Day 22: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“What areas of your life do you blame others for? Or society? The economy? Your genes? How can you take responsibility for the situation they threw you into?”

I don’t know if I can blame others that much for my situation.

Most of all, I wish I had a guidance counselor to say, “If you want to do ____, you need to do _____.” I didn’t have a clue and still seem to be absolutely clueless.

I wish I could have had somebody to show me the way. “You want to be a successful writer, this is what you need to do ______.” I also wish somebody scared me enough not to major in English or want to become a writer — I probably wouldn’t have listened. At least I may have a chance to carry on with a degree that’s nearly completely worthless.

My parents and friends have always been mostly supportive.

For the most part, all of my former employers have been good to me — except for Real Estate New York and The Brickhouse.

Real Estate New York is a magazine in NYC that laid me off after I broke my neck. I tried to sue them, but they’re also owned by American Lawyer Media and they basically said, “Try us.” So once my little grace period wore off, I needed to pay for my own health insurance. In case you didn’t know, that’s not cheap.

I barely made any money working at the bar: The Brickhouse. That’s not the problem. The problem is that I had a seizure while working. They called an ambulance that I did not want. They saddled me with the bill. Again, health insurance stuff isn’t cheap. They’re owned by Four Corners Taverns in Chicago.

I am so sick of applying for jobs. That can be society’s and the economy’s fault. The economy sucks, so everybody is applying for the few jobs that are out there.

Society has a much bigger part in this. Everything is done online, which is fine. Job applying has probably never been easier. But it’s also probably never been as difficult in a few ways.

I’ve applied to hundreds of jobs and have heard back from maybe 20. I have no idea if the guy looking at my job applications is even looking at them. I am so tired of telling people my race, sex, veteran status and disability status. This is a job interview, not a dating service.

Maybe prospective employers are looking up some stuff that is completely unrelated to my employment records. Should I be passed over because I used to write jokes about getting drunk and faltering with relationships? I have some photos of me drinking beer, should that disqualify me from teaching a class on public speaking?

My genes? I think the only think I can blame my parents for is making me incredibly uncoordinated. I don’t know if this was a nurture or nature kind of thing, but I would like to be nimble, quick and spry in my next life.

I do my best to take responsibility for as much as possible. I don’t know if the older generations know how difficult it is to find a decent job these days. I literally spend hours a day applying and researching. I feel like if the boss doesn’t like my look or tone of voice, goodbye. And that’s all up to them, but geez it is frustrating.

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Day 21: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“Our ennui often comes from holding back, from half-assing what we should be fully committed to. Where could you break through if you went all the way? Where are you holding back? What feels stagnant?

“How can you give it everything you have? Does it need more time? More intensity? More care?”

Tough question. I truly believe my writing could make money. BUT, you’ve got to find somebody to pay for your apartment, food, electricity and such to get going. I’ve been working on a project for about a year that I swear is almost finished. If I could spend 40 hours a week on it, I think that would make a huge difference. But maybe if this makes it big I’ll make a jillion dollars and have all the time in the world to re-finish my other two projects.

Where am I holding back? I am doing my best. I skip time with friends and family to write.

Stagnancy? Geez, maybe just getting stuck, but I’m keeping notes to myself and making progress almost every day.

Giving it all? I could quit my job and find a sponsor or whateveer.

All of this takes more time. I am just trying to do that.

I think I’m nearly perfect with the amount of care I’ve put into this book. I’m not saying the story or editing is perfect, but it’s definitely the best thing I’ve ever written.

My Favorite Show

If you’ve spoken to me for more than ten minutes, I’ve probably spent about four of those trying to tell you to watch “Rick and Morty.”

I know it’s a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge stretch if you’ll actually like the show. Maybe you don’t like cartoons or really wild stuff. It’s one of those things that you either absolutely love or your turn to me and say, “WTF was that?”

The friend that got me into it described it to me like this, “It’s like ‘Back to the Future,’ sort of. The doctor and this weird scientist guy go on all these wacky adventures. And they’re wacky.”

