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4:00 – 4:45PM WEBSERIES CREATORS ANONYMOUS
What builds The Guild? Is web content replacing television or supplementing it? Webseries creators from Geeks and Gamers Anonymous (Alex Langley, Katrina Hill, Marko Head), The Variants (Richard Neal, Ken Lowery), and Awkward Embraces (Jessica Mills) gather to discuss the creative process from inception through casting, fundraising, production, and promotion of original programming in the age of YouTube. (BALLROOM E)
Come by and say hi!
More info here: http://www.wizardworld.com/programming-tx.html]]>
Dogs are not people. They do not think like people or react like people. They are dogs. Understand your dog, before you judge your dog, or anyone else’s dog.
My rescue pup was given up by her first adopters for biting a kid. They didn’t understand her, because they had a big family and a bunch of dogs and they didn’t have time to understand her issues. I fell in love with her at first sight. A 22 pound, three-legged dog who was clearly terrified. But instead of cowering, she barked, and snarled and said “If you take me down, I’m taking you down with me!!”
Man. I could respect that. Fearless. A fearless little three legged dog. I had to get to know her. And, after a week, she came home with me.
It was just me and Lisa against the world. I’ve loved her with all my heart, and I worked with a trainer to understand why she behaves aggressively toward strangers. He helped me understand how she thinks, and how I should behave in order to put her at ease.
My dog has behavioral issues. She’s aggressive to strangers. She has separation anxiety. Yes, it can be stressful to deal with. However.
My dog is the brightest part of my life. She saved me from the darkness more times than I can count, simply by loving me. She makes me smile every day. Everyone who has gotten to know her (after the initial scary introduction) has grown to love and respect her fearless spirit and intelligence.
And sometimes, when the world seems so sad I can’t imagine existing for one more day, she looks at me with those big brown eyes and asks me why I’m sad. “Mama, why are you sad when walks, and car rides, and chasing squirrels are so much fun!” She would lay with me in bed for an entire day. Not asking for anything. Just being with me, because she knew I was sad.
The rescue group I adopted Lisa from told me that they weren’t sure they would be able to adopt her out to anyone because of her aggression. They said they felt so lucky that I wanted her, because they loved her and didn’t know how to rehome her.
Lisa brightens every day. She hops up to me in bed in the morning and looks me in the eyes. She says “Cheer up Mama. Life is simple. Life is about loving your pack, protecting your pack, and enjoying every moment without being concerned one bit for what’s going to happen someday. Because right now we get to go outside and chase kitties! Isn’t that wonderful!”
And sometimes, I think to myself. “Yeah, that is pretty wonderful.”
I think everyone gets overloaded sometimes. Some people more than others. It can be really tough to deal with, and everyone has their own way.
I don’t feel compelled to do that, myself, but I know that there are a lot of people who do. Which is to say that you definitely are not alone.
It makes me sad that you hurt yourself. I don’t place judgement, believe me. I don’t deal with things well at all, personally.
When I get overly stressed, I tend to have rage issues. I have broken many an inanimate object or sat in my car and screamed. That tends to be what I fall back on. The flip side are the days when I lay in bed and stare at the wall due to mental overload.
Usually after that, I tend to rally and come back around. I kind of think of it as a bit of a reboot. Like my brain gets the spinning wheel of death, so I force quit for a day and the next day I’m good to go.
I’m not sure my ways of “dealing” are any healthier than yours. I do know that when I exercise regularly, drink less alcohol and lean on my good friends, I tend to flip out a LOT less. Almost never, in fact.
It’s hard. It’s hard to be going through something and to feel totally alone. Those are the times that we are the hardest on ourselves. When we break perfectly good makeup mirrors (really, it was super nice. I smashed it on my perfectly nice desk, which then had a big hole in it. *sigh*), or we drink too much, or we hurt ourselves. I think, more than the stress, it’s the feeling that we’re alone that makes us do those things.
So I want you to know that you are not alone. Not at all. We’re all a little bit of a mess, no matter how put together we seem. And there is someone you can turn to. Even if it’s just a stranger on the internet who doesn’t turn here anon ask box off.
