Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Unluckiest Numbers in the Galaxy

It has happened.
Disney bought Lucasfilms. They want to make. A Star Wars Episode 7. 8. And 9. Guys. A Star Wars sequel trilogy. Do you get it? More Star Wars in an era where a five-year Clone Wars franchise and a spinning, jumping Yoda were thought to be good ideas. I mean, just say it out loud: Disney bought Lucasfilms and has green lit a Star Wars sequel trilogy! It’s a mouthful of horrible-sounding syllables. But… why is that so?
With each movement cinema has been through since Revenge of the Sith disgraced our silver screens, we’ve been seeing disappointing contributions to the sci-fi fantasy genre: Transformers is an explosive mess, Pirates of the Caribbean became too self-aware for its own good, Harry Potter went missing in action, and even Star Trek doesn’t explore space so much as it punches people. A fearfully recognizable possibility of lightsaber-filled movies to come looms forth in geek minds everywhere… and we tremble.
We dread another awful Star Wars movie.
First off, let me declare here that I’m not reviewing anything with this article but examining what is behind at least my own personal anxiety surrounding this news. Read also: pardon the many vagaries and broad ideas.
Let us take a much-needed breather and look at the chances for a sequel trilogy as 50/50, given three masterpieces and three shit-pieces. Luckily, the criticisms of the prequels are widely known that they might be learned from. Thus, the upcoming post-Return of the Jedi project could fall either way, but with a name as hyped as Star Wars, the efforts needed could really only produce one extreme or the other. They’ll either go too far with story-weak flash and glam or work carefully to create a quality picture.
Joss Whedon managed the latter achievement with Avengers, making a movie that worked magnificently in marketing, the surface level of fun, and the deeper levels of art and storytelling. Couldn’t the same be done with the galaxy of Luke Skywalker?
Star Wars is one of the prime components in geek culture, one that we feel can offer a story to match in quality with its effects sequences. In one sense, Star Wars as a six-film set has been a perfect illustration of geek likes and dislikes. Remember: we love stories. Yes, we also like our space battle candy and our silly references to “the droids you’re looking for”, but the movies, books, comics etc. that remain most with us have well-told stories. We who are fans of Star Wars long for a continuation of the marvelous saga that enraptured us.
But what about “live and let live” and “it’s only a movie”? Why not hang up your critic’s coat and just enjoy it? Why is it so important that familiar movies be made well by the standards of the culture they appeal to?
It has to do with how we enjoy them.
            When a movie is done well, we can enjoy it, discuss it, think about the ideas, analyze characters, and ultimately achieve the escapist element by getting immersed in the content. When they are done badly, we get stuck in the tangled web of what was technically wrong about the movie and then it all becomes so much minutiae, pragmatism, and nitpicking.
            So, what to think about these nerve-wracking newcomers to our pop culture family? Well, obviously that’s up to you, but since you’re reading for my take, I say: don’t actually panic. Come what may, we’ve always got our pure original trilogy and all the Force it retains. Even if Episodes VII – IX will suck and even if they do tarnish another big expected Star Wars revival, remember that no matter what, the first transport is away.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

ARCHIVE PIECE: The Way of the Cyclist [essay from May 2009]

