August Review and September Objectives

I started out August strong. I was doing well until I came to the realization that I needed to buy new running shoes. With two different running trails literally right across the street from my house, it only makes sense to utilize these resources to help me get back on track with my fitness. But with me, shopping is a slippery slope and soon I was justifying other purchases. While nothing was completely frivolous, all in all I think I spent about $200-250. There is progress still to be made in controlling my spending, but considering my past history, this was definitely a step in the right direction.

Since last December my weight has been one of my biggest struggles. It’s been incredibly frustrating, at times dragging down my normally positive and upbeat personality. Weight loss has always been a mental game with me, and I think I’ve finally had the epiphany that will help me to the corner and get back to how I was feeling this time year, which was absolutely amazing. The number on the scale is not going to be 6 lesser by the time I leave for Chicago on Thursday, but I’ve made strides to get myself to a place where I will start to see the results I’ve been desperately seeking.

And I’ll be completely honest, I kept completely forgetting what my third goal was. I suck, I know.

So I got myself onto the right track by setting firm but obtainable goals last month. But if I want to be continually successful is achieving them I have to have the understanding with myself that exceptions are not allowed unless there are extenuating circumstances. I can do better. I will do better.

With that said, here are my September Objectives.

Objective #1: Practice mindful eating more actively. I’ve been reading a book that talks about mindful eating and many of the principles resonated with me. The great thing about these principles is that they are easy enough to incorporate into your daily habits as long as you actively work at them. With time and practice, they will become second nature. These mindful eating practices will help me to control my overeating and indulging tendencies, and when I control that, I will easily and effectively cut several hundred calories daily. Sustained weight loss and a healthier lifestyle is accomplished through long-term changes in your habits, not by diets and quick-fix solutions.

Objective #2: be more effective at time management, take 2. Something I’ve read time and time again in articles and posts about time management is taking time once a week to plan out ones activities and things that need to be accomplished. This does not mean micromanaging, per se, but it means making sure I have a clear idea of what needs done for the week. One thing that I love about my life is the fact that I have the freedom to do what I want when I want, but outside of firmly scheduled obligations, it can be easy to say oh I’ll do that later, and soon enough the ‘do it later’ list is a mile long.

Objective #3: I do not consider myself a professional writer in any sense of the word. For a long time now, years in fact, I’ve wanted to write an original short story but my insecurities have kept me from even seriously considering this. By exploring my creativity and writing abilities, I’ve found that my confidence has grown and I’m ready to see what I can do. I’m not quitting my day job to become a writer. I do not expect to make waves or get published. Hell, I don’t even expect anyone to read what I write. But a lot can be said for the satisfaction that comes from fulfilling one’s dreams.

I am not perfect, I will make (many) mistakes. Every step, every stumble, is all a part of the process. It’s how we learn, its how we get better.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And I’m nothing if not persistent. 

From Treading Water to Swimming

Creative limbo can be hell. It’s something we all struggle with in some form at some point. For me, this limbo has presented itself in struggling to consistently create content for the blog. I know it hasn’t been long since I started but when something is important to you and it’s not panning out like you imagined, it does not take much for frustration to begin creeping in. The frustration has doubled because of my inability to pinpoint why I was feeling like this.

Then, as with many things in my mind, it suddenly clicked. I was only treading water, I was keeping myself from going under but I was not actually going anywhere. I had gotten too caught up in comparing myself to others, too bogged down in figuring out how I was going to make an impact. I thought that I needed to figure out how I was going to make a name for myself, create a distinction from all the other content creators. Then I realized that my distinction was that where I live, how I live, and my personality means that I experience geekdom in a more introspective and existential way. And that is what needs to be reflected here. At heart, I am an essayist; I find joy in the proverbial putting of my pen to the paper, in giving life to my ideas, thoughts, and opinions to. Sure, they may not earth shattering or prodigious, but they are mine, and that is what makes it worth it. That’s what differentiates this blog from the next. I had it figured out all along, I had just unintentionally lost sight of that.

