Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Vinny's Step-By-Step Introduction To Home Ownership.

Mrs C and I will be moving into our new home during the Christmas weekend. We collected the keys two Fridays ago. As with most things nowadays, the entire process was highly publicized as the government wanted to make sure we and the greater public knew of their generosity (especially with next year being an election year). Step-by-step, we're being introduced to the subtle intricacies involved with becoming homeowners. Here's the process so far:


- Attend “key giving ceremony” held at the new community site. Endure speeches, singing entertainers and shameless political plugs.

- Four and a half hours later, finally collect keys.

- Wait for obligatory photo op (which we thankfully managed to avoid).

- Receive instructions about having up to one month to be fully moved in and, in the meantime, you can basically come and go as you please.

- Go check out the new digs and wonder how the place went from clean and completely undamaged during the walkthrough to:
  1. having a portion of the wall which needs to be repainted after a window was replaced (the old window frame was left lying the front yard for an added touch)
  2. having a broken hinge on the window in the back bedroom
  3. having a moss-caked kitchen sink

At this point make a note of issues to add to the form you received with your package to list any defects you may find within the first three months.

(It should be noted that, based on feedback from other owners of government-provided housing, following the submitting of said defects report, one should proceed to initiate repairs one’s self since the providers of your new home may never actually send someone to repair whatever is broken.)

- Return some days later to move some of your stuff in and put curtains up to realize half the house has been flooded after the shower faucet came partially out of the wall.

- Turn off water main to house, spend several hours mopping up. 

- Finally hang curtains and move stuff in as initially planned.

- Add broken shower to the defects form for the sake of formality.

- Start looking up plumbers since you’ll have to fix this problem yourself.

- Almost faint from shock as you receive a call informing the work crew will be in the area to assess what repairs need to be done.

- Take time off from work, go back to house and meet with contractors, show them everything that’s broken, exchange numbers and agree to be back again the following day to see what can be done.

- Take a second day off, go back to house again, wait, wait, call contractor, find out they are not going to show because it’s two days before Christmas and the boss can’t convince the workmen to show up.

- Be told they'll they will come back to get started after New Year's... Sometime after New Year's.


This is where the list ends for now. Until the shower issue is sorted out, we will have to keep the water main turned off when we're not using the water. So far, owning a home is turning out to be more of an "adventure" than I anticipated.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Little 'O This & A Little 'O That.

It would seem, for all intents and purposes, I'm back. I passed on my sport assignment to my lecturer and, until he provides me with feedback, I'm a free man again.

During my time away, there have been a few things that have been going on. Nothing too major. Just the usual crazy stuff to which I normally end up baring witness. Two, in particular, stood out and, instead of trying to figure out how to stretch each of them into individual posts, I decided smush them all together and hopefully come up with something worth our time together.

Ahem! I shall begin...


The newest addition to the C Household, our puppy, Kawaii, is a growing girl. She recently got the hang of jumping onto and off of the living room furniture all on her own (“yaaaay” he said with no real excitement whatsoever). I was there for her first successful jump. She was so excited, she had to jump off and on again four or five times to make sure it wasn't a fluke.

Now she’s got her sights trained on our bed. Of course, she’s not allowed on the bed and, added to that, it’s a bit higher than the living room couch. But she’s determined. The other day she figured she’d have better luck if she took a running start (EDITOR'S NOTE: she’s a little too smart for her own good). She had the right idea but because of the limited space in the bedroom, she had to run in from another room at a parallel angle to the bed.

As you can see, essentially she was trying to pull off one of those high jumps you often see done in track and field events.
Unfortunately, despite her planning and effort, it was obvious that she lacked natural grace and skill necessary to perform such a feat and she completely fell short of her goal. Both height and direction were a bit off.

I was there for that one too, just lying in bed, minding my own business when I heard feet thumping on the wooden floors as she came running up. Then, I saw the brown blur that was the top of her head. Our gaze met for a moment as she passed by and then... she was gone. Soon after came the sound of her sliding on said floor and crashing into the wardrobe.

It was as a result of that one act that I knew she was indeed a worthy member of this family.


You know those moments when you question whether mankind is really worth saving? I had another one of those recently.

It was morning. An average day, like any other. I was walking through the city, on my way to work. My headphones were on, the music just loud enough to drown out the world around me. That was normal. I was late but this was also normal. Indeed, it was just an average day, just like any other day.

That's when I happened to notice the guy in front of me had his boxers sticking out of his sagging jeans. Not that this is anything new. You know how I feel about trends but this one in particular has been going strong for decades. Personally, I think it's stupid but my complaining about it won’t change it. Instead, I try not to pay attention to it.

I probably would have dismissed him too except I happened to notice he wasn't just letting his boxers stick out of his jeans. His boxers were actually sticking out of another pair of boxers that were sticking out of his jeans. I could tell! They were different colors!
Is this the new "thing"? Is this what all the kids are doing now? I can't keep up anymore.

