Archive for September 2013

My forums are still a work in progress   Leave a comment

I realize it’s been a few months since I took The Serene Adventure Forums offline and I’ve had alot going on since then. I plan to reopen the forums a few hours from now and man, have things changed. The biggest changes are in the Video Games and Anime Sections, which were both consolidated into about 5 boards total. I have also added links to all five of my WordPress Blogs.

Over the last 8 or so years I used parts of it as an organizer for the Serene Adventure stories and other things these blogs have taken over as. This paves the way for me to use the forums as an extension of my website and now by blogs as I originally intended. I can only hope there’s a little something for everyone on the Serene Adventure forums. I think the reason the forums never got much traffic before was because I set my expectations too high. Now that I have blogs I feel a whole lot less pressured to succeed in that regard.

One other thing for those connected via Facebook: Hopefully the cropped picture of myself will replace the PayPal Logo you keep seeing. Speaking of which the PayPal Link is for those folks to give me money if they are both able and willing to. Any amount is fine. Of course if you don’t have the means don’t worry about it. All content on my blogs and forums are free. The Paypal Links are for gratuity purposes only.

Reality from my Perspective   Leave a comment

Despite my age and the times I grew up in I haven’t really changed since my freshman year of High School:

When I was in Middle school and Elementary School the facilitator gave me a lead role in group activities. Otherwise I would just work on my own. It’s not that the other students didn’t want my assistence but rather I didn’t see the point in my grades being determined by how I did an assignment with a group of my peers. I was confident in my own abilitiy to do the assignment so to me it felt like I was being asked to take on a role I was not yet ready for: The role of a teacher.

Post-high school I feel extremely anxious while working with others. My first job interview was when I applied for City Year in 2003. I told the staff member who interviewed me at the time speaking in front of a group of people was like being put in front of a firing squad. After all, up until then I had zero interest in going out of my way to stand out in public unless I gained something meaningful to me in exchange.

I thought it was going to be a struggle when I started my first year in City Year but by the end of the first week I was very well adjusted, which surprised me. I remember thinking at the end of the week this was the first time I could be who I was when I’m alone and not feel self-conscious or vulnerable. The social barriers I keep up around my family and when I was in school were nullified by the unique experience City Year provided for me. It also gave me something I’d never had until then. This was something I feel most people who had always had them often take them for granted. For me, this was something I swored I could never have due to my life experiences up to that point. It wasn’t because of how I felt about myself or my view of my peers growing up. It wasn’t fear of losing it as I knew even at a young age nothing lasts for ever. Even so, seeing others had them and my feeling I never could have even one always made me feel incomplete as a person.

I’m talking about Friends.

I’ve often said to my coworkers over the years without context “You have no idea how good you have it” or “Man, you are rich” and then immediately change the subject. In both cases I was referring to the fact they had friends both at work and elsewhere. They had people they could depend on and people who depended on them. They had people who supported them and liked to spend time with them.

The reality from my perspective: I wouldn’t know what that feels like.

Aside from my City Year team mates and a handful of folks from one of schools I used to work in I’ve lived a very solitary life. By choice yes but also by circumstance. I won’t go into detail on this blog but I will say I decided a long time ago I don’t want to be judged because of the people I chose to surround myself with. Rather than have external forces dictate¬† who I have around me I decided there can be no one around me. Being solitary did have its benefits growing up in the 90s and early 2000s. Of course, back then social media sites didn’t exist and the internet was still young.

Nowadays I feel like I’m missing something. Not lonely but like there’s something missing. It’s funny: In virtually all of the stories I’ve read or seen about people who are social outcasts, they find a way to fit in socially. Even the bad guys. For the non-fiction stories it used to make me feel hopeful as a kid. Now I just feel indifferent because for me, the reality is I haven’t had my turn yet. I haven’t had my “and then everything worked out” moment where things get better. Nearly 25 years is a long time to wait for something most folks don’t really think about.

The stories I write help me cope with the reality. I’m able to find solace in getting my thoughts down on my blogs as well. My work with children over the last 12 years resolved me to do what I can to help kids know they are part of a larger picture and their life has meaning because of the people around them. My time in City Year helped me realize that last one and it’s the main reason why I tell people “City Year saved my life”.

The world is bigger than just one person. All it takes is a hug, handshake or a high-five to connect.

 

Back to Work, Back to School and Prettymuch Moved In   Leave a comment

Update 9/2/2013: I now have internet service at my new home.

 

I know, it’s been what three weeks since I announced I was moving. Even though I can use my cellphone as a Wireless Hotspot, that costs money and I only use it when I have no other options.

I recently reactivated my Netflix account. I have the App on my phone, my game systems and of course my laptop. At the time I cancelled it I had access to a subscription TV service. No longer having that forced my hand until I get Comcast (Cable and Internet) this weekend. As I mentioned on my Anime Blog last month I cancelled my Netflix subscription due to the lack of Anime. When I reactivated my account, I found some new Anime titles, telling me the email I sent to Funimation last month was taken under consideration.

Anywho, it’s back to school time for me. I have been back at the Mission Hill School for the 2013-2014 school year since last Thursday. The kids return officially this week. I am excited about coming back to the same school for the first time in two years.

Before I go on I want to state for those from the MHS Community that I know do read my blogs from time to time that I have committed to not say anything on my blogs that might draw negative attention to the school. Protecting the school’s integrity is something I take very seriously. It’s for that reason I rarely referenced the Mission Hill School by name if ever during the last school year on this blog and also why I created a disclaimer page for all of my blogs. While yeah, what I do outside work is my business I understand all too well how outside distractions can effect a school community.

Speaking of which, one of the things we discussed as staff last week was appropriate use of technology by both adults and students at school. One proposal we agreed to as adults is no cell phone use during recess, lunch and bus duty unless it’s to call the office. The main/obvious reason for that is you’re not watching the kids if you’re looking at your cell phone. The other reason is even if you’re using it for school business, someone who doesn’t know might not think so. The other proposal we agreed to for students is technology is to be used in school strictly for learning and anyone can ask if they have questions about the educational value of certain media or devices.

I’ll use one example because this came up the year before I came to MHS. The middle school class I was a part of watched the first two episodes of Roots. Anyone familiar with the 1970s TV series and book series by Alex Haley might remember that at a certain point in the third episode the main character is violently whipped for not saying the slave name he was given by his new master. The powerful and controversial scene was not shown in school for that reason but we did have a conversation about it and why we skipped that scene. Even though up to that point the class understood the historical context regarding slavery, as educators there are is a certain point you need to know to stop and consult with someone before you make the decision to expose graphic content to your students.

We didn’t get into it due to time constraints but the subject of social media did come up. I’m going to talk about social media and students in a blog later this week or this weekend but I do want to say that in my opinion, no school age child should be using Social Media sites unsupervised if at all if it can be helped. If the headlines you hear about is any indication not everyone can use social media sites responsibly.

Today marks the official end of summer break for me. I don’t anticipate any reasonable time off until December so…yeah.

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