Warning: Rant Ahead! You have been warned, and if you don't like personal drama, feel free to ignore this. It's really just my way of working through some thoughts.
In High School, I withdrew from most of my peer groups. I became largely socially independent. I had a large group of people around me but I formed few attachments to them, and that might have been largely due to a trend that started with me in elementary when my family moved frequently and I found myself forming fewer friendships at each school though realistically I have lived in the same area for half a decade by the time I was in high school so that might be a cop-out of an explanation. Still, I felt the pressure to "be normal" and craved social interactions.
By the time I graduated I was often the go-to guy for advice in the groups I did socialize with. Almost every one of my piers had, at one time or another, ranted to me about one problem or another. That environment was true at school, in my church groups, with my scout troop, my home-school group, co-workers and even the older siblings of some of the people I associated with. I would often listen to people for hours, and then I would offer advice. I don't know if it was good advice or not, but it was offered after understanding their situation and by dispassionately observing the outcome of the lives of the people around me. I let others make mistakes that I could learn from. I limited my interactions with people I had low opinions of because of their choices.
Of course, I didn't have anyone I could rant to, and when I did try to vent off some frustration with my "friends" they had a tenancy to refuse their ears. The few times I did vent at someone, they had their attention elsewhere, missed details, forgot things before I was done and I ended up more frustrated at the end than I started out being.
Dating was the one area I felt the most frustrated almost constantly. Because of how I had structured my social interactions, I had few opportunities to meet girls and fewer opportunities to ask them out. My very first date was a favor for a friend so his girlfriend would go to homecoming with him since she refused to go in her BFF didn't have a date. In retrospect I see that I was probably the only guy he knew desperate enough to agree.
I attended every church dance that came along because that was the only time I could meet girls my age and have an opportunity to talk to them. The social pressures often led to panic attacks (I don't realize until only a few years ago that's what they were) and more than once I ended up hiding out until the end by finding a hiding spot I could cry in without being found. (Once, I got kicked out of a spot I found by a girl I had asked to dance 3 times; she claimed it was a spot she frequently used and since no one had danced with her she needed it more than I did. Yeah, teen angst.)
I served a mission after high school. The experience taught me that sometimes people just want some empathy. I started to realize I had a problem identifying with people on an emotional level. I leaned other things, obviously, but that isn't what I talking about now.
I returned from my mission to Fort Wayne, Indiana where I immediately entered the YSA group. (That's "Young Single Adults," a Mormon colloquialism for fresh meat) I was expected to begin dating right away, and in 10 years there, I dated 4 women. 2 of them were single-date-experiences, one was a girl from school that had a crush on me so we hung out a few times before I got dumped because I didn't want to take her in the carnal way, and one was a woman I was serious about for 6 months before she stopped returning my calls after i drove 4 hours after work to give her a valentines gift. So, I'm not sure if one could call such a space history rocky... but it wan't like I was on fire. I still attended all the dances, and I had learned to ask out all the girls and even made a point of dancing the whole time.
Outside of dating I made few friends. I count those as the ones I could hang out with and talk about anything. 3 or 4 depending on how generous I'm feeling towards humanity when I count. I went to the YSA activities and I'm sure most of those people count friends differently than I do, and by that measure I'm sure I could expand my group to a dozen and a half. I never had to pretend I was having fun, but I still had regrets every time I didn't ask someone out. Inevitably, I developed a pattern of asking out women who had just gotten engaged and would say things like, "If you had asked a week/month ago..." But the worst were the ones who would say things like, "If I wanted to date anyone, I'd want to date someone like you."
Yes, I got bitter. Ladies, let me translate that last one for you, because I'm sure, from the frequency I heard it, that you often think it's a compliment. It's not, and most men aren't stupid enough to miss the meaning: "I'm not interested in dating you, and if I was, I'd date someone like you but not you." That's what that means.
I've lived in Houston for over 10 years, and I have been on three dates. I've developed a small handful of close friendships, a few with women I have not tried to date or even harbored crushes on (a huge sign of growth on my part). That is not to say that I don't value the associations I've made, and most people call those kinds of relationships friendships anyway, so I do count my friendships high even in my close friendships remain at or below 3.
I don't mean this to be a pity log, or a dating history, I just feel that all of that is necessary background to understanding my frustration at seeing what I perceive as what I should be and having a clear, unbiased view of what I am. I've never been able to lie to myself about my shortcomings, though I have also tried to avoid using them as crutches. I might lie to others about my self-image, and have succeeded in convincing many that I am a bit narcissistic and unrealistically proud of my own looks (full disclosure: I'm neither of those things) but that is always a ruse to grease the social wheels that I tend to barely understand. Even entering my 40th year, I still don't fully grasp the nuances of conversation, can't comprehend the need for emotional bonding (though that doesn't diminish my desire to achieve it), I see myself as an introvert that has developed social skills as a survival tactic.
