Archive for category Nonsense

Scallops

Posted by on Sunday, 15 April, 2012

Scallops are some kind of seafood. I never had them as a child. The story goes that when my father was young, his family had scallops for dinner. He did not like them and did not want to eat them. However, his father (or perhaps, step-father; I do not remember exactly when the story takes place) would not let him eat anything else until the scallops were gone. So my father was forced to eat nothing but scallops for the next few days, and then never again.

My bathroom is a little like that. Bathroom, bathroom, bathroom. Shut up about the bathroom. You do not care about the bathroom. I do not care about the bathroom. It is not a bathroom anymore, it is just a big closet where I keep tools and rubble.

Yet at the same time… I care that I do not care. There are other things that I could and should be doing, but ultimately, nothing is more important than fixing this bathroom. So that is precisely what I have been doing for most of the last year: nothing. I do not know what I am doing and I keep getting stuck and not knowing how to proceed and just knowing that I am only going to get confused and frustrated is so demoralizing that I do not want to go in there or even think about it anymore.

Somehow, I finally managed to go in this week for this first time to try and assess what needs to happen next after avoiding it for the last six weeks or so. I noticed that the new tub that I installed a couple of months ago rocks. I do not mean “rocks” in a “neat-hot, sweet-awesome” kind of way, I mean the more traditional sense that it shifts when I put weight at different points.

Brink (Things That Almost Were)

Posted by on Saturday, 7 April, 2012

I debated letting my last post stand as THE last post of the blog. It is nice that I have been able to keep up my one post per week average for so long, but the times when I have anything meaningful to say seem to be getting fewer and farther between. I am concerned that even if I were to say anything of value, it would only get lost among the nonsense. I really do not know what I hope to accomplish by maintaining this blog anymore. Whatever goals I may have had in the beginning have long since vanished. I mentioned before that the discipline of writing something every week was more important than whatever I had to say, but it is sad to think that I have so little accountability in my life that that would even count as an accomplishment. And yet here we are still.

I have a friend who is constantly posting religious and political things on FB that drive me crazy. I have to fight not to say anything, and I have unfortunately lost that battle a few times and no good has come of it. I could always unsubscribe, of course, yet I still feel that there is value in being exposed to other points of view. I was thinking one day about why it bothered me so much, and I had the idea to just throw caution to the wind and go through and read and  comment on every single post. Then I thought that might get boring and considered getting a bottle of Jack Daniels (which I also find distasteful) and taking a swig between each post. Last Sunday was April first, which I thought would be the perfect day for this exercise. However, when the day came around, I had not slept well the night before and was not feeling well. Plus I started panicking  when it suddenly hit me that my plan for this year was to finish with the bathroom in January, and then looking for a job in February, and here it was already April and I was nowhere close to accomplishing either of those things.

I did no work at all in March. Neither in the bathroom, nor for my part time job. I have no idea where the time goes. Towards the end of last year, I devised three rules to attempt to increase my productivity. The first was, “No going on the internet between 9:00am and 6:00pm.” The second, “No eating in front of the computer.” The problem is, once I settle in front of the computer, I can not get myself to leave the chair. The third rule was, “Do the dishes before bed.” It was not really related to the other two, but I used to be fanatical about dishes when I had a bunch of roommates, but living on my own, I had gotten quite bad about letting things stack up for days.

These rules were pretty simple, yet I repeatedly violated all of them, and then at some point, I just gave up entirely. I no longer struggle with personal demons. The demons have won. I just hate the fact that I have to admit defeat again every single day, as if one day I might wake up and suddenly decide NOT to be a complete waste of a human being? I do not even know what such a decision would look like at this point.

So anyway, I did not go through with my April Fool’s plan, because it was already a rather mean-spirited thing to do, and if I could not at least have fun with it, I would just be being nasty for the sake of it. I could still do it another time, but I thought it might minimize potential defriendings if people wrote it off as an April Fool’s prank. As if she somehow knew my intentions, she has been posting a ridiculous amount of stuff in the last week, and I just shake my head thinking, “I would have to post on all of that crap too now?” I do not want to do that.

I have actually been considering starting a new blog specifically about my guitar projects. However, that would obviously require that I actually be doing guitar projects in order to blog about them. There was one night this week when I actually could not sleep because of this mad idea that I had for a guitar. I have thought for a while about modifying cheap guitars into new and strange creations, but I am hardly the first person to have that idea. This idea was for something different. This went beyond typical level of madness into true evil genius. I could say it has a steampunk/post-apocalyptic flair, but even THAT has been done before. This guitar, if I could adequately describe it, you would laugh. Everyone would laugh. But if I could build it, I would show them. I’d show them ALL.

