Friday, January 26, 2007


So, I've completely forgotten to write recaps of the last, oh, eight Hunter episodes. My bad. I plan to remedy this tonight when I get home -- one great big jumbo recap that will probably leave out a bunch of stuff and get the rest of it wrong.

I've also forgotten to cash one of the paychecks I received last week. Truly, this is a sign that my financial situation has improved -- I'm used to getting the check, cashing it, and losing it within two hours. Financial breathing room is fun.

Not fun: Bob Seger charging $65 a piece for cheap seats to his concert next month. Stupid old man. What are you, the Rolling Stones?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Um...yeah, that's obviously what I intended all along. Sure.

Your cool link for today: somebody way, way, way too into Star Wars fills in the gaps between Episodes III and IV. I'm sure Lucas planned it just like that.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Every now and then I get a little bit angry and I know I've got to get out and cry

"Wait a minute -- you guys aren't protesters, are you?"
"What, you mean those dickheads with the signs and the pictures of dead babies and shit? Fuck no! Me and Silent Bob are pro-choice. A woman's body's her own fuckin' business."

So, yesterday, while I was delivering pizza, I had to drive past the big Catholic church/school/playground/indoctrination center/thing that's half a block from Pizza Inn about three dozen times. And it's January, which means they've erected their own personal Master of Puppets cover in their front yard: long, long rows of white crosses, grave markers, each representing a million abortions. You can always count on the Catholics to cheer you up during these depressing winter months.

But there's all these crosses, right, and I suppose I can deal with it. I mean, it is a striking visual, no doubt about that. Of course, the implication is that our country would somehow be better off if we were burdened with an extra 45 million people who weren't even wanted in the first place, and I can't agree with that. But they have their beliefs, and they have their demonstration, and that's fine. I don't get why they only put it out there for a few months at the beginning of each year -- abortions are less a deal in June, I guess. But whatever.

(EDITED TO NOTE: Of course, not thirty seconds after posting this, I realized why: today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Fuckin' duh. And I knew that already, too, because I had already told several people weeks ago. I'm an idiot.)

I started to get a little weirded out, though, when I spotted some of the churchgoers leaving the building to take snapshots of the display. Not just one or two, but several pictures, like they were arranging a panoramic collage. Why? So you can remember not to have a abortion? To thrust in the face of your teenage daughter during one of your hellfire-and-brimstone lectures? To show off to all of your friends and ensure you never, ever get invited to the really good parties? I don't know.

But apparently, they need all the help they can. Because several rows of white crosses and three different signs just aren't enough to get their anti-abortion message across, around two o'clock I spotted some jagoff walking up and down the sidewalk in front of the crosses wearing a sandwich board. On one side, the word ABORTION and a smiling baby. On the other? A dead fetus.

Only a few times in my life have I as badly wanted to beat the living shit out of someone.

I couldn't believe this guy. And it is always a guy, isn't it? It's always some fucking man out there with the dead baby pictures. It's always men who kill the doctors and blow up the clinics. We men, who will never have to make the decision, are the ones who want to make sure women can't make the decision, either.

This used to drive my mother ballistic. Everytime some Republican gasbag would get up on TV and rant about abortion, she'd start yelling back. (Everyone who's seen me yell back at Fox News, you now know where I learned it.) She'd scream about men treating women like incubators, sperm receptacles, carriers for their glorious offspring.

So the guy is already pissing me off, just for being a guy in the first place. But a fucking dead fetus? Come on. What the fuck is wrong with you?

Actually, let me adjust the emphasis on that sentence: What the fuck is wrong with you?

He walked back and forth for a good while, dead fetus proudly displayed on his back. Not only is this revolting, and unbelievably obnoxious (that sounds like too minor a word to use, but I can't think of a stronger one), but it's just flat-out stupid: You're standing in front of an anti-abortion demonstation, you fuck! How much more good is your disgusting photograph going to do?

This leaving out my biggest problem, which is the Catholic -- no, just go ahead and make that the religious desire, the religious need to shove their beliefs in everyone's face. If you think abortions are wicked, don't have an abortion. If you think having sex with another man will get you sent to hell, don't have sex with another man. If you think Marilyn Manson records are tools of the devil, don't listen to them. Jesus!

What kills me is that I know with almost complete certainty that this dick has never known someone in that situation. He's never known a woman who's had to make that choice.

