Once in a Lifetime


I’ve never made friends quickly. You all should know that by now. At my previous job, my boss told me that I seemed to have put up a shell around myself. That’s not entirely true, but he meant well. I heard recently that he walked out of the store he’d been transferred to because the district manager is a total bitch. I flatter myself that I might have started a bit of a trend by walking out when I did. I wasn’t the first person to walk out, but still. They started a dangerous precedent by pushing good people out, and anyway, I didn’t come here to gloat. I’ve learned by now that what they say about living well being the best revenge is true. It doesn’t mean that the bad guy always gets his comeuppance. Oftentimes, they kinda just drift away. Most of the time, they never learn their lesson. They go on being shitty, and the most you can hope for is that the people around them realize what shits they are and keep their distance. But they don’t ever just go away.

It was a big decision when I decided to be a blogger instead of a vlogger or whatever. I have a very animated speaking style and a rather distinctive voice, but I would prefer not to go on camera. I don’t like having my picture taken. Sometimes I think I might have fit right in in one of those cultures where they believe that having your picture taken robs you of your soul or something like that. Then again, maybe not. I’m not a Luddite (it’s actually a common myth that the Luddites were anti-technology, but never mind); I just try to resist the temptation of going with trends. That’s why I’ve always felt so out of my own time. I know that we all like to think of ourselves as special snowflakes, and that’s great. But there are a lot of people out there who don’t think of themselves as ordinary who, to my eyes, appear rather conventional. I don’t believe that’s entirely subjective. I think that most people are boring, and that interesting people come in all shapes and sizes. There’s nothing wrong with being boring, I suppose. It’s all in what you want out of life.

cybermenIt’s frustrating, working in a medium that doesn’t provide you with any immediate gauge as to what people think. Actually, I think that might be a strength. Facebook has the “like” button, and actually, so does this blog. But it’s not like there are message boards where people discuss my stuff at length. If they did, I probably wouldn’t read it because I need my headspace. That’s the problem with the internet: it’s all just nerds with opinions. I still don’t understand why so many Whovians hate “Nightmare in Silver” so much. I remain convinced that it’s the best Cybermen storyline since “Earthshock”, not that the competition is particularly steep. It’s definitely overstuffed and yeah, the kids are kind of annoying, but it also has some arresting visuals, a great performance by Matt Smith, and some of the snappiest dialogue the show ever produced. (“I trust the Doctor.” “Are you saying he knows what he’s doing?” “I’m not sure I’d go that far.”) For once, the Cybermen act like Cybermen (sort of proto-Borg, although I don’t know if there’s any truth to the rumor that they inspired the Borg) rather than substitute Daleks. Go Gaiman.

There’s nobody I agree with 100% of the time. This leads me to believe that nobody is right 100% of the time except for me. But seriously, I do believe that there is such a thing as absolute truth. I believe in subjectivity as well; I just think that while most human beings might, on some level, be more or less the same, that doesn’t mean you have to get along with everyone, and it’s okay to think somebody’s a shithead if they’ve wronged you. I guarantee that there are folks out there who think I’m a shithead, although I think most of them are shitheads too, so I guess it kind of evens out. There’s no bigger waste of time, in my opinion, than trying to make friends with everyone. A lot of my idols probably wouldn’t have much to say to me if they met me. Then again, maybe they would and I just need to get a little bit better at making overtures.

I’ve always believed that endings aren’t bad so long as you get to end things on your own terms. I talked to an asshole on an online dating site just now who couldn’t believe that I choose to work in retail and customer service jobs despite having degrees from two of the best universities in the world. Well, I am a smart motherfucker. Right now, I need my headspace, that’s all. You can’t get back at everyone who has hurt you. Robert, the near-sociopath who screwed me out of my living situation about two years ago, is probably living quite comfortably now. Whether or not he’s happy is debatable. I’m not very happy, but it’s all in how you define happiness, isn’t it?

In case it’s not obvious, I’m signing off here. I’ve cranked out these last few posts in what could be considered a binge (albeit the tamest binge in the entire history of the word) because sometimes, you just want to get it over with. Oh no, don’t take that the wrong way. I’m glad I did this shit. I used to think that you needed to have all your shit figured out before you ended something, but it turns out you don’t. Is death the only part where that happens? I don’t know. But it’s not as scary as it looks. Not that I plan on doing it anytime soon.

