Changing Up The Routine

We all have our daily routines. We get up at a certain time, eat a particular breakfast, watch a particular show, etc. How often do we take a step back and look at that daily routine? How many of our daily activities do we do out of habit and how many do we do because they give us something in return? I’ve started to ask myself this question recently. I’m not sure anymore of what gives me joy and what is just another thing I do to check off my list.

I’m stuck in a rut and the worst part about it is that I know I’m stuck in a rut. I can see the problem, but I can’t seem to find the solution. Even when you can recognize that you are stuck in a rut it can still be difficult to pull yourself out of it. I’m hoping that by making some changes I can find a new to pull myself out.

I’m going to try something new in the coming weeks. I want to try and focus on all the things that I do regularly. Really look at them and try to figure out if it’s something I actually enjoy doing or if it’s something I’m just doing to check off the list. If I skip a piece of the routine, try a different breakfast, skip that podcast, don’t watch that TV show. Will I miss it or will I not even notice it was gone? The hope is that if I can remove some of the distractions and filler from my daily life I can open up holes for new things, new experiences, and focus on what is more important.

I know what I want to do and my hope is that if I change things up I can return my focus to what I really want.

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#ThoughtsAndPrayers For All Those Still Negatively Affected by The Last Jedi

As I type this, it’s nearly the end of April, approximately 5 months since the release of Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi and I can’t go a day without hearing somebody whine and complain about how it’s the worst movie ever or some other such nonsense. I love Star Wars and I’m heavily biased for it, I’ll admit it. Anyone who knows me already knows this. I loved the film, in fact right now it may be my favorite of the saga. But ask people on the internet and you’ll hear all the standards about how it’s the worst thing ever, just today I saw a return of the old classic about ruining childhoods. This is so stupid.

If you seriously think that this is the worst film you have ever seen, then I have some advice for you. Since you are reading this online, open up a new browser window, go to your streaming video site of choice (Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc) and start watching more movies because clearly, you haven’t seen very many. Expose yourself to more and you might find something that you like.

I’m a huge fan of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. It’s one of my favorites and I’ve read the books several times. Last year they finally made a movie adaptation. I was excited to see it, I even tried to justify the negative things I started hearing about it. I wasn’t going to let someone else ruin this for me. The movie came out and it’s pretty bad. Not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but by no stretch could I call it a good movie. Know what I did? Wrote my review of it, laughed about how I have a great wife even when I drag her to shitty movies and then moved on with my life. I didn’t troll the filmmakers or try to bring down the Rotten Tomatoes score (it did that just fine by itself). I enjoyed what parts of the film I could and then moved on.

There is so much content out now I can’t imagine spending 6 months continuing to focus on one bad movie that you saw. Didn’t like it? That stinks, well at least you still have the original films you can go back and watch over and over again. Or maybe try out something new, maybe Star Wars just isn’t your thing anymore. Have you watched the Expanse? It’s a great sci-fi show. Hit Netflix and see what’s on there.  Maybe, just maybe you could try and create your own thing. Think you could write a better script? Well then go do it! Regardless there is a ton of stuff out there for you, don’t spend your time making twitter accounts like Jar Jar Abrams and Ruin Johnson because that just makes you seem like a sad loser.

Art is subjective and it’s impossible to make anything of substance that pleases everyone. And that’s okay. No one is forcing you to watch or buy anything. Didn’t like The Last Jedi? Oh well, maybe Solo will be more to your liking. Maybe in a few months you can rent it from Redbox and revisit it, it’s possible with time and distance away you might find something to enjoy. Either way, move on with your life, find something else that gives you joy and relish in that. Just because you didn’t like a movie doesn’t give you free reign to be an asshole. It’s just a movie. It’s not real.

The Last Jedi spoilery thoughts and ramblings

The Last Jedi is here, after weeks of build-up and anticipation I finally saw the latest Star Wars film over the weekend. Wow, it is a lot to take in.

Because I’m a geek, I tend to over analyze things and Star Wars is no different. I don’t know if I would call this a review, but I have thoughts in my head and I can’t post them on social media like I normally would because of spoilers. So, I’m venting my ramblings here.

First, this movie was nothing that I expected. It’s a divisive movie and I can understand some people not liking it.

Luke Skywalker is so much different than we expected. He is an old man who has crawled to this corner of the galaxy to basically hide from his failures and die. He’s closed his connection with the Force and refuses to rejoin the world or acknowledge Rey. However, I don’t think he’s wrong in wanting the Jedi to end. It seems Yoda agrees with him as well. They both seem to understand that the Jedi Order was flawed. This matches the theme of the movie that you need to let go of your past, kill it if you must. Luke kills the Jedi knowing that the Force has something different in mind now.

