Hello dear friend…I’ve missed you.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m sorry I’ve been away. Life has been crazy busy. I let everything else take priority and you got pushed to the side. I feel really cruddy about that. Hopefully, someday, I can make it up to you. Let me start by feeling you in on everything that has happened since we last spoke in February of this year.

  • Our baby was born!
    • Since the birth, we’ve had some health scares with the little one. A good handful of ER visits. At least one several night stay at the hospital. But Peanut is doing good now.
  • I started a new job!
    • This job is pretty awesome but requires a lot of my time between May and August. But the rest of the year it’s pretty chill filled with team building, planning, and leadership training.
  • Surprisingly, I haven’t seen very many films this year. I think maybe two? That’ll change in the off season but besides a select handful, I think my summer blockbuster viewing will be taking a hit.
  • We’ve had a run of bad luck over the summer; our little one’s health, then our health, then the car went out, and then our basement flooded…twice! But we’ve kept our heads up, looking at the positive, and pushing through.
  • I am sooooooo close to being done with the edit of Dead Hearts! I just need a day or two to wrap things up. Yet, I can’t find the time due to the previously mentioned issues as well in addition to the time parenting and the new job takes. In a few weeks my work season slows way down and I’ll finally be able to take two days off in a week, back to back, and that’s all I’ll do.
    • Once I finish the final cut, I’m sending a copy to everyone who helped with it. I’m going to book a private screening for everyone to attend. I’m going to apply for a bunch of film festivals. I can’t wait!
  • I have a bunch of new ideas for my next film project, but before I just dive in to those I’m doing some self education. Working on learning the 3 Act structure, what rules to follow (or break), adding depth to my writing, etc. Once I have that down, I’ll feel more comfortable and confident on actually putting my ideas in a script.
  • I’m working on several podcasts with various folks that hopefully will premiere later this fall! More details to come!
  • I’m back on track with my health; I have a pretty solid routine where I do the same stuff throughout the morning and mid-day. Oatmeal w/1 tablespoon of PB, vitamins for breakfast. Apple for first snack. If I’ve been active, I’ll have an Elevation bar (from Aldi.) Lunch is a Lean Shake w/some string cheese. Afternoon is a protein bar and/or apple. Dinner is where I struggle. Sometimes I rock it, others not so much. But I had my food prep containers arrive this week so I’ve prepped several nights in a row of chicken and green beans. All I need to do is pop them in the microwave and viola! Dinner is served. I like this routine I’ve started because that means I only eat meat in the evening, for one meal. I’m trying a “reducetarian” approach to my eating (click the link for more info.)
    • I plan on including 3 days at the gym with daily walks w/the fam and dogs to help improve my overall health. I also hope to run a 5k at the end of October. I do miss those!
  • With the flooded basement, we’ve kind of kickstarted redoing our house. We were going to wait a bit but we feel now is the best time to do it, while we have the momentum (even if it was spurred on by a horrible incident.)
    • We have plans for each room, with themes for each. But before we do anything inside, we have to protect the outside. So we have to re-grade the dirt around our house, put rocks down to keep it there, pull a bunch of foliage/shrubbery from the fence, tear down the fence, put an new fence up, etc. Once we complete that we’ll move to the inside.
    • On the inside, the thing I’m most excited for…we are doing a theater room downstairs! After we’ve flood proofed it of course :D. More deets on that to come!
      • One cool thing we’ll do down there is we’ll adorn the walls w/alternative movie posters. I got a few in mind I’m gonna put up but I to do like a rotating thing where every few months I switch out the posters. If we host movie nights w/friends we’ll put up relevant posters. Lots of things we can do with them! I’ve really started to dive in to that art/design scene and the wife said we could go to MondoCon next year! Can’t wait!

That’s about it for now old friend. Don’t worry though, I’m not leaving ya. I have a feeling things are about to change. You’ll be seeing me a lot more around these parts pretty soon. See you soon!

