The Disappearance of Robot King

It’s never a good idea to write when you’re in this mood, but I don’t care. The long and the short of it is that I’m not getting what I want out of blogging. My page views are down, my “likes” are down, and while I’ve picked up more followers in the past month and a half than I ever could have anticipated, the fact is that there is a disconnect between the response that I expect and the one I’m getting. I’m not saying that I’ll return when I start to get that response, because that doesn’t make sense and at that rate, it will be an eternity before I return to blogging. All I’m saying is that I might take a week or two off–which, looking over my history, is more than I’ve done in the fifteen months since started doing this. There is nothing discernibly wrong with the quality and frequency of my blogging. But people don’t seem to care as much as they used to. So I’m going underground–by which I mean, I’m going to focus on other shit. That’s all, really. It’s not that big of a deal. Too many people write because they just can’t stop. But I can. Sometimes, it’s even productive.

There are too many things that I want but can’t have at the moment. I’m trying to figure out what to do until that shit turns around. I don’t like it when people pity me. I don’t like it when they read something I’ve written here and assume that they know what my day-to-day life is like, or what is really going on with me right now. I’m tired of people seeing me one way when I’m not like that at all. You can learn a lot about someone from reading their blog. But you should never assume that everything they say must be taken literally, nor should you project your own insecurities and lack of self-confidence onto them. If you think I’m going to do something rash and dangerous because of what you’ve read here, ask yourself why someone who is going to do something rash and dangerous would talk about it in such a forum. Remember that I carefully proofread everything I publish. Do you think I act on every whim that enters my head? I’m just trying to distinguish the whims from the genuine needs. And I need to stop seeing this as a dumping ground for every goddamn thought. It’s too easy, and it isn’t real.

Being young means having that inescapable feeling that life is passing you by, that everyone has it figured out except you. It means hearing about a party that you might have liked to attend, then wondering why no one invited you. (Or worse, it means knowing damn well why you weren’t invited, and wondering what you could have done to change that.) It also means hearing from everybody older than you that there will be an answer if you just let it be. (To be fair, “Let It Be” is one of The Beatles’ best songs, which is saying quite a lot.) Mainly, I’m just tired of feeling that even though what I say makes sense, it’s not getting through to the right people. Even if I’m right, so what? When my sister got into an argument with her boyfriend some years back, his response was, “Just because you’re right doesn’t mean I’m going to listen to you.” You should listen to me, though. Make sure you’re not reading too much into what I say. My father used to tell me that if I’m ever rich and famous, I can tell stories about all of the adversity I went through. I don’t want to be rich and famous. I want people to listen. Mainly, I’m just tired of carrying around everyone’s hopes and dreams for my future instead of, you know, living out my own hopes and dreams.

This post is getting a little long-winded already, so I’ll just say that I don’t want to have to explain what I say on here. Ever. It should speak for itself. I envy people like Batman and Thomas Pynchon, who avoid the public eye and somehow manage to get their message across anyway. I’m sick of the post in which I talk about that one incident that got me into so much trouble accounting for half of the traffic around here. I’ve moved on, why can’t everybody else? I’ll just close with a famous quote from Mother Teresa. Whatever her faults, she was spot-on about this:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

George Harrison was probably my favorite Beatle. Maybe I just sympathize with a guy who was often shouldered aside despite being every bit as brilliant as his peers.

I’ll be back soon. Don’t wait up.

dark knight

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This Time Will Be Different

It is the last bastion of bigotry to say, “Maybe I’m an asshole, but I’m still right”. Basically, they’re admitting they’re full of shit, but asking you not to call them out on it, because God forbid somebody tell them that their shit stinks, too.

I take a methodical approach to almost everything I do, from conversations to eating meals. I make friends slowly and try to hold onto the ones I have. I don’t make it into the gym as often as I like, by try to do a thorough workout when I do. I’m not very good at napping, but am reasonably consistent at getting enough sleep at night. And even though I have made it into my mid-20s without going on a date, I like to think that when I finally do land someone, our relationship will be long-lasting. I hope it is. It would sure suck to wait that long for something that is over in six months. So as I move gradually closer to my life goal of not feeling like shit all the time, I hope that any delays are merely pauses as I chip away at the metaphorical barrier and find its weak points. Because I am very, very good at locating weak points.

