Thursday, January 02, 2014

2014 - Change is in the air

Not for the first time, I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that it is, yet again, a new year. Arbitrarily counted days, which aren't quite accurate representations of the Earth's rotation and tick marks that only somewhat scientifically represent the revolution of the Earth around the sun, marked by a new four digit number that has, now, for quite some time, indicated we are in the mythical land of the twenty-first century. A time which once was talked about with awe and hope and fear in the science fiction pulp novels I devoured as a kid. (Lots of fiber in books.)

So I haven't blogged much since this time in 2012. January 1 2012 was kinda the last serious blog post I put out. Which, I'm sure no one but me missed. I'm also fairly sure no one is actually going to read this one, any more than they did the one in January 2012.

So yeah. I skipped January 2013. Mostly, because right near the end of 2012, we lost my mother. She had catastrophic heart failure and fell down dead on the floor of her closet while looking for yarn for a craft project. It would be a lie to say it wasn't something we knew could happen, but I certainly wasn't ready for it to happen. My mother and I had a very complicated and frustrating relationship, but I never doubted she loved me, and I know she knew I loved her. It hit me hard, and it's taken a lot of emotional slogging to get myself to the point where I can write about it - and I really wasn't sure I could write honestly about my life without writing about her death.

(Note to self: have violent conversation with the universal sense of irony that caused a song called Mother to start playing as soon as I wrote that. Yeah. This time? Violence is a very good answer. I'm going to kick reality right in the proverbial balls.)

One of the oddest things about skipping a year on my traditional New Year's blog post is that I have two years to reflect on, not just one. I've come to some very odd realizations the past couple of years - which have been very busy, all things considered. I've quit smoking, starting vaping, quit two jobs and started one, been dumped and taken back, lost my mother, gained and lost friends, started playing an MMORPG, gained weight, lost weight and gained it back again.

I've shaved my head, started to get a handle on some anger issues I was ignoring I had, and written almost nothing of worth or value. I've read too much fan fiction (or not enough) and discovered that change is a lot harder and easier than we like to think it is.

Change happens, especially when we're not looking at it when it happens. Sometimes, we tell ourselves that it happens gradually, but I think there is almost always a moment where something shifts over and what was once one thing, or was once working a certain way, then starts being a new thing or working in a new way. Looking back, I can point out the moment I stopped being a guy who held the MMORPG community in towering contempt and refused to touch it with a ten foot pole tipped with a flamethrower and became a guy subscribed to an MMO he looks forward to playing with friends and family. I can point you to the moment when I put my pipe down for good and became a vaper. I can point you to the moment I realized why it is I 'don't get it' and why it is that I need to learn how to 'get it'.

But I couldn't have told you what those moments were when they happened. They passed quickly, without comment. Without thought. They whizzed by me and became immortalized only after I realized something had changed, and I looked back nodded at myself: "Oh. So that's what it was." Not really conscious decisions to create a change - just a ex post facto realization those moments had marked that a change had occurred.

However, those things we actively want to change? Those are harder. Sometimes, we view it as a process. Sometimes, we view it as a decision. We talk about backsliding or taking steps backward when we screw up and revert to what we did before the change. Often times, we berate ourselves and beat ourselves up about it. We blame circumstances. We blame ourselves. We blame others. We blame the universe, God, fate, random chance and the distortion of probability. And sometimes, each and every one of those things might be the cause.

I'm sure that there's some hippy feel-good theory floating around out there that says something like: "If we aren't ready to change, we won't. We'll change when we're ready for it. It will just happen." Annoyingly, there is some truth in that bleeding heart rhetoric. If I hadn't been scared witless by a serious bout of pneumonia in 2012, I might never have picked up my first vape, let alone given it a fair chance. I was ready for that change, because I didn't want to die - or worse, not have nicotine. (Blather on and scold me about my addiction in a different post, please.)

