Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Should I Get a Tattoo? Among Other Things.

I haven’t written anything in a very long time. It’s been like a few months since I’ve written a story thingy, and even longer since I’ve written a blog. I should probably be trying to write some fiction something, but I’m not.

I’ve got a Rush Limbaugh review thing that I want to write, but that would sort of require more thought and planning than I’ve put into it so far, and I really just wanted to write something. So instead, this is yet another entry about things that is wrong with me.


PAX was great. If anyone asks, I had a great time. Which I more or less did. It was a great experience. And yet…

I can’t help but feel like I did it wrong. Which is stupid. One of the many wonderful things about PAX is that you can’t really do it wrong. It’s just a thing. Go and enjoy it. But still, even having been there I feel like I missed out on it.

I don’t think I’m really the right person for PAX. I have that feeling about a lot of things. The problem I had with PAX is that the whole point was to sort of go there and hang out and play video games. But I just wouldn’t feel right doing that. I mean, the video game rooms had like a waiting list and sort of worked like a video game room at summer camp. You got a TV with a console and sort of checked out games.

There really aren’t a whole lot of games that I want to try out that I haven’t already tried out. And just sitting around at a convention playing a game, or laying around on a beanbag in the hallway playing my PSP or something, felt to me like I would have been wasting my time there. But that was the point! So, I didn’t do that, and that made me feel like I sort of wasted my time there.

But it was great. It really really was. It was an incredibly friendly atmosphere, and everyone there seemed firmly of the standpoint that they were going to have fun, and also they were going to do their best to make sure everyone around them was also having fun. It was a weird sort of militant attitude of good naturedness. It also made me really discover the wonders of Jonathan Coulton, which is a good thing.

There were a few really nice moments that I remember from PAX, but what I really want to talk about is something that I was thinking about in my preparation for the trip. And that is making first impressions. Specifically, to the minor celebrities that were at attendance.

The person I was most excited to meet at PAX was Justin McElroy. You probably don’t know who that is, which is another thing I sort of want to discuss but we’ll see how it goes.

When I was thinking about meeting Justin, I was trying to think of something to say to him that would instantly endear him to me and make him want to carry on a conversation, maybe make a lasting impression with him. I have to say, I got nothing.

And that’s the thing. I don’t know how to really make a first impression. I think it’s a skill that I had once, briefly, but it’s gone now. I feel like I’m not a difficult person to like. I don’t think there are any people who I know that dislike me. But I also feel like I have a sort of personality that grows on you, like a fungus. I don’t know how to sort of strike up an interesting conversation with a stranger or endear myself through introduction.

So, I decided “So what?” These people are not real people to me. Justin McElroy seems like a great guy, and it would be nice if he were my friend. But he’s not. He’s a guy who is on the internet and entertains me. He doesn’t really care who I am or anything. I would be a bit upset if I thought he particularly disliked me, but I’m really fine with him not knowing or caring who I am. He continues to entertain me, and that’s really all I can ask of the guy.

This is really more of a problem with meeting girls. I hate saying that, but honestly… I really want to find a girlfriend.

Now, it’s not like there’s this mass amount of girls who I am particularly interested in that I’m pining over or anything. And that’s sort of the point… I don’t really know how to meet people. There’s a couple girls at work who seem nice and are cute, and I just don’t know how to, you know… get to know them. I don’t really work with them, so I’m not in a position where conversation would sort of happen. I would have to make it happen.

This is a different problem from my other problem of feeling sort of skeevy that I want to go out of my way to get to know the girls who I think are attractive as opposed to, well, anyone else.

I have actually been making a real effort to meet people on OKCupid. Which, yeah… online dating is maybe kind of lame. But at the same time it’s kind of not. Where else can a guy who wouldn’t go up to a girl out of nowhere because I don’t think it’s right for attractive girls to constantly be hit on all the time, and don’t go to bars or clubs, meet someone? It’s valid.

But even in that space, I don’t really know how to make a profile that would seem attractive to someone I would be interested in, and I don’t know that I know how to write a message to someone that would make them want to talk to me either.

So, yeah… I’m a mess.

Oh! The thing I said I might get to. When I got home from PAX, I had this great picture of me and Justin. I really like it a lot. He’s a great personality. But I realized, there’s no one who would care. I don’t have any friends who follow Joystiq or listen to the podcasts or anything to share this kind of thing with. A good amount of my interests are like this. I have to sort of just enjoy them on my own. Which, you know… I have been for a little while now and hadn’t really even noticed until wanting to share that picture with people. It’s a little sad, but it’s also a little nice to realize that I have my own interests that are not influenced by the people around me.

Last topic before bed: I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo. I’ve always been sort of against tattoos. I mean, I think they look cool, but really... a tattoo is forever. Is there really a thing that I want to put on my forever?

No, not really. The tattoo I want would be, well, kind of lame. I still want it. I’m okay with lame. But will I still want it in a couple of years? Maybe. Maybe not. The things that I love sometimes change drastically. I mean, if I had gone out and gotten a tattoo of the Friends logo back in high school, I would not be happy with it now. It was an alright show, but really it was just another sit com. That’s not something that I thought of it back then, but now it’s not even on my rotation of old things that I care enough to watch again.

Still, if a tattoo weren’t such a process I would probably get it. But it’s a hassle. Have to find a place, and then go in and talk to the artist and get sketches done and stuff… It’s a lot of trouble to go through for something that’s, for all intents and purposes, kind of just an impulse at the moment.

So, yeah. Probably won’t be getting the tattoo. If I’m being perfectly honest, which I have a tendency to be, a big part of the reason I want one at the moment is just because I want things to change and I don’t know how to make them in a real, positive manner. So I want a tattoo to just sort of force this insignificant change on myself.

Law school is sort of that too, but more significant. Am I sure that’s what I really want to do? Hell no. But I’ve gotta do something different. Get myself out of my little rut. I should just move and look for work and find some roommates and whatnot, like Lior did… but for one thing I don’t think I’m ready for that, and for another I don’t think that would really change my position. Just my circumstances. I need a place where I will be forced into contact with new people. Like in school. So, going back to school.

