#361: The Proofreader

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I’ve written three chapters of my series in about three weeks, somehow. It’s been a long journey getting to this point, but having established such a pace means I have to keep up with it, right? I’ve made it clear that I have time to write 4.5k words once a week, so with that in mind, shouldn’t I be able to do it again? This is of course on top of the other stuff I’m writing, like the fandom week that’s coming up in January, and the blogs that I try to maintain regardless of the fact that they’re becoming more and more difficult to write.

The proofreader is about having a good friend who’s willing to proofread and edit my writing for me, even though I don’t pay the person to do so. Should I? Probably. But they’re a friend of mine, and they do it for me anyway because they want to help out. It makes the story infinitely better, having people around who are willing to help out with the creation of it. I always credit them at the end of the stories, too, because I’m not irresponsible or unappreciative of the work they’ve done to help me get to where I am.

My proofreader is currently, as I type, reading my third chapter and preparing to give feedback on it. I’m excited to see what they have to say, as well as whatever they have to contribute next. I love sharing my writing with other people, and I’m always eager to get feedback, even if it’s negative. So long as it’s constructive, it’s worthwhile in my book. I want to make sure that people feel interested in where my story is going and aren’t just reading for the sake of it. Having genuine interest in a story of my own creation is really, really great.


#360: The Xbox

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Get it? Because it’s #360 and the Xbox 360 was the previous generation’s console title?

Before I became a huge PC gamer, I was invested in my Xbox 360, a white and grey-colored console that sometimes flashed red with the ring of death whenever it screwed up. I used to play tons of games on it, namely Rock Band 2 with my friends at sleepovers and gatherings, Gears of War 1 and 2 with other friends during other gatherings, and Halo 3. I’ve talked about Halo in a previous blog post, I’m sure, and I think it was #343 (because of the number again.) Halo was meaningful to me in so many ways, and I couldn’t begin to encapsulate it all in 300 words. But today I’ll be discussing some of the other games that mattered to me on that console.

Castle Crashers, which wasn’t exclusive to the Xbox but I owned via the Live Store, was how I spent many nights of the week online. Bashing and crashing monsters and foes of all types with my trusty sword (or other weapons, who knows) was one of my favorite pastimes. I liked going into the desert levels especially, because there were tons of foes to fight and they served as great practice dummies. To me, sometimes the simple things matter the most.

I also played a ton of Worms: Revolution, another game that wasn’t exclusive to the Xbox but I owned anyway. My friends and I had tons of fun nuking each other across the map with missiles and projectiles and other ridiculous, wacky weapons. The game had a light-hearted feel to it and everything worked together well. I would still recommend it, to be honest, even though I haven’t touched it in years. It has a lasting appeal that’s memorable to me regardless. I also used to play it with some of my Twitter friends.

#359: The Artist

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I sometimes have the urge to teach myself something new, to branch out and learn something and expand my skillset. I like the idea of watching YouTube tutorials on how to draw and using that as inspiration to get into drawing, even though drawing has never been something I’ve been good at. I still stick with stick figures and rudimentary shapes. In fact, I’m so bad at drawing that I used to sit out of pictionary with my friends because I was worried my drawings would be incomprehensible because of their weirdness. Things have changed since then, and I’ve gained a bit more confidence in my round-about ways of drawing things, but I still sometimes get the urge to learn more.

I think it’s because I saw the wonderful progress made by one of my friends on Twitter, who started by drawing a basic idea of Kirby and then it evolved into drawing whatever he wanted. I want the freedom to be able to create the visions I have in my head, and I want to actualize those visions. It’s frustrating to have these images bouncing around in your head and then have nothing to do with them. It’s like they exist only for you to enjoy.

I recently commissioned some art from a friend, though, which was a lot of fun and got a ton of likes on Twitter. It was really cool and I’m grateful for their participation in it, but I’d like to be able to have an idea for a character without having to collaborate with another person to create it, you know? It’d be nice to have that ability myself.

So that’s where I’m at. I don’t know where this journey will take me, or if I’m even going on this journey at all. Who knows, honestly.

#358: The Week Ahead, Part 2

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I wasn’t able to fit all of my thoughts into the 300 word count, so I figured I would turn this ill-timed blog into a two-parter. It just makes more sense that way, and I’m pretty happy I get to occupy more time with more blogs regardless. Because I’m writing this on a Sunday, and because the week ahead is going to be very busy, it’s helpful to have a backlog of blogs scheduled so that I don’t have to worry about writing one or two or three a day when I get home just to catch up to myself. That can be extremely frustrating if left uncontrolled.

