The Curse of the Cursor

That stupid blinking “|” is pissing me off right now. It’s almost taunting me, simulating a struggling heartbeat, threatening to die at any moment. I’m not sure where this is going, I’ve got a crazy case of writer’s block.  I don’t like being creatively blocked, so I’m going to fight through it with some potentially shitty writing. The more it blinks at me, the more it distracts me, which pisses me off even more. There’s nothing worse than having a million thoughts ricocheting around your brain, aching to get out, and not having the ability to piece them together coherently. It’s like when you open way too many apps on your computer, and it freezes. That’s where I am right now: the brief flash of thought before my brain shuts down and I turn on some brainless bullshit like “Jersey Shore” so I can relax my mind and yell at morons who probably make more than I do.

I don’t like being beaten by a fucking flashing pixel, it’s not real, but it’s causing a real reaction for some reason, which is worrisome. This should probably be one of those posts that no one ever sees, but who knows what’ll happen to it. I like to write when I’m upset and can’t process feelings clearly, so that I can see my thoughts written out, which usually makes me think about how stupid and illogical they are, then that either makes me feel worse to the point where more writing doesn’t help, or makes me feel at ease to the point where I can function again.

It’s getting late, and I have things to do tomorrow, and I’ve been trying to get more sleep, so I’m going to keep this semi-short, just long enough for me to feel like I’ve beaten that stupid flashing pixel. It’s starting to seem like there’s something more to this, do I think that I’ll eventually run out of ideas? Maybe. Do I think that what I have to say isn’t worth saying, much less reading? All the time, but I still write. Do I have trouble piecing my thoughts together in a coherent format? You bet. This feels like something else.

I’m kind of scared to publish personal shit, it feels like oversharing. I know it makes me uncomfortable to read someone pour their hearts out online, so why should I do it? I’ve done it before, but it’s always been while super drunk, and it’s a lot easier to believe in yourself when you’re barely seeing straight. I think I’ll just save this in drafts for now, and wait until I have more confidence in both my writing skills, and myself. It might take awhile.

 

Life Before Time

 

The sun hit Danny’s eyes in the worst possible spot, forcibly bringing him back to reality. He looked out the window, saw that it was light out, and began his daytime routine. He made himself breakfast, took a shower, and prepared himself for work.

Today was an important day. Danny had a great job: he was a scientist, but he was struggling to keep up. You see, without a way to measure the passage of time, science is incredibly hard. You can’t test strength, you can’t understand how diseases develop, you can’t know how long your food will be good for, it’s just a mess. Danny’s assignment at work is to create a way to find the strength of certain objects and report his findings. It’s a not a very well run science program.

After finishing his beginning-of-day jog, Danny got in his poorly-made car and began the trip to work. He made it to work incredibly quickly, because without set commute times, people just go to work whenever, and as long as they get their daily duties done, nobody cares when they get there.

As he pulled into his parking spot, he began to feel the familiar anxiety start to build, “How do I fix these problems, I’m not even that good of a scientist, I got my degree online, Hell, I Googled the answers to most of my tests, I can’t actually do anything!” he thought to himself nervously.  Immediately upon entering the building, Danny’s boss, a large, mustachio’d man named Bilson, caught Danny in his sights and homed in on him. “WHERE IS THE STRENGTH TEST RESEARCH ON THOSE STEEL BEAMS DANIEL? I NEED IT ASAP, I’VE GOT A SITE MANAGER BREATHING DOWN MY NECK BECAUSE HE CAN’T START CONSTRUCTION UNTIL WE FIND OUT IF THE FUCKING STEEL BEAMS WILL HOLD UP, SO HURRY UP!”  You could almost see the inevitable heart attack swelling up in Bilson’s chest as he yelled at Danny from across the lobby. “Great start so far.” Danny thought as he stepped into the elevator.

As Danny settled into his station and donned his lab coat, he began to wonder how in the fuck he would solve this problem. The method he had been using wasn’t working, and he was out of ideas for how to determine how strong steel beams were. After using every tool in the lab to try and bend the beams, Danny gave up. He filled notebooks full of things that wouldn’t break steel, but none of those things would be available at the job site, so really Danny was just stalling until something came to him. Nothing did.

Eventually, Bilson fell into a rage-induced slumber, and Danny seized his chance to escape from work.  As he temporarily ran away from his problems, Danny contemplated how he was going to fix this.  He pondered, pacing back and forth around his house, but each idea he had was worse than the last. “Fuck, I’m going to have to update my resume, that’s always such a pain in the dick, I don’t want to have to do that, but I can’t think about anything else right now. Maybe if I lay down and get some rest, it’ll come to me.” he thought to himself while pouring himself another glass of whiskey. Danny couldn’t sleep, even after it got dark and his body was screaming for him to get some rest. All he could think about was how awful work was going to be when he got in. Suddenly, there was a loud “DRIP”. Danny’s sink started leaking, and since he wasn’t a very good scientist, he couldn’t afford to call someone to come fix it, and had to suffer through it. DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP, steadily until it was the only thing on Danny’s mind. He tried to push the sound from his mind, but eventually it was the only thing he could think about. As he continued to be distracted by the “drip”, a thought crept into his mind. “What if I count these?” Danny’s mind sprung to life as he started counting the drops of water from his leaking sink.

