I'm doing the Scintilla Project for the next two weeks. Go sign up and join us, or read up on the other folks doing the Project! It's a great blog roll of people.
Today, I'm choosing Prompt B:
Tell the story about something interesting (anything!) that happened to you, but tell it in the form of an instruction manual (Step 1, Step 2, Step 3….).
(Technically this is something I did, not something that happened to me, but still good!).
How To Buy the Perfect Home
- Procrastinate on it a lot. Live at home for as long as you can stand. Waste money, live paycheque to paycheque.
- Set really high, unrealistic goals of places to live. Bemoan this a lot.
- Change to really low goals. Look at tiny basement apartments with huge commutes to anywhere in dangerous neighbourhoods.
- Procrastinate until something in your life changes. This can be a job, weight loss, until you've saved x dollars. Change this a lot to make sure you never really quite achieve it.
- Housesit for a friend whose place in the city you once thought would be perfect for you. Discover it's not, at all. Recognize that there's nothing wrong with it, but just that you don't want to live in the same area you thought you did.
- Help friends move into a beautiful house, far away from everything, but absolutely stunning.
- Realize that you could likely afford their house, or something like it.
- Talk with another friend who's disdainful of the city and loves the suburbs. Listen to her thoughts and consider them.
- Browse real estate sites incessantly.
- Get family and friends in on this as well.
- Randomly, and suddenly, decide you've saved enough and it's time to start.
- Reject many places out of hand based on pictures on the internet. Nearly ignore what everyone is telling you and don't visit that one place you don't like the look of on the net.
- Go visit that one place first and realize it is basically perfect and everything you want, and some things you didn't know you didn't know you wanted.
- Visit other places you thought were awesome and realize the pictures made them look good when really they're terrible.
- Make your realtor work on the night of a big sporting event to help you put in an offer lest that couple you saw looking buy the place out from under you.
- Take the signed back offer.
- Wait a few weeks until everything is absolutely 100% finalized.
- Rage at people who pressure you for things. Do so quietly. Yell at your phone a lot with it not being on.
- Once purchased, wait until the last possible second to move in. Realize suddenly how emotionally difficult this is.
- Once there, host party ASAP. Bring people around as much as possible. Clean house incessantly.
- Lighting BBQ on fire at least once is recommended, but optional.
- Fight off loneliness with alcohol and food.
- Expand cooking repertoire. Learn you really love your own cooking. Use exploring new city as an excuse to order lots of take out, initially.
- Get two adorable cats. Watch them hide for a week, then wish they'd hide as they climb all over you.
- Write blog post from your laptop, next to your window, and quietly realize that, yes, this is the perfect home for you. Maybe just for right now, but it is.
- Thank blog post readers for reading til the end, and stop talking in some kind of weird passive voice now.
I woke up naturally, but with worry on my mind. I knew I should get up and go soon, but also really, really wanted sleep. I could hear my mom frantically running around the house. She was nervous too.
The coffee was sweet. The toast surprisingly filling. The drive to the bank seemed to take ages.
The tellers were excited for me. I showed them a picture of the house. I joked about wanting to strap the cheque containing more money than I'd make in several years to my body for transport.
Google guided me to the small town where my lawyer works. A WoW podcast kept me company, but didn't shorten the drive.
The lawyer's assistant didn't acknowledge me when I walked in, so I walked back to her office straight away. Handed her my life's savings (plus some extra). She said she'd call me in an hour or so. Took down my cell phone number.
The pub beside her office was playing an Irish Christmas radio station. The servers greeted me warily, but warmly. The power went out after I'd given in my order. Patrons talked of technology and Christmas gifts. Work emailed me with an urgent worry I could do nothing about.
I went to a coffee shop and read blogs. Started writing.
As I just finished my blog, I got the call that I could come get my key. The key to my home.
A short post to say yes, I am alive! Work and house stuff has been CRAZY. But, barring the unforeseen, this time next week I will be a homeowner.
HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS
It's been a few weeks of calling utility companies, lawyers, mortgage people and real estate agents. Dealing with time off work, weird hours and tons of things. Organizing things with my parents, talking with friends and just generally feeling a bit overwhelmed.
It's good, though. Definitely good.
I even actually over budgeted on a few things, which was nice to find out.
