Friday, December 21, 2012

Always Remember - Roles & Responsibilities Issue.

Of the many roles we men play in the relationship...

The role of walking garbage disposal is one of our most underappreciated functions.


For the record, I don't even like ginger flavored cookies all that much. Now that you've had your fun here, why not go over to Sprocket Ink for my latest post there. Believe me when I tell you this one's to die for.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

And Then Comes The Calm.

The ceasefire was declared and just like that, the noise and chaos that had constantly made itself a part of my every day stopped. For the first time in weeks, there was peace. But now there was this silence. It seemed so unfamiliar, so unnatural.

I squeeze myself from beneath the pile of rubble that was my post. In the weeks of seemingly endless battle I only dared venture from beneath it to find food or check on my comrades. During those long days and nights, I thought constantly of my friends and family. I have to admit, the idea of deserting my post came to my mind more than a few times, but in the end I stuck it out. Not out of some sense of duty, though. It was because my failure would come at too great a cost. To my loved ones and especially to myself. So I did my job. I held the line. Maybe my reasons were selfish, but sometimes doing the right thing for the wrong reason is good enough.

Now, it was over. At least, for now anyway. Those of us who took part in this war all knew this was only going to be a temporary respite. There would be only a little time to mourn those who had fallen, enjoy what time we could with our loved ones and prepare ourselves for when war was declared again. We prayed the next battle wouldn't be as brutal as this one. The next time we were called to arms, we hoped we'd be ready. But we knew we would have to fight again and sooner than we'd like.

I turn again and take a last look at my makeshift bunker. I hope the next one is stronger and better equipped, but this one managed to stand the test. This pile of books, scribbled notes from classes and printed handouts that had been my place of refuge these last few weeks.

This battle, this semester is over. And I survived.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

And Yet I Survived To Make It To Adulthood.

I'm not much of a fan of chewing gum. Never have been. I'll chew it, but only on rare occasions. Even when I do I don't keep at it for very long. I think it's because, ever since I was a child, I always considered gum to be pointless. It doesn't build up to anything. In fact, with gum it's the opposite. You start off with something that's sweet and tasty and eventually it looses it's savor and you end up with this sticky, tasteless, wad of saliva that's merely a shell of it's former self. There's no conclusion to speak of, you just chew it until you decide you're tired of it. Now that I think about, maybe gum is a metaphor for so many other things in life...

Or maybe I'm overthinking the whole thing.
I'm sensing a bit of sarcasm here.
Anyway, while I'd love to examine the meaning of life through a stick of gum, that's actually not what I'm here to talk about. While I considered this to be the reason I'm not a chewing gum fan, something reminded me of another reason I may not be such a big fan of it.

Now, what I'm about to tell you is to remain between us. Okay?

You ever have one of those moments you look back on and ask yourself, "How the hell am I still alive today?" I mean, we all do dumb things, especially when we're younger, but there are some things I remember doing that make me wonder if I should be wearing a helmet for my own safety.

The other day I was chewing a piece of gum. Some company was giving out free samples of some new flavor and my wife brought it home. She was tired of it so she left it rest at home, so I decided, "why not?" Somehow some of it got stuck to my upper lip. No real problem. It came off easily enough, but that incident is what brought the memories flooding back.

(Cue wavy background and harp flashback effect)

I was young. How young, I can't really remember. I do know it was back when we only had one TV station. That TV station showed a lot of very, very old reruns. things like Get Smart, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. I'll remind you at this point that I'm only in my mid-thirties. We just had a lot of really old TV shows on back then. Nothing better to watch, I guess.

Anyway, as I said, I was very young. I remember I was chewing a piece of gum and just like the time in the present, a piece of it got stuck to my upper lip. Only that time in the past it was really stuck on there. I think it was a really cheap, local brand and the darned thing wouldn't budge. Not all of it anyway.

Then I remembered something I saw on one of those television shows. "Which show?" you may be asking. Why, The Three Stooges of course.

I don't remember the scene exactly. In it, I think the stooges were up to some carpentry mischief when the one called Moe somehow got glue in his mouth. Curly, the bald one, grabbed a kettle of boiling water and said, "Hot water melts glue!" Then, before Moe could protest, Curly pours boiling water on Moe's face. Moe screams and that's comedy!

