Sunday, February 13, 2011

The unseen forces

I know...two posts in one day! What has come over me? Well, give me a few months and I'll probably be able to answer that but first, on to the reason for this unprecedented outpouring of verbiage.

I decided a bit ago to go back over my writings here over the past two years and was more than a little shocked at what I found. I know that the last two years for me haven't been the easiest I have ever faced, but I had no idea that the bitterness that I was feeling was so obvious in my writings. More than once I found myself saying, "Wow...that was quite snarky!" to something I wrote. I'm fairly sure that there was no coincidence that most of the snarkiest writing came during my long stretch of unemployment when the issues in my personal life were really dragging me down.

In the early days of this version of the blog, I'll freely admit to intentionally going for the low punch occasionally. In this 'shock and awe' world we now live in, the only way to stand out is by making more noise than those around you. Looking at those posts now, from a quite different perspective, I see what they really were...A mean spirited attack born from a time of great frustration with myself and my situations. Even the more recent posts (2010) also had a few daggers (no, not quite the same as Wayne Laravee's) that I'm a bit disappointed about.

I don't want to end up a bitter old man so soon, but it looks like that's what I became, at least for a little while. I know that my life has had more downs than ups lately, but that shouldn't come out as much in my writing. I'm hoping to change all that now. Maybe, just maybe, I can get back to the lighter side of life and it will reflect in my writing. Here's to hoping...

TJ's easy guide to going green!

OK...I know what you are thinking. I am no real big fan of all these 'green friendly' ideas. My belief is that the planet will be here, survive, and thrive long after we're gone. I was thinking recently that if you consider the fact we have not mastered the art of cryonics, nor can we travel off our galactic block so to speak, I guess we should consider doing things a bit differently. Below you will find my easy, step by step guide to doing your part in protecting our precious resources.

Save water - Shower in pairs!

This is the #1 best way to save that most vital of resources, water. By grabbing a coed, you cut the amount of water you use by a whopping 1/2! The average shower uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute (per USGS estimates), so a ten minute shower uses 25 gallons! Showering together will save you 12.5 gallons per shower! That's a kind of savings that will warm any environmentalists heart! (Thanks go out to Kelly Farris for the assist on this one!)

Save energy - Reduce the temperature and find a cuddle buddy!

All the experts agree that one of the biggest ways that the average person can save energy is by reducing the temperature in your home by just a few degrees and grab a sweater. Well, you can save even more energy by reducing the ambient temperature in your bedroom to just a few degrees above the outside temp in the winter! Then all you need to do is grab that special someone and keep each other warm. Survival experts will tell you that the most efficient way to share warmth is by skin to skin contact. One warm quilt plus two naked bodies equals environmental bliss!

Save landfill space - Use rechargeable batteries!

Ladies (and some guys), by switching to environmentally friendly rechargeable batteries you can reduce the hundreds of thousands of disposable batteries that end up in our landfills from all of your 'toys'. With just a few sets of rechargeables, you can play to your hearts (and every other part) content, confident in the knowledge that you are saving valuable landfill space!

Reduce impact from clothing - go natural

If you ask any person who is doing a lot to reduce their environmental impact one of their favorite ways to reduce their impact is by buying gently used clothing from local thrift stores. Not only does it save everything that goes into making an article of clothing (land used for growing cotton, energy wasted in producing the fabric, energy wasted and pollution from transporting, etc) but many of the thrift shops (like Goodwill) use the money raised from the sale of donated items to support social programs. I say, if you want to really become truly green, you should dispense the need for clothing entirely! In 2009, 9.1 MILLION acres of land in the US alone was used in the planting of cotton (Per the National Cotton Council stats). Imagine how much of that land could be used for other green ideas if it wasn't needed to grow all that cotton!

Can't go clothes free? - Go commando!

Ok, I'll admit, most of us are unwilling to go the au natural route even if all the indecency laws would be stricken from the books (and believe me, I'm no exception). The average household does around 400 loads of laundry in a standard year (per Energy Star estimates). Here's an easy way to see what kind of impact you have. Take all your unmentionables and place them all in the washer (just for scale). now, if say you have one load of undies and you wash them, say every other week, that's 26 loads of laundry per year that you save by just getting rid of the first layer! 26 loads of water and detergent is great savings for both the planet and the wallet!

By following these simple, eco-friendly suggestions, soon even you can be proud to shout, "I'm green and I'm LOVING it!"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jane, stop this crazy thing!

OK, I'll admit that ill, overtired and more than a little pissy is no mood for good writing, but as long as I'm going to be awake anyway, I might as well put the time to good use.

