Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Scattered Thoughts

I eat "too healthy" for my own good. To avoid tension headaches and stay hydrated, I have to drink water with salt mixed into it. Who else in this country needs to add salt to their diet to stay healthy and avoid pain?

Might've stumbled on a dietary regimen to deal with my ADHD, which might have a contribution to my tension headache that I had last night and the night before. I can also blame the near non-stop running around and socializing for nearly a week or so, though.

ALMOST ONTO THE NEXT STAGE!!!!

After two years, I've finally finished the first draft of the second to last paper for my bachelors project. I've come up with some good ideas that I'd like to address someday but not right now. Too scatterbrained and having a hard time gathering the thoughts.

On a silly side note: The two people I've told about getting close to finishing this first draft thought I was planning my own bachelors party. What's up with that?

ENLIGHTENED LAZINESS

Yesterday, I thought about my philosophy about efficiency. I mainly vie for efficiency to cut down on the overall energy it takes to complete tasks. This cutting down on energy can include anticipating expectations of other people and possibly doing more work than someone else might do, themselves. If a job gets done well and efficiently, then there doesn't have to be too much time wasted communicating with other people, working to re-learn stuff or dedicating time to figure out my own way of doing something.

I've been known to do things my own way, though. Inefficiency usually happens for me when I don't have the first clue about something, want to learn more about something or enjoy doing something.

I don't have too much of a problem taking the long route to get somewhere or even working with a longer process than is taught to me. In those cases, though, I still do it for the sake of enlightened laziness. I just so happen not to always see other people as reliable. They may decide not to do something, found an error in their own past work on which I depend and all sorts of other matters.

The whole central feature of this form of laziness depends on the enlightened part of it. I do work efficiently or slack off because I know, in the long run and in the big picture, it's probably not worth my time or anyone else's for me to rush into something, only to have the situation change, which would force me to do it all over again or just scratch the effort because the other person has decided to do something else.

JUST TOO SCATTERBRAINED

I can't even pay attention enough to think straight. Very annoying. . ..

Hopefully things will come together after things slow down and I don't have so much to do. That would be nice.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Writer's Life (This Blog Exercises My Writing Muscles)

I just finished writing 2 1/2 pages in my bachelors project in 2 hours, after taking an hour or so last night to write a page of crap that I'll need to fix later. Feeling good about it, yeah.

A friend brought up a good comparison between our blogging styles. Since then, I believe her's has and that she has disbanded the blog she used to compare with mine. No matter, she made a good comparison that went something like:

i was discussing blogs with a friend, and we were agreeing on how we tend to use our writing styles to try to entertain our audience, instead of just writing to write at times. which is probably why i don't necessarily write that often. because i don't necessarily feel entertaining all the time, and my focus goes awry at times.

OK, maybe she didn't explicitly compare our blogs, but I did. The comparison doesn't affect my confidence or anything. Rather, it gives me a pretty good topic to ruminate upon.

Before last night, I hadn't written since about exactly a week ago, on Tuesday. I had either gotten too busy or too tired.

Wednesday -- Late night concert

Thursday -- Failed attempt at getting people together for dinner then too tired and frustrated

Friday -- Went to Second City with the fiancee, a person who didn't make it the night before and a friend of hers.

Saturday -- Fiancee's brother came into the city, so we all hung out for awhile.

Sunday -- Drove out to the suburbs for a "family" reunion (too complicated and personal to get into on the blog).

OK, well. . .that explains why I felt so exhausted and tired last night. It might even invalidate the point I wanted to make but probably not totally. All the running around during the weekend, though, does help provide a contributing factor to the whole exhaustion and writing crap last night.

But right, the point: To get a good finished product, a writer needs to get something down first, no matter how bad it is. The fiancee and I explained it to a psychiatrist friend we have during the "family" reunion. He showed a lot of wonder at the revelation, and I think the dedicated humbleness it takes to get something down on paper, no matter how much it sucks.

I told him something that pretty much worked out to:

A good writer doesn't write well, they revise well.

Sure, we all have the experience of having to write a paper, turning in a first draft then getting an A on that paper. I won't even bother arguing whether that can happen consistently or not. Making some kind of argument about having it happen because of procrastination and last minute stress won't help me that much, either. Someone could do it all the time, and they could do it without any pressure. All the power to them. Keep on doing it and make the world better.

Most of us, though, have that internal censor that makes it hard to put something down on paper unless it meets our idea of perfect. After all, once it's there or printed, it really can't get taken away. Maybe so on a computer, but I'll just delay the "writing" stage to the point at which what gets typed gets printed or published on some kind of Website.

