DMV and the 21st Century 

Today wasn't quite as productive as yesterday, but I did manage to get my car registration renewed and I picked up the medication I needed. During the afternoon, I got really tired, right around 3:00 pm or so. I seriously considered taking a nap, but I didn't want to be up all night since I am trying to get bed at a decent hour every day.

Last month, I got my car's renewal registration form in the mail, and while I had a whole month and half to go online and pay the registration in just a handful of minutes, I waited until a week before it expired so I was forced to go the DMV. Typical for me. Still, I didn't mind going to the DMV, that is until I found out that I couldn't pay with my debit card; they only take cash or check. In the car, as I was driving back for cash money, I shook my head. I don't know why I expected the DMV to join the 21st century and allow debit payments. Plastic is so ubiquitous these days, I haven't written a check in several years. It was a minor inconvenience.

That was about it for the things I meaningfully did today. Yes, I watched television and surfed on the internet in the evening. I am making more progress in the world of warcraft game, a game that is becoming boring in its routines. It is the other people in the game that make it interesting, and now summer is winding to a close, it looks as if they have less and less time to log in.

Anyway, last night I went to bed at 1:00 am, tonight I will be in bed before midnight and should be asleep soon after. I am reading Beowulf in bed and can fit a few pages in before drifting off to sleep. It's interesting to think how rings played such an important part of their ancient culture. I could explain more, but it's tired and I am going to bed this very moment.

25 August 2009

Arguments over Dragons 

Today wasn't so bad as far as getting things done. I worked from home for the first part of the day fixing up a logo for the place I work. I tinkered with it in illustrator, and then put it in place onto a facebook page. Work needs to have a business facebook for reasons I am not entirely clear about, but I figure if the facebook page can drive people to the internet sales site, then it could be very good.

And yet, without input from the boss, I could only go so far with it. I needed to ask some questions about the information that was going to be placed on it. Consequently, I went down to work and tried to finish it up there. I also discovered, in the process of doing that, the bosses' computer wasn't properly updated. Therefore, in addition to doing the facebook changes, I downloaded and installed fourteen updates, three of which were "high priority." The boss had been having a lot of problems with her e-mail program. I am really hoping that this will clear it up. I stayed almost an hour after closing working on her computer.

During the evening at home, I did not do much else except watch television and play on the computer. I suppose it will be no surprise to anyone if I said that I played World of Warcraft. Most people already know what that is, but for the uninitiated, it is a game of swords, magic, and dragons that you essentially play online. I am not sure how many people play on each of the different game servers, but imagine each server like a small town consisting of a few thousand people.

Like all towns, there are a variety of people in it, but I know that the average player is a young male with plenty of time on his hand. Yes, there are a few women who play regularly, and perhaps more rarely, older people in their mid-forties or more who also play. But for the most part, one is subjected to the views, attitudes, and opinions of the various young men in their teens and twenties, and often the chat can be a bit crude.

I wanted to run one of the quests for the Tournament of Champions tonight, so I joined a looking for group channel. It wasn't too long before I was invited to join a group of four other people who wanted to do the same thing. Unfortunately, the leader of the group was being rude and wasn't reacting politely to simple requests. He wasn't being outright mean, but I could tell by the way he was talking that he was teenager with maturity issues. I endured silently for awhile, but when I asked for some assistance in marking the order of enemies to attack, he flat out refused. At that point, I left the group. I have been in other groups where similar behavior occurred and they almost always end badly. Such players are usually known to "ninja" the game rewards (steal a nice sword for example), rather than give other players a fair chance to roll for it.

Immediately after I left, the leader whispered to me that he was "only joking" and that I was being a "expletive-deleted." I tried to respond by saying that I thought he was being rude, and his insults only proved it, but he immediately put me on "ignore." The ignore action was interesting because it indicated to me that he had probably been involved in arguments with other players before, and this was his way of having the last word. Only more evidence for me that I had made the right choice.

So what was the point of me writing all that? It seems so inconsequential to note the ill-behaved teenager. The reason (or more properly, the significance of this), as best as I can describe it, is that I confronted bad behavior even though I knew it would bring conflict. I intensely hate conflict of almost all kinds, even when it is necessary to point out, as in this case, bad behavior. I wasn't rude about leaving; I merely left.