So Monday is stressful, regardless of how you look at it. And then there’s Wednesday, when I’ll be starting D&D for the first time with my middle schoolers. Those of you who know already are aware that I’m leading a D&D after-school club one day a week for an hour, and it’s always on Wednesdays. My kids are super excited, which makes me optimistic about everything and gives me hope that this will go well, but a part of me is always unsure about the uncertainty of the game, and whether I’m prepared enough to take this responsibility on. It’s a lot to deal with at once. I’m stressed about the unpredictability of it, but not so much that the students will be bored or have an unfun experience. I will deliver that for them, regardless.

Thursday I have a job interview planned, but that might not go through. I’m not sure yet. More on that later, perhaps.

Friday I have D&D again, for the first time, with a different group of people this time. I don’t know if I’m prepared enough for them and all their new rules and lingo.

#357: The Week Ahead, Part 1

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This blog post will go up on Wednesday I think, but I’m writing it on Sunday from the perspective of someone who’s reflecting on a crazy, ridiculous week into the future. A week that’s going to test me and make me stressed out, undoubtedly, but will hopefully give me the chance to reflect on my current job and my happiness there. For that, I’m grateful for the opportunity and hopeful that the future will benefit things further. I just need to push through this week and then hopefully things will be better on the other side!

So, here’s the deal. On Monday, also known as tomorrow for me but two days in the past when this goes up, I’ll be substituting for math the whole day because both the math teacher and math title 1 assistant have personal days planned for that day. What that means is that they needed to pull another assistant from the same building into math to help the regular math assistant teach the class as normal. I just hope he knows everything and understands the rules and all that so I can help him out, rather than having to lead everything myself. Usually when this sort of pairing up happens, one assistant takes the lead and the other naturally takes the assistant role again. When I’m working in Research & Portfolio for example, I tend to submit into the assistant role until Sean is out, and then I tend to take over the teacher role because I’m in all the R&P classes and know it a bit better than the others. That’s one of the natures of this job. It can be frustrating and weird sometimes, but it is what it is and I’m grateful in some ways that I’m being paid at all these days.

#356: The Peanut Butter

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Peanut butter is fantastic. It’s gooey and tasty and has all the right types of flavors in it. It makes a great companion in smoothies, for example in the AB&J smoothie that Alex makes from time to time, and it complements the other flavors in it so well. I love all the types of peanut butter RX bars that we get, whether it’s just the basic peanut butter bar, the peanut butter and berries bar, the peanut butter and chocolate bar, or more. There’s so much peanut butter out there to appreciate.

For lunch every day, I eat apples with peanut butter on them. It’s a nice bit of protein with some fruit in the middle of the day to get me energized again, and it’s dependable. It has a low chance of being unable to wow me. Even though it’s pretty basic and it’s always there, I still love eating it, is what I mean. Sometimes it’s hard to find a dependable staple like that.

I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I went to lunch with everyone in the same lunch room and talked with them normally about things. Off-topic, I know, but the thoughts just entered my mind. Would I have stayed at my old teaching job?

As you can tell, I’m continuing my trend of talking about small things at large, by devoting whole blog posts to their discussion. Today, I feel especially motivated to churn out as many blogs as possible about small things, as a way of filling up my backlog so I don’t have to worry about writing them as much during the hectic and ridiculous week I have planned ahead. Perhaps I’ll share more about that on the next blog post. (Spoiler alert: I did, it’s a two-parter and it’s going up on Thursday and Friday to end the week with.)

#355: The Nails

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I hate cutting my nails. Whether it’s my fingernails or toenails, nails are uncomfortable and mostly outrageous to deal with. I have nothing against people who do appreciate their nails, the people who style them and beautify them, but to me personally, that’s never been something within the male gender norm and as a result I haven’t felt too passionately about them. Again, that’s not to say those who do appreciate them are in the wrong though.

My nails are a product of my genetics, and they grow back quickly regardless of whatever I do on them. When I cut them, I do so knowing that within two weeks they’ll be fully grown again and back their talon-like size. It’s frustrating to have to deal with, but in the end, it’s just part of my life at this point. I like the act of clipping nails, the satisfying sound that the clipper makes as it sinks its metallic body through the nail, but it doesn’t make up for the annoying and obnoxious rest of the process. It’s just a satisfying part of it that helps to lessen the wound.

