Vacation Retrospective

June 24, 2017


It took so much effort, not to make an effort.

“Florida” by Modest Mouse

Alternatively titled, “Why Do I Have To Go Back To Work Tonight?”

It was a good vacation.  I had hoped to be done with the inking of Order of the Dragon #1, I am about four pages short on that.  Working on lettering the fourth page right now, redoing a bit of dialog that’s been bothersome.  Hopefully the next day or two and I will get that done.  I’d like to be getting something printed off in actual book form, but I’ll see where I am at that point.  I’m posting the pages I’ve got lettered.  Couple of minor things I’ve got to fix on those, but it is underway.

Wanted to go kayaking more.  Rained almost every day.  Never really got around to a few outdoor projects I wanted to.  vigilante lawncare and such.  Oh well.

Applied for a couple of jobs.  Mentioned something about the soap factory to my Mother, who said it was probably a good thing I didn’t go there because it “might bother my allergies.”  And all the cleaning chemicals I’m around every night at work doesn’t do that?



That song lyric from Modest Mouse has been bouncing around my head for a few days.  Basically sums up my thoughts on a few matters.  One of the things I think people like to say is that they put so much effort into something when it seems obvious they did not.  Not really.  In those cases, I do think people put more effort into trying to convince people they did make that effort in the days after rather than trying in the first place.  Trying to buy solutions rather than getting into the problems themselves.  I will admit to cases in my life where there was more effort spent to convince everyone else of the effort put forth.

Effort is obvious.  If you’re making an effort, there won’t be much question.  One of the things I tried to avoid doing is talking too much about what I did to make things work in a variety of areas because it is or should be obvious.  I have gone into detail about a few things, but it was nothing I thought was not obvious.  And I don’t deny there were times I could have made more of an effort.

In any relationship, professional or personal, effort works on reciprocation.  At work, I think it is clear I have made efforts to make my situation and make it better to no avail.  I think people know I’ve made the effort and am focused on getting into a better situation, but at this point there has been little matching of my effort.  With LMCBW, I think people know that I made a lot of efforts in that situation that were not necessarily reciprocated by her.  Business or professional, relationships are in trouble if one side is buying solutions or avoiding effort.

“Do.  Or do not.  There is no try.”  I think Yoda nails it.  Point is, people can tell when you’re not making that effort.  I’ve been in a relatively bad situation in one way or another for most of the last four or five years.  As much as I’ve stalled out and had to make some adjustments, I’m continuing to make those efforts.  I won’t be wasting a lot of time explaining that I’ve made an effort.  If it isn’t clear, people need to start looking again.  I have no interest in explaining the obvious to people.


Do you know what thinking is? It’s just a fancy word for changing your mind.

–The Doctor in Doctor Who “The Zygon Inversion”


  • Continuing with a previous post: Freedom of Speech.  I was thinking about the Bill Maher/Yiannopoulos interview and a point occurred to me.  I like to think that the whole point behind Freedom of Speech is the exchange of ideas.  Put forth new ideas that open people’s minds and get them thinking.  There’s a difference between trying to pick a fight and putting forth a new idea.  Ideas encourage thought and discussion.  Whenever I’ve tried to write seriously about any topic–guns, religion, relationships, politics, social issues, etc.–I’m really just trying to give people new ideas to think about.  I don’t necessarily overburden myself with a notion of being right or wrong.  And any of those ideas I usually think on more after I write about them and would be willing to have a discussion about.  I know that probably was never really possible for some people and probably never will be, but I wouldn’t mind discussion where possible.  Being challenged helps new ideas to form.
  • I’m pretty impressed that I’m holding steady at 175 pounds right now.  My diet and exercise routines seem to be working effectively enough and I’m ramping up the cardio lately.  Made it to 6.5 minutes on the elliptical machine.  Can’t wait to kayak and hike again.  I pretty much cut out cardio completely for the winter under the rational that I’m on my feet and running around for most of my eight hours at work every night so that should amount to something and I was trying to gain some significant weight.  Still not where I want to be in regards to sleep, but there’s always something to work on.
  • Trying to figure out how one is really supposed to celebrate President’s Day.  What is one supposed to do?
  • Lately, I’ve been giving more thought to bringing back Chlorine and Acid.  I almost did a special page about something that was going on at work, but events unfolded so it was unnecessary.  I feel like it is needed again.  Going to do some page layouts and maybe redraw some of the early pages.  Maybe even make some use of various reference pictures I took.

