Thursday, February 19, 2009

Idiom Series Diez

Ten Lords a-leaping? Huh? When has that ever happened? Whatever....

"It's not you, it's me."

To be fair, sometimes the person actually means it when they say this. I'll say two times out of ten this is said with truth in the statement. (The number rises significantly when they you in question is ME but I digress)

Most of the time...guess what? It is YOU.
You did something that the other person couldn't deal with. I mean we are all screwed up to a point. Some people are worse than the norm though. This little gem of a statement is reserved for them.

Let's say that you are trapped in a cage with a wild animal who can snap at any moment. The only way out for you is to appease them and slowly back out of that cage. So you speak gently and walk back to the doorway while you keep a steady eye on the beast.

This is the same method you employ with the crazy person you are trying to leave because, just like a wild animal, they won't be reasoned with and won't change their nature because you try and show it to them. The best and only response is to say that statement, get your shit and bounce.

The problem I have with this statement is the ubiquity of it. People use this line so much that is a cliche and means nothing at this point. On top of that, most people can and need a little constructive criticism when their relationship is being dissolved. You don't just do this to make yourself feel better (read-feel superior) but you do this to help that person learn not to make those same mistakes in their future relationships.

I just re-read Things I've Learned from Women Who Dumped Me and, although a funny book written by comedians, the wisdom that these men gained from failed relationships is invaluable. It is indeed true that you can learn from the mistakes of others and this book is like a guidebook of how not to do stupid little things or how not to deal with women who will just use you with no hope for a future. I suggest both sexes check it out.

So, yeah, sometimes it is your fault and you should admit it.

And, yeah, sometimes you are dealing with someone who is so screwed up that you can't help him/her so say it to escape relatively unscathed.

But most of the time it's a joint failing and you should take responsibility for your own errors but don't let that other person off the hook. It doesn't help you and it definitely doesn't help the other person if you lie to them. Honesty is one of the pillars of a good relationship and a good break-up.

Because you know what? It is YOU. Cowboy up and change.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Idiom Series IX

Jordan, Wade and The Natural rocked it so it's a good number. Then again so did the Nazgul...

"You're a....Think of something."

I hate this statement because it can come at you from two negative fronts.
Situation 1) Let's say you are a repairmen and you fix pipes. You don't necessarily want to be a pipe-fixer but situations outside of your control made you one/you are using pipe-fixing to pay your bills/pipe-fixing is a family tradition you must uphold/pipe-fixing is just there until you achieve your dream....whatever. The point is you don't want to be Mario but you are.

"I'm sicka alla da pipes, jabroni!"

So you don't like your job. To deal with not liking your job, you go hang out with some folks at, let's say, a party. During the cost of the evening, something happens with the toilet. This is sort of but not entirely in your area of expertise from work. Someone knows you are a pipe-fixer.

Random Douche-
Hey, man. You're a pipe-fixer. Think of something.


I hate my job as a piper-fixer. I came here to get away from pipes. Nintendo lied to us. There are no princesses in sewers nor giant fighting turtles with atrocious language skills. There are no pipes to even be fixed in this situation. Why are you making me do something I hate? Bastard.

Situation 2) Maybe you LOVE what you do. Maybe you are a world-class or aiming to be a world-class illustrator. You hone your craft to create elaborate pieces and enjoy the intense labor and the reward of working hard to make awesome images. It's not a hobby for you- it's your life passion.

"I'm about to paint some ill shit, bitches."

So there you are, a painter. Chilling. Enjoying a day at the park. Minding yours. A friend comes by and sits next to you about nothing like friends do. Suddenly, in the middle of the conversation....

Friend- Man, I've been trying to come up with this icon for this shitty thing/something that doesn't really matter. Could you sketch out a picture of a dog or something. I mean you are a painter. Think of something.

Excuse me.

Listen, you'll probably sketch something out for the person or fix the toilet because those are people you care about but it doesn't make the situation any cooler.
For one, they are asking you to actively engage in something you can do and are proficient in but don't necessarily like or want to do at the moment. I mean, you wouldn't ask a porn star on the street to randomly starting boning you...

Okay. Maybe that's a bad example.

But you wouldn't just randomly go up to an actor or comedian and be like "Perform a scene" or "Make me laugh, you clown." Unless you are a dick.
Are you a DICK?

Secondly, just because I CAN do something doesn't mean I WANT to do it every second of the day. Everyone needs a break, even from the things they love. Why do you think we have babysitters? It's not that people don't love their kids but sometimes you need a break from them to get your head straight. And not choke 'em.

Sometimes literally.

Lastly, especially in the example of the painter, it's sometimes insulting to have a person perform a generic task that tangentially relates to what they are doing. How would you feel if you were Shakespeare and someone asked you out of the blue to come up with a catchy jingle? Sure, you could probably do it but why are you being asked to be demeaned for your talent?