“Don’t worry; it’s easy, just like riding a bicycle.” For most people, this common idiom makes sense relating to the ease of bicycle riding. For me, this phrase is an irony, as my life’s greatest trials and breakthroughs have been achieved on the bike, and those successes were anything but easy. To me, “just like riding a bicycle” means pedaling hard against cruel gear settings and pounding for hour-long minutes up endless hills that are working with the sun and wind to force my wayward endeavor into forlorn failure. But, time and again, I find myself casually looking down that last endless hill and wondering where the time went. For every ride I’ve started, I’ve managed to make it through and realize my true place on the bike and its true placement of my power to achieve.
          From the start, bicycles have been a fundamental part of my life. I don’t even remember when I had training wheels. Though it was really my third bike, I recall my “first” bike being a simple mountain bike that boasted features new to me, like gear-shifters and stronger tires. Still, I just saw this object called a bicycle for what it was; two wheels, a frame with handles, and a somewhat uncomfortable seat. I failed to see the true potential both mount and rider had if harnessed properly, despite varying aggravations. I owe it to my parents, both cyclists in their day, who encouraged a more in-depth practice in the art of road cycling. With the acquisition of a new racing bike on my 11th birthday and a keen wanting to discover an athletic potential besides arduous running, I donned a little cycling jersey, checked my tire pressure, and followed my headstrong father out onto the road of a new cycling career. I sometimes wonder how I would have felt knowing that, four short years later, he would be straining to catch up to me.
          While those pre-teen years saw great strides in my own world, I still suffered from the child’s instinctive repulsion of hard work. Then the wonders of the outside world broke through to me in the form of one mighty, awe-inspiring man: Lance Armstrong. Massing spectacular Tour de France race victories year after year, surviving a life-changing battle with cancer, and slamming into every cycling competition he entered to win hard, I had found my personal guiding star on a bike. I still cannot believe some of the things Armstrong has achieved and I’m never at a loss to marvel at the sheer force of determination that he found within himself. But, over time, I learned the big surprise: though his career is unique, there are thousands of world-class athletic cyclists who all tore down their physical inhibitions and did great deeds on the bike for few other reasons than love of the sport. For a growing cyclist, these titans of the road were as key as the bicycle itself in shattering the fear of hard work and suffering to bring rise to a passion for the two-wheeled challenge. With a capable ability on the rise and iconic role models to follow the legacy of, I found the purpose of my choice and prepared to advance onward.
 As I ride today, finding contentment with just the air, the road, and my bicycle sailing on, I still scarcely stare down the horizon with valiant thoughts of strength and accomplishment.  I don’t really have to; if I continue to strive to be the best cyclist I can be, than simply getting out onto the road to return a few hours of satisfied workout later is enhancing who I am on its own… with the help of some focused attitude while pushing that next winding uphill.
For all my incredible influences, from famous professional athletes to my caring and supportive parents, I believe that there was, and still is, one aspect of my ability for cycling that has inspired me in a way that few other moments in my life could equal: the distance I traveled and the self-development I built came from myself. When I remember that I found the willpower to drive up insane hill-roads and across arid desert miles to reach those victorious finishes of each workout, then I know that I can race for any journey I choose to chase after. I’ll find myself looking back on life’s challenge and think it easy as riding a bicycle.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Some Rambling Article About Commitments on Election Day

Well, the point of my blog here is to have a regular written output. Namely, an article every Tuesday. Well… Tuesday was over 38 minutes ago as I type these words. Yech. Perchance I can make some excuse about how busy I was given Election Day and whatnot? Nah, that’s not a valid excuse. How about a decent attempt at tying in a late article in with the concept of a commitment and the election so as to make it interesting and contextual? Meh, okay.
So, Obama won! I hope I will be able to convey the uplifting sensation unique to this night in the distant future, when I actually begin to show grey hairs and such. Everybody loves a passionate speech, but as I am a man of words and their intentions, I felt deeply moved by Obama’s victory speech. Here is an individual truly devoted to the purpose of his station, a magnificent example that many others ought to follow.
Forgive me, as this will be a really roughshod article, but I appeal of course to your own election hype as a source of redemption for the most heinous felony of failing to meet a self-set deadline.
Ack, bloody hell, focus. Ah yes; Obama, election, commitment, article writing, having a point. Right. How about something classic? Hard work. Obama emphasized the need for hard work in social endeavors. He’s right. I admire his ability to recognize and be aware of the minutiae of politics, but it is that awareness that gives him the perspective to work through such difficulties. He highlighted disagreement and argument as valuable faculties of a society, as tools to be used rather than obstacles to be seen only as troublesome.
More than this, Obama drove home the importance of work. It’s not an unknown moral, but it is one that many perhaps too often to not truly take to heart. The exalted shine and promises of the end result too often bogs our view of the steps needed to reach that result. More often, we love more the idea of the finish line than the run itself. It is natural to hesitate in the face of an endeavor’s challenge. Because hard work is… well, fucking hard work! Effort makes demands of us; it makes us sweat, think hard, push farther, lift heavier weights, add on more pressure. Obama knows this as surely as the working men and women he intends to fight for. Doubtless, he had moments along the past year where he envisioned what tonight might look like if he were to be re-elected, just like any minimum wage grocery store deli worker longingly envisions the end of a day’s shift. Yes, by the way, I’ll make it abundantly obvious that in application to a writer, this means I myself often delight in the idea of a completed work, be it a poem, article, or even full length book.
But the road home is not covered by the mere happy wish for home.
The reward of a finish line to any given goal is proportional to the goal in question. Usually, it is also in proportion to the amount of work needed to make it happen. Now, I am being vague, sharing rather obvious thoughts, and only loosely achieving my goal with this rather erratic stream-of-consciousness entry, but damnit, I am achieving it. I can wake up in the morning to a country largely pleased with it chosen leader and a blog archive with an additional entry on it. I have exerted the work and I will reap the rewards. Obama and his vast support team have worked tremendously hard to realize this envisioned goal. But, the articles are a commitment. Running a nation is a massively larger one, but all the same a commitment. Signposts are reached and passed on the ceaseless roads of our life endeavors (I keep using that word; I hope it means what I think it means) but rarely do we actually stop moving forward.
I am serious about writing. I want to put out these articles every week, even if they are not quite as perfect as I originally wished. If I am to prove this dedication, I intend to follow in my president’s example and work to earn every week of accomplishment I get to revel in. Further than this, it means I will write more: my poems and my stories will become genuine passions in my life that merit my attention all the way to completion.
Thus resumes the intricate insanity of Thoughts of an Escapist from here. In direct consequence of that effort, thus truly and wholeheartedly begins my adventure as a writer. I have a magnificent world to share with everyone and I WILL work hard to make that vision real.
The best is yet to come. Cheers to four more years!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Texas Liar (And I Don't Mean "Dubbya")

