Sunday, January 28, 2007

Notes from Tampa

It occurs to me that there are a lot of things that I proclaim to not understand. Why women where those ridiculous looking sweat suit outfits, why no corporate chain of eateries can actually COOK their own food instead of microwaving it, why the idea of sizes of items have been abolished for kitschy little, “love it, like it, gotta have it,” descriptions, etc. Like I said, a lot of things make no sense to me.

One thing you will never hear me proclaim lack of understanding for is the death of any my relationships. It’s pretty much the subject where I will wax poetically or practically about facts of the entire experience and how the writing was on the wall. Even my friendships never really erupt with some semblance of confusion and anger. They pretty much follow Kurt Cobain’s advice and fade away. This can be somewhat problematic.

Awhile back, I decided that I would put a moratorium on friends that really tended to drag me down. Lifelong, supportive people could stick around, but I would do little to befriend truly problematic associates ever again. The reasoning was that they tended to always make it my fault for why our friendship was strained. That I started to distance myself from them, cared very little for their problems but demanded time for my own narcissism, and rarely made time for them among my life. Also, I could be mean. Now, here’s the rub: this was all true. Still is. Awhile back, I became friends with a guy named Arun. He was the couch-surfing, alcoholic madman of college days past and was also always the smartest guy in the room regarding advice on silly problems. The facts were all he cared about and he would objectively lay down a law that you would be stupid not to obey. Sometimes I hear his voice when I offer similar advice. Regardless, Arun once asked me why I gave a shit about people that caused their own problems and demanded sympathy for their own mess. Why was it MY job to be that ever-present shoulder? I said, “that’s what friends do.” He laughed as if I’d just said the single most naïve statement ever. He never did provide an answer to his own question. He just said, “you’ll figure it out.” I did.

The fact is that friends are there for each other. When you need a ride to a doctor’s appointment, an ally after a break-up, or even just a quick monetary loan. Friends are supposed to be there when it counts. Enablers, on the other hand, are supposed to be there 24/7. Being a shoulder to cry on is being an enabler. Especially when these people who demand to know, “what you think they should do,” ignore you and follow their impulses and then demand you not tell them, “I told you so.” Enablers are supposed to be emo yes-men that give you sympathy without pity and a sense of companionship to wallow in. Friendship is about being there for someone. Enabling is about condoning lunacy. Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Eventually, I’d like to not be right when I say, “don’t date your co-worker,” or “that girl sounds insane. Don’t sleep with her.” I’d like these people to come to me with happy endings instead of solemn expressions of “I should have known better.”

In the end, no one is right. I’m not some guru or genius. I’m rarely even all that bright myself with my own decisions. I screw up just as much as my contemporaries. I’ll freely admit this. I’m in no way the smartest guy in the room. Just the one that tends to be trying to burst a bubble I’ve been in before. I’m just passing on words handed down from my father, from Arun, the Law, Big Gabe, Will, whoever. No one can know all these people and no one could have received their advice when I’d almost made similar experiences and had them stop me. That’s all good advice is: you repeating the words of wiser people. You should always listen to the descenters. Another great quote, “if you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. If you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.”

Long time, old girl

Let's talk about heartbreak, shall we?

The last year has been quite an experience all around. Degree, Career, New Apartment, New Friends, So On...

The one thing that hasn't changed is that empty inevitable feeling after the crushing blow of love lost. That never changes.

It's been awhile since I've posted. A really long while. In that mean time there've been a few lovers that have been worthy of mention and we'll touch on them here since the latest of them has left my apartment in tears after a notice of eviction from our arrangement by her.

First came Geek Queen. She was actually a really fun, smart, and truly amazing conversationalist. After many attempts at forming some sort of relationship of a sexual nature, we settled on friends as a better idea. The period to decide said arrangement was arduous for me because I genuinely thought her to be an amazing person at the time. In hindsight, I agree that what we have now is more beneficial and satasfiying to what the two of us need right now. Suffice to say, that at the time of dating her I thought her to be the most interesting person I'd encountered thus far.

