, the closer one to the U-District) is often shut down. Commute across is not fun whatsoever.



The downside of Seattle:

Obviously, I suppose the big downside is that it rains from about the end of August to June (I heard the term “June-uary”), and I mean it rains and is covered in clouds nearly every single day. This tends to make people depressed, and not just because it’s wet, but the lack of sun deprives the body of certain things the brain needs. A doctor once said that women in particular are effected by this weather-related depression. You will see hundreds of people lying out at the parks shirtless when there is sun (I called it lizarding).

The upside of the weather is that it never gets very hot or cold, and the few months of summer are wonderful. It feels like you’re living in a real-life Skyrim. My unit had no AC. Also, electricity is cheap! I paid $16 bucks for two months, for real. I paid bi-monthly, it was so cheap.

There’s very little of snow (also, no thunder either), since it never gets all that cold. However, when it does hit, people are very clueless on the roads. I once was in a bus that tried to go up and hill and ended up sliding back down…




As far as religion and politics:

If you're a liberal freethinker, then you're in luck. Seattle is basically paradise. Almost everyone in Seattle is liberal.

I had one religious/conservative friend while in Seattle, and she constantly joked about being alone and surrounded by liberal crazies. Her assessment is truth. I didn’t meet many people of faith, and most were extreme liberal-types, more extreme than me. Most of the churches I noticed were the progressive kind that flew rainbow flags in the windows. It might be hard for someone of faith or Republican beliefs to meet like-minded people.

There are definitely a lot of free-range grass-fed gluten-free vegan cafes, if you get my drift. Very hipster.



Geek culture:


If you like video games, look forward to PAX Prime (but be aware that tickets sell out within the hour of going up). It’s the coolest convention for nerds. Geek culture thrives there. There is also the Emerald City Comic Con and an anime convention, which are excellent. Even though I don't like comics or anime, the conventions are fun to wander through and worth the time for any nerd. I also know that there are steampunk groups that hold tea parties and many pinball bars to go to.



The city vs. surroundings:

Seattle is different than many urban areas in America in one major way: When you go out of Seattle, it becomes wilderness. There’s not much civilization in the area around the city. This can be great if you like hiking and camping, but not great if you need a break from the city. If you get bored of the city and want to go somewhere a little slower, you're out of luck. Seattle is secluded. It's in a bubble of mountains with not much else, besides nature, around.






Where to live:

(my friend asked me about Lake City and the U-District in particular)

Both Lake City and U are good spots. Lake City is really nice, but expensive. I lived in the U-District (off a street known as “The Ave”) and I liked it. It is not a quiet neighborhood, as you might imagine. Lots of frats and late night parties. I never minded much, though. Also, drug dealers are everywhere, but it actually got better when they legalized pot and more people began buying it from the shops instead. Still, if you’re used to Chicago or STL then you’ll be fine. The “bad” neighborhoods in Seattle are like the nice neighborhoods in STL. When you look for a spot, look for where the popular streets are, so that you can find food/etc within walking distance. Otherwise traffic can be hectic for simple things.

Public transit is very nice and quick. I never had to wait very long. If you do move there, I suggest getting an ORCA card ordered and loaded so you’re ready to go! There’s a train/bus from the airport to wherever if you’re flying, and all of it takes ORCA. http://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/fares-orca.aspx 

If you’re driving, prepare to pay about 21 bucks to park anywhere. I used https://www.doortodoor.com/ to move my possessions, and it was one of the best decisions I made. I totaled gas/milage for a truck, and it was nearly the same for me to get a pod and drive my own car.



Thanks for stopping by the blog. Feel free to send me a tweet and tell me what you think. BTW, I took every photograph on this post. 


Sunday, May 29, 2016

May Dreaming

My dreams:

I swam down into a hole at the bottom of a swimming pool. Inside, there was a path through a cave and then a skeletal dragon burst out, several times, sending bones and stalactites to crash into the walls. I called to my friends on the other side of the cave. We ran to get out and there was a ship at the bottom of the water. We dove up for air and searched the railing with our feet to find the hole. We climbed out of the swimming pool again.