          Big news, people: I am officially renouncing my fandom of Lance Armstrong. Ooh, yes, spread the word, reblog the story, and clasp your face in awe. Rumor has it that Mr. Armstrong himself is preparing to make a direct public appeal groveling for my appreciation back. Well, in anticipation of such a touching gesture, I will say Mr. Armstrong, just to save you even further public flak: nope. You’re not getting admiration back from me or anyone else.
            Maybe it’s old news at this point and maybe people will still hold whatever preconception they had. But mine is a story of a longtime Lance Armstrong fan turned by the shameful information that has come to light… and it saddens me to say so.
            I have admired Lance since I was nine. I reveled in every Tour de France victory he claimed. I was at serious odds with myself while pouring through the USADA report a couple weeks ago. Surely Lance still achieved a great deal, right? Even if the man was drugged, wasn’t the idea still there, that Armstrong brand of overcoming all odds to beat the impossible?
            No. Think about it: Lance was indeed a very hard worker. But so were many of the men in the pelotons he challenged. What gave him the push? What was the extra boost that repeatedly put him above the others? What was the very pedestal he stood upon that exalted Lance into the fame that made him known? Drugs.
            Drugs made the man and the idea. Thus, Lance Armstrong is a fraud in whole and in part.
            Many have known of cycling’s dark side, that nearly every big name from Ulrich, Pantani, and Heras to Landis, Klöden, and Basso have all been caught up in doping scandals of one degree or another. But we could scarcely imagine it reached as high as the patron saint of the yellow jersey. If you want a genuine example of fortitude on a bicycle, Look
In the wake of this scandal, it is actually Greg LeMond who has called for the resignation of UCI leaders, even calling for a fundamental restructuring of the sport. If the corruption is as deep as LeMond indicates, maybe the sport is in need of a restart.
Some say that they knew all along or at least suspected. Of course they say this now; better that they had at least some kind of drop on the whole scandal than admit to being conned like everyone else. Even those who really did suspect him from the start were not actually wise to the scheme. That’s what made the doping program a “success”.
The cry of hypocrisy rings in our minds like a headache. Lance seemed an honest man who wanted to win by the rules. Then again, what better veneer to hide behind?
The USADA’s report is too extensive and scientifically thorough to ignore. Go ahead; pick your favorite part of Lance’s Tour de France career and read about it in the report (linked below.) Tyler Hamilton made a courageous appearance on 60 minutes wherein the former teammate exposed the Armstrong doping circle, revealing a shockingly treacherous side of professional cycling. Many have risked their careers and reputations to finally ensure that the world knows the case against this icon of athetics.
The evidence is mounting and creates a slope even Lance cannot tackle.
Maybe he became too seduced by the devilish promise of “an extra boost”, maybe he was a Faustian victim to the Mephistopheles of professional cycling demands, or maybe his belief in victory (to him, a justification for whatever means) was the true demon. The frustrating part is Lance sort of won. We can catch and punish him, strip him of his titles, and oust him for a fraud, but he still enjoyed over a decade of fairly unchallenged glory and fame.
The solution for us, Lance Armstrong’s former believers, is not to let his name be stricken from our minds. Do not even shackle it to his misdeeds but remember the man who survived cancer, provided charity to many other cancer patients, and worked very hard to be nevertheless a damn good cyclist. Think about the determination that motivated both his incredible cycling and unfortunate doping.
But let Lance Armstrong’s name be forever stained.
Let his legacy be seen only as clean as the body he drove through those seven tours. Let the drugs that boosted him above his competitors course virulently through the syllables of his once honored name. He could cheat the sport and lie about it, but he cannot cheat the truth.

