Saturday, July 31, 2010

Questions...?

How do you ask questions? Not the easy ones like how was your day, or what did you do last weekend? I am talking real questions that have real meaning and answers that have real weight. The questions that make you hesitate asking because you fear the answer that may be given in return. The types of questions that if asked, no matter the answer, may change how you interact with the people involved in the question.

Many people will not agree with this, but I am shy, or at least that is the best word I know to describe how I see myself. I have been like this all my life and I have slowly and almost confidently crawled out of my shell in the last 5 years. I am a more social person now than I have ever been before. It took a lot of hard work, some anti-anxiety meds, and some truly mind over matter style of thinking but I am now more in to the world than I have ever been before. These last two years have been an extremely exciting time for me. I am doing some things for the first time in my life and enjoying myself more than I thought possible. Breaking out of my little world has been good and bad for me. The endless fun and meeting all the people along the way has been wonderful. The anxiety that I have being in these situations keeps my mind working overtime trying to keep myself out there and in the mix. It has gotten easier but it still isn't easy. One day I hope I can do the being social thing without having to work so hard.

I have found that asking questions is the hardest part of being my new social self. I see questions as forks in the path. They invite the start new ideas and maybe even end a path all together. The important questions have too many possibilities and when I think about them it makes me very very nervous. Every time I face a question I first think of what are the possible answers. Then I look at all the factors of why the question was asked and what the context of the question is. At that point, if it were a simple question, an answer is either obvious because everything was there to reason it out or it is one of those hard questions that you have to reach inside yourself and create an answer based on feelings and thoughts. Understanding your feelings becomes the biggest part of creating these answers. One mis judgment leads to the one wrong answer and than more wrong answers and can effect your life badly for a very long time. When I put this into words, my anxiety isn't all that strange after all. It seems to be a logical response to the daunting task of understanding ones-self from the inside.

I was taught when I was young that you never ask questions you do already or almost know the answer to. I still live by this principle when dealing with the world. It keeps my mind working and generating ideas and always makes me sound more intelligent than I really am. So how do you ask the hard question when you don't understand the other persons feelings. Without this understanding you can't even make a reasonable guess what the answer is going to be. The idea of just throwing it out there is like tossing some steaks to a pack of wolves. Once they are done they might not be hungry anymore and leave, or they could turn and have you for the main course. It is a challenge to think of life like that but that is how bad the world can be when emotions get involved. Emotions aren't solid rocks. They are very fragile. For many of us life has taught us to build defenses against all that will hurt our feelings and it takes a great deal of effort and time to become comfortable and truly let someone inside. You can't push your way in or kick down the door without destroying what you were trying to reach. I tread very cautiously in these situations as I am not very comfortable with the understanding of my emotions and the thought of hurting someone else's makes me want to crawl in to bed and just hide away form the world so it never happens. Hurting someone else makes me feel worthless. Makes me want to leave it all behind and run away.

With all that there is against us how do we even have the strength to get out of bed every day to ponder and answer all the questions we will face. We are an amazing people but sometimes we don't have the ability to cross our own bounties and ask the hard questions when we need too. We sit back and pretend everything is ok or we find other ways of covering up the truth about the battle within. Every once in a while, it really isn't worth getting out of bed for.

Andrew

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The topic

I spent too many hours writing that last blog. Technical info is hard to convey in just simple and plain words. But When I completed that blog I didn't feel as if I was 'done'. Not like I do when I complete one of my normal blog topics. I find myself sitting in my living room/office/kitchen... love this apartment... listening to a shuffle of every MP3 i have on my system and watching the rain fall on the patio. A song came on by the name of 'Fishbowl'. One of the lyrics is "The night is young". (bonus: what is the next lyric in the song?) I heard that and started thinking it is early... 9 isn't all that late. I am not done yet. So I sat down at my computer and started typing what you just read. See how I brought you up to speed?.. we are now on the same time line... how cool!?

What is there to write about? What topic?

