Hi there

Hi, hope you like my Blog. Actually, no, not really, couldn't care less, this is all about me. Feel free to fluff my ego like it was the least ugly part of Ron Jeremy, and you had made some poor life decisions. Also, if you wanna swap links and are not an idiot, here's the crap email I rarely check: nightfire08@gmail.com Cheers!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One Night In College

So, today on the "L" or as I have started calling it privately, the "I would destroy you if I could," I encountered a woman whom I knew from a previous life, and not in any sort of hippy/rifle-dropping/metaphysical sense, but rather from college.

She was about a year younger than me, or somewhere-abouts that (I didn't really pay attention to these things) and (I know what you're thinking internet! Get your mind out of the gutter) NO I didn't hook up with her. Because if I had, it wouldn't have been awkward. It would have been a joyful, beautiful, spiritual reunion. Cuz that's how those things work for me. Honest.

The reason why it's so awkward every time is not because there was any bad history between us, but rather because she had desperately wanted there have been some bad history between us. And I didn't.

I happened into her on the "L" with her "boyfriend," who didn't say anything to contradict her when she called him that, and didn't really look crazy or homeless and being paid with food or anything, and actually turned out, after we chatted for a spell, to be a pretty cool guy.

Hell, in my opinion he'd have to be Mother Teresa with dick to date this girl, but, I digress.

I think that my abject disapproval of this woman is best expressed in story, however, and this story shall allow me to elaborate on many topics very interesting to both of us, including oral sex (if you're in doubt of your interest in it, internet, google anything and see if it happens to come up) and so internet I shall tell you a tale of "One Night in College."

Okay, so I've usually had a decent dating life, and generally dated girls I've seen across the room and been interested in, etc. although my romantic strategy tends to be A)Approach woman B)pee self C) wait (sheepishly) for sympathy. But somehow, maybe because I have one hell of a guardian angel (wingman? sorry.) I've done alright.

However, my theoretical holy brother in arms has not prevented me from being attractive to a number of fairly crazy people.

And I understand how this works. As you may or may not have guessed by now, internet, I like attention. Which is why I'm displaying my journal to strangers, instead of writing it in the dignified self-reflective privacy of actual dead tree pulp.

So quite often when someone pays me extra attention, I tend to just sort of enjoy it, as if it was a rainbow, or warm summer rain, and not really question what dark storms may be brewing on the intentional horizon, until I'm flung halfway to Oz.

So, this aforementioned girl, and another crazy un-aforementioned girl, were both into me at the same time, because God likes taunting me like a mean kid with some ants and something to taunt ants with (sentience?). Partially my stupid, stupid fault, but what's a poor girl to do? Boy! Boy! Dammit. Weeps. Mastu...okay, okay enough.

I am throwing a fundraiser party at my apartment to raise funds for a play I was performing in at the time (attention much?) and I decided that, because getting texts/calls/standing-on-my-front-lawn-at-night-crying-with-Every-Rose-Has-It's-Thorn-blaring-from-a-boombox-held-high-above-her-head was really getting on my nerves, and keeping me from pursuing other more interesting interests, like playing video games and masturbating, I decided that I'd invite them both to the same party.

I don't really know what I was thinking at the time. Maybe I was hoping they'd shake hands and combust in some sort of weird-girl space-time anomaly. More probably I was thinking that if both were on the prowl, neither would really let the other one corner me, since my friends had decided to sit back and watch, as apposed to actually helping me stay away from both or either, because that was much funnier for them. Maybe I could play them against one another, just in case one or the other was going to show up anyway. I don't know internet, I just did it thinking it would somehow help.

So to the party they both show up, one a half an hour after the other. They come in the door, say high to a few friends, and immediately bee-line toward me, who am trying desperately to secure a "bar-tending" position at this point to the point of throwing a very nice girl who was acting as our stage manager and official "bar-tender" clean out my third-story window, but was caught and literally dragged into a milieu of drunken, sweat, clothed crotch rubbing "dancing". Which is not terribly fun if you're not "into it."

Now granted the second one found me just as the first went to the bathroom, so my dream of a catfight/duel/anomaly over me resulting in the death of both of them never came to fruition, mainly because God had taken the lead off my friends and copied the non-invasive "funnier-for-me" approach, I think.

And here's where it gets good.

Both girls/women/anomalies, during sweaty clothed crotch bumping, within five minutes of one another, uttered variations of the phrase "and what's more, I really love to perform oral sex."

Anyone who thinks "women are just more subtle than men" is a stupid. That's right. A Stupid. Some. SOME is the key word. Some would say "most," but definitely not ALL.

I'd also like to point out the lack of credit that this gives me as a man. And I understand that most women think that all men want is sex, but their behavior implies that there's some sort of transitive property at work here. It's like they were implying that because I like BLOWJOBS, and THEY like BLOWJOBS, therefor I like THEM.

