Sunday, February 28, 2010

Can't Fight the Future

“People they come together, people they fall apart. No one can stop us now. ‘Cause we are all made of stars.” - Moby

College has a funny way of taking you away from the things and people you love. Sometimes you're still present for them, but ultimately you're somewhere else mentally, and everyone notices. You don't realize it until much later, but by the time you're finished with your Associates, Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate depending on personal preference, you are transfigured into a new person independent of who you were when you started.

In high school I used to love to tell stories in my writing, drawing fiction from reality in Star Wars storytelling forums online. I built fantasies around characters loosely based around who I was then. They were facets of the things I liked, aspired to be, and avoided ever becoming. I wrote about an evil mastermind that could shape-shift, but eventually realized he had a soul and shifted away from the Dark Side of the Force. I wrote about a survivalist in a post-apocalyptic environment, after God and Satan have both killed each other off, leaving Earth, Heaven, and Hell behind. I wrote short stories about romancing extra terrestrials as satire.

Now I write nonfiction. It's still wet and thick with detail when I can help it, but nonfiction only leaves so much room for fun. I've stretched out instants that take no more than three seconds in real time to a three page psychological odyssey, in which a mouse click becomes the most difficult thing in the world. I've painted vivid images of college arcades, capturing snippets of tournament gamers by their details to give an accurate account of their personalities. I've delved into the nature of things, described delusions and daydreams with more clarity than reality often brings, and earned readers' sympathies for characters that should have none for their actions.

I never used to write poetry, yet now the structure of verse seems almost comforting in a way.

None of this seems important to you now, and it really shouldn't. People change as they grow older, that's a side effect of existence. College is a catalyst, not an origin. The ways my writing has changed reflect the ways my own personality has changed. I'm not the same person I was last year, or the year before, or five years before that. I like who I am and what I've become, even if I don't like everything about it. I can look back at those years now and draw from them. The experiences, the sights, the people - they're all back story now. A proper base to build the character on for future developments and plot twists.

We're all works of fiction in our own ways, but acknowledging it at least gives ground for the plot. I don't know for certain when the back story stopped and my plot began. I don't know if I'm simply drawn from a writer's mind like my Sith Master was, or if I'm a blur of detail in an overarching piece. I don't know if I'm just trying to survive after God and Satan dueled to mutual demise. Maybe I'm a rhyming couplet at the end of a sonnet.

I do know for certain, however, that right now I like where the story is going. I like the narrative arc, and (assuming that I am the protagonist of the story) my antagonists are not without sympathetic traits. My characters are developed and complex, and I love them all. I'm proud of how my story's coming along.

We should all be proud of our stories.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Games I Obsess Over

Earlier a friend of mine went on a ten minute rant about why she loves World of Warcraft. Her points were all valid and the sort made by fan-children of that game. I don't bash World of Warcraft, even if I do occasionally poke fun at it. All gamers (and most people in general) have a game (or something else) that they obsess over. Most have many.

I've got a bunch. Most reflect various times in my life, but all are amazing games that you should play.

Without any order, my 11 favorite games:

Diablo II: This game is so good that I've recently put it back on my computer. The expansion pack (the only real way to have a complete game) came out in 2001. While it's somewhat pixelated compared to most modern games for the PC, it's aged much better than most games in it's time. I blame Blizzard, since they engineer electronic crack on a level beyond normal human consumption. The game is addictive, has extremely high replay value, and was in many ways a dark humor piece. If you read my blog, then you know I'm all over that kind of stuff.

Final Fantasy VII: My first major RPG is still one of my most memorable. I'm not as rabid a fanatic as many other fans of FFVII, but I do defend it for what it's worth. The graphics have aged like raw meat, story is full of holes, the main character is a stereotype for "generic-stoic-swordsman" that many RPGs have adopted since, and the game takes forever. That said, the graphics were amazing when it came out, the story (holes and all) is quite engaging, the characters are better developed than most video games (even if some are cheesy grabs at niche audiences), and the huge amount of play time only keeps you coming back. On top of all this, the music is fantastic.

