The VTAN boys are back and they’re ready to finally talk about Deadpool.
Did they love it?
Spoiler Alarm: Yes, but they have plenty of salty things to say about it.
Stay tuned ’til the very end to hear Josh’s crazy ideas for Deadpool 2
The VTAN boys are back and they’re ready to finally talk about Deadpool.
Did they love it?
Spoiler Alarm: Yes, but they have plenty of salty things to say about it.
Stay tuned ’til the very end to hear Josh’s crazy ideas for Deadpool 2
It has been FAR too long since the last episode and EVEN LONGER since we recorded what you’re about to hear. This was recorded about 2 weeks after new year’s when (as is VTAN Tradition) Kyle and I counted down our 2nd Annual Top 5 Favourite Movies of the Year List!
If you’re feeling sentimental you can check out what we had to say about last year’s movies here.
Did our picks match yours? Was there a really great movie that we somehow missed?
Am I crazy for thinking 50 Shades of Grey is the funniest movie of the year?
Listen and find out!
Kyle is outta town for two months working with Bill Paxton on a big Hollywood movie. Now Josh is stuck taking Kyle’s girlfriend shoe shopping in his absence. How is that fair? At least he has his burgeoning Periscope addiction to keep him happy…
On Today’s VTAN the lads get on Skype to talk a bit about The Martian, season 19 of South Park and which celebrity deaths would be the saddest. (hint: The correct answer is Paul McCartney).
This episode ends with an exciting cliffhanger that will be resolved next Wednesday on The whyCarly Podcast.
Here, almost a full month into 2015, Kyle and Josh bring you their top five movies of 2014. Interestingly enough Top Five wasn’t on either of our lists… is that racist?
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.
For those of you who doubt the extent of my craziness. For all you out there who overestimate my sanity.
Allow me to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of my sick, diseased mind.
This morning… I had a runaway train of thought. An uninterrupted stream of consciousness that ends with a crash landing into a valley of self loathing.
This morning I thought to myself… “I might be the next Hitler!”
How did I come to this realization?
You’ll have to imagine me as Richard Attenborough in a white safari outfit and straw hat, crouching down to whisper in your ear, “I’ll show you” as a beautiful John Williams score melds itself with the majestic braying of a genetically engineered Brachiosaurus.
This morning I woke up smiling and thinking to myself, “Goddamn, do I LOVE Batman!”
It’s not uncommon for me to think this, or something like it, first thing in the morning but today I did something a little different.
I got up, still smiling, and sidled up to my bookshelf to survey my collection of Batman books.
While purusing Snyder & Capullo’s amazing run on New 52 Batman, I looked at the inside of the cover page and saw the “Batman created by Bob Kane” credit.
I noticed the original publication date of 1938.
I chuckled to myself when I thought idly, “They had Batman during World War II.”
This is where things turn ugly.
In my head, I CANNOT FATHOM the idea that someone doesn’t love Batman.
Anyone I meet who says “Yeah, I’m not a fan,” or even worse “I like Superman better,” is immediately added to my enemies list. I feel like they’re liars. Contrarians who like to disagree with conventional wisdom in an attempt to seem interesting and different.
So OF COURSE, I think to myself “Hitler was probably a Batman fan.”
Now I start to panic.
If you’ve had a 5 minute conversation with me, or worse, if I met you at a party and you didn’t know why you were, seemingly for no reason, the target of my scorn and derision, then you know that I passionately hold fast to the belief that “It’s WHAT YOU LIKE, not what you ARE LIKE that matters.”
I’ve made friends with terrible human beings because they understood that Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica WAS NOT science fiction but rather an exploratory drama about the human condition.
So I started thinking. If Hitler loved Batman… would I be his friend?
To my everlasting shame, I couldn’t help but tell myself, that if he in addition to loving Batman also hated Superman and people who prefer Clark over Bruce then…yes
This is where I start to hyperventilate and start with the hardcore whiskey cravings.
I’m just like Hitler.
“But you love the Jews,” I tell myself reassuringly.
Then I start thinking… I’ve dated a girl or twelve in my time on this earth and I’ve never discriminated.
Italian, Portuguese, Good Ol’ Fashioned White Canadian, Asian, South East Asian, Middle Eastern and of course a Jew or two.
Does it count as anti-semitism if I treated my Jewish girlfriends poorly?
What else, besides an all consuming love of Batman, do I share with ol’ Addie… Jesus Christ I’m already giving FUCKING HITLER a diminutive pet name!
