My day is now yours

At first I thought that would make a great name for a personal experience column, but looking at it now, it seems way too creepy.

Like I am going to overwrite your life with mine.

Anyhow, hello gentle readers. Time for the biographical update. Not much up in my life right now. The only exciting thing to happen was almost getting a zero on my screenplay, and I covered that yesterday.

I did realize something today. There’s never going to be a second draft of my movie. At least, not unless I decide to do it on my own. The second draft normally would come in the next term, but only if I chose the film track, and I am TV all the way.

I want a job, and a salary, and a high pressure environment, dammit!

So in a sense, it’s goodbye to my movie. I think. I mean, I still have the class to attend where we workshop one another’s scripts. And I can’t shake the feeling that there must be some sort of final project. But I can’t figure out what that would be except for something like a finished version of your movie.

Oh well. At least I know that I will get to finish my Bob’s Burger episodes. The final pages are due two weeks from now, and I will get a mark on that.

Aaaand next term I will be developing my own brand new TV series and writing the pilot and maybe more for IT.

Frankly, I am terrified. But I know I will come up with something. That’s going to be the hardest part, coming up with the idea. Once I have an idea firmly in place, everything will flow from that and it will get a lot easier for me.

A very “sign of the times” kind of thing has happened to me twice now. Every school day, on my way into the Skytrain, I always grab a paper from the fellows handing out copies of Metro and 24.

Because sometimes they have crossword puzzles in them, and I love doing a crossword puzzle on the Skytrain. It’s the perfect warm-up to the day because it stimulates my mind and wakes me up, as well as revving up my engine, so to speak. So it’s great.

But twice now, in between the two fellows handing out the free papers, there’s been a third person, a rather stressed out looking woman in her late forties, handing out copies of the Vancouver Sun, an actual, big time, real newspaper.

That’s how low the newspaper biz has fallen, folks. They are just giving the paper away.

Actually, while at first I assumed that this woman worked for the Sun, it occurred to me today that maybe she doesn’t. Maybe she is simply someone who is passionately concerned about the fate of her favorite newspaper. So concerned, in fact, that she buys a bunch of copies from one of their vending machines and simply gives them away so that people will see how awesome the Sun is and maybe even start paying for it.

Heartbreaking, isn’t it? My mind comes up with the saddest things sometimes.

Myself, I have no practical or sentimental attachment to newspapers. The closest relationship I ever had with them was when I delivered them. Aside from that, for most of my childhood, they existed to me entirely for the funny pages.

My news, I got from TV. Much easier to understand for me, plus I didn’t end up with ink all over my hands. For in depth stuff, I read magazines.

So while it is, of course, sad to see a whole lot of people who are writers like me lose their jobs and to see mighty institutions which played a huge role in history die,  I am sure that the important functions of a newspaper can be taken over by the Internet in time.

So what newspapers do will still be done. Just not by newspapers.

I’ve also been watching a series called The Get Down, which is about the birth of hip hop and rap in the battlefield of the Bronx in the late Seventies.

That was pretty much the worst time for crime and violence in the Bronx. There was an average of a murder a day in the summer. Gang violence peaked when cheap guns turned the usual arms race deadly. Cops were afraid to patrol because they might just get surrounded by a mob and killed. Even in a car. The mob would flip the car over and drag the people inside out. And building burned for weeks because the firefighters were scared shitless too. It’s bad enough to lose everything you own in a fire, but to have society completely ignore your plight has to be a crushing blow.

What I enjoy most about the show is how amazingly Seventies it is. It feels like the Seventies, and I was a kid in the Seventies, so I know the vibe when I feel it. And that’s also why the show is so incredibly nostalgic for me.

I mean, I’ve talked about my happy sunshine-drenched memories of the Seventies here before. All from before I went to school, when my mother was home and we did stuff as a family in the summer and I was just a happy go lucky little kid with more brains that he knew what to do with and a friendly, sunny personality that bore absolutely no fear of adults. The combination of brains and personality made me catnip for adults, who found me incredibly amusing and bemusing.

So the show basically takes me back to my early childhood. Far fucking out, man.

And it’s also an awesome show. Great writing, the young actors are amazing, the set design is insane in how thorough they are about getting everything right.

Nostalgia alone could not get me to watch a show that I didn’t like.

But nostalgia plus a great show?

I am all the way down with that.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

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Another fucking bullet

Well, I fucked up again, and was in risk of getting a big fat zero on my movie script. 

You know, the one I poured my heart and soul into over the last three weeks. The one that I am actually pretty proud of, to be honest. It’s certainly the thing that took the most out of me to write, and writing it was a truly intense experience. I think the scenes I wrote are very powerful, maybe too powerful to be honest. But my default setting appears to be “turn everything up to eleven”.

Plus, as discussed, my mentors seemed to like it.

So that’s what was on the line, and all because of my bete noire, my absentmindedness. I forgot that the finished version  was supposed to be emailed to Steve Toms, one of the teaching assistants (and reluctant tech support) at the VFS Writing department, instead of posted to the course’s forum like the previous two steps had been.

Now relax, it didn’t happen, everything is cool.

