Where I don't care what others think


August 24th, 2013 Posted in Stupid People | No Comments »

Little good comes when I stew in misery and despair.  I try very hard to remain as optimistic as possible, having some hope that the collective set of “things” will work out in good time.  As of late I’ve found myself falling off the less travelled path, presenting less optimism than I should and, more worrying, doing less to try and make what sometimes appears to be blind faith a reality.

I’m hesitant to conclude that this is because of any singular factor in my life.  Many things have changed over the past few weeks, months, and years but I can’t find a defining moment, or really any moments that stand out for that matter.  I think a younger person (I know, look who’s talking), it’s much more socially acceptable to deviate from the norm.  People call it “growing up” where you’re allowed, and in many cases expected, to do things that society doesn’t quite accept in order to learn new thing and gain new experiences.  My limited impression has been that as time goes on those things become less OK and, in turn, require more effort to do.

As an example, after graduating college and getting my own apartment I now have a proper kitchen that I’m suppose to stock with foodstuffs, cooking supplies, and other edible items.  I’m not interested in cooking most evenings, but I’m also not interested in sitting down for a large dinner at a restaurant.  By-the-slice pizza places accommodate this quite nicely,   but there’s no where I could go to grab a slice or two of chicken breast without having to cook a substantially larger portion.  Nevermind sandwiches, whose ingredients are sold in quantities that really should belong in the bulk food stores.  To me, a standard loaf of bread is really a family sized loaf that would last me until it’s moldy all over.  Some nights I would like to use 2 slices to make a sandwich but to accommodate that I need to have a whole loaf standing by plus the ingredients to put on the slices.

Grocery stores and big box stores are another waste of time that I’ve found play a bigger part in my post-collegial life.  There is no legitimate reason for me to stand in line to buy soda and paper towels, both of which I’d much rather order online and have delivered in a few hours without the hassle.  I understand there are services that exist to do this for me, but they exist with a fee orders of magnitude higher than the cost of fuel to the store.

Professionally I find people have very standard definitions of the work day.  There’s this shared expectation that you first need to go to some office location, you need to show up with 2 hours of 9AM and leave within 5 hours of 5PM.  You’re not suppose to show up to this location on weekends, holidays, or evenings unless something is wrong.  Personally, I prefer not joining in the commute traffic as much as possible and are happy to stay at the work location on evenings.  I’d probably show up on weekends if it wasn’t so taboo just to get out of the apartment a bit and perhaps cross paths with people (though that’s unlikely).

I think back to my college days and often come to the conclusion I was more productive then than I am now.  I didn’t have to stock my refrigerator fully since I could eat on campus daily.  When I did have to shop, I could do it at midnight without having to worry about being up early the next day to get in the office.  There was also, at least amongst the people I frequently crossed paths with, a general expectation of working approximately all the time.  Not working was really the exception, not the norm.

If I had to guess, I’d say that people work the hours they do either because they have better things to do in the off time (raising a family is probably on that list) or that they don’t feel compensated for working off hours.  I make a point of not thinking about compensation much at all, but I suspect the same philosophy isn’t shared by most people because society places a large interest in the amount of financial resources you have.  Does that mean I’m clearly rolling in the dough because of my place of employment?  Hardly.  I just don’t see an entirely logical correlation between work performed and dollars earned so I treat that as two separate issues.

It is really popular for people at work to say (or perhaps guess) what it was like in Ye Olde Days.  My guess is that things were a lot closer to the college experience I’m familiar with.  As people got older many adapted to what society suggested: stopping work at dinner time to raise a family, not coming to the office on weekends, establishing a separate social circle where you could go out and escape the mess of work.  The effects of those changes mean that if I’m hungry for dinner at 5:15PM I’m out of luck, my emails on the weekend will often go unread, and social activities are heavily planned and infrequent.

My attempts to restore an environment I’m interested in haven’t had much success, perhaps because everyone else is comfortable in the lives their accustom to.

Good night moon.

