Archive for December, 2008

American Muscle

There was an article in Time Magazine the other day talking about how American cars suck but we still need to bail them out. That really pissed me off. You would think a magazine as respected as Time would feature unbiased articles. Apparently not.

I hate it when people talk shit about American Cars. Not because I give a damn whether they like the cars or not, but because every last one of them is misinformed.  They repeat all kinds of marketing nonsense they’ve heard as fact.

Here is some of the media spin you may have heard.

  1. Foreign cars get better gas mileage.
  2. Foreign cars last forever.
  3. American cars break down all the time and don’t last.
  4. Foreign cars are faster with smaller engines.
  5. Foreign cars have better resale value.

Now here are the facts.

  1. False. Most of the time the people who make these statements are comparing apples and oranges.  If you compare an 8 cylinder Corvette to a 4 cylinder Carolla, of course its going to have higher gas mileage.  Compare instead to Cobalt which also has four cylinders. Furthermore, the vehicle with the worst gas mileage is the Nissan Titan. The Hummer H2 gets much better mileage.
  2. Nothing lasts forever. Anyone who says this is a moron.
  3. Following up on number 2, you get out of a car what you put into it. My Dad has a 1978 El Camino thats still running 30 years later.  Granted it needs constant work, but thats the  point.  If you want your car to last a long time, you need to do constant maintenance regardless of who made it.
  4. False.  Their own websites will tell you this.  Most foreign (specifically, Asian) cars have high end torque.  That means their cars work twice as hard to do the same numbers as the American cars.  Add to that the fact that the American cars are cheaper. So even if they get a little less horsepower, a little elbow grease means you have a faster vehicle for less money with an engine that will last longer.
  5. True, actually.  But that’s because market value is based on customer opinions rather than facts. In other words, Foreign auto makes have better advertising. They tell you all the bullshit you read above, you believe it, and the value of their cars  and their resale value goes up. Basically your Honda is worth more because you’re gullible.

These are the facts. Feel free to check the websites.  Again, I’m not saying you should buy American (although your reluctance does help destroy the economy).  Buy what you want.  But facts are facts.  American cars are just as good, and in many cases better than their competition.  What you like is merely your taste.

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The Shop Around the Corner

There’s a little comic store in a strip mall in the middle of nowhere.  Opened less than a year ago.   The man who owns it is about my age.   He is open 6 days a week and works every shift since he can’t afford any employees.  And each time I enter his store, I feel a sense of guilt.  Lingering in the air is the sense that his dream is dying.

What drives a man to start his own comic shop is different than the man that owns a restaurant or laundromat.  The odds are he’s been dreaming of it since childhood.   So to see someone losing the very same dream I have is heartbreaking. 

Sure, I don’t know for a fact that his business is failing.  But the evidence seems damning.  The fact that his store is in a place that cannot be found except by chance or specific determination. He has no employees and I rarely see customers.  More to the point he’s up agaist the local comics juggernaut.  His competition has been established for decades and is the most well known in the area.  In a city with very little comics community, that means everything.  I should know, I shop there myself.

I’ve developed  a relationship with the employees and the owners.  In the world of comics, that familiarity breeds loyalty.   Should I choose to spend my money at the Shop Around the Corner, every dollar that I spend is taken from the mouth of the child of my current establishment.  Having met said 1 year old daughter, I would feel especially guilty.

But still. Every once in a while I pass the little shop and buy a few things.  I consider offering to work with him on the weekends.   The things I could teach him about marketing could severely impact his sales.  But then that loyalty thing pops up.  And I shy away.

My dream has always been to own my own store.   And it scares me to think of it.  Risky business.  The future of comics is uncertain.  And it could go either way.  The Old Juggernaut.  Or the Little Shop Around the Corner.

It’s a good dream.   But is it a risk worth taking?

The Window

Baby Adam 
Category: Life

My Ma’s new project is getting old movies transferred onto DVD. In some cases it isn’t that hard, like the ones on VHS. The ones on Beta Max, however, are more expensive. But ones on Super 8 reels? I think she promised them her first born grandchild. So I’m hoping my brother is the first to knock someone up. Super 8, for those of you too young to know, is an 8 millimeter home camera that came out in the 70s (?). I’m not sure if any of them had sound, but the one my family had did not.