While being an angry teenager full of hormones gives someone more of an excuse than others, I have to say that I really don't understand why people are so impolite and mean to each other. If you're a player of this silly game, and you want to get things done, and you need other people to help you, the first thing I would think you would remember is to be polite to other people. If you insult them, or treat them poorly, you shouldn't be shocked if they don't want to help you.

The nice thing about this incident was that a mere hour later another group, one much organized and better equipped that the first one, invited me to run that same quest for the Tournament of Champions. I felt a little vindicated because I had stood up for myself, and I got to do the quest too.

I would rather not talk about video games since I feel somewhat self-conscious about playing them. They have a certain childish stigma for people who play them at my age. Then again, I did want to write about what I did during the day, and more often than not, my life is lived online at times so what I have to talk about will obviously include it sometimes.

Tomorrow, I need to renew my car's registration. I should probably check to see when school begins officially again. I should also try to live a little less of my life online and spend more time in the less electronic and pixelated worlds.

Trip to the Grocery Store 

Today was shaping up to be quite like the day before it, nothing done of any real value. During the afternoon, I thought really hard about going out to buy a hamburger and then swinging by the grocery store, but I couldn't force myself to do it. The anxiety I was feeling at the time wouldn't let me do it. The best I could do was wander around the backyard watching the cats, or sitting on a tree stump in the sun, and think about where my life was and where it was likely going to go. If I want a better future for myself, I am going to have to get things under better control.

I was feeling bad enough to get back into bed for awhile. I didn't take a nap, although I considered it. I just rested for a bit while I tried to convince myself to feel better. I was also a bit hungry, but I couldn't really find anything in the kitchen that I felt good about eating. Sure, I could have another bowl of chocolate cereal, but then that'd be my second meal of chocolate cereal, and even one is too much sometimes.

It was my hunger that made me answer yes when my parents called and invited me to a steak dinner. A part of me still did not want to go, but I went anyway. At dinner, I shared some of the news of the day I had heard over my top sirloin and rootbeer. I didn't finish it, and I plan on having it to eat for monday afternoon lunch. Afterwards, I mentioned how I needed to get gas for my car, so dad asked if I could pick up a few things from the grocery store. He gave me a wad of bills.

So, I managed to get one of the things off of the list of stuff I wanted/needed to do this week: go to the grocery store. The money I got from my parents paid for the wet cat food and milk. For myself, I bought some juice, jalapeno pepper slices for nachos later, and a bag of wasabi flavored "crisps," which I thought would be like potato chips but turned out to be more like rice cakes. I really didn't think I had the money to splurge on things that might go bad if I didn't cook them in the next week or so. And, I think that I had already bought enough junk food, so I didn't really need anymore of that either.

At night though, I parked myself in my chair and watched a little television and, as usual, played computer games or surfed on the web. I am definitely going to be in bed much earlier than I have for the past couple of days. Last night, I was alseep at 3:00am. The night before--4:00am. Tonight, I'll be in bed at 12:45 or so. I may read for about 15 minutes (a good way to wind down).

I guess I should be proud that I made it to the grocery store, my big accomplishment for the day. Tomorrow, I am planning to get a little more work done than I have over the weekend. School is fast approaching, which means that summer is nearly over, and which also means that I don't have as much done as I thought I would. My grandiose plan for the summer was to complete a bunch of work projects, get back into a regular schedule of drawing my comic, and do more of my own personal art projects like make a few paintings. My summer of anxiety and feeling down has proved to be very unproductive, but worry and emotional nonsense seems to takes up a lot of time.

24 August 2009

Latch of Productivity 

Every day, I am supposed to write fifteen minutes of stuff. The problem is that I am not sure what to write about. If I keep saying that today I did nothing, and yesterday I did nothing, and tomorrow I did nothing, then what's the point? I don't want to express any strong opinions because a) some of them would be wrong for a variety of reasons and b) even if they weren't, the way the world is so polarized today, if I asserted one thing, someone else would get upset because they believe something else. Anyone who knows me knows that intensely dislike contention.

So, I am going to talk about art. I like looking at it, and sometimes I really like making it. The problem is that I don't do it often enough. The last thing I worked on, aside from the never ending summer school project, and the little work I do for the family business, was a comic that I have not finished. It was the art project that was truly for me alone.

