Browsing Tag: mattmcgee

    Miscellany

    A New Twist to My Habit of Dying in Dreams

    December 1, 2022

    For my entire life, I’ve had dreams in which I die. And it’s not unusual for me to have these same dreams repeatedly.

    As an adult, it usually involves a fall from a great height. There’s one in which I’m driving up a steep hill, and then when I get to the top, the downward hill/road is essentially a 90-degree angle. The car goes over and crashes at the bottom. There are other versions where I’m running to get away from something/someone, and I go over the side of a cliff. (As a kid, it was different — I was in a submarine that suddenly started filling with water, and I drown.)

    I have dreams like this probably 4-5 times a year.

    The most recent one happened earlier this week and included a big twist! Here’s what I remember:

    I was in a wooded area on a hill — not a thick forest, but a nice, kind of bucolic grassy area with clusters of trees and bushes. Maybe like a big park. I didn’t recognize the area. (I never do in these kinds of dreams.)

    For some unknown reason, my “emergency” mode kicked in and I had to get out of where I was. There was a guy in a car in the middle of the grass. I don’t remember him saying anything nor do I remember asking him anything, but I instinctively hopped in the passenger seat and he started driving away as fast as possible from God-knows-what.

    As we’re driving, there seems to be only one way out. We can’t turn around and go back because that’s where the unknown danger is. But right in front of us is a thick group of bushes and trees blocking our exit. The guy slams down on the gas pedal so we have enough speed and power to burst through.

    BAM! We make it through but … we instantly go right over the edge of a cliff.

    (At this point in the dream, I’m semi-lucid and thinking to myself…here we go again. #eyeroll)

    The car starts to fall and I see that we’re above a huge body of water — looks like the ocean to me. It gets a little hazy here because either we went into the water, which slowed the car’s fall, or there was some kind of parachute on the car that slowed us down in mid-air … or maybe the dream itself just went into slow-motion. I couldn’t figure out that part.

    The guy tells me to grab the thing in his backseat — it was pretty flat and about the size of an extra large duffel bag. Whatever it was, that was gonna be our flotation device. I guess it was too big to grab while I was in the front seat, because next thing I know, I’m outside “standing” on the side of the car, pulling as hard as I can to get the back door open so I can grab this thing. Meanwhile, the car is still falling but in slow motion, or maybe we were already underwater. I guess if I was struggling to open the door, we were probably underwater.

    I finally get the door open and grab the thing in the back seat. Next thing I know, we’re both at the ocean’s surface, holding onto this floaty thing. The car is gone. I’m feeling pretty bleak in the dream, but “semi-lucid Matt” is wondering what’s gonna happen next…because this is a totally new dream.

    All of a sudden, I look to my right and I see six people off in the distance — not too far away, maybe 30-40 yards! Three of them are swimming and the other three are up on something that looked like a jetski but was much smaller than a jetski. All six of them are wearing white swim caps with numbers on the side. (Like professional swimmers, maybe?)

    At the same moment that I start yelling and waving frantically, one of them sees me and then alerts the others and they all make their way toward us. They swim alongside us as we hold onto the mini-jetski thingies. Instead of the beach, though, we reach this concrete platform/walkway that’s right in the middle of the ocean. I couldn’t see far enough, but I assume it eventually gets you back to dry land. It’s exactly like an inground pool you’d have in your backyard — it’s got a little rounded ledge that I was holding onto while the others got out of the water first. While I was holding on, I could see more of the ocean on the other side of the walkway/platform.

    When it’s my turn, I climb out, get up on the walkway and the dream ends. I didn’t die!

    Given what happened to me just two months ago, almost dying in the Pacific Ocean before a group of 4-5 people pulled me out of the water … this was definitely an interesting development in my lifetime of dying in dreams!

    I’m pretty sure the psychoanalysts and oneirologists would have a field day with this one. 😀

    Miscellany

    2020 Was the Year

    December 31, 2020

    It’s December 31. We have about 3.5 hours left in 2020 as I type this. As is often the case on New Year’s Eve, I’m in a reflective frame of mind. Aside from going to the occasional minor league hockey game, which is a Dec. 31 tradition in the Tri-Cities, I’ve never been much for the end-of-year party scene. Heck, most years my wife is asleep by 9-10 pm so I’d be going out by myself! But I do like to write, so here’s how I’ll remember the strange year that’s about to end.