I don’t often talk about the small things, the tiny bits of life that slip under the surface and don’t go talked about often. I’d like to do this more often, but I worry that I will run out of space or I won’t have enough words to fit the 300 word quota. In cases like those, I just need to get meta and talk about blogging at the end, in order to fulfill the 300 words and do away with any doubt about it all. That’s the trick. So much has come up recently that I could be talking about instead, but I sometimes feel more comfortable spending time like this.

#354: The Year

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It’s been a year’s worth of blogs! Let’s talk about that.

Three hundred and fifty four blogs later, I’ve managed to reach a year in number. I think that’s a pretty remarkable achievement, considering prior to this my stamina for writing was super low and I didn’t spend much time during the day doing it. Now that I have a bit more time at work and the ability to write at home afterwards, I’ve managed to fit in blog writing along with all the other forms of writing I’ve been doing recently. Getting into fandom to begin with after spending so long outside of it really burst my bubble as to what life was like on the other side. I like to keep to myself and stay mostly in my own bubble regardless, but seeing so many people act out and enter your timeline for whatever reason reminded me of how this experience actually, usually goes. I’ve made some quality friends through fandom, though, and I appreciate them a lot through everything.

I mention that because it’s been a source of writing inspiration for me, and it gives me the opportunity to stretch my creative muscles a bit. While this blog is more nonfiction, my fandom writing tends to occupy more fiction. I’m not used to writing fiction without it being solely for myself, so publishing anything to begin with is really outside of my comfort zone and expertise.

All in all, I’m grateful for this blog and the platform it’s given me, but more than anything else, I’m grateful that I’ve rediscovered writing as a craft on my own and not through forcing myself to do it. I’m doing this out of enjoyment and to hone my skills, not just writing for the sake of writing. Let’s keep things going that way and see how this continues into year two.

#353: The Lie

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How are you when it comes to lying?

This is probably going to be a difficult blog to write, so as to not implicate myself in anything, but I wanted to write it after I had to make a really carefully constructed lie recently. I won’t go into the details on it, for reasons I just mentioned, and I’ll try to keep things fairly even and balanced.

Lying is bad. No one should have to lie to do anything or get anything. Lying is also tantamount with immorality, ambiguity, and a general lack of clarity of character. By that I mean, character in an ethical sense. Your character as a person drains if you’re spending all your day lying. You have to then keep up with those lies over time, living second and third lives in front of different people, and then they recognize you for those lies. They expect new things of you, depending on how complicated the lie was. If you lie to someone once in a fairly innocent context and say that you’re working a second job to get extra money, for example, then people will expect you to go home and do that immediately upon getting home. If they see you on Playstation 4 online afterwards, they might be a little confused, considering you just told them you were working a second job. Hypothetically, of course. Not that that’s actually happened to me.

But again, lying isn’t good. You really shouldn’t lie. I never lie on this blog; I keep things honest to myself. When I write, I write in order to expel those lies from my system and reclaim myself and my honesty. I do so in order to stay sane amidst all the chaos of the world. Sometimes it really is necessary to lie, just to get by, but I still never feel good about it.


#352: The Cover Letter

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Writing cover letters is an intricate process. I mention this because, be that as it may, I have been applying to new jobs recently and have had to write some cover letters as part of the job application process. They’re never easy, but here I’ll be discussing a few of the ways that I’ve gone about writing cover letters in the past. I hope that this proves useful or helpful to someone.

    1. First and foremost, I like to keep in mind that I should be telling a story through the cover letter. Not a narrative with conflict and plot, but a cohesive, consistent story of my career path, without any gaping holes or red flags present, and without covering anything up. To some, that might be hard, but in the end it’s necessary.
    2. I also like to organize my story around valuable traits and responsibilities that the hiring manager included on the job application sheet. If it says that the ideal candidate has to have so and so traits, I like to make sure I mention why I believe I possess those traits in my cover letter, with examples to support them.
    3. Finally, I like to demonstrate total politeness, maturity, respect, and understanding for the place I am applying to. If you haven’t gone on their website and looked at their mission yet, you’re missing out on some valuable diction to put into your cover letter. If they’re insistent about taking personal responsibility for your actions, use your cover letter as a platform to discuss a time when you took personal responsibility in a meaningful way.

That’s about it from me. I hope you learned a thing or two about writing cover letters here. If not, I’ll try better on the next go around. Overall, though, cover letters are about telling stories about your life.