This is what I remembered during that moment when I, an impressionable young boy, stood there with gum stuck to his lip. Did I remember Moe screaming in pain? No. Did I remember him assaulting Curly afterwards? Uh-uh. Did I remember that hot water is... well... HOT? Somehow, it must have slipped me at the time. All I remember is hearing Curly's words of wisdom: "Hot water melts glue!"

So I went to the kitchen. There, my parents had a thermos that they usually kept hot water in for my baby sister's formula. And, just my luck, it was just filled too.

With boiling. hot. water.

I was also lucky enough to totally undisturbed while I implemented my gum removal procedure (I don't know why my parents ever left me in a room alone either).

You all can guess what happened next... Yes, I'm pretty sure I screamed just like Moe. The scar on my upper lip lasted for months. My parents' joked about it for even longer. It was all a constant reminder that I couldn't believe everything I saw on TV (and that pain is only entertaining when it's inflicted on others).

And that I'm an idiot.
Look at their faces. Even can't believe I did something so stupid.
But I'm sure I'm not the only one. Like I said, we all do dumb things when we're young. I'm sure you guys have stories of stupidity on a similar magnitude. Right? Guys? I'm not alone on this. Am I?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, November 30, 2012

Let's Talk About Happier Things.

I haven't felt very bloggy lately. That's because I feel like I've been getting the crap kicked out of me by this thing called life. I mean, if it's not one thing, it's the other. I'm still unemployed (it's seven months now), Mrs. C's grandma Evie is in the hospital, school sucks big time this semester and I haven't been getting much sleep (the end result of some of the other problems I just mentioned).

I know I could go right on ahead and go through each one of my frustrations in painstaking detail, which is what I actually started doing to when I began typing up this post. This is my blog after all. What better place, right?

I will mention (briefly) that Evie is in the hospital after almost a week of debilitating pain. She would have gone in sooner but she's stubborn and hates taking medication, so she insisted on trying to handle it her own way. She finally asked us to take her when she couldn't handle the pain anymore. Her pain's not as bad now but it turns out she has an alarmingly large kidney stone that needs to be removed.

But as for the rest of things currently bothering me, yeah, I typed those up too. Then I stopped, I looked the post over and then I held down the backspace key until all that was left was that first paragraph.

Truth is, I'm tired of letting all those issues weigh me down and I don't want to bore you with them either. Instead, I think I'll just pick myself up and soldier on like always do. Sulking is tiring and very non-productive anyway. I'll focus on the things that make me happy for a change.

With that being said, we'll return to our regularly scheduled foolishness here on AVCI.

Next week.

Friday, November 23, 2012

New Post On Sprocket.

No words here. The funny stuff's HERE.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Fifth Pillow.

Dear Mrs. C:

I am writing this letter to once again draw your attention to an ongoing cause of irritation and discomfort which I still feel has not been adequately addressed. This cause of concern is, of course the fifth pillow on our bed.

While you may recall me making verbal mention of this point of contention in the past, I feel that my grievances have fallen on deaf ears as I am still, to this date, being negatively affected by the presence of this obstruction.

As I am sure you are well aware, at the commencement of our lifelong contractual partnership I was happy and satisfied with having but one pillow, while you yourself possessed three. While I did not understand the need for such lavish excess, I accepted this as your personal preference and left it at that. Following the merging of our lives, we soon worked our a satisfactory arrangement where your oldest (and presumably least comfortable) of the three pillows would take residence our newly purchased wicker chair. That allowed for a new pillow family of three to coexist in relative harmony on our bed.

You will also recall, that in the years since, I was forced to discard my pillow which I had owned since childhood and had outlived its viability and as such a replacement was subsequently sourced. You, around the same time, also decided to relinquish ownership of the oldest of your two oldest pillows - the one on the chair and and one of the two on the bed - leaving us on a level playing field with one each. However, not wanting to abandon your lifestyle of extravagance, chose to obtain a replacement as well. Thus, our pillow count remained at three.

Sadly, approximately four years ago, it became necessary to replace the aforementioned bed (a result of the combined efforts clumsy movers and persistent strain due to various other "activities"). We then opted for a more durable and comfortable memory foam model, which has served us well to date. To my chagrin, however, the manufacturers saw fit to include memory foam pillows as part of the purchase and our pillow count was increased to a whopping FIVE. Added to this, the wicker chair that had aided us in the past was no longer a viable option as we had donated said item to a relative. This left no place for the excess pillowage other than our new bed. This meant that you were back to three pillows while I, in turn, was forced to adapt to the use of two.

