Lowering the Bar for 2018


Let me just say that I’m super proud of you, Daniel. You did so many cool things this past year and listening to you talk about everything you achieved inspires me to do more with my time.

While you did achieve a lot of what you wanted to do this past year, I feel like I barely did anything. I had some lofty goals at the beginning of 2017, including running a half marathon and teaching myself calligraphy. Did any of that happen? Well, I did read forty books, which is pretty cool. Still feel like I could’ve done more, ya know?

This year I’m going to set goals for myself again, but instead of creating incredibly lofty goals, I think I’m going to keep mine simple. Some may call this lowering the bar, I call this celebrating the little steps I can take to help me reach my incredibly lofty goals.

Here are my incredibly simple, straightforward goals for 2018.

Read more books.

This past year I read a lot and I’ve told myself a couple times that, in 2018, I’ll push myself and read 60 books. Well, we’re only five days into 2018 and I already feel like that goal is too high. I feel like I’m setting myself up for failure by dedicating myself to five books a month.

So, instead, my goal is just to read more. I’d like to read 50 books, but as long as I match what I read last year, I’ll be happy.

I also want to read more horror novels by women and people of color. I realized over this last year that a lot of my favorite authors are white guys, which is just sad. I’m not saying Stephen King and Jack Ketchum and Joe Hill aren’t good writers, I just want there to be more diversity in the books I read. And the only way to make things more diverse is to actively try to make it so. I can’t just hope more women and people of color get popular, I need to work for it. If I just keep reading horror novels with great reviews, I’m going to read a lot of stuff by white guys. I want to give other people a chance.

Watch less Netflix.

Now when I say watch less Netflix, what I actually mean is I need to stop using streaming services to “fill time.” More often than not, I’ll spend a few hours on the couch watching something I’ve seen a million times just because it’s comfortable. It’s safe, in a way.

My goal for 2018 is to do that less. I don’t just want to fill time, I want to enjoy my time and I can do that by only using Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Youtube to watch things that I actually want to watch. Stop re-watching the same things over and over and broaden my viewing horizons a bit. There are thousands of horror movies I haven’t seen and yet I’m re-watching Roseanne. Sad. 

Save money.

This has literally been goal of mine since I graduated college. I just need to save more money so I don’t end up going into debt every time a big bill hits. To help me achieve this goal, I’m going to try to do less retail therapy. I need to stop spending money on things just because I can. Now, I can still buy things I want, but only if I really want them and not because I need to “treat myself.”

I also want to spend less money on beer that’s just for me. I like craft beer because it’s something I can share with my friends. It’s an experience! Well, it’s not an experience when I’m sitting at home watching a movie by myself and drinking a beer I’ve had millions of times before. Basically, I sometimes treat beer like I treat Netflix. I spend my money on beer I’ve had before because it’s safe, not because I’m enjoying it. Of course, I’ll still buy beer for myself once in a while, but I don’t need to be spending $60 a month on Black Butte Porter. I could be spending that on stuff I’ve never had before!

Write more.

Again, this is literally a goal I’ve had since the dawn of time. I just want to write more.

In middle school, I wrote every single day and I had notebooks full of fanfictions and funny stories and poetry. Nowadays, I write like once a week and it’s not because I’m passionate about something, it’s more because I feel obligated.

Well, guess what, if obligation is what gets me writing then I’m going to need more of it.

What I specifically want to do is set up a writing schedule for myself and stick to it. No more of this waiting for inspiration or to feel passionate about it bull crap. That doesn’t work anymore. I need to change up my tactics.

Now, my goal is to write a novella and maybe a book of poetry by the end of the year, but that goal comes later. Right now, my goal is just to write more than once a week and to start writing things for myself rather than for work.

Take time for education.

Like I said in my last post, I work at an institution that gives its employees access to college level courses for $5 and yet I’ve only taken advantage of that a couple of times.

