Posts Tagged ‘Personal’

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Theme Reveal

March 20, 2017

Yes, it is once again time to get into gear for April’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge. This is getting to be an annual tradition on this blog as this is year three taking part in the challenge. This is the only event I take part in apart from my beloved month of Halloween. Of course, I only decided to do it again this year after some soul searching. After the founder revealed some unsettling political opinions, I was not sure I wanted to do this. However, this event is bigger than any one person and anyone who reads this blog knows who I am and what I stand for. So, let’s have a good time and bang out 26 blog posts in 30 days!

This is my first year with a theme so let us cut to the chase. This year’s theme is:


This Time It’s Personal!

This month is all about me getting personal with you. I will be telling stories about my past and I will be explaining aspects of my present. The creative writing I do will relate to who I am or how I am feeling. The movies I review will have some personal connection that will reveal a little more about myself. This blog is my labor of love. When people ask me what I like to do in my free time, I talk about my joy of writing. I always want to share that with you and I will do that not only in April but all year long.

There are a few more traditions that I intend to follow but I will let those be a surprise as they come. Some of the posts will be a surprise to me as I have not finished planning the month out. In the next few weeks, I will lock things in and we will be good to go. Outside of the challenge, Media Update will continue on Thursdays as a regular feature. The first A to Z Challenge I participated helped kill the old regular Thursday feature (This Week in Steves) but I will not let that happen to Media Update. It is easily one of my favorite features on the blog.

I am looking forward to participating in this challenge again. It makes me exercise my skills a little more and helps me grow a bit as a writer. Stay patient with me. Not all the posts may resonate with you and maybe none of them will. Either way, I will soldier on. I write because I need to and if people enjoy a word of it, that’s just gravy. So, sit back and enjoy and if you have a comment or question, I will try and keep up with that during the month.

Happy New Year 2017

January 2, 2017

new-year

Welcome to 2017. I have spent New Year’s Eve in a lot of different ways over the years. When I was little, I spent the holiday with my family and did not stay up until midnight. Of course, I probably would not have been able to make it to midnight anyway. When I was able to stay up, I counted down with everybody else and it was fun. Early on in high school, I was working with Mobtown Players in Baltimore and I always attended their fundraisers on New Year’s Eve. It was fun hanging out with those guys. They were all older than me and they did treat me as “the kid” but they also treated me with respect and talked openly with me. When Y2K came around, we went south and spent the night at my uncle’s party with a lot of people we did not know but that was important to my mom. In recent years I have spent a lot of New Year’s Eves alone playing video games. This year, I played board games and drank margaritas with friends. I think I prefer hanging out with friends, given the choice.

This can only be played with friends you want to alienate.

On a personal note, in 2016 I vowed to embrace the power of positivity. Originally it was just a cute phrase that The New Day started but I have found myself happier after using it in my own life. That is why I never embraced the “Fuck 2016” attitude. It was sad that a lot of celebrities died last year but not exactly surprising. They died in 2015 and every year prior and will continue to die in the future. It won’t be just celebrities either but we know that. The election was beyond disappointing but we will soldier on and we will survive. We will be a beautiful nation to spite the ugliness that keeps trying to pull us down. Of course, some people personally had bad years but I know a lot of people who had babies or got married in 2016 and I think it is an insult to them to scream “Good Riddance 2016”. Of course, people can embrace that meme all they want. I’m not the boss of you.

It’s time to move on. We’re going to crush it this year.

I am excited for another year. I will be advancing into the legal field one way or another and that is something I have wanted for over a year now. That desire has grown with each class I have taken, preparing for my new career. I am excited to play Dungeons and Dragons soon. The possibilities when starting a new story with a new character fill me with a lot of joy. I am currently writing a second draft of a play I started early last year. I have a good idea for another play that I can’t wait to start.

If you hadn’t noticed.

This blog will remain a priority for me because it has never stopped being fun and I love the accomplishment of getting each and every post finished and published. The blog also challenges me to grow in my viewing habits and my writing. I know there are people who read this thing. I see you like posts and there are views and visitors almost every day. The statistics for 2016 blew 2015 out of the water. There were 1256 views which means that there were approximately 3.5 views per day and I am only scheduled to post three times a week. I want to say thank you to anybody who ever visited here even once and those who continue to do so. I appreciate it. I never made this thing to get famous but I am glad that other human beings are interested.

If things go well, the archives should be fully updated once again by the time this posts at the usual time (2 AM). Every post can be somebody’s first post so find somewhere to start on the right and have at it.