And it's not just creative professions either. You don't find out someone is a heart surgeon at a party and ask them to look at something on your foot, right?

It's okay to do this once in a while with your friends but don't make it a habit. Think before you ask someone to "Think of something." Put yourself in their position and see how it feels for a second.

You're a human being. Think of something.

Friday, February 13, 2009

V- Day Advice

Don't do this. Seriously.
(I do #2 like an arse sometimes)

Happy V-Day to all the ladies in the world!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No More Runners

(writing this post I realized it could go on my other blog but due to the seriousness and broadness of it I put it here)

When I was discussing my plans to be sober for the Year of Our Lord 2009 with my friends, I had a few nay-sayers and a few folks who were behind me. What I found most amusing was the most valid advice is what I got from my friend, well, we’ll just call him The Angry Speakin’ Rican.

Anyway, I told T.A.S.R. what I was up to and he gave me a little wisdom because he also gave up the drink as well. He suggested that I find another outlet for release because he said that he often drank the most when he was in a disagreement with his loved ones, particularly his girl. He has other distractions to take his time up and suggested I do the same.

Me, being the stubborn jackass that I am, took his advice and filed it under Stuff That Works for Others But That I Don’t Necessarily Need. I mean I drank just because and I pretty much only drank when I was happy.

Yeah. Good times.

Obviously, I was lying to myself.

True, I mostly got bent because I was gonna have a good time and it made me looser and willing to say whatever I wanted to say. They say liquor gives you imaginary muscle but it also grants you the ability to think you are smoother than you really are. When I’m drinking, I’m cocky and believe I’m Don Juan. I never necessarily planned on doing anything (at least not recently at all) with anyone while drunk but it would give me an excuse the next day for a poor decision in deciding to hook up.

So, I didn’t really take what he said into account. I mean, people always piss me off and I shake it off or at least give that appearance and I don’t really/kinda sorta have a girl to make me upset so I had clear sailing. I could beat this thing cold turkey with a blindfold on while skiing downhill on one leg.

Besides, while I didn’t have the outlets he had, I had made a promise to myself to do one good thing or have one good moment of feeling great every day no matter how shitty things were.

I had this sober and getting right thing licked.


I’ve been dealing with some shite that I’ve only hinted at with some folks and kept the rest to myself. (Read past posts for why) Anyway, on Monday, I talked to a friend who is more than a friend and …it’s confusing. Whatever. Let’s just say this person called me out on some shit and, although it was true, the manner in which she said it made me feel like crap. I realized it wasn’t what she said but how and who said it. Someone I worked with could say the same thing and probably in the same way and I would forget about being hurt about it in like an hour tops.

Fours hours after she said it I’m still thinking about it and how she said it without any mercy. First, I was angry at her that she said it but quelled that quickly because I didn’t feel like arguing and ruining my good feeling/thing of the day, which I did for her and my mother. Then, I was pissed at myself (and still am) for the validity of what was said. Then, I got pissed at her again after thinking about it and I’m still a little ticked off but I swallowed most of it again like I used to. I always swallow people irritating me because there is usually a bigger problem to deal with anyway. I had a few thoughts at that moment but the one that slipped in that shocked me was this one.

“Damn. I wish I had a drink or three right now.”

I knew I wasn’t going to go and get lit but the fact that that was what was floating around in my head told me I wasn’t going to have an easy time of this. I didn’t have a plan like “I want to get some drinks and watch a game” or “I want to get a drink and go dance.” No, what I wanted was a drink and someone to complain to and make me forget for a few hours.

For all I joke and BS, it was very real in that moment. I also knew T.A.S.R. was right- when those you love or want to be better for get into your head; you look for something to deal with it and/or push them out. Whether that thing is negative or positive is ultimately up to you. I decided it was going to be positive.

I reaffirmed myself that when I wasn’t working, looking for more work or looking for housing then I was writing or working out. I had to get into proper habits because I was asked if I feared failure like I was once asked before and I knew the answer was Yes. Although I was afraid to say it and admit the truth in that moment, I thought about it and yes, I am and if you say you aren’t, then you are lying to yourself.

No one likes to fail. I HAVE failed before. I have lost it and I have been beaten. It’s not a good feeling and for all that crap you hear about learning from your mistakes, I firmly believe that if anyone had the option then they would choose to learn without slipping. I know I would. This is also one of the reasons that no matter how bad things are right now and the standing invitation from my mother I WILL NOT be going back home. It might be foolish pride talking but I need to do this on my own (somewhat) for at least six more months.

So, I have vowed to do what I want to do for my future, which includes improving myself and doing what is good for me and not what anyone else thinks is good for me. I’m the only one who knows the way and I appreciate the advice but I have to find my own path. If that is cool and you can go with me, then that’s awesome. If not, oh well. I’ve been left before. I’ll always have a seat waiting for you if you are good enough.

