personal flaws

X Random things about me, where X is ≥ 20…

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about potentially embarrassing trivia and personal history.

I’ve been “tagged” by no less than three people on FaceBook to list random facts about me. Some people demanded 20, others demanded 25. I’m going to start a list and see how far I get before it just gets stupid. I will warn you right now, some may fall into the “TMI” category or even be “NSFW.” I’m also not tagging anyone back as pretty much everyone who I would tag has either already been tagged or are included in those who tagged me in the first place. If you’re feeling left out, however, feel free to consider yourself tagged and play along.

And away we go:

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Originally posted at K. Close III
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We Now Return You To Our Regularly Scheduled Broadcast, Already in Progress…

Monday, November 10th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about my own current affairs and the regularity of my blogging.

I feel bad because it shouldn’t be all that hard to post one blog a week. Every friday I all of a sudden realize that I haven’t posted anything and that I should write something up “right now” or another week will go by. Then, on Monday, I realize that I’ve missed that week. Maybe I need a weekly blogging night, or something. I frequently have ideas that I want to write about, issues that bother me, thoughts that I ponder; you know, regular blogging topics, but I often forget them before I get a chance to write about them. To this end, I think I’m going to buy myself yet another blank journal and start a blogging notebook… kind of a “writer’s blog defense book.” I almost bought one this weekend (for free with a coupon), but they were all so cheap looking I didn’t think they’d hold up to the abuse I was sure to pile on them. I’m low on funds right now, but I may still go out and see what I can find in the bookstore, later.

I’m glad the election is over, I was getting really tired of all the political talk, both national and local. More-so, I was getting really sick of the ads that months ago started out clean and unscathing, but more recently turned to muckraking and borderline slander. Someday, I’d love to live in a world where we simply sell ourselves on our own merit, rather than on how much better we are then our peers. Every time I am all but forced to promote myself by comparative arguments, I feel disgusted with myself. Yes, I understand that to get ahead, we have to make ourselves look like the best choice, but I’d certainly rather do that by making myself look good, not by making others look bad. Our society has put so much stress on contrast and competition, I feel like we, as a “modern” society, are far more adept at finding the bad in things than finding the good. I like to think of myself as a radical in such that whenever I watch a movie, or read a book, I manage to find some redeemable quality that made my experience worth while, rather than focus on the flaws so much that it ruins the entire event.

I’ve also noticed in the past, that I have been able to change people’s overall opinion of a “bad” movie, simply by talking about the good parts and helping them to remember what they actually enjoyed. Its not that I’m trying to be an advocate against negative opinions, but I just feel like the world today doesn’t foster an environment for a fair analysis. When we find a flaw in something, we pick at it interminably until the entire whole of the thing is infected and crusted over with whatever turned us against it in the first place, even if that initial inkling was minor at its inception. We are predisposed to hate something, and need to be convinced that we like it, rather than the other way around. We’re constantly prepared for disappointment, and have to be surprised when we’re not disappointed. So often, people critique something by saying it was “surprisingly good,” as if there was no way that they were going to be entertained. But then again, if you expected such a massive letdown, why did you even give it a chance. Maybe we’re constantly on the lookout for surprise, and as such, continue to expose ourselves to potential disaster, in hopes that the titanic will finally miss the iceberg.

Sometimes, however, no matter how high your expectations are, there’s nothing that can prepare you for the inevitable meltdown that’s waiting for you in the near future.

Max Brooks Signing my copy of World War ZI went to Wizard World Texas, yesterday, and while I’m not going to go into details about it, things were not good on the trip back. I got to spend time with Derek, which was good, and I got to meet Max Brooks, which was great, but pretty much everything else was trumped by some unfortunate events on the way home. I’m working very hard to focus on the highlights, and am making light, in my head, of the tragedies, but its hard. I’m concerned for the future of some really good friends and hope that, despite the awkwardness and unfortunate circumstances of this weekend, things will improve. In my retelling of this weekend’s events, I’ve admitted that the last thing I want to be is the straw on the camel’s back. Also, I found out this past weekend, that a peer, and passing acquaintance is no longer together with her spouse. I don’t know her all that well and rarely socialize with her, I’ve never met her spouse to my knowledge, but the news of her name change and breakup was remarkably saddening to me.