Katamari Damacy: An art game, a stoner's daydream, a statement about consumerism - all are applicable labels for Katamari Damacy. The gameplay is simple and addictive (if you can push a ball, you can play this game). Plot synopsis: Your father - God - gets drunk and smashes all the stars in the sky. As his son, it's your job to fix it while he makes fun of you. You do this by taking a self contained quantum singularity and pushing it around on earth against objects. The ball gets bigger as you absorb objects. When it's big enough, your father turns it into a star. All the while he tells you it's tiny, because you are tiny, because he doesn't remember you're his kid in the later games. What a fucked up family.

Gex: Enter the Gecko: This is a sequel to another game I adore, but I remember this one much better. That just means that this one ate my life in late grade school and the beginning of high school. You play a Gecko that was sucked into the dimension of television to fight some metallic asshole that wants to kill you. As you play, you go through many popular movie genres and change costumes as you do. You use your tongue and tail (mostly for terrible puns) while you solve puzzles and die frequently. It made me very happy when I was younger, though when I look back I don't see as much appeal in this sequel as I did in the original. Still worth playing, but perhaps not as much as others on this list.

Gunbound: Oh Jesus. This game ate most of my senior year. That's not a bad thing though, there was a large group of my friends in this game as well. Ten or twelve of us would talk about it mostly in class, then go home and kick each others asses when we got in. It was a lot of fun, until people started hacking it and the host changed formats to only support Internet Explorer. The gist of it is that you're a kid in a tank/on an animal/riding a hovercraft/etc that has to kill everyone else on their vehicles by shooting at odd angles and compensating for the wind. It's very Korean-anime style, and cutesy for it. The game had some really hardcore players though. Worth the time if you're an IE user.

Gunstar Heroes: Best Genesis game ever. It's available on the Wii's Virtual Console. Go buy it if you can. There's some kind of rescue plot to save the world or some bullshit like that, but no one cares. The graphics were very polished, the gameplay was an addictive shooter/action (like Contra, but better. No, I didn't just blaspheme. It's truth), the music was catchy and well constructed, and the two-player mode was just as much fun as single player (the game is very difficult for only one person to beat in a timely manner). I still love the hell out of this game, and I always will.

The World Ends With You: This is the most recent, but it's earned it's spot. This game is the reason why I had screen protectors on my DS, and one of the few RPGs that made me actually wonder what the hell was happening. The story has some interesting metaphysical stuff going on, hooky music, and a unique combat system that will keep you frantically scratching at your screen until you finally get off a huge (two screens!) cinematic uber-death-fest attack with the two characters you're controlling independently working together. If that run-on sentence didn't sell you, consider that you're doing everything based entirely on collectible pins. The game's cool.

Starcraft: The RTS that's inspired most games since then. A lot of my friends play Warhammer 4000, but in many cases Starcraft was the game that got them into real time strategy in the first place. Personally, I started on the original Warcraft, but that's another story. Starcraft is probably the best balanced RTS that I've ever seen, and has enormous replay value. The game has changed competitively over time too, giving greater player interaction. The strategies I used five years ago (this game's expansion came out in 1999) no longer apply in online play. I was destroyed last time I played online in ways I didn't realize I could lose against. Another case of Blizzard pushing digital drugs onto an unsuspecting population.

Pokemon Blue: My little brother got Red, so I got Blue. As time went on I also got Yellow, Silver, Gold (Japanese) and "borrowed" his copy of Crystal. After that I didn't have a portable until the DS, and I'm waiting for Soul Silver for this generation. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you should really pay more attention to pop culture phenomena.

I was absolutely obsessed with the original Pokemon games. I had 149 at one point, but the save was erased. I had a notebook dedicated entirely to being my personal "Pokedex." I had hand-drawn pictures of each pokemon in there. Looking back I was pathetic, but it was much better than going out and discovering how to knock girls up like other kids in my catholic school were. I suppose being a geek has it's perks.

MediEvil: You play an animate corpse. You were painted by history as a hero, when in reality you were killed by the first arrow in the first volley, shot through the eye. You've been brought back to set your place right, kill an evil sorcerer, and save the people of a country you only have a loose connection to anymore. The game is amazing, and has a lot of quirky humor to the writing. It's a must-play for any PlayStation owner/ePSXe user. I think it's available for the PSP now, go play it.