Fuck that guy!
What a fucking asshole!
And now here I am… I’m as bad as Hitler…
I’m just the goddamned fucking worst!
As if I needed more reasons to hate myself…
Nouns of Assembly.
What the hell are those?
[*on a side note everyone should go out and play some Anomia RFN! Adults in general should make a point to play more boardgames*]
Nouns of assembly are special words used to describe a collective mass of any one particular thing. Most commonly in English they’re used to give different names to groups of animals. Everyone has probably heard of a herd of cows or maybe even a Flock of Seagulls but some of the more obscure ones are pretty fun.
Here are my favourites:
An army of ants.
A group of bears is called a sleuth.
Boars come in a sounder.
A caravan of camels.
If you were a kid in the 90’s Simba and Nala probably taught you that a group of lions is called a pride. Domestic cats come in a clowder but a group of wildcats is called a destruction! How cool is that?
A murder of crows, a convocation of eagles, a wake of buzzards, a parliament of owls and a pandemonium of parrots. A sedge of cranes, piteousness of doves, a paddling of ducks. When geese are on the ground they’re called a gaggle but in flight they’re a skein. A charm of finches, a kettle of hawks and an ostentation of peacocks. So many different names for so many different birds.
A group of giraffes is a tower, hyenas are a cackle and gorillas come in whoops. Africa… gotta love it.
A business of ferrets, family of beavers and a mess of iguanas but my absolute favourite is mice.
A group of mice is called a mischief.
My number one favourite word in the English language is mischief and I feel like it fits so well with mice. They’re such mischievous little mischief makers.
My birthday is only about 2 weeks from now.
Maybe I should get myself a pet mouse. I’ll name him something cool like Oliver or Nacho.
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.
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?
“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:
As 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Thanks to an unfortunate, yet serendipitous, typo I’ve started using a new internet acronym that I’d like to share with you all.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
NOM NOM NOM!!!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
In 1939 Ernest Wright wrote a novel called Gadsby. Not to be confused with The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (from whom I drew inspiration for the way I stylize my own name), Wright’s book was more of an experiment than anything else. He set out to write an entire 50,000 word novel without using the letter E.
I vividly remember stumbling across this book in the 9th grade and enthusiastically showing it to my English teacher. His reaction was the complete opposite from what I expected. Instead of “Wow, that’s interesting” he just rolled his eyes and scoffed in a cynically derisive way and said “No real writer would ever subject himself to self censorship. There’s no way to express yourself within any strict confines, you have to break rules to create true art. Now everybody take out your notebooks, today we’ll be learning how to write a haiku!”
In retrospect this guy probably had half a dozen unfinished manuscripts in his desk and hated the fact that he needed to waste his days babysitting a bunch of teenagers. I just found it so ironic that before any of us were allowed to read our haiku in front of the class, he forced us to listen to about a dozen of his own. And he really seemed to dig his own work. He really thought he was saving the world one haiku at a time and he projected his smug satisfaction in the most despicable way. He had this look on his face like a dog finally getting to pee after an 8 hour road trip, or a sleazy dude discovering that his sleepover buddy forgot her underpants on her pre-dawn walk of shame.
For anyone not following my meandering train of thought, a haiku is a type of Japanese poem with very strict rules. It’s composed of 17 syllables arranged in 3 lines. 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second and 5 in the third. Here’s an example:
Josh is very cool
He’s the coolest guy around
Disagree? You die!
A haiku is an example of writing within the confines of self imposed restrictions. You can choose to break the pattern if you want, but then what you’re writing is no longer considered a haiku.
Now, Josh, what’s your point? What was it that you were trying to say this whole time but just couldn’t, before making us sit through 400 words of build up?
Well aside from the fact that my teacher was a dick, my point is this.
I think tweets are the newest form of poetry.
Much in the same way that your haiku must fit into a very strict syllabic format, tweets are restricted to a maximum of 140 characters.
Most people may not even notice or care since the majority of tweets don’t even come close to using up all 140 characters. The shocking statistics show that 90% of twitter users have fewer than 100 followers, twitter has devolved into a celebrity promtion service. When we non-famous, or normies as they call us, tweet most of what we get is stuff like:
Few people are actually conversing, sharing thoughts or ideas.
