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It’s been a little while since I updated this blog, and the reason for it is that I have been somewhat consumed with other projects, chief among them finding a new job. The state of this job market is absolutely horrendous. There is no other way to put it. And it’s not just me, I have very good friends who can vouch for this struggle as much as I can. So I’m not going to lament the irritation and anxiety that is the search for something to earn a living. I’ve talked about it a lot. Today, I decided I wanted to make real some of the associated issues with unemployment that maybe someone out there doesn’t connect with the predicament.

And that’s fear. Now if you had asked me this months ago, I’d say it was pride. But I don’t have a lot of that left with this predicament. It’s hard to be proud when the only reason you have made it this far is because of other people helping you. Other people who have come to your aide, because you really had nowhere else to go. There is no pride in that, only great appreciation for them showing faith in you that with each passing day starts to ebb inside you. Yeah, there’s no pride left in me when it comes to my current situation. But there is more than a healthy dosage of fear, sometimes coupled with anxiety.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were this close to losing something? In my current situation, I have been more than once. I can’t tell you the number of times I was hours away from having this or that disconnected because at the time, I just didn’t have the cash to keep whatever it was turned on. Again, that kills any pride you have as well. It seems like a recurring theme with me. Always some new catastrophe that brings me this close to a new depth that I’ve never had to go through. Whether it was something like just having the water or electricity, it’s always some new depth I am about to sink to. 

And as I write this today, I am at that precipice again. And I’m telling you about it for more than one reason. I’ll go through the main ones for you. One is the sense of responsibility I feel I have to people. If I’m not around for some reason, you can likely attribute it to the fact one of these due dates got past me and I had nothing I could do to stop it. And if that happens, I’m sorry. Sooner or later, it’s going to catch up with me. And as I write this, potentially much sooner. I didn’t want you to think I just dropped off the face of the Earth.

Another reason I am telling you is because I couldn’t have gotten this far without the support from those who helped me stay afloat. They know tho they are, all of them. Some I promise to return it all some day, some who have done it without wanting anything in return. In either event, it still means as much to me as anything could. They know how much I appreciate them, and how I wouldn’t have gotten here without them. 

The third reason I am telling you about it is the fact that it helps to say it. This isn’t the kind of thing I tend to want to unload on people, but after a time, you just need to get it out of your system. And that’s for no other reason than it helps to say it than to just shoulder it forever. I realize talking about it probably isn’t going to change the situation, because I’ve been trying to change it for a while now. And as long as I’m able to try, I will continue to do so. 

But the major reason I am telling you about it is because as I said at the start, it’s fear. Fear that if/when something goes off, not knowing when I will be able to get it back. I fear only a few things in this world, some so simple as just heights or snakes for example. But I am rarely in a position where either of those things pose a real threat. This that I suffer through each and every month now is the only threat in my life. And it’s just as deep of a fear as if I were faced with either of the others I mentioned. 

I run a writing competition where I have the most talented people worrying about getting everything done before a deadline. And the worst that can happen if they don’t is a loss. I am living in a situation right now where if I don’t make my own deadlines, I’ll suffer some kind of loss too. Except the stakes don’t get much higher for me, things one needs to just survive in the world with any measure of comfort. 

I don’t really know what will happen anymore. I just know that I’m here, and I’ll suffer it or rebuild from it. I don’t really need inspiration, because being this close to the brink is enough to inspire anyone. But inspiration can only carry you so far, I need something to change. But I need that change to be for the better, I’ve seen enough of what happens when it changes for the worse. No one should have to go through this. No one would ever want to go through it. 

Whatever happens happens. I don’t really seem to have any control over the things around me anymore. And trust me when I tell you….there’s nothing scarier than that. So with that said, I promise to do everything in my power to make things happen for the better, as I have done all this time. But if that isn’t enough, thank you for everything. I couldn’t have gotten this far without you. Try not to think too poorly of me, or that I didn’t try hard enough. I always give it my best.

Sometimes it’s just not enough. 

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In No Particular Order

Not too long ago, I did a blog where I answered questions I received via either Direct Message or some other format of social media. And some of them were questions I just get regularly enough in conversation to the point where I felt like if I answered them here, maybe I wouldn’t have to answer them again later. And in a lot of cases, it worked. So tonight as I sit here in my den, I decided I was long overdue for a blog and it was time to do another round of questions. Some of you who read this may already know the answers to these questions. Hopefully everyone who reads it will at least learn…something about me that they didn’t know. And that is the point of a blog, is it not? To give people insight into your life or world that they may not have had before. 

As a result and in no particular order, here is a mash-up of questions I have gotten more often than not. Some are life-related. Some are relating to efedding. As I said, no particular order. Just a random sampling.

Do you have a significant other?

No, I do not. And the reason for that is both simple and has a very long-winded form. The simple reason is because the last woman I fell in love with who was part of my everyday life passed away in a car accident. And due to the fact that there were some things that needed to be said between us, I never got the chance for closure there. So for a while, it almost felt like I was cheating on her even though I know she was no longer here. It was just something I needed to reconcile in my mind. And by the time I finally got somewhat past that feeling, I just never found someone who measured up to her. Some came close, but no one can compete with a ghost. That’s the short of it. I could do a whole blog on this, but for these purposes, I won’t.

Why do you run/play in efeds?

The short answer here is because at the time I got into it, it filled a little bit of a void in my life. I didn’t really have anything going on, no job and not an outstanding social life to speak of. And I love writing, I always have. By the time my waking life started to catch up, I was already hooked on this little game and ended up sticking around. I found characters I loved, persistent characters that weren’t mine that I got to help shape their world and life. And to this day, I still love every minute of the collaborative aspect in general. Why do I run them? Because I’ve been in enough to see where I think most feds fall short, and being the confident cuss I am, I always thought I could do it better. Now whether I have or not is subjective, but if player interest/participation is an indicator, I’d say I must be doing something right as a fedhead. The inverse of that is that I doubt I could ever just be a player anymore, no matter how good the place I was playing happened to be. 

Do you ever get worn down or tired of it?