I've been trying to make time to visit the Toronto Christmas Market, too. I went last year and it was a lovely way to just escape the hustle and bustle for a bit, and enjoy some mulled wine, poutine and just the sights and sounds. I'd been waiting for it to snow a bit, but time is running short, so I may aim for next week. It's weird, maybe, that it's important to me to go. But it is.
Ah crap I just remembered the day I had planned I can't do. Maybe the Friday. It'll be busy, but maybe still worth it.
How's life for you?
Each week I'll post the things that are in my ears and in front of my eyes. This can include articles, websites, blogs, YouTube Channels, TV shows, podcasts, books, games, programs, utilities or anything I can think of! Where possible I'll try to put links to check things out. The idea here to share, critically look at what I'm doing, and to motivate myself a bit to not just play WoW all the time.
Watching: Don't Trust the B**** in Apartment 23 and The Mindy Project - I'm throwing both of these here because I suspect both will be added to my regular viewing schedule. I've felt a bit of a TV drought this season; besides old standbys like Parks and Rec, Castle, HIMYM and New Girl, I hadn't had much to watch. On GFM's recommendation I checked out Apartment 23 and rather enjoyed it. Both leads are charming, and James Van Der Beek playing a caricature of himself is perfect and awesome. The Mindy Project was...okay. I love Mindy Kaling, both as a comedienne and on a crush level, and truthfully her alone makes it watchable. The rest of it is...I don't know. I expected better. It doesn't have the subtle humour the Office has (or had, anyway). It feels a bit more...madcap. Like any number of single-camera comedies that get trotted out and shot down each year. It's just a very standard comedy show. Mind you, it's got Mindy Kaling in it, which knocks it up a bit and makes it worth watching. But I don't love it.
Reading: I was at a bit of a loss book wise on what to do next, so I went back to a series a friend had recommended to me, the Thursday Next series, written by Jasper Fforde, specifically The Well of Lost Plots. The series centers around Thursday Next, who lives in a kind of parallel, slightly more advanced universe to ours and discovers that she has the ability to enter books and that there is an entire sub-universe where fictional characters interact and are as real as you or I, and a whole governing body and police force to ensure no one changes the plots of books. It's a little complex, but fun. If you get past that the whole book is essentially a slightly standard police murder mystery, but the backdrop is fun. I feel like I'm missing out a bit on some references because I'm not that familiar with Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and other classic works, though, which is making me want to try and read some of these. So that's good, I'd say!
Re-consuming: Often I'll end up having a show or book kind of on the sidelines, for when I want something easy and fun, or something in the background. For me lately that's been Futurama. Thanks to the series being on Netflix I've been rewatching it from episode one. It's funny how much the voices and some of the in-universe bits change over time, but it's still a great series. I found myself laughing hard at jokes I've heard many times before, just because. I've been loving it, and it's definitely worth a rewatch if you haven't lately. And if you've never actually watched it...you're in for a real treat, I believe.
What are you absorbing this week?
Today we have an AMAZING guest post from Ashley! Thanks to her for this, and check out her blog linked below! She started VEDA (well, the VEDA we all go by) and is generally awesome. And, my BFF. Obviously.
Hello readers. This is Tom’s bff Ashley and I blog over at Writing To Reach You. Tom and I have never discussed our bff status, but I am stating it now and it would be rude of him to edit this. So my bff Tom asked me to blog about making and meeting (IRL!) friends on the internet when you’re an introvert. Some relevant background information on me: I have been an introvert all of my life, but I’ve only known what that means for maybe the last ten years, and I’ve only stopped apologizing for it in the last couple years. Introversion and shyness are not the same thing, but they’re not exactly strangers either, and I happen to host them both. And, as for the other part of this discussion, I have been blogging for about four years, and I’ve met so many bloggers now that I’ve lost count.
As for how to make friends in general, I have no idea. Make eye contact with an extrovert and hope they do the rest of the work? I have found it easier to make friends on the internet, but I have also learned that all the old rules of meeting people still apply. The way to make friends is to be yourself and find people who like you. This is something that gets easier with age, but I think the internet speeds it along, because for a while you don’t think to be anyone but yourself. Why would you need to anyway when you can find groups of people who like all the same weird things that you do? I started blogging with the vague hope that I would find some people who would be interested in what I had to say, but I had no idea that I would make some of my best friends. As in life, if you try to be what people want, they will see right through it. You can only pretend to be someone else for so long, and as an introvert, you can only pretend to be an extrovert for about 10 minutes before you’ll be exhausted.
