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I'm Not Dead [Feb. 6th, 2011|05:36 pm]
Tomas Gallucci
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[mood |blankblank]
[music |Starcaft II: Wings of LIberty]

I promise, I'm not dead. That I've been in a communication blackout, I do admit, but I'm not dead.

I hate when blog posts start off with "Sorry I haven't written in a while." It's a waste of time for the person writing the post and for the reader. We subscribe to your blog to read what you write…when you write it. We get it if you've been holed up by terrorists and held for ransom or that you work and go to school full time. If we didn't take the time to get to know you before you went dark, it's our loss. (Unless you really are a tosser and then you're sunk.)

So no, I'm not sorry that I haven't written in a while. To quote Tom Daschle, "I'm saddened by that fact." Except unlike the blowhard that used to have a job on Capitol Hill, I mean it.

Happier Then
I knew that this semester would be harder because I wouldn't have a doutzbag for a professor and would have to actually apply myself, but I wasn't ready for the transition that has played out.

The weather delays haven't helped matters any and quite frankly the weather has been, for the most part, mopey. This isn't a good combination for a lonely, depressive, hypoglycemic procrastinator.

Regardless–for whatever reason, I was happier last semester or at least I remember being so. I liked journaling regularly and I think I struck the delicate balance between personal journaling and entertaining you, my faithful reader. True, it could be that I had more people and time to hang out with last semester, but writing about my troubles and commenting on the news as I saw fit was cleansing for me. I've already missed that and have been going crazy because I haven't written because I didn't feel like I had the energy. Now I'm going to rope off some time in my schedule and write on a regular basis.

Writing is a Meditation
Discussing the possibility of quitting his "day job" and living off of the income from the podcast alone (see episode 200.5 of the No Agenda Show for the audio), John C. Dvorak said the he would never quit writing "because it's a meditation." Ever since I heard that turn of phrase, I've gotten serious about my writing because I think I know exactly what John meant: writing is a way to get out of yourself the thoughts you've been churning over and over and over.

No, I don't mean that I'm working away in a dark basement hammering out my magnum opus. I have no grand illusions of writing "The Great American Novel". Either I have it in me or I don't. But right now, at this juncture of my life, I don't have the bandwidth, time, or resources to tackle that particular problem.

Would I love to see my words and thoughts in print and get paid tons of money for writing the first thing that comes to my mind? I'm not an idiot. I love easy-earn money just as much as the next guy. But I'm not too found of "free" money. I don't like the price that comes with it and I believe in the Value Proposition. It's a pride thing.

I'm not stupid either. I tried writing a book when I was a kid and never got passed chapter three. I've tried writing screenplays before and have failed miserably. I just can't make crap up: my pride won't let me half-ass it.

Is it because of lack of persistence, drive, discipline, etc? Probably. But I think it's equal part of my not being a good liar, part being anal retentive for accuracy in both my fiction and entertainment but mostly because I have horrible organizational skills of things this frivolous.

I realize that I'm good at blogging for a reason: the blogging that I do (and that you've come to know and love) is simply an extension of the essay. (Or as an online friend of mine said in her blog's tagline, I wanted to be a writer but discovered that blogging was easier.)

I have a short attention span, so it follows that while I do think through a lot of things, an extended discussion on the topic isn't likely unless I sit down and get it all out in one setting. This is why it takes me so long to write a single blog post: I'm trying to get it all in.

Scrivener
I think I've mentioned this before, but ehowton mentioned to me that he could see more structure and focus in my writing over the past year or so. My secret weapon is Scrivener. In a sentence, Scrivener is a rapid-prototyping tool for writing. Scrivener has allowed me to divide out my thoughts and get from random things I wanted to say about a topic to a pretty in-depth article. You can see an exaggerated example of the fruit Scrivener bore here.

Someone has written the post I always wanted to write on Scrivener and it's on the homepage right now. Go check it out!

Dean Wesley Smith on Heinlein and Ellison
As the heading implies, I'm referring to the story told concerning Harlan Ellison's stunt of sitting in the window of a bookstore, and, using a manual typewriter would bang out stories and send them to editors straight from his typewriter.

I am myself a first draft kind of guy in case you haven't been able to tell from my writing. Though I usually think in phrases or sentences, I start with some gripes I have, an idea of how I want to make the points (turns of phrase, how I want to make the reader feel, etc.), then I sit down and type it out. I'm not big on re-reading what I've just written and I don't think I've ever commenced a re-write in my life. I do polish as I go. Were I to attempt to get paid for my work (outside of a college newspaper) I would pay more attention to things like form, etc. but that doesn't change the fact that I'm a first drafter that goes with the flow.

