Archive for May, 2009

too many ideas, too little time and ambition

May 24, 2009

The only thing required to be a writer is to write.  There’s nothing else to it. Good or bad, published or not, I think that as long as you honestly try to write then you are a writer. I’ve met numerous people who have spent thousands of dollars (hey g/f!) for validation in their writing, and I just don’t get it.

With that said, I need to start setting aside more time and making more effort when to keep writing. It sucks because I have the ideas, they’re in my head, they’re floating around, they’re building and when I do sit down and start writing, I can usually ust pick up the keyboard and go. But I get bored. I get distracted. I shouldn’t. I be able to just sit down and work but I keep wanting to just wander off to other projects.

Ugh, this is going to be a short entry. My head’s a blank right now, the girlfriend will be over in a bit and I have a ton of stuff to still get done, preferably before she got here so she won’t feel awkard as I continue to work around the house. Take care folks.

a collection of thoughts and musings

May 23, 2009

I read today where more colleges in the US are looking at establishing three year BA programs. I like the idea and wish it had been around when I started college far too many years ago and, at the same time, I know there re professors in various humanities divisions howling over this and how we’re producing workers rather than people. Which I think is awfully insulting to the people but whatever. Where a few of these possible programs fail, though, are where a few mentioned the necessity of taking summer classes to finish in three years. Well, no shit. I’m betting you could finish most 4 year degrees early if you took summer classes as well as the traditional fall/winter.  But I’m all for shorter time frames for degrees.

Speaking of degrees and colleges and the cost inherent with attending them, I am wondering where my bailout will be.  Credit card companies were “taking advantage”of people being reckless with their cards. Fine. Help’em out, pass some legislation, keep people from being raped by credit card companies (and more about this in a bit). But what about everyone who has gone to college in the past 20 years and been hit with tuition payments increasing at far greater rates than inflation? I think it would be just as fair to say that people are being taken advantage of by the education system within the framework of a society where the value of a college degree is arguably vastly overstated. So a bunch of us take out crazy amounts in loans to get these degrees because we’re told we will need them and the colleges/universities take our money and keep charging us more…well, where’s our legislation to get this crap in order? If we’re going to start righting wrongs here, what about us who tried to better ourselves and got raped by loan companies/colleges? Even if I don’t get any help, at least cap tuition hikes or something. This shit is insane.

And back on the credit card front, fine, pass this legislation, whatever. But don’t turn around and fuck over those of us who do play by the rules. Since the CC companies can’t royally screw over people who don’t pay on time or at all, the talk is that they are just going to screw all of us with rate hikes and annual fees. I make sure to always pay something on my credit card bill. I make sure I am never late. I don’t need to get screwed because Joe Fuck Up wrote enough letters to his vote whore representatives. 

This pisses me off because I accept that there are some things I just don’t have right now and am unlikely to have in the near future. Things like health insurance.  But instead of finding a way for someone like me to feel okay going to a doctor without worrying about going into even MORE debt that I can’t handle, they pass this crap that will likely just fuck me. thanks. Thanks a lot.

The only thing that consistently brings a smile to my day are women. I bitch about my g/f a lot but I love women. Whether it’s just a cheap look, a quick flirtation, a good laugh or a few moments talking about the misery of existence,women consistently make my day worth living. Granted, most of the time it falls into the cheap look category but still, it’s something.  The damndest thing is that it’s not even a consistently sexual thing any more, not like it used to be when I was a bit younger. Now I’m just as likely to just be amazed by some woman’s youth and strength and beauty and can’t imagine her being in my filthy mits at all.

and, in all honesty, I probably wouldn’t know what to do if given the opportunity with the majority of these women who melt me from afar. It’s better to just look and think about it. From a distance they can remain gods. up close they would be just like everybody else.

onward and upward.

ambition

May 21, 2009

It seems like my life is filled with examples of  a lack of ambition or a lack of self-confidence. My girlfriend doesn’t force herself to sit down and write despite always saying she wants to be published, be a writer, etc. I have another friend pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing who basically has to be forced to write by whatever program she in. I don’t apply to nearly enough jobs to actually find employment and, though I don’t want to be a writer and don’t overly care about being published, I’m the only one who writes on any sort of a consistent basis.

