Day 26: 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 where you were thrown off course only to find yourself where you intended to be — or somewhere better.”

“How can you focus less on the end destination, and more on doing what’s right, right now, when you’re forced to take a detour?”

The easy answer was Korea. I was just going to do something over there for the meantime. Working in journalism wasn’t happening. I couldn’t find a job. I said, “Well, I’ll give Korea a shot. Maybe in a bit things will have changed.” Korea turned out to be great for me. I stayed spent six years instead of one. Saved up money. Published books. Did a ton of writing. Got into shape. Friends. Relationships. Memories.

I hope not to bore people with my Korea stories, but it really is the foundation that most of my life is built upon. Changing positions from a bouncer to a professor was pretty incredible for me.

How can I focus less on the end destination and more on what’s right at the moment when I’m forced to take a detour?

I wish I could say that I have a good gut judgment to tell what’s right or not, but I don’t.

The easiest thing advice to myself is keep at it. That book will never write itself. Yeah, the last two books I wrote had nothing to do with science fiction, horror or fantasy. That’s not really what I feel I’m the best at, but they’re two of my best books ever. Now I’m trying to edit a scifi book and reading through it shows me that I’ve learned a lot over the past year. That took a lot of hard work. It’s going to take even more to make this scifi book as good as my comedy/drama novel.

Whatever. That’s part of the detour. A straight line is great, but that’s not how life usually works.

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Day 25: 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…

“When is the last time you changed your mind about a deep-seated belief? Is there a belief you’re holding onto, despite an accumulation of contrary evidence, because you’re stubborn, or don’t want to feel inconsistent, or simply are afraid to let it go?”

Geez. Great question. I don’t know.

I think I make a lot of stereotypes, preconceived notions and ideas about things. Whether I judge somebody by appearance, actions, clothes or whatever. Biggest case in point. There was a lady at my office that dressed very flamboyantly, was loud, got in your business and was very opinionated. I couldn’t stand her in the beginning. Then we sat around one day and…

“What???” She likes a lot of the same movies as me.

What? She lived in Korea too. We both liked this and that and the other thing.

I enjoy being proven wrong whenever I have a shitty view of something. I thought Game of Thrones, Up, Fireball Whiskey, Amtrak, rashguards, man tights, my clean shaven face and who knows how many other things were stupid. I was proved wrong. Hooray!

My big guess is that we’re taught that we’re right. So many people can’t admit that they’re wrong. I’m happy to let something else go. I remember being furious at this kid who beat me at hockey. He was smaller and younger than me. How the hell could this happen??!?!?! But there was a big factor: he knew how to play hockey. That’s no reason to hate him, hate myself or hate hockey. Maybe you could…dum dum dum… learn something from him or that experience.

Yeah, I don’t feel ashamed at being beat or being wrong. There you go!

This list of writing prompts was supposed to be done in 31 days. It’s May 4! Ahhhh. Oh well. I am getting some good writing out of the deal.

See you soon gang.

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Day 24: 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 longer list (15+) of your basic assumptions about life. Go back and look at each critically. Is this true? Why do you believe this thing? Because someone told you it’s the truth or because you’ve seen it proven? Or because it’s something you’ve chosen to have faith in?”

typing

Here are my basic assumptions about life:

1. Eat Healthy, be healthy
2. Smoking cigarettes is bad
3. Exercise is good
4. Be nice
5. Most popular stuff is usually crap
6. Chase your dream
7. Work hard enough, that dream will come true
8. Family first
9. The truth is out there (not an X-Files reference)
10. Associated Press Style is the best writing style
11. The book is sometimes better than the movie
12. I am a talented writer
13. I am a talented teacher
14. The more you care about somebody, the more they should care about you
15. New Year’s Resolutions are good
16. Keeping a daily planner is good
17. Goals are good
18. Everybody has one or two stupid things
19. Cheat days are good (sometimes)
20. There’s no need to force anybody to do anything
21. Don’t trust the government
22. Be quiet and listen more
23. Be friendly with exes

Is it true? Why do I believe it? Do I have faith in it?
1. Eat Healthy, be healthy
This is a big weird one. I believe in eating healthy. I usually cook most of my meals and do my best to gorge myself on vegetables. I don’t eat a lot of fatty foods or junk food. However, that doesn’t necessarily means I’m healthy. You’ll have a tough time trying to find somebody with as many problems as me. But are injuries or just other things that have nothing to do with eating.
Also, my healthy diet might be different than yours. I’m not lactose intolerant. Etc.

