Logic Problems, or How to Revel in Repetition

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do in school was logic problems. In case you weren’t blessed with these frustrating and satisfying puzzles in your youth (or since), here’s an example:

enter image description here

In the words of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (movie, not TV show-blasphemy, I know), “It may not sound too exciting to a scone-head like you, but I think it’s swell.”

These are puzzles that depend on deductions from the written clues to successfully complete the grid so that it looks like this:

Image result for completed logic problem grid

A more contemporary version of this logic problem is Sudoku, but whereas the grid above relies on written statements, Sudoku simply translates those into completed squares on the Sudoku grid:

Image result for sudoku puzzle

Some of these logic problems and Sudoku puzzles are very challenging, and solutions don’t always come after a preliminary evaluation of the statements, clues, or fixed starting numbers. On some of the most challenging puzzles I’ve encountered, I won’t complete a single square until after several minutes of review.

Even after that initial period of review, completing the puzzle is slow and meticulous. You read through the list of statements. You scan each number and try to eliminate or establish it inside each square or group or lines.

It’s frustrating.

It’s time-consuming.

It literally makes my brain hurt.

But damn if it isn’t one of my most favorite things.

In examining the logic problems, I realize that they’re not unlike philosophy owing to the constant evaluation and refinement of assumed truths or deduced conclusions.

Philosophy has always been equally terrifying and enthralling for me. Big questions that beget more questions that don’t beget a whole lot of answers, but they sure do hurt your brain and give you more questions to hurt your brain. These puzzles use the same process as philosophy, but have far less significant results.

One of my favorite lines from The Perfect Score (2004) is as Roy and Desmond are going through SAT questions, they have this exchange:

Roy : You know, a lot of people would think these questions are difficult… not me.

Desmond: No?

Roy : No. These questions all have answers.

That’s why I take comfort in these problems. They all have solutions. Big philosophical questions may never sufficiently be answered, but the logic involved in these puzzles helps with how to approach those bigger questions.

Poring over logic problems may not seem very rewarding. It’s not the end result that I enjoy, although there are few things in this world that bring me as much satisfaction as completing anything, whether it’s a video game, a list of chores, a puzzle, or a piece of writing. The end result is a byproduct of the process. The process is reliable. Working things out logically is like a science experiment. The rules are constant, the tests are repeatable, and the data is consistent.

In the example logic problem at the top of this post, because Adam is listed with two people with the surnames Ambrose and Masters, it is logical to conclude that neither of those are his surname. You read and re-read the statements to deduce the identity, dwelling, and major of all the students, each time refining your conclusions based not only on the language in the statements, but also the deductions made from your previous passes.

It’s like math. It’s kind of hard if you don’t know the process, but if you do, there’s a serenity that comes with the reliability of repetition.

Trusting the process is one of my goals for 2019. I’ve always been terrible at the work part of creative work. There have been times when I’ve sat down and written and been productive, but it’s so sporadic that it has never amounted to a routine or a process.

Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ’til noon. or seven ’til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up

– Stephen King, On Writing

I’ve never been dependable. I fly by the seat of my pants. I run from responsibility. I am the most hesitant leader you will ever meet. I’ve struggled with this time and again in my marriage, my friendships, my work history, and my artistic pursuits, and they’ve all suffered for it.

My inaction and unreliability come from weird places; perfectionism and circumspection.

I know that sounds like bragging, but I haven’t thought of perfectionism or circumspection as beneficial in years. Circumspection paralyzes movement because you see the validity of every side of an argument. Perfectionism further paralyzes movement, because it activates a fear of failure, mediocrity, and disappointment. Better to not create than to create something bad. Better to make no decision than to make a bad one.

Image result for oh what a lie

Lies. All lies. Done is better than perfect. Run aground is better than left adrift. Failure is not the opposite of success. It is PART OF IT.

Trust. The. Process.

The process will ensure that work gets done. Not everything is going to be perfect. Not everything will be good. A lot of it will be shit. My Mario game was shit once, too. But I kept at it. I learned from mistakes. I tried over and over and over. I started over from scratch. I asked for help. I saw how other people did it. I failed a lot.

Writing is rewriting.

Rewriting is repetition.

Repetition is the process.

The process is a game.

Let’s play.

Image result for super mario world running gif

2018, GTFO

Goodbye, 2018.