Arising out of this is the point of concern which I now wish to highlight at this time. Your insistence on having three pillows for yourself has proven to not only be excessive and selfish (I say this in consideration of all those out there currently without even one pillow to call their own), it is also very impractical. The fact is, you cannot and do not use all three pillows under your head as they were intended. This, I imagine, would be uncomfortable and bad for your neck. Instead, you opt to have the third pillow at your side.
The only purpose it then serves is in providing you with the convenience of having a pillow readily available when your frequent bouts of tossing and turning eventually angle you perpendicularly from your original starting position. Added to this, as most husbands and male companions who share a bed with their significant other will attest, there is already an unequal distribution of bed-space that all men must endure.
Over time, men have grown to accept this reality, and that in itself is not something with which I will bother taking issue. My mentioning of of this is only in relation to how this already unbalanced arrangement is further exacerbated by this interloping fifth pillow which permanently occupies space on the side of the bed (As outlined below):
As you can see, I am being made to pay the brunt of this cost.

All this leads me to call to your attention the repeated acts of displacement I must undergo when I am regularly forced out of bed during the twilight hours as you further encroach upon what little territory I am allowed to maintain. The most recent of these events has forced me to spend half the night on the couch in the living room, which, I might add, was a completely unsuccessful venture.

As I have stated earlier, this  is not the first time I have tried to draw this situation to your attention, however, your lack of action and overall dismissive nature in handling my grievance have forced me to elevate this matter to the next level, hence my preparation of this official notice. It is my hope that this action will prompt you in joining me on working toward an amicable solution, benefiting all parties.

I look forward to your response.

Thank you.

Vinny C


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Always Remember (Trust Issue).

While we trust they'll always have our best interests at heart...

This is exactly what makes it so easy for our significant others to screw with us.

Friday, November 2, 2012

But I Ask, Why NOT A Goalkeeping Toilet?

This little taste of weird from the land of Japan is too good not to share. The video clip below shows a wonder of Japanese ingenuity, which I'm sure you're bound to agree. It has been brought to us by two entities who share a dream, a passion... a name.

TOTO, said to be the world's largest toilet maker and toto, a soccer-related lottery agent (no relation), have teamed up to bestowed upon us...

The Super Great Toiler Keeper!
As you can see from the video, this marvel can not only turn its bowl in a full 180 degree motion, but it also shoots projectiles with lightening speed and pinpoint precision to deflect any oncoming target.

Of course, my first question when I saw this was, why make a toilet with motion sensors that can turn itself in different directions? But then I thought it would make it easy for anyone who has ever suffered a handover so bad, even lifting their head high enough to reach the bowl would equate to a herculean feat.

Why it would need shoot high-speed projectiles, however, remained a mystery to me.

But it turns out this merely a concept toilet, much like those concept cars at shows that they don't intend to hit the market for another ten years. In short, they just made it because they could.

I love Japan!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Out & About.

If you're looking for me. You won't find me here today. But fear not! You can still find me, if you're willing to do some extra mouse clicks.

First, I'm guest posting over at Thank, Q where I ponder the possibility that I may not be as hopeless as I sometimes suspect. I know, crazy. But why not? My friend, Q, has to nurse his wife, The Mrs, back to health so he asked me to step in, which I gladly accepted. As a bonus, I drew stick-zombies in this one. Just so you know.

Just CLICK HERE to check it out...

Finally, I do some more pondering. This time over at Studio 30 Plus, the online community with writers in mind. I've been a card-carrying, certified (and maybe certifiable) member of this site ever since I began blogging with no regrets. It's a great place to get tips, advice and writing prompts to help you hone your writing skills. In my post there, I try to understand the the minds of these things called "writers".

So please, CLICK HERE to continue...

I know! So many choices, right? But to help you, I've listed them in in the order I think will be the best picks to start with:
  1. All!
  2. All!!!
  3. ALL!!!

There. Hope that helps. Now go on. Posts are a-waitin'. Have fun. Nothing more to see here. Carry on.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Turning Japanese.

I've always had a fascination with Japan. If you've been here long enough, you probably already knew that. I've declared it here more than enough times and it's safe to say more than half the stuff I write about these days on Sprocket Ink has something to do with Japanese weirdness. That fascination seems to have only been growing over the years and now I'm starting to think my lifetime of excessive exposure is starting to chance me and I'm becoming more Japanese than Trinidadian.

