Sep 172017
 

It has been, quite literally, years since I have sat down to write anything for personal reasons. I’ve written for work, and I’ve written for school, but beyond occasional forays in attempting to update my Morning Pages, I haven’t sat down to just write about or for myself. I don’t know exactly why, to be honest. I mean, I have theories. Lack of anyone actually giving a shit about what I have to say pretty much tops that list. In the world of social media, long form personal posts seem like quaint old relics from days gone by, and the effort that goes into creating them seems wasted. After all, if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, having an audience is really the only reason one writes for public consumption.

 

I’m also tired. So very tired. I’m in the final semester of my educational career. I have eleven more weeks of what looks to be an absolute grind before I finish my Masters of Business Administration at the University of Maryland University College. I took a three-year break from school after earning my Associates Degree in 2008, and with the exception of one semester have been in school non-stop since the Spring of 2011. In that time I’ve earned a Bachelor’s Degree and my first Master’s Degree. When I considered my current career path it made sense to enroll in the Dual MBA program at my school and take on another year of courses, but I’d be lying if I said that it hasn’t been a monumental challenge to keep up. Every time I look at the course work for this final class I feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety and wonder if there is any possible way I can get everything done. I’ve had this feeling often throughout my academic career, and my wife always reminded me that every time I’ve felt that way I’ve proved myself wrong, but this time feels different.

 

I suppose it always does.

 

I’m going to be glad when it is over, though. I’m ready for the next chapter of my life, the one that doesn’t involve going to school, to begin. I’m ready to get back on stage (I decided, after realizing how intense the DMBA program was, not to audition for any more shows in 2017). I’m ready to take vacations where I don’t have to worry about having an Internet connection so that I can log in and get course work done. I’m ready to try and find a love of reading again, because the amount I’ve had to do for school has made me absolutely loathe picking up a book unless I absolutely have to. I’m just ready to move on.

 

Of course moving on from school means facing the reality of paying back my student loans, which at this point are the equivalent of a second mortgage, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Unlike many folks who graduate from school with large debt, I’ve already established a career that will, at the very least, make it somewhat less painful to pay them back.

 

My current state of tiredness is also the result of a much more immediate situation. Last week, Hurricane Irma decided to pay a visit to our state. When the track shifted to put the eye directly over our area late Friday night, Lisa and I decided that it was wise to get the hell out of dodge. We packed up the animals and my son and took off to shelter with friends in Jacksonville. Ironically, the storm seemed to take a much harsher toll on that area, mainly due to flooding, but we still came through unscathed. When we returned home on Tuesday our power was out, and it wasn’t restored until days later. I’m incredibly grateful that a loss of electricity was the worst damage we faced as a result of the storm, but I cannot emphasize enough the amount of psychological stress I feel during power outages. It’s hard to explain in a way that doesn’t make me sound like a spoiled, petulant brat. Our home is my sanctuary. In a world where I often feel I have very little control over my destiny, the house we share is a place where I feel I have control. It’s clean and orderly, because that makes us happy. It’s filled with things that are important to us. It’s where we spend the majority of our time together, and to be perfectly honest spending time at home with Lisa is pretty much my favorite thing in the entire universe. When that is disrupted, say with a lack of electricity, I am an absolute mess. When I don’t look forward to going home at night, I cannot think straight. I’m irritable. I’m distracted. It’s just a horrible experience for me, and I’m sure everyone around me. Even now, several days after the storm has passed and power has been restored, I’m still off-kilter. I’m sure the fact that I ate a bunch of really horrible food and drank way too much during the days of the storm isn’t helping, either.

 

It’s funny, though. One of my biggest issues about dealing with the lack of power is the accompanying lack of air conditioning, but as I write this I’m voluntarily sitting outside and it’s pretty damned hot. I suppose it’s ultimately the difference between choosing to sit outside in the heat and being forced to because it’s even more miserably oppressive inside.

 

I also have a fan on, so there’s that.

 

I don’t know. Maybe some of how I’m feeling is straight-up mid-life crisis. I’m staring down the barrel of 45. I’ve accomplished a hell of a lot in my life, I know, and I’m well aware that a good deal of what I’ve accomplished is because I’ve busted my ass to get here. I’ve been a good employee and a good student. I’ve done my best to be a good husband and a good father, but I’ve screwed that up on more than one occasion. I see those meme’s that ask whether or not the eight-year old version of you would be proud of where you are now, and I just don’t know. I mean, I’m not a Jedi so that would certainly be a bummer for him. But what would he say about me being an Agile Coach? What would he think about the fact that I’m not a famous actor or some sort of world-class software developer? What would he think about how my love for all things “geek” has diminished significantly over the course of the last few years? Would he think I was lame?

 

Hard to say, really. Unlike many people I know, I don’t actually look back on my childhood/teenage self with fondness. I was…kind of horrible really, both physically and mentally. I was a spoiled, selfish brat, and (especially in my teenage years) the epitome of the much-reviled nerdy “nice guy.” So, really, if the younger version of me wouldn’t be impressed with middle-aged me, that might not be such a bad thing.