You could say I haven't lost as much weight as I want to because I haven't planned and prepared correctly. I haven't planned meals, set aside time to (ugh) exercise or done my research on what is actually a healthy diet versus the appalling (but tasty!) food I punish my body with on a daily basis. You could pat me on the head and smile at me and tell me that I'm just not ready to give up the emotional crutch that is tasty, unhealthy food and that once I reach some new stage of psycho-social development, I'll willingly walk away from the bacon laden cheeseburgers and into the welcoming arms of nutritious fruits and vegetables. You could also argue that I'm deluding myself into thinking I actually give two monkey fucks about losing weight or exercising, that I pay lip service to it because I'm a fat man who is constantly berated, commented on, advised at, and lectured at length about the fact that I am one rotund, cellulite ridden and overly fed first-world stereotype. That if I really cared about losing weight, I would bend my not-inconsiderable stubborn streak in the general direction of my excessive diet and sedentary ways and start doing something about it other than whining like a first-grader stuck sitting through a TV docudrama about the life cycle of the common houseplant.

The truth about deliberate change is that you have first have to acknowledge what you are actually changing. Not just that 'I want to lose weight' - but you have to say: "I am fat." And what you're changing? It has to have impact on you. It has to be something that when you realize it, you have to either care about it so much that you're willing to be ready to change and willing to put that work in, or you have to not care enough that you can let go of it without a fight. If it's not important, if it's not something you care about - you can let go of it easily. Mid way through 2013, I realized a word I used as a matter of course was offensive. Until the moment someone told me it was offensive, I had no fucking clue I was being an ass. While I have no objection to being an asshole when I know I'm in the right and I need to stand my ground and hold a moral or philosophical line or you've done harm to someone important to me. Or just been a bully. Or, really, lots of other reasons.

But accidentally offending a bunch of people, for no other reason than I use a word that offends them? Thta was an easy change. I haven't used that word since, and I don't plan on ever using it again. I know better now, and that word is now relegated into my arsenal of verbal grenades - words I don't use unless I'm being offensive to make a point. It's a word that gets used in a time of extreme necessity. (I have a lot of these words. I haven't ever had to use any of them.)

This was an easy change to make. It was a small alteration of my vocabulary that prevents me from being a dick. It took me no effort to stop using one word and use another in its place. It was a word I had no attachment to, no desire to use beyond it being what I felt was an adequate and accurate descriptor. Upon learning it was neither adequate nor descriptive, I put it aside and now use a word that is more accurate, more descriptive and not offensive.

The other kind of deliberate change s harder, because you actually do have fucks to give about it. There is something of you tied up in it, something that makes it important, meaningful or special. You might even hate it about yourself, but it's comfortable and known and you don't really want to give it up. It might be a security blanket, a passive bit of self-harm, or something that you've made part of your identity. I've been a fat guy so long - do I really not want to be fat? How will that change me, how I think of me, how other people think of me?

It's a bit scary when we realize we define ourselves and cling to those parts of ourselves that might seem negative - that even those negative things are important to us, part of how we think of ourselves. We don't often want to let go of those things, even when they hurt us. I have friend who prides himself on his ability to argue and debate anything. He loves to get into verbal sparring. But, he often alienates, hurts and pisses the fuck off most of the people he meets, because he's got no sense of proportion. He's a passionate asshole, with a vast store of knowledge, the ability to pick apart logical fallacies and use logic to turn anything you say into a point in his favor. He prides himself on his ability to argue, his love of debate - but he doesn't argue. He picks fights. He hurts people. Hurts his relationships with people, and is often profoundly lonely. He also realizes a lot of it is his own fault. But giving up that behavior he has defined himself by - right now, that hurts him more and scares him more than the consequences of holding into that behavior. Until the consequences outweigh the positive value he feels he gets from the behavior, he has no real impetus to change.

I've made a lot of changes over the past two years. I've also changed a lot in the past two years. Some of the changes have been deliberate and some have just happened, but I am not the same person who wrote his 2012 New Year's post. Yet - even with all these changes, even with not being the same person - the core of who I am hasn't changed much. I still don't understand (despite participating in and even looking forward to) the metaphoric reset we endure and embrace (approximately) every 365 rotations of our beleaguered planet.