Everyone gets worn down and tired of something sooner or later, no matter how much they enjoy it. In days gone by, I’d be putting together four shows a week on a regular basis. And that was crazy and stupid of me. Now my typical schedule as a fedhead is only usually about two shows a week generally. When the time comes that I need a break, I take a day or few to myself and just watch DVDs and things like that. But it never fails, I always come right back ready to go and invigorated to keep things going. I consider them like mini vacations, and we all need them in any job. And being a fedhead is…without question…a job.

Would you like to work for a real wrestling company?

Actually I would. But unlike many, I have no desire to be a wrestler. A low pain threshold ensures that my body would never forgive me. If I were to be offered a job in wrestling today, I’d want to do commentary or book. Efed booking and real booking are obviously wholly different animals. But I’m pretty sure I can learn what I need to know to make a successful transition. Don’t get me wrong, I hold no ideas that either of those jobs will ever be available to me for a litany of reasons. But you asked if I would like it. And the answer to that is yes. 

Tell me about your family.

I am the youngest of two children to my divorced parents. My older brother is named Chad, and he is six years ahead of me. Growing up, he was always the one who got into stupid things and got in trouble frequently. I didn’t. I was, by and large, a better behaved child primarily because I saw the stupid stuff he did and what he got for doing it. I then decided that was not the best course of action. My father never remarried. My mother did, and lives about 4 hours away from me. I have a very strained relationship with them both, not really very close at all. They have both done things I don’t appreciate, and in my teen years, I probably did a few myself. But all in all, we tend to live by the code of “If you don’t bother me, I won’t bother you” now. And it works. The best thing to come out of her remarriage is getting to know my step-siblings: Amber and Julian. I think the world of both of them. So much so to the point that if I had to grow up all over again, I’d rather do it alongside them than Chad. My grandparents on my father’s side are gone. My mother’s parents are both still here, and I speak to them more often than I do their offspring. And even that isn’t a great deal. I have something of an adopted family of people around the world, and they know who they are because I tell them often how I feel about them.

Major regrets?

Most of my major life regrets center from when I was a teenager. When I was a child, I was apparently saving up to be more of a problem as a teen. I did things I was not then and still am not proud of. But in hindsight, I’m almost glad I did do them because I learned a lot from those lessons. And I have tried to structure my life and perceptions based off of those experiences. I think it made me a better person, but that is subjective to who you ask. If I could go back and change them, I would. But I did the next best thing. I learned from them and decided that wasn’t who I wanted to be. That hasn’t changed. Other regrets involve not saying some things that needed to be said, which I referenced a bit earlier in this very blog. Not having a job right now is a definite regret. But I am actively looking to change that. CONSTANTLY looking to change that.

What would you change about yourself if you could?

Most of those would be cosmetic. And not because of any other reason than I want them. I wouldn’t change my appearance for any reason other than it’s something I want. I don’t believe anyone should do that for another person. But that’s beside the point. The first thing I’d do is get some dental work done. Dental issues seem to be a hereditary issue in my father’s side of the family. I’ve made the best with what I can do. But upon getting a new job with all the benefits needed, this will be corrected. Also if there were some kind of procedure to correct eye problems, I’d do that. I would love not to have to wear glasses. I don’t think that procedure exists to this point, but I’d look into it if there was.

Goals?

Well I have a standing offer to come visit two people I love dearly down in Florida at Disney World in 2015. So we’ll see if that pans out long term. Beyond that, I want to get gainfully employed with a job that pays well enough for me to live comfortably and start giving back to those who have given to me. To continue to see my creations (FFW & SVW) flourish as they have been. One year, to attend WrestleMania. I’ve never seen the WWE live and in person, and if we are talking ideals, no better show to go see than that one! And chiefly, to continue to be everything my friends need me to be. Because my life would be very bleak without them. 

I hope this has given you some more insight into me. Maybe you learned something about me. Maybe you didn’t. But if one of you learns one thing, then this effort will have been worth it. And we’ll get back to your regularly scheduled blogging soon with topics as varied and random as the life they occur.

In no particular order. 

Personal Accountability

I sat for a few days with all these ideas for this blog entry, and I argued with myself over what I should write about. Should I go with this topic or that one? For some reason, they all bubbled up at the same time and I ended up making a mental jot list of topics. And today as I was continuing to review these topics, I began to realize that they all fall under one major umbrella. I realized that they were all smaller parts of a greater whole. And as a result, here I am today because I want to discuss personal accountability. And also wonder where it has gone in the world, or have we become a society of perpetual victims? That no matter what we say or do, if something bad happens, it’s never our fault. 

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve made many mistakes. I’ve made mistakes in every aspect of my life, both personal and professional. And I’d list every single one of them here, but I’d have no time for the next week or so to do anything else. Anyone who is honest with themselves will tell you they have made mistakes. And some mistakes aren’t your fault. Some things happen that are out of your control. I remember when I was a manager and my manager told me to pull one of the cashiers aside and have a talk with her about taking a check a customer hadn’t signed. Well that’s not a good thing, the company doesn’t get paid for that. So I did, we went into the office and I emphasized the importance of always making sure your checks were signed if the check reader wouldn’t take it. I must have yammered on for ten minutes before she told me that she wasn’t at that register when it was taken because the time stamp on the receipt was when she was on break. Well I felt like an idiot, but that wasn’t my fault. I relied on inaccurate information. As a result, I apologized to her and told her what happened. Like I say, sometimes you do things that are wrong that weren’t your fault. But even when that happens, you should still own up to it. I didn’t have to apologize to her, I could have just blamed someone else. But that doesn’t send a good message.

Whenever I feel I have made a mistake like hopefully, I admit it and if I can fix it, I will. But in time as both a manager and a player in this little game that many of you who read this know we play, I get excuses. I’ll give you another example from my days as a manager. I had to coach an associate about using foul language. This is something I think is common sense with pretty much anyone. You don’t curse in front of the public on the job. And his response to me was he’d never been told he couldn’t. And I was a little dumbfounded at that, because to me that is one of the things that you shouldn’t have to be told. You also don’t have to be told to come get your paycheck either, but you do that. It was just a pitiful excuse, trying not to accept responsibility for his actions.

