Monday, May 9, 2011

The Smile Project, Day 130: What's the difference between three days and three months?

Not much, if you ask me! Woohoooooo I'm back! : D's been a busy couple of months, world. You have no idea. I've left Columbus, moved back in with my parents, found a new job, learned to drive...I don't even know where to begin, honestly. Right now I'm so grateful for all these things I've learned and I feel like it'd be a shame if I didn't share them with the world.

So basically, lets think of this as a new phase for the project. I know I got behind, but we need to shift gears: this is a different exercise, now. Previously it was me reminding myself there are things worth being happy about.

As of today, I want to share my joy with the world. In just a few months I've found ways to deal with my depression, my debt, my ADD, my social ineptitude, and my anger. I'm not perfect, I'm definitely still working on all of it...but I feel better. So, so much better and that is absolutely worth smiling about.

What a difference 90 days makes. That's 2,136 hours, 128,160 minutes, 7,689,600 seconds. By my measure, I've been grateful roughly 7,689,600 different times in three months. That's a lot.

So right now, my message to every sad face, to every broken heart, to every single one of you whether you're white, black, fat, skinny, tall, short, smart, stupid, funny, unfunny...whether you can sing or dance or laugh or speak or whatever it is you can or cannot do, please remember one thing:

Smile. It gets better.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gonna be out for a few days.

Smiled yesterday because...well, why not? : P That's a nice feeling, when you're hitting a point where being happy is no longer a conscious effort.

Smiling today because...well, I get to move. Sorry for the repeat, hah.

See you all in a couple days when I'm settled down back in Cincinnati!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Saturday was grinning over going home. Sunday, there was apparently a Super Bowl.

A little less than a week until I move...I still can't believe I'm just up and ducking out to Cincinnati like this, but I can't say I'm not excited. I've wanted to be home for a while, just was planning to do things a little differently, you know? I've come to realize that stuff happens for a reason, though, so I'm just going to roll with it, get back on my feet and figure out my next move.*

*Maybe this is just me, but I know there's a lot of confused youth/young adults out there so I'll put it up and see what people any of you consciously try to delay big things in your life just in case the world decides to end next year? : P I'm curious.

As for Sunday, well...I didn't watch the Super Bowl. Instead I watched BBC2's fantastic "Wonders of the Solar System." Yes, I am a giant nerd. I also watched the Puppy Bowl. Obviously. Because I's the puppy bowl. Cute puppies doing ridiculous puppy things for extended periods of time? Uh, yes please?

Seriously, you can argue with that?

But to be honest, I did catch one part of the Super Bowl I try to watch every year: the halftime show. The last few years, I thought they'd learned their lesson: No more pop acts reliant on autotune, no more terrible singing/effects, no more "unintentionally" intentional boob on national television* The U2 show in 2002 was awesome. Prince was great, Tom Petty was great, Paul McCartney was great, Springsteen was AWESOME...and now we get the Black Eyed Peas.

Because when I think of football and what a mostly blue-collar American audience wants to hear, I think about these guys.

Yeah. Great idea, guys. How about that malfunctioning autotune, though? That was incredible. Or the lights that were supposed to spell "Love" that didn't work (they spelled "lol" which I believe is surprisingly relevant.) How about Slash appearing out of nowhere, obviously drunk, to sleepwalk through a solo while Fergie verbally molested "Sweet Child of Mine?" Or Usher appearing to do...well...nothing. Usher didn't even sing, man. Dude probably just chipped off a sweet half million dollars to stand around and be Usher for a few minutes.

The show was an outright disgrace, I hear the game was "eh" but at least the Steelers didn't win, and now the NFL season is over and I say good riddance and may the owners lock the door behind you.

I'm smiling now because Sportscenter is going to start being about baseball here in a week or so and that's actually worth getting excited about. Springtime, Reds season, and moving home? That's no coincidence.

Smile: Things happen for a reason. Like that halftime show confirming that the Black Eyed Peas are terrible *ZING*

*Does anybody else think the Janet Jackson thing was completely ridiculous? It was like five seconds of tape-covered boob from a like 50 year old washed up pop star: NOBODY wanted to see that. So of course, that's what we got --;

Friday, February 4, 2011

The 2nd smile of February was peace of mind. The 3rd is about what hydrogen can do given 13.7 billion years.

EDIT: Should've mentioned that video is pretty long. Don't know how to embed a video that starts at a certain point either, sorry. The portion I write about starts at about 10:50 and runs through the end of the video and is DEFINITELY worth your time.

I couldn't stop with the happy yesterday. I know I'm not in a situation to be too incredibly excited, but when I really think about it, this is what I wanted anyway: to eventually get back home to Cincinnati.

It's not going to be great fun at first, but at least I can get back on my feet and not starve. Good way to look at it.

As for today, I'm going to share a tiny bit of a video from one of my favorite people, Dr. Brian Cox. Dr. Cox (some of you who know me will laugh knowingly at one of the reasons I love him so much) is a particle physicist/cosmologist working on the LHC (Large Hadron Collider or omfgfearmongeringblackholespawningdeathmachine to some.) In his spare time he loves engaging in "popular science" bringing new concepts to the layman. I spend a ton of time studying the way the universe works because of him, and today I rewatched an old clip of his where he discusses the nature of the beginning of the universe.

A lot of religions and cultures have "Creation stories." They outline some kind of deity making things up as he goes along, they're generally fun, and they help the everyman understand the nature of the world around them. It's great work, not saying people aren't entitled to believe it or anything...but what if science had it's own creation story? Would that make everything more understandable? I think that's something Dr. Cox set out to accomplish in this wonderful video. Go ahead and watch it, and think about your friends, your family, the blue sky and green grass and clean water and crisp, cold morning air that make your life what it is.

