Tag Archives: madman

Tell me…

I’m back, people!

Click here and click play. It’s part of a larger BBC report that I heard during work last week. With your permission, I’d like to break it down:

“The idea of self-improvement is now very much part of the culture. We take it for granted that the self is paramount, and that we need to feel good about ourselves. But is this changing our personalities?”

“Professor Jean Twenge from San Diego State University in California has already coined the phrase, “Generation Me”, describing the growing number of people who take it for granted that the self comes first. And she’s less than flattering abut the downsides of this fundamental cultural shift.

Professor Twenge herself:

“There’s a very big percentage increase in college students who said they thought they were above average in their drive to achieve. There’s also a big increase in those who thought they were above average in their leadership ability, also in their intellectual self-confidence and social self-confidence.” 

“Scores were either down or unchanged over the years. So, that suggests that actual ability hasn’t changed or has maybe even gone down some at the same time that more students believe that they are above average in things like academic ability, Math ability, and so on.”

I wrote in 2010:

“Is it better to have happy children who don’t develop skills, simply because they’re not forced to? Is a child being comfortable (not just safe, but comfortable) more important than what, or if, they learn? Is it all right to have children graduating high school and even college with no real skills, as long as they feel good about themselves?”

Professor Twenge again:

“Our culture used to encourage… modesty, and humility, and not bragging about yourself, and it was considered a bad thing to be seen as conceited or full of yourself.”

“What’s really become prevalent over the last few decades is instead the idea that you should be self-confident at all times. And in fact that being highly self-confident, loving yourself, believing in yourself, is the key to success. The interesting thing about that belief is that it’s widely held, it’s very deeply held, and it’s also untrue.”

Me, 2006:

Throughout my entire life, I remember slogans and propaganda “you are special” “you are unique” “the power of positive thinking.” And yet, at the same time my generation has been bombarded, possibly more than ever before, with influences of media which paint an absurdly inaccurate picture of life that will be: our future.

Me, 2008:

To become ideal humans… we need to be hurt. 

Professor Twenge:

 “Big research review came out a few years ago on self-esteem and whether it actually leads to good outcomes. And it turns out, it doesn’t. Self esteem doesn’t really lead to success…”
“It doesn’t necessarily hurt, but it doesn’t really help, either.  So, that suggests that this idea we have of increasing self-esteem and positive self-views throughout the culture has had the effect of, younger generations in particular, thinking very highly of themselves but it has not actually improved performance.”
Me, 2006:

I feel like I’m in a coffee shop, comfortable, warm, secure, and happy. Across the street, I see the other people in my life playing on the damn playground outside McDonald’s. I’m happy with my coffee, and I enjoy it quite a bit…but I still want to be with my friends. I don’t feel bad for being across the street, or like I can’t hang with my friends simply because they wanna have their Happy Meals. I’d just like someone to drink some coffee with me, ya know? I’m sick, tired, and depressed that it feels like I’m alone and I just can’t be silly and play at McDonald’s.

Me, 2010
We are sending, every year, more and more young people out into the world with the mindset of “I know my rights” and nothing else. They have not been punished, they have never been firmly told to follow a rule, they have never been expected to hold up a responsibility. What happens, then, when those formative years are lost, when the brain does not develop correctly, and the now-adults are unaware of what life will turn into? The word is stagnation. Without anyone there to cater to their every whim, these man-children will do one of two things: find someone or something that will, or simply complain. Without the knowledge and ability to properly uphold a responsibility, these children have never stopped being children, and now we are treated to a generation of workers that now feels that they need to be thanked and lauded simply for coming to work on time.

Professor Twenge on those who score high in Narcissism:

“They put themselves first in every way. So they have a very positive self-view, they do have very high self-esteem, but they take it a step further. It’s not just that they feel good about themselves, it’s that they feel GREAT and they feel better than other people. And they feel so much better than other people that other people don’t matter to them much, except for what they can do for them…”

“They tend to lack empathy, they have a hard time taking someone else’s perspective, they don’t work well in groups, they have problems, long-term especially, in relationships, and they tend to be aggressive when other people insult them or reject them. So, they think very highly of themselves but not all that highly of other people.”

Me, 2006:

-A real successful person does not need to talk about themselves, other people will talk for them.

-What is better: a socially comfortable life with a weak, uncertain individual core

OR

An individually strong life with a socially unfomfortable situation.

Should you care more what other people think of you, or what you think of yourself?

Me, 2010:

We have placed the “good feeling” of our students over the education they come to school to obtain in the hopes that, one treated like demigods, they will lower themselves to learn. For anyone who supports this approach, I will only tell you one thing: a demigod will never think that it needs to learn. When someone is placed upon such a pedestal and given the feeling that there is nothing wrong with them, the idea of getting an education is counterintuitive.

Professor Twenge on the Narcisissm Personality Inventory from 1982-2009:
“We found that college students are now more likely to describe themselves in narcissistic terms. Scores have increased over time.”
“Other researchers have looked at this question… all of which point in the direction of there being a generational increase in narcissistic personality traits.”
 Me, 2010:

This is just a symptom of a larger problem: the world is becoming increasingly self-focused, to the point where a basic conversation cannot take place in most situations. Additionally, the civilized world is becoming vastly anti-intellectual and anti-exceptional, an easy step to make from the current self-deification trend. When one is the God of their own universe, one could ask, there can be no one better.

Me, 2011:

This is just a symptom of a larger problem: self-deification. When one is the God of their own universe, one could ask, there can be no one better. When the smallest hardship happens in the lives of these demi-Gods, it is inflated to ridiculous proportions and the blame is usually laid at the feet of some sort of trickster demon.