That is not a project to just dive right into though. I would have to work my way up to that, and I already have an overabundance of ideas for other projects. Enough for a whole other blog even. So I actually got excited about that, and this week I was out and about to various craft stores and ended up buying supplies to use toward FIVE different projects. Which, considering my reluctance to complete even one project seems more than a little overambitious in retrospect.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with fixing the bathroom or getting a job.

Impasse

Posted by on Monday, 12 March, 2012

I had more to say in my last post. I started to write it, then I got distracted, then (perhaps ironically) I had to go to work, and two days later I decided to just post what I had written so far.

I inherited some money and investments a few years ago. Without going into detail, one of those investments has failed and I am no longer getting checks every month for not doing anything. Ultimately this is good, because it really is not to anyone’s benefit that I was able to do that for as long as I did. As that was my major source of income for the last couple of years, I obviously need to find something else now.

The thing is, I still have a fair amount in the bank, it is just getting smaller a whole lot faster now. There is part of me that insists, “Don’t I owe it to my family who provided me this opportunity to pursue my dreams until every penny is gone?”

Well, perhaps… Yet the fact is that I gave myself a year to see what I could accomplish. I did not accomplish much in that year. I did not accomplish much in the year after that. I was in the process of organizing and equipping my garage workspace in order to be more productive, then my bathroom exploded. Fixing that became my top priority, but as I was reluctant to do it, and I could not in good conscious bring myself to start a different project while that was incomplete, I ended up procrastinating for the better part of another year. When my financial situation changed, I finally became motivated to finish this, and as I said, I was starting to feel like I was almost finished and once again began to get excited about all the projects I had put on hold. Then I again reached a point where I did not know how to proceed, and I have accomplished almost nothing in the last month. This bathroom is my white whale.

However, even if it was finished, when it comes to my other projects, the only thing that I have managed to prove in the last few years is that I am completely lacking the self discipline to actually do anything. I was given the amazing opportunity that most people will never have to work on whatever I wanted for YEARS without having to worry about money. I completely wasted it. While technically I still could (and keep telling myself that I should) be working on anything I want, now I am worried about money. Whereas I have always been reluctant to spend money, in the past it was more of a procrastination issue. I did not want to buy something until I was sure I would use it, because it is annoying when I do occasionally buy stuff for some project that I never end up doing. Yet now I am afraid to spend money on a project knowing that it could very well mean a day in the future when I do not get to eat.

Case in point: I came very close to buying a vintage guitar on eBay today. I have been talking about investing in guitars for some time now, and I there are several models that I routinely search for, but they always are way more than I would want to pay. I finally came across one that I thought was very reasonably priced, and I even went so far as to transfer the money from my savings to my primary account so I could cover the cost, but then I panicked when I saw the new balance in my savings account. For the fact is, I do not have a job, at least not one that comes anything close to paying the bills, and I really do not even play guitar anymore. I would be buying that guitar just to have it, and I could survive for at least a month on what I would be spending. Then there is the whole thing about can I trust the seller, and was it TOO reasonably priced that I should be suspicious…

So I did not buy it. I am not sure I made the right decision. No matter how logical and justified it may be, I always seem to go with the option that means not doing anything. Even if it was a mistake, just breaking that pattern may have been worth it. There was an apropos webcomic just last week. To quote:

Woman: You look like you’re going to spend your life having one epiphany after another, always thinking you’ve finally figured out what’s holding you back, and how you can finally be productive and creative and turn your life around. But nothing will ever change. That cycle of mediocrity isn’t due to some obstacle. It’s who you *are*. The thing standing in the way of your dreams is that the person having them is *you*.

Man: I think I need to go home and think about my life.
Woman: It won’t help.

It does not matter what I think, or what I realize, or what I blog about, because none of that ever leads to any change. It pisses me off to even be writing about this. Am I actually whining about not having to work for a living for the last three years while everyone else has been struggling to make ends meet? SHUT THE F*** UP!

Deux Aimes

Posted by on Sunday, 13 November, 2011

The title of this post is a multi-layered bilingual pun that I happened to think up today which has nothing to do with anything. I leave that as an exercise for the reader.

I have felt for a long time that at some point, if things get bad enough, if I become miserable enough, then I will make some dramatic change to completely abandon my comfort zone and forsake my entire lifestyle as I know it. I believe this, because it has happened before.

Twice.

