Tag Archives: Writing

Four years since I crossed the equator

On the 17th of this month I reached the four year mark since I flew to Tanzania. I’ve been so busy with work that I’ve really been slacking off with my blogging, but this is certainly an occasion worth writing about.

Going to Africa had been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. At least since I saw the Lion King for the first time. Travel has always been a passion of mine, one that has been slow burning in its fulfillment. When I first started college I had no idea I would go to Africa by the time I graduated. I first entertained such an idea when I transferred to my four year institution. During orientation week I found out there would be a trip to Tanzania, rather timely since I was taking African Civilization I at the time. Once the applications went live I filled one out and submitted, and to my utter shock I actually was accepted (though it turned out everyone who applied was accepted.)

The acceptance email came during Fall semester finals week, so I finished that first term on the highest possible note. During that Spring semester the other students and I attended weekly classes in order to prepare, I additionally took African Civilization II. We embarked about a month after the school year ended and were their for five weeks.

Four years. Damn. As a child the thought of traveling the world as an adult seemed like a distant dream. Hell, being an adult was a distant dream back then. Yet four years have slipped by with me hardly noticing.

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Rest easy, Tony

This morning begun like any other I woke up and did my daily routine of checking my Facebook. Usually my feed is filled with memes and whatever my friends have been up to. Today it was different. I opened Facebook and received rather distressing news: Anthony Bourdain, one of my heroes, is dead. Fuck that’s sad. To make matters worse, it was a suicide.

Never in a million years would I have guessed he would take his own life. For years I’ve looked up to him, I thought he had the perfect life. Traveling the world, eating great food, getting to know the people who make those places and dishes so great, and getting paid millions to do it. Now it seems just like Robin Williams he was tormented with demons others were oblivious of until it was too late.

I’ve never been one to mince my words. I don’t believe in watering shit down and neither did Bourdain. Throughout his entire career he always called it as he saw it, unlike so many other TV personalities who sugarcoat everything and omit uncomfortable truths. Some people thought he was brash, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In many episodes he was open about his struggles with alcoholism, substance abuse, and sex addiction, knowing about this made his rise to super stardom all the more inspirational. That’s a big part of why the news is so shocking.

Watching him on TV as 14 year old who didn’t get out much provide a level of escapism I couldn’t find in many other places. I’ve always been a man of history, Bourdain was too. No matter where he went, he always delved deep into the history and never acted like he was some kind of expert. Instead he was a lifetime learner who passionately and generously shared what he learned with the world.

Yesterday if you to ask me if I could meet anyone in the world, I would have said him. Over the years I felt as if I knew him well, now it seems there was much about him nobody knew. He will be missed deeply. If you’re ever having thought about suicide remember that you will be too, reach out to a close friend or religious leader or call a suicide hotline. Here is a list of several around the world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines

I don’t know what else to say, so here’s the theme song for his last show. Its a life affirming anthem that reminds us things will be ok:

#ripbourdain #anthonybourdain

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Five Years

So I guess its been fives years since I set up this blog. Damn. Doesn’t seem like all that long ago. In that amount of time I’ve finished my Bachelor’s Degree, visited two countries on two continents, tried and failed to get a Master’s, worked five jobs, and so much more. I haven’t always been diligent or vigilant in posting here, but lately I have been. Here’s to another five years!

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One week down

Today marks the end of my first week working for Walmart. I’ve been working long hours and have been to exhausted to remember to update here. My days off seem to be rather random, I had today off but I didn’t post here until just now because I was busy finishing up a short story for an anthology with a deadline at midnight.

Turns out being a “stockman” doesn’t mean being the one who keeps the shelves stocked with merchandize (which I what I thought I signed up for), stockman are the ones who organize the carts in the parking lot. At first I was a little upset I didn’t get the job I wanted, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Its a nice physical job and affords a lot more freedom than the one I thought I was going to get. Much easier too.

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Award Winning Journalist

According to TimeHop today is the three year anniversary of being bestowed with an Outstanding Writer Award from my school’s student newspaper. My editors deemed me to be the best writer for my beat, and I was blown away. I had no expectation of winning anything. When I became a staff writer I just wanted to practice my writing, become more connected with campus happenings, plus there was a nice $75 direct deposit for each issue. Getting an award made me think I had potential in journalism.

