Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Double Dragon Vs. Future Shock

* = I only wish my everyday had this in it...
Flummoxed. I think that’s the word I’d use to portray my current mental status. I’ve never felt closer and more distant to so many folks, places, and things as I do right now. The last week or so has seen some drama in other’s lives, important folks so there for my life as well, the re-unification of the Bro-Los El Cunado(s), although let’s be honest it was/is sort of weird now, and I’ve found myself directionless in almost all senses both at the place that pays my bills as well as at home.

I know I just blogged about it last week, but let me re-iterate; Relationship are HARD! And no Dave, not the hard you’re thinking of, I mean difficult. Whether it’s old friendships like me & Ant, burgeoning friendships, or your love life, it all takes a lot of F’Ning work. Sometimes it surprises me how difficult it is. When I enter into a friendship I want it to be rock solid. I’ll be there for you, you are there for me, and we’ll have a grand old time. It doesn’t always work that way, as time, distance, changes in familial status, etc. conspire against this constantly.

I don’t call people friend that easily. I really don’t. I have a lot of acquaintances. A LOT! I have some ‘Part Time Pals’, you know folks who you like to hang with when it works out, but for the most part you don’t count on them because they have lives or children or other better friends or live a bunch of miles away; like Dangerous Dan or Mighty Mike or High Flyin’ Heidi. In reality I only have a few Friends. My wife is my Best Friend. J.B. used to be in that slot, even post marriage (sorry Cassandra), but then I realized in the overall scheme of things he really didn’t care all that much about our friendship. Distance doesn’t strengthen some bonds, it disintegrates them. And that’s ok. We grow older, wiser, and we move on. I have Dave, and he’s just about the best pal a ‘foo’ could ask for pitying. It’s just sad to know that the halcyon days of the Ant & Ben show are sorta done. It already was closing as we weren’t officially ‘Brothers’ anymore, a blow that will sting me for the remainder of my days on this mortal coil, but in my selfishness I sometimes forget that you don’t get to trap people in amber.

People find other relationships, other happiness(es?), other past times. They aren’t at my whim, at my beck and call, and they certainly owe me nothing. It doesn’t make it any less sad. Ant, and I’m talking directly to you right now, through the computer screen (Because I have THAT kind of power), I’m happy for you, more than that I’m proud of you. There I said it. Turn away from your screen for a second, NO I’m not crying! I just have some dust in my eye. Seriously, just give me a second. Whew. Ok I’m good now. What was I saying? Oh yeah, I’m proud of you. I just know that life has conspired to put you in a position, ‘position’ get it(?), where we can’t hang and be Bro-Lo’s like we used to. I’m ok with that, it just sucks.

There is a terrible aloneness at my center some times. It’s an unshakable feeling that although I have all this stuff and all these people in and out of my life that no one understands me fully. It’s really funny when I remember I don’t even understand myself. I like, NAY love, having the people in my life I do. It’s just that I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want to give up the secret hiding places, the childish things that be still my Nerdy Core, and I don’t want to lose that feeling that we’ll always be ‘Best Pals Forever’.

But it fades doesn’t it? Getting older fades the brightness of those experiences, of those moments, of those relationships because we are pulled and pushed and absorbed into new and greater things. Right? Please someone tell me I’m right here, because there is a distinct part of me that doesn’t think so. That part of me that daydreams ceaselessly, that wants the next Movie-A-Thon to be the ‘bestest’ Movie-A-Thon in the history of history, that is always telling friends “…you know you can just crash here if you want…”, etc. It’s as if I’m a man dying of thirst and the only thing that will quench it is that feeling I get from my friends.

Maybe it has to do with the disconnect I have with my family. It’s gotten better over time, and continues to improve, but it’s just never the same. I feel obligated sometimes with them, with my friends I never feel that, I feel I owe them. I mean that in a good way. I feel like I owe them my loyalty, my attention, my time, and my affection. Not in a prison way of course. I didn’t choose my siblings, and I know they didn’t choose me. We are cut from different clothes and that’s fine. I’ve meticulously chosen my friends, even the ones where it didn’t end well. I looked at that person and said, “I want to be a part of that person’s life because they are just the coolest.” So when somebody leaves that inner circle and moves to that next outer ring it’s a loss profoundly felt. Don’t get me wrong my ‘Part-Time Pals’ are the bee’s knees, but the tie there isn’t as strong. That inner sanctum is where ‘I’ really am.