Just learning something new everyday, it seems like there are just as many questions as answers out there…

  • Got my Deadpool mask.  Very pleased with it.  Bit more difficult to see out of than I had hoped, but I’m getting more used to it.  Here is a picture.
  • I’ve been thinking over something I’ve observed lately.  I call it the “Hurry Up and Wait” mentality.  Basically I’ve noticed people have a tendency to take what they believe to be a faster approach that isn’t necessarily so.  I’ve observed this in a number of cases where the time gained with the perceived faster approach doesn’t necessarily gain you much time in the long run and at best it provides more idle time that could be used to complete tasks more effective and efficiently.  Might try to do a longer post about this at some point, trying to oversimplify it in a blurb here.  I do think people get in such a hurry they don’t take the time to appreciate the progression or the steps.
  • Tuesday was Valentine’s Day.  Or Single’s Awareness Day.  Or Lupercalia.  I personally prefer Lupercalia.  Those ancient fertility rituals are really a lost art.  Always seemed like such a weird day that shouldn’t be necessary.  Admittedly I did spend most of last Valentine’s Day resisting the urge to send my ex a topless picture of myself with the caption: “This could have been making you waffles today, but you’re a bitch and I don’t like Waffles.”  Or something along those lines.  One of my more douche-bag ideas as I processed things–might still do it someday.  Point is, all a special day devoted to showing our love for one another proves is how much we have left to learn.
  • I think back on a lot of the projects I wanted to start, but never really got a chance to.  A lot of it would have been getting in touch with a more “redneck” side.  I kinda took some steps in the direction–getting the chainsaw, some odd yard projects, kayaking, etc.–but there were a few more I still have yet to really parlay into.  A lot of it is more dependent on getting into a more independent living arrangement.  Right now, I don’t necessarily have the space or resources for getting a dog, ATVs, archery of some kind, livestock…  all the other things I want to mess around with.  I have a coworker who keeps suggesting I buy a gun, but I’m pretty meh about it.  I’ve thought about it before, but it has never been something I’ve been terribly excited about.  Point is, there’s a growing list of things I want to try but have yet to do and I’d like to start in on that.

Bit of randomness mostly.