Of course, I have big, lofty goals for my education like going back to grad school and becoming a certified cicerone, but for now I’m going to start simple. I just want to make more time for my education, take more time to learn new things because it’s fun.

There are so many free online resources I can take advantage of. Last year, I was enrolled in a introduction to law course and a course on HTML coding for free through Coursera. Did I finish either class? Nope!

That just means I need to make more time for it.

Do more things with my time.

And to wrap up my 2018 goals, I just want to do more things with my time. Right now my free time is taken up mostly by Netflix, reading, crocheting, and work, which means I’m incredibly boring. I want to change that. I want to do more.

Some things I’m planning to do more of this year, mostly because it will give me things to do during the time I’m usually re-watching Gilmore Girls, are play more video games, get back into drawing and painting, listen to more podcasts, and try out different types of exercise besides running. I want to be an interesting person and right now all I can list under the hobbies section are reading and crocheting.

So there you go, those are my goals for this coming year. Yep, I pulled the bar way down for this year, but it’s worth it if in January 2019 I can look back and feel like I accomplished something. Setting myself up for failure isn’t a good thing. 



Handling Stress Like a Champ

As you already know, this week has been crazy. Next week I’m travelling to Virginia for a conference and I have been desperately trying to get everything done before I leave at 5 a.m. on Monday. I’ve been so busy I’ve been taking my work home and working until about 7:30 at night. After I put my work away, I usually turn on Netflix and have a beer to recover.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m just trying to set the scene because, after scouring my brain for writing topics, I finally settled on something I’ve been familiar with this week: stress.

I am absolutely no stranger to stress. In high school, I took Advanced Placement classes and participated in the marching band cult. In college, I took an average of 5 classes a semester, worked part time, had an internship with the communication department, and helped run the Association for Women in Communication. Honestly, between the ages of 15 and 22, I was made entirely of stress.

Nowadays, my life’s a bit more lowkey. I work 40 hours a week and, after work, I go home and do what I want. So this week has been a little rough because I’m definitely out of practice with the whole managing my frustration thing. I’ve really had to summon up the work ethic and serenity I had in college.

Before I jump into my methods for stress management, I don’t want this to be a humble brag. I know in high school and college I was an overachiever and was even called a “unicorn student” by my advisors. I’ve never sought out that type of glory and I absolutely don’t revel in it. It’s just who I am and I’ve come to accept it. I’m a neurotic ball of nerves when it comes to work and I would definitely not recommend being like me.

0 out of 10, would not recommend being me.

Here are my tips for managing stress. This post is honestly more for me than it is for you, Daniel, or even our readers. I will be referring back to this while I’m in Virginia to keep me from pulling my hair out.

  1. Make a list of the shit you gotta do: Yes, this is a very basic tip, one you probably learned in your high school health class, but it fucking works. I still rely on my to do lists because it takes  that overwhelming sense of “oh fuck, I have so much to do” and puts it on paper. When I looked at my list for this week, I actually only had like four things to do and four things is much easier to swallow than a million things.
  2. Prioritize that shit: Again, a simple tip, but when I say prioritize I don’t mean just list things in the order you should do them. First, list things as “I will die if I do not do this” or “I can survive without doing this.” Then, move on to what you need to do to keep your job and your house. Then and only then figure out what order you should do it in. When you first start making your list, you might feel like everything on your list is life or death. I can assure you that it’s seriously not. Me printing the materials for my meeting seemed like a huge ordeal, but it did not come before me calling my student loan provider to pay my bill because not paying that bill could compromise my financial situation. See? It’s easy when you think about it.
  3. Make sure you make time for you: This might seem to contradict the last point I made, but I would argue making time to relax is essential to surviving. If I just wallowed in my stress and continued to work through the night, I would feel like death all week. I’ve been making time for Netflix and beer because, without it, I might not survive to make it to work the next day and then nothing would get done.
  4. Budget your time: This is essential, especially when I’m working on a writing piece. It’s so easy to spend hours and hours working on a piece and forget you have other things to do. So, when I’m at work, I set time limits on certain project. For example, yesterday, I have myself three hours to draft my homepage article. No more, no less. That way not only could I get that article done, I wouldn’t waste an entire afternoon switching out adverbs to make the article perfect.
  5. Accept that not everything will get done: This is where that prioritized list comes in. Sometimes you just honestly do not have the time to finish everything and instead of compromising your sanity to try and get everything done, you just need to accept it. I did. This week I had an annual report I needed to finish, but it was such a big task I knew if I worked on it I wouldn’t be able to do anything else. So I took a look at my list of “what do I need to do to keep my job?” and decided that the little things were more important than the report. And guess what? I felt so much fucking better.