Yes, I always want to do the best that I can. Yes, I want to reach as big an audience as possible. Yes, I want to create conversations and dialogue with those who share similar interests. But this is not my full-time job.  I cannot, should not, will not try and compete with blogs and fan sites whose moderators have the ability to commit more time that I am able. The only purpose that will serve is to drive me crazy, to drive me to the point that I don’t want to write anymore. I can not, do not, want that. Not at all. So the key is to remember that it does not make my little corner of the Internet any less important, any less worthwhile if there is a lapse between posts. It does not make my little corner of the Internet any less important, any less worthwhile if I do not post on anything and everything that comes and goes in the world. So as long as I am writing, so long as I am hopefully creating content worth reading, I will be happy and I will keep doing what I’m doing. And I hope you will keep coming back to visit.

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Drowning in a Sea of Comic Books

Marvel Unlimited is ruining my life.

But I’m not complaining.

I’m sure that this medium is not new to many of you but it is to me. I knew it existed as I’d seen in on the Marvel website, but once I realized that I wanted to delve further back into the volumes of some of the series that I’m currently reading (as well as other ones), it was obvious that Marvel Unlimited would be the easiest and most economical way to do so.

In the single evening after signing up, I read issues 1-6 of the current Invincible Iron Man series (leaving me 7-11 to read in order to be caught up), the entire 2012 Hawkeye series, and two or three issues of Captain America where he is shot after Civil War. I pretty much read for over four hours straight. I made myself go to bed because I knew I’d be regretting it the next day at work if I didn’t.

There is so much to discover, over 17,000 books, that I now have access to. And with my addictive personality, that means I’m pretty much going to devour as much as I can as quickly as I can. My love for Marvel is nothing new, but now that I’m starting to learn the true history and subtle nuances of the characters, I just cannot get enough. This is what I live for; this is why I love being a geek.

If you need me, just yell down the rabbit hole. But don’t be mad if I’m too absorbed in my reading to answer back. It’s nothing personal.

August Objectives- Quick Update

One of the bigger goals I set for August was no spending outside of the essentials. A relatively easy task, yes, but I am 100% an impulse buyer. I see something, I buy it. I get bored, I go browsing around online. It never ends well for my wallet.

Twice now, I have made myself walk away from something I wanted to buy but absolutely did not need. It’s so much harder to do that in real life than it is online where you can just exit the browser. It shows I know what the responsible thing is to do, it shows I’m capable of not throwing my money away on frivolous finds. I was so proud of myself that I just had to do a quick post.

I ran to the store yesterday on my lunch break to grab a few things. I cut across  the office supply aisle, and, wouldn’t you know it, there was a display of 5×7 notebooks with old school Marvel Comics cover. Not only am I an office supply addict, but notebooks and stationary are my kryptonite. And only $5! How could I not get them? Into the cart two of them went and on my merry little way I went. I didn’t even get to the end of the aisle before I stopped and realized that I couldn’t do this. I had no immediate, specific purpose for them (other than the fact that they were so much fun) and therefore couldn’t justify buying them. Placing them back on the shelf if felt like they weighed a ton. But by cheating on my goals I only cheat myself in the end. And that makes no sense.

Then today I ran to Kohl’s on my lunch break to return a few shirts. I had time to waste and nothing else to do so I just walked around. I found a cute crossbody/clutch on clearance. I’ve been wanting  a new one so I picked it up and went to check out. But I kid you not, I was in line having a very loud yet internal debate with myself about this stupid $12 clutch. I finally made myself turnaround and take the clutch back to the handbag department. Just because this one was on clearance does not mean that I have to buy it.

It’s an old adage but it holds true- if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish almost anything. If I put my mind to it that I don’t buy things that I don’t need (instead of making an excuse to justify the purchase), and I act accordingly when the need arises, eventually it will be habit. I’m not saying I’m going to stop shopping all together but I need to learn to control my impulse buying, to make more responsible spending decisions. These last two days have shown me that I’m capable of that. Let’s hope I hold strong to finish out the month!

 

August Objectives

Try as I might, I’ve been pretty lackluster so far in my attempts to buckle down and get serious with various pursuits. This is in part due to a combination of poor effort, lack of accountability, and too much ambiguity in what I was trying to achieve. It’s something I’ve been struggling with for several months now. I can’t quite pin down the exact root of the issue but all I know is that I’m sick of it. So I’ve decided to take a page out of some of my fellow bloggers books’ and start a monthly goals post.