2. Smoking is bad
I believe this, but I don’t really care if other people smoke. Just don’t burn me with your cigarette and if we’re going to kiss afterwards, chew some gum first please.

3. Exercise is good
Again, another weird one. Being in shape means a lot of different things. I’ve been in a lot of shapes: swimming, running, wrestling, weightlifting and recovering. Others can be more healthy than others. Weightlifting shape doesn’t do much good for swimming, running or wrestling. Recovering isn’t good for anything except recovering. My favorite shape was wrestling because I looked awesome, but that took a lot of not eating.

4. Be nice
Yet another odd pick. I do my best to make a point to do at least one nice thing a day. I think it’s worked for me. I’m doing my best to let stuff that I can’t control slide. But I wish other people would stand up to other people. Please, tell the annoying person on the phone to shut up. That guy that threw his candy wrapper in the street, tell his fat ass to pick it up. I want to be known as a nice person. I know I can truly be a dick. Sometimes, it’s just not worth being nice.

5. Most popular stuff is usually crap
I’m always happy when I’m proven wrong. I thought I’d hate “Game of Thrones,” “Hunger Games,” “Harry Potter,” “Chipotle” and who knows how many other things that everybody liked. However, there are plenty of things I’ve been right about.

6. Chase your dream
If you aren’t trying to do something that you want, what the hell are you doing anything for? My dream is to be a paid novelist. I don’t need a million dollars, but I’d like people to read and enjoy my stuff.

7. Work hard enough, that dream will come true
This can be somewhat true. I’m nearly finished with my best novel yet. It might not be the best novel ever, but I truly believe it shows all the love, thought and care I put into it. However, all the work in the world doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the help, criticism and time to do it. Also, sometimes you just suck at stuff. I’ll probably never be a BJJ black belt no matter how long I train. And that’s cool. I can dream, but my heart’s not completely in it.

8. Family first
I don’t even come close to believing this.

9. The truth is out there (not an X-Files reference)
I really want somebody to tell facts. Inform me without biased bullshit. Please. Will it happen? I have no idea.

10. Associated Press Style is the best writing style
I like AP Style. It’s what I was trained on. Chicago Style just looks wrong. This is a Coke vs. Pepsi debate. The problem is when you can’t turn AP Style off. Writing novels and blogs that are supposed to be fun or reading other stuff and catching AP mistakes that aren’t mistakes in other styles is annoying. My novel writing and blogging mix between AP and my own style.

11. The book is sometimes better than the movie
True. The big thing is sometimes. “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Charlie Wilson’s War” and a few other books have been so boring or shittily written that proved to me that the movie can be better than the book.

12. I am a talented writer
It really depends on who you talk to. I still truly believe this, but some people prefer not to read about sex, bathroom humor and weird violence or whatever. Some do!

13. I am a talented teacher
I believe this. I feel experienced with a lot of topics and actually enjoy teaching. I wish I could make a better wage doing this though.

14. The more you care about somebody, the more they should care about you
Yes and no. As I get older and learn to be a better relationship person, I want to show that I care. Whether it’s doing something like, “Your girlfriend likes May Day, I hope you have a good May Day” or “I was thinking about you when I saw this thing.” I think that’s a great way to let somebody know they’re important to you. But too much of this is annoying and/or creepy.

15. New Year’s Resolutions are good
Believe it. I do my best to get as much shiz as possible done. My birthday is also New Year’s Eve so I know that I’ve got a year to get them finished. I usually do well. I just need more time! Haha.

16. Keeping a daily planner is good
Yep. I like writing it out every day and then crossing stuff off every day. I like to feel accomplished.

17. Goals are good
Duh.

18. Everybody has one or two stupid things
I like smoking that shit-we-used-to-smoke-back-in-the-day and watch weird cartoons and eat candy. I like grocery and book shopping. Whatever. You like something stupid too.

19. Cheat days are good (sometimes)
If you don’t get to eat what you want from time to time, you go bonkers. Just make sure your rewards aren’t all the time.

