Monday, April 15, 2013

XII



Now, my original plan for opening this up was quoting Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, regarding people “humping the American Dream”.  I was going to explain that everyone has their own ideals, while citing my own.  My own dream is to live as a writer on the freeways of the U.S. – a permanent resident of Route 66 and its descendants – with no roots except for something as small as a PO Box or as large as a dusty cabin on a lake.  But it would've sounded a little pretentious, compared to the bulk of the content following it.

The truth is, while being a nomadic wordsmith would be a very fulfilling life, it’s a pretty lofty goal.  When I hit my life’s stride, I probably won’t be a creative, enigmatic traveler like Jack Kerouac or Timothy Leary.  At the moment, I wish I could be a cool and charismatic misfit - though I think we all know I’m actually the plucky comic relief, which means I’m going to end up being the jolly dad instead.  A life revolving around my wife, house, dog, lawn and 2.5 kids… that’s where I’m headed.  Now, to some, that sounds like a pretty boring way to live, and to them, it may be.  But I’m not them – I tend to stray toward the eccentric, so it’s safe to say that life is going to be a little interesting for all those involved.  I've often said that I’ll end up being the type of dad that will often drive my wife and kids NUTS.

The following is a list of notes for my future wife, regarding situations she’ll be very likely to encounter.  So honey, if you're out there… you have been warned.  As for the rest of you, I hope you find this at least a little entertaining because I’ll be depending on you to keep her from whacking me in the head with a rolling pin on a regular basis.

Dear Future Wife:

-My best man Justin’s speech at our wedding reception will be in the form of a gigantic game of Hangman - possibly in Spanish if he's in the mood to further annoy everyone.

-Sorry I taught the kids to say “Yeah you know me” whenever I ask them if they’re down with O.P.P.

-Sorry I play “Theme from Superman” every morning when I get ready for work, it makes shampooing my hair feel like a step toward saving the world.  Just be glad I don’t play it in the bedroom on my birthday… I’m saving “Theme from Mortal Kombat” for that.

-Pay no attention to the stereo I brought with us into the delivery room.  Though, don’t be surprised if when you pop out our first kid, I hit the Play button and hold our baby up in the air while The Lion King’s “Circle of Life” plays in the background.

-If our kid’s first word happens to be a Chewbacca roar, I had nothing to do with it.  I swear.

-Keep in mind, plopping your freezing-cold feet on my back in the middle of the night means that you’ll be startling me out of a relaxed state with my ass already pointed in your direction.   Go ahead… roll the dice.



-On Saturday mornings, you’ll be the only adult in the house.  Us kids will be in the family room watching cartoons and laughing at Daffy Duck’s pain… because he’s an asshole.

-If we can’t come to an agreement, all disputes will be settled on who looks better in leather chaps.  You first… Pookie.

-When it comes to dinner parties, our game of choice will be Charades – I rock the shit out of that game.  So plan to make some cash on the side from hustling all the other couples… or as we’ll call them on the ride home, “suckers”.

-You want me to write you poetry?  Ahhh no.  Homie don’t play that way. *flashes gang signs*

-When our daughter’s first date arrives to pick her up, I will do my duty as a father.  So when I barge into the room he’s waiting in, wearing Army fatigues and brandishing a shotgun… that will be your cue to say, “Honey, are the voices back?”



-We can have a cat, just as long as you let me torment it with a laser pointer from time to time while laughing like a mad scientist.

-You want me to stop staring at you while you eat?  Quit buying popsicles.

-No way.  No way in hell we’re going to wear matching sweaters anywhere.  Not a chance.  Wait, you already ordered them??  Shit.

-I didn’t eat our kids’ fruit snacks… if they say otherwise, they’re a couple of dirty prepubescent liars.

-The less you fight with me over my spontaneous obsessions, the quicker I’ll eventually get over them. P.S., I wanna take Swing Dancing lessons.

Oh hello there, Casual Friday Outfit...


-Until our kids own up to their mistakes and stop blaming each other for broken household items… I will continue to wear my CSI hat and surround the crime scene with police tape.

-Until our son gets taller than 3 feet, he’s going as Yoda for Halloween every year.  And while we’re on the subject… why won’t you try on the Princess Leia bikini??

-The Bouncy Castle was totally for the kids.  They can use it, just as soon as I’m done testing it out.  I swear.

-Our son’s summer vacation = Mohawk Season.

-There’s a brand-new naughty school girl outfit in your closet?  I thought you bought it…

-If I’m nervously whistling on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, it’s because the kids made me watch another ghost movie.  Blame them.

-Wanna win an argument without having to prance around in leather chaps?  All you need is some bacon.

No, dammit. The OTHER bacon.


-If it’s a summer day and our son and I run inside and hide somewhere… there’s a baseball that recently went through a neighbor’s window.  So if anyone asks, we were inside building model airplanes THE WHOLE TIME.

-No, I’m not lost.  I just like the way that gas station looks… so I thought I’d pass by it a few times.

-When you complain of noisy neighbors, the first thing I’ll do is grab my phone.  But I won’t be calling the cops, I’ll be summoning a friend to help me use my three-person water balloon launcher.  Of course, you already know that… as being my wife means you’re automatically the #2 in my three-person Suburban Audio Disturbance Hydro Aerial Assault Team, or as I call it:  “S.A.D.H.A.A.T.”

Oh hello there, Other Casual Friday Outfit...


…and we will bring down an unholy hellfire of (ironically) ice cold water onto their inconsiderate asses.  Then we’ll go inside and hide. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

XI



This is the eleventh entry and by now, you might have noticed that the road to my current state of being was a rocky one.

Interests arrived, obsessions were abandoned.  Mannerisms were developed, speech patterns dissolved.  Like the flight path of a 747, my young life was filled with constant corrections and redirections.  With the trial and error of reinventing myself, came the byproduct of clutter – the damning evidence of my past phases.  Because of this, I was forced to learn to separate myself from possessions fairly easily… “Out with the old, and in with the new”, that’s what they always say.

So now as an adult, I’m also a bit of a minimalist. Clutter and excess are things I do not enjoy having around me.  In many cases I believe that less is more and if I have no use for something inatimate, I get rid of it.  My inbox is emptied daily, I delete stagnant phone contacts monthly and my paper shredder is used so often, you could fry an egg on it.  Outside of my tendency to fill sentences to the brim, I gravitate toward simplicity.

The one other exception I have is my bedroom closet.

In there is an array of relics from my life, a sampler platter of things I’ve acquired throughout the years.  Sitting on the floor and going through it is like opening up a series of time capsules, each representing an interest I picked up at some point.  Whatever it was, the rest of my life always shifted to accommodate it.  More money would be spent on it, I’d bring it up in every conversation and every minute of my spare time was dedicated to it.  Like listening to a favorite song on repeat, I’d love it until I made myself sick of it.

