JR’s Not-So-Literal Blog

@Norcross says I need a big boy blog, so I abide

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on December 30, 2009

So a friend that I met on the scary internets, a Mr. Andrew Norcross, has helped me set up my “big boy blog” as he likes to call it. So, Not So Literal will be held at a self-hosted site now. How about that? Here’s the URL.

notsoliteral.com

Andrew is an excellent web designer, builder, coder, Wizard of Oz and Awesomeness. He basically knows a lot about everything you’d ever want to know and is usually more than helpful with any requests I have. I cannot recommend him highly enough if you need any web work done.

Anyways, all of my content from this blog and my previous blog have been moved over, so I’ll see you at notsoliteral.com and stay tuned for some titillating announcements for 2010!

My Family Is Insane, Which Explains Why I Am Insane Too

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on December 24, 2009

I’m home in Massachusetts now staying at my mom’s apartment in Worcester. The flights home were pretty horrible, but I’m glad I didn’t have to spend the night in the airport or spend dough on a hotel.

I got home at 2AM and was greeted by my grandmother who recently had a heart attack. She lives downstairs from my mother. Her and my grandfather own the building and it’s where I grew up. Some pretty unsavory people have come into and out of my life with this apartment building being the backdrop for most of my pre-adult and some of my adult memories.

I guess I sort of left this place in a hurry when I went to college, then got a job in Boston and then eventually got hired at Brazen Careerist. I never meant to be an escapist, but my desires and aspirations seem to lead me away from here, so I don’t try to fight it too much.

What I do try to fight is the tendency to distance myself from family and friends. When I get wrapped up in my busy work life, I forget to call, I don’t come home much and I can be generally neglectful to everyone including myself. It’s funny, I start working out again and suddenly the other things that I should be doing start happening again. The law of attraction is pretty useful at times.

So when I saw my grandmother, I was really happy. I got a little choked up but didn’t want to cry my first time seeing her in 3 months. I told my sister on the ride home from the airport that when my mom called me the morning my grandmother had her heart attack, my entire life flashed before my eyes. I was convinced she was going to die. I was absolutely certain she wasn’t going to make it through surgery. I actually went into work and tried to stay busy until I got an update from my mother or sister saying what the results of her stint procedure were.

She made it out of surgery and I was relieved. I was also cursing myself for becoming distant and resentful of my familial craziness put any distance between my beloved grandparents and myself. Right before her surgery, I got my gramma on the phone because my mom told me to. She sounded bad and weak and I just wanted to tell her I loved her no matter what while I still had the chance. She said she loved me too and that she was going to be fine because she always survives these kinds of things. Then said she was going to let me go because the doctors were coming in. As she hung up the phone I was in the middle of saying I love you one more time and I crumbled into heavy sobs alone in my apartment. I was convinced that would be the last time I ever talked to my grandmother again.

I got a text from my sister later that afternoon saying my grandmother did well in surgery and that she was probably going to be okay. I took a deep breath and sent a ‘thank you’ above to whomever or whatever was listening.

Later that day when I got out of some meetings I talked to my mom and was asking lots of questions about what happened and what was going to happen moving forward. I was anxious and my mom was being vague. I started to get upset because I wanted to be mentally prepared (as much as I could be) for what was next. She just kept telling me “I know you feel bad for not being here. I know you feel bad for leaving home. Don’t. Just, don’t”

She was right. I’ve never totally coped with my own desires to move on and do big things wherever I please and the ever-present feeling that I’m abandoning the people who raised me, my mom and grandparents.

I’m home for two weeks in the belly of the beast where all the madness and incredible loved I’ve shared with my family has transpired over a really interesting 25 years. I got to sit up with my grandmother who’s doing SO much better now healthwise, I got to go out food shopping with my grandfather (who’s one of the smartest and funniest people who never graduated high school that I ever met) all morningĀ  I am so grateful for that. My family is vast, rough around the edges, unrefined and bat shit crazy, which explains why I am too… and I love it.