Apparently this was a swimming pool inside a church, and the church was run by two ducks that were nuns. But not just ducks, ducks that were also balloons. They asked me and my friends to find the plastic people at the bottom of the deep end of the pool. 

I flew down to the bottom and then jumped high out of the water, gliding onto the top of a podium, which topped a stacked pile of church pews 40 feet in the air. The balloon ducks were at the bottom and they began to wobble the furniture. I was very scared of falling. They requested I dropped the plastic people, and I did, but I was getting angry because they kept wobbling the furniture I was standing on. I almost fell.

Finally, I flew down and left the church, but the ducks were mad at me for scolding them about the church pews. They attacked me by biting me with their beaks, but it didn’t hurt because it was only balloons, after all. I ran out and held the door behind me. The ducks were trying to bust out of the church. If they came out and attacked, I knew I might pop them, but I didn’t want to. I had my friend hold the door while I ran to the car and then woke up.

Wrote that. Went back to bed:

Dreamt that a flash flood swept down my street, sweeping away all the cars. I went out looking for mine. It was hanging by a rope over the edge of a cliff. I pulled it up, somehow it was light, and it was nothing more than a frame, completely destroyed, even the blue paint gone. It was white as a skeleton. I yelled in my dream about how I had just finishing paying it off until I woke up.
I typed both of those dreams out when I woke from them, then went back to bed. Rereading it now, it’s weird to see that my first dream ended with a car and my next dream was about a car. Now, it’s storming outside and I’m about to get in my car and face the water. Hrm.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Seven Ones


When I was in college, I was having a discussion with a girl about “the one.” Was there only one person in this world that you’re meant to be with? We were building a theatrical set for a class, discussing that, among things.

She told me something that stuck: That if there was only one person you’re meant to be with, then you’re very unlikely to find that person.

She said she liked the idea that the universe meant for you to be with somebody, but one person in the entire world was not enough. So, she said, she believed that there were seven ones.

Seven people you’re meant to be with. There’s no scientific reason to believe this. There’s no proof. But, I still like the idea.

It makes the concept of the one a little less scary. Seven times less scary, to be precise. Seven chances to get a relationship right.

Like the evil exes from Scott Pilgrim, I guess. I’m friends with most of my exes (so I wouldn’t call them evil).

Sunday, March 13, 2016

My thoughts on the primaries:

I’m a democrat. That’s probably obvious to those of you who know me. I used to have an Obama sticker on my guitar amp (and one on my car) when I used to play in bands. For the last few years, I’ve largely stopped talking about politics in general. It’s just not my thing anymore. I still listen, watch debates (I’ve seen all of them for both parties), etc., but I just don’t talk about it publicly much.

I just think it would be fun to write out my thoughts right before the primaries here in Illinois.

Historically speaking, I realize we’re likely to have a republican president. Also, I’m not a hater. I love my republican friends. My family mostly consists of republicans. America would be a boring place if everyone agreed. Political competition is important to keeping the fire within the American spirit alive. But, I know that the republicans are likely to win this time around, barring any major screw up.

Of the Republicans, John Kasich is the obvious best choice. He’s the only candidate that admits that humans contribute to climate change (which is the most important issue of modern times, imo). He’s the only one that knows that a clean environment and green energy can be done while growing business and jobs (perhaps, he might even see green as an opportunity for the economy?). He seems like someone who will be willing to work with other parties to do positive things.

He won’t, but if he did get his party’s nomination, he would probably win. No, I wouldn’t vote for him, even after giving him praise. Remember, I’m a democrat.

Now, on the other side:

I came into this election a full-blown Hillary supporter.

I am a huge Barack Obama fan. I voted for Obama over Hillary before. Now that he’s on the out, I do feel like Hillary is the best person to continue what Obama has done.

But Bernie is the best person to build upon what Obama has done, and that’s why I changed my mind. Hillary would continue Obama’s legacy, but Bernie would build on top of it. Obama built the framework for a progressive revolution. Bernie has the vision for what should come next.

My decision was a gradual change. When I first began learning about Bernie Sanders, I didn’t want to throw in for him and be seen as just another hipster being predictable. But, hearing him out, I now believe he stands a better chance at winning the general election than Hillary. Voters want someone who isn’t bought at paid for, and Hillary’s emails could be a huge problem for her. Bernie’s path and record seems cleaner, more solid. Nobody’s going to be able to say he’s low energy or a lightweight.