Those are my tips for how to survive stress. Hopefully these are helpful.

Also, have I mentioned how much I’m looking forward to Saturday?



The Moments that Define Us Pt. 2

I always find it nostalgic to read about our childhoods.  I remember that Christmas with the Nintendo 64 but its hard to think that it was almost 20 years ago.

Twenty fucking years ago.

Hang on.

Image result for Man Drinking Alone at Bar

Its hard for me to look back and pick out the little things that defined huge swaths of my life.

Probably because memories become less about facts and certainties more about how things felt.

I started drawing when I was young because Toonami came to Nickelodeon.  I remember watching Gundam Wing for the first time.  It was amazing.  I was just sitting there slack jawed in awe of it.  I began drawing my own Gundams in my free time and building those model kits.  We moved to Washington and I had to enroll in middle school late.  The only elective classes open were scrapbooking (not a joke) and drafting.  I asked mother was drafting was and she got excited for me, “It’s like how you draw airplanes and robots!”

Drafting led to CAD drawing, which led to industrial design software, which led to me becoming a 3D render artist.  You know, the career I have today.  All because of Toonami.

I met Pretzel in middle school.  We didn’t interact much but it was around the time that I started thinking girls were really pretty and I remember her standing out to me.  She had cute hair and full lips.  We had some sort of a study hall class together and I’d always peak at her during reading hour.  She was the perfect combination of pretty and tomboy.

Innocent enough.  We didn’t even have a meet cute until high school.  We didn’t date because I was too nervous to talk to her and apparently I was into some jive bitches.  My girlfriend at the time went into my phone one weekend and deleted all of girls out of my contacts.  So I lost contact with Pretzel for a while after high school.

One day I was walking down the street heading to god knows where I and I see Pretzels friend driving down the street.  I get in front of her car to stop her and then I walk up to the window (because apparently I was a maniac) and asked her for Pretzel’s number again.

I live with Pretzel now.  We’ve been dating for two years and some change and its the happiest I’ve ever been because she’s neither jive or bitchy.

All because one day I was walking down the street and her friend drove by.

After we’d lived in Washington for a year one of our numerous Wisconsin relatives passed away.  We drove back.  Four days, twelve hours each.  I promptly finished my book the first day.  Within the first hour I think.  We pulled over to go to a department store or something and there was a Barnes and Noble.

I was wandering around.  I was just getting into literature that was more sophisticated than Animorphs and The Circle of Magic.  I was walking past a “Must Reads” table and picked one up.  The cover looked neat and the world looked expansive.

It was Steven Eriksons Gardens of the Moon.  I read his books to this day and wait for them with bated breath.  I have that original hardcover on my shelf along with the rest of the series.  I’ve been reading that series for almost two decades.


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Seriously, read this series.

One summer my previously mentioned jive bitch and I were out shopping.  And by shopping I mean stealing stuff.  You know this one.  We went to Winco and stole a couple of sodas.  Security was watching us and stopped us in the parking lot.  I remember being in that office.  They put the Pepsi in front of me while calling mom and dad.  The Pepsi cost $1.08 and the fine was $150.  The drink all together cost $151.08 and they didn’t even let me drink it.

