Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Free Write From Who Knows When

The following is a free write that I found while I was cleaning up my computer. I don't think I meant it to be serious, as I laughed when I read it. Hence, I decided to post it. I hope someone enjoys this, I had no idea what was going through my head.

Can we change? Truly? This has been the topic of a great many writings. My favorite show Lost dealt with this theme over and over again. To watch a character begin to change from who they were before they crashed onto the island only to watch them slide back into their natural selves. This is how I am whenever I move. I present myself in a false fashion, artificially recreating myself into what I project others want, or whom I think I should be. Then the slide back. Then there are all those times that I have tried to change for a girl, that never works out. To feel that I am flawed, like characters on Lost, and imperfect and seeking to improve upon myself to better appease God, myself, and those around me, never works out. I feel as though I am the same person as when I was six years old, (a Modest Mouse song states that.) I wish to change, but often I do not see it in the day to day. I only see it in the tragedies, to witness myself becoming more reserved and graceful, (only a wee bit,) when heart ache hits me. I’ve learned to walk away rather than linger for years on pain. But beyond that I still relate to people the same way, I still have many of the same habits, just situated in a bigger body, and a later point and time than when I was six. The core of me does not change. Perhaps this part of me should not change. This is who I am and I should accept it. To accept is to allow change, I believe that this is something that Kierkegaard wrote about. Acceptance of ones self, our limitations and strengths, then we can work around them. Like Batman.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Anxiety and Life

I took a walk/train ride to the ocean the other night. I've been having trouble focusing. I've been anxious about graduation. I don't feel ready, realizing that no one ever does. There's something daunting about the end. At the same time I feel so relived that I will be a free man again. I will be able to get a job and start paying off my loans and saving money. I haven't worked in a year, having chosen to focus on school. I don't regret it, but its been hard for me to do much else.

Mortality has been haunting me lately. The fact that I will die. I turn thirty this summer. I feel like that snuck up on me. Someone reminded me that tall people usually have shorter life spans, so technically I may already be middle aged. There is so much that I want to do with my life, but at times I move so slow. Its hard.

I think that's why I went to the beach. To try and escape my mortal despair for a little bit. To see a piece of this beautiful world instead of sitting around for a few more seconds. Reminding me that I am part of something bigger. Reminding me that there is organization and that God is out there waiting for me. The best thing to do about despair and anxiety is get up and do something. They only set in when we do nothing. 

I'm grateful for the ocean. That I can simply jump on a train and be there in ten minutes.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Beginning of the End

First day back, enjoying the sun.

I just finished my first week of my last semester at State. I officially have attended all my classes for the first time. I have begun filling out my graduation papers. I'm making loose plans for post graduation, as to where I'll be, what I'll do.

Its weird. After I spent all this time and effort to get back into school, to get into film school even, to get to where I am, and now to almost be finished its like this big part of me is ending. This degree has been a big design and purpose of my life, and for it to be over it is as though a piece of me is dying.

I'm not looking at it as though death is bad, but a natural progression. "School John" is over but another John will take his place. Another apt metaphor would be for me to say this book is closing, but I'll start another one soon enough.

This next "book" that I'm writing is sure to be one that I am looking forward to reading. Its contents and direction are unknown to me, but I like the characters in it. I know some pretty interesting stuff will happen, and it should be a good read.

Schools back for winter.
That being said, the current book still has at least one more chapter in it. So I'll have to get through that first. I signed up for 15 units, and I'm trying to keep myself from adding even more. There is this big part of me that is a glutton for punishment. I enjoy pushing myself harder and harder. Last semester I thought I would break at one point, and I swore I would take this semester easy. When registration came I forgot all about that (or chose to ignore it.) Its a good load though. I feel confident and excited for this semester. I have more friends this last semester than I did at any other point (I took forever to get out of my emo/moody/angst ridden despair to try to connect with people at all.) I like most of my teachers, taking classes from many of my past favorites this semester, with only two new ones. (I actually have liked about all of my teachers, I'm really soft like that.)

So with that, here I go.

Staring off into the horizon.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Random Thoughts on New Stuff

My new Vibrams!

There have been a lot of changes for me this week. For those of you who didn't know, I got robbed on Christmas Day; I didn't find out until the day after. They took my external hard drive with all my raw film footage on it, and I am taking an editing course- so now I have to shoot a whole new movie for the class. They also took one of my favorite saddle bags, and not one-but two-pairs of Vibram running shoes.

 I love Vibram running shoes, and that's all I like to run in. It forces you to run "properly" to avoid injury, plus I just like the feel. Walking around barefoot is so much more comfortable than walking around with thick shoes-which we only do for safety reasons. So I was upset when I got home, because I had big running plans. I ordered a discounted pair of Vibrams from REI.com, and they came in on Monday. It took 8 days to get here, Amazon has spoiled me. But, It's been fun running in them. Love them.

