December 31, 2016

Just Noticed

All I’ve ever wanted was to be loved. Liked. Maybe just noticed. 

Every post, every share, every word, every haircut, every T-shirt, every book, everything I have ever done out loud since I was a kid, was so that someone like you might say, “Hey take a look at this guy.”

Despite what Brene Brown may have taught us about the power of vulnerability, it feels pretty shallow to own up to your own insecurities and vanity, but things are what they are and this is the truth. My truth. But I am guessing, and actually I am more than guessing, based on the private messages that I have received that you too, understand this universal need to be noticed, accepted, loved.

Thank you by the way for your kind and encouraging words. I have spent so much time trying to build an audience, and now that I finally have one, it feels like I am turning my back on you. But this disconnection feels necessary. As I stand at the precipice of saying good bye to a nearly decade long habit, I am feeling a bit anxious. It feels like I am about to launch off on a rocket into the great unknown.

Who will be out there to tell me I matter? How will I rack up 30+ likes on some observation about X, Y, or Z? How will I know you love me?

I guess it is the answers to these questions that I am looking for. Identity can never be static. We must always push our own boundaries and leap from comfort zones. I am after all the drunk who quit drinking for a decade and then start again without a hitch. You can’t expect to change the world drastically, if you are not willing to change yourself even slightly.

Just a reminder that you can stay in touch with pictures of the girls on Flickr, and if you left your name on the spreadsheet, I hope to find sustainable and authentic ways to engage and connect with you on a more personal level.

The saddest part this morning as I watch the window closing is that, although, in my own naval gazing, egotistical preparation I found ways that I can continue to broadcast my voice and ideas, it just hit me that during my sabbatical from social media, I will not regularly see into your worlds. No more photos of your kids or your bike rides or pizzas nights. I wanted to say that I do value you and I will miss you terribly.

I wish you all a fantastic new year, filled with new babies, new jobs, new opportunities. I will be cloistered up in my own cave, scratching gibberish on the walls. I hope I have something meaningful to share with you when I come back down.

All I’ve ever wanted was to be loved and to love, so thank you for being there on both fronts.

"You like me. You really like me!" 

December 30, 2016

Year Off

I have spent the entirety of 2016 posting an extended piece of writing here on Facebook. That’s 366 long(ish) posts! The response from you, dear reader, has been inspiring to say the least. Many of you have sent me private messages telling me how much you appreciate the various ideas I shared. As a writer, it has been great to build such a consistent habit and a regular responsive audience. I appreciate your connection and engagement very much.

Even before this latest daily writing project, I have been living my life pretty openly on the internet for years. Posting every thought, every photo, every idea. For the most part it has been great. Social media has afforded me many opportunities, countless friendships and access to people and ideas that are invaluable.

Although I have I loved and still appreciate social media for nearly a decade, there are aspects of it that I am tired of. Checking in and interacting on feeds can feel like a burden at times. Years ago when blogs were new and the idea of everyone having a voice on the internet felt like such a democratic revelation, but now I can’t imagine anything more grotesque than a comment section on any website. The latest election cycle has made me think about how I access news, ideas and how I engage with people- both strangers and friends.

I have been thinking deeply about echo chambers, trolls and the constant burden of keeping up and sharing.

  • Am I really connecting with people and ideas on the level that I want? 
  • Is my constant need for approval and validation really helping my writing? 
  • Am I writing for you or for me or for the sake of cracking open an idea? 
  • What do I gain from social media?
  • What do I offer? 

As a result of all this thinking, I have decided to spend 2017 offline. It will called The Year Off.

On January 2nd I will be closing this Facebook account and putting my Twitter account on private lock down hibernation. I will not use either until January 1st 2018.

I want to use my time to live more deliberately. I want to create art more deliberately. I want to journal again and draw and glue things on paper and cook and mediate and learn songs and work on several projects that have been in limbo- I have a memoir stuck at 30k+ words. I have a YA novel mired in a state of abandonment. I will continue to write daily, but this time the writing will be written in private and left to stew. I hope to publish something at the start of 2018. I will use some of the writing from this past year- Year On with the writing I will do in Year Off. I want to explore how I will change and grow as a writer and an artist offline.

I will miss you all and want to engage with you more deliberately as well. So I have created a spreadsheet to stay in touch. I hope to write you emails and letters and create art for you, so if you want to stay connected please add your name to the list. I promise not to share your info with anyone. I have create several degrees of connection for you: email, texts/phone calls, and/or hand written letters and packages. I would love to hear from you too, should you want to share photos or lifetime news events. or maybe you just want to share something small. I hope to build more personal relationships. I want to see how we interact beyond teh scroll and like. I appreciate and love your photos, and insights into your lives, but I want to see what it feels like to be more autistically connected. I hope you come join me in life beyond the feed.

