Leaving Means Arriving

Leaving Means Arriving

She never wanted to be here in the first place, so yea, she’s glad to be leaving, but then the reality of the situation dawns on her. Leaving here means arriving somewhere else and that elsewhere is somewhere she also does not know whether or not she will like. She just wants to go nowhere. She wants to be nowhere. And perhaps, this idyllic place is exactly all of the things that she knows she will love and want to be … stay … forever in this place that embodies all of the things she needs in a place with nothing she doesn’t want. Read more

#Goals

#Goals

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY-FIVE

2017 April 24 [Monday]

Mundane Monday (obviously)

*sigh. Well, a lot of time has passed, and yet, I don’t really have much to share. There are a few topics, maybe two or five, about which I would like to diary-type write simply because so much time has gone by and so much fiction writing has been accomplished. I suppose, then, I ought to just get to it. I remember being able to write more interesting or compelling intros to these things, but honestly, I just don’t care. As you’ll soon find out, I’ve been writing my ass off (but not really [but really]), and I’m tired. No matter, I finally have my first Monday off (I like to take the day after a ten-day due-date off from writing) from the fiction writing since February, and so, I thought it might be a “fun” “exercise in remembering” to write a Mundane Monday post. I have the time but more importantly, the energy.

First things first, the reason why I’ve been so thoroughly absent across all of my various blogs and social media (well, I’m always absent from social media, but I was on Instagram for about four months before I pulled the plug, so, yea, that’s what I mean). Yesterday, I proudly announce!, marked day 130 of my 200-day, 150,000-word-count extravaganza! For Episode Thirteen (due yesterday), I (easily) surpassed my 9,350-word ten-day quota. Each episode has had a steady increase in word quotas, with a slow growth from 900 – 8,000 words over Episodes 1 – 8, culminating at a 9,350-word goal for Episodes 9 – 14. This steady increase has proven itself demanding. And so, not only have I not had the energy to write anything else, but also, I simply do not care about much else except the book. Are you dying to read it? Probably not. Oh well. Woe is me.

What happens after Episode 14?, is sure to be the question hanging from all your lips! Well, that brings the second topic to the forefront, but for now, I’ll simply introduce it. We are going on our vacation next week, so Episode 14 is due next Wednesday (May 3rd), and then we will embark on our ten-day vacation, through which I will do no writing. This means that I have to reach 100,000 words before the trip, and then, when we return, I will have an 8,350-word, ten-day quota for the remaining six episodes (Episodes 15 -20) to reach that coveted 150 big ones. All of this will come to its deeply anticipated end on July 12, 2017. In total, my manuscript currently sits at 91,783 words, which amounts to roughly 152 Letter-sized pages of printer paper, typed upon in Times New Roman at an 11-pt font size. As you can see, I only have about 8,200 words left to reach 100,000 total words (before our trip), but I have a 9,350-word, ten-day quota for Episode 14, which happily means that I will (presumably) surpass my 14-episode goal! Obviously, I’m talking about all of this in future terms, so I still have ten days of writing work ahead of me. Nevertheless, I hope that all of this droll info helps to convey my current writing sitch and excuses my lacking presence here in this blogspace. Oh, and about Instagram … I sort of found it to be mind-numbingly prosaic, so I deleted everything and got the hell outa there. I wasn’t using any other social media, other than this and my photography blog, so that’s the only update I have for ya.

Now, for the good stuff! The lifemate and I are embarking on our 2017 ETMC Travels: Sydney Edition in just ten days! We fly out to Sydney, Australia, on May 03, 2017, and we’ll be back on May 13, 2017. I’m finally so excited that I can’t stand it! I’ve had to push the trip to the back of my mind as I write, write, write, but now that we’re so close and my word-count goal is all so possible, I allow myself now to daydream about the trip. I can’t fucking wait! It’s going to be so awesome – lying by the beach, eating cheap western foods, doing a whole lotta nonya, swimming in a pool, getting up to no good, smeezin’ some serious beez. *sigh. The lifemate bought a new backpack for the trip on Saturday, and it’s so damn cute. I wanted to take a pic to post here today, but I forgot to ask him if he’d mind, so a pic of the thing will just have to wait. I will say this, however, the backpack, as a whole, looks like a panda bear. Haha! And it’s not like a kids’-sized pack either. It’s a full-sized thing, and man, it’s so damn cute! He looks great with it.