It’s no secret I have a problem being concise. For me it’s almost impossible to say what I want to say in 140 characters or less. Almost all of my tweets come in right at 140 character mark, and that’s after 2 or 3 edits to trim the fat or substitute some words with shorter synonyms. I realised, with a bit of that same smug pride my 9th grade teacher had, that it’s quite an accomplishment. I make funny, thought provoking observations and for the most part I do it in EXACTLY 140 characters.
It’s like a 21st century haiku!
Here are some examples of tweets of mine that are exactly 140 characters on the nose:
I literally JUST found out that the MS in MS Paint stands for Microsoft. I thought it was just the “pink bow wearing” sequel like MS. PACMAN
Americans spend 2BILLION more on potato chips than the government does on researching alternative energy sources You really CANT eat just 1
It’s like I’m a living Oscar Wilde play: I’m on 2 meds, one perks up my energy but kills my libido. The other knocks me out but turns me on
Google you are freaking me the fuck out!! Why does every male celebrity name auto-complete with “net worth” and every female’s with “feet”?
Life tip number 37: When suffering from dry elbows so severe you’d do ANYTHING for relief dont resort to using Chapstick. Splurge on lotion
I have embarrassing drool stains on my couch they look all jizzy and won’t come out. It’s ironic ’cause the jizz stains DO come out easily!
Well if that ain’t poetry, then I don’t know what is…
It’s actually entirely possible that I don’t but I’ll stick with my original assessment.
People should have more to say. Twitter is the new venue for experimental writing and we should all take advantage of this everyday opportunity to make some poetry.
…until I get bored and move on to the next thing
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is just another thing I need to add to the list of stuff that’s wrong with me.
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.
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”
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.
I know Pandora is a proper noun and not an adjective but at this point I’m fighting the overwhelming compulsion to change it to match the regular format for my blog titles.
I’m going through some serious emotional distress right now and it supersedes my OCD. I just need to get it out of me so that it’s not a weight pressing down on my chest and that I can go back to breathing normally again.
It’s been exactly one month since I started writing. In that time I’ve collected 69 subscribers from 8 different countries in the world. Right now I’m kinda hoping that none of them will read this. It’s sort of embarrassing to reveal such personal details to strangers on the goddamned fucking internet but I promised in my very first entry that I was going to be open and honest and show every side, warts and all, to get the greatest therapeutic results from all of this.
If I’m going to lay everything out on front street then I’ll start by just bluntly saying that I’m currently undergoing psychotherapy and taking medication to combat depression. It’s hard to know exactly how long I’ve actually been suffering from it, but I was medically diagnosed and began treatment almost 9 months ago. Since then I’ve been through peaks and valleys of emotional instability. I can go weeks at a time feeling just fantastic, like everything in the world is perfect and then I’ll see or hear something… sometimes it’s even a certain smell, that can trigger a complete emotional breakdown.
It’s made me alternate between wanting to be around certain people 24/7 and then just isolating myself completely and ignoring the world, missing work for days at a time, while I sit in an apartment that reaches Trainspotting levels of squalor.
Right now my kitchen is a nightmare, there hasn’t been a clean dish in my house for almost a week and I’ve got almost enough empty Pizza Pizza boxes scattered around to build a second bedroom.
I was feeling this way exactly one month ago and that’s what led to the birth of VTAN. I’m happy to say that I haven’t felt that bad since, but today on the anniversary I feel like I’ve taken ten steps backwards.
A friend of mine is getting married. She’s having a huge pre-wedding bash tonight and I was looking forward to going but right now the thought of getting dressed and going out to a crowd of people, happy and smiling people, has got me paralyzed with fear.
For one thing, this friend of mine is someone I’ve always been VERY fond of. Her opinion of me MATTERS. I can’t really explain it, but I am just so ashamed of so many aspects of my personality and she’s only seen the good so the idea of risking that, of shedding light on the dark and disgusting side of me and having her opinion of me change is a genuine concern.
I’m worried that because there’s going to be so many strangers, friends and family of her’s that I’ve never met before, I’ll get into a fight with someone or just be an out of control dick to everyone and ruin what is supposed to be a fun and joyful occasion. At the same time I feel, and maybe I’m flattering myself by thinking this, that she will be sad if I don’t show up.
It’s a shameful feeling, not being able to trust yourself like that. I wish I could say that I wasn’t always this way but the truth is I’ve been antisocial my whole life. I’ve never had close friends for very long because I always drive them away. Some people have a love/hate relationship with their families, mine has always been tolerate/hate.
