Monday, March 27, 2006

Like Summer Camp. Only Not.

My Stone Cup routine usually breaks down like this:

I go in, get a latte or some chi and then sit down and read for a bit. Sometimes I'll strike up a conversation with someone, but most of the time I keep to myself and bury my face in Dostoevsky's ravings or Shakespeare's or some other pretentious crap. At some point I ether get drowsy or my mind starts to wonder, so I give it up and bust out Ye Ol' Powerbook o' Well...Er...Power. (Yeah, that's what I named it...just now.) I either update this thing or fool around with Ableton for a bit, finish my beverage, then pack up and leave. But today, I think I'm gona try something a bit different. I think I'm going to go back to the book after this encounter with technology.

But first, a bit of my own ravings.

See, I have become the thing that so many wise and foresighted people have feared. I am a slave to technology. I spend too much time on my computer, in front of the TV, in this digital space. My will is broken. I have little shame in saying it, because...well, I guess it's just the nature of addiction. It's everywhere, and I can't get away from it. Laptops, iPods, DVDs. Fuck, I heard the words, “You can read more about it on our blog,” on NBC Nightly News. I hate that fucking word! You cannot get away from it. Having a portable computer makes it even harder. I don't read as much as I should. I hardly read before I go to bed any more. But I am checking My(PatheticAndEmo)space , Face(SlightlyLessPatheticYetEquallyEmo)Book, and at least 3 message boards. What's wrong here? When the fuck did this happen?

When I was 11, that’s when. The Fuller's down the street had a Nintendo, and I wanted one too. My parents caved in when I was 11 and got one. Oh, the fucking technology! Dad always said, and still says, that technology is a tool. They are used for work and not for play. Bullshit! I say, they're for both. Don't get me wrong. Video games worked wonders for me. I have hand-eye coordination you gota see to believe. I attribute most of my "exponential learning curve" Rhys once mentioned video games. Digital puzzles if you ask me. And best of all, I can rub it in your face when I pound you into the ground with ANY character in SF2. Yeah, anybody. I always was good at them, and I imagine I will be good at them until I grow up or run out of quarters...whichever comes first. I still feel like I am misusing it most of the time. Thanks, Dad.

The best (and worst) part about World of Warcraft/Warcrack/Warsmack/DaddyNeedsHisFix is the social element. Any game that lacks a social element is not a game, it's a puzzle. Sure, puzzles can be social, but they don’t require it. Don’t give me that shit about single-player games. They’re no fun without your friends there to cheer you on. Example: Metal Gear Solid – Jesse – Shane’s House – 1998 - ‘nuff said. The real danger of the WoW rests in your ability to be social without being social. As in, "Sorry I can't go drinking with you, Rhys. I have a scheduled raid tonight with my guild." I have friends in the game, much as I have friends from the BT-Network and in this "real world." It's weird and a bit creepy, sure, and though their bodies are absent to my senses, these are real people I’m talking about and no less worthy of my time than anyone else.

WoW is like summer camp. Everyone is drawn together in a common interest. Your world becomes compressed. With the formality of establishing common ground out of the way, you wind up in the company of certain people and you learn about each other and become friends. But everything begins with that thing you have in common. As different as you are, that one thing brings you together. That one thing is everything.

Then you are forced to go home, and spend the next 9 months looking forward to summer so you can see your friends again. That's what WoW is like. That's what Daria's NYE-E party is like. That's what Edward's is like. That's spring break trips to Magic Wok. That's Katelin and Erin coming to visit. It's Cofer passing through town. It's BT in Atlanta with Konrad.
It's people drawn together in a common interest and they are thrown together, tossed around a bit, and come out friends. For us, that one thing has long since faded to memory, but enough of it is still there to keep us together. That makes us truly blessed. That's the stuff that fascinates me and I look for it constantly. Thus the video games.

My computer, and technology in general, is meant to be a supportive crutch to make life easier. But for me, I think it's a crutch that props up my shyness most and not my work. It allows me to meet people with little risk, knowing the one thing we have in common is a mutual interest in something virtual. Honestly, I have some idea what is at risk and I think about it perhaps too much. (I imagine it has something to do with rejection. Cause for future musings or dead horse. You be the judge.) Technology is a thing that is supposed to help you, but in my case I fear I've let it hold me back. I love reading and I don’t do it nearly enough these days and I'm all about being social. That's why I joined the rowing team. That's why I did 100R. Things that bring people together and require them to work together are the things that build friendships. It's what we had and no longer it. It’s the reason I find it so hard to get my ass away from this computer and go looking for that on thing in strangers.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Calling In All Favors.

