Saturday, October 09, 2010

NY Comic Con

A friend and I hit up the con yesterday (taking the day off work) and today. We split up seeing as his interests lie primarily in the panels and mine in the purchasing. I had an absolute blast though my legs and feet are aching. I spent 6 hours on Friday walking the floor, seeing what there was to see & buying various things.

Here are a few things of note. I signed up for the Avatar VIP Package which net me a sweet Freakangels bag, 5 Freakangels prints & a dozen graphic novels (only 2 repeats). The bag is awesome. I made a hefty purchase from the illustrious Mr. Ben Templesmith. He's an odd sort, and I see his career growing every year, though he's been unassuming and down to earth the two times I've seen him. He seemed honestly surprised by my purchase, double checking that I heard him correctly when he said the comic books were $5 each. An awesome fellow. I bought some prints from Chrissie Zullo, including this sweet Star Wars one with all these mini shots of characters.

I attended a few panels today: one for The Thing; one on the women of Battlestar Galactica and one on Vertigo's upcoming lineup. All enjoyable. The BSG panel was awesome. You get a real feel that these are excellent actors who are dedicated to their craft. Plus they're amusing. The Vertigo one was nice, and I'm glad I caught it because their floor presence was nonexistent. The one for The Thing I sat in on in order to have a seat for the BSG panel, but it was cool. I guess I really have to see the John Carpenter movie.

All in all, a great time. Lots of fun and lots of booty, primarily in the form of graphic novels. (Basically I don't have to buy any more to read for at least the next few months... unless they're part of any series that I'm following, of course.) Met up with my friend & his wife for dinner on Friday night. Saw Stan Lee in passing. Amazing outfits that people wore. Saw Scott Kurtz, Brad Guigar & a host of other artists and writers. Good stuff. I'll definitely be back there next year.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Embrace Honesty

I don't think the title has much to do with the content of this post, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

(1) Certain songs are associated with certain memories for me. I had my first kiss while "Today" by The Smashing Pumpkins was playing. For some reason, I had "Mysterious Ways" by U2 in my head while skiing once and forever after it has become associated with skiing for me. I remember when "Under the Bridge" played during the '92 NOAC in Tennessee and thousands of us sung along. I remember learning of Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty and Queen while serving as a lifeguard at a BSA summer camp in Cape Cod.

I suspect I've written on that before, but too bad. It was in my head and it bears repeating.

(2) When do you update your profile for online dating sites? I completely forget to do so when I'm not using them, and then when I am using them to communicate with someone I refuse to update my profile. I know I'd be a little suspicious if the person with whom I were communicating changed their profile mid-conversation.

(3) I am registered on a few online dating sites. These are holdovers and remnants from my past efforts. Occasionally someone will try to contact me on one of these sites. I'm of two minds when this happens. First, assuming I am interested in them, I am a little excited and intrigued. Second, I am hesitant. I still live at home with my mom. I'm still (sort of) trying to figure things out. I don't think I'm ready to meet someone and settle down. And even if I did meet someone cool, she'd have to be pretty understanding and patient. But I'm also not about to let something get past me, so, assuming I am interested, I do respond, which engenders the above-noted dichotomy.

(4) I want to get a tattoo. For a long time, I've wanted one. However, there are two obstacles. First, I'm not sure what it will be. Second, I'm not sure where it will go. As to the first, it would have to be something purposeful, something meaningful (to me), something I want on me. As to the second, I would not want it too visible and my skin isn't the best.

(5) I'm tired. Yes, I don't go to bed early enough during the week. Yes, I stay up too late playing computer games. No, I don't sleep in on the weekends as much as I used to. In any case, I'm tired. I feel it, it slows me down, it affects my work and my attitude.

Easy A is Easily Excellent

"Easy A" stars Emma Stone as a would-be harlot that dons a scarlet A after faking her way into high school notoriety. Oh sure, the initial accusation stems from an enemy overhearing a small lie, but she then encourages the rumors and plays to them.

There are two things that stand out – the writing and Ms. Stone.

(a) The writing is absolutely delightful through and through. The verbal repartee is well done and well delivered. There are plenty of witty one-liners and comebacks, quotable to no end. The writing is also self-aware and pays homage to some of the great romcoms, including Say Anything, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, to name a few. One of the nice things is that while the heroine delivers many of these verbal barbs, plenty of the other characters chime in. It's refreshing.

(b) Ms. Stone. Oh my, Ms. Stone. An excellent job acting. She owns the role as it must be owned to successfully sell it. Plus, her outfits are eye-catchingly pleasing. (A hopefully-nice way of saying "o_O".) I've enjoyed her other movies, but it's nice to see her in a leading role and, more importantly, carrying the movie in a spectacular manner.

(c) The other characters deserve a nod, too. This is more in league with the writing, but there really isn't a weak character in the story. Sure, there are minor characters or underdeveloped characters or unexplored ones, but the actors and actresses are great and they all should be background noise around Ms. Stone, which they are. I liked the little touches of characterization that pervade the film, hints of underlying traits and deeper backgrounds.

Notwithstanding the above, there are a few issues with the movie.

(i) The movie doesn't know what it's trying to say. If there had been some bigger message or direction, that would have been nice. In the end, the most you can pull from it is "my sex life is my business"? Or "beware the rumor mill"? Huh? The writer could have imbued the story with something more, but he didn't. And so it languishes, just a bit.