I’ve skirted the issue since the beginning but now it’s time to get right down to the marrow of it. I’m going to tell my story, or at least a version of it. So much of what has happened is clouded by emotional bias that it’s become more and more difficult to remember exactly how things went down. There’s an alarmingly poignant moment in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke where when asked how he became the way he is the Joker says
Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!
So instead of telling my side of things like I’ve done over and over again to anybody willing to sit still long enough to listen, all I’m going to do is make a list of facts.
In July I experienced the dissolution of a romantic relationship that lasted for 7 years. Towards the end we had problems getting along, but for the majority of the time we spent together we were truly and staggeringly in love. I intended to marry this girl. I had her name tattooed on my arm.
Throughout her whole life she had always suffered from low self esteem. She was frequently unhappy with herself, especially with her perception of her body. I was so happy being with her and was unable to reconcile the notion that she could be so unhappy with herself and yet still be happy being with me. I didn’t fully understand her emotional state and so I never respected it. I thought it was my job to “fix” her. I was not equipped to deal with that responsibility. My failure to make her feel better about herself caused me to resent her. That resentment grew and grew over time.
I began to have a warped perception of our life together. I would look at her depression as an attempt on her part to sabotage my own happiness. She assured me that this wasn’t the case. I never believed her. For many years I took her for granted. I had made several attempts to end our relationship but she would always beg and beg and during some of the more hysterical times she would say that if I left her she would kill herself. We would always reconcile after that.
I began to experience the degradation of my own sanity. I became more and more hostile.
I became violent.
I truly believed at that point that I was being held hostage. I thought that because of her threats of suicide that I was trapped with no way out. During that period of time I briefly considered killing myself.
We got through it.
We recognized that we were both crazy. We decided that no sane person would conceivably want to be with either of us. We looked at that as evidence that we belonged together. Just two crazies trying to make it work.
Our love continued to grow but it was a hard and dangerous, unhealthy love.
She got pregnant.
I never thought I’d ever want a child. I hate my own father so fucking much. I’ve committed myself to honesty and this has all been facts. Writing that last line felt so good, and knowing inside my heart that its the truth made it feel even better. I hate my worthless father. I hated him so much that the thought of creating a person who felt that same way about me was terrifying. But when the idea became an actual possibility I had a complete change of heart. I wanted us to have this baby. I thought we would be a happy, insane little family.
She wanted an abortion.
She got it.
I didn’t allow myself to feel anything about that. I wasn’t happy or sad. I just made myself feel nothing. I began a period of greater emotional disconnection. For a time I thought I could sustain it but the truth of it all is that deep down inside I am a viciously selfish and unrepentant person. I need things to be exactly the way I want them to be otherwise I’m never satisfied.
I got fired from my dream job. It was a shitty job with shitty pay and terrible hours that made her spend countless nights alone but I loved it. If I could go back I’d be earning half as much as I do now but I’d do it in a heartbeat. I missed holidays and special occasions because of that job. I made it a priority over her and I made it clear to her, through actions if not words, that I cared more about that job than I did about her. She was so desperate not to lose me that she endured the loneliness and borderline poverty that this shitty job had caused for her. When I finally lost that job something inside of me snapped. I became unbearable to live with.
Our relationship became a stalemate. I didn’t want to be there anymore and I would say it to her face… cruelly. Every time I left she would cling to me harder. It got to the point where I would threaten to leave, expecting her to say that she would do anything to make me stay. For about a year this is how I got what I wanted, whenever I wanted it.
I always was, and admittedly still am, very physically and sexually attracted to her. Because of her problems with self esteem and body image she never believed me. She would go to extreme measures to lose weight. She got a prescription for Adderall, ostensibly because she was a university student and needed help focusing on her studies. She took them because she knew the side effects included rapid weight loss. While she was taking this medication her personality was noticeably different. It got to the point where I began to feel like she was a whole different person. I began to make rationalizations in my head. I had promised to love and be committed to one person. The drugs had transformed the person I loved into a stranger. I saw no reason to stay committed to that stranger.
I started a new job and was immediately attracted to one of my new co-workers.
I had a sexual affair with her and kept it secret.
I chose not to feel guilty about it because of all of my twisted logic. Once again I tried to end our failing relationship but she refused to let me go. At this point I admitted the affair. I did it thinking that it would be the one unforgivable act that would finally make her not want to be with me. I underestimated her capacity for forgiveness. I accused her of being so hopelessly afraid of being alone and unloved that she would rather cling to me than risk not having anyone to love her. She assured me that it wasn’t her low self esteem that caused her to take me back, she just loved me so much and couldn’t allow herself to let go of it all.
