I need two days, please.

If we were to have coffee, at least for today, I might tell you of my struggle to be meaningful. I would ask if you ever had days where you felt meaningless? Where you felt as if there wasn’t much to be proud of, that you hadn’t done much worth meaning.

I would spew my jumbled and erratic thoughts your way, hoping some of it rang true for you as well, so maybe you could offer advise, or you could relate; because relating with another human being, makes things seem less raw.  You’d be a layer of skin to help me move forward

If we were to have coffee tomorrow, at least,  I would l tell you what I did to be meaningful the day before. I would ask if you ever had days where you felt  meaningful? Where you felt as if you had done so much to be proud of, you stumbled but you rose and created something meaningful?

So thank you for meeting with me twice, and being my anchor to reality, for seeing me through my days.

 

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5 Reasons Everyone Should Play Video Games

From surgeons to bus boys, everyone can benefit from playing video games. Like the people who can benefit, video games range from shooting people in the face in a historical setting to spinning in the middle of flowers to get some currency. A lot of people take a lot of games at face value; they see first-person shooters (FPS) as violent or fun, puzzle games as a challenge, and role-play games(RPG) as make belief. While all these things may stand true, there is much more to it.

1. Motor Skills
Motor skills is a pretty obvious one and one touched on a lot; for good reason. Many games teach you hand-eye coordination, a notable example being first person shooters such as Halo. Shooting your opponent in the face faster than he can shoot you in the knee and stop your adventuring all together requires fast, small and accurate movements. What does this mean to you? Well if your surgeon plays an fps regularly, it could save your life. Finely tuned motor skills are a bonus no matter what you do, whether it’s sports, surgery, or busing those tables. You’ll be faster and better than those who do not.

2. Leadership
Leadership can’t be easily taught outside of real life every day experiences. Most of the time, you either have leadership skills or you do not. Many video games help establish leadership skills, games such as World of Warcraft (WoW) is a prime example. In WoW a main component is the guild structure. Guilds are groups of people working together to establish a common goal, in many cases in WoW, successful raids is that goal. Being in a guild allows you to step into a leader ship role where you need to properly delegate, structure and organize, otherwise you get a whole mass of chickens with no heads. Not pretty – very bloody. It’s pretty clear that leadership skills teach you how to be a better, more patient leader. Thank’s chickens.

3. Teamwork
On the other end of the leadership spectrum, you get teamwork – Yay! I’m not going to get into how to spell team, but rather get straight to the point and use the guild reference again. If you don’t want/have time ect. to lead a guild or raid, you get to be one of those who gets led. For a raid to be successful, you need a leader who knows how to approach a boss or scenario and a team of people who can listen and think on their feet. Dying twenty times to the Lich king in a Pug (group of random people) can teach you how to beat it,sure, but hey, if you can cut that down to half, why not? If you work as a team you can learn from each other as well as gain knowledge from those with experience so you yourself make less mistakes. Teamwork skills will teach you how to survive in a lot of life experience where your in a group and need to work together to accomplish something. Teamwork also goes hand-in hand with leadership. With both those skill sets under your belt, you’ll be a rock star in no-time.

4. Strategy
Strategy is a part of almost every game regardless of its categorization. My favourite example, and game, is the Zelda series; an infamous rpg series that really started it all for me, (sorry Mario.) The games are essentially about saving this princess, Zelda, time and time again. In order to save this damsel in distress, one must complete a series of temples (Water, Earth, Fire Ect). Completing these temples is no easy task, you cannot simply swipe your sword at all the enemies and be done with it. You’re forced to think outside the box due to the various puzzles that litter the place. You cannot progress without completing each puzzle and these solutions are not always obvious. You need to fiddle, tinker and open your mind until viola! you get that magical sound that means you did it! Taking this “outside the box” approach to life is a major plus, it opens a world of doors and opportunities to you that you never would have seen had you not learned a thing or two from all-mighty Link.