January took forever, Black Panther came out in February, March had a Friday the 13th, April gave us a new album by A Perfect Circle and Infinity War, May was when my twins were born…

I’m realizing that 2018 was not as bad as I remember. I got a new job that is so much better than where I was. My mother-in-law got married. I drew a lot. I have health insurance for the first time since I was laid off over four years ago.

There are dumpster fires that need to be put out. There are mistakes that have been made. There are always areas for growth, for maturation, for synonyms.

Tomorrow is just another tomorrow. We get those every day. The end of a year is just an arbitrary delineation. But if it inspires you to do better and strive harder and believe bigger and live larger, then run with that.

Make tomorrow what you want it to be. Live deliberately. Do it on purpose.

Happy New Year, y’all.

This is a post.

A what?

A post.

A what?

A post.

Oh, a post.

I haven’t done anything for NaNoWriMo. Not a drop in the bucket. I haven’t posted on here in around 2 years, I think. It’s insane how the time flies away. Now or never is perpetually prophetically proverbial.

Whatever you want to do, do it. Make time. Stop absentmindedly watching Netflix while scrolling through Instagram on your phone and trying to hold a conversation with your spouse. Be present. My parents always used to tell me, “people do what they want.” If you wanted to write, if you wanted to read, if you wanted to make movies, if you wanted to educate yourself on history, politics, civics, ANYTHING… you would do it instead of the nothing you always seem to find yourself doing. And don’t overplan. Planning can be another form of procrastination. So can overthinking. The way your brain works is very similar to how everyone else’s brain works, and if a stream of consciousness piece makes sense to you both as you’re writing it and as you reread it, it’ll make sense to your audience. That’s how I write stories. If something is funny to me, chances are it’ll be funny to someone else. If something is tragic, someone else will think it’s tragic. I teared up the other day because my wife and I were watching something I can’t even remember now and it made me think of the times I’ve been in a theater watching a movie I made with an audience and how for me there are few experiences that even come close to that feeling. Hearing that connection as an audience reacts to the things you thought were funny or scary or hurtful or heartwarming. That’s what storytellers are looking for. Some people call it validation, which is absolutely something that we all look for, but in a broader sense, that validation comes from connection. From feeling like you’re not alone. Like any of the other magic meat-covered skeletons hurtling through the infinite vastness of space on this galactic dirtball we call home is in some way having even a fraction of the same experience as you.

I feel so tired and angry and isolated and crowded and busy and bored and desperate and contented.

Life is not binary. It’s not black and white. It’s a mushed up ball of billions of colors of Play-Doh. And things get lost. They fall by the wayside unless you make them a priority. So whatever you’re going to do, do it fast.


*I trust you’ll understand the reference to an American musical without my havin’ to name the play.

Maybe just a few of you.

That would be enough.


Today was good. Tough, full of work, but good. Wifey and I decided to make our rental house a little more home-y. Forget that I’ve never needed to hang things on plaster walls (wall anchors and special masonry drill, in case you’re interested). Forget that we have a 3-year-old daughter and an anxious border collie that both hated the loud noises coming from the drill. Forget that while putting our bed frame back together after years of box springs on the floor, I smashed my finger between two heavy pieces of steel. Forget that we were working around the mess me made as we worked. Forget all that. We were determined to make our house our home.

We hung pictures, art, and a clock.

We installed curtains to erase the mini-blinds.

We put our bed back on its frame for the first time in almost three years.

At the end of the day, after the kiddo was sawing logs in her big-girl bed and the cousin-dog who had been our weekend-long guest was safely back home, we decided to get some Taco Bell.

That’s when the storm came through.

I was sitting in the drive-thru when I saw the first big flash of lightning and Wifey texted me that we were apparently getting a big storm, like… Soon.

It was mostly lightning and some scattered rain from what I could tell. No big deal.

I paid for my order, took the bag, and drove off into more lightning and rain. It almost seemed to have eased up.

As soon as I got onto my street, someone gave the order to turn on the RAIN.

“Of course. NOW it starts raining like this,” I said as I pulled into my driveway.

It has always been my experience in rainstorms that if I’m inside, it’s raining less than when I go outside. It has also been my experience that if I’m ready to make the transition from inside to out, that the rain will just build and build until I acknowledge my defeat and trudge out into the every-type-of-rain-they-is scene from Forrest Gump.

