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Robert Phillips
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Robert Phillips

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For the last 3 months (including this month), around this time of the month, I've gotten sick. 

It seems my beard is cursed. I think I might have to end things tonight.
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Hah!  No, you should shape it into something awesome instead!
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Opening presents with my niece and nephew. D was tired. 
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Playing FIFA 14 is pretty fun, but I think watching John Green play FIFA 14 is even better.
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Best Moments of the Project for Awesome
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/project-for-awesome--2/x/4035973
http://www.projectforawesome.com/

The Project for Awesome is over, but the indiegogo campaign will remain open for another 31 hours or so. They've raised nearly $650K via the campaign (~$800K overall) in this short amount of time. As I said earlier in the week, if you can give any money or time (for voting/comments), that would be awesome. Because you'd be doing it for the Project for Awesome. And that's awesome.

Yep.
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{Warning...a somewhat lengthy AND personal post below! Though I would appreciate some help/advice/suggestions/etc. about volunteering, so maybe skip to the bottom if you don’t want to deal with yet another person who mistook G+ for Livejournal}

We’re at the end of 2013, and the new year is almost upon us. 

To be honest, 2013 has been pretty horrible for me. Probably the worst year I’ve ever experienced. I guess it is hard to say that definitively given I was alive (and celebrating a birthday!) for 9/11, not to mention the other years when I had close family members/friends/beloved pets pass away. But certainly in terms of emotional stress and internal conflict, this year has sucked big time.

To be fair...and honest...it wasn’t really THAT bad. Relative to the struggles that many people deal with on a daily basis (including maybe some of you), this year was actually pretty good I guess. I am definitely thankful for my good fortunes. I’m healthy, doing fine financially (“fine financially,” check out my sweet alliteration skillz!), own a house and car (both in good shape), enjoy my job and co-workers, have an awesome dog who provides tons of entertainment, learned lots of cool things (and met some cool people), etc. Plus I have a freaking PS4! Am I sure I wasn’t trying to submit this year as “one of the best years EVAH!” instead? ;)

So yeah, I’m not blind to all of that, and I certainly feel bad for...feeling bad...at times. 

The year started off pretty strong. At one point, I was probably as happy as I’ve ever been in life (a culmination of the several strong years for me). Had to pinch myself even to make sure this wasn’t a dream. Unfortunately, that would not last long, and I was hit with a few tough things that really seemed to take their toll on me at times (and unfortunately, I’m afraid they will stick with me for quite some time). I don’t want to bore anyone with specifics right now (especially since I don’t want to focus on the negatives, and have them tied to certain individuals), but it is the usual things that can really break someone down, including both major heartbreak and family drama/conflict. Both of these also involved some big lies from people I really trusted. Just further proof that even if the truth hurts, lying is much worse (I knew this already, but I definitely stress “open and honest communication” now...you always think it won’t work, and yet it always seems to be better than expected). 

Also, while the Rockets made the playoffs (part of the strong start to the year!), I didn’t make it to any of the games, which probably caused them to lose in the first round. I told myself years ago that I would go to a game when they made it to the playoffs again. And I dropped the ball. I often find myself staying up at night, contemplating “what if” scenarios. If only I made it to game 3, maybe they would have advanced to the next round, and then…

There’s not really any good “how-to” books (wait...Wikis are the new thing now, right?) on how to handle situations like that, but I’ve tried my best to take all that pain, process it as best I could, and try to become a stronger/better person in the end. Just like Goku and those crazy Saiyans. I might have been weakened this year, but I’ll come back more powerful than you can ever imagine. And with spiky gold hair and blue eyes. If I still had my tail, I’d go around wrecking some stuff during full moons in my giant ape form too. King Kong ain’t got shibby on me! Boom shaka-laka-laka. Sit on it. Don’t have a cow man. Hasta la vista baby. Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick!

That’s where the New Year comes into play. I’m not super big on New Year’s Resolutions. Usually, if I want to make a (positive) change in my life, I usually just do it, regardless of when it is during the year. But I have had some success in the past when trying new things during/around the new year. For 2014, I wanted to pursue something new that would make me a better/stronger individual, and while I have a few different ideas (and I’ll try to do them all), I’m really thinking it is time I spend more time volunteering. I don’t know why I haven’t done more of it in the past. I’ve enjoyed myself when volunteering at the Capital Area Food Bank or Habitat for Humanity (among others), but in my spare time (of which, I have a decent amount), I find myself just watching cat videos on Youtube, sitting on my butt, or even staring at goats (OK, maybe not that last one so much, although I did briefly think this would spontaneously result in a Taylor Swift song playing). 

I’m still in the exploratory/research phase, but I really want to spend more of my time volunteering next year (and hopefully every subsequent year). 1-2 hours a week minimum shouldn’t be too tough, especially if I find something I enjoy (and as I stated previously, I usually really enjoy doing things like this). In particular, I really want to dedicate my time to being a mentor/tutor/teacher/educator/whatever you want to call it. I’ve always enjoyed learning new things, and I would love to share that experience with others, hopefully inspiring them to do the same. Help them understand the sheer awesomeness of our universe. Expose people to wonderful creatures like prehensile tailed porcupines. Aid our youth in actually enjoying things like books and history. Lend a helping hand to people who are struggling with their finances/home life/etc., and just need some general guidance/support in life (maybe they weren’t as fortunate as I was when it came to strong mentors/individuals/opportunities/etc.). Advise young adults on what it is like (and what it takes) to be a software engineer. Teach some parents/grandparents how to use some of these crazy, darn-fangled devices (like a microwave). Etc.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I haven’t done a damn thing yet. Unlike that Louis CK joke, I don’t want to feel good about myself just because I THOUGHT about doing some good deeds. No self-patting on the back for me. 