I still don’t fully understand why people voted for Mitt Romney. The best I can figure is that some folks feel a kinship with certain politicians that goes deeper than agreeing with their policies. I know people who are socially liberal but fiscally conservative, but even that doesn’t explain it, as the Rich White Mormon Douchebag’s economic policies are about as destructive as his social ones. I guess maybe people voted for him over Obama because they…wanted to vote for him over Obama. On the rare occasion that I talk to Republicans (I live in New York, okay? They’re an endangered species around here!), I am stunned by how much we agree on. We agree that the middle class needs help, that American exceptionalism is sheer arrogance, and that the government needs to stop telling people how to conduct their private affairs. How then to explain why they supported a candidate who, as far as I can tell, doesn’t give a shit about the middle class, thinks America is inherently superior to all other nations, and likes controlling women, gays, people of color, and everyone who is not exactly like him? I read in one of my high school history courses that antebellum Southerners tended to like black people as individuals, not so much as a race. In the North, it was the other way around. You ever think those basic sentiments still persist?

I would like to say, for the record, that while I doubt Texas is ever going to secede, I sometimes wish they would just to get rid of Louie Gohmert. That man is ignorant on a level that I cannot even contemplate.

Something about how much fun it is to hate on bad stuff. The Daily Show has really been off its A-game this week. I fail to see how the IRS scrutinizing Tea Party organizations to determine whether they were non-profit or political organizations counts as a scandal, and instead of pointing out how little sense that makes, Jon Stewart has been playing it up as if it really is a big deal. And it isn’t. I understand that people are afraid of executive overreach. I think that it is the duty of the media and the general public to be vigilant to protect themselves against a violation of their basic rights. But the nonstop investigation of the Benghazi “coverup” has got to stop. The embassy requested extra security, the request was denied, and people died. It’s sad, but shit like that happens all the time, and there is a difference between exposing negligence or malice and having 20/20 hindsight. Stewart made a similar mistake when covering the Anthony Weiner “scandal”. Instead of mocking the media, Congress, and even the President for their self-righteousness and sex-negativity over what amounts to little more than one horny guy getting carried away on Twitter, he just made dick jokes. I love Stewart to pieces, but he misses the mark sometimes. Thankfully, the commenters over at the show’s website seem to agree with me.

anthony weiner

I find that I’m not quite as scared of getting into fights on the internet as I used to. I am, however, sick of people saying that I’m wrong for getting angry at someone on Facebook. See, it’s one thing to think that somebody is getting angry for the wrong reasons, but to chide somebody just for getting angry? What the fuck am I, a robot? I have emotions, numbnuts. I can’t stop myself from feeling them. And if your response to a comment about some egregious bit of right-wing hypocrisy is that Democrats do it too, kindly fuck yourself in the face with a rhinoceros cock. I am so sick of people acting as if politics is a zero-sum game, and no matter which side you’re on (if, indeed, you are on either side), you have to acknowledge that it’s all pointless and all anyone wants to do is screw you. Sometimes, shit actually gets done. If one side is doing a better job of that than the other, it is perfectly acceptable to point that out. I’m not saying everything is sunshine and roses, only that this country is moving forward, however slowly. And you don’t even have to agree with everything I’ve said to understand that. Just understand that political affiliation denotes point of view, nothing more, nothing less. And if you think I’m overly concerned with who does it more, explain to me how saying that everyone does it equally is any better. The old saying is that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference. I love and hate a lot about this country. I’m not indifferent to anything.