More can be read here. I have to tell you, when I heard this at work, I was thankfully alone at the time. I rubbed those words like a soothing balm all over my body: now I have scientific proof that everything I was saying and what I was so worried about with my generation was right. I was right. After nearly a decade of wondering what was wrong with me, it’s a feeling that simply can’t be explained. If I wasn’t a married man, I’d say it was the best feeling I’d ever experienced, bar none.

Of course, this also draws into fine relief just how exactly I was able to see these trends and these issues before so many others did. How? Because I was there. In many ways, I still am a very self-absorbed, narcissistic person. What can I say, I am a product of my generation. Thankfully, I have a wonderful wife and family who are trying to help me through it, and in the mean time I can do all I can to use my failings and my experiences to try to make sure this horror is not repeated for as long as I live… I hope.

And finally, for all the people who said I was too angry, too arrogant, or just wanking and didn’t know what I was talking about, or for the assistant school administrator who said I was being “juvenile” and that this was no way to be an “agent of change,” for everyone who swore up and down that I had the problem and that was wrong and that was in the wrong place…

I WAS RIGHT!

 

 Hey, like I said, I’m still a work in progress. Allow me one last bit of narcissism, eh?

Nope, I’m STILL not done!

In this incarnation, the Doctor is more of an action-oriented individual who tends to use a lot of techno-babble and unspecified “science-y” things to save the day. He dresses a bit out of style, but still in the fringe of modern fashion. He’s very British looking, yet exudes a sort of charm beloved by the current zeitgeist. He’s joined by a sexy vamp of a companion who seems a little ditzy, but usually turns out to be some kind of help. There’s a bit of tension between the Doctor and this companion and, when the companion winds up marrying one of the sidekick characters, the Doctor throws a bit of a sulk and wanders off alone. Finally, there’s a character the Doctor works with from time to time who doesn’t seem to share his view of the universe: this character prefers to speak with a gun as opposed to intellect, often providing a foil for the Doctor’s idealism and promising moments of high action fighting this week’s monster.


Now, you tell me: am I describing Jon Pertwee’s run, or Matt Smith’s?

Up to Speed

So far, in my hunt for permanent employment, I have been not contacted by, or turned down outright, for jobs at:

-A main tobacco distribution company
-A dinosaur museum
-2 colleges
-A sheep supply store
-3 staffing agencies
-over 20 school districts, both public and parochial, some for the same position two years in a row
-A casino
-2 municipalities
-2 county governments
-2 health firms
-A pet supply warehouse
-A furniture warehouse
-A shipping supply company (4 times!)
-A local TV station
-An organic food co-op
-A hospital
-McDonald’s
-Hardee’s
-Taco Bell
-2 insurance companies
-A Catholic parish
-A housing development authority
-At least 10 vague office staff positions at companies I can’t even Google to find out what they do
-A cheese store
-2 corporate educator positions at companies
-Overnight Educator position with severely at-risk youth
and, finally
-Around 15 fiction publishers, regarding all of the work available on my website.

If you’re curious, these are the jobs I have recently turned down:

-Temping at a call center
-Working one day a week as a porter/set-up for the local farmer’s market
-Temping at a marina (I took a temp job at the Marina next door for personal reasons)
-Temping at a call center
-A commissions-only job selling webpage creation and advertising to local businesses
-A job selling frozen treats and entrees door-to-door that would swiftly be moving to a more commissions based approach
and
-Temping at a call center.

For those of you still reading, I’ll give you these extra little nuggets:

-I’m a certified teacher, with a certificate of excellence for scoring high on the statewide content test for teachers
-I’m a certified food handler who was running a kitchen by himself at 16
-I have four acting awards
-I have six Varsity letters
-I have an IQ that has been measured in the upper 140s, and that’s when I wasn’t trying.
-I type 90 wpm, am familiar with the entire Microsoft Office suite, html, css, Mac programs, and the Adobe line of media programs
-I have a 52″ chest and can leg press about 500 pounds
-I’ve managed to sell places for people to put their 20,000-1/2 million dollar boats for three years, despite never being on the lake in a boat in my entire life.

And so it goes.

Steven Moffat re-writes the first episode of Doctor Who

(We open to an impossibly dark shot of a junkyard. The only light is blue in color. A policeman walks by the junkyard, but the camera lets him go and holds on a picture of a police box in the junkyard. A scary chord rumbles underneath as the policeman comes back and scratches his head.)

POLICE: Goodness! There’s a police box in a junkyard! That’s a bit unsettling, as police boxes don’t usually go in junkyards. However, it’s innocuous that I really don’t pay it too much of a mind, but still… it COULD be something spooky.

(a young girl is seen walking up to the police box and entering.)

POLICE: Blimey! A small girl in a junkyard! That must be REALLY scary because little girls aren’t usually in junkyards! And girls don’t usually go into police boxes! And little girls aren’t usually out at night, because night is dark and scary and this little girl, by the virtue of being a little girl, is immediately labeled as sweet and innocent with no unnecessary exposition cluttering up the way. This is all very unsettling, isn’t it?

(a beat.)

It is, because it’s something that looks normal, like a small girl or a police box, but it’s in a place that it normally shouldn’t be. Ordinary objects are frightening when they’re not where they are supposed to be… and yet for some reason I can’t bring myself to care. It’s almost as if my mind is being clouded by some kind of perception filter, which just makes it all the more spooky. Imagine that, spooky things hiding in plain sight, but the people don’t know it. Isn’t that just chilling?

(another beat.)

Well, back home to the husband. Because there are gay people, you know. In the world. In England. In the 1960s. Gay people exist.

(he toddles off as we see a car pull into the junkyard, muttering something about seeing a car with two schoolteachers in it pulling into a junkyard this late at night being very unsettling, because it’s normal things in a setting that is not. The two teachers get out, a man willow-thin and a bit slack-jawed, and a woman who is strikingly beautiful with her face in a permanent pout.)

