Single-Serving Friends

fightclub(1)I’ve wasted my time trying to fit into what others have thought I should be like. I tried to be the outgoing social person because I am pretty good at it when I want to be and because it is what we’re supposed to do, right? Go to the bar and meet people. Talk to strangers that you run into during your fueled trudge through the halogen light lit streets of Midtown?

Don’t get me wrong, I love downtown at night. I like my alcohol and I enjoy being out with my friends from time to time. But I’m happier with low key settings. Being good at something, in this case socializing, doesn’t mean that I want to do it or that I should want to do it or that there’s anything wrong with me for not doing it.

I’ve spent the last several months being out more actively with groups of people and it really didn’t net any return for me. There’s no lasting friendships I have now that are a direct result. What’s worse is that I have neglected doing other things that I enjoyed doing more.

The friends I still talk to whom I used to go out with are people I talked to before all of that started and the ones I stopped talking to are the ones who I met during all of that. The only exception is one guy who I met kind of randomly who might just be the nicest person I’ve ever come across. We still talk because he’s cool and he’s a good person who never seems to be itching to take from friends without giving something back and being there.

I’m past the point where I can deal with shallow one-sided friendships. A little test I’ve conducted to see if I really need to keep communicating with a person is to just stop texting them first all of the time. People who don’t really care usually won’t ever check in on you or text you if you don’t text them or if they don’t need something. I have friends that I’ve never met in person on the other side of the world who are better about e-mailing me back or messaging me back than people who share an area code with me.

There’s no reason that I should be the one responsible for communicating first all of the time. I’ll stick to the belief that if someone really cares and wants to talk they will contact you eventually.

All of this reminds me of the quote from Fight Club about “single-serving friends”. Maybe that’s what most of these people should stay as. I’m just having a hard time seeing the appeal in something like that…


Thank You Mister Smith

matt-smith-ben-mckenzie-peabody-award-winners-02Doctor Who is relatively new to me and while I have been watching the show since 2010, this is the first time I’ve witnessed a Doctor regenerating real time. It’s a lot different than just watching it happen after the fact (which I have done twice). It’s like a cocktail of fear, dread, excitement and anticipation in varying degrees.

I would have watched five more years of Matt Smith, to be honest. He’s my Doctor. He’s the era I came into the show in and thus he’s the Doctor I’ve spent the longest with and digested the most. For me, he’s the benchmark that all Doctors (past and present) will be measured against. This is not to say no one can ever be as good, but the comparison is something I’m going to be unable to help and I’m proud to say it.

The show has a way of dredging up emotions within me that most other shows fail to get and Matt Smith (especially back when Karen Gillian was around) had a way of going through a whole range of emotion and making them all seem genuine. The only thing I can hope is that we get some other work out of him that’s substantial, because it would be a waste to not have him show up in other things.

And I know a lot of fans were unhappy with Smith and still are unhappy with his run, I think it’s sort of underrated and I would like to say thank you for three epic seasons.

The White Knight Epidemic

2966791381f46707e1edAll over the internet men are wrongfully defending bitches from being put into their place by the alpha players out there who, despite this attempt to set them back, run the monopoly on pussy (as it should be)!

This is the typical post or point I see held up when it comes to what people call white knighting. The term originates from…I don’t really want to waste the time to look it up, I can define it. It’s the idea that any guy who online or in person defends a woman who’s being treated wrong is doing so only to get sex. You see, to many men women are little more than sex vending machines who only exist to dispense sex in exchange for favors, free meals rides in nice cars, jewelry, and anything else that they can get from “men of status”.

Efforts to defame white knights seem to be more prominent than the actual “problem” that they claim to be trying to combat. I actually wrote a post on a forum where all of this was brought up explaining why I think that is:

The “problem” of men who go out of their way to be nice to women for the sake of getting sex will fix itself without other men or society intervening. Women won’t sleep with you for being nice and no one is obligated to sleep with you because you stood up for them. The men who do that will either grow out of it or they’ll just die virgins. More than likely the former. The vehement way in which other men strike out against men defending women lends me to believe that the problem is more akin to the type of behavior you see from people who claim they’re being judged by someone who goes to a party and doesn’t drink but also doesn’t say anything disapproving of those who do drink.

These men who feel the need to call white knights out and boast about all the sex they have (like member’s name) are probably not having that much sex and are not that confident. When they do have sex they’re probably lying to get it or going after easy game (drunk girls, low self esteem girls). This is also why they feel so threatened, if sleeping with incapacitated girls become rape then one of their only means of sex will be cut off or they’ll branded as rapist. If women of all walks have a boost in self esteem then they won’t have as many bottom of the barrel women to go after and they’ll probably be stuck fighting for scraps or going after girls under eighteen who are all hormonal and don’t know worthless men when they see them.

