Showing posts with label Idiocy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Idiocy. Show all posts


Iced Out

So Xmas is coming, even if winter is barely here. 

There's no snow whatsoever. It's straight up a bummer for the holiday season. The situation used to be that I loathed winter and couldn't stand the omnipresence of snow. It was dark and miserable and painfully cold, but hey - that's life in the Middle West, huh? 

It still is, just not as severe these days. Last winter we hardly had any snow at all. Here we are on the 5th of December with nothing to show for it, save for the dead lawns and bare trees filled with lights. I guess the fact that it gets so dark at 4:30 in the afternoon tends to cover that up a bit but it's still a bummer when Xmas is on the way. It's hard to believe just two years ago we had a blizzard so severe the Metrodome straight up collapsed in on itself. That was an amazing storm. My (then) fiance and I spent the day cooking and baking and watching the world slowly succumb to the snow. At about one in the afternoon we saw all of the city buses line up on the street below our condo. We were confused as to why all the people were streaming off the buses until we saw the signs on the front of each one change from the route to 'Not in Service'. The city had given up. They knew when to pull in and close up shop, even if that meant stranding everyone at the Rainbow Foods in Uptown. 
Not even a month earlier an even crazier weather event happened. While my better half had gone out with her friends for a girls' night out, my younger brother and a friend of mine came over for a drink before seeing a movie at the Lagoon Theater two blocks away. On the short walk there we noted the steady drizzle and the dropping temp. I remember the three of us exchanging mutual concern over what was going to happen. We went inside and promptly forgot about all of that while we watched Monsters, an awesome yet underrated movie. Two hours later we left our seats, took one step outside and simultaneously grabbed each other for support as we slid down the curb on half an inch of glare ice. We were equal parts terrified of falling (and really hurting ourselves, as we were juuuuuusssst old enough to see the danger in icy walkways) and hysterics as we navigated the treacherous path back to the condo. I know I slipped at least twice, the slow, steady breakdown where you start standing and go down in stages, so by the time your feet fly out from under you you're really only a few inches high anyway. My brother tried to stop before hitting the crosswalk (and potentially being rundown by an out of control car or bus) only to slide into the street and almost to the other side, like a statue of a figure skater. 
When we got inside my building I made them promise they wouldn't try to leave. We all biffed it on the two block walk - no one was going to get anywhere without breaking a bone. So what to do? We sat at the windows and drank, five floors up and surrounded by a vantage point from which we could watch the chaos unfold. People were either boldly braving the roads or foolishly ignoring the conditions, staying out until bar close. Seeing the drunks stumble out onto the ice and skid around on shaky legs like a newborn deer had us all doubling over in laughter. That is, until we saw one guy go down hard and not get up. Our laughter quickly died down. "Oh. Oh, no. Alright, coats guys. Let's go help." Before we could leave, though, he made it to his feet and, with great trepidation, made it over to his friends. They hadn't even noticed he went missing. The joys of living somewhere the weather can kill you! 
So we stayed up all night watching the slowest, gentlest car crashes in the world. Blizzards that ruin buildings. Ice conditions that force us to hunker down indoors. I somehow fell in love with bolting the doors and watching the world turn white. Xmas is on the way, but there's nary a flake on the horizon. 

I hope that changes. It's not the same without the white stuff.



Haircuts, man.

I just never get comfortable with them.

I've had a full head of hair my whole life. Providence providing, I'll continue to have one for years. As grateful as I am for a full head of hair, I continue to be exacerbated by it. No matter how I get it cut, or how often, it continues to grow and demands attention. I just want something that stays. As in "You - stay. Don't move. Don't go anywhere. No funny business." Instead, I find myself constantly in damage-control. I have to react and adapt and ugh I just don't wanna. Look, the deal is this - I've never really had a haircut I've liked. It's always been just finding one that works for the time and going for it. Every single time I go in for a cut there is NO PLAN whatsoever. It's always as if I surprise myself. "Oh, haircut? Uhhh...try...this? I don't know..." Sure, I've like some more than others, but mostly they've always been terrible and I look back and cringe. Let's look back at my poor choices, shall we?

Baby - doesn't count.

Toddler - here's where the trouble starts. Big side-swept thing that would set the stage for all future mistakes.

Childhood - epic side part that earned the moniker 'schoolie', a word that never looks properly spelled.

Adolescent - adopted a modified Duff. Parted down the middle and shaved(!) underneath the eaves. Gets worse.

