Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tron is Messin' with my Zen, Man

Things were different back then. it was 1982. Atari 2600 was the rage. There was trouble in the Middle East. Coke vs. Pepsi was a big debate, as was coke vs. heroin. I was six years-old, and I was mesmerized by Disney's Tron. Well, admittedly, I was mesmerized by the blue and red light bulbs that people seemed to be wearing and the really cool light-cycles. The rest of it went way over my head.

My, how things have changed. Sure, Atari is not the rage anymore, but I pretty use my Wii to play those same old games. And Tron: Legacy was cool for the light-cycles and the rest went pretty much over my head. For example, was Jeff Bridges trying to recreate The Dude from The Big Lebowski or is that just the way he acts nowadays?

I have been trying to be less critical of movies lately, and I think overall I've done well (and I actually think seeing fewer movies helps), so when I first heard that they were doing a sequel to Tron, I thought, "Another silly re-make? Forget it." Then I saw some trailers, and I thought it looked pretty cool. Remember, kids; always trust your instincts.

But, Durs, didn't it look cool, you may be thinking. And, sure, the light-cycles, the Matrix-esque fighting with glowing frisbees, the return of the big horse-shoe ships were all very fun. But we have video games for that kind of thing. Come on, including the 3-D glasses, do you want to spend $13 on half of a movie? The rest of it was just a lot of talking about things that actually don't exist (also similar to The Matrix, without the crappy philosophy), and I'm not sure why we should care what happens in the "Tron World" for that very reason: it doesn't actually exist. What are the stakes except that The Dude may not survive long enough to drink another White Russian? And, sure there are movies with less at stake, but if you can make the audience care about these things, then you've written a decent movie. Tron: Legacy front-loaded all the cool stuff in the first 45 minutes or so, then spent a long time explaining what was going on while over dinner.

I think I know the thinking here. Much like the Wall Street sequel earlier this year, coming on the heels of economic turmoil, the folks at Disney probably thought that since we are in this new digital age, the time is ripe for a Tron sequel. The whole Grid thing, and all of us essentially being Programs or Users these days lends it self to the story of Tron. But no. It's a different world now. The games we play on our phones are better than the original Tron effects, which was done mostly with paint and canvas, by the way. For all that talk about Tron being the first movie to use CGI, only about 15 minuets of the film are computer animated, because the technology didn't exist yet to combine digital animation with real-life characters. Not to mention that that the computers they used had only 2 MB of memory. I think that there's more than that in a pen these days. Point is, our standards for what is cool and what technology can and should do have changed. I'm not sure lighty frisbees cuts it anymore. It seems to me that these people were so concerned on whether or not they could make a better Tron movie, that they didn't stop to think if they should (or, y'know, write a script.) We have conquered that digital frontier already, Dude. I don't think we need to hear about it again. If I'm interested, I'll just read about it on someone's blog.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Formula

My roommate and I were flipping channels recently and stopped on Sleepless in Seattle (which I had never actually seen). While I did find Tom Hanks to be somewhat amusing, the Romantic Comedy Formula got to me after awhile. Until, I actually realized that Sleepless in Seattle actually pretty much invented the formula. Unless you go back to It Happened One Night, which still does it way better than any movie ever.

The problem with The Formula is that I believe it has ruined most Americans view of how courtships and relationships should probably be. And, I know this sounds awful but I'm gonna say it anyway, I think at least 85% of women fall victim to this. Maybe it's just people I talk to, but I know several single women who constantly complain about why the dude they are into is just sitting on his hands every day, even though they claim to have sent out all the "signals."

There is the problem, as I once detailed in a long-since deleted blog post aptly titled "Lloyd Dobler is a Made-Up Person." For those who may not know, Lloyd Dobler is the name of the character played by John Cusack in Say Anything, the guy who held his boom box over his head, playing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" to impress Ione Skye. The sad thing? It worked, and they flew off to London together, despite being 18 years-old.

Thing is, movies like this fill people with the silly idea that these things can/may/will happen to them. That is why my single female friends send out signals, but don't actually do anything. They are waiting for the dude to sweep them off their feet. That's not horrible in itself, but the dude is probably thinking, "Man, I don't want to make a mistake and look stupid." I'm a man and I'm all for taking charge, but there seems to be an honesty gap here, which is not necessarily due to Tom Hanks and John Cusack, but they certainly haven't helped.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


With regards to my previous post, I believe the expression is actually "breaking" your eye open. My bad, but the point is still valid, right?

Also with regards to my previous post, and being an angry asshole, I've been wrestling with some things for a couple weeks (well, probably my whole life, really, but not as much as I should have). I have always kind of tried to determine what kind of person I want to be. Sometimes, I wanted to be Will from About a Boy, and that worked for awhile because a lot of times, caring does lead to problems. When I watched Californication, I wanted to be Hank Moody. This was mostly because he had a lot of sex, but also because he had a real-life maverick thing going on, and who doesn't want to be that when they grow up? And even before that, I wanted to be like Warren Zevon, a lone-wolf partyer guy (He did write Mutineer," after all, and the classic "My Shit's Fucked Up."). That one went on for a good deal of 2005, actually, with mixed results. Well, the bars and the strippers made out okay.

After all of that, and all the crap that happened, and all the times people have told me, "You should go on more dates because I love the stories," because, y'know, I go on dates purely for the entertainment of others, I was sitting at home the other day and came to a revelation. When I grow up, I think I want to be a man of character.

It is not something I ever really attempted before. I remember Al Pacino in his big speech in Scent of a Woman saying, "I always knew the right path, but I never took it. Know why? It was too damn hard." I always kind of agreed with him. And I also think I always believed that if you were going to be a good person, you had to go all the way, and there was no way I was going to be Mother Theresa, so I was basically fucked.

But you don't have to accept Jesus Christ as your savior to be good, nor do you have to devote your life to a cause. I've seen a lot of corruption and anger in those people. No, to use a bit of a mixed metaphor, "God is in the details." You can be good at the little things, too. And you can listen to Warren Zevon and even be like him without being a dick. You can help people all the time without making miracles. I don't even think there's a real rule to it (Maybe the Golden One.) Just be good.

At least I'll try. And who knows? A couple weeks of that and maybe I won't have a disaster dating story to tell.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Splitting My Eye Open

I know the title sounds gross, but I'll make it sound all rosey in a few. Read on. Or don't.

Recent happenings have shown me a few things. Most important among them? I used to be an angry asshole. Not an asshole in the sense that I did mean things to people (although I probably did on occasion), but just in the sense that I was always bitter and generally hated everything. I don't know what I was so pissed about all the time. I had a roof over my head and computer to write my angry blog on, and money to spend on beer and comics. And I got laid way more than I do now. What did I really have to complain about?

Whatever the reason, I recently re-read some of my old "Dursin's Dungeon" columns that I used to post on, and was amazed at how much of a dick I sounded like. Granted, part of it was a character I was portraying to try and get a response (which rarely worked), but it still all came out of me, and it was kind of scary. It's a wonder anyone wanted to ever hang out with me.

