There Goes 2018

I don’t know about you but sometimes when I’m sitting around being a potato I forget that I’m not always a potato.

2018 was long. I was unemployed for half of it. There are pros and cons to that, besides the obvious.  Suffice it to say, I’m capable of entertaining myself. It takes a while to reach the tipping point between “maybe i could” and “I’m gonna”.

I did not do a lot of the things I intended. Only a few hikes, mountain biking once or twice, no backpacking, hardly went camping. What the heck did I do with my life? I did spend a lot of time catching up with the web development industry, as much as one can. I still have to do my last React project before Jan. 13th. But the year is kind of a jumble. Like, I didn’t accomplish much.

Luckily for me, I’m a habitual picture taker.

ROAD TRIP!

I went on a multi-city road trip to Miami to find warmer weather.

In Defense of Men

Inside: trigger warning for talk of sexual assault and violence; Kavanaugh hearing; It’s too long. I’m trying to pare it down a bit.; Wait. How is it 300 words longer now?

I’ve been working intermittently on a blog entry titled “In Defense of Men” for a while.

It is a little #notallmen, to be honest, but #notallnotallmen. (I’m going to generalize, but it’s for the sake of efficient writing. Hopefully, that’s obvious so we can have a good-faith discussion or argument.)

Every time I’m on the verge of making a cogent, even-handed comment about manhood, I read the news and am shocked/not-shocked at how men are garbage. I mean, damn, y’all. Come on.

EVERYBODY HURTS

How do we have a discussion about a group and acknowledge the humanity of individuals? That’s what I’m trying to do here and I fail miserably with every revision.

I think many men are struggling for a sense of purpose and meaningful connection in a world of shallow, quasi-social interactions and relationships. Too often we’re lonely, isolated, lacking community, and, frankly, we lack coping skills. The online world exacerbates our problems by serving as a crucible for radicalizing alienation.

It’s soul crushing to not have the fundamental building blocks of human experience and actualization, and then be told that that makes you weak — less of a man. Less valid as a person.

None of this is the sole domain of men, of course, but statistics on suicide bear this out, in my “and who are you and why should we care what you think” opinion.

And yet, men have a firm hold on power and positions of leadership. Running the world (into the ground) and living like ancient Roman emperors. I mean, I don’t. 99% of us don’t, give or take. Not a lot of men, proportionally speaking, but it’s a man’s world. For now, at least.

The problem is that, regardless of social position, masculine pain is directed squarely at women in the worst ways possible, from mundane to evil.

When we’re entitled, we’re a threat. When we’re in pain, we’re deadly.

Despite the fact that I called myself and other men garbage above, I really don’t want to demonize men, masculinity, and male sexuality. I am manfolk, after all.

Still, we do have to address the fact that the dark side of masculinity and male sexuality is akin to an iceberg’s undercarriage — the proverbial 90% beneath the surface that you don’t see that is in tenuous equilibrium with the 10% that you do see.

iceberg-2070977_640.png

Until it’s not.

Dino-Coding

I need to preface this to say that this isn’t one of those technically enlightening Medium or Hacker Noon articles. It’s not even an unnecessarily controversial hot take that garners status raising attention. It’s a reckoning of software development culture shock, and encouragement for those of you scoping out the career landscape. I’m just a boy standing in front of a job market…

TL;DR

Read this instead: How it feels to learn JavaScript in 2016

The web development world is always roiling with progress, change, and an odd amalgam of democratization and corporate influence. Goliaths and Davids playing in the same sandbox.

It’s more important than ever to stay up on the latest and greatest, and the good news is that there’s no end to available resources. You can read, watch, and experiment in online playgrounds to your heart’s content.

Confession: I did not stay up on the latest and greatest.

LET’S GO

I was laid off a few months ago. The one sentence that I heard the loudest, mostly because it was inflected with a hint of warning and sympathy, was this: “The job market is very different these days.”

The After Party or What I Deserve

[Note: I began writing this at the end of June 2018]

I was laid off last week so I’ve got a lot of time on my hands for a bit. The transition to unemployment is a gentle one, which I’m thankful for.

I’m cool and all, but if things go sideways in a few months you may see me promoting my photography or trying to sell gear from my hobby rations.

TABULA RASA

My life is pretty much a blank slate right now. All the dials and sliders have reset to zero.