Keepin’ it Geeky,

j

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Been waiting 30 years for this…

So today is an odd day for me. I am going to be partaking in one of my favorite events with my wife for the first time (a KC Chiefs game) and have had a great weekend filled with food, board games, friends, and family. I have no complaints about anything. Except for…

Today is the day I turn 30. GASP! SHOCK! I know right? Today is my birthday and I always figured this would be the one that felt odd. It would feel like I’m finally an “adult” ya know? Like I would wake up and want to buy some khakis, get a mortgage, start an Roth IRA, and observe the market for stock trends…but then I realized that I’ve already done all of those things. I’ve been adulting for a while it seems.

So why does 30 seem like a such a big deal to me? I’m not sure to be honest. Part of me thinks it tied to my sense of mortality and my fear of death; for a good number of people who did not take care of their health at a younger age (like myself), 30 can be the midway point of your life. This could be “middle-aged” for me. In 30 years time I could possibly be lying flat on a morgue slab, having shuffled off the mortal coil. That scares the hell out of me. I’m not going to get in to specifics or religion mumbo-jumbo right now, but no matter what my views of life and death are, dying is the scariest thing in the world to me.

And because of that fear, I feel I’ve missed out on some things. I’ve spent the last two years in mild depression, neglecting my health, relationships, and pursuing my dreams. I was so worried about turning 30 soon that I forgot that I was currently 28, 29. It was infuriating being  constricted by the irrational fear of something that could come in 30 or 60 years, hell it could of come that very day. So I focused on doing what was expected of me; throw all of my energy in to a career/job that I only had mild interest in, come home miserable from the grind, maybe get off my butt sometimes, and try not to upset Mrs. Harris with my whining or depressed mood.

It wasn’t until part of the way in 2015 that I finally started listening to what Mrs. Harris had been saying for some time; she kept talking that she knew that I needed to chase dreams. It was now more important than ever. She didn’t want me to be filled with nothing but regret 5, 10 years from now. After listening to her say this on repeat, I finally agreed to take the plunge. I’ll chase my dreams or maybe fail, but at least I would have no regrets. During this time of transition, while we would get stressed about finances or unsure what the future holds for us, I started to feel the depression slip away. I felt the stress I had carried with me for years dissipate. The growl and scowl I always had was no longer around.

I was realizing that going after my dreams was worth it. Which I was able to do because my wife kept saying “Why not? Why not chase your dreams? We only have one  life, might as well make it worthwhile right?” She could not have been more right. So thank you Mrs. Harris, for believing in me. For enduring my unrelenting complaints and word vomiting of anger, my difficult depression, for believing in me, for pushing me to finally get off my ass and to do something with myself. While today may be my birthday and you have given me a bunch of great gifts, the best gift you gave me was your never-ending belief in me. Succeed or fail, I’ll be happy with you pushing me to go for the stars.

Thanks for the great 30th birthday Mrs. Harris. I don’t know how you can top this 🙂

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

Donkey! Shrek! (Or How a true friend taught me self worth)

Time for a trip down memory lane…

So back in the day (wow, it is crazy to think I am now at an age where I can actually say that) I had a friend. A very awesome friend. An awesome friend who would become a very loving and caring husband and father who does so much for his family, often at the sacrifice of himself. I may be  a bit older than him, but I look up to the guy. A lot.

He’s been on my mind recently for a couple of reasons, but it all started due to a picture. This picture in fact —>

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Yeah, we kept it cool.

During high school we were pretty inseparable. School, after school, weekends, etc. You name it, we were always finding time to hang. What was crazy about it is that we had varied interests, we weren’t clones of each other. He enjoyed anime and Nintendo games, I was a comic book guy who loved Sony consoles. We did have the sports connection for awhile but towards the end of my time in high school I realized I lacked physical talent while he was overflowing with it. It didn’t matter though, we had a friendship that was deep. It is no stretch to say he was my best friend and our relationship at that time is the standard I use today for true friendship. Since then we have continued living our busy lives, but always staying in each other’s orbits just enough so there would be at least somewhat of a bond. But that’s life ya know? You grow up and other life priorities become more important or take more time.