So I was ultra-grounded.  I had a lot of time that summer.  I found an old set of throwing darts I was given and mom gave me some hypodermic needle heads from her nursing bag.  I used an exact-o knife to carve the plastic dart tips into mounts for the needle heads.  I made hypodermic throwing darts.  No, I never used them for anything.


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That you know of.


I did take them to school because I don’t learn lessons involving rules and guidelines to show some people.  In my science class some dude sat next to me who I’d seen around but never really talk to.  I showed him my throwing darts.

That person was Devon Cox.  The dude I’m still best buds with today.  He tells me he used to think I was a douchebag, but when he saw the darts he realized he we were going to be friends.

Because I stole a Pepsi.  If I had had a dollar on me at the time, he’d probably still think I was a douchebag.

Got anymore about me that I’m not thinking about?



Let’s Get Existential

Continuing a trend of being very cerebral recently, lets kick it up a notch and take a close inspection of myself.

While I’m certainly not ever going to be a great philosopher (we reserve titles like that for Ian Tewid) I have definitely been trying to understand the components of myself and my life.  I do this to try and figure out how I got where I am.  Sounds like a simple question.  I grew up, I went to college, I got jobs.  I was me- how hard can that be to figure out?

Those don’t hold up to scrutiny when I look back in my life.  I got good grades in school because I would get into trouble if I didn’t.  I went and graduated college because I grew up my entire life being corn.  I got a job when I was younger because my parents pushed me to do it.  I learned to drive and develop skills because it was expected of me.

So lets ask the golden question: was I really in control of my life?  Did I do those things because I wanted to?

I would argue in most cases that no, I didn’t really want to do those things.  My mom, like many who want the absolute best for their child, tried to get me to do so much stuff when I was younger.  I remember being in tee ball, baseball (I think), soccer, taekwondo, and learning the violin.  Middle school it was basketball, drafting and guitar.  In high school it was polo shirts and blue jeans.  She had this vision for me of being the varsity jacket wearing prep boy.


I’ll make diamonds of her hopes and drams.

I feel bad because if you remember anything about me from high school, that must’ve been a huge fishnet shirt wearing surprise.

And I just remember not wanting to do that stuff.  I wanted to play video games and watch anime.  So much of my time was doing things I didn’t want to do, but I had to do them.  They became chores.

And that has definitely spilled over into adulthood.  I hate making plans even today because I feel like I’m a kid again who has to go do something because my parents want me to.

The only thing I was really into was girls and sex.  Wisconsin Sex Ed. totally did not prepare me for this shit.  So when girls started having hormones like me, and even more surprising, started having sex with me- it’s all I cared about.  Having a girlfriend became the one locus of my identity that I chose.  


I’m still not sure what the banana was for but boy was my girlfriend surprised.

So from high school forward, I spent most of my time and energy figuring out how to spend as little time and energy doing the things I didn’t want to do.  In school I only took classes that I was already naturally good at.  I’d switch out of classes that I wasn’t already familiar with.  Same thing in college.  For my classes I picked the ones I had essentially already taken before (I.E.  Basic physics and math).

I didn’t want to spend time and energy doing other stuff.  I never tried to challenge myself.  I never really explored other opportunities because I didn’t want to put forth the effort.

And now I sit before my work desk feeling like I’ve made a mistake.

While I enjoy doing 3D rendering work in theory- I feel like all this internal exploring has stifled my desire to do this.  I feel so bored now.  Its the same thing over and over.  My days drag on forever.  Am I really doing what I want to do?

A while back I was hanging with my buddies Dan, Kyle, and Fry.  Yes from Futurama.  They had the newer season of BattleBots on the TV.  We all got sucked into it.

I really got sucked into it.  Especially the behind the scenes stuff where you see the teams repairing their robots.  The metal working tools and electronics looked so interesting.  I’ve always wished that I had more aptitude for this stuff.