Which is really not necessarily the case.

But, alright ladies, if you'd really rather have some sort mathematical model to pattern your understanding of the male sexual psyche after, why don't we look toward supply-side economics.

I want all of you, internet, to imagine that instead of blowjobs, women gave men they liked small, finely crafted golden statues. Now in this model, because each statue is made by hand, each woman can only make and distribute her own special brand of statue.

Say you just like making statues alot, and you make alot, and give them to everyone. All of a sudden, people aren't really going to want your statues (or herpes). In fact, if everyone has your statues, then they aren't really valued by anyone, because according to simple laws of economics, value of your statues comes from scarcity.

So say you're really good at making statues. That's great, however anyone who receives a statue of yours is going to wonder just how you got so good at making statues, and just how many people out there have your "practice" statues, since they DO still count, being your brand. And most people won't want to have your statues anymore than they want to wear Ambercrombie (unless they're 14, literally or emotionally).

Similarly if you're just really really bad at statues, no one is going to want your golden play-dough poop sculture on their "mantle".

That's because statues (read:blowjobs) are works of art. That was an awesome sentence. They are individually crafted, and it's the care, time and commitment that goes into each one that makes it truly valuable.

So for most men, the most intelligent economic strategy is either to want one brand of statue, and only one, an investment, if you will, the quality steadily increasing over time through practiced craftswomanship, that no one else has, making it very valuable so that he is rich in the ways of statues; or rather as vast an assortment of RARE statues of all different sizes and shapes that he could display in a sort of mental "trophy case".

And it's as simple as that. So lo and behold: If you want attract a man with your oral sex, STOP ACTING LIKE SUCH A WHORE ABOUT IT, FOR GOD'S SAKE. Because getting my dick sucked is only really fun if I like you, or you are REALLY REALLY hot. Also- side note: you don't need to say it either: I guarantee I'm thinking it already.

So while neither of the aforementioned women at the party seemed to have reservations about giving me an unwanted statue each, it seemed doubtful they would combine their efforts and work together to create an unparalleled work artistic brilliance (wasn't that a nice way of saying it?) so I opted to leave with the party which I was hosting, and find a girl at a different one who happened to, while presenting me with a statue later that night, accidentally punch me in the balls. So wah-hoo. Best 4 years of my life.

Now wait a minute! You, the internet, are probably saying to yourself/your roommate/your roomate/parent combo, this guy just wants to brag about all the women who want to BLOW him! That probably never even happened!

Well, it did. And I'd like to stress a couple things.

First- two of these women didn't want to BLOW me, they wanted to snare/guilt/trick me into DATING them, which is a different thing, and I don't think the third one was an old fling who had previously made me fairly rich in the ways of statues.

And in case you're thinking I'm in someway stuck up/ stupid/ gay for turning down BJ's from the willing, I'd like to drive my point home by saying that it wasn't necessarily that either of these women wasn't attractive, or at least kind of pretty, because they were. Nothing you'd frame a picture of, really, but that's primarily because if you did, one of them would die of starvation whilst staring at it's beautiful flaws and ugly perfections, and the other might have it blown up and made into a sun dress so she could show it off by wearing it.

In essence it was because they were PSYCHOTICALLY ANNOYING, and anyone who met them would agree. They also insulted me by thinking they could lure me into something I didn't want with sex, and I ask only for a little more credit before we hop into bed together. Yeesh.

Long story short, when I saw one of them on the "L", and she spent the whole time talking about herself without pausing for breath somehow, and her "boyfriend" asked me (silently, with his eyes) if I'd help him construct a suicide machine so that he might finally be free, before they both got off a couple of stops north of mine and we said an awkward goodnight, and I sighed in relief and tried to cool the part of my brain that was behaving as if I'd spent the last 20 minutes conversing with a ravenous tiger.

So there you have it Ladies: a rational argument why you should act like a lady, even and especially around and with boys you like: Supply side economics.

Also, they should have stalls to hide in on the trains, or something, because I'm tired of running into people I find very unpleasant.

Alright, bed time.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Self Reflection

So, I recently put my first CTA thing on craigslist, and people responded to it, but made me aware that quite often my speling and grammer aren't not quite what they should maybe.

I'm sorry. That's pretty stupid. Feel free to post comments on the blog about places I fucked up, I enjoy criticism, and maybe this could even lead to an open dialogue of sorts, where I could fuck up my pselling and gram;lkl;kjar while criticising your criticisms.

Thanks for reading, though.

More CTA

Alright. I'd just like to say something: I was right.

Now, I say this in all humility and fairness, and with an honest attempt to simply report the truth, and only the truth, so help me God (?- so HELP me, God! maybe?)

Today, the line of the CTA I use to get home from work closed at 10pm, citing the weather conditions.