Back to the present era now, and last weekend. I spent it in Biddeford, Maine, visiting my friend Melissa. She lives and works at U.N.E., which is on the coast of the Saco River, a stone's throw from where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. I'm not usually affected by things like that, but I found this very cool, and quite beautiful. We also visited a beach not far away with waves that dwarfed anything I've ever seen in Massachusetts. I never even knew Maine had beaches. Probably because I've never had much reason or desire to go to Maine. I'm a city boy. I love my concrete jungle and having the ability to do whatever I want at pretty much any moment. But Maine was actually a really nice place, and if I had to live anywhere besides a city, it would be near the water.

And this is why I am splitting my eye open. I'm not talking about just keeping an open mind or whatever. It has to go deeper. "Splitting my eye open" is a phrase that art students use to describe how to enhance the way they look at works of art. I'm stealing it because I need to enhance the way I look at life. I don't want to be that angry old sod anymore. For one thing, I want to see what happens when an angry young man is no longer young or angry. Hopefully I'll be happy with the results.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Page Views? Here?

I haven't posted on this thing in awhile, but for some reason I checked the stats, and I had 180 views last month. I'm sure they are 'bots (in fact, I hope they are because otherwise, that's just sad.), but still it inspired me to write again. The fact that we can check up on that kind of thing is kinda scary and kinda cool at the same time.

But what have I done? Easy. Nothing. Have I been too busy to write here? I... guess? I have been working a lot, earning some extra dough, buying and returning a PS3, hopefully to buy it again. But that's about it. Working, living, drinking. It seems like I do less now than I ever did, and yet I apparently have very little free time for myself. Man, time is weird.

I actually think part of it is getting older, working harder, and not having the endurance to do the things I used to after work. But it's also kind of not feeling like I need to let loose every weekend like I used to. Hell, I already know I can drink with the best of them. Why be a show-off?

I kind of hope this isn't maturity kicking in. I never wanted to be that guy who admits to not needing to go crazy every weekend. I suppose if I had more money and more friends who were willing to booze it up every Saturday, I probably would (I am easily swayed), but I rarely get drunk anymore. A few weeks ago, I was out with a group of friends, and we stayed out all night, and this was after I had seen Red and drank with a different group of friends earlier in the evening. I have no idea how many high A.C. beers I had that night, and I still didn't really feel hat bad the next day. I mean, I've been a lot worse.

I guess it's not maturity as much as learning to take it slow. I'd rather sip and enjoy my beer and my company than chug it and hug and slobber all over them. That's why I drink the good beer. I do miss the old days when I could do it every Thursday night and walk in to work on Friday morning feeling like Superman. But, those days are mostly gone and I am okay with that. As much as I enjoy it, no one likes the creepy old dude at the end of the bar.

I'm not sure what I'm actually getting at, except maybe this; I'm almost 35, which is not old, but also not young. It's possibly too old to be doing what I'm doing. When ti comes to life, I'm forgetting more than I'm learning, and I'm caring less and less about it, but I'm also not really identifying with Warren Zevon anymore. I guess I'm not maturing, but I'm not exactly settling down, either.

This is why I tend to write less and less on here (Sorry to my 180 page viewers). Holding patterns don't lend themselves to great literature. I may never get "there," but that's the beauty of apathy; I'm very unconcerned with that right now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Living in the Limelight

It's been so long since I posted anything here, I forgot that I changed the layout. I'm not even sure I like it that much. Kind of dark.

Anyway, I wanted to geek out a bit and talk about how much fun I had at last night's Rush show. If you're unaware, I've been a big fan since the early 90's, when Rush was already considered to be a little passe', their hey-day (at least success-wise) being the late-seventies/early eighties, Power Windows/Moving Pictures era. For those still unaware, "Tom Sawyer" came out then. For those still unaware, this is the band with the dude singer that sounds like a chick. And kind of looks like one, too.

So, long-time devotee of Rush here, but not seventies, burn-out Rush fan. I have seen them in concert way more than any other band in my life, and I doubt anyone will knock them off that perch (Springsteen is already in his mid-fifties, after all.) And a Rush show is always a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. This particular one saw them do that thing that a lot of established bands are doing these days, which is playing and entire album start to finish during the show. This is kind of gimmicky, but does allow you to hear some songs that are rarely-played live, and even rarely-listened to by anyone who doesn't name their children after the band members.

So, great stuff there, but for me, it was made even greater because I got to enjoy it with two of my oldest friends. Of course, the definition of "old friends" means that you could probably enjoy almost any activity with them, but there's something about the shared experience of a live show by one of your shared favorite bands that really ramps up the evening. There are few things I haven't done with these people already, but doing something fun with people you've literally known for decades just makes me appreciate life in general. Sadly, the fact that I've known them for decades does underscore how old we all are, but maybe that helps us appreciate Rush all the more. Hey, at least we aren't as old as them.

Allow me to illustrate; another long-time (not "old") friend asked how the show was, and asked if Rush was like vintage wine, getting better with age. I said they actually are. Not because they are necessarily getting better musically, because they should pretty much know it all by now. but they are well passed the point of trying anything really experimental. Sure, they released that cover album a few years ago, but that was mostly for themselves. They have done a lot, even trying a little rap in one song, but I think they just enjoy what they do and certainly don't need to impress anyone at this stage, so they just rock out and whatever will be, will be. An old friend can be the same way. You do not need to impress them. You know what to expect from each other, so just enjoy the ride. I my recent move has taught me anything, it's that I have a lot of stuff. But that's really all it is. I have no children. No wife. I don't own a home, or a car, or even a pet. I have comics, Jokers, and old friends. I value my friends the most (although the Jokers are a close second), so any time I get to do something like I did last night, I cherish those moments. No matter how many times I've done them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Series Finale

I often joke about my life being like a TV show (probably a lot like an 80's sitcom, but I'm over-analyzing). It goes through various "seasons," has some guest stars and ongoing storylines, but I am the main focus. In fact, I often used this to be a yardstick for the kind of relationship I'd like to have, stating to anyone who would listen that my girlfriend can be a regular on my show, but she would have to be able to carry her own storylines, as well as hold her own in the episodes that involved couple-y things.

I feel this has served me well, because life often has (or at least should have) events that can signal the end of a season. When I broke off my engagement was certainly a big season finale. When I moved out of Cambridge and got my own apartment was the harbinger of a new season. And originally, I thought maybe now moving back in with my once and future roommate would be a season premiere of sorts. Upon further reflection however, and thinking about how a lot of my friends and neighbors are moving, too, it seems like this could be the end in a larger sense. Maybe this is how my series actually concludes. Maybe it is the beginning of a spin-off, like Frasier rose from the ashes of Cheers and nearly eclipsed its predecessor (Nearly. It did, however, make Frasier Crane one of the longest running television characters in history, second only to Bat Masterson from Gunsmoke.) I mean, the story has to keep going. I'm moving, not dying.

