We Talk T.V.

Sunday, May 27, 2012 Posted by

I saw a headline: “Casey Anthony Reportedly Spends Days Eating in Front of the Computer.” Naturally, my first thought was, “Who?” But after some consideration, I vaguely remembered her being on trial for killing either her daughter, or maybe it was her roommate in Europe. (Or both?) My next thought was that I spend my days eating in front of the computer… is that weird?

Anyway, it is season finale time, and I thought I would share some of my thoughts on some of the shows I have been watching this year.

Once Upon a Time –  This show is terrible. These characters are obnoxious. I can not believe that I actually watched the whole season. At the closing scene of the season finale, all I could think was that I hope that they do not make a second season, or I might feel compelled to watch all of that also. Speaking of fairy tales, the website where I watch my stories also had the not-particularly-similar movie, “The Brothers Grimm” starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. Honestly, I am not convinced that the film makers were even trying to make a good movie. And they didn’t. There is also a show called “Grimm” that is worst of all. I only watched a couple of episodes before giving up on that. Live action re-imaginings of fairy tales are kind of terrible, you guys.

Community – Do you watch this show? It started off like any other sitcom, with quirky characters in a plausible scenario, but somewhere down the line it went off the rails hard and fast and never looked back. The finale felt like a series finale, although it has not actually been cancelled. However, the show’s creator was fired, so it is likely to have a very different feel next season. Is that good or bad? I do not even know anymore.

Don’t Trust the B~ in Apt. 23 – After the pilot, I honestly have no idea why they kept making more episodes of this. But as long as they do, I am going to keep watching them. Moving on.

Awake – This was an interesting show about a cop whose family is in a car accident and he starts living in two realities: one in which his wife died and son lived, and the other where his wife lived and son died. He would solve cases using pieces of information form the parallel realities.I liked it. It has been canceled though. I just wonder if it was cancelled before or after they filmed the finale, because holy crap, that episode was nothing like the rest of the show and I have no idea what was going on there.

Scandal – Spoiler: they all die.

The Office Depot Incident

Friday, May 18, 2012 Posted by

I had some things on my mind that are not strictly relevant to this post, other than that I was a little more on edge than usual.  I try to imagine how things might have gone differently if I had been my normal calm, collected self, and I honestly have no idea.

Last week, I went to Office Depot. Immediately upon entering, I was greeted by a young man. In addition to the standard “How are you today”/”Fine” exchange, as I am walking passed, he says to the back of my head, “What brings you to Office Depot today?”

My mind often goes blank when I am put on the spot like that, so it is possible that I could not have told him had I wanted to, which I most certainly did not, so I weakly mumbled, “Stuff…” as I kept on walking.

I quickly found the section of the store that contained what I wanted, and as I am looking at the display, a different Office Depot employee comes up behind me to ask, “What brings you to Office Depot today?” At this point, I am staring directly at what brought me to Office Depot that day, so I was trying to come up with the best way to completely ignore this person’s existence, without, you know, being rude about it. Failing that, I decided just to screw with her. “I want an extended warranty.”

I know that a lot of retail stores require their employees to attempt to upsell extended warranties, which is mostly a way for the company to make more money for absolutely nothing in exchange as the majority of people do not understand, or would even know how to invoke the warranty if they should need it. To be fair, I do not actually know if Office Depot has this policy, so I might have been way off base with this. In any case, she did not get what I meant and I had to repeat my desire for an extended warranty.

“On what?”

“On anything. Doesn’t matter.” I was really starting to get into it. “In fact, if I could just get the extended warranty without having to buy anything, that would be great.”

The whole time I am talking, I am also trying to actually make am informed selection from the display in front of me, but of course, I do not multitask well. The poor girl was thoroughly confused by this point; she was neither playing along nor, more importantly, leaving me alone. I do not exactly remember what she said next. I want to say that she simply reset to the beginning of her script, but in any case, with the next words out of her mouth, I snapped.

“You know what, forget it, I’m leaving,” and I stormed out of there with a parting, “Forget you people,” under my breath. It did not occur to me until afterwards, but by “you people”, I obviously meant “Office Depot employees” and NOT “African Americans”, which the young lady in question unfortunately just happened to be.

