Awhile ago, I posted on Facebook a joke that wasn’t a joke.
It says hipsters. But, it almost feels like it should say “millennials.” Let’s all sit here and stew in whether or not those are two different things…
Before I spin off into a discussion about why you shouldn’t trust anything a hipster says about existential philosophers, let’s change course.
Last weekend, I…DID..A…THING!
That’s right, people. I actually left the house. It’s sort of a big deal. I don’t like going places. I prefer staying with my cats. I have hint of agoraphobia that manifests itself as a constant worry of whether or not I locked the door when I left. I’d rather just not leave the house.
But, I did.
I went to a free concert. (Fill in your own tangent about how many free things there are to do in LA)
The concert was part of the 2018 Pershing Square Summer Concert Series. Other acts over the course of the summer included The Bangles, Pat Benatar, and the concert I went to: Spin Doctors and Smash Mouth.
I didn’t consider myself a big fan of either of those bands. I’m one of those on the outskirts yelling, “Play the one song we all know!” because that’s the one that got them on the radio. And, of course, we all know the Smash Mouth song from Shrek (which is really the Smash Mouth song from Mystery Men, but I digress). I rolled into the venue, had my one overpriced Blue Moon, sat on one of the park’s retaining walls, and grooved on late 90’s/early 00’s rock surrounded by downtown LA skyscrapers while planes drifted overhead on their way to the airport.
I took one 10 second video.
When I sent that video to a sibling, he told me that people only pay to see Smash Mouth concerts sarcastically.
First, is he right?
I have no way to prove this. Maybe he’s just being sarcastic about people being sarcastic? The only problem is that it sounds reasonable. There’s always a chance that he’s wrong.
Second, maybe he is right?
Back in the early ’10s, there was this wave of hipsters liking things “ironically.” They would say they were wearing a Chip and Dale t-shirt ironically. They went to screenings of Back to the Future ironically. They only liked certain bands ironically.
Before you think I’m making this up, I’m at least 95% sure I’ve heard someone say this in real life. But, I live in Hollywood, so that’s the sort of person I overhear.
Third, if he is right, why? Why don’t hipsters simply like what they like?
I loved Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. Want me to sing the song for you? I’ll do it.
I love Back to the Future.
And, I didn’t realize when I decided to go to the concert, Smash Mouth was sort of KoRn Lite when I was younger. I liked KoRn, but they had that parental advisory barrier-to-entry sticker on it. Smash Mouth was a little safer, a bit more accessible, but not as sticky-sweet pop as Britney Spears and Nsync. I knew more of their songs than I thought I did. And, they leaned into their hits with the expectation of audience participation.
I think there is a fear that, if we like something, we will be criticized for enjoying it. To protect ourselves from that criticism, we say we like something, gauge the reaction, and, if someone else doesn’t respond the way we want, we immediately pull it back.
I judge you for judging me judging you based on something you have judged for yourself.
It says more about a person if they can only enjoy something because other people like it, too.
Be unapologetic. Like what you like. Don’t waste time liking something because people tell you that you should.
If that were the case, I would consider Batman Begins a good movie and would acknowledge that Ed Sheeran is famous.
What do you unapologetically like? What have you been mocked for liking? Also, is Nickelback bad or do I just think they’re bad because everyone says they are?
Whenever I clean out my refrigerator, it’s a combination archaeological and anthropological endeavor. It’s not just a deep dig into grocery products past, but a dive into a bygone era, when decisions were made with unremembered logic.
1. Research and evidence must be collected and presented to the Board of the Superego to fund the refrigerator project.
I don’t like cleaning
out my fridge.
I don’t like cleaning. I don’t like spraying and wiping down. I don’t like vacuuming. I do like walking around in my bare feet. Those last two things don’t play well together.
Anyway, on this particular occasion, the Board was presented with a gift that needed to be seated within the refrigerator. The only problem was, the item in question (see image) was too tall to live within the confines of the current shelf setup of the refrigerator.
The Board considered and came to the unanimous conclusion that one shelf shall be removed and I would have to make due with two shelves instead of one rather than actually take the time to clean out the fridge.
After wrestling the shelf out, life continued as normal. Which brings us to the second step of the project.
2. The Board realizes its error
Even if you are only one person, you cannot live with just two shelves in the refrigerator. The time has come. The Board is unanimous. The shelf must be reinstalled at a higher level if we are to operate normally within the universe of the apartment.
They funded an exploratory committee.
Adjusting refrigerator shelves is a delicate and complicated process. One must consider what they intend to place on the shelves before placing them three inches apart. Does the egg carton fit on that narrow space? Yes. Can the string cheese be tetrised in? Yes.
Operation Wire Shelf is a go.
3. The exploratory committee explores
The space that the refrigerator lives in is not large enough to open the door completely. This is normally not a problem, as you don’t really need to open the door the entire way to grab the things you need. But, you do need to open the door the entire way to install shelves.
