Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Time Has Come to Start Again

Hello world!

A lot of time has passed since I wrote anything here, so you may be wondering, "Why now?"

The world has gotten uglier in the 8 years since I last posted. It is a lot easier to be overwhelmed with despair, and so much easier to put people in a box labeled "fuck'em" and cut them out of your sphere of interaction. But that doesn't fix anything, we have to share this spinning water ball with everyone else on it. We have to fight the urge to lock ourselves in our bedrooms, binge Netflix reruns, and shut out everything that is awful about the world. And when I say we, I mean me.

It's a lot easier to use the royal we and make grandiose proclamations about what we as a society should do than it is to talk about what I need as just one individual, but here I am. 2018 has been a pretty good year, but 2017 was not. 2017 was a year of despair, but not the wailing and gnashing of teeth kind, the kind where you come home from work and curl up in the same spot on your bed and sleep. I basically checked out of every part of my life that wasn't work. I spent so much time lying in the exact same spot that I wore a hole into my bedsheet, not like, a giant person sized hole, but a large enough one that when I noticed it I was embarrassed that it had taken me that long.

It felt too hard to try and see the good in people or humanity in general, so I chose not to see anyone.

The story of how I decided to rejoin the waking living world will be for another day, but I will say that no one exists in a vacuum, and I am very grateful to the people who helped pull me out of that place and convince me that there was more to life than work and sleep.

I am starting this blog again because I need a reminder that no matter how I feel about humanity as a whole, there is something to learn and connect to in everyone. So when I just want to disconnect and sleep I have a collection of things to look at and remind me why it's good to leave your house sometimes. If you, dear reader, get the same benefit from these stories, that would be great too. This time there are no rules over what people count, or how many people I need to talk to. This blog is just to collect connections, and see what kind of life you can build with them.

And so I shall leave you, with one of my favorite interactions from this past year with a man who told me 30 seconds after meeting him to call him "Uncle Mike." (Side note guys, if you can believe it I never went to bars during the initial run of this project, even though I could drink, bars are like playing this game on easy mode... kudos to you past Caitlin, you had flaws but you also had guts)

Caitlin sits at the bar in her local favorite place, a man sits diagonal from her, she has seen him before, but they have never spoken. Earlier that evening Caitlin told the bartender how much she hates asking people what they do for a living because, "there are only so many things you can ask about someone's job, and no one has ever given me an adequate answer on what a finance guy does anyway."

So when the time comes after their initial introductions to ask the first question of the conversation, she asks, "What do you love, Mike?"

He thinks long and hard, although, real talk, she can't tell if he is thinking about it at all, or if what she said was just weird enough that he decided to ripcord out of the conversation and pretend she isn't there.

Just as she is about to look away at the television and pretend she didn't try and say anything he speaks up, "I guess I love the McChicken"


"Yeah, I mean, ok it isn't the greatest sandwich, and I know it isn't good for me, but I do a lot of things that aren't good for me," he gestures to his mug, "and like, its reliable, I know I've got the money for it, I know I will like it, feels like home I guess"

"Wow... that's pretty cool ...but I still don't think I want to call you Uncle Mike."

"You will, everyone does, it's just who I am."

We talked for another 20 min, and not just about the items on the McDonald's Dollar Menu. Our conversations are a fairly regular thing nowadays, and it turns out he was right. A few weeks ago I was talking to a woman who was in my bar of choice for the first time and while giving her a brief rundown on fellow patrons, I, without a thought, heard myself say, "And that's Uncle Mike, that's what everyone calls him, it's just who he is."

So that's the first post after my extended hiatus, hope you enjoyed it, regardless, I hope you all find out what your McChicken Love is, and I hope it only cost's $1.07 to acquire it. Be kind to one another.

k, thx, bye

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A New Year

Hey all,

I'm back, and here's a story

So I've mentioned Creeper Scott, works at the gas station across from my work, kinda creepy, but friendly.

Well today I went to get a soda from the gas station, and he was cleaning the area by the soda machine.

"How are you today?" he asks

"Pretty good, I guess" I answer refilling my pop, "You?"

"Eh, I'm at work, how good can things be?" He answers

"True, true" I finish and move to the counter, "Just a refill, thanks"

"Caitlin's cup please don't throw out?" he says, reading what I wrote on my cup (to prevent it from being thrown out).

"Yeah, if you don't put a note on it they throw it out, and it's inconvenient to keep buying them."

"Well, no charge then," he answers, "Since you've had to buy replacements before"

"Thanks" I said, and left.

