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Oct. 16th, 2016

ObLiVioN-FalLs

So YoU WAn† †O IN†ErViEW...

Living in the 21st first century we haven't really abolished duels, or mano-a-mano type combat but merely transferred them into a more 'socially acceptable' style - termed "the interview".  Rather than two men fighting to the death over leadership, their wits, brains, and talents are tested in the corporate realm of the interview process.

In recent years I have become quite acquainted with interviews, and actually quite fond of them - so fond that I stopped preparing for them long ago.  Instead, rather haphazardly, I view interviews as a game - a sort of argumentative debate where one side throws out questions and the other attempts to answer them using bouts of logic and salesmanship.  The rules of the game are simple:  truths can be bent, but never broken.  The results, and score, are always hidden as well - only the winner is announced.  There is no second place, or third but only first.  In those situations it's also interesting to note that you may have had a perfect performance but missed first placed due to circumstances completely out of your control - something you'll never know and part of the game.

In going through so many interviews, I've also come to the point where I can discern how well the interviewer has prepared.  About halfway through, I begin to gauge the difficulty of the questions, gaining a 'high' off the more difficult questions, "Tell me of a time when you were simply scanning through processes, at leisure, and found something interesting that resulted in a companywide change" opposed to the more basic "tell me of your weaknesses" or "where will you be in five years" - standard interview questions you could pop off of Google in 10 minutes time.  In every response I hold myself to the rules of the game; as such, every statement I make is simultaneous evaluated to ensure its logically consistent and factually correct.  Where I trip myself up is getting too cocky and becoming too honest (my faults are...).  Your goal as an interviewee is to conceal your faults, while the interviewer's goal is to discover those faults.

My advice?  To adhere to the rules of the game:  truths are meant to be bent, but never broken.  There is nothing admirable about displaying complete honesty when asked about your weaknesses (a trap I have fallen into multiple times).  HR is not your friend, those interviewing you are not your friends - this is strictly business and as such it's one entity using logic and salesmanship to convince another entity to proceed to a given conclusion - nothing more.  HR, the interviewer, is putting on a show - just as you are.  Think it's any different?  Then attempt to call HR after you have come in second, or third place, and watch their friendly demeanor and pleasant small talk collapse as they ignore your calls and refuse to return your emails.  This is business, and business is cold.  The more you view it as a game, the better off you'll be.  I'm reminded of the movie, "Catch Me if You Can" where Leonardo Dicaprio desperately cries out, "Tell me what you want me to see" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OurQfyuCBOM) to the policeman Carl.  Interviews are much the same, you simply tell them what you want them to see.  The more skilled the interviewer, the more difficult it is to get them to persuade them to see what you want them to see.

I should have been a lawyer.

My fault?  Once the interview is over the 'game' has real world consequences.  That's when the breakdown occurs.  "May we contract your references?" or "May we contact your supervisor?" that is when my stomach sinks and I am faced with the perplexing issue that has plagued my life for the past six years...making a life changing decision.  In the face of anxiety, fear of regret and the unknown I become paralyzed - completely incapacitated and unable to make a decision, but that is a entry for another day...
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Oct. 1st, 2016

ObLiVioN-FalLs

DINNER WiTh FRiENDs

I met up with a life-long friend and his wife for dinner tonight.  While the friend is someone I admire greatly and get-along well with; he is also someone that I've always had to keep at a distance.  He, like so many others, is a man that respects status, wealth, and achievements and as such, the conversation is always filtered through the lens of success and triumph.  The conversation immediately finds its way to his successes and achievements.  While I begrudge no-one of their successes, it's frustrating to see the cycle that he unknowingly dives into during each of our meetings.  Tonight I heard of his new position, and how he negotiated four weeks of vacation, how much more money he is making, how he negotiated 2.5% yearly salary increases in perpetuity and a nice 5% bonus the first year and ultimately "how things are going great".  With him, it's difficult to determine if things are actually going so well or if it's all just a facade.  If it had to guess I would wager things are going quite well for him, but I could never be certain.  He may very well be dead inside, who knows.

