Welcome Back to Defeating Boredom


A little on where I’ve been since I last wrote here:

A year ago, I was busy finishing up college at the ripe age of 24, mostly because I can’t finish things.  I made it, though, but I quit utilizing this website in the process for studying and finishing projects.  I got the piece of paper that validated me as a person of value, so the world was the oyster which would kill me if I ate it; allergies and such. I moved back to Chicago into a fancy (re: not fancy, but we’re feet away from Lake Michigan, so that’s neat) apartment with my girlfriend, Emily, and our cat, Lloyd.

I got a “life changing” job where I had to wear a suit and sell satellite TV — and my soul — in big box stores with the promise of “owning my own company within a year if [I was] willing to put in the work and build up a team of like-minded people.”  If that sounds like a pyramid scheme, that’s because they were self loathers, because the only thing separating the business model from a pyramid scheme is that you don’t have to buy into it financially, until you count the “personal responsibility” of paying for your own gas when driving 50-60 miles a day.  And it worked hook, line, sinker for a guy with no real world skills and no other job offers.

At the “only job [I’d] ever have,” (Copyright summer 2013) they taught us all kinds of selling techniques, most of which revolved around how to control other human beings and how to delude yourself into thinking you’re having a good time when you’d rather have your head in an oven.  Examples included shaking your ass in a non-dance setting that is not at all humiliating and playing that insipid “Meow” game from Super Troopers that never, ever gets old with people who you were purportedly trying to woo to buy a product with a longstanding poor reputation.  I “put in the work,” and plenty of extra hours, but of course the results weren’t there because I’m an introverted mess with a martyr complex and a healthy skepticism of the notion that “the top one percent got that way because they worked harder than everyone.” (Copyright several meetings that conveniently forgot about cops, farmers, firefighters, plumbers, etc., summer 2013)  Oh, and a beard.  Holy Christ did I underestimate the effect a beard, even in our hirsute era, would have on my perceived trustworthiness.  If you can guess, I did not last long.  Two months and a few days, in fact.  But hey, I got to go to a conference at which I was served some pretty tasty potato pancakes, so I shouldn’t complain.

Enter unemployment for my first time as a non-student.  Holy moly, what a rush!  I went to a Cubs-Cardinals game for a bachelor party the day after I was fired, got drunk, and ate Chinese food.  Then they left and I had to search for a replacement job.  Ah, phooey.

So I made it my full-time job to look for a full-time job.  I watched a lot of movies in this time, which I could have easily been writing reviews for, but I had given up that nonsense months earlier to work “the only job [I’d] ever have.” (Copyright summer 2013)  I went on one of my patented “Director seasons” binges, watching a large number of Fritz Lang and John Carpenter movies throughout the fall.  I ate a lot of rice.  I looked for job after job.  I interviewed to be a dog walker.  Nothing came of it because I’m clearly not dog walking material.

A month and a half passed.  I got bored one day and buzzed all my hair off.  Don’t worry, I didn’t do any jarring, Royal Tenenbaums-style tonal shifts, although I did show off the wacky Christopher Meloni-but-with-a-widow’s-peak hairline I’ve had since I was four years old.  And what do you know, I got a new job.

I currently do in-store advertising for a marketing company.  You know those cardboard signs that hang in the aisles?  If you’ve seen them in grocery stores and pharmacies on the north side of Chicago since September, you’ve seen my handiwork.  It’s a fine job, one I don’t mind having.  It’s nice to have a blank check to procrastinate most weeks, when I can easily put everything off and work two 12 to 15-hour days back-to-back, like the erstwhile journalism student I am.

But therein lies the problem.  During the absolute busiest weeks, I get about 40 hours.  The rest of the time, I lounge around, read internet articles voraciously, play Lumosity, avoid washing the dishes, watch movies (98 this year when counting shorts. Yes, really.), and don’t sleep.

Insomnia out the wazzoo, first time ever.  I’ve tried the eminently healthy drinking myself to sleep approach, sleepy time tea, working out like a madman earlier in the day, counting sheep, the works.

So I changed things up a bit.  I made the unheard of choice to use my degree.  I pitched a story to a website.  They let me cover it.  They published me.  It was nice.

It was also pro bono.  I’m still in the “you have to do it for free before you do it for not-free” stage of pursuing my dream, so I’m pitching ideas to other websites, with one very exciting opportunity on the horizon related to my favorite rebuilding baseball team.  I need to drag this blog out of retirement.  I need to keep doing this free stuff until I find a job that wants me for my only skill: writing.  Because I’m not working “the only job [I’ll] ever have.” (Copyright winter 2014)

So what can you expect from the rechristened Defeating Boredom?  In the long run, I’d love to either make or, more likely, write about movies for a living, so film criticism of all stripes (reviews, think pieces about trends in the industry, filmmaker retrospectives, midnight movie experiences, hopefully some interviews with up-and-comers and theater owners, etc.) will be my primary interest.  But, like every cab driver you’ve ever had, I also have fallen in love with NPR’s long-form storytelling shows, like This American Life and Snap Judgmentso don’t be surprised to see me go down the rabbit hole with people I meet.  I’ve grown quite politically aware in recent years, so more political thinking will pop up with hopefully far less histrionics than you’ll see on real pundits’ sites; I’m more interested in the stories people tell and the trends they form, not so much in grandstanding in order to make a point about the evils perpetrated by the other side.  I have long wanted to return to my high school glory days of “discovering” new music, so perhaps I’ll finally start listening to Pandora again and writing about what new sounds strike me.  I’ve never posted fiction on here before, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t written it, so my attempts at artistry could rear their pretentious heads in the coming weeks and months.  But mostly expect a quality bump in my output, as I try to trade my hackiest tendencies for stronger, mature storytelling.

Speaking of hacky tendencies, here you go.

Welcome back, everyone.  I hope you enjoy your stay at the new Defeating Boredom.

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