Friday, March 30, 2007

The Week In Review

Okay... so here it is in a nutshell.

Other than my usual "life is good except when interrupted by it nagging me that something weird is out there and you still haven't figured it out" rant... this is what's happened this week.

Monday my brother, his wife, their youngest and her friend from school came to town for vacation. They stayed until today and left this morning. Monday night we went to eat at the ponderosa, bought some booze and chilled out in their hotel room.

Tuesdday I took clothes with me to change in to after work and left from work to go straight to see my family. We decided to go to CiCi's pizza for dinner and then on to WonderWorks (an upside-down museum on international drive). That's when it hit me that I am not anything like my family, not really.

We decided, after dinner, that we would take the I-Drive bus from the hotel up to Wonderworks. By the time we got to the closest bus stop, the bus had just left. There was a homeless man there who was looking for money for food. He didn't have a sign and was obviously someone truly down on his luck. My heart went out to him. My brother, who was one of the ones that taught me about Christ's love and what it meant to be neighborly, etc., suggested that we go to the next bus stop. I asked why. The homeless man piped up again about his hunger and then my brother said "That's why" under his breath.

This bothered me a lot. I told him that the man wasn't hurting anyone and that he didn't know anything about him anyway so what's the big deal? My brother was insistent. I looked to my right and there was a Denny's there. I asked my brother how long til the next bus shows up. He said 15 minutes. I said okay, I'll meet you there.

I went in to Denny's and asked for the quickest sandwich and fries they could make. 8 bucks. I took it out to the man who had fallen asleep on the bench. When I woke him up there was fear in his eyes and simply said in a calm voice, "Sir, please do not go hungry tonight." And gave him the bag. He looked at me rather incredulously and thanked me and then began asking me to pray for him. Now I felt awkward. My beliefs are in flux about all that but with his insistence I could tell it meant something to him for me to pray for him. So I did. I grabbed his hand with one hand placed my other hand on his head and prayed for him. I could tell he hadn't bathed in a while and really needed some help. I prayed for his guidance and his safety and then went to catch up with my family. The man called out to me saying "Bless you!" and began to eat.

I got to the bus stop just in time to catch the bus with the family. Great timing. :)

The rest of the night went well and my brother didn't say a word about it. In fact, he didn't even say anything after I told him what had just happened. He was just worried about getting to the museum on time.

I understand that he's afraid of the unknown. But something is only unknown until you learn about it. That takes risk and sacrifice sometimes. The homeless man wouldn't have hurt us. He was just hungry.

I took Wednesday off and treated my family to Universal and Islands of Adventure. Being an annual-pass holder I got the tickets at half-price which is better than I expected. We had a blast and I lost my voice. Katie (my niece) wouldn't go on any of the "scary rides" with me but her friend Chelsea did. She and I had the best time of all of us there I think. I only say that because I didn't see the genuine look of fun or the vibe from them as I did from Chelsea. Not sure what it is exactly but I know it wasn't there.

That night we went to dinner at TGI Friday's with my nephew's ex-girlfriend who lives down here. It's a little weird... she's married now... but she still comes to see Andy from time to time and it's just... well it's just weird. Andy is still in love with her and won't let it go and it's just messy. Anyway... Andy wasn't there so it wasn't a problem. After that they came over briefly to see the house. There was some weird tension going on there. Like... no one really felt comfortable. It was odd. But then, I don't feel comfortable in mom and dad's house anymore either. I dunno... it was just strange. After I showed them the place we headed back to the hotel where my car was. I decided to say my goodbyes then and give them a day to themselves. Didn't hear a word from them yesterday or today so... I guess everything's okay. No news is good news, right?

Before I get into yesterday, I'll finish up some other news. We had a murder in the house. The ringnecks took it upon themselves to kill the little yellow parrotlet on Monday. Apparently the poor guy suffered for about 45 minutes before it died. Josh was ready to ring the ringnecks' necks. But of course, that didn't happen. I'm not sure if it would've bothered me if he did... I liked that little yellow bird and I think the ringnecks are getting off easy.

