Out of pure nervousness and jumbled thoughts, I find that I don’t have a real topic to string together ten minutes of thoughts on. For starters, I am about to embark on my ‘be a better teacher’ semester with at least four tasks outstanding and a 5th I just barely have a grip on. The plan was to walk into the classroom with a full heart and empty to do list, but I see now that this is a pipe dream. The same can be said of my idyllic sense of romantic love. That hasn’t exactly gone the way I planned either. Here is a sad truth, folks: If you don’t take care of something precious, you run the risk of damaging it. Maybe that damage heals over time and maybe that damage forms a foundational crack that eventually changes what you have forever. That part remains to be seen, I guess.
- Last night was the first night in a while where I went to sleep without the aid of meditation.
- Two things I don’t understand: Our cultural obsession with Beyonce and how no one seems to recognize that Rihanna out performs Beyonce on the charts constantly.
- It is my opinion that I have fairly poor taste in men. See, the guys I find to be the least interesting to hang around tend to be the most successful. Should I become the old male spinster I will be setting up my female friends with the guys I dislike.
I had a really melodramatic post planned about how the beam–the eclipse–bisects my life, separating the man I was from the man I am and blah blah blah, but that isn’t true. It is definitely an example of where I am in life vs. where I want to be. I’m not anywhere along the path as I should be. I’m not celebrating the event with friends, because I don’t really have people in proximity who care about it as I do. I am not going to a public viewing because I don’t particularly care to be around people I don’t know. I am not going to a work viewing because that place doesn’t feel like home or like a safe space anymore.
I will say this: The big moments are when you pause to take stock of where you are at and consider how you feel about your place in the world. This morning I woke up to a large and empty house and recognized that I wanted neither. The space only matters when you have voices to fill it.
I’m glad the eclipse gives me a moment to take stock of the now and consider what I’m looking for the next time such an event comes around. Further it gets me thinking about what events do matter and readying myself to plan for them.
- I am not centered. There really is no way to avoid it. I lack a center and as a result there is nothing that really grounds me. I tried to make it my partner, but that really isn’t fair to her for me to build everything around her when she too is in flux. I ought to build everything around writing, but something holds me back from that as well.
- So it begins. The semester starts the day of the eclipse. That has to mean something. Or not.
- Still waking up in pain every morning. The pain extends from my neck down my back. I’m going to try new pillows to see if that helps.
There are moments in your life when you see all the choices you’ve made laid out for you, like the decision tree in a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Each step builds on the last leading you, inexorably, towards dragging your body across the kitchen floor at 1 AM on a Sunday morning. For me the chain of events started not with a birth but with the first back drama. I cast my memories back to the day, a few years ago, when my back was out and my partner was there to help me heal. Fast forward and my partner is on her own journey along the beam awaiting the coming eclipse and I am alone and in pain on the carpet. Every step from A to B was the result of my own actions and serve as a real wake up call to remind me that choices have lasting consequences and neglect can ultimately destroy everything you are trying to become.
I’ve long been the sort of person who fails to put on bug spray because mosquitos don’t seem like a big deal out here, only to be the fool scratching up and down his legs a day later. That is to say I am the worst boy scout ever. Though it is totally within my means to be prepared, I often approach life with the thoughtlessness that leaves me both clearly prepared and unable to act on the preparedness.
I bought a backboard specifically to help me stretch out my back and get it (and me) in better shape. I used it roughly a dozen times before it became a pants rack. Prepared, but failed to execute on the preparedness.
I bought and studied over 50 books on the writing process only to use nothing from them in the actual teaching of writing.
I can name half a dozen aspects of my life in which this is true–especially in love. It all points back to an infernal laziness or lack of will to execute anything in the mid term. I do well short term. I fail at mid term. In the long term, it adds up to an ultimate fail, which is why I found myself on the floor alone at 1 AM writhing in pain. It is where I stayed until 4 AM when I managed to get up and get myself to bed. I’m up again now and basically mobile. The pain is still there, as is the understanding of why it is. That’s what this blog is about after all.
I can count on one hand the number of Saturdays I have till football. That means there are only a handful of days I get to spend with my kids that aren’t dominated by sports. In that time I desire to go to the lake and down to the caves, really putting in some quality outdoor time. I haven’t scheduled any of this out or even figured how to make it a reality, but it is what I want to do. I want to strike a balance where it isn’t always rush rush rush in our lives. This week taught me that too much of something can be a real problem. Right now I have a kid who has two practices a day three days a week and practice at least once a day m-f. This is how it is for him through October. Did I mention he’s just moved into middle school and is learning to engage academically?
Kids aside, I am entering a year where I finally have a schedule that is conducive to life outside of work. Ideally, I can work from home multiple days or spend a wealth of time with my partner. Ideally doesn’t always work out for us, but that remains to be seen. Regardless, I made a decision recently that the universe can very much kiss my grits. In a lot of ways. In regards to this it confirms that I am going to stand by this relationship and do everything in my power to make it work (whatever it is).
