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My Work Tab Added

In my ongoing attempt to expand on my graphic design work, I have ordered brand new business cards and added a tab on the left that will take you to a page of my work, from photography to web design. If you’re interested in any kind of design work or writing, I would love to talk to you about it and see what we can work out. I have a great printer that gets stuff to me quickly and I am usually able to turn work around within a week.

I’m going to be working on writing some more here because I need the practice writing and the self discipline it requires is good for me. I don’t have a page devoted to past writing, I figure I will use the blog as an example of the voice I tend to write with.

The Speed of Time

I’m not sure how a month can go by without my noticing, but it would appear that is what happened. We’ve had a good month around the house, though, with the little one starting school (day care really, but she likes to be a big girl) and the wife starting another school year. I’ve been working on a couple of projects that are starting to come together at different speeds.

The turn in the weather this week has been a true Godsend. Going out there at 95 degrees is okay for a short time, but playing every day in that heat really takes it out of you. Yesterday it was under 80 degrees with a slight breeze and I played truly horrendous golf. Three par 4’s to start went 6-6-7. At the start of the ninth hole, though, I realized that I had been over swinging all day long, trying to kill the ball instead of hitting it pure and letting my hips and clubs do the work.

Last weekend we took the family up to Commerce, GA for my grandmother’s 90th birthday. It was a remarkable day with family, including four generations with the addition of the three great grand children. This was Lily’s first time meeting her second(?) cousins and she was delighted. Watching her coo and hug and pet them was exciting and a bit of a relief. She tends to get a little over aggressive with her affection and I was glad to see that she kept that in check. The boys seemed to enjoy watching her run around and she enjoyed squeezing their cheeks.

This weekend is going to be devoted to watching the Braves try to make the playoffs for the first time in years. They’ve lost the division lead, but are up a game and a half in the wild card and I think they have an excellent chance. We’ll be going to the games Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in hopes of watching them clinch a playoff spot. It’s been sad to watch them falter so badly down the stretch, and I’m not sure how they will do when they get into the postseason, but honestly, the way they are pitching right now they only need one or two hitters to get hot and they have a shot against most anyone. Sarah’s going to the game today with Lily and my mom, which is a bit odd since I don’t know that my wife and child have ever gone to a game without me, but it’s a 4:30 start and I’ve got to work. I’m going to sneak out to the golf course afterward and try to calm the swing down a bit then meet them at home for dinner and bedtime.

Sorry for the lack of posting lately and the strange “what I did this summer” type of recovery post, we’ll see if I can get back on top of this here in the coming days.

Picture of the day – August 18, 2010

Regressing, Frustration

We went back to Nashville this weekend and I got a chance to play a good bit of golf. I started out right where I would hope to be-a 48 on the front nine of a golf course that is much tougher than the course I’ve been playing. The next day, my father-in-law and I played 2 balls for every shot, keeping the better shot. I played to a 41 that day, which was actually a little bit of a disappointment given the double bogey I had in the middle of the round. That’s nit-picky, I know, but I wanted to be bogey or better for the full round. We talked about it after wards and my father-in-law told me that he didn’t’ know what I was looking for-it was a 6 stroke improvement. My answer to him was that I was just looking for consistency in my swing. I’ll hit a perfect drive and follow it up by swinging over the ball and hitting it 25 yards. That’s part of why I’ve been enjoying golf. It’s a constant fight for me to slow myself down and concentrate on the process rather than the results. If I’m thinking about trying to make par, my swing isn’t going to be where it needs to be. If I spend every shot thinking about the shot, the score will come. It’s a great mental exercise.

Had I known what the next two days were to bring, I wouldn’t have whined a bit about that 41. I shot a 51 the next day, but it was entirely my own fault. Starting on about the fourth hole, I had a complete mental breakdown. I wasn’t slowing down my approach at all, just getting up there and ripping at the ball, making bad shot after bad shot. My father-in-law just played along with me, silently. He knew that I was furious with myself and melting down and that there wasn’t much he could say to get me back on track. I finally acknowledged to him my mental breakdown and the knowledge that, had I just calmed down and loosened up I probably would have been in the 47-48 range on that round. I cost myself a good 5 strokes just playing like a lunatic. (It’s possible I might have tossed a club here or there, or perhaps I slammed the club down a little. I was ticked off.) The worst part of all was that at some point during this round, I felt a little tightness in my right side, stretching from my chest all the way around to my spine. I ignored it and pressed on and didn’t think much about it until the net day.

We showed up the next day and my complete meltdown continued. I wasn’t losing it mentally this time, it was more that my swing disintegrated into a completely unusable mash-up of over swinging, lifting my head, swaying in my stance, moving my feet. Everything that could go wrong was and I ended up shooting a 57. I was frustrated, yes, but not completely locking myself up mentally like the day before. The “little tightness” that I felt the day before was now a full on muscle pull in my right side and like a fool I tried to play through it. I really should have quit at about the third hole, but I played all nine thinking that the heat of the day would help me loosen up a bit. It didn’t work out that way.