These are the weather conditions as of 10pm today in Chicago, according to www.chicagotribune.com:

Mostly cloudy. Scattered flurries in the evening. Lows 10 to 14. Northwest winds around 10 mph in the evening becoming light and variable after midnight.

Where I was, we got about, oh, say, 4 inches of snow in about 6 or so hours.

Now, if I couldn't build trains that could deal with that kind of weather, I doubt I'd build trains that ran in say, Chicago, or really any city that experiences any type of winter at all. Because that might happen, and then many thousands of my residents would be stuck riding in cabs. Which is great for the cabs, but not so good for the residents.

So, I was right. The CTA can go FUCK itself with a long, spiky stick.

I will however, re-neg a previous comment- that CTA didn't stand for Chicago Transit Authority but rather Cunts Torturing Americans, etc.... because CTA obviously does stand for Chicago Transit Authority. They certainly have authority over the transit in Chicago, in that they can decide to take it away and we all can do fuck all about it. That, in a sort of Stalin-esque way, does make them the Authority. Congratulations CTA, you've finally beaten me.

The thing that bothers me most is that I've BEEN on trains in worse weather conditions than the ones we're experiencing, making me believe that they shut down for another reason- such as maybe all their employees, who suspiciously all own cars, had to be able to drive home safely that night, therefor no trains, or even better yet, my other theory, that they needed all the coppertop batteries that normally power the trains to go into all the vintage Sega Game Gears they bought everybody with the extra 50 cents entrance fees they've been charging since the new year.

Game on, CTA employees. Game on.

Public Transit

Hello, internet. We meet again, in a dark alley, somewhere in the heart of a city that breathes like a great beast from the smoking sewer holes that pimple its skin, for the now almost ritual exchange humor for free porn, both wearing trench coats, maybe to share a breathless laugh, and a quiet goodbye, following a tearful mutual masturbation session.

Wow, that got weird fast. Okay. Well, I was going to write a piece/article/tearful mutual masturbation session on what it was like to be a waiter, because for all you waiters out there, you need to hear it said funny to lighten the soul-crushing sense of personal failure, and for all you other people you need to know why waiters act the way they do, and also how terrible of a person you are for paying someone else to walk your food to you, you fat lazy fuck.

But, that's another, longer article, and I just finished giving my girlfriend an impromptu good-solid-boinking, and time is short, for I have shit to do tomorrow.

So for all you tearfully masturbating waiters out there, if you die tonight, asphyxiated under the weight of your own meaninglessness, you can come back and haunt her. Or more specifically, her vagina. (Love you honey!)

Something else pissed me off today, and in light of that, I want to rag on something that has forever been the thorn in my side, the corn kernel on my pallet, the insert-joke-about-something-in-my-butt-here.

That thing being this: The CTA.

More specifically, the trains run by the CTA. And as I sit here, drinking orange juice straight from the jug and burning incense to cover the smell of the suspicious chicken nuggets I just bought from a late night diner and ate, I will tell you a story, internet, so rest awhile upon your hairy laurels and hear me.

I had just gotten off work, and if you've picked up anything at this point, internet, it should be that I don't like my current work, and if you haven't picked that up yet, I can only assume you either haven't been reading as carefully as you should, or have problems with pattern recognition and should probably see someone about it because it could be holding you back in countless other ways that you're probably not even currently aware of, but, I digress.

And I'd like to point out at this point that I was not having a very good day at already not-very-good workplace to begin with, in that I was assigned to a sidework station (sidework, by the way, is what a waiter has to do when not bringing more food to people more likely doughy than himself, because the restaurant is paying you 4.65 an hour for tax reasons dammit, and they're going to make you roll silverware/polish spoons/ eat and shit your own soul to make sure they get their money's worth, dammit (2X)) And I happened to be assigned to work next to...a 35 year old insane gay man-child whose attention-withdrawl symptoms could send most recovering meth addicts screaming for their mothers and who, in my book, is about a class-action hate-crime lawsuit away from a good swift kick in the balls to shut him the fuck up for God's sake.

But I dammit was unfortunately dammit (2X) (get it?) assigned to work closely with him for five dammit (3X) fucking dammit (4X. do these count?) hours, dammit (4.5X. compromise) which didn't really put me in the best mood.

On top of that a friend from college who I thought was going to call did the douchey thing and didn't, however that's something else entirely.

So now my options, after a frustrating friday night's work and other events, boil down to meeting up with my girlfriend for a good stiff dicking, which I promptly (Whoa! tense shift!), and with the utmost determination, set out to do.

And I'm back where I began. The CTA. I boarded my first train without incident, a little bit of a wait in the cold, nothing out of the ordinary, and rode to something of a junction. This is where I need to get off this "color" train and board a differently "colored" (not a racial thing) train to get farther in the direction I needed to go.