If you are interested more in "barefoot" running I would highly recommend that you read "Born to Run." That book was recommended to me by my friend Scott. Thanks Scott.

Many people may not know that I have been primarily an "analogue" person for awhile. I only got my DSLR about a year ago, preferring to use a film SLR. I got the DSLR because I can film on it, helping me in school a bit. I have a record player, preferring the sound of Vinyl to that of MP3's or even CDs. (If you haven't heard music on Vinyl then you haven't heard music-and if you don't appreciate vinyl then you don't appreciate music.) I even have a kindle (which I use) but I buy an awful lot of books. I have had a cell phone, but avoided smart phones for awhile now. So the next part may come as a shock to some of you. And yes, you are right in thinking I have sold out.

The box of infinite potential.
The instructions.

So this week I got the iPhone 4S. Some people will retort that Android phones are better. Others will say I should have gotten the iPhone5. To all of you I will only simply and elegantly state "Shut Up." This is a big deal for me. I didn't have a Nintendo growing up.  I didn't get a lot of fancy stuff until I started getting it for myself. I never even got a Smart Phone for myself (this was kind of a present from my parents, early graduation sort of.) So some of you haters should cool your jets, let me be happy. And if you really want to debate this with me, I'm telling you know that a tap to your nose is my first counter argument. (Ok, maybe nothing so brutal, but you get the point right?)
Babies first charge. Kinda looks like the obelisk from
2001: A Space Odyssey dont she?
My greatest Smart-Phone fear is that I will turn into everybody else. Meaning, that my nose will always be in my phone. That'll I'll be constantly on FB, (which I do already-so maybe that fear is void?), constantly texting, constantly looking up useless facts. If I become one of those people, please rescue me. Hopefully I have enough discipline until then to get through it. 
To tie it all in, here I am post jogging taking a pic of myself with my iPhone.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012: My Year In Review

Here I am on Alcatraz NY's Eve. I'll let you assert some metaphor here for 2012 and Alcatraz's relationship.

 I have a theory that as we get older we learn nothing new, but relearn many harsh life lessons again and again. This year was no different. Many lessons I relearned several times throughout the course of the year.
 Communication is key. In dating, business, art, and school. Clarifying questions are good. Making sure that you understand the other person as well as you can, and making sure that they understand you. If anything is unclear do not just walk away, ask a billion questions. Don’t be afraid of upsetting them now with said questions, instead be afraid of upsetting them even more later on when they realize you have no idea what they meant in actuality. 
Also try to be as plain and simple when you are communicating. No doubt, if you have read my blogs you are aware at times I struggle with this. Yet, by making things simple it becomes easier to relay the key and necessary things we are communicating to others. I missed out on some really good opportunities this year because I could not communicate efficiently. I thought the other party was not interested in myself, and therefore walked away, only to find later I had a chance. 
 I’m a man. By this I don’t mean that I need a woman in the kitchen to make me a sandwich; nothing so wrong as that, but that I an adult. So often this year I have stated I am a man-child when I am not. Man-children live in a perpetual state of anxiety, according to Kierkegaard. They do all they can to prolong change, or growing up as we might say. While often I hesitate with change, I let it wash over me. Meaning, I may sleep in some days but I still get shit done. I don’t waste my time playing video games, and watching pointless movies. When I watch movies its usually for school, and it has become more of a chore to watch movies. I do things for my own self-development, not for distraction. I work on things, and try not to get too distracted. I no longer believe that I am a man-child, for I am a man. (Growing an awesome beard helps this point too.) 
I need to stop overthinking things. Like number one, I have missed out on great opportunities because of my perpetual overthinking nature. While having a high degree of anxiety can be good for getting things done, it can also shut myself down. It becomes hard to get up in the morning; it becomes intense to go into social interactions. Life is not that bad, and it is not that intense. If you screw one thing up, a second thing will come along. I have lived long enough to see and realize this. I have talked myself out of dates before they have even happened; I have talked myself out of jobs I haven’t applied to, etc.
 Its stupid, my mind is not some elaborate computer that can create simulations with a 97.5 success rate of accuracy. I need to have the experience before I can make decisions. This state of anxiety is what is likely to allow me to become a man-child. It is simply enough to do sometimes, and not everything I do needs have an elaborate plan and execution.3.) Then again- plans are good. So often I feel like so much of my life is planned out that I go through these periods of not wanting to plan anything out, or not keep track of things. Usually that’s when stuff in life reminds me why planning is so important. I still have trouble with it, I wish I could just live life one day at a time, but if you want progress or change or good things in your life you have to plan and keep to said plans.  
I need to be more sociable and assertive. State plainly what I want, and go for it. I let my anxieties flower up my words. There is nothing to fear from people, and if they don’t like me screw them. I’m a really awesome person, and have really awesome friends that will back me up with that. I am a talented and magical person- yes you read right I am full of magic! So I just need to be myself and be awesome, its what comes most naturally to me.
Sometimes you have to let go, even people close to you. I think I finally got over an ex-flame this year. She had to force herself back into my life begging to be friends again, and I watched as she disregarded said friendship. It helped me get over her because she was such a tool to me in the end, but also that I can do better. I stated before, just because something doesn’t work out the way you wanted does not mean the end of the world, other opportunities rise up in the ashes of our failures. That is the greatest lesson of all life while we live. (See six.)
Several movies and stories I saw this year, including the Dark Knight Rises, have been about the act of letting go. Holding on to things, like pain, can be so hurtful to our souls. The pain caused by other people is but for a moment, but our eternal pain is caused when we refuse to let go of it. We allow it to transform ourselves into horrible things, and when we let go we become beautiful again. It carries over to good emotions too by holding onto a dead love we can corrupt ourselves just as much.
 So often I would have stayed in bad relationships, and let them tear me down if it weren’t for family and friends to drag me away from them. I feel like I am finally mature enough to just walk by myself. Of course, it still sucks and still hurts, but I can do it. 
 Everything that fails burns has a phoenix rise out of its ashes. Just because things are so bad does not mean they will always be, nor does it mean that the best times are behind us. We will find better things out there, and life continually becomes more amazing as along as we assert ourselves into it. Sometimes its because the world changes, and sometimes its because we change and we see things differently than we saw them before. 
I need to exist on my own, outside of my family, friends, and relationships. This gives me a concrete idea of who I am, and what I want. Without this then I am nothing. School is good for this, but also having adventures by myself. Going out and doing things, seeing things, having experiences. Too often we can sit idly by waiting for those in our lives to come a save us from boredom, but we need to be our own relief. Once we do that, then we can relieve others of their own boredom. Otherwise being only a part of the collective means dependence upon the collective, and surviving without it means death. Both in a literal, emotional, and spiritual sense. Having some dependence upon others is healthy, but a complete is not. (This is the statement I have the most trouble articulating. I hope it has some sense of clarity, if not let me know.)

