Apr 16, 2014

Catching Up

 
That stupid last post gave me the desire to blog again, and I realize quite a lot has happened since I last wrote.

Perhaps biggest news, I graduated college. Only took me 13 years after I started to get a Bachelor's degree. While my designing has grown and improved, my writing, journaling and blogging have suffered. Blogging is kind of old news now, at least blogspot is. I blame Facebook, my brother in law, and my friend Jacob in Hawaii. This is because 1) Facebook has taken over what my blogging used to be, me either posting things that interested me, or news about me. 2) My brother in law's fault because I wrote to him all through his mission, and so my news and journalistic/what's happening to Austin got used up there, and 3) same goes for Jacob, anything interesting or noteworthy I feel I have to say gets said to him. Isn't he the lucky one?

So what do I have left? A desire to express, to communicate, and just to get thoughts and feelings out. I've been suffering off and on with depression for a very long time, more acutely lately, but at the moment none. I feel great. It's weird, to have periods like days, weeks, or hours or minutes where all I want to do is curl up and die, or contemplate and attempt various ways of different magnitudes of success and pain to do just that. It goes between I'm worthless and don't deserve to live to I must have done something wrong or there's something inherently wrong with/about me, and my wife and son would be better off either without me or with anyone else.

But I didn't post this to talk about my depression, just what's been going on the past year or so since I blogged more regularly.

I currently work at a company in Salt Lake City, right across from the airport, where we design products for various other (almost exclusively) outdoor companies. Often my job is extremely exciting and interesting and a creatives dream come true, but seemingly just as often it is constricting and degenerates into slapping camouflage and a company logo on whatever product I'm working on, be it a flask, barstool, towel, notebook, or you name it we probably do it. There are many pros and cons of working there, often it feels like more cons than pros, but if nothing else, it is providing me with massive experience and growth, which is a gift in and of itself.

My son Morgan is almost 5 now, I couldn't be happier with him or love him more, except I know from experience I will love him more tomorrow, just how it goes. He's still behind developmentally, but constantly growing and improving, I just hope more than practically anything he'll continue in that direction. We got news today at his IEP that he'll be in Special Ed, which made me cry. Even though I knew he would, he's quite behind, I just hope he'll continue to grow and improve, and not regress when surrounded by kids that are more behind than he is. It's odd that getting bad news, even when it's inevitable/not a surprise at all, can still stab the heart like it does. It's never easy to hear that someone you love so much and think of as pretty much the most awesome person in the world is deficient in some way. But, he's always my Moby, and I wouldn't change him, but that doesn't mean I don't hope he grows and improves. He is getting so much better at using the potty, which is one of the biggest reliefs (heh) I've experienced as a parent.

In November I designed another 30 book covers (closer to 40 covers) for NaNoWriMo's 30 Covers in 30 Days challenge, I even got to design a cover for NaNoWriMo's project itself, which was a huge honor and one of the highlights of 2013. I'm planning to make this an annual thing as long as I can find 30 people who want me to design a cover for them, although I'm thinking this year doing it in either October or November, so I can participate in NaNoWriMo the way Baty intended, and write a novel in November.

I miss writing and feel at least a portion of my depression is linked to not having the creative outlet of writing. Even tho my very job is nothing but creative outlets as far as designing and visual creativity goes, writing is something that is a part of me whether I want it to be or not (and I do), and I need to feed that portion of my soul or it threatens to poison the whole tree of me or something. I'm not making much sense, but I'm just trying to get everything out while I have the desire and have made the time to write.

What else? I've been reading about the same, which is almost nothing at all, but I have been listening to a lot, apparently there are a lot of probably less than legal copies of audiobooks on youtube, I've listened to American Gods for the third time and the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn for the second time, as well as books by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, that are as illuminating as they are inspiring. I've become something of a Hitchens if not disciple, admirer, listening to a great number of his debates and speeches and interviews also on youtube, and saddened that he died so recently and I never had an opportunity to meet him, tho what I'd say heaven knows.

Speaking of meeting celebrities, last summer we went to the Salt Lake Comic Con (we being Tracie, me, and my mommy). It was a lot of fun if insanely crowded. The only famous person we met was Nicholas Brendan who played Xander on Buffy. We opted not to go this year, as there are only about 4 people we'd like to meet (James Marsters, Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, and Billy Dee Williams) and I don't think there's a human being alive that I want to wait in an hour plus line in order to say "Hi, I like you when you act in that one or two roles. Bye."

When I'm not feeling depressed or fulfilling family or work obligations, I'm either going to the bathroom, sleeping, or playing the Star Wars MMO The Old Republic. It is so fun it's crazy, but then I love Star Wars. Tracie asked me what I want for my birthday, I said cake, intimacy (sex) and Star Wars, which I realized could also be the title of my autobiography, if you add mediocre poetry.

