Kidding – Part One

I lost my ability to hula hoop.  Now when I pick one up and step inside of it, the best I can do is spin it really hard and hope that split second of orbit will be enough to impress anyone watching.  This isn’t an ability that I thought I would have to practice in order to retain it.  I always thought I would be able to spin a circle around my waist for more than a second.  I was wrong.

I really haven’t lost any sleep over this, though.  In fact, every time I try and fail I usually just shrug it off and look for an activity I can actually do.  But there was one day when I was in fourth grade that I was not only keeping the hoop going, but I was in a contest to see who could sustain the longest.  On that day I was weirdly confident that I could best my opponents in this because what I lacked in skill, I made up for in heart.  I was a passionate young man then, but only for brief moments about things that didn’t matter.

If I’m not mistaken, the winner of the contest was Jillian Anderson, or Andrews, or something like that.  I got the first name right probably.  The only clear memory I have of the event is watching her spin away for what became a ridiculous amount of time before the other girl gave up or passed out or whatever.  I don’t actually remember feeling upset about my loss, but I’m almost certain that was the last time I picked up a hula hoop until I was an adult.

Suppose I blame this loss of ability on the physics.  Maybe I could do it now if I wanted to, but the size of the hoop has to exceed a certain circumference so I may exert less energy to keep the thing in orbit.  Having a 17 inch waist probably made a big difference for me back then.  This is speculation of course, attributed to my rudimentary understanding of physics and my inability to estimate circumferences.  I was actually very skinny so my waist had to be at least half of what it is now if not more.  Now Google is at my immediate disposal so I could actually look up the numbers and have a more accurate estimate, but it’s close to my bedtime and I’m not sure anyone cares that much.  Suffice it to say that I blame math as the reason for my lack of success inside the hoop and not just because I got old and became a square.

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More Musical Memories

All songs are important.  Of course there are songs that stick out more than the others, but I have a brain that makes connections through music.  (Actually, I’ve heard that we all do, but mine is more keen to it.)  Any song I have heard is special to me in some way, weather I have bad thoughts about it or good.

The best way to figure out what songs are the most important to me now is to look at my “Most Played” list in the iTunes.  Lately though, I have been downloading songs that I want to have with me all the time regardless of wether I have a copy of it stored somewhere else.  There is a Paul McCartney song that keeps popping up in my head called “Great Day” and it’s very catchy.  I want to hear it all the time because it has a simple message that the day that you are having is in fact going to be a great day so take it a and make something of it.  He says that it “Won’t be long” which  is I think the qualifier for a good day.  The ones that matter are the ones that are suddenly over and you’re looking back on the memories you made bittersweetly.

Supertramp is not a band that I would say I am a huge fan of.  I like their songs, but their repertoire isn’t filling my playlists.  But the one song of theirs that never tires me is “Give A Little Bit”.  That song is just what I want to say to someone that I love.  It perfectly describes how I feel when I love someone.  All the person has to do is just give a little bit and I’m in.  I don’t want to describe all the great lines in the song that speak to me right now, because I would just be writing it out in its entirety.  It would be much more effective if you just put it on and thought of me as you listened to it.  Then you would know how it is that I love.

Again, we’re getting into a territory that I have covered many times before.  Music saturates my life so much that I cannot narrow down my favorites list to just three.  There are too many good songs with good memories.  If we’re talking about bad memories, though, there is the classical piece by Ravel titled “Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess)” which electronic artist William Orbit wrote an arrangement of and was later remixed by Dutch trance guru Ferry Corsten.  I listened to that song at a very loud volume after my friend Charles died and I cried my eyes out.  He was the one that introduced me to electronic music and gave me that song.  I suppose now it’s not necessarily a bad memory, more of a beautiful and somber memory, and I cannot help but think of him whenever I hear it.  The music swells and I am swept away in it every time.

The hardest part about musical memories is that they take a long time to go away.  If I want to get rid of them, I have to wait until the vinyl has dust on it.  Only then will the memories’ echoes become faint and not dampen the enjoyment I wish to feel from them. Some of you may not understand what I mean by all this, but the most intimate connections I make with people are through music.  That’s why I wish it were easy to reset your brain after a breakup so you can restore the factory seeings or at least time machine back to before you knew that person.  Those imprints are harder to get rid of than the physical things they leave behind.

The Roman God

Is that I’m dreaming and I’m just refusing to wake up?  At this moment I look around me and everything seems new, like I’ve never seen it before.  What I know is only from pictures in books and movies.  But here I am, standing in the center of a room that looks like a quarantine room from a movie about a killer virus.  All six of us, we stand at various places in the room in our bland, scrub-like uniforms, leaning against doorways or standing still like we’re trying to remember what that feels like.  We’ve all just been revived from the hyper sleep and the effects are worse than they described to us.  We all look incredibly hung over.