Vietnam Rain

Tonight was no exception.

I turned off the car and grabbed the drinks and bag, and the rain came down harder. I opened the door and stepped out. The rain came down harder. I walked toward the house, and the rain came down even harder. I was regretting my decision not to wear a coat into the rainless night that had greeted me when I left the house earlier.

I was about halfway to the door when the rain shredded the paper bag in my right hand and threw all the food on the ground.

PIctured: Rain

Much like the father in A Christmas Story, I wove a tapestry of obscenities that, for all we know, may still be hanging in the air over Lake Michigan. This persisted as I crouched to snatch the sabotaged sustenance, cradled it to my body like a mother protecting their child, and fished my keys out of my pocket to open the as-yet-locked side door of our house.

As soon as I was inside, I put the food and drinks down on the counter and witnessed the carnage of orange Taco Bell greasemeat all over my favorite white button-up. I now lamented my decision not to wear my nice, black coat.

Or I would have, if I hadn’t been so busy Hulking out.

I was so enraged in that moment that I literally ripped the front of my shirt open and heard buttons ricochet off the walls. I tore the shirt off, balled it up, and spat something about how the damn thing was ruined anyway before whipping it into the trash.

I had gone from “rain is sometimes inconvenient” to “SKYWATER HAS RUINED MY LIFE” in the span of maybe two minutes.

I got soaked, the bag ripped, the food got waterlogged, and my shirt got ruined; You could say things compounded.

My wife, who had been in the bedroom comforting our drill-hating border collie that also hates storms and had taken up emergency residence under our newly reformed bed, came out to see me soaked and shirtless and fuming. Naturally she asked if I was okay, and all I could do was stand there with the angry face I inherited from my mother and breathe heavily through my flaring nostrils.

This is an artist’s representation of what followed:


Best of wives and best of women.

In hindsight, I knew it was stupid to rage. But not in the moment. Oh, no. Never in the moment.

Fast-forward to a few hours later. I was back outside with the dogs. No rain. I looked up into the sky. All stars. No clouds.

Not a single cloud.

And I realized, “Well, that’s life.”

I had a beautiful, productive, fun- and love-filled day with my family, and then a short, scattered, and furious thunderstorm whirled in and hurled my world into disarray.

I got angry, destroyed one of my favorite shirts, and injected the memory of this awesome day with a childish tantrum that I can’t un-throw.

Life is filled with storms. Storms don’t last. Weather them with as much calm and care as you can, or you can lose things that matter to you.

And remember that the skies will be clear again.

2016: A Nowtrospective

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (which I’ve not read, btw), author Stephen R. Covey declares one of the titular habits thusly: Begin with the End in Mind.

Real original, dude. Begin your New Year’s post with a quote from a culture-saturating motivational book.

Hey, shut up. This is my post, and I’ll do what I want with it.


It’s with that idea in mind that I’m doing a New Year’s restrospective, not on the year that has just ended, but rather with the year that lies ahead.

You know this whole “New Year” thing is really a misnomer. It’s just another day. You can make changes at any second of any minute of any day of any month of any year. But hey, yaaaaaaaay inspiration! Tony Robbins, blahblahblah.




In 2016, I:

  1. Did All the Things I Set Out to Do.


I’m going to admit that this list is not a complete one.  In a book that I actually read this year called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (lotta Ste(v/ph)ens in this game, apparently), one of the things he talked about was not sharing your goals with everyone. The idea behind that is if you share your goals, dreams, intentions, etc., with everyone, you get a false sense of accomplishment just by laying out that list. I had always thought that spelling out your goals for others to see would make them hold you responsible should you start to slip or pull some much-needed encouragement when things get rough.

The flaw with that plan, besides weighing everyone else down with the responsibility of keeping your divergent butt on track, you’re also surrendering the active ownership of your goals to other people.

Nobody is going to do the work I need to do for me. Nobody else can. I know several people that would love to, have asked how to help, and offered whatever they have in order to help me. The answer is simple.

I have to do the work.

I’ve never been good at doing the work. In school, once I learned how to do something, homework was useless to me because I didn’t see the point. That was from elementary school. It took me many years and thousands upon thousands of dollars in student loan debt to understand the value of doing the work and seeing it turn into good grades, opportunities, and eventually my first published academic paper.