Hopefully, my new series can be as good a follow-up to The Matt Dursin Show as Frasier was to Cheers. I'd rather it not be like Joey, but I guess we'll have to see. Certainly, the characters have gone through a lot of changes over the years, and cast members have come and gone (which is often something that audiences don't take very well, but in life, casting choices are usually made by necessity rather than contractual disagreements.) This series, Dursin is certainly a little older, a little wiser, hopefully less drunk, and maybe he can use all that to make a successful spin-off. If not, there's always syndication, right?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kicking and Screaming

So, last year, I wrote this post about my adventures on the kickball diamond. I wrote a lot about the beer and the team camaraderie and the fun. Well, Team Hang-over is back, with a vengeance!

Thus far, we are 2-0 this this year. We have a bigger and better team, with bench players and different pitchers and what-not. The only drawbacks are that we play farther away from my apartment, and our shirts are now yellow. Well, okay, the other drawback is that I haven't actually gotten a "hit" yet, although I reached on an error. this week, however, we are playing one of the other undefeated teams, so you could say I've been saving my best stuff for them.

Still, despite my preaching, people snicker when I mention that I played kickball over the weekend. "You mean the game you played in third grade?" Yes, in fact, and not only is it exactly the same, but it is in fact more fun now. Possibly because I was an unathletic nerd in third grade, and was usually picked just before the heavy girl, but whatever. I'm having a helluva time now.

I'm not sure why they snicker. Maybe it's because people can't bring themselves to just let their shit go and have fun playing a "kid's game." Maybe it's because they like to have a laugh at my expense. Maybe they wish they could relive their youth a little and are jealous. Or maybe they are right and I'm just a silly fool for not growing up. I am the elder of the team. The Tim Wakefield, as it were. Although, two of our new players (females!) didn't know how old I was, and assumed I was 25. 25! I'm not sure if that's ironic considering we are talking about kickball, or just lame that an old dude like me gets such a charge out of it. Shouldn't I be watching my child play kickball?

But no. In fact, I think the very fact that I do things like this is what keeps me looking 25 despite being well into my thirties. I play kickball, collect comics, ride around town on my bike-cycle, and live on pizza and beer is what keeps me young. And not only physically doing these things, but the fact that I do them "mentally," because a few years ago, I probably would have been one of the snicker-ers. Maybe there's something to that "only as old as you feel" stuff, after all.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Winds of Change

This is all-too familiar territory. In just over a month, I will be moving again, into a new apartment, with an old roommate. For the first time, however, I will be moving out of choice, not some need to get away. Even though I keep telling people that the traffic and the train is getting to me, I really enjoyed my time on Comm Ave. Let's face it, going it alone in the city is not easy, especially on the wallet, but for three years I have somehow managed. Now I am moving on again, and even though I'm excited about the new place and situation, I will miss my current place just a little because, as I said, I'm not actually escaping.

Years ago, when I got my first real apartment, as an adult, with my girlfriend, I was a tad scared that I might not be able to handle all the responsibility. But, it was a large one bedroom, with a big living room and kitchen, a walk to the T, free street parking and a month-to-month lease. Looking back, it was a sweet deal, especially that part about the lease. It become even sweeter when I moved out five months later after my girlfriend and I broke up, because I would have either had to break the lease or kill her. I moved into a much crappier apartment a couple miles away, which only about $25 cheaper, but was a studio with a thick layer of tar on the windows. I signed a year lease, knowing that I would certainly not stay there a day longer, which almost made it like staying in a hotel for a really long trip.

Six months into my lease, I had already made plans to move, and called an old friend of mine to see about shacking up together. We ended up in Cambridge, Porter Square to be exact, in a large apartment on the 3rd floor of a house. This one sounded awesome, with central air, utilities included, laundry in the basement, on-street parking, and again, a walk to the T. And I had always wanted to live in Cambridge. As the months went on, and my roommate and i battled squirrels in the attic, mice in the closet, and a landlady who not only refused to fox the central air when it blew out, but also rarely got around to cashing the checks. She would end up cashing three at a time every three months. Then she raised out rent each year we were there, despite the fact that the apartment was actually declining in value (unless squirrels running over your head and chewing through your screens constitutes a bump in price.) After three years, and learning that she would once again raise the rent, we had decided we had enough. It was sad to split with my roommate, but she wanted to move home to save some dough and I wanted to move closer to work, so we parted ways.

I moved into my current place in Brighton; a large, sunny, one bedroom, HT-HW included, and literally steps to the T. The bar on the corner didn't hurt, either. I also had several friends in the neighborhood, which really helped the transition. They funny thing is, most of them are moving too. Two of them (sisters) are moving in with their respective boyfriends. I hope they have better luck than I did when I tried that all those years ago. One of them, a co-worker of mine is getting a new job, as well. My nights spent at that corner bar are probably numbered (There are other bars, after all.) It may not seem like much, but it really is a time of great change. It's like we're building up for the big season finale, and I have no idea what the writers have in store for next season. But it better be good.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Winds of Change

That's me from 2001, almost ten years ago. Young, dumb and full of, well, you know.

Thing is, I never had to exercise back then. I ate crap, I spent money like I had a tree somewhere, I traveled, I had a car and a girl who loved me. I suppose that's what everyone has when they're 25. What no 25 year-old realizes is where it all goes. Same place as all that hair I had in this photo?

It's easy for me to look back and think, "What a total dork I was." I mean, utterly clueless, no perspective, arrogant, and that girl I mentioned who loved me? Yeah, she had me whipped. I really had it all.

But it's also becoming easier and easier for me to look back at that guy and wonder really if he had it better. I used to think, "Hell no. I've got it all over that guy." But looking at my scarred body, my fading looks, my shaved head, I have to ponder. Sure, I have that all-important perspective, and at least the arrogance is long gone, but so is the money I used to throw around, the girl and the cocky smile you see there. The young man in the photo is dead, replaced by a grizzled veteran, tired and bitter.

This is how it is, I guess. Maybe this is why people have children, so they can hang on to their youth a little bit longer by living through their kids. I'm not going down that road, so the question is how to stave off this inevitable? Or more importantly, how not to care when it does happen.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Friend Indeed.

I'm not going to get all preachy here (I hope), but I think the term "friendship" has taken on different meanings in the last few years, with the outbreak of social networking and all that. Really, who would have imagined that the word friend would become a verb? As in, "Friend me," or "That creepy guy friended me on facebook." Like love, the word has lost a lot of meaning due to this overuse. Let's face it, how many of your facebook friends are people you feel affection or personal regard for, or would even buy lunch?

Well, personally, I have affection and personal regard for a select group of people whom I consider true friends, a distinction they have all earned. However, one of them in particular fits my definition of what a friend should be perhaps more than the rest. This person would no doubt jump in front of a bus for one of her friends, although thankfully, that's never been proven. She is someone with the willingness to help anyone in need, and the passion to get it done. In fact, she probably has more passion for life in her pinkie toe than I have in my whole body. She is cute and funny and smart and driven and very, very concerned for those less fortunate and people who don't wear helmets while biking.

And she's moving away.

In the summer of 2003, when I was going my lowest point in life, Melissa started working in the main office of my building. I learned that she was a Quincy resident, but when I informed her of this (slightly excited to be living in my own apartment), she said, "I'm sorry." Bubble burst, for sure, but she was right.