And it happens in the writing game we all play too. I have heard so many excuses for so many things. My personal favorite is “I didn’t know it was a rule.” That one always makes me laugh, because at least the places I run have the rules clearly posted. If you don’t read them, then that’s your fault when you get caught breaking one. I remember one place I used to play in didn’t have the rule that you couldn’t use “off camera” material against an opponent. Well does that really need to be a rule? So when someone got caught doing it, that was his excuse. And crazily enough, they accepted that and there was no penalty. 

I hear it sometimes at deadline, and have heard it for years. The day of deadline, some dread computer problem struck or when they went to post it with two minutes to spare, the board froze or something like that. And the response is always the same from me. “Did that happen the entire two weeks you had to post?” And then you get this moment of silence, where the excuses falleth like the gentle rain from heaven. I don’t get mad at people for doing it, but I also don’t exhibit any sympathy because that was their fault, even though there are those who won’t admit it. 

Is it so hard for people anymore to admit when they make mistakes and just say it? It must be, because you certainly don’t hear it a lot. I know it’s hard to say when you are wrong. Truly I do, because I think at our core, we like to believe that we are generally always right. But the problem with that logic is that we aren’t always right, otherwise there wouldn’t be the word “wrong” in our language. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I actually respect someone more who can admit when they are wrong. It shows a level of maturity and honesty, which is something I value immensely. As a matter of fact, you could be wrong to me again and again, but if you have the temerity to admit it, I’m going to respect you more than someone who can never admit being wrong. Sounds weird, but it makes sense if you think about it.

A really good example now is of this recent government shutdown here in the US. It was and is clear that the reasons behind it were absolutely 100% wrong. Nothing positive was gained from it at all, it solved nothing other than to make us as a nation even more wrong, in a manner of speaking. But now that it’s resolved, do you hear anyone responsible for it coming out and admitting they were wrong? There may be a handful, but the vast majority of those responsible have yet to admit anything of the sort. And as a result, I lose respect for them just like I do when I experience it on a personal level. 

In the final analysis, there’s nothing wrong with being wrong. Again, I know that is an odd statement. But it happens, we are wrong sometimes. I have been, and no doubt will make mistakes in the future to which I will admit if I find I was wrong. I’m sure you, gentle reader, can think of times when you were wrong. We are human, it’s in our nature. But to me, how many times you were wrong isn’t the sole determination to me what kind of a person you are. 

It’s how often you admit it. And more importantly, what you do to make it right. To me, that is a measure of who you are as a person. And that one point right there will always earn you respect from me. And I’d go so far as to wager I’m not the only person who sees it that way.

But hey, I could be wrong. 😉 

Why I Do What I Have Done

It is clear to me that many of the people, if not all, who read this blog know me as a result of the fact that I have ran efeds for quite some time. As a matter of fact, I think it’s coming up on the seventh year that I have been doing this very soon. I honestly don’t keep that close of a tab on it. The way I know this is because the two most successful feds I have run have both lasted over three years. Simple math, right? Anyway, the fact that is the case leads me to believe that there are a few things some or many of you may not know about me as a person or as a fedhead. So today, I thought I would publicly answer some of the questions I have gotten more than once. I do this in the hopes that I never have to answer them again. Because those who know also know I’m not big on repeating myself. So without further ado, it’s Q&A with me. Let’s begin!

Have you always lived in South Carolina?

Yes, I was born in this state and have remained here my whole life aside of trips. It’s not exactly a place where I share a lot of the same ideas that my neighbors do. The state is gorgeous, but if I had the choice, I’d have left ages ago and moved north most likely. I’ve always felt drawn to New York. And outside of the US, it’s either been Canada or England where I hae felt pulled the most.

What was your first efed? 

It was called the UWC, Ultimate Wrestling Carnage. It was run by a guy named Steve whose last name escapes me because I remember thinking at the time he was making it up and I didn’t believe him. In the UWC, you posted your RPs in the chatbox. And each chat message consisted of only 140 characters like Twitter. So imagine trying to post entire scenes there. It was quite ridiculous, and it wasn’t until the week before the place went belly up that he set up boards for people to post stuff to. I don’t know what happened to Steve, he disappeared a week after that. All the matches were done in Zeus, which is a very old program that creates matches by you plugging in the names and bits of information and it writes them. Horrible program.

What are your political leanings? 

I try not to get into politics too much here, because if you follow my personal Twitter account, you can kinda see where I stand for the most part. I don’t particularly subscribe to any one belief totally. I see issues with facets of both major parties, and the vast and many wings and branches that inhabit each. No side has the perfect point of view, and I can find fault with parts of them all. 

What are your religious beliefs?

I am agnostic. And for those who aren’t familiar with the word, it basically means I am willing to entertain the thought of some higher power though I have little evidence to lead me to believe there is one. I don’t know if there is. There are times and things that happen that make me wonder both that there may be and there may not be. I was born in a baptist family, as you might expect living in the deep south. But as I grew older, I began to seriously dislike the things they were trying to preach to me. I don’t know which, if any, religion is the right one. I just know which ones I think are wrong. 

Where you do you come up with angles for your feds? 

I freely admit that some of my ideas come from things I have seen play out in the major promotions. And I will do my best to put my own spin on it or try to improve on what they did. Best case example is Future Shock. I watched the first couple seasons of NXT, and thought I could do it better than what I was seeing though I found it to be a solid premise. So I tweaked it and made it my own. I also come up with ideas based on things that I think would be entertaining for me to watch. Because if I’m not even interested in the idea, I’m not going to do anyone any favors by forcing myself to sell it to the readers and the players as something good. I also get ideas from the news and world around me. 

In your feds, do you get upset with no shows or lackluster efforts? 

I wouldn’t say I get upset, no. I do get disappointed if I happen to know the player can do better than what they did. But I don’t go to them and complain to them. I let them know that I feel that they could have done better, but that’s on them more than me. No shows for new players, I really don’t care about too much. Because that shows me very early that I can’t rely on them to hold up their end of the deal. So in a way, it does me a favor. I tend to get the reason alot that whoever ran out of time. And that’s simply an excuse. In all the feds I run, you have two weeks. If that isn’t enough time to put together a solid effort, then again that is on the player. And they will suffer the repercussions of that, whether it be a loss or whatever comes as a result.