Teen Alpha - long duff, down to shoulders. Tons of homophobic insults and ANGST. Loads of ANGST. Awful.

Teen Beta - crew cut. Copious amounts of gel and uptight micromanagement. A marked improvement.

Teen Gamma - emotional crisis results in razor-blade shearing. My head was smoooooth. Looked crazy, oddly good.

Teen Delta - no cut. grew everything out at once. Referred to by friends as a head cut.

College (Initial) - no more hair cuts, for a year. Super easy to deal with: wash, rinse, hat. Done. Awesome.

College (Variable) - series of long/buzz cuts. Blond dyes. Nothing looks right, due to exacerbating obesity.

Post College - pseudo crew. Becomes standard young man's cut. Evolves from fauxhawk into duckbutt/Philip Fry.

Current - greaser. Better half shakes head and calls me hipster. Look like maternal grandfather. Never met him.
You see? 
No matter what I do, it's a reactionary thing. I just wish it could be like a cartoon and I could wake up every day and it would stay the same. Alas, it grows and changes and betrays me. I feel like no other guy obsesses and worries about this like do, but then they're probably not as neurotic as me. 
I can look at this two ways:

One - it's never gonna be solved, and it's never gonna look great. Just deal with it and constantly perform triage. 
Two - lean into the spin. It'll be a fascinating look at back at my narcissism and self-modulation in the 21st century.
Of these two grim options, I'm splitting the difference. I'm going to try to find some illusive, as-of-yet unseen haircut that will arise from trial and error and finally say "Aha! Do this the rest of my life!"
Or until I lose my hair.


Irrational Fear

I'm an idiot. 

Not all of the time. 

Just some of the time. 

You see, last night before I went to sleep I was reading an article on the game Slender. It's a free-to-download PC game that has the player running around a park at night collecting pages of a book, avoiding the titular Slender Man, a meme that plays on our fear of the unknown and undefined. You look at him too much and you die. That's it. Sounds simple, right? It sure does, but according to almost all who have played it, it is supposed to be pants-fillingly terrifying. Something about the premise, setting and execution have made a simple yet disturbing game. Needless to say I'm stoked for it. It's sitting on my desktop but I'm waiting for Halloween. Or at the least, the month of October. My terror induced diarrhea must be timely. 

That's not why I'm an idiot, though. At least, not this time. 

No, the thing was that in the article was a link to this video from a series of YouTube clips about...something. I don't even know, really. However, that short clip was so effective in its use of framing timing that I was unnerved to the point of continuing anxiety. I had to put it out of my mind to sleep last night, and all during my run (in the dark, natch) this morning I would get these bolts of memory that would jar me and I honestly found myself looking back over my shoulder know? 

Look, I'm no scientist. But! I majored in Logic and Philosophy in college. I spend most of my brain power working out the rules and systems of the world around me. When given a game to play, I love looking for ways to break the system, to test the boundaries of a pre-established world. That we, as a species, have worked out the cosmos from the multiverse down to subatomic particles astounds me and makes me marvel at being alive. But I don't believe in the supernatural. I know a few people reading this will be disheartened to hear that as much as I love Mysterious Universe, I don't think of it as a journalistic endeavor - it's more a source of entertainment. Much of my ability to deal with the horrors of the world and the cruelty of fate stems from the cold, hard logic of science and how cause and effect operate, coupled with a good ol' dose of Chaos Theory. There's a lot of math I don't understand, but even cats can use an iPad even if they'll never build one. 
The point is - I know this stuff is pure, Grade A baloney. Noises in my house are the house settling or creaking in the wind or my cat being a little unhinged. No one chases me during my run except my thoughts and the local rabbits. Despite knowing these things...I still get the creeps. The willies. That little tingle up the spine that lingers from an evolutionary holdover in which was originally supposed to warn of large animals watching from the bushes. 
I'm not saying there's not danger in the world. Of course there is. Cancer. Car accidents. Random acts of violence. Super volcanoes. But I only control my own self and how I react to things. So why can't I control getting creeped out by stuff like that video late at night? Why do I love to torture myself, especially non-stop in October? Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment. Or maybe I like to pretend there's more out there. See how the other half lives. Who knows. 

I'll just glance over my shoulder every now and then to be sure. 


Social Situations

We give some people way too much power over us, don't we?