USADA’s report on Lance Armstrong’s doping history in the Tour de France:

Washington Post coverage of Greg LeMond’s call for UCI leader resignation:

Tyler Hamilton’s appearance on 60 minutes revealing the Armstrong doping circle:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Advertisement of an Escapist

ATTENTION PEOPLE WHO READ THINGS: You are among those who can legitimately count themselves among the literate. Not just people with a grasp of reading, but who actively seek out material of interest, intrigue, even odd bits of silliness simply for its own delight. I prefer promoting to such individuals, so if you find yourself listening to these very characters, you too are a character of a different sort. Most likely an interesting one. (I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.)

There is of course Reddit, Cracked.com, and the Onion for such things; properly developed sites with writers who can reap the benefits of name recognition and find themselves with a regular following. And good for them. After all, who am I to indulge in a fantasy like attracting your readership of my ramshackle musings and wayward observations? I dare not invoke the achievements of great figures like the Wright Brothers as if a motivational would spur an ironic twist in my endeavors. I’d as well say, “If they could build an airplane, then I can get people to drink my independent brand of soda rather than Coke.” A notion likely fueled by another kind of coke.

Truly, it would prove futile to point to a successful flying machine as if the gesture would grant me such avian privileges. I doubt it’s what Orville or Wilbur intended. More likely, they knew a thing couldn’t be done if that thing were only talked about rather than tried so that it could actually be called a thing. Here’s the thing: if it suits your fancy, floats your boat, or just upgrades your proverbial carbonated beverage of the day from a 16 oz. pleasantry to a 32 oz. belchfest of fun, then I humbly invite you, Insert Name Here, to follow Thoughts of an Escapist, a weekly thing in which I post new things about things every Tuesday. Guaranteed fascinating thoughts or your sanity back.

Here’s your link and may Tuesdays be henceforth just that little bit more fancy, floaty, or drinky for it: http://valorealm.blogspot.com . If you like it, kindly leave a note expressing your appreciation in intimate, sexy detail, preferably with a dash of mood lighting, some red silk, and a fine glass of Chianti. Otherwise, you may resume your regularly scheduled internet life and YouTubings unabated, as if this episode of blog begging were only a zany dream.

Then again, they once said that human flight was only a zany dream… and while mine can’t get you to Cancun in a day, it is free of cost and disappointingly shitty food.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"You DON'T Know What That Is???"

If someone were to ask me, “Wait… who’s George Washington?” then sure, I’d be tempted to widen my eyes in shock, turn my mouth into a gaping hole of “what-the-fuck”, and spout a familiar accusatory we’ve all used… but anymore, I hope to never act on that temptation.

