jmfargo: (Default)
Sometimes radical honesty can be a bitch. I find that when I'm embarrassed about sharing an idea or instinctively shy away from it that's when it's most important I say/do something about it. No hiding secrets behind silence; no lies by omission. Simple, straight-forward honesty.

Oh dear lord how much easier it is.

"I like you" instead of weeks of twisting and turning in the wind. "No, I'm sorry, I don't want to hang out with you, please stop asking." It hurts at the moment but hopefully they get over it and move on instead of eventually realizing that they've never been invited to hang out and never will be. "Yes, that's true" instead of a prevarication to a potentially embarrassing question. True, I might blush while saying it but then the truth is out there, not hiding and making me feel awkward.

I'm not perfect at it. There are things I want to say that I keep inside, mostly things that come to me at night when my emotions are running high and hot. Words that would tear people apart for no reason, or rip my life to shreds while not being as true as I want them to be.

Sometimes the most important part of radical honesty is figuring out when I'm not being honest with myself.

This stream of consciousness has been brought to you by the letter r and the number 4,754.
jmfargo: (Default)
So, tonight I started doing sit-ups. Well, crunches I suppose, but in my mind I still call them sit-ups, so that's what I'm going to call them here.

I can't do a lot of sit-ups, on account of two things:

1) I have a large gut that gets in the way.

2) I have a large gut with few muscles underneath it.

The best way to get rid of these two things, of course, is to do sit-ups. Well, that's just the way it is, so I'll have to deal with it.

Tonight I did 10 sit-ups. No, that's not very many, and to be truthful it's not the most I can do. My plan is to add one every night. 11 tomorrow, 12 the next day, etc, constantly pushing myself to do "one more."

Eventually, obviously, I'm going to hit a wall that I can't pass right away. It might be at 15, it might be at 50, but it will be there. All I have to do when that happens is keep pushing myself until such a time as I can do one more. Then push myself past that, and on, and on, and on.

Why sit-ups? Well, it's something I can do without any equipment, in the privacy of my own home, and it uses muscles I want to strengthen. For that same reason, I'm working on push-ups in the same manner, only even slower.

My upper arms are very weak; I can barely do wussy push-ups with my knees touching the ground. This will obviously require a lot of work. Still, the best time to start is now. I'm not even letting this horrible sore throat and chest-wracking cough get in the way.

Okay, maybe I should let that get in the way, but I'm not. If I come up with one excuse, I'll come up with 100.

Time for no excuses.

I hope.

Rambling

Feb. 21st, 2009 08:01 am
jmfargo: (pooch page)
I was thinking about it the other day, and I had to laugh. I currently run four blogs:

The Pooch Page
Insect POD
[livejournal.com profile] jfargo101
[livejournal.com profile] jfargo

The Pooch Page takes up most of my time, between advertising it, taking photos, editing photos, and actually writing the site. Adding new things like "cutest dog" takes even more time. (As I wrote this I realized that there was something I needed to do on the site, and spent 10 minutes fixing it.) Whether I spread it out over a week, or do it all in one day, The Pooch Page probably takes me 3-4 hours a week to continue doing. Not a lot of time, but for something that I'm only sort-of-kind-of getting paid to do ($.03 a day is not getting paid to do something), it can seem like quite a bit. And that doesn't include processing all the submissions I'm getting from people who want to show off their dogs to the world.

No matter how much time it takes though, it's also something I love doing, so that makes it much less of a chore and more fun. Lately I've been using my early-morning time to work on cropping/resizing pictures and writing posts for the site. Before I started getting up at 5 AM, I'd sometimes forget to update the site until the post was late, but as it stands now I'm a week ahead, with more pictures queued up to go. Today I'll be going to the SPCA to help with the dogs, and take pictures of them for the site. I don't count this towards the "time spent working on The Pooch Page" because I'd be working with the dogs anyway. And probably taking their picture. I just like dogs.

Insect POD is similar, something I started doing when [livejournal.com profile] chalain had too much stuff going on in his life to keep updating. There's no way I could make that a 7-day-a-week site; I just don't have anywhere near enough photos to go for more than a few weeks. So, I update three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, and (spider) Friday. It's fun, and while I miss reading [livejournal.com profile] chalain's updates (he was MUCH funnier than I am, and more informative), I'm glad that I can share cool insect pictures with the world. I'm particularly appreciative of the fact that all the readers are so appreciative of the site; it's a friendly and welcoming community.