There is only one that I have left in my head right now. It is the topic that has been on my brain off and on for over 20 years. It is the topic of "The Crush". That is my name for it for lack of any word that can describe it. It is the one thing during all the years of my remembered life I can't find an explanation for. No mater how hard I work at it, no mater what I do, It has always been there. There are times in my life, years at times, it was dormant, but it never left. Now 22 years later I am still in the same situation as I was in when I was barley able to understand what letters were. That right I met someone when I was 5 years old, had a crush on her, and it still exists today.

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In all honesty... thinking about what to type here is causing me to tear up. The emotion that has been built in to this topic over all these years feels like a pressure building in a balloon as it is inflated. I don't know if I can exist and contain it anymore.

Now, you have the title of this topic. I will now explain the details of this long term relationship.

In 1989 I went to Kindergarten to start my schooling. It was at that time that we would only be there 1/2 day. I would ride the bus to school and my mom would pick me up everyday and I would go home for the afternoon. There was a girl who, at the time I thought, lived down the street from us. It was actually where some of her family lived. My mother would take her there everyday. In the 9 month school year I got to know a lot about this girl. Spent a lot of time with her in class on the buss and the old Birchler blue van. I don't remember many of the details of the day to day interactions we had, but I remember Bob. That would be Bob Seger and the song 'Old Time Rock and Roll'. "Take them old records off the shelf...". There was a tape deck in the blue van. She and I would play it everyday over and over on the way home. I can't forget the words to that song even if I tried to do so. Little did I know and realize at the time... she didn't come to my school the following year for first grade. It turns out that she didn't live down the street, she lived in another school district and continued her education else where. Either I don't remember or I truly didn't realize at the time that she wasn't there after that. End of chapter 1.

6 years later... 7th grade. The bus stopped at the same house down the street again. By this time I knew who really lived there and who got on the bus there. There was a new kid, about 5 years old. He was heading to kindergarten. I was asked to keep an eye on him and make sure he made the bus transfers correctly. I was one of the few students that completed k-8 at the same catholic school. Most everyone else went to elementary first than middle school or junior high. I did my job and kept the kid safe on his trips back and forth from school... the school had a full day kindergarten. I became the kids friend and we talked everyday. One day he mentioned he had a sister and there were some other details about other family relationships that came up over the weeks and months. I put two and two together... This little kid ended up being the girls little brother. I wrote a note... Kept it in my pocket for two weeks before I came up with the nerve to ask him to take it home to his sister. I can't remember the details of the note or even the form of the reply... I know we talked on the phone a few times during that time. At some point during this time frame the fact that I was a stupid, unknowing, socially inexperienced, soon-to-be teenager enters the picture and we stop talking. She might be able to shed some light on this time better than I.

The years that followed... I know there was at least one maybe two times that I actually saw her over the years. I can't pick them out in my fading memory. The specific details of a few things are almost all that I can remember from my childhood now. Who knew that nearly everything would fade so quickly. Nothing more happened over the high school years between us. I went through life doing what was expected of me. Building relationships, finding lovers, friends, and eventually I got married. Before I jump ahead, I need to mention just because I didn't see or talk with her doesn't mean she wasn't on my mind. I can remember many situations where her name would be mentioned... It wasn't even about her, just someone with her name and I would remember her instantly and wonder where she was. I remember one specific time at the store in Muncie the check out girls name tag had her name on it. That one time is still fresh in my mind as if I saw the name yesterday... white plastic, engraved red letters just under the store name.

A few years later... 13 years since the note was sent with the brother. I live in Phoenix at this time... my marriage was failing. I had no idea what to do anymore... my world crumbled and my heart with it... I barely knew who I was some days over the months that followed. Sometime in the early days of this turmoil... I joined Facebook and MySpace for the first time. At some point I found an old school friend and it sparked the memory of her again. I knew nothing of where she was or where she went to school or anything. I set out one day to find her... A few weeks of some simple internet research and tracking through the friends of friends that existed on Facebook at that time... I found her and said 'HI'. A little messaging between us and that was it for a few weeks. One day I sat down... My head was all a mess at that time and wrote out the last 20 years of truth in a brief and horribly written message... two days later I put it in to a private message on Facebook and sent it to her. You can imagine a note that was littered with misspellings and grammar errors and read as if it was written by someone complete insane. I didn't sleep for 36 hours straight after sending that. I nearly sat and watched my computer the entire time waiting for her to login and read it... I was like a stalker. I remember watching her show as online... 10 mins passed... then her status changed... "Shock" was the first word. The bad message got the point across!

