Breaking Sad

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
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mikemitchellbbartprojectWhile I’m sad that it’s over, I love how good art inspires other art. Check out these works from the Breaking Bad Art Project from Gallery1988

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Growing Up Sucks

Posted: October 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

Sometimes good things end up bad. Sometimes the amalgamation of all of our private plans for virtue come out corrupted. All the hopes of youth are dashed on the shores of our twenties and our friends who will never leave us and will always be by our side are wooed away by love or something like love. Years pass and the deal we thought we had with time was a cruel lie. We traded ten years for the dreams we thought we should have, and we’re at the end of another failed relationship that serves as another axiom to prove the proposition that life is pain. The bar is dark and we’re just drunk enough to think it’s poetic, because life is dark.

Life+sucks

We wrote our reports or pounded out the numbers that meant something to someone at some time, and we might as well have been scrawling our initials on bathroom walls for all the eternity it bought us. We’re the ones the new generation laugh at now. The kids we were, with all their amassed wisdom and knowledge. This brazen cohort with the tight skin and simplistic problems that used to belong to us. We want them back, but we know we can’t have them. But we don’t lash out, we don’t attack at all, we just smirk to ourselves and whisper, “you kids just wait. You just live until you wake up and find out you’re as full of shit as I was.” We smile and it hurts. It hurts but we smile, hating the fools we once were.

It’s said that sometimes we’re in the gutter and we refuse to look at the stars. We refuse because light has no business shining on our darkness. When we needed it and begged for it, there was only darkness, and now it shines like it’s been there all along. We close our ears to laughter because there’s so little to laugh about. Our food is bland and greasy filler for our every-expanding heart valves because enjoyment is too much to hope for.

We live in our darkest moments and everything is colored–all of our decisions, all of our steps–by their murky light. Those horrible moments leech out into our loves and all our work, until they stink in the same, dank way. That way we can keep up the belief that all of life is like our prior disappointments, and that any happiness we had was only something meant for a younger us.

It’s hard, when you see life that way, to break your stare to see anything else. Maybe because we’re so used to seeing in a certain way or because we don’t believe there’s anything else to see. But the stars are always there to see. Those tiny specks of freedom in our imprisonments, those bits of hope in the despair we insist has surrounded us. But you’ve got to search for it. You’ve got to open your eyes when you just want to stop seeing anything, anymore for any reason.

It’s not because you’re wrong about the negative. The negative exists, and it will swallow you if you let it. But because the negative is there, because it is so stinking ubiquitous; because it sticks with us easier than the good, we must hang on to the good that much more tightly. We must cherish each good thing, even in one another. We must dig through the selfishness and the anger and the hatred to find that speck of worth and take it as a sign that there can be good. In a dark world, any light is precious.

'your' right

Image  —  Posted: October 12, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Shoot those zombies like they're your painful, painful emotions, Rick Grimes!

Shoot those zombies like they’re your painful, painful emotions, Rick Grimes!

You know what I miss? Chores. I miss chores and curfews and nagging parents who bought me gas and fed me and did their fair share of both screwing me up and loving the heck out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I think individuation is vitally important to the future psychological health of a person. But, seriously, there was a magical refrigerator full of free food.

However, magical icebox aside, I’m not sure if I truly, literally miss that time in my life or if it’s that tendency we have of recalling only the good about things that happened more than ten years ago, and romanticizing said things. (Have you actually watched She-Ra lately? Not… that… I was a fan of She-Ra or anything.) In fact, I’m pretty sure that time in my life probably had as many (although different) challenges as I face now.

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So… This was a thing.

Life is purportedly about forward motion and personal growth and such, but I always have that feeling that I’m not quite there. (Which, probably, is because I’m not quite there.) And earlier life experiences had so many definable goals. You stopped crapping yourself, you finished Kindergarten, you became a teen, you got your license, you graduated high school, you stopped being a teen, you could legally drink (so you stopped), you graduated college. No wonder we often look back on that time with such nostalgia. We constantly felt like we were achieving goals and accomplishing… life, or whatever.

After all that, it just becomes about the daily grind. It becomes about doing that which is supposed to last. You find a steady job, you get married, you have kids, and you keep doing those things forever. The next serious ‘end’ we have to look forward to is retirement, then… eventual death. In essence, our lives teach us for twenty years that life is about attaining goals and then stops giving us goals. So, maybe it’s not just the free rent I miss (But, sweet Zeus, do I miss it), but the comfort of accomplishment.

So, I suppose, if the idea of wandering aimlessly through your job, marriage, relationships, etc. doesn’t appeal to you, as it doesn’t appeal to me, we could set our own goals.