I have been accused of flirting with women I barely know and have no interest in, while the women I do have interest in take the revelation as a surprise. I share that in order to illustrate my complete lack of skill in dealing with people.
Recently I discovered that I might be on the autism scale. In fact, I am one point away from Asperger's on an informal test, which is close enough to be concerned because the margin of error is several points. I look around and see people with few redeeming qualities pairing up, many of them in life-long relationships, and here I am in a social group where all the single women I know are divorced with children and I can't identify with their life experiences. Even when someone sets me up with a date, I find that I am socially paralyzed to go through with it. I am frustrated by all of this. The strange part is that I understand my fears, I can identify them clearly even if I can't articulate them so. And so I become frustrated even farther by the fact that I can clearly see where I am and where I want to be, and I think that the frustration might just be that yawning gulf in between.
If you've read this far, you are far more patient than I am. I doubt I wold have if I were in your position.
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Like the title says, New Year, New Plan.
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I have a little problem. I get bored. I get bored fast, and in terms of work, that seems to equate to either sabotaging my job untill I am asked to leave, or my making astoundingly rediculous choises to further my carrer.
Best job I ever had was working for a painball company. They had financial dificulties and I was relinqished to shop where I was let go for being late (by a minute every time and my late work days for no overtime and ability to exceed quotas with a high degree of accuracy were not considered) I look back now and I think it was a bit of self sabatage.
I've had other shop jobs, and I hated every one of them. But still, I think I inevitably came to leave those positions out of shere boredom. Every time.
Then there were the retail jobs. Oh, holy carp. I can retail with the best of them, but there are just some things I have never learned. I was a manager at Office Depot for 2 years, where I was one of the fastest sockers because I could memorize shelving so I had little time spent looking for where things went. Others hated workign with me because I was a top-down kind of thinker. I would just grab the box on top and stock the contents all up and down the isle (the warehouses that packed the boxes had no idea where things were located) but others preffered to take like items that were shelved together and stock section-by-section. I get that. It makes sense. But I'm faster doing ti my way, and I recognoze that it looks like chaos to an outside view. Still, Office Depot decided to regulate how stocking takes place to speed things along. I went from the fastest stocker to teh slowest. It wasn't so bad because by then I was a manager and only had to manage opening operations. Of course, my second day as a manager, I was handed the keys and told "Good Luck" so my training in that area was non-existant and I ended up more stressed than I have ever been in any other job because my bosses would constantly complain that I didn't finish morning operations! I looked for any excuse I could to leave, and took a Tech Job.
I loved my Tech Job. I was hired in at a $2/hour pay cut from my management position. I was cut back another $1 after my new boss decided I had oversold my qualifications. It took 2 years to get back to $14/hr, and while I deeply enjoyed the job, I was never satisfied, particularly when I discovered that the work I was doing was worth far more than I was making. But, as with any on-the-job learning, you can't really shop those skills to other employers because the other people applying have certifications to show what their skills are and I have to guess at what things are called. Hell, I learned things that I didn't think were that complicated but turns out they are some of the hardest things for people to learn. I started looking for any opportunity to make more money.
I quit to drive a Truck. I earned my CDL, certified Class A to operate tractor/trailer combos, and drove for 6 months before my health degenerated to the point I had to stop. I've always been overweight, but at 330lbs, and 25 of that gained after starting to drive, I was just sick all the time, couldn't sleep well, chroinic migranes, and a deeper depression than I realised at the time I had to either quit or die on the road. And I never earned close to what I was promised by my recruiters. Turns out you can make $100k/year driving trucks, but you have to do it for a decade first. Okay, that job ended without so much of what I would call sabatage, but I definately made the worst decision of my life as an act of it.
NOV was great. 3D Printers, and a paycheck I could play with. I bought 2 3d printers of my own. I love them. I love printing and designing. NOV ended because of teh oil price crash; everybody was laying off people. That I survived 3 rounds of layoffs before being hit was a turn of great luck on my part, I think.
2016 has to be different. I'm 40 in 2016, and I can't survive as I have. Many of my life choices have led me to be so financially unstable that I have had to move back in with my parents. I've been here for most of a decade. I think, instead of finding a job that I will end up hating in 6 months, I will have to make my own work.
Some things I want to acomplish in 2016 are:
3D Printed Limbs for Children (a charity I think will be called KidMode)
Maybe a side business sellign 3D printed objects from my printers.
game company called I Dream In Steam (I have a few game titles worked out on paper)
Finish a first draft of a book. OR script a web comic that I can draw. I have so many story ideas that one should be easy, but the least profitable.
A stedy girfriend would be nice, too. I think I can call that a goal.
If I can acomplish one of those things in 2016, I'll call the year a success. It will be my first.
So, my yearly rant.
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"So this is Christmas"
What a song for, well, non-christians. Really, why is the word "Christmas" even in there? Another year over, and new one just begun? Um, not for another week, pal! Unless you are using the Winter Solstace as the year-end mark, in which case... WHY SAY CHRISTMAS? Seriously, there is nothing Christmasy about that song! I think only one other holiday song that makes me as angry as this one is "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (In a moment, don't get ahead of me.)
