All posts by misciathefool

24 hours at a time

I will begin by paraphrasing one of my favorite authors, the late Terry Pratchett. I’ve found that chaos usually beats order. It’s better organized.

If you think anyone has anything all put together or figured out, you’ll eventually find that they are wrong. If anyone claims they have it all together, they are liars. Nothing really makes any sense but people pretend it does. I don’t say this to be dismal or proclaim the end of days. This is just an observation that the world doesn’t fit into the little categories people create. Overwhelming concept to think about, right?

As people, we deal with this in a variety of ways. But the must common seems to be not to think about it much at all. I certainly did that at one point. Then I went to the other extreme and started thinking about it too much. Doing that just causes a complete shutdown of anything resembling a functional human. So I don’t recommend either. For me, the only thing that seems to help is the old “one day at a time” mentality. Just deal with the 24 hour cycle you currently inhabit.

Treat people as well as you can, like how you’d want to be treated. And don’t get too pissed when you start behaving like an ass because you WILL behave like an ass. You will fuck up. It sucks but it will happen due to the simple fact that we exist. So make your mistakes and try to let them teach you something. Try and make time for the people important to you. Just remember that they are also human. Don’t make them into saints. They will fuck up too. You will be disappointed, hurt, and angry about it. You’ll have to decide if it’s something you can live with. If it isn’t, then maybe you don’t care as much as you thought. If it is, then you will move on at your own pace.

I’m not saying anything new here. These aren’t original concepts. This world is a big pile of chaos. We do our best to make sense of this. Whether it’s through our work, our families, our passions, or by writing rambling blog posts we are all trying. And all we can do is try again tomorrow.

 

Advertisements

Shampoo Cycle

Change kind of sucks. Even if we’re the type of person who likes the idea of constant change, it’s rarely comfortable. So we get into habits to avoid it. We develop a system and apply it to stressful scenarios. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen multiple areas be destroyed by hurricanes and yet another mass shooting. And we treat them like we’re reading the instructions on a shampoo bottle.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Something horrible happens. We express horror and sorrow. We offer prayers and words. We but heads when the idea of actions to help prevent a reoccurrence are introduced. Tempers boil over and our collective stubbornness kicks in. We argue and insult.  We ultimately do very little. And then something terrible happens again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Hope is becoming harder to maintain. I sometimes feel like I’m one of the few people struggling with this, which I realize is foolish. So many are fighting right now for their own sanity. Technology for communication has advanced so far and yet we’re losing the ability to make a connection. Honest, intelligent discourse is becoming so rare we thank people when it actually happens.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’m trying. I don’t have much money, but I’ve made small donations that I hope will help. I’m reading more information to improve my understanding. I keep looking for common ground with the people who, in my heart, I know are good and just have different values. I’m trying to call out the people who are just so far gone over into cultish behavior, because we are accountable for ourselves. In that respect, I’m doing my best to make sure that I’m accountable for what I do. But I’m only one human. I know I’m intelligent but I’m also aware that I’m flawed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I was thinking that if I tried writing these feelings out in a new post perhaps, in the process, I’d come up with solutions. It doesn’t seem to be working. I’m really doing little more than venting, perhaps with an inflated notion that there’s anyone who wants to know what I have to say. Well, I don’t really know what else to try. I’ll go about my life as best I can. I’ll take care of my kids. I’ll feed the cat. I’ll go to work. I’ll watch Netflix with my wife. I’ll try to maintain the relationships I have. I’ll go to therapy. I will try to make sense of the giant mess that we as humans are.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

 

 

I’m checking in

Hi folks. Sorry for the silence.

I realize I haven’t been writing or posting things for a bit. And to be honest, I don’t really have anything pressing to say at the moment. Things have just gotten a little hectic and a bunch of unforeseen events happened at once. If you know me in person, then you probably know at least some of what has been going on. Otherwise, I can let you know a bit.

One of the changes is that I picked up a very needed part-time job. I’ve been the stay-at-home parent for the past year and it got to the point where, for both financial and personal needs, I needed to get myself employed. So I know work a few nights a week after my wife gets home from her job. So this is ultimately a good thing. The other things going on I’m not quite ready to discuss. Part of this is that, unlike when I talk about depression, they involve things happening to other people on a more direct level. Some stuff isn’t at a point where I feel comfortable putting it into words. Other events, I feel, require permission from others that I don’t have right now. Suffice to say, enough things are going on in my life right now that this blog has needed to take a back seat.