(ii) The lack of a message is further punctuated by the ties to The Scarlet Letter. While I can see the parallels and appreciate that some of the themes are similar, I'm still not sure how they truly mesh. Ostracized by the community, branded a harlot, wearing a scarlet A – fine. But this isn't colonial times and attitudes towards sex have changed since then. I'm not sure how relevant Hawthorne's work remains in view of modern attitudes. And if that is the case, that The Scarlet A is less relevant or at least its message is, then how does the movie develop any of that while retaining the broad ties to Hawthorne's novel? I don't know.

(iii) The ending, as well as other parts of the move, is too neat. There's a bow on the damned thing, and it didn't need one. The movie could have remained a great comedy and been slightly less happy-go-lucky. I have a sneaky suspicion that if the movie had turned slightly darker or been slightly more depressing or slightly less pretty, it could have become one of those amazing underground/cult movies. The potential was there, it just pushed it aside in favor of a mass market happy ending. This also ties in with the message criticism above.

All in all, I really enjoyed this one. I wouldn't say it's a "must see" for anyone and everyone, but it's a well done, well written comedy that keeps you interested. There aren't a ton of twists or surprises, but there's enough there to flush out the story. I would say that if you like romantic comedies or Ms. Stone, check this one out. Definitely worth watching, in the theater or at home.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Day

What do I write that I haven't written here before? I'm in a downward slump again. I felt it a week or two or three ago. I felt it a month or two ago. You can often tell them here by my absence. I know what to write when things are going well, when I'm on an upswing or riding the swell. When it's down, when the trough embraces me? I don't know.

I don't know why I am the way I am. I wish I did. I wish there was a reason, some rhyme or method to the madness. If there is any, it remains as elusive as ever and I am swallowed by my own fallibility.

I had a dream the other night. I dreamed of a having a girlfriend. I dreamed of finding a place for myself (metaphorically, not physically per se). A friend was there, though I don't recall anything more than his presence. I'm trying not to project onto the half-remembered wisp, but I do recall the impression I formed shortly after waking. I had dreamed of two things I want that I do not have now. And I take it to be my subconscious trying to break through, to show me.. maybe that there is a light somewhere.

So what do I do now? The same things I've been doing. Because I tell myself I must. And tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Recent Times

I've been keeping moderately busy of late. Mid-July I went into The City to see an art exhibit (Lovecraft-inspired art) and catch a show (The Addams Family starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth). The week after I saw a local performance of Twelfth Night with some board gaming friends (Shakespeare in the park at the Beardsley Zoo). This past weekend was my younger cousin's wedding in upper-state New York (necessitating my absence from WBC).

The wedding was nice. It was good to see relatives I haven't seen in awhile. Big congrats to my cousin and his wife!

I've been playing WoW and Star Craft II of late. Passes the time and I find it enjoyable.

Yeah, so far this post feels flat even to me.

I'm of a few minds about the wedding:

(1) First and foremost, I am happy for my cousin and his wife. He is a genuinely nice guy and he found a kind, warm woman who clearly loves him. I have to expect that the two of them will be very happy together.

(2) There were two family members whose absence was felt – my dad and my grandmother's brother's wife, the former gone for 9 years and the latter gone for.. less than 1 year? It was probably more strongly felt since cousins of mine (her children) were at the wedding and talking about it, but felt nonetheless.

During the rehearsal dinner, the maid of honor (I believe it was her doing) presented a slideshow of photos of the bride and groom over the years. A couple of the photos of my cousin (2 or 3 of them) included my dad. I teared up a bit seeing them. Still gets me from time to time. And I still wonder how my life, how myself, would be different if he hadn't died.

(3) I was asked twice when my wedding would be – by my grandmother and by her brother. This wedding reinforced the ticking of the clock for me. It's not always at the forefront of my thoughts, and most days I just try to survive, but it's always there regardless.

I really need to focus on getting my life together: moving forward and advancing my plans, regardless of anything. I need to do something with my life and I need to get going now. I've been patiently waiting--well, no, I've been distracting myself as best I can, and that's not enough. I have "plans," hastily formed and moderately founded, but plans nonetheless. It's about time I started making good on them.

Because I have it in my head that I can't date until I move out of my mom's house. And I don't want to move out until I'm doing something other than what I'm currently doing. And I haven't honestly and sincerely worked on that, well, at all. So maybe it's time. Tick, tock, tick, tock.

It is time. Tick, tock, tick, tock.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Before, During & After

BEFORE: On Thursday, I was relatively insane. Entirely on edge in anticipation of the coffee date. I got very little done at work and I was very distracted. In fact, I have a lengthy post written yesterday as a monument to my lunacy. Out of deference to whatever shred of public image I maintain here, I will not be posting that.

DURING: So, the coffee date. We had a drink and talked from 5:15 to 7:30. Then we went to a nearby restaurant for sushi (her preference). After the meal, around 9:30 she commented that I looked tired. At that time, I realized that I was tired and that I was pretty bored. So things ended right after that, me driving us back to her car to drop her off, a "nice to meet you" and we were done (once I remembered where she'd moved her car to – I blame tiredness and idiocy).

AFTER: While the date went okay, there won't be a second date and I made up my mind on that sometime during dinner. I don't want to go into too much detail. Let's just say that it wasn't any one thing but rather an accumulation of many mild-to-medium things and hints. She made a few medium strength mis-steps, and while these weren't fatal individually or in and of themselves, combined with other, smaller points the sum total was just not good.