Through a complicated bit of wrestling, we now have a refrigerator that will open wide enough to allow for the shelf to be replaced.
As long as there is no shelf above it.
4. You do what you should have done a long time ago.
You empty the fridge.
The first big find of the excavation was an unopened jar of Welch’s grape jam. The popping metal lid has yet to be unpopped.
I have no idea when I bought this. I also don’t know how long jam lasts, opened or otherwise. And, as I sit here typing this, I’m not even sure Welch’s sells jam in these kinds of containers anymore. How long has this been here?
The second find was a half-empty (half-full?) bottle of Kung Pao sauce. Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, it doesn’t really matter, as it expired two years ago. Yes, I had Kung Pao sauce that expired in 2016. I’ve had that longer than one of my cats.
Why did I need Kung Pao sauce? I can’t remember ever using it, even though it is half-empfullty. But, at the time, I must have been very excited for whatever Kung Pao concoction I was making.
Don’t worry. There are cool things, too. Like that bottle of water I got from the Iron Man 3 set.
Last, I found a large jar of ground Kroger brand medium roast coffee.
Ah, I know when I must have bought this. It was a simpler time, when I was unemployed and buying in bulk. It was before I became an adult and bought a grown-up coffee grinder. Poor Kroger brand. You didn’t even bother to give your coffee a fancy name, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Caffeine or Don’t Worry, It Still Brews Up In Tears.
5. Carefully dispose of the evidence.
6. Enjoy your new shelf.
My new shelf does not have very wide clearance, so I have chosen to call it the “Cheese Shelf.” It is where the cheese sits. And, it was worth the effort.
As I sit here, drinking a cup of steaming Kroger Medium, I wonder what my refrigerator would say if it could talk. Maybe something like,
“This Kung Pao sauce has a funk to it that needs to be addressed.”
“This glass pitcher is completely empty. I refuse to chill it unless it is filled with something.”
And, I’m thankful for my talking refrigerator. Because at least it’s not a SubZero. Those are just so frosty and judgmental.
Spoiler alert, I guess? I mean, I might be spoiling things in this post, but the whole point of this post is to explain why saying spoiler alert is stupid, so keep reading at your own…risk?
I am a nerd. Obviously. I am also a huge fan of SHIELD and Agent Carter. There is a certain website, that will remain nameless, that has been reviewing this season of Agent Carter. Side bar: this season of Agent Carter has been fun and amazing. If you haven’t been watching, you should.
The reviews, however, have been troublesome. Peggy Carter will eventually be one of the founders of SHIELD. We know that she is still alive by the time Captain America: Winter Soldier rolls around. We also know that Hydra eventually infiltrates SHIELD. The reviews seem to insinuate that knowing all these things makes Agent Carter less interesting to watch because we know that Peggy Carter will fail in trying to defeat Hydra.
Knowing where the Marvel universe is heading does not diminish the enjoyment I get from the show. Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy have wonderful chemistry. The late ’40s early ’50s vibe is crushing it. I don’t really care about what will happen in the future; I still enjoy the hell out of what Peggy is doing in this season.
This brings me to my point.
We don’t watch things or read things or play games just to see how it ends. If that was the only reason we used any form of entertainment, every book would be one page, every movie, one minute. You don’t get on a roller coaster for the one drop. You want to ride the ride.
Have you read Harry Potter more the once? How many times have you watched Jurassic Park? How many times have you walked through the world of Skyrim?
I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. Spoil away. The show’s been out for twenty years. It’s my fault that I haven’t ever seen it before. I know the Borg are coming. The Cardassisans. The onset of Deep Space Nine. But, to me, those “spoilers” are small islands on a vast unexplored ocean.
That episode where Picard fights tooth and nail for Data’s humanity. Remember that one? So good, right? It’s like a fresh tropical paradise nestled in a stormy sea of inexplicable holodeck episodes. It’s not necessarily one that people talk about. It’s not one that I had spoiled. But, it’s still important on my journey. And, the earnestness of Captain Picard is not something that can be spoiled. The way LeVar Burton plays Laforge isn’t something you can describe to me.
In some ways, knowing a little about TNG is making it MORE enjoyable. The first time Picard said, “Shut up, Wesley,” I was delighted. There are more of those to come, punk. Just you wait.
He still hasn’t said, “Tea, Earl Grey, hot.” But you better believe I’m ready for it. And I will be all over the Internet when he does say it.
Here’s what I leave you with:
Spoilers are bullshit. Who cares? Stop acting like knowing the ending changes the journey. Just relax and enjoy the ride. And, if you still don’t like it, you can always get off at the nearest exit.
It’s weird when life hands you lemons. And you’re like, “Sour yellow fruit.” And everyone says you’re supposed to make lemonade and there’s this big metaphor and it makes you feel better, or, usually, doesn’t.
It’s weirder when life hands you lemons and you look around and think, “Well, shit. Turns out that’s the only ingredient I was missing.”