It’s up to you but I know what I have to do.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Idiom Series Ocho

Sometimes eight is not enough.

“Do you know what time it is?” (and all variations of this)

Now you may think this term is innocuous. The way it is written it is. Reading it on this page you just think it may be someone just asking what time it is. No, the way in which this is an annoying statement is in the way it is presented.
For example.....

You show up late somewhere due to forces outside of your control

You- "Hey. I..."

Other- "Do you know what time it is?"

My problem isn't even so much that the person is slightly upset that you are late. Ignoring punctuality is a huge pet peeve, if you know me.
The problem is the cocksure nature of the person who asks you this question. OBVIOUSLY you know what time it is. Does that person having you repeat the time make them feel better or in some way superior? Is that what is going on? Does reducing you to a child make their annoyance that much easier to swallow?

Other variations of this include-

- "Hey, do you know what time you were supposed to be here?"
If I'm late, then that means I didn't know what time I was supposed to be there. Or I couldn't make it and something kept me from contacting you. 9 times out of 10 it's the former. So, please, I don't need the sass. I can read a watch. There was apparently some sort of miscommunication and you think I'm 8 years old.

- "Does that make you feel good...?"

Well, there are 2 ways to answer this.

Yes, I do. I'm feeling like an asshole right now and this makes me feel good.
No, I don't. I messed up and I'm sorry.

The point is you already know the answer to that question so why ask? Is it going to change the fact that you are most likely pissed off?
That's what I thought.

- "So, were you going...?"
Listen, I was either going to tell you about it or I wasn't. More than likely I was when the time was right. Do not make me feel like a dick for trying to protect your feelings about your girlfriend cheating on you, me leaving or any other thing that might potentially ruin your day. Sorry for trying to be nice.

- "Did you get that e-mail/note/report/package?"
No. I didn't. Good-bye.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tough Times Make Tough People

This post is about my life and Battlestar Galactica.

Trust me. Just go with it.

Last night, I think I was maybe the loneliest I have ever been in my life.

I don’t mean alone. I’ve been alone before. Hell, I’m alone most of the time nowadays. Alone means generally that I’ve been by myself somewhere but still knew in the back of my head that there was someone I could count on at that exact moment to talk to if necessary.
Not that I would ever do so if I had a problem. Foolish pride and obstinacy prevented me from doing that. I’ve gotten better on that front but there is still room for improvement. It’s a constant battle to not slip back into that old mode.

I have also been lonely before. I went to college with a good chunk of people I knew in some capacity from high school. I also knew a few upperclassmen going into Vassar and met a group of great people while there that are still my friends.
Still, during that last half of my freshman year I found myself often sitting on a hill by myself or in the chapel (strange because I’m not really religious at all) just thinking and trying to find something to make things make sense to me without having to go to someone for help. It wasn’t smart but I was 18 and dumb.
Don’t judge. So were you.

Anyway, for about five minutes last night, as I sat in a Taco Bell in a corner table (something else I have been doing more- observing all with my back against a wall) with a couple on the other side of the restaurant and the workers in the back horsing around I truly felt lonely. My phone was silent. No tweets. No texts. Just me and my thoughts and thinking about my current predicaments. Thinking that this was all up to me at that point to direct which way my life goes and I shouldn’t look to others to get me out of jams I’m in. You always know that truth in the back of your head but to have it crystallized...

The moment passed but it was scary. And before anyone even says anything, I know. I know. I have folks that’ll look out for me and I can probably call if I really need the assistance.
The thing I’m realizing as I get older is that everyone has their own shite to deal with and you can’t depend on others unless it is a true emergency. It’s not that they don’t want to help you. My family (some) and my friends (mostly) would break their necks to help me out but I don’t or at least I try not to for a few reasons. Number one goes back to my stubborn nature with asking for help. I CAN usually figure out a solution for a problem by myself if left alone. The second reason is that I realize they have their own issues to deal with- whether good or bad- that I don’t want to pile on it with my stuff. Lastly, and this one relates a GREAT DEAL to my mother, they might deny it but they won’t necessarily ask for help either. Some do and I respect them so much for that but we all have this level of pride to be successful on our own in some way. I don’t mean that they can’t work with others but if the success is part of a team effort then they put a lot in to be proud of. If they didn’t, we probably wouldn’t be friends.

Okay, so now you are asking how does this relate to Battlestar Galactica?


Simple. This last half of the final season finds humanity at the brink of extinction. They found Earth and it’s a nuclear wasteland. Depression has run rampant through the fleet and suicide and people not caring is up. On top of all that, the proposed solution to at least extend their survival is meant with mistrust from past prejudices that, although valid on one level, means nothing in the greater scheme of continuing life for both Cylon and man.