In another book I read this year–

Why isn’t this just the list of books you read this year?


–That’s not a bad idea. Maybe when I’m done waxing philosophical. On Writing by Stephen King. It’s an amazing read, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. In this guide, the creepiest dude in Maine lays it out like this: “Amateurs wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

On Writing and The War of Art have had a great influence on me this year, and what I took away from both of them was that the most important thing is to do the work. Reading these books, I felt like Bart Simpson at the chalkboard scrawling out line after line of “I will do my work.”

“I will do my work” doesn’t just apply to writing, though. I have many goals that I want to see fulfilled so I can look back on 2016 and be satisfied that I did everything I could to make those goals become realities.

One goal I had from 2015 was to read more. Now that the year is over, I’ll share with you the list of books I read in 2015.

  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • The Shining – Stephen King
  • V for Vendetta – Alan Moore
  • The Last Days of Video – Jeremy Hawkins
  • Button, Button / Uncanny Stories – Richard Matheson
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  • Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (previously read)
  • Ultimate Spider-Man TPBs vols. 1-22 – Brian Michael Bendis
  • Ultimate X-Men TPBs vols. 1-12 – Mark Millar, et al.
  • Tough Sh*t – Kevin Smith
  • Carrie – Stephen King
  • In the Blink of an Eye – Walter Murch
  • Deadpool Kills Deadpool – Cullen Bunn
  • TMNT/Ghostbusters – Erik Burnham & Tom Waltz
  • Gotham by Gaslight – Bryan Augustyn
  • Superior – Mark Millar & Leinil Yu
  • Tales From the Script – Peter Hanson & Paul Robert Herman
  • The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
  • Dancing Barefoot – Wil Wheaton
  • Jaws – Peter Benchley
  • Y: The Last Man Deluxe Books 1-3 – Brian K. Vaughn & Pia Guerra

Jeez, there are sure a lot of comic books–

You read through V for Vendetta and tell me it’s not a novel that happens to have pictures. But sure. Not counting comics, I still read 14 books this year. I started more than that, but I’ve only included the books I finished. I guess that could be a subheading for my one-item list up there:

In 2016, I:

  1. Finished What I Started.

It's too good to use just once.
It’s too good to use just once.


I’m off to a good start. I finished this post.

Happy New Year, everyone.


Do the work.

6 Things Nobody Gives A Shit About

It’s July. Harry Potter’s birthday is coming up.

“Afraid I might have sat on it at some point, but I imagine it’ll taste fine just the same.”

I turned 32 last month, and I’ve always felt my birthday acts in tandem with New Year’s as a semi-annual review and analysis of where I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m going. This mid-2014 review has left me feeling down in the dumps. I made the dean’s list the past three semesters, which is a feat heretofore unheard of for me. I submitted a paper on metahorror to my university’s academic journal at the request of my professor. I won an award for best original score at the film festival, and was nominated in the screenplay and editing categories.


I was also laid off in February. That has dominated a fair amount of my mood over the past five months. I felt discounted. Expendable. Why was I so easy to let go? I’m smart. I’m nice. I’m friendly. I’m lots of adjectives.

The time I’ve had to spend with my wife and daughter has been amazing, but it’s been tainted by this looming threat of no work and no money, compounded by the inevitability of my unemployment running out. Being unemployed, mixed with my complacency and sense of righteous indignation over being (in my estimation) unfairly let go have added nothing but tension at home. Lots of late nights that only ended in frustration, fear, helplessness, indecision, and sometimes, tears.

After our most recent session, I focused on how I had gotten where I was. I remembered a Cracked article I read a couple of years ago entitled “6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You A Better Person“. It’s an excellent article that lives up to its title. It’s harsh. It’s true. And it helps you become a better person. For the TL;DR crowd, or those that don’t like clicking off to other pages in the middle of an article, I’ll boil down the article to its headings:

  • The World Only Cares About What It Can Get From You
  • The Hippies Were Wrong
  • What You Produce Does Not Have To Make Money, But It Does Have To Benefit People
  • You Hate Yourself Because You Don’t Do Anything
  • What You Are Inside Only Matters Because Of What It Makes You Do
  • Everything Inside You Will Fight Improvement

You’re lucky I don’t just repost the entire article here, because it’s worth it. I’ll just link the scene from Glengarry Glen Ross (Foley, 1992) that the author references multiple times. ***Fair Warning*** NSFW language in this clip.