I think that about covers it. I didn’t mention writing because there isn’t anything to mention yet. There will be soon enough…
- The Giant beyblade stadium: not a hit. The metal surface doesn’t perform nearly as well as the plexiglass. This leads to slower battles and less joy. I feel like the next step is to get a coating to spray on the stadium to make it smooth. I do not know such a thing exists, so in the meanwhile we have what we have.
I’ve had a lot going on this week and have run myself fairly ragged. There is a sickness going around the kids’ school and they brought that stuff home. In addition I’ve been trying to strike a fine balance between me time and everything else. It has resulted in forgetting to do a number of things… Such as being able to think in terms longer than…
- In a classic ‘What did I just get myself into?’ moment I find my mid kid playing mid-school soccer m-th and club football t, th, F. In other words, the t/th practices completely overlap. This is going to be a problem since I coach @ 5:30 on T/Th and cannot begin to pick him up. So, I need to find him daily rides home from practice and tell his coaches he is going to miss half a practice every week.
- Speaking of practice, I was supposed to bring another kid to practice and just realized I did not do that yesterday… I think he missed it. I really think he missed practice on account of me.
- This is proof that this being a dad thing is overwhelming me. Just a little…
- So now I am trying to devise a schedule where I don’t go insane as a single dad. So far, not good.
- In other thoughts, the Defenders dropped on Netflix last night. I stayed up to watch the first episode and was, well, kinda disappointed. The combo story has all the positives of the shows I enjoy and all the negatives of the ones that suck, only the suck is leaking into the non-suck in a very obvious way. I thought the infection might go the other way. It hasn’t
The more I study and write about virtual realities, the more I realize the concept is not much different than social realities. While we of the physical space occupy the same world, that world looks and behaves very differently based on social circles and economic class. What we do and how we view the concept of ‘living’ shifts as you move through the various social circles. This applies not only to what we do in life but how we use our leisure time, and that leisure tends to serve as a connection point between the worlds, furthering the illusion that we exist in the same space at all.
Take the example of a football game. There are many levels to the sport overall and even to the naming of the game. For example, if I say football in Spain, I’m talking about the beautiful game, known here as soccer. However, if we are speaking the same language and are even at the same football game, the experience shifts based on the socio-economic world you live in. These delineation are clearly outlined on your ticket stub. For those living within the wold of NFL teams and players, you are likely on the field or in a protected skybox where the way you interact with the game is separate from the various, financially delineated ways in which the crowd interacts with the game. If you are a worker you are experiencing the game differently again. While all of these people are in the same stadium, the way they view that environment (and thusly the way others view them) shifts from social circle to social circle. This is identical to the virtual realms–especially in terms of MMORPG where you do have these huge gathering halls and the people in the spaces have various roles and as such view the space in different ways. Technically, they are in the same space, but the reality of that space is very different.
I’ve become more and more aware of this through interacting with parents at morning and afternoon pickup. We all drop our kids off at the same place–an intersection of our realities–but afterwards we fall back into very different lives. The gathering halls of the bus stop and the virtual adventuring halls are very much the same beast.
- Starting to stash away cash for a VR rig for the kids. This blog is brought to you by Talislegger’s heedless ambition for tech…
- I’m falling back into another world too. The world of productivity.
I am not a fan of the way our POTUS is running things, but I understand. Lets consider for a second who the man is: He is a relic of a bygone era who truly believes that America’s best times were when there was a clear sense of racial division and hierarchy. He is a man who is fiercely loyal to those who support him the most, and someone who will fight tooth and nail to defend his self-inflicted machismo and idealism. Sadly he is also someone fighting for a nation that does not exist and is unwilling to recognize the reality of what does exist. This is only highlighted by his inability to see alt-right as inherently bad vs. defined by it. If defined by anything it is defined by his ad hoc creation of the alt-left boogie man and dogged belief in an idea of a leftism that doesn’t really exist.
In other words, he is a man that sees antifa as a name of a terrorist organization vs. the idea of anti-facism being something that we should all be rallying behind. He isn’t the leader we need. However, he is the leader we have and that isn’t going to change for a while. So, what do we do while he is here?
I’d say the more central-thinking individuals we turn away from his stink the better. There is a certain amount of comfort in the ideas of white oppression. It is a convenient excuse for those who have no other solid foundation for why things are bad in their lives. It is a message that (like most republican rhetoric) targets a poor and disenfranchised audience that wants to believe they have the same chance as any other hard worker to become a billionaire. These are the people who see Trump as a ‘common man’ or ‘working class leader’ while the reality is that he comes from extreme wealth and only ever pays lipservice to their needs. What happened with his pledge to bring back coal is case and point of that.
- Those were just some anti-Trump thoughts swirling around in my brain that needed to find an outlet. I am constantly amazed at how much a presidency reflects where the nation thinks it is at. Obama’s presidency marked the ‘end of American racism’ while Trump’s marks the ‘normalization of white rage.’ Both are exaggerations.
- The beam approaches. Less than a week now.
Funny how the random links that appear at the bottom of articles can sometimes be the path to enlightenment. This one came courtesy of the cancer center website, which appeared (for some strange reason) at the bottom of a digital spy article about the upcoming season of The Defenders. The article focused on the five forms of intimacy. I perked up, because I have a predilection towards one form of intimacy, meaning I could be missing out on 80% of the loving! Turns out, I’m not entirely. However, I was missing out on a wealth of emotional understanding.
