The Tweets
The Tweets
Wednesday
May302012

Now if only saving the Princess were this easy!

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I will attempt to discuss applying video game logic to real world situations without losing whatever credibility I may have.

Neat trick, if I can pull it off, no?

After a long hiatus of specifically scheduled physical activity, I've decided to get into the running game. It's only my second week and already I've learned quite a few things. I've already touched on the whole goal within a goal issue that I have, so I'm going to focus on how I've learned to enjoy my new activity using my experiences playing video games.

I have an app (of course I do) that tracks each of my runs for distance, time, pace, location et cetera. The great thing about it is that it is much easier to track my progress and improvement from run to run; week to week. That is also the worst thing about it. If I happen to have a bad day, or don't beat my best time--or even my average time--that little voice inside of me starts talking about what a failure I am. Logically I know that this is ridiculous, but we all know how that little voice can get inside your head... because he/she is already there.

So if real world logic doesn't work, where is a poor nerd to turn? Why, to video games of course! I've started thinking of each of these records that my app keeps track of as high score leaderboards. Of course the ultimate goal is to get the new #1 score for each mode/level, but who can honestly say that every time they pick up a controller, they beat their own high score (let alone someone else's that rests mockingly above your personal best)?

Sometimes you have a bad day. Sometimes your finger slips and you hit the wrong button. Sometimes you focus too hard--or not enough. Whatever the reason, you're not always going to improve on a purely quantitative level.

But you always learn things: what pitfalls to avoid, how to better approach a roadblock, or most importantly, how to keep going when you suddenly run into a brick wall (or into that bottomless pit). Just getting on that horse (or adorable dinosaur) is a victory.

And just forget about trying to knock off that other person's score. They're not even playing the same game as you are. Just work on getting that local leaderboard clear of all of those placeholder scores and once that's done, focus on replacing some of your old scores from time to time.

Competing against anyone but yourself in an individual sport is a recipe for disaster because then you become the person on the street yelling at someone only you can see.

Just keep the competition friendly; we don't need any real life Tyler Durdens stumbling about.

Tuesday
May292012

To paraphrase Greg Proops...

"I'm straight as an arrow, but make no case for it."

With that out of the way, I'm going to talk about fashion. my personal fashion choices have affected me in some interesting ways over the years. Deep stuff, I know, but when struggling for relevancy, the clothes you wear can help to cut through a lot of the bullshit (if done right).

When I was in school, it would be generous to describe my fashion sense as being "in a growth period." That's not to say that I didn't have strong opinions, but these opinions tended to lean heavily on the sports jersey theme. T-shirts, hockey jerseys, basketball tops, even baseball uniforms all had an important spot in my wardrobe. Thankfully, my small frame and introverted disposition made it painfully obvious that I was not a frat boy wannabe. I just liked sports and what better way to show people what I liked?

As I got older, I started to understand the complicated mistress known as style. I began to incorporate things that I enjoy to this day--vests, both sweater and suit, being chief among them--albeit in a very awkward way. Looking back, it was kind of fitting (pun intended).

Now this is not to say that I am some type of style maven in the present day. I'm just saying that I'm more aware of trends and what I like and I do my best to marry the two into something that is as close to a fabric based representation of who I am.

"Clothes make the man" is a saying that I believe my father subscribed to whole heartedly. I have been fortunate to come across photos of my dad in his youth over the past few years. Taking the decade of the pictures into consideration, my father was always very stylish; more hip in his younger days and more sharp as he got older. Even looking at the labels of his suits, I could tell that he went to the best tailors in town and he took great pride in his appearance. He also understood how to dress for the occasion, whether that occasion was a party, business meeting or a new segment of his life. As he got older and became a father, he settled into a more comfortable, yet still put together look. Maybe he was no longer the best dressed man in the room, but he was still the best dressed man in his immediate social circle.