The "tired" comment was a small trigger for me. Not for her perception or anything, but rather the fact that I was tired and bored at 9:30 when normally I'm wide awake and rarin' to go. If I were at board games, I wouldn't know 9:30 had passed until it was 10:30 or 11:00. The single thought: "Wow. I really am tired." woke me to the fact that I wasn't finding our date to be very interesting or engaging.

I know I made some mistakes, and at points I wasn't as responsive or alive as I could have been, but I don't think I made any major errors. If I had asked for a second date, I'm pretty sure she would have said yes. I just didn't want one.

I give myself a small kudos for recognizing that it wasn't going to work. I feel like a few years ago I would have been willing to overlook all the signs and just run with it because I could, see where it goes. But now, last night, I was cognizant enough to recognize that something wasn't right. It was more intuition than anything, at least during the date. If you asked me point blank at 9:25 how I felt, I would have said something wasn't right but it would have taken me 5-10 min. to really pin it down (which I did after the date).

Part of me is sad that things turned out the way they did. I had high hopes for this one. (Which should serve as a reminder to me not to get my hopes up, but I will – every time.) She seemed like a nice person from our communication. She is a nice person. (Beats one of my two "exes" right there.) Just not nice enough, perhaps? (Which is a horrible thought since she was very nice.)

All-in-all I'm glad this happened. The date was not a train wreck and I got to brush up on my dating skills. The conversation was okay and I don't think I made any big blunders, just smaller ones from which I can try and learn. I feel a little silly that I was as stressed as I was this week. Turns out I needn't have worried quite so much. But then if I didn't worry like that I wouldn't be me, would I?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Re blog discovery: It'll happen or it won't. I'm going to just keep on writing what I want. That's what I've always done here and what I've always sought to do here. Why change anything now? If she finds it, fine. If anyone finds it, fine. If I were unwilling to accept such risk, I would never have started this thing in the first place. Also, I'm kind of on a roll with posting and I don't want to interrupt that. I feel like posting more and I'm going to do so. In other words, bring it on, baby!

I was perusing old posts last night, ones from 2-2.5 years ago. It started when I saw something about boardgame.girl and I wanted to see what had happened with that. Rather, I know what happened (or, more accurately, didn't happen) and I know why, but I wanted to see what I was thinking at the time. It was an interesting read and I recall the thought processes very well. From this perspective (i.e., that of today), I'm glad it went down as it did. Turns out she's still around these days, still as flighty and unreliable as ever. I know I cannot handle that amount of capriciousness and it's a good thing that never went anywhere.

Then I was reading through posts after that, ones where I repeatedly despaired about blah blah blah, and I wondered why I was going out on a date on Thursday. Why am I so willing to do this now? What's changed? And I realized that I'm in a better place now. 1.5-2.5 years ago, it wasn't good. I wasn't very happy or positive (in almost any respect) and it felt like a downward spiral. These days, for some reason, I'm doing much better. I don't know if it's me accepting things or being less invested in the outcome or seeing more or discovering dreams or just having lived more, but I feel better. I'm generally happier and more pleasant. Sometimes I force myself to get out of the house and do things, but the disconsolate days are far fewer than they used to be.

That's a pretty cool realization to come to. I'm not in a different physical place nor have I significantly altered my patterns or actions, but I feel better, even on the bad days. I try to say "Today was a bad day, maybe tomorrow will be a good one. Ah well." Sometimes tomorrow is a good day, sometimes it's a bad day. But I can live with this. I think change is on the horizon. And that's okay.

So I almost feel like maybe I'm ready to try dating again. Almost. Maybe.

(Let's see how Thursday goes.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Warm Day

A warm day is when the A/C at work is on the fritz and it's nice outside (like 90+ deg. F). At its worst, my office probably got up into the low 80's or so. Rather uncomfortable. It's no fun sitting at your desk trying to focus on boring patent work while sweaty and sleepy. Okay, it's not much more fun when it's cool and temperate, but at least you're not sweaty (though you may be sleepy).

To digress from the non-digression, I am reluctant to write much more in anticipation of Thursday (but why should I let that stop me). Oh I would like to, of that have no doubt, but I am semi-paralyzed by fear of blog discovery. I'm not looking to hide or cancel, if she finds the blog then so be it, but the knowledge of potential discovery I could readily do without. It would be mildly terrifying to sit down over coffee and hear "So, I discovered your blog..." It would be incredibly honest, but it would still be mildly terrifying. I've had it happen to me twice before - once from a random, fellow law student and once from a professor. I will always recall those moments in class. I think my heart stopped beating for a few seconds. It must have. *shiver* Pure, instantaneous terror.

Realistically, it'll probably happen again at some point. I expect it to, and part of me looks forward to that day to see what happens. However, part of me dreads the day with an uncertain fear. I would consider remedying the issue in this case, but it's a little too late. Certainly she would see if I fixed it now. Ah well, so it goes.

So yeah, Thursday. I bought a new pair of pants after work today. Why? Because I could use a new pair (well, a few new pairs) and I wanted to have one for Thursday. Who knows, maybe I'll need a few more if things go well. (As in wearing a new pair for each successive date, duh!)

