Sunday, November 20, 2011

Denny's: For Those Times When the Edges of Reality Fray

I feel as though I’ve been here before. Sitting in a Denny’s, looking at the menu and not knowing why I’m here.
I look out the window at people walking. There are people around me in the restaurant. I feel numb. Disconnected with everyone. Even the voices and conversations around me seem muffled, as though we’re not really in the same place. Perhaps they’re not real or I’m not real. Everyone is out of focus and muffled, except the waiter. He blinks in and out of different worlds.

That is what it really is; they have their world and I have mine. They can come out of their world and briefly show up in mine, but I cannot escape from my world into theirs. Occasionally they blink into my world, only to blink out again just as quickly. But mostly they stay in their world with the obscuring barrier separating us.

And, thus, I end up at Denny’s where the coffee flows 24/7 and I can have some breakfast at any time of the day. Denny’s: the place I go when I’m caught in an existential quandary. I start walking and all of a sudden my feet have taken me to Denny’s, perhaps because I am conditioned since this numbness and constant questioning of my own and others’ existence and reality usually comes upon me in the early hours of morning and Denny’s was always one of the few places that was close and open.

Now I’m in a city where there are many restaurants open 24hrs and I can get just about any food I want, but I shun them all. My feet take me to Denny’s, because in those moments (hours? Years?) when I doubt the strength of reality, none of those places truly exist. When I’m too far gone to be reached by anyone or anything else, Denny’s is the only place that can penetrate into my reality and make itself on the same level of existence as I am.

Yes, Grand Slams really are the glue that holds the universe together.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Back In My Day, We Had To Walk All the Way to the TV to Change the Channel...And there were only 99 channels

On October 15 I will be turning 29. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I am very lucky to have a friend who boldly goes into these ages a month ahead and then reports back her findings. Into the abyss; kind of like an age reconnaissance.
            Usually I feel excitement and dread when it gets close to my birthday; right now I almost feel nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about an event occurring on my birthday, Extra Life, but I’m having trouble mustering up anything for the actual birthday. I can tell I feel a little down about it but I can’t seem to connect with it even though I can tell because of some of my sleep habits are going more odd than normal. Perhaps it’s because I feel so far away from most of my friends and family. Perhaps it’s because these last few months seemed to go so fast that I’m having trouble grasping that my birthday is around the corner. Perhaps it’s that I’ve already had 28 of them so what’s one more? I feel numb with an undercurrent. It’s almost like I’ve been shot through with Novocain and the feelings of excitement and dread are hovering, waiting to take hold.
            I always say that birthdays are great because they take me further away from 22. I’ve been feeling 22 again and I’m realizing that 22 was really not that bad. I was angsty, but I’m always angsty to varying degrees. With my recent relocation/ joblessness with mostly school and my writing to keep me busy, I’ve gone back to my 22 personality with a 28 perspective and I realized 22 was not as bad as I made it out to be. At 22 I was very angsty but nothing that bad. Looking back I realized that I spent much of 23 – 27 feeling numb and not really myself, just going through motions because what else was I going to do. I felt much more myself at 22 and I’ve started feeling much more myself now. I don’t feel like I’m turning 29, I feel like I’m turning 22 Part 2 (or is it Part 3 now?) I have to admit I prefer feeling angsty to feeling numb and just going through the motions of my life. It is a horrible to feel absolutely nothing and to feel that you can’t even catch a glimpse of yourself anymore.
            On Saturday I will be turning 29 and I look back and it’s sometimes like watching someone else’s life go past. Some of the events don’t seem as long ago as others and the chronology is all messed up. Everything is disjointed and disconnected.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pinky and the Brain: Who Really Is the Genius?

“Pinky and the Brain/…/One is a genius, the other’s insane”