I do not lose my temper often, and this was actually fairly benign example. The thing is, angry as I was, I do not remotely blame the poor girl. I actually worried that some manager might have witnessed the exchange form afar and that it would reflect poorly on her semi-quarterly performance review. My problem was that both employees asked me an identical question, which meant that they were acting out some corporate policy, no doubt the result of market research saying that customers should be welcomed and engaged. However, when employees approach me in a store, I can not help feeling that it is because they think that I am going to steal something.

I can naively hope that I may have sent some kind of message up the corporate ladder, but I highly doubt it. I do not dress well, nor do I do not shave often, so if anything came of the incident at all, it was probably, “Some crazy, racist, homeless guy came in ranting about an extended warranty and then ran out.” Maybe in this case they really did think that I was there to steal something, in which case, good job getting rid of me. If not, in the week and a half since this occurred, I have yet to come up with a single thing this woman might have said that would have made my office supply buying experience in any way better.

So what did bring me to Office Depot? It sure as Hell was not for the inane chit-chat.

Hate My Guts

Monday, May 7, 2012 Posted by

When I was younger, I suffered from chronic and occasionally debilitating abdominal pain. I was eventually diagnosed with a “spastic colon”, which in those days many people thought was just something doctors say when they have no idea what is wrong with you. These days it is called IBS, and I believe, more widely recognized as a real condition.

I eventually overcame my problem through a combination of “To hell with you stomach, you aren’t going to control my life anymore”, attempting leading as stress-free a life as possible, and avoiding whole wheat bread like the plague.

A few weeks ago I decided to start drinking coffee in the morning to try and help with my never-have-energy-ever problem. Around the same time my intestines started behaving, well, irritably. Not like before, but still problematic. I am not 100% sure they are related, but the timing is suspicious. (Though I ditched the coffee after about a week, yet the troubles have persisted.) So I did a little research and found some foods one with IBS should avoid:

  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Coffee
  • Caffeine
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Fat
  • Vitamins

Oh, is that all? So, uh, nothing but fish and rice then, I guess?

While My Brain Screams “Let Me Out of Here”

Sunday, April 29, 2012 Posted by

My fb friend had a lengthy post about intellectual dishonesty in the church. I desperately wanted to respond. I wanted to say:

Normally I disagree viscerally with everything you post, so I think it only fair to say that, for once, I agree that intellectual dishonesty is my biggest issue with the church as well.

I managed to restrain myself, convincing myself that if I was not going to be constructive, the least I could do was not be petty. The first part is a blatant insult; while the second part pretends to be a compliment, but is actually another insult. For my friend was accusing pastors and preachers who deny or discount the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in peoples’ lives today of being intellectually dishonest. This is something that I do not remotely agree with, and to claim otherwise would be, well, intellectually dishonest.

Anyway, the whole topic got me thinking about one of my favorite Christian songs, “Never Alone” by BarlowGirl. It is a kind of rocking little number, at least as far as Christian songs go. More importantly, it portrays a woman’s  struggle that, despite evidence from her tangible life experiences that God is not real, she can not let go of the lie she has been raised to believe. It is powerful and tragic, made even more so by the fact that I *highly doubt* the artists themselves understand what they are saying.

Always Falling; Never Hitting the Ground

Saturday, April 21, 2012 Posted by

I had to cut my last post short, because I was getting too perturbed just thinking about it. I am not going to go back and see where I left off. I do not care.

I recently asked myself: When was the last time you had hope?

-What do you mean by “hope”?

-You know, HOPE. The belief that the future will be in some way better than the present; that the things to come will be an improvement over that which is or that which has come before?.

-I don’t believe that for a second.

-No, I get that, the question was, when was the last time that you did?

-How could the future ever possibly be better than the past?

-You know what, forget I asked.

This bathroom thing is not really the problem that I make it out to be. It is certainly *a* problem, but ultimately, the details are not important other than to know that this is the sort of challenge in which one’s true character is revealed. And my true character is not noble. Not that I had a lot going on before, but the fact that my inability to deal with this issue has can and has paralyzed my life for over a year is far more damaging than the actual problem.