I'm very curious to see how this plays out. I always am. I hope I've learned from my previous first dates, including the horrible blind date where I was an absolute git. In my floundering, I was less-than-kind when describing Bono and U2. In my defense, I was panicking because we had absolutely nothing in common. At all. Also in my defense, there is no defense. Boy what a train wreck. I was even misguided enough to think it wasn't so horrible. Afterwards, I thought it went okay-to-fine. In retrospect it's more of a *palmforeheadsmack* sort of thing.

Gah, I wish it were Thursday already!

(Bono rocks!)

Sunday, June 27, 2010


WAAAAAHHHHH. I've got a coffee-date on Thursday. WAAAAHHHHH. (In my head, I'm running in circles, mildly panicked. Every now and then I pause my running to lean on my knees and pant, catching my breath before I resume the circular progression.)

This is going to be interesting. We've traded 6-7 messages (each) and-- okay, yeah, I'm a little scared. That's like saying the Titanic was taking on a little water. *gulp* I haven't done this (a date) in a few years. And I have no idea what to say or do. Well, that's not entirely true at all, but it feels that way. Always does.

I have this sneaky suspicion that she's a lot like me in a few ways. From the messages thus far, --okay, crap. This place is locatable from how she found me. (If she notices the right words and does the right search, etc.) Crap, crap, crap. Ummm... This isn't me. I was never here. You didn't see me. Ummm... *waves hand in Jedi fashion* This isn't the website you're looking for.

I always forget how connected everything is. (And I didn't really hide myself very well when I joined that dating site. Whoops!) Errr... Let's hope she tells me if she finds this place. (Please?) Yeah, I've got nothing else.

P.S. Okay, yeah, now I'm scared.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Previous Four Posts

You may notice I just posted 4 not-quite-short posts in a relatively short timespan (i.e., minutes). I wrote these earlier this week and just now got around to posting them. You may also notice that the immediately preceding one refers to a girl with whom I am communicating. This is not the one I mentioned before. This is another girl who sent me a message out of the blue earlier this week. I am hopeful that if I suggest a meeting next week she might be amenable. We shall see, particularly as I have no idea how these things are supposed to go.


Dating strikes me as a supremely unbalanced equation. On the one hand, I am incredibly ill at ease. Just completely awkward and unconfident. So uncertain of myself and my actions that I think them through, rethink them and give 'em one more pass for good measure. Probably a lack of dating experience coupled with me. On the other hand, while dating you are supposed to project confidence and strength. The occasional vulnerability is permitted, but nothing too serious or significant, at least in the beginning.

So as I type replies to this girl, and as she replies to me, I constantly reread what I write, dissect and edit it. I wonder if and when she'll reply. I wonder if she's wondering half of what I am. I can blink my eyes and picture 1000 different scenarios, 99.9% of which will not come to pass. Which one is this one?

What's mildly interesting in this case, and serves as the basis for this verbalizing, is that I get the nagging sense that she's mirroring some of this. Her replies are relatively quick and consistent. I sense a bit of mirroring from what I write, and I am trying to do the same back. She signs her messages with phrases like "Hope to hear from you soon" and "Hope you're having a nice Friday." An innocuous sentiment in its own right, but not a customary one from my (very limited) experience with online dating/communication.

Thus, the balance between insecurity and confidence is in mind. Not to mention I'm otherwise insecure about quite a few things, which obviously does not help at all. So I ponder and overthink and overanalyze and wonder (and wait).


I've got music on the brain. M.C. Chris concert in Boston earlier this year. Phish concert last weekend. I listen to music on my iPod almost every day – in the car, while working, while surfing the web on my computer. I love music.

My recent preferences, with recent being on the order of the past 2-4 years, are for symphonic metal and the like: Epica, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Stream of Passion, Within Temptation, Njord, Sirenia, Theatre of Tragedy, Delain, etc. This interest of mine stems from a random interest in Rammstein, stoked by a random purchase of a used copy of their album Sensucht due to having heard of the band and an interesting album cover (a man's face wrapped in barbed wire).

While most songs for these groups (e.g., all but Rammstein) are in English, unfortunately all of these groups are European and rarely make the trip over here. I passed up a chance to see Epica in NYC earlier this year, and I regret it a little bit. I feel like I am having a newfound interest in concerts only there is little chance of me seeing some of my favorite groups because they tend to tour in Europe.

Well, movie.girl is going to grad school in England starting this Fall and I am sorely tempted to visit her there. Part of me is wondering if I can use such a trip to see some of these groups. I always threatened to go to Europe to see Rammstein should they tour again, and I believe they are or will be touring there soon. It might be cool to go see some Scandinavian metal festival. I think I'd enjoy it. I have yet to look any further into this, but I would like to.

At The RenFaire

There is one "incident" I wish to relate from the RenFaire, largely because I know it will silently fester in the back of my thoughts and spring to the forefront at odd times. At the faire, there were a number of vendors selling all manner of RenFaire-related items. Yes, that is self-referential. No, I don't care. Most of the items were of little-to-no interest to me. The swords were nice, and a little tempting, but practicality is a harsh mistress. As are the credit card companies, banks and my checkbook.

One item did catch my eye. It was a plastic statue thing featuring a scantily-clad, well-endowed, winged woman in front of (reclining on?) a comparatively large crucifix (stretching about the same height and width as the arms-stretched woman) located behind a casket. The lid of the casket was removable for holding some manner of small trinkets or jewelry. Other than the lid, the piece appeared to be solid, dark gray plastic and retailed for $30.