5. Stress/pain relief
Last, but certainly not least, is that playing video games can ease many of life’s burdens. It’s been proven not only to relieve stress but pain as well. Video games can be a form of escapism, a place to steal cars while running over hookers or a place where you hop through portals so you don’t die from a malignant computer. You can do all of these things, legally might I add, as well as in the comfort of your own home aka in your underwear. Everyone could use a stress relief and video games provide an excellent platform in a rich array of styles.

All-in-all, games provide many benefits in life that get overlooked, so the next time your learning about the French Revolution in Assassin’s Creed or honing your motor skills in a game of Halo, think about how much more awesome it’s making you.

The Race

“I find my calm not at the finish line looking back,but rather as I am: on the run,out of breath, chasing something eternal”

– Vanessa Rousso

People chase this idea their entire lives. The idea of the prefect resting place, filled with a spouse, 2.5 kids and a retriever. From birth, you are told you need to do this and that. Good grades to a job to a family – The End. You’ve reached the finish line, time to rest. Now what?
This idea is so ingrained into the minds of the masses, there is no escaping, ever. You don’t want kids? Too bad. You don’t think school is for you? Too bad. This sense of finality has overwhelmed me my whole life. For most, this is the greatest thing that can be accomplished in life, this family and security. What about the rest? Are we wrong?
This is the question I asked myself in my adult years. I spent my high school days secluded, I thought and acted differently. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I knew I didn’t want to find my calm at the finish line. When I started out on my own I floundered and flopped and failed. I had all these crazy ideas and schemes of how I was going to make my life work the way people wanted it to. I even believed it was what I wanted for a short period, because it was a sense of normalcy, calmness. I grew restless and angry and I fell. Hard.
It was only recently that I found my peace, or at least a road to peace; and it’s covered with pot holes and steep hills. A road most would intelligently avoid because it’s clearly a bumpy road. For me, those pot holes are bumps to go 4x4ing over and those hills are like roller coasters. Hard to get up but damn is the ride down fun. This moment of clarity happened in a most unusual way. A single person, who I’ve never met and probably never will even speak to changed my life with a simple message.Her words effected me not because I saw her as this goddess of perfection, but because she found her place, not by fitting into this mould that’s expected, but by following her own idea. This idea that not everyone has to go to the finish line to be happy. Some of us are just happy racing. And again, this idea, was the spark I needed, it was confirmation that I didn’t have to figure everything out now, or ever, it was the idea that I could be happy, “on the run, out of breath, chasing something eternal.” And so I am.

Writer’s Block Boot Camp – Day 3

WBBC – Day 3

Mystery Cookie
One Day you come into work and find a cookie mysteriously placed on your desk. Grateful
to whoever left this anonymous cookie, you eat it. The next morning you come in and find
another cookie. This continues for months until one Day a different object is left—and this
time there’s a note.

I walk into the frigid office seeing my cookie on the desk, as it is every morning. It’s funny how I call it “my” cookie now. It started months ago, sometime in early February; I came to work as I always do, at the same time and in the same cramped cubicle. I’m early, as usual, and slump down dramatically in a chair. I go to place my coffee down on the desk and finally realize the oddity that lay there. I calculate that it’s shortbread based on the look of it, one of my favourites. I’m starving and don’t question it too much, I figure who would break into an office and send a malicious cookie? So I give it a curious sniff, look around like I stole it, and take a nibble. My first thought is, “I was right! It’s shortbread,” the next is that it’s delicious and what the hell is it doing on the desk. That really should have been my thought as soon as I saw it.

I immodestly assume it’s from a quirky admirer who doesn’t approve of wrappers, and think little more of it until the next morning. I really wasn’t expecting another cookie the next morning, but there it was, staring at me. Taunting me with it’s buttery, rich crunch. I don’t even look around this time, I noisily scarf it down and drain my coffee like some sort of savage. “I need to start eating breakfast”, I think to myself, and sit down for another day’s work.

The next morning I feel like some type of animal of prey as I slowly stalk the cubicle. I suspiciously peak around the corner and, when I realize my prey is unmonitored and waiting, I pounce on it and snatch it up. I run away to the coffee room before whomever left it for me comes to see if I’ve eaten it. I want to savor this one, and as I didn’t have time to buy a coffee elsewhere, I had to use the machine of crap coffee. Cookies make everything better.