The sun rose again, but this time Danny wasn’t sleeping, he was writing. He had spent the whole night counting the drips, until he used what little scientific ability he had to come up with a way to use the drips to calculate how long it would take the steel beams to break. All he had to do was break the sink at work, use the mechanized bending thing in the lab, and count the drips until the beam broke. Danny drove to work excited, he had a solution.

Danny burst into Bilson’s office not wanting to waste any time. Bilson’s office was decorated like a shrine to the God of Douche-bags, with middle-manager motivational cat posters and bonsai trees adorning every possible surface. As Danny came face-to-face with this hulking mass of testosterone and impulse control issues, he began to question his plan. “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT DANIEL? SHOULDN’T YOU BE BREAKING STEEL BEAMS OR SOMETHING?” Bilson didn’t exactly believe in using “Inside Voices”. As Danny pitched his idea to his ill-tempered boss, a change came over him. He began to see the importance in what he had discovered: a way to measure life. He began telling Bilson about how they could use this as a way to keep track of things other than how long it takes to break a beam, this could be the most important discovery ever made. Bilson stared at Danny for a time, taking in the enormity of what he just said. Without showing any emotion, Bilson simply said “You’re free to go Daniel, good work today.” before emailing his boss the same idea, and cutting Danny out of it.

Bilson became the most renowned scientist ever, while Danny went back to his stressful job, always knowing in his heart that his boss screwed him in order to make himself look good.

 

 

Heaven

You hear so many things about Heaven, there are entire religions based on getting there, but what’s up there?

For me, my totally-uninformed, hopeful take on it is this: Heaven is whatever you want it to be.

For me, Heaven is a place with unlimited resources and time, somewhere I can just creatively go crazy without any restrictions or concerns. Think about it: all of the most creative people who have ever lived, all in one place. There must be billions of songs, paintings, movies, you name it.

I get really annoyed when I have a decent idea that I can’t execute, so thinking there’s a place where all of those ideas can be fleshed out and expanded makes me feel good, and I want to be able to talk to history’s best thinkers and writers and come up with better ideas to work on.

I want to be able to bounce taglines off of David Ogilvy. I want to pitch movie ideas to Stanley Kubrick. I want Picasso to teach me how to paint. I want to learn how write more coherently from Bukowski and Hemingway. I hope all of those people are just up in Heaven, sitting at a cloudtop bar sipping drinks and swapping ideas for all eternity.

I’m not going to know what Heaven’s like for a long time, ( hopefully, although life is weird, so you never know) so I’ll just have to do my best with what I’ve been given.

The Cost of Kindness

I’ve actually got a positive Dunkin’s story today. Shocker. Usually, the people I deal with are rude, inconsiderate pricks, but every once in awhile, someone kind comes in, and reaffirms my faith in humanity.

Today, I was just relaxing listening to some juicy jams when an old guy who was the spitting image of Ben Carson walks in. After making his order, he started to make some small talk, so I figured he couldn’t be that bad.

He started asking me questions like “What do you eat here?” and “How is it working here?”, as well as asking me what my goals are, and what my parents do for a living. Turns out, this guy is cool as hell, and is one of those rare types of people who make everyone feel important, which is a type of person we desperately need more of.

We talked for almost half an hour, we found out that we’re pretty simular: we’re both left handed, we both love jazz music (he even gave me some new stuff to check out), we’re both only children, and we both like tea more than coffee.

It’s weird, usually I don’t like talking to random people, and I especially don’t like talking about my personal life, but maybe I should try to do it more, I might meet more decent people, and I might not have such a bleak outlook on humanity. After all, it doesn’t cost anything to be kind.

The Amazing Power of Music

I read an article recently about the psychological effects of music, and how it affects your mood, and it occured to me how important music really is.

I listen to a lot of really, really depressing music, and I think that it’s starting to affect how I think. Part of me, deep down, loves it. I love sitting in my room listening to “u” and drinking whiskey in the dark. Now, seeing that written down, it seems kind of fucked up.

Maybe if I listen to “Happy” a million times a day, or start my mornings with “The Dreamer”, eventually I won’t be so angry at the world. I’m going to try that; only listening to upbeat, positive music for a month or two, and see if it does anything for me.