So, I hope that maybe you’ll talk to more people about the things going on with you, and that maybe you’ll feel less alone. And I hope that maybe I helped a little.
The good news is, I’m handling it much better than last time. Last time I cried in the Apple store. Two days in a row. In front of two, different, cute genius bar dudes. And not little tears in the eyes, or silent weeping. It was, like, face crumpled, red nose, heaving, sloppy, snotty, UGLY CRYING.
Of course, back then, the contents of my computer felt like my literal entire life. Now, that’s not so much true. Plus, I learned my lesson about backing shit up. Though I’ve probably lost most of my music, I rarely listen to a lot of it anyway. The good stuff I buy on CD…as a backup. Or ITunes, but something in me just really likes having CDs. I don’t know what it is.
I tend to hoard them in little hidey places. One of my ex-boyfriends opened up my glove box to find 10 CDs scrunched in it and nearly had a heart attack. My car has a CD player, ok? Sometimes I use it, OK?!
In a really odd turn of events, I spontaneously bought a Lisa Frank spiral notebook out of nostalgia today, so I guess that’s what I’ll be writing on for the next however long it takes to figure out if it’s worth fixing the puter or getting a new one.
That’s going to be…interesting. Do I even remember how to hand write? I had to sign my name to something the other day and hesitated for a second like I couldn’t remember how. I sign things like…never.
In other news, my fucking thumbs are exhausted from writing this blog on my phone.
Jeebus. If it weren’t for my wifi enabled smart phone and Kindle Fire I would definitely be ugly crying right now.]]>
He charmed me into revealing my secret geek out…]]>
I grew up on 100 acres of cactus, mesquite trees, wildflowers and various scrappy herbivores and even scrappier carnivores. As a kid, I was always fascinated by hawks, floating on the air currents like they hadn’t a care in the world. An armadillo my brother cleverly named “Army the Armadillo” lived in the grove of Chinaberry trees. Armadillos may carry leprosy, but they’re adorable. Crafty jackrabbits were always an exciting spotting. They’re fast as hell, and sometimes all you see are their giant ears, bounding through the tall grass. At night, my brother and I would sit outside and listen to the coyote packs call to each other, from miles apart. If we couldn’t hear them at first, we would call out ourselves. Howling and giggling, until the coyotes called back. They always do.
When I was growing up, sunflowers grew to insane heights. A child, on horseback, nose to nose with flowers as big as my head. Every spring, the ground would be blanketed with every color of the rainbow. Texas is famous for its wildflowers. Our chinaberry grove was the closest we had to real trees. Mesquites get to be real tree size, but they are scraggledy, scruffy plants with thorns. The chinaberry grove was full of tall willowy trees, that actually changed to fall colors and lost their leaves. None of the other native trees on our place did that. Many a day was spent out there, building tree forts and playing super heroes.
Last year, Texas was ravaged by wildfires that reached temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees. They swept across the landscape leaving such destruction behind, you can still see damage a year later. Whole patches of earth that can’t sustain even a little grass. Stones that shattered in the heat.
However, for the most part, the earth is recovering remarkably. After all, before people came along, wildfires were a natural part of the ecosystem here. So, now, everything is growing back, turning green. The creatures have come back and are slowly building their numbers up. In spite of this summer being one of the hottest in history.
The chinaberry grove is gone, but it’s been replaced by what my brother has called the “chinaberry nursery”. Tiny, baby trees. I went to check on the nursery and I got lost. The paths we spent 18 years wearing out through the grove are gone. It’s young and wild all over again.
Hiking out to the chinaberry nursery, I had to keep an eye out for snakes. I stepped around cactus. I shoved my way through sharp, prickly bushes. My dog got grass burrs in her feet. My face ran smack into a Mesquite limb, and I tripped over a rock. I was hot, sweaty, bleeding and annoyed.
Here’s the thing. West Texas has been described as an acquired taste. Not classically beautiful, not particularly easy on strangers.
Mostly because West Texas just doesn’t give a damn.
