The year’s end post

It’s that time of the year, where people are under the belief that all the successes, failures, problems, issues, trends and stigmas can all be encapsulated into a box, taped shut, have the year written with a fat sharpie it, and jettisoned off into space, like a new star in Katamari Damacy.  If it were only as simple as that.

Yet, the fact that I write posts like this, at this time of the year, almost every year, proves that I’m really no different in the fact that I tend to write encapsulation posts, even though I don’t think bringing things to light will necessarily give me a nice clean slate at the start of the next calendar year.

But for what it’s worth, I can’t say that 2015 was the greatest of years, but it wasn’t necessarily the worst of years either.  No surprise there, letting the slider dangle back and forth, somewhere in the middle.  Obviously, I have a tendency to think that what I feel surely must be what others feel, even thought that can’t really be the case, but at least me personally, that’s the nature of life, there’s an ebb and flow between the good and bad; it’s just that I think 2015 was slightly more dangling in the bad side, but that’s not to say that there was no good in it at all.

When I try and look at the year as a whole, three things in particular stand out in my opinion.  Two were decidedly more in the negative spectrum, and one was very much in the positive.

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This actually happened

I’ll try to not get too much into it, but the worst part about my job is the degree of accessibility to me, those involved in each project I’m on has.  I love the fact that I have the ability to work remotely, since this has sparsely been the case previously in my long career as a graphic designer, but at the same time it goes both ways, and being able to remote also means that there’s also expectations that I should be able to work, on a moment’s notice.  Weekends, after-hours, and as was the case through Christmas, on holidays.

Yeah, I’m a little bit salty about that last one too.

However, there’s asking for legitimate revisions, like replacing a name, a typo, an incorrect statement or sentence, and then there’s asking for ticky-tack nitpicks, based on the subjective nature of other human beings with no artistic eye or formal training or understanding of design-related concepts, but because their title and pay-grade is higher than mine, somehow holds more weight.  Unfortunately, the latter is the vast majority of requests to me, and the above graphic is an actual request made.

Try and not get turned on the next time you get home, and pull out your keys to unlock the door.

Master of None, except television

Recently, I just finished watching Master of None, the Aziz Ansari co-created show, exclusively available on Netflix.

It’s not that I don’t have a hundred thoughts about the show, and am not capable of vomiting out a thousand words about the show, but honestly, I don’t want to spoil anything, and I highly recommend the show and think that everyone with a Netflix account should go watch it.  And to those who don’t have a Netflix account, should sign up for one, and then watch Master of None.

It’s a fantastic show, and probably the best thing I’ve watched in all of 2015.  Granted, I know such an assessment doesn’t hold that much weight, considering my television habits are like TLC shows like My 600 Lb. Life, 90 Day Fiance, Extreme Cheapskates, and survival shows like Naked & Afraid and Dual Survival.  But I do watch stuff that everyone else likes too, like The Walking Dead!

But really, Master of None is really one of the better things I’ve seen in a very long time.  Cleverly written, with superb acting in my humble opinion, and sneaky good filmography and music selection.  And to those snarks who were like me and a little bit skeptical about Aziz Ansari’s over-the-top, every other word has a drawn out last syllable speech delivery that he often does in his stand-up and most characters he portrays in movies and Parks and Recreation, his character, Dev, reels back the Aziz a good bit, and delivers a quirky, funny, yet methodical character with a good bit of depth.  Dare I say it, it’s like seeing the first time seeing Aziz Ansari actually act beyond his usual schtick.

In fact, all of the characters are pretty awesome.  The dynamic between Dev and Rachel is one that I think hits home very well with a lot of couples around theirs and my age range, and is almost painfully realistic.

Anyway, before I get to the point where I start insinuating words that might come off as spoiler-y, I just want to say that Master of None was an absolutely phenomenal show, and I hope and look forward to future seasons and installments of it, and that I highly recommend that other people watch it and hopefully enjoy it as much as I did.

Happy trails, Frank

When Dadi Nicolas engulfed Tulsa’s quarterback with a monster sack on 4th down and the game on the line, to effectively seal the game, I threw my head back and let out the mother of exhaling sighs.  Absolutely nothing would have been more disheartening than seeing Frank Beamer go out on a loss, especially to a school that I had to check Wikipedia to verify whether it was a Division I or II program (D-I).

But a win is a win, and much to mine, and every Virginia Tech fan’s relief, Frank Beamer ends his legendary career, with a victory.  And just like that, the most illustrious chapter of Virginia Tech football comes to a close.

