Fifth

Long distance relationships suck.

Summertime Blues

Amber has been out of town for five days now and I'm pretty much done with that nonsense, especially without video games to distract me. It's weird how even with everything going great during most of the day how not coming home to your loved one changes things. Maybe I should just go buy some cake. Cake usually makes things better.

Fourth

Have you ever gotten a ton of things done, but then you can't remember what you did, you just know that you got a lot done? That was today.

Setting Standards

During product development every creative comes to a point where they must compromise. Without unlimited resources, features have to be cut, materials swapped, and aesthetics changed. It's important to set standards early on in the process. Standing your ground for what you believe in and determining what is negotiable and what isn't is critical to the success of art. It's important for the product, sure, but more so it's important for the soul. Creating something that matters, matters. Compromising integrity is always damaging.

I could go on and on about parallels between developing a product and developing character. In the hit play Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton asks Aaron Burr, "If you stand for nothing, Burr, what'll you fall for?" I learned a while back to not be an Aaron Burr. I learned to stand for what I believed in, whether that was a moral decision or the font on a design. Having an opinion is important. Changing your opinion with grace, when you realize you are wrong, is one of the key skills I've sought after to develop. Plant your flag, but be willing to fly better flags when they cross your path.

Third

If you're reading this then I beat resistance again today. I think thats a new record. Three in a row.

Subluxation Degeneration

Resistance is anything that comes from within you to prevent you from doing the art that you know you should be doing. Today it came in the form of spinal pain. Every day it comes in the form of spinal pain. I want to talk about this now, because I don't really want to bring it up over and over again. I have chronic back and neck pain. It's caused by my genetics, lack of regular exercise, sitting at a desk all day, using a laptop and phone, and being taller than necessary. The first bone at the base of my neck is always out of place. That gives me neck pain. The kind that sends tightened nerves up from the shoulders over my skull and down my temples. My lower back is usually out. That causes a lack of energy and a feeling that I can only describe as a sunken foundation. Oh and there are another dozen problem areas that come and go. The neck pain is constant.

Enough complaining. I have the spine of an 80 year old and it's just something I get to live with.

Gratitude

I've been staring at the screen for a sold six minutes now with nothing to write. I just want to end with how grateful I am to have really amazing open-minded coworkers. See you tomorrow.

Second

I pushed yesterday's blog post to social media (Twitter and Facebook), and was met with many kind words of friends and family. I didn't expect that. We'll see who sticks around for day two ;).

It's not you, it's me.

You see the thing is that I'm not doing this for anyone else. It's completely and selfishly for me. I'm glad that it impacts others but it's very much about being creative and doing it until it becomes a habit. Human empathy is amazing though. I hope you keep reading so that I can stay vulnerable. Overcoming that vulnerability is important for me. I appreciate your support.

Making a difference matters, and it was a relief to have my words mean something to you, especially in this fragile state. You see I eventually want this to be a full blown vlog of my life. Currently the sapling is still young and tender, not quite the quintessential climbing tree and tire swing. In the past I've attempted to climb before I was ready. Defeat stifled my soul and replanting delayed my progress. 

Starstruck

Until now, I've met infatuation with celebrities with disgust and disdain. Then it happened. MAINGEAR created a custom PC for Casey Neistat. Casey unboxed his PC on his daily vlog. At first I was excited for, then intrigued, then smitten. His content was sincere, raw, and positive. He's inspired me to do something like this. The guy has tattoos on each arm, "work harder" and "do more". All of the cliche nonsense that comes with this admiration that has swirled around in my thoughts for the past two weeks. Casey is doing what I want to do.

"Work hard, because most people don't." is one of my sister, Marie's, favorite quotes. The thing about creativity is that it isn't unique to any one person. Isn't that defeating to your self worth? (More later on why your work and you are not the same thing). Creativity and ideas come to many people, they are gifts. The only question is who is going to will that essence into existence. Casey wills it. Ever. Single. Day.

Dream big and catch up.

This morning I woke up at 6:30 am, convinced my groggy self that I was productive and continued to lay in bed for five hours. It wasn't until two hours after I had actually showered, made the bed, missed church, and cured my hunger, did I realize that I had done nothing. This was really weird. I actually convinced myself that I was living my best because I wasn't dead tired when the alarm went off. That I thought about it, so I was there. Sound hypocritical? It was. I had hypnotized my conscious into believing that my potential was my reality.

When you're wrong, you think you're right. It feels great until you realize you're wrong. That's from a TED talk somewhere. That moment of realization feels like bad presents on Christmas. At this moment I had one choice, to immediately become creative. (The other option is so horrifying that I can't even consider it) So the kitchen became my art board.

