Make the Minimal Effort

Sane people, I’m told, regularly have cravings for certain foods.

Most of the time when I experience that feeling most aptly described as “craving” it’s for experiences. Sometimes I’ll restlessly get out of bed because I crave a late night walk through deserted streets. Other times I can’t sleep because of an addition-like “jonesing” to watch Gremlins or Jurassic Park.

Today I have this itch… this craving to make a blog post.

I don’t even have anything interesting to write about.

OK, let’s see, let’s see. What can I write about today?

I got nothin’ .

 

 

 

That was wildly unsatisfying.

 

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Écoutez la Meilleure Chanson

The statistics say that the world uploads 100 hours of video to Youtube every single minute. That means that if I tried to watch Youtube in its entirety then I would never be able to catch up. You fall behind four days every 60 seconds.

Must... watch... Youtube

Must… watch… Youtube

It’s for this reason that I don’t feel bad when I stumble upon a viral video that’s been up for 2 or 3 years but has somehow gone completely below my radar. Funny skits, or animations or music videos that seemingly everyone else has seen but I’ve, for one reason or another, never noticed.

This is different from the flash in the pan cultural phenomena I go out of my way to avoid like “Gangam Style” which I went almost a full year without ever hearing, or “Thrift Shop” which I miraculously have still never heard.

I still don’t know what “twerking” is and if I go to my grave without knowing, I’ll be happy.

I’m talking about videos I’d genuinely want to watch but have just remained oblivious to until very recently.

I only just discovered the amazingly talented Youtuber SweetAfton23 and I feel something approximating love beginning to stir in my withered black heart.

Her album is only five bucks on bandcamp so everyone should go buy it.

MyHope, I Pity the Fool, Peep Fight and Our American Cousin are all solid tracks but It All Makes Sense in the End is my new #1 favourite song in the world and possibly the best breakup song ever written.

I feel like this song was written especially for me as the complaints she makes are things I’ve been told before by those poor ladies unfortunate enough to have dated me. The actual subject of the song, though, is pure genius.

I did that fancy thing where you have to highlight the text after the song to read the spoilers. Listen to the track then drag your mouse underneath to find out, if you haven’t already, why it really does all make sense in the end.


It’s a break up song about wikipedia. She’s breaking up with a website. How cool is that?

Dissect the Romantic Comedy

Anhedonia.

It’s frustrating. It’s made me stop consuming as much movies, TV and video games as I used to. I just don’t see the point of wasting my time with any of that stuff if I’m not even able to enjoy it.

It has, however, left me with some free time to make some revelations about why I’ve been feeling so shitty.

Pop culture has influenced my life and the lives of most people who are close to me. In my case to a dangerous extent.

It’s not hard to predict how a movie is going to end because we’re so familiar with all of the Hollywood tropes. We all know what is supposed to happen and that’s why it’s so unsettling when a screenwriter or director shaves against the grain and does something unexpected.

boom-headshot-o

But… but I’m the Hero!

I think a lot of my unhappiness stems from my inability to differentiate real life from the movies. I guess I’m just expecting real events to follow the same structure of Premise->Conflict->Resolution. Having things not turn out the way Hollywood has told me they’re supposed to has left me feeling empty and unsatisfied.

I find it difficult to open up to people, mostly out of embarrassment. I’m legitimately worried that if my friends knew how crazy I really am they wouldn’t want to be my friends. On the rare occasions when I’ve shared these thoughts with people, those select few, have told me they feel the same way, albeit to a lesser degree. We’d all want to find love via meet cute or to have all our problems just magically solve themselves but very few of us expect it to happen.

Romantic comedies all play out the same way.

The Boy meets The Girl. He falls in love and has to win her heart. He messes up in some way that angers The Girl and she runs away. The Boy then has to look deep within and discover some hidden truth and when he makes this realization he goes after The Girl and wins her back. All is forgiven and they live happily ever after.

That’s the way things are supposed to happen.

That, I am only now prepared to (shamefully) admit, was what I was expecting to happen.

tumblr_lz9qleCbgt1qm7heqo1_500It was 3:30AM and I was staring, red eyed, at my ceiling trying to fall asleep. The aggressively loud sex noises coming in through the wall I share with my neighbour were exacerbating my insomnia. I found myself involuntarily wailing from emotional agony and when the crying left me exhausted and dehydrated I laboriously came to my moment of clarity.

