Tales From an Irish Gypsy

With miles to go before I sleep

This Place
Kitty issues
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My god, this place was an angsty train wreck, wasn't it?

But it was my train wreck.

And I'm trying to learn that there is value in that.

So. This is still here.
Kitty issues
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Huh.

The Cruisining, Part 1: The Road Goes Eventually On
Kitty issues
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I am death warmed over, encapsulated in a high-velocity projectile disguised as an airport shuttle.

Running on two hours of sleep and one fewer cups of coffee, I am in no mood for the Whitman's Sampler of humanity jammed around me. Our initial departure was delayed by an elderly cowbow's refusal to stop smoking, a stern-eyed middle-aged woman's 20-foot-radius personal bubble, and a man with no less than four cans of product in his hair refusing to give an inch of ground on his seat in the full cabin. The cowboy had ended up next to him, and now their adjacent buttcheeks are engaged in territorial disputes.

My money is on the cowboy. I'm betting he's had chili in the recent past.

We barrel through the early morning rush on I-75 with no regard for human life. We blend right in, traveling with the flow of traffic. It reminds me of the old arcade game Crazy Taxi, only with a much worse soundtrack, and higher body count.

Today, Lizzie and I begin an adventure that will take me out of the country for the first time, and the two of us on to our first cruise ship. Along the way, if all goes according to plan, we will snorkel, kayak, swim with nice, non-rapey dolphins, and, Poseidon willing, return with sunburns shy of parboiling.

The Caribbean sun may seem an odd selection for two people just this side of albino, with reddish hair, blue eyes, and freckles. Placing us in direct sunlight is akin to placing a fork in a microwave; there are sparks, and a lot of pain. Our April excursion to England, with its rain and fog and...rain and fog, seems much more suited to our melanin challenged bodies.

But we are both drawn to the coasts, her by the beach and the serenity she brings, and me by the ocean and the endless escapist potential she holds. As in most of our endeavors, even when the destination differs, the journeys are parallel, and that's the worthier part anyway. We shall do this, as all things, together.

But before either of us can begin to absorb more ultraviolet radiation in one week than we have the cumulative previous year, we must SURVIVE that journey.

Our driver weaves sharply in to a gap in the lane to our left only millimeters wider than the van itself, only to swerve back out to the same space we had only seconds ago occupied. I begin to wonder if he is making bets with the voices in his head.

Another driver very nearly clips our front right quarter panel as he attempts the exact same maneuver. The voices, it seems, have a cb channel.

These matters are complicated by the fact that the gravity locking mechanism on my seatbelt is over zealous in ways that cannot be accurately described in words, only by guttural choking noises, made by a passenger whose carotid artery has lost contact with his brain. With each bump and swerve, my shoulder strap becomes a hyper-protective mother, pinning me to the seat until the mortal danger of the speed bump has passed.

The lower half of my body follows the whims of inertia. My head, neck and shoulders remain stationery, locked somewhere between an involuntary river dance routine and a seizure. This continues the full two hours to the airport, where Lizzie collects our baggage as my lips slowly lose their bluish tinge. Taking an inventory of my mental faculties to verify I still remember my name, address, and that 2+2=5, we move onward to security. I am certain, all things considered this day, that probulation abounds.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Tags:

Eulogy
Kitty issues
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I used to wonder how long mine and Emily's story would last, in all its different iterations and incarnations. From friends, to best friends, to lovers, to being engaged, to being estranged, to being strangers. 

From survivors, to people looking for a fresh start, to people who alternatingly wondered why things even stopped in the first place, to people who re-learned that lesson the hard way. 

From introductions in a high school auditorium, to staring out the window of a Greyhound bus 7 years later, wondering why I bothered. 

It never seemed to end, just change, and I wondered aloud on many an occasion, sometimes to others, sometimes to a bartender, sometimes to the ceiling, how long this tale would be when the final chapter closed. 

The answer, as it turns out, is about 13 years. 

Emily died July 19, 2012. 

And all the people who loved her most, through all the sundry chapters we all wove together, found out on December 13th. Very nearly five months later. 

By the time we all realized what had happened, all that was left was a black and white thumbnail photo and a vague obituary on a Mobile, Alabama newspaper's archive. A vibrant girl, now just a list of accomplishments and survivors on a screen, with not a soul in the guest book but a generic church condolence. 

She deserved better. In a lot of ways, in life and death. The former can no longer be helped, although god knows some of us tried. The latter I am writing to rectify, in the only way I know how, right now. 

