Work Distractions

The College Experience

I’ve been in college since 2012, so you could say that I’m well-versed in the college experience. It’s all bullshit. I’ve been to 3 different schools, and all three of them were practically the same. The shitty truth is this: college isn’t that hard. I’m a terrible student; I don’t like to study, I don’t do it every day, or even every week, and I get straight A’s. This should scare the shit out of everyone paying $30,000 a year for a piece of paper that I can recreate in Photoshop.  I’m not even that smart, there are tons of people far, far smarter than I am, so how is it that I get better grades than them?

First and foremost, colleges are businesses. If you own a restaurant, you want to ensure that your customers are satisfied when they leave your restaurant so they tell other people about it. College is the same way. If everyone who attended college failed, nobody would go, so I think the administration put pressure on the faculty to ease grading policies to ensure that not only do their students get to brag about their GPA, but also to keep a steady flow of uninformed 18 year-olds with student loans coming through their halls.

I’m not trying to brag, I’m just some uninformed asshole on the Internet spouting my opinions, so do your research before you sign your life away to some loan company that will actively try to take advantage of your financial illiteracy. Student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, as far as I know, so if you aren’t 100% certain that college will help you get to where you want to be, don’t waste your time fucking up your credit score.

If you are dead-set on college, don’t be stupid: go to community college first. It’s not as sexy as spending freshman year blacking out on cheap vodka and Blue Gatorade, but it will pay dividends in the end.  Community college is like an extension of high school, but you’re not pumping hormones 24/7, and you don’t have to spend your days there, so it’s infinitely better, and you save money. Make sure your credits transfer though, nobody wants to go through all that work just to find out that your credits from “Intro to Microbrews” don’t transfer.

If you’re not gonna go to class, don’t go to college. I’ve done my 10,000 hours of partying, I’m a professional, so when I tell you it’s not worth it, IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Yeah, it’s fun, yeah, you’ll think you’re the shit, yeah, doing drugs is fun (allegedly), but is that worth tens of thousands of dollars? No, the fuck it’s not. If you’re going to be that person, do the world a favor and don’t go to college. Just stay in your home town and sell drugs like a normal piece of shit.

Full disclosure: I’m not 1000% certain that I’m right, you’re experience might be different than mine, you might’ve had a completely different experience and think college was the best years of your life. I’m not you, I’m just here to tell my story and hope that somebody gets useful advice from my ramblings.

Under The Influence

We are all influenced by the things we hear and see and do. There’s no avoiding it, but it definitely changes you, and that’s okay. I’ve been getting super into modal jazz, and I’ve noticed myself using 50’s slang that I’ve heard in the music. I think it’s a part of growth; you expand your horizons, and adapt the things you like. If they stick, they become part of who you are, if they don’t, they fade away.

I’m not really keyed into the whole “woke” thing, so if I’m guilty of cultural appropriation, my bad, but I’m just blindly struggling through life, so I’m not really thinking too much about it. I think that your influences make you who you are, or at least who you want to be.

I’ve got to give credit to all the people who’ve influenced me, my parents, my friends, and all of the musicians who have sent me on musical K-holes that have introduced me to the things I hold dearest. Without all of my stoner friends, I wouldn’t have gotten into rap, and I wouldn’t have delved into the samples for more music, and I would probably still be listening to Disturbed and punching walls and shit.

I’ve also got to give it up to weed and whiskey, that combo has made me a lot more open-minded and gotten me to try things I never would’ve dreamed of doing sober, like listening to talk radio, or eating a bird’s nest (not a real one, a one made of potatoes and veggies and shit.)

To wrap it up, try things, you might like them, or if you don’t, you might get a funny story out of it, so it’s a win-win.

The Death of a Dream

I think it’s time to be honest with myself: I’m probably not going to be a copywriter any time soon, and that’s okay. I’ve had this goal for years, and I haven’t really made any tangible progress, so I’m starting to think I should shift my focus elsewhere.

It’s hard, accepting that you might never achieve something you’ve worked so hard for, but I think it’s a good lesson in life. You can’t always get what you want. Usually, I find a way to make things work out, but I’m getting older, so I’ve got to start thinking about things differently.

I’m never going to stop writing campaigns. They might not be the best, they might actually be awful, but as long as I enjoy writing them, I don’t see myself stopping completely. It’s turned into more of a hobby, albeit a weird one.