Now, keep in mind, it's January in Chicago. And one train comes, but not one heading in that direction, and then another one comes, not heading in that direction, and another, and the number of people on the platform is steadily moving from the I-can-see-other-people density to the I-can-smell-other-people density.

At this point, after about half an hour in the cold, the complimentary heat lamps started acting all funny.

And by all funny, I mean not very funny at all, in fact, quite the opposite of funny at the time. You see, having exhausted supply of coppertop batteries they'd bought for the evening, the good people at the CTA decided to shut off the heat in order so they could continue to play their vintage gameboys behind their bulletproof glass, is my theory, and leave us out in the cold.

A tinny voice came on over the loudspeaker, which said something that sounded like some sort of explanation for the lack of heat and/or the delay, but could have easily have been directions on how to huddle together (for warmth) and a suggestion as to exactly where we could put our thumbs (for warmth).

Another 15 minutes pass. At this point, I'm grumbling incoherently though fairly melodically under my breath, and (FICTION SPRINGING FROM BOREDOM ALERT) the insane and clearly drunken homeless man next to me is doing the same thing, and at one point we started hitting major fifths and minor thirds and it all sounded very nice and in fact we probably could have made some money between us if someone had had the presence of mind to put a hat down or something, but once again I digress (deep breath)

And I began to think, no, seriously consider that maybe CTA didn't stand for Chicago Transit Authority at all, but rather maybe Can't Transport Anyone, or maybe Cunts Torturing Americans, or even probably Cat Tattoo Anachronism or anything other than something that might suggest I'd actually be wanting to GO anywhere for the money I'd paid them, but rather desired the privilege of contemplating my poverty in the cold while automobiles of the socially luckier zoomed by in the night, while (FICTION SPRINGING FROM BOREDOM ALERT) attempting to shift collective weight to play the penguins-on-the-iceberg game with the other patrons and find out if one of the rails below really was electrified.

It was. (Kidding. Kind of. Check the papers.)

Then the train came, and we all piled on, mourning the loss of that one guy on the tracks in the name of scientific inquiry (Haha....RIP....ha), and lo and behold, insane 35-year old man-child, scheduled to get off later than I, happened to be catching the same train as I since I'd WAITED FOR OVER A FUCKING HOUR, and as it happens the only two available seats were next to him, or alternately a homeless man who looked like he might be dead, so I stood the rest of the way home, trying not to attract the attention of either party.

So DAMN YOU cta DAMN YOU (2X) for making me wait over an HOUR to give my girlfriend the good, swift dicking that both she and I deserved at the time. DAMN YOU.

So to sum up: Here are some of my primary problems with the CTA, as well as some suggestions for improvement.

1. The Trains don't run on time (or sometimes at all).

Now, as friends, teachers, and previous employers over the years will tell you, I'm okay being between 10 and 15 minutes late to pretty much anything, however my problem is when I wait 45 minutes for a train without warning. If I can walk to my destination just as quickly as I can ride there, then you've kind of de-legitimized yourselves as "mass transit" and started to be something a little more akin to a comparatively inexpensive form of the fat-people scooters at Disneyland.

So maybe some sort of warning system, as in some kind of Magic changing sign that said "Next Train in X minutes" or something, visible BEFORE I entered the happiest place on earth would be usefully, because the other day, while waiting for a train I actually had the thought that Oh God, maybe the Mormons are right, there is a purgatory and I've stumbled upon it accidentally.

And any enterprise that causes a normally sane and rational person to ever think: "Oh God, maybe the Mormons are right" needs to be put to a swift and definitive end immediately.

WARN US WHEN IT'S RUNNING LATE.

I know it's somewhere between mildy-annoying to as-challenging-as-counting to space the trains out according to how crowded the trains are, but you might want to try that as well.


2. The loudspeakers make announcements sound like the teacher from the peanuts cartoon.

Aparently, after spending billions of taxpayer dollars on a reliable (cough cough) elevated train system for Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority spent the rest of it's money on handjobs for all the members of the Daley family who weren't too busy giving one another an unfair legs up at the time, and had to improvise a Public Address system out of some coffee tins and string.

To the point where, I when a train stops mid-track and I hear something over the PA system, it could just as easily be "Due to delays, the train as slowed up" (you'd be surprised) to "Hop off you fuckers, we're gonna blow up!" or "I'd like some candy, labrador pup" or anything else, and then we get to play the game where I look around in dismay, worried for my safety or the safety of some innocent young dog out there, while everyone else pretends they heard whatever was announced perfectly clearly and understood the situtaion so well it was physically pleasurable for them.

INVEST IN DECENT SPEAKERS

Alternately, you could just pay the homeless guys to yell announcements at patrons, because you'd be doing them some good, we'd understand you just as clearly, and they're kind of doing a sort of less focused version of that anyway.


I suppose that's pretty much it...oh yes. One more thing. The recent fare raises.