I grew up lucky, I’d say. My parents rarely fought, were always supportive of each other and my brother and I, and had decent relationships with all of their parents and grandparents. Divorce is extraordinarily rare in my family, and I’ve never had to deal with it first person. Mother and ChildEven when Heather and I were having some serious relationship problems, years back, I don’t think either of us could picture ourselves not with each other. Its like we just understood that we would work it out and move forward. Now, six years later, I’ve never loved Heather more, and to know that we have Ansel as a result of, not only our love, but our sordid experiences as well, makes me realize that a marriage does not have to be eternal bliss. In fact, I would argue, that a marriage, or any relationship for that matter, cannot exist solely on rapture and euphoria. If you cannot experience all of your emotions with your closest relationships, then you’re obviously not completely open to them. Every now and then, you have to spit a little venom.

This isn’t at all where I intended to go with this post, and to be honest, I don’t even know where I expected to go when I started writing, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t good enough.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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Dogs Don’t Know Its Not Bacon…

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about a quest coming to fruition and possibly some person faults.

It was not long ago that a conversation about bacon and chocolate came up in a friendly chat. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure who came up with this Reesesesque concept, but my story would recall that it was me. In all honesty, however, it doesn’t really matter. The combination of bacon and chocolate has been a hot topic as of late. In my internet roaming, I stumbled upon Vosges, who actually happen to sell a bacon chocolate bar. We searched for it around town and even around Dallas a bit, but it is an elusive little bugger. there were even a few times where I was almost willing to spend $14 on a chocolate bar (thats the bar plus shipping and handling). Monday, we finally had a breakthrough. Angela’s friend Michelle found it at World Market here in town, a place we had looked for it several times. Apparently, word finally got out and they put it in stock.

In a few moments, I will be opening the bar that Angela so graciously and gregariously purchased for me, during my time of month end poverty. I know she, as well as other people, are expectant of my opinion of this holy grail of sweet and salty. So with no further ado, I will proceed to open the package and see what awaits…

…but first, I will share with you, the instructions printed on the package, the proper way to experience this sensual excursion.

Breathe…engage your 5 senses, close your eyes and inhale deeply. Be in the present moment, notice the color of the chocolate, the glossy shine. Rub your thumb over the chocolate bar to release the aromas of smoked applewood bacon flirting with deep milk chocolate. Snap off just a tiny piece and place it in your mouth, let the lust of salt and sweet coat your tongue.

Mo's Bacon BarBeyond the wheat colored sleeve, the bar is wrapped in the same silver lining of all the Vosges bars. I’ll note that, of no consequence, the bar is already broken exactly in half. Is this some other worldly hint that I am to eat half of the bar in this initial sitting? I hope not, I am the type to savor food over a longer period of time, taking smaller portions to make the bulk of the food last longer, rarely eating leftovers the next day so that there is at least a three day experience. I will do what I can to only eat two squares.

The aluminum is difficult to open. I do not recall having this much trouble with bars in the past, but maybe my anticipation is making my fingers weak and uncoordinated. I’ve corrected a surprisingly large number of typos already. The initial scent is very similar to the Barcelona Exotic Bar. The same deep milk chocolate with a hint of savory on the breeze. Even though I put it in the refrigerator after work, just to firm it back up from the hot car ride home, I took it out almost an hour ago to take the chill off. Its already soft again, making it difficult to pull the first two squares out. The scent of bacon is very subtle and almost imperceptible. Its more of an “after smell,” something that exists just beyond the chocolate perfection that all of Vosges deep milk bars are built from.