So why am I here now? I’m not vain enough to think that anyone is heartbroken at my lack of posts. I’m mainly writing this to acknowledge that I still plan to write. I’m also thinking of other writing projects that are a little different from blogging. Depending on where that leads I may be splitting focus. But for right now, I just wanted to let those who have taken the time to check out this page know that it hasn’t been forgotten. I’m gonna go eat a cookie now.

More things that were said

People say weird things. It’s a fact.

In a previous post, I have provided examples of things that I never thought I would hear myself say. These have mostly come about as a result of mishearing someone, catching things out of context, or trying to explain things to small children. So in interest of trying to provide some form of amusement for folks on the internet, I’m going to do it again. Enjoy some more things I never thought I’d say.

#1) “It’s like the most disgusting set of jingle bells.”

#2) “Vanilla sherbet is just vanilla ice cream.”

#3) “Drum, drum, drum on my tum, tum, tum.”

#4) “It appears that it’s a festival of poo.”

#5) “The dinosaur chicken made her sad.”

#6) “Don’t touch the goat water!”

#7) “Why is she yelling about the meat?”

#8) “I guess the chipmunk looks like a frog.”

Okay, folks. That’s all I got. Sorry for the ridiculously short post. Other things have been taking priority lately, but I wanted to get at least something on this blog before June was gone. I’ll try to do better next month.

The Brain Fight

dt_150501_depression_brain_dna_800x600.jpgThings change, whether you want them to or not. A method you use for years can slowly stop working. You may start to like slightly sour candy over sweet. The road you’ve driven down for years will suddenly have a new speed bump. How we react to the changes often leaves a mark on us as individuals. But as I’m constantly reminded change will come, whether I’m happy about it or not. Just like it has now.

I deal with major clinical depression. For a good portion of the last four or five months, it has been knocking my ass to the ground and dancing an Irish jig on my face. So I am now in the process of changing around my medications. The process of trying to wean myself off one prescription and figure out if the new one is working, I will say, is exactly as fun as you imagine it to be. I’ve encountered one drawback so far and we’re back to my previous baseline. Those of you that have personal experience with mental illness can likely relate. I went back to read some of my other blog posts, in particular the ones where I discuss my own depression. I realize that I’ve given a recap of the road to diagnosis and a brief piece about going to therapy. But what I haven’t really done is attempt to explain to you just what it feels like when this disease hits me. I’m going to try to do that. Let me emphasize that this is specific to myself, not anyone else with mental illness. The brain is complicated and we all have different battles with it. I’m going to do my best to try to describe mine.

There really isn’t any fixed situation that sets it off. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I can already tell it’s not going to be an easy day. I may go to bed when suddenly, something will hit me and then I’ll be up all night with insomnia. Or I can go days being perfectly functional and then, suddenly, I want to climb in bed and stay there for the rest of time. So if you think that I can plan ahead for a bout of depression, sorry but it doesn’t care what my plans are. It just waltzes up to my brain, punches it a few times, and say it’s in charge now.

Sometimes it shows up as exhaustion and apathy. I don’t want to get out of bed or interact with anyone. My body can be sore for no reason. I flat our just stop caring. To put it mildly, it sucks. With very few exceptions, I don’t want to be unproductive everyday. It gets boring and I have kids to take care of.  So it’s a fight with myself to get anything done and sometimes I don’t win.

Sometimes I’ll become anxious and irritable. I’m already prone to worrying and things just get intensified. I become angry for no reason and my heart can race. My mind will over-think everything. I have trouble clarifying my thoughts and stumble over words. I  have to try not to snap at everyone. This makes things more difficult when it comes to my kids. They’re too young to understand what’s going on in my head and I don’t want them to think of their dad as just an angry asshole. So I have to try to stop my depression from parenting for me.

Things have been really bad on those times when it all hits me at once. This is despair. There isn’t another word I can use for it. Full, cold despair. I have been suicidal. I do not and have not harmed myself, but it has gotten close. This is one of the reasons we are looking at a medication change. When my mind starts going to that place, I know something isn’t working. This is also why I will never let myself purchase a gun. I’m not making a political stance here. I’m pointing out that, for my own health, I think a having a gun in my home is a bad idea. If you know me outside of the internet and ever hear that I’ve bought one, consider that a HUGE red flag. Let me say again that I am currently safe. I’m not planning anything and I’m not a danger. But my mind has gone to that place. I’ve thought about how maybe my wife can do better than me and I’m ruining her life. I’ve thought about how I must be damaging my children and they’d be better off without me. Yes, I’ve shaken these thoughts off but they come back. Medication helps. Therapy helps. But the facts remain that this is something that can’t be completely cured. This is my brain. I can’t hire an Igor to transplant a new one. This is what I’ve got to work with, so I will do the work.

