January 23 - Struggling

The last few days have been a struggle. I know that, generally, when you hear the word struggle, you automatically think about obstacles or setbacks. But I'm taking about emotional or psychological struggles. I find these harder to deal with because with an external struggle, I can pull myself up and start making a plan on what to do next. I can keep going, I can change course, I can make changes. With emotional struggles, I often get overwhelmed. I just feel bad, and no amount of boot strap pulling is going to get me out of this. In fact I've found that the guilt and shame my brain starts pumping out makes the situation worse. 

Me: I'm struggling so, I can't even get out of bed. 

Brain: You're lazy and bad. Just get up!!!

Me: * doesn't get up* 

Repeat and scene. 

January 16 - Prioritize People

I was asked what I was planning on doing differently this year to make it successful. I'm doing even more than I was doing during my Year of Discipline, but this year I've dedicated myself to supporting my relationships. Essentially, I'm making time and prioritizing the people in my life over my obligations.

I'm a little worried that I'm going to burnout this year. We'll just have to see. So far I've done more and felt more connected to the people in my life. Simply put, the answer to the question is I'm putting people over things.

January 11 - Goodbye Cup

When I started down this path of choosing my Core Values, the second one I picked was "Impermanence". I thought about how I really needed to work on letting thing change and go. How I clinged so much to a reality that will always be in flux. The next day after I officially picked Impermanence, my favorite pint glass, a gift from my best friend, shattered. It was all my fault. It was the universe showing my what is had committed to, letting go of things. 

My favorite glass was part of set of pint glasses. Yesterday, the last of the set broke. It's just an interesting closure. Got me thinking about the past. When I broke the first one, I was really sad. My partner offered to try to fix it, but it was broken into far too many little pieces. It was hard to let go. Yesterday, when I was informed that the last glass had broken, I was sad too, but it was more a sense of remeniscent, a quick thought about all the time I enjoyed the glasses, not just the one that broke, but the whole set. And then I moved on.

I took a step back where I realized how much less painful the loss of the last cup was. In the last few years I have improved in my value of Impermanence. And that's something to celebrate. So, Goodbye Cup. Thank you for all the fun we had. Thank you for being their for me for so long. Thank you for helping me see my improvements. Goodbye Cup. 

January 9 - Legacy

Legacy is a strange concept. I believe it comes from our inate fear of death. I believe we look for how we will be remembered to ensure we will not be forgotten. If that's the definition, I don't think I have a legacy, because nothing I affect will last. 

The solar pv projects I design need to be replaced in 20-30 year's. I will probably out live them. The words on this site will disappear as soon as the address expires. And I will eventually die. 

I do have a dream of a building a charitable foundation and giving money to young minority people who want to go into STEM fields.  But currently that's my pipe dream. My hope is that will be my Legacy... Someday.

January 7 - My New Day

Today is the first day of the quarter. I am excited, but like always I've overcommitted myself and my new average day is a little crazy.

I'm still starting my day with writing. Just a quick 30 minute brain dump. Then I'm getting up to make lunches and to get ready. After I get that all together, I'm running to my office on campus. It's only about 3 miles away, so that helps my get my daily run in. I stashed a change of clothes and my work stuff on campus last night.  

I'm planning to put a couple hours of work in before I head to a class I'm taking. I then catch a bus to my day job office and work the rear of my shift there. On the days where I don't have the morning class, I leave my day job a little early to get to campus in time to teach my lab classes.

This next quarter is going to be exciting.

 

January 5 - Acceptance

Some time things seem to go wrong or not our way. This can be especially hard for me because I fixate on what went wrong and what I did wrong. One of my core values is Impermanence. It's not my core value because I've mastered it. I'm by no means free of clinging desperately to the things I can change and the things that have changed. It's my value, because I want to value it. I'm intentionally trying to improve my reaction to the thing out is my control. 

The first step to work towards Impermanence when things go wrong is simply acceptance. I have to step back, reconzie that this is the path I'm walking down now. If I try to fight it, I'll just prolong the suffering. Once you accept the path, then you can start to adapt. 

January 4 - Graditude

Gratitude is one of the most important things to do to improve your life. Just taking some time and thinking about and writing down a few things you are grateful for every day can really affect how content you are. The act of reconzining the positive things you have in your life can pull it all into focus. Most of us fixate on the negative things and that creates a world where only bad things seem to happen. But the reality is the world is what you make it. Your interpretation of what you experience are what makes you happy or sad or angry. 

I'm in no way saying that we don't need to change anything or try to make the world better. What I mean is you shape how the day to day annoyances and slights are interpreted. You decide on how you are going to react. Choose gratitude. Choose contentment. 

January 3 - Negativity

Negativity is all around us. From the people who honk at intersections to the co-worker that won’t stop complaining about their work load. We have to put up with angry, bitter, or just sad people all the time. If you are anything like me, it’s not even the external negativity that is the problem. It’s the internal voices and intrusive thoughts that can be overwhelming.

My intrusive thoughts and negativity is something that I struggle with everyday. I have a few methods of coping, but honestly, sometimes they are not enough.

