Archive for February 2013

When lethargy attacks!

February 27, 2013

Dear YOU,

I should be writing. I mean, I’m kind of writing now, but that’s not what I mean. I’ve got 99 problems, but creativity ain’t one. The blame lies solely in the hands of the universe. Responsibility, once effectively shirked, can be ignored like a pumpkin rotting on your neighbor’s porch. Plus, who can focus with all of the input?

First off, let me say that I admire you. If you made it this far in my blog without skimming for key, or inflammatory, words, it means you’re either heavily medicated, or able to channel your inner Jedi and pay attention to something not you. Not judging, both paths have merit.

You don’t look out at a vast sea of electronic input and think, Yes, thank you. And can I get that to go? Or do you? I guess I don’t really know you well enough to make that assumption. Do you start a compelling movie, game, book, blog or other fairly passive activity and then rapidly move on to the next bright, shiny object of your desire? Okay, so what if you do? I still respect you. Even if we’ve only known each other for a millisecond.

The thing is, there’s so much of my world designed to snag my attention away from anything else I happen to be doing at any given moment. For instance, I started playing Red Dead Redemption recently, and found it to be very compelling and fun. Since I got it after it was off the buy this now or you’re a scumbag list, it’s worthy of my new $20 Review category. Here’s the thing: before I could get spurs-deep in that game, one of my friends mentioned an online game that offers a 14-day trial to fly around the digital galaxies running errands for people to earn their respect. Who can say no to imaginary work for fun? Apparently not me. And so Red Dead takes an extended nap in my home next to its predecessor in abandonment, Mass Effect 3. Sleep well, inanimate princes.

At some point, once I’m distracted by something else relatively new and shiny, I’ll wonder why I thought mining ore to process into materials to sell at my space station was able to hold my attention for so long (long for me, mind you). At that point, I’ll think to write something else for you nearly as pointless as this.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing these games or their creators for their inability to hold my hummingbird-like attention for more than a few days at a time. I’m bashing the grouping of atoms that is me for not making an effort to stick with one time-wasting endeavor until it’s completed. Like taking my writing more seriously. I’m pretty sure you deserve better.

Look, I’ve bared my flaky self to you, but that doesn’t mean we’re involved or obligated. I just wanted you to know why you’re getting my B-game. It’s because that’s what I left on my mental shelf for you when I moved on to my C, D and E games.


“$50 Says Achebeyo asks me who you are”

The business of doing your business

February 19, 2013

***If you were grossed out by the verbose description of my Montreal gas attack, you may want to go make a sandwich or fix your bicycle until this post is over.***

To say that I’ve always been baffled by people’s habits in the bathroom would be a huge understatement of my frustration and confusion in that regard. I was born without a sense of smell (more on that some other time), so it isn’t the various stinks, though I have occasionally encountered what felt like a living, evil presence that stabbeded my eyes and brain with vigor in public restrooms before. I’d hate to think what someone with functioning olfactory receptors would endure in those cases. No, it’s everything else you people do when you aren’t responsible for cleaning up after yourself. Oh, and the time it takes to commit such crimes against cleanliness. I guess if you’re going to befoul a place, make it wrong and long, huh?

This probably has roots in my childhood. Strike that, it definitely has roots in my childhood. Growing up, my brother would compose extensive melodies while on the make, when he wasn’t starting and then finishing the great works of Dr. Seuss. Depending on his mood, you could wind up doing the dance of the near-incontinent outside a (mostly) silent bathroom, or be guided in your rain-dance moves by his musical meanderings. I hated it. I never understood why people need more than a few minutes to get in, release the poisons and get back out. My thought was (and still is), if you need an hour to move the mail, maybe come back in 55 minutes and try again. Others may be waiting (in agony).

Since I’m easily moved to the point of eye-watering gag-reflex at the mere mention of certain natural, but still thoroughly disgusting, bodily functions, I won’t go into mortifying detail, but we’ve all been there. That millisecond of atomic horror as you struggle to wrap your mind around the three most important things in that moment when you witness the travesty someone has left for you in a public restroom: 1) who could live after committing such an atrocity? 2) how can I teleport to another continent immediately; and 3) brain ctrl-alt-del. The horror…it scars you.

Aside from the monochromatic (if you’re lucky) redecorating some folks feel inclined to share with others in the seated arena, there’s the added nightmare of stand-up-stall trolls. I’m not sure who has this kind of time in the bathroom, but often it looks like someone was doing some extensive pruning of the hedges. And unless you’ve got no hands (or some horrible disfigurement of The Nethers), which is the only reasonable excuse for this next injustice, men have the ability to AIM. I shouldn’t need inflatable raft-shoes to safely stand and deliver.