At the end of a fantastic week I found myself stalking the produce section of a grocery store I don't frequent. Rather, I used to haunt this one, but a closer one opened up to my better half's office and now we go to that one. Thing is, at the end of a pretty great week I was on the hunt for a couple key ingredients for some curry we planned to make as soon as I came home. I was a bit disheveled. Nothing drastic, just a bit rumpled and more than a bit greasy after a productive day. Tie loosened, collar unbuttoned. My alleged hipster hair flopping down into my eyes like the 11th Doctor. I turned the corner around the vidalia onions and there he was.

This dude I used to know.

He was a cool dude. We didn't know each other that well, but he had been a tangential social connection in college who had done me a few favors when I needed them. We always got along just fine but there was a clear social dynamic - he was cool. He was the alpha male. I was not cool. I was the clear beta. He still possesses this unspoken confidence and carries himself very well. I still slouch and second guess every single thing I do. I don't even know if he recognized me, but neither of us acknowledged the other. 

I pretended nothing clicked in my head and went about my business, keeping an eye peeled and watching for any recognition from him. None came. When he checked out and left before me, I relaxed a bit. There was no bad blood between us, so why the anxiety? Simply because it would be awkward to reintroduce myself to someone I knew, and I guess to explain who I was? That sort of makes sense, but it doesn't make me feel better about it. Just being surprised by him threw me off balance and the old dynamic reared into being. Years have passed since I even spoke to this dude, yet there I was, all nebbish and strange as though my years of personal growth and accomplishments vanished due to proximity. 

I've been thinking about this weird encounter all night. It shouldn't bother me, but it's going to linger like a bruise, I can tell. It's foolish. It's not like I'd send him a text and say "Hey! How's it going?" at this point. Waves in the ocean. I'll cross paths with people like this again. I need to remember not to let it sway me. I like who I am. Dynamics change. Relationships grow and wither. People don't care as much as we think they do. I'll shrug it off.

Ah, well.


Sir Limpalot

This machine will break down. 

This morning I got up way too early and pounded the pavement. It was the longest run in the last few years. I make myself do it three times a week at the least. The guilt is overwhelming if I can't carve some time to go running that often. The sad thing is I feel guilty even when I do hit the self prescribed minimum. Despite forcing myself from the comfort of bed when it's still dark, injecting relentless tunes into my skull and working up to a decent pace around a conveniently close-to-home loop, I feel guilty that I'm not doing more. My knees crack and my hips pop. I'm wearing through another pair of shoes. Still, there's a nagging feeling that I'm not doing enough. 

This machine is relentless. 

I chug on and on, huffing and puffing away for no discernible reason other than my own unending drive for more. More what? Punishment? I'm not trying to lose weight. I'm not training for a marathon. I'm not training for the military. It's as though there's some invisible meter in my body that builds up energy over time and I feel this urge to discharge it. When I finish, gasping as I punch in the code to raise the garage door, it feels like a pressure valve has been opened over the previous hour. It vents anxiety and frustration. I can feel the pressures of life easing as I run laps around the mile and a half loop in my neighborhood. 

This machine is working for me. 

The pressures on my mind ease as the wear and tear increases on my body. It's a tipping of scales. I used to take the amazing mechanics of my body for granted. I'd sit on the couch doing nothing, gorging on poison without a second thought. The tide turned a few years ago and now I'm bound and determined to run this thing right into the ground. I realized soon after the practice became habit that there was an energy exchange occurring. The higher the mental energy, the more I could burn while running. Stressed? Overwhelmed? Hard day? Give me an hour and my shoes and it's gone. It takes the starch out. It bleeds the poison from my mind as I wear out the joints and beams. It was made over the course of thousands and thousands of years of evolution and is the most elegant, efficient system we could have. I'm already wearing it out. 

This machine won't last forever. 

I'm already having to hack the system. I'm using a brace on one knee, and I can feel the other starting to creak. Special foods and recipes designed to make the most of the fuel burning process. Doing all the necessary stretches. Utilizing BPM tracking on music to push me. Running in loops around my home in case my bad knee suddenly locks up on me, out of the blue. My better half tries to find opportunities to talk me out of wearing myself down, finding reasons to sneak me a cookie or experiment with homemade ice cream. Telling me to sleep in, to take days off. She knows I'm running the machine too hard, too often. I hope she doesn't worry, but that probably won't stop me. 

I'm going to run this whole contraption right into the ground. Sooner or later, something will give. A ligament tearing. Heatstroke in the summer. Slipping on the ice in winter. Dodging distracted drivers at intersections. Maybe I'll trip over one of the countless startled rabbits that don't expect me at that ungodly hour. Back pains. Bad knees. I can't run forever. As long as the machine works, though, I'm not stopping. 


