Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Post.

/checks forum
/forum = "Complete Bullshit"
/set fucks="0"
/srspost

I feel like Furioso. A different raider from a different time. I wanted things to stay the same, while the guild changed and evolved. My Big Crits was a place where I had authority and control and things could be done my way. T10 belonged to me, my 10man belonged to me, Da Crew belonged to me for a short while. I could do or say whatever the fuck I wanted and I had control over where the boat went. 

I came back to raiding and I was not in control anymore. I liked it at first. I could just be anonymous average raider #1937-4. You know how they say it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks? It's even harder to make him unlearn the tricks he already knows. I decided to fight the new way instead of adapt to it.

OH MY GOD THERE ARE THINGS THAT WE CAN DO BETTER AND I'M THE ONLY ONE THAT SEES THEM WHY CAN'T ANYONE ELSE. 

Important boss ability incoming, and nobody is calling it. I might as well say something. Get hand slapped. Suggest a battle res on a healer/tank 10 seconds after they die. Get called out. Try to help by suggesting a strat in raid chat. Feel ignored. Send a tell to raid leader about how to improve something. You are being ignored. After a while I just felt like I was getting in the way and not ameliorating the situation. The part of my brain that raid leads and things critically about encounters never got turned off and I don't know how to turn it off. It got so bad I literally muted myself for several weeks because I couldn't stop.

Part of the reason I play this game is because it makes me feel important/useful/smart/endowed whatever. After the first few weeks of heroic progression, I felt worthless. I couldn't stay alive on some encounters. I couldn't be trusted with important assignments. Every night felt like I was that guy holding everyone back during progression. 

Plus there is history with the guild. I was an officer, then I wasn't, then I was kinda, now I'm not. I spent one night after Rash stepped down thinking, "Do I want to stick my dick in this blender and offer to raid lead again? I obviously don't have the self discipline to regulate it, why not?" When I said, I didn't want to be an officer again, that was more me telling myself rather than stating an obvious fact.

I agree with Sarc. Big Crits does not know how to communicate in raids. People don't know how to filter the bullshit, and add constructive input on a boss. I don't know whether I contributed to or mitigated that situation. I'm guessing I just added to the pile. It seems like trivial stuff boils to the surface, and important things fall through the cracks (calling for cooldowns, stormlashes, battle reses, boss gotchas, Hey my thing that I need is on cooldown halp pls)

The era of Stoney where we had very top down style leadership is what I know, and Sarc/Jurr/Sarc is a more nuanced self regulating style of leadership where I feel like I piss more people off than have friends.

I'm sorry to everyone for how I left but the bandaid needed to come off, and especially the officers and Rash had to put up with my bullshit in raids and on the forums. I probably roused more rabble than anyone and am not proud of it. You guys are all still my friends.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Being Sat.

This week Big Crits killed the server first Will of the Emperor. I was on the bench.

I'm glad that we killed it. I'm mad that I was sitting out for the kill, and I should have been in. I was in for most of the progression for this boss, healing as my offspec. We picked up some recruit healers this week, and I was set to go to kill the boss this week as my main spec.

First night of progression this week, I was having computer issues, so I sat while I put the finishing touches on my new computer. My hard drives got partitioned really weird when I set them up, so while merging them together the boot record got corrupted, so I had to re-install Windows again. I was irked that I couldnt get in on the boss attempts and listening to mumble of people making mistakes over and over and everyone getting frustrated. I wanted to be there.

Last night was the night that Big Crits killed it, and I wasn't raiding. I was sitting on the bench. I was ready to raid at the beginning of the night, when I had to do one last restart to get Mumble working, which took 10 minutes because Windows update decided to restart my computer 5 times to do more updating. All said and done, when I logged back in it was 5 after raid time, and I was on the bench. Fuck me, but oh well we have baddies and initiates that will probably be subbed at some point.

Nope.

Oh one of the warlocks lost internet, and we need a sub. Goodie, I'll just wait to be pulled in.

10 minutes pass.

I say audibly on Mumble "Hey guys, I'm on the bench and I can come in right now"

"Hey initiate rogue, we are pulling you in for this boss"

Fucking seriously? Are you LITERALLY kidding me right now?

I shouldn't have stayed silent for that long. I should have said, right away, "Bring me in. Now." There were 5 initiates in for the kill last night, and being sat for raiders. I shouldn't be thinking about it this much but I am.

Was I being sat because of my skill as a player, because of my class, or is it as simple as me not being vocal and visible enough to get pulled into the raid? Now I'm just frustrated and questioning my place in the guild again, which I thought I had proven my skills and abilities to be a raider in. What more do I have to do?








Monday, October 1, 2012

Quarter 4 Report

Too many thoughts happening all at once, need to get them down on paper.

Fitness:

I've been taking a break the last few weeks to let my body heal up before I hit it hard again. I took an arrow to the knee in August, and last month I had a piece of bone break off inside my foot which  has made working out challenging. I get activity where I can, but I miss running a lot, and I don't want to backslide and have to make up for lost time.

Not being able to work out is actually physically frustrating, because I want to meet my new years resolution, and keep losing weight into next year. My diet has changed dramatically, and I've fallen in love with carrots as a snack. This is helping immensely. I'm still eating things that I love, just not as many of them, and I hope to add beer back into my diet sparingly next year granted I'm meeting my goals. Not just any beer though, GOOD beer; small batch craft beers ideally. Maybe start brewing again at some point.

Even with the downtime, I'm still losing weight. I clocked in at 215 yesterday which is pretty fucking fabulous considering everything. I'm hoping not too much of that is muscle loss. Getting back to the gym is going to be disappointing when I can't lift as much, but c'est la vie.

Back on the needle:

Yea.

Playing WoW again, and having a fucking blast.

I came back to Big Crits about a month ago when I knew that I wanted to give raiding another shot. I rerolled a completely new character, and cutting ties with the one I have been playing for 6+ years. If raiding ends up completely garbage, it will be easier to break away with a character I have less inertia with. It's also refreshing to rediscover parts of the game that I had taken for granted with the old. No way in hell I'm going to be farming for old gear though. The vanity part of the game is dumb.

Right now there is lots of energy in the guild, and hopes are high. Tier 14 starts next week, and we are all ready to hit it as hard as we can, going for server firsts and the like. I'm trying to balance this better with the other areas of my life now. It's already taking it's toll on my time getting prepared for the first week of raiding with all the dungeon grinding we have been doing. I'm a little behind with gear compared to other people, but I'm not worried about it.

I'm playing the game on my terms. I'm not going to be dumping more time into the game than I need to in order to meet the standards of the raiding team in terms of gearing up. All the gear I have will end up being replaced in raids and with rep rewards anyways. I've ran about 20 heroic dungeons, but the gear I want just refuses to drop. I'll just make do with what I have. I'm confident in my skill to be an excellent raider, and skill trumps gear any day all day. I have better things to do with my time anyways...

Relationships?

I have a girlfriend. I'm terrified.

This probably deserves a post all by itself, but fuck it. I'm laying out all my fears for the internet to behold.

She lives in Peru. We text everyday, and Skype almost every day. We have been officially dating for about 3-4 months. I feel like she is strong in all the things I am not, and vice versa. She visited last July and we were all over each other. We miss each other a lot, and we are both hoping that she can move to the USA when she finishes school, and we can pursue...whatever this is...

I'm fairly sure that she is in love with me, and I don't reciprocate at the moment. I'm literally a chicken shit and I don't know how to deal with it. I'm this tempest in a teacup right now figuring out if this is what I want. Is this how Erin felt during our relationship?

The questions are simple though.