I’ll leave you with something silly. I’m still kind of a funnyman despite spending most of my time here sharing Deep Thoughts. See ya around.


Why the Doctor Should Be an Old White Man

Let’s talk about social justice for a second. The term “social justice warrior” has become something of a slur on the internet. I don’t see the shame in it, personally. It’s like using “feminazi” as an insult. Obviously, invoking Nazism to deride someone you don’t like is wrong, but since the real insult there is that somebody thinks women deserve equality, I’m not sure why this is supposed to be offensive. If being an SJW means believing that it is wrong to exclude people based on race, gender, sexuality, religious beliefs, nationality, or what have you, then call me an SJW. Call me a feminazi if it please you. I butt heads with my fellow feminists on certain things because there are times when I feel that taking a stand is somewhat pointless. That, in case you can’t tell, is what I’ve gathered you here to talk about. The Doctor is not the President. He doesn’t have to represent the diversity of his own viewership. It might be nice, but it’s hardly necessary to make him a woman or a person of color. In fact, it’s probably better if we don’t. Here’s why.

Doctor Who has been around for 50 years. Like any other cultural institution, it has a certain value and aesthetic that cannot be separated from the time in which it was created. The Doctor travels around in a police box, something that existed only in a very specific time and place. He travels primarily with young women from contemporary England, and his relationship with them is usually a bit paternalistic, perhaps even a tiny bit condescending. You can like or dislike it, but those elements are hardwired into the DNA of the show. Take them away and it’s not Doctor Who, just as a James Bond who isn’t cocky, cool, and kind of a misogynist isn’t James Bond or a Sherlock Holmes who is warm and fuzzy and a feminist isn’t really Sherlock Holmes. People believe that in order to update the show and make it accessible to the new generation, we need to change its values. But Doctor Who isn’t gay marriage. It’s not your right. It’s not even a privilege. It’s a thing you can watch or not watch. That’s why it’s art: because it doesn’t give a fuck whether you like it or not. If it did, it wouldn’t be art.

I’ve gotten mocked for making this argument before. People say that since Doctor Who is really about change, we should embrace the change and all that that implies. By that logic, the Doctor should be played by a Chihuahua and the show should consist of him driving around in a Porsche and sniffing other dogs’ shit. Don’t give me any of that “that’s not what I meant” crap; it’s what you said, so stand by it or fuck off. You can’t separate the English-ness of the show from the show itself. It’s a shamelessly romantic portrait of an England that hasn’t existed for a long time and probably never did to begin with. If you don’t buy into that, don’t watch the show. You don’t get a vote. This isn’t democracy. It’s art. Part of the reason I have to distance myself from the fanbase is the invidious notion that so many of the entitled fuckwits have gotten into their heads that since they would like to see a female or black Doctor, they should get to see a female or black Doctor. No. It’s not the show’s job to give you what you want.

Doctor Who has disappeared up its own ass in recent years. It’s no longer about pushing forward but about running in circles. Every other episode is about revisiting something that happened in a previous storyline or going back to the Doctor’s childhood or bringing back a beloved old character for one last go-round (until they decide to bring back that character again for yet another go-round). When will this end? Moriarty is in a grand total of two of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories. Know why? Because once he’s gone over Reichenbach Falls, that’s it. There’s nothing left to say about him once that’s done. He doesn’t exist just to give definition to Sherlock. Sherlock isn’t the center of the universe. Moriarty is a criminal mastermind and when Sherlock foils some of his plans, he decides he has to take Sherlock out. It’s that simple. They’re not destined to be together, and I get so tired of those introspective moments where the villain says “We’re not so different, you and I” while the hero has to wonder if he’s really a good man or not. I think Sherlock is a good man. I think the Doctor is, too. Can we accept that and move on? People change, I know, but it’s the present that matters. At present, I don’t like Doctor Who or Sherlock. So I don’t watch either show. Funny how that works.