For those plagued by the perfection censor bug while writing, though, succumbing to it can really hurt writing productivity and creativity. Someone can spend so much time getting all critical about what comes out of their head that they'll get into the habit of censoring EVERYTHING, kinda like when I get used to pushing a button, looking for something then push it again, even when I've found that something. That person could end up censoring their good ideas and forgetting them.

Another problem comes from looking at a small detail rather than looking at the big picture or just not caring about the details just yet. Good, efficient problem solving requires looking at the whole picture. Sometimes looking at the trees rather than the forest or vice versa can make it hard figure out a point. The point in an argument means practically nothing with the argument to frame it. At the same time, an argument has no foundation without the points that make it.

Writing without discrimination can help build an argument or story, whether a good one or a bad one. After finishing it, someone can look at it to see how much integrity it has. The nitpicking can happen then because some kind of larger frame exists. That frame still might change, but changing it with a frame in existence can prove much easier than trying to create the whole house in one fell swoop.

I honestly can't think of a good physical example to provide a trope for it. Maybe a boat in a bottle? Can't make a bottle around a boat, but you can build a boat inside a bottle. The heat of molding glass would burn the boat, but the manipulating of a boat inside a bottle won't necessarily break the glass.

Not a great metaphor, I know, but I'm just writing on the fly right now, too. Maybe I won't come back to this entry and fine tune it, but writing here flexes my writing muscles (which demonstrates another point I wanted to make: you can come up with some good ideas by mistake after letting your mind free to wander. . .even though a slight framework does help every once in awhile, too -- an angle, a purpose, etc. etc.). Exercising the creative writing muscles doesn't actually make anything bigger. Rather, it makes the perfectionistic urge and fear smaller.

I also flexing the writing muscles can help make confidence grow, too, along with humbleness. Without confidence, a person won't take the chance to make a mistake and write something imperfect. Without humbleness, the same person won't swallow their pride and accept that they don't consciously know everything. After all, as much as writing most often presses for a certain point, a true engagement with writing will bring about deeper understanding about said points that will bring the writer closer to the truth. To write a good argument or a story with truth, it requires such direct and scary engagement that to reach that point, a writer may need to sacrifice a part of their self and build a new stronger, more flexible yet truer aspect.

Rollo May also had expounded a theory that says our mind continues the creative work while away from our product, but we need to try working on that product and truly engage it before our unconscious mind will work on it while we do something else or rest. By exercising the writing muscle, a person will habituate their mind to ruminate on its own and hopefully without the writer having to hear it (because, let me tell you, hearing myself ruminate all the time can become quite a tiring chore and bore), engage a topic and look at it in ways that the inhibited conscious mind may not be able to do. After all, our unconscious minds aren't so susceptible to our censor. Just look at the dreams you have.

My mind has just gone kaput, though, so I will end here. As with exeercising our physical muscles, the writing muscles can only work so hard without rest and rejuvenation.

Goodnight.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's Not You, It's Me. . .

My time management skills have sucked lately.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tired. . .

Good thing I don't expect much of myself today or the next couple days. Got back from the show last night at about 2 AM, got to bed at 2:30 and woke up at 5. Got a couple hours of sleep earlier in the evening, between getting home from work and leaving for the concert.

Pretty dawn looking away from the lake-sun rise this morning. Rapidly changing pink-purple skies with that mellow yellow reflection on building windows.

Can't wait to get on the bus to see the lake this morning. Yesterday, it looked real pretty with these perfect fluffy BIG clouds (not little ones) and the water moving all about and side to side with a reflection of the sun travelling with the bus, from the horizon to Lake Shore Drive. I really must make it a point to look around me while commuting and traveling, instead of just burying my nose in a book.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Plate of Time

(The title of this entry comes as a parody of the character, The Oracle of Time, first introduced to me in Dune: Hunters of Dune. It might have been mentioned before in one of the first six Dune novels, but I can't remember at the moment.)

Anyway, I've got a lot on my plate along with some buyer's remorse. My schedule looks like this for the next couple weeks:

Weekdays 8-4:30 (commute not included) -- Work

Tomorrow night from 9ish to very late -- Nomeansno concert

Thursday night -- Dinner with friends

This weekend -- Fiancee's younger brother and fiancee in town

Next Friday -- Tortoise concert, attended with fiancee

Next Saturday -- Possibly go to a non-Blue Green Resorts time share tour, in which marketers got my contact info from a stand at an event where Blue Green stationed me

Friday after that -- Having some people over to play Munchkin

The Saturday after Munchkin playing -- Fiancee and I go to see Josh Wink just down the street

And right, church on Sundays.

My buyer's remorse comes from spending nearly $100 on those concert tickets, taking the fiancee out for a horse drawn carriage ride and dinner and celebrating my finding a job that pays me more than a living wage.