Do I want to be in a relationship with someone: Yes
Do I want to be in a relationship with Ale: Yes
Do I see myself in the future with someone (kids, marriage, soccer practice yadda yadda): Yes
Do I see a future with Ale: Yes

Am I in love? Simple answer, no. Not the head over heels, infatuation love that people do anything and everything to keep and hold. I've been there, it was nice. Ultimately I got burned the hardest I've ever been in my life, and THAT is what scares me. The horrible fiery crash. Right now my brain can't stop seeing the mangled bodies left after the relationship fails, and my heart is hardened from wanting to be alone. Basically I'm a fucking wreck.

I'm afraid of failure. It's something that has always been with me.

I need more time. I need to turn my brain off. I need to sit on that boxcar at the top of the hill and just let the detritus come.






Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Statistics and being "Normal".

Normal. It's a word that we all seem to have a love/hate relationship with. Everyone wishes they were more normal, while also wanting to be unique.

I've been meaning to post this for a while, because it's one of my more abstract thoughts. That, and it involves statistics.

I think most people recognize this:


This is the normal distribution curve. The theory goes that this is the natural distribution of probability of observations made in nature. The average, or the norm, is right in the middle and typically has the highest chance of occurring. As you move away from the normal on either side, the probability goes down sharply. 

See those little numbers on the bottom? Those represent standard deviations. The standard deviation shows how much variation or"dispersion" exists from the average value. The normal standard deviation represents ~68% of the total values in the total sample size.

So, let's apply this theory to people. Look at the above curve and say we apply it to how attractive a person is on a scale of 1-10. So the norm would be a 5, the far right side would be a 10, and the far left would be a 1. If you picked 100 people at random, on average they would rate a 5 for attractiveness and 68% of the people would rate between a 2.6 and a 7.4. So if you were a normal person, you would be a 5.

Now, let's look at this graph in two dimensions:


So, here we are grouping observations in two dimensions. Let's take our attractiveness observation (x) from earlier and add a new independent dimension, intelligence (y). Just by looking at the graph, that most people are middle of the road attractive and intelligent. Compared to entire graph, people that are super smart and super hot (-4,-4) would be in the extreme minority, while most people would fall into the standard deviation range.

From here we can extrapolate and add as many independent dimensions as we want to measure people by: ethnicity, age, favorite color, whatever...

You end up with a hypergraph measuring all these things at the same time and defining the truly normal person: middle of the road in every imaginable aspect. This person is normally attractive, intelligent, average interests, average everything. This "normal" person isn't really remarkable in any way, and that's my point. They don't stand out, they aren't unique even in the slightest way. Why do we compare ourselves, and in some cases aspire to be this normal person? What does this measurement provide?

As far as I can understand, the normal yardstick is great so that we can measure ourselves against something. We imagine normal people but this person isn't average, they are usually better than average. If normal is 5, we envision someone maybe 7 or 8 to be the normal. Not perfect, but not a dirt-bag either. This may be a way to encourage ourselves to be better than average, to aspire not to perfection, but to be the 7 or 8 that feels like a great compromise between average and perfect.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

231.

The year is half over. As Chris Farley would say, "HOLY SHNYKIES", henceforth it's time to check in.

I started this crazy notion at the beginning of the year to invest in myself. One of the things I wanted to do was get in a better physical condition, something that would be completely selfish. It's been a great transformation. I have accomplished some of the goals I set for myself, and I feel really proud of the work I have done.

The good:

-Lost about 30lbs so far. Well on track to lose all 50 by years end, so I'm going to work hard to meet and beat that goal.

-Inches and shape. My body looks much better than it ever has. I'm going to need to start buying new clothes soon that fit me better. Wh-oot.

-Nutrition. It was rough at first to get on a good nutrition schedule but I've found one that works for me, and it's not some fucking stupid all protein, or powersauce fad crap. I'm eating better because I want to for the long run. I still want to be able to eat delicious food, but just not a lot of it. This is the problem with American diets: portion control. Right now I am eating smaller meals, more frequently, and teaching my body to survive on smaller meals. This might sound sort of gross, but I noticed my success was working when I was taking smaller poops. Deal with it.

My job: This isn't an investment in me per se, but I think I have landed a whale of a job. Me gusta.

Spanish: So, I'm learning Spanish now as well and it's keeping me away from video games. I have a lovely lady helping me learn too, and she is really excited that I am getting good at it.

The not so good:

Self Esteem: I think this one will be one of those things that I may not have the strength to change. I feel great about myself, really I do. I am generally a badass. The thing I lack is that alpha attitude, and I guess that is just something that you are born with; I don't feel the need to impose my will over anyone else, but instead I like to absorb the worlds contradictions and idiosyncrasies. I'm definitely more confident tho. Props.

Women: This is a blog post in itself, but tldr, women have fucked up. You are all walking contradictions, but it's not your fault. You ladies are this big bag of emotions, with no rhyme or reason why you do things, and then you whine and complain later when you didn't get what you want. It's not your fault, you were just drawn that way. I need to figure out how to deal with you. It goes both ways I suppose.

Beer: HOLY FUCKING TEABAGGING CHRIST BEER, I MISS YOU SO MUCH. SHOON.

Has the investment paid off? Fuck if I know. Too soon to tell if anything. I may never know. Opportunity cost is a tricky thing to measure, especially when you are trying to measure your life.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Putting it out there.

I resubbed to Match for the summer. Best time to date, and I could really use some exposure to the world outside the electric grid. It's also been a while since I have stepped back and defined what I want from whomever I'm sharing a cup of coffee or whatever with.

At first I just wanted to be just as goofy and funny as possible trying to shed light on how stupid the whole online daitng thing is, but then I realized that nobody was responding to my finely crafted sonnets of love.

Here is the post I wrote to sum me up. I think I nailed it.

I’m looking for someone, maybe they are on the internet. Some of the most interesting people, and some of my best friends are there...

At this point in my life, I have been through a lot, and I have grown incredibly as a person; tragically not nearly enough. No matter what you accomplish, own, or do in life, the struggle is the parts that count. To quote the Barenaked Ladies, “Everything easy has its cost.” I know that I will always be struggling, seldom taking the easy road, and I want to find that person that wants do things not because they are easy, but because they are interesting.

I love a girl who can always be herself, no matter what is going on around her. Being yourself is sometimes rough, but at the end of the day, you can’t be anything else. Be honest with yourself, and I will return the favor. Talk, and I will listen. Teach me something, and I will show you my own weird world. Laugh with me, and I will keep the humor on tap. I’m a complete person by myself, but I want something more than that; I want to build something incredible, even if it only exists between two people.



Ultimately, I don't think it matters what I say or don't say in my profile; just paint a picture of what I feel and those who read it will fill in the gaps with their own paintbrush. It's not about what you say, but what you don't say.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Diablo 3 Love/Hate

Diablo 3 is a great game, but I have a love hate relationship with it right now. I love what it is, and I hate what it is trying to be.

I hold this game very near and dear to my heart. I probably dumped a whole summer into the original game. At the time, dungeon crawlers were pretty disposable. Once you ran through them once and got all the loot, you were done; replaying the dungeon was the same thing no matter how many times you played it. Diablo introduced random dungeon layouts and random loot, something that had never been done at that scale and production quality before.

I cut my teeth on an old Net.Hack clone called Mission Thunderbolt back for the Mac. Every playthough was different, and the turn based combat was visceral, literally beating things to death. It was the random element that kept me playing, and I still boot it up once in a while.

At it's core, Diablo is a slot machine; it introduces random intermittent rewards (loot) for a defined input (killing monsters). In order to progress, you must play the game better or get better loot in order to be more effective against harder monsters, which drop better loot. It's the most elegant gear treadmill ever designed. This is why I love the game, you can choose your own level of difficulty and involvement. The harder you push against the game, the harder it pushes back, and it's internal random number generator gives you the rewards your rat brain wants.