"And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong"
Now, that's warm and fuzzy. With such a negative message, the next step would be to assign blame. What group of people could this song possibly pin the blame on for there being week and strong and rich and poor? You know, I can see only one group alluded to here. John Lennon: atheist, hater. At least he can't blame Christians for racism.
"And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight"
Well, there's that, then. You know what, Atheists? Based on the belief that you are capable of experiencing joy, even on Dec 25th, have a Merry Christmas.
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" also known as "Feed the World"
This is a song written by democracy. Yes, I mean that in the most derogatory way possible. Take for example this clear understanding of Christmas and Christian faith:
"There's a world outside your window
and it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears.
And the Christmas-bells that ring
there are the clanging chimes of door
tonight thank God it's them instead of you."
I mean, Wow. Just... Wow. I'm sure glad this isn't every third song I hear every time I'm out at the mall, or in my car, or anywhere Holiday music is heard. Way to go, Band Aid. You ruined Christmas with your ignorance.
Then there's this gem:
"And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas-time.
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life.
Where nothing ever grows
no rain or rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmas-time at all?
Here's to you
raise a glass for ev'ryone"
Oh, yeah, feel that Christmas Cheer! Raise a glass, everyone! You are not starving to DEATH, but some people in Africa are! Oh, and while were adding injury into this song, how about some insult along with it? Those ignorant 90% Muslim savages in the Southern Hemisphere won't know it's Christmas because it doesn't snow in the Summer. That's the reason. Even in the few primarily Christian nations of Africa, it's still Summer! But that's okay, the only water that will flow there are their tears! No, seriously, That's in the SONG!
So, do I really care about non-Christians completely missing the point of my Christian Holiday? Not really. No more than I would expect a Jew to be offended if I made Matzo Houses for Hanukkah. It only shows astounding ignorance.
I mean, any Christian should know certain things about Christmas; It's a Winter Solstice Holiday that was hijacked by Romans to help make the many, many Christians in the expanding Empire feel welcomed. Most scholars agree Jesus was born in the Spring. The Wise Men arrived years after (remember, Herod heard of the prophesy and ordered all boys under the age of 2 killed). Also, Israel (and Equatorial nation) would have had no snow (HOW would they know it was Christmas Time?) so, that part of the Nativity is nearly universally wrong. In fact, the Manger would have been pretty warm. Animals ain't stupid, there's a reason they would have all packed in there together at night. And that's just the things wrong with the Nativity, I'll leave dissecting the tradition of Santa Clause (or any of the traditional Christmas decorations used) as an exercise for the reader.
I know, most Christians don't think of those things at Christmas time. We should. Even if the traditions we celebrate are largely driven by commercialism and cross-contamination of pagan rituals, the season should be a time to reflect on how the symbols we choose teach us about Life and the meaning of Christ's Atonement. After all, he was born so he could die for us, so while most people leave contemplation of the Atonement as a tradition for Easter, it's really the true meaning of Christmas. God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten Son, to live a life of example, pure and sinless, and to allow Him to sacrifice Himself for our sins. Kind of makes that Africa song feel like a slap in the face.
Yes, we should think about those in greater need than ourselves. And many people give their time and work to help improve the conditions in parts of the world suffering drought, war, famine and disease, but those people generally do that all the time. And if the rest of us chip in at Christmas time, well that can only be a good thing. But don't let those atheists guilt-trip you into abandoning your traditions. The origins of those traditions are less important than the symbols we see in them now. Those traditions are there to bring our family and friends closer together. They are opportunities to let the people you care about the most deeper into your hearts. So, even if "Feed the World" and "So This is Christmas" are your favorite holiday songs, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. May the light of God shine in your heart and light the lives of those around you. May you be blessed, and bless others in return. And, like the Africa song says, the greatest gift we'll get this year is Life. Live it with love.
I notices William Shatner is a guest at the Space City Con. This is of particular interest to me because I have been a fan since I was a wee toddler. Literally, some of my earliest memories of watching TV are Sesame Street and Star Trek. I'm sure that explains a lot.
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Sometime around 2000, I was working at a paintball marker manufacturer called ActionMarkers, based in Fort Wayne, IN. At one point we were developing several lines of markers including a pump called The Illusion and we were trying to get publicity any way we could. William Shatner had just started his paintball charity event and my boss somehow get our pump marker included in the prize chest. We needed to donate 12, I think, which was no big deal. Steve Jr decides to try to one-up everyone and commissioned me to develop concept art for a Sci-Fi looking pump marker. I redeveloped the Illusion in gold and silver with black accents.
My boss made it. It was chromed and 24kt Gold Plated. It is a thing of real beauty. We got permission to use Shatner's signature on the side, and made certificates of authenticity that were autographed by Bill himself. We donated an extra one to give to him, personally. The whole time, I was one of the primary trade-show staff, so I was sure I was going.
