Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tenuocity.

I feel very tenuous.

UNL has started classes as of yesterday and so far the Freshman crop ain't bad. Although with each passing year this matters less and less. We're verging on the day where I stop thinking they're hot so much as I resent them for coming back. Still, maybe I can lose a little weight and do something stupid.

Nah.

William's wedding proved eventful and appropriately strange. For example, I've never made out in the bushes of the Washington Pavillion before, nor had I lost a bet regarding James Doohan before last Friday. The evening was peppered with various people telling me to move to Pierre and thus solve the current issue. I can't think of anything that would kill me faster, although Vondo did point out that I would have nothing else to do but write. That's not bad. I don't think Megan likes the idea much though.

Speaking of writing, Berit reminded me of her best piece of advice regarding The Grille Blues, and if I ever bother to look at that steaming pile again I think I will apply it. But at this point it's a matter of courage.

Tenuous.

Only Slightly Intentional Vacation Week has yielded very little in terms of work completed. Also it's sort of fucked my weekend, so I kind of wish J. would have actually listened when I told him I didn't necessarily need this time off anymore and let me reschedule. But oh well. I have a Long Story Short to write this week and isn't going to end up well, but I don't think I really care that much. It's not like I'm going to top the story about Old Style. That's still funny to me.

I have a newsletter to design as well, that I can't seem to get to not look like complete ass. Maybe I'll just finish up the WL/bl stuff instead and call it a day.

What did I get on here for again? Oh yeah.

Tenuous.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"No good reason except they taste good."

A trip to Jake's last night yielded a less than adequate stock of Camel Lights. Thus, I decided to re-introduce myself to Kamel Reds. Frankly, I forgot these things existed. But that hasn't stopped me from smoking the shit out of them all day. I got the Full Flavor variety, because I love the package design so much. The packaging on the Lights always looked to me like cigarettes branded by Mello Yello.

The purchase of unusual cigarettes always releases in me a small yearning for the days when I never had the same brand two packs in a row – or at least the same variety by one brand (you could go from Turkish Golds to Turkish Royals to Camel Filters without breaking any serious rules). And though I know my next pack will be the good 'ol reliable Camel Lights, my inner smoker wants to go get a pack of Galois (blue), followed perhaps by some Pall Mall's, then some Nat Sherman's or those Bumblebee cigarettes with honey toasted right into the tobacco (not just shoved into the filter). Maybe even a trim box of Player's Navy Cut, the finest after-dinner smoke ever conceived by man.

If I really knew what I was doing I would bring back my pipe. I loved smoking a pipe. But that never fails to invite judgmental leers from strangers. Plus it's just more shit to carry around. My Father, as we're all aware, is a smoker of cigars, although his tastes vary from outstanding to the "How the fuck can you put that in your mouth, Gerry?" variety. Cigars to me, though, should be reserved only for special occasions and to those for whom a cigar is a legitimate aspect of their character. Like Fozzy, Gene Hackman or, I suppose, my Dad.

In the end it doesn't matter that much that I've relegated myself to smoking cigarettes almost exclusively. It's not like I'm in bad company there (James Dean, every WW2-era soldier ever), and it is a well documented fact that smoking cigarettes makes you cool. Still, variety is the spice of life, and in this regard I am dropping the ball pretty badly.

It's a small Facebook after all.

I love a good Small World scenario. Like when you're at the bar, or out of town somewhere you don't normally go, and you happen to meet somebody who knows someone from your past or who went to school in the town you grew up in. It's an instant ice breaker, and more often than not you have a great time the rest of the night getting to know this person. Either that or they end up being a complete tool, but that's all right too because then you get to have fun cracking wise at their expense once they've left your presence.

It leaves you with a kind of feeling of kismet, like you were definitely in the right place at the right time if this has happened. I feel like I've met a lot of decent people through these happy accidents, and it manages to brighten my meager outlook on life whenever it happens to me. Otherwise drab evenings are instantly transformed into rare occurrences, and they pepper my memory as moments in which my life has, in some way, shone with randomness.