It’s here to thrive and survive, not to please you. It’s your job to learn to deal with its challenges. Snakebite survival 101, tornado warning signs, where to step to avoid getting your feet stabbed with thorns, etc etc etc.
It’s also your job to appreciate it’s hidden beauty, it’s glorious strength and the treasures it has to offer if you’re paying attention. If you don’t want to bother, well that’s fine. West Texas didn’t need you here, anyway.
But, before you give up on West Texas entirely, you really should hear about the frogs.
Of all the creatures and growing things of my home, my favorite are the frogs. Now, West Texas is very dry. Very. Which is what makes these critters even more remarkable.
They burrow under the ground, and lie dormant…until there is a rain. And not just a sprinkle, but a real, soaking rain. We get three or four of those a year if we’re lucky, and every time, the frogs come out. Suddenly, the air is full of a sound that is almost alien, it’s so rare. Hundreds upon thousands of frogs, suddenly awake and rejoicing in the rain. They sing and sing and sing all night long, until time for them to return to their sleep.
It’s remarkable. All my life, it’s never ceased to stop my heart in wonder.
Just a year after those devastating fires, we can still hear the frogs after a rain.
And that is why West Texas is the BAMF of the Continental United States, and where I plan to end up after the Zombiepocalypse.]]>
This is how I feel at being unemployed. I have defined my life by the things I have DONE. The GOALS I have ACHIEVED. And somwhere along the line that life went horribly wrong. I turned around one day and realized I was completely depressed and miserable.
So now I’m trying to live a stripped down life in order to really figure out what I want in life. What do I really want? When I die, what do I want to look back on and be proud of? If I were to die right now, what would I most regret not doing? Not having?
If I’ve learned anything in the past two years, it’s that you can’t live for the amazing moments. The amazing, incredible, mind blowing moments in life are wonderful, but you can’t build a life on them.
The fact is that you have to build your life on the mundane moments. I recently crashed with two friends and I was blown away by how wonderful the boring parts of their life are. I thought “Damn, no wonder they’re so happy.” The times in their life that involved ABSOLUTELY NOTHING were filled with…contentment.
I learned a lot from living with them. The times in my life that involved nothing were usually filled with working towards a spectacular something. It didn’t even occur to me that there might be something wrong with that until I walked into a room full of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and felt envious. I looked at those mundane moments and realized for the first time what was truly missing in my life.
Just to clarify, I’m not talking about a boyfriend. I’m talking about the ability to just be…to just exist, without a constant feeling that you’re missing out on something better. Always before I felt contentment meant the death of ambition. This has been proven to be untrue. I witnessed two of the most spectacularly brilliant people I know, both of whom are in the process of working towards realizing their dreams, sitting on their couch doing absolutely nothing of import. And I felt nothing but contentment from them and a feeling of missing out within myself.
Life has plenty of spectacular amazing moments. Life has plenty of heartbreaking defeat and disappointment.
But the true beauty lies in the simplicity. The quiet moments.
I’m not going to lie. I have absolutely no idea how to live that way, and I’m starting to panic. I feel a lot like that astronaut who accidentally got untethered and is basically going to just keep drifting for as long their momentum will carry them. All I can think about is the fact that my calendar is empty and I have nothing of import to do all day.
But I’m working on it. I guess that’s all anyone can really do. I’m trying to look at the nothing and not feel terrified of the lack of something. I’m trying to channel a little Zaphod Beeblebrox.
I’m trying to be ok with taking some time off from having THINGS to DO. This is what I’m saying. Actually, maybe instead of Zaphod, I need to be channeling the Tao of Pooh.
No, I take both of those back. I should be paying more attention to my dog. She took a 20 hour road trip with me. She had no idea where we were going or why we were going there and had this look on her face the whole time:
Yeah. I think we should all be more like Lisa.]]>
Two people who, on the surface, seem to have no common ground. Yet, somehow, they vibrate on a deep level in perfect harmony. They live life never able to decide on what music to listen to in the car, what movie to watch on Friday night, what to eat for dinner, or where to go on vacation. They never quite match up in any way that matters to most people. You’d think they would feel lonely. You’d think they would feel separated by their differences. But…somehow, some way, they feel more understood than ever before. It can’t be explained. Two people who look at each other across a chasm of film, music, hobbies, pop culture, life experience, and every other surface commonality that feeds relationships. They gaze across that great divide and see something in each other. A binding recognition that moves them together in a manner that can only be described as fundamental. An understanding of inner spirit that recognizes its twin. A simple meeting of eyes that says “You. You are for me.”
