Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Journal By Some Guy 81

Dear Journ

Why do I have a picture of Guts from Berzerk here? I'll answer that soon enough.

I was a bit sick a day ago. Everyone was down with the flu. I stayed home and nursed mine as I felt it was coming my way. Add to the fact that I had to run errands for the sicker of my household and one can see how I might be a bit worn out.

Usually after doing something strenuous, I take some time for myself to unwind and decompress. I don't think that's a bad thing Journ. However, and I say this honestly, I wanted to procrastinate. I was in the right mood to do nothing. Sick and tired should be enough of an excuse right? Right?

A younger me would have agreed but present me said no.

I studied instead. I was reminded of a quote which basically said, you gotta do what everyone else won't do to get ahead. Time is always frittering away even when you use it for something constructive, in other words, figure out what you're going to waste your time doing. Watching Bojack Horseman isn't going to help me take this CPT test and not passing it won't get me out of my current job.

Sacrifice. What will you give up for the thing you want so badly Journ? You'd like to think that there is a way around this; you're wrong. To move forward you leave something behind even if it's for a short time. Goofing off on the computer is standing in one place. It's a temporary diversion at best. It's not like it's going anywhere which is kinda the point.

Back to the pic.

On a Facebook group they had a meme featuring some of the best swordsmen in manga. Kenshin from the manga of the same name was there along with Jin from Samurai Champloo and Afro from, well, Afro Samurai.

Guts wasn't on there and it wasn't until somebody commented him as their favorite swordsmen did I realize this was a grievous error. Guts without question would destroy everyone on that list literally. Destroy as in dismember, disembowel, squash, and decimate and he would do so with brutal efficiency.

But why would he Journ? It isn't because he's the best swordsman or some preternatural skill or ability. Guts would win because he pushes himself harder than any foe or obstacle. His enemies are always impossible, human or no. He always is at a disadvantage and that's not counting the lack of a forearm or an eye. He never even gives himself time to doubt; he is that close to dying. There is no time. Either he's figured out how to win or he survives until he does. If not that, then he'd be dead.

I'm not a swordsman (yet) but I understand that drive. My struggle isn't life or death in the sense of me fighting for my life. My contest is struggling for the life that I want. It's not oh man, I'm tired. Let's put this off. It's, This fucking book is Griffith and Griffith WILL die. I'm not going to rest until I wring the last bit of life from him. I want my twisted grin to be the last thing he sees so that he will beg for the Hell he is to burn in.

Giving up before you try is worst than losing and not having the mind to know that you must is worse than death.

I am not going to lose because I can't afford to. It's not about the money. It's not about proving myself to anyone. I know it would kill me to let this turn into some half-baked scheme and me pussing out because it's easy. No. Fight. Always. Fight until you can't so that when you close your eyes, you have no regrets. You did everything that you could.

Like Guts said, I'd rather be fighting for my life than living it. But only when you struggle do you improve. Only when you fight are you truly alive.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Journal By Some Guy 80

Dear Journ,

I'm going to tell you a story about a story I won't tell you.

Last night, I was over a friend of mine's house for some drinking and smoking as I tend to do from time to time. Work always makes for erratic scheduling which means I miss opportunities to socialize so I was determined to make time for him if I could after missing previous engagements.

While I was there, I made the acquaintance of someone from an old job of mine. Surprisingly, we actually talked which for me is more listening than anything. He spoke about his car troubles and having to sell his bike in order to cover the cost of repairing it.

Between my friend grilling and being a great host, somehow we drifted into to talking about his time in the military, in particular the Navy.

He saw some very strange things in the Navy. Unsettling things. Not necessarily shocking in the sense of the brutality or cruelty of war but of seeing things that would change the way you looked at the world.

The tale I will not repeat. Why Journ? Because like he said, you wouldn't believe it. In fact, I asked why didn't he tell the world about this if it was true? Why didn't anyone censor him?

I asked the same question, he said with a far away look in his eyes. They said I could tell whoever I wanted. Friends. Family. It didn't matter because no one would believe me.

They kept saying, "Don't worry. It's OK." over and over again until I was saying it too. Like I was brainwashed...

But everything wasn't OK. He had dreams about what he saw he said. He didn't want to believe that what he witnessed was real or what it could mean. I burned to know but his demeanor told me it was wiser if I didn't.

My friend is cracking up listening to him and in all fairness, it was a tall enough tale to dismiss outright. Part of me wants to as well.

But the look, in his eyes Journ let me know that he believed what he was saying and that as outlandish as the whole thing was, that wouldn't change even as he wished it would.

