Feb 22, 2011

Remembering the little things

I've had a lovely day, and so, in effort to not just complain about all that is my life, I'd like to post on the serendipity that is my February 22.

For lunch today I was given pizza simply by knowing someone in another department. My car repair bill was a whopping $16. My old supervisor told me I'd be fired unless I ate an ice cream sandwich he gave me. (that's his sense of humor.) My teacher let me move my homework back a few days because I've been sick.

It's nice to have a good day, even if it's because of small and simple things. If nothing else, it's something to remember when the proverbial tornado of life inevitably sucks your metaphorical farmhouse into ruin.

Feb 16, 2011

Date Up

No, this isn't in reference to when I started going out with Tracie and began dating "up." It's the word "Update" all mixed up. No, really. Go ahead. See for yourself. The "Up" is after the "Date," where normally it goes before. It's mixed up to show how I currently feel. Feel I up mixed. Cool, huh? Why, is our dearest Austin mixed up you ask? Sigh. Where do I start? Why not at the end?

School is insane. I feel simultaneously brilliant and stupid at the same time. Yes, I know that what I just said is redundant redundant. Typography is a great class with a great teacher, it really is. But the teacher moved the deadline for our project to next Wednesday instead of the week after that, and I also have to find 20 examples of Typography I like and trace them all by that same Wednesday. And trace an entire typeface (I've chosen Baskerville).

Rendering the Human Head is better than it used to be now that we actually draw people instead of skulls. My drawing has improved vastly already, I'll try to post some pictures to prove it, but probably not, as I'm busy and have about a thousand things to do before posting my moderate artistic abilities growth.

My novel/la is coming along decently enough. I am beginning to understand what Anne Lamott meant by "sh!@#y first drafts" as it is quite, as my mother might hear, "sheddy." But, the revision is the next step, I'm just writing the darn thing. It's quite fun to finally put down the story I've been thinking about for several years now, hopefully it will soon be a bestseller coming to a bookstore near you. (But not Borders...) I'm a few hundred words ahead of where we're supposed to be, so I haven't had to write it outside of class, which has been helpful.

Interactive Design is still my favorite, though they give us too many stipulations which somewhat hampers my creativity, such as only use 2 columns if that, and only use 2 colors for your website. But, the limit on creativity does have the side effect of increasing my technical knowledge, so that's something.

Work is wonderful as always except for the small fact that I want to take my level 1 certification and start getting paid an extra dollar or two dollars an hour more. I've been doing the job of a level 1 certified tech support agent (Scan Technician as we're called) over a year now, it'd be nice to be paid accordingly. But, they are very understanding and helpful and fun, and I'd rather work here than just about anywhere.

Home which I personally feel should be a refuge against the harsh world is instead a war zone, thanks to the effects of Hurricane Morgan. We clean and we clean but he just makes messes and breaks things faster than we can put them away. He's lucky he's the cutest boy in the world, otherwise he'd be the I don't know what. I don't understand how people can have more than one child, I really don't. We have now painted his room and the living room, now just the office and our bedroom to go. We have a long to do list of decorating things I also need to work on in what little spare time I have between schoolwork and homework and workwork and Morganplaying and housecleanibg.

On top of all the topsy turvy emotions going on, we recently found out that Morgan may be autistic. I didn't want to talk about it but it's been eating me up inside so much I have to at least mention it. We went to the doctor to get his shots and for his 18 month checkup and the doctor remarked that his language development (or lack thereof) is troubling. He jabbers and babbles but doesn't say many comprehensible words besides "mom" and "dad." (papa and 'fuff' for food and 'gum' for come on are the only other ones I can currently think of.)

Some of you may know I have a brother with special needs and an autistic cousin, and I really really don't want an autistic child. I've ranged on emotions like threatening Heavenly Father to leave the church if my son is autistic to begging and pleading with Heavenly Father not to let him be that way. I don't want an autistic child. I love my brother and the relationship I have with him, but at the same time I feel like we were cheated out of a real relationship because of his disability.

I'm not looking for reassurance or platitudes, I'm just opening up about it in hopes for some catharsis.

It's difficult to see friends whose children are speaking and developing like 'normal' children when my own isn't. I've actually been avoiding a few friends lately because it's been too hard/painful.

