Happy F*cking 설날

Happy F*cking 설날

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY ONE HUNDRED ONE

2017 January 30 [Monday]

It’s the Lunar New Year holiday right now, and I live in an Asian country, so fuck you! The lifemate and I have basically been up to no good since last Thursday night, and really, none of the stuff we’ve been getting into is anything of anyone’s business [and I’m burning through a tequila-fueled rage {wow, that sentence took five ,minutes to write |goddamnit! look at that comma! fuck!|}]. So, see you on Friday for my #FridayFeature! This is officially the extent of my Mundane Monday post. Happy Fucking New Year to all you Asians out there! Woot woot!

 

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*caption below

 


 

*chili’s in the “crock pot” and tequila’s being poured … check out my Insta stories to see it all for yourself! Ba-ja-hahahahahaha!

I know what you are, but what am I?

I know what you are, but what am I?

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY NINETY-EIGHT

2017 January 27 [Friday]

Friday Feature

“‘Victims’ Who Make Victims of Us All” Part III / X

[Read Part I & Part II]

Social interaction with a cat is, often times, quite painful and surprisingly complex. Unlike a dog, a cat wants what it wants and the want cannot be beaten out of it. This perhaps is the catalyst behind the cat- and dog-owner judgments, but this is not about that. A cat can, however, be persuaded out of a particular want if a greater want reveals itself. Thus, as all cat owners know, if you can present a cat with an equally alluring option to the one it already so desperately wants, the cat will seemingly do your bidding. Obviously, the cat is still just pursuing its own wants, but if you can positively reinforce the behaviors you want your cat to enact, the cat will continue to enact those behaviors for the reward it receives (Bradshaw, 2013). Like cats, we humans are surprisingly attuned to positive reinforcement, and yet, unlike cats [unfortunately], social interaction between humans is always much more complicated. Don’t you ever wish, though, that interacting with other humans could be less daunting?

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After my [inept] attempt to explain the fundamentals of Julian B. Rotter’s “social learning theory” in last week’s post as the foundation upon which I will examine why and/or how some people enact behavior and/or become victims of their own volition, I will attempt to convey how social interactions in daily life are not as obviously labeled “skill determined” or “chance determined” as reality-television game shows and Texas Hold ’Em poker. Thus, I ought to begin with a quick overview of how Rotter (along with Phares, E. J. and James, W. H.) tested how people behave when the situation is clearly defined as “skill determined” or “chance determined” in their “Studies of Complex Learning” (Rotter, 1966, p. 4).

Their hypothesis, which I will paraphrase here, went something like this:

If a person (Person A) believes that the outcome of his/her behavior was determined by his/her own action, then when that behavior is positively reinforced, the likelihood that that same behavior will be enacted increases, and when the behavior is negatively reinforced, the likelihood that that same behavior will be enacted decreases. If a person (Person B), however, believes that the outcome of his/her behavior was determined by forces beyond his/her own control, then when that behavior is positively or negatively reinforced, the likelihood that that same behavior will be enacted remains unchanged. (Rotter, 1966, p. 5)

After a series of tests that [you can read for yourself because they’re way too dense for me to explain and examine here] were designed specifically to test how people behave under clearly labeled “skill determined” or “chance determined” situations, the experimenters basically stated under what conditions success would be met, and the measure for each subject was how much time passed before the subject reached “extinction,” which was defined as the subject having an expectancy of success on a scale of 0–10 being 0 or 1 three times (Rotter, 1966, p. 5–9). After a number of tests were conducted, they found that there was a “clear difference with the subjects given chance instructions and those who were not told it was either a chance or a skill task having significantly more trials to extinction (almost twice as many) than the skill group” (Rotter, 1966, p. 7). What this means is that the group of subjects who were told that success was dependent solely on luck or who were told nothing at all, continued to expect that they had a chance to succeed for twice as long as those who thought that their success was dependent upon their own skills. The crazy part to me is that all of the outcomes were completely arbitrary, the simple reinforcement decided by the experimenter. Rotter, James and Phares, were not the only researchers who conducted these types of tests and came to similar conclusions either, by the way (Rotter, 1966).
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But what is the point of all of this? The point is that people behave differently when they believe or perceive the outcome of a given situation is determined by their own skills or sheer luck. The multitude of various situations in everyday life, however, are not clearly labeled as such. So then how do people manage this vast social landscape, the landscape of social interaction that holds the most value (Mearns, 2016)? According to Rotter, there have been many researchers who have studied and are “concerned with whether the individual is controlled from within or from without. We [Rotter, et al] are concerned, however, not with this variable at all but only with the question of whether or not an individual believes that his own behavior, skills, or internal dispositions determine what reinforcements he receives” (Rotter, 1966, p. 4). Here is an example of Rotter and company’s “Studies of Complex Learning” hypothesis in real-life terms:

Person A and Person B are experiencing the same situation; in that, they’re both seeking employment. Person A expects (remember the “four main components” to Rotter’s social learning theory from Part II) to get the job because she feels that her skills qualify her for the position. Person B expects to get the job because he too feels that his skills qualify him for the position. Outcome X: Now, both submit their resumes and go in for an interview. A week later, they both find out that they have been hired. Person A perceives this success as a reinforcement of her skills and abilities and will most likely enact the same behavior the next time she needs to find employment. Person B also perceives this success as a reinforcement of his abilities and maybe feels lucky that the interviewer wasn’t a bitch and will most likely enact the same behavior the next time he needs to find employment. Outcome Y: Now, both submit their resumes and go in for an interview. A week later, they both find out they were not hired. Person A perceives this failure as a failure of the self and will blame the failure on her own lack of skills or qualifications, and she will adjust her strategy/approach to the next situation wherein she’s looking for employment. Person B, on the other hand, will perceive this failure as a situation beyond his control, that it was a stroke of bad luck, thinks the interviewer was a bitch, etc., and since he does not find the failure to be his fault, will most likely approach the next employment-seeking situation in exactly the same way.

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So, here we are, upon a bridge. We first stood upon the knowledge that a person’s behavior when a particular situation is known to require skills or depends upon luck is essentially predictable. Now, we’re crossing that bridge to the landscape of social interaction where the labeling of such interactions as “skill” or “luck determined” is impossible. Thus, when dealing with social interactions, we are now dealing with “internal versus external control of reinforcement” (Rotter, 1966). I’ve been wrestling with how to package and present the various ways a person may approach the myriad social situations to show the differences in the perception of those who believe the outcomes of their behaviors are either determined by their own doing or by the doing of others and/or other-ly-ness. The conclusion I’ve come to is to present three social interactions in varying degrees of knowable social behavior. I will attempt to present these interactions through the two perspectives of Person A — who perceives the following situations presented to her from an “internally-controlled” point of view — and Person B — who perceives the following situations presented to her from an “externally-controlled” point of view. This is not to say that both A and B perceive all situations from this perspective. I am merely stating here that they hypothetically perceive the following hypothetical situations in their aforementioned ways.
Social Interaction №1

“Boss and Employee (or any socially hierarchical setting)”