There are logistical things I need to take care of but I do have the luxury of being able to chill for a week or two. Truth be told, I’d be backpacking in the nearby wilderness right now if it weren’t for the fact that I’m afraid of bears, and lightning, and lightning bears. (Make yourself look big, back away slowly, and make sure you’re electrically grounded.)

Then I have to go over my finances and lower my burn rate. I’ve had long unemployment stints before and they were life-changingly, and unnecessarily brutal and financially devastating. Not in a hurry to do that again.

PROFESSIONAL

What I’m about to describe is an interaction. Not a confrontation or an incident.

Last year, on vacation with the family at a resort in Florida, I was excited to get in the water after having taken months of swimming lessons. Even though it didn’t require any skills I was stoked to be able to comfortably hop into the lazy river with the whole squad. Making up for lost time in terms of water + recreation. I mean, now that I actually own rash guards and swimming trunks.

Good times. You have to have a wrist band to be in the lazy river section with the cabanas, hammocks, and everything, and you have to have a certain color wristband in order to chill in a reserved section. Since my mom is all about the timeshare quality of life perks, that’s where we were.

But something happened that bothered me and still sticks in my craw.

While we were floating and chilling and relaxing, a little European American boy wading through that part of the lazy river, approached my sister. He was no more than ten or eleven years old, if that.

He said, “Excuse me. You have to have a wristband to be in here.”

Rest in Peace, Aunt Drayde

When I was a kid, the family would go to Aunt Drayde’s house for crab feasts. Newspaper spread across the table and the red-orange crabs like living sculptures. Sometimes we would go with her and Auntie A. to buy the crabs, bring them back, and I’d be in the kitchen watching her cook them. I remember one of the crabs, blue on the kitchen floor, and being afraid to pick it up. Crab pots. Beer. Old Bay. Foaming. Boiling. The aroma.

A beaded curtain between the kitchen and dining room.  A mesmerizing oil rain lamp. The grownups would play Pinochle and we kids would run around trying to stay out of trouble.

Sleepovers with my cousin driving her crazy because we were roughhousing all the time. She’d say, “You can’t be together and you can’t be apart.”

SONY DSC
Badminton racket in one hand, cigarette in the other

Happy 100th Birthday, Grandma!

We celebrated Grandma’s birthday yesterday. It was a big deal. Lot of people. Five generations.

It was good to see family again. You all know how it goes. Families tend to be dispersed and busy with their lives so funerals and weddings tend to draw them from afar. So we were able to celebrate Grandma’s life and shower her with our appreciation and love. Family from her side and my late grandfather’s side, neighbors, Turner Station families, pastors, nieces, nephews, cousins, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren. She’s the cornerstone of our family. Still.

Introducing “Just Go Outdoors”

Here it is. I’ve changed the name from BlackoutDoors to Just Go Outdoors. (I think it takes a few days for the change to propagate.)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG1ZUgFqhc3b1ETYJ_-qgqQ

A little less than two years ago I started an outdoor-centric YouTube channel called “BlackoutDoors“, as in black outdoors.

It kind of sucks so I’m not saying that you should go there just yet. There’s a reason that I only have 10 subscribers and most of the videos get approximately zero views, on average. They tend to be something like this. Footage, music, no narration, no focus on people, and no story. There’s definitely potential.

LGN 135: Intermittent Swimming

I’m writing this (and googling calf massagers) right now for one reason. So I don’t eat.

I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for about four weeks now. 16/8. In other words, I have an eight hour feeding window, usually from 2pm to 10pm, give or take.

I’m not sure how much progress I’ve made. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting results. Other times, not so much. When I see the family today, I’m sure someone will comment on my weight or physique, or lack thereof. Haha. You know how fam’ly do. I have an end-of-the-cycle weigh-in the next time I’m in the gym so we’ll see. I’ll be disappointed if the scale or body fat numbers haven’t improved. Then I’ll have to pay closer attention to the other numbers: calories, macros, micros, quality of food.

An American Problem

A poem, more or less.

When
I read
Seventeen children
Were shot dead

I shook my head and swiped to the next blood red news. Fourteen injured and I didn’t blink. I didn’t think any more of it. That’s how inured I am. It was type on pages. Then I saw their faces and the shell of apathy cracked and the patina faded. These kids are dead. These children died. And I’m a grown man so when I cried it was on the inside and I took deep breaths until — my eyes cleared and the lump in my throat subsided. Choke down the shame that our society decided that this is the price of freedom.

This
Is the price
Of freedom
Are they free now?