Ode to Oatmeal

What is there to really say about oatmeal?
I suppose I owe it thanks for all
The good it does my cholesterol.

But still, that does not encompass how I feel
While munching that mess in my mouth,
Its fiber sending my stomach’s contents south.

It takes very little to prepare
Beyond small oats and water, plus hot air.
Its texture is what seems unique;
Chewing mush takes some technique.
But though oatmeal my doctor recommends,
To Hell it will my taste buds send.

Collaborating with Another Person When Writing

For me, writing is typically a solo affair. I’m a fairly selfish person when it comes to crafting a story, and the idea of having to share it or change it based on another person’s whims does not appeal to me. My writing is all about me getting my ideas down with my pen on my paper.

That sounds kind of petulant, like a little kid, but come on, you guys feel the same, right? When blogging, it’s about getting your own thoughts out there. Right? (Unless it’s not and I’ve somehow been doing this thing wrong this whole time.)

When I was forced to write with others during my school years, it felt like such a chore. Scratch that, it felt like a crime. Like I was messing with the way things were supposed to work.

Which, now that I type that down, sounds like I have a very high opinion of my writing.

I don’t.

I just have the writing spirit of a crotchety old person.

Anyways, I hate collaborating with people on writing. It’s the worst.

Well, that is, unless I’m doing it with the right people.

My sister is my number one person when it comes to writing cooperatively. She’s my number one person for a lot of things, but the fact that I can collaborate with her on writing projects should still be impressive.

The two of us have always been very creative people. We relied on our imagination a lot when it came to playing with each other since we didn’t have TV growing up, and it translates well to our writing skills.

The only thing that hinders us is my sister’s moods. She has to be in the perfect mood to get into the writing spirit. Otherwise, other things will capture her attention. I do have a little trick to solve this though. I call it the Bakuman Effect. Basically, there’s this manga series we both like called Bakuman, and it’s about a pair of teenagers who decide they want to become manga artists together. The whole series is about them getting their own manga series (which is kind of meta), and it’s a real feel-good, you-can-do-it, Rocky-Karate-Kid-esque kind of story.

If my sister reads even a single issue of this series, she’ll get in a writing groove. It just inspires her faster than a bolt of lightning can flash in the sky.

She and I both like to structure our work before tackling it, but when we do, we function like dolphins herding a flock of fish.

Side note: It’s a school of fish, isn’t it? Ah well, “flock of fish” has that nifty alliteration thing going for it.

Together, my sister and I can take on any writing project that comes our way with enthusiasm and determination.

Right now, we’re on-and-off working on a fantasy thing, which is great, because the concept phase has been going on phenomenally. We’re literally creating a world and populating it with people, creatures, religions, and customs, and it’s just fan-freaking-tastic.

My friend Mia is also another person I can collaborate with.

We’ve known each other since we were little, so that kind of comfort you need in order to share ideas that might seem a little silly with another person is totally there. Hanging out with Mia is uber comforting. Being with her is almost exactly like being by yourself on a semi-cold morning with nothing pressing to do except drink your coffee before it loses its warmth.

Plus, we’re both classics fanatics when it comes to our reading preferences, so when we write together, we get to indulge that side of ourselves. We take inspiration from poetry and hefty works of literature, molding them into something of our own.

Our best work together actually happened in college, in this terrible creative writing class we took. (Yeah, it was ironically funny.)

When Mia and I write together, we just lose ourselves.

The final person I thoroughly enjoy collaborating with is my friend Andreya. The two of us working together is just an exercise in crazy. We are wild hilarity in human form. We can spend hours together, just bouncing around every idea under the sun. Nothing is too insane to at least talk about.

Admittedly, I do most of the writing in this pairing, but I kind of prefer it that way. Andreya is like a springy diving board, and our work is the pool I eventually plunge into after our time partnering.

The greatest thing about Andreya is her ability to entertain any notion, spin it, and turn it into something new. She’s like an endless font of inspiration, an inventor with a mind that keeps churning out ideas.

So remember how I was a sour-puss about collaborating with people when I write?

I don’t hate it when it’s with these three people specifically.

It’s kind of an acquired taste.

Sunshine Blogger Award Thingamabob

I’ve been nominated for this before, but I’ve never thought of doing it because I’m normally not one to follow chains. But, since work has been a doozy lately and I have no major post ideas, AND because I was nominated by Extra Life and I really admire that particular blog, I decided to do this challenge today anyways!

The rules for this challenge are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog (though you don’t really have to thank me, it’s just a courtesy, I think).
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you when they tagged you.
  • Nominate 11 other blogs for the challenge and provide 11 new questions for them.
  • List the rules of the challenge in your post and provide the logo.

All of which I have done.

So let’s get started with the questions Extra Life asked me!

Have you ever been involved in an emergency situation (e.g. a burning building/an earthquake)?

