A reflection of how you lived

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about death and grief (again). For the most part, I think the way one dies is a reflection of how one has lived their life. Both of my parents passed away in a manner consistent with this idea. My dad died ONLY when he was told that we would, and would be able to. take care of each other. My mom passed away quietly, with dignity and without making a fuss for the people who loved her. My (great) Aunt Irene died after “extreme measures were tried,” which is also fitting given how much she lived through. My dad’s mom passed away in her sleep, after being visited by children on a service project–fitting considering that she loved children, and she didn’t want to be a bother (even when her depression made her one).

This view doesn’t take into account random tragic acts, nor does it really explain my grandfather’s passing. Still, my idea needs some work . I’d like to hear what other people think about this idea…

The Spread

For the past year, I’ve spent (damn near) every Wednesday night at Sid’s, keeping Shannon company (and doing small bar tasks). Last night, the first Wednesday of my post Sid’s life, I was at The Spread, a bar on Chicago’s Northside, playing bar trivia. It was cheat night–and believe me, we took full advantage of it.

Our team was Thunderbolt Mindbender, Featuring Satan’s Balls. My younger cousin and his friend Tony are typically on the team; however last night, they arrived just in time to be carded. I believe they can actually get into the bar during a DePaul game…but I’m not entirely sure.

We came in fourth place–all the scores were within 3 points–which was due to stupid mistakes made by all the team members. For instance, being the geek at the table, I should have been able to divine “Star Trek” from the Long Winded Euphemism round. I didn’t. I also didn’t read Hugh Hefner’s bio as closely as I should have. Then again, we also screwed up when we looked up Riot (not paintball gear, but Kayak’s) and when we lost our Sudden Death Challenge because we were too busy rewriting what we had scratched out earlier.

Our trivia moderator bought us a round of shots at the end of the night-a consolation prize for having the right answer and turning it in first in the Sudden Death challenge-and he was pretty fair. He allowed for challenges to his answers, which I appreciate. He was also willing to buy shots to appease his audience–another thing I appreciate.

What I do not like about Trivia night, and this is rather assholish of me, are the high population of Cobaggus Americanus. One individual in particular, a stunning example of the Blue Breasted, Red Capped American Cobag, actually said to the crowd while discussing an answer, “I’ll stand up here man. I got your back. I’ve got red hair and I don’t care! I need $1200 in my pocket!” He also changed his typical mating call from, “Let me buy you a drink, bitch,” to “NERD! NERD! NERD!” when his team lost.

Being scientists, our team called back, “TED DANSON!” The poor thing was confused. It was unethical of us to torment one of these dumb animals… but it sure was hella fun.

Overall score to Trivia Night: One Thumb Up. Less cobags, more cousins, and I’m sure it would have been two thumbs up. Next week, Shannon is supposed to go. I’ll push her to have her own review.


The Writer’s axiom, “write what you know,” led me to the question: What are the Blogger Axioms? If the rule was, “blog what you know,” then I think there would be far fewer blogs posts. One axiom I did read was, “don’t blog anything that would embarrass a potential employer.” This axiom has no flair. I recognize that an axiom is supposed to be self-evident, but it does not have to be bland.

There is something provocative about writing what one knows about. It implies that the writer has some sort of special knowledge, or a gift, that they are imparting to the world. Ignore the potential for pretension in this. Instead, think of some kind of writing–fiction, nonfiction, poetry, whatever–that made you sit up and say, “Holy shit. This is good.” Writing that set your brain on fire. You don’t have to actually share the list you come up with (although I’d appreciate it if you did in the comments), just recognize what makes those particular stories so fantastic.

Even a good research paper, or journal article, can have that effect. These scholarly works aim to inform the world with some new bit (or twist) of information, including HOW they came across this new knowledge. In essence, this is just the story of how the knowledge was discovered. The best of the papers, in my opinion, share this information and bring you into that research.Granted, it has been a long time since I read a journal article, but I do seem to remember being blown away by Field Theory and Cognitive Dissonance papers.

When one writes what they know about, they can impart some of their own experiences. They can create, or recreate, their story in a method that makes the reader a participant, not an observer.

Good blogs should be able to do this as well.

So what do I know? Not much. I know a lot about juveniles and delinquency. I know a little about music. I know more about scifi/fantasy than I care to admit, and I pretend to know more about Irish history than I really do. I don’t know nearly enough about Chicago to write novels about–but I do know enough to post about my city.

There is another interesting facet about this idea: The more one writes, the more one learns. Part of this has to do with reading and researching a topic; however, when writing a story, or a scene, characters begin to develop their own sense of self. What a writer starts with begins to morph into something else. The same holds true for blogs. Blogs change over time, especially if the writer blogs about what they know about.

There are books that I need to read–books on writing, specifically–that I think supplement my point. However, I’d rather hear from readers about their experiences with reading and writing.

2008: What Would I Change

This year has been a good one for me. I’m on the list for a promotion, Shannon moved in and helped me repaint the entire place. I got to go on a few vacations. I reconnected with a few folk over facebook. My candidate won the election. I got caught up on a lot of my paperwork AND the majority of my clients terminated successfully from their groups. Over all, the only thing I would change would be the month of December. It was a brutal this year–so much grief and no new ways to handle it–and it was a struggle to get through the holidays.

I’m not big on resolutions, but I am big on introspection. I can see the need for growth/change in 2k9. I need to exercise more. I need to devote more time to reading and writing. Hell, I also need to take a good look at my goals for the future.

This Blog will also be getting a make over. New header, color scheme and some new content. But right now, with the whole year ahead of me, I’m pretty damn excited about all the challenges: From saving money to see how Shannon and I change together, I honestly feel that this year is going to be even better than ’08.

What are your plans and goals for the new year? More blogging? More Comments? New topics to discuss?