What are the reasons you would fire someone from one of your feds?

I’ve said before that I run my feds as though they were a business. The easiest firing is a new person who no shows. If you don’t go to your job, you don’t get a paycheck. That’s simple enough there. I will also release someone if I feel they are doing my fed more harm than good, either through consistent drama without reason or if they are promoting a toxic environment without a solid reason. And doing more harm than good can cover a lot of bases for me personally. I’ll do what is best for the overall fed before I do what is best for one player. It’s impossible to find a player who has no one who dislikes them. We all have critics. But if one player is either drawing a great deal of drama or making enjoyment difficult for others, then that is someone who doesn’t belong here. In all cases, I will generally let the player know the situation that it’s a case of things need to change either through them or I will change it without them. I haven’t done this every single time, and it’s something I regret. It’s part of why I don’t make snap decisions on things like releasing someone. I will also do it if I feel it is for their own good. I may not be right in every situation of the past or I may give a second chance. But I will always do what I feel is the right thing at the time. Ideally I would prefer to fix situations as firing is a last resort for me. My basic formula is if you aren’t causing problems for me or this fed, then you will have no problem because of me in this fed. My little rule of thumb there.

Is there anyone who has left that you would allow back?

Yes. There are a few I would consider. The only ones who I will not allow to return under any circumstances are plagiarists. I’ve been quite lucky in having a low number of those throughout my time. And I’ve made the mistake of forgiving one and giving them a second chance. I will not make that mistake again. If you steal something, I will remove you immediately and without hesitation. And you will never come back. Beyond that, there are a few players I would love to see return. I won’t list them by name, because if they want to return, I think they should come to me and we will discuss what is possible. But I am very open to the idea of letting people come back, if they show a legitimate interest. 

Your biggest flaw as a fedhead?

To me, it’s the fact that I have let things bother me in the past that shouldn’t. Finding out a person who was close to me was stealing from me? I should have just fired that person and been done with it. But it hurt me deeply. When players lie to me, that offends me deeply as I do my best to always be honest with everyone. Some might say letting your emotions get involved is a good thing, and it can be. But I sometimes wish I could make those tough decisions without it affecting me personally and emotionally as it tends to do. It’d certainly be easier on me. 

Why do you collaborate with so many people in your feds?

Simple. Because that’s how I have fun. Judging isn’t fun nor easy. Writing matches isn’t always fun. Dealing with egos and drama isn’t fun. The primary source of my enjoyment in this game is getting to tell and be part of stories with characters I enjoy and like. That’s how I have fun, plain and simple. And if the day were to come somehow that I wouldn’t be allowed to do that anymore, then that is the last day you would see me running any fed anywhere. Because minus that, this becomes a job. And one that has many thankless aspects to it and doesn’t pay me. I’m in this to have fun as much as anyone else. And since I don’t compete anymore in feds, this is what I do to enjoy myself. 

Biggest pet peeves?

Repeating myself is one. Having to tell someone over and over again the same thing in any circumstance is absolutely aggravating for me. Lying to me is also a big one, as I think it is for most people. If you lie to me once, I tend to believe very little of anything you say after that. And you have a long road back to regaining my full confidence and trust, if it was something you wanted at all. Ego is a big one. And even though I know we all have them, this is a hobby. And winning matches and fake titles doesn’t get you a promotion at your job. It doesn’t put groceries in your refrigerator. It doesn’t even impress anyone outside of your fellow players. I’ve had this problem myself in the past, and I am ashamed as a result. But I also believe that if you don’t learn from every mistake, you will forever repeat them.

How’s the job hunt going?

The fact I still don’t have one is a sign it can’t be going too well. I appreciate people asking this, but until I tell you I have one, then obviously the hunt is still going. I’m still looking, still doing interviews, and will still keep plugging away at it because we all have to make a living and I got some extended “family” to repay for being able to have made it this long without one. Without their support, I will not lie when I say I would not be here doing this right now. And I will be forever and eternally grateful to those people and they know who they are.

Out of the three feds you have run, which is your favorite?

I can’t answer this question. It’s like picking between your children. EWC was my first truly successful fed, and it will always have a spot in my heart. FFW is the fed I wanted for years, because I got tired of seeing women objectified as sex objects instead of athletes. SVW is my creative playground above all others because I can mold anything how I want. So I don’t have a favorite of the three. They all have special significance for me in different ways.

I hope this blog entry gives you some insight into who I am as a person and what I think. That was it’s intent. If you like this entry and have questions you’d like to see publicly answered here, shoot me a message and I’ll see about doing another in the future. Until my next entry, I shall leave you with one of my favorite quotes that is not indicative of any one thing or anyone in particular.

Tis better to be thought an idiot in silence than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. 

My last couple of posts here have been a little bit on the negative side, given the current situation I have “enjoyed” in my waking life. And as you all know, I am actively seeking to remedy that situation. But I feel like I have opined enough about that for a bit without sounding repetitive. I appreciate any and all help I get, no matter the source and I have had some tremendous assistance through it from people who know who they are and how appreciated they are. So with that in mind, I thought we would switch gears and get back into a little hobby I am known for, that being the wonderful of efedding.

For those unaware, I have spent more time being in charge of efeds than I have actually just playing in them. When I discovered the hobby in 2007, I had only played it for a couple months when I was asked to come on board the staff of that fed. I admit my knowledge of what was good and bad was very very limited, but I tried. Even tried to run my own fed after the owner of that one disappeared. And in both cases, it was a miserable failure on my part. But I learned from it. I learned from the mistakes I made then. And applied them to the next fed staff job I’d get offered, which was coincidentally in the next fed I joined. Despite it all, I do my best to learn from every experience. And even today as a fedhead with several years experience, I am still learning things. It’s my experience in life that when you think you know everything, you obviously don’t know much at all.