  1. Cuddling/Physical Contact - Just having someone hold me tight when I’m not doing great usually helps, but that’s not really an option all the time.

  2. Music - Especially late at night, I’ll put in earphones and try to drown out the voices with music or podcasts.

  3. Movement - Going for a walk or run, deep stretching, or an exercise class, just getting my blood moving and stop being physically stagnant can push the intrusive thoughts along.

December 28 - Preparing for New Year

Every year, I throw a large party at my home. I essentially invite everyone I know over and serve food from sunrise to evening. Leading up to the new year, I spend all my available time preparing food and cleaning my house. When I talk about my New Years philosophy, many people seem to really like it.

 Essentially, you should start the year like you want the entire year to go. You should have a clean home. You should fill your home with food. You should share with the people you love. Shape your new year.

Dec 27 Year of Friends

In the past, I've made monthly resolutions for the new year. Basically, I would pick a theme for each month, and then I would try to add something or remove something from my life to see how and if it made it better. The issue is I've run out of ideas on what to work on, so I start repeating. And generally that doesn't help me grow it improve. 

 This year, I've decided to focus more on an annual theme in my life. Something I want to direct my life towards or improve. Last year, I was so busy, I neglected many of my relationships. This year is my year of Friends. I'm going to try to interact and have quality time regularly with as many people as I can. This year, I'm going to prioritize my relationships. 

November 26 - Oops

Oops. Well that didn’t happen like I was planning. I had a big exam at the end of October, so I stopped writing for a little bit to focus on studying, but then I looked up, and it’s almost November. All my grand plans for writing a novel this month have not come to pass. That’s okay though. I’m trying to focus more on white space in my life. And taking a break after my exam and focusing on my own self care was important to really getting a handle on things.

All that said, I’m back on here and I’m planning to keep chugging along for the foreseeable future.

October 30 - NaNoWriMo Plan

So my plan is to have approximately 60k words in the first draft of this novel. So if I divide that by the 30 days in November, that is averaging 2k words a day or 14k works a week. The typical NaNoWriMo goal is 50k works which would be approximately 1670 words a day or 11.7k words a week. I am also planning to have 24 scenes in the novel, for approximately 2080 to 2500 words per scene. Basically, I'm planning to write the rough draft of a scene a day. That should put me right into the middle of my goal words for the month. 

October 8 - NaNoWriMo Channary Bel

Channary Bel is a new inspector for the national police. She was raised in the capital and worked hard to get through the police academy and spent three years on the beat. She just passed her inspector exams and has been assigned to a neighboring county that is in desperate need of inspectors and is extremely short staffed. She is excited because this is her first air ship ride and she’s traveling to a strange new land. She is the perfect example of a person working hard to accomplish their dreams. Her parents own a food shop in the big city, and they remember the beginning of the reformation. She decided at age 10 that she wanted to be an inspector for the National Police, when an inspector solved a mysterious case of murder that happen in her neighborhood. They are excited that their daughter is an inspector and they supported her through her education and training to be an inspector.

October 7 - NaNoWriMo Air ships

The Air Sailor Monastery is a very traditional and secretive sect. The practioners oversee the construction of a regular ship in dry dock by the cottage shipwrights with the addition of specially placed shrine rooms along the hull of the ship. Once the ship is completed, the monks arrive and bless and install runic shrines into the ship. These runic shrines cause the ship to float approximately 50 feet off the ground. The monks than pilot the ships like a typical sail boat, except they have mastered the use of wind in the higher altitude regions. This is a trained skill the monks study for many years. 

The air ships are the best way of transporting goods and people through the mountainous regions of the country. 

October 6 - NaNoWriMo Police

For the plot of my book, we need to really develop the Police/Inspectors of this world. My main character is going to be a new inspector so creating how the system is structured and how one becomes a new inspector will greatly affect the development of the story.

Basically, the police force has only been around for 30 years, they are young organization. And they are still trying to build up their influence across the country. Inspectors must pass a rigorous test after working as a generic officer for 5 or 6 years. Once they pass the test, they are assigned to a jurisdiction under the supervision of an experienced inspector. 

To become a generic officer, you have to have finished primary school and go through a rigorous training program and establish yourself as a hard working and trustworthy individual. 

October 5 - NaNoWriMo Magic

Being that this is supposed to be a fantasy world, I would be remiss if I didn't go into how magic is supposed to work. The magic system is runic based. The runes imbue the object with "divine" energy, and based on the rune the material takes on certain properties. Pretty much all the runes are either always active or touch activated. So the magic must actually make physical contact to react. Secondly, the material the rune is carved, embroidered, etched, or drawn on degrades as the magical energy is used up. The resilience of the material an the permanence of the runes determines how much energy is stored in the rune and how much use the item can have before it disintegrates. For example a rune on a piece of paper is a single use item, while a rune etched into a metal plate will last much longer before needing to be replaced. in both cases, though, at a certain point, the energy will finally dissipate and the material of the rune will crumble.

The magical runes were reserved for the elites and the monastics until 40 years ago, when the new emperor ascended and decreed that the basic runes should be accessible to the masses kick starting a societal shift and industrial renaissance.