First off, there's Japanese anime. I love it. I love it hard! This is actually where it all started for me. I've been into it for a really long time and I'm not talking about since it became mainstream popular here in the western world. I've been watching anime ever since I was about 5. I blame my father for this. Back when he had the video rental business, he fed me a constant supply of Japanese cartoons, mostly because it was what kept me quiet and not torturing Younger Sister# 1.

I was an... um... active child.

At least, while in front of the TV, I wasn't left up to my own devices. Trust me, that was bad.

Probably still is...

Arising out of all the Japanese anime was JPop. In a post I did a while back I declared (with much shame) that I had something of an addiction to the Japanese musical art form known for being performed by really high-pitched Japanese women in school uniforms and Japanese men with a tendency to wear too much eye-shadow.


Anyway, I've been a fan of it for a long, loooong time and that hasn't changed. In fact, it's fair to say that my JPop obsession has also gotten worse over the years (don't ask me how many of these songs I actually keep on my mp3 and listen to on a regular basis. Just... don't...)

Like I said, I wasn't proud of this and I secretly feared someone finding my collection one day and outing me. At least I wasn't proud.

That all changed when the world was taken over by the KPop smash hit (the Korean version to JPop), Gangnam Style. Everyone's listening to it. It's on all the radio stations. Even here in T&T!

True story: Twice I've heard more than radio DJ's say something like, "I don't know what this song's about, but here's the hit Gangnam Style".

Now Asian pop music is going to be the next big thing. Soon it'll be all the rage with the kids and I won't have to be ashamed anymore. (Shut up! It'll happen!) Just you wait and see. Then I'll no longer be a freak. I'll be a trendsetter!
Another warning sign is that people just seem to sense it. It's like they can see anime-geek emanating from me like a glowing aura (or maybe I should change my ringtone). More than once over the years I've had people I barely know have asked me if I'd ever been or will go to one of the locally held anime conventions they hold every year (if I did I was expected to dress up in cosplay and provide photographic evidence). The answer has always been no, but only because I'm desperately trying to hold on to the last shred of decency and self-respect I have. But I want. I really, really want to.

How bad could the  whole cosplay thing be..?
Um... Okay, forget the cosplay.
But here's what really worries me... I'm thinking of learning Japanese, people! Seriously! Don't let the writing fool you. I have a hard enough time with English. Now I want to learn a whole new language. By the way, by "thinking" I mean I've already found a school that teaches it, found out how much they charge and on what days they teach the course.

I think I need an intervention.

What's worse, is that my wife isn't really helping. By that I mean she's being supportive. I know, right? What's wrong with her?! The other day I told her about this program being run by the Japanese embassy where locals can go to Japan to work, teaching English on one year, renewable contracts. It was just harmless conversation, mind you. I had just overheard someone talking about it in the barber shop. But to my surprise I hear...

Mrs. C: So are you going to sign up? I'm so ready to start over somewhere new it isn't funny.

I never expected her to actually suggest I sign up.

Bad! Bad Mrs. C!

You guys should have a talk with her. You're supposed to be my enablers. She's really treading on your territory, when you think about it..

Of course, I'm not going to. At least, not now. I want to finish school before I even consider any major move like that. That gives me about three years to kick a thirty-year obsession. It could happen. Right?

But... now I'm actually considering it. If-if I do eventually go there, you there'll be no hope for me, right? I might as well just start abandoning chairs and learn to use those hole-in-the-floor squat toilets now. On the bright side, I bet I could totally rock a hakama.
What? It's airy.
I'm scared...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vinny Unplugged... AGAIN!

In case you've noticed my absence, my internet at home's down for the last few days. Yeah, I know. AGAIN! This will explain why I haven't been checking out your posts or posting on Sprocket Ink either.

I'm using the school's ultra slow wi-fi connection right now, which is like pulling teeth just to get pages to open.

Don't worry. I'll be back as soon as it's working at home again.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Like You're Supposed To.

Just so you know, the following is complete fiction. I know. Not normally my thing, I know, but I thought I'd expand my horizons a bit, so to speak. I know there are probably a lot of things wrong with it, but go easy I'm new.


Mark stood in front the mirror, turning from left, to right, to left again. This was the first time he ever worn a tuxedo and he was having a hard time coming to terms with the look.

"Is this how it's supposed to look?" He thought to himself, "It feels tight. Maybe I should have gone with the black instead of the grey."