There’s another version of the story.

As much as we complain that there are no original ideas in Hollywood and everything follows a formula, there are some slight variations.

Here’s an example.

The Boy meets The Girl and falls in love but she is already with The Other Guy. The Other Guy is cruel and doesn’t deserve her but her misguided devotion to their relationship is the only obstacle standing in the way of The Boy and The Girl experiencing True Love. The Girl goes through trails until she makes this realization and she leaves The Other Guy and falls, lovingly, into The Boy’s arms. They live happily ever after. The Other Guy ends up alone.

I was feeling like the world didn’t make sense. I was upset about the events and circumstances in my life but in truth, because of the lack of the Hollywood Ending I’d come to expect, I was less upset by what happened and more or less just puzzled by how unnatural it all felt.

It was as if the laws that govern realty had an off switch and someone had flipped it. The feeling of life not playing out like the movies, not playing out the way it`s supposed to was as unnatural and disorienting to me as if gravity randomly went away.

Now I have a different understanding. Things are playing out the way they’re supposed to. I had just cast the wrong people in the wrong roles.

With this revelation the world seems to make a bit more sense, and I feel a little less sad.

Maybe even slightly happy.

In the meantime I’m going to take this bit of wisdom and use it to help me reconcile some lingering issues but I’m also going to go back to absorbing as much media as I used to only now, I suspect, I’ll be enjoying it almost as much as I did before.

I don’t know who’s reading this. If you’re like me you probably like video games. Some people may hear “Video Games” and think Pac Man and Donkey Kong not realizing that today’s games have complex narratives that can deliver quite and emotionally satisfying punch.

One such game is Braid. It came out in 2008 and has been one of the most critically and financially successful indie games ever. It plays much like your basic run-of-the-mill platformer with one exception. You play as Tim, a young man with a mysterious past who lives with deep regrets but has been given the power to rewind time. You can use this ability to fix any mistakes you make along the way, like accidentally falling into a pit of lava or flipping a switch you weren’t supposed to.

In the game Tim has to rescue the princess from a monster and in the last level you have to work together. You are both running away from the monster and she is flipping switches to raise bridges and open doors allowing you to proceed.

It’s only when you get to the very end does the game take control and replays the entire final level from the reverse perspective. When you watch it play out backwards, the princess is actually putting up doors and dropping bridges to try to keep Tim from catching up with her.

It’s only then that Tim realizes he’s the monster.

The princess is gone. She doesn’t need to be recused, and she certainly doesn’t need him.

Check it out, the music and art are beautiful.

Love the Chosen People

What’s the opposite of an anti-semite? I know it’s not a semite, that’s not right. Judophile? Sounds like a martial arts enthusiast.

I spent most of Monday sneezing and sniffling and I thought is was because of cat dander in my friend’s apartment. He has 1 awesome cat and 1 pretty okay one and they run about smacking each other in the face knocking the fur off one another. As it turns out I was actually coming down with a nasty cold that seems to have finally reached its apex.

I woke up this morning with my sinuses stuffed like a turkey… or Lindsay Lohan at Coachella. My throat was as sore as… Lindsay Lohan at Coachella.

I’m usually much better at turning a phrase but the wit seems to stop flowing when I’m sick and grumpy. I took the day off work to get huddled up in a sweaty ball on my couch. Wrapped tightly in pyjamas and blankets I got some soup, crackers and cold medicine and decided to use this time to catch up on Girls the hit HBO series everyone’s been gaga over.

The show is not bad. Mostly it just makes me hate myself for having a penis but more than anything it has stimulated a new round of self reflection. The show has made me ask myself some questions about why I act the way I act and why I like certain things more than others.

I feel like I’m not making any sense but I also feel way too drowsy to revise so hopefully this medicated stupor is charming.

I wish I could teleport to Tim Horton’s for some tea and timbits. I have been making tea but I don’t have any sugar in the house so my tea is bitter and sad and my timbits are still at the store and that’s way to far for me to venture out right now.

