#322: The Fear

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I’m currently in the middle of writing a fic about fear, specifically about one character’s biggest fears manifesting and twisting around her. It’ll be posting on Sunday, although by the time this blog post goes up, it’ll be well past Sunday. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

Fear is an interesting subject to me. I used to be afraid of a lot of things: the dark, the deep ocean, my closet, funny places like that. I was so afraid that I hated going to the beach, although I can’t recall the last time I actually did go to the beach freely. I was never much of a beach person growing up, although I went a few times with Jimmy to catch crabs with his family. Those days were pretty fun. I was a deeply afraid and scared person, and I attribute a lot of that to my general insecurity towards life. Thankfully, those days are past me and I no longer have the same worries that I did then. In a sense, I’ve grown up and realized how childish those fears were.

But, some people are still deeply afraid of things. It’s not easy to just overcome something without thinking about it. You have to really dedicate yourself to overcoming a particular fear, either by desensitizing yourself to it or immersing yourself in the fear until you no longer have to deal with it any more.

The fic I’m writing deals with fear but doesn’t let the character overcome it near the end, believe it or not. They’re still struggling with the same fears by the end, but I think that’s only natural. Not everyone receives a happy ending in which they overcome what they sought to overcome. Sometimes they just continue to struggle, and that’s all there is to it.

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#321: The Followers

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As I write this, I have almost the same amount of followers on Twitter as I have blog posts on here. It’s really grown over the past few weeks, and I’m happy to see it expanded because it means I have more people to interact with who love my stuff. It’s fun to see people from throughout the fandom come to my profile and discuss shared interests with me. It’s even more fun to make friends who you can then play Monster Hunter with. There’s so much out there in terms of what you can do thanks to social media, and in this day and age, I appreciate it immensely. Leaving an online footprint in places is, under some circumstances, a bit troublesome, but to me it’s just the same as leaving my footprint in other people’s lives. I’ve met people who haven’t liked me, and that’s fine. You can’t please everyone. I don’t think you’re meant to, anyway.

To me, having followers doesn’t mean I’m popular; it means that my tweets resonate with people and they’re interested enough to follow me. Popularity does not necessarily correlate with interest. I consider having few close friends better than having many acquaintances, and that mantra applies definitely to life online. You can be inundated with so many people, but you have to be selective about what you choose to do.

I decided on this blog title and topic because the number next to the title was really close to the amount of followers I have, and nothing more. As I write this, it’s actually at around 325, but I figured this is close enough.

I had to close this blog for a bit to finish writing something else, but now I’m back. Sometimes you just need to relax and wait for the ideas to come back to you.

#320: The Method

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Nouns are fun. As I think of what to write about here, I always come up with a title first and then go from there. It all starts with some kind of title, like “the wrestler” or “the crimson flower,” and then I think, what can I discuss about that topic? What sorts of ideas pop into my mind as I consider everything related to this main theme? Sometimes they come easily to me, and sometimes I have to go back and think deeply about the topic before anything even enters my mind. Some topics really take their toll on me, and I have to wrack my head as much as possible just to get any kind of idea going. It takes lots of time.

For example, this blog post initially seemed like a good idea when I first thought of it, but now that I’m in the middle of writing, I’m beginning to question whether it was a smart idea, because I’m having doubts that I’ll be able to continue writing about this for long. Oh well, this happens all the time. I guess this is a lesson for me in making sure to have enough in my head before starting a blog. I can’t just jump in and expect my mind to finish it for me. In a sense, this post resembles my typical method. I think it perfectly encapsulates what I’m trying to talk about, which is the method I usually take to write a blog.

When I have lots of ideas though, they come out naturally and flow like water. It’s impossible to stop the stream of words and phrases and sentences. They’re generated in my head and then they form on the page naturally. Nothing compares to writing blogs and getting those cathartic emotions out onto the page. Sometimes it’s all I need to set my mind straight on things.

#319: The Drill

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No, not that kind of drill. Here’s what I really mean.

Shortly after I finish writing this blog post, there will be a fire drill at school. It’s scheduled for 9:45am, no later and no earlier, and despite knowing it’s going to happen in advance, I still feel anxious about it, naturally. I always feel this way before a big drill or something like that, because who knows what’s going to happen to my students during that time period? I make sure to prepare as much as I can, and I follow all the necessary and required protocol to ensure everyone is safe and secure, but I still feel anxious. I mean, who doesn’t? Fire drills are tough to manage students during, and they tend to want to move around and get restless when they shouldn’t be. During a lockdown drill especially, how can anyone not immediately feel overcome with emotion and worry while waiting for the administrators to walk down the hallway and knock on your door over and over until they finally decide to leave?