Bushido Blade
: A lot of people didn't like this game when it came out. Then again, a lot of people are fucking morons. Bushido Blade is one of the most realistic fighting games to ever exist, and I believe the best. There is no life bar, there are no super attacks and bullshit moves. Everything they do is based on swordplay, set styles, and the character builds. If you are stabbed in the head, you die. If you get slashed across a main artery, you die. If you deflect or there is a poor connection, you don't take serious damage. If your legs get bashed with a sledge hammer (yes, it's a playable weapon), you have to fight on your knees/crawling. There was a sequel, but it didn't do the series justice. It should be as enduring as Street Fighter and Tekken, but instead it's lost in the annals of the PlayStation back-catalog. If you've ever considered playing with a sword ever, you should play this game.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On Motivation.

There are a number of things that can motivate someone into any action. Most folks would like to think they’re being selfless, and especially to be praised as such. Most of the time the motives are much less charitable.

Some people have it engraved into their minds from a young age that in helping others, you are a good person. This is very, very common. The reason seems harmless enough, and the result is usually positive for all parties. This is not selfless, the individual is still acting to be perceived as a good person. They want to come out on top without an issue. I don’t really mind these people much, they’ve really done nothing wrong.

Some people have more blatantly self-centered drives, and act only for themselves. This is also exceptionally common, though more often overlooked in the United States. If someone would help another person, it is only so that the helped may return the favor when the helper needs it. This is the backbone of many relationships, families, and even most organized religion. In some cases, these are still good people, only preservationists.

Some people are kind to others because they don’t want others to suffer. This is much less common, but perhaps the most questionable rationale. It could be perceived as selfless for the sake of ending suffering without an immediate reaction, but some would say the desire not to be surrounded by suffering is still ultimately self-serving when it’s boiled down. Obviously I dig these reasons, even if it sometimes conflicts with others.

Another group believes strictly in the relative abstracts of justice and law. These people aren’t really wrong in their thinking and actions, they’re just blinded in their anal retentive adhesion to something that might not always apply. I’m not saying to embrace beldam, but in various situations it can be in poor taste. An old man jaywalks to get to his bus on time, and a cop disciplines him for it the same as he would a young person playing chicken with an SUV. Besides the cop being an asshole, he’s enforcing the law to an absolute without any gray areas. This doesn’t make him wrong, but it does show that his convictions are stronger towards the system of organization than they are to human decency.

There is another category of people too, I call them “Confused Blenders.” They’re the most common sort of people, motivation-wise. Usually they have mixed motives, and lie about which is more dominant. If an action would help one individual, but hurt others that you don’t like, it is doubly serving. That individual can receive both praise for helping someone, and take sick satisfaction in knowing they’ve harmed others and come out the victor. This example is not for all, it can be a blend of any of the other types. Someone who believes in the law for the sake of removing suffering is just as conflicting as someone who believes in the law and acts out of selfish motives, as also to someone that wants praise while remaining empathetic. They all conflict.

Also, just because someone has a general type they will adhere to, it does not mean that they will not have actions that break these barriers and fall into others as well. A cop that would let off a shoplifter that’s stealing food to feed his children is breaking their own conviction to reduce human suffering. It’s entirely relative, and situational.

I’m sure there are others that I’ve overlooked as well. Remind me if I have. And try not to be selfish (unrelated thoughts, just in case you were confused).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Is there no world for tomorrow?

Vinyl is underrated in contemporary society. If it weren't, then I would not have been able to get Coheed and Cambria's No World for Tomorrow for less than $10. I'm not complaining that it was so cheap, but I do wonder how long I can pull things like this off for. The prices will either go up due to rarity, or the product will just cease to be. I hate that.

The analog and the hard copies of music will never fully die, as I've discussed previously, but that doesn't mean that all mediums will retain value long enough to exist. Just like how tech savvy families across the world have had to convert home movies to DVD from the original cassette, it's nearly time for people to convert their CDs entirely to MP3 and FLAC formats and drop them on DVDs. Some already have.

For this reason, I'm very strongly considering buying a turntable of my own. Vinyl albums and 45's only exist because of the insane popularity of DJs, perhaps more now because of DJ Hero. I know they're safe for a while longer, until a proper digital analog (such a silly expression) can fully replicate what a turntable and a nice beat can do. Most DJs don't even really scratch as much anymore, most just sample, loop, and program swatches ahead of time these days. I'd give it another ten years or so, with a decline until the end.