And since I have enjoyed what I consider to be successful feds to this day, I was inspired to do a blog post on them. Now I don’t plan to do efed blogs constantly, as you have noticed. This blog will cover everything that makes up my life in one form or another. This is just one of those aspects. And after a chat last night, it inspired me to do this post. So let’s get into it.

To me, being a fedhead is comprised of two jobs. And those are: booking the fed and running the fed. And I’ll share a few of my thoughts on both before you are finished reading. Let’s start with running things. First of all, I run my feds as though they were a real business. What do I mean by that? Well ideally in the real world if you bust your ass constantly and consistently, it’s going to get you noticed. And I am the same way. If I see someone really trying consistently and giving it their best effort whether they succeed constantly or not, I will open doors for them to try to do better. Because that’s how you show and reward players to me. 

Another way I run feds as a business is by monitoring what my “employees” say about where they “work.” Just like in a real company, if you have an employee who spends all their time publicly bemoaning their place of work and constantly tearing it down, it doesn’t inspire you as an employer to show them any greener grass. And I’m not talking about privately discussing issues with another player, which is fine by me even if it accomplishes nothing to get your problems addressed. I mean going in public and posting on social media about your issues. That also doesn’t address the issue, and just like an employer, it’s only going to irritate someone. And very few good things come by way of irritation in life. (Note: I tested this theory most of my teen years, it didn’t work.)

Another aspect that I actually started doing when I first began this (only to find out Wal-mart did it first) is the open door policy. This one goes hand in hand with the last point I made. I have always and will always strive to hear out every concern that is brought to me. Now don’t go assuming people always bring them to me, because they don’t. Some prefer to share their problems with their friends, and I understand that. I do it too. But at the end of the day, your friend can’t solve whatever issue you are having within the confines of any fed. Only the people in charge can. And I will always listen to people, and if I feel they have a valid concern, rest assured I will address it. This spans a lot of territory from player issues all the way up to personal life problems. I can’t solve those, but I can still listen as that friend I mentioned a moment ago. I strive to be there for my roster any way I can, because it engenders that sense of family that I think makes everything better. It reminds them that people care, and they do. It reminds them they always have someone to listen, and in a lot of cases, your time is the most valuable thing you can give. 

Another part of running things is dealing with problem players. And yes, there is always going to be a player at some point causing some level of problem. Sometimes it’s very minor and annoying such as a handler trying to explain that characters and wrestlers in efeds were different and then telling me how my angle fed wasn’t really an angle fed. That wasn’t him being so much of a problem as just an annoying twat. But there are also the problem players. Generally I find problem players (as I think of them) to usually have either a real world gripe that is bleeding into this game (which is the case more often than not). Or there are those who just like to cause trouble. They live for it, whether they admit it or not. In the first case, I will do everything in my power to be there for the player having real life issues until it gets to the point where it makes me not want to do what I need to do. Then it has to be remedied somehow no matter how strongly I feel about the person involved. And in the second case, people who just like to cause problems are not really worth keeping. In some circles, they are known as drama llamas. And in all the years I’ve played, I have seen them come and go. Those players are not worth the aggravation, if I’m honest. And the simple fact is that you can never make everyone happy all the time. And in the case of these individuals, none of time. And I have other things I can be doing than focusing on the problems of a player who always has a problem. 

Those are just a few of the philosophies I employ in running a fed. There are a lot more, to be fair. And if people are interested, I can go over some more of them in a future post. Just let me know. Let’s switch gears to the booking side. I’ll go ahead and warn you that most of these that I am going to share today should be common sense. But the more I look around, I find common sense not to be so common. Again, I won’t cover all the things I consider but here’s the basics.

First of all, there are feds where you have a creative team instead of one person. In all the years I have run feds, I have rarely seen this work. There are exceptions, such as a recent place two very good friends of mine ran for a while. It worked there. But in general, the creative team in efedding is a problem because there’s always going to be someone on the team who doesn’t get their ideas heard and played out as much as someone else. Me personally, I do all the booking. But I do encourage people to come to me with their ideas for things, and will try to incorporate them. In most creative teams I have seen, the only plus side to a team is that you can all share the praise as well as the criticism you get. Especially the criticism. I’m not saying it can never work, because I have seen it done. But in most cases I personally have seen, it tends to fall apart. And when it comes to teams that are about six or seven people deep as I have seen, then it’s just too many cooks in the kitchen. 

I believe shows have a natural build, because they do. That’s why when I book cards even for a weekly show, I never will have a load of gimmick matches. For one, that’s just not realistic. I was talking to someone last night who was part of a fed that had 8 gimmick matches out of a 10 match show. One in which was a hardcore brutal death match with loads of gimmicks in the undercard. To me, that is absolutely asinine. I would never put a match like that in the undercard. To me, major gimmick matches involving cages or anything like that belong near the top of the card, if not at the top. Because that is your finale. (This is also why I thought having Hell in A Cell or Lockdown Pay Per Views was ridiculous.) These matches take a lot out of the fans because they are generally intense. And it doesn’t make a lot of sense to completely exhaust your viewers in the early going of a two or three hour show. This is what I mean by natural build. 

Title matches are also something special, at least to me. For those who follow my feds, more often than not if I put a title match on a show, it is either the last or next to last match on the card every time. Starting with the top title all the way down to the low card title, and rarely are there multiple title matches on anything but Pay Per Views. The reason for that is I want title matches to feel like an event, something special you don’t see all the time. And if you have them all the time, they become commonplace and also doesn’t let you build to them as you should. And the reason I only do one generally a show is because every title is important to a company. Not just the upper ones. And I want to show the holder of that title that I believe in them and that I’m confident they can stand in the spotlight and shine brightly all on their own. Like I say, title matches should be special events not seen constantly. And this is why I don’t book loads of them all the time. I’m fairly sure a lot of you have worked this out about me by now.