Yet the reason I look so fondly on our friendship is because of something very important he taught me. Without even realizing it, “E” taught me the meaning of self-worth. Join with me as I recount the tale of his lesson…

Back in high school, I suffered from extremely low self-esteem mixed with slight depression. My close friends were very keen to this fact, while many people in the school were not. I kept my feelings and issues hidden from most. Of everyone I hung out with, probably three people total knew some of what was going on. Only one knew everything. That was E. And I didn’t have to tell him. He just instinctively knew. He never pressed the issue on trying to find out more, he just knew that the best way to help was to be the most awesomest friend he could be. He did that, amazingly.

I always admired the fact that he didn’t really put much stock in to what other people thought of him or his friends. If you were a good person and gave people their proper due, you were cool with him. That’s what made him a friend to pretty much everybody. But he didn’t let that go to his head. He had a strong sense of humility about him that was very inspiring to see.

During my Junior year and his Sophomore, we were both heavily involved in youth group together. It was during this time we would attend youth rallys and other church events. Also during this time, the Shrek movies were very popular (see, the title will finally start to make sense!) During these events a strange thing began to happen. E, due to his outgoing personality and charm, would be called “Donkey” form the movies. I, being slightly closed off and the larger of the two, would start being called “Shrek”.

That became our thing when people saw us. They’d see us walking up to them and they’d be like “Shrek! Donkey!” and we’d all laugh. However, when it first started, I didn’t enjoy it. I was not a fan. I was interpreting the intent different than everyone else. While they may have meant it in jest and were referring to the fact that the two characters were best friends and had a funny back and forth (much like E and I did), I saw it as a subtle insult towards me.

Why am I the ogre? Ogres are considered monsters in most of fantasy lore. Even in the films Shrek is portrayed as a scary monster to normal people with many flaws. Why do I have to be that character?

It weighed on me quite heavily. More than it should have. Yet E either knew this from observing me or just never viewed this nicknaming thing the same as me. It would be his approach to something as simple as a nickname that would teach me a lesson of self worth I still rely upon today.

When E and I would be hanging out, it was very much an equal playing field. Neither one of us was the leader really, we had friendship that was a lot like a collaboration. It was awesome. And when the nickname happened, I was worried the structure of our friendship would change. Yes, this name bugged me that much. Back then, I was known for letting small things bother me in big ways (just ask me about the whole signature fiasco of ’00.)

I don’t know if because E knew me well enough or that’s just the type of guy he is, but it seemed like he made it a point to show that even though there were nicknames given to us that could have an underlying meaning to them, that didn’t matter. We were still that equal partnership. And as this nickname thing continued, E would show in many ways (like a best friend does) that a nickname is just that; a name that is not your real name (sorry if that sounds silly.) To him, I was still best bud. No name or supposed title would change that. And even if someone intended for the nickname to have a deeper meaning, the meaning it was given was not determined by them. It was determined by us, two best buds who really just wanted to have a good laugh and enjoy some Buzzard’s Pizza.

While E did not do anything specific that is earth shattering or mind blowing, E showed that true friendship doesn’t have to do that. All that matters is the respect each gives to each other and 100% acceptance of who they are. It was because he was so good at this that I began to learn what self-worth was; that I wasn’t some ogre that people wanted to get away from. I was a fella filled with joy and caring, as well as a few good jokes. I admit, the lesson wasn’t learned completely that year. But the path towards it started that year. It would come to completion the day I would meet my future wife, Heather.

So thank you E. Without realizing you showed a guy how friendships really work, what it means to value oneself, and set me on the 10 year path that would lead me to eventually win over my future wife. And ya didn’t even have to try. Thanks buddy. You showed me I was a parfait, not an onion.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey a.k.a. Shrek

Tabletop Fun FTW

So this will be a  quick update, again with the rapid fire approach. I’m getting ready to hit the gym so I gotta keep it quick.