I think this is part of growing up: realizing that your dreams might not be attainable. That doesn’t mean you’re a failure, or you’ve wasted your time, it just means that you’ve put as much effort into your dream as you could, and realized when it was time to switch to something else. Hopefully I find something that I enjoy enough to invest a large chunk of my life in.

Writing About Writing

So, as maybe two of you might remember, I’m taking a graduate-level Philosophy class without any knowledge of Philosophy, outside of what I learned from the major motion picture Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Surprisingly, I’m crushing it. I just got my last paper back, and I got a 100%. This came as a surprise because said paper is a 3-page, 3-paragraph, dog fart that wouldn’t have seen the light of day if I had started it more than an hour before it was due.  This leads me to think one of two things. 1) This paper I wrote while barely sober enough to type is actually amazing, and I’m a great writer, or 2) My professor read this cracked-out abortion of a paper, felt badly, and graded me accordingly.

My writing process usually comes down to two methods. The first, and most natural one, is to just type whatever comes into my head, edit it for clarity, and let it rock. This usually works, but after I submit it, I dissect every word and think of ways to improve it, which usually makes me want to delete everything and start fresh. This leads me to the second method; what I like to call the “Fuck You, Run It Again” method. This method only comes out when I’m under pressure, and can’t just edit as I go. This usually leads me to finishing a paper, reading it 2 or 3 times, and deleting it and starting it over because I don’t like the direction it takes. This method is incredible, it has a nearly 100% success rating, but makes me all boo-hooey for a while after, because if you spend hours at a time hating yourself and your writing, you’re going to have a bad time. I’m trying to refine both processes, combining them to make a single fluid workflow, but it’s rough, and since I’m my biggest critic, I’ll probably go above and beyond what’s necessary and make something completely different in the process. This whole quarantine thing has given me an abundance of free time, so I should have it squared away in no time.

The Luxury of Time

I know that many people are stuck inside, and that they might hate it, but it’s a blessing in disguise. You have time now, and time is the most valuable thing in existence. Everybody dies at some point, but not everyone uses their time wisely. I think that we should use this time to explore ourselves and overcome our issues, I know I am.

As fucked up as it sounds, I love this. I love being stuck in my house, and I love not having to make excuses about why I don’t want to go places. I’m also using this time wisely, but I’m also enjoying myself with it. Time is the most valuable natural resource there is, it’s the only thing we can never get more of. (Almost) everyone gets the same amount of time in their lives, the difference is where we choose to focus our time and effort. Let’s look at some famous people: did Einstein spend his time binging Netflix and chasing girls?  No, he was locked in his room making mathematical discoveries that I still don’t understand to this day. Think about where your life would be if you focused your time and stopped fucking around.

I’ve been spending my time realizing all of the creative ideas I’ve brushed aside these last few years, I’ve spent at least 10 hours making videos on Premier Pro, I’ve transcribed all of the ad ideas I’d written on receipt paper into my idea notebook, I’ve worked out my swing so that I’m not rusty for my first day back golfing, I’ve been crushing my schoolwork to the point where I’m a month ahead on my studying, so life’s pretty good for me right now. I’d be a lot happier if all this didn’t come at the expense of thousands of innocent people.

 

My Musical Journey

As I’ve said before, I think music is a wonderful thing that influences us and helps make us who we are. My musical journey started when I was young, and hopefully won’t stop until I’m dead.

The first memory I have is listening to “Born to Run” on one of the first trips up to Maine, and to this day I still love it. I’ve always had a soft spot for classic rock, it’s what my parents played in the house, it’s the first genre I delved into when I started to get interested in music, and some of it’s still in my rotation today, but I like to ease off for a while and get that nostalgic feeling that comes with it. I was that weird kid in middle school who thought that today’s music sucked, and that 60’s and 70’s music was the best there was. I was kind of a pretentious little shit back then.

Toward the end of middle school up into high school, I started listening to some more contemporary music, things like Metallica, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, and Linkin Park. These artists spoke to me more than the artists my parents listened to, and I felt like they understood what it was like to be an sad, angry suburban kid in the 21st century. I don’t really listen to most of the albums I was obsessed with back then, I revisted them recently, and a vast majority of them suck, but they still meant the world to me, and those feelings I had when I was 13 make up for it.