But here’s what makes this major fuckup different than all the previous ones was that I was fully prepared to defend myself. And not out of fumbling desperation like usual, but out of (almost) total conviction that I was in the right.

Because honestly, how ridiculous would it be to give me a zero on a thing which is one of the major projects I will do in my time at VFS and possibly wreck my (I like to think) promising career over a minor clerical error?

I mean really. If this had been a job instead of school work, it’s not like the people paying me to write the script would say “Wait, you sent it to the wrong email address? Then NO MONEY FOR YOU, and you’ll never work in this town again!”.

Mental note : that would be a hilarious thing for someone in a really small town to say.

No, in the real world it would be a matter of a very short phone conversation and then you’d never hear about it again.

And the thing is, I had proof that I had actually handed in my script (virtually speaking) last Wednesday, in the form of the forum post, and that means that I can prove that I completed the assignment on time. In fact, I completed it five days early.

I just misfiled it.

And I am happy I was so ready to plead my case. It means I am forming the proper reactions in order to protect myself in this mean ol’ world. It’s long overdue. I think the formation process got interrupted by a severe sense of abandonment when I was a kid. Part of me, I suppose, was still waiting for someone to notice how broken I was and come in and save me and protect me.

And I am still there, kinda. I am getting over it, but I am not out of the proverbial woods yet. I know that to continue in life I have to rescue myself from that snowbank where I laid down and willed myself to die a long, long time ago. I will have to accept that, whatever injustices lay in my past, I am an adult now and the only one who can look after me is myself. I have to stop waiting, “let them get away with it”, and move on with my life.

But it’s a long, slow, painful process. I kind of gave up on myself in that snowbank. In a sense I did die there, because that’s where a part of my soul died and I am still trying to warm it up and bring it back to life. It’s where despair took over and rendered me passive and helpless and a little dead inside.

It’s where all those miles of frozen tundra inside my soul came from. It’s where that glacier atop my heart came from. It’s where I detached from life in a very dangerous life.

I’d like to be the person I was before then again. I was such a cheerful kid before school came along and threw me to the wolves.

Anyhow, back to the school thing.

So, once more, I narrowly escaped oblivion due to the kindness of strangers. That bete of mine just keeps noiring up the joint. Being absentminded seems like it’s an easy problem to fix, but it isn’t. Not for me, anyhow.  It requires more or less rewiring the way I look at the world and how I encode memories, and that is not going to be fixed with a few lines of code and a quick recompile.

I have tried to come up with solutions that actually work with my particular model of brain, but I think I lack the necessary self-knowledge. Plus I am just not used to creating my own unique solutions for problems yet.

A rather unfortunate tendency to use methods that seem “sensible” or “practical” to me and then hate myself when they don’t work is sitting in the way like a fucking Snorlax.

He’s the fat one.

And I feel so scraped raw and frostbitten inside. Like I have been dragged naked over frozen, rocky roads for a couple hundred miles.

But, slowly and painfully, I birth my ice and let it melt. And the more I do that, the more thing I can feel. I am just beginning to reach into the world in search of joy and pleasure and all the others things I need for healing. It feels weird after all those years of having to generate the bare minimum for survival by myself, but that’s what giving up on the world does to a person. You just barely manage to make it through each day, and you self-medicate with your preferred high reward to effort ration activity.

Like video games, reading, and food.

For a long time I didn’t even think about the future, because when I tried, I felt this enormous annihilating despondent terror and a sensation of a dark grey nothingness stretching out to infinity, with me in the middle.

Now that I have a future, I can at least imagine that there is a place for me in the world.

Now I just have to get there.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

Betrayed by my mother

This is going to be another one of those that, in the highly unlikely event that my siblings ever start reading this blog, they should most definitely skip, because I am going to talk shit about Mom, and in my family, there is no greater sin.

Mother is the name of God on the lips and hearts of all children, after all.

I’ve talked before about the radical dichotomy that forms when you have an abusive parent. The abusive active one becomes the Devil, and the kindly passive one becomes The Saint. It’s what has to happen, but it means that any issues with The Saint becomes very, very hard to see, let alone grapple with. When you are a kid hiding from The Devil every time they are around, The Saint is your only ally and the “good” parent, and so you have to blindly worship them no matter how poorly they perform as a parent.

You make do with what you get, I suppose. But let’s put it like this : it’s not like it was particularly hard to be a better parent than my Dad.

So it’s high time I tried to rationally assess my mother’s performance. I do this not out of malice towards her but out of an attempt to figure out what is really going on inside me and that means finding the truth in the events of my childhood.

First off, I have to say that when I was little, she was marvelous. I have a lot of happy memories of her showing me things in the garden, reading to me before bed, giving me lots of hugs, and playing the guitar and singing with me. What’s more, she showed a real interest in me and seemed determined to make sure I got what I needed to grow up a strong and caring little boy.

Then that all changed. She went away. It was to go back to work after unplanned little old me, but still, this was the beginning of the withdrawal. I still had her in the summer, though, and I suspect that’s why a lot of those happy memories are filled with sunshine.

That’s probably also why sunny days make me happy even when the heat makes me miserable. But that’s beside the point.