Right now I'd be using a turntable in the house, though not my own. It's likely that I'll get more vinyl down the line beyond what I've already got, and I don't foresee myself ever giving up something with so much inherent beauty. Even if I resort to vintage shops and thrift stores alone, I don't think I'm ready to let this wonderful medium die.

Besides all this, Travis' and Claudio's guitars scream for an older time without dating themselves. Why shouldn't they sound their best?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flutes and Credit

Tonight was a very long night. This won't be a very long post.

I did some sound engineering for a jazz trio earlier today. I've worked with two of the three before, and they're all awesome guys. I'm not positive, but I think I might've been requested specifically for this event (which is pretty awesome, and warms my heart). This added pressure to my performance. It had to be spotless.

The first challenge came from the floor, as the staging we used was too small for the full trio. This was very minor, and took five minutes. The second, much greater challenge came from a cool effect. The namesake of the trio is an awesome flautist, and he uses an effect for live performances to get more 'umph' in the sound. The required cables weren't even close to being the same type, and had to go through two adapters to get the XLR and 1/4 inch cable to work together, followed by some futzing with cables.

I'm amazed that "futzing" is actually considered a word in spell check.

Then there were two hours of awesome music.

Then there was two hours of putting things away. Less fun.

Well after all this, on the way home, I had to teach a complete stranger how to do their job. It was almost a bad joke. This worked out well, since I wasn't sure what I wanted to write tonight. Thanks, guy.

A close friend of mine needed gas in the car, and by order of the pump paid ahead of time at the attendant's window. The actual bill came to seven dollars less than the pre-paid amount.

The attendant claimed to not know how to give a refund, because the system had been installed fifteen minutes prior. After a few words (all kind and genuine) I was able to show him how to use the credit refund system. It was nearly identical to one I'd used in a previous job of my own, and after a small amount of trial and error, my friend got their money back.

Initially I thought it might've been greed, until I talked to the kid at the counter. I realized he was a victim of poor leadership, and that his should-be teacher/supervisor had failed him. I smiled politely, gave my friend their copy of the receipt, and we went on our way.

My lesson for the day is to remain patient, no matter how difficult things become. Just because you have a road block doesn't mean that you've an insurmountable obstacle that will crush you if you resist. It just means that you need to do what you can, and if that's what's needed, it will resolve the problem.

Yay for happy-fun-time-stories!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hello reader. I'd like to play a game.

I'm playing a game. I'll write a list of things, where each word previously will lead into the next one. A concept or object, whatever the case may be. Each line will be linked to the previous one in some way. It'll be fun.

Things I Like:

Graphic novels as a literary medium
Reading in general
Video games
Board games
Card games
Folk music
Progressive rock
Instrumental classical
Alternative metal
Live concerts and readings
Trees and flower gardens
Magic: The Gathering
Collecting things
Sarcastic action movies
Sin City
Inglourious Basterds
Quinten Tarantino
Well written dialogue
Coming of age narratives
Innocent love
Tempered love
Self-resolving conflicts
Public speaking
Social settings
New friends
Intelligent conversations
Freedom of speech

I'll cut it off there for this list.

It's a fun game, but it can tell you a lot about yourself based on what the answers are. I'd have something more substantial to write, but honestly I'm too tired tonight to give something meaty. I'll post a make-up tomorrow.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

On Love.


  /lʌv/ [luhv] noun, verb, loved, lov⋅ing.
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
7. sexual intercourse; copulation.
8. (initial capital letter) a personification of sexual affection, as Eros or Cupid.
9. affectionate concern for the well-being of others: the love of one's neighbor.
10. strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything: her love of books.
11. the object or thing so liked: The theater was her great love.
12. the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
13. Chiefly Tennis. a score of zero; nothing.
14. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter L.

The dictionary's partially correct, but sadly misses almost everything that matters about love.

A friend of mine asked me how she'd know when she was in love, and I told her she'd know. I foolishly tried to explain love, and fell flat on my face. How can I possibly expect to explain love when no one in the world can properly? There are literally millions of poems, movies, stories, and songs about it. Fuck, The Beatles built an entire career on it. All they needed was love.