A Facebook Thingy Before Christmas

December 19, 2016

As I prepare for Christmas and cool down from finishing my Fall semester at CCBC, I thought I would post this Facebook thing that I beefed up.  We had snow and then freezing rain on Saturday and it was more annoying than dangerous even though there was a huge crash south of the city.  I am getting excited for Christmas as the presents I bought for people start arriving in the mail.  Posts will continue as scheduled even as I go to Shepherdstown this week.

Four names I go by:

1. Steven

My given name. It means “He who is crowned.” I love my name even though it is often used to for a random name to call lame guys in fiction. However, Eddie Izzard often uses it for a name to call characters and does not mistreat the name. I believe that spelling it with a “v” is the right way to spell it even if Stephen came about first in history.

2. Steve

I used to hate this shortened version of my name but I have learned to like it. It is so quick and casual. A lot of good friends have called me by this shortened version. However, I now have a friend/family member who goes by Steve and is in the tabletop gaming group I am in. This creates confusion but somehow we manage. I end up being Steve 2 sometimes.

3. Wolf of Words

You are reading this blog right now. It has also become my new gamer tag when I need one. If you see WolfofWords holding a gym in Pokemon Go, that is me. As I explained earlier, the wolf is a part of my family history because my family is crazy. My mom taught us to howl at the full moon because her aunt taught her to do it. I am also devoted to stories and words as a writer, an avid consumer of fiction and a student of the law.

4. KM/King

While I was in New Jersey, I created a gamer tag called Mengi around the time I created this blog. It was created for a game called StarPirates which had a great community. There was a guy in our little group playing the game who called himself LordTyrion and, to tweak his nose, I renamed myself KingMengi to outrank him. I stuck with the name through a couple games and that’s why it appears as my twitter and WordPress username.

Four places I’ve lived

1. Baltimore, Maryland

I love Baltimore. It is the city where I was born and where I have lived for 24 years (not consecutive). I love so many great places in Baltimore and I learn more and more things about it every day. If you keep reading this blog, you will find me talking about Baltimore over and over.

2. Sussex, New Jersey

Sussex is a small town in New Jersey jammed up near the borders of Pennsylvania and New York. Even though it is nearly two hours from New York City, it is still in the NYC Metropolitan area because that area is gigantic. I worked at a theater called Tri-State Actors Theater here and I lived in the back of a framing shop. The place was a little town with a two-block main street surrounded by farmland and mountains. Still, the local children were frightened of the urban dangers it might contain.

3. Matamoras, Pennsylvania

When I first moved up to work at Tri-State Actors Theater, I lived at the owner’s house just over the border in Pennsylvania. At first, I had no car and I was at the mercy of what rides were offered by the people whom I was living with. Once I had my first real car, I remember driving there really late at night. Once, I was driving over the mountain to get home and there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground and I spun out near the top. After I recovered my wits, I continued to drive. I was really stupid sometimes back then.

4. Shepherdstown, West Virginia

In the last few years, my mother moved to West Virginia along with my new stepfather. (Although, not so new anymore.) It is a great place to be as it is far from the hustle and bustle of the city and I never experienced that, even in Sussex. I worked at the house there for two years on several projects for the family business and I continue to visit for holidays.

Walking Once More

December 12, 2016

It is getting colder lately and I am starting to enter actual winter mode. Fall was not that cold but a lot of things happened that ended up keeping me indoors more than I wanted. I went and watched the 2016 election results at my cousin’s house. I got off of my Tuesday night class around eight o’clock and I rushed over to the farm to have a good time with some of my closest friends (who happen to also be family by marriage). However, when I arrived, things were already not going so great. As the night went on, things looked more and more grim and a lot of people I know are still struggling with the idea. I think I ended up struggling less thanks to the wisdom of good friends and thinking things through.

deer

Don’t think about the election.  Think about deer.  Awesome deer who rule the park.

Anyway, I ended up leaving around two in the morning because people needed to get to sleep and I was feeling tired and a little sick to my stomach. I got home at three and I was a little too wired to actually go to bed. I decided to eat a little something since I had declined to get a proper dinner directly after class. I cooked up some sausages and watched YouTube videos instead of flipping to any coverage of the election. You have to turn to fiction and entertainment in the hard times or you will go crazy. I woke up tired the next day and immediately threw myself back into schoolwork.

cool_patrol

Some of the true saints of the Internet.

The day after that, I started to feel crummy. I had a disgusting cold with a cough and an annoying runny nose. It made me not want to go on any of my walks because I would get three blocks and I would be sniffling and coughing and feeling self-conscious. I probably should have sucked it up and taken my Dayquil and just do the walk but I can be a bit of a baby when I’m sick. I like my walks but I had low energy and ended up taking it easy instead of getting my miles in. I focused on my studies and this blog and waited for the stupid cold to go away.

stack-1

Master Stacker, please keep sending me signs!