I do not believe I have spoke often of my artistic and aesthetic tastes, and I do have some concretely-defined ones of which I am very aware, but winged women and gothic imagery (e.g., graveyards, caskets, gravestones, visages of death, skeletal figures, etc.) are way up there for me. Long ago during my action figure-buying days, and I do not believe I have spoke at length on that hobby either, winged figures counted pretty high on my list. Well-endowed, scantily-clad females, too. And I'm not afraid to shell out some money for artistic items that appeal to me. I planned on purchasing this piece.

But I made a mistake. As I was walking with 3 friends to the next show we planned to see, we passed this stall and, not too long thereafter, I commented that there was something I wished to procure. These being curious friends and us not being in a rush, they sought further explanation. To wit, "What is it?" So I said something like "Oh fine" and led them over to the piece.

Whereupon one of my friends, a slightly-older woman, said something like "It's nice if you like p-rnography."

I immediately knew what I had to do and I did just that. I put the statue down, turned away, and walked with them to the next event. While I knew that I could still buy it, I also knew that if I did either I would have to confront that statement (i.e., define it as not p-rnography and argue the point) or I would have to own the statement (i.e., accept it as p-rnography and accept the characterization it entails). There's no middle ground there and, since these are people I see on an almost weekly basis, there's no chance of such a purchase going unremarked or unnoticed. I did not wish to confront the statement – there should be no need for me to convince someone else, someone who has no stake in the purchase whatsoever, that it is not p-rnography, that I considered it art. So I let it go.

Part of me is sore with this friend for forcing me to do what I did. Honestly, it was not p-rnographic. Perhaps not in the best of tastes, most likely not worth $30, but it was not "p-rnography." And whatever her personal views on such artistic styles, it was not her place to disparage my tastes.

Also long ago, I decided to own my artistic tastes and hobbies, no matter other people's view of them. E.g., action figures, comic books and graphic novels, art styles, movie watching, computer games, etc. It is something I still have to push at every now and then, to be who I am and like what I like with fewer reservations. This small incident hit that nerve, too. I did not want to assume the concomitant associations that would have been present if I had actually bought the statue.

Sometimes I act differently when I am with friends. I accept that people wear different masks at different times for different purposes and I am no different. But for the people I was with that day, I probably would have purchased the statue.

Also but for the people I was with that day, I probably would have spoken with the woman who ran the Cirque du Sewer event. I.e., the rat-lady. I thought she was kind of cute, and I appreciated her love for her rats. It would have been cool to see them up close, hold one if permitted, etc. I love animals and I readily appreciate other people who similarly do, whether the animals are dogs, cats, birds or rats. I thought about talking with her after the show, but I didn't feel like I could since I was there with some friends. I didn't want to accept or own up to it. I probably should have done it anyways, particularly since it's so rare that I ever contemplate such things. And it would have made for a good story. And it might have been fun and interesting. But I didn't.

I do not regret the things I've done but those I did not do.
(Paraphrased from Empire Records)

P.S. Best names evah for pet rats: Bubonic and Pandemic. (Though I also would have accepted Epidemic.)

The Phish Concert

I previously remarked that the concert was amazing, but I'd like to briefly elaborate on my experience. "Experience" is the word of choice here. The event was about more than just the music for me. It was a rare opportunity to glimpse into an alternative way of life. I sincerely doubt that I would have attended a Phish concert but for movie.girl's invitation. Oh I've heard of the band before, but I had not yet been exposed to their music nor would I have anticipated so. Really, it's not my "scene."

So, the scene in question. We got there about 1:15 before kick-off and found ourselves in a long line of cars in search of parking. We ended up leaving the car at a Motel 8 about 0.5 mile (guesstimating) from the venue.. for $25. And that was the best/only nearby option at the time.

At least part of the reason for the jam was a Cirque du Soleil performance being held less than 1 mile from the concert venue. Wonderful planning that one. Parking that otherwise would have been free instead featured a large tent. And more cars.

After parking, tailgating. *Everyone* was tailgating. If you weren't tailgating, you weren't attending the concert. Once inside, I better understood at least part of the reason. Inside the gates, 2 beers and 1 water cost a total of $28. Very ugly.

Once we reached the official/real parking lot, the vendors began. Well, the majority of the vendors. There were some selling things like stickers, hats and glowsticks outside that area. The "real" vendors were selling all sorts of things, such as: food, beer, water, t-shirts, stickers, patches, buttons, posters, backpacks and assorted other paraphernalia. It was difficult to get to the venue, wading past the vendors with the crowd.

Inside, we eventually made our way to our seats. Good view, not too expensive. movie.girl made friends with the guy to her left, both being Phish-heads and having seen Phish at many other shows. Apparently, that is the thing to do – follow Phish around and go to many/all of their shows. Later on, the guy shared various beverages (tequila + Red Bull = not bad) and such with her and, by extension, me.