Years before social networking, Melissa and I became friends. It was a time I surely needed it, but I won't take any credit for it. The reason we initially became friends was because she kept including me in all of her stuff (which usually involved drinking). It was a new thing for me, having just come out of an insular long-term relationship. It was just through the benevolence of Melissa that I had any life at all. I shudder to think how I would have gotten through that rough patch if I had to sit around my studio every night.

And those are true friends for you: they are there when you need them most. All it took was her saying, "Want to come over tonight? We're watching the game." or whatever, but it meant a lot to me. Those late night drinking sessions at the Sunset Cantina will always go down as some of the best times of my life. I watched Game 4 of the 2004 World Series at her apartment. I went on my first camping trip because she invited me, plus my first canoe trip, my first U.S. Open, winery tour and my first protest in support of same-sex marriage. An eclectic list, to say the least. Some of my fond memories:

* After a particularly epic session at the Cantina, no one in our group noticed that the gratuity was included on our bill, so we ended up doubling the tip. Melissa went in for lunch the next day, and our waitress from the previous night said, "Nice tip last night." Slightly embarrassing, but I'm sure she earned it.

* When Melissa invited me to go with her to the State House to support the same-sex marriage bill, she asked me, "You know why gay people want to get married, right?" I said, "Melissa, I don't know why anyone wants to get married, but I'm all for freedom." It was a cold, crazy day out there, and an interesting experience to say the least, but the best part was later that night, Melissa e-mailed me to thank me for going with her. Truly, I wouldn't have missed it for anything.

* When Melissa and I lived near each other in Quincy, she was out sick one day, but called me to ask if I would bring home a package she had delivered to her office. I was shocked to discover that the package was from Good Vibrations, goodies she had ordered when she had hosted a sex-toy party. I just knew that was the day I was going to get hit by the bus on my way home, and they would give my mother the package, and she would be horrified. believe me, I taped the Hell out of that package before I left the building.

Obviously, there are many, many more. It's been a great seven years. I know I had some sour moments in there, when Melissa wasn't exactly pleased with some of my immature comments, so I apologize for all of that. But overall, I think we've both come a long way over the last seven years, and I know Melissa will do well in her new job and new life. I'm fairly certain we'll see each other again, but it will be destination programming, which will hopefully make our times together that much funner. But knowing that she isn't right down the street will make me sad. Someone like her only comes along every thousand lifetimes, and I feel fortunate to have shared a few beers with her. Although, in retrospect, and mostly due to her outgoing, unrestrained, downright spazzy passion, I think we've shared a lot more than that.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The System

I don't want to get too much into other people's biz, but a lot has happened in Academic Year 2009-10. Not to me, but it has happened. Back in February, I wrote this:
If Future Me came to Present Me on February17, 2005 and told Present Me (who is Present Me 2010, if you follow Me) that the people that I know that are getting married would be getting married and the people that are splitting up are splitting up and the people that are having children would be having children, well, I'd think that Present Me had to lay off the booze because Future Me is obviously feeling the effects.
That is all still true. The marriages and the break-ups are on-going. And I think Old Me (Or perhaps, more accurately, Young Me. Old me and Present Me are probably more alike than I want to believe.) would have claimed that these break-ups were inevitable. That all relationships are doomed to failure. I might have even felt slightly vindicated.

Well, I don't feel those things. I'm not happy, about the marriages or the break-ups to be honest. Even with this new evidence that maybe Young Me was right, I don't feel vindicated, merely confused. Should I feel happy that my friend tells me he's getting divorced, and may not marry again in his life? In fact, a couple of my married friends have told me that, if something were to happen to their spouse, they probably wouldn't get married again, either, and not because they would be mourning their loss. They don't know what all the hullabaloo is about, I guess.

I don't really even know what to feel. For years, I've ranted and raved about the pitfalls of relationships and marriage, and screamed to the heavens or anyone who would listen that it would never be me. meanwhile, somewhere deep in my psyche, I assumed it would, and I probably wanted it to be. Why else would I continually put myself out there? I'll tell you: because we were raised to believe it, and deep down I wanted to believe it. Now, I'm not so sure.

Maybe the whole system is just fucked up. Maybe the whole idea is just old-school, like VCR's or the Catholic Church. Maybe it's people over-thinking, or being selfish, or not compromising, or being cynical. Of course, those all can also describe me, and Young Me, and Present Me, and probably Future Me. But maybe they can describe other people, too. Maybe we're all a little too Me-centric to have successful marriages and be decent parents. Obviously, not everyone is like this, but at least some of the divorcees and breaker-uppers are. And maybe that's not a bad thing.

let me climb up on my soap-box one more time here and posit this; I think, as a society, we need to re-evaluate our expectations. Most of us were raised to believe that we had to go to school so we could get a job and become respectable people and bring home a decent paycheck so we could provide for our loved ones. I've heard people say they feel they were put on this Earth to have children. I never got that. first of all, I don't think anyone was put on this Earth to do anything. We just happened, randomly. So, why the expectations? Is it just because we like to have things? "This is my wife/husband/son/daughter." I really have no idea.

I think we must take the advice of Yoda and unlearn what we have learned. My boss likes to joke that the concept of marriage was invented when people only lived until their forties, so no one really had to live with another person for that long. It's cynical, but true to an extent. I think the reality is that society doesn't work the way it once did, and we need to re-evaluate why we do the things we do. Times have changed, and we need to change with it. Or risk being turned to the Dark Side.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Making Peace

Many years ago (although I can't find the actual post now), I wrote extensively about how much I hated my night job at Harvard, mostly because I had to take a bus to get there and worked two three-hour shifts a week. Bad business when you factor in the fact that I used to rush home from my day job, shove dinner in my face, book it to the bus stop, wait for the bus for awhile, then basically sit around from 7:00 until 10:00. And one semester I did it three nights a week. I did this because I didn't think I could make it from BU to Harvard in an hour, because I'm an idiot.

Nowadays, I work one night a week for five hours, and I leave BU at 4:00 and make it by 5:00, every time. So, all that rushing around because I continually told myself that, as a diabetic, it would just be easier for me to eat at home. Because I'm an idiot. I wanted to quit so often (in fact, I took some time off and had decided that I was never coming back. Then I got really poor again).

I have now made my peace. I realized this recently, but the bottle of wine given to me by one of the professors I helped out a bit this semester helped the realization along a little (I was also given a slice of pizza by a different professor, which didn't hurt a bit.) This was a first for me, and I've been at Harvard for a long time now, but I don't think the Old Me would have been given wine (but he would have supplied a lot of "whine." Nyuk, nyuk.) Obviously, I wasn't doing anything for gifts or praise. I was doing my job, which I always did, but I think I was much happier doing it now, and these people maybe sensed that. Old Me used to bitch about coming in here and not getting anything done, even though I have no idea what I would have been doing otherwise. Probably nothing worth noting. Idle hands and what-not. These days, I don't get much done either (writing in this blog, scouring facebook, reading comics), but I don't get annoyed with myself. I have made peace. I feel like some kinda Born-Again Christian, when they come back and get all regretful about how they lived their life as a godless heathen.

