Sunday, March 28, 2010

Nothing Much To Say – Plenty to Think About

I don't know what I want to write about today. I have two topics all picked out, but I can't decide which one to write about first, plus both topics require a tidbit more research on my part before I start commenting all willy-nilly and looking foolish. So, this morning I'm just typing. Yep, just typing away until the writing gods strike me with a topic or topics to rant about, or comment on, or poke fun at or what have you.

This whole writing a blog a week thing is tougher than some of you might think, by the way. Especially for someone who's brain never seems to shut off. I think all the time; I can be working on one thing while having ideas for several other projects going on in my head. My fiancee tells me I need to stop “thinking so hard”, but it's not that easy really. I've had friends think I was upset or angry about something when in fact I was in a great mood; I was just thinking about something else that may have pissed me off in the past, and so my expression ends up showing it even if I'm not really feeling it. My fiancee also tells me that my lips move when I'm “thinking to hard”. I don't even notice it, but she can see it. All this is probably why I have two topics on hold for this blog and can't pick one – both of them are swimming in my head to the point that they're bumping into each other rather than making it to my fingers and therefore the computer screen.

The real problem with the thinking about several things at once issue is at night. I don't think I have sleep apnea, I have “sleep thinkea” - the inability to shut off all the ideas in my head so I can sleep. Interestingly, I never remember my dreams, probably because I thought about all of it while I was awake. In fact, I'll bet I don't dream when I'm asleep, because I've thought it all out already. You know, it just dawned on me that my teachers used to tell me to stop day dreaming when I was in grade school.

So, anyway, those blogs on role playing games and Windows 7 will have to wait until next week and the week after. My copy of Windows 7 has been ordered so once I get that installed and have experience with it, I'll shoot you guys a review. The gaming group is about to convert our D&D characters to Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game characters, so I'll be writing a blog about that process and my feelings on the “D20 System” versus the “Palladium System”. Until then, have fun, be young and drink Pepsi!

~ JC

Sunday, March 14, 2010

To Do Lists, Reading, and Deadlines... Oh My!

I tend to be a very tedious person. So much so that I get picked on by my friends for being more than just a little be OCD.(1) Like many people, I do maintain a 'to do list' (in fact, I subscribe to two different online to do list managers; 'Remember the Milk' and 'Todoist'). Have you ever wondered, or thought to yourself, if maybe, just maybe, there's to much crap on your to do list? I list all kinds of things on mine. In fact, the reason I have two online to do lists, is because one is used as an actually daily/weekly to do list and the other is used as a sort of project outline tool. Here's the thing. I actually set deadlines, or hard due dates and times, on just about everything. Don't get me wrong, there are some things that absolutely have to have those, like paying the bills or what have you. But, I set hard due dates on things like when whatever book I'm reading should be completed. I guess if it were a library book and had to be returned, that would be a good idea, but I buy my books.(2) Now, if I own the thing then I should be able to read it when I want and take as long as I want right? That's just not how my brain thinks or processes things. You see, as I mentioned, I buy my books and since I am a bit of a bibliophile, I tend to buy them even when I already have several on the “to be read pile.” What this leads to is a tendency to already be thinking about which book I want to read next before I've even finished the one I'm currently on. So, I end up setting due dates to finish a book so I can get caught up on the ever growing reading list, self-imposed as it may be. Now, I suppose it's perfectly okay to set a date that I'd like to be finished by since it sort of helps set a goal. But, what actually happens is, I see the due date looming and notice that I've not been reading x pages per day as planned and so now I'm behind. So, I move the due date; then it gets pushed back again and again... you get the idea. What I end up doing is taking something that should give me pleasure and joy (reading a good book) and turning it into just another chore with a due date silently harassing me and making me feel guilty for not completing it on time.

I'll admit, I should probably set aside time each day to read, not necessarily set a number of pages per day, but that's not really the point I'm making. What I'm saying is, with this fast paced, rat-raced, fast food mentality world we live in, why do we hem ourselves in so much with due dates and to do lists in the first place? We have enough tasks and chores and lists to deal with at work, so why bring that stress home? Sure, there are some household related things that will always need a list (like the shopping list for example – forget my coffee, and I'll have to hurt somebody *grin*), but setting due dates on leisure reading or hobbies? That may be a bit much.

Slow down, relax, take a breath – pour yourself a cup of coffee (or whatever your favorite beverage may be) and read that book (or whatever) as slow as you damn well please ;-)

~ JC

(1) I get told I'm OCD because of my tendency to be overly organized so much so that I actually keep track of how much cash I have on me using Quicken in addition to balancing my checkbook. Hell, I even reconcile my change jar from time to time. I also get picked on at work because I get so irritated if my tools are not only put back, but put back in a specific spot.
(2) The fact that I buy books rather than borrow them or check them out of the library could probably be a blog in and of itself – and most likely will be soon.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Uhnk Sheds a Tear And Says Goodbye

Thursday I went to my friend's wake; Friday I went to her funeral. The two days prior I did my normal routine, like it hadn't happened, like Tammy was still alive – I had to in order to keep from thinking about it. I hadn't really cried before Thursday. Not because of some macho “men don't cry” bullshit attitude, but because I think I was still in denial and shock. It didn't hit me that she was gone until I saw her body in the casket; then I teared up. I went outside claiming I needed a cigarette, but what I really wanted to do was be alone for about ten minutes. When I got home is when I really lost it and wept.

I met Tammy around 2000, shortly after having moved back home to Fayetteville, NC from having been in the Athens, GA area for four years while attending college. She was amongst my core group of friends for three years. Out motley little group did almost everything together – concerts, wrestling events (as in WWE), dinner out, movies, not to mention the hours we spent playing D&D and/or video games at Tammy's house. We kind of disbanded around 2003, I had a new girlfriend who would eventually become my fiancee, Tammy was starting a new job/career in law enforcement while still working on her degree – in other words, life caused us to lose touch a bit over the years.

I truly wish I could write about her accomplishments in detail, but as I said, over the last six or seven years we lost touch a bit. I do know she finally finished her degree and eventually earned the right to carry a badge and gun as part of her law enforcement career. I do know that Tammy was the kind of person that would do whatever she set her mind to, and she accomplished much of what she set out to do.

It's been said that one of the stages of coping with something like this is anger. Well, I'm angry. She was only 33. WTF! 33?! Really?! They said it was her diabetes – something about her blood sugar dropping to low and her heart stopping in her sleep. I don't care what it was, 33 is to young to die from some silly ass disease! It's things like this that makes people question God.

Mourning over my friend's death has also been a wake up call of sorts. I hate to sound clich̩, but life really is short. I hate that I lost touch with her, and so many other people, over the past few years. Thanks to things like MySpace and Facebook, keeping up with friends has become easier, but it's really not the same as getting together, even if it's just over coffee once in awhile. We get so caught up in our daily routines that sometimes we forget that there is more to life than just work-eat-sleep-rinse-repeat. God gives us friends for a reason Рso that we may enjoy life, and therefor live rather than merely exist, when one of those friends ceases to be in our lives (for any reason), it leaves a hole. In the case of Tammy's passing, there's now a hole in my life that is permanent. I'm a better person for having known her, but she was a unique person and a good friend that can never be replaced, only remembered. Tammy, I miss you РI'll see you in Heaven.

~ JC