There are so many intelligent and articulate people covering the hard-hitting
issues in our country these days, that I felt it was my duty to cover the
rather inconsequential bullshit that tends to make up the vast majority of
our lives. Actually, I'll just be griping a lot which, if you weren't aware,
doubles as a synonym for complaining, and as a descriptor for
a sharp pain in the bowels.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's Wrong is Write?

Or is it what's write is wrong? I can be a pretty judgmental sonofavich when it comes to writing. All writing, from the short story to the novel, journalism, plays, screenplays, and the often forgotten letter. Even in internet comment, this very blog, or text via phone I have grammatical standards — which results in the suffering of those who are text recipients of mine. Far worse: I don't always get grammar right myself. I do like that there are many styles of writing, but it's the levels that bother me. What is it, really, that separates good writing from bad? You pick it up and you just know, right? Except what do you know? You know what style appeals to you for reasons you can't grasp which may or may not be influenced by all of the individuals around you who you do or don't like who do or don't like the things you are trying to determine whether you do or don't like.

That's a long introduction meant as an effort for me to not seem bitter about stories like this one. Billed as a Cinderella story, I was unable to locate the evil stepmother (perhaps Hocking's drudgerous day job) and noted as well that it was devoid of pumpkin-based carriages and glass slippers. See, what I'm being is what is, in common parlance, an asshole. I know the Cinderella comparison need not be so literal. And you know what, good for Hocking. I thought, yes, here is someone who circumvented the system (publishing) which may not have evolved quite as much as it should in the digital age. I shall resist going off on my usual tangents about the loathsome nature of digital. Where there is bad there is good, and vice versa.

So, wanting to root for Hocking, I read the first page or two of her hit book and I couldn't help getting a little deflated. The draw or appeal for me to keep reading wasn't there. That exposure though, was a while back now, and I just revisited it to try to be more...fair? It still wasn't what I would call good, but nor did it seem as bad. And that, of course, is part of the problem.

Really it isn't about this woman who managed to achieve success because, really, good for her. It's just that usual bastardly not-quite-entitlement where I hope to be slotted in, so I can enter the echelon of the lucky few who earns their keep writing.

Shifting gears, I'd like to give a quick shout to the Sister Cities of Chicago. It seems like a pretty good list to me, and only corroborates why I find myself happily ensconced in this Midwestern metropolis.

At any rate, a warm wave has interrupted the cold of winter and so it's a reminder of sunny warmth on the horizon. You've got to embrace that cold depression for the enervating transition to summer. Let's see what old Punxsutawney Phil portends.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Grocery Shopping

Sometimes you roll back to your abode in search of something to munch on and realize, "shit, I shoulda gone grocery shopping," or "shit, I should go grocery shopping." Seeing as I was aware of the possibility of the first before entering my digs, I could have fast-tracked to the second. But things just don't always work that way.

Of course, you should never go shopping hungry they say. You'll come back with things you don't need. Maybe even things you don't want. It's a shame that the mind is always shopping and things fall on and off that grocery list, often with no right to be there. Which then means at times they have no right not to be.

Right now my mind aches to add whiskey to its list, knowing that this will conflict with other items on there that might be deemed more important. Ah, but you see, who is it that is afforded the authority as arbiter of importance?

Another item of importance might be milk. But then humans are the only humans to consume the milk of another animal, and to do so after very early stages of development. There's a lot of information out there. We're just trying to sift through it. The grocery list gets long.

And anyway, I think milk gives me gas.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

That Song We Would Sing in Elementary School

It appears it is a small world after all. This isn't quite a revelation to me as within this very blog I feel as if I am making note of this. I certainly bring it up in day-to-day life in conversation with other humans. But yes, there is a guy sitting in this coffee shop wearing a Svedka vodka promotional shirt for their idiotic "Party Like it's 2033" campaign, complete with weird robot lady and other tags like "bot or not." But the thing about it is I think it's my shirt. See at an open mic a little before Christmas, I was eager to unload a couple of promotional bar shirts I've acquired in the last couple of years, this among them. I have far too many shirts as it is, mostly because I never get rid of anything (case in point, the New Found Glory t-shirt I am wearing purchased the summer of 2003) and so I figured I would unload these. Most aspiring comics are flat broke as they are working some sort of rather crap job that affords them the freedom to stay out late at night pursuing comedy, to take off days when need be for the same reason, and also the misery and monotony from which a lot of comedy is borne (my own tends to more borne of oddity).