The key to life, I am learning, is play nice with everyone, and they will play nice with you

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sometimes people disappear... It happens

So, where have I been, I know it's been a while, some days you get home, and you're just too tired to get on the computor. Plus for some reason I appear to have adopted cold for the last month.

Good news is that I haven't stopped meeting people, in fact I have met some people who I would consider celebrities in my world (read here as nerdy sub-culture things). First was the afternoon when two guys showed up at the SVP (student video productions) office to just say hey.

Sidebar: SVP is an organization for which I co-produce a TV show called Fallout see for a really awesome summary of this season so far, if you're interested.

Anyway, back to the strangers in the office, turns out they used to be on staff when they were at school here, and had been in town that morning to give a talk about working in video in today's world. I couldn't go because I had class, but I had heard about the talk. However, I didn't know this at the time, so I just started talking to them. Then we got to talking and I discovered that they work in post production (the people who fix color and sound) for College Humor, as in all those funny videos, such as Hardly Working, Extreme Gym Class, Photobooth, etc. Which is really really cool, because not only am I a huge fan of College Humor, I also want to go into color correction, something about trying to get the whites the same color, white with a green tone vs. white with pink, it's very fun, in an OCD kinda way.

But I digress, so I got to meet two guys who work in the field that I want to go into, but these guys were pretty cool, we talked about what SVP was like when they were in it, budget struggles, studio space struggles, all nighters, they just got a pullout chair that turns into a bed. It was a really great afternoon.

But alas, cool as that was, it was topped.

Johnathon Coulton, internet musician of random awesomeness, singer of such great songs as:

Code Monkey, RE:Your Brains, Mandelbrot Set, Skullcrusher Mountain, Creepy Doll, I Feel Fantastic

and countless others, was in the student union playing at some alumni's of business dinner thing (I wasn't invited, heard his music and hovered in the doorway, until one of the servers told me that I could come in because dinner was over and most people had left) and there he was, standing on the stage, strumming his guitar, singing Skullcrusher Mountain, (I made this half pony half monkey monster to please you... what's with all the screaming, you like pony's you like presents, maybe you don't like monsters so much, maybe I used to many monkeys...)

so yeah, I slowly worked my way toward the stage, moving from table to table, where I discovered I was not the only intruder. So I walked up to him, "You aren't supposed here either are you?"

He looked shocked (later he told me he thought I was kicking him out) and I sat down next to him, "me too"

So we sat and listen to him do a few songs, and called him back to do an encore, and then the show ended, and I watched him leave the stage, "Why not," my brain said,"might as well go for it," so I walked right up to him and said, "Sorry to bother you, but I'm kind of a hue fan,"

"Don't apologize for that, really being a fan is nothing to be sorry" he smiled and we talked a bit, about music, how I ended up at the show, I got someone to take my picture with him on my phone and recorded a video of him talking to someone else I know.

It was pretty awesome. I am super happy, the strangers project is having some pretty cool benefits.

However, I have also met a creepy strangers.

Not like in a dark alley or bar or something, I know better, in sketchy/uncertain situations always listen to your gut, you actually have the same type of cells from your brain near your stomach/intestines, so gut feelings are actually coming from your interic brain.

So I wouldn't have spoken to this guy in a less controlled environment, but as it is, it feels pretty harmless.

See, during my lunch break at work I usually go across the street to get a soda from the gas station, lately the same cashier is always working, he shall here be know as Creeper Scott.

The first time I saw Creeper Scott was through the window of the gas station, he was looking at me, like actually watching me. Now I know I'm super gorgeous, but lets face it, I was wearing jeans and a grungy sweatshirt (it's really dusty at my work, so you can't wear anything you actually care about) I did not look my best, or even average, just tired and dusty. Still he gave me an odd smile as I walked in. He looked as I assume one would look after a life of drugs, booze, lack of sleep, and being ugly. If you have ever seen The Practice he reminded me of the character William Hinks.

He asked if I worked nearby, I answered, we chit chatted a bit, and I went back to work. Ever since then he always asks some small questions or another, also, he usually finds an excuse to come and straighten the chip display behind me while I get a soda. Honestly it is a little creepy, but again, as long as there is a counter between us and it isn't a sketchy situation it isn't a problem.

But yeah, so these are the most memorable of my strangers, though I've still had plenty of the regular ones, you know, what's up in your life, what do you think about sports, etc.

But hopefully now I will work my way back to regular updates

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Holy Cats did I get busy

So, where have I been, not here obviously, but, even though I haven't been blogging I haven't stopped talking, so lets play the recap game:

Wens: As I was running late to class (my voice teacher let me out late) I saw the girl ahead of me approaching the door. We were heading into lecture, and this girl was not from my section so we had never met.
"Hey wait," I called out, "Are you late for Modes too?"
"Yeah, I forgot to pick up my equipment, and by the time class ends the place would be closed, so I had to go now, but of course, now I'm late"
"If we go in together maybe they won't notice how late we are,"
"Strength in numbers and all that"
"Shall we go in"
she laughed, and then we quietly opened the door and crept in, all sneaky like.

