I Have Bills, Therefor I Am.

It’s been a slow week at work (and in general) which means its time for every ones favorite segment of this blog:

“Daniel had way too much time to think this week about his life and his purpose and its time to go down the existential hole he keeps digging!”

EDITORS NOTE: think of better title.

I enjoy speculating and finding the answers.  I keep digging this hole so often that I’ve started doing back flips into it.  Hell at this point I’ve built a fucking spiral staircase to the bedrock of my existentialism.

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I need David Bowie to come sing to me to help me grow up.

Anyway.  My new thing I’ve been thinking about is a continuation of my previous train of thought: about how I have spent my life trying not to do things.  This all started when I began the Rogue Trader campaign like I said I was going to.  The campaign is straightening out and coming together and its fun for people but I almost immediately didn’t want to do it anymore.  Its fun and all that jazz but being tied down by a responsibility to do something and being held accountable by my peers drained my mentally.

Now those astute readers might point out to me that I was going to run a campaign to force myself to develop better habits such as accountability and the like.  And you are right!  Mostly though I haven’t been thinking about stopping the campaign as much as I’ve been thinking about why I don’t like to do things.

It feels like in some cases with each passing days that the things I do for fun become less fun.  On YouTube I’m constantly seeking old stuff to re-watch, I’m looking for new podcasts and nothing stands out, I have a hard time trying to stay invested in video games, I find it difficult to read for long periods of time, I quit playing magic for the time being, I can’t find a new table top I want to dive in on; the list goes on!

To reiterate: I wouldn’t say I’m sad as much as I feel stuck.  I go home after what feels like ages at work and sit there desperately wishing I had something to do while I sit in a room surrounded by things to do.

The obvious answer is just do something.  But again none of it feels fun.  I have like 4 – 5 games on the back burner but when I think about playing them I’m just like, “Ugh, I need to get through all of these.”

The feeling of consistency in my life is that “things are chores I need to do.”  Its why I listen to the same podcasts over and over, and its why I re-watch the same old videos on YouTube.  Doing new things feels more like something I have to finish than to enjoy.  Books on my shelf, games in my library, stories in my head- they don’t feel like something I want to do as much as something I need to do as some point.

And that’s the feeling I’ve been addressing.  Not so much the fact that I’m bored or listless, but the feeling that something should hold my interest.  Right?  I see my friends and family and they are all hustling and bustling about theirs lives and hobbies.  Devon is always fucking excited about his new game or thing he’s doing.

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Picture is totally related.

I think part of it has to do with that I’m a creature of habit.  My morning routine and my afternoon routines are very similar day to day.  In the morning our alarm goes off and I lie in bed for another ten or so minutes.  I usually physically get up at around 7:25 AM and my morning ablutions take until about 7:55 AM.  The drive to work takes about an hour or less and I get to work around 9:00 AM.  I drop my bag off and walk down the street to get a bagel.  I come back and eat at my desk and then we have our morning meeting at 9:30 AM, and so on and so forth.

The evening is the same.  We leave work at 5:00 PM and we get home around 6:00 PM depending on whether we stop at the store.  Mike and Molly play till 7:00 PM, Big Bang Theory till 8:00 PM, and potentially the news until 8:30 PM.  Then we turn on Netflix or something.

I do not do things because I enjoy them.  I do them because its the daily grind.  The routine.  The day to day.  The moment I go to turn on Netflix I just stare at it because I don’t know what to put on.  It was easier when the TV programming was in control.

I love this system because I don’t have to think its just part of the routine which fills time in between events.

Having to fill the time is where my emotions and drive begin to fail me.  I love the routine because I don’t want to think about doing stuff, I just want to find something to fill time.  I’m not seeking entertainment I’m seeking distraction.

I’ve been thinking about this disengagement all week at work.  It started with YouTube.  It’s been a slow week so I have been turning on YouTube to fill the quiet.  And I was having trouble finding anything new to watch.  I’m up to date on my favorite channels so I revert to just watching old playlists.