Interactions with other people can be a coin flip regarding my depression. They can help bring me back or make things worse. Being an introvert can make it harder, since big party situations exhaust rather than energize me. But I will tell you it’s worth making the attempt. I will try my best to reach out to others, but when most of my brain says no one wants to talk to me it makes that a struggle. I very much count on others to make an effort. In fact, I encourage all of you who know someone struggling to do the same. Reach out to them. Don’t just say you’re there for us. Come to us. I know it isn’t easy and we don’t always respond. Being the friend/spouse/child or any close relationship with a person in my situation is hard. But if you can do it you’re being an amazing person. I can’t express enough how helpful it is when friends at least try to hear you. You probably won’t understand everything. But this is not something we’re trying to use as an excuse or a way to manipulate you. We don’t want to be this way and we’re trying. We’re fighting. So don’t give up on us.

Don’t give up on me. I am 38 years old and have been dealing with this monster for longer than I knew what it was. If I could just clap my hands together and change everything I would. This would also mean I’m an all-powerful wizard, which would rock. But this isn’t my reality. My reality is depression is a part of my life that I have to deal with. And whenever I see other people lose their battle, it terrifies me. It makes me wonder how much longer I can keep this up. So I remind myself that I’m stubborn. I can fight. Mental illness may be a huge venomous snake that slithers around my mind, so I need to show it that the brain it’s picking on is a mongoose. It can’t win. I won’t let it. Claws out and we’ll go another round.

To my fellow nerds, I say, be better!

I am reaching out to a specific group with this post. I want to talk to the men and women of geekdom. If that is you, I ask that you please pay close attention to the following plea.

Ahem…

Geeks, dorks, countrynerds. Lend me your ears!

We have lost our way. We were supposed to be the nice people. The ones who accepted the bullied and the underdogs. We were supposed to be the ones who encouraged learning and tried to build confidence in each other. And if someone wanted to be part of our community, we didn’t chase them away.

What happened?

I’m seeing far too much nastiness in the geek community. Admittedly, this is a problem that is present all over society. I don’t know what the big answer is, but I can at least try to talk to those with whom I should have some common ground. So I am addressing you, my people. I speak to those of us who have at some point been punished for loving the things that we do. That is the common thread of those who have earned the geek and nerd tag. We got shunned or called names or physically attacked. In many cases, it was a combination of these things. But things have changed and it’s a little more mainstream. You can love sci-fi and fantasy, comic books and games, cosplay and computers and science and mythology and all kinds of stuff. It’s not 100 percent ridicule free, but it isn’t seen as that unusual either.

The problem is we’re attacking each other now. We’re being our own bullies. It needs to stop. We can all do better.

What happened to the whole idea of treating people like you want to be treated? It’s bad enough that so much of the larger world tends toward nastiness. We don’t need to get sucked up into that shit when it comes to geek culture. We don’t need nasty cliques in the cosplay community. We don’t need online trolls attacking women and kids from behind a gamertag. If someone posts some fantasy-themed artwork or a picture of themselves in a new costume we need to be supportive. Don’t rip apart their work. Don’t mock the artist’s technique or choice of subject. Don’t body shame the cosplayer or question their “nerd cred” on the character. If being kind is too difficult then try silence. You don’t like what you see? Fine. Move along. If you can’t be supportive, don’t be destructive. There is no need to harm anyone.

Is it because the old stereotypes blended? Are people angry because you have athletes that like comic books and nerds who watch sports now? Hey, I’m the classic sports-hating nerd and I’ve got no problem having friends who are football fans. We aren’t the authority on which person gets to like what fandom!

I think we can be better. I know we can! We are a small portion of humanity. If we can’t fix our own shit, how can we expect anything else to get better? So please. Try harder. Be kinder, smarter, more accepting. Be the nerdy, geeky champions I know we can be. Humanity needs us to be better. The multiverse needs us to be better. We need us to be better!

Successful Failure

I’m going to start with a question. Are you successful? Just a quick “yes” or “no” for the moment. You can come back to it when you’re done here.

People tend to obsess over different things. Some more than others, but we are all guilty of something. And I think more than anything, we all focus to some degree on success. Which I find weird because it seems like such a subjective thing. I mean, what definition are you using? Your dad’s version or your teacher’s version? Your cat’s definitions of success? Are you a good mouser?