I'm not all stream-of-consciousness or believe in free love that yesteryear's hippies were so fond of. It's simpler than that: I'm lazy. I have something I want to say. I say it and that's the end of it.

I know that trying to get it all in and being a first draft only person is a dangerous way to fly, but that's who I am. You, my faithful readers have stuck around and continue reading the "crap" I write, so I must be entertaining at a basic level. Else why do you keep coming back?

I don't think myself a grandmaster as an essayist. I do love answering essay questions on a test and explaining my (unsolicited) opinion in laborious detail. I also have the nasty habit of over-thinking something to death as my faithful readers well know.

Contact Me
So instead of me trying to cheerlead you into reading my blog, I'm going to put the onus back on you. If you miss me, don't be shy. I long for interaction with my fellow beings regardless how chatty I may appear to be.

If you think I've been away from my blog too long, leave me a comment. Send me a text. Call me. DM me on Twitter. Email me. I'm not that hard to be gotten a hold of.

But for God's sake, whatever you do, DON'T Facebook me. Yes, I have a Facebook. No, you cannot be my friend. I don't want to get drawn into that time suck. Plus I think it's a huge security risk. (I need to do a column on this.)

My Schedule is the Problem in Case You're Wondering
So yeah, I fucked up my schedule this semester which is why I disappeared. I have a super-early class two days of the week. Between those two days, I have a late class that comes with an extended night once a week in the form of a lab.

This camel schedule has nearly killed me. I don't feel like doing anything when I get home. I haven't read anything for pleasure in a while and I've quit writing. I've been feeling like a bottle ready to burst from the pressure of its contents.

I knew that once school was back in session, I'd be huffing it. Thus far, I've gotten behind in the one class that I know nothing about. I'm still behind a couple of homework assignments. I haven't worked any problems from the text. I don't get the material when I read it and there's lots of it to read. Fortunately, I've made it thus far. Now if I can turn the remaining hours of this day into productivity, I think I'll be able to get back in control.

This means writing and reading on a regular basis too.

A Plea for Help, A Call to Action
Perhaps those of you who write or blog regularly have some helpful advice of how to get back on the horse of routine once you've fallen off. I'm also soliciting time management advise.

To my hitherto faithful readers: I'm not dead and I've been longing to write for the both of us. (You and I that is.) Please understand that I've not abandoned my blog; I'll let you know when and if I ever make that choice, but based on last semester's experience, I don't think I'll be doing that any time soon.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: panacea42
2011-02-07 02:35 am (UTC)
Tom, I have to echo ehowton's comments on an earlier (probably much earlier) post that you have matured so much, and imo the evidence is here.

Definitely keep writing, when you can, and I'll try to post more myself!
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2011-02-07 02:52 am (UTC)
Tanya,

I'm not worth of such praise. Thank you very much.

It's odd little acquaintances like ours that makes blogging worthwhile, methinks. I was going to include a line or two about those that I kept up with religiously know who they are and that I'm always thinking about them even if I'm not checking my FL. Perhaps I need to make time to do so tomorrow at work.

i owe you a debt of gratitude that I don't think I can every repay. You've sent me shows that you're interested in and you bought me a No Agenda Challenge Coin (which is still in the box, LOL!) I was going to get you one of the 10-10-10 coins. In fact, I DMed Paul Coture, but that was before I knew the drama of the situation. (I still don't know the whole thing, just that he disappeared. To be quite frank, I was wondering when an NA endeavor would go down in flames like that. Thankfully, NA saved the day. YAY!)

I tell you what: why don't we challenge each other in the following way: every post I write, you have to write a post and vice-versa. This isn't something to be legalistic or obsessed about, but just a friendly way of keeping the motor oiled and the gears turning.

Thanks for stopping by, it means so much.

Cheers,
PT
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-02-07 01:37 pm (UTC)

I miss you!

Hey, I totally miss you. So glad to hear what's been going on with you. I have been pretty busy myself, trying to get a business going (and doing well so far). Paul is forced to work a ridiculous amount of hours these days, so I am sort of two parents melded into one right now. Some days it's just survival. But, I'm glad you're making an effort to write more. You have changed over the years I've known you. You seem more organized and clean.