I was going to meet Bill.
My boss, Steve Jr, told me his boss, Steve Sr, wanted to go and I had to stay to keep the store open.
The store that made less than $500 on a good week. I worked my butt off creating art for this thing, including the marker and new Jerseys for the factory team. My boss did... something. I think. Nothing related to the working of ActionMarkers I know, because he pawned all those tasks off on me! I was the cold-caller, I was an assembler (I proved I can assemble one correctly while blindfolded) the team coach, the store manager (and only employee) web master, graphic artist, copywriter and social media correspondent. I was ActionMarkers, and I was not going to meet Bill.
I was angry for a long time. I got over it. Mostly because I was more angry when I was fired after fighting for 6 months to keep my job while Jr's girlfriend was producing new artwork for free. Since my job description was Graphic Artist, ActionMarkers had exactly one graphic artist too many with her working for free. He married her a year later, so I felt like I was fired so his girlfriend could have my job. I took it personal, and I shouldn't have.
(Common People just started on my playlist. He heard me talking.)
About 5 years ago, Steve Jr and my mother collaborated to get me something I never expected. For my birthday, I got a Gold Illusion. One of the William Shatner edition markers I designed! IT had everything but the certificate of authenticity.
So that whole long story was just to say this: I can take my marker to Space City Con and get Bill to sign my marker! Well, a card I can display with it, at any rate. The idea excited me because I thought I had missed my chance at a con in Dallas I could not attend. Turns out, I was confusing it with SCC, which is in a month.
I told my Dad and he said I really should go and do it. I totally agree. Then I mentioned something I knew would get shot down. I said, "I should try selling my art at a con sometime."
"You should!" he said. "Why don't you?"
You know, every con I've attended I've seen artists who are mediocre at best selling art from their booth. $10 for an 8.4x11 portrait of whatever character they felt like drawing and a booth that costs $200. It almost doesn't make sense not to do it!
At the last con I saw a girl doing some of the worst fan art I've seen in a long time. At her booth. I started to think, "How can she display that work? How dare she charge for it?" then I thought, "Let's see your booth, then. Oh, I don't have one. She has a booth and I don't so today she is a far better artist than I am."
Just the thought makes me queasy, which probably means I really should do it.
I've gotten involved in questionable activities before. The Canadian Government is still looking for their quarter. This time, I might be in over my head.
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A furry group is going bowling this weekend, and I'm going. This will be my very first fur-thing. I can't express how intimidated I feel.
One piece of good news is that not everyone will be in fur suits and so, since I don't have one and don't currently plan to make one, I will not be underdressed.
Still working on drawing every day. It is hard to ballance job searching with art, but at this point I stringly feel I need to reconnect with my roots and start looking for art jobs.
My dad has gotten into the habit of copying every little sound everyone around him makes. That means if I snort (I have a cold) if I cough, sneeze, or breath too damned hard.
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Every little sound. Just to make sure everyone in earshot is embarrassed by their noises. I can't decide if I'm being to sensitive or if I am justified in feeling like I want to scream at him to just leave me alone! I already feel like a piece of crap most of the time. I'm almost 40 and living in my parent house, my last two jobs didn't last 6 months and I have no really marketable skills, so I already feel pretty damned worthless.
|Subject:||Making a move |
I'm looking up classes. My biggest draw-back as an employee right now is that my resume is all fluff. I need a tight demo reel, and I need to be able to demonstrate environmental design, character design, rigging and shading. I'd like to focus on environmental and level design, so I'm trying to find the best places I can get good training at.
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Preferably online, preferably free. For obvious reasons. But if it's going to take going to my bishop and asking for some church assistance, then I'm going to have to humble myself and go ask. Of course, I'm on unemployment so I might be able to get workforce development training if I look hard enough.
SInce I can finally see my screen today (migraine's almost gone) it's all I've been doing. Didn't manage to draw today, but I couldn't see so I'm not calling that a loss. I still have an hour before bed.
I'll catch you all up real quick.
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I graduated. I now have a BFA in Media Art and Animation and $102k in debt.
When I graduated, I was recruited onto a team that was producing a movie. It was a humble indi-film, a Sci-Fi place in an indeterminate time where everyone is deaf, so we were going to debut it at Cannes as a foreign-language film. I would produce the storyboards and some concept art. As a low-budget film, we estimated production could be accomplished on $75k but we really wanted $150 to do it right. Imagine out surprise when the producer called back with a large number of investors ready to fund the film for almost a cool Million. Turns out that there is a huge community of deaf people all trying to get into Hollywood and various acting roles, even a Hollywood organization for deaf workers. And there are a large number of wealthy people with deaf family members who have a high level of interest in that sort of project. I moved out to Utah where production would happen, we recruited a director who turned down a high-budget guild film for a major studio to come work on our movie (he is legally deaf), a wardrobe director who invested nearly $5k of her own money in 1940's style clothes for the shoot, a location scout who donated a huge portion of her time in preparation, and my friend who recruited me onto the project and was also the writer. My friend spent years refining his script and shopping it around before this magic producer came on-board to help out.