Movie Reviews Sans Title #1

Posted by on Friday, 21 October, 2011

In spite of the fact that the trailers for this movie seemed specifically designed to make it look HORRIBLE, I watched it purely on faith in the reputation of the film makers. However, for the first twenty minutes or so, I was afraid that I had made a terrible mistake. The story was slow, the villain did not seem archetypically villainous enough and most importantly, the songs were weak-sauce. And what is all this crap about sunlight and flowers? Where are the radishes?

Once the story got moving though, it did get a lot better. I was a little confused because I could have sworn that Chuck was supposed to be in this movie, even though the male lead looked quite a bit like that dude who was on one of the seasons of “24” that I actually watched, now on “Haven”. (Not that I expect anyone else to have ever heard of that show.) In any case, I thought that the heroine’s face was astoundingly expressive, and the movie is practically worth seeing on that reason alone.

Spoiler alert: the prince does not go blind in the end. That may have something to do with the fact that there was actually no prince at all. Did the writers even read the reference story? Although, you can not really blame them. In this post-feminist world, could they really have a story about a girl marrying a prince? Who would get excited about that in 2011? Ahem.

So overall, pretty decent. Not the instant classic like so many of its predecessors, but certainly not immediately disposable like its contemporaries.

In Which the Author Considers Supervilliany and the Nature of Evil

Posted by on Thursday, 13 October, 2011

I spend a lot of time alone in my house doing absolutely nothing remotely of value to anyone. A lot of time. I thought it would be nice if I had some sense of purpose that I was working toward; whether for good or evil, either one would be an improvement at this point.

So I started with evil, because I assume it would be easier, and I am a path-of-least-resistance kind of guy. The quintessential evil plan, obviously, is to take over the world. I do not want to do that, that sounds really stressful. So, a lesser evil scheme then. For that I need a better definition of what exactly is evil.

After some thought, I decided that evil is based on power. But did not Jesus say that “the love of money is the root of all evil”? Yet, when the Devil was cast out of Heaven, it had nothing to do with money and everything to do with power, much as I hate to contradict Jesus. It turns out that A) it was NOT Jesus, but rather Paul who made that statement in 1 Timothy 6:10, and B) newer translations add in “… all kinds of evil,” which in a strictly literal reading is the same thing, but really has a more general connotation of “a lot of evil” and not, in fact, ALL evil.  I do not disagree with the sentiment of modified statement, however, after doing a [very] little research with a Greek concordance, I am not convinced that the addition is justified.

It is not my place to say what Paul did or did not mean. Regardless, money is not power, however money does represent power (among other things). Therefore, I feel justified in saying that the love of power is the root of all evil.

Thus, for my evil scheme, I would need to exert power. Unfortunately (or not, depending on your perspective) I could not think of anyone over whom I actually wanted power. So it seems that evil is just not my thing.

Then I thought, if I could be doing good, but choose not to, is that not also evil? That suggests somehow that not using power that I already have is evil. That contradicts everything which I have said so far.

Also, I do really like to win at board games.

Futile

Posted by on Friday, 9 September, 2011

I tried to post this on fb a while ago, but I was having trouble editing to fit the character limits. The vigilant might have seen some of this in your news feed for three minutes a month ago.

In conversation, I mentioned to someone that I had taken a couple of physics classes at a community college who then asked, “Why did you stop?” I was stumped by this and admitted that I did not know.

Now, anyone familiar with my situation might recognize that the question itself was flawed. The fact is, if you take enough classes then they eventually give you a piece of paper that says that you do not have to go anymore. That explains why I *did* stop, but does not address why I *wanted* to stop, which is essentially what I was being asked. I still do not know the answer.

As I recall, this came up when I was asked if I knew anything about sound waves and I boasted that I knew “a lot” about sound waves. From an objective viewpoint, it is quite curious that when questioned further, I went with “a couple of classes at community college” and not “I have a degree in electrical engineering.”

Of course, the explanation for that is that I have spent the last few years trying to forget that the whole university thing ever happened. But again, what I can not answer is “Why?”

There is something very wrong in my head. A block, a disconnect, something that just is not right. And I have no idea what to do about it.

Flawed (feat. MF-ing GUITAR SHOW!)

Posted by on Saturday, 6 August, 2011

I went to a guitar show last weekend. I had been looking forward to it for some time. I have been wanting to start collecting/investing in guitars for quite awhile now, yet I have been reluctant to pull the trigger on buying anything.

Part of the issue is that collecting and investing are not really the same thing.
Collecting means buying guitars that I personally would want to have, and probably (though not necessarily) would not want to sell. Investing in guitars is just like investing in anything else: buy low, sell high.

