The Dress Rehearsal: A CSB Story

The Dress Rehearsal: A CSB Story

Above: The main event Intercontinental Title match Dean Ambrose(C) vs AJ Styles vs The Miz w/Maryse 

Monday night I attended a dress rehearsal all in all I thought it went very well. It was not the best night to be out on the town of course, the snow was coming down heavy when we left and the traffic was light until a few blocks from the venue where is was damn near gridlocked. I was not the only one to attend this rehearsal you see, I figure about 4000 others showed up. Sorry, I may have neglected to specify, the dress rehearsal was for Tuesday night’s Smackdown in Seattle. Before any of you dislocate your eyes rolling them allow me to explain.

WWE does not often hit our area and it has been well over a decade since they brought their TV cameras, we get what used to be called ‘house shows’ meaning they were only for those ‘in the house’, I have stopped calling them that, I refer to them as ‘rehearsal shows’. It used to be that TV was the promotional tool to sell tickets to the house shows. Interviews were based on “We’re coming to your town and I’m going to win the match!” template. TV expanded and ways to make more money using televised content out did the gates at live events that were not televised. Had to happen right? Naturally. I used to LOVE house shows, not just because it was a chance to see the big names in action against each other rather than the weekly squash match compilation the Saturday TV programs produced they seemed to flow better and the few interviews done came across as looser and less scrutinized. If I were to sum up the difference quickly I would say that for a stretch of years the atmosphere was more playful at a show with no broadcast. The talent seemed to get away with pushing the boundaries a bit and enjoy their work a bit more. Oh and the top names showed up but I digress.

In 2004, almost 12 years to the day really, I was at a show and saw Brock Lesnar vs Eddie Guerrero, in a few days Eddie would win the WWE title from Brock on Pay Per View. The catch was the matches had a lot of the same sequences, not in the same order because Eddie was an artist and could make a new and enthralling match every night. It wasn’t new to see the same sequences repeated but in many cases over the following years it became more than a trademark sequence or spot. I got a text Tuesday night from the friend I went with “Smackdown is a glorified show from last night.” It didn’t surprise me, in fact I told him and his girlfriend that it would basically be a dress rehearsal for the live feed the next night, that disappointed me in a way. That was the first WWE show they had attended and to me it was like watching your team scrimmage, to them it may have stole a bit of the magic.

The bottom line here is that to me it does not matter because a live match is a wonderful treat for me, you never really know what you are going to see and for myself I have been watching so long there are very few talents I have not seen perform live at this point, every show I get to see a few more, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, Alexa Bliss, Mojo Rawley, Baron Corbin, Apollo Cruz, Dolph Ziggler and most special to me American Alpha (my current favourite tag team) were new to my live experience list this time. I was amazed at how smooth AJ Styles was in the ring, how quick Dolph Ziggler was, the way The Miz riled up the crowd and the entrancement of the masses as Bray Wyatt strolled to the ring.  There are no real tricks when you are sitting in the building just reaction to music and performance. Sure it is a bit of a drag to see the same match verbatim but that is a danger with wrestling period.

While I would like to see a return to a more loose structure the reality is two fold 1) camera phones have made it impossible to really have a non-broadcast event. Footage of house shows constantly ends up on line and in some cases goes viral with potent mixed results. Which means the risk of being subject to discipline are just as great as getting credit for boosting interest 2) there is really nothing wrong with seeing a dress rehearsal in this case because it gives fans a chance to see something live they may not be able to when the world watches and the performers a chance to really work out the kinks before a big match. I have seen matches live that were better than their broadcast, if you attended you saw two better than anything televised thus far, Dolph Ziggler vs Apollo Cruz and Baron Corbin vs Kalisto. There is your magic in rehearsal and better yet it was magic we all made it there in that snow.

Below: Me making sure we did not make The List of Jericho

The Dress Rehearsal: A CSB Story

The Dress Rehearsal: A CSB Story

Above: The main event Intercontinental Title match Dean Ambrose(C) vs AJ Styles vs The Miz w/Maryse 

Monday night I attended a dress rehearsal all in all I thought it went very well. It was not the best night to be out on the town of course, the snow was coming down heavy when we left and the traffic was light until a few blocks from the venue where is was damn near gridlocked. I was not the only one to attend this rehearsal you see, I figure about 4000 others showed up. Sorry, I may have neglected to specify, the dress rehearsal was for Tuesday night’s Smackdown in Seattle. Before any of you dislocate your eyes rolling them allow me to explain.

