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.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Psst... Quick! Check This Out!

*whispers* If anyone asks, I wasn't here. You never saw me, we never spoke. Got it? Good! *looks over shoulder*

Mrs. C's on vacation. She's home and she's going to be home for the next two weeks... Here... With me... All. day. long! For two weeks. Naturally, she expects me to spend a lot of that time with her. Something about some more quality time or something. This, of course, is limiting the amount of time I can spend here on the blogosphere.

Right now she's distracted, so I'm just ducking in to let you know about my post that's up today at Sprocket Ink. It's about cuddling (which I'm doing a lot of these days). I managed to write it when she was asleep, but she's up now so I can't really stop to chat.

CRAP! I think I hear her calling. Go! Go to Sprocket! (Sorry, no link. The site's gone now.) I'll try to get in contact when I can.

'K bye.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Think We May Be Running Out Of Excuses.

This isn't an anniversary post, but I have to mention that in two days Mrs. C and I will celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. That same Friday will also be the 16th anniversary of our first date.

I know, right? SIXTEEN YEARS!!! That's a long time to be with one person. That's just under half our lives! I'm not complaining, though. I'm glad for every one of those years and the ones to come. But, I guess other people have noticed that we've been "husband and wife" for almost a decade. Especially since we're still just husband and wife and no kids have come into the picture yet.

Of course, it isn't that we don't want kids. We do. In fact, we have been working on it, but like many couples, things in that department don't come as easily for us.

Being a somewhat private person, my wife has chosen not to really share our difficulties with getting pregnant with most people. Most of the time, when anyone asks, we just say something like "we're not ready yet" or more commonly, "it's not a good time for us financially". This last one is mostly true and is one of the main reasons we haven't really made becoming parents our top priority.

But, as I said, people are starting to get impatient. One person in particular is my mother. She's given up on hinting at it over the years and has taken a more direct approach. Like when we talk on the phone:

Me: Hey, mom. What's up?
Momma C: Nothing much... Grandbabies?

It goes pretty much the same when I visit too. But I'm not the only one. Mrs. C has to deal with this as well. Like one time when she got an unexpected call at work:

Mrs. C: Ummm... Hi, Momma C... This is unexpected-

It's safe to say, my mom's getting a bit anxious. The weird part is that she already has grandchildren from one of my two younger sisters. She just really wants them from us. I don't know if I should feel special or suspicious.

Momma C isn't the only family member who's getting impatient and we regularly have to fend off the, "So when are you going to start having kids?" question from relatives on both sides of the family, friends and coworkers.

My personal favorite time deflecting this question was with one of my former coworkers about two years back:

Former Coworker: So, Vinny, why don't you have kids yet.
Me: What?! EW! No way! We can't stand the little buggers!

She almost stopped speaking to me until I told her I was only kidding.

Now another person has started putting us on notice that they long for the pitter-patter of little C's.

Remember Mrs. C's  grandma Evie? I may have mentioned here and there that she lives with us. She's always been quiet. She keeps to herself and spends her days reading and rereading newspapers while listening to the radio. This suits me fine. You all know I never have been the social type. Well, the other day, Mrs. C was in her room talking to her and Evie gave her this as she was leaving...
Mrs. C promptly brought it to me and we had a good laugh about it.

Until we both thought, "Oh crap! Another one."

I think we're running out of time before there's an angry mob at our door with torches and pitch forks (and home pregnancy tests).

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)