Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Too long without an update, yesyes.


I've been downloading episodes of "Love Hina" recently. Your standard romantic comedy anime featuring your typical shy otaku-type with horny friends surrounded by beautiful women. He and his mismatched love interest won't admit their feelings for each other, and when they're about to, two rivals are trotted out to confuse matters (the rivals each being much more what each mismatched half was looking for... you know the drill.)

In short I'm loving every minute of it. The predictable plot structure tied to the out-of-left-field foreign culture humor, animated slapstick never fails to floor me... plus hey, the unintentional breast grope immediately followed by explosive nosebleed bit really never gets old.

Not Ranma good, not even "Welcome to Greenwood" good, but good fun.

Also Watch

Either the Sox are setting the Nation ("...not really a legion of fans as much as it is a self-help group" --Mike Wise, Washington Post) up for one humdinger of a letdown (the greatest comeback in baseball history immediately followed by an equal but opposite choke? could the baseball Gods truly be that cruel?) or we're about to see something I've waited my entire life for... or at least since I was four. We've already seen what I've been waiting for since I was five (i.e., incontrovertible proof that the Red Sox are just as good as, nay better than, the hated Yankees) and I think it may have saved me four or five years of therapy.

You know how it is when you experience a traumatic event in your life, like someone you love gets seriously ill or dies, or you go through a horrific breakup? How you'll manage to push it to the back of your mind and trudge through your daily routine? How all of a sudden you'll remember and for a moment it's like everything is crashing down around you all over again? The day or three after the Sox won the ALCS were like the exact polar opposite of that. I'd be going about my day, reading or working or playing guitar or watching tv or whatever the hell, and suddenly I'd remember: "The Red Sox just humiliated the New York Yankees by staging the biggest comeback in baseball history, and are now going to the World Series!" And I'd actually start giggling like a fiend, grinning like the cat that ate...

And Speaking Of...

We've been having a mouse problem hereabouts of late. Patching holes, cleaning the kitchen, setting out gluetraps, setting out poison... well, the morning after we set out the poison we find the mice have actually shit all over it. Fuckin' gangsta. Any week now they'll start demanding protection money.

So we've inherited a cat. Said cat has actually moved into the laundry room next door to me. He gets the run of the basement, the Pooch gets the upstairs, and the ground floor serves as a buffer zone. He's an amazing looking cat-- an Oriental Shorthair apparently, which means he looks like a statue that you would find guarding a mummy.

Still getting settled in, he just poked his head around the door to see what I was doing and promptly ran off again when I looked over and said "hi."

Muse Sick

Last Thursday I caught Mouse on Mars and Ratatat at the Black Cat. Ratatat I'd never heard before, so I had no idea what they'd sound like. It took me a while, but I really got into their sound. They were almost reminiscent of Trans Am, in that they seemed interested in taking all the good stuff from late-70s/early-80s hair metal (the transcendently melodic guitar solo here, the soul-stirring bridge there) and stitching it all together, discarding the bad (the pedestrian lyrics -- any lyrics at all, in fact -- or the plodding verse riffs) and leaving only a gooey confection of guitar sounds over danceable preprogrammed beats. Fun stuff, but I won't be buying their album anytime soon.

Mouse on Mars were lots of fun as usual, though I've seen them better a couple of times. Still jubilant in the post-series glow, I danced my skinny ass off. Every now and again it occurs to me to wonder whether or not I'm a good (whatever that may mean) dancer. For the most part I don't care-- dancing is fun, I do it to have a good time. But every now and again I have to wonder if I look cool or like a complete ass. Once again, that's not the point... which may be part of why I've been single for so depressingly long.

Oh, And...

I've been kind of meaning to say something about this, if only to get it all out there. I'll have to slip it in backwards, so first with the hand-waving and excusifying:

I've never thought terribly highly of the entire pop-psychology/self-help movement/thing/whatever. It always seemed to me just so much touchy-feely New-Agey jargon-riddled babble. Plus it's all about being reductivist-- taking complex issues in people's emotional lives and trying to distill everything down to a single root cause; alcoholism, co-dependency, depression, OCD, kleptomania, acne, procrastination, homicidal mania, sex addiction, tea addiction, abstinence, workaholism, inability to love, inability to stop loving, incompetence, incontinence, athlete's foot and halitosis can all be blamed on X, where "x" is whatever drum the particular quack is pounding.

And yeah, in my limited reading of self-help books I've found this to be true. That and the writing is often deplorably opaque, riddled with (of course) obtuse jargon and stymied by (oh, the hypocrisy of this sentence!) overuse of the passive voice. The kind of bad writing that masks lazy thinking. And yet behind this, behind the cluttered arguments and the cringe-inducing verbiage, there seems to be some kind of undeniable and useful Truth. Maybe not all of societies ills can really be laid at the feet of "x," but that doesn't necessarily make rooting it out a useless endeavor.

So yes, I'm currently slogging it through a little tome about defeating one's demons by eradicating one's inner Toxic Shame: the bugbear, the root cause of suffering, the author's chosen drum. And as many problems as I have with the entire exercise, it's made me realize just the extent to which I am (oh crap, here goes) a very shame-based person. And that this has held me back from many things. I'm certainly not in my life where I'd like to be. I'm afraid to do the things I really want to do. I seem content to live my life without making any effort toward tapping... even a significant fraction of my potential.

But I'm not content. I will deny that I'm depressed or any such, but I'm far from satisfied with my lot in life. Hell, at this point it's not even good drama-- if I'm miserable, I want to be at least entertainingly so!

Christ, I've been typing for an hour now. I really should get to sleep-- starting an hour early tomorrow! This was not meant to be such a long entry, not by a long shot. Ahhhh, well. C'est la 'Blog!

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