The next contestant on this little game show was the Prodigy. I refer to her with all affection as someone who I genuinely hope takes care of herself but I can only see hardship in her path ahead. There was a drastic age difference between us but we still managed to find a way to talk about our fears and dreams with a sense of knowledge and charm. Sometimes I think our time together was her vacation from her self-destructive existence, but I'm a hopeless romantic, so who knows.

Last and most current is the Islander. This one I truly loved but never felt all that comfortable with. The most recent contact we've had is her teary eyes staring me down with pain and confusion as she attempted to articulate how no relationship would work for her in her current place in life. Suprisingely, I shed no tears and had no anger nor bitterness. I'd seen this coming from the moment we'd started officially dating and had acknowledged that this wasn't the usual negativity and pessimism, but rather me recognizing signs of the inevitable.

The common link between all three of these latest loves is their age group. All are at least five years my junior and all are in college while I've since graduated and put distance between the chrysalis period that those years define in one's life.

The Roommate pointed out that maybe my attraction to this type of girl lies in my own awkwardness with my current situation in life. While the job is still going well (promotion, office, raise, coworker friends, etc) and the apartment situation is great, my 26th birthday is fast approaching and I'm still no more comfortable in my own skin than I was on my 25th. Things have begun to slow down and consistency has started to settle in and the person I look at in the mirror is becoming more familiar, yet I still don't know who he really is.

Without that connection, it's understandable why no woman could make that connection as well.

I'm not in the least bit hurt or embittered towards Geek Queen, Prodigy, or Islander, but I wish that at least one of them had been close to the one. Here's to the ever continuing search...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

One Month Later...

So it's been a month since I've posted. Why? I write all fucking day long and for some reason writing about spas in Austin, Texas or revolutionary new concepts for coffee shops makes me apt to find something else to do at the end of the day that doesn't involve typing. Call me crazy...

What's in the news? I love my job. Not to the point of orgasm, but pretty close. I feel fulfilled at the end of the day that I've done good work and that I'll be working towards a career as opposed to a paycheck.

The new apartment rules, by the way. Don is an excellent roommate and an amazing cook. All in all, I'm sitting pretty and enjoying myself.

This is mostly a calming feeling associated with having had a very relaxing weekend of good food, good company, and good times whereupon I get to hang out with my friends and not worry about anything. I'm not broke, I'm not stressed, and I'm not unhappy.

Regardless, I'm pensive. I still stare off into nothingness trying to figure out the meaning of life and living.

The Moss job is working out. I still write for (believe it or not). I enjoy movies, concerts, and comics at a low low price of nothing and I have an ensemble of eclectic characters that I shall share here:

Jake: What can I say about Jake except that he's a pretty rad dude. An amazing photographer and an all around decent individual who is honest, loyal, an dependable. These are qualities that I think pretty much personify the term "dude" so I'm not just usually it casually.

Don: Roommate and renaissance man. Seriously, the man can do no wrong. Cook, musician, writer, painter... I hate him. He's just too cool. I will say his obsession with sarcastic puns and plays on words can drive me insane, but hey, he's funny when he does it. Plus, he makes dinner.

Christine: The infamous barista. She's just a godsend of a friend. Reliable, an active listener, wise beyond her years, and very very fun to hang out with. Plus, the complete lack of sexual tension makes it so nothing could ever fuck up this happily platonic male/female friendship.

Jen: I really dig this girl. She's honest, outspoken, and literally on her own plane of existence and not in an annoying way. She's just a very LIVING person.

Meredith: Seriously, a girl so cool, I think I accidentally made her up. An uber-hot, sarcastic, witty, and intelligent geek who is never, ever what you think she is. Always cool.

Alisha: Adorable is the only word that can describe this coworker of mine. Not only that, she's just very, very fun to be with and always tends to light up a room.

Alissa: Although I've known her for a year, she's become like a little sister in the last few months. Good soul, kind heart.

Justin: We were ok friends in school, but now that we've both had our fair share of bad times, he and I are on similar wavelengths of the absurdity of society.