Toward the end of my sophomore year of high school, I was looking on YouTube for something new, and I stumbled on an Eminem video. This was my introduction to rap. I was blown away by The Eminem Show and the Slim Shady LP, but my parents hated it, which made me like them even more. As I listened to more and more Eminem, my YouTube suggestions lead me to discover artists like Ice Cube and Cypress Hill. I didn’t even smoke weed yet, but I still loved Cypress Hill. I remember seeing tickets go up for a Cypress Hill show nearby, but when I thought about how my parents would react when they heard their music, I reconsidered going, which was probably for the best, since I don’t think a nerdy 14-year old white kid from a small farm town would fit in with the weed-smoking 90’s rap fan.

I really don’t want to admit this, but when I first started smoking weed, I was obsessed with the Kottonmouth Kings. I was 16, and convinced that they were better than Eminem and Dr.Dre. I’d play Long Live the Kings and Rollin’ Stoned for my friends, but they were still into hardcore and metal, so while it wasn’t really their thing, I have to give them immense credit for putting up with it and soldiering through.

My music tastes started to really evolve when my friends and I started partying. Nobody wants to here “A Little Piece of Heaven” at a party, it scares the girls away. As we met more people, we listened to their music too. One of the first people to expand my rap knowledge was our friend/friendly neighborhood weed guy Tom, who introduced me to some of the most important artists in my life, people like Mac Miller, Logic, J.Cole, and Kendrick Lamar. He also introduced me to a lot of garbage that I can’t stand to this day. I related to these people, mostly Mac and Logic, because at the time I was partying a lot, looking forward to college, to getting out of my town and making something of myself, and I looked up to these people a few years older than me doing exactly that.

As I began college, I was still listening to all of the music I’d always listened to, but as I went to frat parties and hung out with douchebags, I started getting into people like Jay-Z and Kanye West. I was blown away by the production, I still am. As college proved to be a really tough environment, I started using music to cope with the fact that sometimes I couldn’t get out of bed or do anything else. Specifically, Watching Movies With the Sound Off was my soundtrack, and it’s still one of my favorite albums, but hearing certain songs like “I’m Not Real” and “The Star Room” brings back memories of smoking joints by myself at 2am, thinking about how bad my life was getting.

I was stuck in a funk for a long time, leaving college because I was failing classes because I was either too depressed to get out of bed to go to class, or because I was too hungover to do my homework because booze temporarily made me feel like a person. This lead to me coming back to that sleepy farm town I’d worked so hard to get away from. I started working at Dunks, and with that, started having time to kill, so I filled it by listening to albums. Now, at this time I was working 10 hour days 6 days a week, so I had a lot of time to listen to new music. This period of time is when I discovered a wealth of new music that I adore to this day.

The first album I heard was Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and it blew me away. I’d listened to Kanye in college, but it was usually just the older album and the hits, so when I heard “Runaway” for the first time, I was blown away. I’d never heard so many good songs on one album before, back to back to back, and I finally understood why people put up with Kanye’s shit.

During the Dunks Period, I started to branch out my tastes, which lead me to discover Anderson. Paak. I was blown away, it was like the music I used to listen to as a kid got a makeover, and became fresh and relevant. Malibu was my entrance to soul music, albeit in a modern sense. As I dove into soul music, I started listening to jazz and big band music, and started to value live instrumentation in all forms of music, especially rap. I discovered Avantdale Bowling Club, a project by New Zealand rapper Tom Scott, and I was blown away. It was everything I’d been looking for in an album: it had great rapping, it had live instrumentation, it had a message about coming home and growing up that spoke to me on a material level, and it was a cohesive piece of art. Hell, I’m probably going to go play that record right now, it’s one of my favorite in my collection.

As time went on, I started to get bored with listening to the same ol’ music all the time, so I looked for something new to scratch that itch. I found myself listening to a lot of indie music, Speedy Ortiz, Portugal the Man, Bright Eyes, Beach House, Gorillaz, The Internet, Tame Impala,and many more. This new influx of sounds and ideas really hooked me, and I still love all of the music I discovered back then, and I’m super looking forward to hearing the new Bright Eyes album.

Recently, I’ve gotten more into jazz, specifically modal jazz, from people like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington. I like the creativity and musicality involved, no structure, no limits, just artistic expression. It does make me feel hella old and lame when I put on Frank Sinatra songs in the car with my friends, but fuck them, they can walk if it bothers them that much.