This blog and [livejournal.com profile] jfargo101 are my "maintenance" blogs. What's going on in my life? What am I thinking about? You know, the day-to-day stuff, the big picture stuff, the little stuff, generally whatever I want it to be. They're the only two blogs I have that can't make money, and that's okay; nobody should have to pay to read about my life! Heh. I like writing about my life, having a journal to look back to and say "yes, I remember that," or "wait, I did what now?" The "to do" blog, the [livejournal.com profile] jfargo101, is just a good way to keep track of my accomplishments. See how high I aimed, and if I made it. If I did, I have to aim higher, because we only know our limits when we push ourselves past them, right?

I'm just rambling. I'm sorry if you're looking at this for a point. Thoughts are running through my head on an early Saturday morning and I wanted to let them flow. I haven't felt very interesting as of late, but I'm hoping to change that. I was thinking that this blog would be where I try to do some creative writing. Not fiction, mind you, but making my life more interesting, my writing better. Maybe starting tomorrow I will attempt to live by the "ham sandwich" rule, that at any time my readers could decide to go make themselves a ham sandwich and so I have to always strive to keep their mind on what they're reading, not the applewood-smoked ham piled high, covered with a slice of provolone cheese, a dab of mayonnaise, and a thinly-sliced tomato on two pieces of perfectly sandwich-sized Rye bread.

Mmmm. I'll...be right back.

Life Is Fun

Feb. 9th, 2009 10:33 am
jmfargo: (Default)
So I just finished my Linguistics Winter class on Friday. Winter classes are fun because you go to class longer each day, but for a shorter amount of time overall. The teacher has to cram a bunch of knowledge into your brain (or tell you to do it yourself) and generally everyone's a bit more frazzled.

Today would be the first day of Arabic 106 (Intermediate Arabic), except that any classes before 4pm are not in session. I have no idea why they do that on the first day of class, but I like it. I feel bad for the students whose classes are after 4, but I'm not one of them, so I'm not that worried.

Meanwhile, work has picked up again to where I'm earning decent money. A few contractors got let go, so there's more work to go around. I think the manager wanted to make sure she kept the good contractors, and in order to do that had to make sure to have some work in queue for us. I'll say this: It's nice to have put in a full days work before 11 AM. I don't think I could do that with any other job unless I started working before 9.

Social life has gotten busier too. With the addition of meetup.com to my life I've started finding some really cool things to do around here. The game night last night was a potluck dinner with lots of people at a really cool location. The next thing I want to do is go with the Adventure Group to one of their outings; they cost a lot of money, but they're usually something cool like learning how to ride a Harley, or how to make sushi. Diverse, and cool. Then there's the musician group, and the roleplaying group, and then, and then, and then.....

Things are good.

Now that I'm done with work, it's time to start cleaning the house.

My day just went from "AWESOME" to "Man, that sucks."

Not really. I'm in a great mood! Today rocks!
jmfargo: (Default)
There's something very soul-fulfilling about cooking. When a recipe turns out just right, whether it's new or so old that I could almost do it blindfolded, it wipes away a bad day, regenerates my mood to a good one, brings me back to myself. It's a fantastic change. When I cook well on a good day, it can almost be magical. I barely overstate this.

I tried a new recipe tonight after spending an entire day shopping at different markets to get the right ingredients; fresh ingredients. Maria went hunting for some Thai recipes and found Spicy Thai and Basil Chicken*, along with three others that she thought we would both enjoy.

She was right.

Cooking it was simple, but the end result was a myriad of complex flavors. For my first time making this dish, I was very pleased with myself. I don't normally make stir fry; that's Maria's job. The chicken came out done perfectly, and the flavors were awesome.

I'm happy, content.

I'm also making chicken stock from the bones and leftover bits of the chicken breasts that Maria separated before I cooked. I haven't made stock very often, but again it feels good, and I'm happy.

Tomorrow, the zombies could come knocking on my door, and I'd always remember today as a good day. If the zombies don't come, however, I'm going to try to top today. It should be interesting. Or a disaster. Either way, it'll be fun.

*A tiny adjustment was made of one more garlic clove and no garlic salt. The oyster sauce gave plenty of salt without the need for more.
jmfargo: (Default)
I went to bed last night, and swore that today I'd wake up a new person. Looking at myself in the mirror made me realize that while I like who I am, I don't like what I am. I like that I'm a nice guy with good friends, a great wife, and some fantastic dogs. I like my bad sense of humor, my crazy schemes, and wacky view of the world. I like who I am.

I don't like what I see in the mirror. A slightly balding, very overweight almost-30 guy with no sense of style, no direction.

Okay, granted, I can't see the "no direction" bit when I look in the mirror, but it's implied.