I often wonder if I have a very lonely or distinct viewpoint, and that’s why I’m so disconnected from so many. That’s why it’s cool to have people like Dave & Cassandra who not only seem to sort of ‘get it’, but who also seem to be OK with my brand of crazy pants, and while it’s equally sad when someone gets a ‘Real Life’ and moves onto bigger and better things. You just have to maximize the time you get, enjoy the fun you’re allowed, and bask in the glow of the memories you make I suppose.

Life will go on for everyone. It just seems like a lot of the time I would rather be 10 again.

Anyway enough of that stream of consciousness, sappy crap today.

I watched the flick Submarine (Infinite *’s out of 5) with Dave on Sunday afternoon.
 If you read this blog then you already know I am obsessed with Richard Ayoade. He directed this amazing flick, and he doesn’t not disappoint. The movie follows the exploits of young Oliver Tate as he circumnavigates his young life, school, relationships, his parents, and his first girlfriend. The movie is not only incredibly quirky, but it’s laugh out loud funny. It reminds me of Rushmore, one of my favorite movies of all time, but seen through a very British sensibility. I like the fact that our little protagonist is sort of a dick, and yet extremely human. He’s flawed, his world view is that of someone his age (maybe 15), and he’s uncompromising in that. On top of the wonderful acting and fantastic story, it’s just shot outrageously well. It has a natural beauty to it, a self-aware visual narrative to go with Tate’s audio narrative that is evocative, touching, and really funny. Simple put it’s one of the best twenty movies I’ve ever seen. It’s wonderful and you should all drop whatever it is you’re doing and see it.

I also received another Pathfinder Tales book in the mail. This time it was Nightglass by Liane Merciel (**** out of 5).  Let me be really honest here, the first ‘half’ of this book was amazing. It covered the main character, Isiem, and his indoctrination into the power structure of his country Nidal. First off the beauty thus far with these novels is you do not have to be an expert in the Pathfinder World of Golarion. The novels will give you enough of the background to get you interested and there is a handy dandy index of terms in the back of each book, which helps a great deal. As a novice in the intricacies in Golarion’s factions and countries I was unaware of Nidal. It was saved from a serious worldwide calamity by devoting itself to a Dark God and giving its people over to Shadow. It’s a country where the common folk live in constant fear of a fanatical government made up of Mages and Clerics to a Dark God who routinely give themselves over the denizens of the Plane Of Shadow, making them more and yet less than human. We, as readers are treated to Isiem’s brutal training and the loss of his humanity and morality. It’s chilling and yet fascinating. He’s actually quite a sympathetic character who you find yourself rooting for quiet readily; I attribute that to the deft pin of Ms. Merciel. There is a dark flourish of description without it being gory or over the top. When we get to the point where Isiem is now an apprentice to a Cheliaxian Diabolist you ware actively wanting him to flee what his perceived fate is. The relationship they develop is both honest and yet disturbing due to its morality. It’s as if Isiem is constantly being forced to look at himself as a ‘Lesser Evil’ in comparison to those around him, but at the core of his being he desire to not be ‘Evil’ at all. The second half of the book is where the ‘action’ is and there, for me, is where it comes off the rails a bit. It becomes a ‘Dances With Wolves’ type situation with our point of view character somewhat going native, finally finding redemption through rebellion, and becoming truly free. I have to admit, if it was as contrived and hack as it could have been it would have gotten less stars, BUT again Ms. Merciel does a great job of keeping this new ‘friendship’ tense, she never lets Isiem forget who and what he was, what he’s done, and that just because his fate is now his own, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be ‘Good’. Is it ‘City Of The Fallen Sky’? Unfortunately, no, not quiet. Is it a damn fine fantasy novel that has a great character, a very different feel for the setting, evocative storytelling, and something I’d read again, yes. Yes it is.

Speaking of Pathfinder, it’s another week so you get another Rise Of The Runelords preview!
This week it’s Khalib, I’m not sure of his ‘rarity’ in the set. This character is apparently the main apprentice of the big baddie in the Adventure Path, Karzoug who has TWO minis in this set. I like the idea of this mini. The staff and book look solid, the color scheme works, and there is a presence in the sculpt that screams ‘Master Mage’. That being said it suffers from ‘Potato Face Syndrome’. Maybe it’s just the paint job, or the picture, or something else, but that face doesn’t look good. It doesn’t look good at all. If this piece is a Rare I DEFINITELY will not be picking it up for that face alone, and that’s a damn shame because like I said there is SO much to like about it otherwise. This is always my fear when seeing these previews is sometimes the pictures do not do the miniatures justice. This time I just hope that’s the case.