A social interaction between a boss and an employee has a few knowable, definitive rules. The boss knows that she has the power to end an employee’s employment, but the boss also needs the employment of employees. An employee knows that she must fulfill whatever tasks are required of her, but the employee also knows that she ought to be treated well. Thus, there is a social contract between bosses and employees in that the boss hires an employee to do the work, and if that employee does the work, she will be compensated with the agreed upon form of compensation. If the employee does not do the work, she will not be compensated. Each knows the other holds some form of power over the other, and so, interactions between varying hierarchical levels are oftentimes tense. Despite this tension, social interactions with a superior are more clearly defined. A boss says, “Good job.” You must be doing a good job. A boss says, “Bad job.” You must be doing a bad job. Even though this may seem like an obvious, logical response, it’s the employee’s perception of the cause of this comment by the boss that matters. Thus, here is the situation:

A boss has called an employee into her office for a performance review. The review is positive, and the boss has offered a bonus. Person A expected to do well, perceives this bonus as a reward for all of her hard work, and will continue to work hard. Person B expected to do well, perceives this bonus as a reward for all her hard work and will continue to work hard. The following month, however, the boss conducts a similar performance review. The review is negative, and the consequence is a warning. Person A expected to do well, perceives this punishment as a failure of her work and thus, changes her approach. Person B expected to do well, perceives this punishment as unfair, complains that the boss is an asshole and thus, continues to approach her work the same way because what can she do?; her boss is a bitch.

Social Interaction №2

“Customer and Service Provider”

In the realm of customer service, social interactions are still bound to a few knowable guidelines, but the lines become slightly blurred. The customer wants something from the service provider, and the customer will most likely be unable to get the thing he wants unless the service provider gives it to him. The service provider, similarly, is there to give the customer what he wants, but the service provider ought to be treated with, at the very least, some respect. Thus, the situation:

Person A walks into a coffee shop and orders a cup of coffee. Person A expects to be given a cup of coffee in exchange for money. The service provider takes Person A’s money and gives him the coffee. The social interaction is a success, so Person A will most likely behave in a similar way when needing coffee again in the future. The same situation unfolds in exactly the same way for Person B. The next day, Person A walks into a coffee shop and orders a cup of coffee the same way he always does. The service provider snaps at him and tells him he needs to “wait a goddamn minute!” Person A looks around to make sure he didn’t cut anyone in line. If he has indeed cut the line, he apologizes and makes his way to the back. If he has not cut the line because there is no line, he may wonder if it was something he said or the way he said it. If he concludes that the treatment he has received could not have been caused by something he said or did, he can only conclude that the service provider is having a bad day, and thus, however the service provider may behave is beyond his control. Meanwhile, Person B walks into a coffee shop and experiences the same brash service provider. Instead of even making sure he has himself done nothing wrong, having no inkling to think that he perhaps has caused this reaction, Person B responds in equal fury at the service provider asking him, “Where the hell do you get off telling me what to do?”

Social Interaction №3

“Friends”

The first two interactions were essentially between strangers in situations with vague albeit knowable social rules in modern society. This interaction, however, is not between strangers, and thus, the rules become murky, less discernible. Thus, here is the situation:

A friend posts a picture onto one of the various forms of social media. Person A sees the picture and comments, “Haha, nice face!” Person A expects her friend to understand her sarcasm. Later that day, Person A receives a text message that says, “[smiley-face emoji] Thanks!” Since the response Person A received from her friend met her expectations, Person A will continue to behave in a similar fashion. The same interaction unfolds between Person B and the friend. All is well. The following week, a friend posts another similar picture. Person A sees the picture and comments, “You don’t look very happy.” Person A expects her friend to understand her. Within a minute Person A is bombarded with angry texts from her friend berating her with messages like, “How dare you? Why would you write something like that? That’s so mean! You don’t even know him!” et cetera, et cetera. Person A is baffled and re-examines the picture and the comment and tries desperately to figure out what she said that set her friend off. Person A is still confused as to what she did to make her friend so mad. Maybe her friend is talking about something else, so Person A, texts back, “What did I do?” The friend responds, “Your comment on that pic I just posted of me and my boyfriend! How could you write that! Everyone can see it!” Realizing what she did, Person A feels really bad for the oversight. Perhaps that sort of comment shouldn’t be made in public.
The same situation befalls Person B. This time, however, upon receiving the first mass of angry texts shoots back, “What the hell is wrong with you?” The friend responds, “Your comment on that pic … Everyone can see it!” Person B does not perceive that this could possibly be her fault because the friend should know that the picture was posted in public, so Person B responds, “Are you serious? You posted that pic in public! You should know better! Stop being such a bitch!”

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My point is obvious, if someone calls you mean names they’re revealing a deep, egoistic defense mechanism against whatever weakness you may see in them. Haha, j/k, but maybe. Of course, these are all hypothetical situations and each person’s perception of any given outcome or response to their behavior is handled differently. All I have attempted to do here is translate the result of Rotter and his fellow researchers’ studies — on the way people behave when given direct information about whether or not a given task requires skill or luck — into the internal or external blame a person perceives when an interaction either reinforces or negates a given expectation. Admittedly, obviously, I have but a rudimentary understanding of all of this behavioral psychology. As an every person who did not study psychology in college [except to fulfill the one psychology course necessary as core curriculum], I am fascinated by social behavior and behavioral psychology, thus, I spend my time studying it for fun.

There’s a really good chance that I’m getting some if not all of Rotter’s hard work wrong. If I have drawn conclusions or said things here that are just pitifully incorrect, please don’t get mad, just tell me where I’ve gone off the rails. I’m here to learn. So, if you just want to tell me I’m stupid, well, good luck. If, however, you want to help further my knowledge, please by all means, TELL ME HOW AND WHERE I AM COMPLETELY WRONG! Honestly, I need to know because I really care about getting this right.

In the meantime, I will press on toward the part of Rotter’s “Generalized Expectancies for Internal Versus External Control of Reinforcement” where he determines how to determine whether or not someone possess internal versus external control and how that control determines perception which ultimately determines behavior. In conclusion, as for the question on which I concluded Part II, a quote from the summary of the findings to Rotter and company’s Studies of Complex Learning:

A series of studies provides strong support for the hypotheses that the individual who has a strong belief that he can control his own destiny is likely to (a) be more alert to those aspects of the environment which provide useful information for his future behavior; (b) take steps to improve his environmental condition; (c) place greater value on skill or achievement reinforcements and be generally more concerned with his ability, particularly his failures; and (d) be resistive to subtle attempts to influence him. (Rotter, 1966, p. 25)

Hmmm … interesting, if I may say so myself.

[Read Part I & Part II]


References

Bradshaw, J. (2013). Cat Sense. London, United Kingdom: Penguin Books.

Mearns, J. (2016). The Social Learning Theory of Julian B. Rotter. Retrieved January 11, 2017, from http://psych.fullerton.edu/jmearns/rotter.htm.

Rotter, J.B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 80 (№1), 1–28.