I’ve seen some people complain about the Canto Bight sequence in the film, but it’s a great view of how the other half lives. Most of the film is focused on the Resistance heroes, but here we see that while they are struggling to fight against a return of tyranny, these people are willing to ignore all that because war helps their bottom line. It’s a very relevant message in 2017. Much like in the prequels we went from Tatooine to Coruscant, it’s a similar juxtaposition here. This scene also gives us some valuable insight into the characters of Rose and Finn as well as a look behind the curtain of the First Order.

What really struck me is how many risks and chances this story took. Kylo Ren is a conflicted villain and we never quite know where his allegiances like. We think the story will follow similar beats to Empire but it doesn’t. Instead, it twists what we thought about where we were headed. After this movie, everything I thought I knew about what Episode 9 would entail was wrong. JJ Abrams and his team have their work cut out for them.

Goal Setting

A few years ago I set myself a goal to actually finish the writing that I start and to some extent I’ve been doing so.  I’m still very far from where I want to be but I feel I’m moving in the right direction.

I think it’s time to set a new goal.  Previously, it was finishing what I started.  Now I want to get to the point where I feel something is good enough to publicly share.  Maybe, it will be a self publish if I feel it’s really special, most likely it’ll be a blog post or something similar.  Something where I can openly post it and share for all the world to see.

I had initially thought about putting it off and calling it a New Year’s Resolution. But we all know those Resolutions are bullshit. If you stick with it until Martin Luther King Jr day you are doing better than most.  So, this isn’t any kind of resolution, it’s a goal. No preset time frame or anything, just a destination.

That’s my plan and I’m putting this out here so I have a modicum of accountability.  It’s here, written in electrons and pixels, digital stone. No going back now, no matter how chicken shit I get.  I need to do this.  I want to do this.  Writing has always given me joy and I think if I really work at it, focus on it and treat it seriously I can produce something others would like too.  I want to give back to the world.  I want to be a creator and not just a consumer.

Hold me to it Internet, because talk is cheap.

Family, Loss, and Grief Processing

Earlier I was hit by some sad news. A friend of mine, Ryan, suddenly passed away. As far as we know he hadn’t been sick or had any issues, something just ticked and he was gone. I’ve been struggling with differing emotions ever since.

I guess I’ve never really had to deal with death and grief. When I was growing up I had all my grandparents, both parents, and my step family.  Death was not something that young Paul ever dealt with. Even our pets, we didn’t have to put one to sleep until I was nearly 20. So here I am trying to deal with this loss. In the last few years I have had to deal with death a bit more, but still, it has been something far away, never striking close to home. The closest the Reaper has ever come was another friend, Sean, a few years ago, even then I was able to mostly deal with it. Sean and I were friends, but he was closer to Jenn and a few others than me. This time it hit closer to home, feels like my family that has lost a member.

Ryan and I were both members of the 501st, and I guess his loss shows how much this group of people means to me. We dress as plastic spacemen from a silly sci-fi movie but there is a deeper connection there. They are family to me, especially here locally.

Since I moved to Virginia, my actual blood relatives have been very far away. I guess I haven’t had that support system that people have when you live near your family. I talk on the phone to my Mom regularly and she has done a lot for us, in fact, more than I could ever repay, but there is something to just having them there for you in person. Jenn’s family has been terrific about being that family for me. I guess I took the Legion members and made a family out of them. We share a lot and I think of all of them as close friends, no matter how far they live. To lose one…. well it hurts. We have lost one that was close to us.

I struggle to find the words to express it. The best I can come up with is from Lilo and Stitch. Ohana means family. It may be small and broken, but it’s mine.

Looking for a new path

This is my third attempt to write this. The first one was far too raw, the second one wasn’t right. This time it feels right.

I’ve been feeling less like myself recently, stressed out, frustrated, feeling like I was out of control. I’ve spent tonight taking stock and trying to get my thoughts and emotions under control. I don’t know if this is depression, anxiety, or just a whole bunch of bad days in a row, but I’ve been worn down and I don’t like it.

It’s partially stress from work. It feels like I’m working twice as hard as everyone else and getting no extra benefit because of it. It’s also partially the current social and political climate.  In just a few short days it has felt like our whole world is being systematically dismantled. I’m terrified of what is going to happen in the future.

However, I have to learn that there are pieces I can control and pieces that I cannot. I can’t control the workflow at my job, but I can control what I do for my own well being, taking time to relax, center myself, and refocus. Make sure to not let myself get overwhelmed and overly emotional. No attachments is the Jedi way.

I also can’t control what our new administration does, but I can keep fighting back however I can. But again, I have to not push myself too hard or too far. I can’t get pulled down into the muck and drown in the nastiness, especially online. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the outrage that you can lose yourself.

So this is where I’m at now. I’m trying to do better. I’m trying to find a new path through life, I feel like I’ve hit the end of this current path and there are so many new places to explore. So, I’m looking and trying to remain open for what is put in front of me.