She got a few of the videos back last night, and I picked them up from her so I could watch. I miss my Grandparents very much. They helped raise me until they contracted cancer. But I was 9 and 10 when they died, and so my memories of them are sparse. And now 20 years later, their voices are far gone, and their faces fade with each passing day. It’s the cruelest facet of time. When someone dies, they disappear from your life. But when you lose your memories… it’s like losing them a second time. Worse, my Mom said she can’t remember their voices anymore either. That scares the living shit out of me. Someday my Mom is going to die, and the last thing I want is to forget any part of her. 

So anyway, I was going through these old videos, looking for my grandparents. And there they were, through strained, grainy Super 8 film… MawMaw and PawPaw were alive again, right in front of me in all their 1980’s glory. It was only a few silent seconds, but it made me smile. I kept watching though. There was my old man, maybe 23 years old, holding me in that way that father’s do when their boys are still babies, but is considered inappropriate at some point. What a fucked up culture we have. And my Ma was 20… 21… 22 as the video went on. There they were, the two of them. Young and in love. Before life got real. Before pain and divorce. Before the death of innocence. They were in love. And happy!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen my Mom that happy. It was heart breaking. And yet the same time it was beautiful. Looking at myself, it was like staring at some stranger’s child. There was this wonderful, loving family doting upon this quiet, happy baby… innocent and unburdened by fear or doubt or the weight of understanding things that others do not. How could that be me? Was I really that handsome a baby?

Further in. My first birthday. My second. Uncle Sal in his late 20s wearing sunglasses indoors to look cool. Aunt Jo, no longer dead, but a young silly woman with a teenage daughter. Nanny smiling with two happy beautiful children. Hell, my cousin Chris even seemed to like me back then! And family vacations! All of us, cousins, aunts and uncles driving together as a family. There we were in Disney World, back when all that stood was the Magic Kingdom, and I barely recognized it as my old man walked with me through the park. He grabbed my hand as I kept walking. I could almost hear my Mama in my mind’s eye yelling “Mi-CHAEL! Hold his hand before he walks off!” Videos of them having fun. Dad asking his young, beautiful wife… the love of his life… to pose for the camera. Mom showing a little leg. Then later him filming some girl’s butt at a party.

Maybe 10 years later. My brother is barely passed toddler-hood, wearing his little grey suit for his first Communion. Then playing with his younger cousins, still babies themselves, at his birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. Quick shots of me, neither a baby, nor the man I am today. This Adam, he looks so foreign to my eyes. He’s just made his choices to be the person he will be for the next five years, and the burden is there, even if he does not fully realize it yet. His voice cracks with the onset of puberty. And there are my parents again. Happy still, but less so. They were fighting for a long time by then. They won’t be together much longer. And I look at their eyes and wonder if they knew it was coming. The video switches again. My 8th grade graduation. Little brother is back in his suit, running around looking to play. He grabs my hand, but I pull away. The wool jacket is uncomfortably hot in the New Orleans weather. The borrowed tie is tight around my neck. No friends to talk to, not knowing where to be or who to be. It is uncomfortable all around. My parents stand side by side as my Nanny films it all. No happiness there in their eyes. They seem nearly as uncomfortable as I am. But they’re still there together, for me.

I should be more depressed by all this than I am. I shouldn’t feel this joy as I watch time float on by taking my parents’ marriage and my own innocence with it. Instead, I ended it was a sense of gratitude for this window into better times. I am grateful for one moment to have them back.

Traditions

When I was in high school, my favorite show was Mad About You.   I was more or less in love with Helen Hunt… or I guess her character, Jamie.  She seemed to be the perfect wife.  Hot, intellegent, witty… she could banter… and she was totally willing to fuck on the kitchen table while her friends were in the next room.   Who could ask for more than that?

Huh.  That was actually waaaaaaay off point.

There was an episode about Paul’s ( Paul Reiser) birthday, where he explained a tradition that his Uncle had passed on to him.   Every year on his birthday, he took a glass of a specific bottle of cogniac (?), went for a walk and reflected.