You are going to find people online who you click with instantly, you’re going to find people you can grow friendships with over time, and you are going to find really awesome people with whom you simply have no chemistry. Everything about this is perfectly normal and okay. Go for the easy friendships, put the work in on the slow-growing friendships, and just smile and wave at the awesome people who aren’t for you. This is the internet and not a small town; there is no reason to force relationships with people you have nothing in common with or who don’t want to be your friend. It is my secret belief that it is easier to meet people on the internet when you create stuff. When you write or make videos or tweet original thoughts, you give people a chance to get to know you. These things can serve as the foundation for real conversations. When you only react to other people or tweet links or reblog pictures, you don’t give people a lot to go on.
If you’re anything like me, then you are nice, but maybe not all that outwardly friendly. Even if you find someone you think you could be good friends with, you may not know how to make that happen. I suggest that at the very least you should make yourself open to the possibility of friendship. There will be a few people who see your awesome from miles away and do all of the work of establishing a friendship. Don’t resist these kind people. But if that’s not happening, then I would suggest first establishing some kind of a connection through blog comments and replies on twitter. Make relevant and authentic comments. If that goes well, send an email to establish a more personal connection. If things go well enough there, then you will be good enough friends to move on to gchat and texts. If after several good faith efforts to establish a friendship the other person does not reciprocate, then move on and find your people. They are out there.
As an introvert, you are more likely to take delight in a few good friends rather than a whole swarm of acquaintances. Don’t forget this and somehow think you need to be friends with everyone on the internet. You only need a few people who get you. And once you find them, make it your job to be a damn good friend. Distance may be a factor, but it doesn’t prevent you from being there for your friends. Make yourself available to talk. Comfort them when they need it. Send them cat pictures to cheer them up. Do what you say you’re going to do. Know that as with any friendship, things may sometimes be difficult. These friendships are as real as any other and you should treat them that way.
So you have made it this far and now you’re ready to make things really real and meet your internet friends. We will assume you have taken all of the appropriate safety precautions--like, you know this person well and you are meeting in a public place. Make sure this is a person you really do want to meet and choose a venue that works for you. As an introvert, I’d suggest that you choose a somewhat quiet place where you won’t have to talk over the noise. You also probably shouldn’t choose a large convention as the first place you meet bloggers (you’re more at home in small groups). Then, expect it to be a little weird: the first time I ever met a blogger in real life, I walked up to Nico and he said, “Ashley?” and I had this very surreal moment of feeling like the internet had just come to life. But, remember: this is the same person you have been talking to for months or years, so no matter how weird things might seem for a minute, you will soon be able to pick up where your conversation last left off. Now: repeat.
As internet people, we make a big deal about how the relationships we form here are real, and we are telling the truth, but nothing compares to finally meeting someone in real life. I swear you can learn more about a person by watching them talk for two minutes than you can from reading their blog for years (see: why you should vlog). But the really great thing about meeting someone you first got to know on the internet is that they already know you. You don’t have to explain your quirks or give them your whole back story. I don’t even have to explain that I’m an introvert or shy. This person already knows and likes me, so I get to feel comfortable being myself from the beginning. As someone who doesn’t normally wear her personality on her sleeve, this is such a relief.
I am going to assume that you had a really great time meeting that girl you’ve known on the internet for a couple years now, but if you have one bad experience meeting a blogger, don’t let it turn you against the whole idea. Try again. And if you’re a thoughtful extrovert who has read this far, know that introverts really appreciate when you respect our introversion, but you don’t have to treat us like precious cargo. We already like you, so you just be yourself, and don’t worry too much about us. We like that you do a lot of the talking. It gives us a chance to think. Now, who’s ready to meet some bloggers?