The pump died again and had to be fixed. Josh's internet went wonky. The pool got clogged and had to be unclogged by servicemen. Josh's provider of the insulin pump contacted him saying that they didn't get their money (even though I gave them my Amex number). Just stupid things happening at home while I was away. Most of that is all resolved now, though.

My mouth still hurts from getting whacked in the face by Taylor's unintentional head-butt. I think I'll probably have to see a doctor about it... don't want to... but I'll probably have to.

Okay, so last night Josh's friend Brent came over. He's living out of his car right now but trying to get his own place. Liz was playing The Sims Online and asked me to join. So I brought my laptop out and started the download. Took 4 hours to download and another hour and a half to get it to connect and verify me. During this time we got slowly hammered and watched some Dave Chappelle, The New Guy and Jawbreaker (which is a FUCKED UP movie). All the while, Brent is trying to pour on the charms on me. It was funny because just before his amorous needs kicked in, he was going on about his disdain for homosexuality and I was thinking... heh... if you knew what I know you'd start questioning yourself. Here he was... talking about how he hated being hit on by guys... and then turns around and starts hitting on me... expecting me to be okay with it. I should've told him... but I didn't want to cause a problem between he and Josh... didn't want him to go blaming Josh for not telling him, etc., blah blah blah.

Mind you, the attention was not wasted. I did enjoy it but at the same time that's not what I was setting out to do that night. I just wanted to chill, relax, watch a movie and play a game... but not that kind of game. So I wrestled with my feelings for a bit and worked it out until he decided to go sleep in his car... in our front yard. A little stupid, I think.

I know what he was after and even if I were to give up something like that I'm not giving it up to someone pushing my emotional and physical buttons without showing something real in return. I know what he "needed" and I'm tired of being an easy button. But the attention DID feel good. Heh... that's for sure. But from now on, ya gotta show me something real... make it count. Then, I might be willing to take ya to fantasy island with me. :)

At any rate, now it's Friday and I've been given a shitload more work to do. So, I gotta close this and get something done. Later bitches. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What Have I Been Doing?

Twink sent me an IM today saying that she called the Bird Store about Bella. Bella had been screaming her head off for 30 to 40 minutes and Liz just couldn't take it anymore. I don't blame her. I've been looking for a home for Bella... but my efforts either haven't been fruitful or haven't been enough. It feels more like the latter, tho.

After I finished talking to her about it and thanking her for doing something that clearly wasn't her responsibility, I began to reflect on some of the choices I've made recently and why. I felt like a total shit that I committed myself to something and didn't follow through, once again. It scares me that this may be my M.O. and if so, I need to change it ASAP.

I've been very impulsive in my life. I don't know if that's something that's genetic or learned or what ... but how it got in my life doesn't really matter... just that it exists. I know in my head that when these choices are presented, I think quickly about the opportunity and the benefits they can bring and my impulsive nature tells me to act quickly before the opportunity is no longer available. I don't listen to "the better part of valor" sometimes and it bothers me.

No hunter/gatherer likes the experience of seeing a nurturer/provider in pain, aggravated or dealing with things they shouldn't have to deal with. I want to jump up right now, leave work, grab Bella, drive to the rescue and just drop her off like a baby in a basket on the doorstep. But my head tells me that leaving work right now to go deal with this would be a bad move too. Caught between a rock and a hard place.

So, as I began to ponder the possibility that Twink was pissed at me for not following through on my responsibilities... I began to question that response. Was it really that she's pissed at *me* or is she looking for some form of recognition and understanding saying, "This is fucked up! What can we do about it?! Can you please help?" There's a difference between her irritation at the bird and her disappointment with me in not helping out with this situation... one that I directly created.

This is the distinction that I've made and I need to deal with both. So I asked myself the question... do I really love her? Do I really love the family I'm in? The answer came back with a resounding yes, I do. The next thought that came to mind was, "Then stop making it about you and what you want, need, etc." It's a nauseating realization when one comes to the understanding that what they've been doing, although shrouded in the veil of "it's for us," is actually used to make one feel better about themselves. In my heart, that's not what it's about... but I'm not doing a very good job of showing that. I *am* learning, though.

