Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I need more literary friends.

I made some friends last night; two of whom individually went on marvelous talks about grammar with me, and one of whom chatted authors and writing, too. It was fantastic :-)

What's sorta amusing is that even before I met them I was in a bit of a literary mood. I had some time to kill, and I was already hanging at the Dupont Starbucks, so I scribbled out some poetry. Some of it actually turned out pretty nice. I'll have to poke at it with a colored pen a bit, but maybe I'll have something typed and viewable on the lit blog I'm always neglecting.


EDIT: Surprise! I actually did get one typed up. I added to the written draft when I typed it (typical), but when I accidentally deleted the last third and had to reforge it, it came out even better. I'm actually pretty happy with this'un. Hence coming back and adding this lil post scriptum. So you should totally go read it.

As I mentioned in the preambling notes, there's another, longer, more interesting poem from yesterday that I'm more excited about. To be fair, that's the one I was thinking of when I wrote above about maybe getting something up & posted sometime.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Movement.

So I finally got some grownup stuff done in the last couple days. I paid a goodly amount of my loan payments, opened a savings account, and called my credit card people.

It wasn't exactly easy for me to face--mainly due, as I might have expected, to the somewhat overwhelming possibilities mixed in with it all. However, it was, as I might also have expected,  much easier than I feared.

Once I got going, once I changed my inertia from stasis, it kinda all fell into place.

I, finally, gave myself a chance and, finally, put it to good use. And some shit got done.

Isn't that always the way it turns out? Maybe I'll learn that for real one of these days. Sigh. Until then I guess I gotta keep trying the best I can, and nothing less.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yay technology & prettiness.

So I'm writing this on a TV. That is, my super fabtastic desktop tower is currently hooked up to my parents Dynex HD TV of 1080p magnificence. It's pretty sweet, not gonna lie.

I'd been dreaming/thinking of this for a good long while--ever since I saw the VGA port on teh back of of it---but never really got the chance to try it until this weekend when my parents went out of town for their anniversary.

I wasn't sure if it would be worth it: it was only VGA, this computer, for all its other awesomeness, lacks an HDMI port. It's turned out pretty alright, actually--right now it's happily churning out at a resolution of 1600 x 1200, and doesn't look too bad, either.

Someday I may get a video card for this computer with an HDMI port (I may not always get to use this TV massiveness but after this bit of spoiling.....I may put "pretty new monitor" on my wishlist....). I might not, though; it's already got an Nvidia Radeon HD chipset built into this mother board....and it's got what appears to be some other kinda port that I'll hafta look into.....

Meanwhile, this is so gorgeous. Even if I don't go all HD/HDMI/whatever, I really should look into getting a new monitor. I watch so much stuff on here--movies, shows, youtube, etc--it makes sense for it to be, you know, especially attractive. Maybe I'll see if I can just keep this up hooked up here forever...it would save us all the trouble of me having to transfer stuff to external hdd's or thumbdrives just so I can show stuff to people....hmmm.

Anyway, another idling Sunday afternoon post.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Now what.

In good news, Parker and I are going up to New York for a weekend at the end of July. I'm kinda excited. I feel a bit like a grownup--putting aside money for the trip, talking about bus tickets, even looking up some things to check out while we're there. I do feel like a bit of a dick for leaving most of the planning up to Parker (and Mani), but then it really was his deal from the start.

In other news, I'm becoming reacquainted with some old, familiar anxiety. And some more recently acquired ways of dealing with it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I demand satisfaction (or "Duals are hard work". Pun intended.).

So I've come to the sobering realization that I do desperately need a second job. Sigh. That's gonna require me to go a'huntin for jobs again. It's also gonna mean that, once I get said job, I'll have less free time to laze about, jerk off, and otherwise waste my time blissfully.

It's funny--that's actually among my biggest causes for apprehension. I guard my free time like some paranoiac; it's mine, it's my right. But besides that, I so often find myself tired and worn out and burning out on my one job, so how the fuck am I gonna do a second job?!

It's kinda like before, too, where I was scared to get my (current) job because I was so scared of failing. Here, I already have a job, it causes me stress and fatigue, so now I'm worried that not only will I struggle at the second job, but that its added stress & fatigue will fuck me over at the first and second job. :\

All the same, it should be noted that in becoming less wholly and desperately dependent on my one, singular job, that it'll probably take off much of the pressure. It might actually be fun again.

Imagine that.