I read people Journ. Not as well as I should because I am largely indifferent but it is a skill as natural as breathing in my mother's brood. In this guy, as he was telling the story, I sensed that profound listlessness of someone lost and not quite knowing what to do. He knew it was pointless to tell this story and yet he told it. I sleep better when I tell someone he said and that much I believed without skepticism.

I do not think I can repeat this tale Journ, ever. It seems too fantastic a thing not to be in a movie or something and I was told so by my friend. It would be perfectly ethical if I made it to be as story of some sorts. Something that big moving that fast....

But I won't even do that Journ and stories are meant to be shared. Not this one though. The pointless task of repeating makes my nihilism rise.

I will pay attention though as there is more going on in the world than I am allowed to know.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Journal By Some Guy 79

Dear Journ,

I have this particular graphic up here to prove a point.

I work out as much as I can. My schedule isn't consistent enough where I can  keep a steady routine, therefore I must be opportunistic. Still, I love it.

My motivation isn't to look better so much as to feel better. Post workout, I'm riding high off of adrenaline, testosterone, and probably endorphins as well. I'd compare it to post coitus only that after a workout, it would be the perfect time for fornication.

Challenging myself and improving are the two aspects of weight lifting that resonate with me so much so that I have sought education to further my growth.

So why is it that I cringed when I was called big man yesterday?

I'm walking to the store and dude on a bike says, Hey big man and my honest reaction was The fuck are you talking about? I didn't say this mind you; I returned a half-hearted hey there. It just discomfits me when someone makes a point of saying big as if that is something I want to hear. I don't. It's odd like having an old friend point at your chest because it makes your shirt look odd.

Like yesterday.

I workout Journ but I am not so concerned with the aesthetics of body building. I respect it. It takes discipline and work but I don't want to be a veiny guy posing in just such a way to show off his muscles. It's not me. I don't "peacock". I barely dress with people's thoughts in mind let alone considering how someone sees my physicality. This is why I don't like being called big guy or have someone literally stare at my chest(it has happened)like I have breasts instead of pecs.

Breasts are amazing Journ, OK? And asses too.

Both of which I admire discreetly because walking up to a woman just to gawk at her backside is creepy. Observing surreptitiously at a distance is slightly less so and not as invasive. Now imagine me getting a taste of my own medicine save the fact that societal conventions doesn't make staring at my chest taboo.

Being a loner and having random people comment on how you look I believe would be ideal for some people. It's natural to want to be admired I think and for someone to be away from the in-crowd to be complimented would stroke the ego a bit.

For me though, it's off putting because frankly, I couldn't give a shit what the majority of people think. I could literally be on the toilet and I'd say, Oh no this is for the porcelain god, get your shit elsewhere then flush. Don't misconstrue me Journ. A compliment here and there is alright.

But making a point of calling me this or that because it's obvious...I don't know. It feels strange. It's like I wanna say Bruh, thanks but I don't really need to here that from you, you know? Or Yes ma'am, I am kinda strong I guess but anybody can push these carts with a machine so...

Or maybe I just don't like random ass strangers using that as ice breaker. I hate to say it Journ, but I do have a brain. I'm not some meathead that needs your approval for going to a gym. It's not amazing to be fit, just uncommon. It's not special. It's not a big fucking deal.

And yet, when I go into work, I'm fairly certain I'm going to gawk at women. I'm such a hypocrite Journ, I know but I'm not gonna walk up to a woman and say Hey juicy booty! Doing some squats I see!

Why? Because it's odd Journ. I can look at her booty without all that.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Journal By Some Guy 78

Ok Journ,

I don't mean to be a bore but in becoming more mature, I have to make lists.

Do I really have to tell you how much this grates me? I don't like having "plans" for the day. A "plan" implies "work" to me. When I don't have to "work" I shouldn't have to "plan". It's downright criminal that I have to actually use free time to get something done.

I do though. When you have goals, real ones, you also get that nagging voice in your head that tells you to go about them. At least that's how my experience goes.

What I'm starting to do is write everything down in a notepad. Committing my thoughts, goals, or ideas to a medium helps me remember them. My obstacle is developing the habit of consulting my notebook to get my bearings straight.

Benjamin Franklin I believe referred to setting goals for a day and then at the end of said day, reviewing them for insight. Did you not have time to finish that one thing? Were you unmotivated? Was it not as important?

I believe we humans are naturally prone to be distracted. We like to think of ourselves above animals but that's ridiculous. We're sheep. We're herded. We're bred, taught, and branded to be a certain someone for some thing. I think then, why not train myself?

The famous adage goes that an eye cannot observe itself. I know this to be true; I don't have an accurate self image of myself. I can't see me truly from another perspective and in most situations I don't want to.