During the spring term of last year, I had a figure drawing class that I really enjoyed. I think I have some talent for drawing. The instructor was really encouraging. It was a hard class to earn even a "B" in, but I managed it. It was also the one of the few classes where I wasn't worried about the letter grade I would earn at the end of the term (unless it were a D or lower). My primary focus was not on the grade, but on trying to get the skills I needed to make a composition that was interesting and pleasant to look at.

I think that I am overcritical of myself a lot when it comes to my art. I know that I don't do it enough. So I get discouraged when on the occasion I make some little art, and it inevitably doesn't look like I had imagined. Then I tell myself, well you don't draw enough, so you have no reason to expect that it will look any better than it does, which is a factual statement of the truth. Of course, that factual statement of the truth discourages me even more and makes it less likely that I will do the art as often as I want. It's an emotional catch 22.

I've been considering using a to-do list of my weekly goals for myself as a way to get moving forward on some of things I need to do, and try to get myself out of my rut. Even when I am not doing anything except watching television or surfing the net, I feel like I am disappointing someone. It makes me feel bad, and causes me a lot of frustration toward myself that I try to resolve by distracting myself with empty activities.

Seeing as today is Friday, I am going to include here a list of things that I want to do. First, I want to finish that unfinished comic in some form and put it on the web. Second, I want to talk to the gym people about my getting a refresher on the rules. I want to fix myself a breakfast of eggs instead of cold cereal at least twice a week. I want to go to the grocery store and do some personal shopping. I want to finish that CD project for my family. And lastly, I want to turn in some pictures of the logo I have been working on so that will be off my plate of things to do. I give myself to next friday to get these things done. I know it doesn't sound like much, but there is an emotional lock on the latch of productivity that makes it very hard for me to open.

22 August 2009

Writers of the Past 

Sometimes I wonder if I am ever going to really get my act together. I have a ton of stuff to do during a typical day, and I can't seem to even motivate myself to get half of it done. Of course, this daily problem of being as productive as I want leads to me thinking that my future circumstances are rather bleak.

My eventual goal is to live a somewhat normal life with a regular job that I can enjoy (at times) and a quiet place of my own. Most of my friends my own age have this, but I don't and I can't help but think that is due to my serotonin problems. I sleep too much sometimes; I feel marginally good sometimes, but mostly my mood is down; I spend too much time vegging out in front of the television.

I know that everyone has their problems, but sometimes it seems a little unfair that their problems don't seem to affect the way that they think sometimes. No one likes getting criticism, especially if it is undeserved, but most people seem to be able to shake it off faster than I do. They resolve to do better next time, or write that person off somehow, but when I am criticized sometimes it can put me in a tailspin of depression that lasts a week or so.

And, of course, I can recognize how morose all this musing about mood is, but it doesn't stop my from feeling a certain way. It's illogical, and wastes my time, and I should just get over it, right?'

I think about famous writers I read in college. I remember one poem by Sylvia Plath that seemed to compare her anger and frustration about her father to the Holocaust. Of course, my remark was something along the lines of expressing a little shock at the audacity of comparing your personal problems with your father to the genocide of millions of people. And yet, Sylvia Plath's problems seemed to follow her to the end of her brief life, and to her, they were real and serious problems. Melville seemed to be frustrated about the course of his life, Hemingway struggled with his problems, Virginia Woolf, and on and on.

It's helps me to think that all of these writers had what appears to me to be depression, but they managed to write their works of art with clarity and enduring power. Their mental faculties were not dimmed by their emotional problems.

Today, I didn't get much of anything accomplished. I did put my dirty clothes in the laundry. I put a few things away in my room, although it looks as disorganized as ever. I fed the cats. I also took a nap in the afternoon, partly because I stayed up too late the night before. Tonight, though, I am going to bed a bit earlier. Tomorrow, my goal is to finish cleaning my room, and burn some picture CD's that I've promising people. We'll see how that goes.

21 August 2009

Typos and My Slightly More Productive Day 

A word about typos: I make a lot of them in these blog posts, mostly because I don't really spend a lot of time revising what I wrote. I might leave out a word here or there; write the wrong word when I know better; and repeat myself unnecessarily. I could try to claim that this is some post-modern strategy to capture the disjointed way people think, but of course, that wouldn't be true.