Also, you know, my job sucks and is also something that needs a change. So two birds with one stone.

Alright… that last thing turned into more than it was supposed to. Bed time. Goodnight.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This is a Direct Response to Mike's Latest Blog

I typed it up in the comment box thingy originally, but when I hit submit it told me that it was too long. So it graduated from a comment to a post of its own... I'm such a proud parent. Which leads me to today's discussion:

Here's Mike's original post:

And here's the overlong comment:

I think you are greatly oversimplifying things. I mean, obviously when you start from a place of saying "parenting these days is bad and needs to be better" there's going to be a lot of oversimplification going on. I think, therefore, my problem isn't so much that you are oversimplifying as it is that you are misattributing.

I'm a lot of those things that you said. Specifically, lack of drive. But that's not my parents fault. No, the buck stops here. I'm screwed up in all sorts of ways, but there's very few things having to do with my development, or lack thereof, into a proper human being/adult that I blame on my parents.

To take a couple of the examples you used, buying an apartment and tying a tie.

I have no idea what goes into buying an apartment. I wouldn't know where to start. But I don't feel that I can blame that on my parents. I've never gone about doing it, and what were they supposed to do? Say "Okay, evan. One day you're going to need to buy an apartment. This is what you do..." Or did they just not play enough Monopoly with me as a kid?

Buying an apartment is one of those things that you just have to learn the first time you're ready to buy an apartment. Or, I suppose, if your parents happen to move while you are living with them and you sort of get a little bit involved with the process.

On to tying a tie. That's really... I mean, yeah... you're dad could have taught you to tie a tie, but... Okay, there's a line in The West Wing where the president is talking to his doctor who just had a baby, and he says that the guy's job is to provide food and shelter. Then he adds "You also have to teach her how to whistle. Her mother won't do that."

Obviously there's more to being a parent than food and shelter and whistling. Whistling is, strictly speaking, not a necessary skill to teach your kids. That's around where tying a tie is. It's a nice thing for a father to teach his son, like the cliche scene where the father and son are standing in front of the mirror and the father is shaving and the son has a razor with no blade and he's learning to shave. Sure, it's cute and whatnot, but seriously... you drag the razor across your face and the hair comes off.

Case in point: A couple years back I went to a job fair with my brother and Jim. Neither of them knew how to tie a tie, so I did the tie it on myself thing and then take it off and let them tighten it.

Let's remove Jim from the equation. My brother and I were brought up by the same set of parents, and I knew how to tie a tie but he didn't. Can you blame that on parenting not preparing us for life?

You know how I learned how to tie a tie? I needed to put on a suit one day and didn't remember how my mother had shown me to tie a tie, so I turned on Ocean's 11 and watched Brad Pitt do it.

Here's my point: Yes, it is important for parents to teach their kids things. Schools and friends and learning things just on the streets is not enough. But parents can't be expected to catch everything. Like tying a tie or apartment hunting, sometimes parents miss things and you just have to learn them for yourself. I don't think that I'm telling you something you don't know. I'm sure you didn't mean to say that you should leave your parents house at 18 a fully formed adult with all of life skills necessary for the rest of your life. The only reason I've taken this much time to respond is because 1) I felt like it and 2) When you write things like this I get the sense that you're really trying to say something and even possibly starting up on what could later become a thesis of some sort... like what you planned to do with the Outer Church thing.

A parent's job is to provide food and shelter, and to aid in your moral upbringing, more than anything else. By moral upbringing I mean the type of person you turn out to be. Mostly discipline and teaching the difference between right and wrong and how to treat people.

And how to, in a general sense, take care of yourself. If you leave the house and get scurvy then yeah... maybe the parents did something wrong in this area. But we're in a place now where there is a lot of blaming the parents for things. A lot of it is warranted. Maybe your eight year old shouldn't be playing Grand Theft Auto, and maybe it's your responsibility to know the sorts of things your child is exposed to and not let them be... but at some point people have to take more responsibility for themselves and not just blame things on their parents.

There are a whole host of things that parents nowadays are failing at, but I think it's important to correctly identify which things are really important and which things are superfluous.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Time Spent Unwisely