The feel is familiar, again because of my experience with other bars from the same chocolatier. The bacon bits are immediately apparent in the chocolate, they slide around as the chocolate melts on my tongue. Surprisingly, the taste is more subtle than I expected. The Barcelona (the best Vosges bar to date, in my opinion) was actually more salty. I think the combination of salty, sweet, smooth, and savory are more balanced in this one, and thus more harmonious. The fibrous nature of the bacon, however, is almost jarring with the exceedingly creamy chocolate. Where previous experiences left a salt crystal that melted naturally, the bacon is left to be dealt with all on my own, defiant and resilient.

I honestly cannot decide how I feel about it. In a way, it is superior to previous salty/sweet confections, but at the same time, the bacon left to be chewed almost reminds me of candy’s that leave chewy bits in your teeth. Also, while I understand the limitations of the medium, I almost expected the bacon to be crispier. Perhaps I would have rendered it more to make it almost brittle, but this is still very meaty. I was expecting something more like a nutty crunch, yet still obviously pork, but instead, this is a very solid matter floating in my chocolate. The flavor is perfect in its harmony, but the textures leave a lot of contrast to deal with. I find that larger bites, eaten more aggressively, deal with that conflict better, while still leaving the taste experience. The Barcelona is better served for meditative melting in your mouth, but to eat the bacon bar, you must admit you are a carnivore and plow into it, lest you risk breaking down the components and leaving them to each play solo.

Do not take any of this to think that I do not like it, it is simply a different experience than what I had imagined in anticipation. I now know that I wouldn’t spend $14 to have it delivered to my house, but I would spend $6 if I was already at World Market.

As an addendum, I would like to admit a personal fault of mine that I’m sure many of you are already privy to, but as journals are meant for, I will air my laundry in an attempt to better understand myself.

I have a problem with feeling like I need to experience things first. I’ve often been a groundbreaker of new games, new foods, new movies, etc. I pride myself on finding new things and sharing them with my friends. I sometimes feel like its how I make myself valuable to my peers. I know my friends enjoy my company for reasons far more respectable than that, but its something I’ve had a decent track record with. As I mentioned in my preface, regardless of its validity, I recall being the first to envision bacon chocolate together (please don’t correct me, I’m not interested in the truth or an argument about it – also, if you thought it it first, don’t be offended by my flawed memory, yours probably isn’t all that great either).

So my own history, and my twisted recollection, I somehow felt obligate to be the one to first savor Mo’s Bacon Bar and share my experience… or at least be amongst others who all tried it together. Unfortunately, since I didn’t have money to buy a bar, I had to not only rely upon the unbelievably gracious kindness of Angela, but I also had to wait until today to taste it. It shouldn’t have bothered me that others tried their Bacon Bar first, and I know that. I told myself that repeatedly after the Twitter came in.

Its stupid and I know it. I tried to not let it bother me, and for the most part, it didn’t, which means I’m getting better, but I still know that flaw is in me, and that it surfaces from time to time. There are several other facets to this personality disorder that I am more than passingly aware of, but I’m hoping that sharing like this, and keeping myself vigilant of my own stupid complexes will help me get past them and become a better person. I don’t know exactly who I am trying to improve myself for, but I am definitely aware of my issues and would rather them not affect my friends and have them reflect badly upon me (which, in and of itself, may be yet another flaw).

So, in short, Bacon Bar good, but not as good as my imagination. Personal weakness and need to be a “ground breaker” still present, but fading and more in control.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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Aggressively Passive…

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about subversive office politics

I want to preface this by admitting whole heartedly that I am a very passive aggressive person because I hate to confront people with the probable intent of making them feel bad. I know, from experience and observation, that in fact being told something directly actually hurts less than to find out about something second or third hand, or anonymously. I know all of these things to be true, and yet, I’m probably going to rant off about things that have been bothering me lately that I’ve not confronted people about, and that’s that.