By the time the stupid cold was going away, it was time for Thanksgiving. I was trying to get my homework done while making time to spend with my family. It was a weird week but I have weird but great brothers. We ended up shooting over to West Virginia and we went out for dinner and even did some filming. I also watched Rizzo a bunch as my brother rushed around during a busy holiday week. By the time that was all over, November was almost over.

stack-2

OK. Maybe stop sending me messages. It got weird.

Wow, I meant to write about walking again and I ended up talking through some other stuff. I have started walking again and I am rediscovering the joys of exploration. Before the election, I was easily up to walking three miles within an hour. On Sunday I got back up to an even two miles. I will get back up to a good three miles again. The added distance allows me to find a lot of weird stuff and find interesting people to watch. It also allows me to catch and hatch more Pokemon as I am still playing Pokemon Go. It is a fun addition to any walk along with using Pandora to listen to music. So, I guess that is what I originally made this post about. I also wanted to show off some of the pictures I have taken in the past few months. I rarely take pictures so enjoy.

ravens

Oh!  I also went to a Ravens game with my mom, stepdad and my cousins.

Random 41 Questions

November 7, 2016

A friend of mine posted this questionnaire on Facebook but why would I waste this on Facebook when it seems like a quality questionnaire.  Besides, it has been over a year since I have really posted anything on Facebook and I still do not feel like breaking that streak.  I was going to do another round of interview questions but instead, you get this because it was fun to do.

1. Are you named after someone?

Not that I know of.

2. When is the last time you cried?

My grandmother’s funeral. I talked about it here.

3. Do you like your handwriting ?

Yes, it is horrible and hard for other people to read but it is uniquely mine and I love that. I can slow down and concentrate and make it look presentable but also uniquely mine. I tend to type anything really important. My handwriting is really fast and that accounts for it being chicken scratch.

4. What is your favorite lunch meat?

Rare roast beef. I like it so rare that blood is practically coming out of it. Over the last couple of years, I have learned to appreciate rare meat more when it is safe to do so. There are certain places that I would never order rare meat from and others that nail it completely.

5.Do you have kids?

Nope. I would never say never but it does not look like it is in the cards for me. Still, I am young and anything could happen in the next couple of years. Kids make me nervous but lately, there have been some kids that I am related to that have changed my mind a bit.

6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?

I think so but it would probably be hard. Like most of my friends, I would have to be alright with not seeing me for long periods of time. I am an introvert and I tend to go into my house and hang out instead of seeking people out to make plans with them. I also tend to think my friends are busy or unwilling to do anything so I do not want to bother them. I will almost always come when called, though.

7. Do you use sarcasm?

I use sarcasm but I try to do it only as a function of comedy. If you are trying to make the people around you laugh, then it is definitely appropriate. If you are being sarcastic to hurt somebody then it is toxic behavior and kind of a dirty move. I try not to be bitter and I definitely do not like confronting people coming from a negative headspace.

8. Do you still have your tonsils?

That is a good question. I do not remember them being removed but I am fairly sure I do not have them. I probably have them still, right? You don’t just forget getting your tonsils removed, right?

9. Would you bungee jump?

I might. I have been doing things lately that scare me. I have gotten better at interacting socially and I went through a haunted house even though I was scared. Being scared of something and doing it anyway is exhilarating. I would have to not be given too much time to think and I would need the right mix of friends or family to go with me. I had the chance when I was a teenager and I did not do it.

10. What is your favorite kind of cereal?

Lucky Charms. I know it is bad for me and it turns most people off but I love a bowl of Lucky Charms floating in whole milk. It is a great mix of sweet and grain and the milk tends to dull the edge of the sweetness. I do not eat them much these days. (Not sponsored by Lucky Charms)

11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

I do not. I know you are supposed to but I just kind of slip them off. I have never had them fly off and not untying them every time has not been a problem. I do untie my dress shoes but I am paranoid about scuffing or damaging them in any way.

12. Do you think you’re strong?

I feel like I am only physically strong when I do not stop to think about it. I have lifted things and endured things that would have given me pause had I actually planned it out. I can lift a good amount of weight but I do not train with weights. I prefer to exercise by walking instead.