Ashley: One of my friends from PSU who stuck around, she's smart, funny, and can knock a few back with the best of'm.

The usual band of brigands still bandy about: Will, Karl, Sanelle, Bentley, Meg, Kevin, and Jeff are still around and we all still hang out and catch up. The above are just the new blood and the people that I get to hang out with on a daily basis.

*New Chuck Klosterman book. I'm in heaven.

*I'm up to... 3 trades a week, so column should be well and regular from here on out. This brings us to...

*My writing for MossLive will be available at for consumption. My Pete Yorn coverage is up right now and coming soon, my Pennywise interview and concert report.

*New column is up! Finally!

*Only working one day a week at the video store: Thursday. It's just hard to throw it in during a long week of work. We'll see how long I can keep it up.

Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in awhile... Well...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

First Week of Work

Well, I have a real job. Weird.

For the record, I now work for a business plan writing company in Portland's burgeoning and affluent Pearl District. It's within walking distance of my current apartment and my new one as well. What do I do there? Well, I write sections of buisness plans for start-up companies. They're training me in all of the sections so that I can eventually edit a team of my own by the end of my ninety day initial run. It's actually a great job. I get paid to be a writer and the staff is full of really chill people.

The best part is that now I'm able to finally be financially independant and secure in my station in life. At least for the next year. It's a good feeling, althought it allows me to reflect on other things in my life that I've let slip to the wayside. We'll see what happens next.

The world keeps on spinning...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Where you been?

Where have I been? Thinking. Thinking a great deal.

It's been awhile since I've updated the page of thoughts and quandaries and mostly, I've been just too busy to care. The other reason is that I've had so many things on my mind that I really felt that if I shared in this venue, I'd regret later. So, I've refined the thoughts a little. We'll see if it comes out right.

Look, I'm an insensitive dick. I know this. I'm tactless and a prick and I really just say what I feel when I feel it. Let's face it, as a friend of mine said today, "While you piss me off, at least I always know where you stand." It's true. I don't put up a front. I don't lie. I let you know what I think of you as much as I can.

In the past, I've offended and hurt a lot of people many different ways. I used to consider an ability to overanalyze people to their barest weaknesses as some sort of gift and I flaunted it. Recently, I've revised that ascertation to something that's more along the lines of futurism. I make assumptions based on limited evidence of behavior and I'm almost always wrong RIGHT NOW. Down the road, who knows. Most often, when I make some jerkish statement about someone's character, it comes true to a point. Not enough to say I was right, but enough to say I was close. I'm arrogant because of this. The question is, if this is a weird coping mechanism that I've developed to deal with people and uncomfortable situations or a symptom of something greater?

I've spent some time with some younger people recently. People in their late teens early twenties that were friends of friends. Watching them interact and have conflicts was interesting for me because I remember when my friends and I started to feel trapped by that situation. At some point sitting around reminiscing about a few years ago without making new memories or progressing at all will cause an environment rife with resentment. I wonder if these people will end up where I am today, deciding what's more healthy: the friends you've had forever who have trouble letting the past go or the friends of the present who know the person you are now and appreciate you for that.

It's a sick conflict. Do you resent the past because it never evaporates or do you embrace the present because it is the world where you exist? I heart thinkies, don't you?

Other updates:

*new job starts Monday. I think I'm going to be ok.

*I'm moving to NW 23rd. Another building my dad built. Neato.

*That last post? All resolved. Time heals all wounds.

*If you haven't rented Brick, Inside Man, or V for Vendetta then you apparently have greater things to do with your time... like cancer research or volunteering at homeless shelters. Glad to see you enjoy philanthropy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

This is me angry/hurt/upset/pissed

As I post this, I am seething. Like, rage. I'm also extremely disappointed and sad. You think you know someone, you think you can trust them... and that all can go away with a sentence. In an instant, the depth of their character shows through and you see them for who they truly are. There's a quote somewhere about how people really only show their true colors. Not that everyone is selfish underneath, but that image they put out? It hides something. Maybe a sad, lonely person or a dark angery person, but someone vastly different than who they walk around as 24/7.

