Screwy Guy Pod

It’s finally here!

Suicide-SquadNope, we’re not just talkin’ about Suicide Squad, we’re talkin’ about VTAN!

A new episode of the podcast is also FINALLY here and we’re giving our thoughts on DC’s latest.

Did we love it? Hate it?

Find out on today’s episode of the VTAN Podcast!

 

Star Wars Review-cast

 

Kyle and Josh recorded a review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens shortly after the New Year, but we decided on holding off on the release until everyone had a chance to watch it.

Of course Josh thinks that it was a perfect, flawless, piece of imaginative film making and Kyle is just a jerk determined  to find fault in anything that makes Josh feel even the tiniest shred of happiness in his cold, dark, soul…

So we talk about Star Wars and Josh briefly mentions his obsession with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Brodway masterpiece Hamilton.

All Star Team Up

The VTAN Podcast’s unscheduled and uncomfortably long hiatus has finally come to an end! We’re back, bitches!

This episode was released simultaneously on The whyCarly Podcast feed in an effort to get some of that sweet crossover traffic.

It worked for Flash and Arrow, right?

Today we open Christmas gifts, we get a Hollywood insider scoop on some of the movies Kyle’s been working on and we speculate on how good Josh would be at giving handjobs.

My guess?

REAL GOOD!

Frankencast 2015

An 8 minute intro followed by a cut-and-paste hodgepodge of “deleted scenes” from 3 unreleased episodes.

What better way to start the year?

[Caution: If you love cats, Lord of the Rings, Fiona Apple or Dungeons and Dragons prepare to hear me defend them all while other people shit all over them.]

In all seriousness I must apologize for the lack of updates in recent weeks/months but we should be able to get our shit together from here on out.

Pictured: Guy with shit together...

Pictured: Guy with shit together…

Bored Games 6: Settlers of Catan

It’s that game that everybody seems to think is so good! Settlers of Goddamned Catan!

Mickey Mouse Haunted House and Gotham’s Got Ham!

 

Kyle was gone building haunted houses in the Ontario boonies, but he’s back after almost a month away! Do he and Josh talk about anything interesting? Hell no! Instead Josh tells a story about dressing up as a giant rat for a 1 year old’s birthday and they both discuss how much Fox’s Gotham licks balls.

mickey knife

I swear Officer… I was just tryin’ to cut the cake!

Bored Games IV: King of Tokyo

 

Today on The VTAN Podcast we give you another edition of Bored Games with our special guest Mr. Dan Fisher.

dan

His beard is good.

We tried to play  Sing King of Tokyo but ended up reminiscing about the 90’s and singing 20 year old songs like a buncha drunken sailors.

This episode is short and sweet because after we finished playing with monsters we got into the greatest most contentious game of UNO the world has ever seen. That will be another episode that we’ll release in the weeks to come.

009

SPOILER ALERT! The cat wins every game

Until then enjoy this watered down version of Pacific Rim with a bunch of dummies.
( I intentionally DIDN’T make a “Pacific Rim Job” joke. We’re way too sophisticated for that here at VTAN)

 

Bored Games #3: Smash Up!

 

 

Kyle, Callie and Josh play Smash Up! and attempt to answer the age old questions:
What kind of vegetable would you most want to bang?
What exactly is a “Steampunk Wizard”?
What’s the gayest thing that Kyle and Josh have ever done?

We even manage to work in casual racism and rape jokes…
Apologies in advance.

smashup box

Dice Roll:

Snakes and Lattes
Red Lipstick Psychology
Shot Through the Heart
Rape Condom
Cat People
Alec Trevelyan
Kyle’s Eyeballs
Harry Potter
Summer of George
Sibling Drive-alry
Traumatic Insemination
Spider-Man uses Bing
Solo Mobile
Bengals
Bangles
3 Penis Wine
Vinegar Strokes
Quatto

Blackout! pt 2: The Fall of BlockBuster & The Rise of Josh

We get real in this episode. It was never meant to come out so we spoke more candidly than normal. You’ll hear LOTS of bleeps to hide names of people or other possibly incriminating details and lots of interruptions midsentence because huge sections have been cut out.

 

So if you’re a devoted listener you probably heard Kyle, Callie and I sitting at The Duke of York for our weekly trivia night when the lights went out. The blackout last April affected a pretty substantial part of the west end of Toronto.

The subway wasn’t even working so I couldn’t get home.

I take prescription medication for anxiety and my intense, irrational, fear that the power will never come back made me take more than I should have. You’ll notice I talk super fast and you can tell by how I talk that I’m riding an intense high.

Kyle and Callie, (heretofore to be known as Kylie) being proud “Eastenders” where pretty sure their building would have power.

In Part 1 of The Blackout we walked to Kylie’s and the episode ended right before we got into one of our famous 6 hour conversations since I figured nobody would want to hear it.

I managed to chop it into just under an hour of interesting conversation.

In this episode I try to convince Kyle to watch One Direction: This is Us on Blu-Ray and since he vehemently refuses we end up talking about the poor business decisions that caused BlockBuster Video to go out of business, my rampant alcoholism, the possibility of having a child and being a good parent and all the reasons why, after taking a crazy ride on the pussy train and having a revolving door of meaningless sexual relationships, I don’t want to date

ever again.

The intro song is Gold Rush by Ed Sheeran.
Buy his album.

The Legend of VTAN: A Link to the ‘Cast (part 1)

Literally no one, except for me, has been excited for this episode to come out, but it’s finally here and I’m giddy with girlish glee.

 

Kyle and I decided one lazy Sunday afternoon to play Zelda III from start to finish.

Since he’s gonna be gone for another 3 weeks I re-purposed this recording, which I had never intended on releasing, and turned it into a new edition of the VTAN Podcast.

Once Kyle returns we can go back to having real  episodes.

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.

 

BLACKOUT! (Kill the Lights)

A few weeks ago there was a pretty big blackout that affected some parts of downtown Toronto. I was at The Duke of York for Tuesday Night Pub Stumpers Trivia so I took out my iTelephone and began recording the shenanigans.

 

On this special edition Kyle, Callie and I are joined by two of our trivia team members, Eric and Rowena, as we navigate a dark pub and the apocalyptic streets of T.O.

Find out what happens when we Kill The Lights

Kyle will be gone for the next 6 weeks and so in order to pass time I’ve been listening to recordings of his voice to fill the empty void in my soul. It only worries me when I start trying to have a conversation with these recordings.

To stop myself from becoming the kind of crazy person who talks to himself, I’m gonna try to actually get some use out of the recordings we never intended to release to the public.

Also, we’re finally  on the iTunes click here to subscribe and while you’re there downloading our podcast FOR FREE, buy some of David Usher’s songs. He’s my number one favourite recording artist of all time and it’s always good to support Canadian Arts.

Footnotes:

Kill the Lights (Accoustic Ver.)
Duke of York
Toronto to Barrie
Wentworth Miller comes out
CHUD
Skittle Bräu
Magic: The Gathering
Joe Flaherty
Jim Flaherty Dies
Rock Death Hoax
Ultimate Warrior Dies
John Pinette Dies
Mickey Rooney Dies
Canada Gun Ownership
Our friend Brian’s Uncle Fred
Kill the Lights

You’re Tearing Me Apart, Lisa!

I’ve seen a lot of movies in my day. Most have been good, some have been bad, but never did I dream of watching a movie so transcendentally bad that, like Alexander, I wept because “there were no more worlds to conquer”

Of course the movie I’m describing is Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 masterpiece The Room.

the-room

OH, HAI!

After being told by almost everyone how great this movie is, I finally sat down and watched it with my friends Kyle and Callie. This movie is 11 years old. You could say I’m a little late to the party.

Here’s our special commentary track for you to enjoy.

 

Bored Games: 7 Wonders

I told you we’d be back. As long as people are misguided enough to invite me over to play board games I’m gonna keep recording the conversations.

Just like Nixon.

SHUT UP, That's why!

SHUT UP, That’s why!

So here we are discussing technology, genetics, artificial intelligence and its potential to wipe out humanity.

We talk about sexual fetishism and the pros and cons of pleading insanity as a murder defense.

More than anything we discuss religion and the nature of God all while playing what is possibly the greatest board game of all time!

7w

André the Giant NOT included.

Click here to download, or use the player above to stream.

Bored Games

Anyone with even a passing familiarity with me will know that I often throw myself, enthusiastically, into multiple projects that we all know I’ll never follow through with.

Here’s yet another!

Bored Games.

A chronicle of the insane (and/or inane) conversations that spring up when playing board games with my friends. We’ve already recorded 4 of these so it’ll be a true testament to my laziness if this is the only one that ever comes out.

On today’s installment: Lord of The Rings Risk!!! The game of global domination with a Middle Earth twist.

risk

“Six sided dice are for PUSSIES!”- Gary Gygax, 1979

Join my friends Kyle, Callie and me as we discuss every bodily function in sweet, intimate detail as well as pop culture, the acceptability of slur words and all the matters of the heart.

If we make more I’ll put ’em on iTunes. For now click here to download or use the built in player above to stream

 

 

 

 

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?

Elevate the Customer Experience.

“I’d like to purchase these products please!”

Anyone who’s been unlucky enough to go shopping with me knows that is my customary greeting to cashiers as I plop my merchandise on the checkout counter. Usually they’re not expecting such candor from the long serpentine line of customers trying their damnedest to get out of the store as quickly as possible, so depending on their reaction (mild annoyance or curious amusement) I’ll either try to engage them in a little droll conversation or just clam up and pay for my goods.

It wasn’t always this way. I used to hate forced social interactions and stumble through them with the tension you’d expect from someone as awkward as me but about a year ago while stopping at Food Basics for a couple of bottles of Coke Zero and hair conditioner with my surrogate parents, I began to have a change of heart.

I should explain.

My friends Kyle and Callie a are couple with whom I spend the majority of my time. They’re usually the first ones to hear about any crises(plural) I’m going through and have on multiple occasions shown the ability to shake some sense into me and bluntly tell me when I’m acting like a fuck up. I’ve said before that they’re like parents who are the same age as me and I can get wasted and talk about sex with too.

Kyle scolded me for being a dick when being nice to the sweet innocent checkout girl requires a minimum effort and would probably make her day.

I started thinking about the possibility of making people’s days. It took me years to admit to myself that I could never don a cape and cowl and fight crime but now here was a real and simple way that I could inject a bit of positivity into the world.