I’m one of the leaners.  I have my head resting against the door frame to my bunk and I’m trying I’m watching to see which ones in the group are worse off than me.  One of the ladies standing near the center of the room near the round conference table has her arms wrapped around herself like she’s freezing.  She could be, but she’s not shivering.  The temperature for me could be cooler, because I feel like my head needs a ten pound bag of ice on it.

Our tour guide comes into the room, bright and peppy.  She’s a sweet lady, but I’m dreading to hear the sound of her voice.  Obviously, she’s been awake must longer than the rest of us, and I don’t think that’s fair.  Plus, none of us are going to want to hear anything she has to say at this point.  She begins by laying out folders on the table while we all watch in anticipation.  We’re about to be briefed on what we should expect in the coming days as we arrive at our destination.  She’ll walk us through how to maintain our bodies, the exercising, the diet, etc.  Also, she’ll be be reminding us of itinerary for the remainder of the trip.  We’re to orbit Saturn and then Titan and take shuttles down to see the surface.  We’ve payed a lot of money for this so everything must go according to planned.

We are invited to take our seats.  Each one of us looks around the circle at our peers and smiles sympathetically.  None of us have met before the trip, but we have become close, especially through the suffering of the training.  These sterile white walls aren’t much different from the walls of the facility where we met and prepared for the departure.  It does seem like the time on this ship was shorter than the time spent together on Earth, but we have been moving through the dark of space for over two years now.  This place is now our home, despite how unwelcoming it feels.

After our briefing, we are given leave to wander the ship and familiarize ourselves with it.  We will be spending several weeks here.  The only thing I’m interested in seeing though is the big planet itself.  I’ve always wanted to see it ever since I was a boy.  I wanted to see it because even though I had faith in its existence, true belief would only come from looking upon its majesty with my own eyes.  And what a sight it was.  I stepped into the observation room, and I was stunned by the sheer size of the planet.  The furthest wall of the room was made of glass, and Saturn filled it completely.  My breath caught in my throat.  What I once thought was just a brown ball of gas turned out to be a beautiful golden sphere that consumed my vision and sparkled against the pitch blackness around it.  I saw the gases move and the colors twist and change and the once impossible planet was made new before my eyes every second.

And the rings.  Of course the rings.  They were something to behold.  You could watch them spinning for hours and forget about everything.  And I did.  Our perception of time as humans is relative to where the sun is in our sky.  I didn’t have that to tell me how long I stood and looked upon the greatness before me, but I imagine the sun passed overhead those back on Earth, possibly more than once, as I was hypnotized.

Write Now

Sometimes I wonder if the songs that I create in my head will be heard by anyone else but me.  I often wake up to a new melody and I have to get it out somewhere, but alas I do not play the guitar as greatly as I imagine I can.  I can pick things out, but by the time I finish picking, I have forgotten what I started with.  Or it sounds completely different and the original is lost in the mix.

Perhaps I could try to be a rapper instead.  Or a slam poet.  I want people to stand around while I recite nonsensical syllables and clap when I’m finished.  Of course, they don’t clap right when I’m finished, because they won’t actually be sure if I’m finished until it starts to feel awkward and I’ve been staring at the ground way too long and then one brave soul strikes out in front of the rest and just claps once, starting a chain reaction of applause that will swell and fill the hall or lakeside park.

What about all the cool story ideas I have when I’m sitting all by myself.  My novel has morphed and changed a lot in my head lately, but none of it has made it to print.  The first draft has, and it has been waiting patiently to be removed from my backpack for the first round of revisions.  But good lord in heaven, how do you even begin to edit a friggin novel?  When I picture George R. R. Martin doing it, he only writes a little at a time and then goes back and edits the crap out of it until it is finished.  Then he writes the next part.  I don’t know why I picture that.  At no point have I heard him describe his writing process as such, but I think even he would be intimidated by the the task that my novel presents.  It’s just a huge hunk of paper that needs an indeterminate amount of changes.  I could start at the beginning . . . but then there’s the part after that I have to deal with.  And then there’s more after that.

In my mind there is a time when all of this is finished.  For some reason I can picture a future where all the tasks I wish to complete are completed and I can move on to what is next on the list.

Oh good lord!  What comes after that!?

The bigger problem here, one that seems to be the most prominent thought on my mind as of late, is when do I start doing things instead of waiting to do things?  When do I get to the point where I am not concerned with outcomes as I am with the task itself.  I’m not saying I shouldn’t be interested in end products, but it seems that I am in the habit of looking at the potential timeline of my life and assigning a rigid order to it all.  I’ve been saying “first this, then that” and “once I have that finished then this will happen”.  The more I hear that voice in my head, though, the more I want to get rid of it and start making things happen in the present.  The future as it stands will always be there.  I know this because I’ve been staring at it like an impatient cook watching the pot on the stove.  I’ve been staring at it waiting for it to arrive, but the present is the only thing I will ever have.

I’m getting pretty deep here, but the sum of my point is that I want to change the way I look at the world.  I am using my writing habits, or rather procrastination habit, as an example of a bigger picture I’m looking into.