Love isn't really an emotion, not a singular one anyway. Someone said that love was essentially controlled madness. Can't remember who (maybe I'm making them up and it's something of mine. Who knows.) This is partially true. When in love one will find themselves willing to do a number of things they never would when in sound mind. When in love, people are more willing to do things both astounding and frightening.

Love is a hybrid of every emotion humans can feel, I believe. Everyone sings and writes about the happiness, contentment, and trust associated with love. That's dandy. Some write about the pain and humiliation associated with it. Swell. Few ever remember that with love comes a degree of concession. One will find themselves willing to give up things they adore in daily life to make the prospect of love work. Maybe that's why it works so well with relationships.

Love comes with a degree of lust usually, though it is not required. It serves mostly as garnish for a main course with significantly less tangible substance. It's common to say that you want to "make love to" someone, but really you're probably just having sex with them. Making love is something very different, even though the mechanics of it are essentially the same. The difference is on a psychological level (and obviously emotional), in the fact that you feel a connection with someone beyond what you could just feel bumping uglies.

Love is anger and pain, love is happiness and contentment. Love is unconditional trust and conditional (but voluntary) freedom.


All that said, I feel that all people are capable of loving one another on a genuine level, especially people we don't normally even like on a day to day basis. Love is a little like scent in this way, it is unique to all people. This means that all people are not only capable but actually expected to love more than one person at any given time. Not all are romantic loves (I love my best friends as much as my girlfriend, but I'm not looking to move in and sleep next to most of them for the rest of my life), but at any time we all love many people.

In this way, we are all polyamorous, even if we are monogamous. I have a small theory that monoamorous people are actually usually insane and become either stalkers or shut-ins.


This header is half a lie. Obsession is sometimes tied to love, but obsession alone is not love. Many people get caught up with the concept of one person as everything they love (possibly something about the way attraction works), even though this is not love either. Having the compulsion to follow people online, in person, or anywhere else without them wanting you to/knowing you do is not healthy, nor is it love, nor is it legal. If you have trouble with this, please get professional help.

On the same note, one can feel a "deeper connection" physically without being in love or making love. All they need is to have an obsession with the other person to the point where they develop dependency. Dependency (or codependency, more importantly) is not love. It is a personal issue.


I'm failing at describing love. Shit.

Love is something beyond words, even though I just wasted a few hundred trying to do so. It just is.

Bonus Content!

I was going to repost an old piece I wrote about Valentine's Day, but that would really just rip off my audience. However, I feel it might be helpful to explain why this "holiday" doesn't matter to me. After I'll post a real bit for the night.

Valentine's Day is viewed as a celebration of love, but that in itself is a lie. If love exists in a relationship, then it is celebrated every day. Instead, Valentine's Day has degraded into International Fuck-Day. Now candy, card, and condom companies around the world (though really, America's where it's at) are cashing in on the blind group think of people that feel inadequate.

VD (to borrow a joke from a friend) is sickening. Because of the need to cash in, the single would-be consumers are left feeling alone. They feel like there is something wrong with them that they couldn't attract and keep a mate, even though that's no easy task in reality by any stretch of the imagination.

Consider instead for a moment doing these things on any day besides VD. Pick a random day in May to go out to eat and see a show with your significant other, a date in August for random roses, and another in November for chocolate. You look like you actually care about them, rather than feeling obligated to do so by society around you.

I suppose I'll reference something that doesn't exist yet, but the post on love will tie into this heavily. Anyone can spend large amounts of money to buy a girl a gemstone, and it would mean nothing. You could do it, your brother could do it, her best friend could do it. It would mean nothing, especially for a day that you're almost expected to do it.

Want to celebrate love? Do something you don't want to for their behalf, and do it with a smile for them. Do something nice without feeling obligated to or expected to. Go to that opera they want to go to, even though you can't stand it. Leave the mp3 player at home, grin and bear it. Show that you're worth a shit the whole year round.

Check back later today for something oddly fitting.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

On Relationships.

I've received some feedback recently about my Nature of Attraction post, and was asked about the nature of love and relationships. I will not talk about the nature of love, outside of it as a necessity in a healthy relationship. Love is too fucking complicated to really describe in my own verbal capacity as of yet. Maybe after this weekend.