Remember how I said I was a lot of adjectives before? We’re all a bunch of adjectives. People can’t use adjectives. People need verbs.

"Dad... Is this the no follow-through speech?"
“Dad… Is this the no follow-through speech?”

After reading that article, I was struck particularly by the sections titled “The World Only Cares About What It Can Get From You”, and “You Hate Yourself Because You Don’t Do Anything.” I thought about what shortcomings I have as far as who I am versus what I do, and was inspired to compile the titular list of…


1. Your Past

I’m not saying a potential employer has no interest or right to perform a background check, or that your sexual history shouldn’t matter to your future spouse. Your past may be sparkling with meritorious efforts that defy human limitation. But that’s not going to matter if you can’t deliver on those expectations now.

Think of it as a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately situation. The Sixth Sense (Shyamalan, 1999) is a taut and subtle masterpiece of terror, isolation,  and uncertainty. The last Shyamalan film I saw was The Happening (2008). The fact that The Sixth Sense is great does not make me want to see the dude’s new films.


Just because you’ve done great things in the past does not entitle you to do nothing in the future. You must continue proving yourself, or people will discard you.

2. Your Potential

Just like your past, your potential is not a guarantee of the quality of your future. Unlike your past, your potential may be some immeasurable, amorphous, invisible thing to everybody but you. And let’s face it, you may be lying to yourself about your potential. A jet engine has the potential to fall right out of the sky and land on you as you read this. But it’s probably not going to happen.

"You're welcome."
“You’re welcome.”

Saying you have untapped potential is a nice way to feel better about yourself even though you’re not producing, creating, achieving, or trying anything. But nobody cares about all the amazing crap you’ve never made or done for the same reason you can’t buy anything with bars of gold-pressed latinum: they don’t exist. M. Night may not be putting butts in the seats like he used to, but he’s far more likely to get a directing job than someone who’s written and directed 17 different versions of alternate Star Wars prequels in their head.

Worst. Star Trek reference. Ever.

You want to have other people realize your potential? You have to at least partially realize it yourself first.

3. Your Insecurities

People are far too busy  to reassure you that you’re awesome, wonderful, pretty, and talented. You have to tell yourself that you’re awesome, wonderful, pretty, and talented.

"Time for our daily affirmation."
“Time for our daily affirmation.”

If you walk into an audition, an interview, a party, or a bathroom and have to ask yourself if you belong there, you don’t. Nobody is going to tell you that you belong there, they’ll just show you the door. Why should they waste time reassuring you when there are tens, hundreds, maybe thousands of people that know they belong there and will gladly and quickly take your place?

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got about interviewing/auditioning/etc. is that everybody wants you to be the one. That director? She wants you to be the perfect person to fill this role. That supervisor? She wants you to be the ideal candidate for this job. Leave your insecurities at the door and let them form their own opinion.

4. Your Opinion 

So you didn’t like Transformers 4? Nobody cares.

"I'll say hi to your mother myself."
“I’ll say hi to your mother myself.”

Your opinion doesn’t hold a lot of weight even when people want it. It holds less when it’s unsolicited. I realize that saying that in what is essentially an advice piece like this might seem conflicting. No one said you had to read this. Stop now. Or don’t. I don’t care. I’m not really doing this for you. BECAUSE I DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOUR OPINION.


Bottom line: If people want your opinion, they will ask you. And even then, they probably won’t care.

5. Your Hurt Feelings

Has someone made fun of you or something you made? Has someone rejected you, berated you, yelled at you? Has this list made you feel threatened, ridiculed, or hurt? Are you offended?


That should prepare you for how much someone out there will care that you’re offended. Or hurt. Or overlooked.

I was a senior in high school when a friend of mine ditched me and sold me out. Two years later, a mutual friend asked why it was still bothering me; the ditcher never mentioned it. I explained that if someone steps on your foot, they’re not really affected by it like you are. They keep walking while you deal with the pain.

And that sucks. But it’s the way it is. And the sooner you realize that, the sooner you can stop whining about it and direct that whining energy into something that counts.

