Weekly blogging challenge # 2 – Electric Boogaloo.

It’s Wednesday so that means its time for my next blogging challenge. I missed my usual Monday post this week because I was cramming for an exam (I kicked ass Wooo).

This weeks post is inspired by the “Picture Me 8 day challenge” I found on tumblr (link included below). Now with my photo challenge I’m going to spread it apart over a few weeks as I want to include various different writing/photo challenges every Wednesday. In today’s post I’m doing a twist on challenge #1. Instead of 1 pic and 5 facts about myself. I’m going to share 5 photos of myself over the years and a brief explanation of the photo and why I picked it.

Photo#1: I most definitely was a kid of the 80’s

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This photo was taken when I was around 20-21 years of age in my first apartment. I don’t recall where I got the wig or why but being a the huge dork I often would bust it out with friends while headbanging to heavy music. I picked this photo because it truly shows just how ridiculous I can get. *(Note the obligatory half naked girly poster every guys first apartment has to have)*

Photo#2: Call me Rubber Face.

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Haha this photo was taken a few years ago. I think 2010. But it just goes show my penchant of being a huge dork. Most people who know me notice I like to make a ridiculous face. My facebook photos are mainly funny faces. I picked this photo because every time I see it I laugh my ass off. It’s just plain silly.

Photo #3: The epicness that is Grizzly.

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In this photo, you’ll barely see me as my awesomely giant cat Grizzly takes up the majority of the shot. This was taken by my sister in 2007 I believe. I was staying with her after leaving a horrible relationship. At the time my cat Grizzly was quite unhappy due to the move and everything else going on so I picked him up and he crawled onto my shoulders. I picked this photo because it reminds me of how important I am to him. Grizzly has never been very friendly with people and has only recently started truly accepting the girlfriend. But since the beginning we have always been super close. My bond with him is one of the most important relationships I’ve ever had. *(Note Grizzly is 19lbs of fur and muscle and despite the temperament is a very loving pet)

Photo #4: Fiji 2009 Image

This photo was taken in 2009 by my best friend on our trip to Nanuya Island Resort (see link below) in Fiji. . This photo is significant to me because when planning my trip there I came across a photo of this exact tree and made it my wallpaper for all my devices. Mainly because it’s a beautiful shot but also as a way to inspire and encourage me to save up enough money to fulfill my desire to go to Fiji, which I did for my 27th birthday. I marked the accomplishment by getting a photo of myself sitting in that same tree as a reminder that I can accomplish any goal I make for myself.

Photo#5: Take care of your smile.

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This last photo is who I am today. It was taken last year shortly after I went through the first of many dental procedures to repair my smile. Part of the reason why most of the photos I have of myself are me being silly, is because in general I hated to smile for photos. For years I was overly self conscious of my smile due to having bad teeth. I also had a pretty big phobia with the dentist and spent a good chunk of my twenties in severe pain. *(Note No fooling kids, the pain I felt was insanely bad. At times like I was shot in the face. Visit your dentist regularly. Holy Hell). This photo is the first one taken in over a decade where I didn’t hate my smile. Its also a bit ridiculous without having to make a silly face. 😀

So I hope today’s post gives you readers a better insight into the man behind the words. I apologize for missing Monday’s post and won’t miss Fridays. Thanks again for reading folks.

Links:

http://www.nanuyafiji.com/

http://heckyeahtumblrchallenges.tumblr.com/

*(Update this post has been renamed Weekly blogging challenge 08/02/13.)

The art of smiling :)

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I’ve always liked to think of myself as a pretty happy guy. In general I’m well liked, love to laugh and try to be positive whenever possible. I always had a big, bold smile that I shared often and with ease.
Over the last half of my twenties I found I smiled less frequently. Not that I didn’t ever smile as there were occasions where it was inevitable. Problem is I used to smile daily and frequently as a part of everyday life. I’d smile to people as I passed them on the street or sat next to them on the bus. Hell I’d smile to customers I talked too on the phone (even though they couldn’t see me). But as my twenties came to a close I found myself smiling less and furrowing my brow more, at the same people I only a few years ago would have greeted with a friendly smirk.

Maybe it’s because I was less happy then I was in my early twenties. The realizations that everything I’d hoped to achieve by my thirties was well short of my plans. It also didn’t help that I had major dental problems and in turn was ashamed of my smile. Maybe it was because working in a call center for eight years left me bitter at people. For what ever the reasons were, I eventually lost my smile.

It obviously became noticeable as my girlfriend remarked that more frequently I’m negative about people than I am positive and how less I smile daily. Which really lead me to think about why things changed? Have I become so jaded and bitter that I can’t even smile and see the positives in people anymore? It saddened me to think that was a possibility.