Another thing about my writing: I think I have the "writer's block." I don't know what to talk about, or I am mentally censoring things I might write about because it is too silly, inane, I've said it before, I lack the confidence to do it well, and I don't have too many strong opinions that I feel comfortable writing about. As one could see reading the early posts in this blog, I was writing more often and, I think, more eloquently than I write now. Back then, I would post two or three times a week; now, I am lucky if I post once a month. The excitement of publishing your words on the net for the world to see was once exciting. Now, like the same food served over and over again, the posts (and the blog as a whole) has become much more bland.

Today, I woke up rather early for me at 8:30. I watched most of a movie on television called "Music Within". If you click on the link, you can seee that it isn't well regarded, but in spite of that, I liked it. Later in the afternoon, I caught another movie called "scenes of sexual nature," which wasn't nearly as salacious as it sounds. It was a british film that focused on the nature of relationships. Following seven couples conversations as they spend the day in an English Park. I can't say why, but I found the elderly couple's scenes the most interesting.

In between movies, I took a shower. After the second movie, I went into town to run a few errands, including taking my sister to the local fast food restaurant to get all her co-workers some ice cream. When I was at the ATM machine, the person in the car ahead of me forgot to take the debit card out before they pulled away and disappeared into the street. I grabbed it, made my transaction with my own card, and then went into the bank to drop off the abandoned card. The teller didn't seem too surprised as this sort of thing must happen on the odd occasion. I imagined that the person who absentmindedly drove off without their card was going to be having a bad day.

Then I went home and vegged out in front of the laptop and television. This day was more productive of the last, and I am hoping to get even more things done tomorrow. I know I must do laundry, and I should clean up my place a bit as things have been messy for too long. At some point in the next week or two, I am planning on getting my hair cut and my registration renewed for my car. The car thing must come first.

I stayed up too late tonight, and the 90+ degree heat makes it difficult to sleep in the day-time. I will work on getting to sleep no later than midnight. School will practically require the earlier bedtimes because of the long commute to the campus and the too early classes.

20 August 2009

Puzzle Pieces of Myself 

Just a handful of weeks before school officially begins again, the heat has returned. It was slightly over 90 degrees today and the weather-people on television seem to be promising more hot days to come. The heat is better than the cold in most respects, but on the other hand, it also seems to sap the overall motivation to be productive. The late afternoons are nearly impossible. I am managing as best I can.

I have not been nearly as productive as I had envisioned before the summer school break. I had grand visions of doing a couple of paintings, writing nearly every day to keep up whatever skills I have left, and earn as much money working as I possibly could. And, of course, things hadn't worked out the way I planned. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. My plans tend to be a little overly ambitious, or so I've been told by the ones who apparently know such things.

Of course, when your brain doesn't produce the right amounts of serotonin due to genetics and environment, there is always the trap of believing things to be a certain way when they are not. Serotonin affects mood (apparently), and mood affects perception. I could say I haven't been productive regarding my work or my school without acknowledging the hard work I was putting in to control my mood properly and/or gain perspective. The brain is a tricky organ. I could be perceiving failure all around me when I am just being subjected to the stressors of everyday life. Another person looking in from the outside might notice achievements to be proud of that. As for myself, I may not see the effort or the work because they slide into my emotional blind spots of feeling inadequate, anxieties, and sadness. The gang up on objectivity and push him out the window.

This morning I got a phone call telling me I was late to an appointment when in fact the appointment maker was the one who had the date wrong, not me. I only realized this after rushing out the door in a panicked worry. I had my appointment anyway since it was convenient for everyone involved to just go ahead. I bought some shampoo at walmart afterward and then stopped for lunch. And then I planted myself in front of the television with my laptop in my lap and proceeded to waste a good portion of the day thinking on things.

In some ways, I have turned myself into a jigsaw puzzle. I am always looking back and forth at the pieces of my life wondering what goes where and how it all fits together. But then I wonder if maybe the "clues" about myself have no relationship to the mystery I trying to solve. Maybe the puzzle pieces don't add up to the picture on the box. Maybe there is no picture. Is it possible to have clues without their necessarily even being a picture? I am not sure. I am sure, however, that I am very tired, so I will end this blog here.

19 August 2009