What else … tutoring? Yes, I’m still tutoring two days a week but on Tuesdays and Fridays now. SJ is less-enthused about middle school, but she’s still convinced that school makes her happy. I could write a whole book about her. Perhaps one day. Uh … I’m gonna do some last-minute shopping today to pick up some travel stuffs so that I can focus on the last bit of fiction writing over the course of this last weekday week. What’s the book about? Well, if only you knew how irritating that question is, you wouldn’t have asked. Wait, but I asked. So, let’s see … yea, I’m definitely not ready to broach that subject. I will, however, (maybe) post a tiny portion of it here once it’s all finished. Obviously, there will be months and months of editing afterwards, but I have to at least get this “principal photography,” as the lifemate likes to put it, all wrapped up.

I guess that ought to do it for today. Like I said, there’s not much to say. Every day I wake up sometime between 8AM and 2PM, drink coffee, watch a movie, eat breakfast, drink more coffee, write for 1- 2 hours, go to tutoring (when applicable), workout (when necessary), grocery shop, eat dinner, watch basketball, watch one other show or another movie, eat more food, drink libations (wine, sparkling wine, beer, or vodka), read a chapter from a book that’s already taken a month to read, and I’m only a third of the way through it, and then pass out or fall asleep. On weekends, the sitch remains. I think we’ve “hit the town” three times this year, so far. The poor lifemate has to deal with my lame ol’ life, but he’s being a righteous (not like religious, but like badass) trooper. So, yea, I love life right now, it’s just not all that “shareable.” Hahaha! Suckers! I’ve read a few articles lately … okay … never mind. I cannot go there right now. Anyway, I’ll just say, when reality meets delusion, a life spent mostly online reveals itself as a life not at all.

Bis später (oh yea, and we’re learning German)!

Week-Long Ultra-Feast

Week-Long Ultra-Feast

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

2017 February 13 [Monday]

Monday, Monday, Monday, Monday!, couldn’t come soon enough! The week started with a light cold that left me feeling a bit dull and snot-ridden for about three days, but the whole sitch came and went quick enough. I went for a light jog on Wednesday to get some new blood pumping through my system and felt pretty good the rest of the week. Today, I feel fine. The cold, however, brought about the beginning of a week-long ultra-feast, meaning the lifemate and I indulged ourselves in all of the unapproved foods we normally never eat.

We ate bags of chips, bags of [Snyder’s-style] pretzels, half a dozen fudge-filled brownies, half a dozen super-fancy Krispy Kreme donuts, hash browns, potato hash, Taco Bell, honey biscuit sandwiches, BLTs, bacon, cheese-filled corn dogs, cream cheese-filled and ice cream-filled Belgian waffles, vodka and pricier beers. Basically, we stuffed ourselves so that we would not want to eat anything so heavy and carb-loaded ever again!, and it worked.

I felt so bad by Saturday night that I was sure I would not be able to eat anything on Sunday, but a deal’s a deal. We had to gorge ourselves [and not workout] through Sunday so as to be sure we’d land somewhere truly disgusted with ourselves. It was not awesome. Luckily, today is now today and so, I woke up and immediately hit a hard circuit workout, ate a bowl full of veggies, and soon, I’ll be meeting with the lifemate to eat a chicken stick and grocery shop for ginormous salad stuffs. I’m so excited! From here on out it’ll be back to business as usual until our vacation in May!