I guess the point of all of this is to point out that, yes, we all have disgusting fluids, solids and semi-solids that frequently need to exit these inefficient bodies. However, if you don’t think your spouse, significant other, roommate or parents would appreciate the defiling you so readily share with the masses of public restroom visitors, don’t defile. You never know when that plate of camarones a la diabla is going to come calling on the bullet train, and you don’t want to have to call in a hazmat team to prep your stall. Oh, and if you need more than a few minutes to do the do, two words: psyllium fiber.

Song of the Lazy

February 16, 2013

In the course of my soul-cramping day job, I’ve actually been what amounts to busy for me. I say amounts to because I’m not one of those burly lads out building structures for people like me to complain about having to work in, or using non-sentient machinery to gleefully tear those same structures back down when someone with more money wants them gone. Nope. I sit at a desk, slapping a keyboard all day like a barely-literate primate (no offense to literate primates). Still, what I do has some merit, trust me. But with the level of activity I’ve been pressed into by the need to pay bills and buy crap I’ll stop using in a week or two (I’m currently in semi-hostile negotiations with Achebeyo on the potential purchase of an expensive microscope), I haven’t had time to trek through my gooey grey matter to see if anything worthy of sharing grabs me by the satchel.

Writing about not having anything to write about is still writing, if a bit trite. I’ve got a few $20 reviews coming up for games and movies most of you have either already made your decisions on, or simply don’t give two ragged rat’s innards about, but those aren’t quite ready yet. I’ve got tales of my childhood attempts to accidentally end my own life early, but I need to confer with my childhood friends who now read this blog to ensure I get everything as incorrect as I can so as to shine the best possible light on me…you know, the one that makes me look like an intelligent moron. It’ll happen.

With the impending trip to Curaçao, I’ll likely have some cautionary tales about what not to do when traveling with someone who’s had about enough of your sarcastic crap to last two lifetimes, as well as some pictures that try to establish a serene façade on what is really me making Achebeyo mad at least once per trip. I’m learning, if slowly.

Oh, and stick around to see if my plans to dive with great white sharks this year pans out. If I haven’t already shared this go here to see a video I shot and edited hastily of one of my favorite dives: The Hyde. Some of the best parts of this dive show up around the 2:13 mark, and then again in greater numbers at the 5:42 mark.

I’m not sure how appropriate it is for a mostly faceless entity writing here to address his (hopefully) growing readerherd, but I’d like to thank everyone who stops by to see what kind of nonsense I’m serving up each week. The bowel-clenching stress of finding something to keep you around and sharing this so that I can one day struggle to survive doing this for a pittance is worth it when I frantically check my stats every ten minutes and see that someone new has been lured in.

On the offensive

February 8, 2013

Did I ever tell you about the time I made a French Canadian kid cry?

Montreal is a beautiful city with so much to do that you’d be hard pressed to experience it all in a brief tag-along visit with Achebeyo while she attends a conference. That is, if you were the one dating her and not me. But that would probably negate all of my other Achebeyo stories, so let’s just move on.

With so much to see and do, and with Achebeyo stuck in meetings for days on end, her sister and I ventured out into the city to explore. We expected to have more to do than time to do it all in, but we neglected to factor in my lack of desire to linger in any one place for more time than it takes to snap a few photos and make the appropriate appreciation noises and motions with my face. Once upon a time, I would spend hours watching a capybara drop deuces in an indoor canal system, but not these days. With the sole exception of The Underground, which I could spend days in just pretending to live in a post-apocalyptic mole-town, Achebeyo’s sister and I managed to see most everything there was to see for tourists, including someone expelling processed fluids against a building, and an insane woman who chased us toward the expensive restaurant district before deciding bald, crazy-eyed tourists might not like being pursued longer than a block or two.

We visited a gorgeous botanical garden with both Chinese and Japanese gardens; we rode to the top of a massive Olympic monolith and ordered $15 bottles of water before descending again; we explored a wonderful indoor multi-ecosystem zoo with Golden Tamarinds and deucing capybaras; and we visited an amusement park where we watched a 3-D Bob l’Eponge video adventure. It was a perfect day, but we reduced the amount of things we could do in that city as tourists significantly in just six hours. That doesn’t mean we lacked for amusement.

Once we had explored most of Montreal within a 2-mile radius of our hotel, Achebeyo’s sister and I decided we would venture down the docks and see what there was to entertain us there. We had previously had lunch in The Underground, so we were entering the gastrocolic reflex zone by then. Let me deviate for a moment to gross you out a bit. When I’m on trips like this, I tend to get what I refer to as “travel bowels”, meaning if you were waiting on the McDuck intestinal train during those times, you’d better reschedule for a few days after the trip. For some reason, my body chose the docks as the time to let me know what was in store for me once the train finally left the station.