I started thinking.  Why don’t I learn how to do this?  It’s actually something that’s always fascinated me.  I love metal working shops, 3D printers, and laser cutters.  Those crazy kits my cousin used to get that let him build remote controlled arms and shit.  Why did I never learn how to use them?  Those Principles of Technology classes in high school were awesome.  Why didn’t I do more and learn how to solder circuit boards?  Create rigs?  Learn scripting and coding?

Because I’ve never done it before.  Because it would be hard.  And hard things are like chores.

For an internship I had to do for high school I shadowed a biomedical engineer at the local hospital.  She showed me how to fix various break downs.  We also got to replace the ceramic container inside a refrigerated centrifuge.  Holy crap it was cool getting all the wires reconnected and watching it slowly come back to life.

Similarly, in college I remember hearing about the earliest versions of prosthetic limbs made in 3D printers.  I remember 3D printing my first abstract shape in college and thinking to myself, “I am a polymer God!”

So why am I not doing that either?

Why not do both and make robotic prosthetic limbs?

Would I feel more satisfied with my work?  Less confused about my path?  More passionate?

Speaking of passion- I see so many of my friends be like head over heels in love with their hobbies.  I don’t feel that.  I haven’t really played a game or read a book that had my chomping at the bit to get home and do again.  Not since I was younger.  I would straight up run home from the bus and kick on the PS2 to play Kingdom Hearts or Megaman Legends.

Where is that passion now?

I greatly enjoy comics, books, and video games; but it’s been a long time since I felt that keening adrenaline in my chest.  I used to feel that when I would go play Pump It Up back in the day.  Finding a parking spot felt like an eternity because all I wanted to do was get on that dance pad.

I by no means am sad or bored with life.  But I do feel like a key component of myself went missing.  I was reading some really old Facebook conversations a few months ago.  Old friends, classmates, ex-girlfriends and family.  I used to be so different.  So lively.  I used to be fucking hilarious.  When did that shift?

The obvious point is that there was a pretty significant shift early in 2013.  My girlfriend at the time dumped me and that signaled an “end of an era” for me.  It was a pretty brutal breakup for me and it demanded that I grow a “self respect.”


It wasn’t a sword in my heart, but paychecks that I got to keep.

What a wonderful thing to have in my back pocket.  Self respect is pretty cool.  Now when people disrespect me I get mad!  And that’s important!

It probably was the very start of me evaluating who I had become.  It was the end of my locus being external and rooted in my current lover.  I became very selfish (in a healthy way).  I was doing things I wanted to do instead of always worrying about the wants and needs of another.

But then it went too far.  I didn’t want to be selfish, impulsive, or a dick.  I spent a lot of time re-applying my self evaluations of me.  Dismantling the motivations for my actions, dismantling the actions of others.  Trying to peer behind the curtains.  Trying to find out why people acted the way they did.  Why I acted the way I did.

And now that’s become what I do.  In my quiet moments, in my free time ; constantly trying to make sure that I make no assumptions, that I make fewer mistakes, that I piss off less people.  Still trying to keep myself on a path I care about, but now I spend my energy trying desperately not to be like the people that irritate me.

Is that causing me to forget who I am or used to be?  When I was younger I felt like I was funnier, more present, and definitely more concentrated in my personality.

Now that I’m constantly walking on eggshells so that I don’t become someone I don’t like- I feel like I have essentially stifled the ability to become someone.

I am a person trying really hard not to become a person.

Sounds confusing but its a pretty profound thought for me.  By essentially spending too much time trying not to be someone I hate- I have prevented myself from being someone.  Quirks, mistakes, and impulses are what make the people we love people and all I’ve tried to do is suppress that in myself.  Who am I?  I am the result of making my personality more digestible for people around me.

So who the fuck am I?  Am I anyone?  What defines me as me if being me is dependent on those around me.