Anyway. I've started to notice a variation on this happening on Facebook. Take, for example, my experience last night. I was looking at the status update of a friend of mine – an acquaintance, really – who we'll call E. E's a fine kid, and reminds me a lot of other people I've known in my life, though he's just young enough that we aren't able to relate in quite the same way that I do with others. But he's good people (even if he is widely regarded as Lincoln's most insurmountable Cock Block – he's one of those cute, little guys that loves women and who is loved by them in return).

So E updates his status with something mildly interesting, and I add my two cents before the customary mental recording of the "company" I'm in on this thread – mostly people I don't know, future hipsters or people much smarter or better looking than me. That's something else about E, he has beautiful friends. And look, one of them seems pretty cute, and her comment involves her honesty being brought on by a recently consumed fourth drink, so...

Listen. I'm not above clicking on people I don't know. That's what Facebook is about, right? Catering to our underlying voyeurism? Right. And what the hell else am I going to do, I'm at work. So onto her name I hover my pointer, and to the limited you're-not-friends-with-this-person profile I go. Two things strike me. First, this girl is stupid pretty. And second, we have two mutual friends: E (obviously), and J, a girl I went to high school with in Vermillion (and who was, for a time, a pretty important figure in 'ol J. Fantastic's little life).

Neat, right? Like this is the sort of thing where if I met this person and it somehow manages to come up, would certainly count as a Small World event and lead to all sorts of (presumably) great things. So I get that initial feeling of awe – "How random is this? What a scoop!" – and then... what? This is Facebook. So what the hell am I supposed to do with this? It's not as if I can strike up a conversation. "Oh, hey, I see by my uninvited ogling that you and I both know this girl, and she and I used to be great pals. Let's drink." No, all I can do is just sit there and let it quietly blow my mind. What would be, in the real world, a miraculous example of life's random convergences becomes, instead, something that just makes me feel really, really creepy.

It's just one more way in which Facebook is destroying my life, piece by piece.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

(Don't mind me, just blowing steam.)

At the beginning of March I decided that I was going to stop taking the daily 20mg dose of Paxil that I've been shoving down my throat for the past six and a half years, and began the weaning process of nixing every other dose. Now I'm stuck trying to figure out if my current all-encompassing dissatisfaction with life is because I'm actually pissed or because I'm in a transitional period via my medication.

Ditching the pills has been an odd ride so far. Initially I felt sort of like a woman going through menopause – hot flashes, mild nausea, occasionally blurred vision. I still get the flashes, though they are now accompanied by strange bouts of paranoia, moments where I can't shake the feeling that my entire existence is a waste of time.

Perhaps I simply find myself in yet another of life's long line of depressive ruts. It's not like I've ever been unhappy before. Likely my recent conclusion that my life is going nowhere is simply a coincidence. Or maybe it's been going nowhere for a long time and now that I'm coming out of the pill-coma I've just started to notice it. Man, that's an upsetting prospect.

I'm bored. Bored out of my shit. But even worse than being bored is the fact that I am lacking severely in inspiration. Whenever I sit down to work – open up a story or a design project or, well, anything – I become immediately daunted by the prospect of finishing it. I've never been all that great at finishing things, which has always bothered me, but now I feel like I've gone from "not great" to "fully unable."

Job: going nowhere. School: no less annoying than it's ever been. Location: stuck (though that's not so bad). I just want to do something. And is it so much to ask for it to be a work of undeniable genius? Or at least, you know... better than bad? What's a boy to do? Ride it out, I guess. Had to grow up sometime.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hitpants.

I have always believed that the world would be a far more interesting place if everything had Hit Points. Animal or mineral, everything would have a certain amount of damage that it could take before buckling entirely. Periodically wear and tear would begin to show, but never all at once. Most importantly, you would be able to poke your bedroom wall (or your sister, or your dog, or anything) incessantly until, one day, it would simply fall to pieces.