Relationships, however, are well within my ability.

A healthy relationship is more than just liking someone enough to bring them around in public and have sex with them. It's more than having someone to be comfortable around, or to write sappy songs about and regret two years later. A healthy relationship is built on trust, honesty, love, compromise, and commonality.

Trust and honesty are obviously linked, but not the same. Trust is something that must be earned in most situations in life. Without trust, a relationship can never actually happen. In this case, trust is conferred usually after a trigger event in the early stages of the "courtship phase," which is the time of exceptional stupidity between two people interested in one another.

Honesty is the way you keep trust. This doesn't always mean not lying when you go out drinking with your friends, or admitting when you forgot an important date (Note: admission does not earn forgiveness.) It also means showing genuine character without masking the things about yourself that you don't like. If you're hoping to share your life with this person, they're going to have to know how you are. Otherwise, you are not only doomed to fail in the relationship, but not even retain the (now) former lover as a friend. If you liked them enough to consider being with them in the first place, you probably still want to be friends. So don't be a dick.

Love's complicated. It alone is also not enough to save a relationship. Sometimes love alone can lead people to do many crazy and stupid things, but it should not be the only reason you're with someone. As love is also too big to put into words, it is also too big to always be there at the start of a relationship. It should grow into it. If anyone says straight away that they love you, they're probably lying to nail you or bat-shit crazy with abandonment issues. The most important thing to take away is that love is a definite must, but not too early on.

A lot of people say "love is give and take." Most of these people also live in Clicheville, and couldn't form an original thought if you threatened to torch their houses. Unfortunately, this one is situationally correct. There must be a degree of compromise between a couple, but not about the grand things that people imagine. Sometimes it's as limited as giving people time to themselves to gather their thoughts and de-stress. People that make jokes about developing a timeshare for who gets to drive the minivan are usually too pussy-whipped to really understand that they've lost all they really had for themselves. The same is said about people that refuse to leave the house whenever a show is on, even when their lover got tickets to a concert for that night. Neither example is really compromise or absence of it in a meaningful way, both are examples of a couple that will probably fight often.

Commonality is one of the most important, underrated traits a relationship must have. If you have nothing in common with your lover, then you probably saw a way to work your libido and love came by way of repetition. This can also change as a relationship goes on. When you started dating you both liked football, birdwatching, and painting. As time went on, your lover stopped liking painting, you stopped liking birdwatching, and neither of you liked football after watching your favorite team lose at the Superbowl... four years in a row. You both feel comfortable with the relationship, knowing that it is still better than you feel you could ever land otherwise. So you never split up, even though you fight all the time. This issue can be fixed relatively easily, even though it's one of the biggest reasons why couples fail. Find something you're both interested in again, and try to find out why you both grew away from the things you liked in the first place. Most couples can be saved in this way, even if they don't realize it. In essence it means relearning your lover's personality, but it's a small setback compared to ending the relationship and going on a drinking binge until you're broke and covered in your own vomit.

So the final recap:

DO Trust.
DO Love.
DO Compromise.
DO NOT Let comfort blind you.

If you do these things, your relationship should be much more healthy than others would be. It works best when applied to long term relationships, but it seems to be a good general set of rules on its own.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

May a Bookworm Strike Your References!

I do not consider myself an academic, despite my love for learning. I go out of my way to learn anything I can, mostly through study and observation in real life situations. If I want to learn about bugs, I'll go out and watch some. If I want to learn about music, I'll listen and write a bit of it. If I want to study language, I will listen, read, learn ones I am unfamiliar with, and see what patterns and assertions I can produce from it.

I do not consider myself an academic because I focus much more on the field studies than I ever could cross-referencing in books. I believe I should have little interest in what other people have learned in their research until after I perform my own. This is easier for me since I do not generally study dangerous topics. If I were mixing chemicals or studying the territorial habits of hyenas, it would be another situation all together.

While both of those things are awesome, I don't think they'd help me with what I do. I write about everything I see in some way. The disputes of hyenas matter little compared to the way that humans settle disputes. Intellectual debates, politics, and feuds for emotional embrace are resolved quite differently between the species I'd imagine. I couldn't care less how hyenas do it.