I was going to move into a house at one point this summer. Some people who I'd been associating with for the last few months and I had all talked about it and seemed not only a viable, but fun idea. Cheaper rent, great area, good people, so on.

That was not meant to be. As the dragging on of finding viable housing started to take its toll, one of the members of this enclave started to act... different. Moody, pissed off, vague, and distracted. It came out that I'd pissed him off somehow. Heh. This happens a lot. I'm just one of those guys. One of those people even. A long time ago, I had to make a concession that to be liked and to be true to myself could not occur at the same time. I am who I am. I don't try to offend, but hey, get mad at me? I'll apologize. Not enough? fuck it. I can't be perfect. No one can. I'll take the highest road possible, but that's all I can do.

I steeled myself to be able to talk to this person and take whatever I'd done wrong and be ready to sincerely offer up my humblests so that they'd let it go. Turns out, I really hadn't done ONE thing that'd pissed them off: He had a list.

Now that's just ridiculous. All this time, that person has been keeping track of EVERY action that I've done to get ammunition to get up in my face about what a, "bad person" I am. Apparently:

"I don't appreciate the way you treat women"

Seeing as how the majority of my friends are girls, that's kind of ridiculous. I've never cheated on a girlfriend, struck a girlfriend, or kept secrets from a girlfriend. Yeah, I'm a fuck up and yeah I've torpeded my fair share of relationships by being selfish, needy, and neurotic, but this is just out of left field for someone who has only known me for a few months.

"You're abrasive, loud, and obnoxious."

Have you never been to the video store? Seriously. Next.

"I don't trust that you're not going to try to steal my girlfriend."

Slightly sad and pathetic, right here. First of all, LOOK AT ME! I'm a semi-employed 7-year later college graduate of PSU who reads comics, watches movies, and gets his jollies debating the finer points of mainstream pop culture while being completely unable to hold his whiskey. You're right. Total threat. Right here.

"I'm guessing you get all of these characteristics from your father."

Note to all concerned: NEVER, EVER bring my family into it. I bitch about my parents and sibling constantly. I'm allowed. 25 years and counting of dealing with them. You are not unless you want all of your teeth to suddenly resemble the decorations on your christmas tree after you tripped and fell into it.

There's more, but it's not worth mentioning. It's just more insecure babble that pretty much states that they're a little person with big issues.

See, that's not why I'm upset though. Fuck that person. Remember? High ground.

What has totally broken me is that their significant other, someone who I had started to truly become great friends with, is now forced to no longer hang out with me to appease the other person. That's what I'm disappointed about. That's what makes me sad. You think you know where you stand, and in a flash... The people you lay your trust upon can show true colors. True weakness. True lack of character.

I'll regret this post in a few months. Hence the lack of names or sexes.

I just needed to get out the crappy feeling inside.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

End of an Era

We're winding down on the end of "Mikey's College Experience" within the next 8 hours or so. How does Ye Olde Slacker use these last valuable ticks of the clock? Watching bad action movies and blogging while enjoying the end of a Marathon Taverna induced buzz.

So to recap:

About 7 years ago, I graduated from West Linn High School and packed my bags for Linfield College intent on studying creative writing and doing very little involving my good old days. I really just wanted to move on from Jen, the HS drama, my folks and their insane situation, my sister's shadow... y'know. And what happened? I made good. Editor of this, program director of that, columnist here, DJ there... and like THAT it was gone thanks to my fears of success. Yeah, it's easy to say it was April or 9/11 or whatever, but chances are that the depression that started kicking in that junior year at Linfield was something that was due to just not being able to see anything through to the end. The same thing happened at OSU and almost happened at PSU. The closer I get to the prize, the more I'm afraid of it. I mean, what happens next? What do I do once I get a hold of a degree? What do I fucking do then?