Haven’t you ever been at a party and the acquaintances you’re trying to ingratiate yourself with reference the latest hip new movie to hit cinemas, say, Sweaty Brooding Badass III: Full-Throttle Fury and Very Expensive Pyrotechnics. For whatever reason, you’re just out of the loop on this one and you’re not sure what they mean. You ask perfectly honestly, “Huh? Sweaty Brooding Badass III? What’s that?” Now, you know it’s a movie, but that wasn’t your question. Nonetheless, your fellow partiers instantly recreate the expression I explained above, and bellow, “WHAT? You DON’T know what Sweaty Brooding Badass III is?” or something similar like, “WHAT? You’ve NEVER heard of SBB III?” You’ll also get this reaction if you haven’t heard of Patrick McStudnose, the star of SBB III, or his sultry, D-cup, 18”-waist co-star, Ashley Sexington. People gawk and are instantly the judge, jury, and executioners of your social fate in that one moment of natural ignorance.
I understand it’s just a conversational quirk nothing more beyond a reaction of surprise to someone being unaware of what seems so well known. I’m more interested in the reason people do this and I don’t find “wuh, I dunno, it’s just what people say,” a satisfying answer. I think that, however you try to color it, this is a mannerism rooted in arrogance.
Before you get out your “now see here”s in defense of your own usage of the phrase, I am not saying you’re Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, but there is an inherently condescending tone to the phrase itself.
 It is especially so when someone does this seriously, even if they have a grain of humor to it. I have seen people react with genuine bewilderment when someone admits to not knowing about a certain movie, book, band, celebrity, or even commercial. It was in high school when I first experienced it: during a group conversation in Spanish class, Adam Sandler came up, for whatever reason. At the time, I didn’t know who that was. I made the mistake of asking who is Adam Sandler and phrases akin to this article’s title were thrown at me by a few people. (Today though, I know who he is and automatically associate the name with forgettable comedic mediocrity.)
I’ve noticed this happens mostly in a social context and on topics of pop culture. After all, “how could you NOT have heard of Mean Girls?!?” Why are we made to think that, with pop culture, we MUST be IN THE KNOW about certain things or else you are an uninformed and unsavvy person? The idea is ridiculous that my set of interests ought to be the basic cultural encyclopedia that everyone else should be attuned to.
Look at it this way: what is the purpose of the phrase? Why do you say it and why with that particular inflection? At its heart, the sentence is designed to express disappointment with a person’s subject-specific knowledge not being on par with yours. In a way, you feel they have invalidated themselves to you by not knowing who Neil Patrick Harris is. It can even go so far as the George Washington example; then, you’re just wondering if that person was raised under a rock hidden inside an isolated closet at Guantanamo Bay.
But there is really no polite or well-meaning way to dish out this phrase, except perhaps ironically. Used in its typical form, it comes from a place of assumed superiority, albeit only as far as knowing about something the other person doesn’t. “Oh, you can’t keep up with us when the topic turns to the lineups of the band Yes? I won’t take a second to educate you, I’ll mock you for your lack of knowledge!” Beneath the scolding lies a false superiority that shouldn’t happen in any conversation in which the participants are thinking about their meanings and intentions. Throwing that moment of belittlement at someone is needless and implies a desire to impress rather than educate. Ignorance is unattractive, certainly, but scorn is an unnecessary reaction when namedropping doesn’t ring a bell.
I’ve found that when someone does not catch a reference I make, no matter how obvious it may seem to me, I will enlighten them with calm brevity. There is that reflex to want to put someone in their place for being unaware of the rules of Fight Club (and damn, I just broke the first two…) but holding doors open in a conversation rather than slamming them shut with laughter is more constructive overall. That way, everybody’s happier, which is what John Lennon would have wanted, right?
Wait a second… you’ve never heard of John– 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Airport Chapel: A Lesson Learned in Denver

[Words: 2,172]

