Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Suck explained

If you didn't click the link in the title, bear with me for I am about to explain the mystery that is this older posting.

A little over two months ago, J_ broke up with me. It sucked. It sucked in ways that words can't (at least my words can't) describe. I was totally, head over heels, ridiculously in love with that girl, in a way that I had never been with anyone before in my life. In that stupid movie and storybook way love is always described, but not believed by said reader until experiencing it him or herself. The story of the break up really isn't that interesting unto itself. I loved her, her feelings for me had changed. It happens, and I'm not the first person that it's happened to (in fact I can recall a time in my life when the situation was almost exactly reversed), nor will I be the last. C'est la vie.

The reason I bring this up now, instead of two months ago, the emotions were a bit too raw, and I kinda, sorta, secretly hoped we'd get back together. This past Friday I finally took her pictures out of my wallet the finality of the break up only now realized. We still talk, J_ and I, a bit over the phone, and e-mail. And we've even hung out once or twice since, but as friends and nothing else.

Which I guess brings me to my new point. If any of you lovely ladies out there are looking for a mildly emotionally crippled guy who's a bit still hung up on his ex-girlfriend, I am now officially available.

P.S. Only time will tell if I'll ever reveal the secret behind this posting, let's keep our fingers crossed that the answer will someday be yes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Random "important" thoughts Part one

On Global Warming:
I don't know much about global warming. I generally believe in global warming, from the bits that I've read and seen on TV and such it makes sense to me. Do I think it's a catastrophic event that is going to destroy mankind? I have no idea, but probably not. Do I think that it's minute and nothing we should worry about? No, I definitely don't think that either. I'm somewhere in between those two poles in regards to the belief that global warming exists and it is caused to a certain extent by human beings and the industrialized world. Given that, my basic notion in regards to global warming and the environment is the following: whether global warming exists or not, it's still a good idea to try and keep our environment as clean as we can. Tossing global warming aside, anyone who argues that an Earth with more pollutants and less biodiversity is a good and healthy place to live is an idiot. Can't we just want clean air and water, and a bountiful and beautiful natural landscape because that's better living for all inhabitants of Earth, including (and especially) humans, without making it political? I'd like to think so.

On President Bush:
I think I'm one of the few liberals that I know, who has grown to like Bush more as time goes on than less. Which is not to say that I think he is a good president, or actually agree with his policies. Perhaps like is too strong of a word. Grown more tolerant of our current president is probably a better way of putting it. I recently had a short conversation with someone at work (not a fellow employee but a customer) who was going on about how Bush is a fascist, and then started comparing him to Hitler. Many jokesters like saying that Bush is nothing like Hitler because Hitler was democratically elected. This may be so, but Hitler then dismantled the government, started a world war of conquest, and institutionalized genocide in Eastern Europe. So far, as I am aware, the government as imagined by the constitution still exists. We have started a war, and though many have categorized it as a colonialist occupation, the ultimate goal is one of withdrawal. Granted there has been tremendous deal of lying, and the removal of civil liberties, along with the ignoring of international treaties (as in the Geneva convention) but we as the public are slowly gaining ground on these issues, and hopefully the next president will be able to restore the seat of the presidency so there isn't such egregious abuse of power in the future (which means I hope a democrat wins in 2008). Do I think he is a bad president? Definitely. Do I think he might have broken the law and thus should be prosecuted? I do. Do I think he's evil? No I don't. I think the more I hear or read arguments comparing him to leaders like Hitler, or calling him a fascist, the more tolerant I become due to the extreme fallacy of those arguments.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a 98 lb. weakling caught in a gentle breeze

I always said I knew I was out of shape. I just don't think I really knew that I was out of shape. One of those, "sure I can't run a marathon, but I'm a pretty healthy guy" sort of out of shape. Turns out, I'm just as out of shape as I said but never really believed I was.

I went to the gym this morning because I thought it would be a good idea and I need something like that in my life right now. I'm not really into free weights or the machines, so I settled on swimming. I almost made nine laps (well, technically if you consider there and back a single lap it was really almost five laps) before my heart was beating so fast I thought it would explode, and there was the serious and realistic fear that I would throw up in the pool. Luckily not only did my heart eventually slow down, but I managed to keep all my insides in.