Also, whether I like it or not, I really have no choice: I have a lot of loan payments to make and I'm just not making them.

Sigh. Why does life have to be so demanding?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Well, at least Parker's pleased.

Parker recently got a Nintendo DS--which I kept stealing to play Pokemon. Yes, at my age.

You have to realize that I was the go-to guy in 6th grade for all things Pokemon. I nearly got sucked back into my addiction back around 10th grade but then summer ended. This time...I don't know if I can/want to stop it......... XD

Anyway, the obvious solution was to get me a DS of my own. You can imagine how frustrated it was making Parker finding his DS constantly missing. Yup, I was that dickish about it.

So yesterday we traded in a PS2 and a buncha its games and some games for gamecube and also pawned an old Xbox and its games.

We walked up to the GameStop clerk and the following conversation ensued:
Me: We'd like to buy one of them pre-owned DS-lites for $80...
Clerk: Okay...not a problem.....do you want any specific color or will anything--?
Me: I want pink.
Clerk: .....seriously?

That's right, this is really happening. I have a pink DS-lite. And it looks like this:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Where serial killers come from.

I really hate bad parenting. Or, rather, bad parents.

Like, kids can be awful enough on their own. But bad parents always make it worse.

We get a fair bit of this in my store. Kids running around, pulling shirts (or heaven forbid whole piles) onto the floor, screaming, crying. Getting on my nerves, simply put.

But my ire centers on them for but a moment at a time, because in almost every case these children's obnoxiousness is the fault of their parents. In almost every case, they are ignoring their kids, permitting this behavior, and even tolerating some measure of child endangerment--who knows what would happen if their kids tripped and busted a lip or wandered off and got lost or got in the way of an associate carrying a heavy ass box.

Honestly, I doubt they'd even notice. That's just how it is.

And, like, I understand that parenting is tough. It wears you down. This kind of attentiveness and oversight I'm expecting takes a lot of energy & focus, and I wouldn't be surprised if after a while these parents can't help but give up the effort. But they did the squishy to pop these kids into the world, so these little beasties are their responsibility--whether they like it or not.

Of course, there are certain mitigating realities. As I said, this shit wears'em down hard, and I understand that. But they should too--and they should own it by doing something responsible about their childweariness. Get a goddamn baby sitter. Bring a goddamn friend to watch the kids. Leave the brats at home with the spouse or neighbor. Find some kind of daycare.

Some kids are just naturally brattish, and it can't be helped I suppose. I do doubt that simply attending to their kids would actually prevent all their wildness and misbehavior, but it couldn't hurt much either. And if, after X number of years since squirting the little things out, they've learned their kid craves excitement and their parents attention and loathes boredom and their parents distraction, how hard is it to own that reality, too.

As before, get a babysitter, bring a friend, leave them with a neighbor. Because if you can't help being distracted and focused on other things, understandably enough, you can still take measures to keep your kids in check. And safe.



Yesterday I was waiting for a friend to pick me up. There was a lady and her adorable daughter waiting, too. The mother was avidly and pointedly chattering away on her phone to some mysterious someone and ignoring her daughter. Meanwhile, the daughter--apparently displaying the same extroversion, urge to interact, and need for attention & approval of others as her mother was--desperately wanted to play.

And you know what? The little girl got bored. She did things to amuse herself. Like wandering through the barren flowerbed to poke at firehose attachments on the wall, squealing with giggly urgency, hopping up and down on the little wall containing the flowerbed, tackling her mom in the middle of her conversation, repeatedly trying to talk to her mom. It was actually kind of adorable.

But you know what? Every time the little girl did this, her mom yelled at and scolded her harshly in astonished indignation and outrage. Like, "what the fuck is wrong with you? can't you see I'm doing something far more important than you or your needs?" or "Wtf, you should know better!".

You wanna know why she doesn't "know better"? Do you wanna know why there's something wrong with your kid? It's because you're a bitch.



It reminds me of Harlow's monkey experiments, especially my personal favorite.

In case you're too lazy to follow that link to wikipedia here's a summary: Harlow put baby monkeys in the "care" of fake surrogate mothers to see how it affected their development; the "moms" were made of either chicken wire or terry cloth. To paraphrase the results, the monkeys with the soft, fuzzy moms fared much better and happily; the ones that'd clung to cold, wireframe moms were, in essence, nervous wrecks.