MAN: I don’t understand. This is the address listed at the school… but it’s a junkyard! That is very unsettling, because little girls aren’t supposed to live in junkyards!

WOMAN: (pouting and hitching up her micro-mini) You’d think the school would have researched that bit. Makes the whole thing seem like a bit out of Scooby-Doo.

MAN: Ha ha! Scooby Doo exists! That’s why I love you, Barbara. Not only are you gorgeous, but your sour-faced, attention-hungry demeanor is simply irresistible.

BARBARA: That was a song from the 80s.

MAN: Isn’t pop culture keen?

(We see the little girl poke her head out of of the police box and freeze with fright.)

BARBARA: There she is, Ian! Go get her, I can’t run in this skirt without us losing family-friendly certification!

GIRL: You shouldn’t be here! Go away!

IAN: She’s saying something cryptic, Barbara! Isn’t that unsettling? I mean, she’s a girl… in a junkyard… and she’s saying cryptic things! Doesn’t that give you goosebumps!

BARBARA: More than YOU do. Oh, if only that a man I once met as a little girl would show up, still age-appropriate, and whisk me away to a world of wonder and enchantment!

IAN: What?

BARBARA: Nothing. Now go do my bidding.

IAN: Will you love me if I do?

BARBARA: Maybe.

IAN: Right-o!

(He approaches the little girl in the police box)

GIRL: Stop! I’m little and innocent and defenseless but also a super-special sparkly little diamond that will one day play a key part in deciding the fate of the universe!

BARBARA: So what? So am I.

ROSE TYLER: (making a cameo) and so am I.

DONNA NOBLE (cameo) and so am I.

GIRL: How did you all get here?

ROSE TYLER: Time travel.

GIRL: But…

ROSE TYLER: TIME TRAVEL.

DONNA NOBLE: Look, if we got into a long, involved discussion about the science and wonder of being able to travel in time and space, we’d lose the Ritalin-fueled audience who want more explosions. So let’s just say things went wobble-bobble and move on.

GIRL: Oh… OK.

IAN: What is going on here? I’m completely confused.

BARBARA: Shut up, Ian.

IAN: Okay.

GIRL: You shouldn’t have come here. He will find you.

IAN: Oooh, more cryptic language!

GIRL: I will keep shouting tailor-made “next week” trailer one-liners until you go away! One of you will soon perish! This is the day you lose everything! I am your father! Soylent Green is people!

(a skinny, bandy-legged young man swaggers out from behind the Police Box, eating an apple and wearing a pith helmet along with a tweed jacket and plain trousers. He is wearing a bolo tie and brothel-creeper shoes in a calculated way to look anachronistic but still marketable.)

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: Well now, what’s all this then?

GIRL: GRANDFATHER!!!

(the music swells out of nowhere to a schmaltzy chord as the GIRL rushes to the man, genuflecting down to one knee and kissing his hand. The man, in response, seems cool as a cucumber.)

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: I think I might not like apples. You see, that’s a strange thing for a man to say instead of ‘hello,’ because I’m an alien and I do strange things. It would also be strange if I didn’t like apples, wouldn’t it?

BARBARA: I don’t like apples.

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: You don’t like anything that isn’t about you.

BARBARA: Kiss me.

(she flings herself at the man, planting kisses on his neck as the girl continues to kiss his hand.)

IAN: What is going on? I’m so confused.

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: You could always kiss me, too. Because men like to kiss other men sometimes.

IAN: No, thanks. I may be p-whipped by my bombshell of a fiancee… who is currently trying to undo your shirt… but I’m not submissive enough to kiss you. The audience wouldn’t be able to identify with me, then.

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: The what?

BARBARA: Don’t listen to him. Kiss me.

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: No.

BARBARA: Why not?

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: Because I’m the Christ figure of this pantomime, and therefore have to keep pure.

BARABRA: But… I’ve known you since I was a little girl.

GIRL: Me, too!

BARBARA: You’re everything I ever wanted.

GIRL: Me, too!

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: And in no way is that creepy!

IAN: Hey, man, that’s my fiancee!

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: Don’t worry, I’ve got your back, man. I’ll be sure to break her confidence and love of me more and more over the next few years, so that she’s even more of an emotional wreck than when I left her as a child, which lead to therapy and a lonely childhood… until her own daughter goes back in time to be her best friend, of course…

IAN: What are you talking about? Just who are you, anyway?

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: Me? Why…

(ridiculous crane shot and another histrionic music swell)

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: THE DOCTOR!

(Heavenly choir kicks in, and the doors to the police box open, bathing him in bright light.)

IAN: Who?

(both of the girls laugh, IAN still looks confused.)

SKINNY, BANDY-LEGGED YOUNG MAN: Oh, that’s always a good one. Well, shall we be off?

IAN: Off where? I’m so confused.

BARBARA: In his time machine! He’s got a time machine, and it’s so awesome! He can travel in time, and fight monsters, and shoot lasers, and make things blow up!

DOCTOR: And it looks like a police box! Isn’t that COOL?

IAN: Why would that be cool?

DOCTOR: Because I said it was.

IAN: You can’t just say something’s cool and expect me to believe it.

DOCTOR: Yes, I can. I’m…..THE DOCTOR!

(another pose, another chord.)

IAN: I don’t even know who that is.

BARBARA: Shut up, Ian. He’s cool. I knew it when he first wandered into my house as a grown man when I was seven years old.

GIRL: Oh, yeah? Well, I was born in this time machine!

BARBARA: I wear short skirts!

GIRL: I have a cool laser gun!

BARBARA: I can make this face! (pouts)

GIRL: So? I can do this! (smug smile)

DOCTOR: Ian, why don’t I show you my time machine. Seeing it may just change your life… FOREVER. You are about to see something you’ve never seen before, and most people never will see. It will be the most important moment of your life!