WWE does not often hit our area and it has been well over a decade since they brought their TV cameras, we get what used to be called ‘house shows’ meaning they were only for those ‘in the house’, I have stopped calling them that, I refer to them as ‘rehearsal shows’. It used to be that TV was the promotional tool to sell tickets to the house shows. Interviews were based on “We’re coming to your town and I’m going to win the match!” template. TV expanded and ways to make more money using televised content out did the gates at live events that were not televised. Had to happen right? Naturally. I used to LOVE house shows, not just because it was a chance to see the big names in action against each other rather than the weekly squash match compilation the Saturday TV programs produced they seemed to flow better and the few interviews done came across as looser and less scrutinized. If I were to sum up the difference quickly I would say that for a stretch of years the atmosphere was more playful at a show with no broadcast. The talent seemed to get away with pushing the boundaries a bit and enjoy their work a bit more. Oh and the top names showed up but I digress.

In 2004, almost 12 years to the day really, I was at a show and saw Brock Lesnar vs Eddie Guerrero, in a few days Eddie would win the WWE title from Brock on Pay Per View. The catch was the matches had a lot of the same sequences, not in the same order because Eddie was an artist and could make a new and enthralling match every night. It wasn’t new to see the same sequences repeated but in many cases over the following years it became more than a trademark sequence or spot. I got a text Tuesday night from the friend I went with “Smackdown is a glorified show from last night.” It didn’t surprise me, in fact I told him and his girlfriend that it would basically be a dress rehearsal for the live feed the next night, that disappointed me in a way. That was the first WWE show they had attended and to me it was like watching your team scrimmage, to them it may have stole a bit of the magic.

The bottom line here is that to me it does not matter because a live match is a wonderful treat for me, you never really know what you are going to see and for myself I have been watching so long there are very few talents I have not seen perform live at this point, every show I get to see a few more, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, Alexa Bliss, Mojo Rawley, Baron Corbin, Apollo Cruz, Dolph Ziggler and most special to me American Alpha (my current favourite tag team) were new to my live experience list this time. I was amazed at how smooth AJ Styles was in the ring, how quick Dolph Ziggler was, the way The Miz riled up the crowd and the entrancement of the masses as Bray Wyatt strolled to the ring.  There are no real tricks when you are sitting in the building just reaction to music and performance. Sure it is a bit of a drag to see the same match verbatim but that is a danger with wrestling period.

While I would like to see a return to a more loose structure the reality is two fold 1) camera phones have made it impossible to really have a non-broadcast event. Footage of house shows constantly ends up on line and in some cases goes viral with potent mixed results. Which means the risk of being subject to discipline are just as great as getting credit for boosting interest 2) there is really nothing wrong with seeing a dress rehearsal in this case because it gives fans a chance to see something live they may not be able to when the world watches and the performers a chance to really work out the kinks before a big match. I have seen matches live that were better than their broadcast, if you attended you saw two better than anything televised thus far, Dolph Ziggler vs Apollo Cruz and Baron Corbin vs Kalisto. There is your magic in rehearsal and better yet it was magic we all made it there in that snow.

Below: Me making sure we did not make The List of Jericho

CSB: My Rushmore


Writing is not easy. Until you far more athletic and dynamic have tried to write something to be published or posted you may not understand that. Stories and articles may take an unexpected turn and find itself a completely different or at least unintended creature. It has happened here a few times and the last few I have really put time into reworking things and taking more time with the subject. Well here we go again, so in lieu of my intended thought train here is a far less complex to piece together. Now then…

Every week I listen to podcasts and a common question in The Ross Report (and a few others at random) is “Who is on your Mount Rushmore of professional wrestling?” Doesn’t sound too hard to answer does it? For year I have debated my own as a 33 year fan. I have seen a lot of performers come and go, debuts to retirement and Hall of Fame Inductions in some cases. Regardless of how much you enjoy professional wrestling there is still a level of achievement involved as with any career, someone IS the best and there is an argument for each spot.