This is what made Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 so addicting. The intermittent reward model has been shown to be the most addictive behavior for our brains to keep doing the same task.

The new Diablo model is a little different. Now you not only have your own instance of the random number generator (I'm just going to call it a RRG - a Random Reward Generator) giving you loot, but you have an auction house linking your RRG to everyone elses RRG. This basically neuters the reward system that we have known and loved, and replaces it with a market based reward system.

The reward system in Diablo 3 is also very unforgiving. You have to kill a LOT of monsters to get loot that improves your potency against the game. The random bonuses on loot are poluted with garbage stats (gold pickup radius, health globe bonus), not to mention class specific gear and the fact that most classes want stats on gear that is dramatically different from the other classes. Playing the probability game, a lot of dice rolls need to come up in your favor to get loot with the most effective stats. In essence, the odds are stacked in the house's favor.

This is where the new Diablo breaks down for me. Now you can see the guts of the machine. You can see the beautiful shiny items on the auction house, and how vastly inferior your own gear is. You now have the option of spending your time farming gold to buy the good itemized gear on the AH, or you can drop some real life coin and go that route as well; the third option is jumping on that gear treadmill and playing against the house for gear that has useful itemization (I swear to god the next monk only fist weapon that has +Str and +Int on it, I'm going to go kill some kittens).

Diablo 3 is a pay or play game like League of Legends or any free to play MMO out there. They gave it away for free to the hopelessly addicted WoW people, and sold it to the nostalgic Blizzard gamers that love them so much. I heard an analogy that Blizzard is the Disney of the video game industry, where they just iterate on their previous successes. Blizzard's plan is to make money on the tail of the real money AH, where "game balances" will drive the economy and shift people into different item budgets.

The pay/play model is killing me. This seems to be the way of the future, where monetization gets sneakier and sneakier all the time. Externalizing costs has always been the way to make a profit and make money in business, and it has finally come to video games; to me, this business model finds the stupid people who will pour money into time savers and "cheats" to make their own game experience better. I know this has been around for a while with downloadable content, but I think we are just now seeing the consequences. Smart people play with skill, and stupid people play with their dollars. I think this kind of model will see developers and game designers chasing the time savers and cheaters, instead of the smarter people who can play within the bounds of the game. Games will get stupider and will start to resemble actual slot machines more and more, or even the old arcade games of old.

I'm still playing the game, but only to see how far I can take my hardcore toon. Once he dies, I think I am done. I rolled a WD at launch, and I can only see grind in my future since I have reached inferno. I'll try to hock all my gear on the real money AH and see if I can make a little scratch.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thou Mayest.

I'm really glad that Carissa gave me 'East of Eden' to read. It's giving me the inspiration to get my shit together again and come out of the hole I have been hiding in for the last couple years. Well, at least it's adding a positive voice to my internal struggle.

One of the characters is mirroring one of my own personal struggle. Wandering aimlessly, finding a girl whom he loves blindly, getting that love shot out of him by the one who put it there, and then the struggle to get back on his feet and keep trying. One of the themes of the book is struggle. If you aren't fighting and struggling for things you care about, then you are wasting life.It's the uphill struggle that makes you great. It's fighting every battle because it matters, and a body at rest remains at an unhappy rest. This is a lesson I am now learning, after wasting a lot of my time avoiding the world and all it's pointless struggles. In the end, the struggle only really needs to matter to one person.

The last 6 months I have been hiding myself behind armor. It's been a polar shift. I've been seeing women as evil creatures intent on stealing men's souls. I'll always feel slightly afraid of women, because men will always desire them and lose their minds in the presence of da ladies. I still feel that culturally, the balance of power between genders is fluid. Men and women want different things, and the reconciliation between those two has made for an interesting time. Men push boundaries and poke and prod the world around them trying to create and solve new problems, while women seek balance and common understanding while building communities and ammeliorating the chaos around them.

I do feel that American society has produced a culture of princesses who see men for their kingdoms, just like men see women for their physical features and their sex; neither genders sees much past that and looks for inner beauty, which is tragic to me. That's just me being weird though. It almost makes sense that as long as you can present yourself to the opposite gender what they are seeking. Women are on a constant quest to be as beautiful as they can, while guys pour themselves into their career and making a good living. This is the way the world works, and I am just now figuring it out. It's fun to think about.

What this means to me, is that it's time to stop moping and keep searching for someone to have in my life, no matter how fruitless the battle or the journey. This lesson holds even after I find a girlfriend or whatever, never stop fighting for yourself.

This doesn't mean I have to give up something else in my life to start down this road. On the contrary: I need to keep shoving more stuff into my life until nothing else fits. If I have free time, I will find something to do. Working out, running, reading, writing, things that are tangible and have value. Sitting around all weekend playing a video game just won't cut it anymore.

Speaking of futile struggles, I might just go make a match profile and see what bites.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Show, Don't Tell.

I've always loathed advertizing. It's an omnipresent thing in the world we live in. It's like a nagging child, always struggling to get your attention; never relenting and always needing your mental bandwidth. I can't even count the avenues that the marketing pros have developed to tell you about the latest thing they want you to buy. I mean, it serves a purpose right, other that to convince people that they need stuff, right? I guess...

Anyways, I think I have figured out what makes advertizing, storytelling, and communication in general very effective. There is an old adage that I have always thought of as underrated: "Show, Don't Tell". I never realized how important it was until I was watching a car commercial. Irony is awesome.

I have an idea that I want to share, let's see if I can pull it off...

It was the end of the day. I was weary and worn down by computer simulations, phone calls, emails, and just general work shenanigans. Caught the shuttle over to the repair shop, and my car was getting a wash when I got there so I had a few minutes to kill. I grabbed a cup of coffee from the waiting room as I stared blankly at an old episode of Friends that was playing out. Something about getting ready for Chandler and Monica's wedding. The commercial came on, and it was a nice looking Audi driving down the street. The driver had a smug smile on his face as he was driving down the shady neighborhood street. All of a sudden, a child started running in front of the car. The driver reacted quickly and braked and avoided the child. I didn't even realize it, but I breathed a sigh of relief.

So what happened there? I tried to do to you, what the car commercial did to me. I wanted to invite you into my world, and have you there with me seeing feeling what I felt, and seeing what I saw. I wanted to bring you into my experience, and show you, not tell you, what I saw.

I could have just said, "Hey, anti-lock brakes are really awesome and could save some kid's life". That doesnt really communicate anything though, it doesn't engage you and just falls flat. It just tells you what you already know.

The commercial showed me the advantages of the newest driving and braking technologies. It didn't spout off technical specs, babble or flashed words on the screen. It pulled me in and engaged my imagination and emotions. In that small time period, the small Audi story became a living moment that I shared with "it". That is the power of showing instead of telling, not only do you engage someone else into the story you want to tell, you allow someone else to share in the creation of that world.

Great storytellers can create such vivid worlds that their listeners/readers/viewers become engrossed and actually start to fill in the gaps with their own ideas and creating a world they want to see. This is the power of showing. I felt emotionally connected with the driver, because I was adding some of my own paint to the picture; applying what I saw to who I was.