I hope you are all enjoying your family and friends this holiday. We all have reasons to be grateful whether it’s from big gains or big losses. Don’t let the imperfections of the diamonds in your life take away from the fact that they are indeed diamonds and are some of the greatest gifts we could ever ask for.

Thank you all for reading and I wish everyone nothing but the best!

Patience May Not Get Me Through This Line Faster…

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on December 22, 2009

…But it does help me avoid an addiction to anti-anxiety medication.

WARNING: This is a profanity laced rant as I sit delayed in an airport en route to Boston from Madison.

The same cannot be said for some of these jackasses who act like they’re VIP in this airport. I can’t deal with people who try to look well put together but have no control over their emotions or egos. When you’re stuck in the same situation as everyone else; you’re fucked, the staff is fucked and the weather doesn’t appear to be un-fucking itself any time soon. So, is getting upset of any value to you or anyone else?

Shit, you may get a seat upgrade, some frequent flyer miles or a mini-bottle of vodka to wash down your anti-psychotics, but yr. not getting my karmic sympathies. I don’t care what you do for a living, I don’t care how much money you make and I certainly don’t care if you “can’t believe this.”

On a lighter note, Google is providing free wireless to the Madison airport. Say goodness for that. See you fools on the East Coast soon! :-D

A Cool Conceptual Photo Project I Was Lucky To Be A Part Of

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on December 18, 2009

My friend Scott Erb recently compiled a video of his shots from The Red Room project from his home in Worcester, Massachusetts. Basically he wanted to see how many different ways he could possibly arrange a small red room with minimal props and bring out a unique look and atmosphere with each subject. He brought me in to take some shots earlier this year and I was simply flattered at how good they came out. I’m so un-photogenic and he really brought out the best in me.

I won’t go into some of the other beautiful folks he photographed as well. You should just see them for yourself and reach out to Scott and let him know how awesome he is.

http://www.aredroomproject.wordpress.com

http://www.erbphoto.com/

My Village

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on December 8, 2009

I guess I know enough about myself to know where I find the most peace of mind, the most productivity and the most curiosity and interest in life on a day to day basis. I’ve lived in quite a few different places within Massachusetts and beyond and I have to say that the common denominators of happy day to day living were associated with what I like to call village living.

Moving from apartment to apartment thoughout Boston, I seemed to always gravitate to places that were within a few blocks of the MBTA. I went to school downtown and some of the jobs I had were downtown as well. Doing the early morning routine has never been easy for me, but I’ve also realized that in order to squeeze the most juice out of every single day, I needed to take a few hours here and there. So, getting up early to workout or get writing done was the best way for me to gain momentum in a given direction.

The MBTA isn’t a glorious public transport system by any means, but you can get pretty much anywhere within the city limits by train and bus in about an hour and a half. This sounds like a hassle to people who prefer driving, but part of my city living was being productive while on train rides. Whether it was reading a book or two a week on my commute or writing or researching jobs or grad schools, I was always able to zone out and get stuff done to and from work.

When I got my first real, full time, salaried job in Newton, I made my initial move out of the city to a semi-suburb. Newton is pretty cool and has a decent amount to do, but I opted to buy a car.

The following years, I progressively moved away from my public transportation lifestyle. I moved home to Worcester twice because of a failed relocation to Chicago and some financial difficulty. I found myself living 40 miles from work and commuting up to 4 hours a day in my car for a job that wasn’t much better paying than any of the ones I had in the city. I gravitated towards this because I thought I was making positive career choices.

In hindsight, I wouldn’t have wound up in the job I love now if I hadn’t made these steps, but I’m also realizing that to play to my natural tendency to walk places and take public transportation, that I’ll want to live in a place where my work and home are close enough for me to not have to travel and distance by car between them.