My TV just turned off. In the middle of the Bulls/Cavs game. AT&T is awful.
Not that I really care about the Bulls/Cavs game. I was just waiting for the Heat game to start. But still… that’s no excuse. What is this only four streams can be used at a time bullshit anyway? It’s bullshit, that’s what it is.
There are things that I should be doing now. This is not one of the things. I really need to be working on No School for Wizardry, and ideally the next one as well. But I’m tired.
To be honest, I would have come out here to work on NSFW even though I’m tired. I just don’t know what happens next. This is a problem. There’s no one for me to ask what happens next, either. There’s not actually anyone who knows what happened last. I know things that are going to happen soon, I just don’t know what the next thing to happen needs to be. I know the thing after that, though.
I’ve also let myself get even further behind in writing. This needs to be remedied. It was nice having Lior down and seeing him every day he was here, don’t get me wrong… But it did eat into my productivity on this count.
However, Sunday was a very productive day. Looking back, no it wasn’t really. But it felt like it was at the time.
Lior proctored my first attempt at an LSAT practice test on Sunday. Let me tell you about it.
It’s a pretty hard test. Not that the actual questions are that hard, for the most part. It’s really the time that you need to take the test in that makes it hard. That’s a new thing for me. I’m accustomed to finishing tests early and then being bored while I wait for the rest of the class to finish, or in college for the next class to start. There are five sections in the LSAT, and I only finished two of them.
Happily, the two I finished were the last two, which I choose to believe showed that I stated to get used to the test at the end there. But that first section… that thing killed me.
The first section of the first LSAT practice test I took was logic games. Logic games are something that I’ve only ever sort of seen before. I’ve seen variations of the same general idea where you get all this information and then there’s a chart and you need to take the information given and fill out this big chart with it. Logic games are sort of like that, except they don’t give you the chart, and there are multiple correct ways of filling out the chart. Then the questions are along the lines of the possibilities that the chart can be filled out in a certain way given a new variable for each question.
It’s really hard to explain, though explaining it that way actually helped me to sort of understand what to do with these sorts of questions in the future. So, even though the description wasn’t good enough for you to know what the hell I’m talking about if you don’t already, it helped me some and so it was an overall success.
The point is though, that was the first section of the test that I took, and I realized roughly 2/3 of the way into the section that I was going about it entirely the wrong way, and I didn’t have time to go back and go about it correctly, nor was I really sure about how to correctly go about it. Taking that section first put my self confidence all the way down pretty much as far as it could go, and I almost gave up on the whole thing right there. Then when I couldn’t finish the next section either, I really almost quit.
This story has a moderately happy ending. As I said, I was able to finish the final two sections. And then when I scored the test at the end, it turned out that even with the horribleness of that first section I still got a fairly respectable 154 overall score. So I’m pretty confident that I can bring that score up a considerable amount. Of course, I’m also kind of worried that once I start to learn how to do those logic game sections I’ll find that the other sections I scored well on was just a fluke that I will be unable to recreate. But we’ll see.
So, that’s another thing I should be doing right now. Going over the logic games thing and learning a bit better how to go about them. But I’m not. I’m typing this stupid uninteresting thing.
I’m becoming more confident that I want to go to law school though. Seeing myself get that score with such abysmal training in at least that one section really gave me some more confidence. Now pretty much every day that I spend at work at Kohl’s I’m thinking to myself how much I’d rather be in some law class or even just practicing those logic games. So, we’ll see how that goes.
I feel like I should have more things to talk about here. It’s been kind of a while since I’ve posted. But I just don’t, really. There’s really not that much else going on, and there haven’t been any real interesting musings I’ve been having lately. I could talk about fantasy basketball, but that’s just not interesting to anyone not actually playing fantasy basketball.
Oh! There was that article that Emily sent me about how fantasy sports is like D&D. I don’t have a link to it, but it was stupid and wrong anyway. All of the comparisons were tenuous at best, and it really didn’t take the actual game into consideration. No matter how much obsessing over stats and talking about the game in geeky fashion around people who don’t care there is in both the activities, when you get down to it D&D is about sitting around the table with friends and roleplaying and making Princess bride references. Fantasy sports is just about the statistics.
Also, check out Garfunkel and Oates. I found them recently, and like them a lot. Not as much as, say Autotune the News… which just sticks in my head and I have to watch over and over again, but a lot nonetheless.
And I just want to point out to Emily that a lot of those songs deal with sex. And not in a particularly tasteful manner. But they’re funny. There are ways to make jokes about sex that are funny, and just doing “Hur hur… that thing you said could be a double entendre” is not among those ways. Sex jokes, like pretty much everything else, can be genuinely clever or it can just be juvenile. There is far too much of the latter and not nearly enough of the former. I could probably make an entire post on this subject, but the Heat game is starting and I just don’t feel like it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Decision

There are moments in life when a decision is made. Sometimes decisions are made by carefully weighing the pros and cons of the situation and then choosing the option with the best outcome. This isn’t about those decisions.
When I was in fourth grade I was on an AAU basketball team. If you don’t know, AAU teams are traveling teams. You have to make the team, unlike rec leagues. It’s basically the same idea as being on your school team, but in elementary school.
When I was on the AAU team, I was just barely a good enough player to really belong on the team. There was a brief time before I was on that team that I was good enough, and a brief time a few years later. But at that time I was just barely able to get by on this level of competition.
But I was me, even back in the fourth grade. I could have been a much better basketball player than I turned out to be. If I had practiced and really honed my skills who knows… I could have been good enough to play on a low level college team. Like FAU or something.
But I didn’t want to practice. I just wanted to play. Practicing was work, and basketball was a game. So I wasn’t really that into the AAU team, but I was on it and it was a responsibility of mine to go to the practices and whatnot.
I don’t remember really not liking being on the team, but I’m sure I must not have for this anecdote to exist. I don’t remember anything leading up to it, I just remember the decision.
I was making friends with a kid in my class at the time. Brian Susi. And I wanted to hang out with him outside of school, so we were trying to make plans. And all of the time that we could possibly have found to get together was taken up by the AAU team practices. So, that was it. That was the last straw. I quit the team.
That’s really the only example I can remember clearly of when a decision was made in this fashion. Something happened and then that was just it. No more of this, I’m making a decision to change things. For better or worse. I was pissed and the situation was to be remedied.
I think when I decided to break up with Meg it was under similar circumstances, but I don’t really remember that nearly as clearly. So we’ll say it’s just been the one time in my life.
Until today.
Today was my birthday. That doesn’t really mean all that much to me. I don’t like to make a big deal out of it or anything. My friends took me out to dinner and bought me a clock, and that was nice. But I didn’t go out of my way to remind anyone my birthday was coming up, and I would have been perfectly fine if they hadn’t remembered or done anything special for me.
But still, even though birthdays aren’t that big a deal… it’s nice to have a nice day.
This year I had to work. That sucks, but I have responsibilities at work, and having to work on your birthday is one of the realities of the real world.
The amount of work I had to do today was substantial, and not fun. But it was work… it didn’t overly upset me that it wasn’t a fun day. And I had been expecting it.
The problem is, there was too much work for me to finish today. And I didn’t have any help. So, at some point during the day my store manager walked into the stock room and sort of looked around and said something like “Too much work today without any help, huh?”
“Yeah,” I agreed.
“Well,” he said “I guess you’ll have to come in tomorrow at 6:00.”
He wasn’t kidding.
I could have stayed a few hours late and finished up today. But it was my birthday. My parents were planning to take me out to dinner, like we’ve done every year. And you know what? Even if it wasn’t my birthday… schedule me the help or schedule me enough hours to get the job done. Don’t expect me to be able to stay late or come in early with no notice like that. I was already working my entire shift through without taking a break to try to get this work done.
So, that was it. Decision made. I can’t stay working at this place forever. I didn’t want to stay there forever anyway, but I also haven’t been seriously considering other options. Now that changes.
So now I’m going to be doing the LSAT thing. I don’t know if it’s going to work out for me. I don’t know if I can get a high enough LSAT score to offset my fairly poor undergrad GPA, and I don’t know if I can hack it in law school even if I can get in. But this is now the second, or possibly third, time that I’ve just gotten pissed and decided, “No more. This situation has become untenable. A change needs to be made.”

