Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Story Generating Exercise for the Week

Three things and my belief from this week: 
Work and The Blue Crew
It feels like things are turning around at work.  After weeks, months actually, of struggling to get things working the way they should, it seems to me that the pieces may finally be coming together.  And the reason for this turnaround is this: 
Hanley Ramirez is 19 for 46 (.413) at the plate for the month of July.  
I'm not saying that's the ONLY reason for the turn around at work.  There are others.  Clayton Kershaw has an ERA of 1.50 for the month so far.  And Adrian Gonzalez has hit 4 Home Runs and 10 RBIs for the same time period.  That, and getting the staff organized to clean up in the In House scanning has combined to put the Dodgers a couple of games back from first place in the NL West AND allowed me to beat my Daily Goal by over five thousand dollars for each of the last two days.  
It simply occurred to me this week that my life at work has paralleled the performance of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  
It's like this...  Both of us, the Blue and myself, started this year with very high expectations put on us.  For me, it came from a very successful inaugural year as production manager, where my unit beat the plan laid out for it by thirty-seven percent.  For the Dodgers it came from new ownership taking over and a lot of big trades and player acquisitions that showed the new ownership was serious about winning.  
For both of us though, things weren't going as planned.  I was having difficulty making the elevated goals set for my unit.  The Dodgers were having trouble scoring runs.  And both of us were hearing people say things that made it seem like new managers were in order.  
Hey, Don...  I was feeling for you.  I know what you were going through.
Recently, though, there has been improvement.  And I'm glad for both us.  You make think its silly to believe that the fortunes of a time can affect one's life like that.  And you'd be right.  But it's like they say in that beer commercial, the one where they turn the labels toward the field so the smooth surface of the bottle can create a connection with the football so the kicker can make his field goal.  
"It's just like magic, only real."  
Case in point: Last year, when the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup, I did not see a single first period in the games they one.  If I watched the games from start to finish, they lost.  At first I thought it was coincidence, but the empirical evidence became too great.  I started waiting until the game had already started before tuning in.  And look what happened!  
If the Dodgers win the World Series this year, they'll make me CEO.  Go Blue!  
Was that you...  Dressed up like Pikachu? 
I went to AnimeExpo last week.  Just for Saturday.  It usually comes to close too ComicCon, which is next week, for me to make a big go of it.  But I was invited by some people to join them, so I went.  
One of the things that's fun to do at any convention is to take pictures of the cosplayers.  These are the people that dress up as their favorite comic book hero or villain.  Here is a link to the pictures I shot this year: 
People always ask me, when they find out that I go to comic book and science fiction conventions, if I dress up.  They always have this sort of sniggering smile of expectation when they ask.  I usually reply with something like, "No, I leave that to other members of the tribe."  My aim is to dispel any sense that I think what they do is strange or weird or funny.  I understand the reason they're doing it.  I feel the same impulse myself.  If there is any reason why I haven't it's because I don't have the costuming skills, or the body any more, to pull off anything like what I see.  
A character named Kanako Ono, from a favorite Japanese manga of mine, Genshiken, said it best when she explained the thrill she gets from becoming the favorite character for someone in person, even for just a moment.  I used to get a similar thrill from acting.  
Now, I'm usually pretty good at spotting fellow tribesmen.  When I travel to conventions, and get closer to the convention site, I can pretty easily point out the ones that are gathering along with me to geek out for the next few days.  That guy with the backpack in the ticket line.  That gal reading the next book in the series I just started reading.  The couple wearing the matching Spiderman tee-shirts.  Yeah... Nerds and geeks are pretty easy to spot.  
So it was with some surprise that, while looking through a friend's set of pictures taken at the same convention, that I thought I spotted someone that I knew.  Someone that I would not have suspected at all of being into that sort of thing.  I zoomed on the face, certain that I'd take a second look and thinks, "God, it sure does LOOK like that person, but...  No, I was wrong."  
That didn't quite happen though.  Common sense, and what I know about this individual, tell me that I'm wrong.  But that face...  Oh, man...  I don't know.  
I get why someone might want to keep this side of their life a secret from "mundanes."  That's the word we nerds use for "normal people."  When posed the question, "Do you dress up?" with that smile on their faces, it would hard to say, "Yes.  I do," and do it proudly.  Though doing so would be one way of putting such a mundane in their place.  
It plays at the imagination, it does.
The Right to Complain
I posted a tweet a couple of weeks ago, when things just didn't seem to be going my way: 
It sometimes feels like I am denied the things I want just because I want them.
My tweets repost to Facebook.  There one of my Facebook friends "liked" my comment and replied that they felt the same way.  
The thing you need to know about this friend is that she lost her husband last year to cancer and at the time she posted her reply was going through therapy herself for breast cancer.  
I liked her reply to my comment, but I didn't say anything else.  
This last week I met someone from Japan.  He told me about some of the things that have happened to him in his life.  The business he was running went under.  His wife divorced him.  And he had to spend weeks in the hospital for some serious illness.  
After he got out of the hospital, he decided to take his savings and come to the United States and study business for a year, in order to put his thoughts in order before starting up again.  
People like this make me feel like I don't have much right to complain. 
And that's too bad, because I think I enjoy complaining.  I'll even take that qualification away now.  I ENJOY COMPLAINING.  I like telling people about the bad things that happen to me.  About the vendors I've being contacting me for weeks FINALLY telling me that the software they sold me wasn't designed to do the thing I told them I wanted to use it for.  About people trying to tell me how to do things that they have NO IDEA AT ALL how to do.  Sometimes about the very nature of the universe.  It's easy to complain.  Everyone is an expert.  
But what's harder is to do something about it.  Like take all the money you have left after losing your business, your wife and a part of your health and come to a strange country.  Or going into therapy.  
I'm not going to stop complaining.  But I'm going to try very, very, very hard to only complain about the things I'm actually doing something about.  THEN, I think I'll have the right.  
The Meaning of this World Order
I think I'm getting subliminal messages from a Japanese pop band that dances in business suits.
I found out about them today.  They're called World Order.  Here's a link to one of their songs called, "2012."  
I watched a documentary about this group preparing for their first concert at Budokan, a major Japanese venue for artists to play at.  After the documentary I spent the morning going on line to watch their videos.  After I post this blog entry, I'm going to go to iTunes to see if they sell their music there.
Why?  Something about the group fascinates me.  I might be reading into something that isn't there, but I feel something resonate inside me while I watch them perform.  It's similar to the feeling you get when someone pushes one of your buttons and you feel something, anger, rage, hope, joy, for no reason you can explain.
One of the lines in the song 2012 caught my attention.  Here's the translation: 

Someone is shouting from the other side of the rainbow bridge.
We entrust our sense to the power of silence, 
Begin weaving dreams from fibers of light,
And then open the gate to that unknown world.

I sometimes worry that I don't really "Believe" in anything.  Discoveries like this, however small they may seem, give me hope that what I believe is somewhere, maybe hibernating, deep inside.  


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