Well, I'm still a godless heathen, but I am enjoying it more now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

50 First Dates

Okay, maybe I haven't hit 50 yet, but it must be getting close. I can't remember them all anymore, so that must mean something. Something bad.

For a guy who said he would never try Internet Dating, I have tried the Hell out of it. And there have been stories, from Drunk Russian to Broadway (Date to cabbie: "You can drop him at the T station and then take me home." Shrewd way of telling me I wasn't getting any.) to "I Love You" Text, I have compiled quite a list. And here I remain, single. And this has very little to do with me being too picky or whatever. Honestly, some of them never called me back, so that ain't my bad. But still, I can't say that I've learned a whole lot from all this, except to be less trusting of people than I was before. And the fact that I am not terribly heart-broken or depressed by all of this, but I am really, really annoyed. Going on first dates in annoying. That's why we do all this in the first place. We want to find someone we can hang out with so we don't have to do this anymore. It's not paying for dinners and going to decent restaurants that bugs me, either. It's the constant getting-to-know-you conversations that try my patience. Can you blame me? It's like every night is the first day of school.

A friend of mine was recently comparing a job interview to a first date, and I realized why I had held onto the same job for ten years. I'm not quite sure what it is, really, but obviously some personality quirk is coming through and keeping people far away. These are people who are contacting me, too, and then once we go out, maybe dinner, maybe a few drinks, and then, y'know, yada-yada-yada, I never see them again. Okay well, not the Seinfeld version of Yada-Yada-Yada. That would be okay, really.

While I have always had a hard time pinpointing my own flaws, I have recently begun taking some inventory. Flaw #1 may in fact be that I can't pinpoint my own flaws. I also know that I am cynical, self-deprecating and rather shallow. But I don't see these are things people can pick up on a first date, while I am on my best behavior. No, I believe the real flaw is in the system. The real flaw is that Internet Dating makes us all shallow. We date by trading card and we expect people to live up to high expectations. It's the way it works. I don't blame people for not settling if I don't set their world on fire (I would never settle, so why should they?), but in the end, sometimes a spark isn't enough.

Sometimes, you need to fan the flame.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

More than Meets the Eye

The other day, I hiked up a mountain. Mt. Monadnock to be exact. After more than 34 years of never doing anything remotely close to such a thing, I hiked up 3,165 feet of solid mountain, and then back down ("Down's much easier," everyone said. Funny.) And I can honestly say I'm glad I did it, but I'm still not sure why people do these things.

A few days before the journey, my friend Brom called and asked if I wanted to do this. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I was told to bring water and snacks. I made jokes about if I would need one of those funny hats, or a bandanna to wear around my neck, or brown socks. Not so much, but I was told that, in the yoga world, this mountain supposedly holds a certain kind of energy that signifies transition and change (or something like that). So, this is a good mountain to climb if you're facing that kind of thing. Which I don't think I am, but then maybe I should, so maybe this was a good mountain for me.

The hike itself, while strenuous, was without incident. I did run out of water as we neared the top, and Brom was kind enough to share his with me, and the flies were horribly annoying, but overall, it was a fun thing to experience. At least, I did better than the bickering couple I saw at the top (Him: "Are you excited? You first mountain climb." Her: "First and last.") I was indeed tired, but I didn't collapse when we reached the bottom. I felt okay. I'm not sure what people actually think of me, and I know I am a total city slicker, but some people actually thought I could die, so yeah, I was proud of myself. But for a skeptic like me, that was about all I was gonna get. Brom even asked me at dinner later that evening if I felt the energy of the mountain. "I feel the energy of accomplishment. Is that the same thing?" Hmmmm, I hope I didn't just poke a hole in the entire yoga philosophy.

Perhaps more fun than the hike itself, though, was the drive home. As I sat and decompressed, Brom thought we could enjoy a trip down memory lane, so we played the original Transformers: The Movie soundtrack, the 1986 animated one, not the Michael Bay atrocity. Maybe playing Transformers went along with his whole energy transition/change thing, but to me it was just a bit of nostalgia with an old friend. As we listened to some bad 80's keyboard solos, we recounted stories from our youth, and I tried to remember how many times I had seen Transformers in the theater, and how I had that soundtrack on record, and listened to it hundreds of times (Bear in mind, I was ten.), and life was awesome. Looking back in that context, I can't imagine ever being that happy again. And I guess, when you put it that way, it's kind of sad. But it still happened.

There's a great line in Glengarry, Glen Ross, where Al Pacino says, "When you think of the great fucks you may have had, what do you remember about them? To me, it's probably not the orgasm." While I will remember climbing Mt. Monadnock, I can safely say I didn't feel the energy of the mountain flow through me like The Force, and I don't think it turned me into a hippy or anything (I'm still a city boy). But the little bit of nostalgia may have opened my eyes a little bit. See, I've always been hung up about living in the past, or I tend to look back and wish I had done things differently or been smarter or less of a whiney bitch. But it's possible to appreciate the past and look back fondly and not hunger for it. I certainly don't want to be ten years-old again, but it was nice for those few minutes to truly recall what it was like, without the cynical bent. Maybe that was the magic of the mountain working on me after all, or maybe it's just part of growing up.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bono on Internet Dating

Many years ago, when my brother was looking at colleges, my uncle came with us to Holy Cross (his alma mater) and we took in a football game. This, of course, included some tail-gating, pre-and post-game, and my uncle got quite sloshed, so much so that my brother's friend drove us home. Not all relevant information, but u2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," came on the radio during the ride home, and my uncle, in his haze, claimed this was "the theme song for half the population of the United States." I love drunk people.

Years later, I wonder if he was actually correct. It was obviously true for him, since he divorced my aunt several years ago. I certainly haven't found what I'm looking for, in the sense that I don't know what I'm looking for and in the sense that I haven't found much of anything at all, really. I don't think I'm alone, really.

Years ago, I vowed never to try Internet Dating. I have long since shattered that vow, so much so that a friend of mine recently stated that he was jealous of the fact that I go on so many dates. Let me stress that I go on a lot of first dates, and rarely go on a second one. I have no explanation as to why this is, except that these women still haven't found what they were looking for. I don't know what that is, and I wonder if they do. I just know it wasn't me.

I do feel that women who date on the internet (and I'm talking full-bore, like a profile on a dating site) tend to have a clearer list of things they want, and probably can afford to be more selective because I think they get more responses than men. I have actually stopped sending e-mails out because I rarely got a response, and I am assuming that it was because these women either chickened out of the whole thing, or just got more than enough e-mails and got tired of it all. But I truly believe that they are more selective in this forum. In fact, I feel that one girl (who contacted me) saw my profile and was fine with it, but upon learning my real name, she did some stalking and saw on facebook that I had shaved my head, and quickly cancelled our date (literally hours before we were to meet.) Now, several women have told me that hair is not an issue for them, but I think in the world of Internet Dating, when women probably have another suitor in line, hair is an issue, and you really don't need to date a bald guy. So, despite what people say about personality being important in relationships and all that, in Internet Dating, looks win out. I am not above this, by the way. That's why I haven't dated anyone who weighs more than me.