And the last one I am going to talk about is earning your spot. I get new applications for FFW & SVW fairly often, some are brand new characters and others are long time veterans. And in both cases, they start out from the bottom. Why? The answer is simple. What you did anywhere else, while impressive, has no bearing here. Everyone starts from the bottom of the ladder with me. Now I have seen feds where they put you in the main event strictly based on your other accomplishments elsewhere. I find that to be faulty, because then you are basically letting someone jump the line over people who have been there longer and trying to get where this guy or girl from wherever walked right into. The other reason I do this is because it says you earned it when you get there. In a new fed, that is the only time you have to establish a pecking order. But after things get rolling, everyone should start at the bottom and climb up. They appreciate it more when they reach their goals generally, and it tells a better story.

I’ll tell you a little story. (One day, I’ll do a blog on just the stories I have had from dealing with players all these years, if interested. Let me know). About a year or so ago, I had a guy sign up to the SVW boards and let me know he was joining. Well I was happy with it, always glad for a new member. That was until he started PMs with me telling me about how it wouldn’t make sense for his character to start out anywhere else but the main event because he was such a big star. After all, he had placed in the double digits somewhere of an interfed tournament of only about 160 people or something like that. Well I explained that’s not how I do things in my feds. He suddenly lost interest, and I never heard from him again. At the end of the day unless I am very familiar with said fed, what you did there doesn’t carry a load of weight. And I can almost guarantee most of my roster will likely not be anymore aware of these great accomplishments than I am. This particular player wanted right into the SVW Championship picture from the first day, otherwise it “wouldn’t make sense for such a huge star.” Coincidentally a little research on my part about said character lead me to discover that he was truly a legend in his own mind. And very few others. Moral of the story here is you appreciate something more when you have had to earn it than when it is given to you. I am the same way, I think it’s human nature in fairness.

These are just a small sampling of the things I take into account in my endless unpaid job as a fed head in charge of what I feel is the greatest assemblage of writing talent in the entire game top to bottom. As I said at the start, there are other things I also consider and other approaches to certain things, and if interested, I will cover more of them later. 

I’m not saying everything I have done is the right way to do it. I don’t even think that. Hindsight is 20/20 after all. But so far, they have served me well all this time and hopefully shall continue to do so. Without a roster, a fed is nothing. It’s no secret that feds live and die by the commitment of the people in them no matter how good or bad someone in charge is. And I’ve seen both, good feds with dedicated players (of which I include mine) run by competent people and bad feds with horrible leadership but are kept going by players who are just that damn loyal. (The temptation to cite examples is overwhelming here, but I’ll leave it at I have yet to see someone with the initials JC who ran a fed well…ahem.) 

Hopefully this gives you a little bit of insight into how I do things. And later on, maybe we can get even deeper into that. As always, I appreciate your time and interest in my thoughts on pretty much anything because that means on some level great or small, you care. And that is also a key to being good at a game like this. 

You have to care. 

 

I’ll go ahead and let you know that this blog update is just a more general subject matter than a theme as I tend to strive for. My mind is in a few places of late, and writing here helps me collect those thoughts and give voice to them. Blogs may not be for everyone, but this one helps me to get things out that I have a hard time saying to one person. I know how strange that sounds. I can’t say it to one person, but I can tell the world. But it seems to work for me. 

Not much has changed on the employment front. Still applying, still sending out resumes, still doing everything I know of and shaking every tree I can find. As of this post, nothing has changed. And that’s scary enough on its own. The money is running out. And without my actual family who I never could depend on and certainly can’t now, it’s getting scarier by the minute. Not knowing what you may or may not be able to pay is bad enough. And I’m not even talking about luxuries. I mean stuff like power or my phone. 

I’ve been using eBay a bit, but those are by no means guaranteed sales. I feel like I’m selling out my childhood. The wrestling tapes don’t mean what they did because I can’t watch them anymore and most of them are on YouTube if I want to see them. But the figures, that’s stuff I grew up with. Those are things that I played with and meant the world to me. And little by little, they are going out the door. Well some of them. 

Have you ever been scared? I know we all have phobias. Some are afraid of snakes or spiders. Count me in on the first one there. But have you ever been afraid that you don’t know where you are going to be a month from now? I am. When I had a job, I knew where everything went and what I needed to do to ensure my standard of life stayed the same. I don’t have that anymore. And it scares the hell out of me. It is quite simply the most scared I think I have ever been in my life. 

And I’m just helpless. That’s what hurts the most, that’s the worst part. Not being in charge of your own destiny. Leaving things up to chance, and chance has rarely shown me any favors in my waking life. It’s just terrifying to me. I go to bed each night and lay there staring at the ceiling. Sometimes I can sleep, sometimes not so much. I don’t know where my future is going to go, I just know it’s not looking promising at the moment.

Without the few people in my life I do have (namely pretty much everyone who reads this that knows me), I don’t know where I’d be. I think I’d have given up by now. I’m sure of it. Some of the people close to me have helped me financially, and I will repay them in full as soon as I can. Others have provided some emotional support by just listening. It all means the world to me, because I couldn’t make it without them.

If you’re reading this, then you obviously know me and we have some kind of friendship which I appreciate and cherish. And if you can do it, I need your help now more than ever. I hate asking for anything, a point I have made over and over on this blog. Especially when I can’t guarantee when I’ll be able to always return the favor. But rest assured I will. In some form or fashion. 

I need your help. They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. Well it’s damn sure pitch black right now. If you can help me out, I will be eternally grateful. I can not promise anything but my appreciation right now. It’d be unfair to promise anything else. 

Thank you for listening. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for everything that you do.

We’ve all heard the saying that pride goeth before the fall. And I will not even try to hide the fact that I have pride in abundance. At least in certain aspects of my life. In my creative life as far as writing, I believe I am competent and can tell a good story whenever I need or want to. And I am confident in my decisions when I make them, even though I have gone back more than once and told people where I went wrong. I am not so foolish as to think I am infallible. But that isn’t the purpose of this blog today.

This blog is to talk about the world outside of the creative realm. And one right now that is getting somewhat bleak. For those unaware, I have been job searching tirelessly since I left my last employer after they essentially stole from me. I won’t go into details about it here, because it’s over and done and nothing I can do to change it. As many of you have no doubt felt at some point, finding a new job is hard. Finding a good job is even harder. But I have persevered as far as that goes. Each day, I scour websites and shake trees (as it were) as I look for new employment.  I have sent out countless resumes, filled out even more countless job applications. And I continue to do so frequently.