  • The Brexit fallout continues to be fascinating to watch.  The leaders of the Leave Campaign have been admitting they probably can’t keep many of the promises they made while a petition has gathered 2.5 million signatures to have a second vote–the argument being that the first was so close–so many unknowns to it all.  I don’t know if they should or shouldn’t revote, who knows what would happen?  If anything, I think the Leave Campaign failed to understand the destabilization all this could bring about.  I can’t help but think they’ve set themselves up for bigger problems later on.
  • Thinking I’m going to replace a part of my workout rotation with a round of kayaking.  I inadvertently tried this last week, when I went out kayaking then did a lighter back and core workout at the gym.  Worked out pretty well.  Given that the majority of back machines/ exercises have “row” somewhere in their name, it only makes sense.  So yeah, I’m going to scale back the back/core days to accommodate a larger focus on the kayaking.  Something where I focus on the lower back and abs at the gym while I do most of the upper back work on the water.  Should be a good change of pace for the summer.  Also was benching 165 lbs on a decline bench with a tw0 inch diameter bar for four reps.  Doubt that will mean much to anyone, but I’m proud of myself for not dying.  Also started using Power Bands for Abduction work.  Those and foam rollers are amazing.
  • Weight Gainer seems to be doing its job, although I think it is dehydrating me a bit more than I would like.  Probably going to try a different one when I use up the Combat XL.  To be honest, I bought that stuff because it was cheaper.  I am a bit more trusting of Optimum Nutrition’s products to begin with, so I’m kinda kicking myself for going against my habits.
  • Reading about how Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron are encouraging China to consume less meat.  In part because of the environmental effects of production and processing.  I guess Schwarzenegger has recently gone vegetarian at the recommendation of his doctor.  Personally, I’ve never been convinced that going vegetarian is necessarily healthier.  Humans are in general omnivores and we evolved that way for a reason.  As I’ve said on supplements, I’m trying to maintain a certain level of balance and that applies to actual composition of meals as well.  A balance and a variety is vital in some many ways.  And one of my main concerns about going vegetarian has been that there are any number of fats and acids and nutrients that you get from meat that you would not necessarily get from plant based foods–at least not without consuming massive quantities.  I try to stick to quality, local products when it comes to meat.  It can be hard, but I try.  Just giving my two cents on that argument, still think balance is the key and meats do make that balance easier to achieve.
  • Hoping to start posting some pages again.  Probably will set up something for Order of the Dragon on Tumblr.  Or something.  Might even figure out a way to get the file sizes down to the requirement for The Duck.
  • I don’t watch Game of Thrones, although I do passively follow what happens on the show.  I tend to prefer the books, I think George R.R. Martin does have a certain level of nuance that the show lacks.  Or I might just be spouting some hipster nonsense.  Regardless, I do find some of the recent revelations to be interesting.
  • While I am not planning to put a lot of focus on getting books signed at NYCC this year–if I do indeed end up going–I have been eyeing a few to buy.  Mostly Star Wars Variant Covers.  The guy who has written a lot of those book will be at NYCC.
  • Saw a video about how cutting home ec classes has created a generation that can’t cook or sew or do basic finances.  Admittedly I might not be the most skilled in those areas–I would unskilled and out of practice, but not be completely lost sewing something, figuring out patterns, whatever–but it does paint a bit of a picture.  I would start changing my own oil on my Jeep but I still bring it to a shop to get a set of experienced eyes to catch potential problems–plus given all the computers in cars these days, I’m a bit scared to do it myself.  Learning new skill sets and filling in those gaps in my knowledge is always something I have enjoyed.  Creating more independence and self-sufficiency feels more like basic survival these days.  I have to wonder how many people I know–past, present or future–could sew a button back on or tell the different between a teaspoon and a tablespoon.  Makes me wonder.
  • Continuing from the last topic, I tended to think of myself as more evolved because I can do a fair number of things in the kitchen–I might not do it well, but I can separate eggs and regularly avoid overwhipping cream–and in a number of other areas.  I work out, I write, I draw… I do tend to think of myself as more evolved in a lot of ways.  Not trying to be egotistical when I say that, though it probably comes across that way.  I’m just trying to improve everyday.  I don’t claim to be superior to anyone–if I am, I’ll let other people decide that and I think a few have.  Point is, I’m just trying expand my skill sets in all areas and address any issues I might have–even feel like I’ve addressed a few that weren’t really mine.  Point is, I have an array of skills already, and I can be and am adding more everyday.  Not everybody does that.

Some odd thoughts for the week, sunburn, politics, a year of being single, unfinished work.

  • It really says something about this country when the two major political parties go out of their way to nominate the two candidates that the majority of the population has a negative opinion of.  I cannot believe I am saying this, but I might end up voting Libertarian this year.  I don’t necessarily agree with Johnson on a few major points–particularly the economy–but at least I can determine where he actually stands.  And he seems less likely to start World War III.  Of course I’m hoping for Sanders to pull off some kind of miracle.
  • I mentioned in the kayak post it will be one year of being single this week.  Figured out the official mark will be Friday.  Maybe I should throw a party or something?  Ha ha, that would be funny.  Pretty cool with it.  I suppose I’d like to get laid a bit more often, but whatever–did all that reading up on the Kamasutra last year, I’m a little saddened to not have taken more advantage of that.  Saw a gym meme about men vs. women and how they handle a break-up.  The joke was that months later the guy will be in the best shape of his life while the girl will be getting fat.  I have put on ten pounds of muscle since then, so… I suppose on my side there is some truth to it.  I’m just trying to enjoy life and wondering how much my gains would have increased if I was getting proper sleep.  I just feel I’ve proven everything I’ve had to prove.*
  • Got a bit sunburned the other day while kayaking.  It’s settled down nice and now I am tanning gloriously.
  • I think reviews at work should be done in the next week or two.  Probably a lot of back and forth about me wanting to go back to pushing cheese.  I can’t help but wonder, would things be better with a union in place?  We do have a good pay rate and benefits without the presence of a union, but I have to wonder if this staffing shortage and the events leading to it would have even happened with a union?  Or if a lot of the malcontents have lasted as long as they did?  You wouldn’t think that about the malcontents, but I think the arbitration of disputes might have a lot more steps without a union and therefore take longer.  Another side would fill in some gaps that create more bureaucracy?  I don’t know.  I think management has made a few missteps–not just on staffing matters, but overall–if only because they don’t really have a real check in place.  Idle speculation mostly.
  • Speaking of work, I had a bit of an interesting conversation there.  An older guy was giving me some wisdom on women and he asked if I knew the origin of the c-word.  It’s a word I rarely use, and if I have it was usually in reference to my coworkers.  He explained it to me as meaning “can’t understand normal thinking.”  Has that same feel as “fornication under consent of the king” to it.  Given the number of people I know that seem to function on their own logic, I can understand that sentiment.  Doesn’t change what a derogatory term it has become though.
  • Might order another Flex Comics tank top or two at some point.  The first one I got was awesome and helped that whole “Under Armour Spokesmodel” thing I had going.  Having comic or nerd related workout gear is really just me.  And brings balance to the force.