Talk to you soon,
Andi
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2011-02-07 04:04 pm (UTC)

Re: I miss you!

Andi,

I was just thinking about you and Paul this weekend. I was thinking about how I hadn't read your blog in forever or heard from you in forever and was thinking about trying to get together either over Spring Break or sometime during the summer. If I can find some time today, I'll go check both of your Xangas.

Do remember that you'll want to sign in when you're on LJ, not only so I can identify you by your user name, but because when I start making Friends Only posts, that will be the only way for you to read them.

I'm sorry to hear that you're having to play the role of both Mommy and Daddy. At least Aaron's still a little tyke and not some kid that's confused because of a nasty separation.

We'll see about writing more. I thought I was going to be able to do more this weekend, but my apartment has a spell on me that drains all productivity. :(

In effort of my own self-interest, I'd be curious if you could spare the time to tell me some of the changes you've observed in me over the years with examples. (I think we're going on three years now, right?)

Organized? Maybe when I'm writing, but definitely not around the house. I'm not sure that clean is an adverb you should be using to describe me: I hear that can come with a death sentence as punishment. ;)

It's good to hear from you again. I'll try to catch up when I can.

Cheers,
PT

P.S. I'm also emailing you this response so I'll be sure you see it.
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[User Picture]From: gradumacated
2011-02-07 03:09 pm (UTC)

Stuff!

"Now I'm going to rope off some time in my schedule and write on a regular basis"
This makes me happy. Just follow through with it! XP

"writing is a way to get out of yourself the thoughts you've been churning over and over and over."
This is so true! I'm trying to get back into the habit myself, and I may even start cross-posting onto my account here. Imagine that! Before North Texas decided to take a holiday north (i.e. we get dumped with 5+ inches of snow and ice with temperatures getting no higher than the mid-twenties during the day) I was committed to posting once a day, at least, and now I got knocked out of my stride I've got to get back into doing it. This blog is a bit like one I'm mulling over - a "Why Do I Blog" post. Look for it!

"I'm not all stream-of-consciousness or believe in free love that yesteryear's hippies were so fond of. It's simpler than that: I'm lazy. I have something I want to say. I say it and that's the end of it.
I wouldn't say that because of this your lazy. Rather, you're efficient. One of my many faults is I can tend to waffle, but I can also empathize on wanting to get everything out in one setting and hating leaving a conversation that I consider isn't finished and I have to try SO HARD to reign myself in and not revisit something to basically say the same thing a different way - another fault of mine. It just takes practice and self-discipline to overcome, I think.

I knew that once school was back in session, I'd be huffing it. Thus far, I've gotten behind in the one class that I know nothing about. I'm still behind a couple of homework assignments. I haven't worked any problems from the text. I don't get the material when I read it and there's lots of it to read. Fortunately, I've made it thus far. Now if I can turn the remaining hours of this day into productivity, I think I'll be able to get back in control.
It's so easy to get behind in a class and yet so difficult to get back in front of it again, particularly if the subject matter is fairly straight-forward and the rest of the class seem like idiots. Yes, I'm blunt. Yes, I'm talking from personal experience. It's just hard to get into it when you feel like you're being held back and many a time I've drifted off in class, either in sleep or in reading something that I'm interested in and that's related (loosely) to the class in question. Sometimes I can perk up and get involved, but usually I end up saying too much and being told to "shut up" (in not so few words, to be fair) which is why I'm really looking forward to starting my Masters in August (hopefully). I just like the sharing and discussion of ideas! It's just plain cool. :)

Finally, I like to think that I stay in contact - although maybe not as much as I should - and I'm always popping by (moreso on Xanga) to see what's up and if it feels like a long time I'll at the very least text you. It works both ways, though: if you feel like you're on a Lonely Island, reach out to me! I usually be able to answer/talk/text/reply...

Good luck, and let us know how it goes through college... and maybe write a response/reply to my Republican Presidential Candidates blog. I'm sure I've missed one or two or maybe you have a dark horse candidate I should look into!
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2011-02-07 06:38 pm (UTC)

Writing

writing more
For the most part, I've always liked reading what you've written. In fact, when I was writing this post, I thought about how i still owed you a response on your Dream Act post. And then there was that comment you left on my Gun Control post that I wanted to respond to. There just aren't enough hours in a day.

As for you blogging on LJ, cross-posting or otherwise, I welcome it. In fact, I would encourage you to cross post. In fact, I remember stating when you mentioned this right after you got married about you starting your blogging and married life afresh here on LJ.

