March 17th, 2011 by The Grey Ghost
My full name is Sean Adam Ryan. This is a curse comprised of three first names; all 4-letter words. It’s been a constant hassle throughout my entire life because how seldom someone addresses me correctly. Thanks, Mom & Dad.
The frustrating part isn’t the spelling of my first name, though that would be a good guess. I have in fact gotten into arguments with people over how my name is to be pronounced; should I continue to choose spelling my name this way. “Thank you, citizen,” I respond, “The past quarter-century has been a lie to me. Thank God I met you today so that my eyes could be opened to the Truth.”
But that’s a forgivable error. There are several ways to scribe the sound of my name, and unfortunately for me, the traditional Irish version is not as popular. There are other names I encounter that I make effort to clarify before committing to text. When someone is courteous enough to ask, I quip, “…as in ‘Connery‘”.
The regular trial that challenges me most is how often people refer to me by my surname. The spelling of my forename must be so unpopular and confusing that the average human brain rejects it upon sight. An educated, literate human being will typically read my full name from a document and immediately exclaim, “Hi! You must be Ryan!”
Except with my employers, I’ve begun to return with, “That’s MR. Ryan to you.”
In correspondence, my From line will read “Sean Ryan” or sometimes, “S. Ryan” if I feel like taking a chance. Even if I close informally, with only “Sean” in clear typeface, the recipient will still greet me with “Ryan” at the top of their reply.
Some people ask silly questions; like, “Do you prefer to go by ‘Sean’ or ‘Ryan’?” Neither…I prefer Escobar. Remember to roll the “r”. It’s not like either of them are in quotes, i.e. “The Decorator” or “T-Bone”, like some nickname bestowed by my close friends.
To escape this madness, I may have to move to Japan or another Asian nation where family names are recognized first, then given names. Not that they’d have it any easier pronouncing it. Or spelling it, I suppose.
March 10th, 2011 by The Grey Ghost
The past ten years have taken a toll on me, creatively. I used to login to my LiveJournal and weave extensive rants or explorations of thought a few times per week. Now I’m lucky if I draw from my personal well once a month.
Much of it has been because I’ve mellowed in temper. I don’t get worked up as much as I used to. I hope that’s because I’ve grown wiser in my time and thus become more comprehensive of my surroundings. I’ve learned to passively adapt rather than rage against the machine.
On the other hand, it could just as easily be depression that’s overcome me instead of wisdom. Either way, it’s cost me the fire inside my belly. I miss it.
Another thing that’s stifled my expression is sensitivity. Like my assumed wisdom, this is a double-edged sword; one whose virtue comes at a heavy price.
I sincerely don’t like offending people. Too many times have I told a joke that’s stirred up unintended controversy or hurt the feelings of someone whom I closely care. I began to censor myself; every word held under scrutiny over its consequences before passing through my lips or fingers. Now days, I just keep my damned mouth shut and everyone seems to win. Well, that is except for me, of course.
Just for reference: The majority of my sense of humor is based in two camps: Absurdity and exaggeration. My jokes will often express ideas or situations that are either completely out of left field or are natural, but are taken to such extremes that it’s ridiculous. I don’t exclude controversial topics from my humor because it’s absurd to put them in any context that’s appropriate. And of course, the construction of the joke is imperative.
All the same, my thoughts manage to piss off someone, somewhere, at some time.
What I need to remember is that there is a difference between offending people and hurting them. No matter what my opinion or musing, someone is going to take it personally. That is inevitable. I’m willing to make routine apologies, just so long as I remind myself that I don’t use my words to be vicious. If that makes me an apathetic privileged jerk, I’m happy to have at least achieved a personality worthy of description.
It sounds melodramatic, but I feel like I haven’t been allowed to be myself. But the only person who can give me that permission is myself.
March 9th, 2011 by The Grey Ghost
Where I work, four Canadian geese have made the parking lot their home. We’ve so far not disputed this relationship… Partially because we like to think we live in harmony with all Creation. But mostly it’s because they’re frickin’ geese. They are mean, nasty creatures and we’re rightfully afraid to approach them.