02-17-justwaitin-1

As far as other happenings from the past week are concerned, there’s not much to tell these days since most my days revolve around writing the fiction. I had a fiction word quota of 7500 words due yesterday, and I pretty much kicked the thing in the ass. All-in-all the fiction writing is going really well. I easily write anywhere between 1500 and 1800 words per sitting. Lately, I’ve been doing one writing sesh per day on five of the ten days in each metric week. It’s a pretty good system, honestly. I have the freedom to relax my mind and come up with ideas, but I can only take one or two days off at a time and have to write on back-to-back days. The challenge of consistently having to output fiction is truly wonderful, while the consistent time off helps the ideas flow constantly. I’m finding a rhythm, and I gotta say, it feels great.

02-17-yakultuploadMy other weekly responsibility of teaching English to my student, SJ, on Thursdays and Fridays has been great as well. Her mother bought her some new social studies textbooks, and SJ really seems to enjoy the content. During class, her mother always provides me with some delicious drink and sometimes a treat, and last week, her mother gave me the coolest little yogurt drink. It was one of those Yakult probiotic drinks, but the packaging was not only twice as big as usual, but also, it was upside down! So amazing. That little treat made my day. It was so fun. We, SJ and I, then discussed whether or not she thought her mother was cool. I think that her mother is really cool cause she seems to know what’s “now,” but SJ disagrees. SJ thinks that her mother has such “old style.” That may be true as far as what her mother herself likes to eat and wear, but the things her mother buys SJ is always pretty hip and on trend. AND the food and drinks her mother provides for me are always pretty cool, I think. Haha.

*sigh*

Anyhow, I suppose that’s all. There’s not much to talk about since I just don’t feel all that connected to these Mundane Monday posts anymore. They’re totally pointless from a writing standpoint, but maybe they’re nice to have when considering where I might be living in the future and how nice it might be to look back on these posts from our time in Seoul. No matter, I will continue to write them. If I figure out some other topic about which to write instead, perhaps I will rethink these diary-type entries then. For now, I still enjoy how easy these entries are to write, and I probably need to have some writing output that requires less brainpower. *sigh* Back to the fiction.

Until next time …

Striving, Striving Forever To Be More …

Striving, Striving Forever To Be More …

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

2017 February 03 [Friday]

Friday Feature

 

Doing it right
Everybody will be dancing
And we’ll be feeling it right
Everybody will be dancing
And be doing it right
Everybody will be dancing
When we’re feeling all right
Everybody will be dancing tonight

If you do it right
Let it go all night
Shadows on you break
Out into the light

If you lose your way tonight
That’s how you know the magic’s right

(Bangalter, T., et al, 2013)

 

There’s a really good chance that these lyrics have nothing to do with what I am going to write today; the reality is that I think they [the lyrics] are pure, simple genius. However small, nonetheless, there may be the semblance of a connection, which will end up revealing itself as the reason why this song has been stuck in my head for the past few days when mulling what I should/would/could write this week. I want to take a break* from my “‘Victims’ Who Make Victims of Us All,” series because the amount of necessary research has become substantial, at best, daunting, at worst, and since the availability of the research I require proves difficult to acquire, I am now in the process of determining exactly how I will procure the reading I need in order to further my studies on the subject. Thus, for the time being, I have come to a small, perhaps albeit important realization about my life and my role within it. To start, I must admit that I have done absolutely no research for this post, and so, everything said here is and will be pure conjecture sprinkled from time to time with vague observations.

When I consider the vast landscape of “What People Create,” I think that YouTube is a great place to look to supplement an understanding about what people “do” these days. Despite whether or not whatever someone’s creating depends upon or uses the video medium, there seem to be many participants who also use the video medium to share/spread their productions. This willing participation within the video-making medium, when the medium of creation is not video, must mean something. I don’t know what it [the meaning] is, nor do I really want to explore what it might be, but I will just off the top of my head for the sake of … [entertainment?] … faux-intellectualism. Hmmm … a presupposition is about to impose itself … People don’t like to read, but they still want to “know things,” but they’ll only work so hard to be able to know those things, and one could argue that video is easily digestible, so the more easily digestible something is, the more attractive it becomes to the person in search of knowing things. Maybe some people don’t actually want to learn anything as far as “knowledge,” but they do want to “be in the know,” which usually means being “hip” with whatever the current “hop” is of the era, year, month, day, hour. Okay, that’s my big assumption. I said, “assumption,” so back the fuck off!