That pretty much describes the whole show right there. There are some absolutely hilarious jokes, amazing story lines and some of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen.

The characters are all amazing. It’s a shot in the dark who will be my favorite character at the moment. Right now, it’s probably Rick, but Summer, Mr. Poopybutthole, Morty and Jerry have all taken the top spots.

If I could ask one thing to the show’s creators, I’d ask them for a job cleaning toilets or something in their studio. I’d also ask if they could be nicer to Jerry.

Technically, this isn’t my favorite show. “The Venture Brothers” is right next to “Rick and Morty.” I’ve never had a show that I watch over and over again like these two. I’ve memorized half of the jokes in them and keep seeing new stuff.

I thought “Breaking Bad” was amazing, but I don’t need to watch it again. But Season 2 Episode 3: “Auto Erotic Assimilation” had such an effect on me that I’m listening to the song that they play at the end of the credits on repeat.

I still haven’t watched all of Season 3. I’ve been savoring each episode like a fine wine. I only have one left and have a looooooong wait until the next season. So, patience.

Also, both shows have secret endings after every episode.

Watch Rick and Morty and tell me what you think.

Getting Shot Down

Another job shot me down yesterday. This one wasn’t necessarily ideal (pay was decent but the city was very secluded with a cost of living higher than Chicago or NYC) but it would have been something I’ve wanted to get back into. I would have been an editor at a newspaper. I would have lived in a tiny ski town and I think I could have handled that.

I thought I was a shoe-in for this job. The current guys knew some of my older guys. I don’t hold them accountable for anything. I know it’s been a while since I’ve worked in a paper, but I’d like to be doing something with this journalism degree and writing experience (except telling people about it).

The interview went fine in my book. I was happy to speak with the manager. I feel like I answered all the questions correctly and certainly had all the experience they were looking for.

There’s one thing I did afterwards that may have hurt my chances (and I hope it didn’t). I edited a few stories from their website. The paper is small and needed somebody to go through it. That would have been my job. I wanted to show them that I could do this job and that they needed me. Maybe they took offense to this.

I asked if they could tell me what the winning candidate had over me, but they haven’t contacted me about that. At least these guys told me I didn’t get the job and did it pretty quickly. I’m still waiting to hear back from so many companies, newspapers and schools that I’m going batty trying to figure out what my next step may be.

All of this is frustrating. I apply to jobs for hours every week. I apply to all kinds of stuff. These applications are tedious, annoying and difficult. They ask for your resume and then ask you to fill out everything into their specific website. They ask for a list of references. After attaching that document they ask you fill out everything into their specific website.

They ask some very personal questions and if there was a guy interested in stealing my personal information, it would be easy as eating pie.

They also want reference letters and then I think they want to talk with my references. The thing is, my references are actually my references and actually have real jobs. They might not answer every effing email from every strange address. I can’t pester my friends, former managers and coworkers to fill in a thousand effing letters or quizzes or whatever-the-hell these places want them do.

Understandably, not every company I apply to replies to me. Sometimes they do. Even though it hurts, I’d still rather receive a negative message than nothing at all. At least then I’d know they actually looked at my application.

It’s all tough. I wonder how many gigs I’ve applied for over the past two years. At least a few hundred. I used to wake up and apply until I felt cross-eyed from answering the same question 20 times. I’ll do it for an hour or so every few days now.

One of these days, I’ll find this job. Or marry rich.

Day 20: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“List the 5 activities that energize you the most. How can you spend more time with them?

List the 5 activities that drain you the most. How can you spend less time with them?”

Activities that energize me and how to spend more time doing them:
1. Writing — I can spend more time writing. Easy as that. Nobody cares if I watch TV or not, but (hopefully they care if I’m writing ((at least I care.)))
2. Exercising — I can go to the gym more. I am happy with this at the moment.
3. Riding my bicycle — I do that enough. I am also happy with how much time I’m on my bike.
4. Hanging with friends — I can make more friends, move somewhere with more friends or take the time out of other activities to meet up.
5. Maybe, sex? — Have more sex?
6. Jiu Jitsu — Join a BJJ gym that I like. The last one didn’t do it for me.
7. Grocery shopping — I spend way too much time doing this in the first place, but I think it’s really fun.