In case it’s not obvious, I was pretty steamed when I wrote this. I’m angry about a lot of things right now. I’m also stressed out, because I’ve got a really busy week coming up and I’m wondering how I’ll be able to pay my bills, do my job(s), and still find the time to see my friends. Typical adult stuff, I guess. I don’t want to be a parent. God bless those of you who like kids, but I don’t and I never will. It’s just not for me. I can’t change the fact that Darren Wilson and the dude who killed Eric Garner got off for what was quite simply murder just because people don’t want to face up to the deep and pervasive sickness of racism. And for the Spike Lee fans out there, let me just say that Mookie did the right thing. That anger had to go somewhere. You can’t just watch a cop murder somebody, shrug, say, “That’s unfortunate”, and go home. You just can’t.

Maybe I’m just tired of spending all my time in the arts. I need something to think about other than media representations of various groups of people. Sometimes a show is just a show. And if I don’t enjoy it, I don’t enjoy it. That’s my business. But it won’t stop me from whining about it. In the name of God, I will do my duty.



I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my mother and I had an argument a little while back in which she told me that she was worried that I was spending too much time alone. That’s probably true, but it’s not my fault. I still have a social life. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve hung out with anyone, but I’ve gone for months at a time like that and while I wouldn’t want to live through it again, it remains that I don’t need to go out partying every night to stay sane. Just every so often. What frustrates me is the feeling of having to go way out of my way to find someone to spend time with. It’s usually I who reach out, not the other way around. That needs to stop. I still don’t know what to do about it.

The irony is that my mother was correct when she said that she thought I might be “venting [my] frustrations on the internet”, but not in the way she thought. What do you picture when you hear that phrase? I see somebody leaving racist comments on YouTube. I’m not a troll. I can be a mouthy bastard, but I don’t say shit just to piss people off. More than likely, I’m the guy who mistakes a troll for somebody who is actually trying to start a discussion. They’re easy to spot on YouTube, less so on Facebook. I don’t use the Book of Faces quite as often as I used to (although I still check it multiple times a day—baby steps, people) because most of the interactions I have tend to be negative. I commented on a friend’s post about something, some friend of hers took exception to what I’d said, and when I said, “Who asked you?”, he said, “I could ask you that same question.” What is this, a fucking playground? I should have known better than to fall for that “I know you are, but what am I?” bullshit, but I hadn’t realized until then what a dbag he was. So I deleted all my responses to anything he’d said so that it looked like he was arguing with himself. Ha ha.

I don’t have to explain why what he said was obnoxious, do I? If you don’t get it, don’t bother to say so. I hate it when people try to resolve an argument by dragging you down to their level. Instead of responding to what you say, they just deflect it, as if both of you being wrong somehow makes them right. It’s the logic used by Aaron Eckhart’s character in Thank You For Smoking, and in case you were still on the fence about it, let me assure you that smoking is very, very bad for you. The person who benefits from stalling rational discussion and preventing anything from getting done is the enemy of the world. (“The Enemy of the World” is my favorite 2nd Doctor storyline. I had to work in a Doctor Who reference.) The tricky part is that nothing is very, very good at masquerading as something. Look at the Keystone XL Pipeline. That’s a whole lot of nothing. No, it’s not something. If you think it is, go away. That, or read a book not written by a right-wing nutjob. Please.

There is one thing that I have learned about relationships despite having never dated anyone: You don’t have to compromise on everything. Maybe I’m an asshole for saying this, but I get a little dose of schadenfreude from watching smug couples fall apart. It’s not that I’m parading around laughing at them or anything, but really, is there anything more irritating than somebody who acts like they’ve got it all figured out because they’ve found someone? They see having a partner as the endpoint, and everything after that is just coasting downhill. Happily partnered people, back me up here: It’s not at all like that, right? Being in a relationship doesn’t mean saying goodbye to all of your problems so much as seeing all of them played out on a larger scale. I’ve heard people say that they think of the period of their life prior to meeting their One and Only as a completely different phase. Of course, you can’t go around auditioning people to be the One; you kind of just find people you’d like to know better and go from there. If you choose the right one, you’ll want to keep knowing them better. I guess.