How about we wrap this bad boy up with some…

- So there is loose talk of a Podcast occurring with Dave & myself. Potentially others could be involved. While we were being huge nerds on Sunday we starting spit-balling some concepts and I have to say there is some really fun and funny stuff there potentially. SO I put it to you the few, the proud, to those crazy enough to keep reading his; would you listen to a Podcast if we did one?
- Friday night’s Movie-A-Thon cannot get here fast enough!
- I'm sorry Cassandra.  I need to say it in a public forum where I can be suitably humilated by our friends.  I am sorry, becuase I have been unable to get back into the Baldur's Gate groove with you.  It's just been one thing after another that has kept us and our controllers apart.  I'd like to make it up to you with some serious 'Hack N Slashin' tonight if you'll have me.
- Holy Crap!  The Rolson called me today and she wants to hang out and get some grub.  INSANITY!
- Oh Drew Brees, why must you keep talking? We get it you don’t believe in ‘Bounty Gate’. You’ve made all the stops around the country telling anyone talking head who will listen to you that the players aren’t culpable. It’s sad really, because ‘Bounty Gate’ happened. The players you are defending are culpable. And now you, a guy who I’ve always rooted for and thought highly of, are guy I’m hoping the worst for. Wouldn’t it be ironic if you were injured because of a bounty and it was the same shoulder that you injured in San Diego and you were a ‘Franchised Player’? I’m never one to root for the injury of another or for the bad karma of someone else, well actually I am, but this season I think besides rooting HARD for the Chiefs, hoping the Vikings are relevant, and rooting against the Saints, I’m going to be rooting for Drew Brees to get hurt. Preferably in a way that prevents him from talking.
- When life gives you Lemons, you grab life by the Damn collar and say ‘GIVE ME ALL YOUR DAMN MONEY!’ If life refuses, you beat it mercilessly. That’s for you Dave.
- I’m thinking of starting a Divorcee support group. It’s going to be built on the mantra in the following picture. See if you’ve been through something like this then you know just how devastating it can be. It ruins your self-confidence, it changes your self-view, and it forces you to re-examine who you are and what you want to be. The only people who ‘get it’ are people who have survived it. It’s a frighteningly lonely experience. That being said, we aren’t alone. 50% of Americans are in this boat. Most people I know who get through it end up being much happier as they improve themselves dramatically, they find someone more compatible, and they have been forged in fire so to speak. We all need someone to vent to. Someone to listen to our problems, to hear us vent our reservoir of venom and vitriol, but in the end someone to help us find perspective and peace of mind. Plus wouldn’t it be tits to have T-Shirts with that on it?
- Driveway Food War is now in September, and it's Pizza on the Grill!
- August will be the First Annual Trivia Twenty Death Match!  The premise is simple it's a bracket of one-on-one Twenty question Trivia.  The winners advance, the losers go play the BUZZ Monkey Game.  The thing is each round you pick what game you'll be getting your questions from, and you can only pick a game once.  Not to mention both people can NOT choose the same game.  I have like 25 Trivia games of various types so this adds a lot of strategy.  I know I would crush in something Marvel trivia, but it's a one shot deal, if I use it up then it's gone to me.  It's a best of 20 questions with a 'Sudden Death' Overtime period of asking questions till one person answers incorrectly and their opponent 'FINISHES THEM!'  What does this mean for BUZZ you ask?  Well it means that Ant is Champion For Life.  It's retired and with that the belt.  Congrats to him on being the most decorated and dominant champion ever.  It also means there will be a NEW Trivia Belt.  I anticipate a lot of trash talk, possibly a costume or two, maybe some theme music, and more than anything a hellacious good time.  So if you are down, let me know.
- After yesterday’s D&D conversation with Joe and Cassandra I’m sorta pumped about the next session.
Well I think that’s all I’ve got in me today…

“Saw her sittin' there, using crayons on the wall
Writin' all the things that gone wrong in her life
Yeah she looked at me and said I never meant a thing to her
How do you think that effects my life?

She's been telling stories
So many stories about me

That was five years ago, I saw her the other day
She didn't even crack me a smile
But she looked at me and said I haven't changed a bit
What do you think she meant by that?

There's nothing I can say
There's nothing I can do
She just kept on telling stories
So many stories

Snuck up behind her, thought I'd unscrew her head
and see what's inside
I didn't expect to find too much
A small little man jumped out and said ‘This is my body!’
‘I'm a parasite and I'm at home.’ “

* = It's been that type of week, but with Friday's Movie-A-Thon looking like a good time, it's bearable. 

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