That is about all I remember... the next 3 months I have very little memory of. I was on several anti-depressants and I lost about 50 lbs in about 6-7 weeks. I didn't eat or sleep. I started spending a lot of time drinking... did some things that time that were way outside my normal self. During this time she and I texted from time to time. One specific thing was mentioned that I remember, she stated that she kinda already knew about it before I sent the message. I still do not know what that means I think it is because I can't remember the context of when it was said.

Sometime during my time of blackness... One night a random girl and I had drunk sex in a public hot tub and there were people around. I didn't even know who she was. The next morning, still drunk with the shakes, I went to breakfast with my friends and the girl from the night before was there across the table from me. I met her and found out who she was. I did't know how to handle this because I had never dealt with it before. I felt awkward and out of place and being drunk didn't help. A few mins after sitting down at breakfast, my phone rang. It was her... we hadn't had a lot of communication the last few weeks or months. The call couldn't have came at a worse time. I was barely able to hold myself together on that call. My voice was shaky, my sentences incomplete, and I am sure I sounded like I was insane again. During this time I was also just starting to learn how to open myself up to people. I wasn't able to speak about myself without hesitation like I do now, two years and a million more experiences later. We didn't do a lot of chatting or texting after that conversation, per my memory. Over the next 18 months, I cleaned up my act and did some dating and even built a good relationship. It didn't last but we are still friends and that is huge step for me. Being able to put aside everything that was wrong and still be able to talk... really talk.

Present day... I started making planes a few months ago to go home to visit my family for the holidays. She and I had traded messages from time to time I remembered that she asked when I was coming home next one time in the past. So, I let her know that I was planing on October / November time frame. A few weeks ago, I received a text from a number I didn't know. They asked when I was coming home to Indiana. A text a few secs later stated who it was... it was her. We have been texting a lot since that day. Had some good online chats too. We made non specific plans to hang out while I am home for that week in November. The meeting is still 4 months away and I find myself nervous and anxious about it already. I have no idea what to expect and my mind is filling in the gaps with whatever random scenario it can come up with. I haven't been sleeping all that well and I wake up thinking about my trip home nearly every night of the week. I don't know how to talk to her and I have found myself not acting like myself in the texts we have traded in the last week. I am acting like the almost teenager I remember from all those years ago.

I was on the verge of complete melt down last weekend, then a friend invited me over for a movie. That night called me down somehow. I am focusing on myself again and what I need to do to keep me good. In the last 4 days I have held my own. I am being detailed in my work and my home life. Including getting back to writing blogs like this one. I have 4 months of this battle left and I am going to need more help before it is over.

This is a blog that will never have and ending. After 22 years there is no way to find an ending worth the reality of the story told here.


This will never be made public.

Andrew

The Root of it all

What a long and productive week so far. I know it is only Wednesday and I am already calling it long! I am going to write something a little different today. A blog about more how I do the tech geek stuff I do. This all started around noon on Tuesday, I got this idea in my head to research Rooting my Motorola Droid Android phone. I wanted to install Android OS V2.2, aka Froyo, before the official release. So I dug through the forums and read a few of the guides. There were about 10 different ways of doing it according the the people on there. So I am here to tell you it isn't that complicated and some of the ways really don't work with the phone and it can be trial and error. After I was done with the root/update and I spent about 2 hours staring at the phone setting up all the accounts and configs, I decided to blog about my experience. I think doing so will give some insight in to how I go about the geek stuff I do, and maybe explain a little of the 'why?' too.

FYI.. Rooting is the process of hacking an Android phone so you have access to the kernel files and can replace them with anything you want. Android is an open source OS. Everyone, even you, have access to the raw computer code that it is written in. There are many people in the Android community that create their own special versions of this code and publish it for general use. Many do these types of things in there free time and ask for donations. It is always good to donate some cash to these guys so they keep up the great work that they do. Think of it like tipping the bar tender, I tip my software providers.