But that ended too. She was still home in the summer, of course, but that just meant more meals she had to cook and more housework to do and now she had to take care of all four of us all the time, and that’s when she started to be a zombie mom.

Because, you see, that’s how timid, passive people like me and my mother betray you. Not by stabbing you in the back or even ever making the decision to leave you. We simply fade away very slowly, too slow to be noticed in realtime, but as sure and certain as the ticking of a clock.

I still had Betty, though. My babysitter. And she paid attention to me, unlike everyone else. I am a lot like my mother but I am also a lot like Betty. I learned so much from her.

And then school came, and I went from being a kid with one person he could count on in his life, whether it was Mom or Betty, to being abandoned to a cruel world for which I was ill prepared and rapidly sank down into a world of boredom, terror, injustice, cruelty, depression, anxiety, and neglect.

That’s when the real betrayal took place, because when I tried to tell my parents (by which I mean my mother, because it’s not like I thought Dad would help, he’s The Devil after all), they just shut me down and made it clear to me that whatever it was, it was my business and my business alone because they could not spare any energy or effort at all on me, the unwanted guest who could not leave.

And I tried at least three times that I can remember, and each time it was much harder than the previous time, and after three or so, I just gave up.

I am positive that if it had been one of my siblings telling them that they were getting beat up in school all the time, it would have been treated like the emergency it was. There would have been calls to the school and outrage and reassurance that Something Would Be Done About This and that It Would Stop.

Especially if it had been one of the girls.

But I could barely get out that I was unhappy and that there was a problem before they shut me down because they just didn’t want to allocate any resources, whether physical, mental, or psychological,. at their disposal to the kid they never wanted, especially when they could go back to pretending I wasn’t there just by shutting me down like they did.

Get back in your box and disappear/

This all culminated on that fateful day when the dentist told my parents that I needed some serious dental work or, if unchecked, my life could be in danger, and my mother blinked and said “Well we can’t afford THAT!” and that was the end of it.

That was the real betrayal. That wasn’t my Dad’s doing, it was hers. Clearly, as much as I adored her, she did not feel the same way about me. If it had been one of my siblings, there would have been no question about it. They would have done whatever it took, made whatever sacrifices they had to make, to do what the dentist told them had to be done .

I know this, because they did it for both of my sisters.

Now I ask of you : what sort of parent is told their kid needs dental work or he may have serious health complications later in life, and just shrugs and walks away?

A very bad parent, that’s what.

My mother did a bad job raising me. She was in the forefront of making me feel like I wasn’t wanted, wasn’t welcome, and certainly wasn’t worth spending money on.

Ya did me wrong, Mom. I know you wouldn’t see it that way, but it’s true.

No wonder I am so fucked up.

I had nobody. 

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

When the light grows dim

Using the visual editor, aka the WYSIWYG one, for tonight’s blog entry. I usually use the text one so I can see my HTML, but tonight, I am going to take a walk on the wild side and use the mode which works just like a word processor. Besides, the real reason I used the text one for so long was that the visual editor messed up video embeds. And I don’t do those very often any more. So it’s visual for me.

Whoop de freaking do.

Feeling sort of dark today. I guess I am depressed. I tried to get myself jump started in the afternoon, but I felt like crap and without a compelling reason to stay out of bed (that is, compelling by depression’s standards, which usually means extremely high reward to effort ratio activities), I ended up spending my Saturday afternoon in a state of confused depression and non-restful sleep. A mode that in the bad old pre-Kwantlen days I used to call “every fucking afternoon”.

So that shit is always there, waiting for me to slip up and fall off the path and get lost. It’s a sobering (and depression) realization to make. That no matter how well I am doing or how good I am feeling, the hot suffocating darkness stretches before me like the mouth of a well, waiting to swallow me down into the belly of the best once again.

Every day, no matter how it looks on the outside, on the inside I am tiptoeing across a tightrope stretched between me and the warm bright world of the living.

And somehow, no matter how far I go, I am always in the exact middle.

Admittedly, some portion of the depression might be coming from the fact that I am currently without a major project. For a while there, I always had the movie to work on, and after that, I worked on my TV spec script, but I sort of finished that.

I saw sort of because I do have a complete script, with three entire plotlines. It is, however, only 52 pages long, and a standard Bob’s Burgers is 62. So I am twelve pages short. I thought I was done because I had written 32 pages before I went in and manually double spaced the dialogue, like they do in the show scripts.

(Yes. I had to manually double space the dialogue, because the program I have been using, Trelby, is terrible and doesn’t have a double-space function. Fuck, it doesn’t even have italics or underline! Because, of course, they are not allowed in standard screenplay format. Which is fine when you are writing a screenplay, but I am writing a TV script and TV people don’t give a fuck about standards. They make their own rules. And one of the rules for Bob’s Burgers scripts is that act headings and sluglines are in bold. And the thing is, I am stuck with Trelby for now because there is no way to export it to some other format and have it retain its formatting, and formatting is kind of super huge when it comes to all forms of screenplay. So I can export it to an uneditable PDF, or nothing. And it is really pissing me off. Rant over. )

So I have to come up with 12 more pages of Bob’s Burgers. That’s a tad daunting, I admit. I have a D plot in my notes, and I can probably add more jokes to some scenes. But I am not sure that will get me 12 entire pages, even with the dialogue double spaced. So I am going to have to strain the ol’ noodle to make pagecount.