I don’t know why sad people love sad music so much. On paper, it doesn’t sound like it should help, but it does. I’m sure there’s some music psychologist who can show me case studies and peer-reviewed papers, but I’m not a scientist, I don’t know if I’d understand all that technical jargon and obscure psychology terms.

“Music is the new religion.” I read that in a Pitchfork interview, and it makes me think. I’ve definitely learned more about being a decent, well-rounded person from music than I have from church. Jay-Z taught me that financial freedom is our only hope, and that a loss ain’t a loss, it’s a lesson. Kendrick Lamar taught me that it’s okay to be afraid, it’s okay to think you don’t deserve what you’ve been given. Mac Miller taught me that it’s okay to feel things, and it’s okay to need help. What’s Jesus taught me?

The Circles EP: 3 Stages of a Bender

I’ve written before about how much I love Mac Miller, but I don’t see enough love for the 3-song EP he released right before “Swimming” came out, and that’s a damn shame. DJBooth has an incredible article about it, but I’d like to share my own thoughts on the individual songs. I’ve had my issues with drinking and the like, and one night, after a couple of glasses of Irish whiskey, I came to the conclusion that this EP feels like a bender: one of those nights where you say “fuck it” and get lost in the sauce, and  additionally, dealing with the consequences of overindulging.

Programs

 

Off to see the wizard, lead the picture
Me and liquor, evil mixture, demons clitter
Clean the whiskers, seeking Mr. Fisherman
Back on my shit again, doin’ my own dance

This is the point in the night where you say to people “I’m fine, go away, let me have fun, I’m feeling myself.” Right before you throw up on yourself. This is the part of the night where you know you’ve gone too far, where your vision is blurry, your thoughts are scattered, you’re not thinking clearly, but you still think you’re on top of the world. This is the point where you know you’ve had enough, but that little voice in your head says “You’re fine, let’s see how far we can go.” I’ve been there too many times, and it’s never a good thing, but in that brief moment of time before you pass out, you feel happy, and that’s scary. ‘Programs” is also the only song on the EP that I could see being played at a party, it’s a trap-flavored banger that goes super hard, if you’re too fucked up to listen to the lyrics.

Buttons

 

There’s a world going crazy outside
But let’s pretend that it’s alright
We keep pretending that it’s alright

“I’m hungover and tired and I regret everything, so I’m going to ignore everyone and recover.” This is when reality comes knocking. You wake up in pain, both physically and mentally. You think about all the stupid shit you did last night, and you get worried, thinking to yourself “What the fuck did I do last night? How did I get home? Why is there a full Domino’s pizza and a stuffed tiger in my bed?” Whenever I overindulge, I just want to disappear and ignore everyone, because I’m embarrassed that I let things get out of hand. This is the kind of soft, gentle piano music that I usually put on when I’m hungover, it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it won’t cause my head to explode in agony, and that’s just what the doctor ordered after a night of poisoning my liver.

Small Worlds

Yeah, nine times out of ten I get it wrong
That’s why I wrote this song, told myself to hold on
I can feel my fingers slippin’, in a motherfuckin’ instant I’ll be gone
Do you want it all if it’s all mediocre?

I’m glad that this is the song that made the album, it’s about the moment when you stop hating yourself and get back to business, which is an essential theme in “Swimming” There was a time in my life when I routinely drank myself stupid, like “Snooki from The Jersey Shore” stupid, and I always hated myself after, but as I’ve grown up, I’ve cut back a bit, but there are still times where I overdo it, but now I think to myself “I’ve got to pull myself together and get back to work. I’ve done some stupid shit, but I’ll learn from it and grow.” As my body recuperates, I start to look for more upbeat, cheerful music to inspire me to actually be productive, and those John Mayer guitar licks are exactly what I need to go from “slacker on the couch” to “productive member of society”

In Search of Isolation

I don’t like people. I used to, but years of customer service have ruined whatever interest I had in meeting new people, and that’s a problem.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think people are getting worse. Maybe I’m biased, but I’ve dealt with way too many assholes lately for it to be a coincidence. Either that, or I’m slowly dying inside.

Whenever the world gets to be too much for me, I like to sit in my room and listen to my records. I know that being by yourself all the time isn’t the best for your mental health, but it’s much better for me than going outside.

I don’t know if my love of isolation will come back to bite me, I’m sure that it’s definitely strained my relationship with my friends and family, and it’s not exactly great for my dating life, but it’s something I desperately need to keep functioning.

Why is that? Why do I feel out of place, floating from one place to another like an errant cloud? Is there something wrong with me, and I just can’t see it? I used to love meeting new people and experiencing new things, but now it’s just a pain in the ass, and I’d rather spin up Malibu and write articles about nothing.

This post is getting heavy, so here’s a baby giraffe.