Quickly, now …

Quickly, now …

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY NINETY-FOUR

2017 January 23 [Monday]

Mundane Monday

Since I also have a shit-ton of fiction writing due before today becomes tomorrow, I will make this Mundane Memoir quite short. There’s one exciting announcement, one new writing goal, an update about the weather, and there is a, uh, happening?, that I would like to touch upon for the sake of posterity. Shall I simply trot through the week in order? Okay, here we go.

Monday was, by far, one of the more exciting days of the past week or month even. When I was fifteen years old, I set a goal to travel to each continent [excluding Antarctica b/c one does not simply travel to Antarctica, but I do wish to be qualified to do a six-month stint there sometime in the future] by the time my twenty-fifth year of life came to a close. Proudly, I can state that I did indeed travel to every continent except one [sad face emoji]. Nevertheless, my goal has always pricked the back of my mind, and I’m excited to announce that I will finally check off that last continent this summer! For our [the lifemate’s and my] 2017 ETMC Travels, we will be traveling to … a dun dun duh da! … Sydney, Australia! Yay! I’m so excited, I can’t even think about it yet. So, diligent, focused writing and meticulous planning is the name of the game until we set off on our 2017 vacation in May!

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*caption below

 

As for the new writing goal, my English student, SJ, requested [about three months ago] that I write a story using her as the main character. I sort of brushed it off as her request being mere excitement around my first novel that was published last October. But then, she kept on asking me about her story. I knew I needed a good idea before I could even hope to write, what would essentially need to be, a children’s story, so I just told her I would think about it. When the idea came to me, however, I kept it a secret so that I could present the story to her after she had hopefully forgotten all about it.

I’m so happy and excited with the result of this request that I’ve decided to draw up a few pictures and publish the damn thing as a children’s book. Woot woot! I’ve also decided that I will write a few more children’s stories. So, there’s that.

When considering the weather, it snowed an epic [for Seoul] amount last Wednesday, and then it kept on snowing off and on through Saturday. It’s been amazing! For a girl like me who grew up in the mountains of Colorado, I’ll just say I probably throw a tantrum every other day about how I can’t snowboard anywhere in this ephing country [I mean, you can, but I’m way too much of a snob to pay for a bunny hill].

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And then, Saturday brought about the most delightful snow storm that the lifemate and I decided would make for an excellent run! Thus, we ran our asses off until we were both covered in, surprisingly fluffy, snow! It was the perfect mood-lifting activity. I spent all of Sunday writing fiction so that I could reach my word count quota. This metric week’s quota is 6000 words, and I have about 1600 to go. So, I better finish up this, basically, nonsensical writing and get to it. Laters.


 

*It’s always nice to have something exciting coming at ya in the near future!

**Enough snow to require my snow boots!

Skilled Yet Unlucky vs. Lucky Yet Unskilled

Skilled Yet Unlucky vs. Lucky Yet Unskilled

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY NINETY-ONE

2017 January 20, 2017 [Friday]

Friday Feature

“‘Victims’ Who Make Victims of Us All” Part II / X

[Read Part I]

While watching an episode of the Food Network show, Chopped, a small sort of understanding befell me. For those who have not seen the show, Chopped, it is a reality-TV cooking competition wherein four contestants are presented with a basket of unknown ingredients with which to make an appetizer, entree and dessert, and at the end of each course, someone gets “Chopped” from the competition by a panel of judges. The last person standing, as it were, wins [usually but not always because there are special episodes when more or different prizes are awarded] $10,000. Despite personal opinion, it is quite popular with 433 episodes to date since 2009 (Lea, 2009-Present). Personally, the show does little to nothing for me except that, in general, I thoroughly enjoy watching people talk about themselves. Also, throughout the show, the contestants participate in talking-heads, which are even more entertaining in the sense that there’s the guarantee that at least one of them will say something really stupid at least once during the episode. But that’s neither here nor there.

My point, thus, is that there’s something oddly satisfying about the show, and it’s continued “success” on air. I never really understood what that appeal was and is until I started my little research project into self-victimization (Weber, 2013), of which this little ditty here is Part II [read Part I to gain further insight as to how I landed here]. Through the desire to understand self-victimization, I learned about Julian B. Rotter’s “Locus of control” (Weber, 2013). And then, through this past week’s reading, I learned about Rotter’s Social Learning Theory (Mearns, 2016). Let me simply interject here that there exists a, what’s the word?, plethora of information and writings by Rotter, and I have only scratched the surface, so for all of you real scientists/writers out there, please be patient. *sigh. Okay, so it’s hard to fully understand the impetus behind a person’s self-victimization without understanding Rotter’s social learning theory (Rotter, 1966). Thus, I have spent the past week trying to get a grasp, however small, of Rotter’s Theory.

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According to Jack Mearns, whose “Overview of Theory” I found and read online [because I have no access to research materials in English here in Seoul], Rotter’s social learning theory depends upon four parts:

Behavior Potential – … the likelihood of engaging in a particular behavior in a specific situation.

Expectancy – … the subjective probability that a given behavior will lead to a particular outcome, or reinforcer.

Reinforcement Value – … another name for the outcomes of our behavior.

Psychological Situation – … Rotter’s idea that each individual’s experience of the environment is unique.

(Mearns, 2016)

Basically, according to Mearns, Rotter’s Theory determines “that personality represents an interaction of the individual with his or her environment” (Mearns, 2016). Each of the above four parts ascertain how a person’s personality will be enacted during any given situation. Furthermore, “Rotter conceives of people in an optimistic way. He sees them as being drawn forward by their goals … rather than just avoiding punishment” (Mearns, 2016). What does any of this have to do with the reality-TV show, Chopped? Well, I’ll get there eventually.

First, however, each of the four parts of Rotter’s social learning theory rest upon an understanding of “Generalized Expectancies” (Rotter, 1966). Understanding Generalized Expectancies then sheds light on the Internal/External perceptions that drive the way we construe the treatment by others in any given situation. This then, of course, is the crux of Rotter’s “Locus of control,” which may or may not fuel a person’s self-victimization (Weber, 2013). *phew. So, for today, let’s start from the beginning and I’ll only attempt to convey an introductory-level understanding of the idea behind Generalized Expectancies.

Okay, so, the way I understand it, according to Mearns’ overview, Rotter’s social learning theory suggests that any person can behave in any number of ways, but each individual cannot necessarily behave in any conceivable way [Behavior Potential]. The decision to enact either A or B behavior is driven by what the person perceives as a possible result: If I do A, then X will happen; if I do B, then Y will happen [Expectancy]. Thus, after a person decides in which way to behave, the consequence of that decision is either received and responded to in a positive (aligns with the expected perception) or negative (refutes the expected perception) way [Reinforcement Value]. Finally, a person cannot forget that all of this behavior stems from a subjective opinion of one’s surroundings [Psychological Situation] (Mearns, 2013).