Only now do I realize how much she must have loved me. We went to couple’s counseling and tried to overcome what had happened. That’s when I began to feel real guilt. I was overcome with shame and I wanted to make it up to her. I started being the man I should have been years ago. Treating her right, actually caring about her. Putting her needs before mine for once. I really tried hard to do better but sustaining that effort became a real challenge.
At this point she began turning to a friend for advice. In my effort to keep this entirely factual I won’t say any more than I resented this relationship. I suspected he was attracted to her (after all who wouldn’t be) and while he’s ugly as a fucking mule’s anus, I knew that because she always hated the way she looked she would be drawn to anybody who thought she was pretty.
It’s becoming more and more difficult to omit opinion and speculation so I’ll skip forward ahead and just say that
eventually this guy became her best friend. actually even that’s too speculative to truly be considered a FACT so I’ll strike it. I started to feel like she cared about this guy more than me. I was shocked by my jealousy considering how eager I was to be free of her only months earlier.
She decided that we needed to go on vacation to clear our heads. If we could relax and just ignore all the stresses and pressures of our lives then we could get everything back on track.
This part is almost impossible to discuss without bias so rather than ruin my honesty streak I’ll just say that before we left she had made a plan with this friend of hers and told me nothing about it. I found out about it in a traumatic way that ruined what was supposed to be a dream vacation and rang the final death knell of our relationship.
We got back from Cuba and he moved in with her almost immediately. I had a brief sexual relationship with another co-worker and really thought that I was on track to starting a new and happier life by myself.
Then something happened.
I started crying. It started suddenly and it didn’t stop for almost 4 whole days. I was struck with an uncontrollable despair. I started to panic. I couldn’t believe that the last year had actually happened. It was as if I was playing through a game on Xbox and was taking stupid risks and making crazy decisions without any regard for the outcome because I knew that I had an extra life and could just restart at any time.
The notion that things were irrevocably changed hit me like a kick to the ribs and literally knocked the wind out of me. I was having trouble breathing and had to go to CAMH for emergency care. It’s only in retrospect that I’m able to say that during the months following my confession of infidelity the two of us worked harder on our relationship then we had in 7 years. It was the happiest I could ever remember being. It showed me what I had been missing for the previous 2 or 3 years and more importantly WHAT I COULD’VE HAD FOR THE NEXT SIXTY.
Canada Day was always a special day for the two of us. She had never been close with her parents and it’s accurate to say that she was mostly raised by her grandparents. Canada Day was important to them emotionally so it had become important to her and by extension to me as well.
Last July I was spending the holiday alone. The thought of her spending our special day with another man made me physically sick. I tried to distract myself but we had shared so many experiences together, I spent more than 25% of my entire life with this girl and there literally isn’t a single thing in this world I can look at, listen to, touch, smell or taste that doesn’t remind me of her.
On Canada Day of 2012 I almost died. It’s not an exaggeration to say that some piece of me actually did.
Since then it’s been a struggle. I’ve been dating sporadically and trying to make new friends but it hasn’t been easy for me.
I know that we aren’t going to get back together.
I don’t want to.
I’ve been working hard with my therapist over the last 9 months to become a better person. Not just changing parts of my personality, but exploring the events in my past, traumas from when I was very young that have made me into what I am today.
I wish that I had these insights into my personality back then. I’ve become so much better at self reflection and identifying and talking about my emotions.
I don’t wish we could get back together.
I just know now that I am capable of being a better partner now then I ever was before. I could be a good boyfriend. I could be a good husband and conceivably even be a good father too.
I just didn’t have those skills when I needed them.
Now it’s too late.
Writing all of this has not been easy for me. Even now I’m considering going back to CAMH because I don’t think my regular meds are going to be enough to get me through tonight. I take an anti-depressant regularly but I have anti-anxiety medication for when I’m feeling the way I’m feeling now. So far they work pretty well except for a noticeable decrease to my libido.
Tonight I’m invited to see two people in love cement their relationship. It should be inspirational but the only other friend I have who was married just went through a divorce.
It’s all got me feeling a little hopeless.
I want to go but I don’t know how I’m going to react.
I just don’t trust myself.