The five forms, according to the article, are emotional, intellectual, experiential, spiritual, and of course, sexual. Physical touch is one of my two primary love languages, thus the sexual form of intimacy is prominent. What really caught my eye here though were the twin headlights of spiritual and intellectual intimacy. Having a sense of a connection beyond the physical always means something to me. Soon we will be under the beam of a full eclipse, and I won’t be with my partner at that moment. That is a reflection of spiritual separation, Ka pulling us in different directions. That matters. By understanding that I recognize now how much the spiritual matters in building a loving and lasting partnership. I don’t believe I’ve ever had that in a long term relationship.
The intellectual intimacy is one I often overlook. The sharing of ideas and the trust to be open and honest about one’s intellectual passions is a rare gift. I share that and we develop ideas together. This is a vital form of intimacy that I believe I have taken for granted. What is seen cannot be unseen, and that is a good thing.
So, there are five areas to work on in intimacy. Time I got to work.
Today marks the start of the 2017 fall work semester for me. A year ago today I was half-burned out and uncertain about the work world I’d helped to create. Two weeks later I was done with all thoughts of professional leadership at that college. I’d discovered what that world was actually about and decided–openly–to shift focus back to becoming a better teacher. The results were mixed. I improved in some areas and drastically fell off in others. I lost all sense of community within the college and became a ghost of my social and often professional self.
For all intents and purposes, this is my New Year’s Day. Everything for the past few months has been summer break-styled downtime, trips to the beach, and mental preparation. This is the fall of my content. I am determined to reach the level teaching ability I ascribe to. Furthermore, I recognize that teaching at the college level is only one leg of my true work. I am a writer first. What I always am teaching is how students can recognize and thus tell their own story. Therefore it is important that I recognize and tell my own. I am dedicated to writing an original novel over the course of the school year. This is not, as with past dedications, a pie in the sky idea. This is tied to classwork, scheduling, and how I expect to lead my life moving forward.
One of the scariest truths of my life is that I now expect to die. I don’t know when it is going to happen. I hope I live well into my eighties. Still there are nights that I am shook awake by the concept that I will one day close my eyes forever. When that moment comes and I am faced with the idea of what life I lived, I don’t want that fleeting forever to be filled with regret. I want to die empty. I want to die knowing I poured everything I had into life. I want to feel like the ideas that fill my head are left to serve as my legacy to those I love and leave.
I don’t mean to be so morbid, but the fundamental truth of life is that we are given a moment to explore, to love, and to make things happen. The person we face in the end is the one we faced all along–our own worst critic–ourselves. I can trace back all of the failures in my life to one person: me. I was always athletic enough, and a good enough writer, and smart enough to accomplish anything I wanted to. Though bothered–even hampered at times–by racism, it never stopped me from being able to achieve whatever I wanted. The only obstacle I’ve ever faced in my life is my inability to follow through. I cannot expect to defeat it all at once, but I can sure as hell give it all I have this semester.
In starting this new outline I decided to start with the basics of story. Any story is about character. Specifically, story is about what a character wants and the journey to get to that want. My story is going to be about two characters (thus far). They are Tharsis and Ikrivain. I ought to credit the names to two childhood friends. When we were all little and playing D&D we had a party of characters and two of them were those characters mentioned. There was a third, a Knight named Garen, who may appear at some point in this story, but I am not entirely sure. The idea is to tell a story about a world where the two major powers are divided by a chasm. The only landbridge across this chasm is through a narrow earthen chokepoint. At the center of that chokepoint sits a city. This place belongs to neither power and is practically impenetrable due to its location. As the only remaining passage between the two powers, it serves as a trade hub and a diplomatic hub.
What intrigues me about this idea is the fact that science is usually driven by circumstance. With these being the two major powers and them not really being able to threaten by land, sea and air technology has become the focus. Both sides have amazing naval fleets and have begun work on air ships and airtowers to reach the enemy.
Our story is about uncovering some of the hidden history of this world through the lives of Tharsis and Ikrivain. Both characters originally hail from the (yet unnamed) chasm city. However, Tharsis is thought to be from one of the (5?) major houses of one of the lands. Ikrivain is younger. He’s a street rat who gets scooped up by the city’s secretive power and trained to be a spy.
So, what do these characters want? Tharsis wants to forget his past and his responsibility to Chasm city in order to maintain his status and freedom. Ikrivain wants security and stability and ends up having to decide if those things are worth his freedom.
It isn’t much, but it is a start.
- Took the youngest Talislegger to his first professional football game. The Raiders–specifically he was there to see Marshawn Lynch–lost the game, but more interestingly, the way the media handled Lynch was special. A photographer caught Lynch sitting during the National Anthem. FYI, he always sits. He sits and keeps to himself for most of that pregame process. It is his method. However, in the media it was about him disrespecting the anthem. Of course, it became an issue big enough that his coach had to sit him down post game. Lynch explained his… Lynchness… and the team moved on. Let’s hope the media does too.