But as the days go by, the money problems get worse. I have been very blessed to have more than one friend come to my aide in this time. And I can’t tell you how much they mean to me, because without them, this would have gotten far worse far quicker. I love them for their assistance, be it one time or recurring. 

But the pride I started to talk about is in asking for help. Because I don’t like to do it. I don’t like asking anyone for anything. I don’t like the idea that someone I respect could think I’m just..a mooch of some kind. Because the people who are close to me, their opinion is something I value more than anything. And while I know they will say it changes nothing, I can’t help but feel I have diminished myself in their eyes. If for no other reason than I had to ask for something. 

Asking for help is something I hate doing, I’ve made that clear enough by now. The people who have helped me are life savers, because this would have gotten tremendously worse without them. But it is my own damn pride that has made me this way. And even now it holds me back from asking for more help. Because I’m afraid of the perception people will have.

“Oh, Mark can’t do anything. He’s useless.” “

There he is asking for something again, just shut up.”

“I’m losing respect for that guy more and more.” 

And while I know that is likely my own imagination at work, it still bothers me. Because all you have with the people you know is your word, your bond. Their perception of you is what makes them believe in you, what makes them trust you, what makes them your friend. 

But at the end of the day, when you need help, pride doesn’t pay the bills. It doesn’t keep the lights on. It doesn’t allow you to use the means to continue to do what you need to do to better your situation. And writing this (and posting it) is likely one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life because I honestly will walk away from this post feeling worth about two cents. And that may be overcharging. 

But I need help. I can’t do it on my own right now. I’m trying my best, but pride be damned. I just need help to make it. There, I said it. 

And all I can hope is those that know me won’t lose faith or respect for me in the process. I try so hard to present an image that shows I can be there for anyone anytime they need me. To be a rock. 

And no matter how much you try to be there for them, sometimes you hope they can be there for you too. Thanks for reading this. I needed to get it out. 

I guess I’m not as strong as I thought I was, am I? 

I want to go ahead and preface this blog entry by letting you know that I am not a domestic terrorist. For those of you who might have suspected as such, you are no doubt disappointed to learn this information. But no, I am not now nor have I have ever been involved with or in support of domestic terrorism. As for those of you who operate in reality, you no doubt wonder what the hell has brought this on. Stand by, gentle readers. It’s story time.

For those unaware, I am a fairly avid user of eBay, mainly for selling stuff but once in a while when I can afford it, I have bought items as well. Recently I posted a listing for the latest issue of Rolling Stone. I got a subscription a while back, and this latest issue features the man accused of the bombings in Boston. I’m not going to try to spell his name, because I would likely get it wrong. I had no particular desire to keep this issue, and decided since it was apparently in some demand, I’d just sell it. I don’t expect much, but hey, I can get some groceries for a few days maybe with it. But I digress.

As I awoke this morning, the eBay app on my phone alerted me to the fact that I had a message from a buyer. Usually these are about things I’m selling, I answer them fairly quickly when I get them, nothing new there. Well as I opened this one to quickly answer whatever question there was, I noticed it wasn’t a question. It was in relation to my sale of this magazine. And across the top “BOYCOTT!!! DOMESTIC TERRORIST!!” was written the same way you see it there but multiple times. In the very brief sentence that followed, the buyer asked me how I could possibly be supporting the man accused as being the Boston Bomber.

This was one hell of a wake up message, let me tell you. And to make it more intriguing, this gentleman is currently the high bidder for this magazine. After taking a moment to digest this message, as I told a very good friend in a text, I do not believe this person to be overburdened with reason or intellect. I do not know him, only his eBay username which leads me to believe he lives in the fine state of Rhode Island.

It is quite obvious that there is a fairly moderate hysteria over terrorism. And I understand where it comes from. I also understand why that is the case. However this event brought that home for me today. I am not responsible for the cover of any magazine. Nor am I responsible for the content of that magazine. And just because I subscribe to a magazine that has a controversial cover does not make me anything but a subscriber to said magazine. These are all facts not visited upon my would-be bidder in the fine state of Rhode Island. And as I write this, I am fervently hoping he gets outbid as I don’t think I want to interact in any sense with this individual. 

Having this happen and while I do consider it a somewhat benign and isolated incident, it also caused me to think about the plight of those who live in our country today who likely deal with this kind of nonsense just because of where they are from or what religion they follow. Much like me, I am sure they are citizens who want nothing more than to support themselves and lead their lives. And if this case of “six degrees of separation” can happen to me, I can’t even fathom what the day to day life of people who have to deal with this on a regular basis must be like. All I can offer them is my respect, because you are all obviously very strong individuals and I commend and admire you for it.

Long story short, I don’t know where the rest of this day leads but it certainly has gotten off to something of a wild start. Feel free to share your thoughts and reactions in the comments section.

Invaluable

Originally tonight, I was going to sit down here and spend the wee hours doing what I have been doing quite heavily in daylight hours, and that, gentle reader is looking for a job. But the more I began to sift through countless websites and answered the same questions again and again and again till the point where I feel like I could have filled them out in my sleep, I just couldn’t find the motivation. Believe me when I tell you it has been nothing short of an exhaustive search, and one that each time I feel like I’m getting a step closer, I’m getting shoved four back. And after a while, it just drains you.

I am not so naive as to think I’m the first person to have to go through with this. That would be asinine. I have friends who have gone through it, are going through it, and hope to never have to go through it. And they could likely tell you any number of depressing stories about their trials and tribulations as I could. But other than proving the adage that sympathy does indeed love company, what would that accomplish? Not very much.

Honestly I think I have used this forum enough as a venting device to bemoan the problems I have dealt with and continued to deal with. Be it from a certain game many of my readers play with me or friends who I once worked with, all of them have no doubt listened to me do nothing short of well….bitch, I guess is the appropriate term. And as of this moment, I have no desire whatsoever to do that with this post. Maybe later. 