I like to think that the music I’ve listened to shaped me in a way, made me a better, more rounded person. I’m still immensely curious, I’ll listen to just about anything, except for EDM, because I’m not a 20-year old frat kid on Molly, but anything else, I’ll probably give it a listen. I’ve been collecting records, not only because they definitely sound better, but they also serve as a sort of time capsule for me so when I get older I can look back at these records and remember what it was like to discover them, and how different life was back then.

Safety Blankets

The world is a terrible, cold, unfeeling place. The only thing that makes me feel better are the “safety blankets” that I’ve developed over the years; those things that make me feel comfortable and safe.

Right now, music, whiskey, reefer, and bad T.V are my safety blankets. If I have the right dosage of all 4 of those things, I’ll be alright, and that’s so important to me.

I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ll either go to sleep at 11pm and wake up at 12pm, or I’ll be up until 3 or 4am, and wake up at 3 or 4pm. I’ve been trying to fall asleep sober, but it just doesn’t work. How does anyone sleep sober? It’s fucking impossible. I’ve tried everything I can think of; tea before bed, turning off all my devices and reading before bed, listening to jazz, going to bed early (this one’s the worst fucking piece of advice I’ve gotten so far), I’ve taken melatonin, Zzzquil, Ambien, you name it, I’ve probably tried it.

Wouldn’t you know it, whiskey and weed put you to sleep like nothing else. As I’m writing this, I’ve got a glass of Evan Williams and an edible in my system, so I’m hopefully going to get some sleep tonight. I’ve cut back on my usage though, because it got out of hand for awhile, and every once in awhile I still overdo it, but for the most part I’ve gotten a grip. Reefer is like a sleep cheat-code: no matter what time it is, a few hits off a joint, or a couple bong hits and I’ll be able to drift off into that sweet, sweet restful abyss. I hope there isn’t ever a time when it stops working, I’d be really screwed.

I don’t only need my safety blanket to sleep, I need it to talk to people too. I don’t like it, but I’ve gotten so awkward and anxious around people, so it’s in both our best interests that I have a couple drinks in me. Neither of us is going to enjoy the interaction if I’m sober. I used to be good with people. I used to be the guy my friends would send to talk to people because they couldn’t. I don’t know what happened to me. Maybe it was working at Dunks and dealing with the worst of humanity all day. Maybe it’s because I was always awkward, but had enough self-confidence to muscle through the awkward. Who knows.

Music is the safety blanket that is least harmful to me. I probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the music I listen to, it’s kept me going in the times I’ve been drowning and can’t see the good in anything. Music is one of the few things that actually makes me feel things, which is super uncomfortable because it makes me think I’m dead inside. If I’m ever having one of those days, I have a playlist that’s specifically meant to break me out of it with all of the songs that make me smile and laugh. Music is the biggest help, it’s one of the few things that makes me happy when I’m sober, and that is so important to me. If I can figure out which album I’m in the mood for, I can determine how I’m feeling and begin to process that emotion. Everyone has their coping mechanisms, I’ve spent the last few years developing ones that won’t kill me, so I guess that’s progress.

The Curse of the Cursor

That stupid blinking “|” is pissing me off right now. It’s almost taunting me, simulating a struggling heartbeat, threatening to die at any moment. I’m not sure where this is going, I’ve got a crazy case of writer’s block.  I don’t like being creatively blocked, so I’m going to fight through it with some potentially shitty writing. The more it blinks at me, the more it distracts me, which pisses me off even more. There’s nothing worse than having a million thoughts ricocheting around your brain, aching to get out, and not having the ability to piece them together coherently. It’s like when you open way too many apps on your computer, and it freezes. That’s where I am right now: the brief flash of thought before my brain shuts down and I turn on some brainless bullshit like “Jersey Shore” so I can relax my mind and yell at morons who probably make more than I do.

I don’t like being beaten by a fucking flashing pixel, it’s not real, but it’s causing a real reaction for some reason, which is worrisome. This should probably be one of those posts that no one ever sees, but who knows what’ll happen to it. I like to write when I’m upset and can’t process feelings clearly, so that I can see my thoughts written out, which usually makes me think about how stupid and illogical they are, then that either makes me feel worse to the point where more writing doesn’t help, or makes me feel at ease to the point where I can function again.