The keystone for all of this enacted behavior seems to me to be the Expectancy portion of Rotter’s Theory. When a person decides whichever behavior to enact, that decision seems to rest solely on the perceived potential result of that action, and then whether or not that action is lauded or condemned becomes the driving force for the next set of actions. According to Rotter, this tension, this “interaction of the individual and his or her environment” defines a person’s personality. Thus, a person’s Expectancy becomes the impetus of all behavior.

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Rotter, therefore, determines that there is a scale upon which a person’s “characteristic differences” fall whereupon a person believes that the result of their action is “chance determined versus skill determined” (Rotter, 1966, p.2). I think that this is pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll try my best to put it into my own words. When a person decides to act but fails, that person can either believe his/her failure was due to forces beyond his/her own jurisdiction, or that same person can believe the result was due to his/her own doing. This is not an either/or situation; it’s a convoluted mix of the two with one being slightly stronger within the mind of the believer during any given situation. Now that perhaps a thin foundation has been laid thus far, what’s the point?

A quote:

From social learning theory one would anticipate that the more clearly and uniformly a situation is labeled as skill or luck determined, in a given culture, the lesser the role such a generalized expectancy would play in determining individual differences in behavior (Rotter, 1966, p. 2).

A dun dun duh dah! We’ve come back to my whole fascination with Chopped and other reality-TV, game-show-type shows. What I believe Rotter to be saying in the above quote is this: If the world labels something as, “This is a game of chance,” then we know that we ought to feel excited or disappointed in our sheer luck, good fortune, or lack thereof, but more importantly, we know not to feel bad about ourselves because the game was a game of luck. If the world, however, labels something as, “This is a game of skill and wit,” we are overcome with feelings of personal ineptitude if we fail and gloating pride if we succeed.

Hence, Chopped, for Chopped is a game built and labeled as a game of chance AND skill. It’s the perfect egoic “out.” If a person gets “Chopped,” that person can tell him/herself that the basket ingredients got the better of them. If a person wins, that person can tell him/herself that he/she is the best thing since sliced bread. Such is the mass appeal and continued, seemingly bottomless, available contestants. The game of Chopped is specifically tailored to give each contestant exactly what he/she wants: No blame or personal responsibility if he/she wins because the game is set upon the unknown variables of the basket ingredients which serve the purpose of luck, yet all the credit if he/she wins because the game requires some level of cooking skills. Get it? It’s quite perfect really, and I’ve got to admit, I feel a bit stupid for not noticing, before all this research, the perfectly balanced egoic stroking that makes up all television game shows and reality-TV game shows.

And then it was at expressly this moment that I realized that there’s another game of chance AND skill that perhaps works as a better example because it’s combination of chance AND skill is perhaps, less apparent to the novice player, and that game is poker. I am only familiar with one variant of poker, and so that is the version I will use.

Texas Hold ‘Em [henceforth referred to simply as poker] is a fairly popular version of poker because of the nature of the betting rounds. There’s so much action that may be enacted as each player has three whole opportunities to bet before all of the cards are revealed, which means that there are four whole opportunities to best your opponent. The excitement of poker depends upon both skill AND luck. The interesting thing about poker is that on any given hand, skill can beat skill; skill can beat luck; luck can beat luck, and luck can beat skill. Once a certain [penultimate] level of poker is reached, there are no egoic “outs.” Sure, a person CAN win huge sums of money on sheer luck, and no amount of skill can predict exactly what cards an opponent holds. Skill, however, can get a pretty good sense of what cards an opponent holds and thus, will not lose all his/her chips on a stupid call on someone who potentially has the highest straight flush possible, etc., &c.

The way my brother so aptly puts it is that, “Sure, you can win with luck, but that means you’ve got to have the cards every hand. No one’s that lucky. Winning with skill means that you can win no matter what you’re dealt. Just having great cards isn’t necessarily what wins. Whoever gets the chips wins.” For those of you who are less familiar with the way that poker is played, I apologize if this example fails to resonate with you, but this is not a lesson in poker; it is a lesson in the way people behave. I mean, no one just sits down at a poker table and thinks, “I’m gonna get lucky today!” Oh wait … shit … never mind.

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The every person understands poker as a game of luck, but like my brother says, you won’t actually win that often on sheer luck. But a person has to possess a little skill because there are rules by which the game is played. Nevertheless, I’d argue that the every person does not have a professional-level understanding of poker, and so, it is a game of luck. Thus, when the every person sits down to play a hand, the monetary loss or gain may be blamed on luck. The player cannot be praised nor blamed for his/her earnings or losses. It’s just luck! Therefore, to the every person, their outlook or generalized expectancy toward poker is “chance determined.”

For the professional or full-time poker player, however, poker is mostly about skill with a little luck here and there being welcome. A professional player, then, approaches poker with the generalized expectancy that winning is “skill determined.” Thus, when a professional player loses, he/she may feel badly about his/her own performance, but I’m sure there’s still a small resolution that an opponent got lucky. I, however, have yet to ever notice a single professional say it was just luck no matter the outcome.

These two examples, Chopped and Hold ‘Em, are, obviously, GAMES. Thus, we must delve into the real stuff, how all of this pertains to LIFE, not the game, but rather, your existence and ultimately, your role within it. The next step, however, is to create a bridge between how our perception of possible outcomes drives all of our action. Then, how do our actions create patterns of behavior that ultimately lead to the effect that every person has upon the others around them. But, of course, that is the end-all to this “‘Victims’ Who Make Victims of Us All” series. If the overall goal here is to get from Point A to Point D or even E, then my hope is that today, after a brief overview of how Points A thru D get us to Point E, I explored the distance between Points A and B, which revealed Point C.

As today’s conclusion, I’ve gained insight into all the little minutiae, according to Julian B. Rotter, that form the patterned actions we all know as each other’s personalities. That insight soon shed light on the way those actions are supported by positive/negative feedback, which is then perceived as either being a result of our innate competence or otherly forces of luck. Thus, here we are now, treading shallow waters within the understanding of Rotter’s theory that suggests that we are indeed creatures of constant give and take. The question that burns in my mind now is: Without the semblance of “best-ness,” is there, perhaps, a better approach to life and the interactions within?

[Read Part III]


References

Lea, L., Noll, D., and Krupat, M. (Executive Producers). (2009 January 13 – Present). Chopped. [Television series]. New York, N.Y.: Food Network.

Mearns, J. (2016). The Social Learning Theory of Julian B. Rotter. Retrieved January 11, 2017, from http://psych.fullerton.edu/jmearns/rotter.htm.

Rotter, J.B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 80 (No. 1), 1-28.

Weber, J.P., PhD. (2013, December). Self-victimizing again?: there is relief for the persistently victimized. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/having-sex-wanting-intimacy/201312/self-victimizing-again.

a blogged vlog?

a blogged vlog?

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY EIGHTY-SEVEN

2017 January 16 [Monday]

Mundane Monday

The legs are still on fire after our [the lifemate and my] stairs workout on Saturday that we opted for due to the chillingly cold weather that prohibited us from working out outside. We were supposed to also complete an arms-focused circuit workout yesterday, but we were both so sore that we skipped it. Boo. That means that that’s what I’ll be doing later today. Ugh.