I always thought it was cool tradition, and when I was 21, I decided to implement a version of it.    Basically, at the end of every year, you talk about your accomplishments and failures of the past year, and what you hope to accomplish in the next year.  And we do this so that we may never become complacent in our lives.

The tradition sort of failed for years, because I didn’t have anyone who was willing to do it with me.   But I’ve been doing it online the last couple of years.  That is what the internet and myspace are for, after all!  Sharing.  I encourage you to do it with me, but if you do, put it in a blog of your own.   You cannot possibly recount your year and your future in a single comment.

So, these were my 2008 predictions.

 

  • FINISH THE BOOK.  FINISH THE BOOK.  FINISH THE BOOK. I will be focusing on publishing options.  It’s time to take my shot.
  • Romance needs to be in the air sometime next year.  Mindless sex would be acceptable, but going out with a few girls would be preferable.
  • I will get a third job.  I need to pay off some of my debt and either move to California, Australia or a cruise ship by next summer.
  • I need to keep working on being friendly and sociable with others.   Sitting in my room playing on myspace while jerking off and watching Veronica Mars DVDs… while immensly pleasurable… is not an acceptable life style.

 

Okay, so ummm… yeah, pretty much screwed the pooch there.  I did  trrrrrryyyyy to be nicer to people. So there’s that.   Nothing published. Book Unfinished. Didn’t have a date. No third job, and even quit the second.   Not moved anywhere.  Still masturbating and watching Veronica Mars. 

So… yeah.

Okay, yeah, 2008 may not have been a banner year, but it was far from a bad one.  I was struggling for a long time.  I’d lost my faith, and in doing so lost all reason.   I was tormented by waking nightmares of death.   A lot of that passed when I started taking Paxil during the summer/ fall.  Those mini- panic attacks subsided and I was better able to function throughout the day.

Subsequently, I have felt (more lately than anything) a personal strengthening.   I’m feeling a bit of the old me.  More alive. More confident.  Sexy, even. I feel like I’ve accessed a part of my brain long shut down. And am now more ambitious; more inventive. It’s a good feeling, even if I was much less liked back then.  But I’ll take personal success over people liking me.   I haven’t been on the Paxil for more than two weeks, and I wonder if this feeling is chemically or personally induced.  I think the latter, though my doctor assures me otherwise. 

And I have been talking to the ladies more lately. Don’t laugh, that’s a big thing with me.  But I feel like I’ve been handling them better.  Not in a manipulative way, mind you.   Just… in a “Hi, my name is Adam and I want to buy you a drink and find out who  you are.” kind of way.

But while my mental health has been prospering, my physical health has diminished.  I seriously need to lose weight. I am by far heavier than I’ve ever been.  While I am not currently impeded from any physical activities, I can’t keep gaining weight like this.   But once I get out of an exercise habit, it’s tough to get back in.   Also, I’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea.  Which means I stop breathing at night.  They want me to spend 80 dollars a month to rent some machine that pumps air down my throat.  It’s bullshit to spend that much on renting what amounts to an air compressor.  But I do need it.  Perhaps now more than ever, as I seem to be tired all the time.

I quit my weekend job because of an altercation with my employers where they forgot to pay me and then proceeded to tell me in no uncertain terms that  I was to blame.  So I left a note and never went back.   Unfortuately, I have failed to find a part-time job since then.  This sucks for so many reasons.  I need to curb my debt.  Not to mention the fact that I now need a new computer since my piece of shit Dell had crapped out on me after less than two years.  Meanwhile the one that’s five years old is still sort of running.

I just passed the road test for my Motorcycle license.  All I need now is to pass the written test.  Motorcycles have been a big part of the last 6 months, adding to my overall quality of life.

I am emotionally and psychologically in a good place for the future. 

2009 Predictions

  • I’ll get my license and go riding with my old man.
  • I will save money and buy my new iMac computer. 
  • There will be a second job. And there may be a new first job if the right circumstances come along. 
  • Publishing is a difficult thing to predict.  But i will advance myself as a writer and artist, and work towards making those dreams a reality.
  • To better myself as a man, I will talk to every pretty girl I run across.
  • To better myself as a person, I will control my rage and be nicer to people.
  • I will forge new relationships and friendships, female or otherwise.  And I will strengthen the bonds I have.
  • I will work to regain a level of personal control.  Meditation is a good start.
  • To lose weight, I will change factions of my diet and buy a bicycle for regular exercise.
  • Moving is first and foremost on my mind.  I will search job listings and attempt to move by this time next year.