A lot of changes have also happened around me that have affected me in profound ways - ways that I'm still starting to understand and may not understand for a long time yet.

One of the changes I hope to make permanent, a change that will last well beyond the 365 days of 2014, is that I want to write more. Not just because I hope people are reading the words I spew forth from my crumb-dusted keyboard.

Here's hoping that the impact of my realization that I am not writing - that the frustration of that outweighs the apathy that is slowly creeping through me as the years go by, and that this is the first post of many that so many of you probably won't read.

Welcome to 2014. For what it's worth, I hope the next 365 (approximate) rotations of planet Earth are productive, memorable and bring about the right kind of changes for you.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year - or something like that

I never know what I'm going to write when I start one of these New Year's posts, but I always seem to find something to say - though, the quality of that something probably tends to vary. I mean, how often can a guy talk about all the things he fucked up the year before and all the ways he wants to fix it in the next year?

Especially since New Year's is such an arbitrary thing, and self-improvement and self-examination should be a constant and consistent process. It shouldn't be something we (I) do just as calendar rolls over to the next year. I mean - really? How many people actually keep their resolutions? How many people make serious and significant changes that stick, just based off a tradition that doesn't make a lot of sense when you look at it empirically?

It's sorta like deciding that you're going to fix everything about your life, one item at a time, one year at a time. If you're actually successful, you might actually have made some progress about the time you're stuck in the old folks' home, mainlining prune juice and praying you can remember the names of all the relatives who never come to visit you.

Hell, even if you make and stick to multiple resolutions a year, it still doesn't end up making sense. Why do people only seem to really want to change their lives as the new year starts? Okay. I get the whole idea of 'starting over with a clean slate' - but you really don't. All we really do is take a deep breath and hope that the next year is better than the year before it, despite that fact that all the problems we had in 2011 are still going to be there in 2012 - along with all the problems we haven't seen yet.

Yeah, yeah - I know. Old man Jayiin doesn't get it. What else is new? I rarely get it.

So, onto the part of this you've been dreading since my last New Year's post. Mostly, because I don't have many New Year's traditions (seeing as how I'm crap at holidays), so I might as well stick to the one I have and enjoy the fact I'm able to write something coherent in this blog once a year.

2011 was a year. I turned 31 and enjoyed the fact no one's taken a hit out on me yet.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sick. Again,

I'm sick. Again.

I've been getting sick a lot lately. Sinus infections, viral gastrointeritis (stomach flu), migraine headaches (the first one in almost a decade) and now - a massive allergic reaction.

We're not talking the sniffles here. We're taking full-body hives, vomiting, choking, eye-watering, sinus-clogging, skin-burning, life-altering allergies and are requiring heavy hits of antihistamines and prednisone. (Nasty stuff...but it gets the job done.)

I'm not able to take hot showers, get hot and sweaty or even be in place where I'll get hot and sweaty. This is gonna make work interesting, beacuse there's not a day that goes by I'm not drenched in sweat.

I'll make it work, though. I have to.

When you're a kid, being temporarily sick can end up being kind of an adventure. Sure, you feel like crap, but you might just get out of school for a few days and spend the time playing games, reading, watching TV.

Yes, it can still suck and it doesn't always work out like that. It's a crap shoot that depends on parents, doctors and all the stars to align - but there is still the possibility that things can turn out to fun. It didn't often turn out like that for me or my brothers, but when it did, it made being sick worth it.

When you're an adult, it never works out like that. You end up missing work. If you're like me, that means you aren't earning much needed money. And if you're like me, it means you're going to end up behind on your work. You can't meet your obligations and end up leaving people high and dry - and they get rightfully put out at the inconvenience. They may not be upset with you, but they tend to be upset with the situation.

So. Here I am. Sick and messing things up because I'm sick. Not my fault, but frustrating non the less.