Anyhow, last week was quite exciting!, and yet, the week was also quite monotonous. First, the excitement: The lifemate bought me a congrats-on-publishing-your-first-book present in the form of a new writing utensil!

newcomputer01-2017-upload

I’ve officially had the thing for one whole week, and I gotta tell ya, I absolutely love it. Being the Year of No Frills that it is, I’ve opted for a Chromebook laptop, which essentially does nothing except access Google Chrome. I never did much more than that on my old, full-specs computer, so really, it feels just like working on a traditional laptop but without the guilt of spending so much money on a computer that only [reductive, I know] accesses the internet. I’ve yet to take it anywhere because I want to make a case for it, but I can already tell that it’ll be supremely easy to transport.

As far as the monotony is concerned, I had two items of writing due [by my own volition] last week. The first was my weekly Friday Feature, and the second was my 5,000-word fiction goal. Every Friday I publish a 1,500-word nonfiction essay, and every metric week [ten days] I have a certain amount of fiction [this week, 5,000] words due. Last week both items of writing were due on the same day. Luckily, with a little planning, I knew that this would happen, thus, I was diligent about getting all of my daily word counts completed so as not to be burdened with too much writing the night before. Procrastinator tamed! I feel very proud of myself for the daily work that I put in last week in order to successfully complete all of that ephing writing. What transpired, however, was a week of sheer monotony, which I suppose I ought to get used to.

Fortunately, because I accomplished the week’s goals, the lifemate and I went about our typical weekend guilt-free. It was too cold on Saturday to really do much, so we ran up and down the stairs in our building for the duration of a typical run. Every time I reached the top, I did a set of push-ups [13 the first set, 12 the second, 11, and so on]. My ass got sorely kicked.

Yesterday, on the other hand, was of the typical outing variety, which looks something like this:

First, we travel by subway to some decided location:

subwayfeetupload01-17

 

Then, we lube up.

Then, we walk to some other location and eat some street food.

Then, we walk to some other location to eat at a restaurant.

Then, we lube up for the subway ride/walk home

All of this is usually planned out ahead of time, before we leave the house cause we don’t have cell service. I do have a smartphone, however, that’s wi-fi capable [obviously], and so, yesterday, for the first time ever, I brought it along to capture some Instagram Stories. I’m finding the whole “Story” feature of Instagram to be quite fun. Amazing I know! I’m using social media! It’s crazy! Don’t expect to see anymore of these types of videos again anytime soon, though. The whole making of them, prepping them, and posting them all sort of interfered with the flow of our day, which I can honestly say, I didn’t enjoy so much. It’s all so distracting, and then, I found myself spending so much time staring at my phone. It was sort of horrible, but I’m glad I did it, at least once. The lifemate, surprisingly enough, was a trooper as I repeatedly subjected him to the lens and forced him to subject me to the lens. *sigh.

And now, here I am, at the beginning of another week that must be filled each day with continued reading/research for my Friday Feature, fiction writing, a workout, and the constant reminder that this is it … this is life … day after day … you just gotta get up and do something, anything.

It’s Not Me, It’s You

It’s Not Me, It’s You

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY EIGHTY-FOUR

2017 January 13 [Friday]

Friday Feature

Victims’ Who Make Victims of Us All: Part 1 / X [unknown]

In some place, at some time, I [TK] had the following conversation with Jackie [JK] (whose name has been changed for obvious reasons, but if those reasons are ambiguous to you, then much about what I write is probably lost on you, which means, you probably don’t read this blog anyway, but no one does so what does it matter?):

After meeting for the first time a few days prior, while suffering through those first few awkward interactions, we [or perhaps it was only I] finally felt comfortable enough to speak more than an exchange of greetings.

TK: “So, do you like teaching here?”

JK: “It’s okay.”

TK: “How long have you been a teacher?”

JK: “I just renewed my contract for the second time, so I guess it’s been two years, going on three.”

TK: “Oh, wow! Have you always wanted to be a teacher?”

JK: “Ha, no. It’s just a job.”

TK: “Oh. But you’re basically fluent in English.”

JK: “Oh, yes. I’ve always wanted to speak many languages.”

TK: “Nice. Did you study English in school?”

JK: “No. I actually studied art.”

TK: “No way! I was an art major too!” Lame, I know.

JK: “How cool! We really have a lot in common.”

Note: We learned during our first small chat that, as Koreans [although I’m more technically American, but that’s a story for another time] we are both with white guys.

TK: “Yea. You seem like a good teacher. Do you wish you could teach art?”

JK: Chuckles. “Yes, of course. But when I was in school, my art teacher told me that I was bad at art. So, that’s why I’m not an artist, and that’s why I will never be an art teacher.”

TK: Baffled and unaware of what to say. “Oh. That’s too bad.”

JK: “Yea, she was so mean, and told me that I was so bad all the time. She failed me on all my projects. She only gave passing grades to the students she liked, and she didn’t like me.”

TK: Silence.

JK: “But you can’t really make money making art.”

TK: In an attempt to convey agreement, all I could muster was a “M’mmm.”

In some place, at some time, I [TK] had the following conversation with Katie [KT] (whose name has been changed for obvious reasons, yada yada):

After knowing each other for a little while, we met up for coffee.

KT: “How’s your book coming along? I wish I could do nothing all day.”

TK: Ouch. Why do I even hang out with you? “It’s good. Not as productive as I would like, but it’s like that sometimes. What’s new with you? How’s your job? Weren’t you thinking about quitting?”

KT: “Ugh. Yea, it totally sucks. I wish I could quit. I can’t though.”

TK: “Well, I’m proud of you for being diligent.”

KT: “No, I want to quit so bad, but Kevin [her husband, whose name is not Kevin] won’t let me.”

TK: “He makes good money though.” This is all speculative. No one knows for sure what Kevin even does for work, and he’s so vague about it, it’s hard to believe anything that comes out of his mouth.

KT: “Yea, but I have to make my own money.”

TK: “Oh, yea. I get that. I’m glad I at least make money from tutoring so that I don’t have to buy Evan presents with his own money.”

KT: “Yea. When we need to pay the bills, I give him my half.”

TK: “You keep your money separate?”

KT: “Yea. My money’s mine, and his money’s his. So then we split everything.”

Note: I recalled the time that we all went to lunch together as a foursome and Kevin said over his shoulder to Katie as we were all making our way to the cashier, “It’s okay. I’ll get this one.”

TK: Strange, “Oh. Well, I don’t mean to pry, but doesn’t this job pay you well? Like, it’s good money, right?”

KT: “Yea, I mean, we can pay all our bills, but there’s not much left after that.”

TK: Trying not to sound judgey, “Do you keep a budget?”

KT: “No. We try, but there’s not enough left over to make a budget with.”

TK: Confused and unwilling to explain the nature of budgeting to her, “So, you’re only here for the pay, and it’s good enough, but not great?”

KT: “Yea, of course. I mean, neither of us have rich parents, like other people, who can just buy a house for us. We have to pay rent.”