I was a Senior the following year and between semesters I applied to University of Oregon’s Journalism program. Within a week of sending in my finished application packet I got accepted. Then towards the end of my last undergrad semester I was bestowed the Best News Writer Award. This was even more unexpected. In two school year’s time I went from being a fresh recruit, to being best writer in my beat, to the best writer in the whole publication. Winning Best News Writer made me even more excited to start J School, and I was already pumped.

Hadn’t even finished my Bachelor’s and I was already an award winning journalist. I thought I had a promising future ahead of me in journalism. Within six months I knew I was wrong (check earlier entries for details).

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bestow/

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How timely

Yesterday I wrote about the criteria for whether or not I will partake in a Daily Prompt. Well today’s prompt sums up why I often won’t. One word tends to be too vague. The old style question prompts weren’t vague at all, they were very specific. However, I will admit that a vague one word response does have greater potential variety of responses than a specific question. That’s my guess on why the change was made.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/vague/

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Daily Prompts, not every day

I will only partake in the Daily Prompt if the word is something I can incorporate into a blog worthy post without sounding contrived. Yesterday it was mallet, and I couldn’t think of anything so I didn’t post. Honestly I miss the old Daily Prompts that were more than one word. There was a question that formed an actual prompt. Those got my creative juices flowing and resulted in me writing a ton of material on topics I never would have mentioned otherwise. The one word prompts just don’t have that kind of stimulation for me, perhaps it’s different for others.

The last multi word prompt occurred on February 28th, 2016 and it was Five Items and asked what five items you would bring with you on a deserted island. A single word prompt appeared the following day, and there hasn’t been a multi word prompt since. I hope one day the Daily Post will scrap the one word prompts, or at very least not have every single Daily Prompt be a one worder.

“What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word –”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/partake/

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Being real

Jorge Luis Borges once noted that camels are never once mentioned in the Koran, which proves it is an authentically Arabic book. Anyone who isn’t from the Middle East writing a book set there would feel compelled to mention camels, whether it was necessary for the story or mere tokenism. Reading that Borges essay has given me a critical eye for set and setting, and now any details in a work I examine whether I think they were there organically or to remind you of the setting.

It’s truly astounding how whenever characters go to New Orleans it just so happens to be Mardis Gras or at very least Mardis Gras is gratuitously mentioned, similar with Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. No matter what city a film takes place in, you can guarantee that whatever landmark it is known for will make an appearance. In Ratatouille the Eiffel Tower is present pretty much whenever they are outside, even Linguini’s shitty apartment had a clear view of it. That’d be some prime real estate. I’ve been to Paris and I know first hand the Eiffel Tower isn’t omnipresent, I didn’t even see it on my first day there because my hotel room wasn’t anywhere near it.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/authentic/

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Encountering a genie

Like most everyone my age Aladdin was a major part of my childhood. The Genie always seemed like such a cool guy and I always thought it would be cool to have a genie of my own. Not just for the wishes, but because of all the other cool things they can do. If I were to get a genie of my own I have two scenarios imagined. In the first one I quickly piss away my three wishes on whatever impulsive shit crosses my mind, all within a week. In the second one I hang on to those wishes for when I truly believe I need a deus ex machina, it would take years for me to spend all three if ever.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/genie/

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Giving another speech tonight

The next Toastmasters meeting is tonight and I’m going to be giving a speech. I’m three speeches into my Advanced Storytelling Manual, once I give this next speech I will only have one speech to go before I finish that manual and will move on to another one. It’s been over a month since I have my last speech, sometimes I fret a bit when I haven’t done it in a while.

When I was working on my Competent Communicator manual I gave a speech from it every week with only two gaps, so I knocked out a ten speech manual in twelve weeks. I’ve been working on this current one since January, it’s taken much longer because we have a lot of recently joined members who are beginning their Competent Commicator so meeting have usually had their three speaking slots filled. Sometimes I fret when I begin writing a speech, but for the next project we aren’t supposed to use notes and I plan to give my speech from memory. It’s about a life experience so I needn’t write anything down.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fret/

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