After sliding my closet door open, the first thing one would notice is the blue cardboard “Collector’s Case” of baseball cards resting on the floor.   Sitting Indian Style and going through the collection brings back memories.  When I was around ten, only four things concerned me: little league, summer vacation, cartoons and baseball cards.   Everyday I would be anxiously waiting to go with my parents to the grocery or hardware store, so I could blow my weekly allowance on baseball cards that I would carefully select from the display in the checkout lane.

It was 1994, the summer of my first season of little league.  Up until then, my uniform was a t-shirt and ratty baseball cap that matched the kids I played with, but this year was different.  I was a Marlin.  Complete with a scratchy polyester uniform and silk screened sponsor logo on my back.  I imagined myself to be like every single one of those MVPs I had memorized, and I would take a couple overly-dramatic practice swings and stroll up to home plate.  At that moment, I wasn't Little Jeffrey: Grade Schooler.  I was JEFF:  90lbs. of pure Little League Hellfire.  But then I’d swing and send a grounder straight to the shortstop.  I was usually out before I could take five steps toward first base.  Sure, in the following years I got substantially better, but my heart was never in it as much as when I collected those little 2.5” x 3.5” cardboard pictures of my heroes.

"Rookie of the Year". Well, almost.

After closing the Collector’s Case and shoving it to the side, a stack of guitar song books is revealed.  Nirvana’s In Utero album, Stone Temple Pilot’s Purple, Bush’s Sixteen Stone, etc.  There is a common theme to these instructional publications – they’re all for grunge albums.  Around the age of eleven, I started finding my own music, rather than listening to my parents’.  The catalyst was my big sister’s copy of The Offspring’s first album, Smash.  It was unlike anything I’d ever heard, and I loved it.  In fact, that album is still one of the few I can enjoy all the way through.  Once I knew there was more to music than Frank Sinatra and James Taylor, I dove head-first into grunge music and by thirteen, I was bathing in the awesomeness of what I thought it might be like to be a rock star.

So I did what any other teenaged grunge fan did back in those days; I grew my hair out, bleached it to a shitty blonde, wore ratty clothes and begged my parents for a guitar.  At first, I was playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” but soon after I gained control of my fingers, Nirvana’s music was easy to pick up.  The guitarists reading this just smirked and nodded.  Despite trying a few times, I never got a band together… l but it didn’t matter.  I had fallen in love with playing and when I reached my twenties, I was pretty good.  In recent years I haven’t played much, but I still have the “tuning ear” and the ability to pay homage to the days of grunge by picking up my axe and learning any one of Kurt Cobain’s chord progressions in about a minute.  The shaggy-haired kid of my past would’ve been proud.

Pictured:  The face of a future rock star (ish).

Though, not every one of my immersions was founded on such innocent ideals.  In the back corner of my closet is a box full of unused CDs, stored after I converted my music collection to mp3 format.  Opening the box exhibits my primary music genre from back then: Rap.  Yes folks, for a little while I was one of those white kids with a ghetto streak.  Thankfully, I never let it get too out of hand.  FUBU wasn’t in my wardrobe, “nigga” wasn’t in my vocabulary, and freestyling wasn't in my creative repertoire… but when I was fifteen, I had an unmistakable “ghetto-ness” to my personality.  There were many silver chains, baggy jeans, ADIDAS shirts, and one hell of an unwarranted chip on my shoulder.  At the time, I thought I was a tough & intimidating guy.  Sadly, it wasn’t until after I grew out of it that I realized the older crowd I ran with wasn’t respected, or even feared… but pitied.

Contrary to the shirt, I wasn't very "Boss".

Other trinkets from my past are scattered about.  Old Motor Trend magazines from my car modification phase between the ages of sixteen and twenty, wrapped up A/V cables from when I went through my electronic gadget phase at eighteen, an empty humidor from my cigar phase at twenty-two, an unused set of poker chips from my Texas Hold’em phase at the same age, a blank wine journal from my wine aficionado phase that followed shortly after, a box of mismatched cufflinks from when I was really into French cuff dress shirts… and a stack of LPs from my days of frequenting record stores.

There are some out there who have been reading my posts since I started throwing them on the internet a year and a half ago.  So by now, both of you have learned a lot about me… and I’ll bet my toes that you also have a lot of related questions.  One of them being, “Did you really just say ‘I’ll bet my toes?’” and the answer is yes, yes I did.  But you might have also noticed that I have a tendency to explain embarrassing moments from my past in graphic detail, and you’re curious as to why I would.

I do it to make a point:  We all have embarrassing things we did in days passed that we hope our old friends wouldn’t bring up in a public conversation.  So what?  Like I just said (well wrote…), everyone did and said stupid things.  It’s a part of growing up, so why be embarrassed? Treat it like common knowledge and don’t be that guy by ignoring entire sections of your life because they make you seem less cool.  There is a flip side to this coin, though.  You also shouldn’t be that other guy and constantly bring up the smudged pasts of others while pretending your own is pristine…  that’s one Thanksgiving dinner away from being the drunk uncle no one invites to family functions.

Over the years, I’ve met people who act as if they’re perfect.  They’ve never done anything wrong, never done anything embarrassing.  I call horseshit.  Once again, everyone does.  Pretending otherwise is a sign of insecurity in my opinion – it takes confidence to accept the bad along with the good.  I just happened to go through a lot more of the bad, and eventually realized there’s no point in hiding it.  Speaking of which, I have one more little gem for you all…

The license plate on my first car said “J DIGGS”.

Oh yeah.  That happened.

... around the same time as those khaki pants.
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Now that you know more about me, learn about the things around me:
Rusted Bolt

Monday, May 28, 2012

X


This past Memorial Day got me thinking a little differently than I normally do.

There were thousands upon thousands of people that either died or went missing so we could live a better life.  With much thanks to them, our society has many more advantages and opportunities than most.  It may not seem like it at times, but at any given moment we may have a handful of opportunities following us around as we make our way through the average morning, afternoon and night.  Every so often though, one of those opportunities is something a little different.  It’s a step toward something we yearn for but we’re not quite sure we’d be able to attain.  It’s a slim chance to incorporate something exquisite into our life.  It doesn’t happen often, and many times, we pass it up.  But, why?

I just asked myself that very same question: "Why?"  It made me pause, because honestly, I’m not totally sure.  I’m in my late twenties now, a full-blown grown up.  I stopped having the youthful life ideals long ago – I know being a spaceman or a secret agent are not in the cards for me – as the deck is no longer stacked in my favor.  Taking chances and risking a lot is becoming scarcer by the day and therefore, more valuable.  Soon, these opportunities may stop appearing for me… and for you too.  The dream job may not be within reach next time.  That dream girl may not flash you a smile the next time you look at her – though, I’m a little different in that respect.

There are plenty of men out there like myself who chase after women that are way out of their league.  They go after their ideal mate, despite failing at it numerous times.  Recently, it came to my attention that women wonder why we do it.  I happened to read an article in a woman’s dating magazine about the subject and the columnist’s misguided judgment stated that men do this as a mechanism to avoid commitment.  She believed that the men who always go after the dream girl would much rather have the occasional heartbreak than “run the risk” of being tied down to someone more “average”. 