I was recently laid off from my job. They gave me three weeks of warning, which is a fair amount of time and gave me the security of rent for another month, if not car and student loan payments. I made the preemptive call to my parents. Not quite an SOS. Just making sure the channel is open. Because we see an iceberg coming and we don’t know if we can avoid it. With years of experience in the job market, they have the context to know what to expect.
There was the rush of calculation. How much money do I need to survive? How many years of experience? Am I even good at anything? I had the same job for 6 years and now it’s gone. There’s no paycheck. There’s no clocking in. If I have to move back to Texas…I won’t move back to Texas. I will become homeless before that happens.
In three days, I applied for a California driver’s license and became a Lyft driver, thinking, “It’s something.”
I applied for jobs. Hundreds of jobs. Tons and tons of jobs. Maybe one in a hundred got me an interview.
I didn’t really realize anything was wrong until I met with a rep at a temp agency. I gave him my salary requirements, more than I made at my last job, and he laughed. He literally laughed out loud and said to me, “You’re being robbed.”
It was a sobering moment. I didn’t particularly like or dislike my previous job. It was something I did. It was something I did well. It was something I was paid to do, but I didn’t know I was being robbed.
Then, I got a paycheck from Lyft.
I was being robbed. Driving my car for 10 hours over the course of two days netted me over $200. I can make $20 an hour if I drive smart. Plus, fuel rewards were saving me on every fill-up, I was meeting and talking to interesting people, I was getting to know Los Angeles better than I’ve ever known. Lyft is the best job I’ve ever had.
A 9 to 5 job interview came up and I actually had to weigh the options of accepting a “real job” position over just driving my car whenever I felt like it because the material rewards were balanced.
I mean, when was the last time I had to sit down and think, “What am I doing with my life?” That kind of thing is left to college students who have the luxury of wasting time.
A slow realization has dawned.
Getting laid off may have been the best thing that happened to me.
It’s an interesting feeling to be handed lemons and open the cupboard to find sugar, a juicer, filtered water, and a frosty pitcher staring at me like, “Where you been?”
Or, maybe the ingredients for some sort of lemon salad. I could really go for a lemon ice right now…
It all started with a text.
Joe: Hey, that foam you need to make armor. Can that be any color?
Me: Yeah. You just spray paint over it.
Joe: I have something for you to see.
Someone in our apartment complex had used EVA foam pieces to try to sound proof their walls (they were a music student) and they were throwing out all of their pieces. All of them. I ended up around 30 pieces of foam. If you’re wondering what that is, it’s this stuff.
I had been doing some research about armor material for cosplay. I had bought some of this and built a Loki helmet over the course of a weekend. Now, here I was, with a surplus of foam. What to build?
Having fallen in love with the movie Frozen, I decided to make a warrior Elsa costume. Not just Elsa in armor, but Elsa in armor that she forged out of ice herself. It all started with a chestplate design, a slab of ice that she would conjure up.
I carved it out of the foam, experimented with some cutting techniques and there it was. Just as I envisioned. More or less.
It wasn’t until three months later that it got its coat of paint.
And started to look bad ass.
With that as the center piece, I went to work on the other pieces. Shin guards were supposed to be ice spikes.
The vambraces followed suit with some snowy accessorizing.
Of course not. She needs something that makes more logical sense. A hammer. Freeze her enemies, then smash them to pieces.
The (near) final product.
There you have it. Ice warrior Elsa will be debuting at WonderCon in Anaheim in April. See you there.
I bought a Couch.
Now, at the risk of the post digressing into “The Many Sofas of Your Lifetime,” let’s rewind and talk about the significance of couch purchasing. Before January of 2015, I only lived with people who already owned couches. My butt is not so discerning. Most couches are all comfortable. The only thing is, none of these couches were MINE. These were the couches of others. The sofas they had chosen. My butt was a guest upon their cushions.
Now, every time someone comes over, they’re butt is my guest.
Another thing about this Couch is the…officiallity of it. While I’m not particularly proud of this, I took some comfort in the fact that I could pack everything I owned into a car and move it. When I first came to LA, it was with everything I could carry. The next move only took three big trips to get everything out. No moving vans. No truck rentals.
But, now, the Couch.
The Couch cannot be shoved into the back of a hatchback. The Couch is the death knell of the notion that I could simply fill up the car and drive back to Texas. If I move again, the Couch will require help. The Couch will require two people to move it. The Couch is practically insistent upon itself, for, if I ever desire to move without hiring someone, I will most likely call on someone who has been a guest-butt on said Couch. For, if I do not have that help, the Couch goes into the garbage (I’m not a fan of used upholstered furniture, and wouldn’t sell it).
The purchase of the Couch is a milestone. And adulthood achievement. So, what comes next? What is the next marker in the adulthood road map? Because it took me 28 years to get to this one, and I would appreciate some kind of time estimate.
Now, I just need to figure out what to name it…