Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Poisoned

I have never been so sick, so often than I have been in the past several months. And the bastard thing about being sick is that just as you recover, your immune system still isn't fully back to 100%, leaving you vulnerable for something else. I'm just now at the tail end of some stomach horribleness, although the muscles around my gut are only slightly clenched, rather than fully squeezing at my intestines.

Yeah, it's been a trip. I'm back to kind of eating real food again. But what I am struggling the most with is a kind of gripping anxiety and depression. I started my work year off with a lot of good momentum, seeing a lot of people, making the start of my year feel really productive. And it was. And then all this sickness started in the family. Typically starts with the girl, then to Cindy, then to me. Then back again. I have been SO sick that I couldn't possibly sit across the table from clients. Momentum has slowed to a near stop, as I get my bearings and confidence with my stomach.

It's not that I don't know what I need to do to get back to work; to get back at it. I'm just filled with so much anxiety over my present situation, depression over my self-perceived effectiveness... I need to feel and believe that I actually make a difference.

I've struggled with chronic anxiety and depression for many years, unmedicated. Not untreated, just not medicated. To some extent I feel like I've managed it okay. I have good support from Cindy and friends. But I admit it's getting more difficult. A lot more difficult. Maybe it's time to evaluate some kind of medication.

A friend of mine recommended I seek a naturopath to maybe get my immune system back to par. Might not be a bad idea. Just made an appointment for next week.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Discovery of an earlier me. Pun intended.

We are going through a lot of stuff lately, getting ready for the baby. Cindy's in high nesting mode and I"m doing my best to keep up. II do appreciate getting rid of clutter and reevaluating what do we value. We discovered some old journals and diaries, and one in particular kind of jarred my attention. It was the notebook I wrote poetry in when I was in college. The poetry I won't subject you to, but I did find a list of goals, and what appears to be theological understandings. I went through a lot of transformation at PLU theologically, but it's nice to see that I recorded it. I may have been preparing for my candidacy essay as well. Later on I would discover that was folly. Oh well.

I will resist the urge to edit this list, as some of it seems a little silly, but to be true to where I was at in my life I'll preserve it.

In 15 Years, dated March 31, 1998. That means I got one more year left to make good.

  • I will have graduated from PLU
  • Married
  • 1-2 children
  • Graduated from seminary/ordination
  • have a congregation of 800
  • Gone to Scotland and back to develop roots
  • Read Greek and Latin regularly
  • Begun graduate work on Luther theology
  • have worship styles - contemporary (jazz, blues, pop, etc) & traditional
  • have theatrical messages/productions regularly (direct)
  • have a house
  • have investments - mutual funds, etc & untaxable $ for college fund for kids
  • Give theological lectures/discussion groups
  • Developed/created family traditions
  • Develop stronger self esteem
  • Know how to dance
  • Train in martial arts regularly
  • Be a well known figure in the local area
  • Active in Lutheran political work
  • Have good health coverage for whole family and retirement plan
  • Have organized financial life
The congregation size and worship styles goals made me laugh out loud. I can't even begin to unpack what I was thinking then. But it was stunning to see so much of this list actually come to pass. This is interesting because this is BEFORE Dead Gentlemen. At this time I had not developed a plan to go to Scotland, but I fulfilled that part the following year. It's also interesting looking at the financial language I wrote, and the concepts I was thinking about. Who knew I would end up working in the financial industry?

What's not on this list is also pretty amazing. After this, I would go on to:
  • Co-found Dead Gentlemen Productions
  • Direct a feature length movie my senior year of college
  • Travel and study in Scotland, as I previously mentioned
  • Experience serious identity theft
  • Experience the death of a parent
  • Produce DG's most successful project so far, The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, and see that it gets on Netflix
  • Collaborate with an industry leading RPG publishing company to create the Demon Hunters Roleplaying Game, which I would then co-direct the video content of the rebooted Demon Hunters world.
  • Move to Bellingham
  • Help build/repair boats
  • Sell fiberglass 
  • Move to Los Angeles and actually work in the film industry by supplying them with fiberglass and other products, and consult with them on mold making.
  • Be laid off in an economic downturn
  • Sell Volkswagens
  • Go to Germany and visit family
  • Move back to Bellingham with no solid employment lined up
  • Buy a new Volkswagen.
Sure there's tons of other things, but I must say it's been a pretty eventful last 14 years. And now we're having our first child, a daughter, named Caitlyn Iona Early. Her middle name comes from the profound experience I had when I went to the Isle of Iona off the coast of Scotland. Truly magical. Just like this first pregnancy has been.