I don't consider myself an academic because there are bad habits associated with academia, like quoting and referencing people that are assumed to have been read by anyone else. Especially when used a linchpin for an argument, a conversation should never boil down to "See figure 1." When talking to someone not in the field you discuss, it is like referencing a list of prices for printer ink in 1998 without having the list handy. No one knows what's going on, and 'facts' can be made up at will. Not to say that fabrication of the truth is a common occurrence, or even one to be associated with academia, but parallels can be drawn.

The real problem I have with academia is the attitude associated with it. The professional, clinical, non-biased approach is the way to go with many things, and I dig that. I hate the usual undercurrents of self righteousness and demeaning insults. They are not there for all academic figures, but in many cases they spring up whenever a differing opinion is brought to light with whomever you are talking to. I don't mind admitting defeat when I'm defeated, but I'll be damned if someone will point at a book with a smug, shit eating grin and try to claim victory when they did not earn it. Anyone can read books, given that they've the ability to process written word into the proper morphemes in the mind-brain. Anyone can squirrel themselves away in a library and claim knowledge beyond comprehension.

There's more to an intellectual debate than referencing people that have done it better than you did. This is why I hate academia.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The long days.

The last few days have been eventful, and for that reason, I could not post on time. You have my apologies.

However, as the days went on, I realized several things:

1) I need to organize my daily life better.
2) I write drama. I don't want to live it.
3) I have spent far too much time living in the past.

Organization comes to many things, but most recently it comes to my interaction with others. I need to plan better when things need planning, choose better when choosing words, and discern better when things need to be sorted. If a situation is bigger than I can handle, I need to admit it and move on. I cannot pretend I can handle everything thrown at me, even if I can handle most of it.

Situations for attention, on another note, create social friction in a way that I will no longer tolerate. I never was a fan to begin with, but after recent events, I find that the more it surrounds me, the more I want to be away from it. I want it gone, at the bottom of the ocean with Cthulhu for company. No matter how great or small the package it comes in, it is not something I feel I should ever have to deal with. This can be a culmination of a number of things: attention antics, false friendship, overt wordiness. They're all tactics that mean nothing. In all cases, they should be stifled and shunned.

Sometimes these situations aren't readily apparent, and cannot be avoided. Most of the time they can be, if warning signs are noted. Depending on the situation, they are sometimes also easily fixed. I must learn how to decide which can be dealt with, and which should be pushed away. I do not feel I've done anything wrong in most recent situations, only that I could've reacted better.

I don't expect any of you to understand what I'm talking about. Not what this pertains to, anyway. This is to keep me writing, and to try to stay sane.

Tomorrow I'll be back with a regular post. Not this bullshit.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I've assembled 97 cars! All of them fictional!

Beyond showing off one's personal effects, I'm often amused by an overexertion of intelligence and experience as well when two people compete for the same mate.

To keep the automotive trend, the girl in question is actually very knowledgeable about cars. She's taken apart several engines in the past on her own, and was raised around mechanics. She knows the inside of an automobile better than most people know the embarrassing birthmarks they have on the inner thigh.

Guy A tries to court her with flagrant language, attempting to romanticize the way that a piston moves. He makes himself out to seem so much more involved than he actually is, regardless of how much of his life he spends in his workshop. He tries to emphasize it too heavily, and ultimately fails. This example often happens when guys talk about their penises, often alienating women before they even have a chance to find out they were lied to.

Guy B however makes no claims about his experience with cars that are not true. He has the ability to do much with one, but seldom has the opportunity. He's more of a tinkerer, but when he talks about what he's done, he does not lie about it.

Nine times out of ten, Guy B will end up being that close male friend that never becomes more, despite being better suited for the female in question. On the rare occasion that he does become her love interest, it's usually after Guy A has already mind-fucked them into a lack of trust for all guys. By this time, the lady is assuming that all males are just out to "pump-and-dump," and Guy B has huge amounts of trouble showing their genuine, noble intent. By this time Guy A has had such an impact that should they ever split up, Guy B's reputation will be dragged through the mud, while Guy A is already hard at work on the next victim.

This doesn't have to be the way the world works, but most of the time it is. In the case when A and B are both mooning over the girl in question, B must use slightly more emotional force to show they're serious. Being the nice guy all the time is a recipe for doom, since most people seem to want someone that will bring equal parts comfort and conflict.