Because she deserved a eulogy from people who knew her when. One that I know she didn't get, because whatever happened that night, and in the days that followed, we weren't there. We didn't even know. So I'm doing it now. Because this one time, I want to try and give her what she deserved. 

I owe her that much. 

Because her life was not the sum of its parts. Because her journey, ANYONE's journey, should not be defined by the mistakes that she made. Because if you knew her like I knew her, you knew that past all the scar tissue that accumulated, and all the genuine evil laid upon her by many of those she chose to let in closest to her, past the pain and everything that came with it, there was a poet. There was an artist. There was a genuinely talented writer and a biting satirist. There was a mind like a steel trap and sense of humor sharp as any sword that she was not afraid to use in the slightest. 

In her was a fire so bright that it blinded me from the moment I saw it, it warmed myself and so many of us on dark coastal nights at Hiller Park, it killed me to see it dim, and it drove me to the brink of emotional collapse and madness trying to rekindle it, after the darkest of influences all around her had taken their toll. 

It was a fire that myself and others, especially Tasha (god bless ya, dear), believed in enough to try and build again until each of us simply could go on no longer. It is a bitter day when the demands of your own life and the cost of trying to help a dear friend desperately in need can no longer co-exist. But such was the faith and loyalty those of us who knew her best felt she had earned. The poet, the dancer, the writer. We...I...always had to believe that they were still in there somewhere. 

And that if I had the energy to give, and she had the need, there should be no debate. Once the anger of chapters that have no place here now had died down, there are, at the core of it, few people I have fought harder for. 

I had my final conversation with Emily in June. It was difficult, hard to tell if even the embers of her past self were there. But through the haze of her chatter and pained ramblings and sobbing, there were always glimpses. A glimmer of hope in a maelstrom of paranoia and fear and panic. I made a note to check on her again, and she sent me a Facebook message afterwards, an upbeat one at that. 

A month later, she was gone. And time got away from me, and the usual time-lapse pattern of our communication led me to think nothing of it. Until today. 

Today, when I am eulogizing one of my oldest friends, my ex-fiancee, five months after she died, isolated from anyone who could have brought that news home to any of us. 

Mental illness took a girl who could write Tolkien elvish and scream along to Tool, who could write poetry and talk to fairies if ever anyone could, who was sensitive and caring to the point that she often took in too much of the world's pain, and it deprived that same world of her light, and her continued growth and evolution in to someone who could have been truly amazing. If you take nothing else from my ramblings here tonight, take this:

Mental disorders, severe depression, schizophrenia, these are not things that just "happen" to "crazy people." They are serious afflictions, impacting people who are surrounded by those who love them, and who don't know how, or don't have the resources to be able, to help them. It is a horrible thing to watch. It is a horrible thing to hold someone's hand through. It is a horrible thing to not be able to protect them from voices and demons inside their own minds. It is a horrible thing to have to sit beside someone's bed to sing to them as they sob themselves to sleep. It is a horrible way to drift away from everyone and everything you once loved. And it is a horrible way to die. 

I know money is tight right now for everyone, but if you feel so moved, in Emily's memory, there are charities out there that try to help, that try to develop those resources or at least further the understanding of the enemy. I have linked a couple below, but I am always open to suggestions. 

If you can give, bless you, maybe you help spare someone else this struggle. And even if you can't, thank you for indulging me, as I try to capture the good that was Emily, one last time. 

May she finally enjoy the peace she deserves. 

http://www.afsp.org/
http://www.nami.org/


Posted via m.livejournal.com.


The Three Things Chopped Contestants are Contractually Obligated to Do
Kitty issues
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I don't watch a lot of reality television, but when I do, it apparently needs to involve someone pureeing sheep's bladder. Iron Chef America, The Next Iron Chef, The Next Food Network Star, and, most beloved of all, Chopped. Staples in my televised diet. But having consumed nearly, what, five seasons of Chopped now, I have to say that certain...patterns...begin to emerge.

1) Someone must attempt to use the blast chiller, unsuccessfully - No, seriously, we're not even sure the damn thing is plugged in. At least two out of every three episodes has someone who is actively racing a 30 minute clock develop the brilliant idea to attempt to cook something that takes 25 minutes to bring to a molten state, and then 10 minutes to set. Oh noes! But wait! The blast chiller!