All these things take huge chunks of time and dedication. I feel great about how much time I spend exercising and biking. Those have the added benefits of making me feel good, look good and both give me time to experience books. I read while doing the elliptical machine or whatever at the gym. I listen to audiobooks while riding my bike.

Writing and hanging with friends takes a ton of time out of my schedule. All in all, I spend about 50 hours a week working (commuting is in there too), 50 hours or so sleeping, about six hours working out (not including biking), maybe 10 hours cooking and eating, maybe 10 hours reading and a few hours doing random stuff like laundry and whatever else. So I’m left with about less than 40 hours a week of free time to do the things I need to do more of – writing and hanging with friends. It’s tough to fit all that stuff in there.

Activities that drain me:
1. Work — (The easy answer)I could spend less time working, but that’s probably not going to happen unless I marry rich or win the lotto.
2. Taking public transit — I do this as little as possible, hence, my bike.
3. Reading the news — I’ve got to do it, but I don’t read that much anymore. Too depressing.
4. “Extracurricular activities” — Sometimes a man needs a drink or a smoke. I don’t think these drain me that much, but the next day can be a pain. I do this maybe once a week.
5. Job interviews/job searching — I do enough of these. If I could get the job I like I think I could never do this again (until I need another new job).

The goal of this year and the move back to the USA was to find a permanent home. Job-hunting, house-hunting, cool place-hunting and happiness hunting take so much out of me. I learned that Chicago isn’t the place for me. I see its appeal for other folks, but I’m finished with giant cities for the moment. Seoul, NYC and Chicago have been too much. I looked at LA and just decided I want someplace cleaner, friendlier, more upbeat, better employed and better jobs.

Ideally, this new home would have mass transit, a job I liked, better cost of living, some friends, friendlier people and nicer weather. NYC, Seoul and Chicago just don’t do it for me now. All three have summers and winters that are too hot and too long while having springs and falls that are too short.

Being stressed out about jobs, home-hunting, friends and future life plans have drained me.

I would like to be able to work hard, play hard, write hard and be with friends more. It does take a certain amount of sacrifice to do any of those.

Day 19: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“Make a list of areas where you’re deferring your life. Things you’re waiting to do. How can you skip or dramatically reduce the wait?

Why are you waiting? Are your concerns based in reality?

If they are, how can you make sure you never actually “wait”? What kind of active preparation can you engage in now to be ready when your time comes?”

Here’s a list of deferments:
Submitting (and publishing writing)
Moving
Buying a house
Getting married
Having kids
Getting the new tattoos
Buying a car
Buying a new bike
Buying a new computer
Buying noise-cancelling headphones
Joining a new Jiu Jitsu gym
Seeing a personal trainer
Growing a beard