Another impetus for wanting to start writing again was this wonderful short video I can't recommend enough, I've already shared it with several of you who won't be reading this, here it is again/for the first time, inspiring words from Jorge Luis Borges:

Best minute and 39 seconds you'll spend today.

Possibilities



The last time I was this excited, was about a year ago when I got two job offers on the same day. I'm so excited I'm blogging again for crying out loud.

I feel so many possibilities today like I can fly, which is a big feeling for a guy with one leg.

First of all, an old friend/mentor/confidante/professor contacted me today. We used to try to go to lunch once a month, then he got cancer and I haven't heard back from him for about 6 months, fearing the worst. He sounds like he's cancer free, (largely because he says so) which I can tell you from personal experience is an awesome feeling. We're planning to go eat this weekend, which is also awesome, not least of which because it's my birthday, the first time Easter has fallen on my birthday for 11 years, if I recall correctly.

Secondly, another old friend/roommate/game buddy/BFF contacted me to tell me his work is hiring. While I greatly enjoy my current job, I've been feeling a bit in a creative and professional rut as well as a growing urge to leave Utah for different pastures, and though I haven't even applied, let alone been called for an interview or offered a job or any of that, it's a great feeling to feel like I have a chance for change. We'll see how that goes. I do plan to start blogging again, even if I'm guessing about 3-5 people will read this, give or take 3-5.

Thirdly, and I doubt anyone but me will care about this, but it's my freaking blog anyway, but it looks like I'll soon be getting the new gaming group together for a Star Wars campaign. Tabletop gaming geeks will (better) agree, there are few things more exciting than the possibilities of a new campaign/game with friends.

I'm realizing that I'm happiest when I have opportunities and possibilities, before reality sets in and the new career opportunity becomes the new job I have to work really hard at, or the lunch with my favorite teacher either ends, or is boring and we lose things to talk about after 15 minutes before our food arrives, or the players quit the game before I get a chance to get it rolling, or before it begins, but not before I spend all the time preparing and planning the game.

Thank goodness for possibilities, what would the world look like if they lived up to their expectations?

Oct 10, 2013

If I could ask Neil one question



More than anybody else alive, I would love to meet Neil Gaiman. Be in the same room, shake his hand, watch him autograph my collection of everything he's ever written, fantasize about us becoming friends.

If he came to my hometown or somewhere within driving distance of my residence, perhaps to accept an award, he has so many, or to appear at a convention or writer's workshop, that is where I would go. And he, after a brilliant reading from one of his illuminating works, sits down with a microphone and answers questions of the audience. No one appreciates his fans quite like Neil.

I wonder what would I ask him? My first impulse would be to ask something really deep and impressive about one of his characters, or a microscopic detail in one of his stories, to show him what a passionate admirer I am. Something like 'why does Shadow ask Wednesday's raven to say "Nevermore" when Shadow doesn't seem like the type of person to read Poe?' Even though I don't really care about the answer, I care about him seeing me as a true fan, not a pretender. One who has read all of Sandman and owns a dvd copy of the BBC production of Neverwhere. But others are likely asking him similarly esoteric questions with likely the same reasoning.

If I could ask him anything, my second impulse would be to ask him to lunch or dinner sometime. Not to court the Dream King or something like that, but to hang out, get to know one another, become friends. To show him how similar we are, how my writing and thinking was so like his before I even discovered it. Though after a bit of reflection I think asking a question like that is somewhat cheating. Much like wishing for more wishes from a great brass-skinned genie who plans to twist your wishes anyway before they're made. Also, I realize asking a question like that in a great crowd like this would only invite light laughter, a smile or two, as if I were joking, and then he'd move on to another question.

Finally I think of the perfect question, one I really would want to know, not one to display my devotion, and not one that he's likely been asked a hundred times before or one I could learn by reading his blog (which I do) or watch videos of other interviews and Q&A's with him (also do.) But I think a really meaningful question, better than "how do you become a successful writer?" or "how did you meet your wife Amanda?" or "what's your favorite food?" I would ask Neil Gaiman "When is the happiest you've ever been?"

But I would be one hand in a sea of many, and he wouldn't see me. He answers questions about Doctor Who and which is his favorite character. He answers why he chose to live in Minnesota (everyone knows that) and answers what some of his favorite books are, and questions about Sandman sequels. He smiles at us all, grateful and graceful to his throes of admirers, but never hears me. I sit down, and wonder what Neil would say and how he would answer, while I imagine how happy I'd be if he would have answered.


Apr 22, 2013

Marsyas

I recently completed my chapbook (small collection of poems) for my poetry class.

Because my printer is awesome and because some people expressed interest, I have about 70 extra copies I need to get rid of/have available for your reading pleasure/horror.

If you're interested, (and I didn't screw things up too much) enter your address and click the button below to order it through PayPal, as selling it on Amazon or other sites means I have to buy an ISBN, about $125 which I don't have or want to spend. The price ($8) is mostly to cover the cost of shipping and printing, hope you enjoy!