And then disappeared with a huge chunk of production funds to use it on another project.
The movie was dead in the water, and we all took huge hits to our careers. I'm sure that the producer will never be welcomed in deaf circles ever again, since that is a tight-knit community. I sure hope that is not the end of that story.
That left me stranded in Utah, less than 6 months after graduation without a job, without an income and without anything for my portfolio (the writer kept changing the script, so I kept drawing the same 2 scenes over and over). I moved back to Houston and into my parent's upstairs room again.
I shopped my degree around for a few years, taking on retail jobs that never really got the ends to meet, and never came close to my financial obligations to my student loans. Eventually I realized that without any industry experience after school I was simply not going to get the job I wanted. No Hollywood prospects and no game industry hope. I've even been turned down for countless QA positions.
I worked in IT for a few years, then last year I got the big idea to suck it up for a while and drive trucks, over the road, for a few years and save up cash, but that was the dumbest idea I've ever had. 6 months on the road constantly, less than a week -total- at home during the entire time, living from truck-stop to truck-stop. I saved up about $1000 and called it quits because I was just so sick, physically, all the time. I weighed 332lbs when I came home. No wonder I was sick all the time!
And I also discovered that truck driving really pays off - after you've done it for ten years. I wasn't going to spend my 40's driving a truck just so I could try to get back into game design in my 50's!
And back into my parent's upstairs room, again. At the end of last year, I finally landed a dream-job!
I was taken on by National Oilwell Varco (NOV) as a 3D Print specialist. I was hired into the development lab to run their 3D printer for prototypes and provide Engineering with 3D prints as well. Marketing also had a huge printer, and so I ended up running both machines, managing print queues and material, timing jobs so long ones ran overnight, and a large variety of other tasks related to that. I even learned a bit of Creo2 and SolidWorks, again. There are a lot of 3D printers in the global organization of NOV, but nearly all the others are Makerbots and Ultimakers with single material extrusion and small build volumes. I was the only person in the global organization running industrial 3D printers making show quality parts and full-size bit replicas. When the oil prices crashed and everyone started laying off, I was safe.
Until the third round when some upper management type saw me, paid out of the Research budget and doing 80% of my work for Marketing. That didn't jive, so the axe came down and I was let go. On unemployment, looking for another job, and back in my parent's upstairs room.
And for the whole of those experiences, I never once started a relationship. That's right, ladies, you could have all this! I'm still available!
I did go in a few dates in Utah with one lady. But that never really developed beyond a mutual enjoyment of animated movies and anime. Sometimes I wonder how I manage to have an ego that is still intact.
Last month I attended Comicpalooza. I took a handful of resumes and attended hours upon hours of panels and workshops related to voice acting and writing. There were even a few on drawing for comics. I'm more motivated now than ever before to bring back my web series, Looking for... Something? and to star another project I've been developing. I've held off on either of those projects because I always feel my writing ideas are too big for my art skills or my stories need a better writer than me. But you know what? I went back and re-read shclockmercenary.com from the beginning. That guy is not an artist. He wasn't a writer at first, either. Now Howard Taylor is an award winning sci-fi author, his web comic has won many awards and countless nominations. I can do this. And, you know what? I'm a better writer and artist than he was when he started. I can even 3D some things!
I'm calling this unemployment phase my "opportunity cycle". I am re-working my comics, doing a voice sample for voice-over work, building a 3D printer of my own (almost done, just have tuning and flashing the chipset left) and remembering to draw every day. Since I left Utah, I've been neglecting that last one.
I'm sitting here at work, in the Print Center where I go to school, and I thought to myself how long it has been since I updated this journal. Here we go.
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October 22: I was late to class, and pulled into the garage at 1:00. I drove all the way too the top of the garage following a Jeep and one other car, only to find that there are no spaces left. We all start driving back down. On the third level, someone was pulling out of their spot, so of course the car in front of us stopped to take it. The Jeep in front of me stopped, and obviously I stopped.
Now, I drive as though everyone else on the road is mentally deficient, or at least has no driving experience at all. I stopped 20 feet of so behind the Jeep, just in case she needed to back up. Turns out, I only gave her enough room to honk right before she hit me. She accelerated the whole way.
Bad news: my eight-year-old DaeWoo was totaled. Good news: I'm in a brand new car. Kia Spectra, 2008 manual transmission, Spicy Red. Only real issue I have now is that my bank account went in the hole for a few hours last week, so I lost about $200 in overdraft charges.
Near the beginning of this month, my friend Mason called me up. I haven't heard from him in years. Turns out that one of his stories was optioned a few months back and is being produced as a film. He called me up to get me in on the action. Mason is my very best friend.
I'm making storyboards. I might be working with him to develop other stories for film soon, too.