Maybe I should ask for an hour or two to deal with this. I should let her know that I understand what she's upset about... on both counts. That I recognize it, at the very least. This is something I need to do... I feel it in all the "chakras" I have.

I am committing myself now, at this very moment, to deal with my responsibilities... to live up to my promises and to better myself for the benefit of everyone involved. It's the right thing to do. I just hope it's not too late.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Having Fun Yet?

So... the appraisal came in at the right amount.. YAY! I just sent in all the paperwork necessary to complete the restrictions for the loan. Hopefully with all that information we'll be okay to restructure the loan. It means paying more, but less than what the current 30-yr fixed rate is for our current OptionARM. If this goes through, it'll be a good thing. No more money bleeding. It'll actually be spent on both the interest AND the principal, like it should be. The Option ARM is a good thing if you're in a temporary tight spot financially and need the break. But once you can get out of the loan, get out of it.

The windows are done. w00t! Yea, they came to the house yesterday and finished that up. Now we need to consider the doors. Well, there are a lot of things that need to be considered, in truth, but the doors are rusting out and need to be taken care of soon. Won't be long before we have the house in damn good condition.

This is the week of the WMC. We're not there. Heh... I remember posting in my journal a few months back that I would definitely be there. It's funny how life's path can take such twists and turns that you would never expect. It's all good. I count myself blessed to have had the opportunity to experience the WMC and Ultra Music Festival, etc. It's time for a younger generation to take that on and make more out of it. I have other ideas and plans for the future now and I'm enjoying the journey of making these plans and goals come to fruition.

I was asked recently what I'm looking for out of life. The answer to that is easy: happiness and understanding. I want to be happy and to see others find their happiness. I'm willing to do whatever I can to make that possible for myself and for as many others along the way as I can. Sometimes it means having to do things that can be interpreted as being mean... that's called tough love. And it's not really as tough on the recipient of the love as it is on the lover. They are giving up the natural desire to hold, hug, kiss, whatever and are being tough on themselves by denying the other what they want. This is an attempt to strengthen the other enough to where they will be able to make themselves happy first, regardless of what someone else can provide them. No one should be dependent upon another for one's happiness. That should be something one can accomplish on their own. Having fun is easy... you just do it and don't make it bad or wrong... make it good. Heh... sounds easy right?

The other part was understanding. There's a lot of things I don't understand. I see so many things in life that the rational mind says can not be coincidence, yet how can I assume in a world based on free-will that they aren't coincidental? Cause and Effect. The hard part is taking all the effects and working out what caused them. Twink says that sometimes it feels like life is following a script. I thought about that today and thought, damn... if she's got a script, she needs to share it. I'll get a pencil with a good eraser and we'll make some changes. :) Perhaps, in a way, that's already what's going on with our lives. We see the script and start making changes to it in ways that make it better for ourselves.

Have you ever noticed people's attitudes toward phone calls from friends? Sometimes, we bitch about getting too many phone calls. And then, when someone doesn't call us, we think "That person never calls us, I guess they don't care to talk to us anymore." Yet maybe they're feeling the same way about us. Or maybe it's really a way of confirming for ourselves a feeling that we already had. I can demonstrate this algebraically. Basically that goes like this:

Person A and Person B are best friends. Person B and Person C are new friends. A meets C via B. A tries to understand what C means to B. A determines through their interpretations of C's actions/inactions that C may not be good for A, B or A+B (for whatever reason or combination thereof). A then confirms this by noting that C never calls/writes/invites out/etc. This is an affirmation of a feeling that was already there and is used to strengthen the position.

The reaction to this depends on the strength of the relationship between A and B. If the relationship is not strong, or if the relationship between B and C becomes stronger than the relationship between A and B, there will be shifts. If the relationship between A and B is stronger than the relationship between B and C, it will remain strong and steady.