Last week, the geese showed signs that they weren’t satisfied with our mere surrender of possession over the property. Two of them took to the roof to intimidate us from high ground; honking their toll of conquest. The remaining two stationed themselves near the building’s entryway and accosted anyone who dared venture in or out.
This week, they’ve relaxed their campaign to evict us. Perhaps our company sacrificed a middle manager for them as tribute. However, I think it’s more likely that the geese have realized that it’s just easier to rob us at gunpoint as we head to our cars every evening.
March 4th, 2011 by The Grey Ghost
I love Penny Arcade… With every new update I find some kind of evidence of some cosmic strings that bind the two of us together. My kinship might not be directly with either of the two creators or the machine they pilot; but somehow I feel they’re speaking to me.
This new strip about pooping is no different. I, too, struggle with this same mental hangup. I’m very specific about where I make my deposits; often carrying my burden throughout the day until I return to my roost. If the pressure overwhelms me and I must make do abroad (see what I did there?), I’ve more than once sat while clicking my heels, chanting under my breath, “There’s no place like home.”
I have no explanation for this. I don’t believe it’s any kind of paranoid hypochondria. It’s really a comfort thing. Other toilet seats just never feel right. There’s no standard shape that the industry’s agreed upon, leaving it up to me to constantly adjust myself to find that sweet spot.
Public toilets are the worst. Someone decided that dinghies were the perfect model for a toilet bowl. Long, narrow, and comes to a pointed tip. The extra room up front is flattering at first sight, but once you sit down, it’s like subjecting your underside to a cruel funhouse mirror. The only thing that fills the void before you is inadequacy. And the narrow aft of the bowl subtly reminds you that you could stand to lose a few tons.
I’m convinced that these toilet seats were designed by a woman. Perhaps the same woman who designs bicycle seats.
March 3rd, 2011 by The Grey Ghost
The Business and I have just about mapped out our strategy for March. This is probably the first time we’ve set up a recording schedule for an entire month, but with our personal lives constantly being a bother, we need to be prepared. The titles, topics, and even extra treats that we have lined up to produce have even myself tingling with anticipation.
Animazement 2011 is coming up fast! We’ll be manning one of the video rooms that Saturday morning, with a table just outside the door. I’m furiously brainstorming some new designs for fliers and possibly shirts for Kevin and I to wear. Our buttons from last year were pretty damned sweet, so we’ll likely just run off a couple hundred more of those.
There is a possibility that Method to Madness will participate in a panel this year. It’s something that faithful listener, Dustin is brewing, but absolutely nothing is established yet. I’d also like to see how one of our network hosts, Anime 3000 would like to get involved with the con. If all they can do is secure a spot for our fliers at the promo table, I’d be grateful.
I may also be moving this summer, depending on where my girlfriend’s career takes her. I don’t know how this will affect the podcast, except for maybe taking a month hiatus till I’m ready to hop back in. Ironically, the further she may have to go, the less disruption will be experienced here. Again, this may all be moot.
But back to the short-term, March is going to be fun. We’re recording podcasts this week for Angel Beats! and video games, with some listener feedback addressed when possible. Plus at least one more review for A3K; this time for My Bride is a Mermaid.
I got da hookups for some Hyperdimension Neptunia, from which I intend to derive some kind of content. Not sure if it will be posted here or in the main site’s blog. My rule of thumb is that if the article isn’t written with the standards of purple prose I admire from Terry Pratchett or Jerry Holkins, it will be deposited as refuse here.
February 19th, 2011 by The Grey Ghost
I had my routine physical earlier this week; a visit I should pay at least once a year, but it has in fact been four since my last exam. Most of that has been because of lack of insurance, but the rest is that my diagnosis is always the same: My cholesterol is a little high (but not dangerously so), and I’m overweight. No combo breaker this round.
Other than a minor Vitamin D deficiency, my physician and I had plenty else to discuss. Most of it was about my weight. I knew I was overweight and that I’d actually gained some since my last visit. But I had no idea exactly how much. In four years, I’ve apparently gained 35 pounds. No wonder my pants have felt unusually snug the past few months.