Maybe this is why the whole college degree thing hasn’t been worth much. A combination of not knowing what to do with it and not a shitload of ambition to do something with it. 

Or maybe college was something that was never really meant for me and the string of bad luck since starting at UT is life’s way of informing me of this.

Looking back at high school, I think of how vo-tech was looked down on. It was seen as a place to send kids to get the credits they need to get their high school diploma while getting them out of actual classes. The good that could come from these vocational courses were never really mentioned. They were treated as the alternative for kids who didn’t like to read or add.

Hindsight being 20/20 and all, I wish I had the good sense to have went to vo-tech and gotten trained in something. Auto mechanics, electricians, plumbing, who cares. Taking those classes in high school I could have graduated with a certificate in whatever, then did my apprenticing, if need be, and been pulling down some good cash for at least the past five years. 

I probably could have bought a home.

I could have been saving money for vacations or even for retirement.

I’m not even sure retirement will ever be an option now.

and my girlfriend is entirely oblivious to this as she wants to do some more degree hunting.

A lesson to everyone out there, especially the boys: get yourself trained in something where you will get work and get paid. Women can wait. Watch out for yourself first and treat your cock well – in other words, wear condoms. The babymaker is a first class way of screwing up your life.

and getting several english degrees. don’t do that, either. If you don’t get some sort of certificate for a trade then get a degree in, at worst, accounting or some computer stuff. The world loves it some computers now.

Over and out from the disaffected wastelands.

tuesday mornings coming down

May 19, 2009

Cleveland has become the running focus of this blog.  It’s horrible how this thing has infiltrated my life and worked to make the whole damn thing miserable.  I wake up and it’s sitting there on the edge of the bed, waiting, and I can feel its damn weight on my sleep.

So I get up in the same mess that I went to bed in. I still feel miserable. I try to shake this. Get something to eat, do something, etc. but I end up doing nothing but mope around all morning.

I feel like shit.

So I go to adrian to take back some movies I rented. Gas is now around $2.50 a gallon, surprise surprise, can’t keep exxon down. Give me an electric car.

So I go to adrian and all during the drive I can’t help but feel my life has been a failure and waste. I realize Ibought into the high school crap of having to go to college and looking down at the votech stuff. If I had really been as smart as they claimed I was I would have ditched the advanced english courses and taken the vocational stuff.

I would have acquired a useful, practical knowledge of something that would work for me to make sure I didn’t live on the street.

I would have gained a knowledge and ability that would make me a useful member of society.

Maybe I’m just overly tired but  I haven’t found much actual worth or use for an english degree of any size, shape or form outside of a classroom in my neck of the woods – and I’m not real keen on venturing to some other part of the forest.

cleveland sucks and I’m fairly certain I don’t care for people as a general rule

May 17, 2009

We made our trip to cleveland this weekend and it was an unmitigated disaster. We didn’t get to see half of the apartments because the rep. who was supposed to show us around stood us up, another rented the room out and didn’t have any others to show us, and the other showed us one room in our price range and one that wasn’t in our price range.

We got lost trying to find our way home because I was told that she had already gotten all of the mapquest crap that we needed except a map on how to get the hell out of this place and, oh yeah, there were a ton of fucking people. Which I’m not a big fan of.

Apparently when I later make comments about the next two years being a waste of my life this sorta betrays my dislike for Cleveland and pretty much every thing currently associated with it and has a tendency to upset my girlfriend. Which, in turn, makes my life more needlessly drama filled and annoying.