One of the other problems I have encountered is the way the internet allows people to dishonest, and back out of dates with much less mess than they would if they actually knew a person. A quick text saying you have to pick someone up at the airport. An e-mail saying that you're seeing someone when you're obviously not. One girl told me that she was sick, then got sicker, and finally something hit her in the head and she thought she had a concussion. We have yet to meet, although she did send me very provocative pictures of herself, so pardon me for getting the wrong idea.

None of this, of course, helps me figure out what I'm looking for, other than honesty. My hope is that I'll know it when I see it, but because life sucks, she probably won't actually call me back when I do find her. And the reason may be because I got a haircut. I know that's simplifying things a little, but when you are in the business of Dating by Trading Card, that's the way it goes.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two Sides to the Story

Here's a good story, and not even about me (although, by the end, I'm sure it will be.)

Today, I was in the Student Services office of my building, just hanging out. A rather awkward boy came in and asked, "I need to find a student."

The worker, my good friend Heidi, said, "Well, I need some more details."

The young man explained that he had dinner with a girl the night before, and neglected to get her last name. He knew her first name, and that she was a freshman at this college, and was double-majoring in Philosophy and something else. Of course, that was little help because CGS students do not declare majors until their sophomore year. Now, Student Services staff has the ability to look up all sorts of people in our database, and there were only two freshmen with the first name he was looking for, however, that information cannot be divulged to boneheads off the street who are infatuated with someone and yet can't bother to get their last name or phone number. Still, because Heidi is a nice person, she told the kid that if he leaves a message for this young lady, she would see if she could get it into the proper hands.

After the complicated process of him locating an envelope and a piece of paper ("All the way to the right. All the way... No, right."), the boy took several minutes to compose a note to his fair maiden. He then left his missive and his information and finally left. Of course, the second the door closed, most of the girls swooned and talked about how adorable it was that this guy was going to these lengths to find this girl. They were forgetting the fact that this is 2010 and there are millions of ways to track down people, especially if they go to the same university as you, but I guess this is less stalker-y.

Let's not even talk about the simple logic (Get that number, man!), because we don't know the exact circumstances of their meeting (maybe she didn't want him to know her last name.). But knowing the culture of the school, which is around 65% women, this guy probably is a rare find. I think that girls who didn't think he was a little creepy probably would be impressed at the lengths he went and the embarrassment he risked just to see them again. With all the possibilities at the place, he must have thought she was pretty special to come all the way to her school, ask about her in the main office in front of the employees, and leave her a note, probably suggesting another dining hall meet-up. Ballsy, that's for sure.

There's also the other side of the coin (and here's where it kind of becomes about me). I am almost twice this kid's age, but locking back, if I were in his shoes, I probably would have done the same thing. Hell, I probably did. I used to rig the weekly drawing at my video store job to try and ensure that girls I liked would come in. Or I would simply get their phone number off of their account. Before facebook and internet dating, there were all manner of schemes involved in courting a woman, and almost none of them involved actually approaching them and asking them out on a date. Why, you ask? I don't know!

At the heart of this story is probably a young man who chatted up a girl in the dining hall, and before he knew it, she was gone, and if he was planning on asking her out (or getting her full name), he never made it. He was probably too chicken, like me when I was his age. Now, he wants to correct that mistake, and there's a chance he might see her again, but really, he should have nailed it down the first time. Sure, there's a fine line between being creepy and being forward, but if I've learned one thing in my years since I was that boy, it's that you might as well go for it. You may not get that second chance.

I hope it all works out for him. I don't know that it will, because the way the school is, it tends to embitter some women. Most of them probably never get properly asked out at all while they are there, and the ones that do are probably treated rather poorly. Not to disparage all BU men, but, based on the stories I've heard, when there's probably another girl right around the corner, I don't think there's a lot of incentive to be gentlemanly. This sheepish young bard may be her best chance, so she may be wise to take it. He did.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Accomplsihments: What and Why?

Y'know, it's funny. Everyone tells me that I'm not old. And I guess when you look at is in the sense that the planet is billions of years old, or that my grandmother is 93, I guess I'm not really aged. But next week I will be crossing into my mid-thirties, and old or not, it's damn weird. It's kind of an age where you'd think (or at least hope) that you would have something to show for 34 years of life.

These days, perhaps surviving is enough. When you're not overly concerned about having a family or being filthy rich, the idea of accomplishment changes. Suddenly, it is in the eye of the beholder. Sure, it's cool bar talk to tell people that you climbed a big mountain or went skydiving or that thing where you swim with Great White Sharks, but is that really what one might call an accomplishment? Personally, I'd like to have a published comic one day, but that might not mean diddly to someone who made a million dollars and has five children. But some people still compliment me on the Secret Monkey, and that was almost a decade ago and it never made a dime. It was fun, sure, but I guess I had higher hopes.

Further cause for introspection was my Ten-Year Service Recognition Luncheon at BU the other day. Ten years at one job is pretty big these days, I think, and I continue to wrestle with the fact that I either found something I was good at and enjoyed enough to stick with it, or I just was too chicken to look for something better. I guess the good thing is I was never fired or let go, so there is something to be said for longevity.

It really all comes down to the question, "What do you want on your tombstone?" In the end, I'd rather be remembered for my deeds than my accomplishments. My job may be to help the faculty and staff of CGS, and so I suppose indirectly I have I have contributed to the education of thousands of students over the years, but that's not really something for my eulogy. I'd rather it be that I was fun to be around, willing to help out, hard-working, a good drinking buddy, maybe a bit too honest at times, etc. I'd rather be remembered for stuff like that than inventing a longer-lasting light bulb. Maybe at one time, that was the goal, but one benefit of being mid-thirties is some perspective.

Maybe gaining a little perspective is an accomplishment, after all.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sell, Sell, Sell

Maybe it's an age thing, or just a reality thing, or the fact that some things that used to bring me joy don't any longer, but I doubt it. Something is up, however, and here's the story:

Last week, a friend of mine invited me and some compatriots to a comic convention in Boston. This wasn't one of those "cool" ones where a lot of professionals attend and you can meet then and get them to sign your stuff and get to see movie trailers before anybody else. These are usually only attended by overweight dealers who seem more intent on eating their sandwich than telling you how much one of their comics costs. You may get one professional there, if you're lucky, and usually when he shows up, everyone goes to his table, leaving the rest of the room rather... bereft.

So, I declined. In fact, I think my actual words were, "No thanks. That last one sucked a dick." Apparently, my friend still went, because he ended up winning the door prize: Batman #1, published in 1940. Coming on the heels of his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, the Dark Knight was given his own series, and also given a nemesis, The Joker. Yeah, my friend won the first appearance of The Joker, at the convention I bad-mouthed. Karma's a bitch.

Now, I was recently doing a little research on old comics, and had come across Batman #1 and discovered its value. Not to buy for myself, of course, but to flip in the event I had ever come across one. To put this in perspective a little, in the event that you are going through granny's attic and find a near-pristine copy of Batman #1, you could almost buy yourself a house in suburban Massachusetts with it. Now, I have my doubts that any copy in that condition exists, but a copy in pretty rough shape will net you a few thousand dollars. That's "thousand." Even one that was put in a clothes dryer would probably be valued at somewhere around $3000.