Remember that mixer I got you for your birthday? Remember how much you treasure it still? Jesse, if you love me, or ever loved me at all, you will buy me this. That is all.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Last Week and Stuff in Peanut Armour

Was sick for 5 days of my spring break, which sucked ass. Missed Cara's party 'cause of it (Sorry baby. I makes it up to you, I swears it, precious!). Was confined to the house by overweening parents and allowed outside only for the purpose of walking the dog. Watched a lot of TV. Saddened by politics. Didn't care some dude with a difficult name to pronounce, let alone spell, died in his prison cell in Holland. Slept a lot. Ate my first home-cooked meals in months. Read nothing. Spent a lot of time with the folks. Formulated the middle, ending, and characters of my short story for creative writing. Didn't write a word of it down. (It's all up here, baby. *clunk clunk*) Ate Magic Wok on my last day in town, and earned a new nickname from Betty: "Professor."

Dad let it slip that I decided not to teach. Better was maaaaaaaaad at me. She's afraid I'm going into theatre like some of you dumb fuckers. "Teachers earn the highest respect in my country," she said. I almost said, "This ain't China," but decided to just smile and nod, like we always do with her. Yes, Betty, we're good kids. A lot more human than you would like us to believe, but yeah, we're good kids...when we're sober.

I'm about to start writing my 4 page paper that's due tomorrow. It's going to be about Shakespeare's Richard II. I like it for a buncha reasons. I remember Rhys talking about Death of a Salesman and how you read it over and over again and keep finding more and more layers and shit. Kinda cool to look at something and see stuff that's buried way down in there. Richard II is about history, and people, and politics, powerlessness and blah blah blah. I should start on the paper now, wound up as I am...

So fuck it. I'm gone, bitches.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Fuck Me, Kate - A Play in 69 Acts.

There are good days and then there are bad days. Friday and Saturday were good days. Sunday was a bad day, only because of the hangover. (Rhys, thanks again for lunch. I owe you one...and that case of beer. Don't think I've forgotten.) But back to the good stuff.

My old friend Kate came down from New Hampshire with he boyfriend, Justin. Sort of a relationship test drive, I guess. You guys probably never met her, but we were on the rowing team together and she was the only female member of the "Chuck's Fantastically Awesome Drinking Team And Shit." Of the 4 members of the team, she and I were certainly the most mature. Mike has moved to Nashville and hasn't been able to carry one an intelligible conversation with me since he left. Andy...well, when his unit got called to Iraq, he transferred to UTK so he wouldn’t have to fuck a bunch of him. Yeah, I'm still in touch with quite a few (mostly former) members of the rowing team, but Kate is the only one who was old enough to be my drinking buddy on a regular basis.

I'm gona get all Barker on you guys here, but I've got a really good excuse for calling Kate my "sister," even if it is a little roundabout. See, unlike Barker, our mutual affection didn't come as the result of a strikeout. (Damn, that sounds harsh, but has some truth to it. Sorry buddy. I wish you many fat and happy children with the new bride. Put in two for ol’ me.) If anything it was pretty much agreed from early on that we were sort of into each other and all I had to do was make a move. Hell even something as stinkerific as "Hey, wana make out?" would have done the trick. And here comes my goodly excuse: I cared too much about her to subject her to my company. Ok, quit looking at me like that. It isn’t some idiotic plea for sympathy. It’s the God’s truth in the name of the father, amen. And in my mind though, I believe it was the absolute best decision I've ever made.

Here's the thing, and I think I've stated it previously but I feel it's worthy of repetition - after Amber I've had a serious problem with trust. No, not sharing my overly squishy emotions with the women folk. Hell, I'm an asshole because I have the bad habit of being brutally honest with complete strangers and ladies get no special treatment there. I don't trust myself, see. That's the problem. I passed up what could have been a great relationship with Kate because I could not be trusted to do the right thing as turned around as Amber left me. Head up my ass? Perhaps. But…

Remember Christina? I think that entire episode speaks for itself. If you were around, you get the idea. So if you hear me speak bitterly about her, you have to realize that I hold no animosity towards her at all. I can cop to it. It's all redirected anger at myself. See, I could hook up with her because I didn't care very much about her. Our entire time together nothing grew, which is why I had no qualms dumping her on Valentine's Day and felt like such an asshole about it later. Ah, guilt! It's also why I kind of subconsciously sabotaged any chance I had with Jen. I don't think I can take being with someone I don't care about, no matter how much I’d like to fuck them. And at the same time, am terrified as hell of screwing over someone I do care about. So, this is why I've been content in being single for what...3 maybe 4 years now? Hell I can’t even keep track any more.

But all this is why I was so pleased to have Kate back for two days. I'll never forget the night before she left, when we were on the stairway to her Lockmiller apartment and she was crying like a baby. She told me how lonely she was and how she was afraid she would never find someone. It sort of speaks to the loneliness I’m feeling now, but for her it was kind of different. It always is different for other people. To see how happy Justin makes her was an overwhelming joy for me. It really was great. It says there’s hope for me, but most of all it was a confirmation that I was correct in that original assumption that it was best to deny us our immediate gratification for the greater reward of an enduring friendship. And let's face it, I love being right.