Showing takes time, care, skill and practice; not everyone is going to get it, but those that do will have a much stronger connection with your story and your idea. Let your audience connect the dots, and don't spell everything out for them. Leave them clues that they will feel something about connecting.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hardcores n' Casuals

I posted this in my guild forums because we were having a sissyfight between the Raiders and the Causals. Seems to hold up pretty well in general to the WoW community. For what it's worth...some strong language ahead:

Hey Hardcores,

You guys are terrible at this game. Whoopty fucking doo, you cleared a nerfed instance. Grats to you. If I was handed a nerfed kill, I would just fucking kill myself cause there is no glory in it. Be the best at this game, and then you can act high and mighty towards everyone else. Back in my day we did Heroic Halion uphill both ways in the snow. Spine is pussy shit. "Back in my day" everyone gave group hugs and handskies before AND after raids, and we still killed progression content. Nostlagia is awesome and all, but right now, some of you come across as dicks. If you want everyone in the community to see you in that light, I guess that's cool. Hardcore raiders that don't want to be seen in that light might want to do something about it. I mean, some of you probably don't have much going on in your lives, and you can live on the internet posting image macros without having one original thought going through your head. I've played with better people, who actually have interesting lives, and who are better at the game than some of you. Some of them are Casuals.

Hey Casuals,

Put your adult pants on. Seriously quit getting hurt in your vaginas, and play the game with the rest of us. We are a raiding community. We raid. I know some of you think that this is ultra mega happy hello kitty fun hour, but some of us play this game to have fun and to master something we love. It upsets some people that you think you deserve the same rewards and the same fun for putting less of yourself into the game for it. For you to think that you are on the same level as those people is retarded. Go ahead, whine about it. As you whine more, I give a shit less. Do what the hardcore raiders did and solve your problems on your own without crying about it. Do you play this game because it is a sanctuary where you can feel awesome and important, just to bitch and moan about how horrible other people are making your lives? I really doubt anyone is actually out to get you personally. Actually, I am sure of it. Don't be a martyr.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Shiftin' Liftin'

So, I've been hitting the gym hard since I broke up with my trainer. I've gotten back to lifting after doing rabbit food workouts with the dude. I incorporated a couple new exercises into my routine, working out my "core". I'm not sure exactly why core workouts are so awesome and great for you, but I am pretty sure they don't hurt.

Here is my current workout routine:

Even workouts:

-Woodchoppers
-Renegade Row
-Barbell Squat
-Shoulder Barbell Press
-Power Clean
-Mountain Climbers/One Foot Toe Touches in between sets.
-Crunches
-Cardio

Odd Workouts:

-Hyperextension
-Hanging Knee Raise
-Barbell Squat
-Bench Press
-Barbell Deadlift
-Mountain Climbers/One Foot Toe Touches in between sets.
-Crunches
-Cardio

Until this week, I had been doing sets of 8 on my barbell lifts. I would rather not become a muscle bound dude. I want to be strong, but not inflated. So, I am taking my sets of 8 and moving them up to sets of 12 and shaving about 20lbs off. This week felt pretty good with the new routines. My muscles are a little more sore, and my heart rate stays up during the sets, which I'm hoping will aid a little more in weight loss.

I'm aiming to lose weight ultimately, but not for the sake of just weight loss. I want to get stronger, run faster, and have more endurance. So far, I haven't lost much weight in terms of just the scale. It's a little disappointing, but I can feel healthier regardless of what the scale says. My clothes fit better; in particular I own a pair of pants with a button snap which used to come undone ALL THE TIME. I'm wearing them right now, and I haven't had to rebutton them in a couple weeks, even when not wearing a belt. So go me.

The weight loss will come, but at not at the expense of getting stronger. My diet is still on the heavy side, and that will need some work before the pounds really start coming off. My diet isn't even bad per se. I'm not drinking soda, not eating a lot of fatty foods, not over indulging in carbs and the like. I even cut beer and alcohol out for the most part. I will have one beer/drink per week and even then only with friends. I'm cooking almost all my own meals and making them as healthy as possible. The next step is to start logging all of my meals and take stock of what is going into my body. I'm not ready to do this yet though. I'm still focused on the exercise part.

Goals:

Log food intake.
Take more pictures for progress.
Get a tape measure to track progress.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lashing out.

Tonight everything just boiled to a head, and I blew my top in a spectacularly shitty fashion. My analog friends and I are in Lima Peru to see my friend get married and tonight was the rehearsal dinner. Half the group was already getting on my nerves since we spent the last five days together going to Machu piccu and back; my friends wife who can't not open her mouth and say the most blatantly obvious or totally moronic things every minute, and my other two friends who love nothing better than to get as drunk as possible as fast as possible and just be generally obnoxious. By their powers combined...

I thought I had more patience. Maybe everything hit at once, and I just needed to release it and get as far away from the situation as possible. I lost my cool and ran the fuck off in the middle of Miraflores, with only a vague sense of where I was going in a blind huff. Not exactly my finest hour. I missed the dinner, and more than that, disappointed myself and my friends with how I acted.

Maybe it was just the situation. Maybe I was the 5th wheel. Maybe I secretly hate all other people and want nothing to do with any situation where I need to depend on anyone else. Oh. Wait... It got me thinking though. I not a group thinker, or even a group person. Im my own wolfpack so to speak. Maybe I just dont like my friends anymore.

I'm more disappointed that I wasn't there for my friend getting married than I was losing my shit and bailing on my other buddies. They had it coming, they had it coming, they only had themselves to blame.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why I'm single.

Thought experiment post time. Also giving typing on an iPad a shot. So far so good.

Number one. I'm too nice. Like literally too nice of a person to live in this world let alone find a girl who digs it. I'm still baffled how being a rude douche has more appeal to women than being an ethical good person. I'm nice, but am I too nice? Rther than quantify it, I'm just going to say yes. I'm too accommodating. Either I have my own shit figured out enough that I direct my thought and energy outward, or I just dont care about myself enough that an need my locus outside myself in order to fulfil same unmet Freudian need or something. Prolly a combination.

NĂºmero dos. Holy fuck, the iPad does accents for you. Go apple. I'm too smart. I don't know if I am a genius or something but I have a hard time connecting with people simply because I think on a higher level than most. I can't turn it off either, and it's ridiculous. I really hard to find smart women, or just smart people in general, but is rough. I'm not talking about how much you know, I'm talking about true intelligence, abilities to create and share unique and smart thoughts. This can also be attributed to why I prefer to not be around my lot of peppe in general, but it doesnt help on the female front.

Reason the third, I'm broken somehow. Havent exactly nailed this one down yet, but there is something subconsciously that is happening and cockblocking me. Rich and I had a discussion of whose is better equipped to establish a successful relationship: someone who comes from a divorced household, or someone whose parents are still together. I'd argue that it depends. Those with divorced parents have a higher nsuccess rate with mates who's parents are also broken up than with a mate with married parents. I'd also argue that it goes both ways. So in some way, I'm single because I haven't found that other broken person out there yet.

I'm also tragically single by choice as well. I'm still on my me kick, and I don't have time for another persons right now until things settle way down. The need for companionship pings me once in a while, but it passes with a quick look at okcupid and I see what the selection looks like. Talk about a wasteland. When every girl is a smart, fun loving, artsy, funny special snowflake, no girls are. Get over yourselves girls.

Okay, wet blanket over. Gogo gadget iPad. Typing on you is actually not terrible. Less than three.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another Approach.

15 bucks per month can get you a lot more these days than it used to, which seems counterintuitive compared to the economic theory of inflation. WoW was and still is a hell of a deal based on a $/hour basis in terms of the cost of entertainment.

Doing anything analog such as going to a movie, getting a beer, or seeing a show is going to run you some bucks. That 15 bucks could go towards a Netflix sub, an MMO sub, music subscription, or really anything connected to the internet. That seems to be the standard rate.