Why am I waiting?
Here’s a list of why I’m deferring stuff:
Submitting (and publishing writing) — I’m just not finished! I swear I’m close with one project! Then I’ll get right on top of the next one. These effing books take a lot of time.
Moving — I moved to find a job last time. I’d like to find a job and then move. I’d like to figure this out as fast as possible. The guys interviewing me say this won’t take much longer. Ahhhhh! So stressful!
Buying a house — I’d like to live somewhere long enough to justify having a house (and have a chance to afford it).
Getting married — I’d like to live in one place, have a job and date somebody longer than a year. I’m in no rush for this.
Having kids — Call me old fashioned and boring, but I’m getting married first. Sorry Mom, I know you want grandkids.
Getting the new tattoos — I want to figure out the next move, find the right artist and make sure the design is right. I’ve learned you don’t get these on a whim.
Buying a car — Just kidding, I’m not deferring this. I’ll probably never drive again since I have epilepsy, so who cares? Maybe when I’m rich and married I’ll buy the lady one.
Buying a new bike — I need to sell the old one, move and get to a new home. I also need to shop around. I’m thinking a hybrid again. I don’t need a mountain bike.
Buying a new computer — This is long overdue, but I like Old Lappy. I think he’s on his last legs, but we’ve got a great relationship.
Buying noise-cancelling headphones — I think I only need them for my job so I don’t have to listen to the annoying people at work. Maybe the train too. But…if I move, I don’t really need them. Hopefully.
Joining a new Jiu Jitsu gym — I truly miss doing this, but I don’t miss my old gym at all. I thought the teachers phoned in their lessons. I genuinely thought the members were pretty much dicks. Once I move I’d like to find a place. I just have to find a place to move and find out if they’re big enough to have a gym.
Seeing a personal trainer — This is another thing I should have started doing years ago, but I just haven’t. I’ll repeat myself, maybe after I move.
Growing a beard — Just kidding. Not happening. Mine is too gray and after about three weeks it gets too itchy.

So, all in all, it comes down to me moving and getting my life figured out. It’s an arduous shitshow of a process.

Day 18: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“If you want to think independently, it can be dangerous to become a “disciple” of another person. (You can know them personally or not.) Is there someone you reflexively agree with? Take some time to humanize them. List off their scandals and mistakes. Write down something they might be wrong about. How does this change the way you read, listen to, or converse with them? Does it loosen their hold over your opinions? Are you able to think more critically about them?”

Geez, this is kind of a waste of a day’s question and blog. I don’t really care for any of these things.

As for people I know personally, I have a few mentors from my first newspaper — The Colorado Daily — that I still listen to, but I don’t necessarily reflexively agree with them. A few Jiu Jitsu instructors, but that’s only for BJJ and not for life stuff.

As for celebrities, I don’t know. I liked Louis CK, but once that stuff came out about him, that broke my heart because I liked him. But I liked his comedy and not really his advice or whatever.

Jon Stewart was funny, but he made a point of letting people know that he was a comedian first and his show was comedy. John Oliver is also funny, but I still don’t know how much I trust his show.

So, answer is, I don’t think I really have anybody I agree with all the time. I don’t even agree or listen to myself most of the time.

Day 17: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“Recall a time or two in which you had an idea for something, left it as an idea, and saw someone take advantage of it later. Are you glad you didn’t pursue the thing? If not, what can you do differently in the future when an idea grabs you? Try to be specific; a bold claim of, “I’ll seize the opportunity!” will likely leave you in the same situation again. What’s the plan?”

Mothereffer yes I do. Haha.

http://www.pointsincase.com/columns/my-organs-and-i-go-on-first-date

“My Organs and I” was a series I wrote for one of my favorite all-time blogs PointsinCase.com. These things just poured out of me. Are they sophomoric and douchey? Yep, so what?

Anyway, I kind of sort of maybe thought “Inside Out” the movie was sort of similar to some of the things I wrote about. Of course, “Inside Out” was very similar to “Herman’s Head,” which I thought I was kind of sort of copying — but not really. Both “My Organs and I” and “Herman’s Head” were a lot dirtier than “Inside Out.”

I don’t know if I could have done anything differently. I worked for free, not for Disney or Pixar. I wish I could have figured out a way, but again, my version was way too difficult to make for kids.

In the future, I’ll seize the opportunities without hesitating. My thing just kind of got taken without me noticing. No harm, no foul. Oh well.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions, etc…

Dang. I’m running out of fumes here.

I either move out of my apartment on April 30th, or sign on for another month and stay until May 31.

What stuff do I keep? How do I get the crap where I want it to go? How do I get rid of the crap I don’t want?

Fudge.

Why move? Well, I don’t like Chicago and want to start a new chapter somewhere else. I can save a lot of money by not plopping down another month of rent and I will be in a great position to grab a bus, plane or train ticket and leave.