This is also the way that molecules are formed, by the way. If you wanna know more, look here for some good information about the way molecular bonding works. Yeah... it's basic school chemistry... but maybe you didn't pay attention in school, didn't get that opportunity or forgot. For me, it was the latter. :)

On rare occasions, A+B+C can work. On even more rare occasions, A+B+ ... +n can work. These are called Unions in math. Remember those things where you'd see three circles overlapping and you were taught that where the two or more intersected there was a union? The union was a different entity from the individuals even though it was made up by the individuals. Made me think of an old scripture that said, "Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I."

So... are these things all coincidence? Or is it possible that all of these stories (whether they be written, sung, played, sculpted, painted, birthed, coded, danced, computed, styled, weaved, captured, constructed, etc.) all tell the same tale. This is what I'm still working on. The understanding of the relationships between the stories. Understanding the root of the story that is being told in all the various forms and languages. Hopefully I don't have to experience the ultimate story expression before I understand it... but I somehow doubt I can re-write that portion of the script. I think it's in pen.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Best Intentions

So this weekend was bothersome somewhat. Friday night, Liz and I spun some records together and talked about music and life and family and stuff like that. About half-way through the night she asked me why I was doing all that I'm doing. It had to do with the fact that I kept bringing up what other people think of the relationship that we have... which to her meant that I was talking to other people about it to get their opinion. That led her to believe that I wasn't really happy and that maybe I had second thoughts. This was all reinforced by Steven telling her that he thinks I should be on my own and living my own life and that I'm putting her on a pedestal. So, here we are 8 months into living together and we're still trying to figure out what's what? Oy!

I talked with her and I talked with Steven later. But it's just irritating. I know Steven had the best intentions but it did nothing but reinforce a false idea. The only good that has been done here is that it has made me realize who I can talk to about things in my life and who I can't. It also reminds me of what I keep inside and what I don't. It has taught me that not everyone will see the world the same way I do and that their interpretation of events and what I say will often be completely bass-ackwards of what's in my head and my heart.

It's sad, really. I want to shout from the mountaintops that I finally have found happiness. I want the world to know. But when people question my happiness and then begin to try to change things in order to bring me more into their own idea of happiness, it becomes irritating to say the least. Therefore, I can't really tell anyone. On top of that, I apparently have to be careful either about what I say or how I say it to those I care about to make sure that my meaning is delivered correctly. Is this because I'm not an effective communicator or because they aren't really listening? I dunno... either way, it seems that how I act and react will be a better litmus test of me than anything else. So, I try to keep my eyes on ball and be ever watchful for those who may try to tear down what we have.

The bottom line is that apparently my friends believe I'm cheating myself from a life. They're concerned that I'm not dating, I'm not being active socially, etc. And they're afraid that this is a problem and that they are compounding it. It's truly amazing to me that they would think that considering all the social interaction I have with them all the time. Dating means getting to know someone new... learning what they like/dislike... will it require me to act a certain way, look a certain way, etc. etc. This is all bullshit. On the one hand, I understood their concerns. But on the other hand, it felt like my adopted family was saying they wanted me to go through all that bullshit again. Why? Maybe for me... maybe for them... maybe a combination of both. I dunno. But there's definitely a communication gap still. One thing I do know... language is not the way to communicate it. Actions is all that matters. My actions will speak louder than anything else and it's my mouth that gets me into trouble.

Other than that little episode, the weekend was lazy as all hell. I finished up most of the bathroom re-paint. There are some other things that need to be done before it's all finished up but it's almost there. I got Liz and Taylor addicted to "The Sims 2" and so this weekend that's all we did was play games. It was very relaxing and fun. Hopefully the mix of fun and responsibility can keep going the way it's supposed to. Then maybe we can finally leave all this bullshit behind. It'd sure be nice.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sad News

I just read the CNN news page here at work... Richard Jeni apparently shot himself this weekend. It's always sad to hear about someone taking their own life. I saw Richard perform live on a cruise ship once. His work, in my opinion, could have been a lot more interesting had he explored more about life and how we, as humans, interact on more than just a social level. But regardless of how I felt about that, it saddened me to hear that he cut his own life short.