So, now I'm at work, sitting here talking to students, and this girl walks in with a very pretty face. She's dressed like it's the middle of winter even though it's Houston and the coldest it gets is mid-fifties, so all I can say is that she has a very pretty face. Unfortunately it's full of piercings. Why? Why piercings? The one through the nose, I can handle that. After all, if she ever changes her mind and takes it out no one will see the scar from the hole. The ones in her eyebrow and her upper lip are a different story.
People, don't you know that those scars will always be there? They might not be very noticeable, but people get those kinds of piercings as a way of defining and beautifying themselves... a sort of self expression the same as everyone else. But when you grow up and decide not to have those silly things dangling from your face anymore, the damage has already been done, and you will notice hose scars from your mistakes for the rest of your life.
If you want to poke holes in yourself, that's what belly buttons and nipples are for. Oh, and earlobes, though I don't like piercings there either, personally.
So, my church hosted a singles-only dance recently. Anyone familiar with how Mormon congregations are divided up wouldn't find that he least bit odd. The first question my mom asks is, "Did you dance?"
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Um, no. I never dance in public. Why? Because I feel awkward and clumsy. I go to those dances because I'm not the only one who won't dance, so there's good chance of compatible conversation.
I just caught myself dancing to my radio. Bedlam Bards' "Saphrion's Wedding Dance." It's got a folky, medieval feel, and I've done medieval dancing before. My natural overdose of rhythm took over and I pranced in front of my mirror. Boy, did I look ridiculous.
That's the other reason I don't dance in public. I have the natural grace of a cat, the rhythm of a drummer, and the build of a waterbuffalo. I don't look silly dancing, I look awful. Ridiculous. Stupid.
The worst part is that I actually stopped to watch myself for a good five minutes.
Yesterday, I think I said something about corn-based plastics not being recyclable. I've been berzerking Google ever since to discover the truth of the matter. I think I've penetrated the green cloud of confusion and mad an important re-discovery. At least, for me it was.
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Bio-polymers can be made from many types of crops, including soy and corn. Corn polymers tend to be favored in the US because, well... we grow a lot of it. It's regional. So I discover all sorts of products made of bio-polymers. Cloths, straws, cell-phones, lap-tops, water bottles. Pretty much everything plastic can be made from corn polymers. Why would we want to use corn polymers?
Well, it's an annually renewable resource. No matter how much is used, we can grow the same amount next year. (I'll not go into farming ethics and the dangers of over-farming the land here.) The manufacturing process releases fewer pollutants than traditional plastic manufacturing. It seems that most people in the industry are of the opinion that bio-polymers can potentially be far cheaper to produce than petroleum plastic, and in fact it is currently only slightly more expensive.
Oh, and they can break entirely down in only a few months. Bio-degradable. But who wants a lap-top that will mulch itself in a few months? Well, the polymers don't just break down of their own accord. They need heat.
And that's the part that annoyed me when I discovered it. Also the enormous amount of fuel used in harvesting and transporting the corn and then turning it into ethanol before becoming bio-polymer. So, if you use a corn-polymer product, and then just chuck it... it will sit in the landfill forever. Just like petroleum polymer. See, you need to send it to a place that knows how to dispose of it, and the trash-truck won't do it.
Recycling? Heh. Turns out that heat activates the ability to bio-degrade. So, bio-polymers can't just be remelted and reformed. They need to be broken all the way down and fed back into the bioreactors that ferment the oils into polymers. It's cheaper to just grow more corn.
But, even if I think bio-polymers are a bad choice now, I do think that the technology has potential. I also think it'll be decades before bio-polymers can replace petroleum plastics for responsible recyclers. And I still think it's a waste of valuable farm-land that can be tasked to feeding the people around the world who are dying of hunger.
Is it just me, or are those environmentalists the single largest concentration in our society for crackpots, paranoia, sensationalists, and uneducated fear-mongers on this planet?
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So, I'm interested in "green" technologies. I don't think we have the power to destroy or save the planet as a race. After all, on the largest contributors, globally, to green-house gases, I've never seen the Human Race even pop up in the top ten. Volcanoes are near the top. One volcano can spew out more greenhouse gases in a week than the entirety of the human race combined can annually. We wanna save the world from greenhouse gases, we'd have to plug up every volcano we can find. And that's not even the worst contributor.
If you're curious, it's cows. Now, I know we can blame cow population on human domestication, but still. It's an animal, not a car.
So I'm watching Planet Green. A show called Alter Eco. It's a reality-style show following a group of recyclers and Green People. It was fairly good, until the part where the main green-dude was showing a bar owner some alternative "green" products.
It was the straws and stirrers that pissed me off. They were made of corn-derived plastics. They are not recyclable, and they are not biodegradable. People, here's the thing. Technology labeled "green" and has the word corn in it probably isn't green. Corn plastics and ethanol are the biggest shams that have been sold to us in decades. Look it up, research how ethanol is produced. Then find out how oil goes from liquid to plastic. Then find out how much corn is needed to do both of those things.