6. Your Excuses

This is the big one. Excuses will wreck you. There’s that old adage: If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way; if not, you’ll find an excuse.

Nobody wants to hear:

  • Why you screwed up.
  • Why it’s not done.
  • Why you couldn’t get to it.
  • Why you’re late.
  • Why you’re sorry.
  • That you’re sorry.

That’s a short list of crap that people don’t want to hear. Believe me. I know. People don’t want to deal with the fact that whatever you said would happen didn’t. They don’t want to deal with an excuse on top of disappointment. They want results. Don’t make excuses, make it happen.

Cap'n optional.
Cap’n optional.

The most important person that doesn’t give a shit about your excuses should be you. We have this ability called rationalization that is both great and terrible. The great thing is it helps you feel better about yourself when there is literally nothing you could have done to affect an outcome. The terrible thing is it allows you to justify not doing absolutely everything within your power to affect an outcome.

Ten years from now, if you’ve made excuses not to do things, try things, challenge yourself, or exceed your own expectations, nobody is going to be more affected by that than you.

Ultimately, you should be your own harshest critic because your success is just one more thing nobody else is going to give a shit about.

This list was self-targeted to the point of being therapeutic. These are things I didn’t want to hear when I was younger. They’re things I didn’t want to hear when I was writing them. But they are things that I absolutely believe will benefit you if you let them.

Thanks for reading.

Semi-Annual Post!

Man, it’s been almost a year since I posted on here. What HAVE you all been doing without me? Other than living full, outdoors-y lives with lots of fun, traveling, sunshine, and meeting real people in locations outside your own home?


I may have overshot my estimations of what people who read this blog do with their free time.

The reason I haven’t posted here since you replaced your 12 Months of Gary Oldman calendar is due to the fact that I now have an 11-month old daughter. (Almost 12 months since I posted, 11-month daughter… hmm.)

Her name’s Joely, and she’s adorable, sweet, fun, she smells like heaven, and requires constant supervision. I remember a joke Dana Carvey made about how having kids was like being in a club, and if you’re ever curious about what being in that club felt like, just go out and adopt a hundred-year-old man who needs 24-hour nursing care. I laughed at that joke before I had a kid. Now it’s more like:


But while she’s hilarious and a handful, she’s not the only reason I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ve also been busy with school and work. School’s going really well, and I made the Dean’s List for two semesters. More on that later.

Work isn’t going so well. Well, work isn’t really going at all. I was laid off in February, and there are days (or nights, I guess) that I miss it. I still don’t feel like I don’t belong in that building. I keep catching myself saying things like “over by work” and thinking how I can print things off there before realizing I can’t. I miss the guys I worked with, and I miss the time it gave me for school or other projects. It feels weird to be so sentimental about a job, especially since I was never without a complaint about it, but I worked there for over five years. That’s the longest I’ve ever had a job. In some ways, it feels like one of the longest relationships I’ve ever had. And now it’s over.


One good thing is that I got a nice severance, and I’ll be getting unemployment while I’m in school. The other good thing is that I’ve got a lot more time that I can devote to things for school. Like film shoots. I’m part of a Production Workshop course (and probably will be until I graduate) in which every member has to pitch short film ideas at the beginning of the semester. Eight were chosen to be produced over the course of the semester, and one of them was mine! I was overjoyed that mine got picked, but in my excitement, I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I elected to be producer, director, screenwriter, and editor. I may have a control problem; we’re looking into it. I also ended up with the very first production slot, which was February 28-March 2, which gave us roughly three weeks to get everything together. I’ve done 48-hour film festivals before, so I thought it would be fine. And it was, mostly. I had never directed with any sort of crew before, so it was difficult for me to find my groove, and I’m still not sure I have. But I learned a lot, and I feel more than confident that I will do infinitely better my next time out.

The movie is about a young man that tries to catch the attention of a young woman by changing himself to match the cues he gets from her. She reads a book, he reads that book. She knits, he knits. And so on and so forth. It’s all set in a diner, and I lucked out by getting someone on my crew that had an in with the owner of a local place called Con Con’s.


I cannot describe how awesome this was. She gave us free reign of the place during her only day off, and by doing so, essentially gave us our entire production. The place is great, and the food is excellent. If you’re ever in Bowling Green (or if you live here), head over to 1924 Russellville Road, pop down in a booth, and have some delicious homestyle cooking. And tell Connie that Colin sent you.