The people. Most of the people fell into the category of what I will term "modern day hippies." Prior to the concert, my mental image of hippies included tie-dye shirts, long hair, relaxed attitude, a penchant for herbal relaxants and a smidgen of left-ish politics. Lose the tie-dye, politics and hair requirements, add a penchant for body art (tattoos, piercings) and you have the modern day hippie. Relaxed, certainly, but many/most of them look not all that dissimilar to you or I (barring visible body art). Very interesting. I never appreciated that we as a society have a "class" of modern day hippies. Apparently they all go to Phish concerts. *shrug*

The overall attitude was extremely relaxed. Very little tension. Everyone was there as part of a group, i.e., with friends. While most/all had cell phones, relatively few were playing with them at any given time. For pictures, of course, but not a ton of generic texting, e-mailing, etc. Most people were there mentally, not just physically. Plus, everyone seemed pretty friendly with one another. United, to at least some degree, in Phish-head-dom. Or something.

The concert itself was awesome. Lots of solos, lots of improv. Overall, a relaxing, fun time. Almost everyone danced to the majority of the show, grooving out to the tunes. Occasionally a waft of smoke would pique my nose, cigarette or otherwise. Glowsticks and other phosphorescent objects were tossed about in gleeful joy. Cheering, singing along with the tunes, because almost everyone knew almost all of the songs, and generally having a good time.

I found it particularly interesting when the band would devolve into a formless, abstract stretch. Without a solid beat to latch onto, it was nigh impossible to dance to such parts, but they were very interesting. Almost nouveau or new age or I don't know what. As if each of the four were playing their own tune to their own beat, but it still meshed together to form something larger and more powerful. Very fascinating.

movie.girl informed me that all of their shows are available online for download ( I think it is). I will have to purchase a copy of that show. It was music in every sense of the word. And it was something I hadn't seen before. And that's pretty damn cool.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Busy Weekends

Last Weekend: On Saturday I hit up a RenFaire in Danbury with some friends. I believe it was my first RenFaire. Not bad overall. I enjoyed it, certainly, though I was a little disappointed with the quality of swordplay and acting. You do not grasp a knife or sword by the blade, no matter how cool it looks. Just don't do it. Afterwards, we went to a Greek Festival in the same town for supper. Probably my first "real" Greek meal. Very good. On Sunday I met up with movie.girl for a double header of Get Him To The Greek followed by The A-Team.

This Weekend: On Friday night movie.girl and I went to a Phish concert in Hartford. I wasn't a big Phish head before, but they really are that good. It was an absolute blast. Really just an experience. Plus she got pretty tanked which is amusing all in itself. Saturday was recovery and Sunday (today) I'm meeting up with her again for Jonah Hex.

It's been pretty busy and it ain't over yet. Well, alright, it's probably going to cool off over the next few weekends, but in July I'm planning a trip into the city for art and a show (more on that another time) and then there's a local Shakespeare in the park thing. Pretty cool.

Friday, June 11, 2010

An Interesting Day At Work

Around 10:30 AM or so, one of my coworkers, the new kid who was hired out of law school late last year, came into my office and said "I've been fired." Ten minutes later, after talking about it with another coworker I turn to the secretary outside his office whereupon she informs me that one of the secretaries has been laid off.

The office is always off on one of these kinds of days. I've been with my firm for 4.5 years now, and I've seen people come and go, attorneys and secretaries alike. I've seen one retire and two leave and plenty get fired. It's always difficult to concentrate on one of those Fridays. And it's always a Friday morning.

Too bad, this time. I thought the attorney was pretty good, plus he was a friend of ours. The secretary was a really nice, young guy who did his work well. It's sad to see them go.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Stupid Floppy Disk... And a Show and an Epiphany or Two

I had this fantastic post all done up.. and it's sitting next to me on an unreadable floppy disk. Maybe I shouldn't have transported it in my pocket? So today you will get the short(er) version of whatever it was I wrote on the stupid thing.

Last Wednesday, my mom and I ventured into The City (because if you live in the tri-state area there really is only one City around - NYC) to catch a show (my annual birthday present). To wit, we saw "A Little Night Music," a musical written by Sondheim. It starred Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury. An excellent, excellent show! Absolutely wonderful. Everyone in it was fantastic. CZJ stole the show when she sang "Send In The Clowns" and AL was spectacular as the aging grandmother. Just a wonderful show.

And last week I had an epiphany or two. I could give you context for my realizations or some droning about the "process," but none of that really matters. Here's what I have scratched on a small piece of paper:
What am I waiting for?

I want change and yet I do everything in my power to avoid it.

I am waiting for myself to accept change.
And I think all of that is true. I constantly bemoan my complacency and immobility while doing nothing to address it. I stay where I am, apparently waiting for something to come along, never doing anything to move myself beyond this point.

So it's time I decided to do something did something. Screw the economy, screw health insurance, screw my lack of savings and safety nets - I'm gonna do something. Because maybe, just maybe, I'm ready for some change after all.

I had an idea I was kicking around. I spoke with an acquaintance who has some experience and he offered another idea related to my first. It sounds interesting if nothing else. It sounds like something I'd like to try and do, whether it works or not. The cool thing is that it will require a lot of learning on my part. A concerted, continual effort to figure it out and figure out how to do it. I don't know how long that will take, but I think 6-8 months is reasonable at a guess. If nothing else, that should get me a Christmas bonus as a small safety net and possibly enough time to get myself ready (e.g., use of my current, work-provided health insurance).

I don't know if it will take off, if I'll follow through or even what it will become, but I figure it's worth a shot to find out. Why not?