Sunday, November 1, 2009

LSATs and Dreams

I came out here tonight with very little in the way of purpose. But I wanted to type on my netbook, and I need to go to sleep early tonight so I don’t have time to properly devote to working on the next episode of No School For Wizardry. So you get this.
Mike’s working on a novel this month. The idea of writing a novel scares me. Good luck Mike.
I only have a vague idea of where I’m going with No School For Wizardry, and I think I would need to have a much more concrete idea of a particular story that I would want to tell in order to write a worthwhile novel. I have some basic events planned for the series, but nothing’s really solid. The reason I like writing the serial format is because it allows for a certain amount of meandering. I think I’m doing too much of that at the moment though. It’s taking me far too long to get through what is, more or less, still the introduction. I think that has a lot to do with it being such short installments spread out a week apart.
The point is, novels scare me and Mike’s decided to write one this month. So good luck to him.
I, on the other hand, and still trying to build myself up an archive on SerialShorts and then maybe start advertising or something. I need to figure out how to work on my pacing a bit better.
Aside from that, Lior is taking his LSATs in a month. So good luck to him.
I’m thinking about studying and taking the LSATs also. I’m at a point now where I’m full time at work, but it’s kind of a crappy job. I don’t hate it or anything, but I certainly don’t want to be doing it for the rest of my life. I think my options at this point are either work at Kohls forever, or go back to school for something.
I’ve always known I need to go back to school for something. The problem for me has always been that I don’t know what to go back to school for. Creative Writing was kind of a waste of a major, and that was because I don’t really have any career goals that I’m passionate about.
But I’ve always liked law. Well, not always. I’ve recently liked law. The little bit that I’ve been exposed to, anyway. I thought jury duty was incredibly interesting, and there’s a semi-weekly column on Joystiq about the various copyright and other law related stuff going on in the world of video games, and I always find myself interested in that kind of stuff.
So for a while I’ve had law school in the back of my mind. But I’m not a very good student. My grades in college were not spectacular. So, for one thing, I would have trouble getting into a good law school. Lior thinks I wouldn’t have too much trouble if I studied for and got a high mark on my LSATs, but therein lies another problem. I’m not good at all at studying. I don’t know how to do it. I’ve never done it.
I don’t really know what the LSATs entail. I imagine “studying” for the LSATs is, more or less, taking a lot of practice tests and getting used to the logic and reading skills necessary for the test moreso than it’s memorizing laws or dates or vocabulary or anything. So I might be able to do that, but I have trouble being self motivating outside of an actual classroom or work location.
I’m doing a little bit, but not very much, better at that lately. I’ve kept up the update schedule on SerialShorts so far, but I’m really falling behind a little bit in maintaining a buffer of stories between what’s been posted and what I have written waiting to be posted.
So, assuming I’ve gotten at least a little better at self motivation, and I could study up for the LSATs and pull a high enough mark to get into a good school… I’m not good at school. I would have to leave Kohls, take out a loan, and really put everything into school. I don’t know if I’m capable of that. I’m worried I’ll go through with the test and enrolling, and then half ass the actual classes and just fail out and be right back where I started, but with debt.
But there’s always the chance that I could get into the same school as Lior and we could go through law school together. That would be neat.
Switching gears, I had a long conversation with Emily last night that started with Mike’s recent tirade against some interpretations of XKCD. Mike wrote a particularly scathing satire of those interpretations. Emily seemed to agree with the initial interpretations in the first place, and not really get the satire Mike was employing. The conversation didn’t stay with the XKCD thing very long, so it’s entirely possible that I’m completely misrepresenting both her stance on the subject and her understanding. It’s not really important, except to say that Mike is right and that Emily turned the conversation into being about me.
I don’t know why I bother bringing this up at all. The conversation was long, and pretty much a colossal waste of time. I don’t think I fully agree with either stance, mine or hers, from the conversation. I don’t want to go into it, really, but the long and short of it is that Emily doesn’t think I know how to be a person. It all had to do with the level of brutal honesty that’s appropriate for a relationship. Also that I think cutting her hair short makes her face look fat.
Maybe I’ll go into the specifics of the conversation and my stance on it in another post. I could probably do a whole post on it, to be honest. I don’t feel like doing that now, though.
But I went to sleep pretty much right after finishing up with Emily. I don’t mean to say that this conversation had any real sort of effect on me, because it didn’t, really. I don’t think she was right, and I don’t really even think I was right. But as a result of, I think, the whole ordeal I woke up this morning from a dream that I got an email from Stacy saying that she and her current boyfriend were in some sort of trouble and had a court date and she wanted help from me.
The reason this woke me up was the reaction it provoked from me. I woke up in the midst of composing an email back to her telling her to fuck off and that she has no right asking me for anything and that I hoped she got whatever it was that was coming to her.
Again, I don’t really know why I’m mentioning this. I don’t have an interpretation of what this little snippet of a dream, or what my reaction to it means in a psychological sense, or any other sort of sense either. Except that it left me with a feeling of, I’d really like to help her… mostly because whenever anyone asks me for help with something I want to try and help. But also, fuck her. She doesn’t deserve anything from me, and I would also really like to be able to hurt her.
That’s not a nice thing to say. I mean about myself. It’s not a nice thing to want specifically to hurt someone. Vengeance is not a virtue. But still. That’s the way it goes.
I don’t have any more things to say at the moment. I don’t really feel that this is a good note to end a post on, but once again that’s the way it goes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Near Miss

(the formatting worked out better on myspace)

“Hi,” said Jeff.