Oh well, I am sure I will come up with stuff. I’m a funny dude and I have loads of creativity. It’s just a matter of bearing down and putting in the effort.

I also have to write a presentation for next Friday on the movie Groundhog Day. No pain there, it’s a brilliant movie. I have to come up with my own thesis, and I am pondering having it be that Bill Murray’s character actually dies at the beginning of the movie and the entire rest of it represents his trip through Purgatory.

Then again, I haven’t seen the movie in a while, nor have I read the script yet, so hopefully something a little wittier when I do. I am supposed to consult with the other people who are presenting that day in order to make sure we don’t have the same thesis, but a combination of laziness and arrogant confidence in my own originality has prevented me from doing so up until this point.

Still, that puts the pressure on to come up with something really off the wall, just to be safe. I know, I will theorize that the whole movie is the universe’s way of telling Bill Murray that if he wants to keep his career going, he has to play more likable characters.

Alright, that might be a little too meta.

Otherwise, not a lot of homework this week. My homework for Feature Script is already done. Ditto TV Spec Script. TV History doesn’t give homework. I have to do an exercise for The Second Act where I am given beats for the first and third act of a movie and I have to fill in the 15 beats of the Second Act.

Hey, that’s the name of the course.

That should be fun. I am super good at the whole “three card whatever” game, where you get three cards with random pictures on them and you make up a story as if it was three panels in a comic strip. In fact, when I was given that test I got so excited that I came up with three or four stories before they managed to get me to stop.

I am assuming that means I passed. And honestly, looking back, I realize just what a special little dude I was.

And you know what? All that’s changed is my size.

I’m still special as fuck.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

The Five Rules of Abuse

I’ve been sitting on this idea for a week now, waiting for a night when I don’t feel like talking about myself. I wrote the notes for it in a sudden influx of insight, which is the sort of thing I should do more often. Let inspiration move me, that is.

I am pondering turning this into an article for Cracked if I can find the time. It seems like their kind of thing. They do stuff this serious, and I can make anything funny.

Anyhow, here are my five rules of all forms of abuse.

1. Abuse is about one thing and one thing only : anger. All abusers abuse as a way of venting their anger on someone and thus achieving a measure of relief from it. And that relief is a powerful drug. It is the primary reward of the entire cycle of abuse. The abuser craves this release like an addict, and that’s why you can’t believe them when they say they will change. Because…

2. Abusers need to abuse. It’s a vital part of their coping mechanisms. For them, abusing others is as much of a need as hunger or companionship. The anger builds up in them until they absolutely must lash out at someone. However, they are clever predators, and know that by default, people will not put up with that shit. So they have to maintain the fiction that it is possible to avoid their wrath. This fiction is vital not just to protect others (and themselves) from the knowledge that they are sick people who do terrible things because it makes them feel good, but it allows them to…

3. Believe themselves to be the aggrieved party. This is true of all forms of abuser. The only way they can rationalize their need to victimize people is to see themselves as the victim and imagine that they are acting in self-defense against a world out to hurt them. No matter how obvious it is that they are the aggressor, they will always place the blame on their victims for provoking their ire. It is the only way they can live with the knowledge of what they do and why. To them, the fact that this pattern keeps repeating is all the proof they need that they are constantly the victim of other people’s incompetence, malice, stupidity, evil natures, or any other crime that places the blame squarely on the victim. That is why it is important to remember that…

4. It’s never about what it’s about. No matter how much they insist it is and no matter how patently absurd the claim is, they will insist that they are so angry because of whatever minor thing their rage seized upon as an excuse to vent. Whether it’s a parent freaking out over socks on their kids’ bedroom floor, an abusive husband flipping out because there isn’t enough sauce on his steak, or a rude customer making a huge deal over the fries not being crispy enough when they are the same as they have always been, the actual issue at hand is completely irrelevant. It is merely the opportunity, and the more degenerate the abuser, the less excuse they need to explode and the less credible they become, which of course only makes them angrier. As does the knowledge that..

5. All abusers are cowards. Without a single exception. That’s why they have to pick victims who are, in fact, the least threatening people around. If abusers were merely aggressive by nature, they would pick on targets that can fight back. But no, they are stone cold cowards, and therefore have to find targets who they feel absolutely safe abusing without any fear of retaliation whatsoever. That’s why bosses pick on underlings, adults pick on children, and bullies pick on nerds. This invariably leads to the extraordinary injustice of violence (be it physical or verbal) being visited upon the people who least deserve it.

If you want to know what’s really wrong with the world, that’s it. It’s why the rich pick on the poor, why the self-righteous rail against “sinners”, why racists blame other races for all their ills, why religious intolerance externalizes blame of the pain they inflict upon themselves on other sects, why customer service has become a dirty word because of the abusive customers, why people send messages and leave comments calling other people horrible names and exhorting said people to kill themselves, you name it.