Andre The Giant, The first real mainstream cross over in professional wrestling. Andre drew fans every where he went, he was kept special by not staying too long in one area where the danger of losing the novelty of his size was real. In his early career Andre was far more athletic and dynamic than fans that discovered him when the WWF went nation wide with Hulkamania at the fore front. Andre was most know as a spectacle performer, his matches were more about the imposing Giant and his stature than the bell to bell performance, which were text book big man wrestling. In March 1987 Andre headlined Wrestlemania 3 with Hulk Hogan, Andre was the most hated man in the building yet in September he was one of the most beloved characters in cinema when The Princess Bride hit theatres. Andre was the ultimate larger than live performer in the wrestling world.

The Rock, No one and I mean NO ONE has come through the professional wrestling world and hit mainstream success like The Rock. A relatively short full time career that spans roughly six years The Rock slowly transitioned to Hollywood amid skepticism that he could survive on screen. Hulk Hogan, Jesse Ventura and Roddy Piper did OK, Andre The Giant died before he could transition further but the mainstream had never seen a wrestler make a lasting impact on the top tier of Hollywood. Wow were fans and critics blind sided. Dwayne Johnson showed his adaptability moving from football to professional wrestling in the mid nineties, then he adapted to the crowd and went from maligned hero to despised villain back to ultimate fan favourite, repeatedly. He left WWE for a few years entirely and came back to main event big shows and star in massive films even getting his own HBO series Ballers (I highly recommend it). The Rock  was a hybrid of in ring prowess and entertaining spectacle and took the spectacle to the top of the screen box office.

Triple H, The goal of any wrestler is to rise to the top of the business and no one did it like Triple H. His strait laced life style and desire to get better lead him to an elitist gimmick in WCW and a slightly different incarnation in WWF. For a while he seemed like a one trick pony. Behind the scenes he was befriended by some of the top stars in the company which put him in position to show his intelligence for the business. A few small pushes and a big punishment later Triple H hit 1997 with a vengeance and never looked back. From sidekick to leader then main event player and ultimately a performer at the top echelon of the business. an 8 month lay off due to injury saw him shift from the most reviled man on the show to the most anticipated return in years as a top hero character. He would go on to mentor many other stars including other top tier talents and his intelligence behind the scenes gained the respect of the show makers, which lead to a work place romance with his future wife and daughter of the company owner/chairman. Since stepping back from the active roster Triple H has nurtured the concept of NXT and the WWE performance center where the next generation of talent is cultivated and new hires learn to adapt to the WWE machine. All said and done Triple H as a well rounded in ring performer became a well rsavy and highly influential business mogul. Say what you want about his marriage but Triple H produced top quality work in every aspect and has been a driving force on both sides of the camera for years.

The Undertaker, 26 years and 2 months ago (ish) Survivor Series 1990 introduced us to The Undertaker. There is no argument The Undertaker is the greatest WWE talent to ever exist. He never left for another company, even when there were millions of dollars to be had for less work. The outlasted the careers of almost every one of his peers, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Kevin Nash, Steve Austin, Edge, Kurt Angle no one had the longevity of Undertaker. He rarely had a truly bad match, sure there were a few below par but in his late career he made the Pro-Wrestling Illustrated Match of the Year three times for his Wrestlemania matches in 2009, 2010 and 2012. Undertaker lives his role, all the pomp and circumstance that goes into his entrances and mystique  are backed up by his commitment to the character and work in all aspects. Rarely interviewed, no social media, low public profile is very much unheard of in this day and age in the wrestling world, he may as well really be dead and resurrected for his few appearances per year. As far as his few appearances go he is at the level where just the hint of his presence sends the crowd into a frenzy unsurpassed by anyone else.  Sure there is the argument that a few others sold more merchandise and products but every one of them had a far shorter run and Undertaker was never so far behind in that category that he hasn’t made up for it in career totals.

There you have it, my picks for the Mount Rushmore of Professional Wrestling. Sure names like Bruno Sammartino, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage can be argued and they all have their valid points too. For now I stand by these and tomorrow I will once again attack a topic that got the better of me. Hopefully by next week I’ve made it tap out.

