Quote of the Week

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."- Albert Einstein

Sunday, March 17, 2013

#Changes: Finding a New Corner

2013 is turning into a year of changes in my Life.  Reconnecting with an old friend, prepping to go back to school, and now a change in location.

Come June or July, I should be in a new place... I'll be moving.

Since my second niece is expecting, she'll need a room for the little one when it arrives.  As it turns out, that'll be the room I'm currently renting from my brother.

I'm not really in a situation where I can just move right now financially, since I'm still unemployed.  But I'm not stressed out about it, or worried.  It just means I'm going to have to push harder and work harder to get a job so that come summer, I'll be able to make a smooth transition from this room into a place of my own.

Whatever happens, I'll survive somehow... I always do.

I'd like to get a one bedroom apartment, with the bedroom being converted into the workspace where I can do my writing and design work without the bed calling me to snuggle with the warm blankets on it.  I'll then have space for ALL of my books (I have about 25 banker file boxes of books in storage right now), collectibles, etc.

If I have to get a bachelor suite, I'll survive as well.

The transition MAY put a small hiccup in my plans for college, but I'll just have to work around that as well.  Life is bumpy, and we just need to trust in our shock absorbers to handle them properly.  I'm just going to steer through the potholes ahead the best I can... while still enjoying the scenery around me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

#Changes: Back to School

I'm taking the first step to a huge change in my Life.  I'm gathering up some of my artwork and designs into a proper portfolio to submit to the Thompson Rivers University as part of my application for their Digitial Arts and Design Program. It scares me though.  I'm 40 years old, and I'm not altogether sure I'd be able to keep up with the younger students.  Not only that, but I'm worried about how they (at the age of 20) will perceive me as a 40 year old student.

But I'm mostly afraid of being told that I'm, "not good enough."  Failing.  Though, to be honest, if I don't apply, I'd already have failed, right?  The risk of failure (and success) is better than the certainty of failure.

And I'm tired of living with the regret of not completing my college education when I was younger.  Doing this, I can stand tall and say, "I did it!  I finally did it!"  Maybe then, I can shake some of this feeling that's been hanging over me for years of being a disappointment and a failure in the eyes of the one person who I've always wanted to be proud of me- my Dad.
He's never come out and said it, but I've always felt that he was disappointed in me when I stopped going to college... especially since I was the one of us three kids expected to get a degree of some sort.
Maybe doing this will finally lift some of that shroud, and put to rest some of the regretful ghosts that hover about me in my mind... and maybe break some of the self-destructive habits that have kept me from being completely me, and happy all these years.
I'm scared... but determined.  Get my portfolio ready, apply for a student loan, and apply for the program...
And step onto a path that I have been wanting to travel for close to 22 years... 
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

#Holidays: Single on Valentine's Day

I'm not really a fan of Valentine's Day.  I don't hate it- I just don't really see the point of it... and that's not because I'm single on Valentine's Day.

Even back in my High School days (twenty plus years ago), I found it more exasperating than anything.  Every year on Valentine's Day, our school would hand out pink paper hearts to all the girls to wear.  If a boy got them to talk, they had to give the boy their heart.

I found it annoying, because I had to repeatedly tell girls that I didn't care about "winning" their hearts, because their not talking was getting in the way of accomplishing stuff in class when I was partnered with them.  Not only that, but listening to the guys talking about how many hearts they won often made me wonder how women were to win respect when such events encouraged men to see Love as a competition- with the man who has the most hearts the winner.  I found it a little distasteful, to be honest.

Though I'm sure my attitude probably frustrated- and possibly bothered the girls due to the fact that I displayed no interest in pursuing them on that day... after all, many of them were bragging about how many guys were trying to get their hearts.  As if that was a gauge to measure their popularity.  That was something else that bothered me about Valentine's Day back then, since (as my best friend can attest) I really didn't give much thought to being popular, and didn't really seek it out.

This annual High School event probably helped to contribute to my dislike of "relationship games" that people play... but that's another discussion.

But that's not the only reason I'm not a huge fan of the day.  I've been dumped on Valentine's Day (via answering machine), wound up having arguments with girlfriends, and even been cheated on during Valentine's Day.

All good reasons, I think- though the main reason is something much more fundamental: I don't need a "special day" to remind me to tell someone I love that I love them, or to do something special for them.  It's something I try to do every day, because I don't love them on just one day- but every day... so, I don't see the point of it.

