Operation KNITTING – Initial Success – Day 1 Winding Down

​So it looks like I’ve made it a day! One full day of keeping my negative emotions in check and at appropriate levels and emphasizing the positive. Even despite what could have been a really nasty setback that could have started me at Day Zero before I even got out of bed!

I had a terrible dream last night. The sort of night terror that leaves you staring wide-eyed at your ceiling, scared to go to sleep again ever until your alarm goes off. I could have dwelled on it, but instead I fought off the horror and gloom and got on with my day, giving it as little of my time and energy as I could. All day I’ve had little flashes, the attempts at my brain to fire along the pathways it’s used to firing on, but I’ve managed to catch and deflect them as I noticed it happening, which I’d say is worth points.

I’m still muting the occasional political source as it pops up on my Facebook feed or my tweet stream, and even when there’s an obvious moment that I ​could​ share or retweet something pointing out the awfulness of something (or someone) I’ve forgone it and shared pictures of ice-cream stuffed doughnuts instead. Honestly I think my twitter might be something like 70% food by the end of next week, since food makes me happy. 

And that’s a neat segway into the five (well this time more than five!) positive things for today, I think!

1. Biggest and most important, I not only got the news that if it’s not already mailed my final (and largest) check from my old job should be mailed early next week but I also got my federal tax refund for last year, giving me a much wider buffer zone between now and employment than I previously thought. I don’t even have the state tax refund yet, too, and I’d honestly forgotten these existed! So I got quite a bit of unexpected money and just in time for number two!

2. Number two as in lovely weather, not, you know, feces. Hey, I like gutter humor. Anyway, the weather is, once again, lovely. I needed to walk around a lot today and I’ll get to that in a bit, but I also needed sunscreen which is nice because I like the smell of the brand I use. And all that walking around was just part of what I’ve done physically today.

3. Because I also went to the gym! Granted, that in and of itself isn’t that unusual for me, even at my lowest point I was going six days a week, but today I hit several of my strength goals on my main lifts, and even my accessory movements all felt fantastic. It was quite possibly the best workout I’ve ever had!

4. All that working out and walking around means my body needed calories, and since I got my refund with another one and a large check inbound I went to Dairy Queen! I got a triple cheeseburger with a side of another triple cheeseburger and one of those coffee milkshake things they make, it hit the spot beautifully! 

5. I’m bingewatching Daisy Ridley and John Boyega “funny moment” compilation videos on YouTube. The stars of The Force Awakens are funny as dicks, guys!

6. I had another job interview today! The interviewer said I seemed like a “great fit” for the position, and he said he would check if a passport card would be suitable (long story short, normally they need a driver’s license even if the position does not itself involve driving for insurance purposes) and if it is he’ll call me back, set up a second interview and put me on a short list for the position. Like I said yesterday, I’m forcing myself to believe that this can go right, that I can get this job with more hours for higher pay than the hotel job I didn’t get that kicked all of this off in the first place. 

7. I noticed reviewing my latest video that my hair, rather than sunbleaching like it normally does in the summer, is turning an interesting shade of Super Saiyan God red-gold, at least when viewed in sunlight at certain angles. Sometimes it’s still it’s natural brown and other times it’s the usual sun-tinted gold color I’m used to, but this is new to me and I like it a lot! This, coupled with my rapidly improving physique and lengthening beard, means I look better now than I ever have before. Sometimes it’s just nice to know you look good, guys. 

So the sun sets on a completed Day One! Here’s the thing: It is getting easier. I know I’m on numerical Day One, but all stumbles aside I’ve been making an active effort to be more positive for three days. And I feel like I’m so much better at it now than I was even on Thursday, so if you ever decide to try this beat that in mind!

Hope (and I do mean “hope”) all y’all are having a great weekend and I’ll check in with you guys again tomorrow night!

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Operation KNITTING – Initial Success – Day 1 Winding Down

What I Owe to Star Wars

Since Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is right around the corner I think this is a good time to talk about the impact of Star Wars.