Starting in my mid twenties, that sensibility started to take over my way of thinking too. It started with almost mindlessly following and copying trends, be it skater culture, veering into hipster-wear or whatever was cool at the time. I rarely would don anything that I personally thought of as cool if it was not generally accepted as hip in the circles I happened to be hanging around in at the time.

Gradually, I started to introduce little personal touches of my own--I won't go so far as to say I was a trend-setter; usually even the first person to do something copied it from someone else outside of their sphere of influence. I like "dressing up," even if I don't have to, and sometimes there needs to be a conscious effort to even throw on a ratty t-shirt after getting home from work.

Because I'm the neurotic nerd that I am, I often find myself thinking that I should have gone more casual, or gussied myself up more. This is less of an occurrence now, but there's always that moment when I look at someone and think, "That's how I should have dressed for this event."

Self esteem issues aside, one of my great challenges is to evolve my style as I get older so that I don't become the 50 year old wearing a sleeveless shirt and backwards baseball cap. I'm trying to cultivate a style that I don't have to change too much to go from "day to evening" so to speak, and I think I'm finally coming close. Of course a lot of that has to do with how much--or little--disposable income I have, but that's another story. Who would've thought that being comfortable in my own skin would be helped by being comfortable in the fabric that covers it?

A younger version of me would have scoffed at the majority of what I just wrote. He never would have seen himself as someone who put this much thought into the clothes on his back. 

But then again, he never thought that he'd get over the Cleveland Indians losing the '97 World Series either.

 

 

(...it does still hurt a little though)

Monday
May282012

So this is about the "R." 

I'm not going to spout some cliché about how we all eventually turn into our parents, because it's not necessarily true for everyone. It does happen to be true for me, at least by all acounts of people who have known the two of us. The difference is that I was lucky enough to have always wanted to be the kind of man my father was.

Some traits have been deliberately cultivated, while others have even caught me off guard with how close to the tree this apple has found itself. Even some of the, well let's just say, less than ideal quirks have found their way to me. But good or bad, I am proud of who I have turned into, and that through it all I have still managed to stay my own person. If I had a time machine and went back in time, I would never be confused for my father, but there would be a family resemblance... in more than just our looks.

I'm not going to delve too much into things with this post, as I have way too much to say on this particular topic and I do need to get some rest.

A huge part of who I am has to do with the man who raised me, and even if he will never read any of the words I have--or will--write about him, I still owe him a very long and drawn out tribute... in the ony way I know how.

And six years later, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what that way is.

Friday
May252012

Gum, you sneaky bastard

So this happened to me yesterday evening:

I had just started chewing my first piece of gum in what must have been months while walking back to my place and I noticed I had a bit of a swagger going on and I wasn't sure why.  

It became embarassingly clear as I passed a storefront window and caught a glimpse of my own reflection.

I had never put this together until yesterday, but when you're chomping away on gum, how cool you look is inversely proportional to how cool you feel.

...oh, wait, that's just me?

Oh.

Ok then.

Never mind. Carry on.

Thursday
May242012

Sometimes it's nice to feel old(er)

Too many times in a day I'm reminded of exactly how old I am. Regardless of the advantages of being an adult, I don't always need to be reminded of exactly how much of an adult I am (we're talking pure years lived of course; I'd like to think that I'm still a child at heart, at least some of the time).

That's why it's so nice when something comes along to remind you of something you loved from your childhood while not sending you into cries of "that was HOW MANY years ago?"

Frank Turner's most recent compilation album, The Second Three Years, has quite a few covers on it, but they're so personal and unique that they're almost like a love letter to the original song (end sappy gushing, now). Listening to his cover of NoFX's Linoleum, for example makes me look fondly back at that awkward time when I was in high school, as opposed to lamenting it (or even worse, lamenting the time lost between then and now).

I've started to treat my past as something of a Cub Scout (shout out to my former pack from your Second) uniform, proudly wearing merit badges that make up the sum total of your scouting experience. Owning your decisions; who you are and who you've become is shockingly freeing (and disgustingly cliché).

I'm just happy I havent become so completely cynical and I can still like things, my past included. Take that, hipsters!