In addition to that film monopolizing most of my thoughts this semester, I’m also taking Producing, Scriptwriting, and Horror classes, which means I’m staying pretty busy. Spring Break hasn’t lived up to its name, since this is the one time I feel like I can catch up on everything I’ve been neglecting around the house and with school. It’s amazing how the time just disappears when your days involve taking care of an infant. We make a list of five things we want to do in a day, and maybe complete one of them. But this week has been productive. I got the treadmill set up, reorganized my office, hung pictures that have been on the floor for six months, and offloaded all of the pictures and videos on my phone. It’s crazy.

Speaking of houses, we moved since the last time I posted here. We’re actually in a rental house now, which is infinitely better than the apartment. Our crazy dogs have a big backyard to run around, and I have a nice, tall deck from which to throw frisbees and tennis balls.

I would love to tell you more, but I’m about to fall asleeeeeeeefrgtyhbnujmk

Photo on 2014-03-12 at 02.34

Act II

Spring Break is over, and now I feel like so many of us feel after vacations:


My spring break wasn’t even that raucous. The wildest thing I did was shake my butt at a baby shower. It was part of a game, it’s not like I just up and started rump-shakin’ in the middle of the ladies’ social. Not that I would put that past myself.

I’ve been at work this weekend, which has been its own vacation in a way. Just being able to sit still and quietly read The Art of Drew Struzan, catch up on some Netflix viewing, and write a post while rocking out to my 90s playlist has been very restful. Working the nights/weekends shift at a call center has its advantages.


By now you’re wondering why it says Act II at the top of the page. Maybe you’re Shakespearing your pantaloons at the mention of anything theatrical. What are we, British? No, we just like their TV shows better.

Go on. Say you don't like them.
Go on. Say you don’t like them.

Act II is a realization that Intermission is over with, and now it’s time to gear up for the second half where everything gets more intense leading up to the climax. Getting back to school is going to mean more assignments, tests, projects, meetings, and preparation for next semester. It’s nothing I can’t handle, I just have to get back in the headspace of using every second to do something productive.

Add to that the fact that my kid is making her debut sometime before school gets out, and you’ve got a recipe for an exciting second half. We still have to build the crib (which should arrive this week), make arrangements for a Baby Bunk, find a place for everything we got at the shower (which was a LOT. Thanks, everyone!), and take care of the regular housework like trash, dogs, laundry, etc. Aubrey’s been a champ about getting all the secondhand baby clothes we’ve gotten into the wash. I think it has to do with the smell of Dreft.


With all these things to do, it’s easy to forget that due dates aren’t an exact science, no matter what the professionals in the medical community would have you believe. But to be fair, with too many of them, C-Sections (which are serious surgeries we’ve somehow been duped into thinking are on the same level as having a mole removed, except, apparently, really not optional) are a scheduled procedure. So what’s to guess about?


But I digress… Due dates are not set in stone. The kid could show up early, late, or right on time. Aubrey is 35 weeks today, and 37 weeks is full-term. Our OB said she’d let us go to 41 weeks “as long as everything’s okay” (see the above picture), so that leaves us with a window of a month. So instead of a test date, we have a pop quiz looming over us.

Don’t get me wrong. When my kid decides it’s time for her premiere, I’ll be there in a tux t-shirt, with school and work falling by the wayside. (Plus, I already told everyone this was bound to happen in April.) But until then, I’ve got to be as diligent as I can be.

On a side note, something else I’m pretty excited about:


I finally got a new battery for my laptop! It’ll officially be portable again! It hasn’t been portable since late last year!

So things are looking up! Laptop’s working, job’s going well, baby’s room is coming together, school’s starting back up, and my wife and I had a nice little week that we got to spend close to each other.

But for now, back to the grind.


My Imaginary Life

When I walk around campus with my headphones in and my music blaring, I wonder if anyone notices that I’m walking in time to the music. I like to think that they don’t. But then I like to think that if they did, they would all know exactly what I was listening to and start flashmobbing all over campus so it looks like an expertly choreographed dance scene. Then I imagine a tracking shot that follows me listening to the music and singing along and seeing these crazy people dancing to my beat. Then I get to a main drag with lots of space and I stop walking, throw my backpack off to the side, and I lead everyone in a reenactment of the best dance moves from Michael Jackson.