20. There’s no need to force anybody to do anything
Yeah, mostly. I remember trying to get a friend to drink a beer. “Oh come on, it’s just one.” He repeatedly said no and no again. I asked “Why not?” He said, “If I drink one beer, then I’ll drink another and then another and then find the first meth dealer and do that until I’m out of money and then beat a guy to death to get more.” I said, “Yeah. More beer for me.”
However, touch a woman around me and I’ll force you not to.

21. Don’t trust the government
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a good reason not to do this.

22. Be quiet and listen more
Somebody may impress, entertain, disappoint or show their true colors to you.

23. Be friendly with exes
Why the hell not? Unless it was really ugly. What do you have to lose?

Johnny Rotten

johnny

***(((Hey! I don’t own any of the rights to any of these photos!!!)))
My last blog was about how I modeled my life after others.

Right now, I think Marilyn Manson, Bill Hicks and Johnny Rotten were three of my biggest celebrity influences in my life.

johnny1

***(((I don’t own this photo either!!!)))

I’m pretty sure I opened up a Hit Parader magazine, but it could have been Spin or Rolling Stone — I can’t remember right now. Whatever.

I saw his photo and thought, “I’ve got to be like that guy.”

I hadn’t heard of the Sex Pistols before, although I’d “Pretty Vacant” because it was on a sketch comedy show I liked called “Vacant Lot.”

Why did I think such a weird-looking dude was so cool? Great question. I just saw the way he looked and felt some kind of weird energy or some relation to him.

Johnny Rotten has this look. This ability to channel all this emotion and desire for change — his clothes, his music and his quotes. He doesn’t seem to be a hateful guy, except when he wants to be.

He helped me to form my anti-establishment views. After listening to him and Marilyn Manson and Bill Hicks, I realized I didn’t want to be like everybody else. I didn’t want to listen to everybody’s bullshit. I still did, but I didn’t want to.

Those things affected my life. And the Sex Pistols are still one of my all-time favorite bands. I still like Marilyn Manson, but don’t really care for his music. Bill Hicks is still a giant hero. Johnny Rotten’s book “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish” is fabulous, but Marilyn Manson’s “A Long Hard Road out of Hell” is my favorite (auto)biography ever.

Thanks Johnny Rotten and the rest of the weird heroes I’ve got.

Day 23: 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…

“How have you modeled your life after others? Have you lost yourself in the process?”

I was always unsure of how to be cool. I wanted to be cool. I wanted to be liked by other people. But I didn’t really think Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise were cool.

I remember getting an issue of Hit Parader (a rock and roll music magazine in case you’ve never heard of it) and I saw a photo of Johnny Rotten. I’d never even heard of the Sex Pistols, but I wanted to be just like him. Crazy hair. Weird clothes. Screaming into the mic instead of being some good-looking guy that can dance and since.

Marilyn Manson, Bill Hicks, Hunter S. Thompson, Chris Farley, Rodney Dangerfield, Deadpool, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Stephen King, Trent Reznor and quite a few others that aren’t popping up right now. I can’t think of a single woman out there. Maybe Princess Leia.

Again, I thought those guys were cool. I wanted to be like them. I tried to dress like them and act how I thought they’d act. Eventually I came to realize that not everybody thought those guys were cool. If Tyler Durden was played by John Goodman, I don’t think anybody would have given a shit about him. But he was good looking and a rebel.

I also tried to model other parts of my life off of other people. I didn’t like my accent so I tried changing that. I still say “university” instead of “college.” I just talk however I want to talk now. My words are a mish-mash after a while.

Have I lost myself? I don’t think so. These heroes of mine showed me that being different was something you could do and be successful. Even though I’ve never met these guys, (or they don’t actually exist) they’ve shaped my personality, sense of humor, clothes, outlook on life and whatever else. These guys made me feel like I mattered. I could be ugly, fat, dorky or nerdy and still be somebody that mattered.

Now, I look up to some people. A lot of my friends are very successful. I think that’s great and they’ve earned every cent of that. While I think that’s admirable, that’s not what I want. Working in a bank — or whatever these guys do — would drive me batshit crazy. But I’m doing my own thing. I sure as shit would like to be more successful, but I feel like I’m eventually going to be doing something great.

Seriously, this damn novel is just about effing finished. Hooray.

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.

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.