My friend ain't selling.

Now, certainly, money isn't everything and the reason comics are considered "collectibles" is that people want to collect them and save them and have things that you value as a "cool thing to have," so when you go to parties and strike up conversations... Come to think of it, why do we collect these things? I mean, when i was a kid, I bought baseball cards because I hoped that one day they would be worth something (they weren't.) At least, with comics, you can read them, and one day read them again, and maybe if they do appreciate, you can sell them, or pass them on to the next generation, or line your birdcage with them, but they have uses other than as a collectible. This is why I never understood the comic book grading process, where this company will assess the value of your book, then seal it up in a hard plastic sleeve for eternity. Certainly won't be reading that again.

But I digress... My friend has decided that the sentimental value of the first appearance of The Joker is worth more to him than $3000. Which is okay, I guess. I mean, not to get into money matters, but to give you some idea of what we're talking about, my friend lives in a humble one bedroom apartment in Quincy, and that comic could pay for a few months rent, and probably some utilities. I'm not putting him down, because I also live in a humble one bedroom apartment, and here lies that old rub again.

There are some bigger Joker fans than me, but I am definitely a big Joker fan, and a fan of comics and Batman and collecting in general, but I can say without any hesitation that I would sell that book. Maybe not today. Maybe in a couple years when the economy gets a little better, but I would sell. Just like I sold my Optimus Prime, my father's train set, and my car. My one regret? I didn't get as much for Prime as I should have.

Am I without sentiment? Not at all. I have tons of crap lying around that I keep solely because of the memories and emotional attachment. I certainly am not a wealthy man, but even a few thousand dollars wouldn't change my life. So, why would one man sell and another not? And why have most people I talked to out there agreed said they wouldn't sell either? Is it because people need things? Is it because the collector in them wouldn't allow it?

I think this is a legitimate, sociological question. Why do we collect things? I mean, is this why we collect things in the first place, in the hope that one day we will stumble upon one of these holy grails to make it all worthwhile? And how far do you take that logic? I mean, would you sell if it were a pristine one worth $160,000? Well, sure, you may say, but I say three grand is nothing to sneeze at. I make that much in a year at my crummy part-time job.

In my opinion, you can't take it with you. Sure, my friend could one day pass Batman #1 on to a nephew or child or whatever, but that will just start the cycle over again. He may fall upon serious financial difficulties and decide that it's time to sell. He might put it in a safe deposit box and hold onto it forever. In my mind, the thing is already 70 years old, so who knows if it will appreciate any more? Maybe in another 30 years, you'll see something, but let's say that it doesn't go up in value too much, what will have been the point of holding onto it? What was the point of holding onto all my baseball cards for ten years? I ended up selling them all on eBay in huge lots for very little money, so yeah, they didn't exactly net me a big return on my investment.

When I was collecting baseball cards, I used to brag to my Dad how much they were worth. He would reply, "Only to someone willing to pay that much." Obviously, he didn't foresee eBay coming, but still, he was right. In retrospect, it was the thrill of collecting that kept me going back to the card store as a kid. Now, we're all grown up. The thrill is gone. I'm betting there is someone out there willing to pay for that Batman #1. I'd sell it to them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Losing Your Religion

I did an informal survey of my work-study students recently to see if the younger generation had ever heard of R.E.M. not because I was a fan in my youth, but just to see if things really have changed that much. Several of them (at least half), had never HEARD of such a band. The other half said things like, "Of course I have. How could you not?" So, two extremes, it seems.

To me, R.E.M. was a great band in the 80's and 90's, and have churned out some of my favorite songs, but are clearly not that relevant anymore. Still, for 18-20 year-olds to not even hear of them seems strange. Wouldn't it be like me saying I had never heard of Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones when I was an 18-20 year-old? Now I realize that if you were to play "Everybody Hurts" for a lot of these kids, it would probably ring a bell, but they still don't know who the Hell sang it. And for the record, that song blows.

The point is that, yes, we all miss out on classics, I suppose. But my informal survey was actually born out of the fact that I was trying to illustrate a point through what may well be the gem in R.E.M.'s crown, "Losing My Religion."

First off, the students didn't know that one, either, which is weird because it was insanely popular (which is rare for songs that so heavily involve a mandolin.) It reached number four on the BIllboard charts, received several Grammy Nominations, and won Video of the Year. So, big doings, even for people who weren't born before 1991, you'd think.

The point I was trying to make to my students is that "Losing my Religion" is not about religion at all. The phrase "losing my religion" is an expression used predominantly in the south, meaning that you are basically at the end of your rope. The song, according to Michael Stipe himself, is about unrequited love. The idea is that you have this crush on someone, and you think they understand, but you're not sure. And you drop hints and you think they get it, but you're not sure. Basically, you've said too much, but you haven't said enough. And then you drop the "hint of the century," and that's it. You can't take it back. It was the slip that brought you to your knees. And do you the next word in the song?


I've been writing lately about the value of honesty and being straight with people, but my advice to the lovelorn is don't lose your religion, ever, over anybody. I would say if you are at that point, you better be 95% sure that they get you and have some similar feelings, or you'll be brought to your knees, too. Once you say something like that, you can't un-say it, and whatever friendship you had going before you opened your mouth is over, forever changed, and probably really awkward. Was it worth it?

This, I feel, is why anyone, but especially my 18-20 year-old work-study students, should familiarize themselves with R.E.M.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Undisputed Intelligence

I may have hit upon something spectacular. Or relatively cynical. You may decide.

Recently, I met a girl and attempted courtship. After repeated attempts, she told me that she was seeing someone else and, thus, we could never be (not exactly in those words, but...). I suspected this to be false. She probably just didn't have it for me and wanted to spare my feelings, because when I told her it was cool and I hoped we could remain friends, she seemed ecstatic. In fact, this is her exact quote (from her e-mail): "Can we really still be friends?! That makes me super excited. Big smiles over in SMG right now."

Of course, people can say anything in an e-mail, but I was into her quite a bit, so even though we remained friends, I was slightly disappointed. We had also become facebook friends, and I did notice that her relationship status never changed, not that that is a big deal, but I also noticed this week that her status reads, "Giving up the opposite sex for Lent." So, yeah, big lie over in SMG right now.

Still, not too huge a deal. Not everyone is attracted to everyone, especially me. However, I am just now realizing what the problem is, and it is a problem with a lot of people and the whole relationship thing and probably society as a whole. The problem is that I have most probably been lied to, and that is an insult to my intelligence. I would rather her think of me as a gargoyle than insult my intelligence. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, so not everyone is going to be attracted to me, or I to everyone. But my intelligence is my intelligence, and that is undisputed. I know that this girl doesn't know me very well, and I may be reading into something she put on facebook in jest, but I am still 95% sure she was trying to let me down easy with a tiny fib that I could not possibly call her out on.