I first learned about this a long while back, but was reminded of it in a recent This American Life. That episode mentioned one experiment not outlined in that wiki page, one that really fascinated me.

In some experiments, the "mothers" were spring loaded to fling the baby monkey off if it got too close/cuddled. Instead of learning by operant conditioning, as we might assume, to back off or give their "mother" space or simply to give up on getting her attention/affection, they kept trying--and tried harder.

How human is that? how tragic? Can you imagine how this could establish patterns of lifelong attention seeking and neediness, along with laying foundations for all manner of maladjustment?

Further, the wiki article does explain how the different moms affected the baby monkeys' ability to adapt and cope. It's kind of scary/sad:
When the monkeys were placed in an unfamiliar room with their cloth surrogate, they clung to it until they felt secure enough to explore. Once they began to explore, they occasionally returned to the cloth mother for comfort. Monkeys placed in an unfamiliar room without their cloth mothers acted very differently. They froze in fear and cried, crouched down, or sucked their thumbs. Some even ran from object to object, apparently searching for the cloth mother, as they cried and screamed. Monkeys placed in this situation with their wire mothers exhibited the same behavior as the monkeys with no mother.
Something else the experiments suggest is it doesn't take much, really. The only difference between the moms was some were soft & fuzzy and the others were cold & wirey; neither actually did anything "motherly" like hug or shield or play. And, yet, the difference in the impact of each was huge.



Anyway, I know it's not my place to judge these parents, and certainly not to resent them for their bad parenting, but it still bugs me. It shouldn't, I know, but it does.

I'm working on letting it go, some. And ultimately I know it doesn't affect me. But it still agitates me--maybe on behalf of the kids. There are things these parents could do, but it's like they don't even try or care enough to.

And the result? Screaming little beasties running about busting lips and getting on my nerves. And probably, too, kids that'll end up like me in the worst way--insecure, needy, and annoying.

In my case, I don't entirely blame my parents. They were busy, they did their best, they tried where they could...and other excuses I could make for them. I know they didn't mean to cause me any harm; I know they love me.

For the most part, they did do what they could. They found us some really awesome babysitters, whom I'm forever grateful to have known. They talked to us and encouraged us and supported us as they could.

So why do I resent them? What did they do that left me...well, the way I am?

There were other things, too, but in this regard--along the general direction of this post--I can't remember many specific instances. From what I do remember (and what I noticed later as I grew up) it probably was mostly little things or things a kid might otherwise not consciously take note of but, especially over time, hold deep in their hearts and remember without memory. Those are hard things to deal with in oneself--they're virtually intangible.

To this day, I feel like I struggle to get my mother's attention or approval or thanks sometimes. Maybe it's all in my head, maybe it's a resentment I learned to hold & look for, and maybe our relationship really is just that way. Either way, even though I've learned to take a breath, turn it over, and let it go, it still hurts for a bit.

It goes way back though; I know it does. It was definitely like this in high school, and, I'm sure, sooner (though things get harder to remember from when I was younger). I'm sure there were dozens of little discouragements like them throughout my life. A need for something from my mother but instead, whether she meant to or not, dismissal.

But like that stupid little monkey with the spring loaded fake-mom, I keep going back, still looking for more and needing it worse. I've grown up and outgrown it, sure, but I still haven't given up. Stupid baby monkey.


Maybe that's why I resent those parents that apparently can't even make grander efforts on behalf of their kids. Maybe I'm just projecting my own frustrations and hurt and bitterness.

At the same time--for what it's worth--how hard can it be?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Has it really been.

Last year, around this time, Parker and I first met. It was a bit of a messy meeting—confused by boys and odd misunderstandings—but I wouldn't trade it for the world, any of it.

We met at Rocky Horror. This was before I actually joined the E Street cast but I'd been a good handful of times. We'd each planned to go with friends, but were more or abandoned at the last minute.

I was in good spirits. The parade had been fun, the night was young, I hadn't been to Rocky in much too long. I'd just bought a hotdog and flirted/caught up some with an old friend, when I turned and saw Parker just sitting to the side watching about with his trademark childlikeness—that hopeful, open, soft look of possible adventure.

I was feeling unusually confident and he was hot/cute/there so I said hey and we got to talking. I soon found out he'd never been to Rocky—a virgin! >:-D—and had also been ditched, so naturally I took him under my wing.

Later came the rockier bits, but i'll omit them. There's nicer things to muse on.