All I really want, I think, now, at this point, is to be left alone by the vast majority of society. Surface connections online are great, some family stuff is fine but, beyond that, fuck it.  This isn’t even saying that everyone is horrible or some such blather. I just don’t deal well with people and I don’t care much for change. My dream is to have a nice big fucking house in the middle of the country with a lot of land around it and few neighbors. 

on top of that, while having sex saturday night, I had a bizarre vision of a car accident on, I think, I480 (?) heading in/out of cleveland.  This was one of the most bizarre experiences I have ever had as I felt as if I was literally somewhere/somewhen else and seeing something that I had never witnessed before but was strangely meant to see. Honestly, it has kind of upset me. I also haven’t told anyone about it but I’m willing to blog it. I guess I still suffer from a certain degree of false perception of anonymity.  But I guess I can officially say I had a vision and it hasn’t improved my opinion of the move to cleveland.

lost in cleveland and abandoned by real estate

May 16, 2009

My g/f and I went to cleveland today to view apartments. We were only looking in one area and had six lined up for the day. Around noon, while driving in to Cleveland, we got a call from one of the agents showing us an apartment today to tell us that the apartment was rented but he could show us some others. He would call us back when he found something in the area and price range we were looking for.

The first place we stopped at was nice. First they showed us an apartment that was about a hundred dollars out of our price range but it was nice. Then they showed us a second apartment that was within our price range. It was less nice, with smaller closets, but still quite livable. We thanked them and promised to stay in touch.

Then we waited around for the agent who had called us earlier to call back. They never did, but that was fine, too, as it gave us time to sit down and get something to eat. It was a little diner, loud but good. I think the waiter was worried I was going to stiff him a tip because I didn’t put a tip on the bill. I left a five on the table when I left and, looknig back, I hope he got it. I wondered if a busboy wouldn’t simply pocket it. I don’t know.

At three we had an appointment to see three more apartments, including one which was the clear front runner from what we had seen on the internet when we did our first scouting around the area. We found where the offices were and went up and knocked on the door but no one was around. We were a bit early so we waited. Then we waited some more. The people never showed.

So we had driven 3 hours to look at 6 apartments and ended up looking at just one in our price range while getting a chance to just walk around the area a bit. My g/f was dejected a bit from this. I just wanted to come home. And I couldn’t help but notice that, while driving around, I kept seeing all of these little red signs that said “Snow Street” on them. I know cleveland gets a lot of snow, sitting on the lip of Lake Erie and all, but this was sort of the first hammer blow sinking that nail in. They get a lot of snow.

Needless to say I am a bit apprehensive about all of this. She keeps reminding me that it won’t be long. A year and a half, really, but it is closer to two years. It’s a long time, really, when put up against the shortness of our lives. Two years can represent a fairly significant chunk of it.

In the end, I’m just not sure about any of this. I want to be sure and supportive but the whole endeavor has me digging my heels in and saying, “Wait.”

Kurtzman and Orci are poor writers

May 14, 2009

I saw the new Star Trek film yesterady.  Right up front about this, I’m a Trek fan and there will be spoilers. I really like the series and while I don’t read the books or have everything from the shows/movies memorized, I am pretty damn picky when it comes to Star Trek and what they do with it. Especially when they want my eight bucks to see what they’ve done.

A glance at Rotten Tomatoes tells me that a lot of people really like this movies. From talking to other people, the movie has also been really well received by the public.  But so was Transformers.

And it was crap, too.

If all you are looking for is an action movie with Star Trek props then this movie is for you. As a special effects extraveganza with a lot of stuff blowing up it excels. Abrams sets a break neck pace that attempts to not allow you to think about anything that is happening on screen.

Which is goood because the moment you start thinking about the movie it goes all to hell. This isn’t to say that I, or anyone, should expect Oscar calibre work on a Star Trek film. For better or worse it will always be looked at as just “Star Trek.” But Kurtzman and Orci can’t write a decent script to save their lives.