What a crock of shit.

I Google imaged "crock of shit"... trust me, you'd MUCH rather look at a big-ass picture of Captain Planet.


First of all, that dig about “average” women is complete bull.  If there’s nothing else I’ve learned by watching men and women interact, it’s that every woman is special to someone else.  There is no average woman, and being called one is just plain insulting.  Don’t believe me, guys?  Take to a mirror and count your teeth.  Right now.  Got the number?  Good.  Write it down and put the paper in your pocket.  Ok, now go tell a woman she’s average.  Did you do it?  Good.  Now, grab another mirror and count your teeth again.  Got the number in your head?  Ok, pull the paper out of your pocket.  The numbers in your head and on the paper don’t match up… do they?  Yeah, that’s because she just knocked your front teeth out.  Now let’s move on to the overall message of the author’s article.

My dear, dear friends of the female persuasion, you need to give up on these magazines.  Whenever my curiosity gets the best of me and I snatch one from the rack to peruse, I get more and more convinced that women know less about men than vice versa.  Not once have these published assumptions been right, and many times, they're downright hilarious.  Every word is nothing more than propaganda - sensationalism used as a tool to sell ad space for clothing & exfoliants.  These are not viable sources.  If one needs to know about something, they should seek facts, not speculations.  The best place to find facts?  The source.

The real reason why men like myself always try to get the dream girl is simple:  she’s what we want.  Sure, she’s out of our league… sure it’s a longshot, sure… it probably won’t work out.  But what if it did?  What if the planets aligned, the seas parted, water became wine and she responded the way we hoped?  We see it as something that would be worth all of the pitfalls that were suffered before that moment.  Does it tend to blow up in our faces?  Hell yes.  I probably have one of the worst track records in the tri-state area, but hey.  It’s a risk that I, we, are all willing to take.  That one miracle for us might just make our lives utterly amazing from then on, so why settle for anything less than what you want when there's only one chance at life?

You know, that reminds me of this YOLO crap that’s being thrown around lately.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, “YOLO” stands for “You Only Live Once”.  The reason I’m calling it crap is because people aren’t using it as a reason to make their one chance at life the best possible, they're instead using it as just another excuse to take their sixteenth shot of Jose Cuervo or to do something somewhat dumb and certainly trivial. 

“Hey Brandy!  Flash that homeless guy on the sidewalk there!!”

“YOLO!!!  WEEEEOOOOOO!!!”  *Flashes Homeless Guy on the Sidewalk There*

*Homeless Guy on the Sidewalk There unzips his fly and rocks a solo round*

Yeah... you don't want to see that either.  Here's Abraham Lincoln as a Ghostbuster.


Yep.  Way to go there, Brandy.  Leave it to the people that follow and constantly regurgitate moronic catchphrase trends (Winning!) to miss the point of them entirely.  “You only live once” isn’t about having another excuse to do some stupid shit, there are already plenty of reasons to do so.  Just last week, I ran around my yard in a $60 Superman cape, scaring the shit out of the neighbors.  Why did I do it?  Because it’s ok to act like a kid once in a while.  I did, and felt a whole lot better afterward.  “You only live once” on the other hand, originally meant that one should make the best of the time they spend on this Earth, because in all probability, we only get one shot at it.

So what am I saying?  I’m saying that we’re all getting older.  Time is passing by, and pretty soon it’ll run out.  Now is the time to take that chance while it’s still within your grasp.  Tell him or her how you feel, they might feel the same way.  Go for that job you want, you might be exactly what they’re looking for.  Go back to school for something else, you might be on the brink of a new career you’ll love.  Just grow a pair and give it a shot.

Why not start tomorrow?  I’m sure I will.

This has no relevance, it just makes me chuckle.
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Now that you know more about me, learn about the things around me:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Glimpse Into The Neurosis



A month or two ago, I mentioned the obsessive editing process I go through with every piece I write, and I thought I’d let you all see it first-hand.  Well, is a picture of something still first-hand, or is that second-hand?  Who the hell knows, I’ve been damn-near mainlining coffee since I woke up this morning and I’m starting to lose it.

I know many of you are looking at the above with a thought in your heads, “Big deal, everyone marks up something they're editing.”  That is very true.  But the thing is, those red marks represent my third round of revisions.  Yes, after writing out my draft and revising it twice, I still found that much about it that I felt needed to be looked at.  Like I’ve said before, it’s a small miracle I finish anything at all.

Some Noteworthy Points:

-This is a piece I wrote today with the working title, “The Moment I Realized Trendy Stores Are Full of Shit”.
-I’ll probably post it tomorrow on Writing of the Slightly Insane.
-Yes, I kick it old-school and edit with a printed copy and red pen.
-Yes, that is a mug from theCHIVE.  Yes, it was fucking hard to get.  No, you can’t have it.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Now that you know more about me, learn about the things around me:
Rusted Bolt
Voice of Others

Saturday, April 7, 2012

IX


It’s a frustrating balancing act to be a part of.  Say something slightly insensitive and you seem like a douchebag.   Leave a remark that’s slightly down in tone, and you look like some melodramatic pseudo Beat Poet.  Come off as chipper, and you’ll sound like some bubbly airhead.  The only solace is humor.  Thank whoever for humor.  Without it, I would be way too worried about how the fairer sex viewed me… making constant adjustments in my speech & action.  A week of that and I’ll be so neurotic about everything, if a cute girl was near I would start to nervously shake like one of those overbred Chihuahuas.   I’ve recently become worried enough as is.

Rocko knows what's up.

God dammit, this is why I stopped chasing after women.  Just a few weeks ago I was a model of confidence & wit, covered with a thin veil of apathy.  I was not looking to date anyone, therefore I saw no need to try and impress anyone.  It was a very stress-free social life – I thoroughly enjoyed being single, and I was fucking good at it.  Beautiful girl walks by, good for her.  She stops and says hi, good for me.  I’d respond with a “hi” and have a carefree conversation, because her view of me was not a priority at all.

That happened to me one night, fairly recently.  I can't remember where I was exactly; I just know it served overpriced coffee inside and had an undersized parking lot outside.  I had just finished circling this puny parking lot for the third time when a spot opened up. I backed in, right in front of a few large windows and the front entrance.  I liked this.  Not because I’m one of those people that like to constantly look at their car wherever it’s parked, or always back into a parking spot just for aesthetic reasons.  I just happen to be paranoid, thinking someone in a huge truck might not notice my pocket-sized two-seater & whack into it… and the only time I back into a spot is when I know it would turn into the Wide World of Maneuvering if I had to back out of it… because god DAMN, that little thing is littered with blind spots.

Look at that crap.  A triceratops could walk by and I'd never know.