(the women keep squabbling, as that’s all their good for, right fellas? And another music sting as they walk inside and find it’s bigger inside than out.)

IAN: Wow!

DOCTOR: That’s it? Just ‘wow?’

IAN: Well, you built it up a lot, there, and I guess it’s cool, but after all the loud music and ridiculous camera tricks and spooky blue lighting I’m sorta… I dunno… desensitized.

DOCTOR: Oh, REALLY? Well, what if I do… THIS!

(he flicks the lights on and off)

IAN: What.

DOCTOR: Aren’t you SCARED?!!!

IAN: A little, yeah, when you first killed the lights…

(the Doctor flips them off and on several more times.)

DOCTOR: Scary, huh? You see, it’s scary because people are often afraid of the dark, because they can’t see. And I’m an alien turning off the lights so it must be REALLY scary!

IAN: Not anymore. You’ve cheapened it a bit.

DOCTOR: Well… what if I turned off ALL the lights at once, and made scary noises, and lit one of those stink bomb things, and…

IAN: It’s just too much, Doctor.

DOCTOR: (in a huff) well, maybe my adventures aren’t for you, then. Maybe you’d like to swanning off with Captain Kirk where they learn social lessons and explore intellectual concepts. You’d like that, wouldn’t you, you NERD!

IAN: Hey! I would think that nerdy people would be the kind you’d like to go jetting around the cosmos with.

DOCTOR: Nope. Only sexy, action type people. I’m the only one allowed to be nerdy in here, which reminds me… it’s been a full ten minutes before I was unmistakably British and befuddled. One moment…

(he walks around the console flicking switches)

tea and crumpets jammie dodgers flabbergasted hockety-pockety-wockety-wack, God Save the Queen and Bob’s Your Uncle! There we go! Now, let’s go Kill Hitler!

IAN: We’re going to kill Hitler?!

DOCTOR: Of course no! But it SOUNDS cool, doesn’t it?

IAN: Well, now it doesn’t.

DOCTOR: NERD!

(the two girls bust into the ship, still arguing.)

GIRL: I’m a little girl with no discernible father figure who dotes on the Doctor inappropriately!

BARBARA: So am I! Plus, I’ve seen him NAKED!

IAN: Come now, ladies! Barbara, Susan, stop acting like that!

GIRL: Susan? My name’s not actually Susan. That was just the name I used around all you Earthlings. My real name is Waterfall Lake Moffat Seventeen Dementia Raven Way Operetta. I know the Grandfather’s real name, too, and I love to hold it over his head. I also know how to fly the ship better than he does, how to travel in time better than he does, how to easily defeat his toughest enemies, and everyone in the universe thinks I’m a sex object.

DOCTOR: Hush now… Susan. I’m the star of the show, here!

SUSAN: You just keep telling yourself that.

BARBARA: So, where will you be taking my beleaguered, but saintly suffering fiancee and my avaricious, selfish, lusciously leggy body? Somewhere where we can imply sex is happening on a children’s TV show, I hope?

DOCTOR: We’re heading to the planet Sport.

IAN: Sport?

DOCTOR: Yes. You see, it sounds odd enough but not too odd, because that would confuse people. The planet Sport is experience some trouble with its gravitational pull, something I will be able to fix at the eleventh hour with a boingo-woingo switch after about 30 minutes of faffing about, running places, and hammy, melodramatic speeches from everyone and anyone about how great I am. It will conclude with a pew-pew laser shoot out with some vaguely defined enemy that takes advantage of a fundamental human fear or feeling of complacency (like hiding behind the sofa when one is scared) wherein I will slaughter all the true bads and save all the true goods while anyone ambiguous will get caught in the crossfire. We will then paradoxically reinforce my pacifist Messiah characterization even while I’m standing over the charred bodies of my enemies. Oh, and all of you will die at least once, including myself, but as long as I’ve got my un-deadener in my pocket we’ll all be fine and no one has to worry too much. After all, we’re all too pretty to die for longer than a few episodes.

(each of the characters takes a moment to pose dramatically into the camera showing that they are, indeed, sexy)

BARBARA: (squeezing tears past her pout) But…Doctor… we’ll… DIE?!

(big music sting and everything is awash in blue light)

DOCTOR: Not for too long, I promise. Besides, you two still need to have a child, a child that will grow up to be… SUSAN!

(big music sting)

DOCTOR: But then SUSAN will DIE!

(big music sting)

DOCTOR: And then I will DIE!

(big music sting)

DOCTOR: But I’ll get better.

(happy music tinkle)

DOCTOR: So, everything’s fine, really.

IAN: But… you didn’t say Susan would come back.

SUSAN: Don’t worry, nerd. I get a big, weepy send-off… but, because of time travel, it actually happens when no-one knows who I am, so we merely have to just be TOLD how sad it is instead of building up my character.

IAN: Kind of like how you can do everything the Doctor can, but with more smugness and sass?

SUSAN: Exactly.

IAN: How does the ship work, then?

BARBARA: Oh, shut up, you nerd! Who cares? It’s COOL!

DOCTOR: Let’s just say it goes spit-spot-blong through a timey-wimey hoo-hah. That’ll leave more time for explosions and melodrama.

SUSAN: You see, if we’re self-aware and ironic about things, more people will think we’re funny. No one wants to get bummed out and watch a show with MORALS… except you, nerd.

IAN: Oh, well. At least I get to shag my blow-up doll of a fiancee because the Doctor was too pious to deflower her when he had the chance… but there will still be awkward tension of wondering who’s her favorite. Because a time travel show with monsters and aliens needs a love triangle.

BARBARA: I also dream of shagging vampires and werewolves.