So I started being nice to every retail and service industry professional I encountered. Making chit chat, telling jokes and always finding something to compliment them about. An ol’ shot in the arm as it were.

I sort of got hooked on it because I started to do it to real people. I made a decision to let everyone, friends and strangers alike, get a taste.

I went over to Kyle and Callie’s for dinner one night and right as I walked in the door I said to her “Callie, I don’t usually take the time to come out and say this, and for that I apologize, but you are looking lovely tonight.”

I learned that it’s fine when you do it to close friends and family but when you to it to strangers or even acquaintances, friends of friends, it can come across (at best) as flirty or (at worst) as super-goddamn-creepy-as-dicks.

I did it to K&C’s winsome redheaded neighbour and I think I really freaked her out.

So I had to pump the brakes a bit and went back to just being awful when it comes to social interactions.

That is except for, the genesis of this whole experiment, customer service reps.

A few months ago I had an issue with Rogers, my Cable and Internet service provider, and so I used their online live chat service to try and ask for help.

I’ve posted this before on Facebook but I think it bears repeating. I didn’t have the presence of mind to take any screenshots so what follows is a transcript of our conversation:

7:01 PM  Connecting…
7:01 PM  Connected. A support representative will be with you shortly.
7:01 PM  Support session established with Eric.
7:01 PM   Eric:  Hi, you’ve reached Eric, how may I help you?
7:01 PM   Joshua Alferez:  Eric, a fine strong name if I’ve ever heard one. I’m having difficulty logging on to the MyRogers website
7:02 PM   Eric:  Have you tried the forgotten password feature? If so, did you receive any type of error message when using the forgotten password link?
7:03 PM   Joshua Alferez:  Your site has erred on the side of caution. In an effort to keep my information secure it requires me to answer a “secret question” before it sends me a temporary password via email
7:03 PM   Joshua Alferez:  i dont remember my answer or my password
7:04 PM   Eric:  I can update the secret question and reset the password for you. In order to access your account, I will require some information from you. Please click on the following secure link to enter your personal information. You will notice I requested a four digit PIN. If you do not have one associated to your account, please leave this field blank. Please let me know when you are finished.
7:04 PM  Eric has sent a link: https://safesend.rogers.com/index.php?ut=c055fbfb2a0df99ca317eecd0143a979f73399c1b372093fdea5b19a0d9fb705&vq=y
7:06 PM   Joshua Alferez:  The task is complete, sir!
7:06 PM   Eric:  This will just take 1-3 minutes to bring up your account. While I am bringing up for account, is there anything else I can assist you with at this time?
7:07 PM   Joshua Alferez:  You’ve already been so helpful it would be selfish of me to ask for anything more dear lad
7:11 PM   Eric:  In order to reset your password, we will also require you to provide us with your preferred temporary password in the secure link I have just sent you.
7:11 PM  Eric has sent a link: https://safesend.rogers.com/index.php?ut=28b73b58e4d1889301dcbd7891fe4cd247a94aa888e80782e748f6bb58090d2b&vq=y
7:12 PM   Joshua Alferez:  done
7:13 PM   Eric:  I have successfully reset your Rogers.com password to the temporary password provided in the form. This temporary password will be valid for up to 24 hours. Once you log in, you will be asked to create a new personal password. Please ensure to store this password in a safe place for future use. Please go to rogers.com/signin and let me know if you can login.
7:16 PM   Joshua Alferez:  SUCCESS! It works, HUZZAH FOR TEAMWORK. We did it Eric, we did it. They all said we couldn’t but we proved them wrong
7:16 PM   Eric:  Thank you for choosing Rogers Live Chat. For your references your session id is: 152148899. Also, please feel free to bookmark our direct link www.rogershelp.com/chat. We are available between the hours of 7AM to midnight Monday to Friday, and 8AM to midnight Saturday and Sunday EST.
7:18 PM   Joshua Alferez:  I’m going to very upset in the sequel when you are revealed to have secretly been a robot this whole time. Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!
7:19 PM  Eric has ended the session.

You see that!?!?!

You can see how I tried my damnedest to engage the guy but he was giving me NOTHING.

Undaunted however I decided to try again.

A few days ago I used the service once more. This time I took some super lo-rez pictures for your enjoyment:

007008009As you can see Rob was just as unreceptive to my charm as Eric. When he responded so flatly to my introductory salvo of compliments I didn’t bother pressing the matter and just let the rest of the session play out mechanically like a long term relationship’s obligatory birthday sex.

It was just as unsatisfying.

Just a few hours ago I had my third interaction with Rogers Live Chat and it has reaffirmed my faith in humanity and has caused me to vow, anew, to be more social.

See for yourself:

016017018020Wow!

I grant you it’s not much of a two way conversation, it’s obvious I did most of the heavy lifting, but for the first time ever I got someone at Rogers to acknowledge the extemporaneous conversation I, up until this point, had been having with myself.

Persistence pays off.

I’m gonna keep trying to be friendlier and I think it’ll go a long way towards my ultimate goal of just being happier.

Unleash the Digital Monster!

Don Draper had it wrong.

I don’t say that flippantly, it took me hours of contemplation to make that decision. Don Draper is in the top 3 on the list of my favorite “Double D’s” in the world and I usually take his words as the gospel truth, but in the season 1 finale of Mad Men, Draper gives an awesome speech about nostalgia that I’m starting to interpret in a new way.

He’s pitching an ad campaign for Kodak’s new slide projector. Being that it’s the middle of the 60’s during the U.S./Soviet space race, the muckety mucks at Kodak want to market the sleek curves of their new “wheel projector” as a spaceship. They’re trying to cash in on the NASA zeitgeist. Don Draper puts together an alternative campaign that causes one of the stuffedshirts in the boardroom to burst into tears and run out of the room crying.

He decides they shouldn’t look towards the future to market this product, but rather the past. To use the slide projector as a time machine. To let us catch a glimpse of days gone by.

Better days.

 draper5

Up until recently I would’ve agreed. If you asked me I’d have said that looking back into the past is painful and as Draper says, “takes us to a place where we ache to go again… a place where we know we are loved.”

But over the last few days I’ve been swimming in nostalgia and it’s making me happier than I’ve felt in the longest time. And not just happy about old memories but rather happy with myself as I am today.

Netflix has added to their Library, the first two seasons of Digimon: Digital Monsters.

Now for anyone who doesn’t know me very well, I consider myself to be musically inclined. I sing in the shower a lot and I’m a 10 speed dynamo when it comes to karaoke but I also play a handful of instruments with varying levels of competence.

Here’s me shredding on guitar.

I play a little bit of accordion, drums and piano as well but the first instrument I ever learned, the one that started me on this musical journey nearly 15 years ago was the harmonica.

photo(20)

Yes, ladies, he’s STILL got it… and by “it” I mean cripplingly low confidence and that self deprecating charm that drives the girls wild.

There is exactly one reason why I, as a child, decided to learn to play the harmonica.

It’s because of Matt, a character from Digimon. More specifically, Matt, my favorite character on the first two seasons of Digimon.

Now he wasn’t the star of the show, he wasn’t the hero. He was always sort of the “second banana”. He had a cool exterior that belied a tumult of emotion contained just under the surface. His mom and dad were divorced and he and his little brother had been split apart as each of them went to live with one of their parents. During their adventures with the Digimon he always worried about his brother’s safety, attempting to be a responsible caretaker, but often having to face the sad reality that he wasn’t well suited for the task. When his younger brother starts to develop a strong bond with the show’s goggle-headed protagonist he gets jealous and further questions his self worth.

He was far too complex a character for what was meant to be a kid’s show but he played the hell outta the harmonica and I always thought he was super cool.

People have told me that it says a great deal about my personality that I don’t ever identify with the main protagonist of any story. If there’s any leading man in any movie, book, TV show, video game or comic, I always see more of myself reflected in the main character’s best friend or sidekick.

It turns out there’s even a name for that ultra important character in literature. It’s the Deuteragonist. He’s the secondary character who shoulders a lot of the burden when it comes to the plot, but he’s not always a hero in the traditional sense. Sometimes he’s a rouge or scoundrel, sometimes he’s just a weaker character who needs the support of the hero to fully develop. Whatever the case I’ve always thought I shared a similar temperament to the Dueteragonists of my favorite stories.

Let’s go through the list shall we:

and of course the guy this whole thing has been about,

matt

Yes, ladies, he’s STILL got it… and by “it” I mean cripplingly low confidence and that self deprecating charm that drives the girls wild… and a digimon, I suppose.

Now while these characters, for the most part, may not share many personality traits with each other I always identified with them more than I would with the heroes of their respective stories.

I guess I just lack the confidence to consider myself the leading man in the story of my life.

I’m definitely sidekick material though.

Watching Digimon for the first time in almost 15 years has transported me back into the past in a way that has let me see all the ways that I’ve changed in the intervening years.

And all the ways in which I haven’t.

But it’s been nothing but a joy.

I’m not a fan of anime. People are shocked to hear that just like they’re shocked when I say I don’t really like Sci-Fi. They think that just ’cause I’m a geek I like Doctor Who and Star Gate. It’s the closest to racial pigeonholing I’ve ever experienced.

People just expect me to have an interest in things that are considered “geek”. The truth is I couldn’t give a single fuck about Dragon Ball, or Bleach or Gundam and Evangelion. I think Akira sucked balls and Miyazaki is boring. No I don’t loooooove Full Metal Alchemist and I think people who read comic books backwards are a bunch of pretentious jackasses.

I am a self proclaimed geekI I love Star Wars and DC Comics. My thumbprints are concave from decades of videogames. I have toys in my house. But when it comes to anime I just never delved into that word. Ironically it always seemed “too nerdy” for me to get into.

I was an Inbetweener in the schoolboy ecosystem. I occasionally got picked on by some of the more popular kids, but I still would make fun of the guys playing with their Yu-Gi-Oh! cards at lunch.

So as a total anime neophyte, and with nothing to compare it to, I just randomly got sucked into the world of Digimon in 1999 and it was my favourite show for 2 years. Then by that time I mysteriously became more interested in boobs and rock music than cartoons and I stopped watching.

Now that I’m revisiting the series after so long it’s made me feel totally nostalgic but more than anything it has, surprisingly, helped me with my goal of moving forward with my life.

I’ve never been able to think about the future. When I was young I didn’t think I would live a very long life because I couldn’t fathom what I would be like as an old guy. I’ve never really made any plans for the future and have always been sort of ambitionless. My mind functions only in the immediate present and so it’s especially difficult for me to ever hope for the best. If I’m going through a painful emotional experience I literally can’t imagine a time when I’ll no longer feel that way.