Thurs: Alas, Thursday's encounter was a basic "oh life" conversation held in line to purchase a soda. The girl and I discussed how shocking it was to discover that it has been almost a month since school started, and how fast time moves, along with speculating about the game that was to be played this weekend. Sadly the details elude me. Here is a problem with tardy blogging, you forget the interesting details of conversations. However, I will note that being at a sports centered school makes forming a conversations with other students easier than other places. If I have nothing else to say I can always say, "Did you see that game/Are you going to the game?" Who knows what I am going to do when football season ends.

Fri: Friday had an interesting non verbal exchange. I was walking across campus when I saw a student fixedly looking at the sky, he was in the middle of the sidewalk just staring into the sky, and people were walking around him. For the most part just pretending her wasn't there.
Not me, I stopped, about five steps from him, and I too turned and looked at the sky. I didn't see anything, but I kept looking. Then I looked back at him. He looked back at me smiled, and looked back to the sky. I returned my gaze skyward, still missing whatever it was that he was staring at, but he seemed to appreciate the companionship. Then suddenly, he stopped, we made eye contact, he nodded, and walked away. It was very mysterious, ish.
Also on Friday, I spoke to a girl in my Infant development class, who I had never spoken to before, and discovered that she is also in my psychopharmocology class. We discussed our upcoming exams (both ID and Psypharm have one this week) and how the Psypharm teacher's accent reminds us of Antonio Bandaras (my first movie crush, Zorro, handsome, daring, not exactly law abiding) and how sometimes it makes it a touch hard to concentrate.

Sat: So this might be cheating, because it wasn't just me involved. John and I had gone to pick up food (a sort of late lunch/early dinner thing) when the guy in the resturant told us to turn on the Iowa game on the car radio. We asked which station, and I asked the score. He told us the score, the station, said go hawks, and then we said thanks, and turned on the game to make him happy. I don't really know if this counts, as John did as much talking as I did, but because it was Saturday I didn't really go anywhere except for some filming and editing, and watching stuff in preparation for the emmys. I didn't really go out enough to find myself a stranger. Sad I know

Sun: So now we have arrived at today, nothing super exciting, I made small talk when I went to the IMU to capture with a janitor about to clean the bathroom. I asked about the game, and what event was going on in the ballroom a few feet from us. It was a very general conversation, but again I didn't much outside world time today, with filming (we filmed a pool scene today, thank you for being willing to get in the water even though it was overcast and chilly, you are awesomes about averages, so thanks) and trying to recover the mess that the DM Recruitment video has turned into.

On that note. I am in charge of putting together all the videos for Dance Marathon this year, and the videos were going great. All I had to do to be finished was to finish popping in the newer interviews, touch up some facts, and we would be ready to print. Unfortunately, some of the archive footage from last years event was in standard definition instead of high definition so now I have to go through and refind everything and basically reconstruct the whole thing. I kinda want to scream. It is really frustrating, because I was really excited about it when I started, and all my wind is out of my sails being back at square one. I feel like Odysseus, and my men just opened the bag of wind. Back to the island, though, unlike the king, the DM people are being really understanding. Thank god, they are amazing, but I am going to do my best to trun around ASAP.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Time That Almost Wasn't

Crap, I did it again,

I really am going to get responsible about this, promise

So for yesturday I almost got blown off for the first time since I began my journey.

I went out to lunch with a friend, and while I was waiting in line I made a comment to the woman ahead of me, 'wow, this place sure gets crowded at lunch.'
She turned and smiled, 'yeah,' and then she turned away, got out her phone, and called someone.

And I thought that would be it, I felt a bit let down, I mean, I knew that sometimes people wouldn't want to talk, but I had been a good enough reader of peoples energies so far. I could tell if people were feeling good, and I only approached people who didn't seem too busy to talk. Therefore, feeling that I had judged wrong, left me feeling crappy.

Then I pulled myself together, 'oh well, too bad for her'

Then, after I had gotten my food, I noticed that the line had gotten twice as long. The woman from the line walked past me, looked at the line, and turned to me, saying 'aren't you glad we got here when we did'
I lit back up inside, 'absolutely'
She smiled, and we both walked to the soda dispenser.

It just goes to show, my instincts are usually right, even if it doesn't seem so at first

Monday, September 14, 2009


So today's encounter is brought to you by Ketchup.