Now that I’ve gone there, I will backtrack to my original thought, which exactly contradicts everything I am about to say. There is no original thought. No, wait, that’s not true. Shit. Where was I going? One moment please … oh shit, that’s right. So, when you observe the popularity of various types of YouTube videos, one thing is made apparent. The most viewed [by the billions] videos are all fully original creations: Music Videos. That’s obvious to me because music is something that people usually participate in on more than one occasion in their lives, again, a pure assumption or is it a presumption? I will consult the Google … it’s a presumption. Wait, maybe it’s a presupposition? Dammit … one moment please … no, it’s a presumption, but now I will state another presupposition: YouTube videos can be deduced into around five [maybe fewer, maybe more, again, I have not thought this through] categories of participation.

These Categories of Trite Participation are as follows:

  1. Curator
  2. Critic
  3. Commentator
  4. Copy-catter
  5. Aspirational [to be part of one of the above]

Now, how to define these categories and how to know under what category a particular video falls. The videos with billions of views are always music videos by original creators. People love music [an assumption], music is enjoyed on a regular basis [a presumption], thus, people repeatedly “watch” music videos mostly because that’s the best [free-est] way to repeatedly listen to music they love [the presupposition]. Other popular videos ranging in the millions to hundreds of millions include popular music, mind-blowing awesomeness and videos that are either of the moment or hit a chord with the population as a whole. Videos with tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands are also considered popular and thus are popular but with the caveat that [assumedly] the success of these YouTubers depends solely on their constant, consistent participation. And finally, those with a few thousand views or fewer [obviously] are aspirational participants. I think that some people use YouTube solely for the purpose of video storage with no hope of being YouTube famous or popular, and that’s reasonable. Here, today, however, I am speaking about those who use YouTube as a medium for [the semblance of] creative endeavors.

How do you categorize the types of videos that you come across on any given day? Well, it’s pretty simple. Original creations seem like they must be pretty easy to spot with straightforward signifiers. The reality is that they actually are not, and the reason for this is because ALL [presumptively] YouTube generators claim to be “content creators” who are [assumedly] creating original creations, but this, in fact, is not true. Thus, I will point out a few well-known types of videos that will help flesh out the Categories.

Number 1: Curator

These types of videos are of the “compilation” genre and are pretty straightforward, you know, Fails, Cats, Basketball highlights, Top 10 [Fill-in-the-blank], and Best Of [Whose-a-Whats-It]

Number 2: Critic

These videos are usually disguised as instructional or intellectual endeavors, but really, they’re just being the critic, you know, anything within the beauty or fashion realm [they’re choosing shit and then sharing it with you under the guise that they’re teaching you shit; it’s pitiful], the self-proclaimed “nerds,” “dudes,” “bros,” “bitches,” who condense so-called “knowledge” into digestible tidbits that you can then share with your friends to seem smart, satirical videos of other types of videos *cough “Shmonest Curtailers,” and the blatant critic who sits down in front of a camera and babbles on and on about how she knows and realizes so much more than you … wait a minute … shit. Critics are the best! *wink nudge*

Number 3: Commentators

Again, these types of YouTube practitioners are fairly easy to spot, they’re called vloggers. The impetus of their “creation” is to film themselves doing something and then essentially commenting on THEIR OWN FUCKING LIVES! What the fuck? Arguably, no actually, by the standards of subscriber statistics, the most famous of all YouTubers would definitely fall under this category. If you don’t know about whom I speak, then all of this is probably just gibberish nonsense, which it is anyway, anyway. Satirical videos usually fall under this category, as well, because they see the genre and usually want to comment upon its ridiculousness or, less often times, genius.