No Comments »

A Look at the Movies

April 22nd, 2013 Posted in Life | No Comments »

Most movies make me very frustrated.  Don’t confuse this with not enjoying them, I frequent the movies as often as possible.  I’ve found it’s one of the few activities where I can “relax” pretty easily.  When at the movies I am forced to not check email for an extended period of time and my mind can’t easily wander back to it’s usual pathways, it’s a nice reprieve from my regularly scheduled life.

What frustrates me about the movies is the disconnect they present between the stores they tell and reality (be it past, present, or future).  I’m not so much irked by the fact that they present a disconnect, but more based on the fact that I fear at no point in my life will I have the opportunity to remotely come close to experiencing what they present.  Alright, I could probably model my life such that I’d have the equivalent of a background role in a film like Superbad, but focusing on any serious movie that potential drops to near zero.  Take Oblivion, a film I saw this weekend.  Two of the primary characters in the film live in a clear house in some picturesque location above the clouds.  I would like to live in a glass house, I’m willing to give up the large (also clear) pool and lofty location but these two compromises don’t make it any more likely to happen.  I’d even settle for the simple things, like a clear door that slides open when I touch it or windows that don’t have fake panes or unsightly rails / sashes around them.

Yes, I know this movie is set in the future and things are always super in the future, but who’s doing anything to make future a reality?  I suspect most people, myself included, are just sitting down and consuming these movies than carrying on with our fairly uninspiring lives.  Lately I’ve been “reflecting” back on the folks I graduated high school with (reflecting may be a nicer way of saying researching vigorously) seeing what people are up to.  In time I’ll probably execute the same queries against my college class, though I know far fewer of them.

Most of the top 15% of my high school class seems to have done a good job settling into a fairly stable life path with little hope of having an objectively substantial impact on any large environment.  I don’t doubt these people have the potential, if they aren’t already, to become top performers in their fields or personal lives, but the vast majority of these fields have existed for decades and will, in all likelihood, continue to do so rather unchanged into the future as well.  Teachers seem like a good example of this.  I’m not sure if they just complain a lot more or have more time to use social media, but I feel I hear from a sizable majority of up-and-coming teachers.  I think it’s great that you’re feeling called to work with the youth of the world to make them smarter or something like that, but do you really feel the model of doing so in a classroom of 20-40 students that’s used 9/12 moths of the year is really the way to do that at scale? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything ghastly wrong with the current model, there’s just substantial room for the kind of improvement best classified as a paradigm shift and not something sponsored by the PTA as an after school activity.

I get frustrated when I review my life thus far and conclude that I’ve not done enough to make tomorrow happen.  It’s really easy to sit back with a kids pack of popcorn and enjoy the movie, letting yourself be entertained for a few hours instead of doing something hard to make that entertainment more like a reality.

No Comments »

Why I Don’t Film Hockey

February 4th, 2013 Posted in College, Personal | No Comments »

I spent my five years at RPI heavily involved in RPI TV, it was the first extracurricular activity I got involved in on campus and it’s safe to say I made a majority of my acquaintances at RPI as a direct result of my membership in the organization.  Over the years I served as News Manager, Station Manager, and a few other positions that have now been deleted or otherwise removed from history.  If you’re unfamiliar with RPI TV, I suggest you check out their wikipedia page which provides a pretty high level overview of the organization.  I can’t remember, but I might have started that page.

One of the tenants of RPI TV’s existence, as well as a handful of other organizations on campus, is the RPI Hockey season… the only sport that RPI is (at least as I understand it) competitive at some decently high levels.  If memory serves, RPI TV first started filming hockey because one or two of the clubs early members were particular fans of the sport and figured it would be something fun to film.  I think that’s a good attitude to take towards productions, I had a similar philosophy when it came to Student Senate meetings though there was  a touch of service-to-a-higher-calling in there as well.

As a very interested member in RPI TV I was mildly interested in participating in any activity, I didn’t see hockey as any more exciting than football or some strange dance or award show.  Freshman year I found myself busy the first few weekends when hockey season came up, and approximately everyone else was interested in helping out so there weren’t any slots for me to fill (at the time there were slots planned well in advanced).  I should have seen this as a forecast for the rest of my time there.