...and as you do that, remember that it's all the result of what hydrogen nuclei can do when you give them 13.7 billion years to screw around.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The first smile of February was suggested by an 8 year old.

An enterprising, cunning little eight year old...but an eight year old nonetheless. Thanks for the great idea, Laura! You rock!

So. Wow. Here comes the family post. Holy crap, where to even begin.

Have you ever seen that book "Johnny has two Daddies?" The one they use to explain homosexuality to young children? Well Brett has two daddies and two mommies.

It's because they're Mormon, you know.

Seriously, seriously though. OK. So. Where to really start. I was about sixteen when my biological parents split up. I'd like to say that at the time, I handled it well.

I would also like to say I'm the Queen of An'tivah, but that ain't freakin' happening either.

*I'm here all week! Try the veal, tip your waitress!

Well anyway, I bounced around between both parents for about a year and a half, did what I could to stay sane. I'm not ashamed to admit that by the time I was 17, I'd had enough. That's when I met the DeGraws.

On the night before Thanksgiving in 2005, my friend Ryan came to see me at work (I was spinning pretzels in the mall like a true professional) and asked if I wanted to come stay at his place for the night until things could calm down a bit.

Looking back, I wonder what would've happened if I hadn't said yes. I think I would be an entirely different person if I hadn't taken that opportunity. In retrospect, neither of us knew it at the time; but he was offering me a place in his family.

It was the best decision I ever made. I was unofficially adopted by the DeGraws and lived with them for the rest of the year.

I can confidently say one thing about living there: I learned more about life in six months than I could've ever imagined. Living and laughing and loving was easy with them because for once I felt like I was in an atmosphere that promoted love above all else. And if you lived in the muggle version of the Burrow like they did, well, you'd understand.


Alright, alright, I'll stop it with the bad rimshot jokes. Sorry, Ukulele Kid.

*Little dude is METAL.

Anyway, I think I owe them a lot for me being the person that I am today, and I figure you should have the backstory. My biological parents took a long time to adjust to the idea and the whole "I have another Mama and Papa" idea has always clashed, but over time they've become more understanding and our relationships have really improved, which is fantastic. I think the time I spent with the DeGraws ended up teaching me not to take the family I already had for granted, and I'll always be thankful for that.

Fast forward to yesterday, and my current situation: I have officially been denied unemployment, and given the resounding lack of employment opportunity here my father simply decides, point blank, that I can come back and live with him for a while. I'm not particularly proud of being 22 and living with my dad, but apparently I'm not the only one, and there's obviously something I need to learn here that my father is still willing to teach me, and I'm extremely grateful for that. We were talking yesterday morning and he mentioned that he's not sure I understand how much he loves me. I didn't know what to say.

Fast forward to today, and I'm talking to Mama D about stuff. We chat for a while, discuss a few things important, a few things not important, you know, the usual gab. Suddenly, my ickle sister Laura jumps on the chat. Now, I'm not going to hedge words: This kid is a genius.

I'm also DEFINITELY not hedging these words: The kid is a TOTAL GOOFBALL.

Anyway, she comandeers the computer and starts talking about her day, and her school, and my blog that she apparently reads (Remember, she's freaking eight) and the snowstorm and all of that. I told her I was writing my blog today and asked her what I should write about. You know, tongue in cheek, letting her play around, I'm sure I'd find an idea-...

"You should write about talking to your friends and family."

...holy crap.

I knew then what I was grinning about. I am a man in a unique position. I have two entire families there to cheer me up, to have my back, to make sure I'm taken care of. I'm pretty sure that flat out makes me the luckiest man in the world. If my dad hit me with the same question today, I think I'd be able to tell him I understand.

It just took an extremely clever little girl to jumpstart my brain. Thank you, kid.

And thank you to all my families, big and small. You're always a wonderful reason to smile.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Smile 31 is living in the winter realm of the Fae.

Ever had the power go out in the middle of an ice storm? Holyyyyyyyyyyyy crap, it was cold. Didn't help that I only had the heater at 60 when it went out >.<

So yeah. I smiled yesterday because at one point I was able to feel my toes. Awesome, right? : D


Sunday, January 30, 2011

This is 29/30. I kind of like the two at a time thing.

Going two at a time is neat, it makes it look like my posts aren't four lines long : P

My first smile is entirely based off feeling a little bit of spring in the air. It peaked near the 50's the other day, the breeze wasn't so biting cold and the snow started melting. I know it's just the end of January (HOLY CRAP more on that in a second) but February is pretty short and then (in my opinion, at least) it's springtime and the rest of you can disagree all you want but I don't care, March is awesome : P

Plus, spring training starts in mid-February. Baseball is the love of my life and you'll be getting plenty of posts about it as we get closer to spring, but for now I'll leave it be. : D

I get to see my dad tomorrow, that should be super fun. His company rents out what amounts to a city block of Columbus bars and restaurants every year for their best customers, and it's always cool to go see the people I used to work with over the summers.

Smile number thirty is about a wavering commitment. I never thought I'd keep this up for a week, let alone a month, and even though I'm shifting the format to make the posts a bit bigger I really feel like I'll be able to keep this up for a while. Hopefully that means a whole year, it might not, who knows. Everytime I hear somebody say something nice or tell me they read it everyday, though, I can't help but smile. I didn't think I'd make a big difference. Or hell, even a little difference. But I guess making a bunch of little differences everyday adds up over time. I'm happy to help you smile, it just makes me even happier.