The icing on this double-boxer cake was that this guy was actually making an effort to show it off – as evident by him having tucked the back of his t-shirt into the upper boxer. Also, he was strutting. He was actually proud!

I briefly considered turning around and going home because, at that point, I had had enough of outside for the day.


To end things off, here are some blog posts I considered writing but decided against it when I realized the titles were only mildly more interesting than the actual posts themselves:

Of Mouse & Man - One man’s harrowing battle to blog and surf the internet while being hampered by a defective peripheral device.

My Application Letter to The X-Men - After getting caught in the rain four times in five days with not so much as a sniffle, I become convinced that I possess some sort of superhuman power.

My Application Letter to The Avengers - In case the X-Men aren’t hiring right now.

The Great Flood of 2014 - The time when Mrs C broke a pipe in the bathroom and all the hardware stores were closed for the evening.

A Little 'O This & A Little 'O That - Where I regale you with- Oh, wait, I wrote that one...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In Case You Were Wondering...

I'm not dead. I haven't been abducted by aliens, kidnapped by ninjas, or sucked into a parallel universe, or anything like that. I'm not suffering from a case of writer's block either (most surprising of all). Nope. This blog is still alive and well. Well... as alive and well as blogs that don’t get posted to regularly go, I guess.

Some of you will have noticed a sudden lack of commenting from me as well. Okay, most of you probably wouldn’t have noticed but either way. I’ve been MIA. Sure I took a day and looked some of you up but that was basically a fluke. Not that I don’t want to come hang out with you all. I do. I’ve just had stuff going on.

...And things...
The reason I've been away from the old blog here - and basically the internet in general - is because I’m stuck trying to figure out a tough assignment for my current class and I’m devoting  all of my focus towards it.

Simple as that. Actually, sort of anticlimactic, to be honest.

I have to write an interview piece which involves getting perspectives from various experts in the field of... sports... Soccer (or football, as we know it here), to be specific.

I know next to nothing about sports. If I've never mentioned it before, I’m not a “sports” kind of guy. I don’t have to a favorite team. I don’t have a favorite event. Well... maybe I'll watch a women's beach volleyball game or two but I have... reasons.
I know barely enough to fake my way through a conversation about any type of sport so I usually just try to avoid interaction with sporting aficionados altogether. This means I have to do a lot of research on the game just to figure out what I’m supposed to ask.

Then again I generally try to avoid interaction with most types of people so I guess no one would really notice anyway.

So, basically, until I get this assignment over and done with, I expect I’m going to be AWOL for a bit longer. Until then, you guys just keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll catch up as soon as I’m done.

Friday, October 17, 2014

If We Were Friends.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Word Vomit.

I've been trying to figure out why I've been avoiding writing lately. It isn't that I don't have anything to say, or that I've lost interest, or anything like that. I still want to write and I have tons of stuff going on. There’s the new house, the new puppy, stuff at work, etc. Tons of stuff! It’s just, every time I think about dropping a few lines (HOLLA!!!) I just... can't. I've started composing posts in my head more than a few times and, as soon as I sit down to write... nothing.

Like I said, I got stuff going on.. and thangs... s-stuff 'n thangs.
Why is it that, as bloggers who basically chronicle even the smallest and most inane (okay, maybe I'm just referring to myself with that one) aspects of our lives, the things that should provide us with excellent material for our posts end up actually keeping us from posting. I'm talking about all the really big things. We always talk about life getting in the way.

At the end of the day, though, these big things aren't as blog-worthy as you'd think. Take my stuff... and things... for example:

NEW HOME:  You'd think becoming a homeowner for the first time would be a big enough of a deal that you'd get tons of blog fodder from the experience. Right? But, after you say, “Hey, guys, I'm buying a house,” there really isn't much more you can add to the story and still keep it interesting:

- got approved for house.
- went and saw the house.
- signed all the legal documents.
- frantically trying to scrape up the down payment because they called us earlier than expected to do the closing.

That's it. Sure, it's mostly good news but  BOR-ING!

MARRIAGE: All good! Mrs C and I had our eleventh wedding anniversary on Sunday. We didn't make a big deal about it (we had pizza and wine as our celebratory meal - 'cause that's how we roll) so there isn't really much to tell there.

WORK: I started my new contract three weeks ago and will be gainfully employed for another two years (YAY!)...

They left me at the same desk they put me on while I was on loan to help with the - now stalled -White Paper project. Essentially, no one bothered to think about moving be back to my old desk or to anywhere else where I could be more productive so I'm just sitting around most days trying to keep myself busy (BOO!) It seems like a big deal on the surface but what else is there for me to say about that situation that would be worth mentioning (and not just end up becoming a swear-laden rant)?

SCHOOL: At the end of this semester, I'll have my Associate's degree and be at the halfway point to earning my Bachelor's degree. Sure it's more like two-thirds the way since it took me twice as long as it should have to get this far when I changed majors. But I made it. It's great... huge, actually, but I'm particularly inclined to do a practice valedictorian speech (I'm not giving any at school either, thankfully) about it.