I also read that Brad Delp, lead singer for Boston, died in his home on Friday. No sign of foul play... he was apparently just "done." I'm forever grateful for the music he and the other members of Boston shared with the world. I'm sure his soul is where all of our souls long to go in the end. Enjoy the rest, Brad. :) You will be missed but fondly remembered always.


Friday, March 9, 2007


This is one of those days. It's a good day for me. A day where I know I'll accomplish a lot. A day where I don't give a shit about what anyone thinks about what I'm doing... I'm doing what I want to do because it's good for me, good for those I give a shit about, and will allow me to move forward in life. As Emmet would say, "My flame has been rekindled and is burning brighter than ever."

Yeah... it's gonna be one of those days. Thank God... I need one. :)


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Oy Vey!

Okay... I've been meaning to write in here for a while now but haven't had the chance. Or when I had the chance, I was too tired or more interested in doing something other than writing about what's been going on. Heh. Whee!

Easiest way to break it down... by subject!

We're trying to re-fi. It's no so much stress this time (thankfully) but it has been difficult given that my scores have dropped due to unsecured debt (thanks Rob) and FHMS not posting our pay-off amount on time (thanks Fist... I mean First Horizon). Regardless, we have been approved for what we need, now it's just a matter of getting the right rate. Time will tell.

Also, the windows will finally be complete the week of the 19th. Only 3 months after we got started. Fuck Lowes. I swear by all that's dear to me... do not go with Lowes if you can avoid it. There's lots of complaint information about their customer service and we can attest to it. I've had to threaten chargeback to get their attention. Does that say anything?

Yeah, there's a difference. Home life is grand... even though the kids are driving me nuts. Not like that's a bad thing... it's just a thing. :) The trade-off for having such beautiful children in my life is letting them pester me to death. Heh... earlier today, Taylor even wanted to start calling me mom. Twink played along and said, "Hey, that's great... that means I'm off the hook!" Needless to say, she's still mom and I'm still "Aunt" Jenna... the way it should be.

Saw him today. Almost done with all the proceedings for my will and all that jazz. I'll be glad when that's done. One more week!

PLUR Records:
Tax day for S-Corps is the 15th of this month. I'm making good headway with the PnL statement and should make the deadline with time to spare. Then it's on to my own taxes. There's still stuff to do... site changes, new MP3 artist work to upload, etc. Busy, busy.

Radixx is actually turning out pretty interesting. I was included in a meeting today and the head of development likes my work and suggestions for the product. I just gotta make sure I work out what makes the VP tick when it comes to work (probably staying late and being the good employee based on what others have said). Hopefully I can balance that out where I can give them some extra time to help in crises but not all of my time for stupidity that someone else should be dealing with.

My Music:
Uhm... what? Next subject please! Actually, that's just a situation of it's "on hold" until other things I want to do are done. When I find time, I tinker with it... but right now there's just to many other irons in the fire.

Sex, Drugs and Breakbeats:
Well, 1 out of 3 I guess. 33%? That's pretty shitty. But the first two just aren't as fulfilling as the third to me. Maybe that makes me a freak... I'm fine with that for now. Sex just leads to sticky situations in more ways than one. Drugs only last for a while, can cause irreparable damage, leaves me feeling like shit afterwards, are hard to come by, are expensive, sometimes gives me a bad reaction and are therefore out of the picture at the moment. But a good breakbeat... I mean some down and dirty bass with a beat that just won't stay still or a timeless classic old-school funky track will get me going every time. Best of all, if I didn't get enough, I can just play it again with no ill effects! w00t!

Abbie and Jasmine are fine... although a tad bored I think. I need to play with them more often. Bella is being her typical "Leave me the fuck alone" self... so I do. Time will tell with that bitch. She certainly has her own mind about what she wants and doesn't want and isn't afraid to tell you about it.

Everything else so far is gravy. I'm playing Guild Wars some now. It's interesting and doesn't cost for connection to their servers. That's a good thing. Plus Jose plays with me online so I've got an adventuring buddy. I miss him. I really need to work out time to go see them sometime.