* * *
Seven days earlier.
* * *
Jeff sat at the table, nursing his beer. It was Saturday night, and that meant that it was club night. He did this ever week. Him, Steve, Jackie, and her boyfriend, Scott.
“And this is pretty much how it goes every week,” Jeff thought as he looked out over the dance floor. “Scott grinding up against Jackie’s leg, and Steve hitting on a group of girls at the bar.”
It didn’t seem to be going well for Steve. “It never seems to,” Jeff reflected. And how could it, really? The music was so loud, it drowned out the talk. And what the hell song was playing, anyway? It was a pulsing beat. How could people tell when one song ended and the next one began? Jeff couldn’t remember there being a break in the thumping bass as long as he’d been there.
After some frantic back and forth gesturing between Steve and the girls, one of them got up and led him to the dance floor. Steve glanced back at the other two girls as he followed.
Jeff smirked when he saw Steve’s glance. That wasn’t the girl he had been going for.
Jeff went back to surveying the room when a girl leaned down to speak to him.
“Are these seats taken?” she asked.
“She’s cute,” he thought. “Not too made up. Obviously not overly preoccupied with clothes and makeup, but still really pretty just naturally. That’s the sort of girl I could see myself with.
He glanced at the dance floor, looking for his friends. There were all still dancing, and it didn’t look like they would be back any time soon.
“Go ahead,” he said.
“Sweet.” She smiled and sat down across from him at the table.
Jeff sipped at his beer. The girl was drinking a rum and coke, and surveying the room.
“So, are you here alone?” Jeff thought. he made sure he appeared to be casually nursing his beer and gazing at the room, just like she was.
They both sat there, sipping at their drinks and looking around aimlessly.
“Are you here alone?” thought Jeff. “Come on. Say it. Are you here alone?”
The girl got up. She had spotted her friends at a table across the club. Jeff watched her walk over to their table, sit down, and lean in to talk to them over the droning music of the club.
“What’s wrong with you?” Jeff scolded himself. “ ‘Are you here alone?’ How hard is it to say?” He watched her carrying on her conversation and continued silently scolding himself on the missed opportunity.
The group at her table finished their conversation and all sat back in their seats. Jeff’s girl glanced around at the club, in Jeff’s direction.
He quickly lowered his gaze to his beer.
“Did she notice me looking?” he wondered.
He casually looked back over the dance floor, making sure not to let himself look at the girl again.
“This is stupid,” he thought. “What’s the big deal? What if she’s looking at me now? Then I could talk to her. But no. I’m gonna just pretend that I hardly noticed her at all. ‘Staring at you? Like some common jerk? Not me! I’m just casually looking around the room. Hardly noticed you at all.’
Okay. That’s been enough time”
He let himself slowly bring his gaze back to her table. Some guy was leaning over her now.

Brett swaggered over to the table. Three girls and two guys. All of the girls were hot. The one by herself had smaller boobs than the other two, and she didn’t look as slutty, but still hot.
Oh well.
He leaned over her and smiled.
“Wanna dance?” he yelled over the music.
Sarah looked up at him. He was good looking. Tall, with brown hair, blue eyes, a strong jaw, and an athletic build. She shrugged.
“Sure,” she said, and got up to accompany him to the floor.

Jeff watched them leave the table together and sighed. “Oh well,” he thought. “She probably wasn’t really my type anyway. But he kept his eyes on her.
She was a good dancer, as far as he could tell. Which mostly just meant that she was able to move with some amount of rhythms. Girls always seemd like good dancers unless they were absolutely horrible at it.
They guy she was dancing with, for his part, just seemed to be standing there.
Jeff noticed Scott and Jackie making their way back to his table, and quickly started scanning the room as casually as he could manage.
Did they notice him staring at her?
“What? Staring at someone in particular? Me? Preposterous! No, I’m just looking around. Completely casual. I don’t even notice individual people.”
Scott and Jackie collapsed into the booth. Jeff leaned forward to talk to them.
“Hey, guys,” he said.
They smiled at him, catching their breath from the dancing.

Brett was feeling better about his decision to ask this girl to dance. Up close, she was much better looking than he had originally thought. And he liked the way she moved. He could feel himself getting turned on.
Sarah was feeling pretty buzzed. She was having a good time dancing with—what was his name again? Had he told her? Oh well. Doesn’t really matter. It’s just dancing.
She thrust her ass into his crotch, and felt that he was a little hard. She smiled, and grinded into him a bit.
He leaned down to her ear and yelled, “Wanna get out of here?”
She turned around to look at him.
“I don’t even know your name,” she yelled.
“It’s Brett.” He grinned at her.
He had a really nice smile. She looked him up and down quickly.
“He really is cute,” she thought. “What the hell?”
“Lemme get my stuff,” she said, and she led him back to her table.
She grabbed her purse when they got back and said “I’m gonna get out of here,” to her friends. Erica and Trish giggle at her.
“Have fun, you two,” Erica said.
Sarah rolled her eyes at her, picked up her half-full glass of rum and coke, and downed the rest. Then she and Brett made their way out of the club.

