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imaballer

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Social Anxiety [Jul. 31st, 2015|06:08 pm]
imaballer

I posted the following  to Facebook (and recieved several sympathetic and encouraging comments and likes from friends.) This kind of goes well with the other things that I've put up here, so I thought I'd "archive" it here as well:

With all the good changes that have been happening in our lives, what with getting a new job,  finally getting out of the suburbs and into Boston, and meeting so many people, it's caused me to reflect over the last 15 or so years how my life and see how much it has changed.

I used to suffer from social anxiety, and the thought of walking into a room, in a place I'd never been to, full of strangers, even if they were friendly and welcoming, was scary. I would stick to small groups of people that I knew in surroundings that were familiar to me. And so, for many year I spent most of the time in the suburbs and hardly ever went into Boston, or even close to it,  and that was how life was. I wasn't even fully aware that I had these problems, or if I did I didn't admit them to myself, and certainly not to others.

Then I started getting over these fears and through social networking sites met groups of strangers that shared common interests, which helped me get over my anxieties. I felt more confident,  and my self-steem increased. Not long after I started doing this I  met Valerie and that's when things really blew up lol.

So, I am pretty excited about the future, and about all the good things that are happening, but at the same time as I realize how good life can be, and how many things there are to do and people to meet, I suddenly find myself thinking abut the missed opportunities, the time wasted, the what-might-have-beens.

However ultimately I accept that this is what my journey has been, accept it, and forgive my younger self for the mistakes that they made.

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You've come a long way [Jul. 28th, 2015|10:45 am]
imaballer
[Current Location |United States, Massachusetts, Acton]
[mood |reflective ]
[music |Information Society - What's On Your Mind]

There are in general only a very few situations that call for doing something other than what you really want to do. With all the great stuff that's been happening in my life lately - moving to Boston, getting a better job, hanging out with good people - which should be making me feel really awesome, it's also making me realize how much I used to put myself and what I needed second to everyone else, So, it's put me into a phase where I'm more aware of the years that I wasted not living the life that I wanted. It's a been a long, slow, painful road to get the point where I can speak up more often than not and say what's really on my mind, or say it with more vigor and confidence,

Thankfully Valerie recognizes that this is still an area for weakness and often has to help me get out what's really on my mind. I'm often only too wiling to just go along with whatever other people want and put their needs before my own. I used to live life in a very passive way,  just waiting for things to happen without going out and making them happen. I still have that tendency but as that advertising slogan goes "You've come a long way, baby."

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Summer Rain [Jul. 28th, 2015|10:29 am]
imaballer
[Current Location |United States, Massachusetts, Acton]
[mood |overwhelmed]
[music |I'm Alive by E.L.O.]

For the last couple of years I've been running to and from our condo to the library, in all types of weather, usually 2-3 times a week. During the  winter I'll wear yaxktrax to get traction on the ice and snow. It's about a 3 mile run altogether.

Yesterday I ran to the library and on the way there I noticed some rather dark and  ominious looking storm clouds approching. I continued to watch them roll in from inside the library. Then as I started running back home the rain started and I ended up getting drenched. However theres something about a summer rain that is refreshing and exhilerating, I wasn't bothered by it at all and th rain wasn't too cold. It also helped that I was listening to tracks from the Xanadu movie soundtrack. E.L.O. and Olivia Newton John are two tastes that go great together.

After i got home I realized that I should have brought my wallet with me, as there was a book that I wanted to get out at the library but couldn't since I didn't have my library card with me. I think I'll do another run today and bring my library card so I can get the book this time

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OK I Lied [Jul. 27th, 2015|04:52 pm]
imaballer
[Current Location |United States, Massachusetts, Acton]
[mood |Drenched]
[music |Xanadu]

I know that I said I wasn't going to post here very often, but then I had this crazy idea of posting a very brief journal entry,  almost daily, in secret,   for serveral months and then sharing it with the world. Few people know that I even have a livejournal account so that shouldn't be so hard.
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Wow, has it been 6 years??! [Jul. 20th, 2015|11:00 am]
imaballer
[Current Location |United States, Massachusetts, Acton]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |Electric Light Orchestra - Hold on Tight]

It's hard to believe that I have not posted anything here for 6 years. I have never been much of a blogger or whatever, and the stuff that I do write makes me cringe when I read it years later. But hey I can take solace in that I'm not the person that I was 11 years ago. Also I'm not the person that I might be 11 years from now, but that's a different story. I heard on NPR someone talk about how the future and the past were more real than the present, which contradicted what I've heard elsewhere, that we all need to live in the now. His arguement was that there really is no such thing as "the present" because it is always shifting under our feet.