Thats it for me.  Remember, these are not New Year’s resolutions. They are predictions.  Whether I do them or not is up to me, but there is no immediacy on them.  Do you have any predictions? Are you where you thought you would be a year ago?

The Balance

When I was “studying” for my motorcycle road test this weekend, I noticed very quickly what the common thread of my problems were. Like all things, riding a motorcycle requires the proper application of power and control. I like to go fast. It is my need, my obsession. So I ride the throttle on my bike. And in my truck I drive with a heavy foot. In the truck all it does it fuck up my gas mileage. On a bike… the consequences are more serious.

What is ironic about all of this, is that historically, this is not who I am. When I was younger… well into my teens, in fact… I was considered weak. Prey to many around me. As with most children of fair intellect and limited physical resources, I adapted. Whereas most boys kicked doors down, I learned to finesse the locks. I was the ninja to my contemporaries’ barbarians; the grifter to their thief. It became a source of pride for me. What I lacked in force, I made up for with control.

But in the summer before College started something happened. I evolved from child to young adult. I discovered my own power. The circumstances surrounding this discovery are unimportant. What is important is that I realized that I was no longer considered the frail child. While people were still out to get me, they were less likely to underestimate me. I was a man, with my own power. Once I accepted that power, I began to revel in it.

And somewhere along the way I forgot about the control. I unleashed a monster within myself, and I never once remembered to rein him back in. Bruce Banner has been gone for ten years, while the Hulk has roamed free. When I’m angry, I let it out. If I feel as though someone is walking on me, I decimate them. In many ways this is a good thing. But it has led to me being unfocused and… without aim.

Sometimes I wonder what happened to that shy, contemplative boy of times past. I used to meditate, you know? It was my saving grace. Because in the end, meditation IS control. It is accepting that you cannot control the world, and choosing instead to control yourself. Focusing on a single note in a cacophony of sound. Now I don’t even remember the mental discipline it takes.

Power and control. Not opposites. Nor is it the proverbial “two sides of the same coin”. Instead, they are two entities in a symbiotic relationship. Both relying on the other to survive.  

I need to find what once was mine if I ever want to succeed.

Desperately Seeking Something

It’s a lonely world out there.  Everybody needs somebody sometime.  That’s what the American Express jingle claims anyway.  So being single, I decided to try my hand at the Craigslist personals.  Here’s some of my more interesting findings.

SWF looking for SWPM to give me a grand-slam wedgie-fo-real, just like my older brother used to do before he was killed in Iraq. I’ve got tons of brand new cotton undies, and I want you to use them to sling me across the room into my dresser and hang me from the doorknob. Tear off the elastic and gag me with it. If you do it right I’ll be your mommy, your sister and your cock whisperer.  Please be financially stable, without a drug or drinking problem. Also be between the ages of 26-30. No shorties, no smokers and no car salesmen.  I’m super pumped! 

Here’s the thing, if you’re looking for someone to give you erotic wedgies like your dead older brother used to give you, asking that this person not be an alcoholic is just asking too much.  Furthermore, after ripping the elastic of your panties in the atomic wedgie to end all atomic wedgies, I would prefer you not pretend to be my mother or any of my relatives.  And I have no idea what a cock whisperer is, but it sounds like someone who has conversations with chickens.  On the other hand, the car salesman ban shows that she has a good head on her shoulders.  So, maybe.

I can bring out the best in you. I will train you how to kiss, touch, talk and treat a woman. I will build up your self confidence and tell you what needs improvement.  About me: I am attractive, young,smart, trustworth and discreet.  Email me for more information.