Drills are stressful and tiresome. I don’t look forward to them, even when I know they’re coming, and I hate them more when they’re unexpected. When I was a high school teacher, I remember during a lockdown drill a group of my students pushed their backs into the dividing wall between the neighboring classrooms and dislodged it from its place. They were messing around when they weren’t supposed to, and they unintentionally caused damage to the wall in the process. It’s one of my big regrets from my teaching days. I hope that they were able to fix the wall, as it never got fixed while I was still at the school. It would be nice to know that that mistake was rectified in some way.

#318: The Sausage, Part 3

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I also realized recently that I haven’t written about Ango much on this blog since my last post, which was over a couple weeks ago. Since then, it’s been mostly video games and work and things like that, without much of a focus on what’s really important: the dogs and other pets in our lives.

We took Ango to the vet a few times recently, once to get him checked up and the other time so that he could get tested for heartworm again. He’s still showing light signs of heartworm in him, but that could just be from the test, and it likely is because he’s not showing any of the symptoms of having heartworm. He’s not lethargic or anything like that, not even close. This dog is a bundle of wild energy whenever anyone starts moving around.

For example, yesterday morning I woke up and walked out of the bedroom to find Ango panting at me from the couch. It had no discernible purpose to it, just that he felt like panting and needed to get something out of his system. He’s so funny and lovable that it’s impossible to stay angry at him for long, especially because he doesn’t hold grudges. He’s just a dog, after all, and he wants love more than anything else.

Being a dog owner has been a wonderful privilege and experience, though a bit on the expensive side, while we talk about going to the vet. The good thing is that we shouldn’t have to take him back in awhile; he’s good to go and doesn’t need anything else for at least a few months, I think. I always feel a bit worried before we go to the vet because of that. Who knows what they’ll say about him this time? Hopefully just good things.

#317: The Sausage, Part 2

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Speaking of celebrating, Ango is rapidly approaching the 100 mark on his home tracker. By the time this post goes up, hopefully he’ll have made it without any issues or problems. He’s been a really good boy so far and hasn’t made a stink about being left alone in the apartment, even though he has every right to. I feel bad whenever I have to go to work for 8 hours, because I know he’s probably just sitting and waiting for me to come back. It’s like that Spongebob meme where Patrick tells Spongebob that all he does when he’s working is wait for him to come home so they can play again.

But Ango’s big 100 day achievement is not made any less important because of the fact that a majority of those days were spent lounging with me on the couch during the summer. He didn’t seem to mind those days and he enjoyed having constant company, but that doesn’t cheapen the fact that he’s still lasted almost 100 days without wrecking the apartment. He’s just as capable of wrecking the apartment while we’re around as he is while he’s home alone. The only difference is the degree of surveillance he’s under, which in this case was still very little, actually.

I just took a break from writing this blog to give Ango some head rubs. He loves when I grab his head lightly and tug behind his ears with all my might; he just seems to gravitate towards those types of rubs, the more eager and energetic ones. I love when he really leans into it and waits for me to finish so he can give celebratory licks. I love when he puts his head down, as if to say that he’s really enjoying this and needs to savor it while it’s still happening. He’s such a silly boy.

#316: The Sausage, Part 1

Sometimes we call Angus a big sausage because he looks very much like one. He’s big, full of love, and definitely a sausage. There’s no mistaking it: this dog is a sausage.

I mean, look at him.

ango

He’s a big sausage and there’s no mistaking it.

No but really, this post is going to be Ango, our wonderful dog. The other weekend, he slipped, went airborne and fell on his side on the hardwood floor. It was his own fault, really, because he was getting super excited and running around the kitchen, which he’s not supposed to do, but he did it anyway because sometimes Ango is a jerk and doesn’t follow the rules exactly. He sometimes moans and makes groaning noises from across the room because he has nothing better to do than to do that. He just did it right as I was typing, actually, so he knows I’m writing about him from across the room. It’s part of his nature for him to want to be the center of attention, which is hilarious because as soon as people actually start paying attention to him, he’s already running over to one of his toys to bite and chew on. He can’t stand being excited for too long without having to chew on something close by, whether it’s the blanket in bed or a toy near him. He’s a fickle boy with fickle interests, but we love him for it.