Okay, so when you board the CTA, if you pay in cash, last year it cost you two dollars. You could also buy this nifty little cardy thing that was linked to your bank account/ credit card / tearful mutual masturbation (HA! Full circle!) that reduced the price to 1.75 as a sort of reward for continuing your abusive relationship with the CTA (NO MOM! I FELL DOWN THE STAIRS. weeps. mastu...alright, enough).

It was sort of rewards program, of sorts. On Jan 1st, 2009, everything went to a general faire (fare? fair? no-not that) of 2.25 per trip, cardy thing or no cardy thing.

This means a couple of things. First of all, if you're used to using a cardy thing, and usually go back whenever you go somewhere, it costs you an EXTRA FUCKING DOLLAR TO TRAVEL. But it makes sense to make the poorest working class people in Chicago pay for their own transit, dammit. No rewards for habituality.

Also, if you don't use a card, you have to carry FUCKING QUARTERS EVERYWHERE. Do they KNOW how annoying that is? So unless your planning on mugging someone with a whole bunch of them in the end of a sock, it's fairly impractical. You can also put on 5 dollars for a round trip, but then you have the stupid 50 cents that you can never get back. Unless you magically have nine dollars on you and want to travel four times somewhere for some reason, they're literally nickel and dime-ing you.

The reason for this, is, of course, to keep the train system afloat in these rough economic times. However, the bullshit PLUS the increased fair/fare/carvinal bullshit might just make me and some other people stop being so belligerently anti-social and carpool or something. And it's alot easier to keep a train system afloat on 1.75 or 2.00 of money than 2.25 of FUCK YOU.

So CTA, I have this to say to you: I know you're a government organization and thereby, in legal terms, are designed to be as effective as the hamburgler is sexy (just wanted to use the joke), however times are a-changing with this here gumm't, and it'd be nice if you hopped on the bandwagon/train pun/ fuck it before we decide to walk / drive / go FUCK yourself CTA.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Writing

Hello, just a bit of writing I threw together, maybe the start of a book, or something, would LOVE feedback.

He stood, listening to the roar of the water falling around him. Water, suddenly and insistently cold, seeped in through the small holes sewn through the side of his shoes. A soft wind tickled the insides edges of his fingers, and the air smelled heavy and wet.
He held breathlessly still for a moment, savoring the heavy rumble of the water as bombarded the slick black earth below; savoring the soft, fishlike flitter as parted and found its way around the slick black rocks behind him; savoring the accelerative whoosh and barely discernable hiss as it separated from itself and fell in a thousand tiny darts to explode against the ground below. He waited until he could hear the soft, high sound of the raindrops falling from his fingers, hear the smallest rhythms and melodies of the water in their own silent, secret world before he opened his eyes. Nothing to it. He jumped.
For a moment nothing hung in the air like lead. The realization of nothing against his feet, nothing on his hands, nothing in front of him but a thousand foot bridge of water, leading to a thundering cloud struck him bodily, and for a moment he was left alone with the mist on his face and a cold yellow tightening in the darkest pits of his mind.
Nothing to it.
The rocks behind him ascended skyward with a quickly rising surety as the air slowly began a jealous wail around him him, angry for his trespass into its private realms.
The weight at his belt, his heavy shirt, his warm boots all became weightless, now only a consideration of angular momentum against the void. His heart pounded, eyes bulging, unblinking, the cascade of white water spinning above and below him now, his eyes caught in the steam, every muscle and fiber in his body screaming against what faced him.
Death. Sudden, quick, and only death. Nothing to it. Seeping into him like the cold on his feet. Dripping into him like the condensation from his fingers. Filling his lungs to capacity so he could inhale only fire. He choked on death.
Liquid hate welled up in his belly. Hate for the long life he could have had. Hate for the warmth of the woman who loved him’s arms, whose touch he would never again feel. Hate for the memories past that would soon be dashed upon the rocks and the ones to come that he would never feel sink in.
Death thundered at him like the eternity of years, like the knowledge that one day the all suns would all burn out and everyone, everywhere would be separated from everyone they ever knew, that the kingdoms would crumble and fall, the kings and their wealth would crumble to nothing, and everyone that ever loved would know the pain of darkness and meager death. He was alone as life rumbled past him like an inferno, like water below.
His heart rumbled deep, like the water below.
His pulse pounded to the rhythm of the water below.
He opened his eyes again, having forgotten they were shut, and glimpsed ahead of him the water falling.
The air seemed to still its screaming, as the singular and unique drops floated gracefully through the air, merging with one another, breaking away again, playing their tiny dripping bell tones. Light lanced through them and played on their little bubbles of air as they and he fell, and he saw for the first time as they danced their dance of separateness and oneness.
They, unlike he, seemed unconcerned about the coming death, their smash on the rocks, loss of all memory and shape, their explosion into the atoms from which they were composed, the death of their brief lives. They merely continued on their dance together and apart, lackadaisical, uncaring, with the knowledge and acceptance of the fact they were but temporary things, things destined to smash, death from below, their death inherent in their selves. Like me.
He extended a hand, falling steady now, head down, and they played along it, freezing against his skin, soft and gentle, eating and spouting light, laughing, almost, and crying one another, accepting him as one of their own.
And he smiled too, laughing, almost, though the sound was lost to his own ears, with the knowledge that very few creatures who walked upright and called themselves men had ever seen it from this angle, and chances were even fewer allowed themselves to appreciate it.
Uh-oh.
Here came the cloud.
With a WHOOSH he was in the center of a roaring cloud, and he reached to the floating was-a-weight on his belt, drawing it’s cold, sure firmness from it’s scabbard and ignited the fire within. It burst suddenly along the blade, exploding blue in the mist, and he formed a burning cocoon of protective will around himself even as he fell, exploding a burning force downward beneath him until he hung, suspended where the water should be was it not exploded, spherical around him with the force of his want. For a moment it glittered, dark and green and white at the edges while he felt a stronger, more familiar force than cold gravity lift him and rip him upward through the sky with a thunder crack and lance of light.
The water exploded angry behind him, eager to reclaim it’s rightful space and angry for having been deprived, and he smiled, gliding along lazily above the dark fir trees, his new friends floating around him, wetting the air.
Ah well. Time to stop fooling around. Things to do.
With that, a burst and a crack of light, he sheared between things and leapt back to his castle in the sky.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