And to be honest, I can also see why single people don't like the day.  For some reason, Society seems to think being single is a "bad" thing- a lonely thing- and that single people on Valentine's Day should be pitied because they don't have someone to share the day with.  Being single is NOT a bad thing.  I've been single for several years now (at least six years), and have been quite content.

Would I like to have someone in my Life to share today with?  Sure.  Do I need someone in my Life?  No, I don't.  I'm single on Valentine's Day, and happy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

#Blogging- Getting Started

How do you get started writing a blog?

Contrary to what some people may think, it's actually quite easy to start one.  It starts with the decision to write one.  That simple.

After that, it can be a slightly more complicated matter- but mostly where it concerns what the blog is going to be about.  There are an unlimited number of options you can choose from- anything from writing about animals to zeppelins.

Of course, you can simplify the process a bit.  Ask the following questions to help figure out where you want to go with your blog:

  1. Do I want to write about something I know?
  2. Do I want to write about learning about something I don't know?
  3. Do I want to write about places I've been?
  4. Do I want to write about my Life?
Those four questions can serve as a jumping point for whatever topic you wind up deciding to blog about.

Now, just be aware that you're probably not going to get thousands of readers right off the bat.  It takes time , dedication, and consistent posting to gain readers.  My blog, "The Corner of Terror"  has been going for close to two years now, and averages about 5000 views a month.  So don't get discouraged.

Also, you might find that the direction of your blog changes along the way.  Mine did.  It originally started out as "Stew's Corner"- a blog where I discussed geekdom.  I wasn't totally satisfied, and changed it to a horror review blog instead.  Blogs will evolve over time as the blogger changes.  It's a "living" piece of work- and is always a work in progress.

Do I recommend blogging?  Yes, I do.  It can prove to be a great release for thoughts (especially a journal style blog), and a wonderful way to share your passion with others (like my love of horror).

So get blogging, and share yourself with the world!

Monday, January 28, 2013

#Friends: Carport Night

I'm not ashamed to admit that I don't have a lot of friends- though the number of them are growing (which is a nice feeling, actually).  It's not that I'm not very friendly (I'm quite friendly), nor that I'm not very sociable (I can be quite sociable at times).  No, it's the fact that I'm picky about who I call a "friend".  Because of that, it takes a bit for me to open up to people.

Though there are those rare people to whom I have opened up to immediately upon meeting.

Jay (from "We Came From the Basement") is one of those rare individuals.

We first met in Grade 7 at Arthur Hatten Elementary (a place that'll become a mecca once Jay and I become totally famous).  That was... oh, 28 years ago.  During that time, the two of us have created some traditions: sitting around the fire pit at his cabin drinking beer and discussing the world and the Universe; recording a comedy tape while drunk once a year (for our own enjoyment); and Carport Night.

Carport Night is the most recent creation.  Last fall, Jay and I decided one night to sit in his carport while drinking.  It was a lot like sitting around the fire pit... minus the fire pit.  It was such a satisfying event, Jay and I decided to do it once a month.

It's quite relaxing and enjoyable.  It's just Jay and I having a few beers, enjoying the fresh air, and discussing things that are happening in our lives, or the world.  That's all it is.

Except for the most important element.  I'm doing it with my best friend.  Only my best friend would agree to sitting in a carport on a snowy, chilly night drinking cold beer and having a smoke.  Only my best friend would think it completely natural- and enjoyable to do.

Which is why Carport Night works- since it's the two of us, it's quite natural.  While many would shake their head at the idea- or say that it's a rather redneck thing to do, when those that know us hear about us doing it, they simply say, "Naturally."

Maybe that's part of why our friendship works so well, and why I opened up to Jay when I first met him all those years ago... It was just natural.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

#Geekdom: The New Cool

The Universe (and Life within it) turns in cycles.  Galaxies spin around the Universal Center.  Solar systems spin around the Galactic Center.  Planets spin around the Sun.

And geeks become cool.

This is a trend that has become quite obvious over the past few years.  More and more geeks are standing up and shouting out their pride in being what they are.  It's actually quite heartwarming to see this once neglected and ridiculed section of Society finally getting the acknowledgement and recognition they deserve as human beings.

Brings a tear to this geek's eye.