But by watching this show that makes me feel the way I did as a child, and then thinking about how different I am today, it makes me wonder for the first time ever what I might be like 15 years from now.

And aside from all the philosophical revelations it’s still just such a damn good show. It holds up so well even after all these years.

At least to me.

So, Don Draper talks about nostalgia as being painful, of making you want to go back and relive better times.

As stupid as it may sound Digimon and the nostalgia I feel for it has made me excited about the future for the first time in recent memory.

For those of you who remember the show fondly, or for those who may have never seen it, here’s a clip from season 1 of Matt playing the blues.

There are 104 episodes in the first 2 seasons of Digimon.

I’m going to watch them all!

Rewrite the Tragic Memories

I have a friend at work who has some medical training. He’s a smart guy and he could be a doctor if he wanted to finish his studies. For now, though, he’s content to pal around with me and talk about girls and video games on slow days when we try to get away with doing as little work as possible.

People are always bugging him with their aches and pains, asking him if their boils are actually tumors and that sort of nonsense. Me, I never exploited him for medical advice but, astute observer that he is, he started to notice within days of my pledge to stop drinking, that I was exhibiting symptoms of withdrawal.

Much in the same way that a toddler who trips and falls doesn’t cry unless the grown ups around her make a fuss about it, I wasn’t really bothered by the headaches and sweats until he pointed them out. I started to feel uncomfortably aware of the symptoms and started feeling really sick.

The good news is, just as he predicted, I got my appetite back. It turns out that since I’ve been consuming a shit ton (medical term) of liquid calories from all the booze it didn’t leave a whole lot of room for food. That’s why I wasn’t eating.

Now I’ve started to feel hungry again for the first time in months. Like seriously hungry. Katniss Everdeen hungry, but the odds never seem to be in my favour.

Bitch don't look that hungry to me! Where's my whiskey...

Bitch don’t look that hungry to me!
Where’s my whiskey…

So now that the discomfort has mostly dissipated I’m just settling in to a new routine of… not drinking and I’m looking for other things, besides binge eating, to occupy myself.

I bought Flashpoint on Blu-ray and watched it 4 times in a row.

If you’ve never heard of it, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is an animated movie that tells the butterfly effect-esque story of what happens when Barry Allen, The Flash, travels back in time to prevent his mother from dying when he was a little boy.

He creates a whole alternate timeline where he’s gay, there is no Superman, Aquaman King of Atlantis and Wonder Woman Queen of the Amazons have started World War III and Gotham City is a debauched, neon drenched casino town patrolled by a bloodthirsty, gun wielding “Batman” who unlike the real Batman, kills crooks and street thugs without giving it a second thought.

It’s an animated movie but it’s definitely not for kids. There’s blood and guts, dismemberment, sex between superheroes and swearing!!! At one point Hal Jordan says ASSHOLE“.

It’s a DC fanboy’s wet dream!

The final scene between Batman and The Flash is just beautiful. It’s like Field of Dreams, it’ll make you want to call up your dad and, unless you’re a heartless son of a bitch, it’ll make you cry like a baby.

Those little drops of water? Ya they're tears, so what!

Those little drops of water?
Yeah they’re tears, so what!

For all its complexity the moral of the story is easy enough to figure out.

We have to learn to accept the tragedies in our past and just move on. As better as you think your life might have been if things had happened differently, we can’t dwell on the desire to change the past.

For all you know things could’ve been a million times worse.

So any time you look back at the moments in your life that you regret and say to yourself “If only I could go back and change things” remember that your life may not have played out for the better.

I’m an atheist. A devout atheist, ironically enough, and so the hardest thing about going out and formally seeking help to quit drinking is how much these programs are tied to religion. It’s a simple thought, but my childish mind needed a bunch of superheroes in tights to fully understand the concept.

Grandma Allen was TOTALLY an alcoholic.

Grandma Allen was TOTALLY an alcoholic.

I’m going to try to live without any regrets.

Try living without obsessing over painful memories.

If you only take away one thing from this movie it should be this: Be happy with the life you have.

On the other hand your time traveling adventure could end up making you gay and that could be pretty interesting.

I had to download special software to make this damn collage so you better appreciate it!

I had to download special software to make these crappy collages so you better damn appreciate it!

Fight the Rising Panic

I broke up with my girlfriend.

I was a difficult decision.

She cried. I felt terrible.

“Why would you do it?” you might ask. “If you feel so terrible about it, what was the point? Why not just keep the relationship going?”

It’s because even before the break up I was feeling terrible.

It was becoming increasingly difficult spending time with someone who was always so happy to see me, so happy to just be around me, when I was physiologically incapable of matching her level of enthusiasm.

I feel like a broken record constantly talking about how unhappy I’ve been recently. I worry that people will eventually lose their patience with me. After a while most people’s response is “Get the hell over yourself! You think you’re the only one out there with problems?”

I know that’s how I feel. I lost patience with myself a long time ago. I can’t tolerate what a miserable piece of crap I’ve become and so I can’t imagine how infuriating I must be to the people around me.

A really good friend of mine recently told me that he thought I drink too much. It was sort of funny because I was doing my typical rant about how shitty I was feeling and he flat out asked “Well, how much have you been drinking?” and before I could respond he interrupted me and qualified the question with “And answer honestly!”

I had to stop and take inventory of how much alcohol I consume in any given week and when I told him he sort of slapped me in the head and said “Well there’s your problem, genius! Alcohol is a depressant!”

He went on to tell me a story about how years ago he went through an extended period of serious drinking and realized, gradually, that it was taking a heavy toll on his emotional sate.

I drink a ton of whiskey. Whenever I buy a 6 pack of beer or cider it’s done before the night is. I also, over the last year have been smoking a ton of pot.

I usually sleep 2-4 hours each night unless I take a couple of over-the-counter sleeping pills which I know I shouldn’t be taking because they can react dangerously with my antidepressants and anti anxiety medication.

Add to that an addiction to Pizza Pizza, potato chips, pop tarts and McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches and you have a brain that is being bombarded by a whole slew of biochemical triggers that have been making me feel and act like a crazy person.

I think that in the past few months I’ve overloaded myself in some way because recently I’ve been unable to feel anything.

I have not been able to enjoy any of the things that usually make me happy.

Not only does food not make me feel that rush of satisfaction that it used to, but I haven’t felt genuinely hungry in almost 3 months. I eat because intellectually I know that my body needs its gasoline. I eat when social situations require me to and I eat when I smoke pot, but even those effects have started to peter out.

Before 2012 I would never do any drugs but since last summer I’ve smoked so damn much, and not just pot either. I recently pulled a Miley Cyrus and started smoking Salvia. I went online and found a website that sells what they, very cloak and daggerly, call “herbal incense” which are basically lab grown, mutant plants that they can sell legally in the US and Canada because they are artificially created and their genus classification (which is made up by the creators) doesn’t fall within any of the DEA’s lists of banned or controlled substances.

Now after a year of overindulgence when I do smoke it doesn’t make me feel good at all. It doesn’t make me feel anything. And just like I’ve said in many of my past entires I feel like I’ve become immune to whiskey.

I feel nothing.

And it’s not just substances. All the things that used to bring me joy have become insipid and boring.

Video games and comic books, YouTube videos and podcasts. All the myriad forms of distraction that I used to use to trick myself into not dealing with my problems no longer hold my attention. I feel like if I’m not doing 3 or more things at once then I can’t get any enjoyment out of anything.

I have to be watching a movie while simultaneously listening to a podcast and playing a video game in order to get any kind of joy out of it.

Even sex was unsatisfying. I found myself playing the role of an accommodating participant rather than enthusiastic instigator when it came to doin’ it.

There are exactly 3 things in the world right now that have been able to break through the numbness and actually make me feel some joy:

1) Watching new episodes of The Newsroom on Sunday nights.

2) Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim

3) Recording Long Distance Bromance with Jaron Francis

Other than that, the only emotions I feel are negative.

So taking the advice that I’ve been ignoring for so long I decided to cut out all the bullshit. I’ve decided to make the following changes:

1) No more drugs and alcohol

2) No more eating shitty fast food

3) Actually sleeping at least 6 hours each night WITHOUT any sleep aids.

4) Jogging every day. I usually walk home from work but my pace is too leisurely. I’m gonna bring a change of clothes and start doing time trials.

5) Focusing my attention on one thing at a time. No more of this sick entertainment multitasking.

6) Forcing myself up and out of bed on all those days where it would be so much easier to just curl into a ball and pray for death.

7) Be happy.

I’m on day four of this new regime. I feel sick and have been suffering from the worst throbbing headaches I’ve ever experienced but with the exception of not being happy and still playing video games and watching TV at the same time I’ve managed to stick with all the other goals.

Part of me wants to fail. Part of me wants to give up on this plan halfway through. Because if I actually stick to it and I make all these changes and I still feel this way then there will be nothing left to blame my problems on. It will confirm my worst fear that there is something fundamentally wrong with me as a person.

I don’t know what to do if that’s the case.

Josh the Terrible Mixologist

I’m gonna stop it before it even starts. Josh is a verb, it means to engage in banter or to tease good naturedly. Maybe it doesn’t fit my regular scheme, at least not in this particular context, but I wanted to spend more time writing this entry than choosing the title so let’s just chalk this up to my ineptitude with double entendres and move on.

I find it has become more and more difficult to deny the claims of friends and family that I may be drinking too much.

My father has always had issues with alcohol and as a child I remember thinking to myself that I wouldn’t be like that when I grew up.

Somewhere along the way that ambition, like most for me, just fizzled out. I don’t even remember how or when but I became, I wouldn’t say a heavy drinker, but a drinker nonetheless.

Right now I’m drinking straight Jägermeister, and not out of a shot glass. I’ve got an 8 ounce High Ball of teeth staining, anise flavoured, godawfullness and I’m wincing as I pound it back. Earlier this afternoon I was mixing it with Pineapple juice, making “Chuck Yeagers” as they are called, but I found the 7-1 juice to alcohol ratio just wasn’t cutting it for me. At least not for what I had had in mind.

That’s when I realized just exactly what I had in mind.

I was intentionally trying to get drunk.

I never did any underage drinking. I didn’t have a drink until well after my 19th birthday. Prior to that I just had no interest in alcohol. Because it was never a “forbidden fruit” type situation I never overdid it, I never got blackout drunk. What I’m trying to say is that for me drinking was never the “thing to do” it was always just what I would do while I was doing whatever I was doing.