Instead what I wanted to talk about is something I never seem to have enough of, and while many of you will no doubt argue that is probably money considering my situation at the moment it’s not. I’m actually talking about friends. Now don’t get me wrong, I have several people who I feel I could lean on and talk to about anything. But at some point, I don’t know about you but I begin to feel like I’m piling on and just leaning too much. However, it goes without saying that I would be far more miserable without them and I value each of them tremendously. They all know how I feel, and if they don’t, all they need do is ask.

The friends that I talk about here are the ones I don’t have at this time. And there is that other old adage about absence making the heart grow fonder And I will be the first to tell you that I miss some of those friends. I miss the extensive and sometimes meandering chats we used to have, be it over IM or text messages or even just on the phone. It goes from people in the waking world to people I have primarily an electronic connection with. From former coworkers to people in my college classes to those I have met in the farflung reaches of the world.

And the reason they are no longer in my life is generally because of misunderstandings. As much as you try to avoid them, they are nearly impossible at times. And usually something that could cost you someone who is so important is generally over something that one of you got wrong or misinterpreted or heard secondhand that wasn’t the case. And those are the worst kind, at least to me. Because unlike a few, I’m a person who likes to resolve things. I’m a person who likes to fix problems, whether it be for myself or for those I care about. But in these cases, I feel somewhat helpless. And that, gentle reader, is the absolute worst feeling in the world to me. I’d rather be many much more unpalatable things than to feel helpless. 

Because you see, people you can count on in this world come at a premium. It’s not like you can open up your phone book and look under close friends and just find a waiting list there for your pillaging. If only it were that easy. No, nothing in life worth having is generally easy to attain. And close friends are definitely not an exception. I’ll give you a perfect example. Recently I reconnected with a friend I haven’t spoken with in over a year. The reason they stopped talking to me? Misunderstanding. Thought I was mad at them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Honestly. And as soon as that was cleared up, it was like nothing had ever changed. 

And that experience got me to thinking about others I have lost contact with in recent times. How many of them are gone because of a simple misunderstanding that could be resolved in less than a few moments of conversation? Honestly I don’t know the answer to that question. Because it is exceedingly difficult to talk to someone who has no desire to do the same with you. And as I sit here in the silence of my home, my mind drifts back to the people that I wish were still around in some form or another. I don’t know if they will ever read this, but if they do, I would encourage them to reach out because you have my word that it would not be in vain.

Chances are if you ever cared at all about me, maybe you think the same way I do. Maybe you think there is a chance I’m talking about you. And maybe you’re right. All I know is much like finances, those you can always rely on are as hard to come by and even more valuable. So to those people out there who read this, I hope that the reasons you have distanced yourself is more mountain than molehill, to borrow another tired cliche. Because as I sit here right now and reflect on these people, I wish them well. I have no ill will towards them. The fact is…I miss them. I’m not sure I ever stopped.

Keep your friends close. Because outside of family, they are the last people you ever want to have at any farther distance than that.

Dedicated to: MH, CD, HS, JM, LP, CC, AS

I miss you all. More than you know. Sadly I only have these words to be able to express it.

I Am Stupid

I am stupid.

Yes, I know it’s the title of this piece. And quite frankly, it’s something I have felt now for quite some time. And it’s not because I said something dumb that got me into trouble, though there is definitely a case made for that as well. And no one has even directly told me “Mark, you’re stupid.” No, they have just said it every nice way you can think of instead.

Allow me to explain. Ever since I went back to Wal-Mart, I began trying to find another job three days after I got back. Why? Because having worked in that store for as long as I have, it is absolutely the most dismal environment I can imagine. It drains me of my soul, it feels like. And having worked there for about four years off and on through the last five years, it only exacerbated it. Since the day I got back, I began looking for a way back out. Like a prisoner who got placed back into prison even though he knew he didn’t belong there.

I sent out applications, I sent out resumes. I did it all. At places I would love to work, places I’d like to work, everywhere practically but Wal-Mart. And in (almost) every interview, the reason they wouldn’t hire me (because I would ask) is because of my lack of college education. I did graduate from college, but it was a community college. I have an Associates degree, which means very little. It was something I was proud of at the time, because I was the first person on my father’s side of the family to ever graduate from college. It was a sense of pride, of accomplishment. It just didn’t last long.

Being told again and again by potential employers that I didn’t have the education they needed to do the job all that time, it was like a backhand every single time. I don’t consider myself uneducated. I don’t consider myself ignorant. I don’t consider myself unintelligent. But when the rest of the professional world basically says otherwise again and again, you start to believe it. I know I did. I began to think that maybe I just can’t do any better than Wal-Mart. Even though every part of me did think I could. I just don’t believe it as much anymore.

And I’ll be the first to admit that your self esteem begins to take a hit. Mine has taken a beating again and again to the point where I feel like the only thing I’m suitable for is blue collar work. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because there are those who love working with their hands. Just not me. I prefer to exercise my mind in some way, if at all possible. It’s why I grew to love writing so much. I don’t believe there is a better way to exercise that part of you personally.

Just hearing that again and again, it’s disheartening. It breaks your spirit. It breaks your will. And then you just want to give up. I know this from experience, because I’m practically there now. I don’t consider myself stupid, but I’m to the point now where I’m tired of arguing the point. It’s what the world at large as far as employers are telling me. It’s what I have been told again and again for some time now. I just refused to accept it. I’m starting to come to grips with it now though. I don’t personally fully believe it, to be honest. Not yet. There is still that part of me, weak as it is now, that is telling me that they are wrong. That having a Masters or a Ph.D. isn’t the only qualifier for being good at what you want to do. Part of me still thinks that. But after hearing this answer from interviewer after interviewer for all this time, I’m just in the minority when it comes to believing that about myself. And it hurts.

You can call it pride going before the fall. You can call it arrogance that I would take it so personally. Call it what you want, it’s still the same message. And the same thing I hear in my head at every turn from those places where I am trying to learn and better myself. And it’s a sobering thought.

I am stupid.

It’s natural behavior really. When you abuse an animal or person enough, they stop fighting back. And they just…give in.

Maybe I’m too stupid to know when to do that.