“Where’s Steve?” Jackie asked.
“Jeff pointed him out on the dance floor. Jackie nodded.
“We’re getting tired,” she said, gesturing toward herself and Scott. “You about ready to get going?”
Jeff scanned the club. He didn’t see his girl anywhere.
“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll go let Steve know we’re leaving.”
* * *
Sarah woke up the next morning next to Brett.
“Who is this guy?” she thought. “And where am I?”
She surveyed the room and saw her clothes in a heap at the foot of the bed. Last night started to come back to her.
What was that guy’s name again? Brian or something, right?
“Brian?” she said in a half whisper.
He didn’t answer.
“Brian?” she tried again, giving him a light shove to try to wake him.
No go.
“Oh well,” she thought as she rolled out of bed and got dressed. “I didn’t really have anything to say to him anyway.”
She glanced back at him as she opened the bedroom door to leave.
“He’s not as cute as he was last night, anyway,” she thought as she walked out.
* * *
Jeff sat on the couch, eating a bowl of cereal and watching the news. Steve’s bedroom door opened, and out walked the girl from the night before.
“Morning,” Jeff said. She gave a startled little jump.
“Oh,” she said. “Morning.” And she made a B-line for the door.
“See you around, then,” said Jeff.
“Yeah,” she said over her shoulder as she opened the door. “See ya.”
The door closed behind her, and Steve emerged from his room wearing just a pair of boxer shorts. He slumped down on the couch next to Jeff.
“So,” said Jeff. “Who was she?”
Steve shrugged. “Just some girl,” he said. “You know.
“Not really,” thought Jeff. “I don’t do ‘Just a Girl.’ I wonder what it would be like to just take Just a Girl home for a night and then shrug about her the next morning.”
But what he said was: “Yeah.” And he looked away from Steve, unable to maintain eye contact.
“How’d you do last night?” Steve asked.
“Oh,” said Jeff, keeping his gaze fixed on the television. “You know.”
He shrugged, just as Steve had done. But it wasn’t the same shrug as Steve’s, was it? Steve’s shrug had meant “Yeah, this is all commonplace for me. Some random girl for the night. Don’t even remember her name. But it’s a new day now. On to new things.”
Jeff’s shrug had meant “I sat at the table all alone all night. Again. Watching everyone else have fun, making sure no one noticed me looking at them, and trying to figure out how to go up to some girl who probably thought he was staring at her like a creep and start up a conversation with her. But I want you to think I had a fine time and am just as casual as you about it.”
“But,” Jeff thought, “maybe Steve’s shrug is closer to mine than I think. Just a Girl wasn’t The Right Girl, was she? She was just the one in the group containing The Right Girl that had been willing to go off with Steve. and more weekend than not, there isn’t even a Just a Girl for Steve, is there?”
Jeff hazarded a glance away from the television at Steve, who was eating cereal straight from the box. He looked at Jeff.
“How come you never ask a girl to dance or anything?” he asked.
Jeff felt an uncomfortable flush starting in his gut.
“I just never see anyone I like,” Jeff lied, thinking about the girl from last night.
“How would you know?” Steve asked.
“I just do,” Jeff shrugged.
This shrug meant “Drop it. Please. Please, just drop it.
The door to Scott and jackie’s room opened, and out came Jackie.
“I just don’t get how you could have a good time sitting the table alone like that all the time,” Steve said.
“Yeah,” chimed in Jackie. “Why don’t you ever get up and ask a girl to dance?”
“He says he never sees anyone he likes,” supplied Steve.
Jeff tried the Drop It Please shrug again. Jackie rolled her eyes.
“You should, Jeff. Just go up to someone and say hi.
The flush was making its way to Jeff’s face now. he went for the Drop It Please shrug one more time and said, “Yeah. You’re probably right. I’ll try next week.
* * *
Sarah opened the door to her apartment, hoping that Trish and Erica would still be asleep in their beds. She didn’t feel like talking about her night with Brandon—or was it Brent?
No luck. there they were on the couch, drinking black coffee.
They both looked like they had had too much to drink last night. Sarah wondered if she looked that way too.
Erica and Trish looked up from their mugs when the door opened.
“Just getting in?” Erica grinned.
Sarah didn’t answer.
“So, how was he?” Trish prodded.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Sarah said.
“I don’t remember,” she thought. “But I don’t feel like hearing a lecture.” She started for the safety of her room before the inquisition really got under way.
“That bad, huh?” Erica asked.
“Yeah,” Sarah lied. “He was pretty bad.”
Erica and Trish laughed. Sarah forced a grin.
“So we shouldn’t expect to see any more of—what was his name?” Trish asked.
“Barry,” Sarah said. “And, no. Probably not.”
Trish shrugged. “Oh well,” she said. “He was pretty cute.”
“Yes, he was.” Sarah thought. “But that’s all I know about him. He was just a night of sex, and an uncomfortable conversation with the girls the next morning. In a week, I won’t even remember his name.”
She let that thought linger.
“Still,” she amended. She tried to put these thoughts out of her mind.
“Where are the boys?” she asked innocently.
“Randy’s still asleep,” Erica said.
“And Chris went to his place last night,” Trish piped in. “He has work today.”
Sarah nodded.
“Alright,” she said. “Well, I’m gonna grab a shower and then take a quick nap.”
“Didn’t get much sleep last night?” Erica grinned at her. That stupid, knowing, grin of hers. “I guess he wasn’t all that bad?”
Sarah didn’t answer. She hurried off to her room to get out of these clothes and into a nice, hot, shower. The giggling of her roommates followed her.
What would they know about it anyway. They’d both been with Randy and Chris, respectively, for as long as she’d known them. All throughout college and the five years since. They think the single life is so glamorous.
“Well, sometimes it is,” she thought. “But for the most part, it’s nights hardly remembered followed by mornings like this one.”
She slipped out of her clothes, leaving them on the floor, and into the shower. She stood for a moment, just letting the warm water soak her hair and run down her shoulders.
“But,” she continued. “I don’t even remember what it feels like to be made love to.”
She stepped back from the stream of water.
“And drunk sex tastes like vomit,” she thought bitterly as she poured some shampoo into her hands.
* * *
Jeff pulled into a gas station a few days later. Saturday night was forgotten now. It was just another disappointing night at the club in a long line of disappointing nights at the club. Jackie and Steve hadn’t bugged him about it since. That conversation was just a mildly uncomfortable conversation in a long line of mildly uncomfortable conversations.
Still, Jackie’s advice had lingered a little bit.
“Just say hi,” she had said.
“Yeah,” thought Jeff. “But then what?”
He couldn’t think of anything.
He went into the station to pay for his gas. There were two people in line in front of him. An old man, buying a pack of cigarettes and behind him a very pretty girl.
“She’s cute,” Jess thought. “Not my type, but still. Really cute.”
He felt his gaze linger on her. She didn’t seem to notice him at all.
“Okay,” he thought. “She’s pretty. But don’t stare at her. Did she notice me staring? Find something else to look at.”
He picked up a magazine at random and studied the cover.
“Or,” he thought, “is it weird to not look at her at all? Will she notice me not looking at her?”
He put down the magazine. The girl glanced his way, just as he was glancing back at her.
“Shit. She noticed me staring now.”
He smiled at her.
She smiled back, then went back to paying him no attention whatsoever.
“No what is she thinking?” he wondered.” Does she think I’m creepy?”
A guy around the same ag as Jeff entered the station and got in line.
“She probably isn’t even thinking about me at all,” Jeff thought.
“Hey,” the new guy said, quietly. “She with you?” He nodded toward the girl.
Jeff shook his head.
The new guy tapped the girl on the shoulder. She turned around and he asked “How old are you?”
“How old are you?” Jeff thought. “Really? That’s what you’re going with?”
“Seventeen,” she answered.
The new guy seemed disappointed.
“Oh,” he said, taking a step back. “You look older.”
“I’m not,” the girl said, and turned back to the teller.
“Well, thought Jeff. “That’s that.”
The new guy stepped forward again.
“Hey,” he said, and the girl faced him again. “Can I get your number anyway?”
“Seriously?!” thought Jeff.
“No,” the girl said.
“Alright,” Said the new guy, a big shit-eating grin on his face. “I had to ask, you know? I can’t help it. I’m a dog.”
The girl took her change from the teller and left the station. Jeff stepped up to take his turn.
“Fill up pump three,” he said, handing forty dollars across the counter.
“Man, she was really hot,” the new guy confided to Jeff, still wearing that grin.
Jeff nodded, forced a smile, and went out to his car.
“Seriously?” he thought again. “How old are you? I can’t help it, I’m a dog?”
He started pumping gas into his car.
“However creepy she might have thought I was, at least I wasn’t him.”
He clicked the autopump into place and leaned on the side of the car, watching the dollars tick upwards.
“Still,” he thought. “That approach must have worked for him at least once. ‘Can I have your number anyway.’ I would never let myself be that guy.”
* * *
It was Saturday night. Again. Back at the club.
Jackie and Scott were already on the dance floor. Steve was wandering around, seemingly aimlessly, mingling. Jeff took up his post at the table.