I'll admit, I'm frustrated. I went years without getting sick hardly at all. And during those years? I ate and drank whatever I felt like, as long as I wasn't allergic to it. Triple-meat bacon cheeseburger? Anytime I felt like it. Soda? Every day. Massive amounts of it. Ice cream and cake and cookies and - yeah. You get the idea. I was a glutton, feeding my belly and my taste buds whatever fat-laced, grease-soaked concoction sounded good at the time. I did so without a single iota of guilt, let alone a second thought.

Not only did I eat like a fat, happy king, I did so cheaply. Because stuff that's bad for you is cheaper than stuff that's good for you. Universal law, if there ever was one. I had endurance, physical strength and I wasn't even that active. I spent most of my time online. I read, I wrote and I role-played online.

It was a good time in my life.

Then I decided that I wanted to lose weight and change some things about my life. I cut out soda almost completely - now sodas are a treat instead of a staple. I've cut down what I eat and changed what I eat. I've lost some weight and I actually think about my health.

And my health is worse than ever. I'm sure there's lots of arguments that can be made about me reaping what I sowed during those good years. I'm sure there's some comments to be made about me getting older and slowing down. Or I've accidentally omitted some set of nutrients. And I'm sure it would all be correct.

But damn me if it's not frustrating and annoying and a right royal pain in the ass.

There's a lot of things I want to do for my health. Exercise is something I can't do while I'm constantly sick, not if I want to get better. Exercise is already hard enough with the fibro and arthritis, but - after dilligent research and some (painful) experimentation, I have a plan in place. Getting the chance to start said plan? Not yet.

Changing my diet is what I'm in the middle of. It's both harder and easier than I thought it would be. Part of the problem is energy level - I have very little these days. I'm constantly tired and drained, but that has as much to do with the fibro/arthritis combo as anything else. I think once I get my diet stabilized and my exercise started, I can reverse that trend...but for now, being tired means I tend to not have the energy to cook once I get home. Which means I'm tending not to eat as healthy as I plan to - healthier than I used to, for sure.

I'm not giving up though.

As my mother is fond of saying...our family is too stupid to know when we should give up.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Really, self? 16 years?

Odd, how some things change with time - and they seem, at least for me - to often be the things I didn't think would ever change. I'm not talking about things like religion, politics, health or hobbies. I'm not even thinking of interests or gut reactions or primal urges - not even that deep and abiding hatred of mornings you (meaning 'me') developed as a teenager.

Used to be, when April 3 rolled around, it was an important moment. A day of reflection and renewal of purpose. The whole day was spent with my thoughts drifting back to the same subject - a subject tinged with excitement, exasperation, fear and anticipation. A subject that made me hope and dread at the same time.

This year, April 3 was Wrestlemania. (Go ahead. Laugh. I know you want to.)

April 3 is the anniversary of the Katheryn story.

Not that I really expect that to mean much to some of you. Or even most of you. Just because you occasionally get bored enough to read my blog doesn't mean you know what the Katheryn story is, especially if you're a relative newcomer to my blog or my life.

Used to be, I couldn't stop talking about it. That's another change; at one point in my life, I figured I wouldn't ever stop talking about the Katheryn story. I couldn't. It was too integrated into my personal identity - especially my personal identity as a writer. It still is. And yet, I almost never write about. I almost never talk about it.

Why not?

I mean, this past April, while I was watching Triple H and The Undertaker beat on each other, the Katheryn story quietly turned 16.

Sixteen?! Really? Really? I've been writing on the same damn story for sixteen years?

Well, yeah. Kinda. Apparently, I'm stubborn, tenacious and (very likely) obsessive. (Those of you nodding your heads in agreement with the last one? Not cool, y'all. Not cool.) I don't accept defeat and keep trying, no matter how many times I fail!

(Or, if you want to get technical, I haven't failed yet, because I haven't shelved the project and decided I'm done with it. If you want to get technical.)

Or...or, I'm a lame-ass punk writer who can't get up off his fat ass, dig down deep and write the bloody thing already. (I can hear the 'told you sos' through the cybernetic ether. Apparently, I've been told such before. Who knew?)