Number 4: Copy-catter

These sorts of videos fall under the, official mind you, title of “cover bands,” think that ever-growing-in-popularity a cappella group [although they are trying to branch upward into being Original Creators], or basically any form of video that plainly reiterates something that’s already been done or is currently being done or is the “thing” of the moment. Think cooking channels, those videos where people are asked to participate in something uncomfortable while we all watch, the participation in a “challenge.”

Number 5: Aspirational

Uh, I really don’t think I need to go into further detail. Okay fine, they aspire to be one of the above, duh.

The problem isn’t that these Categories of Trite Participation exist, and they don’t only exist within and on YouTube. It’s a general categorization of participants who participate in creative endeavors. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a whore, I mean, a curator, critic, commentator or copy-cat. I mean, they’re significant, just look to the Tube! It’s all right there; people love it! It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re important, however. The problem is that I definitely do not want to be part of it. Why? Well, the overwhelming reason is that all of the above types rely on one very specific thing: The original creation of others. Curators simply pick and choose among various original creations and put them all together under a themed heading. Critics only have something to say because someone else did all the legwork, which they [the original creator] then made available, and now the critic, having done nothing him/herself, tears apart how good or bad that creation is/was/will be. Commentators also rely on the doing of others or else there’s nothing on which to comment, and in the case of vloggers, they edit their daily lives so that it may fit inside the packaging of “Me,” so that they may then comment on themselves, which is so obviously contrived. And then, the copy-cats are so dependent upon the original work of others that they would have nothing to do without them. The point is that all of the Categories depend fully upon the creations of true, original creators, which means that a participant who falls under the heading of any of the Categories cannot, in essence, be a creator; they’re just so meta but not meta-creators … it’s more like they’re meta-disseminators … that’s not a word … it is now!

Honestly, I swear to the good lords of rice cake, I watched a certain YouTube “nerd” comment on an “intellectual’s” critique of hipsterism in an attempt to criticize the criticism posed by the critic, with a severe lack of critical thinking, which is essential for critical thinking, when he failed to even touch upon the argument within the critique of hipsterism (Puschak, 2012). The “nerd” instead whined like a little hipster that the writer made an overwhelming generalization about a group of people and that nothing can be gleaned about an individual when taking into account an entire group of people, which, by the way, had nothing to do with the writer’s original criticism that hipsters live ironically (Wampole, 2012) but had everything to do with the “nerd” being butt-hurt by, you guessed it, criticism!, which ultimately proved the writer’s point. And mine, ah ha!, see what I did there? I embodied the role of critic and criticized the criticism of a YouTube critic who criticized the critique of a critical writer. See, falling into one of my Categories of Trite Participation is so easy! Ugh, whatever, you get it, they’re pointless! Except they’re not pointless because it’s all so significant because so many people participate in the ingestion of this pointlessness, which, in and of itself, makes the entire meta-dissemination effort significant but again, not necessarily important.

Thus, we have come to my conclusion. Since I absolutely do not want my work to fall under any of the aforementioned Categories, I’ve come to the realization that I have to work a lot harder than I’ve ever wanted to work before, and now the retroactive relevance of Daft Punk’s, “Doin’ It Right.” If you’re “doin’ it right,” there ought to be some knowable signifiers to validate and prove with no presuppositions that you are, in fact, “doin’ it right.” For Daft Punk, “doin’ it right” means that “everybody will be dancing.” YAS! What are those signifiers for me personally?; I have no fucking clue. I will say this, though, if you don’t already know, I am currently working on my second novel. The one thing I can say without a doubt and a little pride is that I know this is an original creation. How? Well, no part of it falls under my Categories of Trite Participation. Whether or not I’m “doin’ it right,” however, has yet to be determined because I don’t know what the obvious outcome should/would/could be. The easy answer is that I’ll become famous because my book gets published through the traditional publishing route, and everything is awesome. This may not be the signifier, though, because what is the role of publisher?, Curator and Critic. Thus, as I end this post, I’ve come full circle in realizing that there’s no escaping the leeches who exert their significance by merely meta-disseminating the hard work of true creators. So then why do anything? For starters, here’s why: The birth of a seriously kick-ass, mother-fucking great song [an opinion] born of original creators who fight for their need to always be “doin’ it right” [a presumption].