I'm not really worried about spending the money, though. Except for a small bit of it, I set it all aside for spending on fun stuff. I also think I deserve all this fun after struggling to find myself a living wage and such. Sure, I still need to get the job permanently, but this is a good start, and I don't see myself getting canned or anything.

Besides, I plan on applying for the job the moment I get some free time, like this Saturday afternoon or something. I have applying to Fannie Mae as the next major task on my list. I've got to have some fun first, though.

But it's not all frivolous fun, though. I've done tons of work on my bachelors project. In the last couple weeks, I've written about 14 or 15 first draft pages, 3 1/2 of those pages on Sunday. I figure the first draft will get done the next time I do a major writing binge. Then I can move onto the sixth and last paper, do bunches of research, write some in the novel and go back to the beginning, again, to rewrite then revise it all.

Woohoo!

And thanks, again, folks for the support on the crazy woman I tried to book on a tour for Blue Green. I'm doing a pretty good job moving past her with the help of my frivolous and not so frivolous fun and the very engaging job at Fannie Mae, coordinating the production of contracts then processing them so they look nice and easy to read.

Once I get all this fun and some other chores out of the way, I'll try to write some other stuff on this here blog other than personal stuff.

After all, writing a page for the bachelors project only really takes an hour out of my day. . .boy, do I look forward to being able to dedicate whole days, 9-5 5 days a week to writing. I'll get bunches of pages out then and get to learn about a whole bunch of stuff. Lots to do before that, though.

For instance, going to bed ASAP. If I'm to make it over the next couple days, I need to get as much as sleep as possible.

Goodnight, readers!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Autumn

The weather feels like fall, and it feels wonderful.

I also like all the trees lining the streets in my neighborhood. Feels like I'm back in Somerville or Cambridge. Many good memories and emotions from there, along with bittersweet young thought meanderings wondering those streets.

The air also brings along the feeling of going back to school and new possibilities. Strange to think of it, kinda, since it kind of represents nature going to sleep. . .but the sleep also brings with it awakening again and a revival in the spring. So maybe the new possibilities comes from a falling to sleep to start dreaming all these interesting things and having these interesting, somewhat surreal things happening, like meeting new people and starting new friendships, coming up with new ideas and writing them down instead of going outside and running about.

The going back to school theme also feels appropriate since I've become somewhat prolific again with the bachelors project, after two years. Yippee! The fiancee has started up classes again, too. We can probably think of Chicago as our new campus on which to learn many many things.

I also enjoy the smell of autumn.

AND THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT ON THAT CRAZY LADY, READERS!!! THANKS!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Worker's Comp for the Soul

People can use their health insurance from work to see a therapist, but could they use workers comp to see the therapist for breakdowns from work?

I could have used it during my last days at Blue Green. It really culminated during the last day of my second to last weekend. The whole weekend, I had been kicking ass and taking names by making a lot of tours. In fact, I had the second best weekend of my career there.

The day started off well, even. I booked two tours without even trying, knocked them down without even having to work on the prospect. The two stereotypical Chicago married men just about said yes when before I even said anything.

So yeah. . .I was ROCKING!

Then another couple walked up to the stand. I had expected them to go down as easy as the two married before. At the end, though, when I asked for the deposit, the wife goes darned NUTS! And when I say NUTS, I mean NUTS!!!!!

I didn't even think it would turn out bad right away. She reacted with surprise, as many people do at that point. A lot of people don't expect the deposit, and a lot of the time, we lose people on the deposit. Usually pointing out, on the appointment form, that the deposit is "100% refundable," calms people down. They either go with giving me the deposit or politely move onto another excuse which moves onto another excuse and onto another, unless I convince them to go with the deposit, which usually doesn't happen after trying to answer two objections.

Instead, she says, "This is a scam," and she gets all ruffled. Things wouldn't have been all that bad if she just walked away or didn't do much else. Rather than act dignified, she grabs my pen, crosses out the appointment sheet then goes on a tirade.

"This is a scam! Everybody! This is a scam! I can't believe the track even lets you stay here, trying to take our $20s! This is a scam! Everyone, this is a scam!"

Then she walks away in a huff.

Suffice to say, I felt shaken. I didn't book any tours for the rest of the day, despite all the success that weekend. Just kept dwelling on the whole thing. . .knew that I didn't do anything wrong but still just felt really, really shaken by this lady, who had come so close to making the appointment, yelled at me with such force. I felt violated and attacked by this lady. She attacked my integrity.

The next weekend, my last weekend, I didn't book any tours. I don't think anyone else did, either, so I didn't feel so bad. Still, I wonder how much my getting shaken the week before affected my abilities. The turnout there sucked, but maybe if I didn't feel so shaken, I might've gotten at least one tour.

Not a big deal, really. After all, I've resigned and moved onto a job that will pay me more, on average. I'm in a much better situation than then.