I've been thinking a lot about that Kierkegaard quote “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." I can construct a narrative of my life over the past 11 years by reading through these posts that was not obvious at the time. That narrative might be total fiction and just my way of making sense of things. Why did I make this or that decision, or not make this or that decison, or just sit back for several years and let life pass me by while I stayed home and played video games. Some of those video games were pretty good though. I'm talking to you, Unreal Tournament 2004.

I feel pity for that person that I was, I really do. It wasn't entirely his fault. He had been raised and conditioned to take care of his family and do whatever they asked, and it followed him as he became an adult. On some level he felt that he had to always be around for his family, and that he couldn't develop his own, fulfilled life. He became shy, timid, afraid to speak up for himself or say what was really on his mind, always giving people the benefit of the doubt even as they walked all over him. He met some great, kind, generous people during that time,and he gradually began to assert control over and create his own life.

So obviously, this guy is, or was, me. I feel like he'll always be lurking around in my consciousness somewhere, but he's usually not the guy that's in charge.

So, I had meant for this update to be pretty upbeat, because these days I do feel upbeat and positive and optimistic aout the future than I've been in a long time. My wife Valerie and I (wife?? I have a wife now? when did that happen to a guy that never ever thought he would get married? ) will finally move away from the social wasteland that is the suburbs where I've lived almost my entire life. Enough Acton already. We will live in Boston now, or Allston to be more precise. It's a start. No more driving to and from Acton to the city environs  everytime we want to see friends or do anything fun.

We are the middle of selling our condo, and at this time have a very interested buyer lined up, so hopefully that sale should close soon.

Since 2009 I also went back to school (again) for biotechnology, and just a few months started a job in biotech manufacturing as a "cell culture technician" which sure beats the the call center jobs that I had for 15 years where I was mentally beaten down and lost my respect for the human race. I'm still going to school during nights, afte work, which can be exhasting sometimes and leaves me feeling sleep deprived. But I think everything will work out O.K.

So, I think I've come a long way in 11 years. I have a job that I like, and we'll be living closer to friends and fun events. Days will soon be filled with nice times, hanging out with people, and plenty of sleep, and time for hobbies and movies and reading and many other things that are enjoyable.

See you in another 6 years, Livejournal?

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What a difference 7 months make [Jun. 17th, 2009|08:54 pm]
imaballer
Hey what's up live journal, been a while huh? The last time I updated this was right after I'd been to the Video Games Live event, by myself, because everyone else was busy - I don' blame them, I won tickets at the last moment and so the few people that I knew who would be up for it were already busy. These days I can look forward to going to the next Video Games Live with my new girlfriend - well maybe not so new now, sorry live journal for not letting you know sooner. We are into many of the same things, including some types of video games and tv shows. We share a similar sense of humor and outlook on life and I think we complement eachothers strengths and weaknesses. Plus her hair smells nice.

Of course I've been up to other stuff too, as you can tell Ive been really busy live journal, sorry for neglecting you for a while. I'm still taking college classes online, still going to gym, hiking, riding my bike, hanging chillin and  a little bit of hillin.