 


*I will eventually return to my “Victims” series, but to know when exactly is impossible.

 


 

References

Bangalter, T., de Homen-Christo, G.M., Lennox, N. (2013). Doin’ it right [Daft Punk ft. Panda Bear]. On Random Access Memories [Ampex reels & Pro Tools tracks]. New York, NY: Columbia.

Puschak, E. [Nerdwriter1]. (2012, November 24). Vlog #41 – What’s so bad about hipsters? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/B7pM4T4AKEc

Wampole, C. (2012, November 18). How to live without irony. The New York Times, p. SR1.

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?

boobsho3upload
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).
boobsho4upload

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.

boobsho1upload

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!”

boobsho2upload

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.

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.

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?

 


 

 

2016: From the Other Side

2016: From the Other Side

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY SEVENTY

2016 December 30 [Friday]

The end can bring such freedom or torture, unless freedom and torture are the same thing. She wakes. She soon realizes, however, that she has not awoken into her life, but rather, she finds herself at the beginning of her death. Confusion seems reasonable enough. “I must have died last night,” she recalls. Grief. She searches endlessly for an answer, and after an unknowable amount of time, she comes to terms with the likely situation that she is, in fact, dead. A person, of course, experiences much about his/her own life when forced to contemplate it [their life] while laying on Death’s bed. She, however, has been denied this opportunity, thus, she decides that she will start at the end and remember what she can about the last year of her life, the year 2016.

What does she remember? What are the stand-alone moments? Where does she live? How does she feel? What did she accomplish? What did she learn? What were some of her favorite things? “Is a chronological remembrance a good way to do it?” she ponders. “Probably not,” she concedes, “Randomness is always the most interesting.” “Where, though, should I begin? Perhaps … somewhere in the middle?”

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*caption below [photo i]
The summer was ridiculously hot in Seoul, South Korea, for far too long a time during this last year. I accomplished much, however, regarding the yoga practice. My favorite posture last year had to have been any sort of backbending.  In other physically-capable-related news, I am also a huge fan of pull-ups. The song that resonates throughout my mind more frequently than others is Adele’s “Send My Love.” The lifemate consistently commented about how the song made me bop. It’s so hip … in the subtlest of ways. My favorite movie of the year was Captain Fantastic. If only I could’ve lived long enough to eventually live my life in exactly that way. My favorite book was hard to decide because I enjoyed quite a few of them this year, but the book I had absolutely no qualms with from cover to cover was An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks. I made little to no progress on the piano. So the stagnation there is embarrassing at best, humiliating at worst.

yearendorcafave
*ii

During the spring we finally saw our families after three years of being apart. We all met up in Vancouver for the most epic vacation ever. Much of that has already been reminisced about to the point that it’s burned into my mind. However, I will reiterate how amazing it was to see and be in the presence of my spirit animal! I also participated in my first yoga challenge that spring. I completed little to no writing during all of the last year, and so, if I have to have a few regrets, that would be high up on that list.

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*iii

The fall was, by far, the busiest time of year of all the years of my life. I published my first book, which was essentially a huge failure [as far as making me money and whatnot], but obviously, the release of my first novel-length piece of fiction was a huge triumph. We also hosted our first party here in Seoul, which was also an epic success. Oh and we also moved apartments from 608 to 308. The fall also rang in a time of true horror and mind-blowingly unbelievable … what’s even the word? … revelations about the “overwhelming” [in quotes, obviously, because that’s not actually true] lack of character within the general population of my homeland. And that’s enough about that. As I hear the echoes of people saying that 2016 was by far the worst year ever, I don’t share that sentiment now as I look upon that last year of my life.