In theory, the thing is like an anti-microwave. Inside a nitrogen-fueled portal to the ninth level of Dante's hell, all molecular activity will cease within minutes! You have become death, destroyer of worlds, and Brownian motion! Except not really.

Without fail, with 60 seconds left on the clock, a frantic chef will throw open the door, only to find that instead of a beautifully set chocolate sheet (insert fancy French phrase here), he has a slightly congealed mass of lukewarm chocolaty goo. This is how easily 20% of the sauces on the show are made. Remember, the secret ingredient is panic!

I'm sure that it's a fine machine which, given proper time, would do wonders on the dessert or dashing, debonair pilot of the Millennium Falcon of your choice. But the contestants' consistent failure to grasp the laws of thermodynamics continues to make this appliance look only slightly less useless than Geoffrey Zakarian's tan.

2) Zee machines, zey do nothink! - Industrial meat grinder. Ice cream maker. 4000 rpm Foodbliterator. There are a LOT of very nifty gadgets in the Chopped kitchen that I would, at first blush, absolutely love to have in my own home. Except for the fact that, given their success rate on the show, I feel like the chances of them working as intended are only slightly higher than their chances of rising up and joining their robot overlords in revolution, turning my family in to the series premiere of "How To Serve Man."

Much like the blast chiller, I assume that most of this is the result of hurried contestants attempting to do things like juice an entire side of cow, and grind a turnip in to sausage. It's just so predictable that you could build a drinking game around it. "Oh crap, he's got the blender! Get me a shot! GET ME A SHOT!" It's enough to make me wonder if the producers haven't hired gnomes to tinker with each appliance juuuuust a little bit.

3) SCIENCE! - It's not, perhaps, as common as some of these other entries, but every fifth episode or so you'll get someone who mastered in gastronomy at MIT instead of Le Cordon Bleu, and this person will generally hold true to two principles: first, they will genuinely believe that they are smarter than everyone else in the room, including the judges, and anyone who doesn't enjoy their cuisine simply doesn't "get it," and second, they will grab every amino acid and chemically prefixed powder on the gorram shelf, and they will blend them all together and call it "pesto."

Look, I don't know what this stuff tastes like. I stopped getting near active science labs after my stint interning with Bunsen Honeydew. Sure, that third arm is handy for typing, but spooning? Très difficile. All I'm saying is, have you ever not mixed a Carnation Instant Breakfast up well enough? Texturally, it's a nightmare, but at least it still tastes like chocolate. Now you've got someone throwing four cups of maltodextrin powder in to their sauce, and as far as I know, that just tastes like science. And science tastes about like NyQuil, in my world.

"Good afternoon, judges. Today, I have made you a slurry of grit and slime that, when you are finished, can also be used in your child's rock tumbler."

(no subject)
Kitty issues
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I am trying to start writing again. Not necessarily here, although that would be nice. I need to start writing ANYwhere again.

I am back in the tech industry. I am a Swiss army employee at a national finance software firm. From 8:30 to 6 pretty much every day, with an occasional lunch sprinkled in for variety, I am either at a computer, or at a coffee pot, and if remote desktop could connect to the coffee pot, I'd probably just stay there. The carpet between my desk and the kitchen is developing a pronounced groove.

I spend my days, all of my days, helping develop new things for people to destroy or fixing things that people have found new and interesting ways of destroying already. And this might sound very similar to my job at AT&T, or parts of my job at Scholastic, except at AT&T, if I decided not to do my job properly because you were a wanker and demanding restitution because a free feature isn't working that you never had in the first place, I blew up your SIM card and you had to drive to the store and get a free replacement. Whereas now, if I decide not to do my job correctly, millions of dollars are no longer in balance. And then a man in a suit's head explodes, and if you blow up a head, you've got to spend the rest of the evening mopping it up yourself.

So...you know, a low stress environment.

Point being, by the end of the day, I don't want to touch a computer anymore, unless it contains aliens or orcs that I am killing in the face until they die from it. I have a set ration of thoughts I can have per day, and by lunch I'm exceeding quota. People who get me after 3 PM are lucky I don't tell them to cover their general ledger in mayonnaise and plant it out back until it grows money.

This hasn't done much for my writing. Although it could. There is so much I could vent about at this job. At Scholastic, that was practically how I filled these pages. Partially because, at a monthly magazine, there was a week and a half out of every month where my job was to try not to consume oxygen that was being reserved for executives. And, partially, because I was in so close with the IT department that monitored web usage that I could probably have hosted a torrent site from my cubicle and no one would have "noticed."