I actually have an aversion toward being productive. I am terrified of making decisions or taking any significant actions, because deep down I literally believe that everything that I do will only make my life worse. I did not mention at the time, but a couple of months ago I realized that the last time I made a significant life decision that was actually good was when I was sitting in Arizona, miserable of course, and I decided, “Screw this, I’m going home and I’m going to college like I should have done years ago.” That was in February 2002. Of course, we know that the decisions that I made once I got to college and afterward were shit pretty much across the board.

Here’s to another ten years.

Scallops

Sunday, April 15, 2012 Posted by

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)

Saturday, April 7, 2012 Posted by

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.

In Which the Author of a Nominally Religious Blog Mentions Religion for Once

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 Posted by

I was thinking about how I was in a dark place before I ever started going to church, and how I was in a dark place while attending church, and now not having been to church in many years,  I am in a dark place. There is an angry, bitter part of me that desperately wants to blame religion and the church for at least part of my current woes. Yet if I am being intellectually honest, I have to admit that as far as my mental/emotional/spiritual well-being is concerned, the church is really quite irrelevant.

Of course, then I want to say that the church’s entire purpose is to be relevant, and thus blame it for not fulfilling that purpose, but that feels petty.

An Aside

Saturday, March 24, 2012 Posted by

Remember when I was talking about sycamore trees and just assumed that you knew what I meant? Did you?

I found a YT channel this week that is shared by several Korean musicians performing in various combinations. (And no, when I go back to think about it, I never understand how I discover this stuff either.) This video was posted a couple of weeks after my post. Was it inspired by my blog? (By the way, though less relevant to my blog, if sycamore trees are not your thing, her Viva La Vida cover is much better than that one.)

The Other Side of Music

Sunday, March 18, 2012 Posted by

I complain a lot about the state of music these days. This is not about that.

Good news! The crappy band I was in a few years ago is back together! Only, instead of “alternative jazz” or whatever that was, this time the band leader wanted to do country! Greaaat…

We fortunately veered away from that after playing together a few times as country simply is not our thing. The latest idea was “alternative rock.” Wait, what? Now you’re finally speaking MY language! Unfortunately two of the bands specifically mentioned were King of Leon and the Black Keys. I remember thinking a couple of years ago that Kings of Leon were pretty good, until I suddenly realized while that they were better than everything else on the radio around that time (which was garbage), they themselves were not actually that good. Like, at all. Also, mere days before the particular band meeting where this was discussed, I happened to here The Black Keys on the radio and wondered if it was the kind of thing that I would like if I had been born ten to fifteen years later. Because, to be clear, I don’t like it, but I think it appeals to people kind of like me in the younger generation.

Although I think that our front-man is an enormously talented songwriter, I do think it is sad that our he is far more interested in doing whatever style he thinks will sell rather than what comes naturally. But then, one could make a similar observation about my reasons for being in this particular band at all.

On another note, I pulled the old Scarecaster out of the closet a couple of days ago. I actually was not interested in the guitar at all, I just wanted to check something about the case it was in. But once I had it out… For some reason I was under the impression that it was not currently functional. Sure, there is a design flaw that has made it impossible to set the action correctly since day 1, and the not-so-great finish has done strange things since it last saw the light of day. Yet when I tuned it up and plugged it in, it made noise, and is that not what really matters?

I have the desire to build and modify guitars. I even went to school for that purpose once. (At least, I think that was me? It does not seem like something that I would do when I really think about it.) Every once in a while I catch myself wondering, why am I not building guitars again? I actually found the answer one day when working in the bathroom. I was looking back at my recent progress and was dismayed that I had spent two days to do something that looked like it should have only taken a matter of hours. That is why I gave up on guitar building, because I work so damn slowly; because I come to a dead stop every time there is any kind of decision to be made, and I can not get past it; because building guitars is challenging, frustrating, maddenening, and once I was done with the school, I did not want to do it again.

Even so, I considered buying some parts and busting out the router to really get that guitar into playable condition this weekend. But I could not do that of course, because I have that bathroom to finish. Which I also did not work on.