I would have a few beers while watching the hockey game, have wine with dinner. I never sat in a parking lot just getting wasted, and I never drank alone.

Over the last 4 or 5 years I’ve been doing a lot of recreational drinking. I was doing it for the same reason I do most things. I always get obsessed in the minutiae of whatever hobby I stumble upon and when it came to drinking I wanted to become an expert. I wanted to know everything about wine and spirits, I wanted to be able take a blindfolded taste from any random cup and tell you if it was a Cabernet or a Malbec and what country it came from. With a single sip I can, and will even if you repeatedly ask me not to, correctly tell the difference between Bourbon, Scotch, Whisky, Whiskey and Rye.

Since the beginning of this year I’ve been interested in more than just connoisseurship. I’ve been trying to get drunk.

photo(18)

There are even more empties under my sink that wouldn’t fit on the stove. It’s like a liquor bottle grave yard and I killed each and every one of them!

It’s become evidently clear when I started creating my own terrible, terrible cocktails.

I’ve mixed iced tea with cinnamon flavoured vodka, I call it an IV Drip (IV for iced tea and vodka, and drip ’cause I’m trying to be clever) it was gross.

I mixed tequila and Strongbow. I called it a Juan-y Appleseed… it was gross.

I was gonna call Pineapple Juice and Jägermeister a Pacific Rim until I discovered some genius had already called it the Chuck Yeager. It was gross

I routinely mix vanilla vodka with orange crush. It tastes just like a creamscicle but I’ve been calling it Riot Punch because it gets me drunk as dicks and makes me want to run in the streets and take my clothes off while punchin’ stuff.  It tastes like a dream.

I took caramel sauce that is meant to be drizzled over sundaes, stirred it into a glass of milk and then poured in 3 fingers of Glenfiddich.

I called it Butter Scotch.

It was so, so fucking gross.

I don’t know what, if anything, I’m trying to say with this post.

I feel like I’m straddling the line of alcoholism. I’m not yet at the point where I feel like I’m in any danger. I do drink when I’m feeling sad but I don’t ever get strong cravings or feel desperate for a drink. I don’t blow all my money away on booze, I don’t ever drink to give myself more confidence or exhibit any of the other lame ass self diagnostic traits you’ll find on the dozens of online self assessments.

My biggest problem is, as with all things, moderation. I’ve said before that I’m a binary creature. I live in a world of mutually exclusive blacks and whites. So when it comes to alcohol I either have none or get completely wasted.

So I’ve decided that after I’ve finished this bottle I’m working on, I’m going to go through an extended period of abstinence. A month ought to do it. Maybe longer.

It won’t be hard. Like I said I don’t need to drink.

The only tragedy is I’ll have to deny the world of all of my amazing cocktails.

Make the Triumphant Return

He’s back ladies and gentleman. After almost 2 whole months of depressed, motivationless wallowing, the prodigal son has returned.

I feel I owe it to you all to preface this post by admitting that I’m drunk as dicks right now.

Try to picture that. A bunch of disembodied penises all crowding the bartender, getting all up in his grill shouting things like “I’ll tell YOU when I’ve had enough”.

That’s how I feel right this very now.

Maybe it’s the 375 ml of vodka flowing through my veins or the fact that a piece I wrote about online dating has just been published on the far more interesting Steph not Stephanie but whatever it is, I’m back.

Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen.

I’m a self delusional sociopath.

I started this blog as a way to be honest with myself, just to organize my thoughts and get my jumbled up feelings out in the open. Then a couple dozen people started reading it, then over a hundred subscribed and then I sort of lost track of what I had originally intended.

As much as I want to be entertaining when I write, this blog is really, at it’s core, about an emotionally stunted, chronically immature man-child and his struggle with mental illness.

It should come as no surprise then, that the extended sabbatical I took from blogging was due to a relapse I had in my ongoing lightsaber battle with depression.

For almost a year I have been taking 2 different mood stabilizing medications to stop me from collapsing in the middle of the street in a fit of sobbing and to prevent me from driving my fist through the faces of the ever growing population of mouth breathers that surrounds me.

It was going well until about 10 weeks ago when I just stopped taking me meds.

It wasn’t a conscious decision, it was more like a growing apathy that started with me taking my doses much more sporadically and then eventually just reaching a point where I couldn’t be bothered to follow the routine that I had set.

The routine that was specifically set up to give my life structure and stop me from going crazy.

After 2 weeks off of my antidepressants and anti anxiety medication I started to feel sick. It was withdrawal but rather than talking to my doctor I just missed a couple of weeks of work, ignored all calls from my friends and family and started a series of 40 hour days.

The calendar meant nothing to me. I’d stay awake for 30 hours straight and then sleep for 10 only waking up to repeat the process.

It was during this time that I started having really bad nightmares.

They scared me so much that I went back to my doctor, stopped cancelling my psychotherapy appointments and started taking my meds again.

During this transitional period I suffered an extreme case of anhedonia.

Now for those of you who don’t know how to google definitions of words you don’t recognize, anhedonia is the inability to feel happiness or pleasure.

During this time I was watching all the TV and movies I wanted, playing TONS of video games, reading (and spending the majority of my disposable income on) comic books and having regular sex.

I mean regular as in “on a regular basis” not regular like “same ol’ same ol’ boring” sex.

I guess it would be more accurate to say, frequent sex.

I need another goddamn drink. It’s time to crack open the Ballantine’s, fuck this vodka! Everyone knows that clear alcohol is for rich ladies on diets.

But to get back on track, of all the “fun” activities I had engaged in, none of it made me feel anything.

All of it felt wholly unsatisfying and coming to terms with the idea that the word is giving me everything I could want and I was still unhappy, filled me with shame and made me hate myself.

What the fuck is wrong with me? I’d go to bed every night thinking that and I’d wake up in a cold sweat from a terrifying dream that I couldn’t even remember.

After a while it wasn’t dreams anymore. Just an overwhelming sensation of dread whenever I’d go to sleep. Even dozing off for a few seconds on the subway would end up with me waking up screaming.

As it stands I’m back at work, I’ve reestablished the lines of communication  with my social circle and I’ve been trying to regain some semblance of normalcy in the freakshow that my life has become.

The dreams haven’t stopped though.

Even though I’m back on my meds I still can’t get a decent night’s sleep without waking up covered in sweat and tears with my heart threatening to erupt from my chest.

It’s for all these reasons and more that I’ve been ignoring this blog. Maybe I’m flattering myself in thinking that people actually missed my regular posts, but the truth is the interest of readers hasn’t brought me back.

When I first started writing I found it to be a very therapeutic experience.

It made me feel less crazy.

It made me happy.

I’m trying to catch lightning in a bottle a second time. I’m hoping that by coming back here after so long an absence, I can recapture the peace of mind this blog had originally afforded me.

I promise my future posts will be less maudlin and self indulgent. I just needed to get this out of my head and onto the screen to stop me from going nuts.

The next post will be funny.

I promise

 

 

 

 

Endure the Unending Exhaustion

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Over the last 2 or 3 weeks I’ve been feeling more and more weak, tired, apathetic, depressed and angry with myself.

It’s such a radical change from how I was feeling when I last posted.

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping.

I thought I had got passed this but the insomnia that was crippling me all winter is back.

Also I feel like I’ve been drinking more than I’m comfortable admitting, but I seem to have developed an immunity to whiskey. I drank a half bottle of Johnnie Walker while I watched almost a whole season of The Sopranos this evening. It doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect.

I don’t know what’s caused this shift in my emotional state.

Actually that’s not entirely true. I know exactly what the cause is. It’s an uncontrollable compulsion to look back and remember some pretty low moments in my life. I can’t stop these negative thoughts and my mind will drift towards painful memories seemingly of its own accord. What I don’t understand is why.

Things have been going better for me than they have in a long time, so why do I feel so shitty?

I have a pretty sweet job that makes me feel like I’m actually contributing to society and making a difference by helping people. So why is it so hard for me to get out of bed and go to work in the morning?

I have a lovely new girlfriend who is such a joy to be around and I feel like she genuinely likes me in spite of all the glaringly obvious reasons not to. So why am I spending so much time and mental energy thinking about the girl who broke my heart even though, by my own admission, I didn’t even want her anymore?

I’ve made so much progress in therapy gaining valuable insight and acquiring new tools to unravel the jumbled up mess in my head. So why can’t I look in the mirror without feeling so damn angry with myself?

I need to sleep.

There’s no two ways about it.

If I don’t start getting some real rest I’m going to collapse in the middle of the street. I might punch a little old lady while waiting in line at the super market or bite the head off someone’s tiny yip-yapping accessory “purse dog”.

I just want to stop feeling this way.

I don’t want to be splayed out on my uncomfortable bed staring at my ceiling at 1AM every night. I don’t want to keep replaying past events in my head over and over, conjecturing the innumerable ways in which things could have gone differently.

I don’t want to be unhappy anymore.

It’s been a Sisyphean effort. A perpetual motion machine of negativity. I get bogged down by all these feelings and then I start feeling ashamed of myself for feeling this way so I feel even worse so it causes more shame.

I need to interrupt this cycle because it’s keeping me up all night and driving me closer and closer to a complete emotional breakdown.

Usually I go back and revise these posts. I write in free flowing streams of consciousness and I have a whole editorial process to try and make them make sense.

Not this time.

If you feel like this post has been self indulgent, whinny, repetitive and nonsensical THEN GO FUCK YOURSELF!!! You knew what you were in for when you came here so quit complaining.

I’m sorry…

That was uncalled for. I’m clearly delirious and more than a little bit stressed right now.

It’s 1:12AM on Friday May 31st 2013.

Goodnight.

Examine the Recent Events

The human body is so damn weird. It was 11:07 this morning and I was splayed out on my couch, wrapped in blankets, sniffling and sneezy just feeling sick and sorry for myself. I wanted juice and even though my fridge was only 1 and a half Chewbaccas away, I didn’t have the strength to do anything but lay there.

Then, in what felt like the blink of an eye, it was 4:45 in the afternoon and although my face and my landmine shaped pillow were coated in dried up drool, I felt 100% better.

It didn’t feel like I had fallen asleep and woke up hours later. It felt like I had jumped forward in time and drank The Potion of Cure Disease. So since most of the day was wasted crumpled up in a drooly, unconscious mess, I wanted to take some time for blogging since so damn much has happened in such a short time.