Anyway, after I was inside and had scooped my coffee order, I began to set up my little writer’s workstation that hipsters like to duplicate, to seem like writers.  Hey, don’t get mad at me, I’ve seen them do it all the time.  They strategically set up their blank notebooks and unread Bukowski novels, open up their Mac and cruise Facebook, until someone walks by, at which point they open up a document and pretend to work on it.  Once they think no one is around, right back to Facebook.  Apologies for the tangent, but it drives me up a wall when people pretend to be deep and creative just to seem cool.

Shortly after I sat down, a very pretty girl around the age of 25 took a seat next to mine and complimented me on my car.  This threw me off.  See, as a testament to the stupidity of the modern male, the entire $25,000-50,000 sports car market is based off of the notion that women are attracted to men that drive them… but in fact, the only attention that car will get is from other men.  It’s the ultimate automobile irony.  From what I’ve seen, a guy needs to drive something much nicer to start to get that kind of reaction.  I 
however, do not.

That’s why she caught me off guard with, “Hey there, I like your car”.  Once I got my bearings back, I thanked her.  She continued, “You looked like you were climbing out of a spaceship! What do you do?” I saw an opportunity to be a bit of a smartass.

“Ironically enough, I’m an astronaut.”

“Get out,” she shot back at me, “You're not really, are you?”

“Nah, I’m just messing with you.”

“Good thing you came clean, I would’ve found out eventually.”

And that, ladies and gents, is why I titled my March 14th post on Rusted Bolt (AHEM!): She’ll Find Out You’re Not an Astronaut.  The funny part is… I had already written the majority of it, I just went to that coffee shop to do the editing and think of a title, among other things.  We talked for a minute or two longer, then without warning, she left her number on my notebook and went back to her own table.  I didn’t keep the number though.  While getting a woman’s number without asking is extremely rare for me, I already had my eye on someone else… so that little sheet of paper went in the trash with my coffee cup as I was leaving.  But here's some more ultimate irony: not keeping the number probably jinxed me, as the other girl has since not worked out.

The Jinx is a real thing, people.  I’m normally a realist, but when it comes to The Jinx, I'm a believer.  I’ve seen too much evidence from my personal experiences to just brush it off as mere coincidence. But I digress.

Later that night, She'll Find Out You're Not an Astronaut went live.  Now usually after I post something, I keep thinking about it.  In most cases it’s to ensure I haven’t missed any points worth making, or to reflect on the general theme and make sure it isn’t askew in any way.  With this one though, I kept trying to think of other finer points I might know about the fairer sex.  This snow balled into introspective sessions that lead me to second guess myself at every moment.  I accidentally fell back into the awkward person I had spent much time growing beyond and have since then, been fighting my through the quicksand of my insecurities.

In case you're wondering how to do it yourself...

Back in the coffee shop, when that girl reached for my notebook, penning down her phone number, I didn't think much of it.  When she handed me the paper, I simply folded it up and put it in my shirt pocket when she was looking, then discreetly threw it away with my grande cup when she wasn't.  However, in recent days I don’t think that episode would be scripted the same.  I could easily imagine myself being preoccupied with calling her, pacing back and forth through a room filled with action figures, like we all saw in The 40 Year Old Virgin.  Well, that’s a bit of a stretch – being that I only own one action figure.

Hey fuck off, Venom is badass.

The reason for this change isn't a simple matter of psyching myself out with my infamous self-awareness, it's probably also due to the Springtime Itch.  We all know that feeling – coming out of the cold winter months as a single person, and during the day, you start to see people pair up and you want in on that sweet, sweet action.  At night though, the gloominess sets in and the Springtime Itch becomes the Lonely Bug.

Getting the Springtime Itch / Lonely Bug is not something that most people are willing to admit, let alone in great detail, while citing their hindrances and insecurities that add to it.  Then again, like I’ve said many times… I’m not most people.  By now, if you don’t know me personally, you can probably tell I’m one of the more open & honest people that one might encounter.  That’s because being mysterious is just not in my nature.  Well… with one exception that is obvious to some; Wright is not my real last name.  The way I see it, everyone goes through feelings of loneliness at one point – many go through it numerous times – so why bother hiding it?  But enough bonding over our shared embarrassments, let’s get back to my own.  I’m the narcissist here.  Me me me.

Like I said in that post I previously mentioned (on Rusted Bolt AHEM!!!), I only know roughly 2% about women because 98% of the time I think something is heading in one direction… but in actuality, is heading in the wrong direction… or isn’t heading anywhere at all.  Once I think I have something or someone figured out… 98% of the time I am ohhhh so wrong.

At this point, I was going to sum everything up by making sense of the contradiction between the viewpoint of this post and the one I explained in the other, but it’s four in the morning and I'd like to avoid having the sleeping schedule of a vampire.  So instead, I’ll just cut this short and leave you with a line I thought up a minute or two ago. It has nothing to do with anything… and I don’t even think I would necessarily agree with it.  It just like the way it sounds. 

“It’s not what you know, it’s not even who you know… it’s what you know about who you know.”


Thanks Chuck.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Now that you know more about me, learn about the things around me:
Rusted Bolt
Voice of Others

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

VIII


The normal sequence of events is as follows:  I sit down at my desk, rouse my laptop out of its stand-by slumber, hit play on iTunes; take a sip of my water, coffee, cocktail or what have you; then open up a word document.  Typically, what's opened is work in progress, a collection of words that I can’t bring myself to finalize for one reason or another… usually because I’m critical of everything I create, to the point of being neurotic.

Neurotic would actually be putting it lightly.  I’m extremely self-conscious about my writing.  It’s a wonder how it takes anything less than a horde of angels descending upon my front yard, singing praises of my vocabulary, to get me to show any of this to anyone.  Regardless of the celestial beings that may or may not be making a praise-filled pilgrimage to my poorly manicured patch of grass, I still only post approximately one of every eight essays I finish.  Open for criticism and judgment, they appear on any one of my handful of internet nooks, then lay dormant – waiting for attention from anyone.

Even after I "publish" something on here, the next hour and a half is spent going over everything another half-dozen times, finding problems, then quickly editing & updating.  In my creative writing classes during college, I was the one everyone dreaded getting as a "peer editor".

On a side note: I'm convinced the whole "peer editing" thing is a bullshit tactic used by lazy professors.  Hey Prof. WouldTotallyBlowShakespeare, I'm pretty sure I'm not paying hundreds of dollars to have my papers edited by someone who, in all probability, knows a lot less than I do.  My suspicions are confirmed by the lack of further proofreading marks after I handed it in.  You're getting paid here, not us.

Pictured: Proofreading.


Putting aside my hatred for writing professors and bringing you back to the topic at hand... I do not have any works in progress.  Well, none that I’m willing to add to, at least.  My “Writing” folder is lousy with files, ranging from three sentences to ninety pages, most of which will never get finished.  That’s the way it goes with me – I get in the mood to pound out words that pertain to a certain subject, and then lose the urge to carry it further.  Who knows, this string of sentences may end up with the very same fate, as I had no predetermined path when I clicked “New blank document”.

