Friday, October 31, 2014

I Stepped In Dog Shit This Morning

I can't believe I stepped in dog shit this morning!

The dog shit I keep smelling in my office.
The good thing is I got to eat leftover pizza for breakfast. 

Leftover pizza warmed nicely in the toaster oven.

I Hate Halloween

I hate Halloween pumpkins 2014
I hate Halloween!  Yes, I really do!  I can hear you now judging me and saying, "No.  You don't hate Halloween.  It is such a fun holiday and is the day before your birthday.".

EXACTLY!  It is the day before my birthday and therefore I have shared my birthday with Halloween 39 (make it 40 tomorrow) years in a row.

What is a birthday?  The celebration of a birth.

What is your birthday?  The celebration of your birth.

What is my birthday?  The aftermath of Halloween.  Candy.  Spooky stories and decorations being taken down.  How is that any fun for anyone?

Grow up Cameron - enjoy your birthday and Halloween.

Carpet python and mask
Why should I do that?  Do you share your birthday with a holiday?  Do you know how that feels?  I feel horrible for anyone that shares their birthday with Christmas.  Can you imagine how it must feel when everyone is celebrating and getting presents but it isn't their birthday?  I can't but I am guessing it is HORRIBLE.  

Now that my boys are older, I am working VERY hard to swallow some of my distaste for Halloween.  Heather (June birthday) is an amazing partner to have because she has always loved holidays so she makes sure the boys celebrate adequately (excessively).  She decorates the house as I mumble how much I hate Halloween.  She makes sure the boys have costumes as I wallow in my own shit.  She makes trick-or-treating plans as I find another beer.

I surprised everyone this year though.  What?  Did you think this was another "poor Cameron blog"?  Hell no!  I am learning to be happy.  I am doing exactly what I should have been doing for 40 years.

Yes.  I turn fucking 40 tomorrow.  Yes. I still share my birthday with Halloween (not exactly but still).  Yes. I still don't like holidays.  BUT....

I had a blast carving pumpkins last night.  I had fun making the short "Happy Halloween" video above.  I have enough video to make a REALLY cool memory for my boys (and Heather/me) of the carving session.  I had a blast dressing up as Shrek and connecting with my Fiona at the Halloween party last weekend.  In short, I am making this Halloween fun for myself.  :)

Shrek and Fiona
I am determined to not let a stupid commercial holiday ruin my mood anymore and especially not let it ruin my birthday.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tired - I Am So Tired Today

Last night was hell - sleeping wise at least.  I didn't sleep. Well that isn't entirely true - I did sleep just not very well.

Tired at the office
I fell asleep pretty fast after the last out of the World Series - there is something about baseball that puts me DIRECTLY to sleep.  I watched the game only because it was a big moment in 2014 - I didn't care who won or lost.

The last out in the 2014 World Series - Giants Win.
I slept until 3:00am - then hell happened.

At 3:03am I was awake.  I was stressed.  I was hating myself with every bit of my power.  I was dreading work the next day.  Why I do this I will never know but I am guessing it is the resistance in my body trying to keep me in the same place - afraid of change.

Chasing my dreams are for me - no more staying in the same place

I was in and out of sleep until 5:13 am when my alarm finally went off.  Yes, I set my alarm for strange times.  I just read about someone else doing this too - how cool is that!  My alarm on my iPad goes off daily at 5:13am and my alarm on my phone goes off at 6:16am just in case I am ignoring the iPad.  Don't ask me why but I have always set my alarm for strange times.

The only alarm on my phone at the moment.

I got out of bed at 5:33am and took a shower.  I got back into bed until 5:56am after my shower thinking that I could actually fall back asleep.  Oh well - I tried.

So - that was my night.  I spent it chasing sleep but never really finding it after 3 am.  

So I am tired today.  I am sure that some caffeine will try to make it better.  I am not going to be bitter about my night last night.  I am going to embrace my day and enjoy what is left of it.  My "Transform My Life" app pinged me at 7:10am tell me not to be angry today.  Since we do EVERYTHING that our phones tell us to do these days, I am going to have to be happy all day now.  