They get the character names right, they get the props right and they lift all of the significant lines for the characters from the original Star Trek cast. But they have no idea how to deploy their forces correctly or efficiently. The lines seem thrown in and forced by the actors, used because they were expected to be used. They don’t give Nero any real depth of character, relying heavily on “he’s a bad guy with a big ship” while never really giving him a chance to be an enemy. He blows up a planet and…well, that’s it. And he really hates Spock.

And this isn’t the half of it. The method of destroying the planet, and the tool used for it, are less than thoughtout and seem to be around because, well, it looks cool and allows space for another fight scene where one guys brings a gun, which he loses, and they end up fighting with swords. And you have to wonder, or at least I have to wonder, why Nero wouldn’t go to Romulus and work to save his own planet with his knowledge of the future rather than detroy a bunch of other planets while still leaving everything else the same. He says something about destroying the federation to ensure Romulus’s future but the Federation didn’t blow up the star that whiped out Rumulus (and, apparently, most of an entire galaxy which makes me think that Kurtzman and Orci don’t have any idea on how big a galaxy actually is and how many stars actually explode without whiping them out). 

The movie entirely lacks an internal logic and structure.  While Trek isn’t exactly hard sci/fi, this movie continues a Nemesis tradition of showing a frightening lack of basic knowledge about science and isn’t even consistent with it’s mistreatment of science. Sometimes blackholes suck you through space and time, sometimes they just rip your ship all to hell. Apparently, it’s justa coin toss as to which of these events will happen and you just take your chances.

On the plus side, Simon Pegg was excellent as Scotty but I think a lot of that goes to Pegg  just being good at his work. Bana was horribly underutilized as Nero. Nero could have become an iconic Trek movie antagonist if the writing was better as it looked like Bana was really selling the character. The rest of the cast I’m lukewarm over. They cast for the right ethnicities but none of them were overly memorable beyond Chekov’s accent jokes (which were funny). Unfortunately, I thought Urban’s portrayal of Bones bordered more on charicature than anything.

So I’m not looking forward to the next Trek movie as Kurtzman and Orci seem to have been given the reins for that one, too. They write bad movies. They have always written bad movies and they will continue to do so. But people like seeing stuff blow up even if it makes little to zero sense in the events leading up to and leading away from the stuff blowing up. I’m not against revamping Trek, or even against Abrams speeding it up a bit, but they need better material to work with.

landscaping has never been so hard

May 12, 2009

I either need to get younger or trimming out trees and bushes needs to get easier because I remember it being a helluva lot easier when I was younger.

For two hours tonight I hacked and cut at trees and shrubs or bushes or whatever you want to call these things that we just call the prickly things. They have these thorns all over the place that have a unique ability to grab, snag or puncture any but of flesh or cloth within five inches of them. At some point one will be imbedded in your hand. You will have multiple scratches across your forearms, most drawing blood. They are hellish things that the birds love because they are so entangled and messy that they make great cover for making their nests. Which is also why we hesitate to hack all of them out like we should have years ago.

The first one I took aim at was a dead prickly thing. I took the axe and started swinging. Chunks of hard and dead wood flesh started flying. The pricklky thing is so dead that it shakes with each hit and distributes the energy horribly efficiently. I keep hacking at it. Then I decide to put my weight to my advantage and I grab one of the trunks that I’ve been hacking away from because these things erupte from the ground like a many tentacled beast. I grab this one tentacle and I lean into it and then I pull back, wood is snapping and cracking and the thing leans drunkenly towards me and I stumble and the thing is coming down and then I’m lost in all of this sharp dead shrubbery.

I get out of the stuff. I look at the mess. That’s one down. There’s a row of these damn things. And pine trees that need trimmed. Aw hell. So I move to the next one. I lift the axe. The damn thing shakes and it all starts over again.

My mom comes out. My reciprocating saw dies. I get a handsaw which actually works better.  She’s picking out limbs that I am then hacking off and then she’s spraying the gaping stumps with undercoating to seal the things off from bugs and whatever else might like to get in there and kill our trees. I swing the axe again and again and again. I work the handsaw through limb after limb. Two hours later and we’re done.

