Musings: The End is Near

Honestly, I really do want to tell you all about my lovely trip to California; however, this week has been quite hectic and I want to make sure I bore you all with excruciatingly long winded descriptions. There simply is no time for that right now. Our lives are about to change forever.

Tomorrow at midnight (well, Friday at midnight for the Hermione’s of the world), the final Harry Potter film is being released. All of my most avid HP fan friends and I bought tickets well in advance, of course. We will be seeing the film in Chinatown tomorrow evening. In many ways, this movie marks the death of my childhood.

Like this...but dead.

That may not be completely true, actually. My childhood has been dead for a while now…cheerful, I know. As most of you know, I much prefer the HP books to every single one of the movies. Yes, I somehow manage to prefer the Order of the Phoenix book to the Half Blood Prince film, if only barely. For that reason, I’m more inclined to think that my youth ended when I finished reading the 7th book.

Fittingly, my time reading the Deathly Hallows was probably the most involved I have ever been while reading any of the HP’s. It was over a summer during the middle of college and none of my friends were around when I was reading it. In preparation for its release, I went to a Scottish restaurant and ate Cornish Pasties and scones. I sat at home by myself, reading it late into the night with massive pots of tea. I would occasionally google castles when I took breaks. The only time I wasn’t at home reading it was when I visited my parents at the cabin they were renting…in the mountains…on a lake. So yeah, I was pretty much in the zone.

Ohhh to be young.

Things are obviously different now. It’s still the middle of summer, but I work 40 hours a week. If you count the commutes, it’s 55 hours a week. I’ll be up late into the night tomorrow, but I’ll pay for it at 5:30 on Friday morning. Still, I’m extremely excited for tomorrow. Why?

Like a tiny fraction of Voldemort’s soul, my childhood is still tucked away, almost entirely unbeknownst to me, somewhere inside. The movie tomorrow will probably mark the last time that I gather with friends for the beginning of something new regarding HP, whether its a book release or a movie premier, and I refuse to take it lying down. I’m going to make butterbeer after work. We’re going to go to an Irish Pub to get in the mood. If the enormity of the event seems too overwhelming, then bring on the firewhiskey. We’ll cast a patronus to fend off the melancholy of the end, because I demand one last summer night with the man with the lightning bolt scar.

It's been real.

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Musings: Problem Solving

A friend of mine recently asked me what I think my greatest skill is. After thinking about it for a few moments, I realized that I am best at solving problems. I’m not sure when I became good at it, but I’ve definitely come to rely on it at my job. As the only person who isn’t working on a well defined, very specific research project, literally everything outside of said projects falls on me. Fedex billed us wrong? Find out why. New incubator that I’ve never seen before isn’t holding temperature? Fix it. We’re in need of a new subzero freezer? Find the best one and get us a good price on it.

I was thinking of labeling this post as “Stuff That I Like”, because in a lot of ways, I like being the problem solver. I get a unique sort of high from rapidly putting a wide range of issues to rest. At the same time, I’m not sure that I actually like solving the problems. If anything, it has become more of a compulsion. It’s like some practical, real world version of a MMORPG, where I want to progress further and further, proving how much I can fix, without much of an endgame.

Speaking of video games, my compulsive desire to solve problems has seriously affected the way that I game. I’ve found more and more that in any non-repetitive game (as in, not a multiplayer game where the same basic tasks are repeated), I keep pushing myself to finish the game, sometimes at the cost of actual enjoyment.

As everyone will find out when I get around to writing about all the games that I’ve really, truly, seriously loved, I get the most enjoyment out of games where I take my time, get immersed, and really enjoy the unique moments. I still come across these moments from time to time, where I want the game to last forever, if only for a chance to experience a few more thrilling moments; however, on the whole, I push forward in games, crossing missions off as I go, more or less enjoying myself, but yearning for the moment when I’ll achieve a final victory.

This is all made worse by the fact that when I do finish a really terrific game, I’m upset that I plowed through it so unenthusiastically. I’ll rarely make it back for another whole playthrough (with the exception of a few true classics that I replay frequently), despite wanting to indulge a bit more. I seriously fear the day when I can’t find a game or two that really sucks me in. It seems to me that a lot of older gamers reach the point where gaming becomes a chore.If I ever reach that point, you will see a very unhappy Chris. I don’t want my childhood to die. I just want to grow up to be like this guy:

Anyway, back in the real world, I hope that I can capitalize on my problem solving abilities/compulsions/desires. The good thing is, it’s one of those skills that never really sounds bad in an interview. Who doesn’t love a problem solver? The downside is that I really need a job where that problem solving provides total satisfaction. Right now, I feel like the only way for me to achieve this is by working for myself. Nothing really sounds fulfilling compared to building a business, confronting and solving new challenges on a daily basis. Now I just need to find a place to start. Any ideas?