While the conversation hops from achievement to achievement, there is an aspect of our personal non-achievements that we touch upon; but it's never the human part, never the part of your life that hints at weakness, uncertainty or difficult times that are the staples of life.  While I do enjoy his company, the ostentatious dance that avoids typical human dilemma becomes rather tiresome at times.  When times are going well I can tolerate the conversation, but when things are not going so well then it becomes difficult to reconcile.  It's difficult not to compare my achievements against him; as it know he is matching his successes against me.  I find myself embroiled in an internal conflict where part of me attempts to match my successes and life experience against his and the other half just wants to let it go.  It's a stupid game where I find myself wondering how much money he is really making; comparing his home and child against my perceived higher salary, financial investments and retirement package - it's an evil awful road that I genuinely want no part of.  To avoid that road, I've limited my contact with him and have become colder in my dealings with him.

As I was typing this I remembered a headline from an article I came across on the internet quite a while ago.  The subject of the article was concerning things that men wish women knew and one point in particular touched upon relationships. It lamented that women don't understand how cold, distant, and shallow men's relationships with each other are. Men don't bemoan or discuss problems but rather ignore them all together.  The author regretted the fact that he, like so many men, had no other male friends to confide in or talk to.  That is certainly something I can relate to.  I could never call up a male friend late at night and express concerns or issues, men just don't have those kinds of relationships.  I recall a moment with my friend when his child was in the hospital sick, unsure if the child was going to live or not.  Understanding that he had to be strong in front of his wife, I offered that he could give me a call and we could talk about it - that whatever he was feeling he could simply let it out I'd listen and help the best I could.  In offering such a preposition I had crossed the established "no weakness" boundary of our friendship and this became evident as he ever-so-coolly thanked me and brushed off the offer.  He would rather deal with it alone than show any weakness.

 
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Jan. 22nd, 2016

ObLiVioN-FalLs

SAy My NAME...

A break in the conversation.  Her head drops down to focus on the tiny sandwiches that adorn her plate.  She starts to methodically pick apart the sandwiches, taking extra care to not make a mess as a lady with class would do.  I watch her as she begins to fade away amidst the sound of the plasma televisions and the clash and clamor of the nearby bowling alley takes hold.  In that moment of commotion and fury I was overtaken by a brief instance of peaceful serenity where my mind opened an inner dialogue.

"What's her name [OBLiVioN]? " the small, unobtrusive, seemingly harmless voice within my mind beckoned so casually.


My eyes furiously scanned over her as I paused for a brief moment then responded, "Her name is...it's..."

"Go ahead [OBLiVioN], say her name.  What's her name?" the voice once again continued, in a plain tone that was neither mocking nor supportive - a simple statement of fact that spoke volumes.


"It's...her name is...it's...her name...her name, it's..."

"You don't know her name do you?"


It was date three and we had casually text messaged for weeks, we had spent numerous nights at Trivia together and yet after all that time, in that moment, I could not recall her name. Just a week before I drove her home on a cold rainy Tuesday night, walking her up to her apartment before leaving her with a warm hug and yet I could but just sit and guess at what her name might be.

"Her name, [OBLiVioN], what is it?"


I pull out my phone and scan through the contacts, finding her.  She stops from her meal and looks up at me.  I smile, and respond 'How is your meal /ATB?' She smiles back with a warm, hearty smile, that implies everything will be ok.

I smile back, pondering what it means to not be able to recall a name, then I slowly let it go..

Nov. 11th, 2015

ObLiVioN-FalLs

JUs† SeEMeD S0 BUsiNESsY...

'Is it ok if I type while you talk?' she asked while she sat attentively in the computer chair with tablet/keyboard positioned in her lap.

'Sure'.

'Great, so tell me what's going on, why are you here?' she looked attentively as she awaited my response, ready to translate my rambling diatribe and torrent of emotion into concise, logical, statements of fact. It had been my first session with a counselor - aside from the mandatory sessions that all students of my elementary school were required to attend. All students within the school got to skip class to have one-on-one sessions, or group sessions, with the school counselor as part of preliminary screening. I only had one or two sessions with the counselor, but envied those students that got to leave class repeatedly to see the school counselor over and over and over. Here I was some xx years later and suddenly that envy had transformed into empathy - the notion of meeting with a counselor wasn't so cool anymore.