So I swore that this morning I'd wake up different. I would wake up, changed somehow. Positive thinking would see me through the night, and when morning came I'd be a man with drive and ambition, a man with style and grace. I'd be a man who could succeed with his wild and crazy ideas.

Did it work? I don't feel very different. I slept relatively poorly, woke up tired, and didn't want to get up. I'm fighting with my brain about what I should be doing right now; it tells me that I should goof off, while I know I should take a shower, get dressed (in something nice) and get ready to tackle the rest of the day.

Well, my guess is that the change isn't going to be as easy as waking up and, *boom*, I'm different. I'll probably have to work at it. Gah. I hate work, but maybe it'll be worth it.

I'm tempted to erase this. I feel like I rambled to no real point, have no real ending for what I wanted to say, and the point I was trying to make got lost. Still, erasing it is something that the old me would have done yesterday, and no-one would have ever known that I was trying to change myself, my way of thinking, and my life. I want people to know that, or at least want it to be out there so that it could be known.

I'll leave this. I'll post it, and it'll be out there. I'll also go take a shower, get dressed, and do some housework before class. The best way to change yourself is to change your surroundings, I've heard. I'm not moving out of my house, so I'll just change my house a little. It's a start.
jmfargo: (Default)
I don't want to go to class today. This, in and of itself is nothing new. For some reason, my brain equates going to class with something bad, when in reality I enjoy class. I've done it for a long time, ever since High School. I didn't actually like High School, but if I had to guess I'd say that's because I allowed my brain to control the rest of me.

Big mistake.

When you allow your brain, the brain that wakes up in the morning and says "It's too early, go back to sleep" even though you've hit the snooze button so many times that the alarm has given up, to take control, you're often setting yourself up for failure, especially if you sometimes suffer from a touch of depression, or any similar things. When you let your brain convince you that school/work/parties/daily requirements isn't worth going to, then you're going to quickly learn that taking the route your brain prescribes can often lead to trouble.

More often than not, I think my brain is against me. It tells me every morning to stay in bed. After I get out of bed it explains to me that taking a shower takes too much energy. Once I'm finished with my shower, my brain suggests that class today is unnecessary and that 1% off my grade is going to be meaningless. Not only that, my brain whispers, class is going to be horrible, and I'm going to feel stupid, and oh my god you didn't do all your homework, and everyone's going to look at you and, and, and, and.

Stop.

Is it normal to feel as though the part of you that is supposed to control rational thought and reactions is the enemy? Probably not. Still, I've always felt that once you've identified the problem, you have a much better chance of succeeding and coming out the other side unscathed. Once you do that enough, I'd like to think, the enemy starts to realize that it can't possibly succeed. Then, given enough time, maybe the enemy grudgingly starts working on your side, working for you rather than against you.

So, yes, my brain is against me, wanting me to take the easy way out. It doesn't seem to realize that taking the easy way out now leads to a much harder life later. I just need to train my brain, teach it that the "hard" way isn't really that difficult.

Anybody know the easiest way to do that?

Heh.
jmfargo: (Default)
Okay, so here's the rundown for the day. Keep up with me if you can.

I'm going to class at 11, which means that in order to get a good parking spot I have to leave here by 10. That way, even if I don't get a good spot, I'll have time to bike to class from wherever I do end up parking. Before then I have to make sure the 5 puppies, plus my two dogs, are empty enough that they'll last a couple of hours without making a mess. I'm not worried about my two girls, because they're old enough to know better, but the five puppies? Well, they're puppies.

After class I'm swinging by Maria's work to pick her up for lunch. We'll come home, where she'll graciously and thankfully take the puppies out back to run around the big yard while I cook a nice lunch for the both of us, after which she'll go back to work, and I'll be stuck with the puppies. Hopefully they'll be tired enough that it won't matter.

During this time between Maria leaving for work and about 4:30, I'll be making pizzas. I need to make 4 12-inch cheese pizzas. 1 for Maria's dinner, and 3 for the D&D group I'm a part of, which I'm doing at 6 tonight. Add in clean-up time for afterward (proper pizza making is a VERY messy business) and you're talking more hours than I have. Plus, dishes.

I'm going to be late for D&D, though, because from 5-6 PM there's an Arabic review session and given my performance as of late, I feel the need to go. It could be worthless or very helpful. I'm hoping the latter, obviously.

Then, D&D. Relaxation. After that, home. Relaxation. Sleep.

The last bit's not too bad.
jmfargo: (Default)
1.
At 9 EST, you'll be able to see a different, cooler shot of this amazing bug over at Insect POD. Just click on the picture to go there and see! I'll be doing a guest stint for the rest of the week!