Or they might actually have to take a look at themselves and see how fucking shitty a person they really are and that their problem isn’t that white knights are wrong, that they might be even partially right and that women might start to realize it and leave their sorry asses alone.

I think that’s all there is to say about that.

Seen Not Heard

masonpartyI often wonder how much of the way people discipline and treat their children is more about left over discontent for the way they were treated as a kid. Some of the harsh, archaic parenting methods we would scoff at these days are common place out here where I live and work. I understand some things, but other things are kind of symptoms of the changing times. Buying your kids the best new smart phone might be kind of pushing it, but it’s important for them to know how to use tablets and smart phones and especially computers.

Typing class isn’t something that’s as common as it once was. While some schools almost require kids to learn and read on iPads, some still house an dilapidated lab full of computers that still boot through DOS or Apple computers that predate the birth of the iPod. It’s hard to defend the notion that kids should be raised simple when the world is pushing further and further toward anything but.

Kids can still be kids and use electronics and also be treated with respect. The old saying “children should be seen and not heard” always struck me as the kind of thing e would expect to hear of Victorian women or the slaves that were blessed enough to be allowed to serve inside of the house. It’s sad that we can’t find medium ground between raising someone to be respectful and treating them like property.

I’m a while away from having kids myself, but I can say that one of the things that matters most to me is that I raise them in a way that’s compatible with a twentieth century mind set.

Duck Dynasty Debacle

91jKkcXxqRL._SL1500_I went in to work later in the day yesterday and my morning was filled with sleeping. I lazed about and generally didn’t do anything besides eat before going in. Facebook and Twitter kind of slipped my mind. At work I tend to stay off of them too.

So when I got home I was shocked to find out a small wild fire had erupted and spread throughout social media. One of the guys from Duck Dynasty had apparently said something stupid and been punished for it. The speed with which the two sides of the argument rallied against each other was alarming. I’ve never seen more than a few minutes off Duck Dynasty (which was enough for me to be annoyed). Today at work I counted five people wearing Duck Dynasty clothing in support of the show. It’s worrying that people are so in favor of homophobia that anytime some group comes out as being homophobic and gets stomped out for it that they step in to defend the group’s right to say that (even though the right of the group usually isn’t attacked).

I hope the show is canceled and I can go back to not seeing their faces on hats, lunchboxes and headphones. Maybe we can have one less reality television travesty to worry about.

Lesson Learned

identity-theftA few weeks back, it might even be a month now, a friend’s car was broken into. My backpack was inside of the car along with my old laptop, my Kindle, my iPod, my headphones and my writing notebook.

I would say that more than anything the writing notebook has cause me problems. There was no actual writing in the notebook, it was where I planned everything and the place where all of my notes from over the last two or two and a half years were contained. While the monetary value of the item itself was around twenty-five dollars (it was a nice fucking notebook) the item itself had value in that it was where a lot of my new ideas came into play and started out.

Some of the things I remember and some of them I have noted down somewhere else in an earlier version of the book or in word documents or even in little notes I made in my phone. But that notebook was more or less the central hub for all of that stuff. It was the main thing I used to plan stories out, diagram characters and dream up ideas.

Without it I’ve had to make some adjustments. It really took some time, because I felt like there was so much there I could have really used that just can’t be easily replaced. But there’s another way to look at all of this too. A lot of the ideas I had were stagnant. I hadn’t written a lot in a long time. When you go from throwing down one thousand words a day easily to doing none, something is taking place that you have to watch.

So the experience has changed a few of the things I do now. I don’t leave my laptop or backpack in the car unless I am right next to the car getting gas or something. Restaurants, stores, or whatever. Unless they can explain to me what will happen if my stuff is stolen in their parking lot (as in who will buy me a new one) I’m not leaving it in the car. The other things I have started doing is using a cloud based note taking service to keep all of my notes in. I chose Evernote because it had a free trial, but I’m sure that all of these kinds of things are mostly the same. I’m able to take notes and get to them from almost anywhere that I am now.

The last thing I am changing is the places I will go. I’m going to be more selective about the places I will go and while that might sounds like a strange thing to say it does have an effect on things. You pretty much walk around thinking “it won’t happen to me” but if you know there’s been trouble in a place before and you know that it could happen again, why expose yourself to it?

The holidays are especially bad for theft. The same night our stuff was stolen another person had their window busted out and their car broken into. Another friend of mine ordered a gift for her fiancée and the package was stolen after delivery. People feel the need to take things that don’t belong to them and they don’t care about the consequences for themselves (if they’re caught, which is doubtful) or others. 

I’d ask that everyone out there look out for yourself and your belongings. Make sure that you pay attention to your surroundings an be weary of dark parking lots and leaving your car in places that aren’t attended by security guards. It might be extra work to be vigilant, but it could save you from having to shell out a ton of money down the line.