I'm not going to copy down my theological musings from 14 years ago, but I will say this. They sound VERY similar to my recent musings on Facebook. It's more than interesting to me to find that what is making sense and speaking to me, is something that I had come to understand 14 years ago. Now I feel I just understand it deeper. In another decade, I fully expect another transformation of a similar deepening.

Okay, so it worked the last time, I need to set out some goals for the next decade.

In 10 Years, dated 3/18/2012
  • Sticking with the 1-2 kids
  • Buy a home
  • Buy a house/space for my office/business
  • Visit Scotland with people close to me, and revisit the Isle of Iona.
  • Found a non-profit ecumenical, or at least Lutheran, beer brewing organization that offers proceeds to support local needs, like the Food Bank, Lighthouse Mission, and other things like that.
  • Exercise daily
  • Develop a coveted BBQ sauce
I guess that's about as big as I can dream at the moment. So say we all.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Complacent, or Contentment?

I've been struggling with an odd sensation lately... an absence of ambition. One might think depression or anxiety goes with that, but for me, I'm neither depressed nor fidgety (well apart from my normal bouncing knees when I sit). I discovered this as I tried to set some goals that would motivate me. And I found that I think I pretty much have everything I want out of life.
  • Happily married
  • I love where I live
  • I like my career
  • I have great friends and family
  • I have a car that I love
  • I game regularly
  • ...
Sure there are things I'd like to have, but I've just noticed a kind of lack of passion. The things that used to drive me don't anymore. I'm not unhappy about it, it's actually kind of peaceful.

I feel like something's wrong. Something's missing and I don't know what it is. I'm strangely comfortable and content. Maybe it's complacency?

Camille helped me see that I really haven't done anything truly creative (apart from gaming) since we moved to LA. So yeah, no creative movement probably suggests the lack of a particular passion. But you can't just force that, decide to be passionate about something, or create something when you're not really inspired and you're basically okay with that.

Except I guess I'm not because I'm writing about it, and questioning it. It's just the first time in my life I look around and go, you know, things are pretty great. But I'm only 32, that can't mean I'm done. I got a LONG ways to go.

Help me out folks, what do you think?

Monday, March 29, 2010

My next blog post

Will be way better than this one. I pulled this up as I felt like I had something to say, and then stared at a screen for 2 minutes and realized I really don't.

I have seeds of ideas and reflections that just starting out. I'll disclose them later. Disclose. That's a word I've picked up from my insurance studies.

And who the crap ever thought I'd be studying insurance and securities? I went to PLU and got a degree in Classical Languages because I was going to spank everyone in Biblical Hermeneutics thanks to my ability to read the ancient languages... Ah yes, well that fell through. But my education did give me a rudimentary system of critical thinking and a higher awareness, and a serious amount of close friends that have lasted all this time... Including some professors!

And what have I learned so far, now that I'm almost 32?

When you graduate from High School, you kinda think you know a lot. When you get to college, realize you don't know crap. When you graduate from college, you have a sense of entitlement.Hey, I have a college education. People are supposed to hire me. WRONG! Wait, but I paid all that money. I got great grades. I did everything right... Too bad. The world is not college. You have to pay your dues just like everyone else who didn't go to college.

But in college you learn how to think for yourself, or at least ask good questions. That WILL help. But lose the entitlement stuff. Just accept your lot, take your life by the scruff, and do something about it. Seize opportunities. You could die tomorrow. No really, you could. It sounds like a cop-out, but it happens every day.

But what's the point? Right now, I think the point is to know thyself. Sort out your priorities, and make your life enjoyable. Zombieland had some great things I think apply:

Rule number 1: Cardio. Start exercising, fatass. Or skinnyass. The zombie apocalypse could happen tomorrow, and you'd be food. And as an added benefit of getting in shape to outrun the evils of the world, you actually do feel better and maybe don't hold as many grudges in life because you just kind of work them out. It's similar for dogs. If you exercise your dogs regularly and rigorously, they stop being pains in the ass. Same goes for humans. Thank you Caesar.