IAN: Of course you do. Doctor, am I ever going to get a chance to be redeemed?

DOCTOR: When I feel like it, you’ll get a hollow token like punching Hitler or being some kind of legendary figure, but mostly you’ll just be lead about by the short hairs. But we’re putting far too much exposition into this story! Quick, someone hike up their skirt or get shot! We’ve got adventuring to do!

(he flips a few more switches as BARBARA and SUSAN moon over how “cool” he is)

Now, I would say something like “Allons-y” at this point, but then that would turn me into a blubbering pile of emotions that would be totally gay. Instead, I’m going to yell “Geronimo!” because I’m a macho adventure professor who thinks girls have cooties and is far too busy saving the world and being smug about his own greatness to have any feelings. Basically, I’m like a ten year old playing Jon Pertwee: all lasers and karate without the icky talky bits. GERONIMO!

(the ship begins to make its customary dematerialization noise. BARBARA expounds on how cool it sounds, SUSAN says he’s left the brakes on because she knows better, and IAN is too busy staring at his own emotional-trainwreck wrapped in gorgeous thigh-meat to really notice.)

Poverty Rock Anthem

Sorry, children. Employment hunting and my current employment. You know how it goes. Until then, enjoy another wonderful song parody!

I suppose to properly get the experience, you’d have to listen to the song. Ehh. Here’s an embed.

POVERTY ROCK
YEA
Whoa!!!!
LET’S GO!!

Guess I’m sleeping in my car tonight
Til the repo man knocks on my door
Congressmen gonna make me lose my mind
Makin’ millions; make me pay for more.

I got evicted from my house tonight
I couldn’t pay the rent on time
Even though I’m workin’ overtime,

We just wanna see you!

SUFFER!

*instead of the standard shrieky keyboard noise (if you’ve seen the commercial with the dancing hamsters, you know the noise) we’ll substitute in some auto-tuned noises of change rattling in a styrofoam cup, hacking coughs, maybe a rolling shopping cart or two, filled to the brim with personal affects and pigeon exrcement.

In the streets, poverty, headin to another job, number three
Non stop, hour twenty-three: waiter, bookstore, and delivery.

“Thanks for shopping” I got to say
Got student loans I got to pay
Half black half white, mocha joe
Look for tip, funds are low.

Yo!!
I’m running through temp jobs like drano
I got intelligence, bro, but I don’t let it show
I keep it shut! That’s how to keep cash in my coffer
Minimum wage, no benefits offered.

Hey!!!

Hoping I don’t catch the flu tonight
No insurance for a part-time slob
If I’m mad because my cash is tight
Why don’t I go out and get a good job?

Job creators making bank tonight
While I’m sleeping on a bench in the park
Record profit with no tax in sight

10 year olds in China… Zāoshòu!
Every day they’re sufferin’

(this time, we get a quick flyover to the Beijing area, where the auto-tuned squeaking is replaced by a mishmash of auto-tuned sewing machines, machine presses, and the wails of underpaid workers.)

Shuffling shuffling

(we see the workers, yes, shuffling back to cheap tenement housing, miles away from friends and family. The products roll out, and we zoom back to America.)

Step up fast and be the first to defend your campaign cash
Keep your money, don’t reinvest, now stop!
Spending is bad

More tax cuts for us
Another round
Regulations cut
Don’t mess around
We just wanna see
A dollar sign
Unemployment up
Get on the line!

Get up, come down, no jobs yet, so turn around [3x]
Look for work in other towns
Halliburton’s hiring now!

Go east
Go west
Go north
Go south
Look here
Apply
Door slam
Bye-Bye
No work
Put your hands up to your head, shed a tear

Tear your hair out!
Tear your hair out!
Tear your hair out!

If I sing a happy song tonight
We’ll forget how bout how the country’s screwed up
So we’ll just keep on the sunny side
1930s style is totally retro!

Oh! Oh! Give your life up!

(a guy in the background shouts out “I haven’t seen a dentist in over ten years!”)

Oh! Oh! Sign it over!
Oh!!!Oh!!! Work at Wal-Mart!

Face it!

Twenty-six percent poverty.

Nothing, nothing
Nothing, nothing (Yeah Yeah)
Nothing’s open (Whooo!!!)
Burn diplomas
Keep from freezing
Lost another
Generation.

Workplace Tales (Khan McAfee Singh)

so angry

Proven Security apparently means having your update file run in the background and take up 200,000K of your memory usage, effectively ruining your ability to run any programs. Can’t get a virus if you can’t open anything so, technically, it works!

The worst part of it all? I’m a peon here, so I can’t even shut down the programs in question. Not allowed.
Rage.

Dear EA Sports

When your game’s AI is so broken and cheap that it causes the people playing the game to rage quit and lose over two hours of gameplay… YOU HAVE DONE SOMETHING WRONG.

…#$@%ing 90mph Slider out of nowhere…

Inspired by true thoughts.

Her wedding dress caught a loose nail on the porch. Doesn’t matter, it’s not like she needed it. Hot tears stung in her eyes as she found her way into the living room, where a small envelope sat on the coffee table. In neat handwriting, it simply said “Regina.” Shredding the envelope, she had no idea what to expect.