Water in hand, I leaned back into my squeaky office chair and gazed at the blinking cursor that was anxiously waiting in the corner for me to drag it left to right, top to bottom.   A great song came on, so I leaned forward, mouthing “fuck it” it to the inactive screen and began typing with no goal in mind. 

This is a piece without any clear point.  It’s about nothing, the Seinfeld-type Essay.  Many think of this as a free-write, but I say ‘nay’, as I have decided to make it complete and put it online, no matter where I travel with it.  This piece will essentially be a traveler itself, wandering from subject to subject, bothering people on the way.  It will be a rambler; in a literal and metaphorical sense of the word… utilizing its two definitions.  What are they?  Grab a dictionary.  I never claimed to be your teacher.

My lack of creative direction is probably a byproduct of the new habits I've been trying to form.   I've given up the whiskey & cigarettes and replaced them with restrained healthy eating & twice daily encounters with a treadmill.  This machine, I am beginning to hate – a hate that is best described as a dark, evil fury… reserved only for your most guarded nightmares.  I’m sure the other fatties out there can relate.

Yep, this should take care of that "Incline" function...

This internal struggle of mine is my past lifestyle colliding with my present… and the vast difference between the two is making it quite the collision indeed.  There’s an old quip of mine that I used to place here and there, “Sure, I’m a health nut… with the exception of my pack-a-day habit, piss poor diet and love affair with hard liquor”, and I used to think saying that was cute in a twisted kind of way… but something happened to me just before Valentine’s Day that made me slow down and reassess the priorities of my lifestyle.  I was happy that I never let it get to the point of addiction or being a danger to myself or anyone around me… but I knew I should grind it to a halt long before I reached that threshold.  It was time for me to do some growing up.

It was tough to define the scope of the changes I was making to my maturity.  To be on the safe side, I decided to take a break from Facebook also, by shutting my profile off.  On there, I started becoming dependent on what other people thought of me, and how I portrayed myself to them.  Shortly before my self-inflicted social media blackout, I did things like arranging my page in a way that I thought would bring about the most positive attention.  If I posted a status update and it got less than three likes; I viewed it as inadequate, began questioning why I posted it in the first place, and sometimes went as far as deleting it. I’m a modest person by nature, but that damn site was going against everything I felt comfortable with.  Then my comfort level began to change.

Ah, slippery is the slope we call Attention.

It didn’t start out this way.  As a matter of fact, I used to think of that whole site as some kind of colossal joke; evidence of this is displayed in my profile URL: “facebook.com/wiener.caught.in.zipper”.  But soon my attitude toward it evolved into a mild neglect.  Much like a young parent that chooses weekend VIP lists over their child’s literacy, I would merely give it the attention that I was willing to spare for it.  Sadly, as it tends to, the evolution continued.   I later became the overbearing parent to my profile, constantly scrutinizing its every aspect, worried how others would view it.  It was a pathetic time in my life, I was lumped in with all of the other people that needed a stranger’s attention to validate their existence. 

Hop onto YouTube and you can see the archetype top comments, “Thumbs up if you thought of something painfully obvious when you watched this video!!”  If that doesn’t make you nauseous enough, go back to Facebook and check out the pages of popular TV shows.  The walls are covered with people saying, “Like my status if you hate death, child molesting or something else that’s a given with 99.999% of the world’s population!!!”  The pandering for the positive attention of people they’ll never meet is enough to make you ponder the steps of becoming monk that lives with wild, non-internet-using animals.

Dude, that's my lunch! Not cool Tiger, not cool.

I do realize that I’m being hypocritical by turning my nose down at people like that, since I was on my way to joining them just a few weeks ago.  Not to mention, I have three blog sites… so even now, I’m buying into the whole “hey, look at me” culture. To further demonstrate my double-standard, if/when I do turn my profile back on, I’ll end up posting this on it – as a third of the traffic on my websites comes from Facebook.  In reality though, the original reason for my writing has nothing to do with you.  It’s therapeutic; it helps me stay sane, saving me money that I would instead spend on a shrink... or a high-powered rifle, I guess.  That aside, I also enjoy knowing that a good amount of people read what I write.  It gives me a sense of purpose that I rarely have otherwise.

With that being said, I can’t completely cut myself off from online social networking.  Both you and I know, doing that would be heading in the opposite direction of the rest of the world.  I guess the way to approach it is with extreme moderation… eventually.  I don't plan on flipping the Facebook Switch on just yet - it's very relaxing not being plugged into a constant stream of everyone’s thoughts and actions.

I suggest you try it yourself.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Now that you know more about me, learn about the things around me:
Rusty Bolt
Voice of Others

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

VII


I would like to share with you, a certain moment from my life. 

The way I would describe this moment isn’t very simple, though.  It was momentous, yet not.  It was an awakening to me, but it did not illuminate, as I was already aware.  It gave me the ability to see things as they were, but I learned nothing.  For a man that prides himself on being able to describe the things in life that many cannot, I find myself struggling to define it beyond two words: Absolute Perspective.

It was July of 1999.  The summer itself was quite a special one in my life.  Besides being the last one of the “19’s”, I was also preparing to become a high schooler, starting back up what would be a very short-lived amateur baseball career, and the addition of a new family member to our home.  Our new dog and MY furry little brother… Rocky.  However, all of this happened after I got back from my trip.

That July, I was fortunate enough the be a part of a “student ambassador program” where a group of 20-30 kids in their low to mid-teens would travel to another country (in my case, the east coast of Australia), and learn about their culture, while the locals would learn a bit about ours… in theory.  The reality of it was, we were a tour group of rowdy, hormone-crazed & decently funded teenagers, spending every night in a different utopian beach-front resort, with a laughable TWO chaperones to keep us in line… for three weeks solid. 

Needless to say, the only real learning that took place was acquiring the ability to spot a good place to make out, and where to put your hands once the lip locking had commenced.  I myself also learned that making out in a hammock is more trouble that it’s worth.  The Post-Tonsil Hockey Dismount was always very tricky to execute… someone either got a bit of face-to-elbow contact, or fell out of the hammock and had some face-to-sand contact.  Neither of which the opposite sex found attractive, once the bruising began to set in.

Amidst all of the kissing, snorkeling and virgin daiquiris, there was an overnight stay at a cattle ranch located about two hours inland, at the edge of the Australian Outback. Our first moments there were quite the change of pace.  Instead of beaches and blue oceans, we had deserts and orange rock formations.  Instead of a bartender making virgin cocktails, we had ranchers branding and castrating cattle.  Instead of going back to a plush room with silk drapes, we were told to “rough it” and sleep on the ground in sleeping bags that smelled like a homeless Frodo had been squatting in them for days. After a day full of physical activities, we were all so tired, we fell asleep before the sun had a chance to set.  Unfortunately, my REM cycles were cut short at around midnight, by the call of nature. In need of some non-smelly air, and more sleep, I decided to get up and find some place to satisfy my bladder’s very bothersome nagging.

