I've been doing private entries every day for the last four months.
Taking the drastic step of dedicating my Livejournal to Actual Journaling has been helpful for me in a number of ways. As the first season of Serial points out, you rarely have an idea of what the hell you did on a given day that may only be a couple of weeks ago, but it's insurmountably worse when you try to figure it out months or years later. Writing a daily Captain's Log style journal entry helps me get daily events out of my head and into my mind's external hard drive so they are not lost to the ages.
Most of what I write about is mundane (work, food, politics,) and I feel like I could easily share a lot of that as Friends Only posts if not Public, but I worry that if I put any sort of filter on myself it will not be as useful as it could be, and it could be discouraging moving forward. That said, I miss interacting with people, so I want to start sharing certain thoughts with a marginally bigger audience.
Here's one for starters - It seems pretty late in life to come to the basic realization that caffeine keeps me on my toes while beer slows me down, but that's exactly what I'm confirming these days.
Our trivia team normally consists of me and Chris, her Dad and his partner, bringing two generations of knowledge together for a winning (well, placing at least) combination. But they called out sick tonight, and Chris and I were on our own. Even with our two-person team, we still managed to snag 2nd place, plus we were awarded some "beer money" for having the host's favorite team name of the night. (Rutherford B. Trippin' for the win.) While it's certainly not the only factor, drinking a bunch of tea and abstaining from beer for the night kept me invigorated, sharp and on task.
Thinking about this night compared with my subdued showing at KamiCon @midnight last weekend (more on that tomorrow), I now know that when I need to perform, whether in the case of a trivia game, public appearance, or otherwise, I need to caffeinate in order to bring it. The role of alcohol is less clear - maybe when I'm tempted to give in to Abrupt Introversive Gopoofery and abandon conversations it could serve to take the edge off, but it's also possible that I'd remain a non-participant in the conversation because my default buzzed state is pleased complacency.
Historically, I've known that patience is not one of my virtues. But lately I've had to reconsider that, and realize that it's a statement that requires further qualification.
I have very little patience for situations and groups. I have a lot of patience with individuals.
For example, I am very much known for cursing at traffic, cursing at my computer, getting antsy while waiting in line for anything, and flipping my shit when I spill something and subsequently have to clean it up.
But when it comes to individual people, I can have patience that seems endless. When I was in 2nd grade I worked extensively to help out an intellectually disabled kid get through his work, and didn't know I was doing anything special until a teacher thanked me for it. These days, I accept friends as they are and easily brush past any failings or personality quirks they may have. My patience with the people I work with, some of whom have language barriers and others of whom suffer from general incompetence, is so strong that my boss sent me a photo comment of Saint Nicholas after seeing one of my recent interactions.
What this tells me, generally, is that I need to keep in mind the human element in the things that piss me off. Every car out there on the road is another individual, and while some of them are legitimately bad drivers, the vast majority are just trying to get to their destinations, like me. Situations can often not be helped, but they're almost always the result of human decisions and activity, and they can at least be understood and identified with. Including when I very humanly fail to put the filter in and the coffeemaker spills out all over the kitchen floor.
I'm sure whoever invented the snooze alarm thought they were doing humanity a favor, but much like the escalator and the pancake-wrapped sausage on a stick, this creation ends up doing way more harm than any possible good that may have originally been envisioned.
It's a vile construct that exchanges 9 minutes of false promises for each half-asleep stumble you take to blindly smack at the thing. Your subconscious is notoriously a terrible haggler, and it's willing to make that exchange because it believes the - again, 9 minutes - of extra sleep are worth the trouble.
But your subconscious, let's call it Subby for short, forgot to factor in a few things.
First up, there's the cost of extraction. Being pulled out of the sleep state, particularly if you're on a nice REM trip, is a traumatic experience. And not just because you won't get to enjoy the endless room full of nakedness, cake, or whatever it was you were dreaming about (naked cake?). It's just generally an unpleasant event every time you have to wake up when your body isn't ready to. And let's face it, if you were ready to get up, you wouldn't be using an alarm clock.
Secondly, that 9 minutes of sleep isn't the kind of blissful, comfortable sleep that Subby bargained for. It's the shitty kind. It's the kind you get when you were woken up a few minutes ago by a noise that sounds like somebody hitting a baby with a cat.
And if you're like me, your subconscious makes that bargain over and over, because it's too stupid to remember how shittily it worked out when he did it 9 minutes ago. I have literally spent 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon getting up every 9 minutes to hit that fucking snooze alarm. And then I wonder why I feel like shit later in the day.
So what do you do about a problem like the snooze alarm? You could say, “Well, screw that thing! I'm not going to use it anymore. I quit!” Right?