Dear Regina,

First, I am not sorry for a single thing that will happen today. It is merely what had to happen.
Around the time we first started spending time together, we discovered a snag between your persistant optimism and my grouchy pessimism. Our conversations often went long and hard into the night, covering all sorts of humanity’s little hopes and foibles. It soon became an impasse, with both of us refusing to yield to the other. I maintained the humans are fairly evil little creatures, but you had such stringent hope. I decided one night, before going to bed, that I was going to try one last chance to get you to see things my way. It wouldn’t be easy, and it would take a long, long time, but I figured I could convince you.
You see, I had to break you of that insufferable optimism, destroy your confidence in humanity. I decided the best way to do that would be to have you fall in love with me, and then leave you standing at the altar. Over the past two years I have carefully cultivated a perfect man for you, agreeable, optimistic, everything you wanted to hear and see. I lost twenty pounds, changed my wardrobe, everything. To you, it must have seemed that you were the light of my life. Without this letter, you probably would have continued thinking so. However, I have to tell you that nothing I said, did, or thought for the past two years regarding you was true. You see, you put yourself forward as such an easy template: the upwardly mobile political liberal slightly rebellious girl, that all I had to do was watch a few news shows, listen to a few independent bands, and I had everything working perfectly. In essence, I became your perfect man, and I bolstered your strength in humanity, only to take it to its most vulnerable point and break it.
You’re alone now, and you know now that I have never really loved you as more than a good friend. Hopefully, this has destroyed your faith in humanity to the point where you will be as pessimistic as I, so you can finally understand my side of the argument. Under the bed you will find complete transcripts of every online conversation we had for the past few years, along with letters, emails, and the like. The Weyerhaeuser box basically has the entire study labeled out in detail, if you’d like to look it over. Perhaps it will help you form new opinions.
As for financials, I will keep making payments on his house, paying the bills, etc. It is not my intent to touch the material aspects of your life, only the abstract. Aside from this experiment, your life will be entirely the same, unless you make it different. Please feel free to contact me at the following address and relate to me the results, I look forward to hearing them. Perhaps we could meet for a drink next week? I’m free Friday.
I hope you don’t think badly of me Regina. Oh wait, actually, I hope you do, because then it would mean that the exercise was a complete success. Please know that I harbor no anger towards you, and in fact I look forward to talking to you soon.
Cordially,
Jake.

These are things I think, but I do not do. Because of that, I think myself a good and decent human being. Orson Welles once said something about how good actors need to embrace the parts of them that are evil and murderous…consider this research.
~Eric.

Peanut Butter Head returns!

This class is going to kill me. It’s not that I don’t love history, in fact I think I love it so much I can’t dissect it and rip it apart in a class. It’s my secret lover, I can’t kill it, I can’t cut it open and destroy my love of it just for pure scientific interest! It’s like when the Second Doctor used Jamie for an experiment to determine the human factor, I think it was in the Evil of the Daleks…I just can’t tear my loved ones apart for scientific means…does that make me a bad Time Lord?
I see such austerity in the history world. It’s always blah blah, theories and facts and research. Not to be a jackass, but what’s really left to talk about until we just end up making the same inferences someone made two hundred or twenty years ago? You can’t just dwell on the past forever, know what I mean? Perhaps we need another information crash, like the library at Alexandria, so we can finally have “new” ideas again…
I’m not in it for the research, or the endless poring over dry books written by dry people in dry little rooms. History’s not so dry, it’s much more…squishy. It’s alive and pulsating with life, the life of countless people who have contributed to it. I don’t want to talk about research and theory…I want to tell a story. THE story. The story of everything, really. I want to show the amazing characters, the inexplicable plot, the fantastic events…it’s really a great story! I just can’t sit in the ivory towers with the intellectuals anymore and debate the meanings of words…I want to get out there! I want to spread the story, so people don’t think it’s boring and dry anymore. I want to bring it to the masses, I want to create a better understanding and quality and maybe, just maybe, avoid repeating or coming close to repeating mistakes of the past. There are corners of the universe that have spawned dreadful things, and they MUST be fought, and I for one am sick of talking about history and I’d rather go out there, tell the story, educate, elevate, and send those dreadful things back into the dank mists of time to be forever confined with ignorance.
Until tomorrow, I tenderly remain,
Eric.

From the wacked out side of my head…

I got this letter a few days ago. It didn’t say from whom, or from where, all it said was this:

Ever notice how closely related love and hate are? Think about it. When you’re in love with someone, you think about them all the time, you wonder where they are, and you hope they feel the same way about you. The same can be said for hate. What is hate if not a pervasion of love, and vice versa?
The problem is, I’m not sure if I love you or if I hate you. The two seem so close that I can’t tell which is which. I can’t stop thinking about you, but I can’t tell if it’s because I want to kiss you or light your guts on fire. It’s been quite a while, and I’m still not sure.
I suppose I’ll just have to wait until I see you bleed to see if I cry or laugh.