I am also aware that venting about my professional life in a public forum can, sometimes, come around and bite me in the ass. Again, I know this from both personal experience and observation, but I am willing to take the risk and be an open individual (if only in text, since only moments ago, I admitted that I fail at direct confrontation).

The office dynamic at work, lately, has become intolerable. The people in my office used to be very chummy and we not only worked together, we shared leisure activities as well. We used to chat about games and movies and go to lunch. We used to be friends and actually get work done, but also screw off on occasion. Lately, however, it seems like we all have different directions and distractions, and those variations are like fractures in a window, and they are making the office very tense. Today, due to a climactic blatant disregard for work ethic of any kind on the part of one of my co-workers, I literally stormed out of the office, kicking things as I went. Not to say that I didn’t actually get up a little gumption and attempt an amicable confrontation prior to my “tantrum,” but still. I marched out of the office with a temperature rising, vision dimming, reason clouding, torrent raging on my shoulders.

I used to be really bad. I used to come to work everyday and do as little as possible. I was as American as media makes out the middle class to seem. I could blame it on laziness, indifference, or the media; but the blame game is pointless and worthless. In the past couple of years, however, I’ve attempted to turn my work ethic around. I try to focus at work and get as much done as I can. I’m conscious of my reputation at work amongst the faculty and administration. I want them to know they can count on me to solve their problems. I know that, in the past, problems have gone unreported simply because our patrons knew it wouldn’t really make a difference. I’m working as hard as I can to change that. I try to keep track of everything I’m working on. I try to jump up and take care of things as quickly as possible. I am trying to be a pleaser. The problem is, stagnation is a very powerful force and our office is filled with it. There is so much history of it residing within these walls, and pockets of it still extant in the occupants, that I often feel like a fly trying to pull away from earth’s gravity to keep my work ethic and energy up. Most of the time I can ignore the lackluster efforts made by my peers, but today was not the day.

After blowing up, tromping out, venting to my wonderful wife, driving around, venting more to a dear friend, and then going to the autobody shop and reading a book, I’m better. I’m still not happy with our situation in here, but I can ignore it for a while before it really starts breaking me down again.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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In the Summertime…

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about time passing, distractions, and the current state of my life.

So this summer is slipping by without me even half noticing. I keep waiting for summer to “start” when I stop and realize that its already half over. Sure, we still have July and August left, but still, we’re a lot further along that I’m giving the season credit for. I keep thinking about things I need to get done and tell myself “I’ll take care of that when summer really hits.” I’m supposed to be making up the two incompletes on my transcript, and I do a lot of noodling about that, but again I think “I still have time, no rush…” but the truth of the matter is that time is quickly drifting away and before I know it, I’ll be “saving money” by not enrolling in class and instead making up the incompletes I failed to take care of over the summer.

I also look around the house and yard and think about the things I need to be doing there (which may, in fact, be a photo project I work on) and I feel like I can take care of them any time. Its just rough with the full time job and the baby to take care of all that other stuff. Heather and I both get up around 6:30 so that we can get ourselves and Ansel ready for the day, then we head off to work, via daycare, only to stay at work until 5:00. By 8:00 (on a good day), Ansel is finally asleep for a couple of hours and we could take care of things around the house, but by then, we’re both exhausted with work and baby wrangling, and neither one of us has any interest in doing anything more than maintaining a comfortable horizontal position and trying to not pass out so early that we feel elderly.

So we wait for the weekends to make up for all the crap we’re not doing every evening, but then we either try to spend time with friends or we just relax (or go shopping) and end up not doing the things we’ve been putting off anyway. And even when we do get into a mood to do some work around the house or yard, it seems like that’s a day where Ansel is super clingy so one or the other of us has to take care of him the whole time, which kind of breaks into the streak a little bit.

And then, of course, there’s the Xbox. The best, and most devastating purchase I’ve made in the past several years. It is such an attractive way to blow away a few hours. Damn you Xbox, I’ll love you straight to hell.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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