Life can be such a funny, sweet little thug sometimes. For all the flights and feats of fancy, all the inventions and drama, all the effort and forcing, all the padlocks and resentment and complication, sometimes some of the most important things van happen without your even realizing it.

Sometimes life really is that simple, incidental, even accidental.

I certainly didn't know it when I met Parker that he'd become possible the best and closest and most special friends I could have hoped for.

I was trying to impress other friendships (I still do). I was spending so much effort trying to force people to like me, to notice me and like me, to open up and let me in as easily as I'd let them in.

And then I meet Parker and it just....happens with him. We may bicker and fight, but our friendship itself has never been a fight. It just happens, it just is, like a boulder or a fact. We can't really dispute it.

I love this goofy dumbo; we've done so much for eachother. Someone to rely on, someone to talk to, someone to trust. It's a precious thing, and I am so, so grateful :-)

Friday, June 10, 2011

D'aaaaaw :)

We luv da Parkerz

Happy (almost) one year anniversary!

That's right--we met for the first tine after last year's pride parade. Ah, memories.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

On my way.

I was literally on my way to work when I wrote most of this post:

I don't much like my post from the other day. It's in that whole category of rambly, unnecessary, even tedious posts. Surely redundant, too.

But beside that (and the high school esque tone of its platitudes) it was a good effort overall, I suppose. I've caused myself a lot of frustration at work recently, and it's good I'm trying to do something about it--and something generally responsible at that.

And what's also great is I feel I have been making progress at work. I think I'm getting my game back; my general effort and performance particularly has improved. Out of 8 transactions the other night I got 2 people to apply for credit cards. That shit ain't easy.

It helps that I'm praying again. I almost hadn't noticed i'd lapsed, but it feels nice to get back into it. They're still modest little prayers, and I'm still praying to Walt (Whitman), but it helps some, I think.

Cuz life is scary. Beautiful, if you can make it through the scary bits, but those scary bits can be so rough....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Onward & Upward.

So I variously fessed up to my managers that I felt I'd been slacking off at work recently. It felt really good to get it off my chest, even as they scolded/judged/otherwise sighed.

It was tough. I don't like revealing moments of weakness--especially to authority figures (whom I invariably look up to, desperately). I don't like giving people the chance to think less of me.


What's kinda funny is how my standards for myself are at least as high if not higher than my managers' expectations for me. That's all well and good (I guess....) but the moment I catch myself slacking or opting for the less tedious routine, those high standards come back to bite me in the ass and just demotivate & demoralize me. And then I start despairing--I've lost the confidence to even try again and it only gets tougher.

It just came to a point where I didn't feel like "hiding" it anymore. See, I can be all too good at spinning bullshit just right so people never have to know what a cad/incompetent/flunkie I can be. Say all the right things, all the right ways, and you can get anyone to assume you've got it "under control" and go back to worrying about everyone else instead.

This time, though, it just seemed like so much wasted effort, yeh? Like, I was getting frustrated with myself, whether or not they were. And my managers arent' there to judge me, lose faith in me, and otherwise trust me no more with their confidence; they're there to manage the store and thus, more or less, help us employees be the best we can be to facilitate aforementioned managing of the store.

Yeah, you can probably guess I was guilting myself into believing that my slacking was the cause of recent roughness and less-than-ness in our store's performance. I really am, and usually transparently, that egocentric.

But whatever the situation or their role, I kinda realized that telling my managers how I'd been feeling and stuff was probably the best--most honest, at least; responsible, even--way of doing something about my increasing work-related frustrations.

So bit by bit, manager by manager, I've begun admitting my areas of weakness to them. And it's helped. At the least, now we can form some kinda dialogue over it. Like, now they're aware of my bad habits & tendencies, they can offer some kind of support and I can give them feedback.

Like, I sometimes stress about simple things like helping outfit customers. I just don't know how, I feel. Whichever MOD i'm working with can then maybe give me some tip or trick to try, I try it, and tell them how it worked out & what I learned.

Othertimes it's more complicated things, like engaging customers. Like, I often catch myself forgetting to ask what they like so I can respond with useful, informed suggestions. Sure, I'm probably one of maybe two employees aside from the managers who actually bothers worrying about such feats of customer service--but I take it very seriously. And I'm not very forgiving toward myself when I lapse. But now, maybe, my manager can help remind me now & then and practice and stuff.