Objective #1: For the month of August, I will not buy anything outside of the necessities. No online shopping, no random trips to the mall or Target, no Amazon orders. My discretionary spending has been out of control the last three months. I sat down and actually figured it all up and honest to god nearly had a heart attack. 90% of the things I bought were pure indulgences. And while that is okay (especially for someone who is single and not behind on their bills), the extent to which I’ve done it has crossed into ridiculousness. Every penny that I save will add to account I use for cons and trips. Not only that but I’m working on rebuilding the savings that was spent down after buying a house last year.

Objective #2: Lose 6 pounds before ChiCon. My weight is something I’ve struggled with for many years. About two years ago I started to be more conscious about the amount I was eating and exercising. By this time last year I had lost 40 pounds and I felt great. Then winter hit and I stopped going to gym consistently like I had been. By the time spring arrived, I had lost pretty much all motivation for working out. Over the course of those 3-5 months I gained back about 15 pounds and I can tell. What’s more disturbing is that that I can see myself falling back into my old, bad habits. The changes I had made those two years ago were not drastic by any means. It’s just a matter of willpower to start making the right choices again. Six pounds is completely doable and will hopefully get me back to where I was and eventually making even more progress.

Objective #3: Be more effective at time management. Unless I have a specific project to complete or deadline to meet, time management is not my forte. And it doesn’t help that I can tend towards being lazy. I’ve gotten in the bad habit of only doing one thing each evening. Once that’s done, I pretty much veg out for the rest of the night, regardless of what time it is. And while downtime is essential to my mental health, there is plenty of room to add other activities. Whether it’s going back to the gym, doing some writing, DIY around the house, there is no excuse for spending so much time not doing anything. I need to realize that there is nothing wrong with having and maintaining a schedule for all aspects of my life. If it’s what will help me achieve my goals, whatever they may be, then it’s well worth the micromanagement.

We all occasionally need a push or nudge that gets us going back in the right direction. I had thought that happened earlier this summer but apparently that nudge wasn’t strong enough. Various conversations and some personal insights have hopefully given me the major kick in the ass that I need so I can get back on track. I’m ready and I’m hopeful, so here we go!

Do you have any goals that you’re working on? Or is there a goal you’ve reached that you’re proud of? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Rapid Review- Ghostbusters

I honestly don’t even know if I’m capable of capturing in words the gloriousness that was this film. And where do I even start??

It was beyond hilarious. By the end I was sitting there with tears streaming down my face and my eyeliner smudged to hell. I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed that hard and that long during a movie. But what would you expect when you have four of the best comics coming together on screen? The dialogue was witty, the one-liners were side-splittingly funny, and the acting was superb. The cameos of the original cast members were absolute perfection.

But let’s be honest, Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzmann absolutely stole the show. I realized after the movie that she reminds me very much of Jim Carey in the fact that a lot of her comedy comes from her vocal inflections, facial expressions, and body movements. She is amazing at filling a scene without saying a single word, and folks, that takes talent. I hope we get to see more of her outside of SNL.

It proved that women can lead the hell out of a blockbuster movie. It can be hard to believe that in 2016 we’re still working to make headway in female-led movies, but for every one that comes out, it’s just another step forward in bringing equality to Hollywood and the entertainment business. It’s also sad that leading up to the release it was sometimes hard to hear over the sexists and haters. They’re still there, but now it’s hard to hear them over the love and amusement the movie has generated. We also saw the dumb blonde trope turned on its head. Chris Hemsworth was great as Kevin, and although he was a minor character, he was a memorable one.

It gave a voice to ladies, young and old, who don’t fit the mold of what it deemed “normal”. God, I really do hate that word. Each of the characters, to me, represented a feeling or circumstance that I think many geeks and nerds (male and female) experience at some time or another.

Holtzmann is likely to be many geek girls’ new crush, regardless of their actual orientation (hint hint, I fall into that category); she is brilliant and weird and does not give a single fuck about what you think about her. She is the epitome of geek confidence, something I’m sure many of us have or do struggle with. Holtzmann is maybe one of the greatest role models in this day age, whether you relate to the fact the she is a female nuclear scientist who is creating cutting age technology or that she is self-assured in who she is.