suggestions

Real quick: How does one get others to read one's blog? It's all well and good to be sending out my twisted internality to the internet cosmos, but I'm new to this, and would really love if other people helped me fulfill my narcissism.

Any suggestion would be much appreciated.

Video Games

Okay, so, I'm a big fan of video games. I think they're a wonderfully immersive form of storytelling at their best, and at their worst best, a shitload of very fun zombies/nazis/zombie-nazi hybrids that you can explode with your friends, although at their worst they can be

just.

plain.

bad.

And expensive. Expensively bad, because if a game is good, it's not expensive, simply because it doesn't feel expensive. You're, getting your money's worth, one might say, if one was so inclined. And then one might ask if one had grey poupon if one were speaking in a british accent. ARG. Enough.

Money's worth. Most people (who aren't douchebags) do a reasonable amount of work for their money- and in that I mean they provide some sort good or service useful to other people and are recompensed in a social contract that acknowledges their stored effort and energy in the form of money by other people who have similarly provided a good or service in exchange for that same money. It's our way of valueing our own and each other's works, and ultimatley the way we spend our lives.

Thus society clunks along, and it becomes societally beneficial to be ETHICALLY self-interested. And by ETHICALLY I mean you provice a good or service USEFULL TO OTHERS so that you yourself can have money to buy goods and services. The more usefull the service you provide, the more everyone else benefits, and the more money your given for it. That brings up a whole question of necessity, etc. and who judges the amount of benefit in a piece of, well, anything, but I want to talk about video games right now.

It's almost as if this is the language which our consumer based/ democatrically free market / zombie-nazi hybrid culture of ours speaks (horse dead yet?). Money is the universal language, much more so than music: (R Kelly, anyone?) or for you Star Trek fans / virgins/ not gonna make the joke again fans out there, math: (Calculus, anyone?). (Answer: if yes, die alone).

How about this: Money, anyone? If you heard that in a bar. Eh? Eh? See??? Know why? Because you can trade it for things you WANT or NEED. It's useful! TO EVERYONE!!! Now, it's not necessarily a perfect system; most of it is actually debt that everyone owes to the banks at this point, and for some members of our little tribe it's become some sort of hungry-hungry-hippos-esque game as apposed to a usefull and facile way to exchange goods and services, but nevertheless, we speak the language we're taught.

So, you begin to degrade our very means of communicating with one another, come what may, when you put brightly colored dog shit on a stick and sell it as a lollypop.

By this I mean: when you sell something that people will BUY just becaue they'll BUY IT, even though you're not actually giving them new or interesting, or really even intending to do anything other than sell something that is actually in some way useful, it makes you a DOUCHEBAG.

This is my problem with shitty, shitty, sequels. Especially in video games, which I love.

And I'm back to where I began. Now. I will preface my about-to-come specificity here by saying the sequel I played wasn't that bad. It just was nothing new. It was in fact, something old dressed up prettily and touted as something new; as if my old high school girl friend put on a new, colorful, very very high resolution dress and wanted to pretend as if we'd never met and start all over again, even though she's gained about 30 pounds and herpes (sorry insert-name-here everyone knows already anyway) and there are newer, better models out there than can actually give decent oral sex.

