Another entry that has been sitting in my drafts folder for a while. This is from December 29th, 2012. Needless to say, the Personal Knowledgebase idea didn’t get going. Perhaps I should revisit that.
I’m going to kick off a short series of blog entries. I’m calling this series Personal Knowledgebase, mostly because its got a nice geeky ring to it.
I’m at a point in my life where I’m closing one chapter and opening another. The chapter I just closed has been a pain in the ass, very enlightening, transforming, and tumultuous. So it is important for me to remember the lessons I’ve learned so I can apply them in my life and not get stuck having to learn them again.
I just read Wil Wheaton’s blog entry respect yourself and it rang quite true for two of the relationships that have ended over the past year.
The first relationship that I ended this year had been dead for a while. I had been friends wit him for eight years or so. We first met in Cincinnati and he followed me out to Seattle. Like any friendship of that length it wained and waxed over the years, but during 2011 it became quite apparent to me that I was begging for his time anytime we got together. He was horrible at responding to text messages, emails, or phone calls. When we did get together he wasn’t actually present. He’d often be stuck in fiddling on his smartphone or even taking a call from someone else for longer than just a moment or two. The last time we got together in person he was already near my neighborhood and I made an effort to meet him somewhere that was more convenient for him, and he wasn’t actually present for half of the time we were there.
Generally, in a situation like this I’d just leave the friendship be. I’d stop making attempts to communicate with him, and if he wanted to get together I’d make sure it was something that I wanted to do and he was making time for me. Since I’d been the one who initiated anytime we got together for quite some time it’d mean that we wouldn’t get together.
However, in this situation there was a tendril that kept the relationship nominally alive: he owed me money. (He was making payments as agreed, so it wasn’t that he wasn’t paying me back.) I had made the realization that the friendship was over sometime around the end of November 2011, and I decided wait to communicate this to him until the beginning of the new year. (Mostly because I didn’t want to put this in the middle of his or my holiday.) I wrote him a letter explaining that I considered the friendship to be over and that our relationship was now simply a business relationship. To make a point about my seriousness I sent an actual paper letter via Certified Mail, with a Return Receipt and Restricted Delivery. Meaning that he’d have to sign for it personally. I received an email from him 31 minutes after the letter was delivered. That email put an excessive amount of effort into deflecting any and all fault for the state of our relationship. I know I wasn’t perfect, but neither was he. Beyond that single email he didn’t make any attempts to repair our friendship.
I simply don’t miss that friendship, it had been limping along for far too long. It also felt really satisfying to collapse the ambiguity of our relationship and to clearly and cleanly communicate to him how I felt about our relationship and my understanding of it. Additionally, I appreciated that it was fair to him in that it did not leave him in the dark about the state of our relationship.
So I put this video up on YouTube earlier today:
I had written off Vlogging as “too much work”, “not worth the time”, and “that new fangled thing that the youngin whippersnappers are doing”. (Hey, I’m old enough that there are folks I can call youngin whippersnappers.)
So what prodded me out of my obstinance? Well, I had a reason to do this video. Initially, I thought this’d be a huge pain. However, I found this to be enjoyable. Vlogging, is something I’d definitely do again, although I’m not sure I’d do it in the same way. This video twas a bit insane since I wanted to cover a lot of things. To get them all to stitch together in a non-schizophrenic way, I made a concept map of the things I wanted to cover, then wrote myself a script, that I more or less stuck to. (There twas some ad libbing, and some shots that got left on the proverbial cutting room floor.)
I also did a bit of foley work, because cats will not meow on cue.
Finally, thank you to Mickeleh, a/k/a Michael Markman, for pointing me toward, celtx, a handy dandy script writing tool, and to retius, a/k/a Tad Suiter, for a video about Vlogging he did long, long ago that still stuck in my head.
I’m a fan of public transportation. One of the reasons I moved to Seattle was because I didn’t want to deal with the money pit that an automobile is.
So I was a bit miffed when I saw this advertisement on the bus:
Realizing that just complaining on twitter and on my blog does little, I sent this complaint to King County Metro:
Twice in the past two days I have seen ads for CarHop.com, which state “Move to a better Seat. Get the Car and Credit you need.”
This advertisement is against the King County Transit Advertising Policy. (Document code CON 1-1-1 (D-P) dated January 12, 2012.) This violates the stated goal and objective of maximizing ridership as it the intent of the advertisement is to convert Metro transit riders into car owners and drivers. Additionally, the advertisement contains Prohibited Advertising content as the ad is demeaning and disparaging of transit riders as it mocks their choice of transportation seat.
Please feel free to plagiarize this, and send in your own complaint to Metro.