I love my son more than just about anything. I won't love him any less no matter what's wrong or not wrong with him. But I want to have a real relationship with him, I want him to have a family of his own someday, not be stuck in a home or something his whole life. I also realize that this is all very premature, he could just be developing language slowly, he's meeting or exceeding most other development milestones. I'm just afraid because I know what it's like and don't want it for anyone. I still have unresolved issues with God regarding my brother's condition, I don't want to have more issues about my son. It's not like I'm asking for Morgan to be a super Stephen Hawking genius, (bad example) I'm asking for him to not have a disability that will affect his whole life, and ours.

I'm sorry for the seriousness, I didn't expect or plan to write any of this, but I'm not sorry I did, I feel like some of the burden has been lifted, hopefully off Tracie as well as I know she's had to bear all my frustration and yelling and crying and whining regarding the possible autism of Morgan Danger by herself.

So that's my life right now, there are other things of course like the continuing struggle of having a metal leg and now hip, having a car that still won't pass the state inspection, coming home after 7 pm every night, not getting enough sleep, etc. etc.

So there's my dateup on what's up with my life and why I've been avoiding blogging lately.

Feb 14, 2011

Book 2 of 12: The Strangest Secret

This was a motivational tape we had as hold music at one of my worst jobs ever. I enjoyed listening to the hold music and for some reason decided to buy the book, or have it bought for me, I can't remember which.

In addition to being the shortest book I've read since Mercer Mayer, it was one of the best. Filled with great tips on being successful both in life and sales, I give it my highest recommendation I can. But don't buy it. I'm sure you can find it online very easily.

For those curious, The Strangest Secret is the first spoken word record to go Gold, and is full of great tips that seem cliche, but that's because nearly every self-help and motivational book since takes from its wisdom.

A few gems from the book and it's author:

Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm.

Excellence always sells.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.

We tend to live up to our expectations.

It's one of those books that's short enough and good enough that I plan to read it again and again whenever I need a pick me up or have 15 minutes and want to read a whole book of something that doesn't have more pictures than words.

5 out of 5 stars.

Feb 2, 2011

Book 1 of 12: Anthem

So, of my new year's resolutions, one of the most easily trackable is my goal to read one book a month of my choosing. School books don't count.

A few minutes before midnight January 31st I finished reading "Anthem," Ayn Rand's 106 page novella. Like many of my favorite books, it was recommended to me by Ammon. Unlike many of my favorite books, it isn't one of my favorites.

It was a good read and I might recommend it, but I have a few hang ups that I just can't get over.

Anthem is the story of Equality 7-2521, someone who dares to think differently in a post-apocalyptic society that has eradicated the concept of self. The words "I" and "me" have been replaced with collective pronouns "we" and "us." The future she tells of is frightening, it reads as extreme Communism if there is such a thing. The individual only exists to benefit the whole.

As expected, Equality 7-2521 leaves the oppressive society to found his own with his female companion/love interest Unity 5-3000. What left a bitter taste in my mouth (besides chewing on the pages) was, Equality was supposed to be extolling the virtues of individuality and escaping the values of society, right? So then why did he start his own? Shouldn't he have just lived alone in his own enlightened state, rather than preach to others his capitalist dogma?

I think it comes down to my belief that the opposite of Communism isn't Democracy, it's Anarchy. And I guess Ms. Rand wasn't saying to shun all things Communistic, but to embrace change and the contribution of the individual. But still, it came off to me as hypocritical, escaping the opressive society where no one is special to create your own where everyone is equal.

But, it was short, I read it and it helped me meet my goal of reading one book a month. Now I plan on reading books that I own but have never read.

Rather than making you readers feel cheated by making a whole new blog entry to say something I think I may have already said, here's a list of books I own yet haven't read and now plan to this year:

The Strangest Secret,
Conversations with the Dream King,
An Abundant Life: Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown,
Sex and Humor: Selections from the Kinsey institute,
On Writing,
Philosophy of Jokes,
six nonlectures,
Odd and the Frost Giants,
My Name is Asher Lev,
The Children of Hurin,

For you math whizzes out there, you may have noticed that there's only 10, plus the 1 of this month equals eleven. "But there are twelve months in the year, Austin," you say. "Yes, I know." I respond. The last one will either be A Catcher in the Rye which I've been meaning to read for ages, (the Cretaceous at least) or some Malcolm Gladwell book, whichever one my brother and/or father insist I read. Or that's the shortest. Or something someone else recommends to me. No Twilight or Hunger Games, thank you. I'll read them when I'm good and ready. (never)

For February, I'm thinking of either reading The Strangest Secret or Odd and the Frost Giants, as those are the shortest ones.

I'll keep you posted as I always do. In the meantime, thanks for reading and don't forget to tip your waiter/waitress 10% more than he/she deserves.