The Great American Novel

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I sometimes wonder if the time of the great American novelist might have passed. I wonder if the way that we made novels and that brilliant hint of what some might call Americana. The odd kind of life adventures that you would get out of your Cormac McCarthys and Ernest Hemmingways don’t really happen to most people anymore. There were generations of men drafted into war or working at sea for months at a time or living in a real cut off rural area that doesn’t exist in the same supply in the United States that it used to.

I’m not claiming that these changes are good or bad things. The novels and writings of people should reflect the time period that they live in. If people still told stories in the style of Beowulf and that was all we have could we really say that we had progressed as far as we have? Could we claim that we had pushed the bounds and looked for those niches in writing that became genres and became mainstream and became clichés.

Those that know me might find it odd that I seem a little nostalgic. That’s not the case at all. I have problems reading the old writings that people swear by. I put down The Fellowship of the Ring after a little over one hundred pages because it was boring me to tears. I have no appreciation for the high end literature of the mid nineteenth to twentieth century for the most part. While I love the mythology surrounding Lovecraft and do admire his descriptive prowess, I think that if anyone were to write like that in this day and age it would be shrugged off as being overly purple (and rightfully so).

There is should to be some study about what the modern novel is about, but I think it’s really hard to pin down what America is about. I am sort of reluctant to look these things up because I feel that it would be like knowing the moves to the tricks that the magician is doing. I don’t want what people have decided is supposed to be perceived as today’s American to leak into my own writing artificially. This whole thing is just food for thought, I guess.

Can We Stop Pretending Award Shows Matter?

It’s getting to be that time of the year again where Hollywood and the music and video game industries pat themselves on the back for all of the hard work they’ve done breaking ground and being extremely innovative. When I was younger and much more impressionable I thought that award shows like the Video Music Awards and the like mattered and that they had any bearing on the industry. Sure there are the really memorable times when someone who really represents what should be important wins, but more often than not we’re given more of the status quo towing the line.

The video game awards are pretty much the same. 2013 was a big year for women in gaming, for instance. We had three triple A titles that were headed by women or had women in prominent and non-sexualized roles. And it’s not just that, two of the three games had an amazing story on top of it. Stories that explored human nature or causality or love (and not romantic love). These are things that are rare enough in popular media, they’re almost unheard of in video games.

But more than likely we’re not going to see anything given to those games in terms of awards because this was the year another installment of Grand Theft Auto. Despite the fact that GTA is a fun game, it hasn’t done too much innovative besides make the world it takes place in bigger and add slightly more characterization. The latter isn’t saying much for a game franchise that started by letting you pick from a group of voiceless protagonists and moved on to thinly veiled versions of gangster movie protagonists.

I enjoyed Grand Theft Auto V. But it won’t stay with me. When I beat Last of Us I felt change inside. When I beat Bioshock: Infinite I felt deeply changed and sad that it was over (oddly enough, when the DLC was out and I played it I felt like I was revisiting old friends). Characters like Joel and Ellie and Elizabeth aren’t the standard fair in games and while I don’t doubt the creative work that went into making many of the games that came out this year, I think it’s sad that it’s apparent that special games won’t stand a chance when put up against the run of the mill titles that don’t really work as hard at making a change.

There were times when GTA V could have really gone a different direction. The torture scene early in the game seemed like it was trying to set up for something profound having to do with the sanity of one of the characters and him being a bad person. All that really ended up happening was it was kind of pushed aside like a joke. The game has taken this idea that it has to be satire too far and it really seems to be wallowing in it rather than thriving in it.

I think that sales are a simply bad way to judge things like this, movies like Avatar or Twilight might sell a lot of tickets, but they don’t deserve the Oscar for best picture. Likewise, I don’t think that we should set the goal so lofty that only artsy bullshit gets to win awards. But there has to be a happy medium when it comes to these things. We can’t keep giving awards to the same studio or game company when they bring nothing new to the industry and don’t try and push the envelope in meaningful ways.

Grand Theft Auto could have tried to write a more moderately sensible female character (before you go saying all the characters are a mess, it’s not true, even in the last game Franklin is pretty normal in terms of the games). They could have tried a new setting or a new type of setting, they could have changed how missions worked. They could have made the character creation in the multi-player make any kind of Goddamn sense.

I will say this, they did a good job with the three character thing and the switching between people. There’s an attention to detail that’s significantly well done and there’s some well directed portions of the game that rival that of most gangster movies (the small town bank robbery comes to mind). But the game tends to only take the predictable risk, never true risks the way something like Spec Ops: The Line did.

We deserve an industry that really pushes to be the best in more ways. Games are the youngest medium for entertainment out there and we need to make sure they don’t fizzle out on us.