If you saw my post from last weekend, you'll know that the ups and downs in my life have been a little bit out of whack. Well, dear readers, apparently we ain't seen nothing yet. The great cosmic roller coaster that is my life cannot go a few hours without correcting itself. We'll put aside the fact that I had three Mondays this week (believe me, we'll touch on that later) and just concentrate on the end of the week and work from there.

Friday promised to be a, well...if not good, at least a decent day by my recent standards. Yea, I did wake up with the first twinges of a cold, but working in an elementary school now, I'm pretty sure that my life will be an unending series of head colds and other various viruses. What was going to make it good-ish was the fact that I was going to be able to squeeze in about an hour of happiness before work. It was too. That hour was quite nice even if it was way too short. At this point I should have went with my gut...It was telling me to slag off work in favor of more fun. However, as a 'responsible' adult, I trudged to work anyway. How was I rewarded for my devotion to my occupation? That's right...the twinge of a cold hits me full force less than two hours into my shift, effectively taking my feet right out from under me. In retrospect, it wasn't so bad...I've worked through colds before and I did have my phone which allowed me access to some relief, so it wasn't completely unbearable.

So what do I get hit with when I get home? Of course, another bump in the personal road. One more fire in the making that will need to be stamped out before it has a chance to toast me to a delightful shade of charcoal black.

Of course, Monday started off the week with fireworks of it's very own. I came to find out that, due to a rare set of circumstances, my payroll check bounced. Yessiriebob...I get to jump through more hoops than a show dog (one of which is STILL being navigated) just to get the money I earned back and all the fees removed. Of course, the bank can't be arsed to process all the fees on the same day...Oh no...that would be to f'ing easy. Let's do one a day for THREE DAYS just to make it more interesting. Oh yea...turning Tuesday and Thursday into Mondays makes my life so much more interesting.

I understand that the world needs balance. The whole system would collapse without it. Honestly though, does the counterbalance have to come SO DAMN FAST?! Can't I enjoy the good for more than an hour or two before the next ton of bricks hits me on the head? One question that has been rolling around my head a lot these past few days is, at what point does constantly picking yourself up turn from noble and courageous to pathetic and foolish?

I'm starting to think that a balanced world doesn't include me being happy. Up until recently, I would have been content to sacrifice a bit of happiness for some stability. Not now though. I have a reason to keep picking myself up and refusing to dust myself off after the brushback pitch. Is it foolish? Maybe. Will I begin to look pathetic? More than likely. The thing is, I got a taste of happiness that I haven't had in quite some time. Once I got it, I had no idea how much I missed it. If I'm going to go down hard, than dammit, I'm going down kicking and screaming...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

You come and come and go....

Yea, I'll probably never forgive myself for using a Culture Club reference for the title, but I guess I'll just have to live with it!

Whether they want to believe it or not, most people believe in the concept of Karma. Even if you are not a follower of Buddhism or Hinduism, where Karma is a big influence, you have to admit that if you do good things, good things will happen to you. I'm no different. As you saw if you read my writings over the past months, religion was something that just wasn't a fit for me. Still, I've seen too many times where good people get good things because they did good deeds. I've also seen bad people get what was coming to them for their bad deeds. Yea, bad people get good things and good people get crapped on, but overall, things do equal out.

Which brings me to me. Yes, I've made mistakes in my past, but none have been close to what you would consider evil. Yes, there was one chapter of my life that was quite bad and more than a little immoral, but that is long behind me and will never happen again. Over the past few years, I have tried to do good as much as possible. It was not that I was looking for good return Karma (well, at least most of the time!) I was just trying to do the right thing. Now I'm confused. I can't for the life of me figure out what it was that I did that allowed the current run of good. It's just over and above anything that my manic depressive roller coaster of a life has ever given me before.

As you may have noticed, it's been almost a month since anything was posted here. It's not that there wasn't anything I wanted to write about...I had several ideas and a couple even have drafts that were partially written. The two biggest hurdles were the total lack of desire to write and a bit of a lack of time. The lack of time was partially due to the depression of mine requiring me to sleep a lot more than I had before. Now, suddenly, there's a big boost of energy and motivation. With a little luck (and me not having to rely on my total lack of memory) I can take this and pour it into my book and finally get that finished.

There is only one question I have left to get over. How far do I push this? Good Karma is one thing, but pressing my luck during the good run may just push that old roller coaster into a steep dive. For anyone that knows me, I'm not one to do the smart thing very often! Do I push my luck and go for the gold or do I settle for the bronze? I'd love to take some time to think about it before I make that decision. Unfortunately, there's no way of telling how long this good streak will last. Stay tuned my dear reader...this could get interesting...