Monday, May 24, 2010


I've had dating on the brain for the last 2-3 weeks. Partly because a lot of my friends are pairing up and getting married, but mostly because out of the blue some random girl messaged me on a semi-random dating site. That kind of thing always throws me for a loop, and this one seems pretty interesting. 'Course I have no idea what she looks like (no photo) nor where exactly she is (maybe NYC?), and she's a law student in the midst of finals (though presumably they're over soon). In other words, nothing is happening and I'm currently trying to pretend that I'm cool and patient. (It kills me.)

Thing is, I've been avoiding dating for +2 years now. Oh I tried some internet dating. eHarmony and Match didn't pan out. Went on 2 dates from Jdate, 1 blind date a friend set up for me. And then I pretty much just stopped looking or trying. At some point, I decided not to even try until I got my head screwed on straight. I think the line of thinking was something like: If I don't know what I want or where I'm going, then I don't want to "inflict" my problems or myself on someone else. How can I expect or hope that someone else will "get" me if I don't even understand myself?

So I just stopped.. well, everything. I'm still signed up for some of the sites, largely because I'm also bad at managing my finances. (Don't ask.) I get e-mails pretty regularly - not from women, just from the sites with matches. I still check from time to time, but I'm not actively looking or messaging. I'm like a mollusk, sifting through whatever happens to float my way but not actually doing or accomplishing much.

That's a horrible analogy. (But accurate.)

ANYWAYS, every now and then a woman will message me. And I might or might not take some interest (depending on her profile, message, etc.). And I might or might not freak out a little because, hey, that's what I do. And I might or might not pause and reassess.

Because I've been where I am for 4.5 years now and that ain't cool. Not in the slightest.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, etc., etc.

My big plans? Work, cake and board games. Nothing special in the works (excepting perhaps the cake [i]at[/i] work). Still haven't figured out when my mom and I will go into the city and catch a show. (The one we wanted, Alfred Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps," doesn't have a matinee.)

Oh, and happy tax day to the rest of the country. Yay?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crazy Idea

So, about when I wrote the previous post I had this crazy idea (that I'll likely never act on):

What if I quit my job?

What if I went in tomorrow, gave my 2 weeks notice and just quit? No specific plan in mind, no fallback, no prior directed efforts, just a radical change, a leap (of faith as it were).

Sure, it's probably just an escapist fantasy, one that I've been dreaming of for a few years now, but it's so darned appealing. To just toss everything to the wind and see where I land. 'Cause I'm sure not making any progress as it stands.

There are so many reasons not to, and yet I can think of reasons to do it.

Nay: Bills, money, health insurance, security, fear. Effect on other activities (i.e., gas money).

Yea: Change, movement, moving out of my mom's house, progress, hope. Courage.

It feels like one of those things that I'll ponder but never do. Although to be fair, there are a number of things I've pondered and done. (I can have be strong-willed when I want to.) I'm kinda hoping that I don't do it. I'm kinda hoping I don't have to, that I can find a more natural (smoother?) way to resolve things and make progress.

But if I can't...

If I can't figure it out...

When I mentioned this to one person, they suggested using a vacation to do some soul searching rather than upending the whole cart. Take some time off, get away from things and try to figure it out. I remember watching a segment during the Winter Olympics how Apollo Ono's father forced him to do that, to decide whether or not he wanted to pursue speed skating. I wonder if it would work for me.

Maybe that's not a half-bad idea. Hrmmm..

Monday, March 15, 2010

You Have A Choice

You know, I have relatives in New Jersey, and every winter they complain about the snow, the crummy conditions, the poor job market... and I tell them: move.

That's all. If you don't like it where you are, just... move. You have a choice. You don't have to stay where you are, you can just get up, put one foot in front of the other... and walk away.

But they don't want to hear that. They come up with one excuse or another, and they stay there, and they stay unhappy. Because admitting that they can choose otherwise means either doing something about it, or facing their own inability to act, and they can't handle it. But I believe you can.
The quote is from J.Michael Straczynski's "Midnight Nation." A high-school counselor advising a teen to relinquish his gang life before it's too late. Different circumstances, same principle. You have a choice. More on this another time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Period or semicolon?

I have a question that I would really like to ask my friends and coworkers but can't or haven't:

Is this what you want with your life? What you do (work-wise), where you are - are you happy? Do you plan on doing it, staying here indefinitely?

And the one that will likely remain unasked: Is it enough for you?

I look at the people around me and sometimes think these questions. Some of my coworkers have families - a wife and x kids. They seem happy and I bet they are. For them, I'm pretty sure the answers are relatively easy, or at least easier.

But for others whose motivations are less apparent, I'm honestly curious. -- I keep having to delete what I write here, re-type to remain honest. I am asking with expectations and I am hoping/expecting some to feel unsettled, as I feel. I am fishing for answers, for distrust in their complacency, a sign that they, too, haven't accepted this as a period.

I guess that's always one of my fears - that I'm alone in my dis-ease. Alone in my casting about. Alone in my self-made cage. I know I'm not and I know others feel this way or have felt this way, but it's different when you get that confirmation verbally and honestly.

I know this isn't my period. And I'm looking for my next whatever, even if only in spirit and not literally. This isn't enough for me and I know that.

But why don't I do anything about it?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Do I Want?

I'm in a pensive mood, FFXIII and PS3 notwithstanding. What do I want? Someone asked me that recently. I have lots of abstract answers, tons of those. Goals more than answers and very few of them personal. In the abstract, I think I know myself or at least know about myself. But do I know what I actually want? I don't know.