What am I going to do with my 15 bucks, now that WoW is out of the picture? WoW did a spectacular job of bringing a lot of different mechanics all under one engine, and since you never lost your progress, there were always other things to try and do. This is what initially drew me to it; life before WoW I could plow through an RPG, but would feel a little twinge starting a new one. Couldn't I pull some of my previous experience in and save a little time on the front end? WoW did this, as your character was a hub for various RPG experiences.

It only makes sense that I take a polar opposite approach to huge infrastructure persistent worlds, and get back to a little of my gaming roots: small independent games.

Computer games, NES games, and video games in general have their roots in very short, very simple mechanisms, and typically can be chewed through in roughly 5-10 hours. I got by for a long time on game demos, freeware, shareware, and even some pirated stuff way back in the day. I think (a little romantically) that the new game mechanics will be tried and tested on the short form battlefield, ready for the next huge amalgamation to gobble them all up and polish them.

Will $15/mo be enough to fuel my indie game habit?

Friday, March 2, 2012

But a whimper.

I'm not sure how to start this off, but with my acknowledgement that my time in World of Warcraft is complete.

I feel that the well has run dry, and it is time for me to move on to other things in life. There is nothing left to discover, nothing more to learn, and no more people to meet in this game. The game has changed so much in the time that I have played it, that it's become something else entirely. Perhaps I have stayed the same, or I have changed in a different direction.

Six years. Seems so short when you say it like that.

I got through the first 10 levels of this game, and thought "Wow. Someone has finally gotten things right. I have been playing video games all my life, and this truly feels like something refreshing and different." You don't come across those feelings very often, so I decided to embrace it.

So much has changed in my life since I first started playing in this whole other world. I used to be a grown up before I started playing; things like bills, and credit ratings, and class ranks meant more before I became a paladin. I justified all that time to myself. I had been a hard working student and person all my life, and never really got to have a childhood growing up. Divorced parents, and no real family structure will make you very independent, and you end up having to do a lot of things for yourself otherwise nothing happens at all. The last 6 years have been my childhood, in game and out.

Playing a paladin, I have had to reinvent myself multiple times during the course of my career; these reinventions also mirrored the personal reinventions that have happened to myself outside the game. Just as it was in the game, it is in life; You get the greatest personal benefit when other people share your successes and failures. The people you surround yourself with make the experience all the richer. No matter where you are in life or how alone you feel, there are always others out there who are similar to you and taking solace in that is freeing. Knowing that there are nerds of a feather out in the world, makes the world a little smaller and having a like minded dialogue can turn any day around.

My highs are lows are for myself and myself alone though. My successes and failures in the game have shaped who I am, and the lessons learned have already been integrated into who I am.

On a less dramatic note, I am quitting for a few reasons:

1) Something I used to take pride in being unique is now cheapened.

Raiding is not as much fun as it used to be. It was a lot easier to be a special snowflake back in Vanilla or Burning Crusade. The game was simpler, and raiding was more organic.

2) Pandas et al.

I used to respect Blizzard a great deal more than I do now. Something firmly stated for a long time was that the pandaren race was just an easter egg, something that was a one off in Warcraft 3 and would never make it into World of Warcraft. When I saw Mists of Pandaria's flagship feature would be Pandaren, something broke inside me. Nothing was sacred anymore, and my sneaking suspicion that the game was being tooled more and more to retain subscribers rather than retain the spirit of the game that I loved. Also, pokemon. Give me a fucking break. The game has absorbed so many people that the core fanbase of the game has been diluted into retarded, impatient, and stupid people that play the game. I don't want to play with those people.

3) "Hardcore" Raiding.

I appreciate what raiding needed to become in order to stay fresh and interesting to both veterans, and new people alike. To me this is a fools errand, which LFR has attempted to bandaid. LFR is not fun. Any random pickup group in this game that was mashed together by a computer is not fun at all. I have had probably less than 1% of my experiences in random dungeons and raids over the years be enriching and enjoyable. I digress, but I enjoy raiding and pushing myself as hard as I can. It's one arena where I am incredibly self critical.

This is gone now. It's replaced with encounters that discourage team coordination, and just aren't that interesting.

All three of these reasons are because of the focus of the game trying to attract players who don't want to put anything into their own game experience, and expect all the fun to be provided for them by either the developers, or everyone else that is playing the game.

Ugh.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fitness Road.

So, it's been about a week and a half since I fully got back from my vacation of road trips and island hopping, and it's time to evaluate where I sit on with my fitness goals that I established. The long and short of it is that I want to lose about 50 lbs from a weight of about 260.

I usually weigh myself when I get to the gym, so my weight varies based on what I have been doing that day, and how much I have had to eat so far, but I am on a good trajectory. The lowest I have weighed in at was about 253, but I guess I have lost about 5 lbs since I have gotten back into my routine. I think this is a decent pace. I'm confident that my change in diet is mostly responsible for this, but my workouts are really fulfilling and reinforce the progress I am making.

My appetite has gone down significantly, and my stomach doesn't seem to hold as much. I am not appetized by fast food, or anything that I really ate on a regular basis before (Ramen, Mac n Cheese, frozen ravioli) and I am starting to eat a lot better. I will definitely be cooking more when I start my new job, and have an income to support it. It starts to make sense, but it really does take a lot of attention to eat healthy, and most often money to support it as well.

Not to mention, I think I will be eating a lot of leftover meals once I am working. The lunch dining options have something to be desired. I need to do a better job at eating smaller meals more frequently.

I'm sure that I am losing fat, and building muscle with my current routine, so I'll take that. I'm starting to struggle with one of the weight lifting routines that I am doing, the shoudler press. I have had to drop about 20 lbs off my routine, so that I am doing them right and not hurting my back in the process. I think there will be more to come, but we will get there. By the time all my punches run out at the rec center, I can join a club in Loveland and get a trainer to help me improve what I am doing.

I need to take more time and go slower to make sure I get a lot out of my workouts. I rushed my workouts this week, one day due to a batchelor party and another because of dinner with a lady ;)

I'm happy with where I am, except for burpees, they can go die in a fire.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Valentines Day Means to Me.

So the dust has settled, and I pondered about Valentine's day and who is the intended audience.

I suppose all the single folk love to point fingers and say things like:

1) It is a Hallmark holliday only intended to sell more chocolate and cards.

Being in a relationship for more years than not over the last 10 years, I can say that #1 is definitely true, but then again, it's true almost any holiday of the year. Most holidays are the best avenues for getting rid of surplus sweets into society, so if you are going to rag on V-day, then I hope you do this for every other holiday as well. We can devour lots of chocolate once every few months and not feel bad because everyone else is doing the same thing. Hey I can have a healthy distrust of capitalism can't I?

2) It unfairly favors those who have a squeeze in their life and gives them another free pass to revel in their company.

Again, probably not. Most couples see Valentine's day as an obligation, not a time to celebrate the other person in their lives. Sure it is a great reason to go out and have dinner, buy some pretty and fragrant flowers, or buy some sexy new underwear for that special someone. I would argue that designating one day out of the year to lavish attention on one of the most important people in your life is pretty funky. Why not make them feel loved all the time, as I am sure they want that for you!

3) St. Valentine was a sadistic mofo who wanted to make sure single people felt singled out one day of the year.

Maybe.

Thinking on this point, I came up with a different conclusion. St. Valentine (whoever he was, or how long ago he was) wasn't trying to celebrate people in relationships or give single people heartburn. I guess the purpose of the holiday is to just spread awareness and let people know that love is real, and love is a part of the human experience in one way or another. At least in my opinion it is through extreme emotions, like pain or joy, that we grow and learn about the world around us. Maybe the reminder that love is one of the essential ingredients for life is all that was intended by this annual event?