So the existential statement that almost literally occurred to me in a dream:

I have spent most of my life trying not to do things.

Not doing anything new or hard because it required effort, and not being a person because I’m afraid of who I might become.

So whats the solution?

I’m doing my damnedest to just be, instead of evaluating what being me is.

And I’m going to build a motherfucking robot someday.

And boy howdy it will suck if I find this profound answer in my life and then I’m like, “God fucking damnit building robots suuuuuuucks.”


Or it’ll be fucking awesome.


Plant a Seed

I remember being in elementary school and thinking that adulthood was- for all intents and purposes- millennia away.  Days lasted forever and summer vacation might as well be its own year in between school years.  Time lasted such a long time back then because my concept of time was “how long do I have to wait to go play with Pat.”

So I remember pretty clearly the first time Mrs. Thielman said to us that we should start thinking about about we want to do when we are all grown up.  It’ll help us pick classes and go to college one day if we figure it out early.

I remember just not caring.  Are you serious?  That’s like a whole different epoch from where I am now.  I’m busy playing Pokemon Blue (Blastoise is best, fuck Charizard) and Micro-Machines.

But she made us write a paper during class.  I don’t remember what I wrote about but I remember she said to think of this like planting a seed.


We moved in the year 2000.  A long cross-country trip from Wisconsin to Washington. I got registered for middle school a bit late because mom and dad were busy with other stupid stuff like “where will we live?”  Most of the optional classes were full but Drafting still had slots open.

Mom expounded at length, “That would be so perfect for you!  You’re always drawing airplanes and those robots from Cartoon Network (Gundams).  Do you have any of your drawings to show them?”

I did not care one bit.  I was too focused on what I had left behind in Wisconsin (nothing really) to really appreciate what a big moment this was in my life.  Drafting led to 3D/CAD/CAM classes and the rest is for another story.

Doing the 3D modeling made me think back to Mrs. Thielman.  I loved doing 3D stuff, it was so much fun.  If the bell never rang I probably would have sat there for days making stuff.  Maybe this is what I want my seed to grow into.  It might cost money in the future but we’ll teach you more about money when you need it for college.


Smash cut to high school.  Fucking teachers wouldn’t shut up about college.  College this, college that.  Get some grants, do some scholarships.  God damn it kids, don’t you know how important college is?  Our generation went to college and it was fucking awesome.  We’ll help you do that!

I took as many of the CAD/CAM classes I could with Mr. Kernen (Resident Badass Teacher).  I had so much fun doing the work.  I thrived.  It was something I was good at and something I enjoyed doing.  I was nurturing my seed.  The classes breezed by and I was genuinely sad when I ran out.

Towards the end of high school the teachers got more and more on our cases to do some scholarships and apply for grants.  I remember being impressed by how many scholarships there were.  But I didn’t do any of them because paperwork was for jive bitches and the first few didn’t pan out.  I am easily discouraged.

But don’t worry.  The government can help with federal loans and there are places that can give out loans specifically for school.  There are plenty of options.  They’ll teach you more about loans when you apply for them.  Just remember, going to college is an investment in your future.


College.  This was it.  This was what it was all for.  I did flounder a bit out of high school but after a year I had it all dialed in.  I wanted to go to The Art Institute of Portland for Industrial Design (later Design Visualization) so I could continue to do fun 3D shit!

Dat price tag though.  The average Art Institute (A.I.) degree is approximately $100,000.  But what you get is so very worth it.  Do not worry though, A.I. makes sure that its well spent with teachers with real experience, a comprehensive placement plan when you graduate, and really experienced accountants who can help you get your finances in order.  You shouldn’t worry about that!  You should be focusing on your future because this is the stage in which your life is played out.

I ended up taking out federal and private loans because F.A.F.S.A. told me to #getrekt.  I wasn’t too worried, I was quite assured that when I had my super well paying job the loans would just vanish like so much cocaine on a CEO’s desk.   We’ll teach you more about loans when you have to start paying them.