PUPPY: Still there, still cute, eats her poop, thinks shoes are chew toys. Nothing new to report.
"I think my cuteness deserves a little more mentioning than that."
The more I think about it, the more I realize it really is the little things that matter. I think I've been stressing so much about writing about each of these big things and giving them their proper place of importance with grand, well worded posts, filled with humor and excitement that I forgot that inane is what I do best. Maybe now that I've listed all these and got them out of the way I'll be able to get back to business as usual.

We'll see.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

And That's What I Did During My One-Month Vacation.

Yes, it has been a month since I last posted. No, I'm not going to explain myself. Actually, my plan was to just keep posting like nothing happened but, since I'm not a total douche I've decided to just give you guys some updates of what's been going on in my life in the past month.

See? So not a total douche.

First off, remember the special assignment I told you I was put on at work? And then I said that due to circumstances mentioned here they moved us back to the main office and the project was taking a while to get going again? Well... almost four months later... nothing has changed.

Not. a. damn. thing.

Actually, that's not totally true. What little work I had to finish up on the section of the paper I was working on when we moved was done and submitted back in May. Since then, nothing. I mean, literally no more work has been done on the white paper by any of the other team members. One of them even quit before even submitting anything.

That's not the best part, though. As I mentioned, I was loaned out to another division for the assignment. That means that everyone else on the team was free to go back to their original duties from before the project. I, on the other hand, have been basically abandoned in a new division with almost nothing to do for the last three months. For a lazy slacker this would be paradise. Unfortunately, I'm not a lazy slacker. This is almost like my old job at TinyCo. The only difference is, here, I'm surrounded by people who all have stuff to do and I can't just say, "screw it all!" and take a nap at my desk.

That's s all the sucky news I'm going to share today. On to happier things.

Second on the list: I go on vacation in less than two weeks. It'll be a month long and my first paid vacation in four years. My previous vacations during those years were without pay as they weren't so much "vacations" and were more "unemployment". So, yeah, I've actually been continuously employed long enough to qualify for vacation. I've already got my entire vacation itinerary planned too.
Of course, this also means my one year contract with the government is up but that brings me to update number three:

They gave me two more years! Remember all that stuff I wrote about them saying I was efficient? Well, it turns out they weren't just blowing smoke up my ass. They're so impressed with my performance they decided to approve a new two-year contract for me without me having to go through the usual process of reapplying for the position.

I'm not sure where exactly they plan to put me when I get back but this could be my chance to get out of this stalled project for good. Win-win, I say.

The fourth and final update it's the big one. Mrs C and I will soon become homeowners.

Yes, you read right. We're getting our own house. To properly tell the story, I'll take you back a bit...

About six years ago we applied to the government for a flat in one of their housing schemes. They build low-to-medium income homes all over the country and the terms are much easier to manage than going through real estate agencies and the bank. We went through the entire application process and were sure we qualified. Then I lost my job at the bank and we basically put the whole thing on the back burner. After that, an election came, the government changed and our application was apparently lost in the void.

I can't lie, Mrs C deserves a lot of credit for this. While I was trying to get back on my feet, my wife never gave up and she would check up on it every so often. Her last resort was to get our representative for the area to write them and that was when our old application finally turned up. Of course, we head to reapply after so much time had passed. Then, last week, I got the call that we were allocated a unit in a new development in the east.


We'll have to  leave the town we've called home for most of our married lives (which was conveniently close to the capital too), and move all the way to practically the other side of the island where we'll have to battle insane rush hour traffic to-and-from work. But we won't be renters anymore so it'll be worth it.


So that is basically what I've been up to in the past month. See? Nothing special really.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Also In The News... The Case Of The Twice-Sold Baby.

It’s been a while since I posted something from the headlines. However, I recently came across a story that filled me with an overwhelming feeling of “WTF?” and I thought I’d share it with you all. If you had any faith left in humanity be prepared to lose it.

Our tale - which I read here - comes from China, where a couple in the Guangdong Province has been arrested for selling their young son... TWICE!

In jail are 20-year-old sperm donor, A-hui and his girlfriend the 19-year-old “mother”, A-mei.
After these parents-of-the-year contenders got off the hook in January for selling their 4-day-old son, they turned right around and did it again last month.

Their excuse the first time was that they were neither married nor ready for the responsibilities of parenthood. They decided to sell the child to a trafficker for 20,000 Chinese Yuan (about US$3,225). This would have been the end of the matter, as far as they were concerned, were it not for the child’s grandfather, on the father’s side. When he found out what they had done, he found the trafficker and bought the child back, having to pay the marked-up price of 30,000 Yuan (US$4,836).

Unfortunately, grandpa made the questionable decision of returning the boy to the custody of his parents and they all kept the incident between themselves.