Table of Plenty

I’m writing this longhand, in case anyone is wondering. I decided to spend a day without using the internet and figured that while I’m at it, I might as well minimize my usage of computers in general. Something very annoying happened today (Sunday). I went down to the library to watch a movie that I had been meaning to see for a while. It was The Others, a haunted house movie with Nicole Kidman. Recently, I’ve been delving deeper and deeper into the horror genre, and it helped that this one featured Christopher Eccleston—one of my favorite Doctors—in a supporting role. Anyway, when I got there and asked for the movie at the reserves desk (I had even written down the call number beforehand so that I wouldn’t have to look it up on the online catalogue), I discovered that every viewing station in the media center was either taken or not working properly. So I borrowed a pair of headphones and went to the computer lab to watch it there. And then my troubles began.

A computer lab is not an ideal setting for watching a movie. This one was brightly lit, with lots of background noise. But I logged onto a computer and started watching anyway. The movie was okay. It’s got a lot of tropes that have by now become overfamiliar: creepy kids, glacial pacing, supporting characters who seem to know more than they’re letting on. It was kinda creepy, but also the sort of thing where you’re constant fighting the urge to shout advice at the screen. Then Christopher Eccleston showed up. I clapped. Then the DVD started skipping. I tried jumping ahead a few minutes, wiping down the DVD, and switching computers. Nothing helped. I immediately transformed into a giant green rage monster and smashed an entire wing of my school’s main library to pieces. Then I calmed down and walked home wearing nothing but the stretchy purple shorts that I keep on at all times in case the universe conspires to thwart me—which, make no mistake, it did.

Artist's rendering.

Artist’s rendering.

It would be one thing if the DVD had skipped ten minutes into the movie. Instead, it waited until I was almost an hour in, then started fucking up. Who wants to buy a ticket to see half a movie? You couldn’t sell that at any price. Nobody wants to see that, period. My first impulse was to go on YouTube or Daily Motion to see if anyone had posted the full movie, but of course, that would mean going on the internet. I hate everyone right now. The hardest part about not using the internet is figuring out what you’re going to do when you get home. I always switch on my computer and spend an hour or two doing nothing much. Now, I have to turn to my book and DVD collection for entertainment. I placed a hold on The Others at the public library over a month ago, but I guess their copy is missing or something. You can all die slowly.

I honestly cannot remember the last time I went an entire day without the internet. When it went down at one of my old apartments, it took my roommate several weeks to get it back up again. During that time, I had to lug my laptop down to the school library (I lived just a block off-campus) every morning just to check my email and watch the last night’s Daily Show. It wasn’t that bad, really, although my porn consumption dropped considerably. (I actually did start watching it once in the library, then stopped because I just didn’t think any student should have to see that by accident.) But seriously, what did people do in the days before internet? I remember coming home and turning on the TV. So maybe not much has changed.

I don’t go on vacation very often. The last time I can say with certainty that I did not use the internet occurred when my family drove up to Oregon for the Ashland Shakespeare Festival. We spent a day and a half there, saw three plays, wandered around town, then went home. It was weird. I definitely remember spending a lot of time sitting around wondering what to do next. In ancient Egypt, did people scrawl pictures of kittens playing keyboards on clay tablets and pass the around or something? What did they do for mindless entertainment back then?

I’m trying to get down to what’s really important, but it’s kind of difficult. I’ve gone without Facebook before, but without Google, I can’t check the location of, say, music or bookstores in Manhattan where I can browse for a while just to blow off steam. Without the internet, I’d have to check the phone book (or doorstop, as it’s known to most), then look at a map of the city to figure out where I’m going. That, or ask someone who knows. Interacting with people is scary.

Some people thought the internet was going to change everything. Others think it doesn’t change much. I think it does change a little bit, but it’s nothing you can’t adjust to, given time. And yes, I suppose there are greater tragedies than not getting to see all of a decent-enough horror movie, but it always sucks to be denied something that you had every right to expect. It doesn’t always take a long time to find another apartment, but getting kicked out of one always sucks. I have to go now. I’m getting hungry and I still have to do the laundry tonight. In the meantime, try to understand that while you may feel you’ve earned a seat at the table, the Flying Spaghetti Monster will deny you that for no reason other than that it can. I’m still not going on the internet, though. Because sooner or later, I always win.