It’s all just cowards victimizing the people with the least capacity to fight back. And all because these wimps are too cowardly to turn their anger towards its real source. What is really making them mad might be their boss, their spouse, their life, their regrets, you name it. But actually confronting these things is too scary for them. So they abuse.

And it’s truly disgusting to imagine that they can somehow justify this to themselves. What an appalling weakness of character! What a nauseating lack of honor!

There’s a very simple test to see if you might be an abuser : are you angry a lot? Like, more than twice a day for more than four days a week? Because that is not normal. And I am not talking about getting mad about something on the news or getting angry for a little while when you spill your coffee. I am talking about the kind of mad that leads to getting mad at the people in your life, whether that’s some kid working at Starbucks or your spouse or anyone in between.

Normal people, people who do not need to get that mad, either fix the problem or get used to it. Anger is meant to be a call to action, after all. The fight response. And an alarm system that goes off all the time is a clear indication that something is wrong somewhere in the system.

And just remember, abuse is not always obvious. For ever ball of screaming rage, there’s a passive aggressive person who abuses through undermining comments delivered as though there are kindly meant nuggets of harmless advice, and another person who abuses and control by being difficult to deal with, and yet another that abuses people by constantly playing the recriminating victim.

No matter how subtle or indirect a form it takes, though, it is always fundamentally the same thing :

Cowards taking their anger out on people who feel “safe” to them.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

The truth of emotions

Not entirely sure exactly what I’m trying to do here, but that’s never stopped me before.

But I feel the need to address certain issues that I think plague the nerdish class, and intellectuals in general, and I am going to try to do so in the form of a process.

This process is a progression of levels of acceptance of the truth of emotions. Consider this to be a rough guide to how to level up on a spiritual level, or if that’s a word that makes you nervous, think of it as a way to upgrade your software to make it more life-compatible.

Each of these levels will take the form of a truth you must accept. And not just accept… believe. There’s a huge difference between mere acceptance of a fact and truly believing it. If you resist and refuse to truly believe, you will gain nothing from this process. This is your deep code we are talking about here. The very firmware of your mind.

Prepare yourself to accept this patch.

Level 1 : You are a human being. Get that? Not an alien. Not a mutant. Not a freak. You are simply human. You are no more and no less human than any other homo sapiens. As such, you belong to the grand extended family that is our species. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not. Especially not yourself. Your humanity is not circumscribed by anyone’s lack of imagination.

Level 2 : You will never be more than human. . Being a human being is most definitely not something you can hope to transcend. You will never be more than human. You will always be a real, physical, biological being who eats, sleeps, urinates, defecates, gets horny, gets cranky, and otherwise does all the squishy biological animal things that all us mammals do. You are not a mind riding around in a vehicle made of flesh. You are flesh that happens to have a mind. No matter what you do with your mind, whether it’s thinking, meditation, prayer, or psychotropic drugs, this will remain true.

Level 3 : There is nothing wrong with being human. It’s not a weakness, a flaw, an embarrassment, or anything to be ashamed of. It’s also not something any sane person can afford to ignore and pretend it does not matter or does not count. Your humanity is a truth as certain as gravity.

Level 4 : You must embrace your humanity. Warts and all. Accept that you are a finite and flawed being and forgive yourself for it. After all, it’s just as true as everyone else who has ever lived or will ever live. Everyone, no matter how impressive, no matter how amazing, no matter how talented or capable or competent, is the exact same kind of monkey you are. They too are finite and flawed and human. And there’s nothing wrong with that in them or in you. Once you accept and forgive your own humanity, you will find it far easier to forgive it in others, and indeed, you will realize that it is our humanity that truly unites us. In our flaws and limitations we are united. Once you stop holding yourself to an inhuman standard, the world opens up to you.

Pretty easy so far, right? Well, it gets harder from here on in.

Level 5 : Human beings have emotions. If you can read this, you have emotions. And they are yours. They are you. They are as much a part of you as your intellect. You cannot separate them from yourself. They don’t go away if you ignore them for long enough. We are what we feel, and there is no escaping that.

Ready? Big leap here.

Level 6 : You are ruled by your emotions. Okay, calm down and put down the gun, you’re only proving me right. All human beings are ruled by their emotions at all times. There has never been such a beast as a logical human being. For humanity, logic is merely a tool. It happens to be the most effective tool we have, but that does absolutely nothing to change our basic nature. All action steams from emotion. You are reading this because you felt it would be interesting or of use to you. You are online because the emotion of boredom drove you to seek stimulation. The best that logic and reason can ever do for us is to give us the most effective means for accomplishing our emotional goals. But it cannot replace or displace emotion as the undisputed monarch of our lives, and any attempt to claim different is a mere psychological dodge to attempt to avoid accountability for one’s actions by claiming a kind of ascetic moral purity. Either that, or it’s an attempt to flee from the truth of one’s own emotions by retreating into a cerebral fantasy land. Either way, it is cowardly and unworthy and, most importantly of all, it is very unhealthy.

One more. Might want to get a running start for this one.