I stood up and began walking around what was a surprisingly well lit field.  Figuring there was a full moon out, I looked up… and froze with amazement.  The amount of stars I saw in the sky was incredible.  It was like looking at a photo taken by the Hubble Telescope, only it was bright enough to illuminate everything and it filled the whole sky.  Looking down only to find a good secluded spot to relieve myself, I was transfixed by the cosmos that hung above me, displayed in the kind of detail I never knew was possible without Photoshop or CGI.  Despite how tired I was, I stood there in the middle of a field… a young kid, seeing the true universe with his own eyes for the very first time.  It was a real-life Van Gogh “Starry Night” and I got to see it by myself, in the dead quiet of the Australian Outback.  At that moment, the realization that I wasn't by myself nearly made me shit my pants.

“It’s because of the light pollution,” the rancher said from behind me, “since there’s no city lights to drown the stars out, you end up seeing every single one.”

It turns out that in every tour group, there are always a few people that get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and end up freezing under the awesome sight that’s above them.  So one of the ranchers thought it would be good P.R. if he made a point to learn all about astronomy, and then stay up late when a group rolled in, to answer some of the questions that might be asked of him.  Me? I had no questions.  I was speechless. 

The rancher took it as an opportunity to point out the best part of the sky.  He tapped me on the shoulder and pointed behind me and to the left, at a thick cluster of stars that grew out of the horizon and stretched halfway across the sky.  It was a brilliant sight.

Oh yeah.  It looked like that.


“See that, kid?  That’s the Milky Way.”
“Like, our galaxy?  THE Milky Way?”
“Yep.  See kid, we’re near the edge of it, and the stars close to us are far apart.  So it looks like we’re outside of it.”
“Holy shit.”
“Damn right.  See that bright center there?  From there, light takes about 40,000 years to get to us.”

That was his final statement of the night, meant to make me silently ponder while he could slip away and go to bed.  It worked.

Standing in the desolate wasteland of a strange country with home on the other side of the planet doesn't sound like such a vast distance when you're looking up at a cluster of 200-400 billion stars.  It made me feel that I wasn’t so far from home after all.  At that moment, it felt like a brisk walk would carry me to my doorstep where I could sleep in my own bed, rather than a sleeping bag made out of what seemed to be a wet yak, sporting a spastic colon.  I felt pretty insignificant, but still strangely at peace about it.

My feeling of insignificance and a peaceful reaction was quite odd once I thought about it.  Now that I look back, I think I know why.  The calm wasn't because of the sight, and believe me, it was probably the most majestic thing I’ve ever seen.  I think the reason behind my peaceful feeling was because of the awesome magnitude of everything that I was struggling to comprehend.  I was close to my Absolute Perspective, and this was my pathway there:

Being kind of a geek at the time, I had heard somewhere that in the known universe, there were an estimated 120 billion galaxies… one of which, was mine.   In my galaxy, there was an estimated 200-400 billion stars… one of which, was mine.  That star had nine planets in its orbit… one of which, was mine.   On that planet there were about 5 billion people… one of which, was me.  Try and crunch those numbers real quick.


Insignificant couldn't even begin to define how I felt, the math spoke for itself.  Other thoughts popped in my head.

“If I were to collect every explosive on the planet, from 9mm bullets to nuclear warheads, and detonate them somewhere out in the Milky Way, nothing would be different, NOTHING!”
“Even if the whole planet exploded, it wouldn’t have any effect on the galaxy!!”

I finally realized that no matter what I did, there was no possible way I could ever have any effect on the universe I was looking up at.  Thus was my moment of Absolute Perspective.  This sight I was witnessing was a small glimpse of a place with infinite size, power and mystery, and there was no possible way for me to comprehend it, let alone influence it.  All I could ever do was look at it, enjoy it, and respect it.

That hour or two I spent staring upward took me on a staggering thought process that led to absolutely nowhere.  I didn’t grow as a person, and frankly, I didn’t learn anything new either.  At best, I finally took the time to understand the information I already had, but I enjoyed the Zen-like feeling it evoked.  All I could do then was yawn and make my way back to the sleeping bag to get some more rest.

Shuffling back to the area filled with my fellow “student ambassadors”, my thoughts fell back down to Earth.  When they did, a smile grew on my face.  I knew that in a few hours, the sun would be up.

Bringing a new day, and another few make out sessions.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Now that you know more about me, learn about the things around me:
Rusty Bolt
Voice of Others

Monday, September 26, 2011

VI


It’s Sunday morning.  6am. 

If it were any other person making this simple observation, one could assume they've just woken up.  Maybe a fresh pot of coffee is quietly brewing in the kitchen while someone is reading the newspaper in the living room.  Maybe someone is in their bedroom tying their shoes, shoes they had just buffed and polished the night before, in preparation for their morning mass.  Or even maybe… someone is sneaking out of a strange house belonging to a person  they met earlier at a bar, whom is still asleep.

I on the other hand, have not fallen asleep. 

Around three in the morning, just as my eyes were beginning to get sore from exhaustion, I got a hunch when I was scrolling through the channel guide on TV.  This hunch of mine occurs when I see a movie that I have never heard of, but still seems like it might be interesting, regardless of the name or the one-sentence synopsis.   It happened a couple of weeks ago with a curious drama called, “The Door in the Floor”.  Tonight, it was another drama, “The Sunset Limited”.  I set the remote on the shelf next to my bed and began watching.

“The Sunset Limited” is essentially a two-man stage play on film.  Samuel L. Jackson plays a working-class, evangelical christian, who saves Tommy Lee Jones’ character from committing suicide… who happens to be an atheist college professor.  What follows is a 90 minute-long philosophical discussion about religion, life, suicide, and death.   Normally, if religion is the basis of a movie that I happen to come across, I’ll continue to move across it and find something else.  I cannot stand when religion is discussed, because usually the discussion is in reality, a heated fight… something that does not do any good for anyone.   

This movie, on the other hand, was fascinating to me.  Sure the acting was great, it was Sam Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones for fuck’s sake.  It was the discussion itself that got my attention.  It was unlike any religion based back-and-forth I had ever seen.  It was calm, respectful, concise and extremely intelligent.  No side was acting superior, belittling the other, or giving childish dead-end retorts like, “just because”.  Rarely have I experienced any scenario like the one being portrayed for me on HBO, which is why I avoid religion discussions.  However there is one other subject that, when brought up, I avoid it like Kim Jong Il should have avoided his current barber.

Politics.

Through time, trial and consistent failure, I have learned to eliminate religion and politics from my socializing spectrum.  In almost every one of my experiences when either of those topics came up, the discussion evolved into a debate… which erupted into a confrontation that made everyone around us vaguely uncomfortable.  I can already tell that some of you are nodding right now, as this is not a rare occurrence for anyone in that same situation. 