            “Pinky and the Brain” is about two genetically altered lab mice who want to take over the world. Brain is the mouse that has a large head and regularly comes up with plans to take over the world. Pinky is Brain’s seemingly dim sidekick who speaks in non-sequitors. The audience is left to assume that Brain is the genius and Pinky is insane, but I assert that it is the other way around.
            Brain may come up with a lot of plans to take over the world but the only time he has come close to taking over the world was by accident when he was taking the night off (“Brain’s Night Off.”) Every other time the pair of mice has come close to taking over the world has been through Pinky’s efforts. Pinky has come closer to securing global domination than Brain.
            Pinky speaks in non-sequitors and seems to often makes very little sense. It is easy to mistake these non-sequitors as Pinky just being dim, but it is more a case of he is on a different level thinking than everyone else.  A lot of Pinky’s responses to Brain’s questions make sense, but they are not the normal response. In “Broadway Malady,” Brain is coming up with a musical and he asks Pinky what rhymes with June? Pinky tells him he’s busy and when brain asks him what he’s doing he lists off an entire list of words that rhyme with soon that describes what he’s doing. Brain asks, “What rhymes with June?” Pinky replies, “No it doesn’t.” This is the genius of Pinky. His responses are very clever but follow a different line of logic.
            Even when he says something that really doesn’t make sense on any level that we can see, he is simply following a different level of logic. When he speaks, it is like it is a part of larger conversation that is going on in Pinky’s head. The only reason he ever almost takes the world is because that’s what Brain wants. It is almost like he has more important things going on in his head than what is going on externally, he helps brain because the friendship is important even though global domination is not that important to him. He also has incredible focus, he is able to help Brain with his plans while still maintaining the internal world that he has created for himself.

IMDB (1990 – 2011) Episode List for Pinky and the Brain. IMDB. Retrieved Aug. 28, 2011 from,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dominant Strategy - Resident Evil 4 (Wii)

            Once the player has passed the game the first time, they can go through it again and retain all of their items, weapons and Pesata (money) from their previous game. In addition to all of that, new weapons are unlocked, including an Infinite Rocket Launcher and a Chicago Typewriter, which is a fairly strong machine gun with infinite ammo.
            Either of these could be used as a dominant strategy as they work for any situation and both have infinite ammo. The Launcher is a little more difficult to utilize just because it has crosshairs and there is a small delay while the player aims it. It is a little like a rifle with the way it has to be aimed and isn’t great in close quarters, but it would still work. The Chicago Typewriter can be used in any situation and close quarters won’t matter.
            Both weapons described above are special weapons that have to be bought and cost quite a bit. There are two other weapons that can be acquired and upgraded towards the end of the player’s first run through. These two weapons are the Red9, which is a high-powered handgun and the Striker, which is a high-powered, high-capacity shotgun that, on top of everything else it has going for it, doesn’t take up a lot of space in the attaché case. Either one of these would work well as a dominant strategy in a second run through of this game. Also, though these guns do not have infinite ammo, it really isn’t much of a problem because they are more powerful and don’t require as many shots to incapacitate the player’s enemies and the player retains any ammo they had and can pick up any additional ammo.
            I wanted to see how long it took me to get through part of the game using only my Red9. It took me about an hour to get through the first chapter and I didn’t die even once. Normally, to get through the first chapter would have taken me about twice that long. I also noticed that I wasn’t as careful as I usually am because I didn’t have to worry about getting overwhelmed as much nor did I have to really worry about conserving ammo.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Looking for Jack Kerouac

While reading Walt Whitman’s “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” I couldn’t help but think of the beat generation and also how that bucking of society’s traditions seems to be coming back in our current mindset. From great turmoil comes change. An idea. A way of thinking that is, not so much new as it is being forced into the foreground. Walt Whitman’s experiences colored his life and outlook, as did the beat generation had to shuck off society’s norms and values and how even today, so much is changing that we cannot embrace the values that our parents grew up with.
            When I was young, I believed that success was having a good job, a house, getting married and having a kid or two. Then I realized that I didn’t particularly want kids and I wasn’t so sure about getting married, especially when so many of the marriages around me were dissolving. This made me think about other aspects of my parents’ lives that I had thought were the marks of being an adult. Then the housing bubble burst and so many people were having trouble paying their mortgages and it seemed that maybe having a house did not equal success. All this, along with a more recent transition in my life made me think that these were not the traditions to follow anymore. They were too inhibiting to embrace.
            I assume this is a lot like what triggered a lot of the writers in the beat generation. It didn’t make sense anymore to embrace what society had been telling them to embrace. A lot of people will call it a beat movement, but I don’t think it can be classified as a movement so much as a way of life. The beat poets at the time did not consider it a movement, they just were. Later, the hippies took it and warped it into a movement, but the beat poets and those in their culture were individuals who were just living and questioning society’s values.
            More and more lately, I have felt a kinship and an urge to learn more about the beat generation. I have recently found more and more reason to question what I thought was important. Some of this due to personal reasons, some due to economic reasons and some due to values just not making sense anymore. There is always change and this poem is so easy to relate to when I realize that we are in time of great upheaval.