 

Alway’s A Problem

“Dark wings, dark words.” A Song of Ice and Fire fans know what that means. Those of you not familiar with that series may be familiar with the TV series based on it; Game of Thrones. In either series it means essentially ‘bad news travels fast’, brothers and sisters ain’t that the truth. Why is it that negativity has such a profound impact on our lives, we are bombarded with it all day every day and it seems to move at supersonic speed. It takes a conscious effort to avoid the negative content in any form of media, social or traditional. The ease at which we can access media in our time is unbelievable, the thing of fiction to generations before us really, the downside being that the negative content is inescapable. Scroll past as much as you want you can’t escape the headlines, more so when your friends share the same detrimental garbage repeatedly.

I have never been a fan of the news, it has always seemed so just say awful things when I had just finished watching 30 minute toy commercials with good out comes. The good guys won every day when drawn but when the real life stories came into the same room afterwards the bad guys always seem to be winning. Terrorists, killers, thieves, liars and dealers always seemed to be ahead. When the good guys did win it seemed that the system let them off easy every time…come to think of it that happened in the happier shows too, why didn’t someone put two in Cobra Commanders shiny face mask? I digress, it is no secret that the news is a hive of negativity and a few human interest puff pieces at the tail end do not do much to counter act the rest of the broadcast most of the time. While I never liked it I was in my early thirties when I read a few articles on how it impact our psyches and when I looked at those around me I did notice that the more negative personality people had they more likely it was they were very close followers of the news, While it is not a 100% true correlation I can still see it in friends and family that are negative almost as a default setting. While getting an update on the world is not a bad thing the tone and main focus really drags the world view into a dark corner doesn’t it? The more harm caused the more ‘important’ it is to get in our faces it seems.

There is the chicken and the egg conundrum to it all though isn’t there. Are people negative because they follow dark news and events or are dark news and events popular because most of the population are negative?  Until social media really peaked I would have thought one way but now I wonder if humanity as a whole has a penchant for dwelling on the dark side. Scroll through any of your social media feeds and you will run across a great deal of negativity and hate ranging from minor outrage to near criminal levels of our worst isms. There is plenty of fuel for the fire too, national leaders, sports teams, movies, celebrities, books, any thing that can result in an opinion seems to spark the urge to spew negativity. I am not referring to legitimate poor reviews or constructive criticism, I mean those knee jerk rants and ignorant statements that serve no purpose but to shit on what ever doesn’t measure up in the eyes of the commentator. I’ m not saying we should agree with everything either but a constructive or informed expression seems to be hard to come by these days. There must be a better balance to the excessive negative content and just sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that unicorns are running the world because neither is a viable option.

There is also the relatively recent development of the status update that is frosting on the cake for me. I can avoid all sorts of input that is consistently negative, that is relatively easy once the ate identified but avoiding people is a tad trickier. Sure there are ways to deal with that too but how many times can you unfriend, unfollow or block people before you end up alone? Obviously it is easier with some folks than others but everyone has a bad day or rough patch in life to get through, they need to vent or put out a cry for help, been there and posted that. There are the ones that just seem to always look at the dark clouds and point them out to us all, to be fair I have had my bouts of that too. So I wonder often if it is the constant influx of negative content that promote the excessive ‘poor me’ attitude or if some of us are just incapable of breaking free of negativity. I do not believe anyone can live a life untouched by being negative at some point but the perpetual cycle some seem stuck in is mind blowing.

The internet often seems like a litter box and there are far too many jerk cats just waiting to soil the fresh contents the second it’s refilled. Big media love to remind us the world is nasty before they show us a few rays of sunshine, internet critics can’t wait to highlight what they see as wrong with everything, everyday people need to splatter their own dark view points all over our feeds just in case the first two didn’t get through. I may not spew rainbows forth from my 7 natural body openings nor should anyone but the constant barrage of late has me annoyed and really struggling to remember that my life isn’t that bad and the Earth is not such a miserable place to be once you shut out the negativity floating around.

 

All By Myself


Do you remember the first time you got to stay home alone? I sure do, I finally got to opt out of one of my brothers hockey games and that winter night in 1989 I was free to just watch TV and play video games. Then the house started to creak and it became apparent that only 1 lamp and the TV was on in the entire house, what the hell was out there in the dark?  As it turned out nothing but a few horror movies from Super Channel that I had seen at a friend’s house tickled the worst parts of my imagination, it was a very long hour before the rest of the family got home. I would start growing more accustomed to being alone in the next few years, not that I didn’t have friends but the early teen years aren’t always conducive to keeping every minute filled with people, once in a while I would get a feeling of being too alone and that would crush me to a level that still embarrasses me. I eventually found a balance to it and still managed to cultivate a social circle.