Getting started...
Everyone knows you have to prepare for any project you take on. It may be as simple as closing the door of your office but you have to do it. In this case, I was doing this as an after work (starting at about 7pm) project. With this in mind there are some things that you have to do to prepare your body, mind and, as I like to believe, my soul. I took a shower and got in to comfortable, lay-around-the-house cloths grabbed some mind food. Most of the time I prefer a simple meat and vegie plate, like a grilled chicken breast and a side of broccoli. I didn't have the time to pull off such a meal so I digressed to the more popular and overly effective bowl of fruit loops cereal. These little sugar coated multi color loops of joy may be the best brain food have used in my entire life. I use them a lot!!!

Action...
Now I bring up the guide that I have decided to follow. It is a two part guide... an overview from a user that wanted to make sure he was doing it right, good links to more info from his post: HERE... the actual step my step detailed guide I will be following (yes guys do read instructions and follow them): HERE.

The first part of the guide is mainly downloading and installing software and drivers. RSD Lite and Motorola Flash Interface Drivers. I these items install without much issue. Suggestion... do this on a pre-Windows Vista system if possible. Issues with the new UAC (user account control) can keep it from working correctly. My Windows 7 Ultimate N 64 Bit didn't like it much. Once I moved the setups to my Windows 2003 SB Server everything went smooth. Like I said the first attempts at rooting the phone failed, I tried it about 6 - 10 times for each of the methods with slight variations in the process that I came up with on my own. The two methods I tried are the Terminal Enumerator method (not explained in the linked guide) and the RSD Method. The Terminal Enumerator method entails moving some files to the SD Card and loading them using a command line app. This didn't work all that well so I abandoned it for the RSD method as it seemed to be more well documented in the forum world and if there were problems I could find solutions. I spent the next two hours trying to get my Phone to detect on the RSD software on my Win 7 system. By the time these two hours were over and I had read about 20 different sites and forums trying to find anything that could cause the problem as I had almost nothing to go on besides it just didn't work... I wanted to not only shoot my laptop... I wanted to hack it up in to little inch squares and burn it!!! We who love and live the world of technology have the times where we are just as frustrated, if not more because we are the geeks and should know how it all works already, as the average users out there. It just made me more mad when I installed the software in to my home server and the whole process of rooting using the RSD method was complete in less than 5 mins. The process after that was merely copying files to and from the phone so that part was all done on my laptop. Important note... Do the backup processes and data clearing as stated in the guide do it twice if you have any doubts. If you do not and you update and it doesn't work... you may have a nice paperweight when you are all done. BACKUP EVERYTHING you want to keep. I didn't care about a lot of it so I only did the Nandroid backup and made a copy of some of the files on my SD Card that I didn't have saved anywhere else. I also have my contacts backed up in several other ways so I don't loose them so I did't need the backup off the phone.

Rooting is done, so it is time for loading the kernel of choice. I decided on the basic Froyo FRG01B release listed in the guide. This is just one that doesn't have too many custom mods in the release. I only wanted to add flash and the new Froyo features to my droid. I can't really afford downtime with my phone as it also is my business phone. If you want to go to the extreme mod side... Check out Bugless Beast V0.4 Android 2.2 FRF84B (Fully Deodexed). That is one of the most modded I have seen to date. The update process is easy from this point, follow the instructions and you are all set. If the update crashes your phone... see the Rescue Squad forum. There are all kinds of info in there to help you out.

Flash Update and cleanup...
There are several other things listed in the guide that you can mod to add features to your device. You are the only one to judge if you need them or not... Don't do them unless you need them. The less you mess with your phone the less likely you are going to break something. I added the Flash Beta as that was one of the reasons I was doing this update. I also followed the Watch Hulu steps for the browser to make sure flash was working correctly and I love HULU. Everything worked awesome.

Be cautious with your data usage after the update. Froyo's new features have more sync options that increase the amount of data you need to use, like Picasa web albums can now be synced to your phone gallery, and if you have multiple Google accounts it will now allow you to sync all your calendars from all accounts. Use a good WIFI connection to speed this update process up, my phone is still trying to complete the updates. I almost have 11 GB of pictures posted on my Picasa account so they are taking a while to sync to the phone. Based on the data usage it isn't downloading the full copy of the files. What can I say like to take pictures.