People I look up to who have things that I want for myself like a house, a dog and a back yard have told me time and time again that the more I grow up, the less that living in a city will appeal to me, especially when I decide to get married and have a family. I still wonder if I can have the things I want in life and still live my village lifestyle.

What do you value location and lifestyle wise? What kind of sacrifices have you made to have one over the other? How do you see yourself having a balance of both?

If You Can’t Take The Heat, Get Out Of The Kitchen, Or Start Enjoying It

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on November 22, 2009

“No sympathy for the devil. Keep that in mind; buy the ticket, take the ride.”~Hunter S. Thompson

This post is a direct response to Carlos Miceli’s post about the Media Attention Whore phenomenon and all of the subsequent comments that I’ve been able to read thus far.

I sympathize with both sides of the argument against and for whoring yourself through new media for whatever end goal you have.

I’ve seenĀ  posts lately about how some folks don’t like the idea of “branding” themselves and ideas like this are the run-off of that concept. Why are we rebelling against personal branding? It’s a NEW opportunity that is revolutionizing the way that individuals can become successful business people without having the credentials of rich parents, an ivy league eduction or a 4.0 GPA.

What are contrarians to the personal branding and Media Attention Whore movement suggesting as an alternative to working your ass off night and day to create good content and promoting it like there is no tomorrow? How do you think you’ll get noticed otherwise? Simply on the merit of your personality and intentions?

I also agree that if your personal brand is shit and you don’t have any real substance or innovative nature behind what you’re pedaling, you’ll likely fail or fade away.

I try to never wish failure upon people. I try very hard not to hold people’s bad decisions against them… there’s usually a reason why people act the way they do and if they’re wrong, the decent ones try to fix their messes and learn from mistakes.

Especially if you’re trying to make a name for yourself through social media I think there’s a unique on/off switch to dealing with folks who you don’t agree with. If you think they’re decent people and producers of good ideas, try reaching out to them. Bring them back into your community and try to understand them. If they’re not receptive to that, don’t waste your time dwelling on how they’re behaving. There’s little chance their actions or ideas will affect you in the long run.

Besides, when the gods of wine and MTV tally up all your karma points, do you really want a bunch of perceived spitefulness to be held against you?

For the persons branding him or herself… do your thing! Take it to the wall! However, if you’re cutting corners and thinking the people who really matter won’t notice, you’re sorely mistaken.

We’re all accountable for our own actions. Might as well have most of those actions me made out of good will and supporting one another rather than undercutting the very medium that is getting so many of us ahead in the first place.

 

The World Is Not Enough (Or Is It?)

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on November 13, 2009

I really want make my current company massively successful, travel the world and pay down my student debt so I can be free to live REALLY well some day. Those are big goals that I feel like day to day work will make happen. Meeting a nice girlfriend, getting in shape, learning another language and reading Ulysses are on that list too, but they’re not necessarily at the top.

I feel like if I had a 5-10 year plan with this student debt crap where I could pay it all down and really develop my career and business interests then I’d be very well positioned in my early 30′s to do what I feel like I’ve always wanted to do– live and work abroad in a foreign city, study languages and live a complex, dynamic life.

The thing is, I have a pretty damn good life now. A rather spectacular life actually! The world is basically mine to do with as I please.

I just need to make a plan on pursing what I want from the world and then I’ll have it. Am I afraid to commit to that plan? Am I too young to go all in on a location specific thing like buying a house/condo to generate equity towards paying off my student debt and yadda yadda yadda?

Is my ongoing rebellion from owning physical things telling me something? Should I avoid buying a home or is it just a strong reaction to the thought?

They call me James… James Ryan Moreau, the confuzzled sailor with good intentions and too many great ideas.

The Stuff Is Still Here-And It’s Staring At Me

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on November 8, 2009

So I’ve managed to organize all of the shit that I wanted to get rid of by piling it up into three distinct piles in my kitchen, living room and bedroom. I say “organize” but really mean “listlessly move everything about.” Although, they’re all conveniently stacked so that if I were to douse them in lighter fluid and toss a match, they’d go up in flames nicely. I was always an excellent pyromaniac on camping trips.