Hillary is great, but in politics like in basketball, you pass the ball to the person on fire. That wasn’t meant as a bern pun, but Bernie is the candidate that is driving the passion for progressives, just as Obama did during his elections. He's simply got the best chance, in my opinion.

Now, if only Elizabeth Warren were VP…
  
.
P.S. not looking for debate or heated argument (please note that I was respectful of the other party in this post). Just wanting to record my thoughts. If you comment, be nice.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Jan&Feb(so far)

I want to live a weird life. Dye my hair blue and own a bowie knife.
Jan
1 project
2 boxes
3 scenes
4 weirdos
5 jacket
6 tent
7 Kart
8 complete
9 Powerball
10 cry
11 memory
12 stressful
13 Worm
14 debate
15 Spinal
I want to write novels and drink fancy coffee. Dye my hair blue and whisper secrets softly.
16 Knight
17 singing
18 POV
19 tried
20 SNOW
21 ambulance
22 harness
23 dustyflaps
24 Express
25 sent
26 fantastic
27 SURPRISE
28 note
29 over
30 replaying
31 lazy
I want to hop on a train and live inside. Dye my hair blue and collect railroad spikes.
Feb (so far)
1 Obviously
2 ERROR
3 reopened
4 Thorn
5"joking"
6 Server
7 lacking
8 math
9 permanently
10 dull
11 chocolates
12 rival
13 obsessing
14 taxes
15 hairclip
I want to get lost in a city subway. Dye my hair blue and crash where I lay.
16 coffee
17 period
18 PAID
19 reason
20 myth
21 waste
22 unscripted
23 stimulated
24 read
25 complex
26 Weird
27 Luna
28 plans
I want to toss you in a river. Dye my hair blue and watch the greenlights shimmer on the surface.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Some of the big things I did in 2015


Saw “Impractical Jokers” at the Peabody Opera House
Sculpted a Nintendo statue that went viral
I participated in a friendly Smash Bros. Tournament
I taught Social Science at my school
I bought Oxyborb.com back
I went to Wizard World Comic Con
I hunted Amiibo during the craze
I beat the Witcher 3
I began a reread project of A Song of Ice and Fire
I went to a music festival called SOHO
I went on a solo tour of Springfield and took pictures with Abe Lincoln
I worked on my book and edited several books for other people
I saved a kid from choking
I had a college buddy pass away. The first person to read my book, actually.
I went on a float trip that was a bit of a disaster
I saw the new Polar Bears at the Zoo
I went on a crazy road trip to Chicago and stayed at a different house each night
I wrote in a journal consistently every single day
I had my first jury duty
I bought my first Halloween animatronic
I had one total sick day at work
I played in a pumpkin patch and carved a jack-o’-lantern
I was a monster in a haunted trail
I bought a nativity set (a Christmas gift)
I saw a Jesus Circus
I took two friends Christmas shopping
I saw a new Star Wars movie
I went out to Silvercreek with awesome people from work
I saw a friend I haven’t seen since SIUE
I met a bunch of cousins’ children
I bought a boomerang
I played Fallout 4 and love it
I went to a Farmer’s Tan Market show

2015, overall, was a great year. It's also was very transitional for me. I had some job promotions, responsibility changes. I tried a lot of new things and went outside of my comfort zone. I kept up with my blogging and writing, although my editing of my novel had a pause during which I had to write a million lesson plans. I went on a few adventures, the best of which was my road trip to Chicago. 2014 I was a little reclusive, but 2015 I learned how to balance myself. I made new friends. I took chances on people. I dove into social situations where I didn't know anyone.

Looking forward to 2016, there are a world of changes at hand, and I don't mean "New Year's Resolutions that I say I'll do but never end up doing." I have major goals that I have to complete, not out of desire but out of necessity. I don't think these changes will be too hard, but they will be interesting. Most of my challenges waited on me paying off my car loans, and I'm almost there. I should hit it by January. Party!

Anyway, happy new year to you.