But there's a problem- a problem that occurs with EVERY trend that catches the public attention.  That problem isn't haters- since geeks are used to their derision.  The problem is that some people are simply claiming to be geeks to seem cool.  You see them on the internet pretty much every day.  People who think that putting on a pair of glasses, holding an X-Box controller, and claiming that M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" is a deep cinematic exploration about how people (and Society) create fictional realities in order to escape the hardships and pains of their lives, makes them geeks.  People who quote "Big Bang Theory" and ask, "Who would win an argument: Mr. Spock, Data, or Sheldon Cooper?".  People who post pictures of themselves on Facebook making ducklips and gang signs.

Oh, wait- no... that last one just means they're stupid, not geeks.  My bad.

You can tell real geeks from the poser geeks quite easily.  Real geeks don't really draw attention to the fact that they're geeks, and often look like normal, everyday people.  Poser geeks on the other hand, tend to act and look like the stereotypical image of what a geek should be... and they often get it wrong- looking more like nerds than geeks.

There is a difference, you know.

The biggest difference between real geeks and poser geeks is the fact that real geeks aren't being geeks to be cool.  They're doing it because they simply ARE geeks.  Geeks are really passionate people when it comes to their areas of geekness.  This passion is seen in the care taken in the cos plays they do for conventions (even the bad costumes), and the attention to detail they bring to their star ship designs.  Geeks actually read and enjoy, and discuss, and look deep into the comics and books they read, and the movies and anime they watch.  They are experts in their chosen fields of interest, and are able to distinguish between a "Star Trek: The Next Generation" season one uniform, and a season three uniform.  They can tell you who designed, and crafted the various fedoras used by Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies.

Real geeks are also very loyal to each other, and their hobbies- and will defend their honour with sharpened bath'leths and Klingon fury.  Even when they series their favorite TV series, movie franchise, or comic series going down the toilet, they will hang on in the hopes that things will get better again.  They are also very spiritual, and will prey to the Great Bird of the Galaxy, or commune with the Force when their faith weakens.

Poser geeks can only dream of achieving the level of passion and dedication that real geeks have.  After a short while, the poser geeks will find some other shiny bauble-like band wagon to jump on in their continuing quest to be cool and popular.

Learn this lesson from the geeks (being given by a geek no less) if you honestly want to be cool- don't try to be something you're not.  Just be you.

Now, if you'll excuse me... I need to build a Tardis...

Monday, January 21, 2013

#Blogging- Inside This Blogger

Over the past few weeks, I've been contemplating WHY I wanted to do this blog.  Originally, I wanted to provide insight into blogging, being a blogger, and my life as a horror movie reviewer.

My posts were originally supposed to be fairly short, and for the most part humorous.  They were supposed to be entertaining and informative.

Now, however, the focus is changing- probably because I'm changing... or at least my needs and wants in regards to this blog are changing.  Now, I need (and want) this blog to be something more- something deeper... more real.  My last two posts have helped to solidify the desire to have this blog be a more personal, realistic expression of the blogger/person that I am.

Not only is this blog going to be a place of humor, and information, but it'll be a place where the entire range of my emotions can be found.  Sorrow, joy, anger, hopes, dreams, fears, and nightmares will be found within the entries as this blog grows and deepens in content.  This blog won't be just about me... it will be a part of me.

A part of me that I'll be sharing with all of you.

Over the course of the years, you will truly see what goes on inside the mind, heart and soul of this blogger.  Join me as I write my thoughts down... and discover the world through my eyes.

Friday, January 18, 2013

#Friends- Reconnecting

Yesterday, I wrote about the loss of a beloved pet, and the empty feeling that comes with it.  Today, I want to write about something that helps to fill me up with happiness, pleasure, and peace.

Reconnecting with an old friend.

One of the nice things about Facebook is the fact that you can find and reconnect with people you used to know.  Several of the people I went to High School with are on my Friends List.

One in particular makes me smile.  Out of the blue, she suggested that we start writing each other.  Via snail mail.  Yes- snail mail.  When I get the chance, I do enjoy the act of physically putting my thoughts on paper, so I agreed immediately.  That was the first step in discovering the pleasure of redisovering a friendship.

I look forward to each letter she sends, and I'm sure she looks forward to mine in return.

My friend (Loralee), recently called me on the phone, and we talked for about an hour and a half about things that have gone on in our Lives, some of the obstacles we've had to face (internal and external) in order to get to the places where we are.  We had a really good conversation, and I'm looking forward to more of them.