Focusing on success also means that we spend a lot of time obsessing over failure. That’s the opposite of success, right? If you didn’t succeed you failed. Pretty simple concept except that it isn’t that simple. Have I given you a headache yet? Take some ibuprofen and sit back down with me. I am going to give you a break and make a confession.

I’m a failure. I am a huge fucking failure. By so many definitions!

I’m a man in my late thirties who doesn’t make a lot of money, so I’m a failure by some societal standards. I’ve had more than one artistic pursuit come crashing to the ground. I struggle as a parent and I am positive I’m screwing up my kids. My depression likes to take feelings of failure and gobble them down like Cadbury Mini Eggs, so my brain usually hates me. Yeah, I’m a failure. And I keep reminding myself that it’s fine. There is nothing wrong with failure. Nothing.

I want to be clear that I’m not saying failure is something to be enjoyed. Failing sucks. It doesn’t feel good. But it’s important and, despite claims to the contrary, nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re alive, then you are ultimately going to fail at least a few times.  As the Mythbusters so eloquently stated, failure is always an option.

It can happen for many reasons. Timing can be off. You can misjudge the popularity of something and have an ugly surprise. A stranger can not like the answer you gave to a question and decide you aren’t fit for their company. These are all things that can lead to failure. You can even do everything “right” and still fail, through no fault of your own. That’s life sometimes. You just fail. And if you think you’ve never failed or never will I ask you to send me whatever hallucinogens you’re taking. The only way to not fail is to never try to do anything. Even if you’re the luckiest leprechaun in history you know, deep down in your four-leaf clovers, you will fail at some point.

I don’t enjoy failing, making mistakes, screwing up or any of that stuff. But it means I’m trying and hopefully learning. And those times I do succeed are awesome. But as important as failing is in our lives as a tool of growth it can still trip you up. When your failure makes you put a permanent stop on everything, you’re in trouble. It’s hard, but we all have to remember that we’re still alive and can keep going. Success is our there, in whatever form you need it to be. But you’ll fail first. So feel that failure and use it to keep going. This is why I can accept it. Failure isn’t forever. It’s just another step. We have to keep walking.

Before the coffee kicks in- the “it has mostly replaced my blood” edition

I haven’t done one of these in a while. My kindergartener is off to school. Her little sister is busy being three years old. The cat it hiding and my wife is getting ready for a pre-work appointment. I am trying to plan out the day’s errands and finding my brain is uncooperative. So the time has come once again to sit my ass down with more coffee, open up this blog, and write down the thought poops that drop out. So here we go.

Sometimes I think the cat is part owl.

Sometimes I think my children are part Chihuahua.

When did being intelligent start becoming a liability?

I need more fun socks.

I want to know why I have dreams about fighting for my life.

Where can I learn how to sew?

My wife looks really cute with glasses. And without glasses.

If my feet were hairy I would actually be a hobbit.

Has anyone actually tried to use a banana as a boomerang?

As a kid I wanted superpowers. As an adult nothing has changed.

If another species develops opposable thumbs and higher reasoning we’re screwed.

Someone should bring me pie.

What age will my kids be when they realize I have no idea what I’m doing?

I think my country should be called the Dysfunctional States of America. I’ve never known it to be united and doubt I ever will. Not necessarily a bad thing.

A hovercraft really isn’t practical for everyday use.

Am I going mad or is this just me getting old?

This is where I am going to stop. My thoughts are starting to become more coherent and that signals the end. Plus, I need to get my daughter ready to go buy some cat food. For the cat, not for my daughter. Though both my children have tasted cat food at one point. It was a learning experience. Enjoy your day.

 

Kid show mutterings

We no longer have cable. Like more people seem to be doing, what TV we watch is from Netflix and Hulu. Now part of the decision was because most of the TV we watch are the kid shows the girls like. As I’ve stated in the past, there are some very good cartoons and such that the kids like. There are some that are irritating but still okay. Then there are those that are so horrible, so cringe-inducing that we do our best to prevent the kids from watching them.

The bombardment of child-focused television causes my brain to enter strange places. Are these thoughts normal for all parents? Is my chemically imbalanced mind alone the place these thoughts dwell? You be the judge.

#1) How does Telly from “Sesame Street” not have ulcers yet?

#2) I think most of the problems on “Curious George” could be resolved by NOT letting the monkey run around unattended.

#3) Also in regards to #2, Curious George is an ape! He is not a monkey!