Still, it seemed like things were going okay for a while after that incident. In May, A-hui and A-mei moved to another city, A-hui got a job in a restaurant while A-mei stayed home and took care of baby. A-hui’s income was modest, to say the least (he only brought in 3,000 Yuan (US$484) a month from his job) but they appeared to be managing.

Until daddy’s little obsession reared its ugly head.

Before I go any further let me confess, I play video games. I LOVE video games. I’d dedicate at least one-third of my waking hours playing video games if I could (the other two-thirds would be evenly distributed between watching Japanese anime and blogging, FYI). That being said, I've also spent money on, as well as, in video games. Still, I know where to draw the line. There are some, however, who do not. Once upon a time when I wrote on Sprocket, I shared a story about a promising young Japanese police officer who tried (and failed) to blackmail a woman to fund his gaming addiction. A-hui takes things a step further, though.

Instead of feeding his new family, A-hui spent his modest paycheck in internet cafes where he played online games well into the night, as he used up the family’s only source of income to level up his in-game weapons and armor. Then, in June, when it became clear his salary alone wasn't going to cut it, the couple made the decision to get in touch with the traffickers they sold the child to before so they could put him up for sale the second time.


This time around they only got 16,000 Yuan (US$2,580) for their son. Whether this was because the traffickers knew they were desperate or because they factored in the diminishing value on return babies is unknown.


Again, grandpa found out. This time, however, he was fed up and decided to put the matter into the hands of the police. Both “parents” were arrested and now police are trying to track the baby down.

During her incarceration, A-mei said her baby daddy blatantly declared to her that he did not care what happened to the child. Even when she went so far as to threaten to beat the child up, he remained totally unconcerned and said she could do whatever she wanted.

Yeah, isn't he a piece of... work!

My only hope is that the police are able to find the child and, at the end of all this, he ends up in a good home with parents who place much value on him that the cost of virtual gaming gear. Well... that and for someone to sell A-hui on the black market.

They probably won't get much, though.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Oh! So *You're* Vinny C!

Have you ever felt like you were being watched? Like there are people... talking about you? I think we all feel that way. We wonder if people acknowledge our existence outside of direct interaction or having some specific need of us. In the workplace, I’m always wondering if my name comes up when my office superiors sit in their dimly-lit boardrooms, discussing top-level executive-type things (while someone is stroking a white cat). They probably mention me somewhere between discussing their plans for world domination and divisional budget strategies.

I guess it’s not uncommon for people to think their bosses talk about them. Of course, common sense will dictate that management has more important things to worry about (world domination can be a logistical nightmare after all) than one lowly office drone. It’s just as easy to convince oneself that those in the upper echelons don’t even know your name, much less set aside the time to actually talk about you. Just who do you think you are, anyway?!

Either way, unless you did something – good or bad – to get on their radar, odds are you probably won’t know whether they talk about you or not.

Until you know...

The other day, I was passing a coworker on the stairs. I’ve seen her around but she works in a different division and we’ve almost never spoken to each other before then. As we neared each other, she did the whole “glance at me casually, smile, nod and look away” routine, as is standard office etiquette when encountering a coworker with whom you didn’t have any particular dealings. I greeted her in kind and was prepared to continue on my way when she suddenly stopped.

Coworker: You’re Vinny, right?
Me: Uh... Yeah. Why?
Coworker: Oh, nothing. I just remember hearing some of the managers mentioning you.
Me: Huh?

If you’re anything like me, I'm sorry you probably would have thought the same thing I thought at that moment: “Oh crap! This is bad. Attention from the people on the top floor is never good. They’re on to me. They've figured out I have no idea what I’m doing and they’re discussing what should be done about me.”

It’s at this point I casually try to get some more info out of her...

Me: Not all bad, I hope? *nervous chuckle*

I know! Smooth, right?

Coworker: No-no. Nothing bad at all. (She pauses) I hear you’re very efficient.
Me: Oh... Thanks.

She nodded and the conversation basically tapered off there and we continued about our respective businesses.

You’d think hearing that I found favor with the people in charge would make me comfortable but, oddly enough, I wasn't. Not completely, anyway. I mean, it’s good in that I have a good chance of getting my contract renewed at the end of the year. So there’s that...

Maybe for those types who have ambition and want to climb the corporate ladder, getting positive attention from your employers is a good thing. But I’m not so much the ambitious type. Not anymore, that is. I know what climbing the ladder is like back when I was in banking. It’s work! A lot of work. And what you are you working for? More work! Higher paid positions come with a lot of responsibility... and pressure. Let’s not forget the pressure. It’s not like I don’t want to climb a step or two. But when words like “efficient” start getting thrown around people start getting high expectations and start thinking up other dangerous words like “potential” and “capable” Next thing  you know they’re “expanding your portfolio”.

I don’t know if I can handle that.