Yep! I suffered through the Easter Quake of 2010. I do live in southern California, so it was a massive 7.2 rumble that destroyed a lot of stuff in the house, especially in the kitchen. If I recall, my novelty glass Lord of the Rings goblet got shattered. And when I stupidly picked it up to stroke it with regret, I cut my index finger, shook it, and splattered blood all over the kitchen. It looked like a low-key murder scene.

What is the worst film you’ve ever seen in theaters?

Well, anybody who knows me knows I love bad movies. So calling it the “worst” film is just another way of calling it the best film for me. But, if I’m trying to be objective, I’d say the worst film I saw in theaters was this experimental film I saw at a film festival. I don’t know what it was called, but it was a fifteen-minute long short comprised entirely of footage at a dump. That was it.

What is the best film you’ve ever seen in theaters?

Watchmen. Again, I know it’s not objectively the best film I’ve ever seen, but subjectively it is. I had the greatest time. I went to go midnight-premiere it, and there were only like fifteen people in the theater, but you could tell they were all Watchmen fans. One guy was even dressed like homeless Rorschach, complete with “The end is nigh” sign.

What is the strangest method by which you discovered a work you enjoy?

Definitely walking into my high school’s video game club. That’s how I truly discovered Halo and my love for the series.

What do you feel is the greatest compilation of collected works in your collection (of games/films/music/books/etc.)?

Funnily enough, I think I have a great collection of books based on the Halo video game series. I make it a point to stop by that section every time I go to a bookstore, so I always keep it updated. I’m really proud of it.

Have you ever re-experienced a work you enjoyed a long time ago only to determine it has not aged well?

Oh, Tron. The original. I used to have a minor low-key crush on Tron as a child (and on Littlefoot from The Land Before Time), and I remember thinking that he looked so epic whenever he did his “program moves.” Now, I just see a guy in a white unitard with flashing lights throwing a frisbee. I still love the movie though.

Have you ever re-experienced a work you hated (or were indifferent towards) a long time ago only to warm up to it?

Oh my god, Assassin’s Creed II. I never played the first game, but I picked up the second because I knew it was a classic. Right out of the gate, the controls fucked with my mind! I just couldn’t initially grasp the idea that the buttons changed functions depending on whether Ezio was standing, running, or climbing. I got so frustrated with it at first, I put the game down and didn’t pick it up again for a while. Eventually, when I did revisit it, I learned to work with the controls, and I enjoyed the game immensely.

What is your favorite opening theme to a television show?

Game of Thrones! I could listen to that theme for hours! I think it should go down in history as one of the best opening themes to a television show.

Excluding Western comic books, what series with a single, ongoing narrative do you feel has (or had) gone on for far too long? In other words, I’m not counting shows or other forms of media with entirely self-contained episodes such as The Simpsons or anthological works such as The Twilight Zone with this question.

This is a hard one, because I don’t go for series that I know have a long ongoing narrative unless I feel like it’s worth it. I guess it would have to be Grey’s Anatomy. I used to watch it with my sister, and after that plane crashed and killed off one of my favorite characters, I realized that no way in hell could I continue watching this farce. I mean, how many bomb scares, viral outbreaks, storm wrecks, active shooters, plane crashes, wedding crashes, walk-outs, mergers, and financial difficulties could one hospital go through before they shut the place down?

Have you ever been invested in a series only to be heartbroken when it was cut short with no resolution?

Firefly! I mean, I guess we got the movie, but that series was so cool, I wish it could have gone on longer.

Do you prefer hardcover or paperback books?

I like to point at words when I read, and I have to admit, hardcover books make it easier to point while the book rests on a table. But I do like the affordability of paperback. So…both!

So here are my questions for the bloggers that I’m going to tag!

  1. Have you ever hated a food intensely only to like it later on? If so, what?
  2. What books do you like that have yet to be turned into a movie?
  3. If you could pick any animal to have as a pet (and let’s assume that it is willing and well-trained), what would it be? Yes, it can be a fantasy creature.
  4. What is your go-to TV show when you just want to put something on in the background?
  5. What movie can you quote from the most?
  6. If you had a morning with absolutely nothing demanding your attention, what would you love to be doing?
  7. What locations have you traveled to that you would love to go back to?
  8. If you were a video game character, what type of game would you love to be the star in? (A platformer, first-person shooter, RTS, etc.)
  9. What is your absolute favorite thing about blogging?
  10. If you had to pick a chair, the floor, or a bed to read on, which would it be?
  11. Have you ever had a dream about flying, or is this something you’ve never experienced?

Here are the blogging peeps I’m tagging. No pressure on you guys to do this. God knows I’ve ignored these things before too.

AF7KQ

Stories I’ve Never Told

The Hannie Corner

The Corvid Review

Fed’s Life

Nintendobound

from famine to feast

the orang-utan librarian

Strange Girl Gaming

Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews

TotesAndreya

I Can’t Keep Up with My Writing!