Perhaps that’s part of the reason I love to write. Very few things are more satisfying to me than finishing a post or a short story or, after months or years of work, a novel. It gives me something to point to as an accomplishment. It’s something I finished. With all the things in life that we grind away at, maybe we need things such as that. Maybe it’s why we need books and movies and binge-watching sessions of Breaking Bad on Netflix. When we do those things, we feel as though we’ve done something. Maybe the never-ending cycle of bills and groceries forces us to do things like create blogs and add to the already tremendous glut of memes. We want to feel like we’re contributing to the greater whole of mankind. We want to feel like, at least in some small way, our lives matter and our voices are heard. We hunt and garden to provide and prove ourselves competent, we don’t eat meat to show ourselves that we have a moral center, and we build tediously accurate scale models of the Death Star to show our appreciation and to regain that feeling of having finished something. I think we create these moments to stave off that feeling that we are on a treadmill. We are always trying to break that long, long lifeline into manageable chunks.

The problem is that even the chunks that we create are forgotten almost as soon as we create them. We’re always looking forward. We stare into that long, long line’s horizon and spend our hours wondering what is just beyond. That could be part of the reason we get so frustrated with life. I think the answer is being present. It’s living in the now. It’s enjoying that book you’re reading (or writing) and not worrying over what the next book might be. It’s tasting your food. It’s experiencing each moment with your families, because those moments build lifetimes. Perhaps part of the reason we look back with such nostalgia is because we never fully appreciated the good while it was going on. If that’s true, and nostalgia is more sinister than just recalling the good, then I say create a life where you’ll never experience it again. Create a life in which you suck so much of the joy out of every moment that there’s nothing to go back for.

It’s a Powerful Thing

Posted: October 3, 2013 in Uncategorized
The data seems to suggest that no matter your education level on a given issue, you generally do not make rational decisions based on the facts of that issue. Instead, we tend to ‘feel’ our way into a choice, generally based on our already established beliefs and that of our social connections (friends, family, etc). So, chances are, you and I couldn’t even win a genuine, facts-based argument about most of the things we think we support so deeply (Sarcasm isn’t winning). In short, we make a quick choices based on an irrational, gut-feeling and then ‘back them up’ by picking and choosing arguments that fit those preconceived notions along the way. You want to blame someone for the cruddy shape of things? For the lack of quality and concern for ourselves and others we see every single day? It’s my fault, and yours. Think for yourself. It’s a powerful thing.

Sexy Mustard

Posted: October 1, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Our culture is obsessed with beauty and sexuality. So much so that we vilify and berate those who do not fit into our personal idea of those concepts. We make fun of people who are overweight or just don’t consider saltines a meal. Girls who, by the very act of being female, look pretty in the clothes they are wearing are called sluts. Our sense of balance is so far skewed that it’s difficult not to catch ourselves thinking in these terms even when we are aware that doing so is stupid and often mean.

However…

There is such a thing as balance, good taste and, well, just plain self respect. Or is there? Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. The suffocating heat of summer calms to the cool breezes of Autumn. The green of the trees become the vibrant… okay, it’s mostly about the candy. At some point in our culture it also became about looking sexy. There’s nothing wrong with looking pretty. Stupid, yes. Pretty, no.

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We all love vegetables. Not one of us can deny secretly having crushes on our broccoli, cauliflower and even our lima beans (sexy, sexy lima beans). But for someone to think that anyone has ever fantasized about corn with breasts is one disturbed individual.

sexyberternie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know what I do when I’m alone? When I’m feeling extra lonely? Watch Sesame Street. I’ve often thought that two of the hottest cast members of that show were, without a doubt, Bert & Ernie. Don’t get me wrong, that show is chock full of characters who ooze sexuality. But if you’re going to make a costume that demeans women based on a preschool children’s show, well, you just don’t have a better choice than these two.

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M.C. Hammer pants, a bag of cotton balls, Santa hat and a six-pack. You know what that makes? Me puke. It makes me puke. I see enough guys without their shirts on flexing on Facebook.

sexyhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing gets me going quite like my house. Any house, really. So, if a pretty girl were to be the subject of some strange science experiment, grow ten times her normal size and the only thing she could wear was a house? Well, that’s the stuff of fantasy, ladies and gentlemen.

she-rabo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, that’s not a stupid, sexy Halloween costume. But can I just say: This may all be your fault 1980’s.