She was rather young, and quite attractive for a therapist. Sitting in her chair she wore a comfortable winter sweater, professional dress pants and adorned her voluptuous chest with a golden coin necklace - it was a rather nice touch. The entire atmosphere of her presence, the office, and her character gave off a homely feeling of safeness, of blandness, of lack of life experience.

'Have you lived in this area all of your life?' I asked. I knew the answer before I even asked it. Her degree on the wall was from the local state school about forty-five minutes away and the pictures of her with her husband painted the picture of a girl that never left home; it painted the picture of a girl that had no need to leave home.

'Yes' she said with a smile. Within that moment I came to the realization as to where the session would go, what type of advice she would give and what I could expect next from her.

I began going into the issue that led me to her office that day, an issue I'd rather not include in the journal as some things are too personal to even admit to yourself. Like many things, I could feel the session slipping away from me. I kept dropping the words, 'I'm not sure it's even about this anymore' and 'I feel it's become bigger than this' but we mostly just danced around the topic - her asking questions and me displaying an uncanny level of honestly with her.

Then, before I knew it, it was all over. She scheduled me for another appointment and walked me to the door of her office. The quickness of the end left me in complete shock and off-balance. The startling ending, which almost came in mid-sentance, seemed so unnatural and against the flow of the meeting that it now has me questioning the entire validity of the meeting. While I can't slight her, and I understand it's a business it all just seemed so....businessy.
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Sep. 14th, 2015

ObLiVioN-FalLs

FeAR Of VAstNESs




As I stood next to this behemoth my irrational childhood fears began to bubble to the surface and I suddenly felt uncomfortable and on edge.  For whatever reason, the thought of extremely deep water and massively large objects frighten the shit out of me.  Looking back, it all probably started with swimming lessons and the classic childhood fear that a gigantic shark would appear in the deep end and gobble me up.  While the shark never did manifest itself, the subconscious fear of those deep foreboding waters has followed me straight into adulthood.

I suppose it was all just a fear of vastness, the fear of being so minute and tiny in the face of colossal objects or spaces has consistenly filled me with a sense of terror.  Or maybe it's simply the fear of an infinite abyss; the notion of standing before something so vast and limitless and being completely vulnerable before it petrifies me - it as if there is nothing you can you do escape it or hide from it.  Even as a teenager, I can remember going into an empty farm silo and being utterly terrified of the open space that lie within it - it was as if a dark subconscious nightmare had been brought to life and manifested in the world.  I stood in that silo for about ten seconds before taking off for the door, trying to act cool as possible while I hastily walked away never to look back at it.

Kind of crazy.  Even as an 'adult', I find the below image disturbingly unsettling:

I can't look at it without feeling uncomfortable.

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Sep. 12th, 2015

ObLiVioN-FalLs

I† WAs NiCE RuNNiNG iN†O YOu...

"Speaking of interesting events, guess who I met today..."

After two pitchers of Troegs Perpetual Joe stared back at me with an uncomprehending gaze that carried with it the faintest trace of boredom.  Pearl Jam, 'Alive' played amidst the barroom chatter of football talk. Joe had spent the last five minutes singing off-key in an embarrassing display that made everyone at the table uncomfortable.

"I saw /amd".

His gaze narrowed and the dull stare fled from his face, he immediately snapped out of his drunken stupor as his eyes focused into a full comprehension.  The story of /amd and I was one that Joe was intermingled in and one that carried feelings of bitterness and slight resentment between the two of us.  There was a second part to the conversation I had posted earlier that Joe would spill during a night of drunken confession.  "[ObLiViOn], when you were asking me about /amd I spoke to Allen again and he said that /amd wanted you so bad, that she wanted you to make a move on her and was waiting for you to do something.  I had this knowledge in my head and I thought for a moment I was God, playing with your life and questioned if I should give you this knowledge or just let you figure it out on your own.  I didn't feel right playing God so I never told you that, but man she wanted you so bad.  She wanted you to give her the..." his voice trailed off as he began making obscene gestures with his hands.  Having gone to Joe for advice about /amd, and having him blatantly withhold such information left a bitter taste to say the least.  To be honest, I’ve never forgiven him for that, but then again men are to figure out their own relationships - not rely on the drunken advice of friends.  Now, here we were in the same bar, same topic, x months later.