13. What is your favorite Ice Cream Flavor?

For a long time, my favorite has been Mint Chocolate Chip because I love the way those two flavors go together. My favorite brand of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream is Turkey Hill. I discovered the Turkey Hill brand while I was living in New Jersey near the Pennsylvania line. It is so creamy and soft and delicious. Lately, I have also renewed a love affair with Vanilla. If I had the option to add a little Hershey’s chocolate syrup then Vanilla is my favorite. (Not sponsored by Turkey Hill or Hershey’s)

14. What is the first thing you notice about people?

Their respect for other people. Specifically, I look at how people deal with people that they disagree with. Those that shut down people with opposite or different opinions are not people I really want to hang out with. There are too many people I have met who like to dominate the conversation by being a brick wall and maintaining that they cannot be wrong and nobody else can be right.

15. Red or pink?

Red. However, as I have explored gender studies a bit more, I have gained a new appreciation for pink. Growing up, I liked a lot of boy stuff and a lot of girl stuff and pink was persona non grata for boy stuff. Now, I realize how much bullcrap that aversion to pink is. I still have to go with red as a horror movie aficionado.

16. What is the least favorite thing you like about yourself?

My depression. Depression lies and it can cause all sorts of nonsensical and harmful thoughts to enter my brain and that leads to bad decisions. Every year I get a better grip on it but it still tries to worm its way into ruining everything. The darkness is never far off.

 

17. What color pants and shoes are you wearing now?

Tan shorts and no shoes. I do not wear shoes in my own home.

18. What was the last thing you ate?

I cooked up a little cheesy omelet to take the edge off my hunger and I will probably cook up something else to join it. Earlier today I had a crabcake sandwich for lunch at the Ravens game. It was so good.

19. What are you listening to right now?

I am watching Game Grumps on YouTube. It is basically like listening to a podcast of two guys talking while watching them play a video game. I have stuck with these guys for over a year and met a few of the staff members in person. It is just a good, down to Earth show that is only ten minutes long.

 

20. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

I would hope blue. Blue was always what I used to color the water in pictures and I really like water. I grew up in Baltimore and anywhere in Baltimore is not far from the water.

 

21. Favorite smell ?

Cooking in general. Baking bread is a more specific favorite especially if it is some sort of sweetened bread. Cooking meat, especially steak is also a favorite.

22. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

My mother, arranging meeting up to go to today’s Ravens game.

23. Favorite sport to watch?

American Football. I like the tension being ratcheted up with each progressive down and I love the running, passing, kicking and tackling skills involved. I also like that watching it usually involves eating stuff like hot wings, potato skins and mozzarella sticks. I love the Ravens and have loved them since they rolled into town from Cleveland.

24.Hair color?

Black.

25. Eye color?

Black.

26. Do you wear contacts?

No. I always just shuddered when I thought about sticking my finger in my eye.

27. Favorite food to eat?

A good bacon cheeseburger. It is a meal that I have had at more restaurants than I care to try and count. It is a hard meal to really screw up but when it is good, it can be amazing. It is also something I can easily make myself.

28. Scary movies or happy endings?

Scary movies. We just came off October and anyone who reads my blog or talks to me during October knows that I am a Halloween devotee. Horror has so many cool yet dark visual motifs that set my imagination aflame and make me want to create. I like happy endings and the two things here are not mutually exclusive but if I had to choose, I would go with horror movies.

29. Last movie you watched?

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. It was really fun and way better than it has any business being.

30. What color shirt are you wearing?

Purple. Go Ravens!

31. Summer or Winter?

Winter. I love the cold.

32. Hugs or kisses?

Hugs. I only kiss people and get kisses from people I am romantically involved in and right now that is nobody. I am also not really a hugger and more of a handshake kind of person but I will break that rule for the people I care for the most in this world.

33. What book are you currently reading?

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Player’s Manual. I want to be a Barbarian.

34. Who do you miss right now?

Friends who I have lost touched with and friends and family who are dead.

35. What is on your mouse pad?

I use a trackpad and not a mousepad. However, I do have a Doctor Who one.

36. What is the last TV program you watched?

Galavant. It is really good, you guys. I will probably be talking about it on Thursday.

37. What is the best sounding noise?

Genuine laughter when I am in on the joke. When I am having fun with people and joking around, laughter just cascades over me like a rain of pure happiness. I love to laugh and I love to make people laugh when I can.

38. Rolling Stones or The Beatles?

This is a difficult question. On the one hand, I was raised as a youth to respond to the question “Who is the greatest singer in the world?” with “Mick Jagger!”. On the other hand, the Beatles have a more varied and interesting catalog of songs. I think I will have to go with the Beatles.

39. What is the furthest you have ever traveled?

Paris, France. I went there when I was thirteen with my mother and we had an excellent time even if I was a little cranky and angsty from jetlag. I saw so many things that I had only seen on postcards and experienced a culture somewhat alien from my own.