Part of me is intrigued by the question and my lack of a concrete answer. I know what I am doing, what I have and where I am, but not where I want to go. I don't think I've ever known that. Even now, the best answer I can give is "not here" and "not where I am" -- hardly of any help at all.

What do I want?

The abstract is easy. The fantasy, the illusions, the daydreaming I can do without a second glance. The real leaves me confounded as ever. My mind is waylaid by the associate interrogatories - How do I get there? Is that my destination? What's wrong with here? Why can't I accept it? What's wrong? I focus on everything but the question at hand.

My mind runs in circles, round and round with no seeming end. I want to find my way. I want to find an answer. I want to find my place. And yet none of these is an answer.

Maybe part of my problem is that I never came up with a good idea of what I want and so I cannot find or move towards that which has no destination. Hmmm.

Double hmmm.

That's a show-stopper right there.

I shall have to think more on this.

Friday, February 19, 2010


(Not a discussion of the seven deadly sins, thought it was fun to read about them at the link.)

I am probably one of the more envious people I know. I don't harbor the customary ill will that is perennially associated with envy, but I enjoy its excess on an almost daily basis.

I am envious of those who have picked a direction and followed through on it.

I am envious of those who have a complete life and are content with it.

I am envious of those in healthy relationships, those getting married, friends in happy relationships and friends getting married.

I am envious of those who are clearly not plagued by the questions and doubts that haunt me every day.

I am envious of those who like what they do and do what they like.

I am envious of those --

Wow. That.. that's.. that's a lot of self-pity right there, isn't it? It's part of my cycle. I don't want to deprive those of whom I am envious, I simply want what they have for myself. I don't begrudge these "other people" and I am, in fact, happy for them and their success. I begrudge myself my lack of success.

It's a Friday night in merry olde Connecticut. I am home with the dog, typing this at approximately 11pm, wondering.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I just finished watching Choke, a weird indie movie starring Sam Rockwell. It's one of those movies that asks more questions than it answers, but at least this one has a nice bow on it. It's intriguing and bizarre in so many ways that I was enthralled, gripped by its insanity and the calm, cool way the outlandish was accepted as is, as normal.

I ask myself many questions all the time. What am I doing here? Where do I belong? Why do I do these things to myself? When will I break free from this cycle? Maybe I'm asking the wrong questions. As yet, it's pretty clear I have no answers for these questions. No shining light or discovery or epiphany has managed to rock me from this state, move me. In many ways I feel trapped, whether it be by my modest success or my many inabilities to find escape velocity.

But maybe I've been approaching this all wrong. That's not to say I know the right way or have any single notion of what a right way might be, but I know that my current "way" isn't it.

Sometimes I wonder - is this it? Is this what life is like for everyone? You find some niche, carve it out for yourself and settle in? Get married, have some kids, work to put food on the table and provide for your family and, in the meantime, that's life? Has everyone around me bought into this? (And secretly I ask myself: Why can't I? Why can't I be settled and follow this path? What's wrong with me?)

And there it is. The questions I can never answer and the one I always ask. I stay up until late hours of the night. I am frozen in inaction when I should not. I am lost, at sea as it were, even when surrounded by things that entertained me not hours earlier. And I combat these feelings by inaction, by waiting for them to pass and Monday to come and work to resume and the boredom to take hold again when I am otherwise not paying attention.

I think a part of me rejects the underpinnings. I don't know why or how to battle it or whether to fully give in - I just know what it feels like and that I feel helpless when I know I am not.

Perhaps this is too much truth, too much honesty in a place where I strive to be as guarded as ever, but I'll let it stay, to be reread and rehashed and rethought. Maybe the question isn't how to break out of my current cycle, but how to start a new one. How do I start a new life?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2009: Looking Back On A Year

2009. The Ignoble Year? The Year That Wasn't? What Did I Do Again?

What are titles that I tossed out for this post? Correct! You have control of the board.

I tried to recall what happened in 2009. What did I do? Where did I go? Years from now, if someone asked me what happened in my life in 2009 how would I answer? Truthfully, and I will speak the truth from time to time, not much. Not much at all.

I did very little. Of note, I went to NY ComiCon. I went to WBC in Lancaster, PA. I played board games, I bought board games and DVDs and Blu-rays and CDs and a Tauntaun sleeping bag (MR. Tauntaun to you!) and things I didn't need and things I enjoyed. I played computer games, I played World of Warcraft (WoW), I didn't play WoW, I spoke to some friends, I ignored others, I went to work, I watched other people lose their jobs and I was afraid to lose mine. I learned about the dark side of our dog groomer, I learned to trust people and old friends who I once trusted. I learned things and forgot things and remembered things and dreamed things. I found a dream and I never pursued it. I complained incessantly about my odious job and my inability to do anything but complain and I totally failed to find my way.

And that's what I regret most. I never even tried to dig myself out from under this cloud. I didn't even try to pick myself up. I don't know, maybe part of me is waiting for the life-altering incident that will never come. Or maybe part of me thinks myself incapable of extraditing myself. Or maybe, and this one's the really scary one, part of me doesn't *want* to pull myself up. I don't know and I never even tried to figure it out.

I look at my posts for 2009 and see fear, hope and then.. nothing. Maybe 2010 is "the year"? Maybe then? I don't know. I wish I did, I really do, but I just don't know. I hope it is, though. I still hope.

2009: A Year Of Regrets (And Hope).