TK: Other people, what other people? This is the situation for the vast majority of people, right? Or am I missing something?, I think to myself, but then, not knowing exactly how to respond, respond, “Oh yea. I guess you really do need to work.”

KT: “Yea, I just need more money.”

TK: “A job that pays more?”

KT: “Yea.”

TK: “Oh, yea. Rent can be pretty steep.”

KT: “No, so that I don’t have to work.”

In some place, at some time, I [TK] had the following conversation with Alice [AC] (whose name has been, yada yada) and Heather [HR] who joins in later (whose name has also, yada yada):

After knowing each other for over two years, we connect after not seeing each other for over six months.

TK: “Hey! How are you? It’s been so long!”

AC: “Yea, it’s been too long.”

TK: “Yea, sorry I’ve been so busy lately.”

AC: “I saw that you published your book. Congrats.”

TK: Chuckles. “Ha, yea. It was stressful, but now it’s over. What have you been up to?”

AC: “Not much.”

TK: “Oh, really?”

AC: “Yea, I got a new job, but then I hated that job, so I quit.”

TK: “Oh, and how is that?”

AC: “It’s nice, but I have nothing to do.”

TK: “Oh. Isn’t it nice, though, to do nothing? I mean, I love it.”

AC: “Yea, but it gets lonely because all my friends are at work all day. And you write and stuff, so you don’t do nothing. I do nothing.”

TK: A slight pause. “You do?”

AC: After realizing what she just admitted. “I mean, I workout all the time.”

TK: No, you don’t, and if you saw her yourself, you’d think the same thing. “Well that’s good at least, right?”

HR: After overhearing us and interjecting herself, “Ugh, Koreans have like super metabolisms.”

TK: I look around the room, and the Koreans in my presence do not exactly fit that profile. “What?”

HR: “Like, Koreans eat so much and they never gain weight.”

AC: “That’s because they secretly workout. Girls will like workout every day and then pretend like they can just eat whatever.”

TK: “Do they deny working out if you ask them?”

AC: “I don’t have to ask them. I can just tell.”

HR: “Oh yea. I never see Korean girls workout.”

TK: I agree; I’ve seen close to zero Korean females while working out outside, and I would know, I workout outside four-five days a week in areas where people [males] workout, so where would she see them unless she never sees a Korean female at her own gym? “Do you workout?”

HR: “Ewe. No. I mean, I’m active but no.”

AC: “I have to workout. If I don’t burn every calorie I eat, I’ll gain weight. So, I have to workout all the time.”

TK: To no avail, I think to myself [yes, I’m a bitch], and isn’t that sort of how weight gain works for everyone?

firstsnowup01-17
*caption below

Recently, a particular personality trait has made itself known to me through the dozen or so interactions I’ve had with, you guessed it, one [yes, all of the above characters (aside from HR) are, in fact, the same person] particular person. A less-scientific term for this behavior is self-victimization (Weber, 2013). A more-scientific term is victim syndrome (Kets de Vries, 2012). The thing I’ve come to realize, however, after interacting with one of the most toxic people I’ve encountered [aside from the time I, unbeknownst to me when I was hired, worked for two hardcore scientologists], is that there’s something within this behavioral trait to be learned in relation to the way that people, nowadays, behave and interact online. Thus, I have begun the task of gathering research about this personality trait and psychological behavior so that I may understand what I perceive as a shift in general behavior as it pertains to social media and the interactions therein.

So far, I have an article, a research paper and an outline of a book about the topic of self-victimization. Obviously, there is much work to be done before I can even get a small glimpse of understanding so that I may, someday [hopefully] write about the behavior I notice. I am unwilling to merely blab my mouth about this and that and the other, and I am currently unable to write about this topic intelligibly and intelligently. More importantly, I am uninterested in writing about anything else right now. Thus, I will delve deep into this topic of psychology so that I can learn for myself what I am truly up against when I interact with those who self-victimize and make the lives around them so equally miserable.

[Read Part II & Part III]


*There’s no sunshine ahead for the self-victimizing type [sad-face emoji].


References

Kets de Vries, Manfred F.R. (2012). Faculty & research working paper: are you a victim of the victim syndrome? Fontainebleau, France: INSEAD.

Weber, J.P., PhD. (2013, December). Self-victimizing again?: there is relief for the persistently victimized. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/having-sex-wanting-intimacy/201312/self-victimizing-again.

and then … and then … and then …

and then … and then … and then …

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY EIGHTY

2017 January 09 [Monday]

 

I can proudly state that I have been writing so much lately that the thought of writing this [boring, meaningless, mundane] diary-type entry is killing me a little bit inside. Thus, I will keep it short, mostly because my life for the past week [like always and henceforth] has been filled with all the, uh, magic?, no … monotony of a writer’s life. A summation ought to suffice. The first thing I do every day when I wake up [usually never before noon, although a 0900 wake time does happen about once a month] is drink the rest of the coffee from the lifemate’s morning make, turn on an old movie [almost always Wreck It Ralph, which is soon followed by one of the Star Trek movies], while I sit at the computer staring blankly or sometimes excitedly. Every night is filled with the making of dinner, the consumption of dinner and then the watching of either basketball, an episode of one of the shows we watch or a new movie. Sometimes I’ll do a little bit more late-night writing or reading, and then it’s off to [attempt] sleep between 0130 and 0330.

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*caption below

Monday: (Early Afternoon) Edited and uploaded yoga photos, some writing (Late Afternoon) Some housekeeping on the blog, some journaling in the Time Capsule (Evening) the yoga and dinner

Tuesday: (Early Afternoon) Played a bit of piano, extensive navel-gazing (Evening) Went on a run due to the warmth of this winter’s weather

Wednesday [picking up steam now!]: (Afternoon) Lots o’ fiction and nonfiction writing, finished a book, The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen, I’ve been trudging through for a month (Late Afternoon) Circuit workout (Early Evening) more fiction writing [This day was the beginning of something great. I accomplished two seemingly impossible things: First, I wrote many things AND exercised in the same day. Second, the fiction I wrote was a continuation of the things I had written before and earlier in the day. Maybe this does not sound all that impressive, but it was quite the feat for me, and then, once I knew I could do this, I started to do it every day. This day also marked the beginning of my success at checking off each day’s item on my to-do list every day. It {being everything} seems so possible now!]