It is the “investing” part that is tripping me up. Last year, I bought a big book full of guitar prices. The value of guitars is a lot like cars: a 10 year old one is not worth very much; a 20 year old is worth practically nothing; but somewhere around 30 years old, it changes from “used” to “vintage” and the price starts to go up again; and at 50 years, it is worth quite a lot.

Key then is to buy something that is on the downward part of the curve and then wait ten or twenty years for the price to go up. However, every time I find something that looks good, either online or in person, the seller wants way more than my book says it is worth. Who are they kidding? Is anyone really buying vintage guitars in this economy? I would think it would be a buyer’s market.

I had been to this same guitar show last summer and been slightly disappointed. Sure there were a lot of nice guitars, especially a lot of high end and vintage guitars that you do not generally find in the average guitar shop. Yet, while they did have a number of guitar models that I was familiar with but had never actually seen in person, there was not really anything new and unusual to me like I had been hoping for.

This year, the event was at a venue much closer to where I live and I went fully planning to walk away with something. I do not know if it was the change in venue or the economy or what, but there were not nearly as many booths this year. Still, even on a casual first walk through I noticed several promising guitars. A few more when I really started looking carefully at each vender. Most were again in the way more than I would want to spend range, but not all. I could go into details, but I doubt it would mean much to most readers.

There was one interesting guitar that I kept coming back to in my mind. Great guitar? No. Nice looking guitar? It was actually in pretty bad shape cosmetically. Worth what the asking price? Debatable. But an interesting guitar. A guitar that wants to be played, not kept in a case in the closet. A guitar with character.

However, for a number of reasons (or should I say, “excuses”) that do not seem that important now, I ended up not buying it, and walked out empty handed and more than a little annoyed with myself. I did not even take note of the dealer’s name, which might have left open the possibility of buying it online.

This is not so much about buying a guitar or not buying a guitar. I already have a lot of guitars. I also in general struggle with buyer’s remorse and just plain “clutter” way more often than I have regret over NOT buying something. This is really about having an idea and not following through. It is about not being able to make a decision in the moment. I keep thinking about that guitar that I am never going to have and it reminds me of so many other opportunities that I have missed because of my overall lack of CERTITUDE.

To add extra an extra layer of futility: after spending hours walking around and dreaming of possibilities, did I play any guitar when I got home? I did not.

Faith to Move Mountains

Posted by on Wednesday, 27 October, 2010

I am not much of a “sports” guy, but if there was one sport about which I cared even a little, it would be baseball. I do not now recall the exact timing of events, but the facts are these:

In 2007, the Colorado Rockies made it to the World Series for the first time since the team’s formation in 1993. (They lost.) Around this time, and likely inspired by this, I researched and discovered that there were still four teams that had never been to the World Series. This number was reduced to three when the Tampa Bay Rays reached the World Series the very next year. The Rays were an even younger team, established in 1998. The oldest team that had not yet been to the World Series was the Texas Rangers, established in 1961.

Being the fan of the underdog that I am, I decided that the Texas Rangers were my team. This was probably sometime between the 2007 and 2008 seasons. As it happened, the President of the United States at this time had previously been a managing partner for the Rangers, so I felt a little extra sympathetic for them because of that.

It is now 2010, today the Texas Rangers are playing game 1 of their first ever World Series and I could not be prouder.

Yet, ever the skeptic, I try to look at it objectively. There are thirty teams in Major League Baseball, two of whom face off in the World Series every year, so the odds a team chosen totally at random being in the World Series in any given year is 1/15 or about 6.67%. However, MLB is split into two leagues, with sixteen teams in the National League and only fourteen in the American League. The Rangers happen to be in the smaller league and the odds of a particular team winning that league at any point in the last three years, if I did the calculation correctly, is about 20%. Not particularly good odds to bet on, but far from mind-blowing that I happen to have been correct.

However, baseball teams are not random numbers. Certain teams are objectively better than others, and though there are considerable factors involved, I think that generally speaking, a team’s record is not expected to change dramatically from one season to the next. In 2007, the Texas Rangers finished last in their division. In fact, they had only had one winning season (in which they won more games than they lost) by that point in the decade. Three years ago, no one would have thought they were a championship team. No one but me, that is. I willed it to happen.

In the interest of full disclosure, I actually predicted a Rangers-Cubs World Series, and I wanted it in 2009. I was off by a year on the Rangers. That is not too bad, really. I was completely wrong about the Cubs. Momentarily going back to random guesses again, the odds of correctly predicting a World Series match-up is about 0.45%. (Or put the opposite way, if one announces such a match-up, there is a 99.5% chance of it being wrong.)

