Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Generalities

The Dig

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.

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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. 451

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.”

Or:

“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.

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How Spoiler Alert Culture is Ruining Everything

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.

Um…what?

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.

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You know, kids, eventually, television will be in color. Gah, spoiler alert, Dad.

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.

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I get fat and grow a beard. I basically turn into space Santa.

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.

 


The 12 Things of LA

I’m back in LA after traveling for the holidays, so now I will share a song with you. I think you can see where this is going.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Eight farmers’ markets
Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Nine preaching Vegans
Eight farmers’ markets
Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Ten bucket drummers
Nine preaching Vegans
Eight farmers’ markets
Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Eleven gluten-free restaurants
Ten bucket drummers
Nine preaching Vegans
Eight farmers’ markets
Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law.

When I got back to LA, this is what I saw:

Twelve aspiring actors
Eleven gluten-free restaurants
Ten bucket drummers
Nine preaching Vegans
Eight farmers’ markets
Seven cooing pigeons
Six hapless hobos
We serve craft beer!
Lot only valet
No Parking
Two bad tattoos and
A Prius owner breaking the law!


The Power of a Moment

ILightning Bottle‘ve been mocked and scoffed at for my movie collection in the past (and not just because they are on my shelf in alphabetical order.)

But, lately, whenever anyone gives me grief about the movies I’ve deemed good enough to own, I have a response:

There’s a moment.

When we think of our favorite movies, do we think about how great the movie was, how amazing the cast performed, how wonderful the soundtrack is?

Well, yes. Those are things you take into consideration.

But, usually, you have a moment. You have that one scene in the film where you were all in. It’s not a forgotten art. The Moment is a gut-punch. It’s the emotional moment that grabs you by the throat and pulls you in. When you see the Moment, you know there’s so much more, something deeper there. Something more to be mined.

And, there can only be a Moment. You can’t make a whole movie of Moments. Without what surrounds it, a Moment is nothing. The rest of the movie can be awful, as long as it has that one, great Moment to raise it above everything else.

The Moment is more prevalent in dramas, but it also comes in other movies. It doesn’t matter how many fight scenes, how great the CGI, without a Moment, it’s just another movie.

I’m a Moment Hunter. And, it’s not easy. Not every movie has one. You have to dig through a lot of garbage to find any treasure. As a writer, I always wonder if I can capture a Moment. Will I recognize it when it floats through my brain? Will it mean as much to me as it would to a reader or a viewer?

What’s your favorite Moment? Is there a movie you love just for its Moment?


A Word on Oversharing or Step Away from the Playlist

Today, someone started following one of my playlists on Spotify. I’m not sure if there is an established standard reaction to this. Should I be honored? Is it an honor? Should I be insulted that so few people are following my playlist?

Regardless of how I’m supposed to feel, I’ll share how I did feel.

Slightly horrified.

Someone is following one of my playlists. MY playlist. My PLAYLIST.

MY.

PLAYLIST.

Do you know how long it has taken me to cultivate this playlist?

Years.

Eons of listening to Pandora, days of hunting through Spotify playlists, hours of sifting through b-sides and YouTube bootlegs to find that which I desire most: a playlist that encompasses everything I want to listen to at any given time. This is mixtape gold, my friends. Mixtape gold without the need to limit the time to some arbitrary cassette tape length. A mixtape with a shuffle button. Every song ready to be played at maximum volume and belted out into the void.

And someone else can just…listen to it.

And, while I don’t take umbrage at this person and her clearly impeccable taste, there’s something about it that feels like such a violation.

This list is full of music I listen to when writing. It’s full of guilty pleasures and contemplative musings. It’s a look into my inner psyche that I’m not sure I want the world knowing about. When someone follows my playlist, I can’t explain myself. I can’t tell you why this song made it over another. I need to be able to tell you why!

It’s a lost art, the mixtape. It’s too bad it’s a lost art, because nowadays, our brushes are so much more sophisticated. Now everyone can see this thing that you poured a little bit of your soul into. In a world of oversharing, my playlist must be mine and mine alone.

After all, the mixtape can define you.


Just say “no” to snow cones

Snow cones are a southern thing. Should that be a capital? A Southern thing? Yes. That looks more Paula Deen-ee.

When I first moved to Texas, the kids in class with me talked about snow cone stands. Which one was the best, which one was adequate, and which ones to avoid all together.

My Yankee brain didn’t understand this. What’s the big whup with snow cones? Any Northerner who has left a can of pop in the garage in January…homemade snow cone.

Now, ice cream. Ice cream I get and ice cream is something the North does right. I don’t care what your personal Southern ice creamery is, but I put it up against Sherman’s in South Haven, MI any day of the year.

Well, that’s my rant about snow cones. And that’s why I drew this picture (which is mostly traced from the Internet) for ice cream, not snow cones.

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Bobby is Bobby Drake AKA Iceman from the X-men. I wish this was a t-shirt.