#4) The merkids on “Bubble Guppies” seem to be the only ones of their kind, surrounded by fish and sea creatures. So are they actually mutant fish or some form of Missing Link?

#5) How does Ramone on “Peg+Cat” have so many jobs? Does he still go to school or did he test out due to a superior IQ?

#6) I find “Wallykazam” much funnier than I probably have any right to as an adult.

#7) Am I the only one who looks at “Doc McStuffins” and sees the potential for a future supervillain?

#8) What do the parents in “The Pajanimals” actually look like? Did the mom naturally give birth to four different animal species or is this a case of adoption?

#9) The puppets and makeup for “LazyTown” are terrifying.

#10) Has anyone involved with the creation of “Caillou” been brought to justice?

These are but a sample of the things I now consider. They pop into my head at unexpected times. The related show doesn’t even need to be on. What have I become?

 

2016-What the hell was that?

So, how’s everyone doing?

Anyone else feel like the world got some kind of galactic food poisoning this year? Am I the only person who thinks life suddenly seems to have far too much in common with things like Animal Farm and bad reality TV? I haven’t spoken to a single person who has said that 2016 was a good year. But it only has a few weeks left. Then we head into 2017 with cautious hope or abject terror. Maybe a mix of both. All while waiting to see what kind of existential cherry 2016 will drop on itself as a finishing touch.

So what the hell happened?

I will try not to get into much relating to the politics and election of this last year. I addressed that, with my own nerdy stance, in my “Blue Lantern” post. Go there if you are interested. So let’s look at the rest of it.

DEATH: I know. There is always a lot of death. Everyday, people die. Someone loses somebody they care about everyday. But one of the impossible to ignore points of 2016 has been a very high death rate among the famous. I’m talking about ginormous levels of death. Prince, Harper Lee, Muhammad Ali, Leonard Cohen, John Glenn, and a seemingly endless amount more. Personally, I was and still am very sad about the loss of Alan Rickman and Gene Wilder. Don’t even get me started on David Bowie! I’m still holding out hope that he just went back to his home planet!

So with this in mind, I encourage that all records stop calling this merely “2016” and give it the more metal title of Year of the Reaper. We can have a plaque made or something. The year has earned it.

CIVILITY: Overall, I think that everyone just became meaner this year. We are less prone to being polite or civil to each other. We are more insistent that the thoughts and feelings of others have no value. The only opinion that matters is our own and it is always right. Also, I’m well aware that I’m putting my opinion into a blog in the hopes that someone cares what I think.

Look, I’m not saying we need to put a stranger’s thoughts at the top priority of our lives. That would be silly. Assuming you don’t play host to an alien parasite, only you live in your own skin. But how bad would it be if we actually put some thought into how our actions impact those around us? I like having nice things as much as the next person, but I don’t want to hurt anyone so I can have them. And what’s wrong with actively trying to listen to someone else? No one says you have to agree with an opinion. Hell, I don’t even think you’re required to respect it. But we can at least acknowledge that it exists. I have met people who said their favorite Batman was George Clooney! That is their opinion and I acknowledge it. I think it’s wrong and bad, but I acknowledge that they feel this way and it really isn’t destroying the world. They aren’t attacking those that disagree with them. So I’m not going to treat these people poorly because of their Dark Knight preferences. It shouldn’t be so difficult to treat other humans like they are human.

TRUST: From what I’ve seen, this took a beating for a lot of people this year. Don’t trust the government. Don’t trust the media. Don’t trust the cops. Don’t trust the activist groups. Don’t trust your neighbor. Basically, don’t trust anyone at all.

Now to be fair, I think that people as a whole find their trust gets abused far too much. It’s good to be wary and think critically. But the important word in that last sentence is think. Dismissing everything is just as bad as believing everything. People can be easily manipulated in either extreme. So when it comes to trust, there are things we need to work on. Read everything. Trust your own ability to be analytical, but also trust your instincts. If something feels off there is probably a reason that it does. Find out that reason. Check facts as much as possible. Get varying opinions and try to find what has some real weight to it. And remember that trust is something we have to earn. If it’s lost, then see if it can be earned back. If one person proves that they absolutely cannot be trusted, don’t assume this needs to apply to everyone. You don’t want to be naive and being paranoid isn’t any better.

We still have a little time left before 2016 is over. Many things can happen still. But I think it would be wrong of me to not include something that, at least for myself, was a positive point this year. I would like to thank the individual who made the following video. You filled a void in my life I never knew existed. And to everyone else, I say best of luck in the coming year. REGULATORS! MOUNT UP!