Taco Tuesday

Amber is away in Colorado and Utah this week preparing to move our possessions across the continent. Naturally that means that it's going to be Mexican food for the foreseeable future. I believe cooking is the foundation of creativity. It's the only art that fills all the senses when consumed. If I need accomplishment I go to the kitchen. Today this means meal prep for the coming week. Time to eat.

First...again.

Have you ever been outside in the sun and out of nowhere it starts raining. Sunny rain. It's gross, unnatural, and yeah, just disgusting. That's how I've been feeling lately.

New York City

Three months ago Amber and I moved to New York City. I served a church mission back in '08-'09 in NYC. I was elated when Amber got the call from CASE Agency. She was going to be an intern. We had two weeks to move out. TWO WEEKS. It was crazy but we made it happen. I packed while she tied up loose ends with her freelance photography business. We lived in NYC up until two weeks ago...and for the most part it sucked...and it sucked that it sucked.

I was desperately looking for work from inside our $3000/month dark and damp Airbnb. We were bleeding cash and racking up debt. I had to do something to get out of the funk. No one was returning a single email. My wife urged me to get in front of people. That was hard. I've always had a hard time with first impressions, probably just haven't practiced enough. My dad urged me to do the same thing after I hit the bottom. I couldn't get a soul to give me the time of day. My portfolio was trash (hard drive failure earlier that year) and my experience was barely enough to qualify me for anything, my grades sure weren't.

I had to go back to the drawing board. That was proving to be a waste of time thought. Building up my portfolio was taking to long and quite honestly resistance to being creative was the highest it has ever been inside of me. If you don't know what I'm talking about go read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. My entire life up to this point has been resistance with some how a saving angel to push me along. I'm disgusted by it. It's why I'm writing this right now. So like I was saying, back to basics.

I looked at the things that I had created over the past few years, searching for something impressive. I found the video my friend Avery made of my custom water cooled PC that I made for my bachelor's degree senior project. The video was the most impressive thing I had to show my skills. The problem was that I didn't make the video, I made the PC. If I couldn't find an internship/work as a graphic designer, then maybe I could build PCs for a computer company nearby. I think I searched "custom pc nyc" or something of that sorts on Google and MAINGEAR Computers popped up. I recognized them from their Razer collaborations and some other stuff while I was researching the PC market a few years earlier. This was it, this had to work.

New jersey

With a Kinkos print out of my resume, my phone, a train ticket and dumb luck I made the trip out to Kenilworth, NJ. This had to be in person. I knew that if I just emailed them then nothing would come of it. I was done emailing, I wanted a job! I arrived to a locked door, nervous as ever, greeted by an employee playing a Switch, I made the either genius or idiotic decision to show up right at lunch time. He got another employee, Ivan, who interviewed me as a kind gesture. Everything was going well or not (you can never really tell in interviews) until I showed him the custom PC video. Finally I had established legitimacy with someone.

Ivan, left the room with my phone to show the marketing director, Ron, who then interviewed me...and...they weren't hiring. Out of shear panic or some other stupidity I exclaimed that I could do an unpaid internship. I needed an internship to graduate, so that would help, but our checking account would still be hemorrhaging money. After professionally harassing Ron for 3-4 weeks, things finally fell into place.

MAINGEAR

I started interning at MAINGEAR in July via a two hour commute (four daily). I worked my butt off. You see, I have a hard time starting things. Starting sucks, but once I get going, I work really hard. A few weeks in my skill with vector artwork, animation, and design sense started to show through and the head of the company, Wallace, pushed me an email saying he wanted to make me a permanent addition to the team. I was hired as community manager the week after. Yesterday my first paycheck in four months dropped into our checking account. Hope.

BEating resistance, feeding creativity

That brings us to today. While I've been able to produce a lot of content and optimize other content at my full-time job, I've been bothered by my lack of personal projects. We moved to South Orange, NJ to get me closer to my work and still be close enough to NYC for Amber's future employment. All of our furniture is back in Idaho, so we don't even have a chair to sit on in our apartment. I'm currently writing this from the apartment's common area "library". I don't have TV or video games to distract me, so some really raw stuff has surfaced within me.

Amber and I have been married for over eight years now. I honestly can't remember five to six of them. I've been living in a lull, just going from one thing to the next without purpose. I've had the occasional job now and then, but nothing that was permanent. My job now is, or at least for a long time it will be. It's real work, at a real business. A business that has to meet a bottom line, and I have a direct impact on making that happen. That's important, but it's not enough. I think there has been an entrepreneur and creative that I have either suppressed or numbed for my adult life. This is the first time that I can actually say that I honestly don't think I can ignore it any longer.