I’m looking at the work we have done. We have done good work. I go over my body in my mind.My shoulders are sore now. My arm is sore. My lower back aches. I think of having to pick up all of the limbs now littering the ground and the stumps that now need to be dug out. I remember all of this being so much easier when I was younger.  I’m getting old and the trees are letting me know it.

Dream Drinking and finding cubed elderly

May 10, 2009

The past couple of days I’ve remembered a couple of my dreams beyond those first few moments of consciousness when the two worlds of our perceptively real and perceptively unreal mix and have their boundaries blurred. Often when I dream I reach this point, and the few moments after, and I remember the dream and then it slowly fades into the ether. But now a couple of days later and they are still with me to some degree.

in one dream, I started telling time with the old movie trick of repeating an action over and over while changing details to denote the passage of time. I was buying liquor. One bottle at a time I dreamed of going in and buying a new drink.  Bottle after bottle the shelves were gradually emptied. I don’t know how much time supposedly passed in my dream edits but it was a fair amount and I remember occasionally looking into my wallet and seeing a fat stack of cash thinned down to scraggly bills. And the hell of it was that I wasn’t even buying liquor I liked. It all looked like vodka and gin and I don’t care for either of them. Even in my dreams I just buy the cheapest drunk I can.

then in my second dream, the events were actuially fairly short but it felt as if the dream pulled out for hours. We couldn’t get my grandma on her phone so my mom and I went over and I got out of the car and walked up to the door and when I opened it I wasn’t really shocked as I saw exactly what I expected to see, only the form she took was a bit different. Grandma was dead in her chair but she looked like some cubist reconstruction of death, her body contorted andshaped in ways she would have never been capable of in this real world. And she was wearing yellow which I also found fairly odd. And that is where the dream ended.

I’m not sure if one caused the othe and the stories were told out of order or what. Or if one is a bizarre premonition of something that is to come, though I can’t imagine myself drinking a lot of bad liquor for no reason. I don’t know. But there you have it. My dreams lately.

Fuck this talking about writing. That’s for hacks.

May 9, 2009

I fell behind on this thing. A combination of illness, life changes, deaths, depression, lack of booze, and not really finding much of anything to say about literature or writing. Both things tend to bore me a bit after a short while.

That might be a fair share of the reason why I could never work up much enthusiasm for that MA in English Literature. I cuoldn’t will myself to just sit there and bullshit about some short story or novel or what someone else sat down and bullshitted about and feel it was productive or interesting or worth a damn.  First, what would anyone really care about my opinion for? I’ve been somewhat shocked every time I see someone leave a message here for the same reason. I just consider this something I have said and that it should only be of importance to me. Anyone else finding it at all important is something that I was always amazed by.

So I’m just going to start talking about whatever I want here. Take the idea of loose leaf bound to its logical point of existence. A true collection of random thoughts and ideas and posting and whatever else all just sort of lumped together and damn its coherency.

Coherency is overrated.

My girlfriend is taking some class talking about the structure of a novel. I don’t understand why you need a class for this. Apparently, they will read some different novels and then talk about them. Why do you need a class for this? Just read the thing. Go to the library or to Borders andsift through the stacks. Then read it. Think about it. And go from there.

the idea of a novel having structure at all irks me. Write enough words and you have a novel. Everything after that is just a question of quality. Is it good or is it crap? All a novel ever really signified to me was length. Everything else was  and is fair game.

Listening to The Rolling Stones. I heard a couple of songs on the radio about a month ago. They had a country acoustic feel to them. I had never gotten into the stones so I wasn’t familiar enough to place any of it. Ended up posting a query at a message board I go to and some albums were suggested. I just got around to grabbing some of the suggestions. Beggers Banquet is a helluva album.

I talked a bit about writing here. Still on topic.Maybe I can make it into a chapbook.