It's only now hitting me that, this time next week, I'll be sitting in a place that will be my own. Not forever, mind you. But for a month, which feels like forever in the summer. In ways I think I'll miss the company. This surprises me a bit, as normally I'm not the happiest about the relatively constant stream of interruptions my parents tend to offer (which GFM often correctly reminds me is a small price to pay for free room and board) but without them it would be very easy for me to get all my socializing done online and not see a living soul all day.
Is that common now?
I worry a bit about this, but also about balance. Making sure I'm spending time with the people I love online, and the people I love offline. Admittedly, I'm probably not the best at that now. But I really love the online folks, you know.
There is also the worry that this isn't introversion, and that I'm just a grump who's going to have trouble living with anyone. Don't think that thought hasn't crossed my mind.
But I'd like to think it would be different if my partner came home, and I could yell out "Hi honey! I'm in a dungeon right now/Skyping with 5 other people, I'll talk to you in a couple minutes!" I'd like to think I'd have a partner who would get that. Someone who would come and watch, maybe, or even say "Sweet, let me hop online and join you!"
Anyway, forgive the navel-gazing, if you will. It's been a nice long weekend, mostly hanging with my Dad, but I'm excited, and nervous, to be in my own space this time next week. I think I will try and vlog and blog a good bit during that month, just to keep some records.
AND THEN COMES VEDA!
Today on BEDJ we're talking about TV.
Ho-boy. I only get 4 days to talk about TV this month? Clearly not enough time.
I love TV. I love it as a medium, and do not understand why people hold up films as the great masterpieces. A series can be a masterpiece too. Where else do you get to know a character that well? Where else does a writer or an actor have the time to craft a character, often spending years doing so? Not to mention an overall story arc!
I think I'll start, funnily enough, at the beginning of my TV watching. The first show I remember watching regularly was Star Trek: The Next Generation. I started this whole geek thing at a young age. I was embarrassed by it at first; a closet Trekkie, if you will, though over time I became more open about it to people at my school (which resulted in much teasing, but I didn't care, cause Picard wouldn't care). TNG was the first show to really spark my imagination. I wrote my own stories, played out my own parts. Star Trek introduced me to the idea of science fiction; of a world more magical than our own, where anything was possible, where a little boy could go out and explore the stars. The whole universe that was built there fascinated me. I loved to see not just the Enterprise, but other Starfleet vessels, Captains and worlds. I wanted to know more about all these races, their cultures, their languages. This even turned me onto reading, the first novel I read being a Star Trek one, focusing on the Romulans (who remain one of my favourite races).
The only thing that bugged me about TNG was that I always felt like it wasn't serialized enough. Course, I didn't know how to say that at the time, but the fact that one episode rarely referenced another, that plots rarely carried over and that there were few large arcs, bothered me intensely.
However, TNG opened me to a new, final frontier. Not just Star Trek, but other, wonderful science fiction series came up after this. I'm still waiting for the next great one, truthfully. Nothing quite thrills me, to this day, than a military based space opera, like Trek, Babylon 5, Stargate, BSG (to a point). All these have, sadly, come to an end.
Next week; Babylon 5, the best science fiction show you've probably never heard of.
So, in an effort to take a cue from GFM and blog a bit more, I'm jumping on the Wine & Love bandwagon, hosted first by Nora and now by Suki!
However, being a guy, I'm deciding to call it Beer and Love for myself, since I'd tend to reach for the beer glass, rather than the wine glass. But rest assured, this is the same idea! The idea being that, you talk about the things thing are making you reach for the glass, and the things you are loving.
Edit: GFM has called on me to put some money in the Douchebag Jar for calling it Beer and Love, so I'm switching to wine. A guy can drink wine too! And I do!
- Drama. Without going into too many specifics (and if you're reading this, I can almost guarantee it's not about you) there's been some drama with some friends. Places and groups that were supposed to be fun, safe spaces are becoming less so. It's not the end of the world, but it makes things a bit harder and a bit more tense overall.
- Work continues to be very busy. Not in a terrible way, but definitely a bit busier than I'd like.
- I'm getting sick, too. Nothing huge, but I'm feeling that tickle at the back of my throat that says it's starting. I'll need to try and get lots of rest this weekend, I think, to catch up.