In truth, the Katheryn story is hardly the same story it was when I started it back in 8th grade. It's gone from being a cheesy fanfic that won a middle school writing contest (how sad is it that I'm still proud of that?) and has turned into it's own universe, complete with a history that starts before the beginning of time, a deep mythos, and a very complex and (I think) amazing world to play in.

In (further) truth, I might have just set out to write a story that I didn't have the tools, skills or experience to tell. I've had to cut my teeth on smaller projects, less ambitious tales and less complicated worlds in order to learn how to write what I want to write. Which is why I can safely say I haven't been working on for 16 years.

True, it's a rare day that goes by that I don't think about the story. (Stop smiling and nodding knowingly. Obsessions are completely normal. Healthy even. Just ask Freud. Just don't ask him while he's anywhere near that picture of his mother.)

None the less! All asides aside, the Katheryn story is a huge part of my life and has never stopped being a huge part of my life. I don't really see it as some kind of 'magnum opus' (at least not since I graduated high school), but I do see writing it as a goal. I also realize that not everyone (as in, almost no one) wants to hear me babble about the Katheryn story all the time. Or most of the time. Or even as much as I used to.

It's rude to be that guy (or, at least, that form of that guy) - and Real Life(TM) has taken over much of my existence. Varying jobs, schools, chores and other things necessary for the smooth(ish) day-to-day operation of my life take up a lot of time. A lot more time than I wish it took. But, there you have it. Life sucks, takes a lot of time to deal with, and no matter how much I whine about it, no one else will do it for me until I have enough money to pay them to do so.

(Now there's a goal...)

But for the 15th and 16th anniversaries to pass unnoticed? Kinda...bothers me a bit. Mostly, I think, because I realize that they depress me. After working for so long, I have so little to show for it?

That...and I know that of that 16 years, I've been a functional, intelligent writer and reasonable facsimile of an adult for less than ten. I think that's the bottom line of this whole post and whole ponderation.

Katheryn may be turning 16, but she's hardly the same girl she was when I started writing her. And though she defined who I was as a writer for a long time, she stopped doing so years ago, because I am no longer the same person - or the same writer - I was when I started writing her.

Her story is not the same story; her world is not the same world - and I am no longer quite as enamored with what I once created. I now know I am better than I was and know I can do far better than I once did.

And a whole helluva lot cooler than any anniversary will ever be. So I'm good with having spent her 16th birthday watching some rather excellent pseudo-violence and eating awesome tacos with my friends.

Hopefully, the next 'anniversary' is just as good as this last one.

Another boring and pointless blog brought to you by jayiin's bored subconscious. And for anyone who really cares, I'm actually writing on the story, using Camp NaNoWriMo as convenient excuse.

Any resemblance this blog may have to mealy-mouthed self-analysis and carefully considered excuse crafting to avoid accepting responsibility for the fact I still haven't finished it is purely coincidental. Because I'm a grown up.

ad astra per aspera

Friday, June 03, 2011

Random Observations I

RANDOM OBSERVATIONS I: Random, raw observations and thoughts from the depths of my brain.


I know people get tired of me talking about feeling productive and getting things done, but I've discovered I have trouble relaxing enough to get to sleep unless I feel like I've accomplished something for myself sometime during the day. I almost always accomplish a great deal at work (though not always the things I want to work on) - it's my own stuff I tend to fall behind on.

I wonder how much of my grumpiness & discontent relates back to not taking care of my little world and all the things that I can do to make it a better place for me and mine to inhabit (or visit)?

I wonder how much less stressed I would be if I didn't feel like I had a giant rock waiting to fall on my head because I've neglected to take care of myself - and to tend to the ordering and maintaining of my space and my life?

And I wonder how much of the chaos surrounding me is because I cannot say no to people and yes to myself?


I've heard the stories. In the workplace of fifty years ago, if a guy forgot to shave or looked scruffy or acted an ass, another guy - usually another man - would take him aside and tell him so. I think we've lost something in that people don't do that anymore. I think we've lost a level of honesty between people and we've lost a level of willingness to strive to be the best we can be and to want someone to tell us when we could be better and even how we could be better.