Can you train me how to put up with high maintenance women clearly suffering from Jan Brady Syndrome?  I think the only thing I would learn from dating this chick is that I’m actually okay with hitting women under the right circumstances.

where’s that guy with the glass slipper? 🙂 – 35

Ok, he’s late…way! late! 
so I thought I’d give him some help! 
I don’t care how old you are & neither should you. 
If you are an “old soul” but chronologically challenged (“legal”, though) – 
I still will want to know you… 
If you are “young at heart” but long in the tooth…
okay, if I don’t have to ride to dinner on your electric wheelchair… 
If hygeine is a new word for you…ummm, bye… 
I want you to be literate…if that is a new word for you…
best wishes… 
If you smoke…I like breathing… 
If you’re married…
be good to her! 
(and get off this site!!!!) 
I want to laugh til our sides hurt at funny movies, wear costumes, sail, dance, sing! 
Life is Good, let’s be Good In It Together! 
Seriously, what’s with the poetic form?  She’s looking for an alcoholic who likes Steel Magnolias, not the goddamn Cat in the Hat. I suspect this lady watches Oprah religiously and owns a lot of cats, each of which adorns it’s own handmade t-shirt which she wears daily.   I’m thinking Harry Potter bed sheets and the Sex and the City complete box set.  One  day she’ll kill herself like Sylvia Plath and the land lord will discover her body a month later, half eaten by the cats.
I got flagged last time and I don’t know why?! Anyways, Is wanting a good man to much to ask for? I didn’t think so. I’m a bbw seeking a man to maybe start a relationship with. I’m not the typical girl that needs to know every little detail about your day and won’t rest until I know everything. I just want someone around to spend time with and have fun with and still have my independance. I’m easy going and like to laugh so I would hope that you have a good sence of humor as well.  Tattooed and pierced guys are always a plus but I am open for anything. So if this sounds good then email me and we can set something up! Send a pic and I will send one back to you. Can’t wait to hear from you! 
Most of this is pretty straight forward.  She’s a big black woman looking for a guy who cheats on her and doesn’t want to get caught.  Right on.  Two red flags though. One, she got banned and feels the need to tell you right off the bat. So what did she get banned for?   Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that her only caveat is that the man be tattooed and pierced.   Frak that, I saw Flava of Love.  This can only end with someone getting their gold tooth knocked out.

I am a Butterfly looking to taste the nectar of life – 26 (LA New Orleans)

Old fashioned romantic? Intelligent and sweet? Secure both emotionally and financially? 27-38 years old?  Looking for something real and eventually serious? I would love to hear from you.  Your pic gets mine. Talk to you soon. 🙂 
I’ve seen this entry a bunch of time, each with a different heading.  That makes me think it’s either a bot or someone with short term memory loss.  Also… the nectar of life?  seriously?

Now Accepting Applications for a Weekend Boyfriend… – 25 (New Orleans, LA)

Hey, I’m a hot asian broad. I want a hot weekend boyfriend. Basically, I want a guy to hangout with on the weekends… and by the weekend, I just mean Saturdays. I don’t want any contact during the week to avoid all the drama and stupidity that comes with a relationship.
I love how she is so strictly business about this.  I’m a chick, I want your dick, time is money, taste my honey.  …  I didn’t mean for that to rhyme, it just worked out that way…. I’ve still got time.  (Sorry)   Also, I have never heard a woman call herself a broad before.   Anyway, either she has six other guys “hanging out” one day a week, or her husband works on Saturday.  
But on the other hand, she is a hot Asian, so I may have to investigate further.

Sick of theThe Run Around…………With fake chicks? – 33 (Nola)

Hummmm………..I think we have all experienced this at some point in our life some more than others!!!!Sorry to say you won’t have that experience here and you won’t be redirected to a some link with fake girls!!!!!  About me single female searching for a laid back cute male!!Race is not important!!just be mentally stable….and nice!   

 
   
Clearly this girl was absent the day they taught the meanings and uses of punctuation.  

Despite her subtley I have determined that she really hates fake chicks and seems to believe that every woman who is not her is a whore.  They’re all fake chicks, with fake tits, and fake names, living on an island called Fake-topia where they fake men’s brains out.  (Mental note: google map Fake-topia.)

But what really what bothers me here is the picture.  Why is she showing us a bush in a driveway?  Maybe it’s the entrance to Fake-topia.