Recently, I got into a mud throwing and catching competition online. One of the participants there wrote that I have “…written publicly about [my] depression, job loss, and difficulty forming lasting relationships, factors that often make people hostile towards other people. … It’s a pity [I don't] realize that hostility and resentment drive away prospective employers, partners, and friends. Employers are savvy enough to look at what candidates post online.” While I was discussing this with a fellow handbell musician, she suggested that I remove some of the blog entries. My response was an immediate no. Since the beginning of this blog, I’ve had a personal rule that I don’t remove any entries and I don’t edit entries after they’ve been up a few days.
Once I’ve put something out into the world, I leave it out there. I’m not worried about the Streisand effect or something similar. I just don’t want to go back and worry about what should and shouldn’t be public.
I also don’t worry about employers looking at this blog or my website. Any employer with a borderline competent employee relations department would realize that my the content of blog does not likely relate to any bona fide occupational qualifications, therefore by considering it in their hiring process it opens the company up to lawsuits. Of course, winning a lawsuit where this is the case is difficult. However, I don’t want to work for an employer who made the (illegal) decision to read my blog and due to what I wrote made the decision not to interview or hire me.
Yesterday, I watched John Green’s video Perspective. He shares his story from twelve years ago when his life wasn’t going well. His girlfriend had just broken up with him, he wasn’t eating well, and I’m sure thats just the tip of the iceberg in his situation. He calls his parents, decides to go home, tries to quit his job, spends two weeks in daily therapy, has his psychiatric medication changed, watches Harvey, and then goes back to Chicago. Things slowly get better and he finishes a seed of what became his published first novel.
When I watched John, describe his struggles of twelve years ago, it struck a nerve because I’ve been in the same neighborhood as John.
Now John Green is an author with books on the New York Times best seller list, a vlogger, a husband, a father, a performer, and most importantly a really nice guy. He currently is living what many would consider a successful life.
I leave the blog entries about the shitty, sucky parts of my life online precisely because I’ve been there, and I know others currently are in the same neighborhood. I wouldn’t describe my entire life at this moment as successful, but there are parts of it which are amazingly wonderful, and I’m working on the rest.
However life is most like the bottom panel.
If we only share the wonderful sides of our lives, we risk making our successes seem too easy. In turn, when others compare themselves to us, they it makes their falls and failures seem insurmountable.
I also find it valuable knowing that even folks find themselves on paths that don’t work, like my friend Christine who left graduate school or our minister, Matthew, who jumped from being a case worker to a minister.
I leave my blog intact in the hope that others will find comfort and solace in knowing that I have been where they are now, and that life does get better.
I just got bitch slapped by Nancy Kirkner, a handbell soloist in Seattle, on her blog.
Some of her descriptions don’t quite make sense to me. I’m described as someone who has bullied her for months, when I can only think of one discussion thread within the past year that we disagreed strongly. I admit I very strongly advocate my ideas and positions. I do my best not to attack other people, but only to attack their ideas. I admit to engaging in parallelism, directly mirroring her comments in my responses, but this was only intended as rhetorical flourish, nothing more. I’ve written in another blog entry that hasn’t yet been published that “I ended up making an ass of myself over there there. Part of the reason that happened is that my main discussion adversary in that discussion often fell back on ad hominem attacks and baiting me in the discussion. (Sadly, I was stupid and angry enough to fall for the times she baited me.)” But, I’ll leave the reader to decide. The discussion in question is archived on the Handbell-L Google group under the There’s an app for that! and Copyright Litigation.
What really frustrates me is her back handed ad-hominem attack: “Perhaps this bully just feels really bad about himself, and hopes to feel better by making others feel bad about themselves too. He’s written publicly about his depression, job loss, and difficulty forming lasting relationships, factors that often make people hostile towards other people, especially those they envy.”
Let me be clear: I don’t envy Nancy. She has what she has. I have what I have. I am happy in many parts of my life, especially what I have musically. It is one of the great joys in my life that I get to make music with my handbell quartet. I wouldn’t trade it for any other musical endeavor.
Given what Nancy has described, I have to assume that Nancy has read much if not all of my blog. With this in mind, I am saddened that by her statements in light of the arguments I have made for compassion toward others, in my blog entry You can’t Get In my Head, There isn’t Enough Space. It incenses me that she presumes to guess what is in my head. She has never asked me about this part of myself, and besides there isn’t enough space for her or anyone else to get in my head and truly understand what is in there.
I’ll admit to stepping on Nancy’s toes at least once before, and when I did I apologized in public via email, in private via email, and in private via postal mail. None of these apologies were acknowledged, let alone accepted.
I only have so many cheeks to offer.
You might not realize it from all the geekiness that I display, but I was once a theatre major. I did all sorts of things in the theatre in middle, high school, and college including:
- Technical Direction – (including un-counterbalanced flying of cubes and whatnot, those who know what this is should shutter a bit.)