Personally, this holiday came and went with little fanfare. I reflected on the love that has been in my life, whether that has been romantic, or something more warm like love for family and friends. If anything, Vday inspired me to think about what I want from love in the present and also in the future. The reminder was much needed. I think I started to lose faith in other people, and the reminder of how essential love is brought me back to believing in others a little more. Love that I want from and for myself, and some that may come from a relationship someday.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Dating Rules

Just when you think you are done with girls, you get sucked right back in…

There is a really cute girl, let’s call her Wilma, that I have been crushing on for about a month. She is beautiful; she has a great smile, and has a sense of humor and a personality that I am especially attracted to. She also lives somewhat close to where I will be working when I start my new job. I have decided against my better judgment that I will take her on a date and see how it goes.

This dating thing will probably be more of the exception rather than the rule. I’m not anticipating myself going on a lot of dates over the next year.

The problem is that I told myself I was done with girls and dating until I get myself where I want to be. After watching a crappy romantic comedy in the middle of the night, I decided that I don’t want to change who I am to make someone else happy. There will never be a right time or a right me to start wanting to see other people, and some of the best self improvement I have ever done was while I was dating/seeing other people.

I need to meet myself halfway though. Getting in shape is the most important thing I want to do for myself, and I think that is the paramount thing that needs to happen for myself. I have lived for too long as moderately in shape, but I have never respected my body. That needs to change big time.

The year after I broke up with She Who Must Not Be Named, I went on a dating frenzy, trying desperately to replace what I had lost. I had some success, but I was grasping at straws for the most part. If one does something aimlessly and without goals, they are usually destined for failure. So, some ground rules need to be in place if I am going to do the dating thing right this time.

1) No Online Dating.

There is a temptation there that the girl of my dreams is somewhere out there on the internet. After giving it a solid try, I can safely say that my odds of finding someone worthwhile out there are pretty slim.

Not many people have their shit together and are legitimately looking for someone to start seeing. Half the people were probably like me, not much direction and doing it a little compulsively. The other half are bitches, plain and simple. I’m sure this goes for the other side of the coin. From what I hear, probably more than half of internet dudes are douchebags.

If I date people I meet from reality, less of the mystery is spoiled by all the stalking that goes with online shopping which is what I want to get away from. The internet feels more like a store than a place where real human beings exist on the other end of the tubes. Meeting people through friends or mutual interests is a much better springboard to go from, instead of “I looked through all your pictures first and then read all 23 paragraphs of your profile, and sent you a message that you probably didn’t read completely.”

I’ll check my OKCupid profile from time to time, but that is mostly just people porn. It’s fun to see what other crazy females are out there, but they require way too much energy to actually meet.

2) Work Out or Die.

If I am going to allow myself to date, I must first be disciplined enough to take care of my health. If I can’t follow this rule, I have no business including someone else in my self neglect.

I might be too hard on myself, but I’m big on self improvement, and in my mind this one has been put off for far too long. If I haven’t been to the gym 3 times within one week, no weekend girl times.

3) Don’t Plan the Second Date While In the Middle of The First Date.

I’ve fallen in this bear trap so many times, and it has resulted in a lot of crappy second dates, and it’s mostly been because I was thinking with my dick instead of actually having a good time. Yea, even I want to segue a date into the bedroom; guys are like that. If you are ever out and the guy pulls this trick, it’s probably because he likes what’s under your clothes.

Nobody wants to be rude on a date, especially girls. If a guy starts talking about places to go next time, a girl can’t help but play along and agree to go even if she doesn’t want to see the dude again. It also puts the other person on the spot and in an awkward position.

Take a day in between when the date ended and when you get in touch again to go out. If she is still interested, she will say yes. If not, she will rudely ignore your phone calls/emails, and you will know that she doesn’t want another free meal.

4) The T-Shirt Litmus Test

My wardrobe is composed of a lot of T-Shirts, and most of them have something nerdy and funny on them. Very seldom a girl will actually take time to look at my t-shirt, or remark about it, or complement it. I’m not saying that I am a fashion genius, but I think the shirts that I wear are awesome and at least cute and funny, but as an extension reflect my personality of being cute and funny.

Ladies, you know I love you, but the fact remains that a lot of you are really wrapped up in yourselves and you don’t tend to notice much about the guy that you are going on a date with, let alone anything outside a five foot radius.

This isn’t a dealbreaker but if a girl that I go on a date with actually says something about what I am wearing and thinks it’s clever or it makes her laugh, I might break rule #3. This is the exception.

5) Go on interesting dates.

I’ve planned some pretty lame dates in the past but I have definitely improved this skill as time has gone on. A good date is something that both people find fun and interesting, and the primary purpose is to HAVE A GOOD TIME and maybe investigate this other person a little bit as well.

The tried and true dinner and a movie kinda doesn’t fit today’s modern scene anymore. It feels way more like an interview than an actual evening where two people enjoy each others company. One person asks a question and the other responds, and then the second person gets a turn to ask a question. It’s become extremely inorganic, and bordering on lame. The movie dinner date has its merits, but I would reserve it for people that are going steady, and those already committed to each other.

Speed dating seems much worse where you are taking pretty much all the fun out of the already painful dinner date and just shooting each other full of holes with questions. Get to know this other person first and figure out what they like before asking them out. Generic dates = no second dates.

Rules complete. Now to abide.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

10 Things that can happen on a roadtrip

Inspired by the Ten Things I Have Learned blog (www.tenthingsivelearned.com) I thought of 10 things that have happened over the last month or so:

1) I have driven about 8000 miles with about 600 to go. This includes two oil changes, about $1000 worth of gasoline, and about 112 hours of driving time.

2) I have visited 4-5 cities that I would consider moving to: San Diego, Sacramento, Portland, Montreal, New York City. Maybe Omaha, this place seems like a pretty awesome scene.

3) I interviewed for 2 jobs on the road, much less than I was anticipating, but I'm okay with that considering the typical speed of most HR departments. The interviews that I did manage to get had pretty fast turnarounds all things considering.

4) A lot of my WoW friends let me crash and sleep at their houses, eat their food, take up their time, having them show me around their cities, and let me buy them dinner or beers. In fact the only people that I saw on my trip who I didn't meet through the game were my cousin in Minneapolis, my aunt, and my mom.

5) It's really interesting seeing various parts of the country. The landscapes, the accents, the chain restaurant of choice. I still have no idea what Bob Evans serves, I ate a donut on both coasts from good donuts places, and had a lot of good local food. I ate at a Chipotle where there were all white people working behind the counter and I felt a little dirty.

6) I have a love hate relationship with the french language. I had really low blood sugar while I was in Montreal and fucking could not stand that everything was in French and that I had a hard time moving the lever into the french position in my brain's language center. I eventually had a chai and a wrap, and felt a lot better. That city is bi-lingual, but my comprehension is just slow enough where someone would say something to me in french and my brain would not understand it until after they began speaking to me in English. A little quirky, but I could see living there and having french training wheels.

7) I think I have a new hobby thanks to my NYC WoW friends. I guess I have a good eye for photography, so I need to invest a little time in Lightroom, and a little money in a good camera. I think this will be really useful in whatever place I end up, not only helping me explore the city but I could really get some beatuful photos out of it. If I get really good, I want to make prints and give them to local coffee shops and galleries for pretty things to hang on their walls.

8) Having out of town guests is the best excuse to call in sick or take a day off from work. The people that let me stay showed me around their cities and states, sometimes doing stuff that they had been meaning to do for a long time, but just never got around to doing. One of my buddies had lived in NYC forever and had never been to the Empire State Building. Mischief Managed.

9) The Minneapolis Art Museum was gorgeous, and I am really sad that I only got to spend an hour there before it closed. I want to go back and spend a whole day there soaking everything in.