And this is where maybe some of you can maybe come in…

As I said, I’m researching what opportunities there are for me. I’ve obviously not done a LOT of this in the past, so I’m pretty ignorant of what all is available/possible. I’ve done some Googling, and there appears to be SO MANY opportunities out there for someone who feels the way I do. I don’t even know where to start to be honest! I’d love to hear some recommendations from you guys, if you have any. As I said, there are some volunteer efforts I want to try out in particular, but I’m open to any and all opportunities out there, especially if they are well organized and fun to do (note: volunteering to do your chores is not quite what I had in mind...you can scoop your own dog poop!!). 

I’ve looked into some organizations, including Big Brother/Big Sisters, YouthWorks, Junior Achievement, STEM tutoring, Boys and Girls Club, and maybe a few others I’m forgetting. If anyone has any experience/info about those in particular, I’d greatly appreciate it. I’ll probably want to start with something small at first, just to get a feel for things, but I could see myself taking on larger tasks (with bigger commitments) over time. 

Thanks for reading that mess of a post. I’m not sure if it was really worth sharing, but I was kind of hoping that if I put some of this out there, it would push me even more to fulfill some of these goals. If I kept this to myself, it might not be so bad if I decided to sit on my butt for 52 straight weekends. But now I can have some of you holding me accountable! Along the same lines, I guess if any of you want to do the same thing, maybe we can work together.

On a side-note, I’m hoping this wasn’t a problem, but if I was rude (or some other negative) towards anyone this year, I apologize. I certainly wasn’t 100% myself at certain points of the year (due to the tough times), though I tried to bounce back as soon as I could (I like being the silly, happy-go-lucky Robert instead of the quiet, distant, and depressed Robert). I’m probably just stressing over nothing, but again, my apologies if I seemed like a jerk at times. Of course, if I was a jerk last year (or before), I offer no apologies. Because I was trying to be a jerk at that time, and I’m happy if my mission was successful. And by the way, your mama is a snow blower!

I hope everyone has a good day, a good holiday season, and hopefully a good 2014 (and beyond)!. Not that this is my last post of the year or anything, but it just seemed like I should say something like that. I couldn't end it by saying, "Hey, how about them Cowboys?" or "Is it going to get cold this weekend?" That would just be weird. And I don't post weird things. So...how about them Cowboys?
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Robert, I honestly don't think you're even capable of being "rude"! :-)
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http://igg.me/p/project-for-awesome--2/x/4035973
http://www.projectforawesome.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers

Probably not a good time to be asking for donations given the upcoming holidays and other charities going on right now, but I strongly recommend sending anything you can to this campaign. The Project for Awesome (started by the Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck, which is now an official charitable organization recognized by the IRS!) basically strives to raise a bunch of money, and then (via voting from the online community) the top 10 charities will share the money that is raised (IIRC). 

Even if you can't donate anything right now, definitely check out the videos of the various charities and try to spread awareness about them. This is just as much about raising awareness as it is raising money. Watch the videos of the charities, comment on the ones you like, share them on Facebook/G+/Twitter, etc.

As of this posting, the indiegogo project is a little over $200K raised, 8-9 hours into their 48 hour campaign. John and Hank Green are livestreaming during this 48 hours, helping spread awareness as well as providing entertainment (as they usually do) to anyone watching. I just watched John shoot 7ish year old silly string all over his face as a "reward" for raising so much money. Apparently the smell is quite bad. 

Plenty of perks available on the indiegogo campaign as well. Shirts, calendars, signed copies of John's books (strongly recommend reading them if you haven't), etc. 

I'm rambling, but hopefully this all results in a lot of good happening. 
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Coming up on $300K on the indiegogo campaign (almost $450K overall, which I believe is what they raised last year).
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Even as a teetotaler, I found this pretty interesting.

How many of you just did a search for "teetotaler?" What a bunch of roobadoinks.

How many of you just searched for roobadoinks? Quit reading this and watch the video.
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Too good. 
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My sister was grilling some food, and look what we found.

The grill is on.
We don't have a cat. 
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Cats r dumb 
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Some epic bed head going on. Your argument is invalid, my hair is a bird. 
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To go along with my theme of the day I guess...

"Bond’s peak daily consumption? That occurred on Day 3 of his mission in “From Russia With Love,” when he drank 398.4 grams of alcohol. To Bond’s credit, it must have been stressful strangling a would-be assassin with his own garrote, hijacking a truck and destroying an enemy helicopter all in a day’s work."
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Anybody down for some slobber carrots and gross barbecue (also with slobber)? Sounds tasty. 

And don't forget the hat!
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Have him in circles
91 people
esdhin avila's profile photo
Grant Gadoci's profile photo
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Work
Occupation
Software Engineer
Skills
Java, JavaScript, jQuery, HTML, CSS, BIRT, XSLT, SQL, Flex/ActionScript/Flash, C++, Agile Development, bad jokes, etc.
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Introduction
I look like the guy in the profile picture, and they call me Robert. I like blueberry muffins. They're pretty tasty. 
Bragging rights
I once had a dream where I had a massive tumor growing out of my left ear. I also got attacked by a horse, but it was cool and we got along after that. Guess I did cool stuff in real life too.
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