- Had a phone interview with a potential new job today, which I'm excited about. I'm not desperate to move or anything, but this would be a nice career progression, so I'm excited about that possibility. It would also be closer to home (the current home, anyway) which would be a big plus. More like a 20 minute drive, instead of almost an hour using public transit. Less time to sit and read, but I also wouldn't be bound by the train schedule. We will see though! Nothing's set in stone yet.
- I'm being better at finances this month. Resisting the urge to buy a lot of things I would have bought without a second thought, saving up for my move. I'm still more than a little scared of being able to have enough money when I do move out, but a new job would definitely help with that!
What's up with you, reader? What are you loving, and what's making you reach for the alcoholic beverage of choice?
The title is an Arrested Development reference that may only make sense in my head.
I'm moving. The sooner the better. My goal would be to be moved by June, at the latest.
What prompted this was thinking about my 12changes change for April. I started to think about trying to be a bit more adult, doing things for myself. I live with my parents now and, for convenience sake, my Mom is a very traditional mother. She cooks, she cleans, she tidies. She doesn't mind doing this, and we offer to help out, but in the end it's just easier with one person doing this. But it means that I have a lot of little embarrassing moments, when people ask me about my life, and I'm forced to either lie, or talk about how much my Mom helps me out. Cause it's a lot. Far more than I'm comfortable admitting on this blog.
And it's easy to say "start doing things yourself." But there are practical and emotional concerns. To cook for myself I basically have to not eat with my parents, which would be rude, I would say. And on the practical side, it's very, very tempting to just fall into the habit of letting someone else take care of your laundry and lunches. Can you honestly tell me you wouldn't let someone else do it if they offered? If so, you're a strong person than I.
With the help of some friends, I realized that none of this, none of these adult things, are going to stick until I actually have to do them myself. I'm never going to learn to manage my money until I have to. Never going to cook for myself until I have to.
I keep waiting for the time to be right. To save up more, to get my weight under control, to get a new job. I keep thinking that I can gain the confidence that I am my own man, that I am capable of all the things I think I can, under my parent's roof.
But I can't. There's some shit that's not all internal, folks. Positive thinking doesn't solve everything. It may for some people, but not for me.
For my own sanity, for my own development, I need to move. More on the where, how, and when later.
Every now and then, I tell a relative stranger that they are awesome, and that they can do something.
Often, lately, this is related to a job. As is common with Millenials, we are constantly seeking new jobs, better opportunities, and all that. Many are still looking for their first job. So someone will tweet about an opportunity, or something they're scared about, or an interview, and I will offer tweets of support, of encouragement, and try to check in later to see how things went. I share in their victories, and their defeats, as things come and go.
And I do this with relative strangers, basically. Not total strangers. People I've known for close to a year now, really. People I've talked with, people who I've seen share some of their deepest secrets, people who I've gotten drunk with. But people I've never met. People whose capabilities, really, I have no idea about.
But still I cheer them on. I tell them they can do it. I tell them I'd wish them luck, if I thought they needed it. And you know what? They do the same for me.
And I think this is absolutely awesome. I think it's kind of hilarious, and a little weird, but wonderful. I do this because I believe in these people. I believe in the power of my generation, to reach out and touch people, to acquire knowledge, and to be the absolute best at anything we put our minds to.
What's perhaps most important, though, is our capacity to love. Our ability to reach out and touch complete strangers. So many people I now count among some of my best friends, I met through a collective video blogging project. That's insane, and wonderful, really.
But I've also learned that if you reach out to people, they tend to reach back. For so long, I had no idea how to tell people "I think you're cool and we should hang out" without them thinking it was some kind of romantic gesture (and, to be fair, occasionally it was). I was always worried they'd be like "WTF? You're weird." But I've learned that, if you do say basically that, people tend to go "Cool! Let's!". It's amazing, and wonderful.
I don't know if there was a particular point to this, but just something that's been on my mind, lately.
And just as a reminder; if you ever need to talk, I'm here to listen. I can't promise stellar advice, or really saying anything more than "I'm sorry, that sounds really difficult." Cause sometimes there isn't more to say than that, really. But if you send me an email, I will read it. And I think, honestly, if you look around and reach out to people, they do reach back.
And if you do ever want to say to me "I think you're cool, and we should hang out," odds are I will say the same thing back. Of course, I may suggest we hang out in Azeroth. But you should not dismiss that out of hand.