I think the reason I am so slow to make friends is that I don’t want to be misunderstood. A lot of people feel misunderstood, and that’s because at some point, all of us are. But when I look back over the friends I’ve lost touch with, I get the distinct impression that some of them just got tired of me. They realized, essentially, that being friends with me was more trouble than it’s worth. I don’t think being friends with me is more trouble than it’s worth, but then again, I’m biased.
I have the next couple days off of work. This gives me time to reflect, which is exactly what I don’t need right now. Blog traffic is at an all-time low. I still have a hundred followers or two, so it’s not like nobody reads this thing, but I’ve been very, very slowly climbing out of a rut for almost a year now, so any leg up at all would be appreciated. I tried to fix a problem with my tax forms at work, except I screwed up and now I’m getting more deducted in taxes than ever before! I got a refund back in April, so it would be nice to have somebody who isn’t my parent to explain this to me. Because I still don’t like them very much.
Progress is slow. So in the hopes of jump-starting some sort of discussion here, I’d like to talk about my fascination with steampunk. Sci-fi/fantasy, like any other area of interest, has infinite subgenres and subcategories, ranging from anime/manga nerds (which has never been my thing, although I like Studio Ghibli a lot) to tabletop/card game nerds (I like tabletop gaming but have never tried Magic: The Gathering) to video game nerds to comic book nerds to Trekkies and Whovians and (sigh) Twi-Hards. (I’m counting that last group out of sheer generosity. Don’t think for a second that I don’t hold them in contempt.) Most people at Comic-Con or wherever fit into more than one group. And there are plenty of other groups that I haven’t even mentioned, because labels, more so than any other thing that I can think of, aren’t evil, but can be very dangerous when applied to somebody else without their consent. How to explain my love for steampunk? I guess I just like big machines.
I’ve been at 50-60% for some time now. For a while, I was at 0-10%, which was better in some ways, because I wasn’t expecting as much from myself. I don’t spend as much time on YouTube as I used to, which is good, because most YouTubers (with a few notable exceptions like Grace Helbig and Natalie from Community Channel) are fucking idiots. It’s the sort of thing that makes even me feel old, which is odd, because I’m not old by most standards aside from the North Korean life expectancy. Maybe I just spend too much time on the internet. I don’t know. All I know is that I hate the way that popular entertainment seems to be catering to people with shorter and shorter attention spans. I send about three texts a month, so, you know, maybe I was just born old.
Pretty much the only way I’ve ever found for dealing with the tough times is to find a takeaway. At the moment, I’m still a little too deeply caught up in the thick of it to know what that is. If you follow the news, you’re probably depressed about that. Honestly, it looks like the beginning of World War Three out there. And it’s not like I’m not under a lot of pressure myself. My mother is moving back in. I always said that I would rather sleep in a box on a street corner than live with both of my parents again. So I’m really, really hoping shit works out with the place I just applied to for housing. I’m still looking for a second job (interviewed for one I really liked a week or two ago; they said they’d be seeing me again soon but didn’t call me), and since money is so tight, I feel afraid to go do things that I normally do when I’m in a shitty mood, like go out for a nice dinner. There’s too much that is up in the air right now. And I still spend most of my evenings sitting in my room staring at my computer.
I think part of the reason that I am so suspicious of new technology is that there are so many people who act like anybody who holds onto the old stuff is a reactionary. Reading paper books does seem like a more tactile experience than reading a Kindle or e-reader. Video may have killed the radio star, but radio plays are still produced sometimes (at least in England), and yeah, they do have an imaginative quality to them that TV lacks. And from what I can gather, film still is better than digital in some ways. The difference, in my mind, is actually a bit more practical than romantic. I don’t prefer books to e-books because they feel more real, but because machines can fail, too, and if your electronic devices aren’t working, you can still read a physical book by candlelight. People jump on Spotify as if it will save them from ever having to buy music again, and I’m sorry, but it just isn’t that simple. And shopping at Amazon will never top the experience of browsing in an actual store. If you want to introduce yourself to shit you haven’t heard before, you are going to have to step outside your comfort zone. Don’t hop on the bandwagon on the Shiny New Thing just because it’s convenient.
Steve Jobs may have been a difficult man, but there’s a quote from him I always liked. When asked what market research he was doing for the iPad, he replied, “None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.” So if there is a takeaway from this post, it’s that I don’t think people always know what they want from their entertainment. And since I am a part-time entertainer, it means they don’t always know what they want from me. Alas, I keep chugging along. Because I am only robot.