In a world suffering from starvation, we are producing food into waste, pollution, and draining our other energy resources to do it. If I even see the word Ethanol at the fuel pump, I go somewhere else. You should too. Hopefully, we can wise up and stop ethanol in the next five years and use that food-producing land to grow corn people can eat.
I just want to hit someone now. I can't believe any self-respecting conservationist, green supporter or environmentalist would give corn technologies the time of day. Maybe we can make it green in a hundred years, but we can't right now. And in the mean time, we're starving ourselves.
Farmland is given over to grow corn for non-human consumption, more gas is wasted in transportation and refining than would be used otherwise, and so we see higher grocery prices. Add that to the rising price of crude oil and the rising cost at the pump, and consider that that also impacts the price of groceries. It's stupid. And our tax dollars are paying for it. Well, they are if you are in the US.
At least, I'm not aware of another government subsidizing this insanity.
I think what I view as my main frustration with politics is that politicians have largely become a separate class of citizen. An elect class, higher than the commoners.
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It seems to me that the people making the laws are a group dedicated to remaining free of those laws. They are career politicians, people who chose to live life separate from the daily grind we commoners experience. They pick their hours, they pick their wages, and they live on the tax dollar. There is something wrong with a system where our elected law makers vote their own raises, while they are living on the tab of the people.
I guess I don't have a problem with politics, or with politicians in general. I have an issue with people who make a career out of it. They climb ladders, they seek advancement, they seem to strive for the bigger bankrolls, and all at the expense of the taxpayer. It frustrates me that my government seems to be filled with people with their own interests at heart while my needs go ignored. And not just my needs, but the needs of Americans.
I can't help but feel that the answer is for Americans--us regular folks with a real stake in this country working--to take the reins back. It's supposed to be for Americans, by Americans, but it ends up being for Politicians, by Politicians at the expense of America.
I admit I can't follow everything happening in politics. But I can't help but get the idea that it is "supposed" to be that way to encourage us regular folks to keep our noses out of Washington while the big kids play at government. And for that reason, too, I feel that responsible Americans need to step up and take on those roles, and push career politicians out of the offices they clog.
Oh, I don't know. I might just be on a rant with elections coming up. I know I'm more interested in who I don't want to run than I am in who does. And that can never be a good thing.
I'm debating starting a new journal for the McCormick 2012 Election Year Presidential Campaign. I'm trying to follow the current debates, though I have to admit I can't understand why these debates are happening. What are they campaigning for? The right to run for president? I could have sworn that was a right equally guaranteed to all Americans.
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Well, all Americans over the age of 35. That's why I'm looking at 2012. I'll be 36.
There seems to me to be a bug in the system. Not big problems, and I wouldn't quite say that the system is broken, but there are clear ways the system fails and falls short in consistent, persistent ways that clearly favor some while denying others. The failure, or, rather, week link appears to be a result of a system that has developed within the system, in a similar way that small ecosystems of parasites and bacterias can develop in the halitosis of a poorly maintained mouth. The government can be saved, but it has to be saved fro itself.
Hiding its deficiencies behind apathy will only work for so long.
The apathy is breaking down, and the infestation of the government is being exposed. The infection I'm referring to here is a result of the current two-party system. One team fights to hang their white flag, while the other team struggles to hang theirs, and all the while they tear and pull at the flag of their opposition. This constant struggle has often decayed to the point where each side has denied the progress of the other out of spite and not out of moral obligation. The state of things now is such that one side will debate against the other not because they disagree but simply because they are the enemy.
This political ecosystem has developed in Washington to the extent that the common man and woman in America doesn't feel like they can take the responsible rolls of the government offices--offices normally reserved for politicians.
I don't intend to detail all my feelings and beliefs here tonight. Frankly, I am kept up at this hour with my thoughts dwelling on the state of the government. I'm kept awake, as if in fear for the future.
My simple statement, however, is just this; How is it that the greatest country in the world has homeless? Hungry children? Unemployed? Uninsured? People in this very country live with the same problems our government spends billions a year to alleviate oversees in developing countries. Does that seem right? America suffers the some of the worst quality of food among developed, industrialized nations, we suffer inferior educations, and we are subjected to poorer health care than the countries we compete with on a global scale. And the politicians use band-aid fixes to "cure" those shortcomings.
I want to state what I want out of America, for me and for my future children. I want an America that takes care of Americans first. Secure America, then look outside to see what we, as a nation, can accomplish. But when people on American soil are suffering from want and neglect--when the basic needs of Americans are left ignored--there is no way to strengthen morale, courage, or economy.
That's the way I see it. I don't know if I am wrong, or if I'm even on the right path. I don't study politics. I don't study law. I study Fine Art. I draw, and I imagine and I think and I look--and I see what I look at, even if I can't fully understand it right now. What I see is a broken system badly in need of maintenance and repair.
If I decide to continue pursuing this thought, I'm going to start a real journal for it. If not, then this rant ends here.