Some examples of runic items: an arrow that ignites when it strikes something, a light bulb, a dress that sparkles (serves no other purpose), a piece of paper that ignites as a fire starter, a pipe that causes water to flow through it, either for pumping up wells or pumping out mines, a rod that can sedate a panicky patient, a rod that can wake a fainted person, a weapon that shocks an individual, an air ship, 

October 4 - NaNoWriMo Religion

Continuing the similarities between this world and Meiji era Japan, the main religion of this world is going to be a divine-right monarch. The Emperor is the leader of the country and the church, but he's basically just a religious leader. The new parliamentary system has taken over the bulk of the day to day country running, and the Emperor oversees the affairs of the religion. 

Legend says that the first Emperor of this nation was gifted the knowledge of the major runes by the divine beings. He shared the gift of these runes with the aristocracy and the monastics. The monastic orders are broken down into 6 sects. Each sect has mastered a specific craft/art using secret and protected runes to produce the desired outcomes. These arts were then sold to raise money for the orders.

Monastic Orders:

Weapon makers - focused on making weapons - exploding arrows, siege weaponry, magical weapons are only for the aristocracy and the elite soldiers, has recently been expanded to inspectors and elite police officers. generic weapons are created by local craftsmen

Protective Embroiderers - the protective cloth embroidery, runes are used to protect against elements. material degrades over time, so temporary protection. real armor is made by local craftsman and the halyards are draped over for added protection. fabric is woven and sewed by local craftsman, and the monks embroider in the runes.

Air Sailors - The air sailors are a very secretive and traditional order. The local craftsman build them a boat with additional shrine rooms around the hull. After the boat is built, the monks arrive and bless the ship and place the runic material into the shrine rooms. This causes the boats to float 50' over the ground. The boats are then piloted and sailed through the air by the monks. 

Healers - probably the most open and least protective industries, they have the main temple in the capital, but many satellite temples around the country for people to go to seek medical care. Many small towns have herbalists that can take care of regular day to day illness and injuries, but for severe medical cases, the healers can use their magical tools to manipulate energy in the body and cure illness. They have provided more widely distributed tools for the use of medicine, like "wands" to sedate or wake up people (comparable to morphine or smelling salts)

Scholars - The scholars preserved and studied the divine runes. because of the volatility of some runes. Many advanced runes needed to be memorized to be preserved. The scholars are a strict and aesthetic order. Living in mostly secluded and cloistered lives. The major industry of this monastery is paper and inks used for the practice of the runes. The protestant leader was originally from the order of scholars, until he had his epiphamy.

Teachers - Breaking away from the scholars. Spreading the knowledge of the "divine" runes has been lead by the monastic order of teachers. They are the youngest order, created by the protestant leader. They have set up small temples all over the country to teach basic runic knowledge to the masses. When the new emperor ascended he made the order official, and charged them with spreading all over the country to enlighten the populous. 

 

October 3 - NaNoWriMo World

So the world will be roughly based off of Meiji Era Japan. The Meiji era was an amazing era of progress and societal advancement. The Emperor retook power, but relayed heavily on a council of people to help him make decisions. The plan was to quickly modernize the country. In 1868, Japan was a mostly feudal agricultural society mostly run by hundreds of small lords. By 1912, it had a strong central government, a constitution, a parliament, a network of communication and transportation grids, a well educated society, a growing industrial sector, and a strong military. In less than a lifetime, the world had dramatically changed. 

I want to place my story in a similar place of dramatic advancement and societal change. 40 years ago, the old emperor died, and a new emperor ascended. the new emperor had become swayed by the newish protestant styled sect, that believed the teaching of the runic magic should be accessible to all people, not just the elites and the monastics. When the new emperor ascended, he began a reformation of the old feudal, class based society. He declared learning the divine runes as an essential component of national education systems.

Since then, A new central government has replaced the old noble class as power holders. The new network of air ships and other magical transportation has led to easier travel around the country and made it more accessible to the average man. Education has allowed the first generation of young people to leave their class and advance themselves has created a group of hard working new blood into the workforce. New industries and magical items have become accessible to the masses. But the echos of the old world still linger. People are still alive that remember the tight class structure. This is the world we set our scene.

 

October 2 - NaNoWriMo Concept

A few weeks ago, I talked a little about how I want to see more sci-fi and fantasy novels written with "normal" main characters. People that could be anyone, not a chosen one, not a gifted person, anyone. I wanted to see more books written with average characters who step up and accomplish great things through grit and determination. And after that rant, I started thinking about it, and I had already planned to do NaNoWriMo this November, I didn't really have a plan for what I wanted to write this November, and I realized that, like the "normal" characters I wanted to see, I should be the change in the world. 

So I concocted a novel idea in a fantasy world where the main character would be a "normal" person who would try hard and succeed. If you don't want to know what the plot is, who the characters are, or what the premise is, I'd stop reading now.

Basically the plan is to put Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express" on an Airship in a fantasy world. I've decided to roughly base my fantasy world off of Meiji Era Japan. And the magic will be mostly runic in nature. I'll be expanding the world and characters over the next month, so I'll be able to start writing November 1st for the NaNoWriMo.