If I was a famous actor and James Lipton interviewed me for ITAS when he asked me what my favourite curse word is I think I’d say “Motherfucker”
These are the thoughts that meander through my *I’m-too-tired-to-think-of-an-appropriate-adjective* brain when it’s almost 4AM and I’m not even close to falling asleep. It’s not that I’m not tired, I’m exhausted, I just can’t stop being awake.
It’s not uncommon for me to anthropomorphize inanimate objects or even vague abstract concepts. I give them names and personalities of their own. Right now my insomnia has evolved from the feeling of restlessness and the inability to sleep into a pudgy little cartoon demon who speaks with a Kiwi accent and keeps flicking my earlobe or tugs at my eyelids when they try to close. His name is Brett Clement and he’s an incompetent shepherd from New Zealand. He’s lost all his sheep so there’s nothing for me to count.
I don’t know why I’ve been having trouble sleeping. For the last month or so I’ve either passed out as soon as I get home from work and sleep the whole night through or I’m up til 3AM and end up only sleeping 2 or 3 hours.
I’ve been told it’s stress, anxiety, bad eating habits, depression and loneliness but today wasn’t stressful at all. And I wasn’t alone or anxious and miraculously didn’t have any caffeine. It’s as if the off switch for my brain is malfunctioning.
Usually when this happens the results are not good. I end up agonizing over recent history, replaying events over and over in my head thinking what might have been if I said this or done that and I inevitably spiral into fantasies of building a time machine and going back to change things, but then my brain shifts into the crazy gear and I tell myself that if I had a time machine it would be irresponsible to waste that power to just go back and hit someone with a clever-er zinger instead of going back and killing Hitler, BUT THEN I start philosophizing on the morality of killing someone BEFORE they’ve done anything wrong, like are they technically innocent if I travel back to a time when they haven’t yet committed any crime? THEN I start thinking about how Minority Report was so shitty but I just can’t help loving Tom Cruise no matter how much of a crazy bastard he is, I mean, have you SEEN Mission Impossible 3? That movie was crazy good, especially Simon Pegg, Maybe I should pop in my copy of Shaun of the De-WHY THE FUCK AREN’T YOU SLEEPING YOU EASILY DISTRACTED OCD IDIOT?!?!?!?!?!
That’s literally what’s happening in my brain every 10 minutes or so on an endless loop.
So when it gets to the point where I just can’t take it any more, I usually turn on the lights and start reading. I’m in the middle of Scott Snyder’s Night of Owl’s but I’m having too much fun reading it that I don’t want it to be over so instead I started reading this blog but when that started feeling too self referential and “Meta-Inception-y” I decided to clear out my email inbox and get rid of any junk and old stuff
It’s been a bit of a laugh reading through some of the old emails. Messages to people who used to be my friends that I haven’t thought about in years. Job applications with old resumes and cover letters. Cute little love notes from my ex-girlfriend that make me feel a weird sort of happiness instead of the pain or regret that I would have expected.
But the strangest blast from the past, the email that I had completely forgotten about and drove me to write this entry was a creative collaboration from FIVE YEARS AGO!
It was a guy I knew, not really a friend, more of an acquaintance who wanted to create a superhero comic book/animated series. He was (maybe he still is, who knows?) something of an artist but wasn’t much of an idea or story guy. He asked me to help him develop the project. He didn’t give me any guidelines other than “It’s gotta be groundbreaking, something that has never been done before.”
I didn’t really have faith in his ambition, I thought his enthusiasm for the project would eventually fizzle out so I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into the ideas I sent him. I pretty much halfassed it and shot him some stuff off the top of my head just to shut him up and get him off my back.
I had totally forgotten about all of this and when I read what I had written 5 years ago I started laughing uncontrollably and now I’m completely wide awake.
22 year old Josh was living in Windsor with his girlfriend and a cat who’s dead now. He was the manager of a Bell Canada retail store and his middle aged employees hated him. He rented movies from Rogers Video at the corner of McDougall and Tecumseh and the cute video store clerk had the BIGGEST crush on him. He tried, unsuccessfully, to grow a full beard, realized he’d never be able to and finally settled for a scraggly patch of hair on his chin.
What was his idea for a groundbreaking Superhero Story?