The girls didn’t want to come out tonight. They were making tonight a Blockbuster night. Nice and quiet, at home, cuddled up with their boyfriends.
Sarah was not in the mood to be a fifth wheel. Tonight, for her, would be about getting drunk. She entered the club and headed straight for the bar.

Jeff saw her walk in the door. He had been gazing around the club, avoiding eye contact, like usual. When she came in, he recognized her as the girl from last week and let his gaze linger.
“She came here alone tonight,” he thought as he watched her make her way over to the bar and order a drink.

Sarah finished her rum and coke and signaled the barman for another. She sat facing the bar, not looking around. Oblivous to the club atmosphere going on behind her.
Tonight isn’t about being out,” she thought bitterly. “It’s about not being home.”

“Okay,” thought jeff. “Just get up now, and go over there. You can ask her how old she is.” He snorted derisively at the absurdity.
he sat back in resignation. He knew he wasn’t going to go over there and talk to her. He was just torturing himself by trying to make himself do something that, inevitably, he would fail to do and then just be upset later at his own failure.
“Just say hi.”
He remembered Jackie’s advice from earlier that week, and sat forward again.
“Yeah, he thought. “I can manage that much. Just go over there, and say hi.”
He imagined the scenario. He was standing there, right in front of her.
“Hi, he said.”
“Hello,” she responded sweetly. Then
Then what?
He leaned back again, dejected. He tore his gaze from her to find his friends in the crowd. Scott and Jackie were still out there dancing. And there was Steve, trying to coax a girl away from her group of friends and off to the dance floor with him.
And that was it!
Jeff sat bolt upright with the realization. “Would you like to dance?” That’s what would come after Hi!
“Okay, legs,” he said out loud. “Time to take me over there. I’m going for it.”
And, to his surprise, they responded and he was making his way towards the bar. Towards her.

Sarah was on her fifth rum and coke. This wasn’t working.
She thought about the girls at home, cozy on the couch in the flickering light of the television, wrapped in loving embraces.
“That’s what I want,” she thought. “I want someone to hold me and love me. A partner. Not just for the night.”
She finished off the last of her drink, and glanced quickly around the club. The pounding bass was giving her a headache.
“I’m not going to find that here, she thought.
The night about being not at home was over. t had failed.
New plan for the night: Go home, get in bed, and sleep it off.
She turned around on the barstool to leave, and almost collided with some guy who had been hovering right behind her.

“Hi,” said Jeff.