Erin is the girl who wants to succeed, who wants to impress the plebs that she works with while harboring a secret love and fascination for something they don’t get and don’t understand. She overcomes her fear of ridicule and embraces what makes her happy, a lesson that is so important. Money and prestige are nice, but happiness is even more so.

Abby is the bridge between the two, the middle of the spectrum where Erin is one at end and Holtzmann at the other. She is the common sense and coolheadedness that Holtzmann and Erin sometimes lack and the humanity they sometimes forget.

And Patty is the unsuspecting friend that we innocently drag into our geeky adventures. She is true blue; she may not understand what you’re talking about or love something as much as you do, but she will stick by your side through whatever ups and downs that comes along with being your friend. We all need a Patty in our lives.

The year is more than half over and there are lots more movies still to be released, but I have no doubt that Ghostbusters will be in my top three movies for the year. It’s only been 12 or so days since it was released, but I already can’t wait for it to come out on DVD so I can enjoy the hilarity and hijinks as much and as often as I want.

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Creative Expressions

2016 has been a year of rediscovering my creativity. It’s started out simply enough with the blog, something of which is still very much so a work in progress. As with many things in life, the process has been gradual as I try to find a balance between my real life obligations and my geeky exploits, meaning it doesn’t help when a blog topic strikes me in the middle of the day at the office! Nevertheless, this resurgence of personal creativity continues to grow and evolve.

One of the best things to come from all of this has been the confidence that I’ve gained. The confidence to put myself out there, to share my thoughts and feelings with whomever wants to hear them or happens to come across them. That is not an easy thing to do and it is something that I have always had much trepidation for.

Mostly recently, this creative spark, bolstered by new found confidence, has erupted into something that I’ve wanted to do for years, something that I’ve played around with from time to time but never saw to fruition…

You see, for as long as I can remember, words have been a constant in my life. From discovering my love of reading when I was young, to finding solace in books as an awkward and shy teenager, then to understanding the true value of the written word as an adult. Words have always been a tremendous part of my life.

This holds true for my geeky passions as well. I can fondly remember reading Sailor Moon fanfiction in middle school long before I really even knew that’s what it was called. Then came the Harry Potter fanfiction that consumed many of my high school nights. Let’s just say my parents didn’t have to worry much about what I was up to in those years. To this day I joke about them finding me on the computer at 3, 4:00 in the morning and asking me what I was still doing up; the simple response was always “reading”. I could have had worse obsessions or habits! But from then on, whenever I discovered a new show or fandom, after I got comfortable enough I would hope online and check out the fanfics. Sure, the time spent doing that has diminished over the years, but I have never truly stopped.

My love for reading naturally led to a love of writing. Research papers were something I excelled at in college; give me a 20 page paper over an art project any day. Creative writing was something I enjoyed but never seriously committed to. However, the process of writing, especially fiction, is something that has always fascinated me. Writers are some of the people I admire most in the world: the imagination and cleverness needed to create a whole world, the finesse needed to bring one-dimensional words to life, the commitment to draft and edit and redraft to near perfection, it is simply astounding. But in no way, shape, or form would I ever even try to get to their level or consider myself to be one of them. But what I can do is imitate. After all, imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

Because one of the things that I’ve realized over the few years is that fanfiction and fanart, are some of the biggest acts of admiration expressed in fandom. What you are doing is saying that you love something so much that you are trying to create your own little piece of it. And there is nothing to be ashamed of. As with anything, some people can take it to a weird place, but the majority of those who create fan related works of art do so from a place of goodness. It’s also not for everyone, and that is fine as well. That is what is so very wonderful about fandom, there are countless ways that we can express our individualities and personalities while celebrating the things we love.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, with a creative surge and confidence boost, I recently did something that I thought I would never do. I wrote out a story, was happy with it, and actually posted it. And people are reading it! And liking it! Sure it’s not making waves; I never expected it to. Actually, I’d probably die of surprise if that happened. But the fact that people have come across it and apparently enjoyed it gives me joy and inspiration to write more.

I’m going to ride this wave for as long as I can, because every time I achieve a bit of creative fulfillment, I experience a sense of relief and contentment. Bit by bit, piece by piece, I get ever closer to true nirvana, to living the geek life that I’m meant to be, to the fullest.

What’s your opinion on fanfiction and fanart? Do you use either of those means to express your creativity?