Of course, if you want LJ readers outside of myself, you'll have to invest some time in making new friends, but the friendships you will from here on LJ will be more substantial than those on Xanga, methinks. (Unless, of course, our friendship is typical of the friendships you've formed on Xanga.)

I wouldn't say that because of this your lazy. Rather, you're efficient.
Thanks for the weasel words, LOL!

Seriously, I know exactly what you're getting at. We've had enough conversations that I think we both know that I can really get caught up in a loop if I don't get my through my thought process the first time around. This is especially true when having a personal conversation where I'm trying to tell someone things about myself I'm not too proud or quick to expose.

I heard it said once that people talk around what they mean. I immediately took that sentiment to heart and encourage everyone else to do the same.

And yes, I feel your pain about unfinished conversations. It sucks when you know you had another point to make but can't recall the point.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2011-02-07 06:38 pm (UTC)

Weather

weather
I haven't been paying that much attention to the rest of the country, but I see that you've fallen victim to Global Warming. Where's the lovable Sir Albert Gore, Jr. when you need him?
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2011-02-07 06:39 pm (UTC)

School

This makes me happy. Just follow through with it! XP
We'll see. As I just told our mutual friend patrioticmom76, I further behind than what I originally thought. In fact, I'm thinking about dropping one of my classes. :(

being held back
I was feeling that way in photography this morning. I'm not going to claim to know that much about photography, but because if you don't understand the basics you can't talking about anything else, we've been going over the same material again and again. I haven't cracked the book because I knew the material in the first few lessons. But this morning I had a sinking feeling that I might wind up behind in photography too, which triggered me to worry about History. This was compounded by the fact that I checked my Chemistry grade on iTom in class and the grades are less than even OK. As such, I've applied for a tutor.

While I want to learn about chemistry, I have very little interest in the stuff that we've gone over thus far. Add to this fact that I haven't been able to keep up or work any problems because of my tight schedule and, well, you see where this ends up. Double Plus Ungood.

I'll keep you updated. In fact, I'll likely do a short FL-only post on the tutoring situation after I take my test this evening.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2011-02-07 06:40 pm (UTC)

Staying in Touch

staying in touch
You're not who I had in mind about the staying in touch thing. I was/am more worried about some of the LJ friends that I made in recent months, not those that have been with me for forever or that I talk to on the phone on a regular basis or that come from Xanga.

As far as you keeping in touch, I know you do an excellent job of that, though I still worry that I need to put a link on Facebook for you to see that I've posted something. That having been said, you've been very quick to respond to me here on LJ since I've started really writing and we've had a lot of in-depth discussions.

I've actually thought about calling you a few times when I'm on "Lonely Island" but I don't know your schedule, I don't want to get you in trouble with Texas and really, I need to learn to deal with my problems by myself and not rely on others. I have petty depression compared to what real sufferers have and most of my problems are my own doing.

But let me say this: you do not need to feel guilty about your level or lack thereof of commitment to me. You're not my keeper, you're my friend. Yes, I know this is the kind of things that friends are for, but you have other, more important obligations at home.

That having been said, if you want to discuss politics, don't hesitate to pick up the phone and call. The worst that happens is I answer and we lose track of time!

Thanks for sticking around.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2011-02-07 06:40 pm (UTC)

Dark Horse Post

Dark Horse Candidate
I haven't seen your post. I presume it's on Xanga?
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[User Picture]From: rowyn
2011-02-07 05:25 pm (UTC)
Welcome back!

I am good about keeping up with my FL, but I post sporadically. I've never really seen writing in my journal as something I need to do regularly; it tends to happen when I have something I want to write, and time that I want to write it in. Or, occasionally, something that I want to show off. :)
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2011-02-07 06:42 pm (UTC)
I won't push myself to write every day if I don't have something to write about, but I am going to push myself to write if I need to get something out.

There's nothing wrong with showing off a bit though!
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[User Picture]From: darkest_writer
2011-02-07 05:58 pm (UTC)
writing is a way to get out of yourself the thoughts you've been churning over and over and over.
You and I have a similar mind set.


It's nice to know you're not dead, though to be honest I was looking forward to pulling a Tom Sawyer with you ;)
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2011-02-07 06:36 pm (UTC)
You and I have a similar mind set.
Indeed.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2011-02-07 06:36 pm (UTC)
I was looking forward to pulling a Tom Sawyer with you
You're just looking for an excuse to snuggle up with me. :P
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