#364: The Great Release

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I’m not sure what kind of mood I’m currently in, as I’m having difficulty articulating my feelings which are so overwhelming and all-encompassing. More than anything, what I want is to feel comfortable. Comfort is essential, as are safety and security and those other important values.

“Great Release” is a song by the band LCD Soundsystem, and it’s fairly underrated. It’s a bit on the long side, at about six minutes long, but I’m currently listening to it as a way to calm myself down. It helps me get back into a better mood, or at least relax my senses and calm myself down.

The song is about space, it’s about love, it’s about releasing and letting go and making yourself happy again, by whatever means necessary. It’s about dying, it’s about letting go of inhibitions and drifting off into space. It’s relaxing, and the music applies to the themes of the song. I love when songs are consistent like that because it actually makes me motivated to write, too, believe it or not.

The song is either heavily inspired by Brian Eno, the famous music producer, or he’s actually involved on the track. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was, considering he’s friends with the guy who runs the band. They both play with each other frequently.

To me, sometimes you need music to calm yourself down. Not all tracks are going to have the same effect, and not all people will feel the same way because of the same music. More often than not, I realize I don’t have the same music taste as other people, and because of that, I’m a bit isolated. I can’t talk about the same subjects as other people when it comes to music because I don’t relate as heavily with other people. Such is life.

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#363: The Fallout

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This won’t necessarily be about the Fallout game series or about fall as a season; instead, I’ll be discussing the ways in which fallout inside a community can be handled. There’s been major fallout recently after some spoilers came out for a certain game which I won’t name here, as I don’t want to spoil anyone by association.

But here’s the thing. Sometimes endings don’t go how people plan them to go. Sometimes endings don’t end up the way the fans want them, and sometimes that happens regardless of all the clamoring people have done for an appropriate ending to the series.

The way that the original game ended was fantastic. It was cohesive, fit the themes of the story, and overall made sense. Invoking this third arc out of nowhere really tears down on what made the first game click for me. It blows up the foundation of a really compelling and thematically-consistent story just to mess with things for the sake of it. In reality, stories need to be consistent and need to have a flow to them in order for them to make sense. A story that already exists in a perfectly fine context doesn’t need forced content to make it better, if anything it needs more development of existing content and characters who feel left out. That’s what gets me about this whole new game; there are areas that need improvement that are just thrown to the wayside to push new content instead.

A game’s ending also has to be satisfying in some way. It doesn’t necessarily have to be positive, but the player has to feel like it was at the very least all worth the time and investment. An ending has to click, and if it doesn’t, people will feel like they wasted their time on nothing.

#362: The Updates

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This post is a loose continuation from my previous post, called the Proofreader, because my proofreader friend gave me a bunch of recommendations on my previous chapter to apply into my writing. I took it all, updated my writing accordingly, and it feels much better than it did before. I think the parts I changed just generally flow better and feel more appropriate to the story. I also had to clarify a couple parts that were confusing despite my best intentions. Sometimes that just happens, and you have to do what you have to do. I feel good about all the changes I made, though, and generally speaking, it’s in a much better state than it was before.

Being open to feedback means not just blindly accepting feedback and all types of constructive criticism, either. You can’t just sit there and hope to take it all in and apply every piece of advice, especially if there are tons of pieces of advice to go off of. Sometimes you need to draw the line somewhere and make choices based off of where you see the story going. People might think they know where the story is going, when in reality it’s a bit more complicated than that. Being a writer means you naturally operate with a bit more knowledge than the average reader, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore feedback, either. Feedback can be relevant to what direction you’re trying to move in, too.

Unwelcome feedback can be annoying, though. After listening to my friend speak for awhile, it was very helpful and reassuring, but then I received unnecessary feedback from someone else who I didn’t really ask for feedback from. They started giving me advice, but in reality I wasn’t really looking for it at the time. Is that normal?

#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.