Then I started thinking that I feel the same sort of apathy for my work.  Even in these slow periods I find it difficult to find personal stuff to work on.  3D to me has just become a job I do, not a passion I chase.  This job will likely never offer me prestige or wealth so what is the point?

I have been leafing through various materials on what I might like to pursue instead- but again, whenever I encounter resistance I feel apathy.  Engineering, robotics, industrial design would require me to get training and potentially college and I can’t afford that.  I would likely never reach a high enough level to just be successful at what I’m doing.

 

But I’m smart enough to know that’s not true.  It does spur the question: how do I foresee my own career reaching its logical conclusion?  What is that conclusion?  I don’t really know.  And maybe that not knowing is what is causing me to disengage.

The slow days drag on because I’m forced to face the fact that I don’t do much.  Maybe I don’t enjoy the busier days but I certainly appreciate them because they go by much quicker.  I don’t have to think too much and can just focus on my work.  Because it gets me through the day.  Maybe my job is merely a distraction.  Something to fill the time in between things.

So now what?

I feel like “so now what” should be one of those great questions echoed in the halls of philosophers.  Questions like:

“Why are we here?”

“What is life and existence about?”

“Does God exist?”

“So now what?”

That’ll be my tribute to the grand scheme of things.  Sir Daniel Smudde, the man who dared to ask “so now what?”

-DTM

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Grown Up Activities

I have no clue what to write about.  The last like three posts have had me sitting around wondering and then eventually I blurble something onto the page.

I mostly feel like there isn’t a lot going on in my life.  I’m not like bored, sad, or depressed.  Just in a groove, ya know?  I work, I go home, I cook, I clean, I sit on the couch, I play some video games.  I sleep.

So what do I write about?  I definitely don’t have enough money to have- oh I don’t know, any hobbies.

So its Thursday night and I don’t know what to write about and I definitely have to write a post.  So what does any person do when they have to procrastinate?

You start furiously cleaning.

My kitchen is fucking spotless right now.

I did part of the bathroom for good measure.

lysol-multi-purpose-cleaner-with-hydrogen-peroxide

I fucking snort this shit.

The thing is though: I genuinely like cleaning.  It’s really satisfying to me to wipe down a surface and watch it become clean and shiny.  There is something so cathartic when I’m done cooking and I look at the stove like, “Aww I’mma clean the hell outta this.”

Speaking of which- when did I start to love cooking.  Mom never like, officially taught me how to cook.  I just had to experiment.  I could cook a few things assuming the box has directions, but now that I’m the one who cleans and dirties the kitchen I’m a lot more invested.

My buddy Kyle came over one day and taught me how to massacre a chicken body and cook like eighty different meals.  Now I cook chicken all the time.  I used to hate having so many dishes to clean, but now I walk through kitchen stores and wish that I had so much more money.

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“Do you have a house?”  “No, I have a pan.”

I recently spent the last of my money getting a 12″ cast iron pan.  I got the nice oil to season it with.  I care for that thing better than I care for myself.  I know its schedule.  I know its hopes and dreams, and what its perfect date night is.

I make my fucking bed now.  Some mornings are better than others but generally I like to at least smooth out the sheets.  Not always- but more than I ever have before.  I dunno, having my own apartment is like a symbol of pride.

Vacuuming my carpet is almost pornographic.  Watching all of the fuzzes get sucked up and listening to the crackle of dirt being sucked away is just the best.  Looking at the carpet and making the lines all go the same way when I’m done is so good.  I enjoy mopping.  We have a Swiffer, but its essentially the same thing.

I love cleaning and thinking like, “I won’t make a big deal about it, but I need to invite my friends over and somehow draw attention to how fucking clean everything is.”

I mean- a lot of this probably has to do with how I feel less impotent cleaning now.  Living with mom and dad was a crazy money saver, but as you know our nephew also lives there.  The last like four times I’ve been over its been a catastrophe.  One time I found a body.  Like a dead one.  Just laying in the powder-ized Goldfish crackers.