Now this doesn't mean that I don't still have fond memories of my old relationship, or that I can't say it wasn't one of the most fun and enlightening experiences I'd had at the time, however, it doesn't mean that I'm going to knowingly exchange my hard earned 60 dollars (or 40, used, for that matter) which I made bringing food to rich people who didn't feel like standing at that particular moment to walk to the kitchen, but would rather pay me 15-20 % of their food costs to do it for them, but, I digress (deep breath)

To take it out to dinner and fuck it again just because it's gotten 30 pounds fatter and put on a new dress. Now, that doesn't mean I won't, out of nostalgia, or boredom, or because all the other video games don't get out on Christmas break for another like, four days or something, but none of these are valid reasons for me to fuck cette video game (whoa...getting...dizzy...) that fit into the whole exchange-of-money-earned-by-something-socially-beneficial-for-something-personally-beneficial model outlined above.

Because inevitably after I have my way with my old video game and find it, though it may be newly waxed, not nearly as fun as my memories of it were, I will inevitalbly find that I've exchanged my hard earned cash for not for the anticiapted hours of enjoyment, but rather a sour taste in my mouth and an itching feeling simply because it LOOKED alot like my old beloved, not because it was actually WAS.

It's a way of tricking your audience into buying something they've already bought before simply because they liked the first one and it has the same name.

Now Wait! You, the internet, may be saying, what about my favourite movie sequels! They use the same conventions and characters, and I still love Aliens/Die Hard/ Star Wars (the real ones) 2!

Yes, you're right, that's fine. Because you're actually getting something new: Plot. The fact that they use the same set pieces you know and love doesn't actually matter, because you get to find out what happens to your beloved Sigourney/Bruce/Mark Hamill (conspiracy theory: numbers 1 and 3 are actually the same person. Think about it). That's what your exchanging your work for. It's enjoyable. Work for enjoyement. Fair trade.

Now, if they released a movie where Bruce Willis wore a questionably effeminate hat and was more of a smarmy douchebag, that had the same conventions of a Die Hard (terrorist, ex-wive, blah blah blah) but had essentially no plot whatsoever, and there was no possible way for Bruce Willis to die at all and it's called Die Hard 5: Rigor Mortis Erection; you'd finally have what I'm talking about:

The new Prince of Persia Game. Now, like I said, it's not THAT bad. It's just that it's literally NOTHING that's both new and worthwhile.

In the Sands of Time, you got to pretend you were a de-throned Prince who is far more acrobatically AWESOME than is fair by the grace of God, who was also niave and likeable, since he learned how to be a better person believably, AND BECAUSE he did, he totally got to BONE IN A HOT TUB a very hot Persian Princess named Farah, also likeable, in fact way too cool for real-life-me to ever actually bone in a hot tub.

In the second one, you got the new fighting system to enjoy. You lost alot of other good things, like likeable characters and hot tubs, but you had something new. Work for being able to pretend you were a human cuisinart. Fair trade.

In the third one Farah came back, although she was lamer, somehow, probably because the lack of a hottub, but she was still there, and you got the best parts of the first 2 games smashed ungracefully but enjoyably together, and you got to see the prince be a little bit less of a douche than he was in number two- which was DEFINATELY worth waiting tables (or whatever it is you, the internet do, to make money) since in number 2 he was a huge tool.

By contrast, in the new one: There's no plot. There's a rough plot about healing different parts of the free-roam land and collecting floating light bubbles from from improbably placed pillars and such to re-imprison a God of darkness. Fine. There's lots of detailed BACKSTORY (def. things that have happened previous to the story) about all the baddies you have to track down, but that's different than PLOT (def. things that actually happen during the story)

It's slightly cell-shaded or something, the music is beautiful and catchy (I was humming it at work), and the views are absolutely gorgeous all over the game-world.

You have a new companion, named Elky or something, I forget, who is a magic girl who's life depends on the light seeds, who's never had a boyfriend and is about as emotionally complex as your average middle school female friend who you never hooked up with because neither of you quite knew what that meant yet.

You have a claw-hand thing which is never even remotely explained, that allows you to drag yourself down walls and such when you'd rather just fall cuz it'd be quicker and less boring.

And you can't die. Because every time you do, Elky saves you. And that's while jumping around with the same goddamn platforming system that was really super cool when it came out, oh about goddamn 8 years ago, and also in combat.

In combat, if you're about to have your head sliced, Elky saves you with her magic and the enemy regains some (read: a whole fucking lot) of its health.

Let's examine this. If you fail in battle, the game punishes you not with a tearful Elky, beating on your corpse as the dark thing looms in on her (though if she has so much goddamn magic why doesn't SHE just do the annoying fight sequences), or that the Dark God wins and the land wastes away, no nothing relevant to the story, but rather it PROLONGS THE FIGHT. THE GAME PUNISHES YOU BY MAKING YOU PLAY MORE OF ITSELF.

And you begin to ask yourself what it's trying to say.

But the key reason this sucks it that it robs the player of the most important thing in driving a story forward: STAKES.