It’s okay to suspect you’re on the higher-ups’ radar. At least, then, you can dispel the thought and tell yourself you are being full of yourself. When you know they’re watching you, that’s something else. I did say this was one of my paranoid suspicions. Didn't I? What if they’re watching me? What if they really do have my phone bugged? At any point I could have left my cell unguarded and they could have gotten into it. I've seen Person of Interest! I know how easy it is to clone someone’s phone! Every text, tweet, status update and call I've ever made since I got here could be stored on one of the office servers (right next to the plans for the weather manipulation device). Hell! My last boss, the Big Man, had spyware on my office computer. And he’s a cheapskate! I work for the government now!!!

Aside from that, what if this is all a trick? What if they don’t actually think I’m efficient after all?

- Secret Paranoid Suspicion # 8: People don’t actually approve of me, they just pretend to and say nice things to make me believe there’s something about me they like.

I’m not quite sure what the reason behind this is yet but whatever it is, it can’t be good.

I need to find a way to become anonymous. I have to blend in! I’m normally pretty good at that. What am I doing wrong? Maybe I should start sleeping at my desk like so many of my coworkers. I bet I could blend in if I did like the group in the cube right next to mine and spent more than half the day carrying on loud conversations about every TV show/movie I watched (or book I read... or what I had for dinner... or where I went clubbing) the night before. Did I mention they were loud?

I need to nip this “efficiency” talk in the bud before something bad happens.

Friday, June 13, 2014

So... It Turns Out I Might Be A Masochist.

I suppose, if you've been hanging around here long enough, eventually seeing a post with a title like the one above won't really come as a shock. In fact, a few of you may think my admission of something like this is long overdue. Unfortunately, you're going to have to wait a little longer for me to admit to my twisted sexual tastes. I guess you'll just have to use your imaginations. Actually, don't. Forget I said that. I've hung around some of your places a while too and I'd rather not be a part of some of your own twisted imaginations.

Well... maybe a few of you...

My confession is nowhere as interesting as the post would lead you believe (no shocker there). Truth is, I'm hoping by the time you got to this part and realized this post contains no stories of whips, ball-gags and leather unitards, you'll decide to continue reading just out of the sheer principle of finishing something you've already started.

Which would probably make some of you the real masochists here.

Anyway, I digress (no shocker there either). One of the updates I neglected to pass on is that I restarted the gym a few months back.

I know, right?! How could I leave something like that out?

But not just any gym, mind you. The gym. The place where I first started learning Thai boxing back in secondary school.
The place I've tried to make time to rejoin but made every excuse not to could never get the timing right to get back into it. This is the gym where I was so pushed to my limits, physically, I likened the instructor's training technique to sadomasochism.

And now the title makes sense.

Of course, there have been some changes to the old place, over the years. New students, new equipment, bigger training area and all that. But, at it's core, it's still the same old place where you train hard and develop an unnatural affection for pain... and the guy in charge likes to occasionally sneak up behind you, flip you and send you flying through the air, just for the heck of it. I'm already getting back to my old form and keeping up with guys more than half my age... realizing there are now students there more than half my age training there now... feeling a little bummed by this fact...

Still, I am keeping up with them so I guess that counts for something. Plus, one time, one of the guys saw me practicing my kicks on the bag and insisted he be allowed to wear extra padding when he was told to spar with me. I've always wondered what it's like to be feared.

I like it.
This bag is actually the oldest one there. He keeps it far in the back where I have plenty of "alone time" with it.
I swear it looked like that before I got there. Honest!
All that being said. I have been reintroduced to the pain I had long forgotten. The first few weeks especially were rough and I spent a lot of time trying not to move very much. But... I kept going back... I keep going back! It's almost as if I enjoy this violent abuse being inflicted upon my body. I-I'm allowing people to hit me and they let me hit them back.

And I like it...

Maybe the title of this post is more appropriate than I thought. Come to think of it, I do get this special feeling of power when I strap on my leather training gloves.

By the way, if you're worrying about me regaling you with constant gym pics and posts, don't expect much more than this post. I did wait five months to actually let you all know I was back there to begin with so I think you don't need to worry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Social Interaction - Quiet Vinny.

I recently figured out one of my main problems. No, not that one! The other one of my main problems. Nooo... Not that either- Wait! I do that? Okay! Let's not get off track here. Just stop listing them for a sec and pay attention. I'm referring to the issue I have when it comes to talking to people.

Despite the amount of words I've put down here on the blog, I forever remain a crappy conversationalist. Fact is, if you met me and we had to have a face-to-face conversation it would probably be a painful experience for all involved. I like to think it's because I'm not a people person. I think I mentioned that a few times in the past. I'm awkward when it comes to communicating verbally. Not because I can't think of what to say but because, whenever someone talks to me, a million thoughts about possible responses swirl around in my head and I get confused. This leads to such gems as saying the wrong thing, not getting the words out properly and – my all-time specialty – talking too fast.

I've thought of ways to fix this but nothing has ever really worked. Friendly and polite have always been my “go-to” states. These, however, are not natural for me. Growing up, I had to work at it. I decided that the mannerisms of a friendly person were what people considered acceptable so I just went with it. (Because what else does an eight-year-old think about?)