This is far-fetched, to be sure. There are scores of valid reasons why this idea has been thus far relegated to the world of fiction and gaming. The laws of Physics and Biology aren’t as easily sidestepped as I would like them to be. I will never be able to put a health meter above everyone’s head, but I think I've found the next best thing.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you're anything like me, then you have only a finite amount of pants. Certainly the number is bound to rise and fall, but it's not like you've got 600 pairs sitting in your closet, all in pristine condition. Pants are pants, of course, so anything that belongs to a suit counts. (Not shorts though. Shorts are shorts. If shorts were pants, they wouldn't be shorts. Got it?) Myself, I have 7 functional pairs, cleaned in rotation and often worn several days in a row.

Have you not noticed how your fortunes wax and wane along with your pant count? How dire would your situation be if you had, say, only one pair of pants? My friend Josh went several weeks with only a single pair once, and his well-being was visibly diminished. What kind of life can you lead when you are always wearing 100% of your pants, constantly subjecting your only pair to the fates?

I believe that the elements of hit points can be easily applied via the notion of Hitpants. Be honest with yourself. How is being pantless unlike death, really? What happens when you lose one? Like a diminishing amount of Health, having a pair of pants destroyed is often unforeseen and disastrous.

Submitted for your consideration: two days ago I was functioning comfortably at 8 pairs of pants. I had it all, with +1 pairs versus days of the week. My options were damn near limitless, my power undeniable. Then, for reasons yet unexplained (except perhaps by my ass-widening winter hibernation), my favorite pair split on me, right down the back. I was at work, with no option but to leave unseen, retreat to my home and find a replacement pair. I would be lying if I told you that I didn't feel as if a bit of my life had been stripped away. Likewise, I won’t feel quite as right again until I have a new pair (or two).

Really, what more evidence toward the merits of this theory do you require? It seems appropriate that my search for a quantifiable meter of life would end where so many things for me have begun. I urge you, good reader, to seize this moment and take stock of your situation. How many pairs of pants do you have? How long can this number last? Are you self-sustaining, or do you often rely on the spare pants of others? Has life rid you of your pants, and if so, why?

This much is true: the fewer your pants, the closer you are to disaster. We can no longer afford the naivety of the past. For too long our pants have remained an unappreciated commodity, when clearly with them, but for the grace of God, go we.


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

As of the end of 2008...

I think I will make these lists every year, just so see how (if) they change.

Top Five Songs:

1. "Your Cover's Blown" by Belle and Sebastian
2. "Fat Old Sun" by Pink Floyd
3. "Georgia On My Mind" by Ray Charles
4. "Emotional Weather Report" by Tom Waits
5. "Heartless Romantic" by the Dears

Top Five Albums:

1. "Kid A" by Radiohead
2. "Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd
3. "Six Demon Bag" by Man Man
4. "Tanglewood Numbers" by Silver Jews
5. "Death of a Ladies' Man" by Leonard Cohen

...Jeez, that's even hard when you know it's going to change anyway.

--

It's not easy to get me to hate New Year's any more than I already do, but the fates seem to have managed to pull it off this time around. Not only am I stuck at work (which isn't so bad, although if ever there was an evening for early deadlines you would think this would be it), but my New Year's kiss is like ten hours away in Deadwood. Aren't you supposed to kiss the person that you want to be with for the next year tonight? And aren't I supposed to get at least a pity kiss either way? I don't know. I'm feeling especially bitter today. Nothing changes nothing changes nothing changes.

SPEAKING OF BEING FAR AWAY. I find myself constantly torn between how much I love being around her and how miserable I am the rest of the time. It's funny, because at first it bothered her and I was fine, and now she's fine and I'm going nuts. Maybe I'm not built for this. But I want to be.

Anyway. I saw my nephew yesterday, who is three years old and already much, much smarter than I am. I think he's better at carrying on a conversation than anyone else in my family. He still calls me "Uncle Jonny," which is pretty awesome.

But. All I really wanted to do here were those lists. So there you go.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hope.

Tonight was a historic one, and though I didn't get to take part in it to the extent that I would have liked, my half-flat champagne tastes pretty sweet. I am very, very proud of my country today.

Friday, October 31, 2008

MEANWHILE...

I live in Gotham City.