Neither of these things are the case now. If I get a chance to pee during the day, I really feel like there must be something I'm forgetting to do. But I am learning a lot, and knowing is half the battle. Things like:

- People are bad at the maths: If the people working in some of these offices are indicative of the product of the last generation of public education, then 50 years from now, addition will be a college level course, and elementary students will cover a full semester of "not eating lead paint chips," followed by a supplementary course called "Dammit, I told you not to eat those!"

Please don't think I'm being judgmental, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses and I have known plenty of absolutely brilliant people that would rather perform their own major dental surgery than try to attack an algebra problem. What I'm saying is, is that if math is your weakest subject or you have a natural and totally understandable difficulty with it, then maybe finance is not the place for you. I deal with everything from banks to loan offices, and much like Mulder, I want to believe that as an adjunct to your career choice, you have an understanding of division. However, also like Mulder, I end up being forced to admit that there is very little evidence to back up my claims. And then an angry, smoking, white man in a business suit tries to kill me. The parallels are eerie.

There are a thousand things I am supposed to be doing. I am a server admin, I manage a SQL database, I fix problems at our clients' home offices that involve major data manipulation, we serve something like 1200 offices and I am one of three people on active calls that is authorized to remotely connect and make the good stuff happen.

"This loan is for $1000 and they're supposed to pay it off over 10 months. How much is that a month?" See that? That right there? That's not a technical question.

Ugh, too frustrated to go on. We'll continue this discussion later. Class dismissed.

I have no memory of this place
Kitty issues
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Oh hey, I have a Live Journal...

(no subject)
Kitty issues
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January. What did I do with you January? I vowed in the closing moments of 2010, at least when there wasn't some right proper snogging going on, to make 2011 the year when I really got back on the horse. Back to old form, like I was from 2000-2006, where it was all progress, all the time. I used to wake up every morning ready to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and a lot of the time, I was out of bubblegum. I got burnt out, as was inevitable, and took about an, oh, *checks his watch* four year hiatus.

But before you or I judge, let's think about that, really. I busted my hump all through school, K through 12, to get good grades, good test scores, and the resultant good scholarships. My family made it very clear to me that college was not in the budget, no matter how hard they tried, so it was loans and debt or full-ride academics for me. I continued to run myself ragged in college(1) to keep those scholarships and to graduate on time after a freshman/sophomore major change that transferred almost NO credits between the two. I got an internship in New York which started a month after I graduated college, got hired straight into my associate editor position from the internship, nearly killed myself holding down that job and doing stand-up comedy, then wandered around the country just being a bohemian bastard for awhile.

When I finally stopped moving in 2006, it was the first time I had ever actually done that. I did nothing, and it was everything I thought it could be. When people ask me how I ended up working at Wal-Mart, or Kroger, that's the long form answer I'd like to be able to give them, if it were a question they were genuinely interested in knowing the full story behind. I wanted to do nothing for awhile. I wanted to do something I could train a monkey to do, so that I could wander into the quiet library stacks of my brain that had been gathering dust in all the commotion. Was I lazy? Yes, for the first time I indulged that side of me fully. I've always been what I call a "Proactive Slacker" and a "Professional Crastinator," but this was the first era in my life when I said, "You know what? I want to be a bum. A lousy stinking bum." Which isn't, of course, to say I didn't do anything at all. Just nowhere near what I had been doing.

It was a welcome reprieve from a publishing industry I was sick of, a writing career I was tired of beating my head against, a comedy career that had damn near killed me, and a corporate desk job that made fifth floor windows look very appealing(2). But sometime last year it started to wear thin. The novelty was gone, and I was starting to feel like a slug. I was putting on weight, feeling the roots start to set in, and that was never the intention. Lazy wasn't a lifestyle choice. It was just a break after 25 years of "ZOMG WORK!!1!one!"

So...January. What did I do with you?

- I lost 20 pounds. That's my 16 pound bowling ball and my big orange cat of me that isn't there anymore. My clothes fit better, my energy level is up, I've disavowed HFCS almost entirely (it's almost too prolific to completely avoid), and all in all I'm just brighter and glowier. These things have been noted by people who know nothing of my plans and progress. I call that a victory.