And this dude looks familiar too, meaning I have probably seen him at open mics. But I'm pretty good with faces, so everybody starts to look familiar, even people I've just seen once walking down the street. It's the idiot writer in me trying to analyze and create stories from the smallest shreds of observation. At any rate, I can't think of any jokes he has told.

There is also another guy seated even closer to me that I know for certain is a comic. We have met in passing, he probably recognizes me, but it's in that manner of running into someone you sort of knew in high school after. Neither really wants to say hello and each is kind of relieved when the other says nothing. But because we're seated we periodically have to look at each other, which is weird, especially while he sits there with his girlfriend. Furthermore, not long ago I had a recognition stand-off with this very same comic in a pharmacy chain. The individual I was with on that occasion asked why that man seemed to be staring at me/us and I explained that we recognized one another, but neither was really going to say something. It's sort of blameless and just how things like that are. So it goes.

Otherwise it's snowing. First snow of 2012! Don't you love when people point out firsts all the time and stuff? Oh come on curmudgeons we can't get mad at everything can we, but then you have to get mad at some things. Or do you? And connecting by similar distastes and dissimilar distastes is how the world works when we're not connecting on similarity of likes and dissimilarities of likes. And it is the first snow, and it was sort of glorious to run in this morning for both the crunch of planting foot on fresh, packable snow, and for the awesome little ice and snow cap that formed in my hair, complete with me running in short shorts, like a true asshole. You know what they say, life's short...and so are my shorts.

Dude just asked me to keep an eye on his computer. I am moving up in the world in trustworthy appearance, in spite of my pink, youth large t-shirt.

If you're in this cold, grab yourself some cocoa or something and warm up while you chill out.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lagging Jets

I've never been much of a world traveler, so my experience with jet lag has been quite limited. Previous trips across time zones have involved long acclimation periods and interim stops for easier adjustment. This time, however, I settled quickly back into a six-hour difference and the effect was to make me into what I might imagine myself at age seventy or later...rising at five in the morning and very desirous of sleep at about nine in the evening. As someone whose mind often doesn't get going until nine at night many times, this was an adjustment. For those who travel very frequently and very great distances I can't really fathom how they manage to function. Perhaps you just stop thinking about it and just settle into sleeping when you can and not when you can't, which is rather how things are anyway.

The other odd adjustment is to more normalized life. Having never been to Europe before, inhabiting that space was pretty amazing. Of course I wonder if the magic wears off with living there, having to work a regular job and whatnot, as those are the things that tend to breed the resentment and dislike with a place of residence. As one who studied history as an undergrad, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the history of London and Paris. That's a rather silly statement and qualification as even if you, or I, hadn't studied history, there is a very strong chance that I would have been overwhelmed by the sheer history of what was around me. It comes down to this for me: I love me some old shit. Lots of old shit just looks cool, and I love that there is a story behind it. In there is some relation to my brain's focus on the most inconsequential minutiae.

Plus, England is a land where the pun and wordplay seem more accepted and though I wasn't running through the streets — although I was running through the streets — shouting puns receiving responses of uproarious laughter, it's just there.

Then there was Paris, and that place is pretty swell. One of my favorite things in visiting amazing foreign spots is how amazing they are to me, in many ways just by virtue of being foreign, and to the locals it's just where they live. Sure, many probably do appreciate it, but plenty will take it for granted much the way I take much for granted over here. And many too will wish to come to the United States, this reciprocity whereby the foreign is always exciting. Like many mental phenomena, it has its strengths and its weaknesses. I mean, hell, I was even intrigued by the different scams they run in France to rob you. I mean, after all, pickpocketing is a lost art. I am quite sure I have this look in my eye wherever I go where canvassers and grifters know they can start talking to me and maybe fleece me for a few bones.

At any rate, even though this is a personal blog, this diaristic entry is getting too diaristic for my liking, so that should do it for now.

Stay safe out there.
Thanks for stopping by…you stay classy Planet Earth.