This reconnection is especially satisfying for me, because back in High School, I really didn't have friends (other than Jay and a couple of others).  I was dealing with the death of my mother, and went out of my way to keep people at an emotional distance.  I didn't want people to get close to me because I didn't want to risk losing them down the road.

Now, however, I'm willing to to share my Life with more people, and call them "friends."  And I'm glad that Loralee is one of the ones from High School who WANTS to reconnect and get to know the person that I am now.  She was a wonderful girl in High School- socially, ecologically, and politically aware; funny, and cute.  Now, she's grown into a wonderful woman who is still socially, ecologically, and politically aware; funny; and beautiful.  Despite the ups and downs that she's dealt with over the past several years, she's able to remain positive, and hopeful for the future.  The sort of person I've become, and the sort of person that I want in my Life as a close friend.

In a world where we can lose loved ones at a moment's notice, we can also find friendships that can grow and deepen and enrich our lives.  Life is all about Balance.  Loss is balanced by gain... and as sad as Charlie's passing has made me, I'm also filled with gladness for gaining Loralee as a close friend.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

#Family: Charlie

When I first thought of this blog, I intended it to be a place where I could share my more positive, philosophical, or humorous thoughts and experiences.  Today, however, I feel the need to share something a little deeper and sadder.

The loss of a member of the family.  Yesterday, the family had to put Charlie to sleep.  He'd suffered a serious stroke which affected his legs, vision, breathing, etc.

Charlie was 13 years old (roughly 91 years in human terms).  13 years of love, affection, and memories given to the family.

I woke up this morning, and went upstairs.  It was weird.  Normally, my sister-in-law would turn the radio on low before she went to work, so that Charlie didn't feel left alone.  Well, this morning, it was absolutely silent.  Not a sound.

It felt... wrong.  The house felt empty to me.

I didn't like it.

Charlie was such a well behaved, and quiet dog.  About the only time he'd raise a ruckus was when someone would ring the door bell... then you couldn't get him to be quiet.  When he wanted out, he'd go towards the patio door, and wag his tail.  When he wanted back in, he'd lay down by the patio door until you let him in again.  His favorite spots to sleep were under the coffee table in the living room, and by my niece's bed.  When I was in the bathroom, he'd curl up by the door in the hallway, and sometimes, I'd find it laying by the front door waiting for the rest of the family to come home.

He didn't like broccholi, and would nudge it aside whenever he found it mixed in with his food.  He loved it when you'd scratch a spot on his right hindquarters... in fact his butt would move to the right when you did it. He didn't like the cat sticking its butt in his face.  He'd get this look that pretty much said, "How uncouth can you get?".  Charlie loved going for car rides and walks... and pooping on asphalt.

During the summers, when the family would be gone for a weekend, it'd be just me and Charlie.  We'd have a movie marathon, and while I watched movies, Charlie would be curled up on the couch next to me.  If you laid down on the carpet, he would often come over and flop down with you.  Sometimes, I'd find Charlie digging at a couple of spots on the carpet upstairs, and I could never figure out why.

During the winter, Charlie would have long fur with a slight curl to it.  During the summer, he would get trimmed down, except for his tail- which would remain bushy.  He always reminded me of a cross between a dachsun and a doberman- short and pudgy in build, but with the markings of a doberman.

Charlie was the cutest, most lovable, and most loving dog ever.

When I heard the silence this morning, all of those memories washed over me in a wave.  My chest tightened, and my breath hitched.

It hurt... it really hurt.

There are people out there who say that pets are just animals.   I dare them to spend 13 years raising a pet, and sharing their Lives with them.  I don't think they'd be able to remain so detached afterwards.

When you raise a pet- especially from a baby, they become more than JUST a pet.  They become part of the family- their odd quirks, moods, and personalities meshing with those of the humans around them.  They don't see us as humans.  They see us as part of their pack or litter- and take care of us, just as we take care of them.  Cats will bring us birds and mice as gifts of love, and lessons on how to survive.  Dogs will curl up by your side when you're sick in bed to let you know you're not alone.

When you raise a pet, you invest so much of yourself into them- your emotions, love, and hope, that eventually, they become such an integral part of your Life.  When they're gone, part of you is gone as well- and it hurts.

But, so long as you remember them, and hold them in your heart, they will always be near... just a gentle thought away.

Sleep well, Charlie... and may there never be broccholi  in your food on the other side.