  • I feel most updates will follow this rapid fire format. I, like most people, have about a million random thoughts bouncing around my head. At least a couple of them I want to put down in some form of documentation. Doing it this way allows me to get some of them down while giving myself time to develop ideas I want to write about further at a point in time down the line.
  • Yesterday was the kickoff of Midwest Gamefest. Now, I didn’t get to go even though I have a four day pass; had family obligations. However, today I will be joining the many other tabletop fans in the KC area for some dungeon crawling, card throwing, and random scenario beating fun! Along with my sis, who has gotten the tabletop bug as well.
  • I’m testing a new workout tracker app for my gym workouts called Strong. Sort of simplistic but I like it. So far my only bone to pick with it is that when I was trying to input my workout for today (so I know what I gots to do at the gym) it crashed a couple times when I was making edits. Don’t know if that is an app or a phone issue. We shall see.
  • Next week I shall have about four days without the wifey. She’s hopping on to a plan to Florida to visit an old friend for a few days; I’m pretty sure the dogs will be sick of me by the time the trip is done. I like to carry on full conversations with them, very animated like, and it drives them bonkers.
  • Last thought for now (hopefully I will sit down and do a Midwest Gamefest recap tonight): I am going to start a daily “Try this out” or “I Recommend…” thing. I want it to be wide ranging in its variety. Some days I recommend a game, others a youtube video. Maybe a song from the radio or a book I finished. Heck, maybe even a recipe (which would have an accompanying post showing my efforts in making said recipe.) Today I think I’ll start with that is taking the internet by storm.
  • Today I recommend: WTF (Where They From) by Missy Elliot ft. Harrell Williams, the music video. Missy has been out of the music game for some time and then recently dropped the single and music video for her new song. Much like most of her music, it is not for everyone. She has a unique approach to the idea of using “ear worms” in her music, which I respect her for. There have been times I couldn’t stand one of her songs and other times I can’t get enough of it. However, one thing I have always loved about her is her approach to music videos; they are a filmmakers dream. Often utilizing insane (in a good way) ideas, gorgeous cinematography, and the editing…probably some of the best editing you will ever see in music videos. Her new effort is no different. So, enjoy!

What is in a name?

So today is the beginning. I am setting out on this new venture, hoping to tickle someone’s fancy across the InterHighway. I announced on my tumblr earlier today I was going to be utilizing another blog service to do more personal venting, rambling, cheering, and jeering. It is my hope that this will force me to stick to my writing; it may not be of high quality, but it at least keeps the voices at bay.

Just a few thoughts to kick-start this whole thing:

– My blog name, Keepin’ it Geeky, was created many moons ago. I signed up for a WordPress account a while back and it had meant for this to be a blog focusing primarily on things of a geeky nature. While I am not entirely abandoning that idea, that is too narrow of a focus. I will also be pontificating (if you want to call it that) on everything from politics to sports, the weather to food I enjoy. Really this blog will give you the insight of an average joe who actually experiences some cool things some times.

– I will not be connecting this to my personal tumblr, Facebook, or Twitter. I want this to be my thoughts entirely, and I worry attaching this to my personal life could cause complications with certain areas of my life (though my fiancĂ©e will be a frequent visitor of this site.)

– I will not use cruelty, prejudice, or hate to discuss a topic. Will I talk about something that upsets me? Of course.  About a particular individual (such as a politician or head coach)? You know it. But I refuse to sink to a level where I attack them; I may question their intelligence from time to time, but that’s as far as I go.

– I will also use this site to share my attempts at my hobbies, such as writing (fictional) and photography (a fictional skill.) So when I do decide to share these hobbies, do be kind in your criticism. I am not thick-skinned like many people I know. But if you have constructive criticism and advice to help improve what I am doing, by all means let me know.

– Finally, I don’t expect this to get big in any way. I don’t even know if anyone besides my fiancĂ©e will read it. And you know what? I am just fine with that. Maybe a million years from now those “Engineers” from Prometheus will show up and they happen upon an archive of my ramblings. Then they will really wonder what we were like.

I’m checking out for today. Let’s see if I can go 21 days to start a habit. Day 1 done…day 2 here I come.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

Average Joe