I don’t even know where to begin. I’m a bit hopped up on cold medicine and am pretty delirious so you’ll have to forgive how inelegantly I tell this story. I’ll probably jump around back and forth chronologically like a Tarantino movie so if none of this makes sense just read it again with the director’s commentary turned on.

I have a new girlfriend! It’s official now. We’ve been dating for the last 4 weeks but apparently in this 21st Century world it’s not until your Facebook relationship status changes that you’re a couple.

pofbaleeted

So long and thanks for all the fish!

As exciting a development as this is, I’ll have to come back to it later as it’s only the tip of the Iceberg of Drama that’s torn a huge hole in my hull.

We just found out that my little sister has diabetes. It came as such a shock to me. I rushed to the hospital at around midnight on Thursday. My mom and stepdad stayed until about 1:45 but had to leave because they’re in the process of selling their home and had to prepare for the open house the next morning. So it was just me and her for almost 20 hours.

It was all so overwhelming. When I first got the call that she was in the emergency room, I put my phone down and started getting dressed and packed an overnight bag. I wanted to get down as quickly as possible so I decided to call a cab to take me to Brampton but in my frazzled, scatterbrained state I had no idea where i had left my phone! I searched all over, tearing the place apart. I looked through the trash, in every pocket of every pair of pants I own, it’s not like there’s a lot of room my apartment is only 9 square Chewbaccas (540 square feet) and I couldn’t find it ANYWHERE. What’s worse is that since I was born after 1980, I don’t have a landline so I couldn’t just call my phone to find it.

I was freaking out, on the verge of a panic attack. The towel I had packed was not helping! I needed to get out of there right away and every second that I wasn’t on my way to the hospital was agonizing. I opened my laptop and went onto Facebook hoping to find someone who was online who could call my phone.

In some misguided attempt at counterculture, I long ago made the conscious decision to always have fewer than 50 “friends” on Facebook. I delete people the way a topiarist trims hedges and so with so few people on my list the chances of finding someone online at midnight on a Thursday were slim.

There was one

She saved the day that night.

A redheaded angel, not even really a close friend of mine, a friend of a friend really, just someone who I’ve hung out with at parties and probably thinks I’m a crazy weirdo, without her intervention I probably would’ve had a nervous breakdown.

I hastily explained the situation over Facebook Chat and had her call my phone so I could locate it. I felt like such an idiot when I found it inside my coat pocket still hanging in my closet.

When I got to the hospital they explained the situation. There’s a scale for measuring blood sugar levels that I don’t quite yet understand. They tell me that normal levels are between 4-8.

My sister’s was 42.

42__by_neomoose

Don’t Panic, MY ASS!!!

The answer to life the universe and everything was also the number that had put her life at risk.

My favorite person in the world.

Her life in danger because of fucking sugar!

Every two hours the nurses would test her blood and give her more insulin but it’s as if her pancreas went on strike and after 20 hours the lowest it would go was 14.

photo(10)

She couldn’t sleep so as a bedtime story I explained, in painstaking detail, the plot of Back to the Future I, II and III

When morning came we had to attend a diabetes education seminar. They explained what was happening and what effects the different treatments would have. Even after being awake for over 30 hours I had to force myself to focus and commit every tiny detail to memory. I was essentially playing the parent role in all this. The doctors taught me how to test her blood and give her insulin. We met with a dietician who explained that there was going to have to be a complete lifestyle change.

So after finally getting out of the hospital, with a nasty cold brought about by all the germs floating around and my inconsistent use of the complimentary hand sanitizer, I took her to pick up her prescriptions and we went grocery shopping.

I taught her about meal planning and how versatile you can be with vegetables. Since she’s allowed to eat as many vegetables as she wants and since she’s lucky enough to be related to an expert in vegetarian cuisine, she’s in for a real treat when I start teaching her some of my signature recipes.

It was an exhausting couple of days and I’m only now just recovering. I went out on a lovely date on Saturday afternoon that really helped calm me down and just injected me with a bit of much needed happiness. I’ll have to write a whole separate blog about it because it was truly one of the best days I’ve had in a long time and if I start writing about it now I could go on for hours.

Today I caught up on a lot of missed sleep and sought comfort in the tried and true. Most people turn to Church in a crisis. Instead I treated myself to a Star Wars marathon. I’ve seen it so many times that my mind doesn’t get occupied following the plot, it’s just soothing familiar background noise and it lets me reflect on the events of the past few days.

I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety for a long time now and I know that I’ve been improving gradually.

I have to say, even if nobody else will, that I’m proud of how I handled this whole situation. I don’t know that I could have done it a year or even 6 or 3 months ago.

Now we just have to see what happens next.

Cross The New Frontier

In 2003 Darwyn Cooke wrote and illustrated a 6 issue limited series called DC: The New Frontier. I submit that my opinion is obviously biased but that shouldn’t stop you from believing me when I say this story is AMAZING!

dcnf

There are only 2 types of people in the world. Those who (if they don’t love it, can at least) appreciate The New Frontier and those who haven’t read it yet,

It was a piece of revisionist history, mixing real world events into the lore of classic Silver Age comics. For people who laugh when I say that comic books are legitimate forms of both art and literature I urge you to get your hands on a copy as soon as possible. It tackles issues like McCarthyism and the HUAC hearings, the burgeoning civil rights movement, the atomic scare and conscientious objectors to the Korean War all while throwing Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and The Flash into the mix. It was re-released as a two volume graphic novel both of which I owned.

My copy of the first volume was lost when in June of 2012 my whole life was upended, packed into a collection of boxes and I was forced to begin a whole new chapter in the story of Josh.

It’s one of my favorite pieces but I’ve avoided going out and buying a replacement for reasons I can’t really explain. I’ve wanted to revisit the story and reunite with these characters for a long time now but I’ve felt almost unworthy. Mentally and emotionally I’ve been in such a fractured state to the point where some twisted, irrational logic tells me that my comic book collection isn’t allowed to be complete until I’ve rebuilt myself into a more complete person again.

So for months now I’ve looked at my copy of DC: The New Frontier vol. 2 with a sort of sense of longing. Like I’m saying to myself: One day! One day I’ll feel good enough about myself to go out and pick up a copy of vol 1. Then I can just enjoy the simple pleasure of sitting back with bowl of popcorn, maybe a tall frosty glass of apple cider, some light ambient music and a pair of my favourite books of all time.

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My Preciousssssssss…

Right now I don’t think I’m anywhere near that level of self-confidence but I will admit that I’ve worked hard and made some progress.

Every week I look at what titles have been added to HBO and TMN onDemand. Today I came home from work and was pleased to see that the DCAU version, aptly titled Justice League: The New Frontier was added and for a solid 5 minutes I sat here trying to decide whether or not I should watch the animated film adaptation.

In the end I did. It was great. Not nearly as good as the book but as good as you could hope for when turning a 400+ page story into a 75 minute film. I felt good about myself. Watching this movie felt well deserved and more importantly it’s made me that much more motivated to continue along the path of self improvement.

It’s been slow going but I’m hoping I’ll soon be able to get back on track and be able to take pleasure in the simple joys of life again.

P.S. As a self indulgent and smart-assed side note, I am normally only able to keep my open disdain towards Superman barely in check.

So, to all the fans of the Blue Boyscout out there, one of the reason’s why New Frontier is so damn good is because it is yet another in a long line of masterfully crafted DC stories that shows us how much cooler the Justice League is without Superman. His goofy ass is taken down early and Bruce, Diana, Barry and Hal are left to pick up the pieces and show the world how the real heroes do it.

What we have here is a failure to communicate!

Man of Tomorrow? Who needs ‘im?

Disturb the Sleeping Giant

Thanks to an unfortunate, yet serendipitous, typo I’ve started using a new internet acronym that I’d like to share with you all.

WYF!

It stands for “What ye fucke!” the olde timey way of voicing one’s displeasure without spelling out full words and still retaining a bit of quaint ol’ fashioned charm.

Right now it’s the only invective that adequately expresses how I feel about the newest trailer for World War Z.

Brad Pitt...Go Fuck Yourself!

Brad Pitt…
Go Fuck Yourself!

What ye fucke, indeed?

In order to give everyone a bit of context, and I’m sure it will become clear in the coming paragraphs, I am obviously deeply disturbed when it comes to my love for this book. World War Z is my 100% absolute favourite book EVER!

This movie, on the other hand…

On the short list of things that I don’t joke about, one of the very few topics I consider out of bounds, or taboo is Cancer. My aunt died of brain cancer when I was a teenager. She was one of my favourite people in the world. Her passing is still among the worst days of my life. I don’t take it lightly.

That being said, this movie looks like the cinematic equivalent of infant bone cancer. They could’ve called it Osteosarcoma and it would have been a more appropriate title.

That’s how much I love this book and how bad this trailer made me feel.

Ridiculous hyperbole aside, people who are unfamiliar with the book often ask me “What’s it about?” and I have never been able to answer that question in less than 45 minutes. Lots of folks will try to deconstruct it and say dumb things like “It’s about zombies!” and to them I say, after a chastising (but affectionate) backhand to the face “That’s like saying The Bible is about a bunch of shepherds!”

Cmdr. Shepard Systems Alliance N7 Special ForcesFirst Human Spectre for the Citidel Council, Messiah

Cmdr. Shepard, Systems Alliance Space Navy: N7 Special Forces,
Citadel Council’s First Human Spectre,
Carpenter and Messiah.

I went on a crazy rant about it on this week’s Long Distance Bromance so I’ll try to reign in the ire on this blog. The less I talk about it the better, because so far it’s just been a source of grief and it get’s me irrationally angry the more I think about it. Over the past few months I’ve been making a concentrated effort to feel better about myself and life in general so I won’t say any more on this sore subject. You’ve got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative,

So instead of the anti-Brad Pitt tirade that will make me seem even crazier, I want to take some time to write about something positive.

I went on a date Thursday. It was the second time I went out with this girl. She’s super cute and super cool and I’m eagerly awaiting the opportunity to see her again. In addition to being very pretty she’s a great conversationalist and funny too. The plan was to meet for a quick bite to eat, she was taking me to sample some of Kensington Market’s finest vegan desserts. We ended up staying for hours just talking and laughing until the guy behind the counter’s dirty looks forced us to stop loitering long after we had finished.