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See?

I have a strong opinion on which garbage bags people should get.  I judge my brooms effectiveness.  I’ll spend two times as much money on the correct candle.  There absolutely a correct answer to, “Which cleaner should we get?”

I have fucking pants now Emily.  Pants.  I spent my own money on pants, for me.  I also bought fancy adidas boxer briefs because this is what I do for fun.

I go buy things for my cat because I’m worried she’s bored.  We’ve had long discussions about what we think her favorite treats are.  I’ve seriously debated buying a brush so I can maintain her.  I wanna brush her really well and be like, “I won’t make a big deal about it, but I need to invite my friends over and somehow draw attention to how fucking brushed she is.”

Its weird to think that this is the stuff I enjoy doing now.  I’m constantly trying to find  a new hobby to consume my time.  I’ve currently got a PS2 hooked up.  I own a bunch of movies and games.  I could be doing this stuff but its just not holding my attention like when I was young.  I have games I haven’t played yet!  I need to play them!

But nah, I’m busy sweeping the laundry nook.

Don’t Feel Guilty for your Hobbies

Work trips might be fun, but they completely throw you off your game when you get back. The one and only time I’ve missed a blog post was because of my work trip to Seattle. I almost did the same thing today after getting back from Virginia. Work trips, man.

Thankfully, I basically wrote my post on the flight between Seattle and Pullman. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term guilty pleasure and why it bothers me so much. For those of you who don’t know, according to Wikipedia a guilty pleasure is “something, such as a movie, television program, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.”

Can you see why this phrase bothers me? No? Okay, let me explain. 

Generally, we use the phrase guilty pleasure in situations where we’re talking about our hobbies, but don’t want to be judged for them. An example of one of my many guilty pleasures would be Taylor Swift’s album 1989. Those songs are just too darn catchy.

But, wait. Daniel, you’re probably thinking “Emily, that’s not a guilty pleasure! I like her songs, too! I would never judge you for that!” However, there are a lot of people who would judge me for it. She’s too girly, too mainstream, too poppy.

And that is exactly why I hate the term guilty pleasure. Basically, it’s a label we use to police ourselves based on what other people think. When we use the term guilty pleasure, we’re saying “I know you’ll judge me for this, so I’m going to invalidate my own likes and dislikes so I can stay your friend because you’re a judgmental jerk.”

I have been trying to remove the term guilty pleasure from my vocabulary. At the risk of sounding dramatic, as I find my way in this world I’ve realized I need to start being honest with myself and be more comfortable with who I am. Yes, my friend might judge me for listening to Ke$ha while I run, but that doesn’t mean I should make myself feel bad for it. As long as I’m not hurting anyone or doing something out right illegal, no one should care what I listen to when I’m exercising or watching while laying in bed on a Friday night. I’m still a cool person and my pleasures are a part of that. I need to stop being a judgmental jerk to myself.

I’ve also been trying to be less of a judgmental jerk to other people. My biggest sin in that regard is beer. I am so bad about judging people I see in the beer cooler, buying Bud Light or Coors. Does it affect me? Nope. Should I care? Absolutely not. They obviously like Bud Light and their taste in beer doesn’t dictate their entire personality. This person could be very awesome and I’m automatically throwing up a wall by being so judgmental.

You do you, stranger in the beer cooler. I’ll do me and try to ignore the people who are judging me for my choice of beer. My beer can be way too expensive, way too strong, and way too hipster, but it’s what I like. I’m not going to preface my love of fancy beer with, “Well, this stout is my guilty pleasure…” so I’m not going to make anyone else do that either.

Well, there’s my rant. I love painting my nails, trying new lipsticks, watching Roseanne reruns, watching B-flick horror films, and listening to auto-tuned pop songs, and I don’t feel at all guilty.

Sorry for my late post. At least this time I avoided a punishment.

-EMS