Stakes is when in the beginning of Star Wars the empire blows up a whole fucking planet so we, the audience, go, "shit, we'd better get rid of those guys."

If the bad guys can't actually hurt the protagonist, it becomes like placing bets on a Harlem Globetrotters game in favor of the Harlem Globetrotters. You know you'll win, so unless you're very high or somehow haven't heard the jokes before, there's not alot of reason to sit through it: it becomes an exercise in patience. Which is not what a video game, i.e., any time of media should be. Or at least not the kind you charge for.

If the protagonist can't die, and the more horribly the better, we don't actually care to watch the game, because we KNOW that our guy will be okay, and in fact, WIN in the end, so long as they just keep at it. The game is rigged, in fact ANYONE can win, so then it's no FUN, because then you might as well hand over the controller to your thirteen-year-old cousin, make a pizza, and be back in time for the final cutscene.

It also robs us of that narcisstic "special" feeling of doing something hard, that we fool ourselves into think that not everybody could do.

We watch competitions and stories so we can vicariously and safely experience and overcome DANGER. We want to tell our caveman brain that we could still cut it, and in fact allow him to take control for a little bit just to prove it to the rest of ourselves. It's almost as if that's the experience we're, say, trading our time waiting tables for.

Secondly, the protagonist himself wears a a red and purple pair of scarves around his head, which cover one eye (no wonder the fighting mechanic is so fucked- no depth perception) and talks like what I imagine Hugh Jackman would if he were a 25-year old douchebag, who, for no reason related to the brightly colored scarves, is very keen on telling everyone just how many women he's been with while making virtually no moves on the one who's actually right there in front of him.

This may fall into the VH1-crowd value system, however, it fails to captivate the average gamer, or indeed, most people. The reason why the original Prince protagonist was so cool is that he didn't come off like a color-blind Whitensake bassist with an ego the size of Rupert Murdoc's because he didn't have to; his flair came from his awesome and brave acrobatics, his special tools (time-knife!!!), and because he went from fighting for personal glory to fighting for people he cared about.

Same thing in Half-Life. The reason the original is still one of the best FPS (Filthy Pig Sucker) ever is that Gordon Freeman is someone I wanted to be or at least could associate with- he's a nerdy scientist, and he's charactaristically silent, has a really cool gadgety suit and awesome guns, but mainly by the end of the game the WHOLE U.S. ARMY IS AFRAID OF WHAT HE MIGHT DO.

There's not a person alive who wouldn't want to acrobatically trounce those who stood in between you and your loved ones, or have the US army afraid of them personally because of how many gun-battles you've come out on top in.

Now these are EXAMPLES (def. Something that proves a point) not TEMPLATES (def. Something to be shamelessly stolen) because we've played these, we'll recognize them, and if you repeat them then you've just dressed up our old, fat girlfriends again.

So, for you video game designers, I, along with every other jerk with poor social skills and a internet connection will lay it out for you:

1. Your job is to provide an enjoyable experience for me to buy, plain and simple. Your job ETHICALLY is to provice the MOST enjoyable experience you can think of, not the most lucrative game (if you build it, they will come). This is how:

2. HAVE STAKES. VICARIOUS DANGER. If we can't die, we don't care. We're paying for vicarious adventure: Danger from the safety of our living rooms/gaming lairs. Also make the bad guys really bad guys- it's better for us if we're saving everyone else, especially every developed character our protagonist cares about, from being killed. It makes it more enjoyable and less morally questionable offing so many minions.

3. Here are some likeable protagonists patterns:

Unique way of expressing self that adds to gaming experience: (innovative acrobatics/ characteristic silence / a lightsaber) that's unique to your game, intuitive and helpful, and a new idea.

Special Gadgets/ armor that gives superpoers: (time-knife / hazmat suit / a lightsaber (It's almost as if we too have some sort of special device that allows us to be more awesome than we normally are in regular life, like a gaming console or something, so that we can ASSOCIATE WITH THE PROTAGONIST. Also I would like a lightsaber.)

A woman that loves us (seriously, gamers are lonley horny people, and make her cool, cuz if she's not we don't wanna in-game bang her and write really nasty fanfiction about it, and you'll lose your skeezy, 40-year-old-gene-pool-reject audience)

Some sort of an arc that advances THROUGHOUT the game, not just at specific plot points. If you can make the plot points make sense with that arc, so much the better, you've actually provided something worth waiting tables for.

And finally:

DON'T MAKE THE LEAD UNRELATABLEY DOUCHEY. GAAAAAAH!

If all this seems like alot to ask, please remember: FUCK YOU. DO YOUR GODDAMN JOB.

And for that portion of you, internet, who says: why don't you do it, asshole: Fuck, if you know anyone who will let me write for video games, please drop me an email at NightFire08@gmail.com, because would fucking LOVE to.