Do you know why I watch this show? Not just for Sackhoff and her crazy behavior or because I never know what's going to happen next. I mean, I watch it for that too but, the main reason I tune is the relationship the show has to the current state of affairs the world is generally in and the state of maelstrom affairs I sometimes feel I live in.

They veil it and don't necessarily hit you over the head with the issues (most of the time) but you can easily tell that the writers are making commentaries on our involvement in Iraq, how we treat prisoners, the steps we taking in guaranteeing and taking freedoms in times of war and peace and dealing with a bleak civilization for the entire human populace, i.e. the crumbling of our financial markets.

What I like about what BSG does with these issues is that it takes us on a personal journey that these characters having with coping or not with something not firmly in their control. I think it mirrors each of our own ways of dealing with crisis and can be broken down into five categories that sometimes overlap and have their own little subsets but I think are pretty spot on.

Dualla- The Surrendered There are people who can't deal with the stress of harsh reality. They might appear at ease outwardly but they are secretly falling apart inside. The world is bleak and unforgiving and they get to the point where they think there is no point in going on any longer. Who they were before is long gone.

Dee was a perfect example of this. She went to her job and even had a nice date with her ex-husband who she still loves. She gave him good advice and walked away with a smile on her face.

Then she pulled the trigger.

Some people aren't made to last when things get tough and the way out seems extremely far away. They live in the present and this stops them from seeing hope in the future.

Lee- The Rebuilder There are those individuals who have faith in the system. They believe that no matter how bad it gets that there is always a solution to make it better. There is nothing that can't be rebuilt into a better form. They don't want to destroy it or start over. They want to work within the system to make it work for everyone.

Lee Adama wants to make the government work in the best interest of the people. He took his position to represent not just his constituents but to make the best choices for the fleet. He stepped in as President of the Colonies because it was necessary to move forward. He allied with the Cylons to move everyone forward.

These people may not know what is around the corner but they have hope that if they work hard enough and make the necessary moves that everyone can get to that better place together.

Tyrol- The Gatherer Most people need others to make it work on some level in their lives. Some people need alliances to get through the turbulent times. They search and find friends to deal with everything. The allies can be new or old friends. Either way they reaffirm or create new bonds with these people to get them through.

Tyrol is trying to find meaning in his life. His true nature has been revealed and he is trying to figure out what that means in the face of immense loss, both personal and general. He knows who he was and is learning a bit about a new part of himself. He is trying to reevaluate his role in the grand scheme of things and forge new bonds with both his "people."

He doesn't know what the future holds for him or the rest of the universe but he is determine to work to getting there. He is concerned about today only in the way it can affect tomorrow.

Gaeta- The Romantic Some people can't deal with change, especially negative change. These people desire a return back to the old ways. They become nostalgic for the past and, often, think it was better than it really was. They trick their mind into this false grand reality of the past to get them through the day. Or they create a particular future in their head with only those they deem worthy alive in it. These people can become very dangerous because they will go to any extreme to make their vision a reality.

Felix is a broken man. He lost his leg and almost lost his life. Both of these were due to the influence of Cylons. He tried to do right on New Caprica and people still died. His faith in the leaders of the fleet has been shaken and he see only one option for the future- no Cylons.

He is willing to ally himself with former traitors, commit crimes and do whatever is necessary to get to this promised land in his mind. He will go on the path to this future and will lose those he loves to get there.

Starbuck- The Phoenix There are those of us who are screw-ups. These folks live life to excess and usually burn brightest and burn out fastest because they go at everything full-steam ahead. They normally don't think and just act. This is dangerous during normal times because they end up hurting themselves and others around them, whether emotionally or physically. These people only perform at their best when they are focused on a problem and times look the most bleak. You can count on them to save the day and slay the monster because they happen to have a monster in them. They might not belong on the shiny world of the future but they are necessary to get to that world because they are willing to do what is needed and play the anti-hero.

Kara doesn't know who she is. She died and came back and led the fleet to Earth. They found Earth and it was an irradiated wasteland and Kara found something there she couldn't explain. She went back to her old destructive ways and closed herself off like before.

Then the fleet began to fight against itself. She didn't hesitate. She armed herself and went hunting. She was going to save the other souls fighting for the future even if she isn't meant to enjoy it and anything that got in her way would be cut down. The world is becoming black and white for her, like it often does for those that rush forward. It doesn't matter what is happening here- what is important is the end result.

I think I'm still like Lee but definitely see myself going towards Kara's path, although I want to be like the chief.

How about you?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl Sunday


Broke. Like really broke.

Not drinking or even going to the pub to enjoy some nachos or curry chicken. (see above)

Probably not going to even watch the game. Not interested in either team. (Pittsburgh is winning)

Trying to write. Mildly successful but not in the way I want to be. This Russian dude videoconferencing loudly next to me ain't helping though.