Honesty is always the best policy…right? – 29 (Uptown)

 

So, I’ve posted here before…if I sound familiar, it’s possible that I am. 🙂 Craigslist has helped me meet some interesting people, but no one that stuck, you know what I mean? And that’s what I’m looking for, someone who sticks.  Here are some fun facts about me and what I’m looking for:  1. I want to be with someone long term. I don’t expect to be your girlfriend right away, and just because I say I’m interested in you doesn’t mean I want to marry you in the next year or bear your children sooner. I’m as nervous to get into a commited relationship as you! It’s scary, I get it. But I’m willing to see if it works, you know?  2. I’m doing pretty well on my own. I have a new car, a house, a good job. I’m not helpless, although, believe you me, it’s super nice to have someone around to help with things like what color should I paint this room, or oh no, the cat’s sick, can you take her to the vet for me?  3. As far as looks go, I’ve dated all kinds. Fat, skinny, white, black, ugly, cute. What’s most important to me is that you accept me for who I am, and that we have stuff in common. Like, I like to go out, but I generally prefer to stay in or do low-key things. If you would put “likes to party” on you list of likes, we’re probably not soulmates. I like reading, especially home improvement mags, going for walks to check out the beauty of this city, and driving around just for the heck of it.  4. As far as my looks go, I’m cute. I have a nice smile…I smile with my eyes. 🙂 I could stand to lose some weight. I’ve always been curvy/slightly chubby. After the storm, I’m a little more so. Still cute though.  5. Okay, this is something I haven’t put in an ad before, but I’m going to here cause I hate the “talk” that has to occur if I don’t. I have herpes and hpv. Apparently, the hpv will most likely go away at some point. Herpes doesn’t. Currently, I don’t take medicine for it, and if I did, that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t get it. It’s sucky, but not the end of the world. Not that this should matter, but I know how people think…I got it from the first man I was ever with. He, unfortunately for me, didn’t believe in the title of my ad.  So, that’s just a little part of me. I’ve got stuff to do on a Sunday, so I won’t get into more detail quite yet. I have pics that I’d love to share with you, but you know, don’t need them up here for the world to see quite yet. 
What have we learned today children?  That’s right honestly is clearly not the best policy in some cases.  Jesus, I just finished reading her want ad and I’m already sick of her mouth.   Also?  While it’s admirable that she wants guys to know before things get serious, having multiple STDs is something you should really break to a guy subtley.  But that’s okay.

Frankly, she lost me at “I smile with my eyes.”  WHAT????!  What kind of a mutant freak are you??  Every  time I went in for a kiss I’d be scared to death your mutant eyes would fucking eat me!
That’s all for this week’s edition of Fun with Craigslist.

Life as a Country Song

When I was 13 I decided I wanted to kill myself.  I was a teenager; that’s what you did back then.

And then along came a girl.  Her eyes were… well, fuck… I can’t remember what color, but they were beautiful.   She had a shoulder length curly brown hair and the most beautiful smile.  De’anne wasn’t the sexiest girl in school, but to me she was the cutest by far.  She came into my world like a comet.  It took all of five seconds for me to become smitten with her.

Suddenly life didn’t hurt so damn much. And while none of the problems that made me suicidal went anywhere, I was suddenly far less keen to fade off my mortal coil.  Not with her on the planet.  When she was around, my stomach was a mix of knots and Beatles’ songs.  When she was gone, I was empty from her absence; hollow inside.  She was my dream; my raison d’etre.   And while that is a poor reason to live, it was enough.

It wasn’t enough for her though.   She wasn’t interested in me that way.  And was far more freaked out when I made my feelings known to her.  My first love was unrequited.   I never had a prayer.

Sometimes I look back on that time in my life, and I think I wasn’t in love with her.  That it was only a crush.   Other times I know it was love, even if it was only puppy love.  She was everything good in the world when I was in High School.

This morning as I was driving to Baton Rouge at 6:30 in the morning, Jamie Walters’ “How do you talk to an angel?” came on the radio.  And I was back in 1995, thinking about De’anne.   Singing that song to her, and wishing she could hear it.   Isn’t it amazing how one person can affect the course of your life so much an never even know it?  Isn’t it wonderful?