Monday, December 31, 2012

Philloverse Goals in Review 2012

Like many people, I set some goals/resolutions for myself this past year. Unlike some people, I haven't followed up on these goals on my blog.

So in the interest of full disclosure, it's time for some accountability. Watch me fail.

Attainable goals:
1) Continue to revise and polish my novel until it's agent-ready: DONE, though it's certainly not agent-ready yet. So maybe this is a DONE, SORT OF instead. I dunno. Whatever, I didn't really set parameters for my goals. Lesson learned.
2) Apply for writing fellowships: DONE
3) Apply for adjunct teaching positions: DONE
4) Pursue freelance writing opportunities: DONE
5) Read for one hour a day: EPIC FAIL. Wow, I totally dropped the ball on this one. Things got really busy for me this year. I moved. I went through four different jobs. I felt like I didn't have much time to breathe. Something had to give, and unfortunately, it was reading.

Ambitious goals:
1) Secure an agent for my novel: EPIC FAIL. Well if I don't think it's agent-ready yet, I highly doubt any agents will think it's agent-ready. So I really didn't try.
2) Get accepted for a writing fellowship: DONE. I've had to defer it, unfortunately, because of some life issues (i.e., all these job moves). But since my goal explicitly was to "get accepted," I'm counting this one.
3) Land an adjunct gig for fall 2012 or spring 2013: SORT OF DONE. This is another situation where, I had an opportunity to pursue an adjunct gig but, for a variety of reasons, had to say no. (I think my biggest goal for 2013 is to have some goals that aren't so frikkin' ambiguous.)
4) Revise three short stories that have been sitting in the belly of my laptop for years and secure publication for at least one: EPIC FAIL. I did more on this than I did reading, but I did precious little on it.
5) Apply for creative writing Ph. D programs (just in case...): EPIC FAIL. Once again, my chaotic year got the best of me and, like reading and revising, this fell by the wayside.
6) Put myself in a position where, going forward, I can earn enough money to get by on some combination of freelance writing and teaching and fellowship money: EPIC FAIL. 

After all my job hunting and interviewing, I do have a good job now where I have some stability. (Knock on wood.) So, after some chaos in my life for 2012, I feel like I'm back on the right track. I think what this list shows is that I was pretty good at the attainable goals, not so much on the ambitious goals. And so that's a challenge for me as I go forward.

Now it's time to come up with some goals for 2013. 

Philloverse Year In Review 2012

2012 was one of the weirdest years of my life.

The year began I received my Master of Fine Arts for creative writing. At my graduation I gave a speech. Afterwards I was informed I made a couple of people cry. I'm such a douchebag. Also, it was pretty depressing to leave the MFA program.

The Patriots went to the Super Bowl, and in a hard-fought contest fell just short. Hopefully they can get back and close the deal this time around.

My unemployment finally ran out.

I got a job.

I left this job after seven days for a potential writing opportunity.

On the way to this writing opportunity, I nearly drove off a cliff and died.

Talk about an omen. The writing opportunity ended up being a writing + other things opportunity and, as I was debating whether to go through with it, two other jobs came calling and gave me the opportunity to pursue the two jobs -- one of which was 35 hours a week, the other was part-time (once every four weeks).

I was right about Bobby Valentine.

While I enjoyed the 35-hour-a-week job, it was a 45-minute commute (one-way) and I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain that long-term. So I knew I needed a change. And I left for another job closer to home, though not without a nice little sendoff.

There were issues at the new job almost from the start, and luckily I followed one of my life mantras, which meant a new job was once again waiting for me. This is now my current job, and my fourth job in the span of nine months (five if you include the one I never started).

What a crazy year.

Really, in 2013 I just want to get back into the habit of regular writing.

Monday, December 24, 2012

On the Controversial Job Of Being Santa Claus

I've been GChatting off and on with my MFA Little Sister Erin all day, and the topic of Santa Claus came up. Here's a guy who:

* Drives a sleigh at ridiculously unsafe speeds in order to get around the world in one night.
* Crash-lands on people's roofs with large, bulky reindeer in tow.
* Breaks into people's houses in the middle of the night.
* Causes fire hazards by damaging chimneys.
* Kisses mommies, many of whom are married.
* Makes a mess at certain households by tossing around lumps of coal.
* Eats holiday goodies that people have spent good money on.
* Has the audacity to tell some parents and children that, no, you're not getting anything this year.

It takes a lot of balls to do this. This has caused me to reevaluate my thoughts on him. I wonder if Santa Claus is trained in the martial arts. Of if he packs heat. Somebody has to get pissed at him breaking into their house, particularly if he's putting the moves on their sweethearts.

Sure, he only works one night a year. But let's face it, it's a 24-hour night. And since he manages a bunch of elves, I strongly suspect Santa's a salaried empoyee, so it's not like he gets OT or night differential for working a ballbuster of a shift.

Also, regardless of how attractive the women he's kissing are, it's risky business putting the moves on ladies who are already spoken for. Not to mention that he, too, is supposedly involed with someone. Do Mrs. Claus and Santa have an open relationship? Maybe that's none of my business, but it's a question thatg screams to be answered.