Now as I do, in fact, sit and ponder how I lived until my dying day, I don’t regret as much as I had initially expected. I regret simple things like how I wish I had worked harder, wrote more and read more. I’m not overwhelmed by regretful feelings about how I lived my life or treated people. If anything, I truly feel as though I learned and incorporated that learning into my life very effectively. I’m sort of bummed out now, though, that I can’t or don’t get to use all of that new-found betterness. For starters, the last year of my life was clearly all about patience. At every turn, my patience was tested, and as painful as it was, I know that I ended up a much more patient person. I don’t really know what that says as a whole because there’s a strong chance that I didn’t end up all that patient. I was just more patient. *sigh.

Oh, I was able to see my brother twice in my last year, so that was sort of perfect. I saw my entire family during my last year of life, and that makes me happy. My brother, however, is someone about whom I will do much worrying, as far as his future is concerned. As for my parents, I will also worry, but not because of the decisions that they make, but rather, I will worry about the way that the world will treat them and [not] take care of them now that I’m not there to do it. I can’t even think about the lifemate and how I left him when I died. I refuse to go there at this time. I just can’t think about it.

I also learned too much about myself and life and everything to acknowledge each piece of learning. I do think, though, that the most important thing I learned was that I really stopped caring about what other people think of me. First, I realized that people don’t actually think of me, ever. So … there’s that. Second, life’s way too fucking short to be scared of your social life going down the shitter. I mean, the people who care about that sort of shit are not living their lives. And that’s really sad to me now.

yearendpersonfave2016
*iv

Honestly, I don’t know why I spent so much time writing. I never wanted to become a writer, but I also never really wanted anything else. If I hadn’t spent so much time writing, I don’t really know what I would’ve done instead. My favorite new thing to cook was definitely chicken soup. I sort of can’t believe how easy it is. My favorite person will always be the lifemate, but that’s because he’s my favorite person. As far as a new person whom I adore dearly is concerned, I would have to say that the “favorite” person of 2016 was my student, SJ. My favorite thing to eat was sort of irrelevant, but my new favorite thing to drink was broccoli juice spiked with vodka. My favorite place to go during our weekend outings was definitely Wangsimni. I acquired a new past time this year, as well as a new skill. I spent way too much time playing poker [Hold ‘Em], but I thought that it was worth my time because it’s an interesting skill to have.

In the general sense of “end,” with a quick glance back at the last year, I feel immensely proud of the life I led. Sometimes I was definitely too lazy. Other times, however, I was extremely productive. If I could’ve found a good balance, I think I would have actually, eventually found myself as someone. I suppose I have an unknowable amount of time to continue looking back at what was, unless of course, there’s actually some form of responsibility or things to be done in this afterlife. It’s just sort of dark and cold at this point. There is a small blue light, though, twinkling off in the distance, so I guess I’ll go check that out now.

Despite the twinge of grief I feel for my life now lost, I don’t feel all that bad. If, however, for some reason, I could go back to my life for one more year, I honestly don’t know if I’d really do anything all that differently. Upon first thought, the things that I would do differently revolve mostly around taking risks, finding those jumping off points and jumping, continuing on the path of not-caring about what anyone thinks, growing ever closer to the me I want to be.

If you ever hear from me again, I guess I didn’t actually DIE die. If, however, you never hear from me again, all I hope is that it was good to know me. Happy New Year!, to those of you who are lucky enough to see the sun shine on that first beautiful day of 2017. Best and farewell!


i. the last yoga pic of me in a posture I came to love

ii. seeing and experiencing my spirit animal

iii. the book I wrote

iv. the lifemate