After months and months of a morning cookies, I come to call it my own. I expect it and desire it. I have come up with so many scenarios of how and why my cookie comes to me every morning – they range from far fetched alien signals to a shy co-worker leaving me a token. Regardless of how or why it is there, it is mine.
My astonishment one morning, upon not seeing my cookie on my desk, was loud and visible. I can tell by random grunts and gasps that I shocked a few co-workers out of pre-work cat-naps. Instead of a cookie on my desk there is a note with a large rock on it. I pick up and unfold the note, “To whomever is stealing my cookies – I put ex-lax in the last one – hope you enjoyed your morning!”

A while later, after some thought and a brief epiphany of why yesterday morning was so terrible, I start to ponder who it was that sat here. I realize this was Ted’s cubicle, one of the nicest but most reserved people I’ve ever met. He will stand behind you for hours just so he doesn’t have to excuse himself to go by. Ted put up with his cookie being stolen for months before he snapped. I’ll make sure to have a word with him about his rude notes.

Writer’s Block Boot Camp – Day 2

WBBC Day 2

“You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s day – one whom you often call “The One That Got Away.” What happens?”

Ironic. It seems another one of life’s cruel jokes. It’s Ironic that today of all days, Valentine’s Day – the anniversary of our first date, is when I see him again . The one that got away. The one whom I haven’t seen in 5 years. The one I haven’t spent a day not thinking about, at least that’s how it feels. My stomach tightens and dashes into my throat. My whole body burns with adrenaline. My finger tips literally sting with the sensation.

It was a cloudy day with little rays of sun flickering down on my converse shoes. I have a nasty habit of staring at the ground when I’m nervous, and buses always make me nervous. I know it’s cliche but I feel like a sardine trapped with stinky, rotting fish; everyone stares because there is no where else to look and almost everyone has some sort of stench. The bus saunters on its way, and makes yet another stop. Shoes pass by as they always do but something catches my eye this time and makes me look up. I recognize them as the shoes he wore of course and anyone could be wearing them, but I was right. It was him.

With my heart pumping every drop of blood a mile a minute through my body I glance up at him, wide-eyed and frightened – he is stony and cool. I realize all too frantically that this is my stop as well, and the few seconds that seems a lifetime were almost up. Almost. I have a few steps, seconds, breaths to do something. I panic but do a mental snapshot of my outfit – looked pretty cute – and choke out a “Heeeg”, not at all the light and airy “Hey!” I had envisioned. I throw in a twitchy nod and walk off the bus with every ounce of me wishing I hadn’t gotten off the bus. But I had. “It’s for the best,” I repeat. Over and over again until I almost believe it. Almost.

Writer’s Block Boot camp – Day 1

This is a two-week boot camp  program that is supposed to help with writing, both the motivation and the creativity. So today is obviously the first day. Let’s see what comes out.  The link for the site follows: http://www.writersdigest.com/wp-content/uploads/V7705_BootCampOfWritingPrompts.pdf

Day 1 – “Breaking Up With Writer’s Block It’s time for you and Writer’s Block to part ways. Write a letter breaking up with Writer’s Block, starting out with, “Dear Writer’s Block, it’s not you, it’s me …” – WBBC

Dear writer’s block, it’s not you, it’s me. Everything has been foggy lately. Disorientating and in a whirlwind. I lack motivation and persistence, so I blame you. You’ve been daubed “writer’s block” for a reason, have you not? Even now, I struggle to lose hold of you. The words seem forced through a too small strainer. All the good parts just sit in a pile watching the liquid and small particles fall into the sink. You can try and press firmly on the remainder, but you just ruin it. You can’t force matter to do what it doesn’t want to do. So I am dumping you out, and searching for a bigger strainer. So long. It’s not me…it’s you.

