Christmas Cheer/Pox

It’s now officially Christmas day and I still have all the eagerness of my much-younger self when it comes to presents. The key difference now is I am very excited to share something special, carefully selected after a mix of gift-hunting and procrastination, in hopes I make at least one person’s Christmas a little brighter.

Unfortunately, the only thing roasting on an open fire seems to be this writer. I’m fairly certain I have a case of the Christmas Pox, complete with fever, aches, and a generally bah humbug sensibility. Fret not, as I am at least fighting that last symptom tooth-and-nail as I refuse to bring down the mood today. Continue reading

A much-dreaded holiday rant

I’m about to get a little soap-boxy, people, but I think the title said all that and more. All the same: brace yourselves. It may get a little preachy up in this here blog post.

Christmas season is in full swing. Yards, houses, street signs, and every imaginable surface is bedecked with bright and brilliant lights, holly and garland, and will soon be a January-long reminder that maybe a little less could be considered more for Christmas next year. If nothing else, it has definitely reached that point where everyone seems to be getting progressively more frazzled. Listen closely, and beneath the jingling bells and choirs of angels you, too, may hear the sound of fraying nerves ready to snap at any moment. I can relate. There are a lot of gifts to remember to purchase at the last minute, wrap, rewrap, get drunk while wrapping for a third time, and so on. That’s probably not the most common experience so much as a crippling reminder that I am utterly incompetent at preparing gifts, actually. Continue reading

Post-Thanksgiving, post-hiatus…er, post

It certainly feels like it’s been ages since my last post, which makes sense since I dropped off of the planet (from a blogging and social media standpoint, at least) after the hundred days of blogging finished up. Thanksgiving reminded me of the many things I have to be thankful for, and Black Friday reminded me that people are absolutely, completely, and irredeemably insane at times (but not all of them, so at least there’s that). I somehow, to the surprise of quite a few people, lived through another trip around the sun. I’m now a year closer to thirty, which feels a bit odd to say because my childhood goal-mapping said by this point I would either be a sagely old man dispensing wisdom or an all-powerful overlord of all creation, but I appear to be neither. Maybe that’s for later in the year. Continue reading

The question of NaNoWriMo revisited

I hesitate to admit this, but apparently it’s almost November already. I’m fairly certain it was mid-July just last week, but perhaps time has gotten away from me. At least I didn’t somehow miss Halloween. Yet.

November means NaNoWriMo, which I’ve brought up relatively recently(ish). It’s that special kind of self-inflicted torture writers endure/enjoy for one full month, attempting to produce a 50k word novel before November wraps up. This is only appropriate as The Thanksgiving Food Coma usually spells doom for writers who have failed to maintain a moderate to intense level of daily writing discipline throughout the month. Nothing about NaNoWriMo is easy, from balancing writing against other obligations to fighting against the madness-inducing 50k final word count.

This begs the following question: why in the Hell am I thinking about throwing all caution (and reasonable thought) to the wind and giving it yet another go? It would be in the shadow of the ass-kicking, brain-draining Hundred Days of Blogging (which is so close to being over but still so far away). The holiday shopping season will be upon us too soon, and I still happen to work in a retail setting that is going to get absolutely stampeded. There’s also the small matter of my birthday happening at some point next month, which I imagine will involve plenty of its own distractions as well. I’m still considering it, though. Not a damn clue why. Brianne posed a reasonable question in response to me voicing my interest in tackling NaNoWriMo: “Do you want to torture yourself?”

Perhaps? On one hand, it could be a good way to really kick-start my currently-unnamed novel project. On the other hand, I know too well that working under pressure usually doesn’t make for my best creative moments (although, to be fair, it’s hit or miss because sometimes it lends to me producing my best work). I think the answer will have to wait until November. Around midnight, November 1st. We’ll see where this ends up from there and then.

Taking a moment to give thanks

I could go on for hours, easily, about how much I cannot stand the abrupt transition from Halloween to Christmas.  It’s partially a selfish thing, as my birthday falls around Thanksgiving (and yes, occasionally, on Thanksgiving).  Black Friday, shopping at all hours, and getting every new gadget and whatsit on the market before everyone else has become such an important thing, and something about that has come to bother me to such a degree that even just typing about it twists my stomach up a bit.  Yes, this is coming from someone who had waited in line in hopes of getting a Nintento Wii years back.