Level 7 : And there is nothing wrong with that. Dealing with irrational people can create the false impression that both a) it is wrong to be ruled by your emotions and b) it is possible to not be ruled by them. But we are all equally driven by emotion. The difference between a rational person and an irrational one is a matter of restraint and consideration, but even in exercising both of those you are responding to an emotional need to feel like you are making sound decisions based on a consideration of all the relevant factors. To your deep emotional self (who is in charge), this is the best way to avoid pain and acquire pleasure, and feel like you are in control of yourself and your life. Thus : a logical means by which to achieve emotional goals. We are always, always, always acting on emotion with everything we do. The only logical course of action is to accept this truth and once more forgive ourselves for our humanity.

Thus ends our little journey. Remember, it’s all about forgiving yourself (and others) for being flawed, finite, emotional animals instead of pure expressions of our highest ideals.

But if you don’t make it through all the levels the first time, don’t be too hard on yourself.

After all, you’re only human.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

I hate reruns

I have had an irritating day.

Why? Because I had to stay home sick again.

It started last last night. I started to feel the telltale ticklish dryness in my throat and heaviness in my chest. “Oh shit!” I thought, “I hope this clears up before class tomorrow!”

It did not. It got worse.

So I had to make the decision whether or not this warranted staying home. When it came time to make the decision, I chose to stay home, because not only did my symptoms seem to be getting worse by the minute, causing me to fully anticipate a cold that would go the distance and drag me through the usual throat stage, head stage, and chest stage progression I usually experience, but it was pouring rain outside and I figured dragging my ass to school through the pouring rain with a cold sounded like a real good way to end up with pneumonia or worse.

SO I emailed my prof and resigned myself to staying home AGAIN. I had perfect attendance until recently! I know that’s a very keener thing to worry about, but I have recently come to realize that while I was definitely a total coaster all through school, I did pick up some keener type instincts.

Plus, I’m a Taurus, and having perfect attendance makes me feel like I am reliable, and we need that kind of thing.

The frustrating part, though, comes from the fact that my symptoms have not gotten worse. I realize that it’s insane to wish you were sicker, and the sane part of me knows that. But the crazy part of me feels like I stayed home for nothing.

I would have been fine, it insists, conveniently forgetting the whole pneumonia angle.

So now I sit and grumble. Tomorrow is TV Script and I am sure as hell not missing THAT two weeks in a row. So unless I get way, way worse overnight, I am going to class tomorrow. It might be a bad idea, but I am going to do it anyway, because as we’ve established, I hate missing class.

What really burns my biscuits is that the class I missed today was Pitch 2, and today was the day we were going to learn a whole bunch of cool marketing stuff about how to make one sheets and pitch packages and such, all stuff that could be invaluable in my future career, and I had to stay home and spend my time not getting pneumonia.

Stupid fucking pneumonia.

I can only hope that most of what was covered today applied only to the movie side of the coin, so us TV people are safe.

I took a look at the schedule for class 51, the one before ours, who are now in their fourth term (I’m in my third) and hence they are past the point where they have to (get to) choose to go into either movies or TV. So I looked at the TV stream’s schedule and it made me so happy. It’s all “TV This” and “TV That” and has none of this wishy washy theoretical crap I have been learning so far. I mean, I am sure some of it will prove useful to me and was a good experience to have in order to make me a better writer.

But I want to learn TV, dammit. It’s been two and 3/8ths terms of waiting to be able to solidly tackle the thing I came to VFS to learn, and I am growing impatient. I keep hearing about how all this TV production is moving to Vancouver and how TV is going through a golden age right now and how TV shows are hungry for talent (I’m talent!), and it just makes me want to get out there and start conquering the world of television as soon as possible.

I have so much to give the world!

So yeah. Definitely making it to class tomorrow morning. And I get the feeling that I will be taking some unwise risks in the near future if I should awake feeling ill. The issue of whether or not I am sick has been one that has vexed me for a long long time. I feel pretty crappy on a fairly regular basis, and if that was my only criteria, I would never get out of bed. The trick, then, is to discern when I am truly sick and when I just feel like crap because of low blood sugar, sleep apnea induced hypoxia, or depression, and when I am truly sick and should not attempt anything strenuous.

It’s a depressing problem to have to face every day.

Speaking of depression, I realized recently that I have been depressed ever since the second half of grade 1. That means I was clinically depressed when I was only seven years old. How sad a thought is that? Back then, people barely even knew that clinical depression was a thing. They never would have recognized it in a child. But looking back on those days, I was definitely depressed. The feeling of icy isolation was with me even way back then, as was the inability to generate enough thrust to escape my own gravity well. The wall of ice between me and the world was hard and thick. I was on my lonely planet, far from the sun, and I was so cold that I had stopped shivering.

I tried to relate. But I couldn’t. It was too damned cold and I was too damned numb.

The right adult might have put me on the right path, or even the right friend. But they would have had to be extraordinarily patient and persistent in order to get through my defenses and prove to me that I could trust them. I have massive trust issues even to today, and back then, I had been burned many times.

Either that, or it would have taken someone with a very strong personality that could cut through the shift sifting chaos of my mind. Even then, they would have needed beaucoup patience.