Not wanting the fun to end we wound up wandering around aimlessly taking in the mild weather and sporadic sunshine just enjoying one another’s company. At one point during our walk we found a pair of discarded books just laid out on the ground. We each took one, sort of as a souvenir.

photo(8)

“I’ve often felt like a discarded book… waiting for someone to take the time to stop and pick me up off the floor.”
-Unknown Hipster Poet

We wrapped up the evening back at my apartment where we got a little snuggly on my couch and tried to outmatch each other while watching Jeopardy!

Sounds like a dream girl, amiright?

Most people will probably take for granted the normalcy of this kind of interaction and are probably asking themselves, “So what? Big Deal!”

The big deal is that I’m notoriously misanthropic. I don’t get along with very many people and the times when I actually DO find people I like, they, for whatever reason, don’t seem to like me. To find someone who piques my interest AND who can tolerate me is amazing.

Again, I feel like I’m flogging a dead horse with all the podcast plugs but I tell some crazy online dating horror stories on the newest LDB. I wasn’t having the best luck and was feeling discouraged but one of my favorite bloggers has been a source of inspiration with her recent positive experiences in the world of internet dating. Read her blog, she’s insightful and snarky!

At this point I’m not expecting too much. I’m happy just getting to know this girl and am looking forward to spending more time together. Where it goes nobody knows, but what I do know is that I’ve been on 2 dates with this girl and I’ve enjoyed every second. We’ll all just have to stay tuned to see what happens next.

Receive the Unexpected Honour

NOM NOM NOM!!!

My German's a little rusty but I'm pretty sure "liebster" means Sex Cowboy

My German’s a little rusty but I’m pretty sure “liebster” means Sex Cowboy

That’s usually the sound you hear when I get my hands on a plate of PC Veggie Chicken Fingers and plum sauce.

Today it’s short for NOMINATION!

J. Alex Alferez, and his brain-baby Verb the Adjective Noun, have been nominated for an award for blogging. I didn’t even know there was such a thing so imagine my surprise.

The only thing I’ve ever won before was a lip synching contest when I was 5. I performed Brian Adams’ Everything I Do (I Do It For You) from the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack. I was promised a $20 cash prize.

I never got it.

I cried…

After a scathing indictment of the meaninglessness of awards on my most recent podcast, you’d expect me to be ambivalent about being nominated for an award myself.

WRONG!!!

I am both honoured and humbled to know that at least one person thinks that my little corner of the world wide web deserves recognition. Honoured because it’s always nice when somebody throws you an “attaboy” and humbled because it was literally one person who determined I was worth mentioning. No write in campaign, no droves of adoring fans waving “Affleck was robbed” signs. Just a single reader who thought: This guy is pretty cool. Let’s give him a prize!

Not that I don’t appreciate it, but is it REALLY too much to ask that EVERYBODY love me?

If Morgan Freeman played Dumbledore, dressed as Yoda for Halloween the world would implode from a wisdom overload.

If Morgan Freeman played Dumbledore, dressed as Yoda for Halloween the world would implode from a wisdom overload.

I got word a few days ago that VTAN had been nominated for a Liebster Award. I was sent a message by my good friend Amy who nominated my blog.

One of the most interesting and not coincidentally one of my favourite people in the world, Amy is a red headed, bespectacled, vegan lesbian blogger/slam poet/mischief maker. She is the henchman without whom my plans for world domination would never come to fruition. She’s also one of two people who constantly kept pestering me to start a blog.

Well, I hope you’re happy Amy! You’ve created a monster.

Along with the message there was a list of instructions for what I needed to do to accept the nomination and submit myself for consideration.

I gotta tell ya, I don’t think I can summon the effort necessary to follow through. It’s not that I’m not appreciative, I just really don’t do this for any sort of reward or recognition. I don’t pimp my blog out or actively seek to expand my readership. Often times I hope nobody reads what I’m writing so that they don’t suddenly realize how crazy and despicable a person I really am.

The one really cool part about the nomination was that I was asked to list 11 interesting facts about myself and to answer 11 preselected questions. That part seems like a lot of fun, so I’ll fill those in here. Other than that I don’t think I’ll be throwing my hat into this particular ring.

spideygwen

Wealth and fame he’s ignored
“Action” is his reward!

11 Interesting Facts

1) In 2006 I auditioned for Canadian Idol. I made it to the second round.

2) I’ve been an atheist for as long as I can remember. At a barbeque one summer I had a 2 hour conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness. It began with him telling me about the merits of the church. It ended with him questioning his belief in God. I was like Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones.

You want to go home and rethink your life.

You want to go home and rethink your life.

3) I have peed in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas.

4) I invented the word “fauxhawk” and I will fight anyone who argues.

5) I am very susceptible to the power of suggestion. Advertising works on me and I will always say yes when a store clerk tries to upsell.

6) Even though I had never seen Star Wars until 1997, when they were re-released for the 20th anniversary, I distinctly remember that my mother would sing Frère Jacques to me when I was in kindergarten (circa 1990) and she had modified the lyrics. The version she sang to me went like this:

R2-D2, R2-D2, C-3PO, C-3PO,
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Han Solo

7) In 2002 when Josh Hartnett’s 40 Days and 40 Nights came out I was inspired to complete the same challenge as the film’s hero. I was in 11th grade and when the girls in school found out about it they conspired to sabotage me. For a month and a half I had the hottest girls all wearing super revealing clothes and throwing themselves all over me, getting very handsy and trying to get me to crack. I lasted 38 days and was eventually disqualified due to nocturnal emission. In retrospect I should’ve just given in and let one of them blow me, I mean YOLO, right?

8) I became a Vegetarian out of spite. When I was 16 I saw David Suzuki speak about environmentalism and factory farming. He challenged everyone in the audience to go one month without eating meat. After his lecture we had a chance to wait in line for autographs and handshakes and when it was my turn I said “Mr. Suzuki I think I’ll take you up on your 30 day challenge.” He shook my hand and said in a slightly condescending tone “I don’t know. It’s harder than it seems, do you really think you’re up for it?” I’m sure he meant it as goodnatured ribbing but in my head all I could think was: WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!?!?!?! YOU DON’T KNOW ME!!! I’LL SHOW YOU, YA SMUG BASTARD!

I didn’t eat meat again until I was 25. Now I’ll eat pretty much anything. I prefer not to eat meat and I don’t ever keep any in the house but I don’t treat it like an allergy. When I’m at people’s houses and the hosts ask “Oh Josh, can you eat…” I always say I can eat ANYTHING, I don’t turn food away just because the cook doesn’t share my preferences.

9) The first time I really listened to a Beatles song was in 1998 and it wasn’t even sung by The Beatles. I watched the movie Pleasantville with Toby Maguire and Reese Witherspoon. During the end credits they play Fiona Apple’s version of Across the Universe. I was 12 years old and I remember being moved to tears. I asked a clerk at Music World and he told me it was a cover of a Beatles song. When I got my hands on a copy of the original I remember playing it again and again and again. I can’t verbalize the emotional impact this song had on me. I remember, irrationally, thinking that this song could not have possibly been written by human men. It was transcendental. Very few pieces of music have ever made me feel the same.

It’s the reason why I don’t understand the question “Beatles or Stones?” It doesn’t make a lick of sense to compare the two. It’s like asking if I’d rather breath oxygen or argon.

10) My family comes from Latin America. I’m the third of 4 kids but I was the first to be born in Canada. The thought that from now on every member of my family, that all future generations will be Canadian has caused severe cultural disconnect for me. I don’t identify at all with Latin culture. My culture has always been Pop. My father thinks it’s a travesty that I’ve “turned my back on my heritage” and it’s one of the many reasons he and I don’t get along.

11) Batman. That’s it… just Batman.

You can see that I play fast and loose with the definition of the word “interesting”. Now that I’ve listed the facts it’s time to answer the questions Amy sent me.

11 New Questions For You

1) What website do you subconsciously always type first in your internet browser even though you mean to go to a completely different website?

Cracked.com

 
2) What are you MOST looking forward to in spring? (Patios? Birds? Women wearing less clothing? (that’s obviously mine))

Wearing shorts. I think I’ve got some pretty sexy legs. My calves look like my knee swallowed a grapefruit.

3) What’s one of the weirdest gifts your parents have given you since you became an “adult”?

Thankfully I don’t have an answer for this. I refuse to accept gifts. I actively request not to have any birthday gifts as it’s usually the worst day of the year for me. I hate it so much and so I try to draw as little attention to it as possible. The only person who still gets me anything is my well meaning older sister, but none of her gifts are weird. Usually books or movies that I want or clothes because I’m really not responsible enough to dress myself.

 
4) Did you ever read a book all the way through even though you knew you weren’t enjoying it/going to enjoy it? School books don’t count.

This question could have pretty much been phrased as “Have you ever been on a plane?” I read the first Twilight book on a plane ride. I hated myself halfway through but I sure as hell wasn’t going to let that book “beat me”!

5)Ditto the above for movies (though replace “read” with “watch”/”pay for”)

My cousin Brad is really more like an older brother to me. He’s the guy who first showed me Star Wars, and Raiders, Princess Bride and Mad Max. As part of my cinematic education he’s shown me tons of other gems, but for every Motorama, Fandango or Streets of Fire there’ve easily been a dozen duds I’d care not to mention. I’ve sat through a ton of movies just waiting out the clock but it’s a small price to pay for all the great stuff I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

6) If you had to write a haiku (and you do have to) about your favourite Superhero, how would it go?

Oddly enough in my previous entry I wrote a haiku about myself. I don’t want to use the same one, even though I AM a hero of some renown, so here it comes

Hidden in shadows
the world’s greatest detective
watches over us.

7) What is your least favourite board game and why?

Pop-a-matic Trouble… she knows why!

 
8) You’re trapped on an island. You can only bring with you one celebrity of your choice. Who do you choose? (For sexy times? For eating? Who would be the best at figuring out an escape plan?)

Emma Stone won’t answer any of my letters, EVEN when I send her expensive flower arrangements so she’s out! I think I’d choose Louis C.K. I feel like he would be entertaining and there would be no problem with hierarchy because he’d be intimidated by me physically. I’d basically use the whole experience as a workshop to perfect my own stand up comedy routine

9) What is your go-to easiest meal to make yourself?

The very best thing I can make is Vegan Shepherd’s Pie. I got the recipe from a comic book so you KNOW it’s good. On a regular basis when I’m cooking for myself I usually make this or these. I have both recipes memorized but I still open up the bookmarks every time I make them.

10) Sprite or crab juice?