10) I miss Colorado, but I am excited to travel somewhere new when I decide what job I want and where I want to live. It doesn't really even matter where!

So yea, 10 things. I like these posts. Kudos 10things dude.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Motivation

I thought of an idea before falling asleep last night that I am surprised I still remembered in the morning. You know how it is, you have the most brilliant ideas either in the shower, in bed, or while you are hanging from your toes on a slave boat somewhere. Yea, that.

So, I made one of my goals for myself getting back in shape. I want to stay healthy and not have like a million problems wrong with me when I am in my 40s or whatever. That would be nice. I can already feel myself getting old when it come to what I eat, and how my stomach responds to food. I love spicy things, but if I overdo it my body rebels in not so nice ways.

I also want to look good. I've always had a fat stomach, and that is something that really needs to change and make me feel like I have made progress towards being a better person. Vanity has never been my thing; I am incredibly humble, and I think that my body has been fostering that attitude. I want to be more confident.

My grand epiphany is that I am not allowing myself to date or pickup women until I bring my weight down. I want to be about 205 before I will start looking to date again, and a goal weight of 185. This will allow me to have some muscle tone and lose my belly fat. I think by taking women and relationships off the table will allow me to focus exclusively on myself and being a little vain. I need a little narcissism.

Getting in shape and getting more good looking will put me in a much better position to be more selective about dating. I met a lot of girls this summer, but nothing really went anywhere because I just wasn't being very picky about who I dated. I went out a lot and really wasn't very interested in whom I was seeing.

I'm going to take this time as well to get better at understanding and interacting with women. I'm one of the stereotypical dudes who has always put women on a pedestal, seeing that they can do no wrong. Recent history has contradicted this, and now I don't hold women in general in such high regard; not a women hater though. I can have really great conversations and have a lot of fun with women when I'm not attracted to them very much, or that element of nervousness is gone. If I am not actively trying to impress girls that I see as potential dates, then I can get to know them a lot better than if I was.

I'm also going to look into some books about gender studies and relations. I can't put my finger on it, but the equal rights movement has taken a lot of wind out of the sails of men in terms of gender equality, and it seems the pendulum has swung a little too far. Men don't provide the same value as they used to in terms of being the bread winner and the provider of the family. Our culture has shifted away from more romantic and selfless values of family, love, and happiness and replace them with more self and tangible ideas like money, success, and sex. I'm not saying that any of that is bad, as a balance must be struck.

Men who at one time could attain value to women through being the breadwinner and champion of the household, now don't have as much worth to society when women being able to do the same work as men. Men are the gender that is wired to procreate, and the mechanism in the past has been through being the dominant gender; with the genders being more equal I don't see people having children. I'm worried that the US will start to go through negative population growth in the next 10-20 years due to US citizens not having children, and the only growth is experienced through immigration.

This has already gone on way too long, but I also think more and more people are single because there are exponentially more avenues of expression than there have ever been before, and it's exponentially more difficult for two people to have some common ground and interests on top of being attracted to each other. Or I could just be a hater, and think that only really attractive people are getting together and having babies while the rest of the population isn't very good looking, but has false high expectations of a mate driven by popular culture.

Ultimately I'm a romantic, though I feel that I have to change who I am to find someone else.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Black Box.

I can get into a good mystery. I make a really good sleuth; a crime is committed, various parties come and go into the situation, and someone has to come into the crime scene and sort out all the clues and piece together the truth, and what happened. It’s like putting together a plane crash after all the dust has settled and the black box is recovered.

Mysteries are good fun, simple ones at least. Sadly nothing is ever very simple; even more frustrating is when the mystery is your life and through all the sleuthing and deducting you come to the conclusion that the crime cannot be solved. The last year has been a crime scene where I have picked every nit and examined every piece of burning wreckage that was my relationship with Erin.

I came to the conclusion last year that I will never get closure from that relationship, and that only one person who could tell me the truth is the one person whom I had written off and someone whom I could not trust. Even now, I debate with myself if I asked her to tell me the truth, would I be able to trust its validity.

This didn’t sit well with me, nor will it ever. I needed to know what happened. I was consumed by the absence of that knowledge. Honestly I have been obsessing over that for longer than I want to admit to myself, some of it while the relationship was still intact.

Putting on my detective’s hat for a second, here is what I have pieced together what happened with little clues I have to work with. Erin cheated on me about halfway through our relationship, and covered it up and lied to my face that she loved me and needed to slow down the relationship. We got back together, got engaged, but she was still seeing her suitor on the side. The situation eventually exploded and the other man presented himself and I chose to believe her over his word. Things oscillated between better and worse while our sex life was on life support.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was one of her high school students. I have a picture from her journal where she curses me for wanting to improve our sex life, and on the same page claim that she had fallen for one of her students. Couple this with an uncommon amount of time she spent with him, hundreds of texts between them, and that she flat out did not come home one night from a student study session. I started to think that I picked the wrong horse when her previous fuck buddy came out of the closet.

But what to do? I was at an impasse with myself; the worst rock and hard place that I have ever had to be between in my whole life. I think Captain Ahab and I would be fast friends and have a good time over beers.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was not only breaking up with a girl, but I was also breaking up with an idea. My view of the world has changed since then, not by choice but by necessity. I’ve realized that my view of the world pre Erin was extremely idolized. I pretended to live in a world where nobody cheated on their partners, where honesty is the best policy, and where people treated each other with respect. If you don’t believe me, go read the news. It’s okay, I’ll wait.

The end of my relationship with Erin was also the end of my innocence.

That sounds really dramatic and hyperbolic, but it’s the way I feel. I don’t look at people the same way as I used to. Everyone I meet is a just another liar, cheater, or just in general bad until I get to know them. The world has shown its true face, and that presentation process has been painful, but educational.

In and ironic twist, I empathize and feel a strong connection with her mother, whom she has been a shoulder to lean on through the hard times during the relationship, and after I discovered that she was married and pregnant a little over a year after we broke up. Gretchen and I are somewhat casualties of infidelity. I’m also curious how much or how little her mother knows about what really happened.

She emailed me last year, and I have considered responding. It was short, sorry, and probably made her feel really good about herself for sending it. It ended with the mother of all cop outs:

“I honestly am sorry about how things ended with us, and I sincerely hope that you find the happiness you deserve.”

Sorry doesn’t even begin to make up for what she did. No admission of wrongdoing, and just a hollow apology in a pithy little statement. Finding happiness that I deserve? I was extremely happy with our relationship until she shit all over it and stopped being honest with me and honest with herself. I want to be happy, but that is all in the past now, a past where nobody cheats, and where truth is the currency. If anything that’s the happiness I deserve and I know I will never have it. It might very well be dangled in front of my face for the rest of my life taunting me, and haunting me. I don’t think I live in that world anymore.

I’m happy with my life though, and I don’t want to make it sound like I am going to go cut myself after posting this. Like I said, my life view has changed out of necessity, not by choice. I will find a way increase my happiness over time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Warm Bodies

Talking to friends in fresh places really has a profound impact on ones thought processes.

I'm good at WoW. In fact, probably too good at the game. I could take 24 warm bodies, unskilled players, mouthbreathers, windowlickers and fartsniffers into a raid and we would be successful and get loot. Call me arrogant, but if you have played the game with me, you would agree that it is true.

Maybe that's why I feel burned out and unchallenged. I have no peers that play this game currently. I'm reminded of a quote from Big Bang Theory:

Leonard: Do you realize that if Penny wakes up there is no reasonable explanation as to why we're here.
Sheldon: I just gave you a reasonable explanation.
Leonard: No you gave me an explanation; its reasonableness will be determiend by a jury of your peers.
Sheldon: Don't be ridiculous... I have no peers.