I don't know if I'd have gotten even this far if I hadn't changed somehow personally. Like, used to be that even as I admitted these things I'd have still endeavored to control what my managers or whoever thought of me. Still spinning and spinning, endlessly. Or, I'd have taken even the slightest sign of disapproval as a personal & fatal blow, and a sure sign it was high time to give up & go home.

Like yesterday Analeise had me rewatch the little training video on talking to customers about the store credit card. I imagine part of her motivation was how badly we fared in this last credit competition. And I imagine she definitely noticed how badly I performed this time around. Last time I was far and away the best in the store; this time....yeah. Not so much.

But instead of taking it personally and hurtfully, I thanked her. I told her, honestly, that I'd actually been thinking the very same thing--that it was high time to rewatch it. That I'd caught myself several times engaging customers sloppily, at best, about the store credit card. We're supposed to aim to get three No's before we let it go, and I'd pretty much been talking over the customer so they couldn't get out a single "no".

So I watched the video very closely, observing carefully how the associate would use each "no" as an opportunity to explain another benefit of the card. I paused from time to time to ask Analeise a question or simply get some clarification.

I could have sulked. I could have taken the very suggestion as a sign she thought I sucked at credit, that she actually thought less of me; that she'd caught on to me and all hope was lost.

I could have babbled my way about, spinning things this way or that so she 'd still respect me and trust me and see it my way so she'd see I wasn't such a bad person, really....

Instead, I aimed to be proactive. I tried to engage the video actively--dorky & cheesey though it may have been--to get the most out of it.

Hell, in all that, I might even have improved her opinion of me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Blossoming Biffleship.

Yup, it's pretty much proof of the second coming. Or something otherwise fantastic & (probably) inevitable.

Parker and I are starting a comic together.

Obviously, it's about us biffles and our biffling and our forever weird/fabulous biffleship. There's one where I nerd out about Doctor Who (like, I even name the Novikov Self-Consistency principle...) while Parker fails at paying attention utterly. (That one has some really sweet references to one of my favorite Radiohead songs, too. If I do say so myself.) Another brings up one of my favorite of our inside jokes--"ARE YOU CALLING ME FAT!?". The third's pretty simple--Parker's recently discovered the phrase "anal fisting" makes me squeal in eeeewness.


What's funny is for once I'm not the slacker/lame-ass slowpoke. I've written three scripts so far, and now I'm just waiting for him to actually draw them.

In his defense, I've loved his concept doodlings so far. He has this great one of my "muppet face" that made me giggle a little inside.

We still need a title. My personal vote is still for HOMO MOHO or some such. Suggestions welcome.

On the run from the Park Police.

Not really, but it was a funny joke all the same last week.

Apparently, Park Police happened upon a pair of joyriding tweens and got to play big cops for an hour. One of those things where the guy pulled up behind them at a stop sign, the kids--being either high/drunk, stupid, or just plain bored--assumed this guy was a real cop (and after them) and took off. Real winners these kids.

Of course, Mr Park Police gave chase. It's the dream of all Park Police, (mall) Security, and other breeds of Rent-a-Cops that they will someday level up & evolve into real cops...or is that just Pokémon?

Somehow or another they wound all wound up at the elementary school near my house (regression much? as I said, these kids are winners.). They hopped the kerb with the stolen car and promptly fled on foot through the school yard. Leaving a confused and bewildered Park Police guy. (This wasn't covered in the training seminar, see.)

Anyway, we (Parker, Kial, and myself) happened to be walking home through the very schoolyard by which the peeps/perps were fleeing on foot. All we saw was a pair of silhouettes, but I cracked my well-worn line to Parker of "Look! I'll bet they've got 'something to prove'." He didn't believe me.


Anyway, the Park Police guy half-assedly questioned us while he got on his radio a bit and tried to remember what he was supposed to do next. We told him what best we could and he let us go.

Things got really funny when another Park Police dude passed us a moment later on the street, stopped his car, backed up, rolled down his window, shined his big ole side-light on us, and gruffly asked "Where you kids coming from?!"

Parker and Kial didn't even bother to hold back their sarcasmz; Parker playfully said something like "Oh noes, he found us, Christafurr!" and Kial said "Yup, cuz you guys totally fit the profile....".

He eventually figured out (with much radio-ing and shining of the light) that we weren't who he was looking for at all and let us go. We giggled the rest of the way home how we were still on the run from the Park Police.


Anyway, that all happened, like, a week ago, I just wanted to finish this post even if half the humor'd left me.