For the sake of self improvement though, I can be observant of my own bad habits in relation to what I want to accomplish. For example, I have to sleep earlier. I want to stay up late. I'm insomniac enough that I do so naturally but if I want a more productive day, I have to sleep. Another is music; if I listen to music while doing something, it helps me concentrate. It turns off any background thoughts I have that can cause me to lose focus.

Confucius said it doesn't matter how slowly you go, as long as you don't stop. I cannot expect to hack my life in a few days or months or years but little by little, I can move towards my goals.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Journal By Some Guy 78

So Journ,

I finally just did it. Yep. I am terrified in a fashion of course. I'm in unknown territory and there is no one really to familiarize me with what I'm supposed to do. That can make me uneasy even if I'm a bit used to it.

At least there is an unpaid internship and you know you're not legitimately doing anything unless there is free labor involved. It's not on a timetable nor is the online program. As long as it's done with 180 days I'm good.

Still nervous though which I surmise could be a good thing because it is said you're supposed to do that which frightens you or something like that. I forget. I'm human. The saying is true though. True to the point that I wonder if such hesitancy is a part of who I am. If it is, it might have been crippling me for years and therefore I need to overcome it. If it's just new stimuli then I have to adapt.

Was it not Darwin that said it is not the strongest nor smartest of a species that survives but the ones that quickly adapt? I must admit Journ, I feel like I'm adapting more and resisting less. I've come to see it a pointless practice in most situations. Those who don't fight change seem to win more battles to me.

I hate growing up Journ. It's not what anyone said it would be. No one prepared me and in turn, I don't think anyone prepared them. We seem to have this collective dissonance about how life should work. Everybody wants to get married. Everybody wants to be famous. Everybody wants an I-Phone. It's as if we make assumptions not based on our own understanding but that of the collective. You don't want to have an opinion unless it's a popular one.

I like to flog myself emotionally sometimes for not being where I think I should I be. These days, not so much. All of the complaining in the world won't suddenly put me where I think I'm supposed to be, right? And even if it did Journ, do I really want to be there? I don't envy people having kids and a job they've been working for ten years and a mortgage. I don't see the point. I don't believe there is anything wrong with that Journ. Nor do I believe there is anything wrong with someone actually wanting it.

Too many of us follow on so many things. We are afraid to stand alone. You risk exposure. The herd won't just not protect you, it'll turn on you.

So we work a job we hate to get money to buy things we don't need for people we don't like. We do it because we're expected to. We slave, we get frustrated, we get tired. Everyone is Sisyphus pushing a boulder that will never get up a hill but we're cool with it because everyone else is doing it. We seem not to think that this isn't something we have to put up with it, that if enough of us rebel that the system will have to change.

That saddens me more than being adrift in life Journ because it's not just unfair, it's unnecessary. We don't have to follow a path that's set up for us. I'm sure people thought I was going to do this or that. Even I couldn't see myself here with this book in my hand. None of this was expected. Life doesn't conform to what we want it to be no matter who we are. Each of us will end up living a life unique unto ourselves. Perhaps we have similarities but none of these assures that we have exactly the same experience.

I suppose we as humans should stop trying to put each other in boxes. A limb or two always sticks out and cutting those off isn't the answer.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Journal By Some Guy 77

Hey Journ,

This is two weeks of walking around.

I usually get two months out of a pair of shoes. These as you can imagine were bought where I work. Being the inanimate construct that you are Journ, even you by now know where I work.

Made in China should've been my first warning sign.

That sole that came off wasn't the one I super glued back on. The left simply gave up and I put it out of its misery by tearing it off as opposed to it flopping around like a gangrenous limb. Let me not even speak of the heels which have holes in them.

Whole heels coming off of my shoes is a new thing for me.

Between the heat, oil, and general wear and tear, none of my shoes last long at work. This is why I don't buy Nike or Reebok; there wouldn't be a point. That would be me wasting money. Perhaps I'd look....cooler? I don't know what slang these young people are using. Back to the point, looking dapper in a better pair of shoes wouldn't be worth the money I'm throwing away.

Nor the time.

Nor the indignity.

I knew going into this job that this would happen. Over time, I was going to get fed up. Given the fact that it took six months to demote myself(another story entirely)only added fuel to this fire.

So now Journ, we've taken a step. A small one but still significant.

The conversation with the NASM(National Academy of Sports Medicine)rep was short. We didn't sit around and laugh about the gym. He just gave me some answers and cleared up some things for me. I don't have to have all the money upfront. There are payments. They'll find me a job within twenty miles of my home(good luck with that)and of course, the CPR class is on me to take and pay for.