I’m gonna copy and paste the conversation, the guy’s name has been changed to protect his identity and spare him the indignity of having so many people read his bad spelling and grammar:
the beginning of the rest of your lifehey josh… i decided yesterday that i am an entrepenuer, i work at a swimming school. and i have my own home music school.. and now for the third venture of entrepenurial career… to make a cartoon for adult swim on teletoon
2 weeks ago i told my boss how there are no good superhero cartoons on anymore.
and he said…. so make one… and it got me thinking.. i could totally do that. but i would need help “sidekicks” if you will.. i found my buddy greg… and now you. and i think the three of us can bring a pilot episode to teleltoon that will make them piss their finely trimmed guchi underpants.
i have already found a way to animate by speaking to an animation prof at OCAD. we just need to spend some serious time writing up a few episodes.. and comeing up with an idea for the show..
one of the ones I came up with but realzied we cant use because we might get sueed, was a sitcom about ricky martins younger brother and his family… and the yourger martine cant live up to his older brother whos alwasy getting laid.. and getting spanish televison music awards. so ricky moves back home and tries to show his younger geeky brother the ropes
lol so im gona stop rambling… get back to me qand let me know if you want in on this adventure of a lifetime!!!
J Alex Alferez
RE:the beginning of the rest of your life
How about a gay superhero? Not like a guy who is a hero but gay but like a regular straight guy who gets super powers but whenever he activates the powers he becomes a homosexual! Remember Captain Marvel? Shazam? He was just this little kid but when he says “SHAZAM!” he turns into this big buff super dude who flys and shoots lightning. It would be like that but when he says the magic word (Shiraz or something, i’m open to ideas) he turns into a gay superhero. Super fast. Super strong. Super gay!
Shiraz is the superpowered alter ego. The Clark Kent version of the guy is just an everyday average dude but he transforms into Shiraz whenever there’s danger. He’s got all the standard superhero powers, strength, speed, flight, invulnerability. The only catch is that when he’s in this form he’s SUPER GAY!
There’s also a Lois Lane type character and when he’s in his regular form he’s in love with her but she barely pays any attention to him and when he’s Shiraz, she’s all hot for his body and totally wants to bang him but he’s not even a little interested cuz he’s gay.
Batman has a ton of awesome villians. They’re commonly referred to as The Rogues Gallery by comic fans cuz there’s so many, they’re all cool and they often work together to fight Batman.
I think shiraz should have a ton of funny/creative villians and like batmans enemies they should all have a “theme”
Straight Shooter: he turns gays straight so when gay marriage is legalized he uses his power to break up the first gay couple that gets married so that the media storm causes the law to change back to making it illegal. Shiraz has to save the day
The Feminazi: she’s an ultra extreme feminist who is also a Nazi. She believes that all men must die and plans to send all the men to concentration camps and exterminate them. Instead of the Holocaust its the Holococks. Shiraz has to defeat her and her lesbian henchwomen to save the world.
Lust-er: a gay international jewel thief. He loves anything that shines. His name is a play on words. Luster is what you call the shine that comes off of diamonds but he’s just a manwhore full of lust. He roofies and rapes the security guards who protect valuable jewels. They wake up with a sore bottom and that’s his calling card. That’s how they know they were robbed by Lust-er.
Father Figure: a catholic priest with a rockin’ hot bod who molests little boys. He tries to get shiraz drunk off Jesus Juice.
In one story Shiraz will have to plays Dick-tective and try to solve the mystery of a string of strange suicides happening all across town. His investigation leads him to The Dragon, the leader of a gang of Drag Queens who terrorize the city. They trick guys into thinking that they’re real female hookers and when the unsuspecting Johns find out they got BJ’d by a dude they kill themselves from the shame and horror
Green Piece: An environmentalist who chained himself to a tree to protest the dumping of toxic waste in the forest. The evil industrialist dumped it anyway and the chemicals mutated him with the tree. Now his cock is made of moss and he can control plants. His goal it to make everyone In the world vegan.
Holy shit! If I didn’t know that I had written all that I would TOTALLY be a fan of that comic book. Now I’m kinda bummed out that this kid was a lazy stoner and never did anything with this project.
I could’ve been Scott Snyder BEFORE Scott Snyder was Scott Snyder.
It’s 4:11 and I have to go to work in a few hours. There’s less than 2 weeks left until the RSP deadline and its crunch time. I have to be responsible for people’s personal finances, I can’t afford to be delirious from sleep deprivation when setting up RSP GICs or refinancing mortgages.
I guess I’ll go read some more of Night of Owls until I fall asleep and dream about what might’ve been.
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?
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!
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!
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
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.
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.