40. Do you have a special talent?

I have a really good memory for story elements. I can remember a lot of trivia from pop culture concerning plot points, character names and such. This extends into my life as I am able to remember the narrative of my life and the stories people tell me pretty well.

41. Where were you born?

Baltimore, Maryland at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Walking

September 12, 2016

So I have been walking a lot more lately. I have lived in the same place for a long time now but I never walked around that much. I could probably count on one hand how many times I went on a walk starting at my front door. If I was going to walk, I would waste time before a movie in the parking lot in Columbia or go to the gym. After this, I’m not sure I can go back to walking on a treadmill after spending the last week and change walking around. It started with walking around Druid Hill Park because it’s so close but I have started to take different paths through my little corner of Baltimore City. Of course, the impetus of this walking is Pokemon Go but I also want to see something new every day. Sometimes it’s seeing a herd of deer within a few feet of me and sometimes it’s finding something in a corner I never thought existed.

I walked up the hill and started to take a path that I had taken a long time ago. I remember walking it with my mother when she lived in the area. I knew that the path went to the Baltimore Zoo eventually and I had taken it that far once with her. I decided to take a different fork in the path and ended up deep in the woods. Of course, the path was still paved so it was hard to worry too much. In the middle of Baltimore you really don’t have to worry too much about dangerous animals. The worst I’ve seen are foxes and rats the size of small dogs. People are nice in this area too. Everybody just wants to go about their business and the majority of them are jogging or walking their dogs. What I stumbled on was a lane in the woods called Three Sisters. I could not help but think of Macbeth as I stopped to rest and battle a gym.

On another day, I turned down a different path. I was looking at all the paths laid out on the Pokemon Go display and I saw an awesome circular pathway that had a ton of pokestops on it. I headed in that direction and instead of finding my destination, I found a fence. I tried to walk around the fence but too late I realized I had found the backend of the Zoo. There was no way I was getting in that way and there was no way that I would ever jump a fence at my age. Not that I couldn’t but unless you’re a kid, breaking the law like that is never going to end well. So I kept walking down the Mountain Pass even though there are no mountains in Baltimore. I did not expect the road to get so steep. By the end of it, my calves were screaming. I still got home alive, though.

Of course, one of the nicest places to walk that isn’t in the middle of the woods is Clipper Mill.  A lot of my walks include some part of it either as a jumping off point or a cool down period.  The streets are flat as hell and easy to walk down.  Everybody is friendly and everything is sunny and I just feel good walking through that little neighborhood.  I’ve always found it interesting too.  Long before I was born, the mill burned down and left only shells of buildings.  When I moved into the area they were just starting to rehabilitate the area except they didn’t tear it down.  They left most of the buildings up and just made sure they were safe.  The place is clean but it is designed to look like reclaimed architecture.  The industrial became residential.  I love the feeling of walking through the future that is made from the past.  It’s a great area.

fire-memorial

Finally, yesterday I went down a road I have only gone down once but it was when I was tired  and in a car so I could not pay attention.  So, I decided to pick that specific path to go down.  It runs particularly close to the light rail tracks so it pays to  be wary where you walk.  The first thing I noticed was how run down the building I was walking next to was.  It looked like people had thrown rocks through a lot of the windows and nobody had fixed them.  Ah, Charm City.  That is not what interested me most.  Instead, I started to stumble on graffiti.  See, when I was in high school, I was friends people who tagged and some of them were real artists.  Sure it may be illegal but it is a form of human expression and it often doesn’t really hurt anyone and I think I can back that.  The stuff I found yesterday was cool.  It was almost cute.  I’ll leave it here for you to check out and make your own decisions.

At this rate, I will probably keep walking.  It is more fun than the gym and I feel like I am having an adventure.  Of course, I am catching a lot of interesting Pokemon but I am starting to see the world around me.  I get restless in my apartment and going to class does not always fix that.  So, I will see what’s out there and maybe get a little healthier in the process.

Running Away With The Circus

September 5, 2016

It always is

At one point, I worked for the circus. During one of my last summers off while I was in college, I looked for a job that would actually incorporate the skills I was learning in theater school. While my major was Stage Management, my love of music had led me into a Sound Design minor. My Sound Design teacher at Rutgers was a retired roadie who really knew his stuff. I had worked with audio/visual equipment in high school but I learned so much more in college. So, I joined the rest of a group of misfits hung out in the booth with an aged rock and roll expert most of the time. It was our shelter from a lot of the bureaucracy surrounding us.

What I thought I was getting into

What I thought I was getting.