Fast forward to today, I'm watching him sit across from me with mouth agape, I begin the story:  "It was interesting, I was coming down the stars at work when I flung open the door to see a very attractive female.  Not having my glasses, I didn't recognize who it was so I said 'hello' only to realize it was her.  I think it happened so quickly that neither of us really knew what to make of it.  She looked frazzled and mentioned she was looking for a guy from security, and by chance, I had met with that same guy the day before so I offered to walk her down to the office.  I kept it very professional, as I didn’t want to get into personal matters so I walked her to the office and said goodbye." I left out the part about all the emotion that came rushing back from running into an ex-girlfriend.  In that moment, standing in the hall she had taken on the persona that I remembered from early on in the relationship - the one that carried all the allure of someone new and mysterious and filled with endless possibility.  At that moment she remained the girl that wasn't filled with blemishes and faults, but the girl you naively fill with your subconscious hopes and desires.

Joe sat back comprehending my words for a moment, his thoughts and mannerisms teetering between that of a wise advisor and barroom drunk.  For a brief moment, I thought he was going to add a significant insight into the conversation, but the alcohol took over and he dove headfirst into all out drunk, "Did...did you tell her you want to bang her double-d breasttsts...[ObLiVioN], you could have taken her up to my cube and had sex with her - I would have left".  He began laughing hysterically at the premise then continued on, shouting "Yo Joe!  Get out of your office I need it to bang /amd!" His hysterical laughter gave way into a swaying motion that had him balancing on the edges of the barstool. Few people could get as drunk as Joe could on a Thursday Night at 6:00pm.  Trying to carry on a serious conversation, I ignored him and allowed his wife, "G" to interject in the conversation.

G, much more sober and contained, continued on "What was she doing in your building? Isn't that strange that you would run into her?" In my foolishness, or haste, or desire to see divine intervention I began to dissect all the events that led to our meeting, "It's really strange that we would meet at that moment", I beckoned, "I mean, I was on my way back from the bathroom and there were two bathrooms that were broken that forced me to use a third...which lead me to where she was.  In addition, what are the chances of her making a wrong turn down a hallway only to arrive at the exact moment when I'm walking down the stairs.  Also don't forget the fact that I met with the same guy she was looking for only a day before so I was able to help her and walk her directly to his office." As with many things in life, I continued to analyze the seemingly independent stream of facts to determine if it was all just a coincidence or if there was some divine plan that countered statistical reasoning.

G agreed that it was the working of Providence, and blurted out "You should text her".  Joe, in typical fashion followed up her comment with an offhand remark "Dude, you should just tell her that you want her [expletive] [expletive] [expletive]..." the expletives began blending together against the backdrop of his hysterical laughter.

"I have been thinking about texting her, but after the breakup she unfriended me on Facebook and I'm not really sure what to think of it", my deepest unvoiced concern was having to run into her on a daily basis after a failed relationship.  I'm fairly certain that fear ruined the relationship as it kept me from ever taking chances with her - for fear of making a monumental mistake and having to be reminded of it at work and through mutual friends.

Taking into account the advice of G, and my own desire to see what would happen if I did text her, I sent her the following message shortly after lunch, "Hi!  It was nice running into you yesterday.  What made you trek into my building?"

The conversation started off in a very positive fashion as we had a nice exchange of pleasantries filled with "haha" and ":)" and the prized "hahaha".  While I was surprised as to how well it went it was very much one sided - me pelting her with questions as she responded in brief.  If I were texting any other girl I would think it to be awkward but /amd was a notoriously bad texter and this was standard procedure.

The conversation ultimately trailed off as I asked her to meet up with me for happy hour only to have her respond one-hour and forty minutes later with "Ohh sorry :( I just got done with my appointments".  The answer was just vague enough to border between her blowing me off and simply being busy.  I read through the message and suddenly remembered why the relationship came to a crushing defeat, /amd was the queen of hiding emotions and responding in vague terms that were so difficult to read and I, in my fear of screwing something up with someone I have to work with, didn't have the fortitude to take the risk or address the problem directly.  That, among other things, led to the demise.