So I'm going to have to go again, and probably join the gym if I think it's something I could get into. My main problem with working out is that there isn't any stopping point. It's not like, say learning an instrument, where it's hard work for a while, but once you learn it you don't need to take lessons anymore and just play for fun. I can't swim until I'm in shape, and then just stop, because that "in-shapeiness" will disappear. I don't want to be a slave to a gym for the rest of my life.

On a side note, I hate public showers. My father said this is a phobia I have to overcome. It isn't a phobia. I'm not scared of public showers, I can use them (and used one today in fact) I just don't like them. I don't care how often they are cleaned, it isn't solely a cleanliness issue. I like privacy when I shower. I like to absorb the heat, take it in slowly, and relax as I clean. This is very difficult to accomplish when there are a bunch of naked people walking around. I have no problem with the nudity in the locker room, or even being naked in the locker room myself. It's just a shower to me is a very personal thing. Growing up in a family of six with only three bedrooms (well two if you don't count my parents bedroom), doesn't really allow for any private or personal space. The shower was a refuge of privacy one couldn't really find anywhere else in the house. And that is how I still view it. Showering in public is antithetical to my belief's as to how a shower should be.

Friday, November 09, 2007

This is why people suck

I hate people. I hate people so much I can't remember a time when I didn't hate people. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a complete loner, but generally I prefer to either be alone or the company of just a few friends, and I hate meeting strangers. People bother the crap out of me. This might surprise anyone who knows that I have worked in customer service most of my life. Simultaneously this might also explain why I hate people so much. I fake it pretty well, working behind a register, being all bright and cheerful, but I only act that way because I'm getting paid to do so. Maybe I'm not as bitter as this paragraph makes me seem, but I do hate people none-the-less.

This past Wednesday I was working at Tribeca Productions. It was slow all day long, mostly due to the writers strike. No submissions, no rewrites, and very little we, as a production company, could do. It got to a point where the director of development was tossing a water bottle up and down into the air out of boredom, and joking that he soon might also need to get a job at Starbucks. Having little to do myself I hopped on Triggerstreet to read other amateur writers material and write reviews/constructive criticism to help them improve their writing. I have some material posted and reviews I have received have helped me write better drafts. I read a short story and this is the review that I posted for a story entitled BEING DUMB:

I can't tell if this story is trying to be ironic or if it's supposed to be read straight forward. At first I thought the story was being told from an eleven year old's perspective but then even though the story had a bit of a child like voice the character got older.

Then I thought that perhaps the narrator was actually supposed to be as dumb as he claimed, only every so often he would say mildly ironic things leading me to believe he isn't supposed to be that dumb after all. The bit about the college degree in the end was pretty confusing, not unto itself but when juxtaposed with the tone.

the bit about the abusive step-father came out of left field, then was dropped almost as soon as it came. Either the guy is really dumb and it's inconsequential to him, or he just pretends to be dumb, but then why doesn't he make this a bigger issue, or lead up to it a bit better? It was another moment where I couldn't tell exactly the intent of the story.

the story, I think, was also a few pages too long. It's a bit repetitive, at least in the telling of all the different girls, and if you took one or two girls out near the end you could shave a few pages without losing anything.

I know this seems like a disparaging review, but I did like the story. It was very cute and at moments the narrators voice really resonated with the storytelling. It was a good read that I think can use a little more work.

Arguably, the writing in this review could have been better. I wrote it pretty quick after I read the short story in question. I didn't much care for the story and I tried to write my concerns and straightforward as I could. I wasn't trying to be mean, just honest, tempered with some compassion in the end. I mean it's difficult to write a glowing review if one thinks the piece in question is sub par. And that's the point of the reviews on Triggerstreet, for writers to get feedback about their stories, both the good and the bad.

The next day this is the e-mail I received from the writer of BEING DUMB (which apparently was a biography, though not mentioned anywhere for me to know that, unless I am supposed to assume that all stories written in first person are biographical):

You know, instantly, I guessed a lot about you. Even where you’re from, your age (actually I thought you were a few years younger) and your heritage. That obnoxious rudeness and lack of any common sense gave you away.

Not understanding the story or who the narrator is, is okay. I can except that from someone like you.

It’s those dumb remarks, asshole. I bet you got your ass kicked quite a bit when you were a kid.

I’m sure you won’t (and incapable of) back up anything you wrote with examples.