After I left the bank, where being fake-friendly was an actual job requirement, I'd gotten my fill of it. I decided to let more of my cynical, dry wit out and it worked pretty well... That is, until the new super-religious supervisor at my next place of employment thought these traits were undesirable of someone working under her and set out to have me removed (I'll mention again that I was never cynical to her). I didn't want to be fake-nice but after that experience I was convinced my initial theory was correct. As a result of all this I'd resigned myself to my awkwardness.

Until recently, that is. See, recently it occurred to me that I was looking at the problem all wrong. I don't always have to have something friendly to say or even something witty. I don't need to improve my conversation skills. I need to do away with them altogether. Well, mostly.

Stay with me here.

You know those guys who keep to themselves, looking all serious and deep in thought and badass. They usually don't say much aside from the odd grunt or one-word response. That's me! I could totally do that! I mean, I already do it sometimes. What I need to do is step it up and be the quiet badass all the time. No one expects the quiet badass to say much. No one expects the quiet badass to smile and feign politeness. The badass does not need to try to be the life of the party.

Have you ever heard of Batman telling jokes during the Justice League weekend barbecues over at Superman's fortress? No! Batman is the one silently examining the pent-up alien beasts in Superman's zoo, figuring out at least eight different ways to subdue and recapture them should they ever escape. No one ever says, “Hey, Bats! Tell everyone about that time you...” No! They all take a vote as to who will approach him to ask if he wants a beer and pray he doesn't karate-chop the unlucky sap through a wall for sneaking up on him too quietly.

I could totally be Batman!

I wish I'd figured this out before! So many wasted years trying to be “social” and “friendly” and none of that was ever truly in my nature. Sure, I'm a nice guy and I'm not denying that, but that doesn't mean I want to talk to you. I honestly don't want to participate in a verbal discourse on how hot it is today. No, I do not care to elaborate on what I meant by “Meh,” when you asked me how my day was going.

Of course, it doesn't help that whenever I don't feel like communicating someone is always there to chime in with a, “Hey, Vinny. You okay? You seem quiet today.” I hate that! Thanks for the concern and all but I just don't feel like talking. That's all! That's it! I'm not upset, I don't need to open up and I don't have a problem I need to get off my chest. Yes, I am sure. I just want to be quiet. It's nice. I like it.

Jeez! It's like society is forcing me comply with their mass-produced standards of social interaction. But I ain't your robot, man! I'm totally not going to dance to your little tune while you pull the strings on my cheeks to make me smile so you can feel comfortable. And I sure as hell ain't going to conform to your fascist rules about mixing metaphors... Man!

Imagine the freedom. I'd never have to fumble for words again. Even better I won't have to pretend to be extra nice and smile just to make others more relaxed. I can finally be the badass I was meant to be!

Now all I need is to get people to stop bothering me. Karate-chopping someone through a wall might seem a bit extreme but I'm fairly certain it'll get the point across.

Friday, May 2, 2014

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing - The Return.

I’m afraid I'm going to gripe a little bit so bear with me. Remember a few months ago I told you all about my employers deciding to exploit make use of my past experience as a reporter and putting me on a special assignment to write a white paper? Sure you do! This, as I mentioned, resulted in my being unceremoniously pulled from my desk, my duties and even the building and being shipped off to the Central Office where I and the other three members of the team would spend our days toiling away on the deserted top floor.

Then, of course, the HR girls were taken away too. I never mentioned this but, at my old desk, I was surrounded by the pretty girls from HR (Seriously, it’s like baring a resemblance to a porcelain doll is one of the hiring criteria for that section). I wasn't in HR, mind you. That was just where they had room to seat me that was closest to my department.

I'll admit I didn't mind this too much.

Still, aside from all that and me having to spend four times as much in transportation costs (No, I wasn't being compensated for this), it actually wasn't so bad. The team got along and, while progress was slow, we were actually starting to get the thing going. The whole point of us being transferred was to prevent us from being distracted by anything else. We were supposed to focus on the white paper and the white paper alone and get it done as quickly as possible.

For two months we battled traffic, parking issues (the other three drove) and the lack of decent lunchtime dining options (there are places you can get food but they’re all very far away). The people on the ground floor didn't like us very much, even though we all worked for the same government ministry (related to aforementioned parking issues) and sometimes the air conditioning on that floor broke but we persevered.

Now, we’re back. As of two weeks ago our long trips to Central came to an end and we were called back to base. You’d think I’d be happy now. Right? Now that it’s all over I get to return to my desk, resume my work and patiently endure the HR girls’ cooing over how much they love each other’s hair/shoes/outfit/etc. I would have been happy, if that were the case. See, the project isn't finished... I think. In fact, things are getting more and more confusing.

Let me explain.

Recently there has been some reshuffling of senior positions at the Head Office which forced our team leader, a Divisional Director, to have to return to base to assume some new responsibilities. With him being called back it made no sense to leave the rest of us there so they brought us in as well. The project isn't over. We’re just continuing it at Head Office... in the middle of all the distractions they wanted us to stay away from...