Right now my girlfriend is doing a Deep Space Nine podcast with a few people. It has the virtue of being the only one out there but it's also good, although I might be  a little biased. I'm looking forward to watching Deep Space Nine series with her, and doing a lot of other things with her now that she's living here with her two cats Dinah and Corvine. They are pretty awesome too. Well must sign off as we are off to the gym so I can run 5k on the treadmill, see you next time live journal!
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Video Games Live [Nov. 22nd, 2008|06:17 pm]
imaballer

This was the most fun I've had in a while. I grew up playing video games, they were part of my childhood and a means to escape from things when life at home was difficult. I was five years old when i saw my first video game -  it was the atari 2600 game Adventure which was set up at the local Kmart. Incidentally, that localKmart is still there but they sell  consoles that are a bit more advanced  these days.  As an adult video game continue to entertain and act a common cultural reference when I meet people (other guys mostly although there are women that play video games out there, just not as many I think) and an excuse to get together with people and socialize. When other guys might talk about sports and who scored that touchdown, I like to talk about the latest video games and comic books.

So I was pretty psyched about this Video Games Live thing. It seemed like an  idea who's time had come - todays video games much more sophisticated than Pac-Man, with  their own musical scores that could stand on thier own in any Hollywood movie. It's been running for a few year now and has become a worldwide phenomenom.At this event they played music from quite a few games, including BioShock, Castlevania, Civilization IV, Dragon's Lair, Final Fantasy, God of War, Halo, Kingdom Hearts, The Legend of Zelda, Metal Gear Solid, Metroid, Sonic the Hedgehog, StarCraft II, Super Mario  Series, and Warcraft. They would play footage from the video games while the orchestra played, and because I'm so used to playing these games and looking at the graphics I would keep forgetting that there were people there playing the music and that it wasn't just something prerecorded. Obviously, it sounded much better than anything prerecorded.

They also had a wonderful pianist, Martin Leung, who shows off his skillz in this youtube video: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=dFZki6TcY4w,  yeah he really is playing Mario Brothers blindfolded. It was pretty amazing.

They had another segment where a kid from the audience played a nearly perfect Sweet Emotion in Guitar Hero, on the highest difficulty level. Half way through the show one  of the hosts, Tommy Tallarico, said he was Steven Tyler's cousin, which I thought was some kind of strange joke until he took out his guitar and started playing it during some of the songs.

One of the coolest moments of the event was when the 86 year old inventor of Pong, Ralph Baer, was oonstage playing Pong with an 8 year old. I think the 8 year old won, but just barely. There were certainly kids of all ages there in the audience that night. I felt like I did as 5 year old back in 1978 when I played my first Atari 2600 game at Kmart.

I'll definitely go back when they're in Boston again.





 

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Blah [Nov. 20th, 2008|11:47 am]
imaballer
[mood |anxiousanxious]
[music |Perfect Situation Weezer]

I'd say that this week has been pretty blah so far. Work has been pretty repetitive, week after week, and I really want to find another position in the company that would allow me to expand my skills and learn  new things. After 6 years working as a call center rep, doing basically the same thing, I've become pretty adept at what I do, but still I feel like I've stagnated. Sure, I learn new things now and then as the technology changes, but mostly it's an extension of what I already know.

Another thing I wanted to do was work from home, as my commute to work takes to an hour, so that's two hours that I wouldn't have to spend driving, which woould save on gas and car maintenance. I'd been hoping I could do that - I have a two bedroom condo and the 2nd bedroom isn't being used for anything so it would be perfect as a home office. Also, since I live alone with no distractions I feel like I would be much more productive than I am at work. However, I found our yesterday that they won't be able to run a separate drop to the building without expensive wallfishing, which has  to be done if I want to work from home,  and they decided the cost of that outweighs the savings the company would recieve from having me work from home. So there goes that.

Then there was the incident with the retainers. the orthodonist gave me retainers a couple of weeks ago, and I immediately lost the case for them that I was given. I figured, no big deal, I'll just put them in a plastic ziplock bag when I need to take them off to eat, ect. I figured wrong. The bottom retainer snapped in half, and I assumed that I would have to get both the top and bottom replaced as a set.

When I called the orthodontist office to tell the receptionist what happened she asked if I had kept the top half, because then they would only need to replace the bottom half for 150.00. Since I had thrown both  away it was going to cost 300.00 total.  I thought I was going to faint when she told me that.