    2020 was the year that I learned to live with my family in a constant state of close proximity. Now I hear you already thinking, WTF does he mean by THAT? I’ll explain. I’m an introvert to the core. I’ve always needed “me time.” I’ve always needed space and to be away from people, including my family. When working from home, it was always nice during the school year when everyone would be out of the house by 8:30 am and I’d have the place to myself until the kids got home from school in the afternoon.

    That went out the window with the pandemic. At first, it was just like summer vacation. I enjoyed having everyone around for a few weeks … then I started getting itchy for “me time,” for having the house to myself. But that itchiness went away after a couple weeks. The four of us are basically home 24/7, and it doesn’t bother me in the least. In fact, I welcome and value having everyone here at home. Safe. Together.

    2020 was the year that I learned to love grocery delivery services. As I wrote a couple months ago, there’s a good chance we keep doing grocery delivery even after things return to “normal.” I think I’m all in. The convenience is unbeatable, even if it costs a bit more.

    2020 was the year that I learned the names of my biological parents. To be fair, I knew my biological mom’s name several years ago. It was printed on some adoption paperwork that my dad sent me before he died in 2015. But I stashed those papers away in a non-obvious spot and didn’t rediscover them until this spring. That started a more serious effort to identify my bio-fam (as I like to call them). In a matter of a couple weeks, we identified my biological dad’s name, too. It was an amazing moment. Chills.

    I’ve tried to contact both of them, but no luck so far. The most likely reason is that the contact info I found for them is several years old, but I’ve accepted the possibility that they read my emails and chose not to reply. That makes me a bit sad, but I understand why they’d do that. Perhaps I’ll try again in the new year. Perhaps with better luck.

    2020 was the year that I said goodbye to @U2. I’m not sad that it’s gone. The site had a great run of 25 years, but all great things eventually come to an end. I’m fine with it being over. I’m only sad about how it ended — with a lot of stress and frustration that made life even more difficult than it needed to be for too many people.

    2020 was the year that reminded me that social media isn’t a good idea. Social media was a battleground this year. I didn’t participate, but I saw far too many wars of words on both sides of my own family. I hope and I want to believe that those fights didn’t cause any lasting scars, but I’m not sure they didn’t.

    2020 was the year that I watched more TV than ever. Just me? Probably not. And I discovered a lot of great shows, especially on Apple TV+. None were better than Ted Lasso, something I never saw coming. It’s not only the best show of 2020 for me, but it’s also one of the best shows I’ve ever watched. I can’t wait for seasons two and three, and hopefully many more beyond that. I liked it so much that I dressed up for Halloween for the first time in about 40 years.

    2020 was the year that I learned this country … the whole world, for that matter … is seriously lacking in critical thinking skills. For the past several months, I’ve seen social media arguments from people who oppose mask-wearing and oppose closing restaurants and churches because “we tried it the other way and that didn’t work, so we may as well go back to normal.” Nine months into the pandemic, they say things like “If grocery stores can stay open, restaurants should be able to!” They question how the medical experts could have gotten it “wrong” on certain aspects of the virus and changed their recommendations … ignoring the fact that this virus didn’t exist until one year ago and they’re figuring things out the same way we all are.

    Where did our critical thinking ability go? How is it that educated adults don’t understand the difference between essential and non-essential businesses? I love eating out as much as anyone, but my favorite restaurant is a luxury, not a requirement.

    2020 was the year that reminded me of the value of empathy and sympathy. As I type all this now, and as I’ve been thinking on this during the year, I’m doing my best to remember that my views and opinions are shaped by the position of privilege and blessing that our family finds itself in.

    We’re extremely blessed that Cari’s real estate business was only shut down for about 3-4 days in March. She’s had to work with a variety of rules and restrictions in place, but she’s had a successful year. Likewise, the company I work for (not a local company) remained open and I didn’t miss a paycheck.

    So while I sit here and express my dismay over how others are responding to the pandemic, I also wonder how I’d respond if Cari or I were in different lines of business. What if, like those restaurant or salon owners, the state’s rules left us unable to pay our mortgage? What if we were going 5-figures or 6-figures in debt just to keep our business open and have a home to live in? I very well might be reacting the same way they are. I think it’s important to be sympathetic toward the situation those folks are in, even if I don’t like how they’re responding to it.

    2020 was the year that my daughter began her college education at Western Washington University … from her bedroom. I can’t imagine what that must feel like, especially for a young adult who had been looking to get away from home for so long. We were able to visit the campus (pictured above) for a couple days in September, but those few hours were her only direct time on campus grounds. I should mention, too, that this was the year my son continued his Columbia Basin College education from his bedroom. And my wife did most of her real estate work from the office in her/our bedroom.