Last call, passenger James Magellon, passenger James Magellon, your flight to Washington / Dulles is now boarding at Terminal B-45; last call, passenger James Magellon to Terminal B-45.”
That must have been what came through the PA speakers at Denver Airport at 11:55-ish pm. Of course, it’s hard to hear that when you’re too busy using your MacBook’s GarageBand to play music with an increased sound level through the left headphone to compensate for your hearing deficiency in your left ear and are finally experiencing your favorite bands without one ear aching from all the sound and the other lying dormant in its wretched deafness, culminating in you being too blown away by hearing Dream Theater’s song “Take the Time” with an ACTUALLY balanced volume on both sides to realize that you not only wrote your flight’s boarding time as 11:59 and that not only is that flight actually boarding on schedule at 11:29 and that not only does that flight DEPART at the time written in sloppy blue ink on your left hand, BUT you decided that you should go do your waiting for boarding, not at, say, THE TERMINAL, but the dining area of the concourse because Facebook just got so damned interesting that you can just go ahead and go TO the terminal HALF AN HOUR AFTER IT ALREADY STARTED BOARDING!! But hey, the Wi-Fi is free and the chat was interesting.
Those last two qualities are not diminished by the aggravating notion of being stuck in Denver overnight, but you do sort of forget the satisfaction of 21st century technological innovations when you find yourself on your way to a United Airlines desk to work out some sort of contingency scheme. Damn. You’re now in one of those smack-over-the-head moods where the recognition of your own stupidity makes your existence an awkwardness akin to an atheist in a fucking airport chapel… which is where you then find yourself going to next.
Lucky for you, the stern-faced, well-mannered guy behind the desk with a name tag that says “Carlos” quickly works out that contingency for you: a morning flight to Newark followed by a bus route to Bethlehem, still on time for the concert you’re going to that evening in Bethlehem. After Sir Carlos of United is knighted (you knighted a guy from United…?) in your imagination for the heroic rescue of the idiot who slacked on his traveling strategy, the aforementioned clerk in shining armor suggests the chapel upstairs as a good place to get some sleep. The thought briefly crosses your self-loathing cerebrum that you should be sleeping in a cushy chair somewhere a couple hundred miles out, a few thousand feet up and on its way to Dulles. Wishes, horses, you get the idea. So, after the soothing voice of a good friend assures you over the phone that you’re not the intellectually deficient things you think you are, you take the chance to carry out a moment that would make a great title for an elaborate narrative about the time you missed your flight in Denver.
So… you look into the small, chair-filled, bible-laden room where apparently an omnipresent being prefers to hang out. You peek into another, pitch-black room, greeted by the scent of incense and apparently expected to take your shoes off before you kneel down eastward, because an omniscient being just doesn’t get good signal if you’re facing another way, I guess.
Unfortunately, the whimsical tale of the atheist in the chapel does not come to be. You walk away, with some kind of fool’s wanderlust stoking this now glowing ember of a thought that it’s not so much a missed flight as a…. uh… MISADVENTURE! You love that word! And hey, what Californian doesn’t love a quick stop by New York City?
The rhetoric is answered anyway: the Californian who is sulking in another dining area somewhere else in the airport, drowning your sorrows in Burger King food. Well, maybe not drowning, since that idiom only works when liquids are involved. How about this: you stuff your sorrows so full of salty fats that they simply burst in the frenzy of cheap culinary delight. The combination of your unexpected situation, the large airport hall area devoid of people except a soporific night staff and one idiot with a cheeseburger, and your butt vociferously lodging complaints to your brain about its soreness with sitting add up to one idea: internet entertainment! Sure, you had originally had hopes to make use of the original three hours you had between arrival to and departure from Denver with a juicy session of writing work. You have a story to tell and you’ve got some friends interested in your first installment! (or, at the very least, you’ve got some friends who are damn keen on saying how much they look forward to it… oh, sod it; that does them a disservice to their honesty.)
As you later write the article about your quirky and uneventful escapade of silent dullness, you step into a very meta layer of the narrative to explain to the article’s readers how much you care about that story: you realize that you want to do some writing. This world and its people occupy your thoughts everyday. Not all the time, but characters grow and develop as class lectures lumber onward in the background. Battle sequences play out as Nightwish and DragonForce entertain you (albeit mostly through one fucking ear) as you tidy away your house’s dishes. Entire relationships between characters unfold in the span of a bike ride to school. Tragic moments of unmitigated emotional force whisk you into awe just before you go to bed and find yourself re-discovering this strange world of yours in your subconscious.
TL;DR: you really like this story, its growth in complexity and depth weave its way into your daily life, and you want… ha, need to share it. Its written form is a promise that has waited a very long time to be fulfilled and tonight, in the bizarre realm of Colorado, in a palace of airline traffic, on a balcony of plastic chairs, a piece of that promise would indeed be fulfilled.