Imagine if I just DESTROYED everything I owned that I didn’t need? Hell, that would be so fricken hip and progressive, except yeah, I GET that there are plenty of people in this world who go without and I am not one of them. I hate waste. I go without nothing… well maybe I go without a few of those intangibles at the moment, but that’s for another blog post entirely. I’d really like to get these things to people to need them or at least want them.

I also want to really want things again. I want to desire objects and spacial awareness that I haven’t appreciated in a while. However, I want to desire things for the right reason. I want to have a better structure to place my things in and have the perspective to really enjoy them there.

The next time I write about the war against my stuff, there will be marked progress. Maybe marked progress in other areas too. Who knows!

Until then, ahoj.

A Little Promo Of Something I Have Nothing To Do With

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on October 11, 2009

I’m a big fan of these guy’s work. I’ve donated a little bit of money to see if this project can be made. The shorts come off as goofy and funny (they are!) but there’s a lot of smart social commentary going on that I haven’t seen too much elsewhere.

I’d love to see this film get made. So, check out their webpage http://internetscelebrities.com/ and look up their stuff on Youtube under Internets Celebrities… or just go straight to their channel. I hope you like it!

Thoughts On My Move – Post Mortem

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on October 8, 2009

I arrived in Madison, Wisconsin mid-week last week and promptly signed a sub-lease I had found last minute. The actual apartment was no more than 5 minutes off the highway, but as I looked down the major thoroughfare I couldn’t really see anything resembling a downtown city within eyesight.

Thoroughly weary from the 1100 mile trip that I drove alone, I signed over the next 10 months of my life to this apartment complex after I saw the gorgeous loft I’d be living in.

After a sigh of satisfaction to be at my final destination du jour, I chugged the final redbull left over from the trek and emptied the entire U-Haul solo. About midway through I realize a) I’m in better shape than I thought because I doubt most people would be able to lift some of this shit up over their heads, hoof it up a flight of stairs and into an apartment and b) that there was a very busy freeway right outside my patio window… hmmm…

About 15 minute after I got my last articles into the apartment my new coworker Ryan Paugh showed up amused that I beasted the entire truckload myself and horrified that I had signed the lease to this apartment so far from town. While I am inclined to not be confrontational with people, Ryan convinced me that I should absolutely confront the property management company and see what I can do about getting out of my lease or subletting so that I can move closer to town.

Living 7 miles from a downtown area doesn’t seem like any distance at all coming from Boston. You can go 15 miles in any direction and be relatively close to the action. However in Madison, the lifestyle that I want and that I expected is simply better suited in a downtown location.

Being reinforced by everyone I’ve met so far, I am taking actions to get my apartment subleased. I don’t know how long it will take, but I feel good that I’m at least making strides to better my situation.

In the meantime, I’ll say these things about moving half way across the country:

  • People are nicer out here, the drivers are nothing like Massholes and the pace is slower overall. These things are not rumors.
  • Cost of living is CHEAP! You’re not in a major metropolis, but there is a little bit of everything you’d ever want from a city and it’s simply not as expensive to eat, drink and get housing. I’m a fan of that.
  • As a conscientious objector to my dumb ass decision to move into a place sight unseen, I’ve decided to only unpack what I absolutely need. So there are boxes piled everywhere in the loft and I’m doing just fine with what I brought out to use.
  • The previous point makes me realize I have too much shit and that if I can live with a good 2/3 of my stuff in boxes, I really don’t need that 2/3 of materials in my life. Food for thought…

Anyways, my general update is this- I love my new job, my coworkers have been incredibly generous in showing me the ropes, getting me acclimated and being generally good people and Madison looks like the sort of place I could spend a whole lot of time in for the foreseeable future.

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