I responded back with "No Worries :)  Sounds like a busy day" to which the conversation halted - presumably never to start up again.

Aug. 28th, 2015

ObLiVioN-FalLs

\AZ CHeCKs Ou†...



"Am I part of your plus three for paintball?" \AZ asked.

And with the simple response of "No" the levy of professionalism and cordialness broke under the strain of months of frustration and fury.   What began as a simple misunderstanding quickly transformed into a "GFY", which gave way to "Go Fuck yourself.  I'm out" and ultimately culminating with "Now leave me the fuck alone!!!!!!!!"

Throughout the conversation I thought about apologizing and accepting full responsibility in an attempt to salvage what was left out our friendship, but a friendship isn't really a friendship if you're the one accepting guilt for all transgressions and misunderstandings that that may arise.  It's not really a friendship when one party is beholden to the whim of the other and it's definitely not a friendship when misunderstandings are punctuated with "GFY".  It was also a matter of pride, I had asked her to join me for a work-outing to play paintball and she never gave me a definitive yes - as such she didn't get her name added to the list.  See image above.

Though the reason for not apologizing was mostly due to the futility of it.  Having gone through quite a few breakups I've come to the realization that there is no reversing the hatred and fury of a scorned woman.  I've watched this scene play out before, the build-up of months, if not years, of frustration finally overflowing when minor events transcend into tornadoes of wrath.  /LM had done it, and in my naivety I didn't understand why she got so angry over the most trivial of matters.

"You want to get a ultra-violet light to clean with?"
    "You're always leaving your stuff out, I can't take this"


Now it was boiling over with \AZ:
   "You signed up [Friend] for paintball, but not me?!"

I remember a favorite joke of /LM, which has coincidently become a favorite joke of mine, "When you hate a girl you hate everything about her; everything she does will get on your nerves.  'God I hate the way that b#@%! eats a F*%&#@! cracker'.

Believe it or not, I had been expecting this event for quite a while.  \AZ had found a new man - and a girl can't simply have a new boyfriend while the ex-boyfriend is hanging around.  I had been mistaken when I thought the event take on a more subtle tone.  I thought the end of the relationship would manifest itself in slow decay of "busy schedules" and "not enough time" - not once did I think it would end in a fiery barrage of "Go F%#@ yourself!"

Though, if I were wise I could have predicted this.  \AZ and I had broken up before and she was looking for reasons to fight - she would intentionally start fights or make inflammatory remarks so that it a fight would be imminent and she would have a reason to cut me out of her life - she couldn't just walk away peacefully.  Now, fast forward a year or so and here were acting out the same situation - a testament to the cyclical nature of life. Though, I've never had a friendship end so brutally in a cacophony of "f@#$".

Aug. 16th, 2015

ObLiVioN-FalLs

...AND I DonT MeAN CiGAreTTEs

"I've been watching a movie on Netflix entitled, "These Final Hours".  It's about world that is quickly approaching doomsday - North and South America have both been destroyed and Great Britain has about twelve hours before it's completely destroyed and all inhabitants are killed.  It's quite a dark film - a vast majority of citizens have committed suicide, crazed lunatics running around with machetes' and massive orgies where people just hop up on drugs and have sex - passing the time before the end of the world.  The movie follows a main character who, by all accounts, is a piece of trash - he cheats on his girlfriend, is a frequent alcoholic and coke head. He finds two men trying to rape an underage girl and saves her - trying to get her reunited with her father in an attempt to do one final good deed before the end of the world, a type of personal redemption if you will.  It's interesting to note how impending doom plays on the characters and what people do with the last few hours of their life.  What would you do if you were in that situation?  If you only had ten, or twelve, hours to live."

Her eyes glazed as her countenance took on an expression of boredom and disinterest.

She paused for a moment, then without so much as an inkling of emotion she responded, "F#@$.  I'd do lots and lots of F@#$ing.  I'd smoke and F$@# - and I don't mean cigarettes.  I'd smoke up and have sex all day long."