On the show there are 4 main female characters all of whom, in typical HBO fashion, bandy about in various stages of undress. Each one represents a different personality “type” and unsurprisingly the one I like best is the sweet one. She also happens to be the only character on the show who is explicitly identified as Jewish. At one point one of the characters goes as far as to call her a JAP.

It started me thinking if there was something about me that is intrinsically attracted to ladies of the Jewish persuasion. The following is a list of all my celebrity crushes:

  1. Alison Brie
  2. Anna Kendrick
  3. Lizzy Caplan
  4. Jenny Slate
  5. Amy Schumer
  6. Lea Michele
  7. Emma Stone

With the exception of Emma Stone, a redhead my attraction for whom I’m sure stems from deep seeded Batgirl issues, they are all (at least part) Jewish.

I know I have an ingrained hate for Nazis that comes from video games and Indiana Jones but could that, in some way, be linked to this apparent fascination with the Children of Israel?

I want cake right now. Cake would be inFUCKINGcredible! Like the kind that has two layers of moist fluffy cake separated by thick frosting. And I want it to have flowers made of icing on it.

How much does a sheet cake from the grocery store usually cost? It can’t be more than 20-25 bucks right? I can make them write anything I want on it too. Like usually people just ask for Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary or some shit like that. The last time I had a birthday cake it said “That’s what she said!” so by that logic I can get the baker to write “Josh, you are an okay kind of guy. Don’t let any thing bring ya down little buddy. Just take a big ol’ guilt free bite outta me and enjoy! Enjoy the delicious cake that you so deserve because you really really deserve it buddy!”

I don’t know if I want chocolate or vanilla but I do know that my cake would probably be Kosher.

What does that say about me?

I really don’t feel well at all right now. There have been about four dozen red squiggle lines that have popped up while I was writing this post and I’m hopping that the spellchecker will fix them all before I post this and it makes me look like a dummy who can’t spell.

I really feel like this entry should have ended a long time ago and all my common sense and even some of the uncommon sort is SCREAMING AT ME to just shut the fuck up but I can’t stop myself.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?

I’M TRIPPING OUT ON COUGH SYRUP AND OBSESSING OVER CAKE!!!

Fulfill the Apparent Obligation

I’m blogging right now because I feel like I should.

It’s an odd feeling. Usually I’ve got something I want to make a comment on, or something that I need to get off my chest. Right now I feel so tired and unmotivated but I’m forcing myself to be productive rather than just laze about on my couch playing Pokémon and listening to podcasts.

It’s not that I don’t have anything interesting to write about, this past week has been chock full of stimulating events! I guess that I just feel a lot happier than I have in a long time.

I find that more often than not I write as a sort of cathartic exercise, the whole point of this blog was to be therapeutic but I’ve just been in such a good mood that I haven’t felt the need to unload like I usually do.

What a tragedy it would be to be happy. If it turns out that being gloomy is my only inspiration for writing (what not an insignificant number of people have called) a good blog that would be pretty ironic.

In the end my pessimistic nature wins out and I just sit here waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s like so much has been going well that I’m expecting the world to throw me a curve ball and fuck me over.

So what’s this lucky streak I’ve been going on?

If you listen to my podcast you’ve probably heard that my bromantic partner Jaron, is most likely moving back to Toronto. I’m so excited. This guy is just so fun to be around and as much as I’ve enjoyed our Long Distance Bromance, I’ve missed being able to hang out.

Also for those of you too cool to keep up with these types of things, over the last 6 weeks or so Youtube, in conjunction with NeatherRealm Studios, has been hosting a tournament to promote the new video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. They took the top 16 greatest heroes and villains of the DC Universe and pit them against one another in a grand battle royale to determine, once and for all, who is the greatest.

One by one the lesser heroes fell by the wayside until only two remained. The final match up was between Batman and Superman. It’s no secret who I was rooting for.

batgod

And on the seventh day he rested… on his awesome Bat Throne

I’m embarrassed to admit how important the outcome to this fight was. I had a lot riding on it emotionally and I don’t know how I would’ve reacted if Batman had lost and I was forced to soak up all the smug “I told you so’s” of the Super Fan Club. Fortunately The Dark Knight proved himself the superior combatant and now the world will have no choice but to agree with me.