My experience with my loans was really frustrating and confusing.  Mom joined in and had just as much luck figuring anything out.  My college assured me that they talk to the bank every time my college funds ran out so I don’t need to worry about that.  They also didn’t want to bore me with the mathematical details.  They told me my bank will teach me what I need to know when I start paying them off.

I did learn though that something that would help me moving forward would be having some real credit history.  What’s that?  No, no, rental history is different even though its the same.  You need a credit card!  It has a really low rate!  Use this card to buy stuff and then pay it off later!  It’ll help your credit score.  What’s a credit score?  An arbitrary number we applied significant meaning to.

Think of it like borrowing money when you need it.  And then when you have your super well paying job it won’t be a problem because you can pay it off as you go.


I graduated and then everything became struggle for a while.  You’re starting out though, this is the future you’ve been investing in!  Don’t be sad!

I bounced from freelance job to freelance job and kept repeating their mantra in my head, “You’ll get your great job someday!  Just keep working.”

I’ve been working at Nemo Design for almost 2 years now.  This is probably the best job I’ve ever wanted and I love it.  It was a little shaky in the middle when my loans came back online and I didn’t quite have that “great job” they all assured me I would.  I kept asking for their help and they kept saying, “You’ll get it someday!”

I’m paying my bills off but I’m a little confused.  So many things were promised to me with no explanation, and even now when I ask for one I don’t really get one.  At so many points in the past they told me “we’ll explain it all to you when you get there.”

Well now I’m here, and I was never taught this stuff.  I wasn’t taught how to carefully manage a budget, it wasn’t explained to me how paying off loans was going to work, and I certainly don’t know how to navigate a financial situation of almost any level.

And I’m not the only one.  Many of my peers have similar stories.  College wasn’t a wonderland like it was made out to be.  College wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t for everyone.  But those financial commitments we made stand and we have to deal with them.

All of the flowery words to reassure me about my choices were pointless.  My “industry expert” teachers were essentially all moving through a revolving door- they weren’t that important in the end if they were so easily replaced.  I’ve met other 3D designers who never even went to college.  Credit history is important but so far it hasn’t played any role in my life.  My loans that were supposed to be trivial in the face of my awesome super well paying job actually cost me more money than I pay on my apartment.  I wouldn’t have any bills if I hadn’t accrued them myself.  So why was college so important?

Why wasn’t I taught about these things?  Why wasn’t there a precious math class about how a college loan can build up if you aren’t careful?  Why wasn’t I taught how to navigate this stuff?  Why wasn’t I taught about how much being an adult costs?

Our generation gets a lot of shit, too.  People say we are entitled.  We don’t buy as much, we live with our parents forever, we are apparently lazy and media obsessed.  We are told how hard things were for our parents and how hard they have it.  Everything is easy for us.  Things were put in place to help us.  Anyone can get a credit card.  Anyone can get a college loan.  Anyone can get an education if they are willing to pay in this day and age.   Stop acting like we made you promises.

Instead of preparing me to be an adult they prepared me to be a college student.  They built up this idea about how these things are important and then ushered us through a pipeline to get us into these roles.  While the goals set for me certainly have shaped my life to this point, they certainly weren’t important.  And now I’m paying a bunch of money each paycheck back to organizations.  Organizations that told us whatever we wanted to hear as long as we adhered to their ideas about adulthood and education.  They told us to trust them, they told us they would teach us.  After I was through the pipeline though- all of the help melted away and they are already focusing on the next group moving through.  My journey was complete.

Then it occurred to me.

I was never the farmer.

I was the crop.