I refuse to think of what I’m doing these days as “finding myself”. I don’t know what that means. It sounds like something affluent white people do in big cities after graduating college in every TV show ever made. My problems these days are not so very different from the ones that I dealt with as a child. I still suffer from crushing existential dread much of the time, although my attitude might have altered slightly. Things have been a little slow lately. There might be a shakeup in the staff at the restaurant, which could be tough for me to adjust to. Also, we just had the slowest night I’ve ever seen. Nobody came in, except to get takeout. Nobody. I bring a book to read on my downtime and even I think that’s boring.

As Dr. Seuss once said, unslumping yourself is not easily done. I just have to double down on learning how to use my alone time. Because I will take that over being surrounded by the wrong people. I hope I never get desperate enough to let that change. In the meantime, I must ask you all to stay strong and, if you haven’t yet, check out Orphan Black. It’s a really, really, really good show. What’s more, nobody watches it, so you’ll look extra cool once everyone does (which they will). Mazel Tov!


A Breakup of Sorts

capaldiI just made kind of an important decision. If you know me or read this blog at all, you know about my obsession with Doctor Who. You also know that I fucking hate Steven Moffat, who has been the showrunner on Doctor Who for the last few seasons and is the co-creator of the BBC’s Sherlock, which reimagines the Holmes stories in present-day London. I’m not going to recount all of the shit I’ve said about him up until this point. Go read some of my previous posts if you want to hear about that. Or read what some other people are saying about him, because he’s a pretty polarizing figure. So what is this big decision? I’ve decided to stop watching Doctor Who.

It’s not that big of a surprise, when you think about it. Season three of Sherlock was so stupid I decided not to watch season four. (How did Milverton not realize that Sherlock would shoot him? If he doesn’t keep hard or even electronic copies of his blackmail shit, then that’s all you have to do, right? Besides, it’s not like he has an endgame. He just likes fucking with people. So kill the bastard.) I had been checking in with the new season of Who only intermittently, anyway, as I found Capaldi’s 12th Doctor to be, while still an improvement upon the 11th, more grating than charming. You have to walk a fine line in presenting that kind of character. The basic idea behind the 12th Doctor is that he’s an arrogant, manipulative asshole, but one who still has a strong moral code and turns out to be right more often than not. Boy, that sounds a lot like Sherlock, doesn’t it?

cumberbatchThe problem is that the Doctor’s/Sherlock’s moral code is becoming increasingly flexible. In season 2, Sherlock drugs Watson and traps him in a lab just so he can monitor how he acts when he thinks a hound is chasing him. In “Mummy on the Orient Express”, the Doctor takes Clara along on a farewell journey without telling her that he knows there is a monster on board because some mysterious presence has been trying to get him to come aboard for a while now. At the end of season three of Sherlock, Mycroft forgives Sherlock for his crimes and allows him to return to England after a four-minute exile because his country needs him. At the end of “Mummy on the Orient Express”, Clara forgives the Doctor for lying to her and decides to keep traveling with him even though she has a job and a man waiting for her at home. Because everything worked out all right, see, and the ends justify the means.

Except they don’t. I’ve had this argument many times, so let me see if I can distill what I’m trying to say here. In “The Day of the Doctor”, the Doctor travels back in time along with previous incarnations of himself to stop himself from pushing the button that will destroy Gallifrey and the Time Lords but also end the war with the Daleks. I don’t think real life is that convenient. People tell me I’m cynical for rolling my eyes at that, but isn’t teaching people that there’s always an option that saves everybody’s life and doesn’t have any negative consequences the most cynical lesson of all? To backup: Doctor Who was rebooted in 2005. The showrunner then was Russell T. Davies, who decided to make the new Doctor (the 9th overall, because he’s an alien who can regenerate and grow a new body when injured) the last of his kind. It’s a familiar trope, but the show ran with it. In the original series, the Doctor had had frequent run-ins with his fellow Time Lords and he rarely got along with them. In the new series, there were no fellow Time Lords (well, except for a scattered few, but never mind that) for him to clash with. It seemed like a step forward.