This, in itself, is annoying but the real problem is that the entire project has become an afterthought to the great big heads upstairs and no one is really taking it seriously. The team leader is too busy with his new responsibilities and they've separated all the members of the team as far away from each other as they could. However, since it hasn't officially been declared dead, I’m stuck here, one floor below where my real desk is, plugging away at it, wondering if there’s even a point. Added to that, they’re slowly starting to squeeze other tasks that have nothing to do with the project into my portfolio.

Then I saw an email from someone in the division wondering when I was planning to meet with her and officially assume the duties of my desk...

I don’t mind being given something to do. Don’t get me wrong. What I do mind is being taken from a division where, at least, I had some experience (and something nice to look at when I got bored) and being put in one where I had almost zero usable skills. While it is true I felt a little overwhelmed from time to time, at least I knew enough to fake it when I had to.

Helping write the white paper was an exception. This division I've been dropped into now deals with things like creating policy and a whole host of things I have never dealt with or have never been trained for.

Still, everything’s up in the air at this point. Just as I have been receiving little-to-no information on what’s going on, I think it’s safe to assume I’m not the only one and a lot of them don't really knows I’m only here on loan. In the end, I may end up being left alone to finish what I was sent here to do and go back to my “home”, surrounded by the pretty HR girls just one floor above.

I hope...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing - The Movie.

I knew this post would have to written one day, if for no other reason than for the awsome title alone...

One of my classes this semester is an introductory course in video editing. As with almost every course, we have group assignments and this class was no exception. In fact, EVERY assignment for this class needs to be done in some sort of group. The project I recently finished involved those folks I wrote a letter to not too long ago when we were going through some... um... compatibility issues.

Anyway, we got through it and managed not to kill each other (even though some very angry words were said between one or two members of the group). The assignment was supposed to be a short film but since a local film company just happened to be holding a short film competition around the same time, the lecturer gave the class the option of making our movies for entry into that instead.

And they voted to go for it.

The rules were simple. The movie was supposed to be max five minutes long, be along the lines of one of the themes provided and, most importantly, shot with either a smartphone or tablet. No professional cameras - or any, for that matter - allowed.

As I said, our group had issues. A few slackers and one busybody who didn't really do much but provoke everyone else to argue left the bulk of the pre-production work to two of us. Eventually, when it was time shoot most people got their acts together. I co-produced and acted as cameraman, since it was my phone which served as the camera for the project. Busybody did some acting and one slacker helped carry stuff (I believe in making the best use out of my resources). In the end we managed to pull off something decent.

You'll forgive me for not sharing what we did since my real name's in the credits and I'd like to at least pretend my half-assed attempts to keep my real identity (mostly) a secret on the blogosphere have been working. Allow to maintain that delusion, will you?

We submitted out film on the deadline day but, to be honest, I wasn't very optimistic when we viewed the other groups' projects in the following class. We had choppy sound due to the high winds during the shoot, my phone's camera quality was okay-ish at best and the final editing was rushed. I didn't think we had a chance in hell of our movie getting selected over theirs. And that was just when I compared what we did with the other groups in our little class. This competition was open to the whole country.

Then, a week ago, we found out our movie was the only one from our class to make it into the competition, in the People's Choice category.

While the others were good, one of our in-class competitors was disqualified when that group went over the time limit, while the other had audio problems that couldn't be overlooked. Still, we were proud (and shocked) that we at least made it that far. During the last class, our lecturer casually mentioned that a newspaper also wanted to interview us. That's when the other producer/director of the group fainted (not really but she could have).

I checked our standing against the other movies in the People's Choice. With two days left before voting closes, we're nowhere close to having enough votes to win. Still, we never even expected to get this far.

You never know.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Internet Rules Are Meant To Be Broken. Aren't They?

I've been tagged! We all know the internet is full of all kinds of awards, games and memes designed to spread like digital STDs. I've gotten my fair share (by the way, if you've stopped by here, you may want to get yourself tested. Just sayin') and thanks to Joe of Mostly Harmless Drivel, I've now been hit with a new strain: the "My Writing Process Blog Tour".

By the way, you should really go check Joe's blog out. He's a talented writer and I find his fictions are always thought provoking - especially his "700 Hoboes" posts. I'm posting this one a day late, I'm afraid, so I'm offering my apologies as well.

I'm already off to a bad start with following the rules.

I blame it on my slow return to being enthused (or stimulated in any way, to be honest) about-well-anything and everything in general. I was down. I wrote about it here (the one where I swear a lot). I was actually going to post this yesterday but stuff happened at work (I'll share that later) and it threw things off.

Anyhoo, excuses aside, let's get to the matter at hand. Shall we?

First, I answer four questions:

1. What Am I Working On?

Um... I got nothing. I post when something hits me (of course, I'm sure it would make for an interesting story if someone hits me as well). I already questioned whether or nor I'm "writer" enough to try writing a book but the jury's still out on that one.