When I saw an ad online for a job with the circus, I thought it was at least worth a try. The job description was to be the sound board operator and sound equipment monkey for a circus school tour. Nobody I knew had heard of the place but during the summer I was mostly left to my own devices so I filled out an application and sent in my resume. They called back and told me that instead of the job I applied for, they were offering me a job in the concession stand. They promised that if the guy who actually got the job dropped out, I would automatically have the shot at it. I doubted that would happen but a job was a job so I took it.

I had never flown here before

I packed up and boarded a plane for Burlington, Vermont. Of course, when I arrived they had lost my bag but I could not dawdle to wait for it. I had a job to get to. Appropriately, I was picked up by a guy in a pickup truck and driven way out into the wilderness in the middle of nowhere. I had arrived at the headquarters of Circus Smirkus. It was a summer program where they taught kids and young adults how to be circus performers. But I never really saw any of that. Our division started with a sort of boot camp where we learned our job and did inventory. The hardest part was learning to put up our two tents which had to get done quickly and efficiently. Oh, and to remove some suspense, my missing bag was delivered to the dirt road outside of headquarters on the third day.

Rustic VT Charm

It was nice and cool weather there among the mountains. We learned how to run all of the machines and, more importantly, we learned how to pound two-foot tent stakes into the ground with a sledgehammer. It was probably the strongest I have ever felt in my life. I carried that sledgehammer around like a badge of honor. They taught me and another coworker how to drive a forty-foot semi truck which was absolutely nerve-racking. I am glad that I never had to actually drive that truck during the course of my duties.

This is nicer than our trailer

This is actually nicer than our trailer.

I lived in a tiny bed in a trailer but I slept like the dead every night. I was so tired and sore all of the time that I simply laid my head down and passed out. Finally, we hit the road and my little trailer room was pulled from town to town. One day we would set up our tents and we would tear them down in the middle of the night the next day. Over time we got better at tearing everything down and packing it up that we eventually started finishing up around midnight. The summer became a blur of setting up, tearing down and actually serving customers.

The kids were awesome

I only ever saw the show once during a rehearsal. I actually should have been taking a nap or something instead but I was curious. The kids were great. They did acrobatics and juggling just as well as any adults I had seen. Of course, there were clowns too and I found them weird and creepy but that was to be expected. The show was based on Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass (the books) and was a lot of fun. Everybody I talked to loved the show and the school is still alive today so I have to assume they put on a good show.

I was so sticky by the end of the day

I was so sticky at the end of most days.

The most I saw of the kids is when they came to load up little wagons with popcorn to sell in the performance tent. I spent my days bent over the popcorn machine or the cotton candy machine. It was actually pretty cool learning how to make cotton candy and kids thought I was awesome and special for being able to do it. That part was cool but it was still a hard job. I learned to smile through the pain and other important customer service techniques you need when you do not exactly love your job.

This was my best friend all summer

This was my best friend all summer.

In between shows, I read a lot and hung out with roustabouts. The trailers we all lived in were arranged in such a way that it formed little, hidden areas where customers could not see us hanging out in front of our doors. The guys who put up the performance tent and were hired for hard labor spent a lot of time just hanging out and shooting the breeze. They were fun but I was a young nerd and these alpha dogs were a little intimidating for me. I was pretty sure some of them would have had criminal records for doing dumb stuff if they had ever been caught. They were about as harmless as your high school bully.

Welcome

I know a lot of this might sound negative but I just want to impress on you how hard this job was. I think if I really loved the job, I would have had a lot more fun with it but it was not my cup of tea. It was still a valuable experience even if it was tiring and hard to remember through the blur. It was a long time to be separated from phones, the internet and my family and friends. In the end, I was glad that I did it but I was also glad when I left that job to get ready to go back to school.

Shepherdstown

August 29, 2016

Welcome to Shepherdstown

While my heart will always be in Baltimore, I want to talk about another place. I have lived in Baltimore for a long time and during that whole time, my family also lived in Baltimore. We lived in Baltimore County, Roland Park, Tuscany-Canterbury and Woodberry but Baltimore was always a constant. Even when I moved to New Jersey my mom was still back in good old Charm City. They say you can never go home again but I felt that I sort of could. Then my mom moved out of the city and my brothers and I became the new proprietors of the Baltimore apartment. I’m the only one who lives there, though. Meanwhile, my mom moved out to West Virginia. I then ended up working West Virginia for two years while still going home to Baltimore every weekend. This summer I returned to Shepherdstown.