- Stage Management
I was good at some of this, and I sucked at other parts of it. I never got and still don’t get acting, even though I did a fair amount of it. In theory its simple: folks get up there and pretend to be someone else. Thats like saying all there is to programming is figuring out all the ifs and thens that you have to write out, and failing to mention all the stuff about data management, memory management, debugging, and optimization. (I once suggested to the professor of my acting for non-acting majors class that I should audition for the local professional theatre, she looked at me like I had 17 heads, needless to say I got the message and didn’t audition.)
Directing a play is even trickier, many actors become directors, because they understand actors and how to coax what they’d like from the actors and artists around them. I on the other hand more likely treated actors and designers as puppets of sorts: Please give me X, Y, and Z. Thank you. I’d like a white dress for the actress in this scene, it should be beautiful and simple.
Treating actors like puppets is the surest way to kill them. (Not literally of course, or maybe literally, I don’t know really, actors are interesting people, treating them like puppets might kill them.)
A theatre professor and director that I worked with for a while told me of a time that she needed a character to be in a white dress for a scene. She wrote a whole paragraph on that white dress for the costume designer. I don’t remember every bit of what she shared with me but over ten years later I still recall that it included describing the dress as if it was an vanilla ice cream cone on a sweltering hot summer day. Not only did she get exactly what she wanted from the costume designer, but the description empowered and drove the costume designer to embrace the director’s vision.
You kill an actor or designer by asking for exactly what you want. You empower and drive them by sharing your vision and challenging them.
Today one of my dear friends, Chris, is leaving Seattle. Today is the day the truck gets packed and she leaves to fly out at 8 pm or so.
Her husband has asked for assistance in loading the truck today. I am free today, however I want to skip helping out. I have a perfectly valid excuse: my ankle is still unhappy from its recent escapade on the side of the street. But that is just an excuse. I want to skip saying goodbye. As if not saying goodbye will prevent them from leaving, or will prevent me from having to experience or accept the loss of my friend.
I’m drawing parallels in my head to my friend Jenni. I never said goodbye to Jenni when I moved to Seatle. My selfishness of not wanting to wait, not wanting to be tied down, not wanting to acknowledge the connections I had to where I lived robbed me of saying goodbye. I’ve seen Jenni since, and I’ve said goodbye when we’ve parted. But it isn’t the same.
This summer has had a remarkable number of friends from UUC who have or will be leaving. I haven’t said goodbye to all of them who have left. The reasons are complicated and pedantic, inconsequential and with consequences.
I want to avoid the moment where we actually say goodbye, as if skipping saying goodbye will prevent her and everyone leaving from actually leaving. All skipping saying goodbye does is save me from being in the moment.
I love being in the moment when its fun, exhilarating, peaceful, meditative, or musical. Not allowing myself to be in the moment of final loss cheapens and degrades those other moments. I know I cannot live fully without accepting both.
We’re every age at once and tucked inside ourselves like Russian nesting dolls
My mother is an 8 year old girl
My grandson is a 74 year old retiree whose kidneys just failed
And that’s the glue between me and you
That’s the screws and nails
We live in a house made of each other
And if that sounds strange that’s because it is
- Tiny Glowing Screens, Part 2, by George Watsky
Today, I was walking to catch a bus to go play handbells at a wedding. I was walking down a hill that I’ve walked down for as long as I’ve lived in my current abode. I wasn’t running, but I was going at a good jaunt. I mislanded my left foot and rolled it on its side a bit and twisted my ankle with it. I’ve done this a number of times. Usually, I correct for it, and just continue on.
However today was different, my recollection is a bit blurry, however, as soon as I mislanded my foot, I knew that I’d fouled things up worse than usual, but I managed to continue down to the bottom of the hill where I steadied myself on the fire hydrant. I stood like that for a bit, and became light headed and nauseous. I then, sat down on the sidewalk, and passed out for what was probably a few seconds, and I managed to get back up and steady myself on the fire hydrant. Then a woman and a man in a van stopped, and the woman got out and asked if I needed help. Confused I said no, then yes. She got out of the car and helped collect my things, and walked me across the street to the fire department, and got the paramedics to come to my assistance. (Yeah, this occurred across the street from the Headquarters of the Seattle Fire Department.) While we were waiting she introduced herself as did I. Sadly in the confusion of everything I’ve forgotten her name.
I am thankful for her time, gratitude, and generosity. Her simple and generous actions took what was a confusing difficult situation and transformed it into a bearable situation. I deeply appreciate caring actions in taking care of our shared house.
I am fine now, my ankle isn’t fully healed, but it should be fine. And hey, I get to tell people that someone found me passed out on the side of a road.