We're all so afraid of criticism and so afraid to be told we're not perfect, we're falling short of our potential and we're able to be more.

We're taught to see ulterior and malicious motives in every word given that isn't positive endorsement or unflagging cheerful support. We're taught to be afraid to tell the truth because we don't want to be known as an ass.

We're taught not to want to be a truth-teller. (And yes, Jason, I see the logical direction of that statement and will take it in that direction another time. This is the wrong blog for that.) We're taught to be afraid of things told to us because they might the truth and we're so afraid to fail that we often don't even try.

Boldness of speech or of action is characterized as foolish or ambitious and the only ambition we praise is the kind that gets you on the cover of magazines for money, beauty or power.

We're taught that success is equated to money and to appearance and that if you lack one or both, you are automatically a failure. If you wear the wrong clothes or offend the wrong person or don't get in the right clique. If you don't do something so amazing other people have to sit up and notice and applaud.

We're taught that the only criticism and advice to take is your own or the kind found in a self-help book that gets liked on Facebook and has enough Amazon reviews. We're taught that the right way to change is to sit in the dark and confront your fears and your failings and your misery alone - without 'inflicting' it on other people.

We're taught no one can help us change; no one can help us achieve; no one can help us become more - that we must do it all alone, struggling every day, sacrificing everything of meaning or value along the way and that the empty rewards of success will be enough, because there is always more to be earned or gleaned.

We're taught we are not allowed to cry in public; we are only allowed to cry in the corner of the room, in the shadows where no one can see us hurt - because it might make them uncomfortable. We're taught that the only tears we can have are those no one ever sees. To be human and to be frail and to be vulnerable is to be weak and therefore to be fought against - because if you are weak, you have failed. You become nothing but another number, another statistic in a poll no one really understands.

We're taught that pain is to be a secret and not shared.

I don't think this is okay.

I want someone to tell me when I am falling short. I want someone to tell me when I can do better. I want someone to tell me when I'm scruffy and don't look my best (which isn't much, admittedly, but you have to work with what you're given.)

I want to be told the truth. And I want to be allowed to tell the truth. I want to face my fears in the daylight with my friends and my brothers beside me. I want to be allowed to be human and be weak. I want my accomplishments to matter - even when they mean nothing for money or beauty or power. I want to be heard when I need to speak and I don't want to be afraid to hurt and be afraid to fail.

And I don't want to do it alone, just because our society is afraid of things that hurt. Or might hurt.

I want to tell the truth. I want to help someone else do more and be better. I want other to trust me to tell them when they look scruffy or have food on their face. I want to be strong enough to not be frightened - or scornful - of what might look like weakness. I want to remember and laud the accomplishments of others, because they matter - even when they don't bring about money or beauty or fame. I want to listen when someone else needs to be heard and I want the people around me to know if they hurt or if they fail, then I am still here while they heal or they try again.

I want the people around me to know they are not doing it alone.

Somehow, I think that these desires might be some of the hardest, most frightening things I have ever set out to do.


Pride is a terrible word most of the time. It implies vanity and arrogance and scorn of others. It implies so many bad things...but pride is at the center of satisfacation (at least, in the workplace.)

To me, it is at the heart of what we call 'work ethic.' Because I have pride in my work - whether it's cleaning out the cat boxes or sweeping the pool deck or making copies of legal briefs or answering the phones or pricing product or coding webpages, my pride in myself won't let me do less than my absolute best.

If I do, I feel the acute sting of personal failure.

I want to be proud of what I do. I want to brag about being the best sweeper or cleaning the cat boxes the best or having elegant code or making perfect copies. I want every detail to be right, every line straight and not a speck of dirt or shit left to mar the task I have undertaken.

Even if only I see it.

I don't know why, but a lot of people I know don't have this pride. They don't mind things they do not being done to the best of their ability. They are content with just being done and moving on to the next thing and the next thing until they get to a thing they enjoy.

