Life Update #8: Plans for the Blog Going Forward and Damn News

It’s been one heck of a month for me, guys. Not that you would know it because I’ve been characteristically closemouthed about it. But that’s not the reason for this update.

Well, it’s not the entire reason for this update.

I have a few ideas of what I want to do with the blog, and the main one is introducing a new type of post.

I’m thinking about doing some how-tos, not many and mostly humorous in nature.

How original, right?

I got the idea of doing it not too long ago, but haven’t implemented it into my schedule yet because of the chaos that consumed my life about three weeks ago. (More on that in a bit.)

As things stand with my Below Average Blog now, I have four types of posts that I write regularly. There are these Life Updates, where I toss around what’s been new with me. There are “reviews” that I do for movies, shows, games, and books, and those are hardly professional. (In fact, they’re Below Average content. Get it?) There are top-numbered lists, where I write about my favorite things from different categories, and then there are the posts where I just shoot the shit.

So why not add some how-tos in there?

I also want to start consistently adding an image per post. Even if that image is reused. It makes the whole thing look prettier, doesn’t it?

Posting once every 5 days has really worked out for me, by the way. That was the last big change I made to the blog, and I’m glad I did. My work schedule was getting a bit overwhelming.

I mean, work’s still relentless, and I’m still falling a bit behind on the post scheduling, but I’m enjoying this level of activity more than the panic-fest from before.

So I’m happy to report that that change was a success.

Now all I need to do is devote more time to reading my fellow bloggers’ work than I do now.

For those of you who’ve stuck around this far, well, I guess you might want to know what the “chaos” thing I was referring to earlier was all about. I’ve been having some medical issues, nothing too serious, but jarring for me nonetheless. I’m planning to go full-on rant about it in a later post in the future. But rest assured, my health is more or less okay (average, you might say), and the issue lay mostly in my troubles with my health provider and his prescriptions than with the ailment I’m dealing with. I am fine. I’m just more…irked…with doctors than I used to be.

It took up my time and my mind like you wouldn’t believe, and now that I’ve got it behind me (somewhat), I’m ready to focus my attention on my writing wholeheartedly once again.

Back to the blog.

If you guys have any ideas or wishes or comments on what to include for future how-to posts, feel free to let me know down below! (In the comments.) I’m all ears. I’m mostly knowledgeable in writing, proofreading, navigating social situations poorly, reading, bad movies, and being a plebeian gamer.

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.

Growing Older

One of those constant tropes you hear when you’re a kid is that you think the world revolves around you.

“Oh, kids these days, they’re so selfish. They think the world is their oyster. They don’t believe they’re going to grow old. They don’t think time will happen to them.”

As a kid, I used to think that was bullshit.

‘Of course I’m going to get old,’ my younger self thought. ‘That’s what happens to everybody. We all get birthdays, we all get taller, and we all get old.’

But I didn’t really know.

I fell into the stereotype of a kid that I bristled so much at. But it’s like a Catch-22. You’re not truly a young person if you have the mindset of an older person, no matter how much you might want to avoid preconceived notions.

Side note: Preconceived notions have and always will be the bane of my existence.

Now that I’ve grown some, I’m hyper aware that I’m…well, I’m aware that I’m older. And with this awareness has come this kind of resignation, a this-is-it weariness.

‘Cause, I mean, after high school, it was all about “what comes next.” Where are you going to college? What do you want to do with your life? Where do you see yourself in five years?

And now that I’m past that point, all I can think is, “Oh well. That’s all there was to it.”

From where I’m standing, life is all about the future. Life grows, life moves forward, or, to quote Ian Malcolm, “life finds a way.” When you’re a kid, you embody that potential. It’s annoying to hear all the time, but kids are the future. When you grow up, the future stops being you.

This all sounds very depressing, and while the concept can get me down in the dumps, I’m not always upset about it. With resignation, there’s also this kind of relief. It’s like expectations have been lifted from me and now I can focus on just trying to be happy.

And just because I’m no longer the future, doesn’t mean I can’t contribute to it, right?

I know some people take this in a very literal sense, and they physically contribute to the future by having kids. This is a dubious decision for certain persons (won’t name names, but my god, haven’t you ever thought that certain people should never in the history of ever attempt to be parents), and I’ve seen my fair share of people who fall into the trap of having kids as a way to remain relevant to the future.

But I do not want to have a child. Have you guys heard of the goddamn changes women have to go through in order to have a baby?! I cringe when I watch a horror movie; no way am I actually gong to live through one.

So I sometimes wonder how I can contribute to the future as I grow older.

And funnily enough, it’s that living-in-the-moment bullcrap that has become my go-to answer.

I want to live in the now with the idea that anything I say or do can have a positive effect on a person, be it a kind word or a particularly moving blog post or a fun multiplayer match of Halo. I want to pepper my life with kindness to others in the hopes that I might be helping them through a tough time or something like that.

I feel like that’s what I can do with my life.

And yeah, as I grow older, I don’t just think about these moral obligations or philosophical musings like a dweeb. I think about dying like a normal person would, too.

But I think about dying the way I used to think about growing up.

It’s not real for me yet. Not really, not in a way that counts.

I know it’s going to happen, I just haven’t completely wrapped my brain around the concept of not existing. It’s easier to think about death this way because I don’t want to get uber fixated on it or anything. I just want to live life to the fullest, being happy and making other people happy, too. Small things.

And this all sounds so stupid and lame and corny and emotional, but it’s just what I was thinking about right now.

I promise I’ll go back to writing about fun video games next time. Today, I was just feeling kind of thoughtful.