There were many stores and outdoor vendors along the docks, thankfully, and we casually perused a few as we made our way down the walk. At some point, I indicated to Achebeyo’s sister that she might want to take up a position a few yards ahead of me so as to avoid the tooth-blackening, eye-gouging invisible pain that was about to be unleashed. She happily complied, and I relieved some (thankfully) non-material pressure building in my innards. We continued on as if nobody had just rendered a portion of the docks unnavigable. As we passed a family of three, nodding politely to the parents and their son, we smirked at the thought that they might have a moment of stinky confusion as they entered the hazard zone. We weren’t emotionally prepared for the actual results.

As the family was enveloped by the invisible cloud of foul, the son, leading the way with his youthful mouth wide open in wonder at the spectacle unfolding before him on the docks, inhaled a lungful of good old American stink, and promptly (and quite loudly, I might add) gag-gasped his dismay. This was our cue to either collapse in helpless laughter, or dart ninja-like into a nearby vendor’s store. We opted for a combination of the two, peeking out only to ensure the way was “clear” before trying to hide our tear-stained, beet-red faces from anyone who might have encountered the cloud of doom. We escaped without retribution, but I feared that at any moment we might be stopped as malodorous miscreants on our way off the docks. Thankfully, nobody but the family of (weeping) three had been unfortunate enough to endure the attack of my intestines.

While I’m not proud of what happened that day, I still think back to that incident during times of emotional distress, and manage to turn most of my frowns into shameful smiles. Oh, and I’d gladly go back to Montreal to see more of that beautiful city…if they’ll let me back in.

Blips on your Friday radar

February 1, 2013

In lieu of something substantial this week, I thought I’d stream some nonsense across this page and see what stays with you. For instance, it’s apparently very annoying to your co-workers if you sing the gibberish beginning of that Kid Rock song over and over. Now you’ve got another weapon in your pestering arsenal.

Have you ever noticed how the word arsenal starts with the word arse?

Since my game reviews tend to come only after everyone else has already tossed the game into the local trade-in store’s greasy pre-molested bin, and/or soulless superstore chains put them on sale for less than half their original price, I think I’ll start calling my posts $20 Reviews. Either that, or the much longer title I know I’m late to the party, but what’s the rush when you’re playing games the big companies convince you to get at midnight on release day because they know you have no life. They’ve both got their appeal.

If you haven’t noticed, I tend to try my best not to cast aspersions on creative people in a caffeinated, cheese-puffed rage that channels all of my pent up frustrations at never having created anything similar and focuses it like a maladjusted, anti-social laser on processes I can’t possibly understand. While I will point out features and functionality in games that might not resonate with me, it’s always with the knowledge that if my life depended on coding a pixel that moves to touch another pixel, you’d be spared these rambling posts for the rest of your own lives.

Along those same lines, I’ve long abandoned the tendency to wonder publicly if my soul was stolen or damaged by any given film or television project that I don’t personally appreciate. When you work in that industry, even at the lower levels where I lurk, you see the hard work and dedication everyone involved puts into every project. Spend a couple of 60-hr weeks on a set getting paid to pretend, then see how you feel when some basement-bachelor gastropod posts a foaming-at-the-mouth review of the work you just put in. My guess is, you’d feel like Ewe Boll and want to challenge these angst-ridden bile-bags to a publicized boxing match. Watch the movie Heckler on Netflix and see what you look like to the creative world when you bash people who have the stones to put themselves and their work up for the world to see without the veil of protective anonymity the Internet allows. It’s kind of fun to watch some smart-mouthed joystick jockeys get their posteriors handed to them by the filmmaker they blasted in their reviews.

Achebeyo and I are headed to Curaçao soon, if she doesn’t murder me in my sleep over a bag of mouth-destroying chips. Note to anyone still paying attention: never snarkily state your preference for roasted fecal-flakes over the product that was lovingly bought for you as a snack-surprise. If I survive until then, the Curaçao trip should provide some excellent stories and some beautiful dives that I can share with those of you still putting up with my nonsense.

If you love a good, quirky-fun story that also incorporates some elements of action and adventure movies, give Seven Psychopaths a try. The ensemble cast does a great job of playing their roles as average, everyday psychopaths, and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a performance by either Christopher Walken (whom I admire greatly) or Sam Rockwell (one of my all-time favorite actors) more. Of course, Woody Harrelson and Colin Farrell deliver excellent performances that will make you wonder how you thought you knew their respective acting ranges. It’s the kind of movie that is poking fun at itself, while telling a few darker stories within the larger one. And if you don’t like it, do the honorable thing and challenge Martin McDonagh to a public fistfight…or, you know, write, direct, produce and film something comparable and see what kind of reviews you can get.

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