Just to add to this blog here are some photos from my day so far.

The bridge/tunnel of hell.  This takes me to work every fucking day.  WAIT!  I am not going to be angry...

I am beginning to resent my sunrises because they lead directly to misery at work.  I will try to see them for what they are though - BEAUTY!
Early morning view and reflections from my office taken with my GoPro

Monday, October 27, 2014

Announcement - Cameron Is Lost

I am a little lost right now.  Maybe it is because I am turning 40 in 5 days or maybe it is because I look back on this last year and realize it has been one hell of a roller coaster.  I have learned so much about myself that I am a bit scared of who I am becoming.  I have changed.  I am learning to REALLY fight the demons and depression inside of me.  I have built new relationships and also lost old relationships.  I have been stabbed in the back by someone I thought was very close to me and shared my same vision for the Center for Snake Conservation.  This hurt and was extremely painful - it shut me down for months.

I have shut people out and invited new people in.  I keep telling myself that I just need to process everything and let things happen but I am very impatient.  So the end result - I am a little lost right now.

One thing that I am processing and really thinking about right now is the Power of Engagement. The "engagement" that I am talking about is defined as having emotional involvement or commitment.  I believe that engagement is my key to bringing success to the Center for Snake Conservation - this is my primary and only goal at the moment.  All else is secondary and it has to be.  I have a deep emotional involvement/commitment with my passion for snakes so naturally my happiness is going to be tied to this passion.  So I am going to have to step WAY out of my comfort zone as an introvert and learn to engage people on an emotional level in order to get them to commit to snake conservation.

Put me in front of a group with a few snakes to talk about you you would never know I am an introvert - I SHINE!
I am good at coming up with social media content that is engaging.  However, I have learned that social media is lousy for fundraising or any other real conservation effort.  Social media is about getting "likes" and "shares" - it is not about changing human perceptions about snakes.  Even though the Center for Snake Conservation Facebook page is fast approaching 10,000 likes - it is nowhere near an effective means for snake conservation.  I need to find a few key people and engage them -then I will see the snowball start the avalanche.

An example of a successful Facebook snake post
I am learning about engagement and how it works on Google+.  Yes, I know G+ is social media but it is very different from Facebook.  Facebook seems to be about outdoing the previous post and G+ is about community and support - at least this is what I am finding.  I have found a group of thinkers/counselors/therapists who thrive on engagement.  I am learning about how to turn my passion into my commitment.  The trouble is that it is going to take me WAY out of my introvert comfort zone in order to succeed as they teaching.  The other trouble is that I believe them and know that engagement will work.  If I could just get away from all this fucking RESISTANCE!

Resistance - there is a word that has been haunting me for a long while.  Resistance is brutal and comes at us from all angles at all times.  I feel resistance constantly but I have been learning to battle the demons in my head that keep me from being creative.  My creativity is my best defense against resistance.  If you want examples you can read this short blog from last month - Creativity Is My Key To Happiness.  

Well shit - reading what I have written so far makes it seem that I am not lost at all.  I have learned a lot about myself, how to combat my depression (even writing this blog right now is helping), and have a plan for moving forward.  NOPE!  I am still LOST, LOST, LOST!  How many seasons were the cast of Lost lost?  :)

As a part of my struggle, I read and view what others are doing a lot.  Just this morning I was going through my G+ feed this morning and someone posted the photo/quote below from Michael Jordan.  It is a very good reminder that I even though I am still very lost, I cannot quit looking and trying.  I KNOW I am going to find a way to bring my passion for snakes to the world and make a huge impact.  I practice almost daily with photographs, blogs, and videos.  These are all practice for engagement but clearly lack true engagement.  I am putting myself out there for others to see and judge (yes - I struggle with the thought that EVERYONE is judging me ALL the time).  I take and share selfies all the time because this is helping me thicken my skin and prepare me to engage the world.  I am putting my creativity, passion, and commitment out there - NOW it is finally time to find myself and learn to ENGAGE.