The Parting Glass

“Your life depresses me.” –This one dude I once knew

All I’m going to say about graduating is that I’m not going to say very much about it. Yes, it’s happening. Is it exciting? Not really. Do I feel like this past year has just flown by? Not particularly. Am I excited about my prospects for the future? Mostly, I want to pay off these fucking debts and figure out why the hell I decided to get a masters degree in the first place. So yeah, there’s that. It’s happening. Whoop-de-doo.

I have figured out that there is more to life than having a good job. Of course, I still don’t have a good job, but now I know that once I do, I will still find things to complain about. Good for me, I guess. I have said before and I will say again that I don’t agree with the old adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Maybe I’m unique, but I find that time moves slower the more fun I’m having. Since these past eleven months-plus feel like about nine months, perhaps I did occasionally experience this thing you humans call enjoyment. Somebody told me on my last birthday that this next year would be better than the last. Well, April sailed by, and now that I’m done with all my finals, I have nothing to do except catch up on my reading and TV-viewing. I would have preferred to get more of that done during the year.

They Might Be Giants did a cover of this song that I posted a while ago. I prefer their version, but the original is, shall we say, very charming.

Comparing yourself to others isn’t useless–not necessarily, anyway. It can be helpful when you’re trying to right yourself and figure out what’s really important. I’ve been in similar places before and I’m telling you, something isn’t right. Completely off-topic, but I just started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix. Normally, I detest reality TV, but this show is campy, sassy, and highly entertaining. Even better, it has a nice message about learning to love yourself and dealing with prejudice. (It is about drag queens, after all.) These days, I live my life around how much longer I’ll be able to use the school library and how much longer the stuff I want to watch will be available on Netflix.

Something is bugging me about the way that so many states and countries have legalized gay marriage recently. That seems like a weird thing to be bothered by, doesn’t it? It’s something I’ve been stumping for since I was a freshman in high school, but I think the problem here is that the fix, while relevant, is mostly cosmetic. Even hardcore Republicans are waking up to the fact that whether or not they support it, it’s going to become legal soon enough, so they might as well be on the right side of history. Look, I know not all Republicans are backwards-thinking bigots (just the overwhelming majority of them), and I know that people can overcome their prejudices and learn to love people for who they truly are (which, I suppose, is what Rob Portman did, although the real hero in that story is his son). I’m just not convinced that the change will be a lasting one if anyone is dumb enough to think that because gay equality is finally becoming the law of the land. “I can’t be a homophobe. I support gay marriage!” is likely to become the new “I can’t be racist because I have a black friend”. I would love to be wrong about that.

Depression is a funny thing. Anyone who has been through it (most people) will tell you that it has a way of pressing down on you and sucking the life out of stuff that should be fun. I remember coming out of a rather rough spot several years ago and stopping midway through dinner to wonder if Stouffer’s French bread pizza had always tasted this good, or if I was cooking it differently. At that time, I had moved into a new apartment, gotten a job, and was paying for my own rent and groceries for the first time ever. That, I’m sure, is completely unrelated to the pizza thing.

The hardest part about being on break is the initial rush that comes after you’ve finished all your assignments and are trying to figure out what to do next. Since you want to do basically everything, where do you even begin? The hardest thing to do is always to get out of bed in the morning. And since I haven’t harped on this enough, I should restate that I’M TIRED OF PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT HOW THE PAST YEAR HAS JUST FLOWN BY. How are you going to feel when you lie on your deathbed, pray tell? I would like to feel that it was a life well-lived and that I’m ready to move on now. I would not like to look back and say, “Wow, those 80 years or so just sailed by!” That’s really fucking depressing. My teenage self was a mouthy asshole, but I’m still like that now, and the only difference is that I take on bigger targets. If I could give some advice to my 21 year-old self, I would tell him to keep going. I don’t plan on dying before I have the chance to sit back and take in my surroundings. At the same time, I have no intentions of just sitting around and hanging out this summer. I have to conquer the world first.