But the chasm is not an easy one to bridge. The hearts that gaze in longing can’t always meet in the middle. And when the bridge is burned, those hearts pick up the pieces and carry on with life, leaving a little something behind. But the heart never forgets its pieces. The heart goes looking for it, without consulting your brain. It just wants to check on that missing piece. Are they taking care of it? Do they cherish it as you cherish theirs? Your heart just has to know.
So you find yourself writing an e-mail, or making a phone call. The heart that made this decision in your throat, racing, uncertain. Thanks for the stress, dude. But, suddenly, there they are. A response, a smile, the enthusiastic “I was just thinking about you!”
And you reach out to each other across the years, across the heartache of before, across that great chasm of differences…you reach out and see each other. A little older. A little battle scarred. But there it is. There is that bit of your heart in their hand, and theirs in yours. They gaze at you from across that chasm saying “You. I know you.”
Hello again, old friend.]]>
#1. Unless we converse on a daily basis or have hung out multiple times in person, you are a stranger to me. Do you walk up to women you barely know in the street and make sexual or boob jokes? Do you think they would find it funny if you did? WE DON’T LIKE IT ON THE INTERNET EITHER.
#2. Unless we converse on a daily basis or have hung out multiple times in person, you are a stranger to me. If you tweet me a link with no description, I’m going to assume you’re a spammer. If you tweet me a link with a description that goes something like “Blow jobs” or similar, I WILL BLOCK YOU. End of story. I don’t care that you thought it would be funny, and that the link wasn’t actually sexual in nature. Would you do that to a woman you don’t know in real life? Then don’t do it on the internet.
It is expected for you to not run down the street naked brandishing a banana screaming “The Doctor said I needed one!!!”
No matter how much we may want to, it’s just not expected.
Our society runs like a mostly oiled, but sort of neglected, machine. The gasoline that keeps it running are our expectations.
Expectations can be good, based on social norms. Make good grades, study for your SATs, get into college…things are statistically easier for people with a college degree.
Expectations decree that you dress appropriately for a job interview and say all the right things. Complying with these expectations can get you a job, which can get you food on your table.
In every way, expectations define the way in which we survive in modern society.
But expectations can override your life. They can overload your senses. When you’re being handed baskets of expectations from every side, every angle, every person…it will break you. Those expectations don’t even have to be opposite. They can all work well together to develop the Perfect Human for your particular Situation.
But you aren’t perfect. You’ll never be perfect.
Some people are fine with expectations. They do their best, and have no desire to rock the boat. The thought rarely occurs to them. Some people prefer to be handed their expectations and thrive in an environment where what is expected of them is spelled out. And that’s totally fine. That is evolutionary biology at work. That is Life, Surviving and Procreating and Being.
Some people buck like a wild mustang the second those ropes of expectation are wrapped around them. “Why? What does it matter?”
In the extreme, these cases cannot survive. They can’t get good grades, because they are misunderstood. They can’t get a good job, because they didn’t play the game enough to get into a good school. Or they can’t keep a job because they can’t play the game enough to keep a job.
We all have to swallow so much BULLSHIT just to survive. It’s a frustrating tragedy of every day life.
However, the majority of us walk the line. We think “This fucking sucks ass, but I’ve got to do it in order to get to the next stage, so I guess I’ll just deal with it.” And I think we are the ones who have the hardest time. That line is thin, and dangerous. You comply, because it will get you somewhere. Because complying means accomplishing the goals you set for yourself. But you always keep your own True Self in mind. To be honest, your own True Self SCREAMS AT YOU. “This is injustice. This isn’t fair. That guy should be punched in the face.” But you calm it. You tame it. You compromise just enough to make it, but you stay true.