"Dude! Relax!" Chris noticed Mark's anxious look from across the room. "It looks fine. You actually look like a grown-up for a change."

Mark didn't bother to turn around. Instead, he scowled at Chris' reflection in the mirror.

Chris grinned when he saw his remark got him the reaction he wanted. Mark couldn't help but notice how much more comfortable Chris seemed in his own tux, even though he had never worn one either. But why not? Chris was just the best man after all.

"Shouldn't you be bringing the car around? It's almost time."

"Yeah, yeah. I'm going," Chris turned and reached for the door. He placed his hand on the knob and paused, "You're doing the right thing. You know? Lara's a great girl."

This time Mark did turn around, "What's that about?"

"I know I give you a hard time, but I want you to know I'm happy for you, man."

"You're not going to start crying now, are you? Because so help me if you try to hug me..."

"Ha! You wish!"

"No... I really don't... Thanks."

"Whatever!" Chris opened the door and stepped out into the hallway.

"If you're so sure I'm doing the right thing maybe you should think about tying the knot."

"Yeah right! Not when there are still so many flavors out there to sample. And rest assured, I plan to get ample amounts of sampling in tonight thanks to you. I hear weddings make women horny."

Again, Chris smiled and closed the door.

"You're welcome!" Mark called out to the closed door. Chris didn't respond.

"You're doing the right thing."

Mark thought about what Chris had said. In all the years they had been friends, how many times had Chris told him something like that? More than he could count. Normally, when he said it, it was with a hint of annoyance in his voice. It wasn't like he was some goody-two-shoes. He'd made his share of mistakes, but he always tried to be responsible.

He was the responsible one. That much everyone knew. Getting them into trouble was Chris' role. He was the 'fun' one. It only made sense Mark would be the first one to give up the carefree, bachelor lifestyle and settle down with a wife. It was what everyone expected.

Sure enough, here he was. Getting married today. It was all going as planned. But whose plan was it? His? Lara's?

Lara had already made her intentions clear. Even before he proposed.

"I want to start having children after the first year. We should space them at least two years apart. I read that's a good way to go," she told him one night as they were lying in bed and fantasizing about what the future would be like.

During these talks, they made plans on how they would move from their modest, one-bedroom apartment in the city to a nice, two-storey, three-bedroom house in one of those gated communities in the east. They agreed on ditching the coupe for an SUV and on how many and what type of dogs they'd get when they bought their house. They both loved dogs, but pets weren't allowed in their current apartment.

This all sounded great to Mark at the time and he knew a lot of the decisions they made then was based on suggestions he made. Lara never pushed him into any of those plans. So why did he feel like he was being pushed now?

"Marriage is a big responsibility. But it's the choice every responsible adult should make," his father told him once. His parents were the epitome of 'traditional'. Dad worked, Mom stayed home and raised him. They've been together for more than thirty years and they still seemed so happy with the life they chose.

But did they choose it? Or did they just follow the same path their parents followed? And their grandparents?

Suddenly, Mark didn't feel like the life he was living was actually his own. Sure there were differences. Both he and Lara worked. She wasn't down with the whole barefoot and pregnant at home deal and this suited Mark just fine. Still, despite subtle differences, was he just following in the footsteps of those who went before him? Were these plans, this future, what he wanted, or was he just doing what was expected?

Then there was what Chris said. Sure he loved Lara, he didn't doubt that, but was she 'the one'? There were so many other women out there, how could he know there wasn't someone better out there? No! Now he was just being stupid. He loved Lara. He knew she was the one. But marriage? Now?

What about Europe? Mark suddenly remembered he always said he would travel across Europe when he was younger. Would that fit into this future he was about to step into?

He'd been playing it safe all his life. Never giving into wild impulses. Well, at least nothing major anyway. What if this was it? The end to any chance of adventure in his life. He was now going to be boxed into a pre-planned, two dogs, three kids, house in the suburbs life with no escape. Just like he was supposed to-

Mark was suddenly jolted back to reality by the sound of a car's horn downstairs. Through the window he saw his best friend sitting in the driver's seat of the old blue coupe he planned to sell one day.

"Yeah! Coming!" He waved at Chris from the second floor window of his and Lara's apartment. He checked his tie one last time in the mirror before he joined Chris downstairs to head off to the church.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bu-Butts About It.

(But be warned! A lot of pictures of butts in this one)
(GOSH, DARNIT! Sprocket's gone now. Sorry)