But fuck it, FND Films’ YouTube sketches make you giggle, and since the internet in the airport runs as slow as a Californian in Denver’s winter chill, you can keep finding out how Geddy Lee sounds in your left ear while the video loads! Eh, at some point, you’ll start to have your fill. Akin to the feeling of a gorged belly bidding the esophagus to hold up, your brain eventually will start to simmer down from distractions and shift its priories over to creative output, usually in the form of some epiphany that you… you CAN type words into a computer without checking Facebook with the reflexes of a crack addict reaching for the white lines.
So, here’s me breaking the perspective from second to first, which is a backwards direction in baseball. Though I often suck at sporting metaphors, I get a strange kink out of getting to third base. But, I don’t care for baseball. I care for the lost time. Facebook is my personal F-Bomb. “Fuck” doesn’t bother me a bit, but seriously, it’s like, wake up in the morning, click one thing (guess what thing) and BOOM. Bomb effect. The shrapnel scatters itself throughout the day in smoking chunks of videos, blogs, and music that bleed my day dry and bloat themselves into Burger King-sized beasts that are quite pleased that a playlist has played me right out of time. (Oh, shit, and here he falls apart. Man, he had me going, you know, sensory details, funny quips, that bit about the chapel... I thought this was going to be some fun story about an atheist spending the night in an airport chapel and then he goes whining on about how he has like a writing disability or some shit, and he didn’t even sleep, he just belched out run-on sentences and parentheticals in a messy heap hoping we’d make sense of it.) Right, let me get to the point, if for no other reason than you can use it to stab me in the face and demand your spent minutes back. After all, I have no such luxury. Yeah, I know, nobody can get their wasted time back, but let me complain about myself for a while, and then we’ll get to your issues. Yes, I am an internet addict. No, I’m not a chunky Reddit.com junkie with a vlog, three Tumblrs, and a Skyrim account, but I do enjoy electronic distractions a little too often. Look, we all need them and, to an extent, we’re all slightly addicted to them. The difference between you and I? Well, in the above passages, nothing; that was an elaborate narrative trick, but it did all happen to me. (Well, wonders never cease, M. Knight Shamylan!)
In all seriousness now: I do love my story, at least as much as I described above. I’ve taken time enough to create practically an encyclopedia’s worth of background information, but I have a very hard time putting the work into actually writing the damn thing. I’ve got that Blank First Page syndrome so bad that I need a vaccine just to open a Word document. I go to my distractions so reflexively that blinking looks like a delayed reaction in comparison. What does that say? I’m not really a writer? That I’m just another lazy college-age blob too entertained by instant gratification to tear myself away from a fucking video? That I like the image of being thought of as an author but would rather wallow in the viscous pleasures of another soak in my distractions before looking back on the hours and lamenting the lost time with a song on my stupid iPod?
Perhaps there’s another layer to it. Consider the sweet, fruity pressure of a Starburst candy as your teeth, though stung with a light pressure of Wednesday’s dental fillings, squash the gummy cubes into gunky rushes of succulent, bud-lavishing… uh, taste. I was going to find some convoluted way to connect that idea to this idea of perfection, but if I can’t find it in my writing, then this, a written piece, suffers dreadfully from a distinct lack in perfection. Maybe I worry that I just won’t write my stuff well enough to keep people’s interest or investment in the story. Maybe that fear of not succeeding takes the wheel and drives me past the speed limit into the stagnant but colorful parking lot of distraction, where nobody can fail. Then again, that goes into a whole other realm and I do want to switch gears from the personal woes towards the general audience morality, so let me do that: we all like distraction and we like our productive hobbies; the tricky part is doing the work involved to make a far more gratifying result possible. To hold a completed novel in my hands and see the author’s name be the name of a passenger who missed his 11:59 flight will be magnificently more gratifying than all the missed-flight time wasters’ cheap enjoyments.
Furthermore, it is also extremely gratifying to take a run-on sentence of classic James Johannes Magellon style, violently gouge out its many excess adjectives and ridiculously commonplace adverbs, bleed the superfluous, unnecessary, unneeded, redundant, ongoing, excessive, redundant wordings out, and then wield my writing skills to mold that sentence into a far cleaner, more palatable one. Much to the dismay of the addle-brained child that uses my time and interests to indulge his distraction fix, such attention to my written work probably means… dare I utter such a nightmarish thought… AVOIDING YouTube and honestly reconsidering just how often I need to click the F-Bomb’s trigger. Maybe this article is the real chapel and the words are my confession? No, that’s stupid. Whatever my original intentions, the chapel doesn’t have central premise in this tale, but the confession stands all the same: missed flights, missed chances, and an unexpected stop in New York City. Rival that, Huck Finn!
 No, by the way, this is not the part where I look into the sunrise as it shades the Colorado skies as I type these very words and vow before the throne of Odin to channel my life’s efforts into school and writing. Promises to write never lead to the actual writing. This is the part where I tidy up my Starburst wrappers, rub my insomnia-weary eyes, finish this passage, wait for my Newark flight to board in an hour (oh, I’m at waiting AT the terminal this time!), get off my now VERY sitting-sore rump, and tell that proverbial child of distraction to shut up, leave me alone, and stop making me miss flights.
No… better, yet, I think I’ll just leave him here in Denver.
As a massive army of King Arthur’s soldiers once said: “GET ON WITH IT!!!!”