2. I'm looking for submissions for The Pooch Page (LJ Feed Here), and if anybody wants their pup featured, they just have to email me a high-res photo with whatever info they may want to go with it! Just drop me a line!

3. I'm looking for a new job. Anybody out there want a work-from-home transcription specialist?

4. Arabic class is going well. Today's my first quiz, and I'm hoping to ace it. Guess we'll find out.
jmfargo: (Default)
Feeling sub-par lately. I'm okay right now, the blood pumping from my morning aerobic workout, but the past couple evenings have been sort of a mishmash of feeling out of place and upset. The worst part is that I'm not sure where these feelings are coming from; I pride myself on knowing (even if I don't admit it) why I'm feeling or acting the way that I am. I like to think I'm very in touch with myself. For some reason, that's been skewed lately.

Still, the more I think about it (as in, "this is coming to me right now") the more I think it may stem from frustration as the root, with other little things coming in from the side. I'm frustrated lately a lot over my weight, which is silly because I'm actually doing fairly well despite a few setbacks. I'm frustrated that I'm not rolling in the money, which is also silly because I'm not doing anything that should have me raking in the dough yet. I'm frustrated at the fact that, well, let's just say that I'm generally frustrated.

If someone else were saying "I'm frustrated, but that's silly" I'd tell them that feelings can't be helped. If you're frustrated, then you're frustrated, and that's that. You can't wish it away by saying that it's silly, you have to face the frustration head-on. You shouldn't make yourself feel bad for feeling the way you do, you have to just accept that it is what it is, and deal with it. If you tell yourself "But that's silly" then you're trivializing your emotions, which does nothing but make you feel small about yourself, and helps in no way what-so-ever.

So, instead of belittling my own feelings, let me take a quick look at them.

I'm frustrated about my weight. Well, today I bought a tape-measure as has been suggested by many people, and hopefully that can help show some improvement in areas other than weight. Maybe I really am putting on muscle and taking off fat, and if so then the tape will show it. Great. Even if that doesn't help, I'm working hard, and lost a little weight according to the Wii Fit, so that's good too.

I'm frustrated that I'm not raking in the money. Well, that has a lot to do with the fact that my job has turned into a one-week-a-month kind of position more than anything else. The queue is virtually empty, except for the first week of the month, during which time it's full from sunrise to sunset. I've put in roughly 19 applications in the past week and a half, heard back from a few, and am looking forward to learning about the other ones. About 8 of those 19 applications are ones I really kind of care about and am interested in learning more. I've heard nothing back yet, but we'll see. In the mean time, if I keep applying, and keep doing what work I can (AND maybe this cooking competition thing will pay off), then I can take solace in the fact that I'm pushing my hardest and really trying.

Other general frustrations can be faced down, but those two are the biggies. It's easier to hide the frustration under a veneer of anger and depression, but if I face those emotions, really adjust my thinking to realize where it's coming from, then I don't have to hide anything, and I can stop being down on myself for being an inconsolable ass.

/introspection
jmfargo: (Default)
I got called a racist the other day. It wasn't over anything particular, and it wasn't really even said it anger. It was more phrased as a question, but it felt like a slap in the face. Even phrased as a question, it had vibes that were very strong with accusation. I'm not even sure what prompted it.

"Are you racist?"

How is one supposed to respond to that? A flat "No" can make you seem like you're either in denial, or denying it out of hand. If you take a second to think about it, well, you just look silly. "I don't think so" comes off fairly well, actually, and might get you a smile in the right company, but in the wrong company it might get you ostracized. The answer "Why do you think that" was probably the best to come up with on the spot because it allowed me to answer to exactly where the problem was, as opposed to coming off as dismissive.

Turns out, she thought I was talking to her husband and not her because she's black and he's white. In reality, I talked to him because he seemed to like dogs, where she obviously wasn't interested. (It had to do with one of the strays I found.) I explained it, and she admitted that she really didn't like dogs.

I was thinking about it today, and for a white man, the accusation of racism is very difficult to deny. Things like "I have black friends" get laughed at, saying "I never use racial epithets*" and even my very defensible position of "My brothers and sisters were adopted from Korea, so no" gets derision.

How is someone supposed to defend themselves against accusations of racism? White, black, yellow, red, brown, etc; if you're accused of what is essential a thought crime (that can obviously become an outward one, but that's not what I'm talking about here), how can you defend yourself against it? What would you do, if you were approached as I was when I worked at Hollywood Video by your manager, who is of the same race as you, and he asked, "You're racist, aren't you? You can be honest with me, I just need to know.**"

How would you respond to that? You can be honest with me, I just want to know.