So yeah. There were people who might have done better. But I don’t blame them. I was hard to handle.

And I know that shouldn’t count but… it does.

SO I got left behind.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Those darn doldrums

I need to blog, but frankly, all I want to do is sleep.

And it makes sense that I do, because I do not get enough sleep during the week. I often only get 5 hours of sleep at best overnight. And I know it’s a problem, and on some level I tell myself that I will catch up over the weekend, but that never seems to happen.

Lately, that’s been because on Saturdays, I catch up on my movie writing. That won’t be a problem for a while, though, because I have finished the first draft of my screenplay (yay me) and so, if I am lucky, I will be able to have a couple of weekends where I don’t have to spend most of it writing.

Also luckily, this term they are going easy on the homework. TV History class has had none so far, and the homework for Pitch 2 and The Second Act is pretty light. Script Genre : Comedy just requires the usual “read the screenplay and then write me something that proves you read it” type thing. That leaves TV Script and Feature Script, and Feature Script I have in the can right now.

So the next big thing will be to finish my Bob’s Burgers script, which should not take long. Especially not after writing seventy three pages of movie script. After that, coming up with the final 13 or so pages (AKA the other half of the episode) of my Bob’s Burgers script will seem like child’s play.

And I still have more than a week to do it. How utterly laughable.

So I am on track academically, as far as I know. Which is nice. Hopefully I will be able to keep the dumb mistakes to a minimum.

Last night was one intense night of writing, because not only did I finish the damned thing, the last part is SUPER intense, with my poor Babs having to fend off a raving lunatic until her Dad can show up to kick the bad guy’s ass and save the day. So it was both intellectually challenging and emotionally draining. When I finally finished, I was both exultant and incoherent. It’s a heady mix.

Like I said before, I have enjoyed writing a movie. It was a good challenge and the sort of thing that can absorb me and fascinate me so that the whole process is quite pleasant, even if it is a lot of work. Work and fun are not as exclusive as some (very immature) people might think.

And it’s made me rethink my positions on screenwriting versus TV writing. Don’t get me wrong, I am still aiming directly at being a TV writer. But it’s made me realize that the actual writing involved is actually only a small part of that. I could write movies or television and be more or less just as happy with it, from the point of view of my own enjoyment.

But I don’t actually want to make movies. I want to make TV. Also, I want to have a job, rather than be yet another schmuck with a screenplay to flog desperately trying to get it read by the right people in hopes it might, someday, get read by other people who will hand it to other people who will have it read for them so all they have to do is read that person’s summary of… you get the idea.

TV writers don’t have to put up with that bullshit. They get hired by shows or networks, and get a salary and perks and such. That is what I am looking for. Sure, they have to deal with bullshit “notes” from people desperately trying to justify their position in the food chain, and there’s a lot of pressure and a high degree of output is required, but none of that bothers me as long as I get a paycheck that pays the bills with enough left over for some fun when I have the time.

I have no problem with pressure, I enjoy a challenge. And high output doesn’t bother me either seeing as I have spent all these years building strength and endurance in my writing muscles. I could probably write a half hour episode, from outline to final draft, all by myself every week and it wouldn’t bother me much.

If it was an hour long ensemble drama, I might need help.

So I am not about to turn screenwriter any time soon. But I will definitely ponder doing the minimum to shop my finished screenplay around. I mean, what the hell, I wrote the damned thing, the least I can do is give it some sort of shot at getting made.

Who knows, maybe I would end up getting drawn into the sordid world of film making against my will.

Oh, you want to pay me a million dollars for my script? Um, okay. What’s my next project? Give me a minute.

Next term I am going to have to write a pilot for an original series. The hard part will be coming up with the basic premise and characters of the show. actually writing the thing will be fun. But figuring out what kind of show I want to do and what show I want to do in that genre is going to be tough.

Odds are that I will end up creating a sitcom. Something with likable characters who have distinct roles both as characters and as vehicles for certain sorts of jokes, with an open-ended premise that allows for a lot of one-short characters and short character bits, like with Cheers or Night Court.

But there’s so many possible premises and core locations and such to choose from. It will take me a while to find the right one, the one I can work with, the one I want to stick with.

I know I want it to have a premise, but a minimal one. Something that establishes some parameters but that doesn’t force the show to repeat itself.

Anyhow, that’s my words and I gun’ go sleepnow.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

My steamy adventure

So, yesterday was the big day : I went to a gay bath house for the first time. And I wish I could tell you this blog entry is totally NSFW because I am about to regale you with tales of erotic adventure in the land of cock, but I can’t, for reasons which will become clear.

So while I will warn that there is some NSFW content in this blog entry, flog fuel it ain’t.

Caveats disposed of, my adventure awaits. It started when class ended at noon yesterday. I packed up my stuff, did my best to fill my soul with the spirit of adventure, laid a total smackdown on my social anxiety in a brief but decisive matchup, and set off to walk around the block.

This, I did. I guess this is how you get me to finally explore my surroundings a little : put the prospect of an all you can eat cock buffet in front of me. So I walked around the block. Because my school is at 198 West Hastings and Steamworks is at 123 Pender, and Pender is only one block from West Hastings, I could deduce that I would not even have to cross Pender to get there.