I’m glad you got the quote wrong. It’s supposed to be Mountain Dew or Crab Juice. I HATE Mountain Dew so much that you really would’ve had me stuck between a rock and a hard place. In this case I’ll gladly choose Sprite. Ya gotta “Obey your thirst” amiright? (see above: Fact #5)

11) How obvious was it that I ran out of juice on that last question? GET IT BECAUSE I SAID JUICE! Hahahah. How funny am I? (Don’t answer that)

I won’t… oops!

Well that was fun.I hope it took you 1/10th of the time to read it as I took me to write it and if you enjoyed it even only half as much as I did I’d count myself lucky.

Long Distance Bromance

True Bromance

True Bromance

The moment you’ve all been waiting for! Episode 2 of the popular and highly acclaimed podcast.

Long Distance Bromance Episode 2

Jaron Francis and Josh Alferez bring you a unique perspective on the world of geek news.

On this episode we discuss the sweet nostalgia of Dawson’s Creek, my debilitating Skyrim addiction, the upcoming Star Trek and Star Wars movies, the Justice League, the Oscars and MAGICIANS.

I know the ones of people out there are just burning with questions so send your queries, comments and hateful death threats to longdistancebro@gmail.com

Polish the Dirty Mirror

In third grade I changed schools. Upon arrival I was immediately smitten with a girl in my class. It was one of those “pod” classrooms. The ones that housed 2 classrooms worth of kids, had 2 teachers and one of those retractable dividing walls that would allow the 2 classes to either unite or separate as the situation demanded.

I was in one half and she in the other and I remember focusing on her from across the room when I should have been learning cursive. I never did learn all the letters and I’m sure that will come as no surprise to anyone who has had to suffer reading my writing (before the “your blog sucks” zingers start flying I mean my actual chicken scratch handwriting).

QhON9


Go ahead and steal my private diary… good luck reading it!

Since I was “the new kid” and since I hadn’t yet developed my obnoxious habit of forcing everyone to pay attention to me, I avoided any kind of conversation and hopelessly pined for her through the years.

By the time we reached 7th grade I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with or  to her but I no longer just stared while avoiding her completely. Instead I created excuses to be around her as often as possible. It strayed into a weird place when I began walking her home every day after school. I’ve never been a particularly well adjusted person but I think that I actually started going crazy at about this time in my life.

When the school day was done I would walk home West and she would go East. We lived in opposite directions and so it took me twice as long to get back to my house whenever I walked her home. I tried not to call too much attention to it but when she started asking me why I was suddenly taking this new route home, rather than telling her that I just enjoyed spending extra time together I began a Jan Brady-esque web of lies.

george


If they made this show TODAY this kid would be on Ativan, Ritalin and Zoloft.

I told her, and even now 15 years later I can’t explain why I did this but I told her that my parents got divorced and that my mom lived in a new house. That was the reason why some days I walked home one direction and some days the other.

The strange thing is that the next year my parents did get divorced and I ended up changing schools again. It made me feel weird. In addition to all the regular stress that kids go through when their parents split up I also had this weird feeling that I had caused it to happen.

Up until the point when my Mom actually left, there was never any indication that she was going anywhere. Everyone in the family knew that there was a lot of unhappiness in both the marriage and the household overall, but no one ever thought she would pull the trigger and go.

Because it shocked everybody with it’s suddenness the divorce made me think that either I was clairvoyant and could predict the future or that I had magically willed  it to happen.

We all know that mischievous preteen boys are often bestowed with godlike abilities.


We all know that godlike abilities are often bestowed upon mischievous preteen boys.

Since then I’ve had a strange symbiotic relationship with dishonesty. I never wanted to be intentionally deceitful but in the past, usually when I’m asked about topics I wish to avoid altogether (family, future goals, emotions) I just wouldn’t tell the truth. Not even to myself.

This blog was created as a means for me to face what I used to make a habit of ignoring, to clean the cobwebs out of the closet so to speak. It’s been difficult being so honest and open because a lot of the words that I’m committing to perpetuity on the Internet, are things that I don’t even want to admit to myself and yet here I am on a regular basis telling the whole world.

By now most readers are no doubt thinking “get to the fuckin’ point already” and I apologize for my propensity to ramble and my penchant for $10 words. I can’t help it, I grew up watching Dawson’s Creek and Kevin Smith films. What I’ve been trying to say is that this 7th grade “love” story  has been on my mind recently.

This was my first taste of unrequited love. Since then it’s happened again occasionally, but I’ve found that most of the time I avoid this kind of drama altogether. Rather than holding a torch for someone when I know I have no chance I’ve realized, upon reflection, that I’ve been playing things a little safe.

By only pursuing ladies that I know are interested in me, I’ve skewed the odds in my favour making me much more successful with women then I have any right to be. I do this with the people I choose to be friends with as well. I search out specific types because, and I don’t mean to offend the people who are closest to me,  I always want to be the smartest person in the room.

I like it when people are impressed by how clever I am or by what books I’ve read. I love introducing you to great music and movies that you’ve never even heard of.

When I’m lucky enough to make friends with guys who are cooler and smarter or better looking than me, I don’t get intimidated. Instead I fall into this “little-brother-tag-along” role. It’s just another obstacle I face when it comes to connecting with people. I either feel superior and hold myself above my friends, or I develop and almost obsessive hero worship relationship with them.

So what happens if I meet a girl who isn’t impressed by me? What if she’s smarter than me or funnier? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have someone understand why my jokes are funny? Wouldn’t it be great to not have to explain pop culture and literary references? As it turns out it’s more frightening a prospect than I would’ve ever imagined.

I always talk about how I have a love for Batman and an almost hostile disdain for Superman.

bat


Nuclear Apocalypse and Divine Intervention aside, NOBODY BEATS BATMAN!!!

I never understood the appeal of Superman. He’s just a jerk who can do anything. He never has to work or try hard, he’s just naturally gifted and is the best at everything.The writers always try to introduce conflict by making him lose his powers and this is where my preference really makes itself clear.

If you take away all of the things that make Bruce Wayne into Batman, the BILLIONS, the suit, the car and the gadgets, he would still be an expert martial artist and a genius detective. If you take away Superman’s powers he’s NOTHING. He’s a whiny little bitch. He’s never had to learn to fight because he can knock dudes out with a flick of the pinky. More to the point he’s never had to learn to take a punch. He’s spent his life being invulnerable so the second he loses his powers and some third rate street thug socks him on the chin he suffers massive physical AND emotional trauma.

Feeling pain for the first time in your life when you’re 30 years old will fuck up anyone’s day. And the feeling of impotence that comes with knowing that you used to be all powerful and now it’s all gone is worse than the pain itself.

This is how I feel now.

People will point to a certain type of woman, smart and sophisticated, a raconteuse who can keep up with and even beat me when it comes to my long winded  ramblings, and say “She’d be perfect for you!”

When my charms fall flat, and she doesn’t fall for the tricks that usually work for me I end up feeling like Superman without his powers.

Like I said, I’m used to being the smartest, most charming person in the room and while I would love the opportunity to share time with someone more like what I’ve described, when the opportunity does present itself I feel strangely intimidated.

Paralyzed with fear actually.

I usually rationalize that “opposites attract”. If I’m being honest with myself what this actually means is that I look for someone who I feel superior to and isn’t challenging.

Because I’m intimated by women who I’d see as equals, or better than me, I’ve limited the possibility of sharing some great experiences with someone who would ACTUALLY APPRECIATE ME MORE.

I need to take a better look at myself because by my logic only 1 of 2 explanations exist.

  1. I’m too afraid to be challenged intellectually and lose any perceived power I may have had in a relationship OR
  2. I don’t want to, or more likely don’t think I deserve to, feel appreciated.

This is just another thing I need to add to the list of stuff that’s wrong with me.

Admit the Hard Truth

They say that when an ostrich is in danger it buries its head in the sand. It leaves its entire body exposed to harm, but it takes comfort in the fact that it can’t see whatever problems it needs to face.

Intellectually I understand how illogical and impractical this defense mechanism is, but I can’t say that I haven’t done exactly that during difficult times. For almost a full week now I’ve been ignoring my problems rather than actually facing them.

Why are you hiding your face? Was it burned by acid or something?   Oh no. It's just that it's terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be doing it in the future.</p<

Why are you hiding your face? Was it burned by acid or something?

Oh no. It’s just that it’s terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be doing it in the future.

 

One of the things I write about most is how anti-social I’ve always been. I’ve said multiple times that I frequently feel a greater emotional connection with fictional characters than I do with real people. I’ve been depressed for months but I was managing my depression. Over the last week I’ve had a severe relapse and have started to become more and more disconnected from reality as a result.

To protect myself from the stimuli that would trigger an emotional breakdown I’m finding that I take more and more comfort in isolating myself from others. Literally locking myself in my apartment and not leaving for days at a time or,  just flat out, not responding to phone calls and emails.

I haven’t had any proper sleep in months and since I’ve got a whole extra 8 hours every day that I now need to fill, I’ve found that I’m immersing myself in movies, TV shows, video games and comic books…  much more so than usual, I mean.

In the last month and a half I’ve watched the following series in their entirety: Red vs Blue (10 Seasons), Seinfeld (9 Seasons), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (8 Seasons), The Office (8 Seasons), The Twilight Zone (5 Seasons),  Batman: The Animated Series (4 Seasons), Parks and Recreation (4 Seasons), The Life and Times of Tim (3 Seasons), The Inbetweeners (3 Seasons), Game of Thrones (2 Seasons), The Newsroom,  underGRADS and Clerks: The Animated Series (1 Season each)

Conventional wisdom would tell you that there aren’t enough hours in 6 weeks to watch that much television but what’s crazier is that THAT’S not all I’ve been doing. In order to keep myself distracted and to keep crippling anxiety at bay, I have to multitask.

While these DVDs are playing on my laptop I’m either simultaneously playing Xbox on my TV or reading comic books, and I don’t mean 20 page single issues. Some of them are 350 page hardcover anthologies.

In September of 2011, DC cancelled all of their ongoing comic book series and rebooted the whole continuity. That means that there are 52 different titles that are published on a monthly basis and all of them started the stories off fresh with whole new “Issue #1’s”. The project is referred to as DC’s The New 52.

I’ve been going through and catching up on it.

All of it.

That’s almost 2 years worth of FIFTY TWO DIFFERENT COMIC BOOK SERIES.