The look of frustration on my face must have been blatantly obvious.  /AZ was always teetering between sorority girl and professional. Every time I thought she grew up she would consistently revert back to the sorority mentality - it was ingrained in her essence - a type of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  On the one hand /AZ could be so smart, strong, and refined, but that air of professionalism carried with it an undertow of unbridled hedonism straight out of the most decadent of sorority houses.

She continued the conversation, "What would you do?"

"I'm not sure.  I would probably go home - drive back and see family."

"You would. You're always driving back to [hometown].  I'm not even going to call it [hometown], I'm going to call it Gayburg.  [ObLiVion-FalLs] is going back to GayBurg."

Jul. 26th, 2015

ObLiVioN-FalLs

N!cE ScARs...

'And how are you doing in this heat?' I playfully questioned as I looked down towards her bulging stomach.  She was now seven months pregnant, standing in the shade of a picnic pavilion her husband had rented for his 'baby BBQ' - combination of a barbeque and traditional baby shower that I was invited to.

She smiled, and with a soft sigh she stated, 'I'm just ready for this all to be done.  I think that...' her words trailed off as my focus shifted to her forearms.  She had subconsciously crossed them over her belly and that’s when I noticed the numerous razor scars that adorned the inside of her arms.  The scars were bloated and distorted, but unmistakably the result of razor.  The scars had transformed from small little slices to elongated bulges, symbolically aging with her and following her throughout the various stages of her life.  They were the physical remnants of emotional scars long past, scars from many years go - most likely in her teenage years.  Now a woman in pregnancy, I began to ponder the significance of those scars.  As she rambled on I thought about how she would present those scars to her child, how she would present those scars to her grandchildren and the girls at bingo and bridge when she became an old woman.  Perhaps that's of little consequence given the scars were accompanied by a range of bizarre tattoos, including smiley faces, dragons, and an alien dressed up in a Sasquatch costume; the scars may be the easiest piece of body décor to explain.

I'd be lying if I said the scars didn't make me ponder the emotional weakness that they portrayed.  Mothers, and grandmothers, are to be emotional rocks and beacons yet to fall into a set of arms covered in scars seems to send a more subtle message of vulnerability and frailty.

Jul. 11th, 2015

ObLiVioN-FalLs

WHeRe !s EveRyB0Dy?

As a child I would have reoccurring dreams of being left alone.  Throughout the dream I'd find myself in empty towns, cities, and houses where the occupants had left moments prior to my arrival.  I'd find half-smoked cigarettes, microwaves counting down the last few seconds of a reheated dinner and backyard swings that remained in motion as the occupant jumped off and sprinted towards the distance.  If I were quick enough, I would often catch a glimpse of people running away towards the horizon as I peered out the vacant window of the house or around the corner of the city street.  Often I'd attempt to run after them and catch up with their mad sprint but my efforts to reach out to them were always in vain.  The strangers, friends, or whomever the dream cast them to be were always beyond just beyond my reach in the silhouette of the horizon.  The faster I'd run and call out to them, the faster they would take off and collectively decide to ignore my pleas.

As an adult I find those feelings of abandonment and loneliness bubbling to the surface in my daily decisions and feelings.  The thought of isolation terrifies me, and anything that remotely resembles the notion of friends, family and even strangers, drifting off into their own metaphorical horizons brings forth a sense of overwhelming panic.  The feeling and fear is so overwhelming that it carries its own pull.  Sometimes we are slaves that which we fear, and hate most, and it's no different than with the feeling of abandonment.  The strange part is, as much as I want to avoid it, I find myself clinging to and making decision in favor of isolation time and time again - like clockwork.  I'm not sure if it's fear the drives me to those decisions, or the notion that by attempting to avoid something so fiercely the action backfires and draws you closer and closer to that which you're trying to avoid.  It seems simple enough:  if you don’t want to be alone then don't make decisions that lead to that conclusion; however, there is always a “but” and “I can't” and “things aren't working out” that leads to the underlying decisions that result in being alone.

[UnFinisheD]

The reoccurring dreams I would have were most similar to the Twilight Zone episode 'Where is everybody' (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sZlkwQ2zow).
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