Come sophomore year, I had leg up on the rest of the RPI TV crew, I had a station wagon.  That made me particularly valuable considering the second best candidate for moving equipment was a small civic or something along those lines.  It could, and had, been made to work, but when lots of things needed to get moved I became the preferential transportation method because my seats folded down and you could actually see out the windows while driving a car full of stuff (that probably wasn’t as  important in retrospect, but I like to thing safety first or second).  When hockey season came around I chauffeured equipment to and from the field house, equipment that I rarely got to setup or use in any capacity.  When the crew was short a cameraman and I was feeling bored I’d stick around to help out, often getting the least important lowest-room-for-screwing-up camera that existed.  I didn’t have a desire to take away someone else’s role that they enjoyed doing or were perceived at being good at, but I also would have minded a chance to try my hand at something less mind-numbing or mildly important.

What quickly became apparent to me, in my role as senior equipment chauffeur, was that there were a lot of well established traditions that I was pretty clueless too as someone who hadn’t filmed hockey my freshman year.  I hadn’t gone out afterwards for pizza (this was before Denny’s was popular, though I didn’t do that either) and it was very convenient for me to volunteer to stay back and straighten up the equipment while others went out or headed back to a party in someone’s apartment.  I hadn’t done anything important or worth celebrating operating lame-duck cam, so I might as well take a few minutes to restore some self-pride by straightening up some cables.

In the back of my mind I kept hoping for a non-hockey opportunity to do something exciting and it kept not coming.  Partially because hockey had already trumped everything in the priority queue and partially because I’m not good at finding exciting things to do.  At the time my experience was producing daily news in a studio setting, neither of which RPI had (news, or a studio).

When my car became less relevant Junior year so did I.  There was no longer reason for me to be senior chauffeur, my sole purpose if I wanted to have one, at a hockey event would be to operate the lame duck cam and pretend anyone cared.  As you can guess, I ceased and desisted just about any hockey involvement that didn’t involve pleading for extra help first (aka there was once a holiday weekend before break or something).  I don’t know if I would have been any good at anything else, but the fact is that no one else was interested in finding that out.  Everyone had, my freshman year, established pretty solid roles that didn’t have any good place for me.  These things happen, I’m not as upset over it as you probably think.

More troubling, was the shift I felt I felt in the club from a group who filmed hockey for a few weeks a year among a plethora of other productions to a hockey-filming club that warmed up a few times before and after the hockey season to break in new people, equipment, etc.  As this spilled over into things like budgeting and long term planning, decisions weren’t made what would be the best solution to a generic need the club had or what tool is blocking members from trying a different production style to what do we need to make our hockey productions better.  Anything else was secondary at best (and humorously football was secondary, which looks a lot like hockey if you view it from the a color and depth-blind birds-eye view).  It didn’t matter that I wanted access to a studio, or that a camera was too large to be practical for a single camera shoot, hockey didn’t need a studio and you had N people to help move and setup gear for hockey.  If you weren’t replicating the hockey setup at non-hockey events people thought you were weird or bound to make a mistake just because that was the way everything had been done previously; all because a few guys happened to enjoy watching hockey.

All in all, I had fun in RPI TV.  I’m not sure what I would have done differently in my involvement.  I ended up directing / using the switcher for a total of 4(?) productions, 2 of which never ended up being recorded; some cultural show that no one wanted anything to do with and the GM Debates which were mildly interesting events but nightmares for other reasons (t’was busy season).  I went out with club members a grand total of once to Denny’s after a production during my 5 years at RPI.  I didn’t run for President of the club partially because I didn’t like hockey enough, and I don’t know I would have had any luck securing a VP position if I’d tried for similar reasons.  I suspect I won’t go down in the history books, but until someone wipes my database entries I’ll be that guy who filmed a whole lot of senate meetings that no body cared about; I’ll have to be ok with that.  My other contributions will likely have been overwritten by more exciting and hockey-centric ones.

As the Chief Mate once described things, a more adequate name may for the group may have been “RPI Sports Sports”.

No Comments »