I have. So I don't take kindly to assholes like Sign Guy, who carelessly and thoughtlessly shove photos in your face to make you feel like a monster.

He was out there for about an hour, I'd say. I didn't seem him leave. I hope it was in an ambulance. Fucker.

*deep, cleansing breath*

And now, to leave you in a better mood than I started in, I give you the most ridiculous music video ever made: Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Oddly enough, the song was written by Jim Steinman, who wrote all three of Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell albums. You can tell.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Be strong and laugh and shout, shout, shout, shout at the devil

So I’ve spent much of the last month playing video games in the time when I should have been sleeping, or writing Revolver, or writing Hunter recaps. It’s like I’m in third grade all over again.

It’s been two games, mostly. First it was The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, which FRINAN was kind enough to lend me. (That and its sequel, Majora’s Mask, along with his Nintendo 64, which is a fickle piece of machinery. You can’t play unless it wants to, by gawd.) The game is truly incredible, which makes me feel like an ass. See, I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last few years saying less-than-hospitable things about it. This is because when I originally played it upon its release several years ago, I never really got into it, and ended up selling it. (Along with Majora’s Mask, which I played for maybe thirty minutes.)

The problem, I realize now, wasn’t the game—it was my sister. Since I was working and going to school at the time, I couldn’t play the game that much. But she was home all the time, which meant she got to play whenever she wanted. And play she did, only with the Strategy Guide open beside her. This type of gameplay baffles me—if you’re just going to follow everything the Strategy Guide says step-by-step, what’s the point of playing the damn game at all? I ended up watching her do most of the game, and when it became my turn, I didn’t really feel like sitting it through all the cut scenes all over again. Thus, I never got into it.

Big mistake. While I still prefer the original for nostalgic reasons, and I think Link to the Past has the edge in fun gameplay, Ocarina of Time is a true masterpiece. And I wish I knew a song I could play that would change night into day.

The other game I bought shortly after Christmas: Guitar Hero II for the PS2. Oh yeah.

This is the most addictive game I’ve played in years. I usually don’t care for rhythm games (like Dance Dance Revolution—fucking blech), but I just can’t stop playing this. Is it the better music? The too-cool-for-school guitar controller? Yes. And yes. You can play the game with the standard controller, but why?

And I’m also surprised at how much better I’ve become. When I first played it, anything outside of Easy difficulty was incomprehensible. Since then, I’ve mastered that, and pulled five-star performances on every song on the Medium difficulty. Well, okay two songs I can only do four stars on: “Institutionalized,” because of all the frantic double-strumming I can’t quite do, and “Free Bird.” Because it’s “Free Bird.” Meanwhile, I’m making very slight headway into the Hard difficulty, which is almost unfair in how sharply it ramps up on you. (Except for “Strutter,” the Kiss song, which is by far the easiest track in the game.) Expert difficulty remains a blank, Here-There-Be-Dragons on my map. If you’d watched me stumble through “Carry On Wayward Son,” you’d understand why.

And because I’m not entirely throwing my life away playing video games, I started a game of Vampire: Bloodlines on Steve’s computer. Yep: just like third grade. Only with better graphics.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Should auld aquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?

Goodbye, 2006.

New Year's Eve always, always reminds me of a Counting Crows song, "A Long December." This is probably due to it being about New Year's Eve.

Drove up to Hillside Manor some time after two a.m.
And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her

And it's been a long December, and there's reason to believe
That maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself to hold on
To these moments as they pass

Follow the train of thought with me, friends: New Year's Eve reminds me of the song. The song reminds me of my mom telling me what the song always reminded her of, which was depressing as shit. Ergo, vis-a-vis, concordantly: I am depressed as shit.

But not this time. I'm tired, 'cause it's sometime after two a.m.; I feel shitty, because I'm dealing with the second cold I've had in two months (thank you for sharing your germs, Stephen, oh friend of mine); and I'm bored, waiting for a download to finish so I can move my computer out of our neighbor's wireless internet zone and go to bed. But I'm not sad. Or even depressed.

Wherefore? 'Cause I don't think I really have anything to be sad about. I think I might be remotely happy with life.

A few weeks ago, I finished paying off my computer. On Thursday, I repaid all the back rent I owed. I am about...hmm, three months away from paying off everyone and everything to whom I owe money. (And that includes you, FRINAN. And you, too, Steve, for that matter.) And when that happens, when I'm no longer chained to the anchor of debt, I can quit working at fucking Pizza Inn. That "temporary" job has sucked almost five years of my life away, and while I like the people I work for, I absolutely loathe that place and every second I spend there.