I am the Sheldon of WoW. I make it rain.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Who.

I talked with a friend recently who wondered why that more people weren't smarter in general; not that people are stupid intentionally, but don't take that marginal effort to learn or be better people. We both came from serious relationships and grasping at what kind of person we wanted to be with next.She is extremely smart, going to be a doctor in fact, but felt slightly isolated from the world by her intelligence. Even though she wanted to find someone awesome, she wouldn't compromise herself in brilliance in order to find someone she wanted to be with.

We argued, and came short on understanding what exactly she was looking for, but it got me thinking about myself.

Smart people generally are a little arrogant about how smart they are. They take solace and shelter in the fact that they are better thinking than everyone else, probably similarly to how really attractive people take refuge in their good looks. The rub is that if you are especially gifted in one area (looks, brains, personality, endowedness) that almost everyone you meet will fail to measure up in that area to you.

I compared it to a bell curve. Sure, I am smart. If I had to give it a number, I would be in the 95th percentile of people around me; there are very few people that I know who are as smart or smarter than I think I am. So, if that is the thing I value the most, then I will only be looking in a small bandwidth of people around me for smarties, not to mention other attributes that I want (physical, chemistry, emotional).

This is who I am. I'm a funny, smart, decently attractive guy who is dynamite in the sack (or so I have been told). The stars could align and I could find someone who is looking for all those things. All the things I feel about myself are all at the very tip of the bell curve. Great, but I don't think that is what people are looking for; if I want to catch the most fish, I gotta fish with the best bait. You don't want to wait for someone to perfectly match.

So I ask a question of myself.

Who do I want to be? Do I want to be less smart, but more common?

Do I shoot for the masses, where the venn diagram has the largest intersection? Tailor myself to be what the most people are looking for: a marginally smart, marginally funny, very physically attractive with nice clothes and always looking like I have something that I can offer or give them? This person can sleep with whoever they want, talk about vapid or topical stuff with anyone.

Or do I shoot for something similar to me and take the road where I already know I will be more isolated from the world. I feel my friend's pain too. I feel that I'm imbalanced, too much brain, not enough in other areas.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

When a song hits it on the head.`



What do you do if there comes a day when I lose my way? What will you do?
Oh I would stand by you (Word?)
Pray for you (Oh yeah?)
If it would help I’d even die for you?

Oh yeah? That’s what the last one said
Unfortunately I was mad misled
I ran on E until no more gas was left
The most I got from her was ass and bread
The trust was lost like Kanye’s fashion sense
Accidents happen when you live with the weak
But it’s not an accident when you make a conscious decision to cheat
That’s enough reason to get into beef
Throw all your spouse’s shit on the street, quit and retreat
But these are the breaks, it’s told by Kurtis Blow
So please for my sake, stay by me, this earth is cold
And I’m freezing like I’ve been laying in dirt and snow

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time is on my side.

Time is so weird.

When I was working, I felt like I had partitioned my time into buckets and that things had to happen during those designated times. Work happened during work time, and I would use my off time for whatever I tagged as off time activity whether it be catching up on podcasts, playing video games, reading, or whatever else I could think of. Sleep happened whenever. That non work bucket felt like a catch all, and I was just doing stuff to pass that time that I had allocated to it. There were things that I wanted to spend my time doing more than others, but I was content with how much each bucket held and how I had decided to allocate my non-work time. There never is enough time sadly.

Now that I am unemployed I still feel like there isn't enough time, but I am getting much more accomplished and much more miserly with what I will spend it on. Things that I used to do in my non-work time seem very useless now. I will skip entire podcasts that I used to listen to beginning to end when I had a job, skip to the meat of a video game without doing all the stuff around the edges. I am reading more and working out a shitload, and actually looking forward to it. I will whip up a dervish applying for jobs, doing stuff that has been on my to-do list forever, and catching up with old shit that needs to be done. How I look at my "free" time has changed drastically, and I hope that I can keep that point of view when I finally land a whale of a job.

Working out especially has gotten a ton of attention. I'm after results, and already I can feel myself getting stronger. The goal is to lose about 50lbs by the summer. It's one that is a little out of reach, but it will be great to see how close I can get by the end of this. Lifting has been great, as a friend turned me on to a simple, effective lifting schedule. I am adding cardio stuff on as I think I can handle it, but my lower legs get really sore if I start jogging for more than a couple minutes; I had shin spints back when I played football, and I would rather not overdo it and develop them again. Researching new workouts will be the next step.

I'm tracking my diet much closer than I have in the past, and putting myself in situations where it would be hard to violate my intake rules.

I'm not sure if this is just me getting older, and valuing my time more, or if it is a paradigm shift of who I have become over the last month and last year (Seriously, fuck 2011. Complete shit show.) I don't really care too much about things outside my personal bubble. This self improvement kick has gotten in my blood, and everything that doesn't make me a better person gets cut. Some things that have taken the sidelines are even giving any thought to dating. I want to be the best me that I can be, because I have learned that however awesome I am and I know I am, my confidence sucks. I need to feel like a better person, and that will help me feel better about who I am on the outside; many people have told me and I already know I am spectacular person in my heart and mind.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Self Investment

The heart of investment is putting resources into something and hoping to get a higher return that what you put in the first place. This could be time, money, affection, thought, whatever. Last year, I spent way too many of my resources for other people, and I did not get much back, or as much as I was expecting.

As I look back at my life over the last few years since I graduated with my masters degree, there has been a lot of me overextending myself and investing in others expecting a positive return on my investment. There are a lot of people whom I squandered my time and money needlessly; I was chasing expectations that seemed reasonable at the time, but in hindsight not the best use of my resources. I didn't get nothing for something per se, but I think I ended up getting much less than I wanted out of it.

The past few years, I have been a very complete person I think. Sure there were areas for self improvement, but I chose to invest in others because ultimately, my needs are met, and I want to make others happy. There is no such thing as a selfless act; by making other's lives better, it made me feel great in return. I took a lot of people to dinner, spent money and time on others, spent my downtime thinking about others and what they were doing/thinking/were they thinking about me too? One person in particular was a complete and total bust, where I got much less out of the experience than I put in.

I started thinking about this today after I started a new workout routine, enjoying things for myself, and starting to plan the next part of my life; all of this has been implemented over the last month. I thought, what if I took all that time and energy and worked on myself. Could I realize the expectations I have of myself, if I directed all that effort inward rather than into others? What is my personal ROI (Return On Investment for all you non finance people)?

Ultimately I am not a selfish person. At some point, I would get negative satisfaction by directing my energy inward. I want to be a great person, not for myself but for others; more specifically one very special person in particular whom I would very much like to find in the near future, but I can't really worry about that right now. I got my own shit to do.

My goals for the next three months:
-Eat better, and less. I have rediscovered cooking as I have more time to enjoy my own time. I make a couple good meals over a week and dine on delicious leftovers as the week progresses.
-Work out, and do work son. This goes with the first goal, lose weight, and try to be a good lookin' gentleman and not be so much of a fatty. I've always had a belly and weighed more than I should. This needs to change, for myself.
-Travel and get out of my basement more. I am planning on going to Peru for Nate's wedding, and I want to go to Hawaii and see Ty and Cyrus and experience a little of island living for a bit.
-Play some damn video games. One of the avenues I over invested in the last year was through WoW. I'm going to shift my focus from playing that game into other games that I have been wanting to check out and neglected from not having the time to diversify.
-Read/Listen to Moby Dick, and some other classics. Moby Dick seems to be an important book and is referenced so much in American media and culture. I want to discover that world for myself and get into it.

I has plan.