    2020 was the year that we, like millions of others, truly realized the importance of home. This year our homes became classrooms, offices, family entertainment centers, and so much more. If and when we move and buy a new home, this experience will have a huge impact on what we want.

    2020 was the year that I discovered foods like purple cauliflower, Dot’s pretzels (so good), and Caramel Macchiato cereal (pretty good). I’m sure there’s a lot more than that, but those are the ones that come to mind at this hour.

    2020 was the year that we had about three weeks of round-the-clock orange skies because of forest fires all around us.

    2020 was the year that I had a 3-week friendship with a praying mantis. We hung out together night after night out on the back patio. I’d sit in my favorite chair reading, relaxing, listening to music, and playing iPad games, while she’d sit on the chair across from me or maybe the sofa in between. I swear sometimes she was dancing to the song that was on. She loved to pose for pictures, too.

    I know it sounds strange … hanging out and making friends with a praying mantis.

    Hey. This was 2020. Strange was normal.

    Here’s hoping for a wonderful … and slightly less strange … 2021. Happy new year to you!

    Miscellany

    Young Pepperdine Sportscasters (Circa 1989-1990)

    July 19, 2020

    This photo is a snapshot of what hope and dreams looks like … or looked like … back around 1989 or 1990.

    That’s me on the left and my Pepperdine sportscasting partner, Kent Justice, on the right, at a men’s basketball game. I really have no clue when and where the photo was taken, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s from March 1989 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. That’s the night Pepperdine beat New Mexico St. in the first round of the NIT tournament. Kent and I somehow got the Communications Dept. to a) let us travel to New Mexico to broadcast the game on campus radio KMBU-FM, and b) pay our expenses!

    We were both full of high hopes and dreams for lengthy careers in sportscasting. For me, the dream lasted about 7-8 more years. I got out of TV and radio sports in 1997 after being told by news directors in two bigger cities that I was their #1 sports anchor candidate, but they couldn’t hire me because I was a white male … and they were under orders to hire a female/minority. Seeing the writing on the wall, I got out of the business altogether, taught myself how to build and market websites online and the rest is history.

    Kent, IIRC, has been in and out of the TV industry just a bit, but has settled in Jacksonville for some time now, and is currently the political reporter and weekend news anchor at WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Fla. We spoke a few months ago and he’s happy and doing well.

    That makes two of us.

    Life doesn’t always lead where you hope or think you’ll go, but that doesn’t mean you won’t end up somewhere great.

    Miscellany

    I totally get it if you didn’t recognize me in 2019

    December 31, 2019
    me on January 4, 2019

    The “me” that woke up on January 1, 2019, didn’t like where I was going.

    I was a U2 fan … albeit a very unhappy one. I was still managing @U2 (the U2 fan site I founded in 1995), but doing a poor job of it. That often happens when your heart isn’t in what you’re doing. I was frustrated with the band. I was frustrated with the @U2 staff. I was frustrated with U2 fans, in general, and a few fans specifically.

    I was miserable, frankly. But it took a few months of prayer and internal debate to sort things out. What I wanted to do (leave @U2) wasn’t the same as what I felt I should do (stick around). Complicating things was that I’m generally averse to change; @U2 wasn’t fun, but it was familiar. Being a U2 fan wasn’t fun, but it was comfortable. Change = risk.

    In early May I finally told the crew that I wanted to leave, and would do so as soon as they were ready for that to happen. Over the next few weeks, I realized that I needed to leave U2 itself behind, too. I unchecked U2’s entire catalog in iTunes and Spotify and haven’t listened to a U2 song in its entirety since.

    I formally left @U2 on June 10 and immediately felt a huge weight leave me. I felt free. I felt my attitude change. I felt like a different person. (A lot of U2 fans have asked me — on Twitter, mostly — to explain what happened, but that’s easier said than done. “I changed” is the TL;DR answer; maybe someday I’ll try to explain more. But I totally understand and respect the “Who is this guy and what is he doing?” spirit that was alive in those questions.)

    With all of that in my proverbial rear-view mirror, my musical focus shifted squarely on Gang of Youths. I’ve listened to them practically non-stop over the past 20 months, and I can’t get enough.