Thursday: (Early Afternoon) Found new books, played piano (Afternoon) Tutoring session with my student, SJ (Early Evening) The yoga and fiction writing (Evening) Nonfiction mulling, watched Planet Earth II: Islands

Friday: (Early Afternoon) Wrote the Friday Feature, “Make Every Day Everyday” (Afternoon) Edited and posted the Feature along with pics and such (Early Evening) Started Let’s Be Less Stupid by Patricia Marx [yawn] and rested [no-workout day!] (Evening) Fiction writing and finished Let’s Be Less Stupid [twas quite the short read], watched Planet Earth II: Mountains

Saturday: (Early Afternoon) Watched Planet Earth II: Jungles, did a full-body circuit workout with the lifemate [yay!] (Afternoon) Started Fraud by David Rakoff whilst the lifemate played the amazing Titanfall 2 [a typical situation] (Early Evening) Walked to Lotte Department Store to pick up chili-making fixings, wanted to eat some sushi on the way, but the wait was too long (Evening) Waited in line at the sushi place (Midnight) Watched Planet Earth II: Deserts

Sunday: (Early Afternoon) Went on a run with the lifemate [and was tailed all too closely by some man who annoyed the shit out of me for the last mile! Ugh!] (Afternoon) Watched Planet Earth II: Grasslands (Early Evening) Ate the lifemate’s delicious chili (Evening) Watched The Hateful Eight and didn’t like it but realized that Quentin Tarantino should probably be a novelist because that movie would have been a seriously awesome read (Midnight) Watched Planet Earth II: Cities (Bedtime) Some more reading (After Bedtime) Lots o’ tossing and turning, could not sleep

There you have it, each day in a nutshell with little to no commentary and even less insight. My writing mind is elsewhere, thus I have little to nothing to say about my own life. It’s writing mode, folks! And with that, I am off on a circuit workout that will be followed by a trip through the grocery store, which will then be followed by the inevitable: Lots o’ Writing! Laters.


*as if I ever see the likes of this song’s title [the sheet music is “music from the motion picture soundtrack” for Pride & Prejudice by Dario Marianelli]

Make Every Day Everyday

Make Every Day Everyday

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY SEVENTY-SEVEN

2017 January 06 [Friday]

Friday Feature

When the aspects of life that are enacted every day become everyday aspects of life, that’s when the magic happens. Once every day becomes everyday, that’s when every day starts to feel like everything. It’s only against the bland that flavor is tasted. The place at where I [my life philosophy] currently stands reveals the sort of mundane essence of my life, especially since “mundanity” continues to surface as the topic about which I so frequently write. People [read the DISCLAIMER] are constantly bombarding my consciousness with droll remarks about how I must “live life to the fullest,” “live like it’s my last day,” “make every day an adventure,” etc., &c. I fucking hate it because they’ve got it all wrong! But the masses are idiots, so they’ll believe every NEXT AD campaign, which has been specifically designed to rob them blind.

Have you ever wondered why your life sucks, how happiness never finds you, why life doesn’t excite you? Well, I have an small inkling as to a possible answer [not to say that I’m the first or only person to have come to this conclusion]. And I’ll tell you, but it’s not going to be what you think it is. I’ll also only tell you if you can accept that everything that will be said from here on out is all opinion, conjecture, my own experiences that I’m willing to share because maybe I’m onto something. Who knows. It’s all too possible that I’m the idiot, so yea. If I’m the idiot, then everything will make sense to you because that means I’m just a normy, and normies are, generally speaking, quite stupid. If I’m not an idiot, well there’s no way of knowing. So, let’s get to it.

The problem [according to me, the writer of this goddamn post] … a dun dun du da! … is that people think that every day is supposed to be special, an adventure, that every day should be lived like it’s your last. Let me tell ya, that’s the straight and girthy path to unhappiness. If the world is selling you a message that requires your money in order to fulfill, then that’s definitely not the direction in which you want to travel. Listen to how stupid it sounds to say, “Make every experience special with X and Y. Experience every moment to the fullest and remember it as the most special moment of your life through X and Y, and then every moment of your life will be memorable and special because you bought X and Y.” If every single day of your life is special and memorable, that directly contradicts the definition of special. So, what is this “brilliant” conclusion I’ve come to? Well, it’s quite simple actually.

everydayeveryday

If you want some seriously special moments in your life, you need to make every day quite plainly everyday. It’s the banal routine that exciting experiences are set against which ultimately makes those exciting experiences exciting. The same goes for things that you wish weren’t such a big deal. If you want something to be exciting or special, you can’t do it every day. If you don’t want something to be such a big deal, you have to do it every day. Does that make sense? Okay, so here are some examples from my own life.

For starters, I absolutely love [like seriously, I think it’s one of the most entertaining things to listen to people talk about] when people drone on about how hard it is to workout. I mean, I get it, but I also get it. When you only work out, let’s say, once a week, yea, every workout is going to fucking suck. It’ll be tough. And then, when people only workout for a short period of time and then take months off, yea, returning to your workouts is a nightmare. If you don’t want your workouts to be a big deal or anything special because you just want to be able to do it without it being this big production, you need to workout every, single, ephing, day. Or at the very least, every other day. It’s the stuff we do every single day that becomes routine, that we hardly acknowledge as being “special.” You sleep, shit, eat, work [maybe], do the laundry, wash the dishes, clean, shower, etc., regularly, and these sorts of things are nothing special [this is not to say you can’t be grateful for the small things in life, but this is not about that]. So, if there are aspects of your life that you wish were “no big deal,” you’ve got to make them routine. Like picking up a new hobby or learning something new, you’ve got to do it every day, and then, before you know it, it’ll become routine.

The other side of the routine is where the magic happens. Let’s say you eat out every day for dinner. Then, when a special day comes along, like a birthday or celebratory event, picking a restaurant becomes difficult because the restaurant has to be either more expensive or more glamorous than the restaurants you eat at every day. And, I’d wager to say that when you eat out all the time, it’s hard to find the special-ness in eating out for a special occasion. So, the only way to have a special dinner would be to eat in, cook. Does that make sense? Or, looked at another way. If you want to have eating out be a special experience, then you need to eat in regularly, that way, when you eat out, it’s special.

These, I understand, are typically reductive examples, but they are examples from my own life. I can’t really come up with anything astute because I am either too dull or too simple-minded to think of more … relevant examples for the every-person. All of this boils down to the lifestyle that my lifemate and I live. I’ll be shamelessly honest. We basically live at the [by U.S. standards of income] poverty level, but it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it. Our everyday life is very much the same. We live on a 15,000 KRW [about $15.00] per day, food budget, not because we have to but because we want to [this does not include the budgets we have for domestic items and entertainment {100,000 KRW/month for each}]. We basically eat the same two dozen things in a weather-coordinated [some things we only eat in the summer because it’s hot, etc.] rotation. We eat out within our daily budget about once or twice a week, and the rest of our money gets saved up or invested.

When the time comes for something special like a holiday or birthday, we greatly exceed our food budget with no financial consequence because the money’s there. We also only watched four movies in a movie theater last year, one of which was while we were on vacation. When we go to the movies, though, we only see them in IMAX 3D. As far as vacationing goes, we vacation once a year, and I’ll just say this, on our most recent ten-day vacation to Vancouver, we lived large. We spent six months saving up all the cash we’d spend on that trip, and after the plane tickets, AirBNB rental and whale-watching tour were booked, we had $200 per day to spend. We had a really hard time spending that much money because that’s a shit ton of money to spend every single day, and not a single penny was added to our credit card. But see, we live every day on a strict budget, that way, when we have the opportunity to spend frivolously we a) have the cash to do it and b) thoroughly enjoy begin able to do it.