Why stay? Well, I have a serious doctor’s appointment on May 3rd and don’t want to make life worse for me if the doc recommends any after-care stuff. Also, I won’t have to couch surf for a week (or more).

This doctor’s appointment is a huge one. I’ve been stressing out about this for the past couple days.

My new pills have made me a zombie.

FUDGE!!!

I might get a job in this beautiful town at an awesome company. I could wake up in the mountains every day.

Or, I might move there and hate this job, hate living in a town where everybody knows my name and the fact that I will have to hitch rides if I want to go to Target.

The job situation has been terrifying. I have applied to jobs every day and never hear anything. This newspaper gig is the farthest I’ve gotten in ages. The job and town seem great, but there are some significant downsides. Gee whiz.

FUUUUUUDGE!!!

I could move here and hang out with a buddy who’s unemployed. I could move there and live in a friend’s place even though he’s not there. Or I could skip over to this place and chill with a BFF, even though his city was so repellent I couldn’t stand to be there. I can return to my parents’ house which basically lowered my self esteem lower than when I was an angsty teen.

One of the hardest things about Chicago is not having a bunch of buddies. If I move here or there or out yonder, I might have the option of hanging out with old friends. But these old friends have new lives, wives and kids. They don’t want to hang out with me all the time — which is totally understandable. But it would be a kick in the dick if I moved somewhere to hang with some buddies only to realize I still don’t have friends there.

And then I have to fill out my taxes.

FUUUUUUCK ME!!!!!

Please, Shut Up

I may be considered for a job at a newspaper. I thought I’d send a smartassed email to my parents:

“The insert newspaper name here is a real small-town newspaper. Of course, insert town name here is very liberal, so the insert newspaper name here only covers incredibly far-left nonsense stories like a local student skier being excited to represent the United States at the Olympics, how real estate has been selling fairly decently, how enforcing parking meter laws has earned the city a lot of money and how the drought is harming ranchers. Not a single conservative story! What do those liberals know anyway?”

My mom reported back, “Sounds like a nice paper. You can be the conservative voice.”

My parents are conservatives. No big deal there, except it trickles down into everything. My incredibly annoying liberal friends don’t yell at me for eating meat, not worshiping Obama or enjoying country music.

But my parents — dad especially — gets his whitey tighties in a bunch over everything. I’ve got an Indian friend from India living in Indiana as he goes to Indiana University. I thought that was funny. He thought it was an incredible piss on the American higher education system.

“Think of how many Americans didn’t get scholarships because of this guy who’s not even from this country…Blah blah blah, whine whine whine.”

My friend Tree (that’s just what we’ll call him) drives a Prius even though he’s a huge dude. I told my dad it was funny to see a huge dude drive a small car. “God damn fucking Al Gore…blah blah blah, whine whine whine.”

My mom can be tolerated. However, she still manages to offend people not because of her beliefs, but because of her ignorance on a lot of issues. Actually, no, not all Christians are better than everybody else. You know, there are decent democrats and shitty republicans — and the other way around.

I don’t even bother speaking with my father any more. I hate feeling (and writing) like a teen angst goth kid, but attempting conversations just aren’t worth my time. All he does is send emails about how Trump is saving the world that Obama destroyed and other conservative stuff. If I try to show him that his logic is wrong or his facts aren’t facts, but that doesn’t matter. He read it on the internet on this website so obviously it’s true.

Arguing is just a waste of time. He pisses and moans about liberals not being able to listen, and then when I pose a question he starts pissing and moaning even louder. He can believe whatever he likes. Not my problem.

About two months ago I decided if he doesn’t contact me, I won’t contact him. I don’t need to work this hard. If he doesn’t want to ask about my day, I don’t give a fuck about his. If I don’t give a fuck about what this tin foiled hat-wearing guy says about Hillary, I don’t see the point of responding.

My father said, “People think I’m an asshole because I’m conservative.” That’s not true. I wanted to say, “People think you’re an asshole because you’re an asshole.”

That’s my blah blah blah, whine whine whine for the day.