Now, usually I’m happy when I get mail, but you can obviously believe that this one wasn’t as warmly received. But, nothing happened for a few days, so I forgot about it. Figured it was just some nut.
Then just some nut accosted me.
Next thing I remember is coming to, groggy. Chloroform? Who the hell uses chloroform anymore? And won’t that shit give me cancer or something? Damn.
Oh, wait. The letter.
Fuck.
Fuck fuck fuck.
Jesus Christ, what the hell is going to happen to me?
I can’t see.
Fuck, fuck!
Blindfolded.
Jesus Christ. Oh Jesus Jesus.
Wait.
A noise.
Someone’s here. Coming through the door. Feet are slightly scuffing the floor. Crimony, doesn’t anyone pick up their feet when they walk anymore? And Jesus Christ why am I worrying about that at a time like this?
Now Silence.
Door didn’t close.
He/she/its still here.
But where? Can’t hear breathing or anything. Where?
Darkness and silence. Darkness, nothing but darkness.
Oh Jesus. Now I hear movement again. An inhalation of breath, right next to my ear…
“Joan was quizzical, studied pataphysical…”
Singing? Christ, I know this song. He’s singing it slower, more deliberate, with more… relish. He’s enjoying this song. I know this song. And I don’t like how it ends.
“science in the home. Late nights all alone with a test tube, oh, oh-oh oh…”
Moving. The sound is moving. Around the room, around me. Moving in a circle.
Echo. Lots of echo. We must be in a large, empty room. It keeps moving. And singing.
God, stop singing. Stop.
“Maxwell Edison, majoring in medicine, calls her on the phone…”
He knows. It knows. It knows I know this song. Someone who knows me, it’s someone who knows me. They know I know what’s going to happen, and they’re making me wait.
This is hell, waiting. Can’t move, tied. Can’t see, blinded. Only hearing. Only hearing that God damned song.
“Can I take you out to the pictures, Jo-oh-oh-ohn?”
JUST FUCKING GET IT OVER WITH!
“But as she’s getting ready to go, a knock comes on the door…”
Pain. Blinding pain. Right above my right eye. I feel the blood. I see stars even though I can’t see at all. It’s running down my forehead, over my nose, and into my mouth.
Pennies. I taste pennies. But I’ve never really tasted a penny. I’ve smelled them and it tastes like they smell when they’ve been in my hand too long and they get all sweaty.
So much pain, it’s slowly pick-axing its way into the back of my head, white hot and throbbing, and the whole damn time he keeps singing.
“Bang bang Maxwell’s Silver Hammer came down upon her head…”
Why does this pain keep going? Why can’t it just end? Why can’t I pass out? Why can’t I die?
And why does this son of a bitch keep singing?
“Clang Clang Maxwell’s Silver Hammer made sure that she was dead…”
He must like seeing me bleed. He must hate me.
“Back in school again, Maxwell plays the fool again…”
He just keeps going. Why do I keep calling him he? It could be a girl, I don’t know. And I should really stop thinking, it’s starting to hurt too much.
“Teacher gets annoyed. Wishing to avoid an unpleasant see-ee-ee-een…”
I just keep bleeding. Bleeding and Bleeding.
“She tells Max to stay, when the class has gone away, so he waits behind…”
Is my nose broken? No. But it soon will be.
“Writing fifty times I must not be so-oh-oh-oh…”
Oh no, here it comes again.
“But when she turns her back on the boy, he creeps up from behind…”
He’s behind me too. He’s planned this.
Another stab of white hot pain, this time over the other eye. Any more of this and I might lose my eyes forever. I can tell the orbital bones are gone. Powder. Dust. Ashes to ashes. The blood’s starting to feel good, like a welcoming. calming effect.
“Bang Bang Maxwell’s Silver Hammer came down upon her head…”
There there, it’s okay, the blood means it’s not in vain, the blood is the receipt…
“Clang Clang Maxwell’s Silver Hammer made sure that she was dead…”
Jesus. I get it now. He’s actually using a hammer. Probably a silver one.
Oh Jesus Jesus Lord.
Blood keeps coming, keeps on bleeding.
“PC thirty one, says we caught a dirty one, Maxwell stands alone…”
He’s all over, in my ears, behind, in front, far away, close…
“Paiting testimonial pictures, oh-oh-oh-oh…”
Nose is broken now. He punctuates certain words real close to my ears.
My ears.
My ears still work.
I wish they wouldn’t.
“Rose and Valerie, screaming from the gallery, say he must go free…”
He jiggles the ropes a bit. He’s mocking me.
“The judge does not agree and he tells them so, oh-oh-oh…”
Here it comes.
“But as the words are leaving his lips, a noise comes from behind…”
Do it. I don’t care anymore.
More pain. He’s slowly killing me. Certain it’s a man now. Sounds like a man. Hits like a man.
Does the pain even register anymore? I can’t tell. Too much. Too much blood, too much pain, too much everything. I think I’m crying, but there’s too much blood.
“Bang Bang Maxwell’s Silver Hammer came down upon his head…”
Blood. Tears. Death is coming soon.
“Clang Clang Maxwell’s Silver Hammer made sure that he was DEAD…”
And he puncuates “DEAD” and kicks my chair back. I’m on my back and choking on my own blood, gallons of blood. The blindfold, now sopping with blood and bits of bone, falls down a bit.
“Silver Hammer…” he drawls out like a snake.
Eyes still work. I see his face.
I knew it. It was a man.
One last strike. Then darkness.
But now, it’s a better darkness.
Sweet darkness.
End darkness.

Another one Lost

People refer to the generation that lived through World War I as the Lost Generation, stemming from their incredible disillusion with the world following the Great War. In a way, the war and the aftermath thereof completely transformed the world into a new modern era, but left most of the people behind. Locked in the old world mindset in this new and frightening world, people became cynical and upset with the world, spiteful of the era that had robbed them of their naivete.
To a lesser extent, watch that happen to the children of the Clinton Years.
Remember the Clinton years? Everything was good. Future was so bright, had to wear shades, etc etc. Our generation was promised the world, money, the good life, you name it. Sadly, as we can see right now, things aren’t quite the same as they were under the pudgy Arkansas boy with the funny accent. Now, if that’s to blame on the current bloodthirsty, warmongering, idiotic and misguided administration or on a natural cycle of the world, who knows. Well, you know where I stand, anyway ^_~
But seriously, when our generation comes into the real world (if we ever leave Mom’s basement) things will not be good. We were promised a lot, and there’s really not a whole lot left for us now. Expect to see very many people bemoaning the state of the world and turning to cynicism and disillusionment, I bet you money.
But hey, that period gave us some good literature and thought, so maybe it’s about time.
Until tomorrow, I tenderly remain,
Eric.