Luckily, I had a plan - when I walked into the  office I told them that I could only do the top half, and would have to wait to do the bottom half in a few weeks. They took pity on me, apparently, and charged me only 150.00. That worked out because I had set up a flexible spending account this year, and so the 114.00 left in my flexible spending account went towards the 150.00 and I only paid 36.00 out of pocket. That's a lot better than 300.00

At the end of the day I found out that I had won a raffle for tickets to see the "Video Games Live" concert at the Wang center tomorrow night, which features a full orchestra playing the theme songs to different video games. I haven't been to a concert in ages, and I love video games, so I'm really looking forward to it.
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Writer's Block: Bedside Manners [Nov. 20th, 2008|11:37 am]
imaballer
[Tags|, , ]

Hospital dramas are a time-honored staple of television, from General Hospital to County General to Seattle Grace. Which TV hospital would you most want to check in to? And who would be your doctor?
I've heard some  people mention that House is one of their favorite shows, and noticed that the other shows that these people like are also shows that I like, so I figured that I would take a look at House.

I should add that I'm not a big TV show watcher, I usually watch TV or films on TV, on documentaries. Or I just turn the TV on and leave it running while I focus on the computer.

So I've watched a few episodes of House so far, and maybe it's only  that it's the most recent show I've seen that takes place in a Hospital, but right now it's my favorite. House obviously cares for his patients, but at the same time he's able to stay emotionally detached and focus on figuring out what the patient is suffering from with a definitely unorthodox approach. Of course, any good doctor would need to maintain a sort of emotional distance from their patients, otherwise overtime it would take a psychological toll on them.
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Let The Right One In [Nov. 2nd, 2008|06:15 pm]
imaballer
Every once in  a while I'll see a movie that will have an impact and stay with me, so that for years afterwards, I'll vividly recall scenes from it. I think that "Let The Right One In" might be such a movie. I saw it a local theatre called the Brattle  that shows a lot of independent, foreign, and classic films. I first went to the Brattle to see the anime Princess Mononoke about 10 years ago, and hadn't been back until recently when they were showing some episodes of the british television show Doctor Who.

I'm not sure how to categorize Let The Right One In - a horror coming-of-age story? The cinametography was well done and appropriate for a movie about a vampire. The locations, full of  ice and snow and cold, were shot with a steady camera that hardly ever seemed to move - a welcome change  when so many movies look like they were filmed by someone who used to create MTV music videos.   The outdoor shots had such a quiet stillness, and the bland, drab surroundings made the periodic bloodletting seem all the more powerful and vibrant. 

If you don't want to know anything about this movie don't read any further. 

12 year old Oskar, a friendless loner who's teased at school,  befriends Eli, a very pale and unusual girl who's a new arrival to the apartment next door, and who's been 12 years old for a long time. Their friendship deepens over time, until eventually he asks her to be his girlfriend. However, once the dead bodies start  turning up it doesn't take long for Oskar to figure out that Eli is a vampire and their relationship takes on a new dimension. 
 
I'm not sure if this was intended, but it seemed like one of the themes was of destiny or fate, or maybe just  serendipity.

Throughout much of the movie there was a man who helped Eli by finding poor unfortunate victims and draining them of blood so that she wouldn't have to do the work herself. I couldn't understand what their relationship was - certainly he looked old enough to have been with her out for a long time. She would yell at him in one scene , and show tenderness in the next. However, it seemed like lately he wasn't doing such a good job, due perhaps to his age, and eventually he was caught while working on another victim and ultimately met his end .
 
And wasn't it strange that just as this old man who had possibly been helping Eli for many years met his demise,  Oskar showed up,  who looked as if he might take on a similar role of helper and protector. Oskar was an unusual boy, unusual enough to recognize that Eli was a vampire and yet not be afraid of her, when nearly any other 12 year old boy would have been. It's almost as if she met him at just the right time, just when she needed to. If he had not been there it's unlikely she would have survived.

Perhaps the old man had met her when he was just as boy, and has stayed with her all these years, just as it appeared Oskar now would. And then one day, when Oskar grows too old to perform his duties, will she meet another young boy, at just the right time, to take his place?
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