The real trouble, is that we are so ingrained, in our deepest evolutionary biology, to adhere to certain societal expectations in order to ensure our own survival, that when we get into that place of moderate success where everyone we meet is handing us another batch of expectations…our instinct is to comply. “This is the life I’ve chosen, these are the expectations I am being handed for this life. My choice, I must comply.”
It’s not even robotic…it’s animal instinct.
And…sometimes…we spend so long trying to match all these expectations that we break ourselves in half.
And it’s so insidious. So subtle that we don’t even see it happening. And when the real break happens we think we’ve gone insane. “What’s wrong with me? Things are on track, I’m doing well. Why am I so depressed? Why am I so anxious all the time?”
When you’re handed piles and piles of expectations from every angle, when you take those upon yourself and try to comply because your instincts are screaming that THIS IS SURVIVAL NOW, and your other half is screaming I CAN’T MAKE THEM ALL HAPPY.
Then the brain breaks. The soul shrivels. And despair sets in.
Oh, despair. Do animals feel despair? Are we, alone, cursed with the ability to have higher functioning brains that are also running on animal instinct? Our instincts tell us to comply with the Pack, while our higher functioning brains grieve for the great sacrifices we must make to survive.
Maybe it is just us. But, the good news, is that our higher functioning brains have also blessed us with things like love.
Now, I personally, think love is a dumb word. It’s like trying to take a Hydrogen Bomb and name it Fluffy. Love is undefinable and can’t be contained. It’s deeply personal and can’t be described in any way that actually makes sense.
However, for the purpose of this blog, I’m going to explain the many ways in which love can save you.
First off, some of us, some lucky few, have people in our lives with no expectations. They have love, and they have hope. But those two things are quite different from expectations.
Spend a little time with someone who just cares for you, and hopes the best for you, but never expects you to do or be anything but what you are…and that True Self you thought was lost will find you again.
It feels, on the inside, just like putting Aloe Vera on a 2nd degree sunburn. Soothing, comforting…healing.
However, not everyone has that. In the case that you don’t, take this advice:
Tell everyone to fuck off for a week. A full 7 days. Get away. I’M FUCKING SEROUS, GET AWAY. If you don’t have much money, then unplug your phone and tell them you’re out of town. If you have the money, get out of town. Even if you’re just at the Holiday Inn a couple hours away.
Remove yourself from the expectations. Give yourself enough time to stop thinking about those expectations and start imagining what you really wish your life was. What do you want? What you wanted 5, 10, 15 years ago may have changed drastically, but you were so buried in expectations and compromises that you stopped listening to what was inside. Sometimes your heart cries out for years, and you miss it because you’re too busy answering e-mails and trying not to punch your boss in the face.
So get away. Do whatever you have to do. Go sit on a rock and listen to crickets. Go sit in a hotel hot tub and people watch. Binge watch every season of Doctor Who there ever was. Whatever it takes to get away from those mountains of expectations and really LISTEN to what you REALLY want your life to be.
Why? Because there can be no greater love in the world than that you can have for yourself. You live with yourself EVERY DAY. It’s a burden, sometimes, to look out of those eyeballs and think “Why did I say that?” or “Why didn’t I handle that better?” or any other number of things. No one will ever know you as well as you know yourself, and you won’t know real peace until you really love every part of yourself. Yes, even the giant selfish asshole who does dick things.
It’s ok. We’ve all got one.
The thing is, I really think it’s possible to comply just enough to achieve the life of your dreams without compromising your sanity and happiness along the way. And if your dreams change along the way, that’s fine. Nobody ever said you aren’t allowed to start over. It’s frowned upon for someone older to suddenly change their life, but those expectations can just go fuck themselves.
I’ll stand in line for a donut, but my life is my life, and I’ll be proud of the choices that make me happy. FUCK YOU AND YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
I know me better than you. And that’s all I need to know.
That being said, running down the street naked with a banana screaming “The Doctor said I needed one!” sounds pretty fucking awesome sometimes. Not because I want to be naked in public, but because shocking the ever loving shit out of people while hearing random Doctor Who fans screaming encouragement would be pretty damn cool.]]>