Rule number 2: Doubletap. Well that's just common sense.

But one he added later on in the movie, was: Enjoy the small things.

Last night it was windy as heck, and then it rained like crazy. We had the window open in our bedroom. I've had a hard time going to sleep at night. Just with all the studying and the concentrating and the new information racing through my brain... but the sound of the wind howling out there through the trees, sang me right to sleep.

I love where I live.

I also love my wife very much. I don't think I tell her it as much as I should. (I know, we all think that, but again, maybe we outta do something about that). The thing that I think is amazing is how she tolerates me and even supports me. Don't get me wrong, she draws the line and I respect the hell out of that line when it's drawn... but yeah, thanks babe. I'm a handful.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Rum-inations

I have a definite lack of rum in my eggnog. It's a problem.

In less than 2 hours I leave for the airport to fly down to Burbank to meet my lovely bride for Christmas Eve. We'll be attending midnight church service tonight, and then figuring out our driving plans for tomorrow. Traffic SHOULD be light on Christmas day, one would think. I think we'll make the best of it.

Well, we did it. We've up and moved from California. Cindy's retaining her job and working remotely, and I am unemployed looking for work. Currently I have three prospects. One is a local VW dealership, that also sells Audi and Porsche. Very nice place, great reputation. If I'm going to sell cars, that's where I want to do it. I'm also pursuing heavily an opportunity with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. I'm setting up an interview with the other financial consultant here in Bellingham for next week. Finally, I also have an opportunity where Dupp works. A sales position just opened up that I definitely fit the bill for. I am continuing to look for opportunities, and I have faith that Cindy and I will be okay, despite the amount of credit card debt we've had to rack up for this move. The credit card debt stresses me out a little. We've been credit card debt free for a while now. But I still feel this was the right move. And I love our new place.

Dead Gentlemen Productions is turning a few new leaves with new projects in the works. We are finally getting to a point where several people are contributing content. We're not totally there yet, but we're definitely stepping in the right direction to spread out the workload. For years we've struggled to answer the question "What is a Dead Gentlemen Productions?" Does it have to be a comedy? Is it feature films? Is it only gaming related? Originally we had set out to be the next Monty Python, or at least our own incarnation of a similar group. Recently I had an epiphany about this question and I'm acting on it. A Dead Gentlemen Production is something that the Dead Gentlemen do together. Whatever it is. It's the group of people who work together that make it special, and it's special and it works because it's those people who are making it together. So rather than genre or whatnot, I've made that the center in determining what project to do, and why it should be done. I feel responsible for a lot of the rifts and disagreements with Ben and Matt because I didn't have this understanding before. I felt obligated to a certain genre, or catering to a particular audience. Both of those foci are incorrect if DGP is ever going to grow beyond their current successes, and I feel like I've alienated some people because of that. I just hope it's not too late. If it is, I think DGP will be looking for a new president. I don't want to run a company that doesn't include the people I want to work with. Kind of leads into my next Rum-ination: purpose.

I still struggle every day trying to find a sense of purpose. I just dug up some old journals of mine and reread them. I had such a strong sense of purpose a decade ago. Even 6 or 7 years ago. This time alone these past few weeks, up here by myself, settling in, sorting things out... it's been a good time for reflection. I've identified that I lack a cause nowadays. Cindy and I had strong causes back in college, just those few years just outside of college. But I think it's faded. Taken for granted unintentionally. We both chose to turn away from becoming ordained pastors because we wanted to be married to each other and not a congregation. I've sought out in some prayer if I or we should be thinking about seminary again, and I still don't feel pulled in that direction. I'm thankful that the church might have lost me as a pastor, but the gained Chris Ode. It's almost like we swapped lives or paths there at one point. Maybe I should ask him what he was going to do before he was called to ministry. :)

I know a few basic things I want out of life. I want to buy a house and plant some effing roots and stop moving every year. I have averaged a move once a year for the past 13 years. I'm sick of it. I also want to start having children in the next couple years. There, I said it.