There has been an idea nagging me for some time, though. Something fiction, something funny. I'd say more but  I don't trust you all not to steal my idea is still in a pretty raw and undeveloped state right now. Maybe I'll stop procrastinating long enough to get it started and we'll see how it goes from there.

2.  How Does My Work Differ From Others Of Its Genre?

Easy. Mine sucks. Next question. What? More? Okay.

To be honest, I never really thought about it. I just write whatever comes to me. It could be funny (at least to me anyway), or just something for me to vent my frustration (link already provided above). I do draw, on occasion, but that's not really original either. Truth be told, I've never really compared myself to other writers out there. I just do my thing here in my little corner.

I'm not being of much help here. Am I?

Moving right along...

3. Why Do I Write What I Write?

Because I have a natural ability to find the humor in things. I like things that make me laugh and I like telling people things that make them laugh. I have to get this out and, since I'm not much for socializing, casting my words into the void of the internet will have to do. If I'm lucky, they may even catch someone's attention.

4. How Does My Writing Process Work?

I have a process!?! Kidding! I guess you could say it starts with something catching my attention. It can happen anytime, anywhere. Once it plants itself deep within my subconscious, it grows and starts taking over most of my waking thoughts until I expel it onto paper (read as: screen). Usually, my best stories get completely written in my head well before I sit down to hammer them out.

Now comes the part where I break more rules...

I'm actually supposed to tag three people at this point so the infection can continue to spread but I spent more than a week in a funk and never got around to asking anyone.
Again, sorry, Joe. Also, sorry, internet. I'll be more compliant next time. 'Kay?

Alright, that's it. Bye!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


(EDITOR'S NOTE: I burn up my quota of swear words for the next few months in this one.)


That’s how I feel right now. Like some fucking spoiled brat, throwing a tantrum. A very foul-mouthed brat. Why? Because I get depressed sometimes, that’s why? And I hate it.

I mentioned it before, but some of you may not know/remember. I was in banking about four years ago. I was a loans officer and, mostly and I fucking hated it. Then I lost that job – mostly because of my own screw-ups – and had been bouncing around from one place to another, never able to hold down a job for more than six months. The economy was in a slump, banks weren't hiring and it took months to finally find a temporary clerical gig in a small office that paid less than half the income I was making before. That’s how the next three years would go for me. Brief stints of employment here and there, followed my months of unemployment.

As a result of this – maybe even before it (HELL! I don’t know!) – I realized I would go into these “funks” from time-to-time. The worst of it was right after I lost my job at the bank. Back then it was full-on, curl-in-the-fetal-position-under-the-covers-day-after-day depression.

Should I keep calling it that? I've never been officially diagnosed. "Real" therapy's expensive, you know. All I know is it was like a hole had opened up inside me. I felt like something was missing. Like there were things that should be there that just weren't. I remembered, even before things ended with the bank, I questioned whether the road I was on was really the one I should be taking.

As time went on I learned to deal. Or, at least, to look like I was dealing.
Eventually, I started blogging and that seemed to help a lot.

But that hole never went away. When problems started to pile up, there it was, shrouding me and swallowing me up again. True, it wasn't as bad as before. I’d lose interest in things and stop being productive to the point where every task felt burdensome. I literally have to force myself to “function”.

But things are different now. Right? I mean I've been employed since last February. First, with TinyCo – the company that seemed destined to fold at any minute but didn't – and now with the government. My income now isn't anywhere close to what I made in banking but it’s the best it’s been in years. There’s just no reason those old feelings of emptiness to be bother me anymore.

So where the hell did the last week of my life go?

That’s what I fucking hate the most about my “thing”. It’s a creeper. It's a bitch-assed, sneaky kind of gloominess and I never know when it's going to hit or even that I’m going through it. That is, until it comes to a head (or the shit hits the fan). I go into force-function mode and my sporadic bursts of energy during that time allow me to make it through each day with just enough effort to even fool myself and keep drifting along.

I don't know how I got to this state. Sure, life isn't perfect now that my job worries have eased up. I've still been taking a hit or two as a result of our finances going into disarray when I was unemployed. But... Shit, I don’t know!

I know what some of you are thinking. I should talk to someone. I think that's part of the problem. Aside from my wife, there aren't that many people I can talk to. I love her, but there are some things I'm not comfortable talking to her about. Let's not even get into family. I'm a Christian (maybe not the best example of one, but I am), as I may have mentioned and most of my family are as well. But if I have to deal with the cookie-cutter "Go deeper into prayer" answers, I may end up saying some very un-Christian things to them (Don't believe I can? Go back and read some of what I wrote in this post alone.)

The fog is lifting for now, though. I'm just really, REALLY pissed it happened again. Sorry to just spring this on you all. I just needed to vent and since I can't afford therapy and I'm too much of a loner to have "real life" friends to bitch to, the blog is the only place I can pour all this out.

I'l try to be funny next time.