Table for One

I don’t comment much on the articles I read on the internet. I read message boards sometimes but rarely, if ever, post. For me, it all depends on whether or not people get my sense of humor. There’s a bit of a mob-like mentality to the way that some people behave on the internet. Say something that can be easily misinterpreted, and suddenly, everyone is lined up against you, eager to shame the alleged fascist/terrorist/whatever. Say something that sounds nice but means nothing, and you can have everybody cheering you on just because they want to feel good about themselves. I’m tired of people saying that you shouldn’t have political discussions on Facebook. How is Facebook different from anywhere else? I get that communicating in print (or cyberspace) can be difficult for those who are used to face-to-face communication, but that’s the fault of their writing skills, not the medium. I’m quite used to writing something out rather than saying it, so I’m sick of people starting interesting conversations, then pulling out the instant they start to get good. Don’t post something political if you aren’t prepared to debate it, because that’s cowardly and shitty and I see through it.

Star Wars Day was Saturday. A little over a year ago, I shelled out close to $100 just to get my hands on a copy of the original versions of the original trilogy rather than those awful 90s “special editions”. The trilogy has been released on DVD at least four or five times now, but only one of those sets contains the unremastered versions. I have no interest in watching Greedo shoot first or a shockingly out-of-place CGI musical number at Jabba’s palace. The films were fine as they were. George Lucas did lean a little too heavily on spectacle and kid-friendly humor towards the end, but even Return of the Jedi contains more than its share of rich visuals and powerful moments. As a kid, I even teared up during the scenes where Luke is forced to fight Vader even though he clearly does not want to. But even the set I own still has the remastered versions. The original ones are on the bonus discs. Okay, George, we get it, you want to make everyone forget why they liked you in the first place. Well, I won’t. In a way, this is a political statement. You have to move on, George. More importantly, you have to let people decide for themselves which way they like their Star Wars. I am willing to go way out of my way to avoid seeing whoever played the ghost of Luke’s father in 1983 digitally replaced by Hayden Christensen. Because I hate Hayden Christensen that much.

I try not to eat out too often. It used to be financial constraints that kept me from doing so, but now, it’s just a matter of convenience. Who has the time to leave their house and head down to a restaurant to eat two or three times a day? Even if you’re getting take-out or even delivery, sometimes it is simpler just to heat up or cook something. Food that is prepared by someone else is not automatically better, even though it often feels that way just because of some grass-is-greener kind of bias that we have. I grew up eating my mother’s cooking (as did most of us), and I grew used to her food, but never fell in love with it. She had a handful of recipes that she rotated, and I learned to appreciate them. I still haven’t managed to do that in my own life, however, although I have discovered that there are some dishes (tacos, for example) that are very easy to make but taste delicious. Others, like this one, can take some time to prepare, but are really quite good. Also, there’s French Dip. It’s hard to screw that up.

The school year is ending. I still have a lot of projects to complete, but at the same time, I’m finally getting around to so many of the books, movies, and TV shows that I’ve been neglecting all this time. But since I still have work to do, I’m caught in that uncomfortable state of alternating between cramming for exams then hanging around trying to work up the energy to get started on that paper once the exam is done. Plus, I have all sorts of end-of-the-year celebrations to attend/most likely skip. So there’s that. There is no doubt in my mind that I have gotten better at economics since I started here, going as I have from having almost no understanding of it to a very rudimentary understanding of it. What’s strangest is this nagging feeling that someday, I will understand it very well. I guess that gives me something to work toward. Also, since one of the books I need to finish is A Storm of Swords, I’ll just go ahead and post this picture. It’s sad that the other Lannisters are such dumbfucks, because man, they would all be dead if it weren’t for Tyrion.

I wish this were real.

I wish this were real.

There is no way I would have made it through these past two semesters without my economics T.A., who single-handedly picked up all the slack left by a professor who frankly seems kind of indifferent to teaching. I heard from one of his colleagues that he was very ambitious when he started, but grew disillusioned/just plain bored over time. I hope that doesn’t happen to me. Off-topic, but I think I might learn a little about country music this summer. It’s not my thing, but I’m so tired of the way that everyone else hates it just because it’s cool to do so. I have a lot of shit to do right now. I’m just hoping I don’t lose too much sleep over it.

Sometimes, you have to just let it all out.