When I walk to and from the restroom at work, I pretend that I’m Tony Stark flying around in my Iron Man suit. Or maybe I pretend the floor mats in the break room are colossal edifices and I use my superhuman agility to jump the huge distances between them. I absolutely play air instruments and under-the-desk drums. Sometimes when I’m driving in the car, I’ll construct menacing conversations in which I am both the protagonist and antagonist. Or I’ll put on some bumpin’ tunes and imagine I’m in a high-octane chase. I think about what I would want to say to various famous people if ever we met. Then I think of what would actually come out of my mouth in that scenario. I almost constantly have in my mind’s eye an idea of where the cameras would be if my life were a movie. I still play with the GI Joes I keep in an old shoebox. I let my hand parkour off of desks, chairs, walls, handrails, and generally anything it comes in contact with (I try to keep it away from people, don’t worry).


I’m a weirdo.

I would describe myself as having an active imagination. Sometimes I think that makes me immature, but then I realize that being immature and being child-like are two different things. My last post was about how much I had changed and the success I’ve had this year, and it’s resulted in me feeling more adult. I worry about keeping my child-like qualities as this progresses. But then I think about how Joely’s going to be born soon, and how I’m going to a) have a sense of wonder about her, and b) I’ll get to see things with the same wonder she’ll have as she experiences them for the first time.

Childlike wonder

I really need to find a way to meld these two areas. Get some discipline into my imagination and some imagination into my discipline.

Delicious creative discipline.
Delicious creative discipline.

On a lighter note, I just have this week of school to get through, then we go to Indiana for our baby shower! (We’re registered at Babies R Us and Target, if anyone’s feeling generous.) That’s right! One week of school including one test, a couple of rehearsal days, a discussion paper, and an academic advising session, and then Spring Break! I don’t have to work this upcoming weekend, either. It’s going to be a lovely vacation.


What crazy stuff do you do when you think nobody’s watching?

Tasty Success

Last year, my wife and I found out we were pregnant after struggling with infertility for roughly three years. In my experience, that kind of news tends to bring the best out in people.

One of my first accomplishments since learning I would be a father was to quit smoking. That had become such an ingrained part of my life, I wasn’t sure I would be able to quit. I never wanted to be a smoker. There are people in my life that may not know I ever was a smoker. I certainly never wanted to be a father who was a smoker. I’m happy to announce that I was able to quit cold turkey, and haven’t had a cigarette since Halloween.


Whether quitting smoking seems like a small thing or a big thing to you, I believe it’s meant all the difference to the direction my life has taken since then. It was, has been, and sometimes continues to be a practice of self-discipline. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. A sense that I can do things that are hard. A sense that I have control of myself.

I had intended to go back to school for the Fall 2012 semester. I didn’t get things taken care of in time to ensure financial aid, and once again, my academic career was put on hold. I decided that wouldn’t happen again. I got readmitted for the Spring 2013 semester, completed all the necessary paperwork for aid, met with an advisor, got a schedule put together, and am currently enjoying full-time student status. Since school started, the lowest grade I’ve received has been an 85. This is another goal I never would have believed I would achieve even two years ago.

This is all while continuing full-time employment at the same job I’ve had for almost five years. That’s cost me in the sleep department, but I look at it as practice for when the kid arrives.


My health has improved since I’ve been taking medication for high blood pressure. I’ve been drinking primarily water (and lots of it), and since my university is situated with a giant hill in the middle of it, I’ve been getting lots of built-in exercise just by going to my first class at the top of the hill, my second class at the bottom of the hill and on the side of campus, and back up to my third class at the top of the hill (and on the third floor).

How I feel walking into class.
How I feel walking into class.

I haven’t missed a single class, though. And I’ve known when all my assignments were due, and when tests were coming up. I’m not ducking my teachers like a guy who owes his bookie. These may seems like no-brainers to you, but to me, this is like deciphering the hieroglyphs of How to Not Suck at College.

I’ve also kept up with my writing on here (except for last week, but we don’t talk about that). So far, I’ve done very well with my goals this year. I think part of that was actually making goals this year. I’m in school doing something I love, I’m providing for my family, and I’m the healthiest I’ve been in a decade.

This 2013 model Colin really is the must-own version.