I’m now taking a week off from swinging a club to let this thing in my side settle down. I’m going to start stretching myself out a lot more in hopes of avoiding a recurrence of the same injury, but I’m also trying to look at what made me melt down so much mentally. I’m just not sure that I ever really recovered from the mental collapse on the third day to play well again. How do I gird myself against a recurrence of that particular malady? I think I just was in a bad mood that day and that I need to lighten up a bit about this whole golf thing. I’m not on a schedule to get better, I just need to keep playing and improving. There are going to be days when I just plain don’t have it and I have to accept that and see what I can do to make it through those days without making myself miserable. If I can do something silly like try playing the rest of the round with nothing but a five iron and a putter maybe I can have some fun with it and actually improve my five iron play and overall shot-making ability by learning to hit the same club in different ways.

Golf is a good game for me as a naturally impatient and excitable person. If I can force myself to calm down and play well, I hope that it can help me in other areas of life, like, oh, you know, dealing with a two year old.

Picture of the Day – August 6, 2010

Picture of the Day – August 4, 2010

Obsessive

I have a tendency to go way overboard and become totally obsessed with the things I get into. I played a video game solidly for close to 6 years. Solidly meaning that sometimes when it was at its worst I’d play for many hours a day and even when I wasn’t going at it that hard, I would still play every night for an hour or two. World of Warcraft was and is largely bad for me, but it’s not without it’s positives, too. On one hand, the game is terrible for my introverted nature, to the point that my wife started telling people that I just don’t like going out and doing things. I’m completely out of touch with people I talked to regularly just a few years ago to the point that I’d say that I’ve lost friends due to the game. On the other side of that coin, though, I met and befriended people that I never would have known otherwise. How else would I meet people from Colorado, Texas, Rhode Island? I have learned a lot about how people work through that game. I spent time as a guild officer and a regular member. The biggest difference? The amount of time I spent worrying about other people’s happiness. As an officer the entire group of people is looking to you to provide stability and a schedule around which they play the game. When you’re a member, someone else is handling all that stuff and you can just play. It’s a pretty selfish way of playing, really, but no one can run a guild forever. It’s a lot like taking a tough job and not being paid for it.

Warcraft was also bad for relationships that have endured. Like, oh, I don’t know, my wife. I’m pretty sure that there were times when we were living in Savannah that she was close to just leaving and telling me to go to hell. I can look back on it now and see how ridiculous I was being and how hard it was for her, but all I can do from here is apologize and learn from the situation. I’m not saying that Savannah was the last time it became a true addiction, it’s happened since then, but that was the real low point. So why didn’t I just give it up entirely and swear it off? Because of the social aspect of the game. I am truly friends with the people that I’ve met through Warcraft and to just leave would let them down. Now, don’t get me wrong, like any relationship, things must be weighed according to importance. Wife and child? They’re at the top. Friends from Houston who are looking to kill a new boss? They’re lower down. But they are my friends and are more important than, say, a marathon of The Deadliest Catch. Plus, at the end of the day, I enjoy the escapism that a video game gives me. It’s much the same as a great book or movie, except the end user has more control over their experience. It’s not dictated to you. But the truth at the end of the day is that like all things, you have to enjoy them in moderation and keep the really important moments and people in focus.

The addiction is easy to understand. You’re gaining new “things” with a relatively small amount of work. Sure, it make take 4-5 nights at 3 hours a night to get a new fight down with a full group, but really that’s not a huge time investment for someone looking for the thrill of the new kill or the shiny pixel prizes you get. In the times between raids, you’re gaining other smaller achievements and prizes which help to tide you over for the big ones. That was largely where my problem lay. If I could see that I could finish this thing or that thing off in just another hour or two, I would. Then it would snowball into many different things being added together and before you know it you’re playing for 10 hours a day. That’s not healthy in a lot of ways. I gained weight, lost interest in a lot of activities that I had previously enjoyed like playing basketball and softball, and what did I end up to show for it?

I’m on a prolonged official hiatus from Warcraft at the moment, but I have played around with it a little here and there. The thing that has amazed me the most is how little I really miss the game. I still talk to all of my friends that I met through WoW, so the social aspect of the game isn’t much different. I’ve started playing golf again. I realized that the end of golf for me was very close to the start of Warcraft. Funny that. I’m up and around a lot more and I’m feeling better. I’ve actually lost some weight without dieting or serious exercise. I’m planning to lose a lot more, but I already feel better just moving around. I’m closer to my wife than I’ve been in a long time and I’m enjoying hanging out with her and the little one rather than getting home from work and sitting down at the computer immediately. Will I go back to a more serious Warcraft schedule in the future? More than likely. But it will never be something that I do for hours and hours again. I have other interests and I’m not going to repeat the past and cut out things I enjoy in favor of a game. I’m happier now than I have been and I feel a bit like a weight is off my shoulders. The trick now is to maintain that feeling and keeping adding in more things that are healthy while still having fun with gaming.

Picture of the Day – August 2,2010

Picture of the Day – July 30, 2010

Picture of the Day – July 28, 2010