It was interesting watching Beamer on the sidelines throughout the fourth quarter of the Independence Bowl; at first, with the Hokies up fairly comfortably, there was a man watching with a deadpan look on his face, almost as if he were watching the clock tick down not just the seconds of the game, but his career.  When Tulsa scored a billion unanswered points to close the gap, the only change on Beamer’s face looked like an expression of “oh shit, here we go again,” with a small mix of “am I really going to go out like this?”  But even after Nicolas’ sack put the nail in the coffin, and the game all but sealed, was a man who was not excited, but more melancholy and almost even a little scared at the sinking reality that the ride was coming to an end.

I’m pretty sure the ice bath was what finally snapped him out of his out-of-body state at that point.  But even then, he wasn’t really smiling or laughing like he usually does when he gets dunked on, because I got the impression that ol’ Frank was feeling what a lot of Tech fans were feeling – sad.

There are probably a lot of people like me, where Frank Beamer was the only coach we ever knew.  I’m not going to pretend like I’ve been a college football fan all my life, but for as long as I’ve embraced and begun to enjoy the college ranks, even I’ve been aware of the luxury that lots of college football fans don’t get, where our team has a coach that doesn’t get fired or runs away every few years.  Frank coached the Hokies for 29 years, so like I said, he’s pretty much the only coach that a lot of Tech fans have ever known, and it’s sad to see him go, and it’s going to be a little weird seeing someone else at the helm starting next season.

Without Frank Beamer, there’s really no Virginia Tech football, and personally, without Tech, there’s no development, growth and overall embracing and enjoyment of college football for me.  Frank gave me a team that I could stand behind while living in the heart of college football territory, and a horse that I could pull for whenever Tech was so often fed to SEC wolves, but gave me immense satisfaction when they defeated Tennessee in 2009.

My fondest memory of Beamerball was in 2007, when Tech was playing Boston College for the ACC Championship, when Matt Ryan led BC to a touchdown, only for the extra point to be not just blocked, but returned the other way for a defensive two-point conversion.  I’m not entirely sure, but I think there’s a possibility that that particular instance was the last time such an occurrence has actually happened in the college ranks.  As rare as Beamerball was to actually see happen, it’s still among the greatest things to see happen, college or pro.

Anyway, even though the 2015 season was kind of a bummer for Tech fans, it was still great to see the team hang tough enough to beat Georgia Tech, beat UVA, keep Beamer’s Bowl streak alive, see Frank ride off into the sunset with victories.

So long Frank, and thanks for all the memories.  Especially of you dancing in victory.

When you feel bad that nothing bad is happening to you

Seems like I’m not the only one out there.

When things get busy, I tend to make lists.  Be it on a Post-It, notepad documents, or on Notes on my phone, when there are a lot of things to do, I make lists.  Because one, it keeps me organized and remembering all of the things that I need to do, and two, it feels really nice and accomplishing when you’re able to cross things off, highlight and clear lines of text, or delete a Note.  It makes me feel happy when I knock things off a list and feel a sense of accomplishment.

With Christmas looming, I made a list of things that I needed to do on my car, prior to the holiday.  The oil was long overdue, subsequently the air filter was gross and needed replacement, and my car’s at the age where all the bulbs seem to be burning out one after another.  Pretty much in one 24-hour span, I’ve gotten the oil changed, the air filter changed (myself, saving $20 in exorbitant “labor”), and replaced three burnt-out light bulbs.  For all intents and purposes, I feel very studious and accomplished at my productivity, and should worry less about driving my car anywhere for the next few months.

In fact, on the overall list of things that I needed to do before Christmas, I’ve systematically completed almost 90% of the things originally listed.  “Bathe dog” and “finish X” are the last things left that I’m aware of.  I do feel accomplished, and pretty good that the remaining things are manageable and well within sight.

But I’m not really that happy right now.  I probably could be happy, given the fact that it’s the holiday season, things for me personally are going pretty decently, minus a little bit of disgruntled feeling with work, but such could be said about just about anyone.  My Christmas shopping is all but complete, everything’s wrapped, plans are made, and I’ve been productive and accomplishing the last few weeks.  I have plenty of reason why I could be happy, but I just am not feeling it.

It’s mostly because that around me, in my little world, there are several people who are going through some really rough times lately.  Naturally, I will not get into specifics, but lately, it’s hard to feel a little apprehensive whenever I hear my phone go off, because I’m worried that there will be a text message with bad news, or saying “hello?” might be greeted by voices that have obviously been shedding recent tears.

It’s hard to truly feel happy when to people like me, happiness is often predicated on the happiness and well-being of others.  I’m not sure if this normal, or if this just human nature for empathetic people like me, but it kind of stinks that there are people around me that are having some rough times, and I feel helpless and powerless to be able to help any of them.

I’m not saying that I’m resentful for people for not being happier, for the sake of my own happiness, but I guess I’m just hoping that better news comes to all people I’m thinking about, because then maybe we can all be happy together if and when it hopefully comes.