They think I'm a super genius. Hah! Just because I like robots, and if I build one it's not like I wouldn't give it a laser. Come on. Robots a lasers are like peanut butter and jelly! Sure you can have them separately, but together that make an unstoppable machination of... I was going to say fun. They're fun.
Seriously, apparently there are no heroes with robot fetishes. Sadly, I'm now under surveillance for my love of technology. I guess they don't read comic books.
Thanks to droolfangrrl
for the link.
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Dive right in, then.
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My friend's girlfriend disappeared. Adam (friend) and I go out looking for her, and end up stumbling into a secret society of super-wealthy dog-show people. We manage to find her and escape, but not before being caught on surveillance.
Later, we meet her family. They are very upper-middle class and her father doesn't want his daughter to be dating a hourly man like Adam. He ends up kicking him out just before I show up to get him. On the drive home, we get ambushed by black-tie types and wake up in a room with lots of other guys wearing dog-collars and shorts. It's the dog-show people again, and this time we find out that we've been kidnapped as pets and are about to undergo "show training."
Skipping some details, they turn us into dogs. Then they train us as dogs and take us to dog shows where they always win. Adam and I try to escape again, but before we can go too far, he sees his girlfriend again, being turned into a dog.
After finally managing to escape with his girlfriend, we return to her house where she promptly dumps Adam, thinking it will make things safer for him. Of course it doesn't, and after talking with her for a few minutes I go off after Adam, and see him turn into a dog and follow off with a pack of assorted, but well groomed, dogs. The other guys from the dog-show retrieved him, like they were trained to do. And then it was my turn to retrieve him.
I ran off toward the mansion where the dog-guys were kept (and in pretty nice diggs, too). As I arrive, the young girl who was my owner informs me that they were just beginning a feast to celebrate another dog-show victory, and she wanted me to be there. There was some vague threat that I'll have to write later when I serialize this story. As I seat myself (shirtless again, but in a dress collar and dress pants) I see Adam's Girlfriend seated with the female-dog-people. This time, I'm unable to escape with them and am forced to leave alone.
Then I somehow ended up being chased by a detective, a mercenary, and a redneck-alien who were trying to catch me for tress-passing and vandalism. It might have been a separate dream in the same town, though. I sometimes re-use my backgrounds.
Good news is that I didn't get hit by a car.
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The night of my last post I took a walk. Two hours later i realized I was lost and it took three hours to get back home. I learned that I am a walking machine and can probably walk for days without feeling it. It did nothing for my mood.
Now, a week later, finals are over. I flunked four out of five classes and i am not happy about that at all. I should have tried harder to drop those two classes. Now, I'm stuck with a 2.something-very-low for two quarters until I can retake all those classes. The worst part is that I don't know if I can finish by 2008 now. One of my loans (naturally the big one) stops paying out for winter 08 quarter, so if I don't finish by then I don't know if I can.
However, the overall stress has lessened significantly. As long as I can keep from talking to my mother, I should be able to maintain this three day, migraine-free streak.
Now for three weeks, I think I will focus on my props. I'm almost done with a sword that just needs a finish sanding and a coat of shiny. I think I'll use some engine-chrome. I've seen some excellent results for hand-held props with that. Most of the cheaper stuff rubs of with hand-oils. Then I have some KH props i promised a friend I'd do on the cheap. (I quoted her a ridiculous number, then said I'd do her a favor if she covered costs. I hope she doesn't shop with a calculator.) Anyway, keyblades and some odd chokrim thing.
It's nice to rant. Let's you air out your thoughts, lay your ducks out straight, and count your chickens.
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Sometimes you just need to take a walk.
So, the only piece of advice I've received this week was to watch a chick-flick, eat a tube of cookie dough, and have a good cry. Fifteen minutes into The Fountain, I looked for a new movie. I tried some of the other movies I could find and ended up with Music and Lyrics.
Man, that was bad advice. I should have realized that my natural reflex to gooey feelings is to swallow them and go numb. That's how this all started. The frustration mounts, and I don't even quite know what the frustration is about.
I'm going for a walk, and if I'm lucky I'll get hit by a car so I have an excuse for not having my final projects done for tomorrow. Maybe I can get jumped by a gang or something. I'll keep my eye out for opportunities.
So, I realized I hadn't eaten in two days and had three hours of sleep over the last four days. I finally forced myself to eat some pot-stickers and felt a little better. I slept for five hours last night as well. I feel better enough to think straight.
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I think I was depressed about not being depressed. I'm not over it yet, but at least I can think today. I can think well enough to recognize how stupid I am about letting this weight crush me.
I'm gonna work on one of my projects I can finish, then I'll spend a few hours in CoH tonight.
I also found out my roommate is moving back out (after only one quarter) and I'm going to loose my internet again. But I'm working 26 hours a week at school and I have a lot of free time there, so I'll probably try to keep posting back in this journal again from there.
However, we've also got a break coming up in a week, and I'll be out of school for three weeks. I'll figure something out.