So for the past few months I’ve been putting a major effort into smiling more frequently in my everyday experiences with the hope of it improving my impression of others and their opinion of me. I’m noticing (as expected) my efforts are beginning to have an affect on my interactions with people. In fact as I write this my bus driver I smile to everyday, smiled back and spoke to me for the first time and said not to bother showing my pass. When I asked why, she said “it’s the nice people I remember” Never spoke a word to her before only have nodded and smiled each time I board. What’s amazing is it’s that small interaction that has made me memorable and her opinion of me as a nice guy.

It’s interesting to see the power smiling has in your everyday life. I find I’m in better spirits more often, I interact with new and interesting people more frequently now and I leave a longer impression on someone in just one smile than I do with any introduction I can come up with.

So I challenge those reading this to spend a day smiling, do it for yourself or to pay a lil bit of happiness forward to someone else. You’d be surprised at the power that smiling brings.

Weekly blogging challenge #1.

We’ll its Wednesday, which means today’s post is the first one in my weekly blogging challenge. For today’s post I wanted to share a piece of writing I completed for a class project. I know it’s a bit of a cheat using something I wrote already, but I wanted to share it because it’s one of the first pieces I’ve done where I felt like I wrote something worth merit.

The image below is the inspiration for this piece of writing. I’m not sure who the artist is but its one of my favorite pieces of digital art.

Before I share today’s post, I wanted to caption it with a quote that fits the spirit of the essay

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we would go nowhere ~ Carl Sagan

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Curiosity and the power of imagination

In this image the artist is showing that curiosity and imagination are what provides us with the ability to understand the world that we live in. Our curiosity is what leads us to discovery, but its our imaginations that allow us to put meaning to experience and understanding to knowledge.

The are two feature characters in this image, a young boy and a cat, both of which are known symbols of curiosity, either through youth or through instinct. The bright and colorful glow of the painting, which is the focus of the boys attention, is representative of how curiosity draws us in. The boy being in the attic, a part of the house that is rarely visited, reinforces his childlike curiosity.

Each of the items the boy is carrying are examples of his imagination at work. A cardboard sword turns into a powerful weapon, a ball of yarn becomes a lifeline back to home and his teddy bear becomes a trusty friend. Though each item alone is powerless, their strength comes from the boys imagination.

The artist has filled the picture with a rich collection of objects that show what curiosity and imagination can bring. These relics symbolize knowledge that has been gained. For example we can see a bust of Homer (Omero) representing philosophy, a globe representing our understanding of the world we live in, and a telescope representing our understanding of the universe beyond. The variety of objects suggests that the rewards of curiosity and imagination are universal to all types of knowledge. In addition, by being in the attic, the artist hints that these objects are rewards gained from previous adventures.

Overall this picture represents life’s great adventure. If you embrace your imagination, and face life with a creative and open mind, the treasures gained through life’s experiences will be rewarding

Thank you for reading today’s post. Always welcome comments, opinions or questions. Next weekly challenge I’m planning to post some new ideas.

Mike

Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenges.

So I’ve been blogging for just under two months now as well as spending a lot of time reading other people’s blogs, learning how they have built up their readership and created a voice for themselves through their writing. I’ve learned that to be a successful blogger, one must post frequently, push themselves to write about interesting topics/shared mutual interests and above all be true to yourself through your writing.

I’ve always tried in each post to share with readers a bit about who I am, as well as an insight into my experiences as I learn about myself as a writer and as a person. I noticed I’ve begun to get my own group of followers, while its a small group, it is a positive affirmation that I write thoughtful and interesting posts. I wanted to thank each one of you for taking the time to read what I have to say, I’m complimented beyond belief.

Since I started writing I’ve tried to maintain a twice a week posting. (Mon & Fri), but because of the positive reader response, I’m feeling confident enough to start posting more often. So I’ve decided to add a weekly blogging challenge every Wednesday. I’m hoping to use this day as a way to test my writing skills and add a humorous twist to my posts. As well I’m planning on posting a weekly doodle or drawing as I challenge myself to draw more often in preparation for design school. I used to draw daily in the past but over recent years I’ve stopped for stupid reasons that I regret and I really want to get back into that routine. That will come a little later on as I get some drawing practice in. Anyway thanks for reading tonight’s post. Thanks again to all of you and I hope you folks keep on reading.

*(Update the title of this post has been changed to better reflect the goal behind my challenge. 08/02/13

Life is a series of defining moments!

“Make the most of each moment.” ~ Marv Machura

In my quest for self identity and understanding I can’t help but noticing that my life can be broken down to a series of defining moments.
It’s at each of these moments that we are faced with a life altering experience, be it an event, inspiring person or a personal discovery. It’s the lasting impact each moment leaves on our lives that causes a person to grow as an individual.

When I reflect on my life, I find I tend to combine each of my moments together. Trying to find some sort of meaning or clue about myself but struggling to find anything worth meaning. It’s only by looking at each moment as a separate entity that I’ve started noticing little clues about who I am and what sets me apart from the human collective.