Not only is this mustard (Do I really have to explain why that’s stupid?) but it’s officially licensed by the Heinz corporation. So it wasn’t just some pervert who hides the mustard out of shame when his mom comes over that thought this was a good idea. It was the people who make your bologna decorator (And for those weirdos who think ketchup on hot dogs is acceptable, there’s one of those too.)

Super Fan

Posted: September 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

I was on Pinterest the other day (for, um… medical reasons). Between all the recipes involving quinoa and, well, this, I saw a pin that made me think. A fan had posted a picture of the movie versions of characters from what I assume is their favorite book series (So far, so good). Below these random stills from the movie, the pinner had written, if you don’t know these people right away, you’re not a part of this fandom.

For a moment, I felt a twinge of guilt. Because I am a fan of that series and I did not recognize the pictures right away. Admittedly, it isn’t the fandom that I’m into the most, but I appreciate it and those involved in its creation. So, after shrugging off that bit of silly guilt, I began to ask myself why we do that. What is it that creates in us the desire to down those who might only be peripherally involved in the things that we adore.

I remember a day when, for instance, comic books weren’t a widely accepted phenomena. I’ve liked comics since I was a kid. My brother collected them and I used to drool over those four-color beauties. So, when I was old enough, I began to collect as well. Whenever I would meet anyone who was even slightly interested in the X-Men or knew who Sandman was, I would get giddy. Even if they didn’t know unimportant character bio information or couldn’t name all of my favorite character’s aliases. I just enjoyed the fact that there was someone who, in some way, enjoyed what I enjoyed. We were suddenly family.

Our kind have whined for years that other people just don’t know what good is. So, now that others have recognized that there is worth in these things we love, we have become jealous to share them. We are not happy to spend our time reveling in the fact that its now so easy to find like minds. We’re not pleased with the idea that there are oodles of websites and gobs of podcasts to sate our geeky thirsts like never before. Instead of opening our arms wide and smiling our orthodontically corrected smiles, embracing even the smallest contributor to our fandom’s success, we find reasons to dislike them.

Because, the facts are these: The more people that like something, the longer it will continue to be made. The more of that something there is, the more we can own. Last, but certainly not least, the bigger the fandom, the more our favorite creators will make to support their families. (We want them to live long, happy and productive lives.) So, I say, stop trying to prove your the best type of fan and rejoice in the fact that your fandom’s so big that fans now come in all, equally acceptable sizes. In short, stop categorizing fans into demeaning levels and be a better fandom, be a family.

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Because I matter too!

I stumbled across an article today about Mitch Hedberg, and it made me sad. A good friend of mine introduced me to Mitch a few years back. I promptly laughed, I laughed more, and then I found out that he had passed away. This made me sad. So, now, every time I hear his simple genius (and laugh again), I am sad that he’s gone. Then, last night, I was introducing my girlfriend to a new sitcom I really liked on the Hulu. During the mandatory commercials, I saw one of the main actors in a commercial for a new show, on a different network. This got me curious, so I looked it up: cancelled. This is a brilliant time for dramas and even, one could argue, dramadies, but the sitcom is currently–with a few outstanding exceptions–trite and boring. So, it was a shame to see a show that genuinely surprised me with laughter at times, go away. But, that’s the nature of this world, isn’t it? Our grandmothers die, good books end, they stop making Ding Dongs (no, seriously, that was a thing). But those people, and things, leave an indelible mark on us.

kingdingdong

Especially King Ding Dong

We are changed by that which we love. My grandmother passing away over ten years ago is still the most significant loss in my life. But her death has forced me to deeply consider her life. The fact that I miss her has made me gather up all the wonderful things about her and think about them more just for the simple reason that there will be no more. Do I wish she were still here to take for granted? Absolutely. But, hi, welcome to Earth.

So, that’s what I (try to) do. I mourn, but then I rejoice that I had that thing at all. I find satisfaction in the idea that I was added to by that thing that is no longer a part of my life. Whether it’s a piece of entertainment, highly processed food stuffs or a flesh and blood piece of my metaphoric heart. I am different in some fundamental way because those things existed near me. I choose to see it that way. Otherwise, I’d go mad with grief. I definitely wouldn’t want to have never had those experiences just because I can’t have them again. (I mean, I can’t imagine having rice and not thinking to myself, “I like rice. Rice is a really great when you’re hungry and you want 2,000 of something.”) Thanks, Mitch. And, thanks grandma. Thanks guy who invented ding dongs and cast of cancelled sitcom. I’m sorry you’re gone, but I’m glad I had you.

Apparently, if enough people are wrong about something enough times we all just give up and let that mistake be okay.

define 'wrong'

define ‘wrong’