I have gone through periods of being surrounded by people constantly and stretches of spending more of my free time alone, not just with kids and no grown folks but alone, don’t confuse that with lonely (but there were bouts of that too), just not with other people. I was able to be out and feel fine being just by myself. Meals, t6debnvgcdf (my cat just walked across the key board), errands, shows, movies, none of these things mattered much if I did them alone or with company I didn’t think about it often. Then I had kids and a long relationship which ended and I found myself unaccustomed to alone time again, my emotional turmoil did not help but I eventually got through all that and found certain things were very to handle doing alone. I found that the key to the readjustment was centering myself mentally and emotionally again. Why would anyone want to be alone with someone they aren’t comfortable with? Seems like the same thing applies when it is yourself.

I started this piece as I sat eating appetizers waiting to see Rogue One, the easiest thing I found to readjust to was seeing a movie alone. I had access to just seeing what I wanted when I wanted thanks to a job perk and I did not let that privilege go by often. I did have friends join me a good deal of the time but I had no qualms just watching something alone either after hours or a regular show time. It took longer adjust to but a meal out on my own was not much harder to get used to again. There is something about the unselfish silence involved. I think that is the key, comfortable silence with oneself. If a person can have a comfortable silence with themselves then doing things alone is easy or at least easier. In retrospect I see a lot of correlation between how at peace I was in my own skin and how easily I was able to do things by myself. Once I had quelled the uncertainty in my own head any sense of discomfort or anxiety vanished.

I love my alone time as much as I love my family time, by no means am I saying I would rather be alone than with family or friends. Alone is different than lonely and definitely does not mean anti-social, all it means to me in this context is ‘not with anyone’ that is hard to get with a household of six. I love them all and they deserve my time as much as I do and I want to spend time with them. I value the time on my own though, I can just go and do what I feel like or just quietly enjoy whatever I am about at the time in the few chances I get to just be on my own. Even though I don’t miss the amount of time I used to have for it, when it comes down to just being peacefully alone for a little while I highly recommend it, IF you can enjoy your own company.

F*cked That Up…

I just caught myself doing something I swore I would not do. I sat here typing away on the article I intended to produce for you and when I had finished I saved it and closed my laptop. I moved a few feet to the kitchen and realized I had just written a piece that was negative and trashed people doing something I had no experience doing.  I wrote the kind of thing I loathe to see posted and I caught myself before I let it out. That particular contribution has gone to oblivion instead let me shift gears a tad and take a different approach to the topic of super-hero films.

The biggest battle in producing these films has to be how to take a world were the limits are the imagination and a pencil then bring it to a level that is realistic to an audience. The main hurdle is knowing what to keep, what to adapt and what to drop entirely. Throwing out too much alienates the fans of the books, staying too true to form can make the film cheesy or campy. Look back at the early live action super-hero films and it’s easy to see that spandex does not work most of the time. The secret lair, the look of the power set, the transportation so many things must be accounted for including the time frame of the original story, decades have passed since many of the popular heroes of today were first introduced, the circumstances of their origin may be obsolete now or just too far in our past to make any sense. Making the wrong choice in any adaptation process can lead to plot holes, audience detachment or worst of all a bad movie. Imagine you are cooking (not baking) and the recipe allows for leeway in the process, if you over do or under do certain ingredient you could ruin the entire meal or just not hit the home run you wanted that is how any movie adapted from print goes.

My biggest pet peeve is off model casting, it doesn’t have to be exact but when choices are made that are too far off the original design. Things don’t have to be exact, there is plenty of leeway for bold choices, the physical design of most comic characters is not one that leans towards an easy day in auditions, most talented thespians are not body doubles for what artists depict the characters as, actors have to hit the gym hard to look like they belong saving the world by the time the cameras roll. There is a fine line in casting a capable actor and one that physically resembles the character. Brock Lesnar may look like a great choice for the roll of Juggernaut but can he deliver the lines? Conversely a great actor such as Forest Whitaker is not going to be a good choice for Namor. Finding that sweet spot may be why we are seeing lesser know actors get the roles in the hero movies and build their name from there. All that being said there are a few perfect storms out there, Patrick Stewart and Professor X and Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man to name a few. The casting choices have baffled me in some cases, many in ways where the film immediately turned me of but there have been some where I was astounded at the prowess of the choice, Ben Affleck as Batman, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan to name few. If the casting director is doing proper research and looking for the right qualities magic happens.