But again, I did not choose the Cubs at random. As I said, I love a good underdog, and the Cubs famously have not won a World Series since 1908, and have not played in the World Series since 1945, when a gentlemen showed up to one of the games with two box tickets, one for himself and one for his goat. When the goat was removed from the stadium for, well, being a goat, the man claimed, “The Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” And they haven’t.

Clearly that man was more powerful than I. But it does not trouble me, because I did not really care about the Cubs. As I said, the Rangers were my team. There is a picture of me taken on my birthday last year that I find amusing for a number of reasons, one of which being that I am wearing an my Official MLB Texas Rangers hat along with my typical t-shirt and jeans ensemble, and I suspect that the hat cost more than everything else that I was wearing combined. I am generally neither a “hat-wearing” nor a “spending-money” type of guy, but here I was in my expensive hat, to show solidarity with a forgettable baseball team, apparently as part of some elaborate joke.

An elaborate joke that paid off, of course. Because I am powerful. This is hardly the first time that something like this has happened either. Many years ago, I was reflecting on my life and realized that I had a very effective method of obtaining things:

1. Want it. Want it so much that I can hardly think of anything else.

2. Stop wanting it. Move on.

3. [Somewhat optional] Decide that I was better off without it anyway.

And then whatever it was would come to me. This method has been known to work on everything from toys to specific girls. I had not put this into practice in a number of years, though. Perhaps because I somehow became convinced that I needed to rely on an external god. This baseball thing does not fit the pattern though. Which brings me to the weighty question:

How do I seemingly have such power over such inconsequential things that logically would seem completely beyond my control, yet I remain paralyzed when it comes to taking even simple actions that effect the course my day to day life?

But Then Again, Too Few to Mention

Posted by on Monday, 31 May, 2010

I have spent the last few days watching the first season of Being Erica. It is a Canadian show about a 32 year old woman with a string of failed relationships and dead end jobs not suited to her level of education, and, most importantly, a long list of life decisions which she regrets, who is approached by a “therapist” with the [as yet unexplained] ability to send her back in time to relive and redo past decisions. Admittedly, it is a rather girly show, and the SOAPnet logo tag is certainly cause for concern, but if it is not obvious why such a show might still appeal to me, then I am not going to spell it out.

Curiously, while most time travel stories are based on the “Butterfly Effect” philosophy, where changing even one detail in the past has drastic consequences on the present/future, this show takes the opposite approach, where attempting to alter or avoid one incident only leads to circumstances with essentially the same consequences, so that the heroine returns to the present to find (in most cases) that hardly anything has changed at all. However, she now has a fresh perspective and a healthier attitude that allows her to move forward in her life and her interactions with family/friends/coworkers in a more positive direction. Therapy. It has also been established that other characters do remember specific details of the “new” timeline, and also that the therapist is at least visible (though unassuming) to other observers, ruling out the possibility that the experience is all in her head. The ultimate result is that the show seems to be promoting the idea that we are a product of our choices and that an understanding of the past leads to a better future, yet simultaneously implying the completely contradictory idea that fate is essentially self-correcting in a way that would apparently render free will irrelevant. (Look, it’s a soap opera that happens to have time travel. I am not necessarily recommending anyone else should watch it, it just so happens that I have watched a lot of crappy TV shows in recent times and this is not as bad as some, okay?) [Edit: Since this writing, I started watching the second season. While there were some questionable moments in season 1, there has been a decidedly unwholesome shift in the tone of this show in season 2, and I would like to withdraw my already half-arsed endorsement.]

Anyway, as someone who has quite a list of regrettable life decisions, it is interesting to think about what decision I would go back and change, if I had the opportunity. Surprisingly, I could not come up with anything. I am the product of my choices, and if I could somehow go back and change something, invoking the classic “if I only knew then what I know now”… yet that is not possible. Not just physically impossible, but philosophically impossible. For if I made alternate decisions in the past, I would then be the product of different choices, and I would no longer “know now” what I know now, as it were.

However, lest anyone mistakenly think that I may have said anything profound, this is merely a character flaw thinly disguised as wisdom. Looking back, I do not make decisions, I make excuses to stay within my comfort zone. Some of which sound better than others. I can look objectively at any choice that I have made that lead down an undesirable path, and logically infer that the other choice would most likely lead somewhere better, but even given the completely hypothetical opportunity to take the road not traveled, I still prefer the comfort of life as I know it to the uncertainty of the other option. In short, I would not change anything from my past, because it is easier not to.