So I made the announcement - "Cameron is Lost" but is it really true?  Yes - I am lost and all of you that have had any interaction with me in the last year know that I am lost.  Some of you think I am crazy.  Some of you hate me for it.  Some of you have no patience for me.  Some of you forgive me for it.  I have been extremely selfish and done many things in this last year that I should NEVER have even considered doing but I did them as I tried to find myself.  I am not proud of these things and there is no excuse for many of them.  but I think I am supposed to be lost right now.  I am supposed to try, fail, try, fail, try, fail, try, fail and I know I will eventually succeed.  Don't ask me how I know but success is in my very near future - the very near future.  I have a rare and unique passion for snakes and speaking about snakes in a way that most people understand.  This is my gift (and I accept it) and I am going to try (and fail) until I find the right people to engage and we all rise together making a difference in this world.

I want you to watch this video of me opening a package full of snakes - snakes excite me and if I can learn to stretch my passion into true engagement, you will see a new Cameron on a clear path to happiness.  This video is of me "trying" and I know I am no longer failing because I can see the spark inside myself.  I can feel it!

I am good at finding snakes (very good at it).  Now I just need to keep working on learning to engage others in my conversations and passion for snakes and their conservation.  Just like the ringneck in the field below - I will find myself.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Can't Stop The Sun

First things first - before I get into the heart of this post, you have to watch this short video (less than a minute).

Now that you have seen my short video, let's talk about it.  If you didn't watch, well, you aren't very good at following directions, are you?

In the video above, I start off very sad.  I don't know why but I was SAD!  Fucking miserable kind of sad.  A sadness had taken over my body and mind and was dragging me down to the depths of Tartaras (Percy Jackson reference to the darkest, deepest abyss of the Underworld).  But my year plus of therapy kicked in and I started to question my sadness.  Where was it coming from?  Why was it there now? What did I need to do to start the long climb out of Tartaras?  

I find myself smiling in my selfies when I am dreaming and planning my future!
I needed to take a few selfies! I knew that if I took a few selfies, I would find my smile before too long.  I hate looking sad in selfies regardless of how I feel inside.  I quickly powered up my GoPro but it was hard to turn the camera on myself right out of the gate so I filmed the HWY 36 construction.  I then made the first SAD selfie video.  I didn't know I was so freaking sad until I watched it later - wow!  I am surprised I made it to the bus stop this morning being that low.  

WAIT A SECOND!  I can hear those of you that actually watched my video yelling at me now.  The first clip in the video is of me - not the construction site.  Yes.  You are right but I never told you how I put the video together - just how I filmed it.  Can I get back to my story now?

10 minutes pass and I decide I need to do another selfie video.  I tell myself to smile and look happy.  Did I fool you?  Is the second selfie clip happy?  Certainly it is MUCH happier than the first clip.  I then filmed the sun at the end of the video as we sped along at 70 mph in the HOV lane.

My goal then switched from taking the selifes to finding a way to use the selfie videos to really change my mood.  I uploaded them to my phone and started putting them together until I ended on the order you see in the video.  The video was great but it needed music.  I searched my phone and Can't Stop The Sun by Tom Petty was the first song I put to the video.  The song fit the video perfectly so I used it (no copyright infringement intended - YouTube makes you put that on your video if you use music that isn't yours).

Selfie Video Done and Most Importantly - SMILE Found!

Tom Petty NAILS it with the lyrics of the song I use in the video.  His words transformed my CRAP day into something I am learning to believe in.  Here are his lyrics:

Can't Stop The Sun
Tom Petty

Well you may take my money
You may turn off my microphone
But you can't steal
What you can't feel

Can't stop the sun from shining
Shining down and down and down

And you may think you control things
But there'll be more just like me
Who won't give in
Who'll rise again

Can't stop the world from turnin'
Turnin' round and round and round

Hey mister business man
Be sure to wash your hands
Be careful where you stand
'Cause life goes on and on and on
Life goes on and on and on

And you may think it's all over
But there'll be more just like me
Who won't give in
Who'll rise again

Can't stop a man from dreamin'
Dreamin' on and on and on

I am beginning to believe these words about myself for the first time.  There has always been doubt that stems from my low self-esteem about my future and pursuing my dream.  Yes - I was fucking sad on the bus this morning.  Of course I wasn't smiling; I was headed into my paying job that goes against every bit of me.  It sucks away and destroys all my positive energy.  You try being a consultant for the oil and gas industry for last 15 years.  I survey for and permit "take" (killing/destruction) of plants and wildlife including endangered species.  Worst of all, no regulatory authority or agency out there gives a shit about snakes which are killed my the thousands each year because of what I do.  It sucks!  It kills you.  It literally kills who you really are.