A guy at work found a copy of Swamp Thing on my desk. He didn’t say anything but he just gave me a look that said “Swap Thing? SWAMP THING?!?!?!? Dude! What is wrong with you”

In my defense, I will read ANYTHING by Scott Snyder


In my defense, I will read ANYTHING written by Scott Snyder

What I’m saying is that there are plenty of real problems in life, obligations and commitments, that I’ve been neglecting because I’m more interested in my fake virtual life in the Mass Effect Trilogy on Xbox. I played through all 3 games in 115 hours and was so pissed off that a decision I had made halfway through the first game resulted in the unavoidable death of one of my favorite characters in the final chapter, so I’m playing through the whole series AGAIN so I can “Marty Mcfly” the situation and change history, so to speak, to ensure that he would survive.

The reason I’m writing all this is because it’s time to stop. I have to pull my head out of the sand. I have to realize that just because I’m distracting myself from my problems it doesn’t mean I’m protected against them. The ostrich’s whole body is exposed to predators.

He’s gonna end up getting eaten and won’t even be able to see it coming.

Defend the Opposing View

I’ve taken a lot of heat from readers because of my rant against Jim from The Office a few posts ago. They say that I’m crazy for saying that a guy shouldn’t approach a woman in a friendly manner and then attempt the transition to a romantic relationship.

To all these people I say “WRITE IT IN THE DAMN COMMENTS”

I’ll defend my position here but I’m done with acknowledging feedback for this blog that comes in the form of text messages, phone calls and face to face conversation.

If you want to tell me I’m wrong or call me crazy do it in a way where everyone else can chime in too.

So, why do I consider Jim a spineless jerk?

jim

Look at that mug and you’ll have your answer!

I’ve mentioned in previous entries how I usually have to end up apologizing for myself because I muck up many social interactions. Sometimes I’ll say things that I don’t think would be taken offensively, but end up hurting people’s feelings or leaving them scratching their heads asking themselves “What’s wrong with this asshole?”

Other times I’m openly hostile to people when meeting them for the first time.

Usually it’s in forced social situations.

Parties or gatherings where I don’t know most of attendees are the worst. I decide pretty quickly if I don’t like you and it takes very little to get on my bad side.

I’m like that dog who needs to be locked in the bathroom whenever the owners have guests over because he always bites strangers.

It happens because, in life when I don’t like someone or something I just avoid it completely. If I’m stuck at a party and there’s someone I don’t like or a stranger I feel is being particularly “douchey” my first instinct is to leave but if I have to stay out of obligation I don’t have it in me to keep a civil tongue.

This is why I’m not well liked by many people and why when asked, I usually say that I’m not a nice person.

On the reverse side if I do like you then I will go out of my way to make it known. Most of my good friends will, if they have a good enough memory, remember a time very early on in our relationship where I’ve flat out said “We should be friends!”

When it comes to dating I’ve explicitly said at one point or another, to every girl I was interested in, “I don’t want to be your friend” and, as you’d probably expect by now, I’ve had to apologize for saying it.

I’m my head it’s one of the finest compliments. It means that I’m attracted to you and that even now my intention stretches beyond just friendship.

I live in an uncompromising world of blacks and whites and, this may further demonstrate just how crazy I am, I’ve always seen that as a good thing.

Everyone gets hung up on the “he refuses to be accommodating” part and they forget that uncompromising literally means that my values CAN NOT BE COMPROMISED!

I’m like a goddamned superhero!

He seems like a well adjusted fellow, right?

He seems like a well adjusted fellow, right?

In a world of mutual exclusivity I’d rather not be your friend and keep you as a romantic possibility.

This has led to a few instances where I end up not interacting with a woman I like and they end up thinking I’m ignoring them. The truth is that if I’m not yet ready to “make a play” I don’t want to start her down the path of platonicity because I’d never entertain the idea of romantically pursuing a friend.

So in short what I’m saying is that I believe that a man who builds a friendly relationship with a woman he’s interested in is completely disingenuous and whatever romantic relationship ensues is built on a foundation of lies.

So to all the “Jim Halperts” of the world who disagree, I don’t care what you believe, this is just how I feel on the matter so go suck a lemon!

Nurture the Latent Skill

It’s almost 2:30 am.

At 8:55 I picked up my guitar that was gathering dust in the corner nearest to my bathroom and decided that I would fiddle around with it to keep my hands busy while watching the newest episode of The Walking Dead.

I’ve always been pretty musically inclined. When I was 14 I took a year of piano lessons and then used that knowledge to teach myself to play the accordion and harmonica.

I mess around pretty regularly. I know 10 different chords and can play 3 or 4 full songs. I don’t own an amp but one of my guitar cables has a USB adapter that I use to make loud noises, that could technically be called music, come out of my computer speakers. It never occurred to me until about 5 hours ago that I could use that cable to record on to my laptop.

On guitar I’d describe my level of skill somewhere between Beginner and Novice but when it comes to recording and editing audio my skill level is non-existent.

So after 5 frustrating hours of trying to teach myself to use Audacity, I present my first ever original composition. You can hear a few obvious edits but I couldn’t figure out how to smooth them out and it’s too far past my bedtime to keep trying.

It has no title but if I were going to call it anything it would be My Fingers Hurt

Enjoy

Explain the Crazy Obsession

People think it’s an obsession. A compulsion. As if there were an irresistible impulse to act. It’s never been like that. I chose this life. I know what I’m doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it. Today, however, isn’t that day. And tomorrow won’t be either.

Batman, Brad Metzler “Identity Crisis”

I didn’t want to do this. At least not this soon. I started this whole thing because I never talk about myself. Most people know me as a goofy, fun loving joker and very few get to see the gears working behind the scenes in this crazy messed up head of mine.

I never talk to anyone about how I’m feeling. Even with my closest friends I only ever have hollow conversations about pop culture, so books and movies rather than thoughts and emotions are standard topics of discussion. But since today marks the release of the latest in the series of DC Animated Universe films, and since I’m running out of ways to distract myself from having to deal with my whole “dad situation”, I want to take a little time to talk about Batman.

Today I went out and bought a copy of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns part 2 on BluRay.

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I imagine it would’ve had to have been an amusing sight, watching me watch this movie. Every now and then I’d catch myself involuntarily whispering, “Damn, I fuckin’ love Batman!”

I thought about maybe writing a review but instead I decided to be a little more self reflective and try to put into words why Batman matters to me so much.

So? Why am I obsessed with Batman?

Because I feel more emotionally connected to him than to most real people in my life.

It takes a person of a special disposition to consider a fictional character, originally created for ten cent pulp rags, as an emotional touchstone. I am aware that most people will say I’m crazy when, in a world full of poverty and violence and real suffering, I say that Batman is important, but he is to me. The effect that this character has had in shaping me into who I am today is so significant I’d go as far as saying that it makes me understand religious fundamentalism in a frightening way.

I’m not saying I agree with the fundees AT ALL, I’m just saying that I understand how these crazy nutjobs can get so incensed over their most strongly held beliefs. If I can almost come to blows with a stranger at the comic shop over something as trivial as a freaking superhero book, then it makes a weird sort of sense that people would go to war over religion.

And that’s really what I’m trying to say. Since 1992 Batman has been my religion.

June 19th 1992.

I remember the exact date because it was my older brother’s 12th birthday as well as the original theatrical release date of Batman Returns.

I’ve been obsessed ever since.

At first it was about the adventure of it all. I was only six years old at the time. Little kids are impressed by the car and the gadgets and the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. As I grew older and read the works of Grant Morrison, Jeph Loeb, Paul Dini and especially Frank Miller, I started to see the true complexity that makes him so interesting.

Batman is as crazy as I am.

I am crazy.

I say it so often and so candidly that people sort of just shrug it off without really letting it sink in, but the truth is that there’s so much wrong with me that just the thought of trying to list it all is exhausting. I’m psychologically damaged in a way that I fear may never be fully repaired and while I’m certainly not dangerous I’m self aware enough to know how unpleasant it can be having me around. This means I either spend a lot of time alone or having to apologize for myself.

If you read Batman through a certain lens, it becomes very clear, very quickly, that he’s not at all a hero in the traditional sense. He’s more insane than the weirdos he’s always locking up.

He’s a an obsessive compulsive, paranoid sociopath with dissociative personality disorder and an infallibility complex. He went through emotional suffering at a young age and has never been able to get over it and, more to the point, it appears he’s not even trying since he’s intentionally putting himself into situations that will make it worse.

I feel like I’m talking about myself when I write that.

One day I’m going to write about the experiences both past and very recent that have contributed to my overall mental instability. For now I’ll just say that I recently sat down and had a real conversation with someone recovering from a substance abuse problem. Although it was a brief talk, and I’ve never dealt with this kind of problem myself, I was amazed at how connected I felt to this person. Being able to talk about feelings with someone who could draw upon their own personal experiences to really understand the type of pain I had been feeling was so different. Even now I’m still trying to work out how I felt about it.

What I’m hamhandedly trying to say is that never before did I have anyone who I felt I could relate to emotionally and so I used Batman as a surrogate.

I would read about this poor little boy so full of anger who grows up to be a man with no hope for a happy future and while it didn’t necessarily give me hope for the future it did give me that feeling of “at least I’m not alone.”

I started this entry with a quote that gives us a glimpse at the denial that Batman lives with everyday. He’ll never admit to himself just how crazy his actions are and how little control he has over his obsessions.

That’s at least one thing I’ve got going for me. I’m happy that I’m able to recognize that I’m all messed up in the head.

It makes me feel like maybe one day I won’t be.

Read the Damn Blog

I can’t have a conversation with anyone without obsessively wondering what they may be thinking. Growing up as a kid who read too much sort of spoiled me and has made regular human interaction almost impossible. Both first person and omniscient narratives give you tremendous insight into a character’s thoughts and emotions and so it’s no surprise that I feel more connected to most fictional characters than I do to any real person. With regular conversation I can’t be inside a person’s head and since most people prefer to talk to me about things rather than talking about themselves all of my relationships end up being very superficial.

I don’t want to keep living this way but, like the proverbial old dog, I’m done learning. I figure the next best thing is to give the rest of the world a better understanding of what’s going on in my head. So that’s gonna be my goal.

Verb the Adjective Noun will be the pipeline from my brain to yours. Maybe this way more people will see how the machine works. They’ll see the entire Rube Goldberg-ian thought process that ends with me saying or doing something unintentionally hurtful or insensitive. Maybe this way people will see why my jokes are funny without me having to explain them. Maybe this way people will see the world through “Josh Goggles” and they’ll see that I’m not so bad. You may even find that you like me more than you thought you did.

This is the start, we’ll see how everything turns out