The above quote was said by a teacher I had. His view of the world and our responsibility in it to future generations, left a lasting impression on me. As I look back at my time in his class, learning from him was a defining moment in my life. As short as our time was together I learned more about myself and my abilities as a writer then any other teacher I’ve had. It’s the lasting effect the moments I shared with him that has helped me discover my passion and my voice in writing. In his teachings he left me with an sense of personal responsibility to seize each moment and make the most of what life has presented me.

It’s been almost a year since my time learning from Marv ended, yet I find that his influence on me hasn’t dissipated. By making the most of my experience in his class and by his teachings I’ve learned more about myself then I ever felt possible. My time with him truly was a defining moment in my journey to self discovery.

So I’m going to end today’s post with another quote from him that resonates with me. As a way to share his wisdom with my fellow members of the human collective, but also to express my deepest gratitude for everything I’ve learned from him. Thank you!

Learning only happens when you apply energy to actively transform something of yourself and thus grow both spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. ~ Marv Machura.

As the saying goes “Never go ass to Mouth”

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So I like to think of myself as a scary and gory movie buff. I’m not one who is easily shocked, disgusted or even offended by most horror films. It’s part of the enjoyment factor for these kind of movies. Last night I finally decided to watch The Human Centipede which pretty much left me feeling shocked, disgusted and offended. A hat trick of moral depravity in a sense. There’s little enjoyment to be found in this movie outside my own morbid curiosity.

Now I have to say I’m a sucker for Internet hype at times. This film certainly being one of the internets overhyped films I couldn’t help but be drawn to this movie. Now I went into watching this full well knowing it was going to be sick and twisted, but there was no way I could have prepared myself for what this movie had to offer.
Throughout the film I kept thinking to myself “Someone actually conceived this idea… WTF?”

So of course I go onto Facebook expressing this exact sentiment only to hear from numerous friends that the first film was intended to desensitize you for the second film which is magnitudes more disgusting and foul. Which honestly to take this concept and make it more offensive for the sake of being offensive says a lot about how deeply disturbed the writer/director of this film really is. Now I’ll admit as much as the first one hit me with a trifecta of foulness, in the end I did finish the film, but I’m just not sure that I have any vested interest in seeing the sequel(s). I mean at some point when does horror end and murder porn begin?

With Human Centipede there’s a very thin line between a horror movie and a snuff film. The only thing that keeps it from reaching snuff film levels is the fact there is no fucking going on and that it’s obviously fake.
I know I’m the one who decided to watch this film, I also know I’m the one who decided to stick with it through to the end, (which speaks volumes about my own comfort factor with my dark side of my psyche) but honestly more than anything this movie left me with a true understanding as to just how dark other people can get. It makes me seriously wonder if the director has some serious mental issues. I’m not so much shocked by the film as I am by the fact that this came from the mind of someone who thinks its an even better idea to make a sequel 1000 times more disgusting and offensive without questioning himself “WTF is wrong with me? There’s something seriously wrong here”.

Needless to say its unlikely I’ll partake in watching the remaining films in this franchise, and while I don’t regret watching this one, I must admit that my own sense of morbid curiosity has been shamed and owned by it, that watching the remaining ones would beg the question if I’m just as warped as the writer/director. I’ll never think of the term “going ass to mouth” the same way again lol.

Anyway sorry for the delay in this weeks post. I’ll be sure to write a few times this week to make up for last weeks laziness. Until then I encourage any comments or questions today’s post leaves you with.

Choices Made

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Time has never been a friend. And once again I’ve been betrayed, By the weight of what I know
And the choices that I’ve made – Good Riddance

I often wonder how differently my life would have been if at critical moments in my history I had made choice B instead of choice A. I’m sure everyone feels that way at some point in their lives. As the saying goes hindsight is 20/20. It’s just funny how as the end of my schooling (for a short while) approaches, just how much more frequently I find myself going back to that question regarding many past decisions I’ve made. I suspect it’s a part of growing up to look back and wonder “what the fuck was I thinking?”

With the end of my time at community college only a month away I can’t help but second guess myself about the big decision I have to make soon, regarding if I wish to continue towards a career in graphic design or pursue an alternate career path. Its that decision in particular that has kept me from being successful in my education in the past. Every time it comes to making a choice regarding my future I always panic and end up changing my mind which puts me back to square one. It’s a frustrating situation because I know I’m the cause of the problem, yet solving the indecisiveness and making a concrete decision about my future seems to elude me. It is all the more frustrating when I observe other people who seem to be able to make this type of choice without second guessing themselves. I’m envious of their ability to make a decision and not continually fret afterwards that they made a big mistake.

So on the advice of someone very dear to me (who also happens to be my biggest supporter) this time around I’m going to throw caution out the window and stick with my plan to become a graphic designer. I’ve always let my fear of failure decide for me which is why I haven’t succeeded. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my past mistakes is that the only thing preventing me from succeeding is my own trepidation.

Once again, thanks to all those who took the time to read today’s post. Comments/questions are always welcome and encouraged.

Mike