I won't go into the TRUE impacts of oil and gas exploitation but you need to know that it doesn't just end with the ugly view like the one below.  Maybe someday I can let you in on all the dirty secrets but not today.

Oil well drill rig in Wyoming - this one well pad has altered the world in a way that can never be repaired.  Multiply this by the millions of other wells across the globe and think about the impacts.  It will kill you slowly...
I am FINALLY coming out of my cloud.  I can change my sadness into a least a smile right now.  I am learning how to turn off the self-loathing part of my brain.  I can see the "sun shining down and down and down" - now it is time to learn to FEEL and let it energize me to greatness.

Well - this post is about my success at turning my mood around today.  I look forward to the post where I can tell you I am no longer depressed and doing what I was meant to be doing on this planet.  Until then, I will keep writing these progress blogs.

I never plan to stop Dreamin' on and on and on...

If you want to listen to the full Tom Petty song, here you go:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lunch In Fast Motion

Have you ever recorded your own behavior?  I know it sound a little creepy to record yourself but it is actually really interesting.  The more I experiment with making videos, the more I learn about myself.  I have already learned that I say um a lot as well as lick my licks in my educational videos about snakes.  So I decided (for the second time) to record myself eating a foot long sub.  It took just over 18 minutes for me to finish and I flip the sandwich over a lot.  Interesting Here is my meal in fast motion.

Lunch from Snakes on Vimeo.

I challenge you to record yourself doing something and see what you can learn.  Post you video somewhere and send me the link.  I would love to see it.

Waiting For The Sun

Today was an EARLY day for me.  I was out of bed before 5:00am because I had forgotten to electronically sign my timesheet.  I get a polite but stern email if I don't sign my timesheet.  I absolutely HATE timesheets even though I understand that they are necessary evils in the workplace especially when you are required to bill your time to specific projects.  Maybe I just hate being a consultant - YUCK!  

On a normal morning with a normal commute, I can see some sort of light on the horizon from the bus window.  Not this morning...I was clearly going to have to wait for the sun today.

Night view from the bus
Well, I got to work, signed my timesheet, and got to thinking about the sun again.  I didn't want to wait for it - I needed it to "wake" me up.  My office was dark and all I could see was more darkness outside my window.  The sun had better hurry up - the diurnal snake inside me wanted to escape the forced darkness it was experiencing at the moment.

I needed to take "waking up" matters into my own hand this morning if the sun wasn't going to help.   I decided to help wake myself up by making the short walk to 7-Eleven to buy a diet Mountain Dew - the caffeinated drink of choice for me.  As I was crossing Market Street, I looked east and was pleasantly surprised to see the horizon beginning to brighten.  Even the stoplight told me to STOP and enjoy the moment which of course I had to capture with my phone's camera.

STOP! Enjoy the Sunrise

On my way back from the 7-Eleven, just 10 minutes later, the sky had changed even more...BEAUTIFUL!

Looking east-northeast down Market Street

It is now 3 hours later and the clouds have rolled in to obscure the sun.  No blue sky this morning but it did make for an amazing sunrise.  I was "waiting for the sun" and ultimately rewarded with a beautiful sky in the east.

You can watch the sunrise from my office window this morning.  When I got to the office, I set my GoPro in my window programmed to take 1 photo very minute.  My camera was not fully charged but it was able to take 96 photos before dying.  Here are those photos played back at 5 photos per second.  You can see people waking up in the apartments across the street and entire floors of office buildings begin to hum with activity.  This was definitely an interesting activity for me and something I will have to do again soon.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Why are choices so hard to make?  For instance, I had my choice of 4 different beers last night. I couldn't choose so I drank them all. I guess choices really aren't that hard to make.