Nature

When I first hung out in Shepherdstown, I worked where I lived so I was pretty isolated. Lately, I have tried to explore the place a little and enjoy it more. The family homestead outside of Shepherdstown is beautiful. It was designed by my mom’s third husband who is incidentally my stepfather. It is situated way back off the main road out in the boonies. This is great for me because I actually like anonymity and being separated from the hustle and bustle. The apartment in Baltimore is actually separate from the hustle and bustle too despite being in the middle of the city. There’s also this stuff called nature everywhere and it’s surprisingly beautiful. I can walk outside for hours without crossing one street if I so choose to.

Country Roads

This past summer I revisited the place to do some paralegal work and then I worked on my studies. When I took a break, I was able to drive out into the area to have a little fun. So where can you have fun in the West Virginia panhandle? Well, if you want to do stuff you would do in Baltimore County, for example, you need to do some driving. Almost nothing worth doing is really close by and there isn’t really a straight road in the area either. I used to say that I hated to drive. When I started driving out in West Virginia, I discovered that I loved driving along the curvy, picturesque roads no matter what the destination was.

Martinsburg

So where is that Baltimore County-esque stuff? Well, the big box stores, chain restaurants and movie theater are all in Martinsburg. When I worked out here, I drove to Lowes in Martinsburg over and over. There is a great Japanese steakhouse called Kobe out there which does the whole show complete with knives, fire and flying shrimp. There is a small movie theater where I saw The Force Awakens for the first time. Every time I have seen a movie there, it has not been crowded at all. This is perfect since I feel claustrophobic when there are too many people in the theater. There are a lot of big box stores which are necessary evils for a person on a budget.

Shepherdstown

How about Shepherdstown itself? Shepherdstown is one part hippie town, one part college town and one part expatriates from nearby cities. It is a premiere stop in the area for tourists so everyone is friendly and welcoming and quirky. The town is full of all sorts of specialty shops and actually has a ton of restaurants. This past week, while I was off of school, I spent a lot of time hanging out in the middle of town and just soaking it all in. The town is busy while not being overly crowded and everyone looks like they’re having a good time. Even the busker on the street gave me a high five before making his pitch. It also did not hurt that Pokemon Go hit the town hard and everybody was totally cool with it.

Rumsey Park

There is a lot of history in the town as well. The area is rich in Civil War history but thankfully Shepherdstown is free of confederate flags. The town is built around Shepherd University which used to be a teaching college. So most of the historical significance has to do with the college buildings and the fact that Shepherdstown is West Virginia’s first incorporated town. It is a really cool little place to walk around (even if you’re not playing Pokemon Go). Just the other day I even discovered a new area to walk to called Rumsey Park where you can find plenty of green grass and an awesome, giant monument.

Maria's

However, I have two favorite places in town. The first is Maria’s Taqueria which is hands down my favorite place to eat in the area. In fact, it might be my favorite place to eat period. The place does not take itself too seriously and makes great Mexican-styled food. It doesn’t stress itself over making sure the food is authentic but instead makes sure it tastes good. While you can sit down, the place does a lot of take-out business with a small but simple and tasty menu. Everybody is friendly there and the place is adorned with sugar skulls as a nod to the real Mexico. The other place that I love is Beyond Comics. While I haven’t been there too often, Beyond Comics is a clean and friendly comic book store which has a great selection. I look forward to visiting there again soon.

Beyond Comics

This place is great but today my semester begins in Baltimore and I have to return to my apartment. I don’t mind because I love Baltimore. However, now I have a new place to call home too.

Interview Questions 5

August 22, 2016

Expelliarmus

Where would you go in a time machine?

 I am kind of split on this question. By the time I got into high school, I had the show business bug bad and I worked on a lot of theater. First, I was a volunteer and then after college, I worked professionally. Through high school, college and beyond, one name that constantly came up was William Shakespeare. Without looking it up, I would say that I have done at least ten different Shakespeare plays and I enjoyed each one. So, one of the times that I would go back to is the time of Shakespeare to see what it was all about. I would definitely attend a Shakespeare play and a Marlowe play as well (probably Doctor Faustus). I would see what it was really like when Kings and Queens still ruled the land before more advanced systems of government formed. However, as I have been studying the law and following the recent elections, a sudden thought has been sparked. They say that Democracy was first born in Greece. I would love to go back and see that Senate in action and compare it to today’s legislative bodies. To see legendary philosophers plying their trade as things we read about in textbooks are taught from the horse’s mouth. I could also see some ancient Greek theater as well which would be absolutely fascinating.

The Flash

Which super power would you like to have?