The trick is to make sure that you're being told the truth, in its entirety.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Look at my new toy! Love me!

Please ignore the time stamp, it's really Thursday night still.

I'm amused whenever I see guys going for the same girl, and vice versa. It's impossible not to play favorites, sometimes painful when they make obvious blunders, but always entertaining for an onlooker. This isn't because we take pleasure in your misery (while this might be a contributing factor in many cases), or because we see something beautiful in the human condition that we can best identify with through aspirations that are doomed to fail. We are entertained because when people are initially smitten they do the funniest things.

When someone has sense about them they know better than to try to impress others with their toys rather than their personality, like a small child bringing out their newest doll to show off to a guest. No one cares what kind of car you drive, how powerful your computer is, how many moths you have in your bug collection, or how you acquired that shrunken head collection. Actually, that last one's a lie. That's a very interesting aspect for other unrelated reasons.

If you're trying to get someone to notice you and maybe like you, you're much better off showing them the sort of person you are. That means more than just showing off your stuff, it means letting them understand why your stuff matters to you and is worth showing. A kid with daddy's Mustang might grab attention faster than the kid who worked for his Neon, but the kid that worked for his car just showed that he's capable of doing things for himself without needing to suck the parents' teats until they get married. Things like this matter more. The Mustang might go faster and look prettier, but at the end of the day it means nothing.

There are many other examples that amuse me, but the trumping of items over personality is truly the most entertaining. The folks in question aren't children, not legally at least. To see them vie like toddlers is hysterical on a level beyond perceptible humor.

I'll come back to this topic tomorrow night, it's worth breaking schedule for when I'm more awake.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fifty posts and four months later...

In October I was worried that I wouldn't keep this blog up. I feared it would go by the wayside like all the other attempts at a journal, and would eventually get dug up a few years later and start a new cycle of writing and abandonment.

While there's always a looming chance of things like that happening - life is rapidly trying to eat all available time, including this - it doesn't look like it's any time in the near future.

Today we celebrate. I now give a gift of my twelve favorite posts of the last four months, and why I love them so. Not that I don't like all of my writing (which is true for all writers, including egotistical ones), but certain posts stand out more to me. In no particular order:

Halloween - I've been meaning to say a few things about specific holidays for a while now, and Halloween (while one of my favorites) is not exempt from criticism. Really though, it's not the holiday's fault. It's the immaturity inherent in people trying to get laid.

Why I Hate the Yankees - They have it coming to them.

Why I hate the MTA (Part 3) - If I had not written this blog, I would not have decided to calculate the times... and discover the amazing inconsistency, leading me to believe that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has some sort of time vortex installed under the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

Politics are for Smart People - Also known as "Examples of why I feel abortion should be an option."

Make Friends with (better) Grammar - This is a pet peeve as a Writing major. Sometimes grammar and I don't get along very well for stylistic reasons, but in most cases it's my BEST FRIEND. It should be EVERYONE ELSE'S TOO.

Ten Disney Villains that are Awesome - Disney Animated Classics are simultaneously over and underrated. The villains never get enough love, and the heroes are usually generic pussies. Sadly, villains besides Darth Vader don't sell.

Sackboy Just Shot Master Chief in the Face - I will always be a child of the platforming era.

Nature of Attraction - I learn a lot of things when acting the shrink for my friends. Huzzah for observations!

"She thinks she missed the train to Mars, she's out back counting stars." - Awesome song to describe senility. Incidentally, planning for one's own Midlife crisis was a fun idea that sparked interesting conversation after publishing. I want more like this down the line.

Seven Year Snapshot - Possibly a spark to that midlife crisis. Also, better for me in sentiment than most others.

Voyeurism Doesn't Work in Society - A request for all to be good people. I know it's not for everyone, but it should be for most people.

- Literally, nothing. But that's within this month, and you probably remember that already.

It's a minor celebration, like a couple celebrating being together for nine months. Outside of someone getting knocked up, it's not all that amazing a feat. A month? Six? A year? All landmarks for a new couple, in small ways.

I celebrate now because no one should ever need a reason to celebrate. Life will only last so long. Why not celebrate that you have it?