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

The WALL-E Syndrome: The Toxicity of Current Perspectives on Romantic Rejection

I used to apply this particular metaphor to people.

I’m sure you know about phrases that start with, “There are two kinds of people in the world…”

Well, mine went a little something like this:

There are two kinds of people in the world: WALL-Es and EVEs.

This classification came from the Pixar movie WALL-E. For those of you unfamiliar with the film, all you need to know about it in order to understand my point is that the plot revolved around the unreturned affections a robot named WALL-E had for a more advanced (i.e., prettier) robot named EVE.

When I made that metaphor, I was, in essence, boiling down people into two types: the type who has been consistently rejected by potential love interests and the type who has been doing the rejecting.

In my mind, I always felt that a person who has suffered through rejection knows what it’s like to feel at their lowest. That made them, I believed, ten times more likely to be empathetic toward another person in a similar situation. There’s an understanding you get for another person’s sorrows if you’ve been down in the dumps yourself.

Anyways, what I want to say today is that I was extremely fucking naive.

First of all, you should never classify an entire population of people into two groups with any degree of seriousness.

Second of all, as a frequent recipient of rejection during my high school and college years, I was perceiving the world from a place of extreme subjectivity.

Recently, events in my life have made me realize how messed up my views on rejection were.

I’ll expand on that in a sec.

First, some backstory.

I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus, so I’m not going to name names. The only thing of consequence that pertains to my epiphany is the fact that I had some romantic advances made towards me.

Basically, I got flirted with.

This is a RARE occurrence for me. I’m a homebody by nature, and I’m not exactly a looker.

Anyways, it happened, and since I’m normally pretty obtuse when it comes to these things at the best of times, I was caught off guard when it occurred. Several compliments had already been sent my way before I realized that I was being low-key romanced.

Once I did realize what was going on, I knew I had to set matters straight. I was not interested in the guy in that capacity, and I had to let him know without hurting his feelings.

And that’s when I found out that the only method of rejecting people that I thought comfortable was saying I was already dating somebody else.

Before I get into the massive realizations and stuff, I’ll just say that the dude I rejected was totally chill. He’d had no idea I was seeing someone, and didn’t seem to hold my rejecting him against me the way I had worried he would.

But afterwards, I kept thinking about the situation, distress about the whole thing festering in my brain.

Two questions kept me awake at night:

  1. Why had I needed to say that I was with someone else in order to more comfortably reject someone?
  2. And why did I feel guilty in the first place for not having feelings for another person?

The first question is a rather unfortunate byproduct of the second. Because you see, I think society and pop culture and stuff has taught us over time that not reciprocating feelings for somebody else is equivalent to hurting them.

Persons who go through unrequited love are considered “victims,” and if there is a “victim,” that means that the other person in the equation is an “oppressor,” “abuser,” or “perpetrator.”

In actuality, we shouldn’t have that mindset at all.

We all have our own feelings, and our feelings are no one’s responsibility except our own.

Now, I’m not advocating a mass wave of inconsiderateness. I’m not saying that at all.

What I am saying is that we need to stop having “bad guys” when it comes to romantic rejection.

It is no one’s fault if they don’t like another person. Feeling guilty about not liking another person is kind of like feeling guilty for not liking a specific food.

When I had to let down someone, I was forced to essentially say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t be interested in you in that way because I am currently interested in another person” because that was kinder than saying “I’m just not interested in being with you in a romantic capacity.”

See what I’m saying here?

I had to label myself as someone else’s girlfriend instead of just saying, “Nah, brah, I’m not looking for that right now.”

I had to do this so I didn’t feel like a terrible person.

Expressing your interest in another person is a brave thing to do, and it can put you in an emotionally vulnerable place. But just because you put yourself out there, does not mean that a person who rejects you is a villain.

Thinking of rejection in this manner can lead to outraged, yet misplaced, righteousness on the part of the person getting rejected.

Having been a WALL-E, I know it’s sometimes easier to think that someone doesn’t like you because of outside circumstances instead of your looks, personality, or habits.

But my sense of self-worth shouldn’t be valued as greater than another person’s.

Bottom line?

If you like someone and they don’t like you back, it is nobody’s fault. It sucks to feel rejected, but it is nobody’s fault. Not yours, not theirs.

And if you find yourself in a position where you have to reject someone, don’t hesitate to be honest, but also don’t hesitate to be kind.

WALL-E and EVE ended up together, but I think we should all remember that life is not a Disney movie.

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?

Life Update #6: A Mouse Can Make A Big Difference

Let me set the record straight. I’m not about to go off on some philosophical, metaphorical tangent about how small things can impact your life in massive ways.

I’m being much more literal here.

I got a computer mouse.

Now, some of you guys are probably wondering what the big effin’ deal is. It’s just a computer mouse, right?

I own a laptop, have owned it for about six years now. Ever since I got it, I have used the touchpad below the keyboard to navigate. Sure, my hands got cramped more often than not and my fingers awkwardly hovered over the keys, but I managed.

But I recently got another freelance job editing, so I figured I’d be a big spender for once. I went to Best Buy and got myself the cheapest-ish mouse available, called it Jerry, and then took it home. With a job like editing, I wanted a little more finesse than a touchpad. Know what I mean, jelly bean?

You guys, it’s like I forgot how to breathe. Having a mouse is addictively pleasurable. I can’t stop using it. I know material things shouldn’t amount to happiness, but I’m goddamn ecstatic.

To make a good thing even better, my boyfriend bought me a mouse pad with an image of Froley on it to celebrate.

This mouse is the best purchase EVER.

Huh.

You know, now that I think about it, this is a post about how a little thing can have a massive impact on your life.