I'll get over it, even though I do wish it didn't affect me so much. The event had affected me so much that I near obsessively thought about it throughout the week. "How could I have prevented the event? How could I have gotten her to take the tour? What did I do to come off as sleazy and as a scam artist?"

Reason tells me that I had nothing to do with it. The lady just had plenty of preconceptions that I couldn't control. That's all.

I think I'll just need some time to get over it. Maybe seeing a therapist could help get over the whole thing, even though time, itself, works as the best tool for healing. But again, maybe a therapist could help.

Could I make a Worker's Comp claim for having my heart broken? For having my soul crushed, wrung out then smushed even more by this women's foot. Is there Worker's Comp for the soul?

Well, at least that would make a good title for a book about these types of things: "Worker's Comp for the Soul." Would you read it?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Wise Revelation

My current mentor and I came up with a good wise revelation:

The task will likely still be there tomorrow, so I might as well just go to bed.

It can really apply to a lot of things in life. Nights like these, where I spend it alone with cats, I'm reminded of my days as a teenager. I always wanted to go out then and have lots of excitement.

Now, not so much. Most of that excitement seems pretty irrelevant, especially with all the stuff I want to do and have to do. But then with today's revelation, I can ask myself:

Will these things I do really make much of a difference?

I think that's a good question to ask, especially if you have to make it to work at 8 in the morning and feel real tired.

And I don't mean this question in a depressing, I don't have any effect on the world type of way. I mean it more as, to borrow a phrase, "Should I really get all worked up and lose sleep about all these small tasks?" I mean it to focus my attention on the important things, like sleep and tasks that will have a lasting effect.

Or to toss aside and procrastinate on some tasks to actually have some fun and enjoy life. I don't have enough of it, and I think many of you, my readers, can attest to this fact.

Thank you, friends, for trying to keep me grounded by getting my head in the clouds. =D

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Still Darned Busy

The title really about says it.

Finished day 20 of my 23 day working marathon.

Done with Blue Green Resorts. Do I still need to make the disclaimer that my writing doesn't represent the opinion of the company?

They treat me well at Fannie Mae. So well, in fact, that I plan on applying for a permanent position once I find the time and energy.

Not too many thoughts going on in my head. Well, there's some thoughts but nothing I want to present to the general public.

Finished reading The Hottest State by Ethan Hawke, which apparently has become a film, too. It ended well and gave me a great revelation, but Hawke's storytelling skills could use some work. Great sense of the characters, even the immature main character, but the character development and tension needed a good amount of work. Only the characterization kept me reading. The plot, however, didn't really get me until the end revelation, which was a good one for a guy to know.

But yeah. . .I get my first day of rest in a couple days, and on a weekend, at that! My first weekend off in about a month or so. Woohoo! Maybe I'll write some more then.

And right, when I can get to the bachelors project, I'm doing some good work on it. Still feels as if it has written itself, despite the need for revision at some later date. Coming out not that bad, though.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pretty Busy

By the way, I've gotten darned busy, working two jobs. Hardly have time outside of work to think anything inspiring.

Today was day 12 of my 22 day working marathon, I believe.

Going out last night until midnight and having a manhattan without any bitters in a pretty big glass probably didn't help me have a good day today. The onion rings probably didn't help much, either. and caused some sad belly this morning.

I don't think the drink and the work marathon helped me one bit with having a good time last night, either. Nothing against the company. My body, mind and spirit just didn't want to have a good time.

On a good note, though, I prevented a good amount of deep useless worrying caused by my brain trying to stimulate itself and create order. Silly brain, needing some cognitive training every once in awhile. When will you learn?

Well I had better get going, have dinner then get to bed. It's after my bed time. =(

Friday, September 01, 2006

My Dumb Ass Action of the Month

SOME CRAFTY CUSTOMER SERVICE

Setting up an electronic transfer of funds from my checking account to the marriage/future family money market fund, I mistakenly pick my account from Boston.

It has something like $6 in it.

I tried transferring $100 from it

Couldn't cancel from the requesting end so had to contact the bank with barely any money in it. They originally told me that it would cost $20 to have them do a stop pay.

While discussing the situation, however, I mentioned that I wouldn't mind closing the account, if that would avoid the stop pay cost. The customer service rep typed away a little bit then said that they would do the stop pay and waive the fee.

I have the feeling that they waived the fee for customer service purposes. I have patronized their bank for about 6 years now and used to have a bunch of accounts there. Now I have one account left, and who knows if I would consider coming back to them if that account gets closed. With that account open and if I move back to Boston, I may just open more accounts with them at some later date.

Some crafty customer service there. Have to give that bank some credit.

AND IN ART NEWS ('THE SCREAM' RETURNED). . .

Mystery remains over return of Munch's 'The Scream'