I tend to step back from sating things like “all,” or “everyone,” or “no one.” Always, never, those are dangerous words. Very little is 100% true, but I will say that most people who are nerds or geeks, most people who have chosen to take on a nerdy career path owe something to Star Wars. Even in the most indirect ways, but as time goes on the butterfly effect is so far-reaching that very little in geekdom is not touched by it somehow. How many sci fi writers can you think of that were not influenced by it, either conforming to the genre it codified or rebelling against it? How many people were molded by those works afterwards, the grandchildren of Star Wars?

My story is a little bit different. When I grew up, I played Nintendo. Stick with me, it’ll circle back. NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Gamecube, I would buy those and never buy a rival system. Mario, and later Zelda, were my jams. Metroid Prime was my go-to SciFi. Insert joke about how pretty much that’s all Nintendo does that’s worthwhile here.

I had seen Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (When I was a very small child still simply called “Star Wars” by most people) and the other two actual Star Wars movies as a kid (the original trilogy is what I’m getting at), and I liked them a lot. They were fun even for my dumb kid self, and as a child I didn’t realize there was more levels to them than just cool space swordfights, didn’t realize the contrast between galactic scale and individual scale that made each plotline more powerful than it would be on its own, the symbolism, the myth-making, homages to movies I wouldn’t see and like until my late teens. I just saw awesome lasers and swordfights in space.

The prequels were coming out at the time of this story, Episode II had been out for a while, and while I didn’t think it was all the great I thought it was just simple, dumb swordfighting fun. Looking back, I can see how someone with an emotional investment in the series could see such a poor, mediocre action flick as a betrayal of a much better franchise, and in that way be worse than the sum of its parts. And they’d be right, I think, looking back with my ability to analyze things as an adult. But in 2003 a much better Star Wars iteration came out, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for PC and the original Xbox.

That game was friggen incredible. I would count down the days to the weekend so I could go to my best friend’s house and we would play it on his Xbox, getting repeatedly ruined by the Rancor in the Taris sewers. Watching the Sith glass an entire planet as populous as Earth or even more to kill one woman. A ship’s translator learning the ways of the Force and discovering, in the belly of the whale that was the Sith interdictor ship literally called the Leviathan ​that he was the most feared Sith Lord of his era, Darth Revan. Maybe because I didn’t know it going in like I did with the “classic” Star Wars twist in Empire, but that twist punched me so much harder than anything in any of the movies. More than Darth Vader being Luke’s father, more than Leia being his sister. To this day it ranks as one of my favorite plot twists ever. And because of that game I bought an xbox to play it myself.

And if I had not bought an xbox, I would not have ever bought The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. And would therefore never have become a writer. Or bought Halo and started watching Red vs. Blue. So in an indirect way I literally owe what my life is now to Star Wars. Never mind that Knights of the Old Republic II is, despite being woefully incomplete, even in its current state the best installment of Star Wars across all media by miles and has influenced my style and the morality of my characters enormously (seriously, if there’s any other material where a character very rationally claims that the Force, essentially a non-anthropomorphized view of an omnipotent and omniscient God, is an evil, terrible thing and isn’t really refuted by the story or shown to be a loon, please tell me because I want so much more of that). That’s a whole different post. 

And I know this isn’t the only story.where Star Wars, directly or indirectly, changed someone’s life forever. So for those reasons, and the ones with the whole “it has the power to fix so much of what we discovered is broken in the SFF community in 2014-2015” thing thanks to its casting choices, I really hope it’s more like the real movies and less like the prequels, a story that is grand and glorious in scope, stakes and consequence but able to shrink down to the level of why it is important that Han says “I know” and not feel schizophrenic in its delivery or tone or lessening the impact of the enormous events that happen around the main cast. 

Best of luck, Force Awakens. Please be what SFF need you to be. You really well may be our only hope. 

What I Owe to Star Wars