After the fruit loops, shredded laptop, hours of research, and quick updates, I ended with a rooted and updated phone with so many new features and I found new ones every time I opened another app. At this point I am very happy with my choice to update this way. I not have the choice to change out versions fairly easy and might up my mod level if I find something I can't live without. You can ask just about anyone I spoke with today... this root has made me like a kid geek again... and that feeling is why I test and run Beta and Alpha release software all the time. Finding a new version or new program that does better or something never done before makes me just ecstatic and I can't hold myself back from yelling it to the world.

Until my next big breakthrough... the techy writer in me is signing off.

Andrew

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The blog

So yesterday someone told me they missed my blog and asked me why I don't blog anymore. The truth is that I have been writing blogs... just not completing them to my satisfaction. My head has been a little distracted lately. The anxiety of work and life and all the other BS has kept me from generating the ideas and words needed to write in my bog and keep it to what I have as standards. Not that my standards are high... Really... just read some of the crap I have posted over these last few years. LOL.

Because of that comment and because it isn't often you have the power to bring back something someone misses. I wanted to type up a blog today.

Stopping point... Can't think of what to type...
So here is a little bit of what happens when I try and blog. First I sit down and usually start out about something that happened or is going to happen or why I felt like blogging. That part is easy because I sat down and started typing for a reason. The next part is not completely easy for me. I start generating all the ideas that will go in to the blog and just start typing. This part goes smooth only until I hit an idea or thought that pulls my attention away from the road I saw before starting to type. That is when my blog start feeling like 'work'. Trying to keep it on track can be mind numbingly hard. I think this has a lot to do with where my inspiration to blog comes from. My inspiration to blog comes from the emotional responses to the happenings in my life. When I feel angry, sad, happy, and even void of emotion that is when I can sit down and have the ability to poor myself out in to words on a page. This is also why I don't publish all the blogs I type up. Sometimes things that I type about would make others feel bad. Those that know me best, know that is not me but I am not going to post something that might openly mash someones feelings even if that wasn't the intent.

Back to the inspiration part... I have found that when following the paths the emotional responses lead me down I find out that they become more complex than words can describe and I start making links between this emotion and others. This causes me to jump a few curbs and maybe go down the wrong way on a one way street. Generally causes havoc with the ability of the blog to make since. This is where the 'work' comes in. Keeping my mind on the path gets so hard that sometimes I give up or stop or read what I wrote and can't even follow my own words. Here is where my brain just stops... Because I got the idea or emotion in to words I can't go back and redo it. It wouldn't be the same as the first time I went through it and I wouldn't have as much stuff in my head to type.

What does this all really mean? It means I am not a writer and will never claim to be. Writers can create words where feelings and ideas start to get weak. I think of myself as someone that dumps words on a page and hope it is readable. That is the strength of this blog... it is ideas and feelings in the rawest form I can provide. When reading what I write after I post it, there are times that i can't even remember why a sentence come out a certain way. I am constantly thinking "WTF, why did I type that?" but that is the reaction after the idea has been put through the ringer of me blogging. I have never pulled a post down because of this reaction and it helps me understand the steps I go through when dealing with something.

In looking for a topic for a blog, I found that I didn't need a topic for it. The last part is my ending statement. I try and keep this short and sweet and usually I have the ending in mind before I even get half way through. That helps keep the blog more on track. Todays ending isn't going to be like that...


I would like to apologize for not blogging much over the last months (nearly a year). My blogging has always been about what I needed to do for myself. Someone in my life recently made me very aware of how much I only do things because they benefit me. I don't look at myself as being that way but I can see where and how I can portray that idea with my actions. I am pushing myself to start looking outside my somewhat self-centered blinders and see me from the outside. I haven't taken full stock of what I have discovered yet on this quest. But I am sure I there will be a blog about it sometime in the future. Until then, everyone now knows one of the mind entangling things that have been known to keep me awake at night.


Andrew