I finished Prey. What a disappointment. The ending was just way too predictable. I saw it coming from miles away. Looking forward to HL3 though. Hopefully the boys at Valve have more story ingenuity than the 3D Realms folk do. *sigh*

Anyway, nothing much else to say at the moment. More later.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Pecking Orders

They exist. We all know it, see it, feel it. It happens between friends, family, co-workers, community members, and so on. Here's an example.

I was talking yesterday about this code I've been asked to change and the quandary I was in regarding which direction to take. Well, I chose to scale it back a bit and create something that would fit the application better. It was still a very new concept for this app and this company.

So I called Elaine and asked her to look at the design. She was "concerned" about the design and then called Chris, (the VP of software development) over to look at it. He liked the idea but felt it wasn't going to work with what he had in mind.

So the three of us then went to his office to go over the design. I put up ideas (very outside-of-the-box) ideas that in my mind would provide immense flexibility and functionality for the user while the other two shot down my ideas with typical "we don't do things that way... our users won't understand these ideas" responses. I was dauntless with my efforts, none-the-less, and continued to proffer options.

Something happened while I was there. I was watching Chris and Elaine interact and it became quite clear that even though Chris is the VP, Elaine calls the shots. He knew how he wanted to see the app change and Elaine knew how she wanted to see it change. As I watched the interaction from a third-person perspective among us all, I saw the pecking order. My ideas were put on the shelf because I'm "the new guy" and not in a position where anyone has seen my true abilities shine yet. Not sure they will if I don't get the opportunity to show off, though. At any rate, when Chris finally gave in, the meeting was over. There was no, "well, maybe we could incorporate this idea with this." There were no compromises offered. There were no considerations for the thought and effort put in by myself or Chris. It was simply, "well, that's done... everyone agrees with Elaine so no problem."

Knowing this provides for some interesting potential. She's the one I need to impress or replace, even though everyone else is technically at a higher position. She's the one they all look to for approval... she's the mother hen there.

Why do people relent to another after a certain period of time? What are their reasons? Everyone has their reasons, I suppose. There are those I relent to and there are those that relent to me. Sometimes these relationships change based on the circumstances... sometimes they change for selfish reasons, sometimes they change as a result of a newfound respect or admiration, there are lots of possibilities. But the orders exist and those who go against the order become targets... either targets of scorn, targets of pity or targets of leadership.

Why do these orders exist? They're simply another way we class ourselves. But in truth, no one person is any greater than another. No one person is any less important than another (or any more important). We have the option in life to either provide and produce in ways that promote community, togetherness and unity... or we can create division, hierarchy, rules and regulations, and control. There's a third option too... but most people don't see that or figure it out... it lies between the two.

Both sides have compelling reasons for existing. Both believe their way to be the right way and usually have the best in mind for themselves and others. It becomes a matter of perception. Is this person attempting to control me, dominate me, rule me... or are they trying to communicate with me, unite with me in a common cause and provide for the common good for us all. The perception is always colored by experiences. These experiences include conversations, intimacy, joint efforts at a common task, competition for a sought goal.

In the end, it's really just a matter of interpretations and perceptions and how we interact with those interpretations. One way that can be beneficial is to learn how someone communicates ideas. What does this mean? Knowing what they respect. Some people respect strength while others regard it as being a bully. Some people respect gentleness while others regard it as being weak. Some people respect an easy-going attitude while others regard it as laziness. Some people respect a focused and relentless drive while others regard it as selfishness. Once you understand what someone respects and responds to, you can communicate effectively with them your intentions, desires, needs, wants, etc. You will discover whether or not they are agreeable with your ideas and from there you can choose to either move forward together... or move forward apart.

How do I handle these things? How do I handle pecking orders? What do I respect and how do I communicate? If you haven't figured that out by now, you don't know me very well. And if you think this entry is directed solely at you... you definitely don't know me very well and are just thinking of yourself. Read it again and you might figure it out.