 

But where do I go from here? I’ve got a fantastic career, with a company that I can honestly say I’d be content working for until I retire in 20 (or more) years. I have an amazing wife. I have a home. My son, despite some rocky years there at the end of his teens, is happy and doing well living on his own. I take multiple vacations every year. I don’t have to worry about paying the bills or keeping food on the table. I can pretty much indulge myself on any minor purchase that may flit its way through my head, which has for years been my benchmark of true “success” in life (I’ve always said that I’d know I’d made it when I could walk into a book store and purchase any book I wanted without having to worry about whether or not I could actually afford it…the irony there being that, as I mentioned above, I really don’t like reading very much any more). While I’m not a household name, I have had a long and successful career acting professionally in the Tampa Bay area, and the main hallway in our home is adorned with posters from the many shows I have been in over the course of the last sixteen years.

 

So, in the immortal words of Josiah Bartlett, “What’s Next?”

 

It’s a question I don’t know the answer to. Perhaps when I decide to write another blog post in two years I’ll have figured it out.

Mar 192009
 

Well, I finally decided to put my money where my mouth was.  After I wrote my last post I continued thinking about my feelings about World of Warcraft and opted to finally cancel my account.  I did so this morning.  The last day my account will be active is April 7th.

I realize that those of you who don’t play the game will never understand why this is such a big deal, and that’s ok.  I can try to explain, but the best analogy I can come up with is that I feel like I just broke up with someone I have been dating for the last four years.  I consider many of the folks I play with to be close friends, and frankly it is those friendships that have kept me playing for as long as I have.

I just can’t do it anymore, though.  I can’t justify spending the money to basically use the game as a chat interface, and I truly detest what they have done with the game.  It’s not fun for me anymore.  I’m getting a similar experience playing Runes of Magic and it is free.  As much as I’m enjoying that game, though, I’m determined not to get sucked in as much as I have been in any other MMO in the past.  I just don’t have the time for it.  I’m going to do things like, oh, yard work….house cleaning…home improvements.  You know, that stuff that you don’t do when you’re spending 5-6 hours a day playing a video game?

I’m also concentrating on [Super Secret Project], which I’ll be able to talk about more in a month or so.

So, yeah.  So long, World of Warcraft.  It was great fun while it lasted, but this cowboy needs to be moving along.

Mar 172009
 

Back in December I wrote about how I wasn’t excited about getting back into the World of Warcraft raid game.  At the time, part of my reasoning behind that is because I did not feel that there was much of a challenge in it for me, and the hope was that future expansions would ramp up the difficulty a bit.

Well, that has and has not happened.  From everything I’ve read, they are going to continue to have “hard mode” versions of certain encounters in the raids that are optional but keep the base difficulty level fairly low.

This, along with some fairly drastic changes in my work schedule recently, has pretty much killed any remaining interest I have in raiding (and may honestly be the final nail in the coffin that gets me to cancel my subscription to the game).

I’ve seen a lot written about how the game has changed for the worse (and, in all fairness, how some think it is much better now), but to date I haven’t seen anyone really put their finger on why that has disappointed me.

I can sum it up in a three word sentence : Difficulty builds community.

Continue reading »

Dec 182008
 

Wrath of the Lich King has been out for just over a month now, and so far I have to say I’m enjoying much of the new content.

Well, let me put a disclaimer on that.  I’ve found ways to enjoy the time I’m spending in game much more than I was before the expansion was released.  For one, I’ve been holding off on doing any quests until such a time as Krystalle is available to run with me.  As she’s been crazy busy recently, that means my main character has only hit level 75.  I’m ok with that.  I figure I’m only going to get a chance to see the new stuff once with fresh eyes, and I’d like to actually do that with her so we can share the experience instead of going back and running it with her again when I’ve already blown through it.

From everything I have encountered so far, though, and from everything I’m reading online and seeing in our guild, I am severely dissapointed in how easy they have made everything as far as new content is concerned.  Yes, I realize I haven’t encountered much of it yet – but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that when one guild manages to beat the most difficult dungeon in the expansion within a week of release there really isn’t much in the way of challenge waiting for me.

I’m not the only one, either.  I’ve noticed that a lot of the formerly “hard core” raiders in our guild are in no rush to get to the current endgame and the sentiment is pretty much the same throughout – if there’s no challenge waiting for us, there’s no motivation to get back to the point where you are doing the same thing night after night.  Only two of the five officers in the guild have characters at the level cap.  Of the sub officers, of which there are four, only one is there.

Interestingly we have a good number of players in guild who HAVE hit 80.  Some of them on multiple characters.  I log into game and watch them, and other than the fact that they have gotten to experience some of the more interesting parts of the game that I haven’t gotten to yet I do not at all envy the fact that every night I see them running the same dungeons over and over again trying to get that “one drop” or grinding a faction.  Someone mentioned in guild today that we should be attempting to do a raid boss in Wintergrasp every week because it’s quick and will gear people up.

Ugh.

I just can’t find the motivation to get back into that mindset.  I want to be challenged.  I want my accomplishments in game to represent the fact that I worked hard and was dedicated to getting something done.  That’s why I’ve been spending a lot of time working on achievements.  As much as I bagged on them as being a way to get players to run content again that they have already done, I can at least take some solace that you have to either be really dedicated (or insane) to get many of them.

The hope out there among the hard core WoW players is that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as new content in the expansion and that later raids will be more challenging.  One can only hope.  Of course, when that happens I’ll be behind the curve as far as gear is concerned…but you know what?  Again, not so much with the caring.  I’ve made up my mind that if I’m not having fun doing something in game I’m simply not doing it anymore.  I spent far too long treating the game like a job, and more often than not for other people’s benefit.  I’m paying to play this game.  When someone decides they want to pay me to play I’ll re-evaluate my stance.