Think I'll use my plane ride down to Burbank to do some goal setting and some objectives to reach those goals, with timelines. If you don't set goals, you'll never reach them.

Happy Holidays everyone. Merry Christmas. Think of us tomorrow as we make our drive back up to the PNW.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

WinterAwesome Stew

Ingredients:
1 package beef stew meat
1 package ground Italian Sausage (spicy to your own taste, I chose Hot)
1 large chopped yellow onion
16 - 18 garlic cloves (about 12 chopped, the rest whole)
8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1 package button mushrooms, halved or quartered
1/3 cup bourbon... okay maybe 1/2 cup :)
32oz Beef Broth
1 package fresh basil
1 package fresh oregano
28oz can whole tomatoes
Salt
Pepper
3 tablespoons cooking oil or olive oil

Directions:

In a large stew pot, heat oil on high. Add chopped onions and chopped garlic and stir for 30-45 seconds or until slightly softened. Add potatoes and stir for about a minute. Salt and pepper the beef and add to the pot. Add ground pepper and salt to taste. Stir until beef is browned on all sides. Add ground Italian sausage. Stir until slightly browned (about 2-3 minutes). Stir in beef broth and tomatoes, crushing the whole tomatoes as you add them, and bring to a boil. Add bourbon and mushrooms, turn down heat, cover, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Chop half of the basil and add to the pot. Add the rest whole. Chop and add oregano to taste. (I used about half the package). Let simmer uncovered. Serve when you can't stand waiting anymore.

Monday, November 9, 2009

And so begins Chapter 5...

If you've been following Cindy and my Facebook pages, you probably already know the news. We're moving back to Bellingham! The decision came very quickly and unexpectedly, but it mainly boiled down to answering the question: What do we want out of life?

We can't seem to find the answer in LA. We came down here for a huge opportunity through my work. It was going to open a lot of doors, and I would be able to be regularly involved with the Industry. (Entertainment Industry, duh.) We already had Matt and Camille down here. At the time, it was the right decision. I was getting a significant pay raise. Cindy eventually found a really great job.

But we all know that the economy wasn't doing well. The writer's strike happened. Then the actor's negotiations, then really, nothing was happening in Hollywood. It spiraled out into every other industry in the area. It was like an earthquake with an epicenter in Hollywood. Everything was shaken up. Some businesses folded. Some shook off several of their employees in order to survive. Then, I got the shake.

Standing on ground zero, unemployed, none of my movie connections were hiring, and like so many other people like me, I asked: Now what? What am I now going to do with my life? For a career?

With a short stint of unemployment, I got hired with a VW dealership. Learned quickly about the cars, and started selling them. But it sucked up my life. The commute is terrible, and it seems no matter how successful I am in the car business, I still come home feeling empty.

More and more businesses leaving the State. Productions being shot in Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico. Anyone in the biz is clamoring over the same positions. And movie distributors are struggling with their identity and business structure, asking how will we be profitable as technologies advance? How do we monetize these new things. Of course, that's if, and I mean IF, they even recognize the threat at all. A large number of distributors seem to be in a huge state of denial.

Production-wise, it seemed we Dead Gentlemen were doing it right the first time... we're just way better at it now, and know how to do more.

On top of all this, Cindy and I want to start on children soon. We asked the question, if we had the opportunity, where would we want to live to do that? Bellingham.

Suddenly, it's like the opportunity machine just turned on. With a leap of faith, we just decided to bite the bullet and make the commitment to moving there. And it is a leap of faith. Not everything is settled. But spiritually we feel pulled back there, we just know it's right. Somehow it will all work out. It's going to be tight. I don't even have employment yet. And there doesn't seem to be much in the way of it up there. But somehow God will provide.

And if confirmation was needed... Jeremy and Katy are having a baby and are making plans to move to the PNW. Matt's Journeyquest is getting off the ground. See his blog post here: The Quest Begins. Ben is up to his eyeballs in projects and opportunities. And I have finally received inspiration for my own project to develop.

Chapter 1: Growing up in Idaho
Chapter 2: The College Years at PLU in Tacoma
Chapter 3: Living and working in the PNW, from Bellingham to Tacoma
Chapter 4: The Big City - Los Angeles
Chapter 5: ??? buying a house and starting a family in Bellingham?