BUT, I have been around, and I've told a bunch of lies in my time, and I know this game as well as anyone out there, so it hurts that she would think she could put one over on me like that. It hurts a lot more than her saying, "Hey, Matt, you seem like an okay dude, but you eat really slow and talk a lot, and I'm just not feeling anything on this end." Because seriously, no one wants to hear that, but there's no arguing that would be the honest truth, and how can a guy not respect that? Let's face it, when someone is caught cheating, is it really the cheating that offends them, because in my experience, it's the lying that really stings. The old, "How could you do his to me?" line, because they probably had an inkling it was happening, anyway.

This is my problem with almost all manner of relationships, romantic or otherwise. Most of us are not honest enough with each other. I admit that I do it, too, and I lie about all kinds of things, but I would hope that at least the people I care about know exactly where they stand with me. That is really all I have to offer the world, but it's more than a lot of people seem capable of. And if you're reading this and don't know where you stand with me, pay attention!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The World Has Turned

If Future Me came to Present Me on February17, 2005 and told Present Me (who is Present Me 2010, if you follow Me) that the people that I know that are getting married would be getting married and the people that are splitting up are splitting up and the people that are having children would be having children, well, I'd think that Present Me had to lay off the booze because Future Me is obviously feeling the effects.

I'm not sure what to make of all this, really, except that life is pretty unpredictable. That's not good enough, though. I'm a pragmatist. I need to ponder why things happen. I need to over-analyze things and then apply them to my own life, even though they seemingly have nothing to do with me, apart from slightly altering the schedule of who I go drinking with. Before you judge, however, let me just say that if I did not apply other people's situations to my own life, I would really have nothing to talk or think about, other than comics. See, nothing really happens in my life.


I may have hit upon the problem.

Maybe I'm just getting to that age where shit starts to hit the fan (although I really thought I was well past that point.) Maybe I was too stubborn to see that while I was preaching my version of the good life, everyone else was thinking about the future. I was too busy having a good time and doing the stuff that most people do in their 20's. Future Me didn't exist back then. Even in the most remote corner of my brain.

I'm not saying I've been wrong all these years, or that I'm jealous of my friends getting married or having children (especially the ones having children. I'm still pretty firm on that one.), but perhaps a thought or two about Future Me wouldn't have been the worst idea ever. I'm not turning over a new leaf or anything, but sometimes a man does a little thinking, sitting in his one-bedroom apartment, after yet another grilled-cheese-and-Dorito dinner, with no money and nothing to spend it on, anyway. And he wonders if maybe, just maybe, the outlook could use a little tweaking.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Oscar Suckage

I recently wrote a Facebook stats message that said something about the ten best Picture nominees being about 8 too many, and that I haven't seen ten Best Pic caliber movies in the last three years. then I started to think if I've even seen that many. Then I started to think that maybe my standards for Best Picture are too high. Then my head hurt.

So, I thought I'd try and see if I could come up with ten good movies from the last three years, and skip the whole Best Picture thing (The stupid Oscars are all political, anyhow.) Granted, my viewing over that span has been limited, but that's partly because I wanted to reduce my stress level from seeing all those bad movies, and financially, it just ain't worth it to waste money on crap anymore.

But this is about good movies, so I'll try and be positive. Here goes:

I actually saw three of the Best Pic noms for the 2008 Oscars, but the one I enjoyed the most (and was actually, totally robbed) was There Will be Blood. Paul Thomas Anderson is one of my favorite directors (Boogie Nights, Magnolia), and Daniel Day-Lewis is just unspeakably awesome in this role. It's interesting because not a lot actually happens, but that's where the subtlety of the performances comes in. Good writing and good acting will always triumph in the end. Eventual winner No Country for Old Men was not a bad movie, and had the good acting, but really only won because people seem to have a hard-on for the Coen Brothers. They should really stick to quirky/funny, because these slow-paced dramas are just too bland for me. And fellow nom Juno? Well, I think I've said enough about that whiney piece of fluff. My opinion, Blood should have swept.

In 2008, I saw a more good movies than I had seen in awhile. Maybe it was because a lot of comic book movies came out. Dark Knight was tops, but we also got Iron Man and Hulk. Now, obviously, those aren't best Pic quality, but really, if you're going to nominate Avatar, then you should consider DK. if they had nominated ten movies back then, maybe they would have. And besides, I did say that this is just about the good movies. And there was something for those who don't live in their parents basement as well, as Mickey Rourke and Darren Aronofsky (and Bruuuuuce!) gave us The Wrestler.

Last year wasn't so horrible, really. I was unbelievably surprised by the re-make of Star Trek, and Quentin Tarantino served up what may be his masterpiece (so declared by Brad Pitt in the final scene) in Inglourious Basterds. And if I haven't written about Zombieland, it's only because I can't say enough good things about it. Just one of the most creative and funny movies I've ever seen. Seeeeeee iiiiiiiit!!!

Wow. That's 8 movies that I actually liked enough to purchase on DVD that came out in the last three years. I'm probably forgetting a couple, but I was out to prove a point, and I think I did. the point? Those Oscars sure do suck.

So much for being positive.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Talk About the Passion

For most people (and most probably those with children and spouses, and lives), I would be considered a time-waster. I spend the majority of my waking ours (and non-working and non-eating hours) playing Wii, drinking, reading comics and sitting in front of my computer doing any number of time-wasting activities like playing games and doing nothing of note of facebook (because, really, what of note is there to do on facebook?)

I'm not sure if these people with children and lives are jealous or not. I hope not, because I certainly wish I had more to do with myself. I just came off a Christmas break where I spent a few weeks doing absolutely nothing, and it was honestly fantastic, but looking back, to paraphrase Lennon, what have I done?

I'm not sure what I should be doing, really. Writing my memoirs? Fixing the economy? To be honest, after working all day, eating my three squares a day (and taking four shots while I'm at it) and staying barely in shape, I'm not sure what else I really need to do. And yet I know people who would probably kill for the kind of free time that I have and often take for granted. The thing is I don't really have any serious passions.

An old friend of mine collects Transformers. The old school toys, as well as the subsequent re-issues and rare imports. I find this to be kind of cool, and when I asked why Transformers, he said because his parents never bought them for him when he was a kid, and now that's he's an adult, he can buy them himself. This makes sense because I don't remember him having a real affection for Transformers as a child, at least more so than any of us. I certainly dug the show and comics and saw the 1986 animated movie (not the shitty Michael Bay version) with every adult who would take me, but I found the toys to be rather flimsy and not very intuitive. However, I once saw his collection, and saw some of these more recent re-issues of my old favorites, saw how they were not so flimsy anymore, and realized that one day he woke up and said, "I liked Transformers a lot. and I still do, dammit!", and the rest was history. And if I had the passion, this would be an excellent hobby. Pity I don't.

But like I said, I'm not really sure what exactly I'm expected to do with my time. I suppose some kind of charity or joining a gym would be productive, but I'm just not sure that's really the way I want to go. I started collecting Jokers, but that's kind of easy since he's only one guy as opposed to a whole Transformers universe. And naturally, I collect comics, but that's not really a passion. More like an embarrassing enthusiasm.

Hopefully, sometime in 2010, something will come along to rescue me from these doldrums. Until then, I suppose I can always keep drinking.