*Link courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] popfiend.
**Turns out, he was a member of the Klan, and was looking to recruit, but that's not the point here, I don't think. I left that job because of his affiliations and actions.

Days Go By

Aug. 11th, 2008 12:29 pm
jmfargo: (Default)
The weather in Delaware is really strange to me. Keep in mind that I recently lived in Buffalo, NY where the common phrase is "If you don't like the weather in Buffalo, wait a minute," and you might realize that strange is relative.

We had a horrible storm yesterday. Hail fell from the sky, thunder clapped to deafen all that heard it, lightning flashed nearby. A half hour later, it was done. Gone as if it had never happened. I've never seen thunderstorms move through a place so quickly. This isn't the first time it's happened either!

Today, it's in the 70's (20's for those who go by Celsius), nicely sunny, and calm. It's supposed to thundershower again, and then tomorrow spike back up into the 80's.

Summer announced it was here when we had three weeks in the 90's (32+ C), completely bypassing that silly season called "Spring."

Are we going to have a Fall? I don't know. If it happens how I think it will, the next season we bypass will actually be Winter. Their Winters are so mild here, compared to where I was, that they may as well call it "Late Fall, Early Spring*."

I'm just rambling. The weather intrigues me here, and I like it.

So, um, how's your day going?

*If there IS a Spring, that is.
jmfargo: (Default)
What ever happened to subliminal advertising? Do you remember that old vodka bottle ad where you could just barely make out the word "sex" in the middle of the bottle, formed from some lights behind it? Or how about the sports car ad where, if you looked closely enough, you might be convinced that the advertisers were trying to sell with people who wanted to live "on the edge" because there seemed to be a skull and crossbones barely embossed upon the door?

There were a lot of different ads like that. Things meant to appeal to you subliminally and not actually meant to be seen. They advertised sex, but never showed it.

Now when you watch commercials, they aren't coy about it. Hell, half of the spray deodorant commercials come out and say to the men "Use our spray, and women won't be able to resist you, and you'll get laid!" It's not clever, it's not even really that interesting, it's just appealing to the most basic nature there is.

Are the days of truly clever advertising gone? Not necessarily ads that make you laugh, those have gotten quite prolific, but instead the ads that use little nudges as opposed to huge elbowing to sell their products. Are those still out there? Are they just better at it, and so it's not found as easily? Did they give up, because being subtle with the public doesn't work? Was it just a 70's & 80's fad?

Thinking

Jul. 25th, 2008 01:28 pm
jmfargo: (Default)
Most people don't really do much with their lives. It's not a bad thing, or a good thing, their lives don't touch many others, and they live it. It's just the way it is.

Think about it. Most people get up in the morning, have their coffee, go to work, have their lunch, go home, eat dinner, maybe watch some tv and go to bed. Aside from an escape on the weekends, which is often spent cleaning up their living space or doing day-to-day things they couldn't get to during the week, that is their life. Vacations? Sure, a bit of fun, but fun doesn't mean they're actually doing something.

This is why when someone does something that's off that beaten track, we hold them in awe, or contempt. When someone climbs Everest, or bounces back from lung, stomach, brain, and testicular cancer to win the Tour de France 7 times in a row, we look at them and see someone amazing.

And they are.

Amazingness, though, makes me curious. Is it inborn? Is it something in us that pushes us past the day-to-day, or is it something that others bring out in us, nurture versus nature? Is it a higher power? Some say so, but that faith in the higher power has to come from within regardless of whatever else is going on, so where does that come from?

If you could break free of the day-to-day cycle that almost everyone I've ever met is a part of, what would you do? How would you amaze the world?

Wondering

Jul. 2nd, 2008 11:46 am
jmfargo: (Default)
Bacon Spinach Tomato sandwiches for lunch coming up in about a half hour. I wonder if my wife is going to remember that I asked her to stop by the store to pick up the tomato portion of lunch before coming home? It's only a third of the name, not too important, so if she forgets I'll have to figure something else out.

I wonder when my own tomato fruits are finally going to go red so I don't have to worry about having my wife pick them up from the store on her way home for lunch.

On that note, I wonder how I know when my Jalapeno peppers are completely ripe? The card that came with them said they mature to red, but I don't think I've ever seen a red jalapeno. Is that just me?

Well, time to go start cooking some bacon. Hopefully it turns out nice and crispy, perfectly tasty, and goes well on bread with spinach and tomato.

I'm wondering if anyone's going to pick up on the fact that I'm just rambling.

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