- I am getting back into the habit of writing. I have produced more words this month than I have outside of NaNo purposes since 2004. The blog, while still not regular by my old standards, is practically erupting by comparison to recent years. We're making this happen. And while I have not dedicated this renewed drive to write to any one singular project for the purpose of submission, I feel more and more comfortable sitting down at a keyboard again, and less and less critical of what comes out. So while I didn't technically meet my resolution of three submissions per month, I did increase my production a hundred fold. We'll call that a draw.

- I landed three job interviews, two of which went very well and will (hopefully) leave me back in a steady nine to five weekday job. Structure can only do good things for me at this point. I have to think that was part of why I was so productive in New York. There was a definitive time for everything. Except sleep. Another victory!

- I indulged my long-standing desire to teach or tutor, based on my previous experiences and the steadfast belief that I could actually do some good with someone if they were willing to give me their attention. I took on the daughter of one of my mother's friends as a student, and after one week of work she brought home her first 100 on a biology test. Ever. Her mother actually started crying when she checked the grade online and saw that. And it made me really proud for her, too, because her main problem is confidence, not intelligence, and I can see that needle starting to tick its way up as I work with her from a place of exceeding familiarity on the subject. Victory!

- I acquired a guitar and began working on building my skills and callouses back up. I remember more than I thought I would, and I'm making a dedicated effort to actually study the theory this time, not just memorize tab. I downloaded some recording software, and if the job thing comes through I'm getting a bass. Already have a drum kit. Home studio, anyone? Aww yeah. Maybe not victory yet, but definitely win.

So far, I'm on pace for an outstanding 2011. It's just a matter of carrying this momentum forward against the naysayers and the dream crushers and the people who just don't understand what it means to be genuinely driven to do things other than sleep, work, and die. I think I'm going to need more bubble gum.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1 - With the notable exception of my freshman year, when a deteriorating relationship and driving 1000 miles (not an exaggeration) almost every weekend drained my will to do anything but order pizza and sleep. Sometimes simultaneously. Sorry pizza guys I stood up at the door.

2 - Just an aside, defenestration is my favorite word in the English language.

In Agreement with Will Smith
Kitty issues
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What the hell is it with some families? Or, from my experience, most families. At least families so unlucky as to have ambitious, creative children with big dreams and a ton of potential.

"Unlucky, Richard?"

Yeah, apparently! Because it's been my own experience, and the experience of countless kindred spirits that I have run across in my travels, that the child who wants to work at Wal-Mart and let a time clock slowly siphon away their soul is infinitely more praised than the child who boldly, openly, and proudly proclaims that they want to be a writer, or a painter, or a musician, or any of the other kinds of creative and expressive endeavors that our race collectively once gave a damn about.

And I don't want to hear a single one of you, not one of you, NOT ONE, tell me it's because the chances of succeeding are so small and parents are just concerned about their children's future prospects and blah de fucking blah. You know why I don't want to hear it? One word.

Athletes.

The chances of your kid becoming a professional athlete and making millions upon millions of dollars for him to conveniently spend on his defense team when he shoots/murders/rapes/mauls/mutilates/desecrates a corpse/jaywalks are on par if not worse than my chances of getting a book deal, music contract, or major gallery showing that breaks me into the big time. On par or worse. And yet the absolute idolatry that hangs like a urine-gold nimbus around prospective athletes, especially down here in SEC country, is indisputable. The chances are no better, the consequences of failure are far more severe, and the toll it takes on the child can be unspeakable. But it's perfectly alright. Why? I think it's all about what a family can relate to.

So often the creative types I have known sprang from parents that made you convinced that whatever creativity their offspring had manifested, it was either a recessive gene or a spontaneous mutation. When Creative Bob Jr. is locked in his room learning how to shred on a guitar because it makes his brain snap out of its introspective feedback loop of ever-deepening angst for five minutes, and those are the most glorious five minutes of his day, Teamster Bob Sr. is scowling outside the door wondering why his lazy asshole son won't get a job at the factory and play football like a normal boy. There is no commonality, and so often we as adults want to believe that our own experiences make us the be all and end all on life choice advice. Because, you know, none of us never made a fucking mistake.

Even some of the kids I've known who HAD creative, artsy parent types have been steered away from that very same life path, which I think may even be worse, because hypocrisy trumps ignorance in my mind. Almost without fail, these are parents who never got as far as they wanted, who feel that their own choices led them to failure and misery until they were eventually forced to take that soul-crushing job, become part of the machine, and never even once entertained the notion that they could try to do both. Or they did, and they discovered they just weren't strong enough, just weren't determined enough. They indulge themselves in the classic fallacy of human arrogance that if they couldn't do it, no one could. Least of all their own child. I find their lack of faith...disturbing.