*Quick note:  I just wanted to add in some ways I might have taken more responsibility for things that went wrong than I ever should have.  Without passing judgement on anybody else, I can honestly say I tried to make things better.

Kayaking Reflections

June 3, 2016

I’ve gone kayaking three times this week.  Lightly sunburnt as a result, might have to even that out a bit.  Twice on Lake Dunmore, once on Fern Lake.  Lake Dunmore is larger lake and has a lot of boats and waterskis going on it, which was a bit of a challenge.  Water was a little rougher than I would have hoped for someone who hadn’t done this in years.  Fern Lake was much smaller, a lot calmer.  Definitely had a much easier time today.  Also, didn’t have to pay, which is nice.  Was going to head down to Lake Bomoseen, but I’ve heard that’s more of a challenge, so I’m putting that off until I’ve gotten a bit more practice in.  Would like to get a crew together and go on a regular basis, one more reason to get my hours back on some kind of human cycle.  Time and energy would be better managed that way.

Dunmore was full of all kinds of nostalgia, given that I worked at Branbury State Park–where I launched from–while I was in college.  The last summer I worked there was 2008, so eight years ago.  I remember that summer fairly clearly because it was the year it rained everyday and the park flooded.  That was an interesting  time.  There’s a reservoir on Mount Moosalamoo–some of the camp sites were at the base–and the day it flooded we got a call the might have had to open up the levies.  Washed away what was left of the campsites basically.  They didn’t end up doing that, but it was a concern.

Anyway, the next day, a couple of the other attendants and I were wandering about and we were looking at the picnic area.  The water level of the lake had risen significantly enough that the picnic area was flooded.  I believe it was me–eight years ago, so I can’t be 100% certain–that observed that we could have gotten kayaks in there.  Took a little work, but we quickly found a spot in the shoreline where we could get in there and paddle around the picnic tables.  Place was wrecked, so we had the time to do it.

It was a good time.  And I’ve been having a good time with this.  Kayaking is amazing.  Good time to start doing it too.  It occurs to me that at some point next week it will have been one year of being single.  And I’m at peace.  I remember I brought up the idea of getting kayaks to my ex once and she was very discouraging of the idea.  Something about her sister flipping her in an attempt to teach her to right a flipped kayak–little skeptical, because my understanding is that the technique for that is somewhat advanced and nothing a beginner should even be attempting.  I mean, stability is a major selling point of a kayak.  And two things would happen if somebody tried that with me:  one, whoever tried it would get a good whack to the head; two, I’d probably be getting a new paddle because those things aren’t really that solid.  Anyway, I thought it would have been a fun activity for us to do together.  She didn’t see it that way.  She clings to negativity too much and I pity her for that.  Or at least she did when we were together.  I’m just glad I did this eventually, because it is a lot of fun.

Anyway, plan to be doing a lot more kayaking in the future.  Hopefully I’ll continue to get any number of things in order to improve that experience.  I enjoy the relaxing simplicity of it.

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