I am very excited about this project. For those of you paying attention to the daily lyrics from The Wall, you will see that I have been feeling a bit trapped by these public spaces. It has felt like living behind a wall and I am ready to crawl out and see what I can rebuild.

In terms of political action, I want to move beyond simply reacting to daily news and find better ways to engage with the process in a more productive way. I will not randomly read Trump’s bullshit, and wine and whine and complain. I hope to find a balanced range of news sources to watch. I hope to build a sustainable course of political action, which may include joining an in-person democratic abroad group here in Singapore. I want to explore sustainable consistent political action. Trump resistance for me has to be more than posting his latest gaff.

I will continue to use Flickr as a way to share photo of our day lives. I know my family love to see the girls growing up, so if you are interesting in staying in touch via photos head over to Flickr. They have a great mobile app as well. I will occasionally update random projects and thoughts to Youtube, so maybe a subscription would be a good idea, but I will not publish any blog posts on either of my blogs. None of my writing for this year will be pubic. Who knows? I might be able to create material that might suit a book of some kind.

It feels like we are breaking up and I am giving you the it’s not you it’s me speech, but really I so value your input into my life and I hope that you will fill in the form so that I can engage with you in a more personal and authentic way.

Have a great new year everyone! I for one am so looking forward to the coming changes.

December 29, 2016

Just Win Baby

It was January 20th, 1991.

A cold dreary Northern California day and I was home alone. My dad my have been home, but he was downstairs in the darkroom working. I was seated in front of the TV ready to watch the AFC Championship game. The Raiders were still in LA and they had been mediocre since 1986.

After the 1983 Superbowl win and a few decent season after, they boys in Silver and Black had faced a few .500 seasons under Tom Flores and Mike Shanahan. That is until 1989 when Shanahan was fired and Art Shell, the former Raider and our latest saviour, was brought on board. The 1990/91 season saw us at 12-4 with a red hot Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson combo. Jackson had gotten hurt the week before against the Bengals, but we were a game away from the Superbowl and this was the team to do it.

I was on the couch wrapped in a blanket and ready to go to school on Monday, donning my black cap and gloating in the face of all the Forty Niner fans I knew.

But then hell was unleashed in that lonely cold room:

The Bills shredded the Raiders, limiting quarterback Jay Schroeder to 13 of 31 completions for 150 yards and intercepting him 5 times, while also holding running back Marcus Allen to just 26 yards on 10 carries. On offense, the Bills amassed 502 total yards, including 202 yards on the ground. Running back Thurman Thomas rushed for 138 and a touchdown while also catching 5 passes for 61 yards, while running back Kenneth Davis tied an AFC playoff record with 3 rushing touchdowns.

Buffalo also set an NFL playoff record by scoring 41 points in the first half.

The misery continued for Los Angeles in the second half, as their first three drives ended with interceptions. Buffalo recorded a total of six interceptions, the third highest total ever in a single NFL game.

I was in tears. Like literally crying. The entire season gone just like that. My hatred for Jay Schroeder knew no bounds. To this day, I cannot even look at a photo of him.

The defeat was complete.
I was crushed.
I had never, and have not since ever, felt that deflated.

The Raiders were an average .500 team for the rest of the decade, until a spate of good seasons during the Gruden era, brought us to a disappointing, but expectant Superbowl loss in 2002. I was upset during that Superbowl loss, but the parts of my psyche that held onto things like hope or expectations were crushed on the snowy day in Buffalo a decade earlier. Then began the began the dark ages and Al Davis' dementia.

Then I moved overseas and I lost touch with my team for 14 years. I would occasionally check in and see that they had barely amassed four wins. 2006, saw a return of Art Shell for a 2-14 season. Good thing I had disengaged from football in those years, the patheticness of that season would have been too much to bare.

Which brings us to the present-

A great team. A great coach. Management that knows what it is doing. Win after win and a youthful hopefulness that I haven’t seen from this organisation since….well, I’ve never seen it.

We were right there! Playoffs clinched and rolling into a potential first place seed in the AFC. Then are franchise quarterback broke his fucking leg!

I didn’t cry, because I am a grown man now, but the feeling was reminiscent of years ago.

This is not the end of the road for us. Our future is in our hands. Even a loss this week, gives us another game in the playoffs. We have a no name quarterback who can be a hero. The team around him is solid, but it will be a long haul. I will be nauseous with anxieties the next few weeks.

I was nine years old in 1983, the last time the Raiders won the Superbowl. I have come close and left wanting a few times, but this year felt special, until last week when the light violently flickered to near extinction.

I am not sure what a Raider win will mean to me. I know what the losses feel like. I have come to expect loss and disappointment when it comes to sports. I have never celebrated a championship victory. I don’t know what it feels like to win and be the best. I guess I just want a taste.

Come boys, Just Win Baby!