This post might make it seem like I’m not exactly celebrating everyone’s favorite big sausage boy, but in reality I love him a ton and I’d rather have no other dog. I’m glad we were able to rescue him at the age of 6 and offer him a happy place to live out the rest of his adult years. He’s wonderful, and he deserves that kind of happiness above all else.

#315: The Bar, Part 2

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Now I remember what I originally wanted to write about for the previous blog
post! I wanted to talk about RX bars. That’s it. It’s all coming back to me now.

Sometimes, when writing quite a lot, I forget what I’m supposed to be writing about and words begin to fail me. It’s like hitting writer’s block, except the block is totally debilitating and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’ve been writing a lot recently, lots of creative writing and stuff like that, and I’m eager to see what people think of what I’ve written. Getting a decent reception from others is one of my primary motivators. I have met lots of friends online, and I’d like them to think that I’m at least somewhat decent at writing. Having a degree in English makes things complicated, though; there are expectations in place for you to already be an incredible writer, which I am definitely not. I just try my best.

So, RX bars. Let’s talk about those briefly while I still can. I love all of the variety of flavors, I love being able to choose from different flavors at different times during the day, and I love the options. Have I mentioned that already, how much I love the flavorful options of RX bars? I feel like I must’ve written about these before, but I can’t seem to find anything about it.

Either way, I’m a huge fan of the peanut butter and berries flavor, as well as the blueberry flavor. There are plenty of other great flavors too, but those are my two general favorites. I like chocolate hazelnut as well. Honestly, I love them all, and I can’t seem to specify just one that I like more than the others. There’s so much to love here.

#314: The Bar, Part 1

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Despite being an amateur poet, I could never write song lyrics successfully. There’s a certain musicality to the words that I lack and can’t seem to grasp. It’s not that I’ve ever really tried, though. My experience with words is in function, mostly; I look at words and see them as having clear definitions with clear usage cases. Use this word here under these circumstances, don’t use this word when this other word precedes it, things like that. Words are complicated, fickle things, and it’s impossible to ever really know what sounds right to everyone. People interpret language differently. Grammar was invented to create a sense of what’s “proper” and “improper,” but grammar varies by location. Certain rules are consistent across location, but regionalisms exist for a reason.

Originally, I was going to write this blog post about experience bars, and how they incentivize progression in video games. Instead I went on a tangent and decided to talk about words. I’m not sure how the connection came to be, but I’m going to just keep going and see where it takes me.

In grad school, I took a class on morphology, the study of word formations, and we learned sentence diagrams and morphology trees. They were essential to our growth as future English teachers; being able to justify how sentences work and the intrinsic grammar to them was a fantastic gift.

When doing creative writing, I found that mixing up my grammar created the best reading experience. Trying different sentence structures and fiddling with the rules a bit is necessary to diversify the reading experience. You can’t just write a bunch of bland, declarative sentences over and over again, with hopes that it will eventually sound good. There’s a reason the greatest writers are masters of grammar; they know when to break the rules.

#312: The Camera, Part 2

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Being observed as a teacher can be one of the more stressful experiences you could have. There’s a rubric they’re using to watch you and grade you, as if you’re a student, but the rubric determines how good you are at the job they’re paying you to do. If you’re not doing a good job, who’s to say you deserve to stay there? It can be terrible to think about the implications of a struggling grade on an observation. Thankfully, my observations were all fairly positive and I didn’t have much to complain about there from my teaching experience. But I’m thankful again that I don’t have to worry about that in my current job. Evaluations are different, though I might actually appreciate having regular, planned observations rather than the current system. Having a structured system at all would be great.

Evaluations are stressful, no doubt, but evaluations can also be validating, just as cameras can be validating in some ways. I like being told that I’m doing a good job, as I think everyone does. It restores a bit of my confidence, which can be sorely lacking and vulnerable during times like these.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to have a job where everything is absolutely perfect? You’re not constantly being watched, you have supportive coworkers you feel comfortable talking with, and you don’t have the pressure of being punished unreasonably. Sometimes I wonder if that’s all just fantasy, if I’ll never actually find that type of job when I have the chance. Will it come my way, or do I need to be tireless in my pursuit of it? I know that nothing in life is easy or simple, but I wish this part was. I’d work forever if it meant working in the perfect environment.