Not so easy. Old Subby is not the type that readily accommodates change. Even if you're able to regain enough consciousness to resist the urge to set that snooze alarm and just get up, you end up losing the battle when it comes to escaping the call of the covers, and that can be even more disastrous than signing up for another 9 minutes of sleep blueballs.
Ultimately you're left with getting a clock with no snooze, prying the button off with a screwdriver, or just not giving a shit and sleeping until you damn well feel like it. And while a lot of us would choose option C, it doesn't sound very good when your boss asks you why you're late for work.
Name a few foods that you hated as a kid but that you've grown to love as an adult. Why do you think your opinion of these foods changed over time? Similarly, what's something you couldn't get enough of as a kid that you'd be horrified at the thought of eating now?
As a kid I hated pepperoni on my pizza, or pretty much anything else on it other than cheese. I think that's just the thing about being a kid - your tastebuds are stronger, so flavors are just multiplied.
As an adult I love pepperoni (albeit veggie pepperoni in my case), though I don't always need it. I can still appreciate a good cheese pizza.
As for gross things I ate as a kid? I'm told I liked ketchup on my scrambled eggs. I wouldn't make that choice today, but salsa and eggs on the other hand is pretty rad.
I'm very future-oriented, so I'd probably say as far in the future as I can get.
That said, if that wasn't an option, I wouldn't mind living in the late 70s / early 80s. The music was really starting to get good, computers were just taking off, and video games were becoming a thing.
I can see myself living in a major city, reading the newspaper (the Internet of the Past), going to concerts - all things I didn't get a chance to do during the time I actually lived in the late 70s (well, 6 months of it) and early 80s because I was too young, dumb or poor.
Things have gotten a lot better since that time in a lot of ways, and it's important to never lose sight of that. But if I had unlimited access to spacetime, it wouldn't be bad to spend a few months renting an apartment in NYC in 1983.
I have this recurring fantasy of going back in my own timeline to get a second chance at things. There's a lot of crap from my teens and twenties that I'd like to get a do-over for, and things that I figured out later in life that I'd love to have gotten started on earlier. I go through these scenarios for different points that I could jump back into my life, thinking about what possibilities I'd have if I jumped into me circa 1997, for example, versus me circa 2001. The amount of knowledge I'd be able to carry with me is a huge wildcard, and if I were able to make changes, I'd also need some way of guaranteeing I'd still be able to end up with my wife and build relationships with the tiny group of close friends I have today. I'm a completely different person today than I was then (though overall I'd say a much better one,) so it's hard to say how things would develop.
Honestly, it's a pretty stupid rabbit hole to fall into. I'm doing better right now than I have at any point in my life and going back would force me to suffer through some hardships until I cheated my way into riches using my future-knowledge. It's likely my perfectionism that forces me to constantly consider all the ways things could have gone better, so I lay awake at night thinking about that instead of considering that my life actually turned out pretty fucking good and going to sleep.
I do a reasonable job of living in the present, until moments like this hit. I'd love to give up this dwelling on the past and exchange it for looking forward to the future, which unfortunately seems to be in short supply for me lately.
We were in Charlotte this weekend for HeroesCon. It's the second time I've been to this Con, but the other time was 2005, and I was only there for a day, so it was a completely different experience. We went to a few interesting panels and got to hang out with some of our favorite comics people, so that was pretty cool, but I had a few specific takeaways from the weekend.
I'm never paying for a room at a Westin again. It's not that it's a bad hotel, it's just that they nickel and dime the everloving shit out of you. The lovely bottle of Dasani that goes on your bill for twice normal cost if you drink it is a trend that I'd love to see all hotels abandon, but $20/day parking and $13/day internet access? Yeah, that can fuck right off.
It pays to find a place that sells groceries. A loaf of bread, a bag of chips, and a package of sliced cheese makes for a great substitute for overpriced breakfasts and other random times where you're not hungry enough for a sit-down meal experience. We saved well over $200 between the three of us
No more long trips for "going as a fan" cons. The balance between producer and consumer is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately. The panels I went to at Heroes were mostly geared toward would-be producers, but they served mainly as a reminder of the need to focus on my own shit. I don't need to stand in lines to get autographs from people whose work I appreciate. I need to be creating the kind of work that I will appreciate.
There are plenty of cons around the local area that I can go to for the con experience. Traveling out of state for a con where none of your friends are going to be is a bummer, no matter how many cool guests are there. ChattaCon and DragonCon (and Kami-Con as long as they continue to invite us) have become my only must-go cons, and I'm pretty happy with that. The other local ones I can take or leave depending on who I know that will be showing up.
I have an outsized fear of tidal waves. There are a lot of things out there that can kill you, many of which are far more common in my area (i.e. tornadoes), but there's nothing like looking up in the distance and seeing a towering wall of water coming your way from which there is no escape.