The most popular characters are always at the top of the list to get moved on to the screens, each has a classic story or several behind them that fans can latch on to. Where things can get tricky is where the format counts. Longer or more complex stories need more time to set up so either a TV series or a few movies to build towards a larger payoff. With no shortage of quality stories to adapt or build off of the question becomes “How best to do it?” The more drawn out a story becomes the less likely it will make an impact at the box office for a single film, therefore a subplot needs to run through a few films, The Avengers was five films of build up just to set the table for the characters to speak to one another which also saved a couple hours of introducing each one properly or skipping over things that make us like them by briefly covering each individual. Wasting time stretching things out can be equally disruptive to a story and is more of a threat to a TV series like Arrow or Daredevil, finding enough to fill 13 to 24 hrs of programming with out running out tap dancing around a void or prolonged lull at risk of losing the attention of the viewer is a real hazard that has been the end of many TV series of every genre.

CGI…Oh the green screen and digital era has caused a tight rope to be stretched across the screen. No matter what size of the screen is, who is cast or the run time the CGI can make of break any project. Super-hero films almost require CGI, Dr Manhatten, Wolverine’s healing and almost the entirety Guardians of the Galaxy rely on CGI all were done very well. There are lots more instances were the CGI was over used and as such became no better than an extra that should remain in the back ground but instead resorts to all sorts of shenanigans to get noticed. CGI popping to the front of the screen is a bad thing and turns even the best stories into campy parodies. Take Hulk in the Avengers films, it is obvious that he is CGI yet it is not shoved so far in our face that we snicker. In Guardians of the Galaxy the CGI was almost the entire environment of the movie but it was kept grounded enough that we accepted the immersion in it where we could have balked at such a fantasy world.  CGI done poorly or excessively is much like pulling a needle of a record player but when done right and in the appropriate amounts it can be magic, those who have seen Dr. Strange know exactly what I mean.

Creating these films and TV shows for us fans and reaching a mass audience must be a monumental task for all involved. I began this piece and finished one version ripping them apart for misrepresenting certain characters. That was not only against my personal goals for these pieces but unfair to those doing a job I have not done. The tight rope of picking out of hundreds of characters to work on, the right story to tell, adapting everything from time lines to clothing environment, finding the right cast and then generating the best balance of practical and digital effects to set the project apart yet keep it relate-able. My Lord how any of these get made so well seems like an act of God. I was as disgusted with my first attempt as I am when I read the click bait bashing sessions that pop up daily. I fucked up don’t judge me too harshly..

Social Burn Out

There are times when everyone gets burned out. Life just drains your batteries and you must recharge, either by choice or by sheer lack of energy. That’s pretty much how my 39th year started for me. I had a nice little groove going, for the most part everyday was segmented in to being where I needed to be and a system to make it function as best as possible. My week was pretty standard as far as timing it out went including two days where I was on the run for upwards of 20hrs. Fifteen years ago that wouldn’t have phased me but not only am I older now but I do have a family that seems to want my time too. Weird right? True though. I chugged along for a few months like that and managed to get these little things done on top of it all. About a week into November I was forced to take a look at how this was all working out and the answer was; not well. As a family we ran into a few health issues and stress had played a role in a few of them. One night I sat outside and watched the flames dance in our fire pit and put a lot of thought in to how to proceed.