They cannot find contentment and satisfaction in the doing - and the doing well. They cannot find pleasure in knowing they have accomplished a thing so well that they can say to anyone: "Yeah, I did that. That was me."

It scares me, sometime, that lack of pride. I wonder if it is that lack of pride, that causes so many of the problems around me. That being indifferent to the quality of what you do and only wanting the quantitative payment of having done it and recieved a paycheck.

I wonder if the dissatisfaction so many have with their 'tedious' jobs or their 'dead-end' positions comes from a profound indifference to how they accomplish a thing.

I've also noticed that the more indifferent a person is to how they do things, the more threatened they are by those who have pride in what they do. They mock, deride and sabotage (not on purpose, usually) and try to bestow their sense of indifference, the liberation of no longer giving a damn about the quality of what you do.

It must be liberating. It must be amazing, to just not care when a thing is done poorly or to know that it could have been far better than it was - and yet be okay with that.

It must be a thrilling experience.

But I'm afraid of that thrill; I'm not ready to be liberated. I'm proud to have pride and somewhat worried that someday, I will forget my pride and just give in to the idea that it's okay to not do your best on everything...because the people around you won't care, either.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Git 'er done

Getting things done.

I write a lot about this, because it's a constant challenge for me. (Or, I should say, whine a lot about this.) There are a lot of productivity articles, blogs, books, seminars, webinars, college courses, etc out there to help with it. They teach techniques, skills, tools and offer all kinds of advice on finding ways to accomplish tasks.

I'll admit it. I've read some of those articles, books and blogs. I've peaked at notes from seminars and webinars. I even attended a few of those free classes when I was in college (way back when). I've tried lots of different techniques, skills and tools. I've listened to and tried out all kinds of advice.

Yet, I keep finding myself behind. There's always stuff I'm behind on or haven't had a chance to get to. Some of it is mundane stuff - chores, filing, investigating this or that or the other. Some of it is pretty non-essential stuff - gaming errata, gaming itself, fanfiction, etc. And some of it is fairly important, such as research into my health insurance plan or remembering to bring something into work or remembering to pay something on time. (Sorry, ADC!)

The consequences for not getting these things done vary from task to task. Not remembering to bring something into work can make my job harder and sometimes mess things up for my co-workers. Not investigating my health insurance means I don't always know what I can do with it other than throw money down on co-pays when I get the sniffles. Neglected chores leave me with a disorganized, cluttered and occasionally dirty space and the need to be up late doing laundry when I should be sound asleep.

Worse than consequences for me are consequences for other people. Often times, other folk are counting on me to get something done for them. When I do what I invariably do and drop the ball, I let people down or leave them hanging and I hate doing it.

I hate being the guy to drop the ball and I try really hard not to be that guy. Yet, I constantly find myself looking back and realizing I've done it again.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

So much for evolution

You know, one of the reasons I'm not fond of the theory of evolution(1) is fairly embarrassing: it means having to admit the men in my family, myself included, are probably more closely related to cavemen than we'd like to admit.

It would explain a lot of things really. It would explain why, despite our adaptability, occasional (and surprising) calm, our general level of intelligence and our addictions to modern conveniences we seem to have the ability to tap into some primal depth that lets us go longer and work harder than circumstances should allow.

(Was that fairly arrogant? Yes. Am I sorry for it? Not really. I probably should be, though.)

It would also explain other things. That we tend to favor going through obstacles instead of around them. Why we have so much trouble dealing with social niceties like passive agression, dropped hints and small talk. Why we tend to be more interested in getting things done and being practical than making things pretty. (Why worry about interior decorating when there are chores and projects that need doing? Why sit and watch television when there is work waiting? Why play competitive sports when we can compete against others in 'number ot things accomplished in the shortest amount of time'?)

It would also explain why, without any real reason, the reptile hindbrain kicks into a high gear and sets us off on irrational, unnecessarily aggressive protective tears for no rational reason.