If a child tells his family he wants to be a professional football player when he is five, more often than not he's in pads the next day with an alpha male coach and an alpha male father screaming alpha male things at them in the only kind of support that alpha males understand, which looks a lot like child abuse, but you know, whatever. Because sports is American, sports is manly, sports is a cash cow, there's some obsolete alpha male warrior mentality attached to it that lends a false sense of honor to the pursuit. We are now a society of the NFL Network and NBA Season Pass. The Renaissance, this isn't.

I told my family I wanted to be a writer when I was five. My dad was cool with it and got me a typewriter. The rest of my family launched into a 24-years-and-counting campaign of convincing me I was eventually going to starve to death and die alone in a gutter if I kept up that crazy talk. Fuck, why not, it worked for Poe, right?

I also don't want to hear anyone tell me that I'm just bitter about the treatments jocks got and am belatedly venting about their "opportunities" or whatnot. I was a student athlete once upon a time, okay? I got to look behind that curtain. I got offered the Kool-aid. And I was just as disgusted then, too. But this isn't an entry to rip on athletes. It's a way out for a lot kids that don't have any other societally available or acceptable avenue, all those arguments, fine, whatever. This is about the families. This is about the people who perpetuate this notion that dreams are for idiots and you should conform, who praise the ones that do, and badger or belittle the ones that don't. This is about people who honestly and truly believe that you should just know your role and stay there, because if you don't try you can never fail.

What did treatment like this cause me to do? It caused me to wall off my family from a significant portion of my life. I could fill a book with stuff about me that my family doesn't know. Oh wait, I DID! I stopped telling them about so much of what I was involved with that when my bio ran in a playbill recently, my mom was confused about when some of this crap actually happened. Because I never told them. Why? I didn't feel like listening to it. I could have called home and said I just landed a lead role on Broadway, and the response both expected and dutifully delivered would be a, "That's nice dear. You're not going to quit your job at Scholastic though, are you?"

My joy has never been theirs. It's always been their concern. The comedy, the writing, the acting, all things I would only ever get the most perfunctory of "yay..." for before the lectures began. And the things that always monumentally depressed me have been the things that have made them the happiest. The corporate life and being "proudly" shackled to my desk job. I wouldn't be using this blog as a therapist on the subject if I hadn't seen it happen to so many other people. If I weren't actually watching it happen to a couple people right now. All accomplishments met with criticism and all triumph met with concern about what new avenues to failure they have opened. As though each step they took down the path to the one thing they have always wanted more than anything else were breaking another biblical seal. "I'm glad you got that book deal and that advance, but you know you're just going to get eaten by insect-faced monkeys with lion bodies now, right?"

All I'm saying is, if you plan on having a kid, or you have a kid who is still in those young, formative, impressionable years? Let them be themselves. Let them dream. Please. There is no harm in letting them aim high, unless they're actually holding a gun, in which case you may have other problems. If your child comes up to you at five and says he wants to be a dinosaur cowboy when he grows up, help him learn about dinosaurs and pick out which one he thinks he'd like to ride the most. If your daughter comes up to you and says she wants to be a musician, encourage that. Countless studies have shown a tremendous link between musical education and improved mental development. Use the interwebs, help her learn the best way to go about pursuing her career, make her aware of the realities of the situation, do what you can to protect her, but never tell her the dream is stupid. Life will be harsh enough, and the road long enough, without you piling on. You can be concerned without being condescending. You can care without crushing their hopes.

And if your kid comes up to you at five and says he wants to be a writer, buying him a typewriter isn't a bad way to go.

Every Episode of Everything Ever, Part 1
Kitty issues
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***flops down on his bed, grabs the remote, turns on the TV***

Two and a Half Men:

Charlie: Alan, I have a young and possibly underage girl upstairs whose name I don't even know but I'd really like to have vulgar sex with, so I'd appreciate it if you and your mongoloid child would stay out of my way and not ruin my life.

Alan: I have feelings too, Charlie, and it's not my fault my ex-wife emasculated me to the point that I am now the most effeminate character on a show that features a steady parade of women!

Jake: What's a monguhlode? *drools into his cereal a bit, tries to eat his Nintendo DS*

Girl (coming down from upstairs): Charlie, I've had a really good time today, but as an unexpectedly strong and progressive woman who still comes off as a cookie-cutter blanket statement feminist I'd really like to talk about my place in your life.