And the events of 2006 have aligned to lead me to a place where I might achieve that freedom. Even those that seems disastrous at the time -- like, say, my car getting repo'd -- have turned to be somewhat fortuitous. (Without my car, I was forced to get another one, which is partially responsible for the financial hole into which I've fallen; but the car I had was literally falling apart, and I assure you would not still be running today. Having a functioning automobile allowed to not only keep my first job but acquire a second, which is what will allow to quit Pizza Inn and be free again. So, yes, in the long run, it was good.)

When I look back on the year, I'm confronted with lots of conflicting memories. It started in Hell, Mark II, the den of shit where I lived with Tommy. I was miserable then. I mused that if we didn't end up paying the Pine Forest Rent Nazis what we (read: Tommy) owed them, we'd end up living in a dumpster. Then I looked around the apartment and realized that we already did.

And then Tommy got engaged, and Tommy moved out, and I struck out to the eastern side of town with FRINAN. He was living away from home for the first time, and I was getting really tired of moving. Luckily, I love this place -- we're downstairs, it's a good size, I like the landlord, and the number of drunken idiots is far lower than at Chez Chernobyl. (Though it's still not zero, as FRINAN can attest.) It's one of the few places I've lived in my life that I haven't completely disdained.

And living with FRINAN for six months was great. Of course, we ended up grating on each other's nerves pretty severly at times -- not only were we living together, we were working more or less the same hours at the same place, meaning we were in each other's presence practically every waking moment. Multiply that constant proximity by how much we get on each other's nerves already, and you have a strong Insanity Cocktail. But I remember those six months rather fondly: our long-running, never-ending Vampire game could be played whenever we wanted with the both of us under one roof, and we were very quickly playing every day. And then it sort of became a constant game, one that ebbed and flowed in and out of conversations wherever we happened to be. We saved the majority of it for the regular gaming sessions, but little scenes and downtime stuff would pop up everywhere. When I think of those six months, that's what I think of: a wall-to-wall Vampire game, broken up only occasionally to watch Oz or Carnivale, or to yell at each other about what big douchebags we are. (I think the final tally of the votes will show that it was I, in fact, who is the bigger douchebag. I'm sure he agrees.)

But then the lease ran out, and FRINAN went back home, and now Steve's here. More or less the same, only with less Vampire, more guitar-playing, and lots more nerdy discussions about Star Trek. So, completely different.

That was 2006 -- a messy, stop-and-start car crash of events that have somehow left me in a far better position. Looking back, it feels an awful lot like the conversations I still sometimes have with FRINAN regarding a game I'm running. He'll say it was good, but then complain that "nothing really happened." I'll fire back that things did happen, thank you, and might even name a few. And he'll consider it, and then say, "Yeah...but nothing really happened."

2006: Nothing happened. Everything happened.

One thing that didn't happen? Me learning the benefits of brevity, huh?

I leave you with the traditional New Year's Resolutions. Interestingly enough, I've never made New Year's Resolutions before. They are infamous for not being kept, though, so I'll be satisifed if I keep a third of them.

1. Pay off all my debts.
2. Save some money.
3. Quit Pizza Inn.
4. Write at least six episodes of Revolver.
5. Make headway toward that novel I've had kicking around my head for, oh, ten years now.
6. Same as 5, except subsitute the word "screenplay" for "novel."
7. Write at least three songs, lyrics and music, and add them to our standard musical repetoire (I've already got the music for one).
8. Play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which I purchased, played for fifteen minutes, then put back in the case and forgot about.
9. Stop being such a douchebag. (Hey. I can't throw in the token "Quit smoking" resolution, because I don't smoke. Consider this in its place.)
10. Make another short film. It's been more than three years since "Burned." Too long.
11. Keep our Vampire game running until 2008.
12. Keep our Hunter game running until it reaches the end. (And recaps are coming guys, I promise.)
13. See the Dave Matthews Band in concert again.
14. Try harder to find the positives in every negative situation. (This is closely related to number 9, actually.)

And finally:

15. Figure out why I can't write a word of Revolver, or a short story, or a novel, or a screenplay, or a fucking Christmas card, but I sit here for an hour and blab non-stop into my blog.

Happy New Year. May the current year bring you much joy and happiness.