Yes, our everyday life seems quite lame, but whenever anything happens beyond the everyday routine we heartily stick to, it’s quite spectacular, special, exciting, adventurous, different. I’m also not saying that we’ve figured it out and that living this way is perfect. Sometimes I just want to do something more, live beyond. And so, sometimes we do. We don’t stick to this plan as if our lives depend on it. We do stick to this plan, though, quite successfully because it’s what we both want. Yes, I can hear you saying, “But you could die tomorrow! If you don’t live now, you’ll never live at all!” I get that sentiment. I also get how hard it is to live a disciplined life most of the time so that you can live large some of the time, but when you do live large, it’s awesome. If you live large every day, then living large becomes routine, which means you’re not really living large anymore, you’re just living your routine life. And to the “But you could die tomorrow!” thoughts I say this, But you could also live until you’re 100. Why feel burned out by life when you’re only sixty or at the pace some people live, at forty?

My whole philosophy revolves around Life making each tier and experience available to me when I’m ready, only when I’m ready. Yes, there’s a strong case to be made for “Living it up!” Where that motivation comes from, however, is a place of fear, fear that your life will be lost without you having experienced EVERYTHING. The more likely case, fortunately, is that you’ll probably live a pretty average life until you’re old and grey. No one wants to accept this, of course. This is the battle. The struggle is real. No matter, living as if you’ll one day be old and grey is living your life through hope.

The whole point is not to point fingers at who’s living better or how to live your best life; the point, for me, is that I want to have truly significant moments and experiences in my life. And so, I consistently think about how to make this happen. If I make every experience significant, though, then none of them will be because that’s my normal. Does that make sense? So, what I do instead is I live a simple life the majority of the time, and whenever anything beyond the ordinary [which is quite ordinary when considering most of my days are filled with coffee first, writing, reading, running, working out, the yoga, some piano playing, watching old movies, shopping for groceries, making dinner, eating dinner, showering, watching basketball games, watching the lifemate play video games, and then sleeping] happens, it’s special, and more importantly, I remember each moment with more clarity and gratitude. [Again, obviously, what I consider to be a simple, boring life is something for which I have immense gratefulness. This, however, is not about that. This is about how, too often times, I hear people complain about how not-exciting their lives are even when they’re jam-packed with excitement, or how it’s impossible to have an exciting life when you don’t have money.]

*sigh. To conclude, I suppose I will end with this: You also don’t want to get too ingrained in a routine either because then you’ll lack growth through the lack of new experiences. Just like how when you go, go, go, it’s hard to grow as well because if you don’t take time to reflect and apply all the lessons you’ve gathered, then the go-getter never finds growth either. The key, of course, then becomes balance. Why, though, is balance so difficult to establish? What is it about being human that swings us so vigorously between extremes?

 


 

 

Daunting Days Ahead

Daunting Days Ahead

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY SEVENTY-THREE

2017 January 02 [Monday]

As I sit here in my over-sized, calf-length, zip-up hoodie, sipping coffee while You’ve Got Mail runs in the background [because it’s 1619, and I’ve already watched Wreck It Ralph, and the XBOX One auto-plays movies through its Movie Player, and the movies on our external are organized alphabetically, and so, You’ve Got Mail is the next one after Wreck It Ralph, alphabetically, and I was simply too lazy to turn on the controller to make it all stop. I’m not sure what movie comes up next, but I’m excited to find out!] so that I can tap out the happenings of the past week for this Mundane Monday entry, I can’t help but feel … daunted. I’ll admit it. Despite the overall, general feeling of contentment I felt for the past year, I was sort of having a hard time with 2016 coming to a close. The struggle had less to do with saying goodbye and more to do with the tasks I have set before me. I sort of didn’t want 2017 to begin because then that meant I have to really get my ass in gear and get back to work. Ugh.

The work I have ahead of me stresses me out. The lifemate and I each have separate goals and tasks that we want to accomplish, but together, we also have a few huge undertakings to accomplish. Some things, of course, are more trivial and/or exciting, but some are downright severe. I can’t really speak about the specifics of our endeavors because they are, as it were, OURS. I also can’t really speak about the lifemate’s endeavors because they are, as it were, HIS. So, you, dear reader, are only left with specifics about me and my tasks for the year 2017. The problem with that, however, is that I don’t really feel like sharing, but then I’m stuck within this conundrum about how I never really feel like sharing anything too deeply personal, and yet, I sit down at my computer on a weekly basis to write about my life, and then I share it. The worst part is that I actually want people to read it! Ugh. What the hell am I doing? *sigh Thus, I will be brief and share only the things about which I am comfortable sharing.

Personally, the biggest and most daunting task ahead of me is the writing of my second book [yes, this, assuredly, will be old news, but you can find my first book HERE]. I have a rigid schedule, and if I don’t stick to it, I will fail. I want The Next One [my working title] to be a big book, somewhere around the 500 page mark. This means that I need to write roughly 150,000 words, and I only have until July 2nd of this year to complete it. Don’t ask why, but that’s just the schedule I have set. This also means I need to write, on average, 750 words per day or 7,500 words every ten days. I publish the fiction writing to a private blog every ten days so that I can easily keep track of my progress. That’s pretty much it. Maybe I will post small sections of my fiction writing here on this blog from time to time, but don’t count on it.

The other writing task is a bit less demanding. I want to [must] continue writing my Feature Friday posts, which are lengthier pieces of nonfiction that you can find here on this blog already. I would very much like to have a solid year’s worth of nonfiction essays.

Other non-writing, related tasks include: learning the entire piano solo soundtrack to the Pride and Prejudice movie [I received the book of sheet music from the lifemate for my birthday], continuing a consistent practice of the yoga and circuit training, reading the list of books I will compile this month, and oh my ephing ay, I haven’t even started writing about the past week! Shit. Fuck!

Last week was nice and relaxing. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday were all the same ol’ mundane routine of drinking coffee, watching movies, working out, writing a little, reading a little, and sleeping too much. Thursday, the lifemate had the day off, so after tutoring we met up at the subway and went downtown to grab our traditional Christmas dinner [we didn’t do it on Christmas this year] of Panda Express. Haha! We got way too drunk on a bottle of vodka that we split because it was so fucking cold that we opted for a liquor coat.

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For the New Year’s weekend, we basically just made ourselves a little nest deep in the heart of Seoul, exercised too much, ate too much [my homemade chicken soup on Saturday and all-you-can-eat Korean bbq on Sunday], drank too much [I’d rather not divulge the extent of our … debauchery], and overall did too much of nothing [and some things that are none of your business]. It was perfect. We also tried to nail down our theme for 2017, but we still haven’t quite landed on it yet. We have quite a full plate ahead of us, and we’ve just gotta figure out how best to get it all done.

So, that’s enough about that for today because I’m just sort of sick of writing about my life at this point. Ugh. See you on Friday, for Feature Friday! If you missed the last Feature [I opted for something different last week as it was the last post of 2016], you can check it out HERE! Have a nice first week of 2017. If I do nothing else this week, at least I’ve done this.