This piece was clearly autobiographical to anyone with a little reading comprehension. As children we sometimes do stupid things (you probably still do). If you could have understood what I wrote (I doubt you actually read it, because I can’t believe you can be that stupid.), the actions of the adults were actually more senseless than anything the main child did. But of course, you’re incapable of seeing that. Actually I’m sure you can’t understand what I wrote so far.

You make this asinine remark about the step-father. That can be expected from someone who isn’t too bright (and doesn’t realize it). I won’t attempt to explain it to you simply because you wouldn’t understand it.

You question my degree? How did you make it through high school?

Which girls do you suggest I remove? It’s part of a constructive review to give examples and why. But since I’ve had the displeasure of getting several of your verbal attacks without one iota of constructive criticism, I realize that’s not your style.

The stories involving the girls all led to something else. Maybe you didn’t comprehend that part (that’s if you read it).

I’m confident being honest wasn’t a part of your upbringing. But I’ll ask the boy, clearly lacking in credibility, did you actually read this story (I know 19 pages is a lot)? What is it: incapable of understanding simple things or you didn’t actually read the whole thing?

I don’t really expect any kind of intelligent response (fuck you is probably your definition of an intelligent response, much like the mind of a ten year old).

All I was trying to do is be helpful, show what I found to be the weaker points of his story. That's the whole point of Triggerstreet. I want to write him back but I know it's pointless. It's just really fucking me up.

And this is why, people suck.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I wish I wasn't a moron


Today at Starbucks I'm working, making drinks, making small talk with customers, doing what I'm paid to do. It's a bit busy but no big deal.

There are these two girls who have started coming in. A white girl and an asian girl. They seem nice. Both studying to be, well, I don't know the official scientific term, but basically foot surgeons. Apparently they've asked about me when I wasn't around, and now I get teased by my fellow co-workers when they come in. I'm not interested in either of them, but it's nice to know there are people out there in the world who find me desirable.

The two girls in question came in, and of course I make small talk (which is how I learned about their studies and their intended career). When their backs are turned my manager Danny teases me a bit, all in good nature, and I'm feeling pretty cool.

Feeling cool is always what leads me into trouble because I am never, in no way, cool.

Later, still feeling cool, a man, say in his mid-thirties walks in, a professional look about him even though he's wearing a Superman t-shirt. Of course, being the comic book dork I am, I talk up a bit about superman, and we this man says that a few years ago he dressed up as Clark Kent for Halloween.

Anyway, a bit later I catch him reading what I think is a Justice League comic, mostly because it has Superman on the cover.

Ok, in reality, maybe an hour total has passed since the girls walked in and then this fellow with the superman shirt. I punch out to leave and the man with the Superman shirt asks if I'm the manager. I'm not the manager but maybe I can help him. He asks an innocuous question about the furniture but there really isn't anything we can do to help because we get all the furniture from Starbucks corporate and know nothing about it.

Then I ask him about the comic book, which turns out to be the Justice Society, not Justice League. Those of you not into comics are probably thinking, who cares, right? Well, no one really cares. I tell him the only reason I asked was I wanted to know what he might have thought about the new Justice League writer. He didn't really answer but said that the Justice Society comic was good. I responded that the writer of the Justice Society, Geoff Johns, never really thrilled me. I liked his run on the Flash, but outside the Flash it was just ok and I didn't think I was going to pick it up.

What's the big deal with all of this? I felt cool so I engaged a customer after I was off the clock. Had I not felt cool I probably would have directed his question to someone still on the clock and made my exit. The cooler I feel the more likely I'm to interact with strangers.

I came home and something about the whole exchange niggled me in the back of the head. Not so much a voice, but a general uneasiness, which kept biting the corner of all my thoughts. I decide, because this is how fate works, to look Geoff Johns up on the internet.

I've never seen Geoff John in person or in any photograph before today, but after seeing his image just a few moments ago on the internet, I'm about 85 percent sure that the man I spoke with at Starbucks was Geoff Johns himself, and I told him I wasn't thrilled by his writing. First off, as a writer I know how much that really sucks. Secondly, I would love to write comic books someday. And if it was Geoff Johns (which I'm now pretty sure he was), he'd be an amazing contact to have. I can't imagine, in my stupid, look how cool I am fanboy mode, I gave a good first impression. "Hey, yeah, remember me? I'm the idiot barista who said you weren't such a good writer to your face. How'd you like to help get me a job?" I don't think that will go over very well.

Next time I just have to remember that I'm not cool and to keep my big mouth shut. Or at least ask for a name first.