First I had to make some choices and decide where the priorities were and which endeavours needed my time more. Just to get through a few weeks I stopped those 20hr days, but the prolonged concern surrounding the need for a break simply demanded that I eliminate them, so I have, for the most part I am doing something I have not done in years, a single occupation Monday – Friday for about 8 hours a day, that’s it. This resulted in many more family movie nights and this weird feeling of not being tired all the time. I get real sleep in a defined pattern, no longer all over the map with a few rounds of way too much sleep to get proper rest for the next day. Consistent sleep, I had forgotten what this was like, it has been over a decade since I’ve had this kind of rest and even back then it was mostly riding the energy of youth that kept me moving. The rub is that I don’t socialize nearly as much as I used to and admit I don’t miss it much right now. I have had many periods in my life where I just felt better being by myself, perhaps ‘at peace’ is a more apt term here. The thing is that in this case it has been much longer than the others. I haven’t felt the need to get out and see people or do things. It’s not that I am anti-social, the best way I can explain it is that I feel ‘socially burnt out’. Until I had spent a couple weeks decompressing and adjusting I had not noticed how much energy was going in to just being myself and keeping my good humour.

You may understand this but if you are unsure here’s what I have noticed about social burn out.

1) Easy to convince. Think of it as a very attractive person buying you a drink, doesn’t take a lot of debate to put it in your hand does it? Instead of a drink it’s your home and instead of an attractive person it is…anything. Chores, NetFlix, a hobby, a book, the cat looks lonely. I am not talking about an anxiety attack or a bout of any form of depression I mean that one honestly has no desire to go out and any other thing to do at home and any excuse to stay will do. It helps that there are legitimate projects or work to do as well, such as writing a blog or expanding ones written portfolio, legitimate cause goes a long way and nullifies any twinge of guilt one may feel.

2) No personal appeal. There is no malice or anger towards anyone, in fact you may even miss seeing many people but no one person or even group has the appeal you need to be out. In the last two months I have kept in touch with a lot of people and even reached out as I usually do to friends I haven’t seen in a while or are out of town. There are plenty of people I enjoy spending time with out in the social world and simply do not see recently only because I am truly tired of being out. Even very good friends don’t currently over come this lack of appeal. I’m not saying that if I haven’t seen you, you are a problem or a stress, in most cases the opposite is true.

3) Contentment. While it is not easy to understand there is a contentment in just being home. No case of stir crazy or restlessness pops up. There is just a serine peace with the home body life style. Again having things to accomplish at the same time does help but even if there is a completely empty to-do list the enjoyment of just relaxing at home hits a need that a social event normally does. I do get some help in that I am enjoying my job again and the people I work with now are fun to be around,  eliminating much non-sense and drama along with the people that cause it.

4) Swelling. It started under my eyes and even caused a colour change from dark circles to a more flesh like tone. From there it traveled to my bank account, money stopped disappearing (well until Christmas shopping started) at random. It even moved to my ego as a few people have reached out in private and public to inquire as to where I had disappeared to, my answer is usually along the lines of putting my house in order, which is true, part of that is going through this social burn out for the betterment of my household.

5) Intimacy. Calm down I don’t mean that in a sexual manner (entirely) what I mean is that the few occasions I have gone out I have found a better connection with those around me and a richer experience. I met a pair of friends for beer a couple times, a birthday dinner with a small group, a few car rides with a friend that was picking up extra cash working casually with me (granted some rides were just comfortable silence), I even managed to sit in my living room with a friend for over 2 hours just talking on Boxing Day. The social interactions I have had mean more, they don’t blur together. I don’t know when I will be out next, it’s no longer “See you Friday!” or “Catch you next time.” so these smaller visits are more potent lately.

6) Energy. As I said earlier my energy was low, I was absolutely drained most of the time. Even after leaving the job that was sucking the life from me I found myself struggling to get into top form for guests, nights out, shows anything. I could do NOTHING to get myself in the mood to be out in public until I got there and faked it. I kept it up until, like jump-starting a car, I was firing on all cylinders. After a few weeks of cutting back on everything I  found it was easier to get on track to be around other human beings. It was Christmas Eve afternoon when I finally did not have to think about my head space to be social, so I had no problem going for beers with friends at a near by brewery, also the outing where I consciously realized I was feeling the intimacy of just being with friends.

Let me be crystal clear here, I am not blaming or self diagnosing depression or anxiety, I am neither qualified to do so nor would I disrespect those with those conditions by throwing those terms around with out a professional opinion. I am simply saying I am socially burned out as a simplified expression of how I am feeling, sooner or later I may get past this and find a happy medium for a change. Right now I am content and feeling much better than I have in a long time, not depressed or angry or avoiding anyone. Apologies if my lack of presence has not been received well, it’s not you, it’s me.