I recently got a new job (in addition to other jobs I have), and it’s really cut into the time I have available on any given day. That means it has become quite a hassle trying to keep up with the blogging schedule I set for myself when I first started.

Even with my ability to schedule posts ahead of time, it’s been pretty stressful. I feel anxious about the blog if I don’t have at least three posts in the queue.

Because of that, I’ve been tossing the idea of changing up my blogging schedule. Currently, I publish a post once every four days. That might not seem like a lot, but with my own personal writing and the slew of writing jobs I have, it’s really piling up.

So I’ve been thinking of changing my schedule to publishing once a week.

There’s a large part of me that doesn’t want to do this. It feels like giving up. Or at the very least giving in. And while I might be a plushy pushover in every other aspect of my life, my dedication to writing has been the one part that I’ve been steadfastly dedicated to. Changing my schedule feels like I’m bowing down under pressure. It’s…personally irksome.

However, there’s another part of me that really wants to just ease the load that is currently on my figurative shoulders.

And, as anyone who knows me should know, I’m incredibly indecisive. It’s one of my major character flaws. (And, according to The Good Place, being this indecisive could potentially send me to the Bad Place. So yikes.) I can’t make this decision easily or quickly. I’m puzzling over it, pulling my hair out wondering what to do.

One way to solve this issue would be to pose the question to complete strangers. Right?

So what do you say? Should I put the pedal to the metal and stick to the original schedule I set for myself? Or should I rein in my blogging and publish a post once a week instead?

How To Get Away with Loathing Your Own Writing

Is it just me, or does anyone else absolutely hate the way they write?

It’s kind of like hearing your own voice for the first time. When you speak and you hear your voice coming out of your mouth, you start thinking that it sounds a certain way. It’s all a lie though. When you hear your voice in a recording, it sounds completely different.

Side note: I hate the sound of my voice. I think it sounds murky and dumb. I sound like I have marbles stuck in my cheeks 24/7.

The same concept applies to writing. When you first spill your words onto a page, it feels fantastic. The fast, free-flowing quality of writing contributes to this sensation. As your words fall into place, why shouldn’t you think that they make perfect sense?

Then comes the time when you reread what you’ve written, and gasp, it’s a nightmare! It’s like cringing yourself to death. Your sentences sound stupid, your word choice is lame, and your voice sounds whiny and immature.

I can’t even begin to tell you how often I’ve felt this way. (Well, actually, I can begin to tell you, technically speaking. That’s what this post is about. Telling you guys how much I hate my writing.)

I’m a fairly neurotic proofreader, so I reread everything I write in order to catch my mistakes. Catch these mistakes I do, and I also catch sight of my godawful, crappy writing.

And the truly sucky thing is that no matter how many times I revise a piece, I am never satisfied with the end result. I can only ever be marginally okay with what I get.

My sister is the one person who bolsters my spirits when it comes to my writing. She is my self-confidence.

Side note: She was pissed when she found out I named my blog The Below Average Blog. I thought that was a neat and unassuming name for something as potentially pretentious as a blog. She thought I was being down on myself for no reason.

But I have come to accept the fact that disliking my writing is a bit of a boon to me. I’ve said it countless times (to myself, in my head, and maybe on this blog a few times). Hating my writing pushes me to try and improve it (key word being “try”).

So if you, too, hate the way you write, just remember two things:

1) Your writing probably isn’t as bad as you think it is. Your self-loathing and self-deprecatory nature just makes anything that comes out of you look terrible. Odds are, given how many people exist on our planet, someone could read your writing and like it.

2) Hating your writing should only make it better. Unless you start spiraling into a depression. Though I have learned from books and TV shows that writers being depressed and alcoholics is a common enough thing, so at least you won’t be alone.

Then again, I’m a nobody writer with zero credentials to my name and therefore absolutely no credibility when it comes to giving writing advice, so maybe you shouldn’t listen to me.

We Halt Your Regular Programming…

So, as some of you guys may or may not know, Game of Thrones officially starts this coming Sunday. Lately, I’ve been debating with myself on whether or not to devote entire posts to each episode as they come out.

The cons of this scenario all have to do with scheduling. I normally write my posts in advance and then set them to be published every four days. This way, I can write a bunch of posts during my free time, allowing me some breathing room when other work has me feeling hectic.

If I decided to do a weekly Game of Thrones review, for about the next month, my scheduling would be out of whack. I could either write my regular posts, scheduling them in advance, in addition to the Game of Thrones posts, or I could forego my regular posts in favor of the GoT ones once a week.

So basically, I’d either be overworked or lazy.

Honestly, I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do. But fuck it all. This is my bloggy thing, and I can do what I want with it.

Fair warning, my friends. Expect SPOILER-FILLED reviews for the final season of Game of Thrones in the next few weeks. You’ll figure out if I kept up with my other posts in the future, I guess. 😉

But rest assured, once Game of Thrones is over, I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled posts.