I assume that much of my weight is muscle mass, since I really don’t look like most people who share my weight. It also helps that I tend to use visual tricks that TV actresses use to conceal when they’re pregnant. But no illusion can sustain forever and no glamour can erase the ugly truth. I’m no longer getting fat…I’m fat.
Most of my weight gain comes from the aftermath of over a year of heavy depression. Like most people, 2009 was a brutal year. My job at the time had pulled the rug out from under me just after I’d been riding high for months. I went from full-time, pulling 45+ hours per week, to being “on call” 7-20 hours per week. This killed my income, as well as my health benefits. That killed my morale, which in turn killed my performance. When my performance fell apart, the company abandoned putting me into places where I was effective and instead swept me into places where I could do the least damage.
Thus the binging of comfort food and drinking began, taking its toll on my body.
I’m doing better now; at least mentally. I’ve found good friends and creative outlets (like this website!) that bring me a sense of accomplishment. I feel like I’ve gotten a second chance on life and that I must now pay my respect. I need to make grand-scale life changes so that I never fall into that dark hole again.
One of those changes is to be more receptive of help from others. Maybe it’s pride or conversely, low self-esteem, but I hate burdening my load on those I care about. Especially when I know they have their own loads to bear. But I must learn to at least ask.
So, Internet… By coming out about my weight and depression publicly, I ask to be held accountable for it. I don’t necessarily need anyone actively busting my balls to keep in shape, but I at least need people to know so that I can’t ignore it. It’s like the saying goes, “You’re as sick as your secrets.” If I’m going to be honest with myself and face my demons, I need to be honest with my peers.
February 8th, 2011 by The Grey Ghost
I hate telephones. It’s a device that we’ve all been bewitched into believing we depend on, despite their intrusive, disruptive design.
The sound of a phone ringing is the shortest route to my insanity. It never matters what the message or request waits on the other end of the line. A telephone ring has only one meaning: Drop whatever it is you’re doing and tend to me immediately. Rarely are we able to say no—we are its slave.
Almost as maddening to me is a door knock. The telephone and even the door bell are relatively new inventions. Strangely, the knock is an implement that predates them by millennia, yet people have not yet mastered it.
There are some folks who knock impatiently, not allowing me much time from when I’m originally summoned to reach the door to when they knock again. The ring of a phone is at least rhythmic and the phone itself is usually within arm’s reach. It’s like the jerks that barrage the button of an elevator or crosswalk. The ritual is cathartic, annoying, and isn’t going to bring you want you want any faster.
People who knock in patterns almost get a pass, since at least they’re trying to inject humor into their trespassing. I forgive the “shave and a haircut” people, though only if they include the complete “two bits”. That phrase minus its last two notes is a question that then begs a response from a second party. I could knock back their “two bits”, but I’d look like an idiot. And if I reply by simply opening the door, the phrase is ruined.
Then there are the soft knockers. People who delicately brush their knuckles or stroke their fingers upon the door. It’s a technique that stems from guilt—they don’t want to disturb me. It’s almost sweet of them…
Except that’s the whole reason why one knocks on my door: To disturb me! How am I supposed to greet you if I don’t know you’re there? I can at least respect someone who raps upon my door with purpose and alarm!
Blessed is this 21st Century when electronic communications have minimized these intrusions. Email, voicemail, texting… They’re all amazing ways to immediately get in touch with me. But they’re also things with the feature of opting out. I can tend to them at my own convenience.
February 5th, 2011 by The Grey Ghost
Hey, gang! Sean, aka The Grey Ghost here…
I’ve decided to start up a new blog for myself here on TheGreyGhost.net, separate from the main site. The main page will continue to feature the Method to Madness podcast show notes and related articles. This new blog is just an appendage…one just for me. That way the main site can focus on its theme of anime and video games; saving this blog as additional content for those with greater interest.
Here, I’ll post content that will probably be more personal. I may reflect on the events of my day or explore thoughts that just won’t fit within a 140 character tweet. This will also be an experiment for me in figuring out how to maybe expand into a larger network.
Pardon the mess… It may take a while before I settle in.