These kids are so much younger than me…

“I wish I could go back to college.
In college you know who you are.
You sit in the quad, and think, “Oh my God!
I am totally gonna go far!”
-Avenue Q

This seems to be the sentiment of people who have completed college, but why is it the sentiment of myself, a junior, someone who is still a year and a half away from completing it?
Day after day I see people walk these halls with that same idea, only to know that they are not “totally gonna go far,” and that the real world has a rude awakening in store for them. Every day I watch people, some of them older than me, bask in an idealistic, pseudo-intellectual mindset that only seems to retard their development into adults and their successful entry into the real world. I feel like an absolute misfit here not being able to simply enjoy myself and live out my college days like Flounder or Bluto. I’ve been constantly reminded by classmates that college is “just for fun,” so why do I keep taking it so seriously?
Perhaps it is an environmental situation. I was raised with two older brothers to idolize: one eccentric and brilliant, the other gregarious and sharp. I grew up trying to be like them and, as a result, I tend to be in the mindset of someone not my age. I seem to always end up thinking like the boring adult in each situation and, once again, find myself to be the misfit.

“How do I go back to college?
I don’t know who I am anymore!”

When the previous verse stated, “in college you know who you are,” it stretched the truth a bit. In college, you know who you are supposed to be. Maybe you’re the jerk with a heart of gold, or the short person with tons of frenetic energy, or the quiet guy who is more than he seems… but you’re never really you. You are who you are supposed to be, and you dare not step outside that circle, for fear of distaste with your chosen group or *gasp* possibly being alone.
For the most part, you’re an exaggerated caricature of some kind of stereotype you have been observing since you were small. In college, you form your little groups, and you have your amazingly intelligent “conversations” (which you find out later really weren’t all that intelligent) and you play your part. I used to say “if you’ve gone through high school you know how to act,” but I think I can add college to that too.
This leads to the heart of my argument, the line “I don’t know who I am anymore!” This is lamented by various post-collegiate characters as they dream of the days of yesteryear. But, as I’ve said earlier, they never really did find out who they were. Instead, they relied on Full House and Saved by the Bell to tell them who they were supposed to be and, when they reached the real world, they realized that they can no longer play those characters and survive.
There is a lack of identity today. People build up walls around these characters and flock from one group to another in attempts to fill that void within them, where their personal character and identity should be. Reality television is so popular because today, people have no inner self, so theyy seek to feed off others’ lives in an attempt to find that key element that is missing in their own lives.
This is just a theory. Perhaps, in five years, I will look back on this and dismiss it as a little kid trying to sound intelligent and cycnical. It’s not that I am not enjoying college immensely, or that I have some secret vendetta against anyone, I just feel…lost. Lost in my own generation. I feel like I should be out there, with them, being silly and idealistic and maybe getting punched in the face by reality someday, because that’s what a college kid does. We sit on the quad, and think “oh my God! I am totally gonna go far!” That’s how it’s supposed to go, and I kinda wish I was feeling it too.
Instead, I feel more like the end of the song:

“I’d sit on the quad and think “oh my God…
these kids are so much younger than me…”

I don’t feel my age. Or maybe I am acting my age, and everyone else has retrograded somehow. But that’s a story for another day…
Until we meet again,
Eric.

Nothing like laying in the back of a truck on a 20 degree night…

Hey!
Hey, you there?
Hello?
*snaps fingers* Hello?
Can you see me?
Kinda?
Awright.
Yeah, there’s gauze over your eyes. Quite a bit, too. Hopefully you should only see a rough outline of me. I’d ask you what you can see, but as you probably noticed already there’s duct tape on your mouth. Original silver, none of that black shit. Duct tape should be silver, don’t you agree?
Anyway, by now you’ve probably clocked that your feet and arms are bound as well. Strong rope, good knots. Boy scout skills never die, am I right? Well anyway, don’t try to move or anything. If you try to escape, I’ll have to kill you, slowly and painfully, and neither of us want that, right?
So yeah, you’re a bright guy, big time journalist and all, so I figure you know who I am now. You’ve probably heard terrible things about me, that I’m a freak, a psycho, a detriment to human society, etc etc…but I’m not that bad of a guy. You know who I’ve killed, you’re a bright guy, look at all of em. Cheats, sneaks, liars, bad people, right? It’s not like they deserved to live or anything, right? And yet I’m labeled the bad guy in this situation. That part always makes me chuckle.
I kill bad people, and I’m a bad guy.
So, to be a good person, I’m supposed to let bad people walk around and do bad things? I don’t think so. So I decided to just do something about it. I got sick of bad people doing bad things and getting away with it, so I started killing them. Quickly at first, just a little pop pop in the head or something, really crude. But as it went on, I got more technical. I started to relish my work, the truly good thing I was doing. If there’s a God or Allah or Bhudda or whatever, I’m sure he understands what I’m doing. They have done bad things to good people, and need to suffer accordingly. The length of the suffering equals the severity of the offense, right? Right.
So I kill some people. It’s not like anyone’s broken up that they are dead. Christ, I took out a pimp the other day and his wife, who was one of his former girls and was abused as such, felt so gratified she offered to do me. She was so happy I had killed that bad man that she offered herself to me. Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s probably a sense of gratitude.
So you’re here. And I’m telling you all of this. Why? Am I going to kill you too? Nah, you’re a good guy. So I have you bound, gagged, the whole she-bang, and I’m making you listen.
You are listening, right?
Sweet.
Anyway, I’m making you listen so you’ll tell my story when you get back to your journalism job. So people will know what I’m doing and why and maybe they won’t see the spin on me as some sick jerk-off. I just want to get my message out there. I apologize that I’m going to have to knock you out now, which pains me greatly, but it’ll be better in the long run.
The good people need to know, so they’ll have no reason to fear.
The good shouldn’t fear.
You shouldn’t fear.
Well, thanks for listening.
You are listening, right?
Awesome.
Thanks for listening.
Once again, I apologize for knocking you out. Oh…and for knocking you out before to get you here.
I hope you can come to forgive me, maybe even thank me.
So, I won’t see you later, but you’ll sure be hearing from me.
Ciao.

Man, I’m bored. ^_^