Corn harvest in Illinois - September


Overwhelmed by What I Want to Learn

I really enjoyed your post about acting on impulse.  I feel its a lesser known wisdom that people don’t take advantage of more often.  Being an artist I work on deadlines that are sometimes absurd.  In this line of work, sometimes you need to grab whatever appears to you first and just sprint.  The toughest part is learning to ignore or overtake your doubt.

You were a pretty studious and organized kid.  It was the family joke for a while that you don’t actually need friends or loved ones as long as you have books!  Hilarious!

Then you got married and we all had to begrudgingly shut up.

As for me as a kid, I was definitely distracted.  I wasn’t a bad student, or a bad kid, or even just unfocused.  I use the word distracted because I spent a lot of time and energy finding and utilizing the path of least resistance.  I had other priorities!  There were like, video games to play, Thundercats to watch, and weekends to look forward to!  Who on earth has time for reading, school, books, and planners?

I got middling grades throughout elementary, middle, and high school.  Even the first half of college I spent a lot of time just treading water.  Not really falling behind, and never really sprinting for any finish line.  I didn’t want to fail, but I didn’t care enough to get that A.

And now, long after school is over and college is finished, I kinda, sorta, maybe resent my past self.

Its really unfair and unrealistic to expect a kid to try and please their future selves.  It takes away from being a kid.  We’ll blame the parents for this one.  But looking back I skipped a lot of interesting classes and picked easier topics so I had more time for dumb things in my evening, like bad girlfriends and Kingdom Hearts.

I’m a 3D artist, and as any artist can tell you there are always more techniques to learn and skills to practice.  I’m also a college graduate, and as any college graduate can tell you, you almost never learn as much as you needed or wanted to.

So now I’m an adult and now I have found the drive to not tread water, but to run and climb the enormous mountain of stuff I need to learn.  Not even need, I want to learn.

There is a list of crap I can list for what I want to learn in 3D.  I’d list it all here but it’ll seem like I’m picking words out of the dictionary and turning them into verbs.  I need to learn to skin, rig, deform, animate, bake normals and all sorts of other stuff.  The techniques I use in my work are what I found work the best in my workflow, and that is fine!  But I watch movies like How to Train Your Dragon and Ratatouille and I can only think to myself “I want to learn how to do that!  I want to tour these places and work with them to create amazing things!”

Meanwhile I’m building just an insurmountable amount of store fixtures.  I’ve made so many fixtures that they could fill a Wal-mart.  I’ve built the fixtures that actually belong in a Wal-mart.  That’s how my cover letter would go:

Dear Dean Dublois,

I heard that How to Train Your Dragon 3 was announced and I want to be an artist working on the movie.  If you have need of someone to create, say, a Wal-mart full of store fixtures for your movie about vikings and dragons, I am your guy!



I want to create these amazing things!  I already get to create super cool designs for specialty sports stores and those are cool, but I could make Toothless.  The big problem is that I don’t know how.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I’m doing in my career, but I think it’s human nature to want more.

And this is just my rant about my career!  There is so much about the world I just don’t understand.  And I’m trying to learn!

Seriously though, I didn’t understand the financial crisis in Greece, and I don’t understand the refugee problem in Syria and Europe.  Why did we go to war in Iraq?  People try and give these things really succinct causes and effects but the reality is that humans simplify because generally they are too large to fathom.

I fundamentally don’t understand the pros and cons of immigration in America.  I live here.  I should know, shouldn’t I?  Politics, man.  That’s its own little wormhole.  The police situations in Ferguson and other similar situations.  The internet and the media hype it, but is there a bias?  Am I getting the whole story?

If only we had some sort of institution in place that would educate a kid from age 6 to 18 about all the goings on in the world.  Man that would be handy.

I want to be well educated individual.  I don’t want to be manipulated by bias and agenda.  I don’t necessarily believe that everything is trying to trick me, but I think there is value on being able to teach myself and form my own unique opinions and ideas.

Its just so much.  Its so intimidating.

I’d better go relax myself by playing games, watching Thundercats, and thinking about the weekend.