    I think I’ve become a better person since I discovered Gang of Youths and fell in love with their music. My mental health is light years better. I believe I’m more empathetic to people around me, and the struggles we’re all facing. I believe I’m more honest and vulnerable — with myself, my family, my co-workers. I believe I’m more real when I talk with others. I’m more aware of our humanness — my and your faults and limitations, my and your strengths and gifts. Most important: I believe Matt the Gang of Youths fan is a better person than Matt the U2 fan was.


    The “me” that woke up on January 1 was working with my wife as her real estate marketing guy, a role I began back in 2017. We’ve done well together; since I came on to help put marketing and business systems/processes in place, to create a brand for her and help her launch a real estate team, business is up about 33%.

    But by this spring/summer, working with Cari had become a part-time gig. My responsibilities didn’t change; I had the same tasks as always, but after almost two years I was able to do them much faster. There were plenty of days that I’d finish my work for her and then watch TV or play games on my iPad for the rest of the day. Sounds fun, huh? It was for a little while, but my personality demands that I be productive and do things. That makes me happy.

    So I started looking for a new job to keep me busy. I asked around if anyone in my network had open roles that fit me. I prayed a lot. I sent out maybe a dozen applications for jobs I thought would be really fun, and then did what I normally do when looking for a job: nothing. (I’ve always sucked at following up with companies where I applied, and instead preferred to let them contact me … which was kinda arrogant in a way, because I was assuming that my resumé and application would stand out so much from the crowd that of course they’d want to talk to me!)

    Then I did something: I went hard after a job that I knew was a perfect fit for my skills and background.

    The company was HomeLight — a real estate startup — and the job was something like “content marketing editor.” It was pretty much exactly what I spent almost 10 years doing at Third Door Media and the past two years with my wife.

    I wanted this job pretty badly. I asked around my network if anyone had contacts at HomeLight, but nope. And then I did something way out of character … I went right to the company to go after the job:

    After that short back and forth, we took the conversation to DMs, where I mentioned that I’d recently sent in my resumé and would love to talk to someone if the position was still open.

    As it turns out, the person on Twitter that I was chatting with is the same person who posted the job opening. I did two phone interviews the next week, went to HomeLight’s offices in San Francisco a couple weeks after that for more interviews and accepted a job offer about a week later. The person I chatted with on Twitter? He’s now my manager!

    HomeLight Matt is energized by the work that I’m doing — no time for watching TV and playing iPad games during the day, but that’s perfectly fine by me. The work I’m doing is the furthest thing from easy, but it’s a Good Challenge — like working on a tough puzzle. HomeLight Matt is part of a team of genuinely smart and warm people. (And at the end of the work day, I still get to help Cari with her marketing and business ops, too.)


    A couple weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook News Feed when I came upon one of those inspirational graphic messages you often see on social media — but this was a new one for me:

    “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

    A lot of inspirational quotes are kind of bullshit, y’know? But not that one. I’m living proof that that one’s true.

    In 2019, I did some things that were totally out of character … things I wouldn’t have done a year earlier … things I’ve often encouraged others (including my kids) to do, but never had the balls to do myself.

    I’m a better, happier, healthier person for it.

    I’m still getting to know this new version of myself. I’m sure there’s still a lot of change to come and mistakes to be made, but so far — praise God! — I really like where all this is going.

    Miscellany

    Mom & Dad, Why Did You Let Me Eat This Stuff?!?

    October 5, 2019

    I’ve been chatting with my daughter over the past several days about all the strange (and probably unhealthy) eating habits that I had as a kid.

    There was the phase I went through around 8-10 years old where I constantly ate uncooked hot dogs straight from the package. I remember polishing off an entire pack of hot dogs in a single day — had them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yuck, right?? I shudder just thinking about it.

    That was around the same time that I went through my mayonnaise sandwich phase, where I’d just spread mayo in between two slices of bread. That creation quickly morphed into a ketchup sandwich, and then into a ketchup & mayo sandwich. Just bread and condiments.

    I was telling my daughter that I wish at least one of my parents was still alive because I’d really love to ask them, What were you thinking when I was eating an entire pack of raw hot dogs in a single day, or having a mayonnaise sandwich for lunch? Or better yet, WHY DID YOU LET ME EAT LIKE THAT??!! 😄

    And then today I was in the grocery store and I saw an item that triggered another memory: I don’t remember how old I was, but I used to drink Karo Syrup straight from the bottle, like it was juice. Can you imagine?!?

    Again, main thought: WHERE WERE MY PARENTS??!! Then on second thought:, I can’t help feeling that I’m just lucky to be alive because I ate some really weird shit when I was a kid.