But then Steven Moffat decided to undo that last year. It used to be that the 9th Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, was the last of his kind (almost). But thanks to some timey-wimey paradoxes, his story has been rewritten so that he and his subsequent regeneration only think they’re the last of the Time Lords. Some people will say that it doesn’t matter, and that all that matters is how they react to what they know. Bull. The Fuck. Shit it doesn’t. Whether my mother is really my mother or a pod person who has been replaced by the Body Snatchers makes a whole lot of difference to me. Likewise, whether the Doctor really blew up his own planet to stop a war with the Daleks (the most evil race in the entire galaxy) or just thought he did makes a fuckload of difference. I’m not interested in any rationalizations. Russell T. Davies had an annoying tendency to bring people back from the dead, but at least he made you feel their deaths. The only episode Moffat has ever written for Who that I liked was his two-parter back in season one, and that was due more to Eccleston’s charisma and the introduction of Jack Harkness (a character Davies created) than anything else.

The Doctor can be a lot of things: outgoing yet lonely, funny yet distant, brilliant but impatient. It’s a difficult balance to pull off. Yet there should still be warmth there. Eccleston’s Doctor could be a real dick, but he was suffering from PTSD, and I’ll be damned if there weren’t moments where I wanted to hug him. With Capaldi’s Doctor, they seem to have been going for the asshole-who-kinda-has-a-point vibe and missed. That vibe is more suited to antiheroes anyway (think Ben Linus), and the Doctor isn’t an antihero; he’s a hero. Capaldi’s doing fine with the character, but I’m checking out. Let me know when Moffat leaves. At least there’s a big backlog to work through.

Things I Hate Doing, Part 7

5. Getting Old

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but nobody watches television anymore. Seriously, do you watch TV? Of course you don’t, because you’re on the internet. And the internet is the only valid means of media distribution right now. Even if you do watch TV, it’s probably on the internet. And you’d rather watch internet anyway. But seriously, at least one study has shown that kids these days recognize YouTube personalities more easily than movie stars. That’s not actually that surprising for anyone who spends much time on YouTube. Tyler Oakley has 4.5 million subscribers, last I checked. How many people saw the last Sin City movie? (Okay, maybe that’s an unfair example, because that movie really tanked. I mean, it’s not like I was going to see it, but I thought it would have at least cracked $20 million.)

L to R: douchebag, douchebag, douchebag

L to R: douchebag, douchebag, douchebag

The point is that YouTube and social media are, as much as it pains me to say it, becoming as popular a means of consumption as the ones I grew up with. That might not necessarily be a bad thing, but it does leave me feeling a little out of place. A lot of YouTube personalities are around my age or younger. (If we broaden it to stuff like Vine, you get people like Nash Grier. Fuck that guy.) The average YouTube subscriber is almost certainly younger than I am. Of course, the majority of YouTubers are a walking case for eugenics, but that could just be an illustration of Sturgeon’s Law. I still remember shrugging when I realized that podcasting was becoming a popular medium. There are a few that I listen to, but overall, it just doesn’t interest me. I already read books, watch TV and movies, and occasionally see plays or concerts. I don’t need to be an expert on all forms of media. And sometimes, I think that the real problem is just the way that we let the 18-24 year-old demographic dictate the direction of our culture. Maybe that’s because they don’t know any better, which makes them easier to manipulate. But what do I know? I’m a blogger. Who the fuck reads blogs anymore?

4. Having Neuroses

It occurred to me recently that I have only once or twice in my lifetime had anything resembling a stable home life. From my well-documented issues with my parents and occasionally the rest of my my family to my also well-documented roommate issues, building a home that is worth returning to every evening definitely seems to be one of my weak points. I’m not sure what to do about that, but the result is that I have any number of habits and insecurities that I can’t stop myself from having but hate myself for. The best living situation I’ve had so far is that one spot I stayed in Manhattan for the latter half of my time there. The landlord did have one weird rule requiring us to pay our rent in cash (I think he’d gotten stung by somebody passing him bad checks before) which meant that once a month, I had to walk down to Wells Fargo, withdraw a large amount of money, then walk back with it in my pocket, but if that’s your biggest complaint, you’re probably doing okay. The only answer here, I suppose, is what RuPaul would say: learn to love yourself. But I could really use a leg up.