Idea for a story : Pender’s Game.

It did involve a bit of an uphill climb. Having lived so long in Richmond, which is flat as the surface of a still pond, gradient still surprises me when I encounter it. And it’s especially weird in downtown Vancouver because, unlike my beloved home town of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, the gradient in downtown Vancouver can vary any which way you travel.

In Summerside, it’s far from flat, but the gradient is exactly the same wherever you go. It’s like the town[1] is built on a ramp. So the gradient is easy to ignore because it’s constant.

I arrive at the place, and as I suspected, it was very… discreet. Just a couple of small discreet signs that say Steamworks Bath House on them, and some very cool big wooden doors with brass handles. No doubt this is a leftover from the days when police routinely raided anywhere gay men to get together to fuck, and makes for better relations with the neighbors.

First surprise : signing up is not necessary. You can go in as a “drop-in”. It costs seven bucks more, but five of that is a refundable key deposit, so whatever. I intend to sing up eventually, and some time soon, because they have a “back to school” deal where students get a free ninety day membership.

Gonna wanna hop on THAT train.

So I got myself a “Standard” room. There’s a cheaper “basic” room but it has even fewer amenities and so I figured, WTF. Might as well spend the extra 3 bucks. I got my key and a remote control for the TV in my little room (16 channels of almost-identical gay porn, yay), and went down to find my room, room 206.

It ain’t much. The “bed” is more properly described as “a gym mat with a pillow and sheet on it”. The TV is small by today’s standards. If I ever got stuck downtown and needed a place to stay for the night, it would do, and you can’t beat the price. But luxurious it ain’t.

In fact, the whole place was a lot more rough-hewn than I would have preferred. Guess if I want something that matches my fantasies, I will have to get rich enough to be able to go to like, the super secret gay bath houses only rich people are even told about.

Anyhow, found my room, ate the lunch I bought at Subway, got undressed, then went on my first sortie. A reconnoiter, if you will. I discovered that the place was cleverly designed so that all the perfectly normal stuff like the gym equipment, dry sauna, steam room, lockers, and jacuzzi, are on the ground floor. So you can totally use the facility as a totally normal spa/gym without being exposed to any of that gay queer homo stuff at all.

That’s because the fun stuff is downstairs.

Not that this was immediately clear, because the lighting downstairs is quite subdued. Eventually your eyes adjust, and you can see stuff, but when I first went down there just finding my way to my room was tough. I wandered around the downstairs maze three times before I realized that the glory holes et al were located down what at first had looked to me like nothing more than dark recesses in the walls in the area where the rooms are located.

Once I figured this out, I slipped down into one of these areas, only to find myself nearly completely blind. It’s even darker in there, and the first time through I was too freaked out by that to slow down and give my eyes more time to adjust. So I was really in the dark.

Luckily, by the time I tried again, I was calmed down enough to let my eyes adjust and then I could see everything well enough. Maybe I wouldn’t have been able to read the newspaper, but I could see what was around me, more or less.

And they do have glory holes, or should I say glory slots, which is not, sadly, a casino game where you can win gay sex but a slot in the wall you can stick your dick through in hopes that someone on the other side will feel like sucking it. Or wait on the other side in hopes of having a cock to suck. Having it be a vertical slot makes sense because that way, it can accommodate cocks and suckers of a wide of heights.

There is also something called a “slurp ramp”, which is the same thing but with the “cock” side elevated, causing the cocks to be at something more like face level on the “sucker” side. This is great news for me, because due to my knee injury I am incapable of kneeling. I can stand and I can sit, but kneeling is simply out of the question.

Ideally, the slot would have a little cushioned shelf like a window seat so I could sit n’ suck, but I guess I’m just a dreamer.

Anyhow, there was no action to be had there. Why? Because people look and see that there’s nobody there, so they walk on, guaranteeing that when the next person looks, there will still be nobody there, and so forth ad infinitum. I can only assume that when a certain critical mass is achieved, the party gets started. But I was there in the afternoon and I am guessing that is not the most busy time for the joint.

When I wasn’t walking around exploring, I was sitting in my room with my door open, hoping someone would join me. That’s how these places work. You leave the door of your room open and that signals your desire for company, so to speak. But no luck there either.

So I can’t regale you with tales of my erotic adventures because I had none. I was too depressed to even masturbate. So while I explored the facility, I didn’t exactly explore my sexuality. And neither did anyone else, for that matter.

Oh well, better luck next time. Next time I go, it will be night, and hopefully full of dudes, and I will have a better chance of finding me some action. And if not, the next time I will have to finally risk rejection by trying to take someone up on their open-door offer. I passed a lot of open doors on Friday but I was far too timid to try.

I wish I knew what the protocol was for that kind of thing, though. Do I stick my head in and ask if I can come and play? Or do I just slip in and hope for the best?

Oh well. So endeth my sad tale of a depressing lack of cock.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Call yourself a city all you like, Summerside, but I was born in a town, not a city, and you will always be a town to me.