Death by Fire

This is a further attempt at fiction.  I’m attempting to show Scarlett’s character rather than just tell. I hope to develop this story further so any suggestions are welcome

Death by Fire

I saw her across the dim, smoke-filled bar. Everyone saw her. She was a Jessica Rabbit come to life. All ruby lips and high slitted dresses. Every movement was a sultry dance that captivated all the patrons of the establishment. Gazing at her made me remember our first and only meeting. It is the reason that I, like so many of these thirsty men here tonight, will never go over to her table. Not twice at least.

I stared a while longer, watched her caress her Lucky Strip cigarette between two plump lips. Staining the end of it ruby-red with her lipstick. She glanced sideways in my direction and slowly exhaled while crossing her left leg over to reveal more of her long, fair leg. Unexpectedly, she raised a long, delicate finger with its blood-red nail polish and beckoned me forward without ever looking back.

I would be a fool to ignore the summons, but I would surely not see the dawn if I went over. The idea of making a break for it was dashed as I saw large, monochrome men move towards the exits from my peripherals. I drained my whiskey glass, slammed it down on the counter, and walked to my death.

Sitting across from her, I felt the exhilaration I had the first time, even when I knew what she could do. She stared at me intensely, silently and put out her cigarette in the ash tray. As the last of the smoke lingered away she leaned forward, hands clasped, waiting. She waits for me to speak, and I accommodate her, trying a light conversation. “Lovely evening, isn’t it Scarlet?” I asked. She sits back in her chair, looking dissatisfied. “It’s raining Jon, not what I call lovely.” She quips. “Why are you here Jon? If I remember correctly, you were no longer…welcome here.” She said the last part of that sentence with the twinkle of malevolence and mystery that bewitched me in the first place. “Are you telling me that my memory is going Jon?”  Fear gripped every muscle in my body, if I made one false move, one slip, things would not end well.

“I’m not here on business Scarlett; I no longer carry a badge at all in fact.”  “How terrible that must have been for you” she purred. I choked on the scoff I wanted to let out and simply waved to a bartender for another round, anything to hide my fear, even though I knew she could smell it. She had this coy smile on her lips as she toyed with the diamond cross around her neck. “Don’t make me ask again Jon, why are you here?” I could hear the impatience in her voice and resolved to be out with it. I was as good as dead if I didn’t. Good as dead if I did, but I might as well go out with honesty, something I was not comfortable with.

Stumbling for words I confessed my obsession. “At first it started as an obsession linked with the job. I always knew it was you, and I didn’t understand why everyone was willing to turn a blind eye to your crimes. In the months of stake-outs and spying, I could never catch you red-handed, but I knew it was you. I was forced off the case after being asked repeatedly to leave it alone. This obsession eventually went in a downward spiral and in the end I lost my job completely. Went mad almost. I needed to catch you. After a year of digging and spying on my own I finally had you.” I paused at this part, taking a long sip of my newly arrived whiskey. All the time I was speaking, her lips were curved into a coy smile. She knew that I had never had her, and I learned that lesson far too late when I attempted to take her in. “A citizens arrest eh Jon? How utterly valiant of you. Not at all what I would have expected from the likes of you.” She almost spat the last word at me. I needed to speak quickly, or I would never arrive at my point, my only chance at survival. “I thought I was doing the right thing Scarlett, I wanted to make up for past sins, and to stop you. You control the entire city behind the scenes. I realized shortly after my release from your captivity that it wasn’t the idea of stopping the slaughter, or trafficking, or any of these illegal establishments that obsessed me. It was you.”

“My my, Jon, that is quite a confession, but it does not explain why you disobeyed me when I so mercifully released you upon good faith. While I find your obsession quaint, I find your lack of fear…unnerving.” I could tell she was choosing her words carefully; nothing could unnerve this woman, this goddess of death. I knew it was too late by that carefully chosen word. I glanced down at my whiskey as her smirk returned. She stood up slowly then, placed her polished hands, leaning over on the table, revealing her bosom. I felt the light-headed and fuzzy vision crowd my sense, and as I slowly faded into death I heard her whisper in my ear, almost as if in regret “I told you never to come back Jon”