Happy Halloween

I don’t have much more to add, since I’m semi-mobile on account of work and all.

Oh, there is one thing: if you’re in San Francisco today, watch out for all the wet drunks. I mean, that’s good advice for any day in San Francisco, but today it’s especially so, what with all the rain and a parades and stuff.

True fact: I didn’t know the Giants won anything until some dude handed me a free can of Coke this morning. What a world!

How Do You Like These (Weird-ass) Apples?

Scientists create sparkling apple that fizzes in your mouth. (Via.)

Oh no, I’m not falling for any of these weird apple-variants again. I fell for the Grapple once, and that was the last straw. (Smells sort of grapey, tastes… pretty much like a regular apple.)

I know that the modern supermarket apple is a boring, hybridized monster fruit, but c’mon, enough’s enough. What’s next? No, don’t tell me, I couldn’t bear it.

A Brief Note on the Recent Unpleasantness

I have a number of hobbies. These hobbies often have communities that are loosely organized around them, but out of an abiding distrust of fandom and subcultural spaces, I do not engage with those communities very much. However, that doesn’t mean I can watch a group of very vocal loudmouths within certain of these communities say and do terrible things to others without feeling a sick sense of dread. I am disgusted — horrified, actually. (Though sadly not especially surprised.)

However, I am also a rank coward. I publish under my real name. My life is precarious and can be easily ruined by anyone with a few minutes to spare. While I greatly admire those who brave the unrelenting shitstorm, enduring a constant nightmare out of their dedication to their principles, I am not that strong. Which is why I’m being fairly oblique about what I’m talking about, and why I have not issued any bold declarative statements on this topic, or used certain key words or phrases, recently.

I am disgusted with myself, as well then. I do not agree with the loudmouths, so at least my heart is in the right place. But I’m too afraid to put myself in the line of fire, which means my spine is not.

Add Vice

I have got to stop reading advice columns. They are a drain on my balance and peace of mind. Partly, I’m upset at what I perceive to be an unwholesome, voyeuristic interest within myself. I’m not going to read a letter from someone with problems that are similar to mine; there is no passive “oh god, I hope I can glean something useful from this column, even though I’m too scared to ever write in, myself,” to justify my interest. I am literally reading about other people’s problems just to pass the time.

But maybe that’s not a real feeling. I might just be beating myself up over a normal human foible that nobody should be ashamed of. Even so, that solves nothing. My ordinariness as a person notwithstanding, advice columns are often boiling canals of asphyxiating human misery, especially when you stumble on to one of those letters that hints at the depths of our species’ depravity, the most grotesque — yet subtle — ways.

Something like, “My husband builds child-sized coffins as a hobby, and as soon as the varnish is dried on them, they disappear, only to be immediately replaced by fresh, new ones. He says he’s selling them, but we’re hurting for money, and I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s putting his proceeds in the bank! So, Dear Columnist, my question is, how can I convince him to let me use our son’s former bedroom as dedicated scrapbooking space? Sincerely Yours, Totally Oblivious.”

Okay, I’m exaggerating slightly. The point is that when some people open up a window into their lives, the view is depressingly dark.

But there’s something much worse than that. The people with happy-except-for-one-thing problems.

“Dear Columnist: I have a great job, a great spouse, a great home in a great neighborhood, and I’m filthy fucking rich. All of these things upset me terribly, and I want to tear my own skin off and take up smoking. What’s the one simple trick that will make me happy? (It’s my stupid spouse ISN’T IT?! IT’S ALL THEIR FAULT!!)”

I try, I really, really try to look upon my fellow human beings with a sense of empathy and understanding. While certain people have it a great deal better than others, I always try to remember that being a person is hard to a certain extent, even if it’s less hard for some. Even the rich can get sick, even the famous can get lonely, even a martial arts champ can feel lost and afraid.

But these folks with the perfect-except-for-one-thing lives — they tax me. It’s not their fault of course (the bastards), but man. Man, I can’t stop reading about them even though I would very much like to. What should I do?

Dear Columnist: Since I lack any kind of discipline, is there some secret trick you could tell me that will help me stop reading your column, since it makes me so unhappy?

A Guide for Living… or Going to the Movies

“As you may or may not be aware, my New Year’s Resolution this year was to only go to see movies I thought I’d have a really good time at this year [...]. It has been the best decision I have ever made with my life [...]“

{From: The Only Problem With The Maze Runner at The Toast}

Well obviously you should read the whole post, it is fantastic; but I wanted to highlight the idea of only going to movies when you think you’ll really enjoy the experience. Without knowing it, I had apparently adopted this policy for myself some time ago, and it’s working out great. The last movie I saw in a theater was the re-release of the original Ghostbusters, and it was very fun.

The last movie I saw before that one was Indiana Jones: The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I didn’t hate it as much as some people seem to, but man it was not great time. (Another fun fact? IJ:TKCS is the only move I’ve ever seen in a theater more than once. The reasons for this are somewhat complicated, and will have to remain a mystery for now.)


Figurative “Impossible Dream” Actually Impossible

According to this post over at BoingBoing: “It’s all but impossible to earn a living as a working artist, new report shows

I think we all kind of intuited this fact already. It’s why many of us dream about quitting our day-jobs to pursue our artistic impulses, but almost never actually do it. It’s why we think anyone who actually does try it is fucking crazy.

Some say true art has no practical, material utility. Perhaps that’s correct. It certainly seems to lack the useful feature of earning you a living.