3. Not Being Able to Express Myself

cloverfieldI would like to take this instance to sort of defend J.J. Abrams. Most of my nerd friends don’t much like him. I can see why: Most of what he does is just a rehash of other stuff. Cloverfield was basically Godzilla-minus-Godzilla-plus-found-footage-gimmick. Still a decent movie, in my opinion. Super 8 tried really hard to be E.T., but abrupt ending aside, it wasn’t too bad. And then there’s his Star Trek films. Into Darkness had…issues, but it didn’t make me angry, which is saying something. Honestly, what is the harm in rehashing old shit just with a shinier presentation? It’s not going to be particularly good, but it’s not exactly harmful either.

I know I rag on Steven Moffat all the time, but bear with me: In The Day of the Doctor, he added a sub-regeneration between Doctors 8 and 9, now leaving it to us to debate whether Peter Capaldi is really the 12th or the 13th Doctor. Except that there is no debate: He’s the 12th Doctor. You could maybe call John Hurt Doctor 8.5, but that’s exactly what pisses me off. Why did we need to see what happened between Doctors 8 and 9? Even if the only reason they came up with him is that they couldn’t get Eccleston back, the rationale for doing this seems to be that nobody explicitly said there wasn’t a sub-regeneration between Doctors 8 and 9. And that’s not a good reason for doing anything. But as usual, nobody will listen to me. So, you know, I’ll keep howling into the wind.

2. Being Out of Touch from the Moment I Was Born

Let’s return to YouTube for a second. I probably spend more time on there than I should, but the thing is, I’ve been yelling at those damn kids to get off my lawn since I actually was a kid. So I might be able to offer a little bit of perspective on the whole thing. When I was in middle school, one of my best friends told me that XXX was an awesome movie and that he couldn’t wait to see it again. He was a great guy, and probably does not feel the same way about the movie today. Then again, let’s be careful as to what we will excuse in children as a result of their age. Even when I was sixteen, I did not yell “fag” as indiscriminately as Nash Grier does. Never mind that, I didn’t even do that when I was ten. And his apologies are all half-assed “I’m sorry, I didn’t know what I was saying” nonsense. Yes, you did. If you can use the internet, you can go to Wikipedia and read about the AIDS epidemic. I was lucky enough to have missed it, but I’ve seen The Normal Heart, and let me tell you, that shit is terrifying. You have to at least try to learn from your mistakes. Try.

1. I Don’t Know What to Call This One, So I’ll Just Get Right Into

I think part of the issue here is that YouTube and social media cut out the middleman. Miley Cyrus may be headed for a meltdown, but that’s just because she’s surrounded by agents, producers, and possibly friends and family telling her that what she’s doing is a good career choice. Is it better when anyone with a camera can just upload a video and let the world hear their unfiltered thoughts? I’m not sure if I can make that call, but I expect YouTube, Vine, and all that other shit to become a lot more like the music and movie industries in the coming years. They’re too lucrative not to. If you’re a big star on YouTube, you are legitimately a celebrity, even if nobody over 35 has any idea who you are. How long do you think the current model will last? It’s already changing: The big stars on YouTube get bussed around at conventions, assigned a security detail, and mobbed by screaming girls if they dare to step out alone. So really, the content hasn’t changed, just the medium.

It's nothing new, really.

It’s nothing new.

There are some child and teen stars who grow up to be well-adjusted people. Mara Wilson was one. She’s a talented writer, an accomplished humanitarian, and as far as I can tell, a nice lady. In her case, that’s probably because she was blessed with a supportive family and smart enough to get out when she realized that Hollywood was through with her. If there is one thing that separates the flash-in-the-pan stars from the ones who just might stick around, it’s the ability to recognize that all of this attention can’t last forever. If you want to stay relevant, you have to be willing to change with the times. Joan Rivers stayed relevant for five decades in showbiz. Regardless of whether you find her funny, that’s some kind of miracle. Her jokes didn’t change all that much, it was just that she never took anything for granted. Smart woman, that one.

When I was in college, some people suggested I start a YouTube channel or something similar instead of writing a blog. I guess they just wanted to hear and see me instead of reading me. I’m glad I didn’t. Even if I had, I would certainly never have gotten all that famous or popular. Because I’m a weirdo. But I like to keep my ear to the ground, and I flatter myself that I have a clearer idea of what’s going on in pop culture than many so-called experts. Let’s face it, nobody is going to know who most of these people are in another twenty years.