It’s getting late, and I have things to do tomorrow, and I’ve been trying to get more sleep, so I’m going to keep this semi-short, just long enough for me to feel like I’ve beaten that stupid flashing pixel. It’s starting to seem like there’s something more to this, do I think that I’ll eventually run out of ideas? Maybe. Do I think that what I have to say isn’t worth saying, much less reading? All the time, but I still write. Do I have trouble piecing my thoughts together in a coherent format? You bet. This feels like something else.

I’m kind of scared to publish personal shit, it feels like oversharing. I know it makes me uncomfortable to read someone pour their hearts out online, so why should I do it? I’ve done it before, but it’s always been while super drunk, and it’s a lot easier to believe in yourself when you’re barely seeing straight. I think I’ll just save this in drafts for now, and wait until I have more confidence in both my writing skills, and myself. It might take awhile.

 

A Losing Battle

Maybe it’s because I’ve been couped up in the house for days, maybe it’s because the world is going crazy outside, maybe it’s because I’m unemployed now, but I feel things getting dark again.

It’s almost funny; I’ve been almost happy these last few weeks, and then all of a sudden POOF, back to our regularly scheduled program of numb annoyance. I first realized something might be up when I started waking up late, like 2pm late. That’s never a good thing. I’ve lost track of what day it is, they all blend together. That’s another thing; the days are short, but the weeks last forever.

I really hate this; getting just a tiny taste of happiness, enough to know what I’m missing, but then immediately slipping back into listening to Bright Eyes records in the dark at 3pm. I know this isn’t the platform to complain about my problems, but my friends are tired of having to prop me up so that I don’t make things worse, so until all this inevitably goes away as all things do, I’m going to write about it.

It’s hard being a burden on people. They will never say it to my face, but there’s always that fleeting look of “this shit again” whenever I get all boo-hooey and bring the vibes down. Usually, I make jokes so I can get that fleeting serotonin hit that my brain can’t make for itself, but now it’s just black. I don’t like losing a piece of my personality, I like joking around and making myself and others laugh, but now it’s gotten to the point where I can’t even tell when I’m joking. Anything just to feel a little better for a moment.

I can usually tell if I’m just temporarily upset, or drowning depending on the music I listen to. When I’m just upset, it’s a lot of angry “Fuck you” music like Schoolboy Q, Nipsey Hussle, System of a Down, etc. When I’m drowning, it’s always the same cast: Bright Eyes, Joy Division, Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt and Kid Cudi. I’ve had all of those on repeat all day, so I’m guessing it’s not just a temporary spout. I’m glad I can recognize when I’m losing it, if I just all of a sudden imploded without knowing why, I’d probably do something stupid and permanent.

I’m in a decent position to get my shit together finally, I have more free time than I’ve ever had in my life, and I know it’s going to be hard to not just waste it getting wasted, but if I’m ever going to make something of myself, it’s what needs to be done. Maybe I’ll set my alarm tomorrow, so I don’t sleep the day away, or maybe I’ll put on Road to Joy and bury my head in my comforter.

Fuck the Coronavirus

I know, I know, you’re sick of hearing this shit too. The Coronavirus is a pandemic, and it’s killing hundreds of people every day. It couldn’tve picked a worse time to occur. I just transitioned into a new job that I really liked, the only job I’ve had in over a decade that I liked going into every day, but when this fucking disease started scaring old white people with nothing better to do than watch the news all day, my place of work started going nuts with their safety protocols, to the point where I spend Tuesday in the ER with severe chemical burns. The sanitizer we switched to decided to eat away at my skin and make my arm look like someone spread guacamole on it. To make matters even worse, when I went to work to drop off my doctor’s note saying that I would be out for a week, I discovered that I would be out of work for far longer than that. Great. Now, I haven’t really had a day off in a few months due to school and work, so this should be a blessing, but I’d rather go to work and do something that I enjoy.

Look, the Coronavirus thing is going to get bad. I’m not a doctor, but all my friends who are look like they’ve been up for days, and all of them have the thousand-yard-stare that veterans usually have, so I’m guessing it’s pretty rough out there. Too many stupid people are still doing stupid people things, I saw a “Lick a Toilet-seat Challenge” on Instagram the other day, so I’m guessing that things will only get worse as long as we’re all acting like everything’s normal. I know that everyone’s going to go crazy as we isolate ourselves and watch TV and do drugs and avoid people, but I’m actually excited: I needed a reason to avoid people, and now I have a great one.  Stay safe out there, don’t go out, stop watching the news before you give yourself an anxiety attack.