I’ve found that the reason this happens with these two subjects is because they're the two that people tend to hold close to their heart, more consistently than any other.  This isn’t a simple instance of Stanley Whatshisface believing that “The Godfather” was better than “Citizen Kane”, or that he believes German automakers are better than Japanese.   Generally, those beliefs would have very little bearing on Stanley’s life.  Religion and politics however, they may very well define Stanley’s life.  So if someone else were to question either of Stanley’s beliefs, he could take that as a bit of a personal insult, a dig on his way of life.  One might even think that good ol’ Stanley might be timid toward the idea of being convinced to change his beliefs, as he might view that as a way of betraying himself.

After numerous observations and encounters of people reacting in this way, I’ve come to loathe the idea of having such a conversation.  More often than not, I even cringe at the sound of others these discussions around me.  It became an association of past experiences… much like someone who might have a fear of dogs because of being bit by one as a child, or someone hating the taste of Jack Daniels because they drank too much of it one night… like myself.

This distaste that I have isn’t limited to having social conversations either.  I’ve come to enjoy writing as a rewarding outlet for me on many subjects, some of which are quite personal.  However, my beliefs in regards to religion or politics have never been included, and there are reasons why.  First, if I had written about it, someone who has opposing views to mine might read it and feel compelled to give their opinion, and as I have mentioned before, I’d rather not hear it… so get away from me.  Secondly, I like the fact that, for the most part, the people around me don’t exactly know what my beliefs on either are.  That way, they might feel less inclined to ask questions or make statements. 

They're mostly friends of mine, and I’d rather not offend them by saying, “I really do not give a crap about whom or what you worship, or who you voted for.  So please, either: change the subject, walk away… or introduce me to that friend of yours over there, the brunette holding the beer.  She’s really cute.”  I don’t think they’d introduce me if I talked to them like that, would you?  I didn’t think so.

There’s one downside to having very little known about your views on these subjects though.  The assumptions.

Having assumptions made about my stance on things like that bothers me in an entirely different way.  It’s the idea that someone takes the liberty of deciding my ideals for me, without any input on my behalf.  It’s almost insulting, by veering into that “I know you better than you know yourself” territory.  Or maybe, they just made an assumption about me because they believe in their ideals so much, that they couldn't fathom anyone thinking differently.  Now that’s just arrogant to assume that the people around you have the same beliefs you do.  Many people believe many different things.  It’s a fact of life that a surprising amount of people have yet to learn, because I see people demonstrate their ignorance of it all the time.  Perhaps it’s too optimistic of me to think that the people at large should respect one’s beliefs, whether they know them or not.

But that optimism I have is exactly why I enjoyed “The Sunset Limited” to begin with.  It showed all of us how a philosophical debate or discussion should be conducted.  It showed us that it really isn’t a debate at all, but a two-way street of learning someone else’s thoughts, beliefs and passions. 

Do you know what I believe?  I believe that in the future, if things take a turn in that direction, I might be less inclined to walk away if someone tries to discuss religion or politics with me.

But until then, don’t bother trying.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Now that you know more about me, learn about the things around me:
Rusted Bolt
Voice of Others

Saturday, April 30, 2011

V


Last night ended oddly.
I was on my way home from a concert at The Rave.  I turned onto a rural street and eventually noticed I was going fifteen over the speed limit.  As I slowed down, I saw someone coming up behind me going extremely fast, so fast that I didn’t have time to react.  All I could to was brace myself for what seemed to be an inevitable totaling of my car.  Luckily, he slammed on the brakes and avoided the awful sound of crunching metal.  What happened next was the last thing I would’ve expected.  He passed me on the left, cut in front, and slowed me down to a halt, in the middle of a three lane road.  Both doors opened.
I would imagine that at this point, most people would put the shifter all the way over, all the way back, hit the gas and quickly reverse out of the altercation.  I on the other hand, flashed back to the scene in The Godfather where Sonny was boxed in at the turnpike and was assassinated by seven men sporting fedoras and Tommy Guns.   A thought popped in my head.
Dammit, now I’ll never be the head of the Corleone Family.
A middle aged man wearing a suit worth more than his mode of transportation exited the car, stage left.  Stage right… his drunk girlfriend.  The sauced spouse ran up to my window and a civil conversation started:
“You want me to fucking kill you???” she inquired.
“You're the one who’s gonna get killed, you're standing in the middle of the road,” I replied in a ‘matter of fact’ tone.
Enter the over-dressed man.
“You know who the fuck I am???” the apparently famous man asked me.
“Nope.  I do not,” I said to the celebrity.
The next thirty to sixty seconds became a verbal pissing contest.  I calmly tried to explain that they weren’t on the Milwaukee Mile racetrack, but in fact they were on Greenfield Avenue at midnight.   They opted to act like an episode of the Jerry Springer show, taking out all of their rage beside my car.  Once knowing I couldn't reason with these blithering idiots, I decided to apologize over and over until they left.  Mr. Youknowwhothefuckiam became satisfied and walked back to his car, beckoning his lush of a counterpart to follow.  She didn’t.  She had to make one final point.
“You know something?? I'm a nurse and I see people die in shit like th…”
“You're a nurse that threatens to kill people?”
“FUCK YOU!!!”  She said as she stumbled back to their car.  She got in, and they sped off before she closed the door.
I lit a cigarette and went on my merry way.  When I was back up to the speed limit, I realized two things.  One, you can’t reason with someone when they're pissed/drunk/stupid.  Secondly, I felt a sigh of relief, finally knowing that I’m one of those people that can remain calm and collected in a potentially explosive situation.
I don’t think I was always that type of person though.  When I was a teenager, I’m pretty sure I would’ve fled the scene, going as fast as possible, hoping they didn’t get my license plate number.  The difference between then and now is the fact that I've been through so many situations that span the entire realm of the term ‘unorthodox’, the Greenfield Avenue Incident not as out of the ordinary for me.  I knew where his breaking point was, and I knew how to avoid reaching it while still getting him to move the fuck out of my way.   Once he was ready to leave, I knew that he was going to tell his drunk girlfriend to come with, just as long as I didn’t call her something like ‘bitch’ or ‘cunt’.  She was drunk, he was sober and had his fill of everything because I apologized, even if I did nothing wrong.
Being able to read people like an open book is another talent I've learned through the trial and error of my vast array of unorthodox experiences that the average person doesn’t encounter. 
Here are a few examples to entertain you, which are all completely true:
-Getting into a stare-down contest with a person that everyone around me thought was armed.
-Coming back from Vegas, $1500 light and one stripper-stalker heavy.
-Engaging in a four month long ‘Man vs. Machine’ battle with an automatic toilet.
-Knocking a man over in a gas station because he called a soldier ‘someone who kills people for oil’.
-Unintentionally playing chicken with a cop.
-Having a middle-aged female boss who constantly tried to sleep with me.
-Catching a man who I thought was full-throttle gay making out with his female coworker.
-Getting over a fear of heights via bungee jumping.
-Showing 30 people, via Power Point presentation, that one of my employees shit his pants.
Now, I started this essay with a question in mind, “Why does all of this goofy shit keep happening to me?”  However, after I wrote out the list above, I realized that question doesn’t really hold water.  With the exception of a few of those examples, I played a large role in making the result take place.  I'm not a victim of circumstance, but in fact a facilitator of strange scenes.  The others I had no part in, I attribute to my tendency to be hyper-aware of my surroundings.
Paying close attention to my environment has always been both a help and a hinder for me.  It’s a benefit because I usually notice important and hilarious things that others fail to.  On the flip side of that coin, it’s hard for me to have a conversation when someone twenty feet away has mismatched socks.  Unfortunately this is something I cannot turn off, I'm just wired that way.   I'm forever doomed to know when something is amiss.
I don’t know if the word ‘doomed’ is how I would correctly describe it, though.  Over time, I've come to enjoy seeing the world for its beautifully-strange self.   I'm a bit of a weird guy, and I love when interesting shit happens.  I tried to join the ‘normal’ bandwagon a while back.  I talked about normal subjects, acted in a normal manner and avoided stepping away from normal situations.  I hated every second of it.   I found it to be painfully boring and in a way, I felt like I was selling out.
The person writing this now enjoys being weird and being in weird situations.  He enjoys vocalizing his weird thoughts.  He has no problem shaking the world of the normal people around him.   If the opportunity arises to be involved in something interesting, he’ll take it.  To this man, living a normal life is pointless, he may as well be a ghost.  A translucent wraith floating on the sidelines of life, that doesn’t want to live in a way that he feels he should.
He has been normal, and he’s never going back.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Now that you know more about me, learn about the things around me:
Rusted Bolt
Voice of Others