Tomorrow they say my name and I walk across a stage and Lisa Deadly, Barista, Sanelle, Will, Kevin, Baker, my folks... They're all going to see me do it. Sunday, drinking will occur with the friends of the past and the friends of the present... Wow. S'just been a long time coming, I guess.

It's weird to think that I'll be graduating with friends from high school, watched by my friend from Davis, CA (OSU era) and my friends from Burnside (PSU era). If I could have gotten Karl to attend, the circle could have been complete. Alas, serendipity doesn't always bend to our wills.

Other tidbits...

I'll be posting on Sequart again soon. They're still eager for me to write for them (despite a month's absence due to final term mojo) and I'm thinking about making a portfolio of my samples to send to other websites.

I still rule the video store. Well, not really, but tonight especially saw me in my zone. Working with the Irish Rocker, Not-gay-Josh, Ali Cat, BTK, and (shudder) Carrot has never made me feel more like I have some of the best clerkin' skills at the old HW. A customer even came up Carrot and said, "Hey, I heard that this guy (me) is the guy that knows all about movies." Carrot begrudgingly replied, "Well, SOME people say that..." I don't know why the guy has to be such a tool. He must have a brain parasite that constantly screams pretentious drivel and awkward-silence causing randomness into his ear... Aw well. I always do better with a nemesis, anyway.

I hate job-hunting. I hate temp agencies. I hate time cards and tax forms and interviews and, "if we could hire you right now, we would..." I loathe all of it. Whatever gets me through the day...

I'll be posting grad pics as soon as Barista takes some tomorrow.

AGAIN! Party at the Bitter End on Sunday the 18th, 7pm. Attendees? Dennis, Pete, Will, Baker, Sloth, Kevin, K3hl, Karl, Jake, Rose, Barista, Sanelle, Lisa Deadly, Kevin, Rachelle, Burton, Jamie the Bartender... and my Dad.

Last but never least: I'm trying to get in on a house that would be a dream coup over in Ladd's Addition. I need a couple of roommates. Interested? Hit me up.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Short post during an all-nighter...

We're winding down on the end of the collegiate experience for good ol' Mikey. Lord, how did we get here?

I'm typing this at 4am on a Red Bull and coffee binge. I have another paper and one more question on the take home final to go. For some reason, this gets harder the closer I get to the finish line. It's almost like I don't want it to end. When it does, all I'm left with is the degree and the memories (which have been great), but then what? Where to next? Job prospects seem to appear for me and then just as quickly evaporate. I'll get called out of the blue for an interview, kick ass at it, have some spotty communication with the HR rep... and then nothing. Suffice it to say, I can't keep up working at the video store. Night jobs are offcially NOT my thing anymore. I need my life back.

Right now, with news of my building going condo, the inevitable move has to commence... AGAIN. I hate moving. I hate packing, throwing out stuff I can't fit, folding clothes, cleaning floors, begging for help from friends and family, and then spending the hottest day of the year unloading it all into a new place with LOTS of stairs (always stairs... so many...) and having to reaquaint myself with a new home. There's this one quote in Garden State about home which I don't feel like citing here, but it basically states that home doesn't exist except in memory of the past. No matter how hard I try, the only home I've created is this city. That's why I stay here. It's my home. The whole damn place. From the comic book store to the Chinese restaurant, Sushiland and Powells, the video store and the Bitter End, Coffee House and Music Millenium... This is it. No matter how many times I bounce around from place to place, the city stays with me.

Jake, Christine, Sanelle, and a few others and I are trying to swing a 5 bedroom house in a really nice part of town. The price is perfect and would allow me to get a handle on my finances once again. Oh who am I kidding, I never have a handle on my finances...

Rats. I've killed enough time. Back to work...

Party at the Bitter End. Sunday June 18th, 6pm or so. We've sorta rented the bar. Come buy drinks for Kevin, Baker, Emily and me. We've earned it and the drunken thanks and hugs of love for all of the support that people have given us will make it all worth it. I'm going to try to get my dad to come. This time I'll actually know he's there when I'm drunk off of my ass.