The overall theme, if you haven’t guessed, is one of anxiety. I know that I am not alone in stating that 2012 was a year of anxiety. Many people thought the world would end due to a misinterpretation of a Mayan Calendar, so many end of the world stories have begun or are being marketed. It’s our times, and our generation. Still, it is something to be worked on. Anxiety can be such a damaging thing, and I, personally, would regret it if I gave into all my fears.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The End of a Long Semester

School's been stressful for me lately. Unfortunately my friends have had to hear me rant and cry about it. Lost a lot of machismo points for being so whiny. This post isn't about me whining but about things just working out. There is a lot of stuff I can talk about school for the last few weeks, but I'll try to keep short.

First of, there was one class that was really stressful. I got weirdly competitive at the beginning of it; hoping that MY script would be picked and I would direct. After my script didn't get picked, I had a lot of weird ideas in my head about art and film. Honestly, I've had a lot of weird ideas this last year. But I decided not to direct, because there was enough for me to deal with in life and other classes. I figured I would just take a back job, and have it easy. Instead I ended up being the Art Director for the entire movie, and it was a Zombie film about a Marathon and a Non-Profit. There was a lot of Art needing to be directed... Needless to say things didn't go easy for me. There was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears put into it.

As it got closer to the shoot I thought that everyone would feel that the movie was a failure and that it would be my fault. I was trying to make it as professional as I could, but I never really worked on a professional set, and I had to figure a lot of stuff out. People were helping me, and as it got closer to the shoot more and more people helped me out, people in class, and outside that just wanted to help out some students. Still, there was a lot of stuff, and my stress level was rising. One person that was helping me told me to remember to have fun, that it's all about having fun. The night before that finally set in, and when the shoot happened I had fun. Sure not everything went according to plan, but things worked out. The pinnacle for me was when my teacher thanked me personally, telling me that I did a good job. Some how in school you don't get told a lot that you did a good job, in the arts I feel like I don't get enough "good jobs." There is this constant weight, even by my own self, for perfection. So to finally be told that I did a good job was very reaffirming that I am where I needed to be. It made me super emotional to get thanked.

Another big thing has been trying to get classes that I want/need. I officially only need one more class to graduate, then there are several classes that I want for fun/technical skills. There was one directing class that I really wanted, and I was banking on getting it. It was a sure thing, at least I thought so, because I am a graduating senior and have taken other classes that would make me a shoe in. I didn't get in. I did get in to several other classes. I really wanted to get into Editing, Writing for Actors Class, and an Experimental Documentary class. I really wanted to take Experimental Doc, but figured if I got into Directing and the other two I wouldn't. Honestly I wanted it more than Directing. Even though I was hurt I didn't get into Directing, I am now counting my blessings that I got into the ones I did. Even more I feel like God got me what I wanted more than what I thought I wanted, because this is what I need. For myself, and my future film career. This semester has been tough, one of the toughest of my adult school career, but it is what I needed.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nietzche and the Family Circus on Marriage

nietzsche family circus cartoon

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.