Charlie: Your places in my life are either in my bed or out my door. I'm getting a beer.

Rose (rappelling down from the rafters with a beer): Here you go Charlie, I brewed and bottled it myself just for you because obsessive stalker personalities are amusing.

Alan and Charlie's Mom (arriving through front door): Hello children, I'm here to lord your horrible childhood experiences over you for awhile. By the way, I slept with five random men on the sidewalk up to your house just so you'd have to picture me naked.

***loses last shred of faith in humanity, quickly changes the channel***

CSI: (insert any city here)

Lead Detective: The victim was bludgeoned to death with his own keyboard while hacking into something using Linux. The killer repeatedly struck him in the head until massive trauma and skull fractures caused him to bleed to death.

Horatio (out of nowhere): I guess this is one hacker whose skull... *puts on sunglasses* ...got cracked.

YEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

(everyone waits for The Who to stop playing)

Partner: There aren't any fingerprints on the keyboard though, how are we going to find the murderer?

Department Tech Person: Wait, you said he was hacking at the time of his murder. Maybe I can build a GUI interface using Visual Basic to see if any of his blood got into the computer while the connection was still open, and track the IP address the blood was transmitted to.

*taps on keyboard for a moment*

Department Tech Person: There, he was hacking into this person's bank account, his blood is all over the router.

Lead Detective: So now we have a motive. Check his hard drive for screen shots, let's see if we can get a look at our murderer.

Partner: You're wasting our time.

Lead Detective: No, I'm just smarter than you.

Department Tech Person: Okay, I found some screenshots from the time of the murder.

Lead Detective (leaning over the Tech's shoulder dramatically): Now what do you see there, in the reflection of the monitor from the time of the screen shot.

Department Tech Person: I can't quite make it out.

Lead Detective: Enhance the image. *image clears up a little for no apparent reason* Enhance. *image clears up further* Enhance! *image clears up further* ENHANCE!!! *image becomes perfectly clear, reveals photo quality picture of the killer in the reflection of the monitor from the time of the screen shot*

Partner: Now put that picture into the crime photo database and see if we can get a match! Good work everyone.

***nose begins bleeding, changes channel***

House:

(intro scene begins, five people stand around talking, one of them rubs his chest and looks uncomfortable, everyone else begins asking if he's okay, audience becomes convinced this is the patient for the episode, suddenly one of the other four's eyeballs randomly pop out of his head and cotton candy spills from the eye sockets while he bleeds marmalade)

(theme song)

Cuddy: House, your department spends more money than the rest of the hospital combined and you're not even working on a case right now!

House: Yes I am.

Cuddy: No you're not!

House: Yes, I am!

Cuddy: No, you're really not!

House: You're right, I'm not, but your breasts are fantastic.

Cuddy: Here's a file for you, either do this or I'll take your toys away.

House: This guy isn't even sick, this could all have been easily explained if every other doctor in the world weren't an incompetent jackass.

Cuddy: House, his internal organs are being replaced by food products!

House: It's an auto-immune disease. But I do see he as a hot daughter, so I'll take the case so I can leer at her while I'm not personally attending to him.

(turns to subordinates)

House: Here, this man's really sick, differential diagnosis on bleeding marmalade and exuding cotton candy.

Foreman: Well, it could be--

House: Whatever, I already know the answer, I'm just going to make you all go run every test known to man and play games with his life while I go torment Wilson about why he had a whole grain bagel with breakfast this morning instead of a plain one. Call me in 57 minutes so I can dramatically save him.

***changes channel***

Big Bang Theory:

(Watches as four people sit in an apartment discussing something stereotypically geeky, leading into discussion about how one of them is incredibly socially awkward, with all conversations being held using dialogue that is intentionally overstated and avoids any colloquial shortcut or contraction in an effort to make it sound forced and stilted)

Sheldon: Bazinga!

(female character walks in, everyone becomes uncomfortably aware that there are breasts in the room, silence)

***sits...waits...nothing happens, changes channel***

Mythbusters:

*something explodes*

Jamie: Science!

*something bigger explodes*

Grant, Tory, and Kari: SCIENCE!

*an entire military depot full of C4 explodes, registering on nearby seismographs*

Adam (climaxing): SCIIIIIEEEENNNNCCCEEEEE!

***shrugs, watches the rest of the episode***

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