Monday, February 14, 2011

IV

Last night, I came home after a fun filled Sunday and suddenly had the need to relax a little bit.  I briefly pondered selecting a new book from my bookshelf and reading well into the early morning hours.  However, I was a little drunk at the time, so I decided it would be best to forgo the four to five hours of concentration and instead, let the more narcissistic side of my personality take control.  I checked out the two blogs I have going online.  I reread my essays, marvled in my overuse of the all-powerful comma, made notes to myself on how I could improve, and called it a night. 

This morning, I was well into my routine when I decided to flip open my laptop and check the weather.  Immediately I noticed the window with my site was still up… and being a very analytical person, I searched through the traffic I was receiving, and noticed there wasnt any.  At that moment, I reflected on my decision for embracing the grotesque cliché of starting a blog… two for that matter.  To be perfectly honest, I don't know if I'm subscribing to this whole thing.  See, I started these two sites because I wanted to reach a wider audience, so I might gain some real notoriety for my work.

In other words, my essays went from Facebook, where almost no one cared… to BlogSpot, where absolutely no one cares.

Smart move Mr. Wright, this sounds like another notch in the “God Dammit Assface, Way to Go!” column.

Even the big JC was disappointed.

Keep in mind; I'm not trying to be cynical, ironic, or “edgy”.   I can’t stand people that portray themselves as such, especially when they’re nothing more than spoiled suburbanites with the keys to a hand-me-down Saab in their pocket and unsubstantiated daddy issues in their head.  What I'm being is honest.  Honest by saying that what I choose to write is nothing more than what I say on a daily basis.  The off change of it being (even remotely) interesting is coincidental.  To me, a worthwhile subject is something from which I can enjoy squeezing out at least a thousand words, and still know that I'm not padding the content.  Whether or not you find it engaging has very little relevance.

But is a blog really the correct outlet for me?  First off, the term “blog” makes me cringe every time I hear or say it.  Whenever that word comes to mind, I automatically associate it with the lowest form of writing… online celebrity gossip websites.  Just the idea of me falling under the same category as someone like Perez Hilton makes me want to hit myself on the nose with a rolled-up news paper.  I feel like an untrained terrier.

“Bad Sparky!  You shat in the living room in front of the Christmas presents! Bad dog!” 

“Bad J.S. Wright!  You're a blogger!  You’ve joined the same club as the biggest effeminate douche bag ever!  Bad writer!”

To be perfectly honest, I’d much rather go to the Henderson’s house and leave a big pile of smelly shame in front of Billy’s unwrapped Tonka truck.  It involves less self-hate and I might even be able to cop out and pass it off as art for fuck’s sake.

Secondly, who the hell actually wants to read the unsolicited ramblings of some prick they’ve never met?  Sure, there are many people out the in the writing world who pride themselves on being “Indie Followers”, but come on now.   It’s one thing to say that you're doing something, but actually doing it is a completely different animal.  Sitting down and taking the time to sift through the endless sea of websites about family trips and ignorant political speculations takes a lot of damn time.

But!  What happens when they actually find a writer they fancy?  They click the “follow” button.  That’s it. The result is a small news feed at the bottom of their screen that occasionally features the writer they found.  This system, set up by the powers that be, throws people of varying talents onto a level playing field.  It’s the ultimate fuck you to talented writers that are just starting out in this area. 

Now that the blogger has a follower, what they get in return?  They get a chronological line graph of their page views, which in many cases is zero.  This looming zero, when it translates to the graph, devastatingly resembles a flat-line on an EKG machine.  It’s a cruel joke to play on a struggling amateur writer.  Nothing discourages someone more than making the importance of their labor remind them of someone that just died.  It seems that the only way to get that heart beating is by pumping it full of meaningless gossip and celebrity up-skirt pictures.

Sweeeeeeet.

That’s the sad times we live in people.  Flash and pizzazz are regularly chosen over quality of content.  Case in point:  A book was recently published by Snooki of The Jersey Shore fame.  A book… a fucking book, with the face of society’s most recent embarrassment plastered all over the cover.  Go figure.  Intelligent and hard-working writers are all over the country.  Right now, they're struggling to create interesting and provocative character developments that fall in line with their carefully crafted storylines, and will ultimately fail.  Meanwhile, this waste of skin vomits a fifth of tequila and a Denny’s Grand Slam onto two-hundred pages, and it’ll be a bestseller next month.  This horrifying fact makes talented people everywhere collectively throw up their arms in disgust.  The next day, some of them may begin to wonder what the cost of living is in other countries.  FYI, if you tell your new neighbors that you're from Canada rather than the U.S., you’ll get a much better response.

This is what I'm up against in many cases.  Yes, I have found a handful of websites that are based on the foundation of great writing, some of which I have submitted essays and articles to.  Hackwriters.com is a good example.  However, the problem is that they don’t get the exposure they deserve.  They’re stuck in the shadows, hidden from the mainstream that is mostly reserved for entities like TMZ.

By the way, have you ever seen TMZ's TV show?  They have a surfer-type kid on there… Steven Hawking’s computer-generated voice has more personality than him. Christ.

Anyways, I guess the only option I have at this moment is to keep doing what I have been doing: writing essays that I believe are somewhat worthwhile to read and have more substance than posting grainy pictures of the latest celebrity to drunkenly stumble onto Hollywood Blvd at 2am.

Not sweet.

That, and keeping a rolled up newspaper nearby so I can discipline myself whenever I use the term “blog”.

*WHAP!*
Baaad writer. 

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Now that you know more about me, learn about the things around me:
Rusted Bolt
Voice of Others