Moving along.  I’ve done my fair share of bitching and moaning this year.  It has certainly been a year of stress and loss, and I have had days when all I wanted to do was cover the windows to get that dark-as-midnight kind of darkness in my room, pull the covers around me nice and tight, and not deal with anything.  I am still grieving over losing Missy earlier this summer, and now I’ve got to deal with Mackenzie, one of my family’s other dogs, passing away recently.

I mention these things because I have so much to be thankful for.  This might get to sounding a little preachy at times.  Not intentionally, of course, but this veers away from my usual writing to a point where it might do things it wasn’t meant to.

As I was saying, I have so much to be thankful for.  Not just the good things in my life, mind you, but the bad ones as well.  Without the bad things, I could perhaps lose sight of just how good the good things in my life really are, and that would be a real shame I think.

I am thankful for having such a strong support system; for a family that supports me through everything, even though I can be a bit much to deal with at times with the snark and sarcasm.  I am equally thankful for Brianne’s family (and, of course, Brianne as well) being so good to me, since living two hours away from everything I knew all my life can be a bit terrifying at times.  I am thankful for my two cats and my dog back home with my family, even though I am still so lost without Missy and Mackenzie (who were, beyond any doubt, two of the greatest dogs in the history of all existence as far as I am concerned).

I am thankful for my friends who are always there for me, when I’m at my best or when I’m at my worst, because they’re the people I know I can always count on.  I’m just as thankful for my friends who haven’t always been there for me, because they’ve reminded me of the importance of being able to stand on my own at times.  Life beyond college has proved to be such a tricky beast, and the things it has shown me about people have been rather eye-opening.

I am thankful for the job I have, and the pay and benefits it provides me with, because it has made it possible for me to move out and start to work on becoming a proper, responsible adult (I mean, as responsible as I can possibly be).  I’m truly thankful for the people I met because of this job, or gotten to know better because of it, because they’re all right in their own rights.  I’m also thankful for the hardships it has put me through, because I’m still here after dealing with them.  Even if a lot of the work-stress has been caused by avoidable situations.

The list could go on and on, really.  Just remember, whether you’re gunning for a new XBOX One, a tremendous flatscreen that would look perfect in your man-cave, or whatever, to take a moment–at the very least, a moment–to be thankful.  If I’ve learned nothing else from this past year, it’s how life is far too short, and so many things that seem like they will be there forever tend to go away much, much too soon.

More importantly, I’d like to wish an early, but very happy, healthy Thanksgiving to everyone out there in the vastness of the Internet.  I hope you all have time to stuff yourselves with delicious food, and spend quality time with family.

Easter feasting, April fooling, and other things of a miscellaneous nature

First and foremost, I hope everyone had a happy, healthy Easter.  I certainly had a happy one, though I look back and consider the quantities of food (with a specific nod to food of the junkier nature) and booze and can’t help but doubt this weekend had any merit in terms of my overall health.  Really, I’m almost certain if I got cut right now I’d bleed a horrible, vile mix of ham and the stuff in Cadbury Creme Eggs.  Sorry, too gross?

Naturally, between feasting, entertaining/verbally abusing guests, and having taken several steps in interviewing for a new job (nothing more will really be said other than I’m knocking on all the wood with my fingers crossed, all while covered in rabbits’ feet and four leaf clovers I made out of construction paper, because this could be a good thing should it work out), I’ve been somewhat comatose.

Of course, today is April Fool’s Day.  I considered making an April Fool’s joke about how I got into an esteemed graduate program in writing, or that I’m now a published writer with some level of success, but both of those joke ideas left me wanting to set myself on fire so I’ll just go ahead and congratulate anyone who managed to go all day without being pranked, fooled, tricked, or generally pissed off by the antics of their questionable friends and family.

Tomorrow, once I fully emerge from my Easter feasting-induced hibernation, I plan on wrapping up the Seven Deadly Sins applied to writing line of posts, get back to All The King’s…etc, and start sending things back out for publication consideration again.  Probably writing a BioShock Infinite review, which is something I am not even a little sorry for.

And so, if anyone needs me, it’s still laze o’clock until Tuesday morning gets here.