Santa must have to spend an arm and a leg on insurance. There's so much liability. He probably pays a much higher premium given the inherent risk of the job and the fact thatg hs sleigh is by all accounts a very experimental mode of transportation.

I don't know how Santa is compensated, but I think no amount of money is worth doing this job.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Krampus List 2012

I try to do some sort of Xmas-list blog here every holiday season, and it's getting pretty late so it's time for me to get going.

This year, I'm giving it a little twist by focusing on the Krampus, a mythical creature who is basicaly the antithesis of Santa Claus, punishing all the naughty children at Christmas by capturing them in his sack and flying back into his lair, presumably for them to serve as a tasty holiday midnight snack for him.

Thus, I now present the people I would like the Krampus to take away this year, in no particular order:

Politicians: We're going over the fiscal cliff in a week, and all anyone wants to do is babble about why the other party sucks on Meet the Press. If our politicians used the time they spend posturing on the Sunday morning political shows to actually talk to each other, they'd have a deal done in 30 minutes. Just shut up and get it done.

Anyone who predicts the end of the world: Another year, another hoax end-of-the-world prediction. This is getting ridiculous. Let's get one thing straight, people: when the end of the world is upon us, either science will have progressed to the point where we can predict it with pinpoint accuracy and we're prepared to jet off to a new planet, or it'll happen when we all least expect it. Stop pretending you have a crystal ball -- nobody does.

NHL players and owners: Every time hockey makes some strides in the right direction, they screw it up again. This past year the Los Angeles Kings came out of nowhere to win the Stanley Cup, and instead of riding the momentum, we get a lockout because millionaires and billionaires can't get together. The only saving grace -- nobody has to watch the Columbus Blue Jackets play.

Lindsay Lohan: Seriously. Enough is enough, Lindsay. Either pull yourself together or go to jail.

Peyton Manning: While I certainly admire his comeback from a career-threatening injury, I was really hoping the Patriots would no longer have to contend with him on the road to the Super Bowl. His MVP-caliber numbers have obviously put an end to those dreams. Could the Patriots sign the Krampus to play defensive end? Because Peyton needs to go away.

Let's hope that the Krampus comes through in the clutch and passes up innocent children this year in favor of these more worthy collections for his sack.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of the World

They tell me the world will end tomorrow, so this seems like a good time to reflect upon my life.

My biggest regrets:
1) I haven't paid off all my debt.
2) My novel hasn't yet been published. This would actually be a bigger regret for me than the first one. It's been a difficult year in a lot of ways and I haven't been able to work on it as much as I'd like. Were the world not ending, I'd love a second chance at polishing it off over the next year or two. Let this be a lesson to us all -- we never know how much time we have left and we need to seize the day.

On the flip side:
1) I'm healthy
2) I have a close network of family and friends.
3) I'm content with who I am as a person. This makes me happiest. I almost never go to bed unhappy. Small disappointments here and there, yes. Regrets, occasionally (see above). There are people in this world who don't like me, but you can't be liked by everybody and I feel like those who don't like me, it's more of a flaw with them than me. I'm content. And happy. In a lot of ways I feel like I'm one of the luckiest people on Earth.

I don't want to world to end now, so hopefully the Mayans are wrong. But if this is how I have to go out, I can be at peace with myself.  

Friday, December 14, 2012


Earlier this week I was on the phone with my mom and we got into a fight. It was fight over small things.

I don't always see eye-to-eye with my parents (or, really, with anyone). Yet, no matter how angry I've gotten at them, I can say emphatically that I've never wanted to gun them down. That's what makes this tragedy so senseless, and that's before the even taking into account the shooting of innocent children.

A few hours ago my mom called me back. It was a much different conversation. This tragedy put things into perspective.

Life's too short to argue about petty things.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

To Blog Or Not To Blog

Over the weekend, I wrote a couple of pages that a friend said was pretty good. I thought (and she concurred) that it might make a good blog post.

The couple of pages in question were about interpersonal dealings between myself and someone else.

I went back and forth. There were advantages and disadvantages. Writing is often a good way to get your thoughts out. That said, airing those thoughts in such a public forum can be narcissistic. And, while I'm pretty confident for a variety of reasons that the Someone Else will never read this, you never know. The piece is at times flattering and unflattering for both me and the other person.

It's been a tough decision.

At this current moment in time, I've elected not to run it.

That's not to say that I won't someday post the blog. It's very possible that, a week, a month, a year from now, I'll run with it. Or maybe the writing was therapeutic enough for me and it'll never see the light of day.

Time will tell. When I started writing this blog that you're reading now, I was still on the fence about my decision. Another situation where writing helped me talk myself through a decision. That said, I'm very sorry if you feel like I teased you into reading this without a payoff. If so, all I can say is, hang tight. Someday when you least expect it, you may get your wish.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Extra Points

Here's something that's always baffled me:

In overtime of an NFL game, if a team scores a TD the game is over. And, by rule, the winning team doesn't bother to kick the extra point (even though it's an untimed play) because it's moot -- since the game ends instantly upon scoring a touchdown, why bother?

Today, the Colts beat the Lions when they scored at TD on the final play of regulation, and, by rule, they had to kick the extra point.

Why? The game is just as over as it would've been if it had been scored in OT.

These nuances of the NFL rules keep me up at night.