Worlds End

I've been thinking about The End of The World. 

Not in the biblical sense, fire and brimstone. Although I suppose in this case it would apply. Moreover, it's in the sense of my life as I know it ending. 

Like any human in this modern age, I have too much imagination with too little to exert it against. I wake up, go through my work day and come home. During that time, things are always happening. At home, more stuff happens. Something is always going on. Decisions are being evaluated, plans are made and executed. Meals are prepared and eaten, chores and duties are dealt with. During all the usual stuff, I'm also writing, tweeting, consuming pop culture and doing the usual 20-something crap that seems important but in actuallity is frivolous. Also, I'll get up at offensively early hours and go running, sometimes in the dark but now there's at least a little sunlight. Despite all of this, that imagination never seems to run out. 

See where I'm going? 

There is no shortage of stuff to deal with in this modern life. You get an extra hour and it fills up with obligations. Indulging in relaxing activites usually has a subcurrent of guilt permeating it, as though worrying about what I ought to be accomplishing makes it acceptable that I'm otherwise supposedly wasting time playing a videogame or reading a book. It's become hard to simply relax. The mind is constantly fretting, worrying, anxiously creating scenarios in which things go wrong or disaster falls or who knows what else. Having no actual dangers to avoid (war, pervasive crime, large predatory animals), my mind is constantly presenting potential scenarios, no matter how unrealistic, in which my world and life as I know them cease to exist and All Goes Wrong. 

Who cares? 

No one. 

Should I worry about it? 

Absolutely not. 

But see, that's the problem. Try to convince yourself that you shouldn't worry about a thing in the future. There's a reflexive instinct to reassert the notion that by not being concerned about it, it will come to pass in a negative light. 

This is not true. 

Worry is not a talisman against bad fortune. 

There is a world of difference between being prepared for bad fortune and constantly being wary of it. One is intelligent and resourceful. The other is a needless waste of energy. "But what if this and what if this and this thing could happen and then all this would happen" but it hasn't. Not yet. Odds are it most likely won't. This is just a wishful direction of energy in the hopes that we can exert some sort of control on the universe. 

The world hasn't ended. It won't. Even if it does, what does that change the here and now? Say I go broke, get cancer and lose everyone I love. Okay. Done. Then what happens? Wailing and gnashing of teeth? Perhaps. But whatever the series of circumstances, my life will have to continue on. War could happen, more terrorist attacks. What good, what possible benefit is there to fretting about it? It simply expends energy I could use to tell my better half I love her, or cook a nice meal, or finish the same book I've been slowly writing. 

Enough worrying. Enough self-caused anxiety. 

I'm going to go enjoy my day. You do the same. 


Endless Nameless

Naming bands is hard.

Actually, choosing a good band name is hard.

Let me back up.

I've been in a few bands in my life. Some had longer lives than others. A couple were no more than impromptu jam sessions. Others recorded EPs and built (incredibly minor) buzz in their areas. Looking back at my choices, I can say with confidence that every single one had an abysmal, face-palm inducing name. Let's delve further into the mess, shall we?

Yellow 5 - the first band I ever played in with a name. I joined as the lead guitar. A punk outfit that played a lot of Aquabats and Green Day. Broke up after a year.

Harris Avenue - the first band i started. I chose the name at random from a book I was reading. The band stuck together for a surprisingly long(ish) time. I cut my teeth here.

John's Band - joined this band, not named after me. I swear. Different John. Only one or two shows and we all went separate ways.

In Like Flint - some reoccurring faces. Name chosen when overheard in conversation. Both band and name were too toothless to take hold.

Casual Hijinx - worst name, yet most prolific. Isn't that how it always works? Name came from a repeated phrase. Played a lot of shows and still have some recordings. Not half bad, in a Get Up Kids-aping sense.

High Five - sat in on a couple sessions with these guys. I take no blame for this one, but I did have the fortune of playing alongside my younger brother, who I still consider to be the best drummer I know.

I know for certain I'm forgetting the name of two other bands that fell in between a couple there, but then again they may never have gestated proper names. A lot of bad jokes maybe, but nothing that stuck, apparently.

See how bad all of those were? Granted, I was anywhere from 15 to 19 when picking names, but man - see how your own bad ideas can betray you? I actually thought they were decent at the time. If anyone I know can recall a name I've forgotten, please let me know and I'll add it to the list.

(Special mention goes to my younger brother's first band. Their name? Grandpa's Pirate Ship. Awesome.)