A nine week course and everything is online. As long as I turn the course work in he said I should be alright.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid. It would also be a falsehood if I said I knew exactly what I was fearful of.

It's not the work. Perhaps the money but I'd say the unknown was the bulk of it.

I'm not going to say I'm anxious to the point of rethinking it but I am a little. What if I fail or what if they don't find me a job? Could I be sinking my money into a failed venture? What if I'm not good? What if I don't know my stuff after I learn? What if I get fired? What then? Back to that place begging to push a cart?

But you know what Journ? I think Hawaii. A vacation. One that I'd be able to take because I'd have money saved up. I don't even want to sight see when I get there. I just want to be there. I've always wanted to travel...

That's not gonna happen doing what I'm doing.

I see the people I work with and no lie, you can see the death of their dreams in their eyes. Like they know that this is the only thing that they're going to do for the rest of their lives and there is no point of thinking about doing anything else. They smile. Oh yes Journ they smile but their eyes do not lie.

I fear becoming one of them more than risking the lost of my money or failing because when I stop trying I start dying. I can't Journ. Toiling away in a job I hate, working with people I don't like, serving people who should be slapped, and being told what to do by people who should never lead...

No. No to all that. Monday or Tuesday, I say yes to a chance.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Journal By Some Guy 76

Dear Journ,

I hate to be picky but seeing as I read this wonderful book for a few weeks, I can't help but say Isn't that cute?...But it's WRONG! Bonus points if you get the reference.

A few things didn't get translate well to the screen and that's understandable. You can't put in the footnotes. There is no Austen-esque narrator nor the wit that comes with her. The scene with the moss oak got toned down a lot(The Gentleman had to help Stephen dig it up). Vinculus' part was cut back a great deal. You only have so much time with something visual and this was a mini-series so there had to be some cuts understandably.

Warning. Spoilers ahead.

But Drawlight not turning into a tree? Lascelles' duel at The Lady of the Plucked Eye and Heart? The servants not leaving before Strange got to Hurtfew? Stephen not being told that he is King of Lost-Hope after speaking to trees, earth and sky? Or even explaining what happened to Strange and Norrell after disappearing into Eternal Darkness? Come now Journ! That simply didn't satisfy me. Stephen Black's part especially because he, as well as Lady Pole, had integral parts in the narrative.

Don't get me wrong, it was still excellent by television standards. Everything was quite beautiful and English as it was supposed to be. Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan were perfect as Jonathan Strange and Gilbert Norrell respectively. Ariyon Bakare as Stephen Black was excellent as well though I wished they went more into his and the Gentleman With the Thistledown Hair's exchanges. It would be excuse to see Marc Warren be a creepy yet charismatic Gentleman. His performance was, dare I say it, magical.

Still, it was great for being what it was though not everything didn't make it on screen. It's much more acceptable than that debacle Watchmen by Zack Snyder. Not to veer into comic book movies suddenly but as an example of translations and what have you, I'll use it.

Most of the story didn't get told on celluloid. The designing of the aliens. The exchange at the news stand....

The Fearful Symmetry panels! And don't get me started on how they made it seem like Dr. Manhattan killed everyone. He didn't. He wouldn't. He was basically god. If he wanted to do what they made it look like he did, it would've happened in Vietnam, another part they left out.

Whenever I hear someone rave about that garbage I think, You haven't read the novel. If you did, you'd realize how short changed you were. But no, it's got colors and special effects! Story be damned, it's a movie! We're not trying to enrich your experience at all with anything emotional or intellectual! Just shut up, chew your cud, and watch because you don't know the difference.

It is one of the main reasons I don't take movies seriously Journ. Why should you? There is rarely a cinematic piece made to engage a person's mind and curiosity. Those who fund these creations clearly think their audience is too mentally inept to complain about what they're seeing. For example, in Avengers: Age of Ultron the titular Ultron is made by Tony Stark with help from Bruce Banner and some alien technology. Any comic aficionado knows that Hank Pym made the machine and that he did so because of how insignificant he felt in comparison to other super scientists like Reed Richards and ironically, Tony Stark. The fact that this is a glaring error in Marvel mythology didn't stop the seats from being filled. Not even the comic fans turned away from it.

So as far as the adaption of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell as a fan I pick at it only because I love the source material.

As an Age of Ultron fan? I shrug and say, meh. Business as usual. Didn't have high expectations to begin with. Same with whatever D.C. and Warner Brothers come out with. Whatever it will be, it will disappoint me on some level I am sure.

I just wish they'd take Alan Moore's advice and just leave anything he's done alone because Hollywood keeps proving that they are destined to mess it up.