I Need To Grow Up

It’s late and I’m tired.
This time was set aside for writing more of No School For Wizardry, and I got started on the next episode, but I’m tired and it just isn’t coming the way I want it to. So I’ll set that aside for now and hopefully return to it tomorrow. I’m really starting to get a little worried about my output of stories. I have a decent buffer for myself right now, but I’d really like to start posting twice a week, and if I don’t start ramping up the productivity that’s not going to be able to happen.
Incidentally, if you’re following the story, tomorrow night (Monday morning) will be the fourth installment. I have four more written currently, and I’m working on the next one—episode 9. I’m expecting that around episode 12 or so there are going to be some big changes to the story,and that’s around the time I plan to start posting on Wednesdays as well. So, look for that in like a couple months.
But that’s not what I want to discuss in this space. Back when I first decided to try this website idea I said that there was a distinct possiblity that blogs would stop being posted here, and all around my other blog posting haunts (myspace, blogger, okcupid) and begin to be relegated more to Well, my last post was made there, with just a link to it in my myspace blog (which was pretty much only there because I wanted Emily to see that a new blog had been posted and I knew she would never notice it in the news/blog section of the site)
I think what I’m going to do is try to clean up the blog section of the site a little bit.—Maybe give each post its own URL or something… maybe some sort of archival system.—and post blogs there more regularly and here less regularly. Any blog that’s about the site, or about writing, or about a review of a book or movie or TV show or something will go there. This space will just be for things like relationship theory and more personal blogging. So that means my blogging will sort of be split roughly in half, I think, between here and there.
I need to figure out a way to indicate that there’s a new blog posted over there, though. I’ll obviously update the twitter feed when a new post is made, but I’m thinking I need to put something on the front page or something when there’s a new post up. And I need to figure out how long a post is “new” for. Probably a week.
Also, maybe one day I’ll add RSS. I have no idea how to do that, but maybe one day I’ll learn.
Anyway… all of that is not the purpose of this post. That was just a bit of housekeeping. No, the purpose of this post is to bitch and moan.
I’m still lonely. I’ve been lonely for a very long time now. I say that I don’t have any friends often, but that’s not really true and I know it. For one thing, there’s Jim. I know that I neglect him a lot, and I feel bad about it… but I guess that’s just the way it goes. I’m sure I’ll be seeing him more regularly as my Heat game companion when the season starts up next week. So that’s good.
There’s also Emily, and the group of friends that I associate as being my Cherry group of friends. That’s not really fair anymore, because that group has become my group of friends now as well, but still… that’s the Cherry group of friends.
There’s also Jess, who I spoke to today but don’t speak with much, and Lior, who I also don’t speak to much, but I’ll be seeing him in February when he comes down, and then again in March when I go up there for PAX. And there’s Mike, who I really only keep up with through blogs and twitter. Oh and Sophia. I need to call her and get her hard drive back to her.
So, those are my friends. There are work friends and such as well, but they are all more of acquaintances. It’s a modest sized group of friends. But, to be honest, I feel it’s right about the right size for me.
The reason I’m lonely, really, is just because I’m single and have been for far too long, and haven’t been happy about it at any point. And I just don’t know what to do about it at all. It’s at a point where I don’t feel like I can think about it in terms of theory anymore, to the extent that I was ever able to in the first place.
I’m not comfortable going out to clubs or bars or anything to try to meet people, and so at this point I’m just waiting around for someone to come along. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that except that it’s not happening. I think a relationship should be able to grow organically, but what do you do when it’s just not happening?
Okay… let me take a step, well, not back so much as sideways. This is where my mind was when I decided I wanted to write this blog entry:
There’s that girl Melissa I work with who I decided I had a crush on. Nothing’s going to happen with her, and really I’m okay with that. It’s not a big crush. It’s not like I find myself thinking about her all the time or anything. But finding someone who I had a crush on at all was kind of a big step for me.
Anyway… there’s her. And I haven’t seen her much or talked to her much in the past few weeks, and so the crush has faded quite a lot.
But there are a few other girls at work that I think are really cute. So, now what?
I don’t go up and start talking to people. It’s not that I get nervous talking to girls or anything. I’m fine talking to people. I don’t clam up or anything because a girl is pretty. I just don’t know how to assert myself into someone’s life to the point where a conversation would be forthcoming. The work friends that I have, I have because I found that I get along with them when we were somehow forced into interaction through work.
Except Sophia. She came up and started up a conversation with me. That’s only slightly germane. The slightly is because I wish that would happen more often, and particularly with some of the girls I think are attractive.
Usually the fact that I don’t care to start up conversations with strangers doesn’t bother me at all. If I don’t know you, then you’re pretty much just background to me until I am somehow thrust into a social situation with you. That’s pretty much how I live my life, and it works for me for the most part. Except now.
Because now I want to find a girlfriend. For one thing, I don’t think this is a healthy aspiration. I think it means that I could thrust myself into a relationship with someone I don’t necessarily belong in a relationship with just because they were the first person to come along. But let’s set that notion aside for the moment.
Let’s focus on the handful of girls at work that I’m attracted to. For the most part, I don’t even know their names. There are a lot of people at work whose names I don’t know. Like I said, I’m okay with that for the most part. They’re just background until for some reason they become part of my life in a signifiant fashion.
But I’d like to talk to that handful of girls, and I just don’t know how to do it.
I could just go up to them and say “Hi. I’m evan.” That would work, at least somewhat. But I don’t do that. And there’s a part of me that watches me.
I don’t want to be the sort of guy who is only interested in talking to people if they are girls and attractive. So, there’s that part of me that’s watching me and saying “Well, you can’t just go up to her and say hi. Because if you didn’t think she was attractive, you wouldn’t do it.” So I have to sort sneak around that inner me and find a way to insinuate these people into my life naturally, in a way that the inner me doesn’t think is me being sleezy and only wanting to talk to them because they’re cute.
I know. I’m a wreck.
Really, a lot of this is sort of covered in that short story I wrote a little while back. I think I’ll post it here now. It’s finished, I guess. It’s not good, really, and if I planned to send it off to try and get it published or something I would have to rework it quite a bit. But I’m not going to do that. I’ve moved on to my Serial Shorts and left that story behind. So I might as well post it as is.
Anyway, the point is… I think I need someone to tell me that it’s okay to talk to these girls, and that it wouldn’t make me the sleezy guy I’m always guarding myself from being. I don’t think that would really help though, because the inner me wouldn’t believe them anyway.
So, really what I need is someone to force me into these social situations. Someone at work to know that I want to talk to these girls, and tell them or put us together or something.Or a friend to find someone that they think I would like and set us up. The person I’m describing is basically a wingman, and the situational reality is that this is a very grade school way of finding relationships.
I don’t have a wingman, and I’m not in grade school anymore. I need to grow up.
I’m very good at being in a relationship. Well, I’m good at the relationship anyway… I know I tend to get a little lost in them and maybe I need to learn how to be in a relationship and also maintain my own life outside of it a bit more than I have in the past. But my point is that I’m good in the relationship and am able to have a mature grown up relationship. It’s just finding that and being outside of the relationship where I am stunted.
I wanted to end the post by saying that I need to grow up, but it needed to be said in the spot that it was said in and then that last paragraph needed to come after it, and I couldn’t think of an easy way to rework things so that it came after instead of before. So I’m just going to say it again as if for the first time, and then make it the title of the post.
I need to grow up.