My sister’s recent health scare is still an area of concern, but she’s been adjusting well and so far has been maintaining a positive attitude. She frequently updates me on how good her levels are and it makes me smile.

And finally the biggest and most exciting news of all. Things have been progressing very well with my new girlfriend. She’s just so amazing and I enjoy every moment I’m lucky enough to spend with her. Very rarely do I connect with a person so immediately and on so many levels. She’s way smarter and funnier than me and so goddamned pretty that I sometimes have to look at her through the cracks between my fingers because I’m using my hands to cover my blushing face. She’s just so super cute and literally makes me explode with happiness!

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ATTN: Grammar Nazis
I’m not using it incorrectly!

I guess the only thing that bothers me right now is how incomplete this recent happiness feels. Like it’s tainted by some lingering shadow.

I’ve been clinically depressed for a long time now and in my head I know that having a good week where everything, even the weather, is perfect doesn’t mean I’m cured. I can’t help but feel suspicious of this happiness. I’ve trained myself to deal with the worst and so I feel like my defenses are always up on high alert, like if I brace myself for something to go wrong then it won’t hurt so much because I was prepared for it.

I feel that it’s not possible to be truly relaxed if part of me is on high alert.

I’m still looking forward to the day when I can finally be fully, comfortably at peace.

But maybe that’s an unrealistic goal.

Look the Other Way

Lately I’ve been using myself as a test subject in a little social experiment. I’ve been consuming as much pop culture media as I can while trying to experience it from a different context than the creators had originally intended. The idea came from an episode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney says he watches The Karate Kid and roots for “Sweep-the-Leg” Johnny.

I should just do EVERYTHING this guy says, right?

I should just do EVERYTHING this guy says, right?

I watched Empire Strikes Back through the context that at some point between Episodes IV and V Han and Leia had a crazy drunken one night stand and he brushed her off the next morning when she tried to get him to talk about “what this all means”. There’s also a totally underrated Woody Allen movie I love called Anything Else. I like to watch it and pretend that Woody Allen’s character is Jason Biggs from the future and he’s traveled back in time to give his younger self some life advice.

Try it yourself IT CHANGES THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE.

Right now I’m watching The Office again from start to finish. Like many normal people you probably see this show as a typical workplace comedy with elements of romance thrown in.

I’ve been watching it with Dwight, Roy and Toby as the heroes and it turns out that Jim and Pam are just terrible people!

Pam has never once been satisfied with what she has. She sits around unhappy with her position in life and yet fails to acknowledge her responsibility in getting to that point. And then when she does have an ambition she revels in the fleeting glow that comes with achieving her goal until it wears off and she reverts to her natural state of dissatisfaction.

Just look at her emotional variance before and after she:

  • breaks off her engagement to Roy,
  • starts dating Jim,
  • decides that she needs to go to art school,
  • quits art school,
  • gets married
  • and finally when she has children.

She hates her life so damn much that she seeks radical change but the cycle just repeats. And yet we’re meant to root for her!

I can’t do it!

And don’t let me get started on Jim. He’s a real piece of work this guy. He’s one of these situationally confident jerks, my least favourite type of person. The kind who, when surrounded by people he considers mentally or physically inferior, struts around like cock of the walk. But the second there’s anyone who will actually stand up to him he rolls belly up like a subservient dog.

He’s got no backbone. I hate these types of guys. The ones too scared to tell women they’re interested in, how they feel. I have no respect for these guys who try to sneak in by being “the best friend”. I feel like shaking these guys by the shoulders shouting “This isn’t 7th grade!”

Every girl I have ever dated I’ve got to know through a romantic relationship. I’ve never looked at existing friends of mine and decided, “Hmmm… Which of my buddies do I wanna bang?”

But Jim!?!?!? Not only does he ingratiate his way into this girl’s life he does it in the guise of a “nice guy who just wants to be friends”

WITH A GIRL WHO IS ALREADY ENGAGED!!!

What a scumbag!

I thought that if I could train my brain to see a new perspective then I could get better at relating to people in real life. By seeing their point of view for a change maybe I could become less judgmental and give people more of a chance before immediately deciding that I don’t like you.

I watched The Office from Dwight’s side, and Roy’s, and all the people who have suffered because of Jim and Pam and all it did was make me hate two characters I used to like.