Austin



Address

Mar 12, 2013

You Say Goodbye, and I Say Hello


 Well, I have some news.

After 3 years and 4 months of working at SecurityMetrics, I am leaving this Friday. It has been my favorite job (as well as longest) with some of the best & most talented people I've ever met, but I felt it's time to move on.

A large part of this is because I've been offered a job as a graphic designer at Wavetronix, and a new internship at InsideOut Development. I start next week, and while it's fairly nerve-wracking to leave what's been my home away from home for the last three years, I'm looking forward to the new adventure as well as working somewhere I can actually use my college degree!

Feb 23, 2013

Happy 9 Days After Valentines


Hope everyone is having a good time in the internet today. As I'm taking a poetry class and because the internet is a marvelous place, I wanted to share one of the best love poems I've ever read.

When I was losing a year of my education in beautiful Western Virginia's Southern Virginia College-pretend-University, I took a creative writing class. One of the classmates, who turned out to become one of my best friends ever, wrote this poem about a boy's love for his favorite little arthropod. Tho Valentine's Day is over, everyone reach out to your favorite little segmented friend, maybe give them a leaf, dead fly or sugar cube, and read this with the lights turned down low:

I've Got a Mantis in My Pantis
by JMV

Green and quite extravagantis,
How I love you, little Mantis.
Your abdomen has a slantis,
Precious, pretty little mantis.
Exoskeleton abundantis,
You are insect celebrantis.
You get big when you pregnantis,
You have genes dominantis,
You not need a heart transplantis!
Yes, you are quite importantis
Even though I seem tyrantis.
When I run I huff and pantis--
Get in shape for you, my Mantis.
You not from Gamma Quadrantis,
I think you are friend pleasantis!
Won't trade you for a pheasantis,
Or a dog, or elephantis:
You can go in restaurantis,
You not need use a hydrantis,
I know you have no implantis!
At first I was reluctantis,
You ate leaves off my egg-plantis...
Now, heart has one occupantis:
You, my cherised tiny Mantis.
My life no longer stagnantis,
Now I'm feeling flamboyantis!
Go from Goofus to Gallantis--
All because of you, sweet Mantis.
Would you like Oatmeal Instantis?
I have heard it's quite enchantis.
Our attraction clairvoyantis,
Love between me and my Mantis.
Even though you're flatulantis
and make toxic fumes fragrantis,
All that is irrelevantis;
I adore you, little Mantis.

Feb 8, 2013

Journaling & On & On


Tracie's blog is inspiring me to post something from MY journal in high school. I don't have it with me, so I'll just paraphrase.

Blah blah blah blah why don't the girls I like like me back/like me as much as I like them? Blah blah blah cancer sucks blah blah gotta have faith blah blah blabbity blah I'm going to be famous someday blah blah blah cancer blah blah art and poetry blah blahblarg blah girls blah blah blah blah blah video games.

That's pretty accurate actually, laugh if you must. I think to an extent everyone could similarly sum up the majority of their diaries/journals in high school (and before and after). However, I do think journaling is very important, yet I haven't done it in years. I'm not going to say I don't have time for journaling, because I do. The problem is I'm not making time for journaling, for reasons such as: 1) I sort of "journal" in writing to my missionary brother-in-law/from-another-mother every week as well as other friends I'm trying to keep in correspondence with. I'm mostly as open with them as I'd be with myself, so I don't see much of a need for it. I think journals are valuable, and I think it's sad that the art of journaling is sort of lost along with the art of letter writing, when the great minds of our lifespans are published, it won't be the Letters of Neil Gaiman, it will be the emails of Neil Gaiman, the blog of Stephen King, etc. etc. While cool, it's somewhat sad. Writing isn't meant to be written on a keyboard and viewed on a screen. And yes I do see the irony/hypocrisy in where I'm saying this. I don't want to muse too much about what is lost vs. what is gained with the internet, I'm a couple years too late and think it's mostly amazing, I just hope it doesn't mean an end to writing as a craft done by hand with pen & paper.

My blog is a journal, but all I've been using it for is to post about school and to post design updates I'm working on. And to lament the fact that that's what I now use my blog for.

Instead of posting what I've done, I'd like to journal for just a bit on what I'm looking forward to: Going on a Valentine's getaway with my Valentine, going to see "Noises Off" with her in Provo, (she's never seen it. :)) in March. Seeing the Hush Sound come to Utah, (they're one of my favorite contemporary bands who had broken up a couple years ago, then got back together likely because they realized they made a lot more money that way, I mean because of the FANS! ;)) But the thing I'm looking forward to most is GRADUATING in APRIL and LOOKING for a new JOB, likely ONE as a GRAPHIC DESIGNER!!!! I'll likely let you know how that goes. I've been interviewing for additional internship opportunities, one has met with me and called me back, the others haven't responded at all except one I applied for about 3 months ago randomly contacted me. Anyhoo, that's all I got for now, Peace, but not literally.