Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an anomaly. In a society obsessed with consumerism and celebrity culture, how does an astrophysicist have millions of Twitter followers? It’s a question the man himself has asked out loud in countless interviews. I, for one, am glad he’s owning his fame to help move the human race forward. This video is a bit long, but worth the watch. In it, he illustrates the plague behind America’s science plateau and how to fix it.
The following is an email I sent to my renter’s insurance policy holder, Assurant.
Okay. In 5 hours and some minutes, my policy will expire. I guess you could say this is my fault for waiting until the witching hour. But, in turn, I would ask why the policy you mailed me claimed that I’d be able to handle this in a variety of ways. I started with your website. I was logged off numerous times trying to update my address. After relentless effort (13 or so attempts), I successfully updated my information. Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come.
After clicking the button to pay my bill, I found myself logged out again… and again. It took another couple of attempts before I gave up and decided to use the phone. The option to pay the bill was directed to customer service representatives who would not be available until tomorrow morning at 8am Eastern time.
At this point, I started Googling other insurers for quotes. I felt guilty giving up so early on you, so I went back to your site in hopes all would be resolved and you’d be $418 richer. Imagine my excitement when I got through to the payment screen. It said my credit card had expired, which was expected. I was invited to update the card information and hesitantly clicked the link, expecting to be logged out. Instead I was greeted with a message: To update your payment information, please return to this site in 48 hours.
Seriously? I had already tempted the notion of leaving you, but this sealed the deal. I reached for the phone. Enough was enough, it was time to cancel my policy. I soon discovered I couldn’t even speak to someone about canceling my policy so that I may find coverage with a more inept insurance company. One which has customer service designed for the 21st century!
So, here I am in Assurant purgatory. Willing to hand over my payment. Will you accept it or allow my policy to expire? Truth be told, I expect to be logged out as soon as I press the bright blue Submit button.
I haven’t written since last year?! What the heck is going on?
Well, to hook into my last post… Cohabitation happened. I moved in with the love of my life. Well, her and her cat. Is that why I haven’t written? To be honest, no. It contributed, though.
As with past absences, most it was from work. Most of November and December was spent working on a short film for my company’s holiday party. This year we pulled out all the punches, visual effects galore and a story with multiple locations spread out over time and space. Wanna see it? Wait in line.
All was looking up as 2013 came to a close. Earlier in the year my stagnant career broke free when I was promoted. There was so much to be thankful for and tout as proof for the best year ever.
Unfortunately, 2013 couldn’t end without a tragedy close to my heart. My fraternity brother, friend and close friend of my late brother was shot and killed in a senseless act of violence. Mark Womack was a great man — a tremendous man. He had so much ahead of him and his spirit was one that brought happiness to me when we spoke. But it was decided his time one this Earth was meant to end at the ripe age of 23. So, I ended the year with him and his family in mind and heart. Especially his sister. I know all too well what those first days and week without your other half are like. Although I felt the urge to reach out, I couldn’t tell if it were the right time to do so and still haven’t.
I entered 2014 with the reminder that life is short. So short that I must embrace the good things, no matter how small, and try not to sweat the bad either.
I also realized that I must constantly step back and see the forest for the trees. So much has changed this year, mostly for the better too. I might have gone a year without seeing my family, but my dad and I spent countless hours talking face to face over FaceTime.
So that’s that. 2013 was meant to be a year I continued to improve my life and the lives of those around me. I might not have hit my pie in the sky goal, but I certainly made a dent in it.
That’s worth something, right?
According to my father, I haven’t written in a long while and, to be honest, it didn’t feel that long. My last post was on September 19th. A few days later I turned 34 years old. So, I figure today I should talk about my 34th year as a human.
If you know me personally, you would know that my thirties started off rather rough. Each year as been a bit better, but year 34 was something special. It started in September, off the heels of my first trip ever to Europe. I came back, rejuvenated – zen almost. I felt alive for the first time in a very, very long while. I began to write. I wrote some scripts, produced a few videos for myself – finally entered the Doritos Crash the Superbowl contest!
As 2012 turned into 2013, changes at work were beginning to take shape. I tried for years to prove my capabilities were compiled of much more than video production, but this year someone let me out of my cage. The first half of the year, I was put through the test and by July I would call myself Mr. Manager – Content Manger, to be precise.
Around this time I started to watch a TV show that I’ve wanted to write badly about since it ended last weekend – Breaking Bad. It had been a while since fictional TV grabbed my attention, but this show broke all of my expectations. When it began in 2008, I heard the premise and felt Hollywood had really ran out of ideas. If you haven’t heard of Breaking Bad, it’s about a high school chemistry teacher who after learning he will die of cancer, decides to use his chemistry expertise to make meth so he can leave money for his family when he dies. If you’re still not convinced, I don’t blame you but 5 season later I consider this to be the most perfect television show to have ever exist. It never let up and it ended in poetic fashion. It has set the bar and I don’t see being rivaled anytime soon. In the middle of finishing the final season of Breaking Bad, Reanna and I took an extended vacation to Yosemite.
The 10 days, 4 of them backpacking in the wilderness, was peaceful. It was calming and revitalizing. You can see my pictures from this trip here. I had recorded these bad ass video updates, but after vacation, my trend of working freelance continued and I’ve been busy ever since. Soon, I be starting a more personal freelance project, one that will keep me busy for a while. Since I’m going to be more in control of my deadlines, so I’ll be able to write again. I’ll also be able to fill my imagination with books and movies.
Speaking of movies, you should go see Gravity. See it in 3D. It’s rejuvenated my love for cinema. The story is pared down … there’s basically two characters/actors the whole film … but when the visuals, the sound, and the music all come together – it all fills the empty spaces. For the first time in a very long time, I cared about the characters. I was in the movie deeper than any other movie I’ve seen in ages. I could never recommend a movie as much as this one.
So what does all this mean? Well, I don’t know. That’d your job. Mine is to just jot all this down so it lives forever. So other than that, I hope to talk more often soon.
So I had a few weeks where it seemed like I was writing a new post every other day. Now, suddenly, I haven’t written one in a week. Well like anyone who’s late, I have a ton of excuses.
First is that I have been invited to use Medium. What is Medium? It’s yet another publishing platform, but it has quite a few things that make it unique. It was founded by Ev Williams, the co-founder of Twitter and Blogger, who decided to push publishing platforms into the next step. For the writer, it has a WYSIWYG unlike any other and it allows you to publicly share drafts with collaborators to be your editor-in-chief. For readers, the content is beautifully curated and the reading experience is fresh. It’s fresh because you can comment on individual paragraphs and unlike Tumblr or other blog sites, the sense of community feels bigger.
Does that mean I’ll be posting here less? Hell NO! While Medium is bad to the bone, there are things I can’t do there, such as Where part two of Music Takes Me. Damn. I just reminded myself that I’m overdue on that. It’s okay, I have an excuse! For my first Medium article, I’ve been doing some research, planning, and studying. It’ll be about new literacy in the digital age and you can rest assure that I’ll be cross posting it here.
I’ve also been working on some new developments with Short Story Thursdays. Namely, putting together a quick website and moving us over to a new email address that will make us more legal in our correspondence.
So yeah, busy. I didn’t even mention my day job and my three freelance projects. So if you’ve been reading, sorry for the silence. Until next time, feel free to leave a comment if you’d like to be a collaborator with me on Medium.