Academy of American Poets (1997 – 2011) Walt Whitman. Retrieved Aug. 12, 2011, from

Parkins, Keith (2005) Beat Generation. Retrieved Aug. 12, 2011, from

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Childhood Friends

Growing up I had lots of stuffed animals... Lots and lots of stuffed animals. My favorite was given to me shortly after I was born and I have kept it ever since, not so much a stuffed animal as it was a blanket mixed with a hand puppet. The stuffed animals, you can still find similar ones today but the toys are a little harder to find. Sometimes they'll make a comeback, but they are changed. Modernized. Bastardized versions of what I had when I was a kid with their main selling-point being an air of nostalgia that they can't quite capture because they have tried to bring it into today's tastes.

These are my favorites:

These were fuzzy creatures that could be turned inside out and have all the appendages stuffed in so that it resembled a fuzzy ball. Man, I loved these!
Dang, those were so much fun! I always forget how much fun I had with my popples. I even had the small popple-creature offshoots that turned into hats. Yeah those were great, I even gave one a haircut once.
And then I saw this:
WTF!!! I am so glad I did not see this when I was a kid. I don't think I could've slept in the same room with them after seeing this. This is some seriously creepy shit. These popples don't look like cute and cuddly little creatures that roll into cute little balls, they look like demented demons that got spewed from the pits of hell for being too creepy for their demon children.

My Little Ponies:
I didn't have a lot of Barbies growing up. This was for a few reasons, mostly involving them being kind of expensive. I had a few Barbies and lots of clothes, because really, that was the main difference between the dolls, the themes. The other reason I didn't have many was because I had an older brother and he enjoyed pulling the heads off and putting them back on so that while I was playing with them, their heads would fall off. Luckily, I latched onto My Little Ponies; they were cheaper and their heads were a lot more difficult to detach.
Glo-WormOf course I had one of these, what self-respecting, afraid-of-the-dark kid didn't. It was great, a night-light that all you had to do was squeeze to make everything okay again. Except when the batteries went out. Then you couldn't find a screwdriver and when you finally did, you realized you didn't have batteries. You'd have to wait until one of your parents remembered to pick up batteries and until then you were just in the dark. Awake. Waiting for the inevitable moment when the monster in your closet would realize that your glo-worm couldn't protect you anymore. If you ever saw the movie "Rock-a-Doodle" with the owls and the animals running out of batteries for their flashlights, it was exactly like that.

These were little woodland creatures whose backs would open up and you could put stuff in them and then lock it. They came with a key and a little friend. They also had smaller ones that didn't have keys, but was a lot like an over-size change purse. I had the snail and the turtle and I loved both of them. For me, one good thing since I was prone to misplacing the keys is that the locks were incredibly easy to pick. I'm not sure it could even be classified as picking a lock, it was so easy.

Wish World Kids
I actually had to look these up, I couldn't not remember if they were real or just a fabricated memory. Turns out they were real. They were a lot like transformers except the lifeforms didn't change, the set pieces changed. I think out of the ones I owned, my aunt had gotten most of them for me.

That's my little homage to the toys of my youth.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I moved to Los Angeles about a month ago. I had gotten fed up with my job (or rather, some aspects that affected my job) and I realized that I was not doing the things or devoting enough time to the things that were important to me. So I quit and I moved to an entirely different city in the hopes that a physical change would initiate a mental change. And so I would be able to leave my job without too many awkward questions as to why. Relocation is a wonderful reason and I'm still relatively young enough to state that my impetus was "the spirit of adventure." It would have been much more difficult to quit, not have a job lined up and still stay in town.

I am currently studying game design and I am a writer. There, I said it: I am a writer. Because I had gotten so wrapped up in my job, I wasn't working on the craft of writing anymore and I was becoming even more withdrawn than usual. I also found my self looking at birds one day as they were flying past my window and wishing that I could be a bird (even if I am allergic to feathers) and fly very far away from the current situation.

I went from a one-bedroom to a studio and have pretty much cut my possessions in half in an effort to simplify (and make moving easier) my life. I cut my book collection from five bookcases down to two, and I feel that was the hardest cut of all. This is quite possibly the biggest change I have made in my life, but I believe it is an important one. I was drifting further and further away from myself and I needed to get back. This seemed like the best way for me to focus and grow back into myself.