I say this, because I have been watching with increasing horror as the bottle of ketchup in the fridge has drawn closer and closer to empty.

You see, some people need oxygen to survive, and while that is all well and good, I personally, need ketchup. Perhaps not need, but definitely use, in large quantities.

So when the line of remaining ketchup had reached critical, I set forth outside and next door, to the grocery store. Where I procured a new bottle of ketchup, along with some juice, and cereal. Then I went to stand in line. Now I do not know what the occasion was, but the couple in front of me were attempting to acquire some cigars. They ended up going with an it's a boy, and an it's a girl cigars, but they also looked at a wide variety of ones that had nothing to do with childbirth. So I cannot say for certain that there was anything to do with babies and this couple in front of me.

Whatever the reason, it was taking forever, the cigars wouldn't scan, and the computer didn't recognize the UPC code when it was typed in. I stood there, while the cashier bravely tried and retried to get the computer to respond, and then continued waiting after her manager came over and fixed the problem only for her to have to now ring up the second cigar.

Then the man paid for the cigars with change, not cash, change, over a dollar worth in pennies, and the rest in nickels, dimes, and quarters. Truly, it was a checkout line that would not have felt out of place in the eighth circle of hell.

Finally I reach the counter, "Long day?" I ask
"I don't understand it," she replies, "that's the fifth person today that has paid with change, and earlier today I had to make change for a fifty, and the guy wanted it all in quarters, dollars, and fives"
"I can't figure out whether it's some colossal joke, or just a weird coincidence"

We chatted a bit more, about how quickly the weekend had gone by, wishing life wasn't so busy, etc.

This has led me to realize something that I think I always kinda knew:
Given the chance, people desperately want to talk about their lives

Especially to strangers, because you can be more honest, you don't have to candy coat how something affected you because you don't have to worry about hurting a stranger's feelings.

So when the girl behind the counter tells me that not only is work stressful but that her roommate keeps coming and going at all hours, loudly, you shouldn't be surprised.

Still, I'm surprised that people are willing to tell to someone they don't know intimate details of their lives.

Anyway, on to learning more about other people, perhaps more than I wanted or needed to know.



I didn't post yesterday, it kinda slipped my mind.

See, yesterday was video boot camp for SVP (student video productions), we held a training day where we covered a basic introduction to all the aspects of video production.  There was an introduction to using the HD cameras, a how to for Final Cut editing software, and lighting.  Because I am on staff I was leading one of the sections, lighting to be specific, along with one of my fellow staff members.  We spent the whole day discussing what lights means, how to change the feel of the scene using lighting differently, how to set up lights, and basic etiquette with equipment and content

It was a long day, and I missed the free pizza because I took too long after striking the equipment we used, so me and my roommate grabbed some fast food on the way home.

I don't know what went wrong, whether it was something wrong with the chicken, or me just not being quite right, but I got ill, like gross ill.

My roommate went back in to edit, deadlines wait for no man, and I crashed on my bed with Shakespeare's Henry IV, it drifted through my mind that I hadn't blogged yet, but I couldn't seem to get up and take care of it, and then it slipped free from my mind and I didn't think about it until about 20 mins ago.

The sad thing is that I actually had a pretty funny encounter to tell you all.

See, my partner for the boot camp and I decided that compared to using HD equipment and special effects in editing, lighting might seem kinda lame.

So we did what any logical person who needs approval does.  We went to get bribes.  He went home to get movies with cool lighting to show, (Sin City for cool noir lighting, Slumdog Millionaire for cool ways to use overexposure and natural light) and I went to get candy.

Maybe I over did it, I just knew that if we ran out it would suck for everyone who didn't get any, and I got both chocolate candy and non because some people (crazy people) don't like chocolate.  Basically, I had a ton of candy spilling from my hands.

Anyway, I got to the checkout line and dumped my load of candy on the counter.  The cashier gave me a look.

"It's not what you think," I said
"Sometimes people just need sugar, it's OK" he laughed
"No, it's not for me, see I'm leading a class thing today, and I'm afraid of being boring, so I'm bringing bribes"
"Of course, that would have been my second guess"
"Of course"
"Well, good luck"
"Thanks, as long as they like candy I think things will be OK"
"Who doesn't like candy?"
"Crazy people"

Not a particularly long exchange, but an amusing one, and the guy was still laughing as I left the store.

In case you were wondering, I think the bribes did help, and we all had a good time, until the chicken of doom of course.

Hopefully this won't happen again, both the late post, and death by chicken.

Anyway, I will see you again later today, hopefully with another entertaining tidbit of life