As a guy who grew up reading comic books and watching genre movies and television, I have thought about this question for a long time. When I was really young, I was totally undersized due to a medical abnormality that I was born with. I was the shortest kid and that included being shorter than every single guy and girl my age. In fact, my brothers quickly overtook me in height and are both still taller than I am. So, I dreamed of having super strength. The idea of being able to benchpress a car was attractive for somebody who was so small. While I really did not get bullied much in school, the idea of using that strength in gym class and wowing people was a nice idle fantasy. Later, I wanted the power of flight because I was a frustrated teenager. I wanted freedom. I do really well on my own and the idea of being able to go wherever I wanted without a car was really attractive. Finally, near the end of high school and into college I was walking a lot. While walking is a nice activity, sometimes it can just take too long to accomplish. I want super speed. Even today I would love to have super speed powers. It would save me all the time in my mundane tasks and leave me more time to do all the thinking tasks. I want to be the fastest man alive.

Coke Pepsi.jpg
Pepsi or Coke?

This is a hard one and in order for me not to pick a cop out answer, I will attempt to actually make a decision between the two. I am one of the few people who likes both. Now, lately, I have been shocked to talk with people who absolutely hate Pepsi and love Coca-Cola. I can understand brand loyalty. When I was little, a Coca-Cola was a treat and I felt happy when I got to drink one. My family is from the American South where Coke is king. We come from Georgia originally which is the heart of Coca-Cola’s global kingdom and most of our family never moved north of the Mason-Dixon line. So I grew up drinking Coca-Cola and I can’t remember when I first tasted Pepsi. I think I do not remember it because I was so underwhelmed. I was not underwhelmed with the product itself but I could not tell a significant difference. In the leaner times, we had replaced Coke with Shasta and I could definitely tell the difference there. For me, Pepsi tastes a little bit sweeter but is mostly just like Coca-Cola. So when waitstaff asked me if I minded drinking Pepsi at restaurants I would cheerfully tell them that it was more than acceptable. In college, Rutgers had a distribution deal with Coke so there was not a choice and I often had a bottle of coke within arm’s reach. After college, in the wilds of New Jersey, I started buying bottles of Pepsi and mixing it with orange soda. I really liked that. Where I live now, there is a Pepsi distribution plant within walking distance so the Pepsi symbol is a friendly sight I associate with home. However, now that I think about it, Coke feels more like home to me. It makes me think of my family heritage and where we came from.

The Law

August 8, 2016

I am writing this a few minutes before posting this in the middle of the night. My time has been at a premium and for once I had not written a post ahead of time. You see, something is taking up my time. Since January I have been going back to school and it has been an interesting experience so far. I sat down and laid out a plan to enter the Paralegal Certificate Program at CCBC so I could go ahead and get certified. I currently hold a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts and that tends to make potential employers tilt their head and look at me funny. I went to school for theater but I became tired of it and worried that my hard work would all be for naught if I got injured. I have had a very interesting path to my life since leaving my career in theater. Maybe that will be a tale for a different time.

I am loving studying the law. I have been around the law for pretty much my entire life. My parents are both lawyers and for the longest time I swore I would not be part of the legal profession. I am an artist and I would work hard to make a living as an artist. I succeeded in making a living as an artist. It was not much of a living but it was definitely a living and I would not trade it for the world. However, now I am learning all sorts of fascinating new things that are expanding my mind. It probably makes me say all sorts of annoying things as I stumble and struggle through my first few months of studying the law. I am trying not to be the “Yes but” guy and it is really hard because I am learning all sorts of cool stuff.

I want to be a paralegal because I like to research things. Research is like a treasure hunt for me. I feel like a paleontologist sifting through things bit by bit so I can take little pieces and form the skeleton of an unknown creature. Researching the law is often about researching elements of stories and we all know that I love stories. In fact, reading cases is pretty much comparing your client’s story to the stories of so many people before. It is fun to find matches and lay them out like so many puzzle pieces. The other part of what I do is writing. We all know I love writing. I mean, here I am writing at two in the morning. Writing a law document feels like successfully filling out a crossword puzzle or finishing a jigsaw puzzle. It may not be creative writing but it does take some imagination to think of connections to your client’s problem.

For the record, I still like Law and Order. I especially love Law and Order: Special Victims Unit but that’s because it has more compelling characters. I’ve noticed that a lot of people in the law profession get annoyed watching legal television shows after working in the field. I understand because of the inaccuracies but I feel that the shows are still more correct than incorrect. Also, they carry the spirit of legal work even if they do not actually represent the reality. In reality, the law has a lot of interesting stories but they look pretty boring when they are actually happening. Much like a tennis match.

So, halfway through my journey, I think of all the work I still have to do and I am ok with it. Bring it on.


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