big brass tejones

What’s up, party people? Long time no talk. Here are some things that have happened.

1. A series of circumstances have resulted in my being unemployed. Longtime readers of this site will recall that this is not the first time I’ve ever been unemployed. But it is the first time I’ve become unemployed suddenly after four years at a job. So that’s different.

I spent those four years doing web design work in a pretty traditional office, an office I will now cite as one of the reasons for the absence of posts on this site. Bluishorange is the first result in a Google search for “Alison Headley,” and working in a large conservative office in a position that was not particularly low-profile meant that there were a lot of things I felt I couldn’t talk about. It’s not anyone’s particular fault, and truthfully nobody at work ever mentioned this site to me. But some of my coworkers might have read it, etc etc.

In a way, I sort of felt like I was lying to myself. Or lying about myself, or something like that. As my (awesome) former boss said to me, “Bluishorange is something you’ve had for so long that it’s a part of who you are. To live a life where you can’t do it is wrong somehow.”

And she’s right. I’ve nearly always been able to talk about whatever I want here, and I’m almost sure that that won’t change with whatever I decide to do next.

Almost. What if I become a spy or join the foreign service? Shut up, it could totally happen.

2. I’m currently in Cancun, on a vacation I booked and paid for before said unemployment occurred. It feels weird to be going on vacation from nothing, but I love to travel so I’m not complaining. We’re here for the 30th birthday of a friend who deserves nothing less than to have his milestone celebrated on vacation with a bunch of his friends. Happy birthday, Dusty! Hope your 30th year is much better than mine was.

We got here (where here is an all-inclusive resort-type thing that isn’t usually my style, but again, not complaining) last night just as the sun was setting. On the golf-cart ride to our rooms, we passed these little animals I’d never seen before. They were about the size of Maude, and they looked like some sort of rodent-marsupial-anteater hybrid. The driver told us they were called tejones, which I was able to remember because it rhymes with cojones. I’m going to look those animals up later.

Then late last night after dinner and drinks and some time on the beach, my sister and her husband and I walked past a palm tree, and out of nowhere a coconut fell out of it and hit the ground with a THUD. I thought that only happened in commercials.

In October I became a certified scuba diver, so I’m planning on doing lots of that while we’re here.

3. At the moment I’m sitting on the balcony of my hotel room, watching the sun rise over the Caribbean. It’s 5:30 a.m., and I’ve been awake since 4 despite having gone to bed at midnight. This is a new thing I do these days. Ariel calls it the freelancer’s alarm clock, where you wake up suddenly in the dark, thinking about money. I might call it the money alarm instead, since I’m not currently a freelancer per se, and “money alarm” sounds cooler.

At any rate, I wake up every day by 6 or 7 a.m., regardless of what time I went to bed, and despite not having anywhere to be in the morning. Maybe I’m getting old, maybe I’m in the final stages of becoming my father. I don’t know. It kind of sucks.

But I think it’ll be to my advantage here. I came out to the balcony at 4:30, took some long exposures of the waves crashing on the beach in the dark, and now that the sun’s up I’m going to go for a walk. Not many people will be up, so I can pretend I’m not surrounded by a bunch of entitled American vacationers like myself. Maybe the tejones will be out.

I’ll see you later.

this year’s girl

So my friend Brad died last January.  I didn’t mention it here for whatever reason, but he died.  I’d seen him every March at SXSW Interactive since 2001, and since he lived in St. Louis we’d meet up there sometimes when I went to visit family. One night he took me to a piano bar, an awesome local cafe, and then a pancake house, and I didn’t get back to my aunt’s place until 3am.

A bunch of us had a sort of memorial party for him at SXSW in March, which I think was good for everyone.  It doesn’t solve the problem of how we’re all going to deal with Brad’s absence this March and the Marches after that, but still. It helped.

At 20×2 in March they paid tribute to Brad by showing this video from 2005, in which Brad answers the question, “What’s the word?” Even if you’re not the video-watching sort, you should watch this one.

Brad Graham – What’s The Word 20×2 v.5.0 from 20×2 on Vimeo.

I’m not a big fan of new year’s resolutions, either. I’m firmly in the, “If you want to start doing something or not doing something, just fucking start already” camp. But I like the idea of a year having a theme of sorts.

My plan to quit allowing my fear of failure to own me has been going relatively well, but I’ve got a related problem. When it comes to things I want to achieve, I always think I’m not good enough to achieve them. I think that someone else would do it better, or someone else will do it first. Or when I look at the things others have done, I think, “They did that, but I never could.”

So my theme for this year is going to be, “Why not me?” Whenever I start to think that I won’t be good enough to achieve X or Y or I don’t have the right stuff to do something well, I’m going to stop and ask myself, “Why not me? Why can’t I be the person who does it?”

Because I already know the answer to that question. The answer is that there’s no reason why it can’t be me. It absolutely CAN be me! The perfect person to get something done is the one who does it, and does it well. And if I want to, I can be that person.

Thanks, Brad.

some radvents

Day 11: What is your personal dream? What would happen if your dream came true?

I’ve got a personal dream I’m working towards right now! But I’m afraid to tell you what it is because I’ll feel super dumb if it doesn’t work out. So I guess the second question I’m going to answer instead is, “What would happen if you told the internet about it?

Fear of failure has been a pretty serious thing in my life. It’s why I almost always take the easiest path, it’s why I never try anything new unless the stakes are really low. But I’ve been attempting to get over that this year, and I have plans to barrel through the fear in 2011 too. Still, though, I’m afraid that if I tell the internet, it’ll jinx it. Well, I don’t believe in jinxing. I do believe that if I tell the internet, I’ll feel dumb if it doesn’t end up happening.

Conquering fear of failure? Going okay. Conquering fear of feeling dumb in front of the internet? Not going okay. Eh, I can live with it.

Day 13: Have you ever just quit something… without regret?

Yes! I had a professional blogging gig once, about the paranormal. It was interesting when I started, but two posts a week about something I didn’t believe in began to get tedious. Posts were due on Friday mornings, so I spent every Thursday night doing lots of procrastinating and bitching and moaning, and a little bit of writing. The only original post ideas I had were things I’d heard about here in Texas, which was fine, but then the head of the site told my fellow bloggers and me that we were writing too many things about Texas. After that I had no ideas.

When our contracts were up and we were each asked whether or not we wanted to continue, I barely wasted half a second before saying no thanks, and then I spent the next two Thursday nights telling everyone how great it was to NOT WRITE ABOUT THE PARANORMAL!!!!!!

Note: I have nothing bad to say about anyone I worked with or for at that site; it was just a bad fit subject-wise, and I should have realized that beforehand.

Day 14: Did you like to read as a child? Do you read more or less now?

Oh, I read like the wind. I taught myself to read at an early age, so once I hit elementary school I was reading ahead of everyone else. The teacher had to give me a special pass to the sections of the library for the older grades so I could pick books from there. I’ve heard friends talk about feeling singled out or ostracized when this happened to them as kids, and I definitely felt that in other aspects of my childhood.

But the reading pass made me feel special. While all my other classmates were at their desks, I’d walk down the hall and give the librarian my pass. Then I’d go back to the 5th grade shelves and choose whatever books I wanted. The library was always deserted when I went, so I could sit down on the floor and look through the books in silence. It was neat.

At some point my mother realized she could use my love of reading to her advantage. Anytime I was bothering her, she’d say, “Why don’t you go read a book or something?” When I figured out that that was her clever way of dismissing me, I started saying, “I don’t want to!” even if I did. What a brat I was.