Characters

I try to be the same person online as I am in person.  I even go so far as to type words in the order that I might say them including pauses.  I don’t like to spell things wrong, though, and I tend to want to spell complete words instead of using abbreviations.  Except for when it’s funny.  I also think It’s important to use a capital “I” when referring to myself.  The “I” is capital because I feel like I’m important.  Most of the time a phone will fix that error for you, but on the internets you have to pay attention.  Because these things are important to me, I like talking to people that feel the same way.  Specifically when I’m talking to a girl, I start to lose interest the more she uses what I would call “text speak” or “words you would have to explain to your grandparents”.  And if she’s a heavy LOL-er, forget it.

Speaking of “text speech”, there is a level of comfort that text communication provides people that I try to be aware of.  On one hand, you have more time to calculate your responses to people so that you can avoid saying the wrong thing or divulging too much information.  This is advantageous in an argument.  The flip side to that is being separated allows you to say some pretty awful things without the fear of consequence.  Especially when you’re an anonymous person on a forum or a comment thread.  Because it is so tempting to be that guy, I only choose things to say that I would be comfortable saying to a person face to face.  If you have to ask, if you’re wondering if it might be taken as offensive, it probably is.  I’m getting better at trusting my gut, and usually when I have a bad feeling about something, there is a reason for it.  We should all learn to trust that intuition.

Again, I try to be the same person online and through text as I am in person, but there is a point where that is impossible.  There are times I think when a conversation should take place in person because there are certain things you want to say and you want to know how a person is going to react to them in real time.  You need to see their actual reactions.  Unfortunately there is not a font that adequately conveys the emotion we are intending.  The best we have are yellow faces that only serve as a poor substitute.  Sometimes, people just need to hear your voice and see your face.  And when you’re with that person, they can’t lie to you and say that they understand or they aren’t upset or they are happy or whatever their reaction is to what you’re saying.  In these cases, I want that person in front of me so that I know that nothing is lost in translation.  Plus, after good or bad news is delivered, some form of physical contact is necessary.  There’s no emoticon for that.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World.”

Amateur Night

I’m just not a prankster.  I certainly don’t mind watching a harmless prank happen to someone, but I haven’t been much of an April Fools champion.  There was one time when I got a kid in PE class to help me look for my contact lens.  I don’t wear glasses.  There was another time I posted on Twitter that I was moving to Texas.  No one believed it.

in other news, I have been cleaning my room this evening.  Here’s a picture of what it looked like before I started.

BEFORE

I have made some progress, though I still have more to do.  Here’s what it looks like

NOW






















APRIL FOOLS!

I can’t believe you thought I was actually cleaning my room.

. . . And Scene

I was just thinking about this yesterday.  I thought to myself that it’s always been a dream of mine to be an actor, but it may not happen like I thought it would when I was a kid.  I wanted to be an actor like Arnold Schwarzenegger and beat up all the bad guys.  I’d seen enough of his films that I could reenact his fighting movements.  I could even do the entire scene from “Total Recall” where he kills five guys by himself.  The only problem that seemed to stand in my way was that I have an unusual name, and when I asked people many of them said that I was going to have to change it.  As if American audiences weren’t going to see movies where the lead actor’s name was a food.  I guess everyone thought it was unappealing to the big shot producers in Hollywood, their prime example being the obscure D-lister Kevin Bacon who could never seem to get work.

I wouldn’t want to be the producer, and not because of their prejudice against me, but because I don’t really know what a producer is.  According to Wikipedia, it is not one particular job but many, and those jobs depend on the movie itself.  If I had to explain it to someone using the analogy of the human body, the producer is like the mouth of the movie making machine.  He or she is in charge of “selling” the movie to the public so they have final say in what comes out of the mouth.  The more I read about all these jobs and responsibilities of these jobs, it’s a wonder to me that a movie gets made at all.  So many potential conflicts of interest between writers and editors and actors and producers and directors.  Seriously people, if a movie is good, that’s a modern miracle.

My second choice would be director, because I like being in charge.  However, I would need to learn more about what a director does before I take the chair.  I know I can sit in the chair with the headphones on and watch the actors do the acting.  Also, I can say the words “Action”, “Cut”, and “Lunch” with authority.  But how am I going to know which order to film things in?  How many takes in a day is considered excessive?  Am I allowed to berate the PAs personally, or is that something I have to delegate?  Honestly, I think I could get the hang of it with practice, but I haven’t been practicing in front of my bathroom mirror since I was a kid so I could stand behind the camera.  I need the spotlight.

Now what if I pull a Mel Gibson and decide to do all three?  There was a time when that crazy Aussie was turnin’ out the hits.  In 1995 he Produced, Directed, AND Starred in “Braveheart” which won best Picture and Director.  I guess that says a lot about the talent of Mr. Gibson if he can take all of that added pressure and still make a decent movie.  It probably helps when you’re your own boss.  And now I’m picturing Mel Gibson arguing with William Wallace on set in front of everyone, and no one wants to interject because they are afraid of what will happen if they do.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Show Must Go On.”