Yeah, I know I haven’t blogged in ages. I’ll chalk it up to two things:
1. I’ve just been lazy and haven’t really had anything interesting to say.
2. I’ve been sucked into video gaming.
I’ve been playing video games since I was three and I got my start on the Atari 2600. I remember the thrill I got when I played this Star Wars game where you were on Hoth fighting against an endless army of Snow Walkers and family cheering me on. And how can I forget when I thought I was gosu for being able to “dodge” enemy lasers on Berzerk by letting the lasers pass through the pixels that separated my avatar’s head from his body? Damn, those little Psylon dudes were irritating, especially when you bumped up the Difficulty lever a couple of times and the bad guys fired an endless stream of lasers.
Of course video games have come a long way since then, but I’ve been there each step of the way, playing Nintendos, Playstations, Xboxs and finally settling on the PC. If we added up all of the hours I’ve spent gaming, it probably totals higher than sleep. For me, gaming has never simply been about mindless distraction; it’s more of a sense of completion. When I was a kid, I would challenge myself to beat games in new ways that I’d already finished. So sometimes I’d set an arbitrary point goal or try to survive the entire game on one life or beat a sprawling RPG in one sitting. I think that in my youth, I could have easily have been one of those guys on The King of Kong.
Nowadays, I use video games to give me the sense of accomplishment that I am perhaps missing from real life. I can finish a mission, a quest or a multiplayer match in 20 minutes to an hour and feel like I’ve done something with my day. So when I go on gaming binges and I’m glued to my computer for a marathon session, that’s very telling of how my life is going. Basically, I’m not happy. Worse yet is the vicious cycle that arises: I can’t very well accomplish my goals in life if I’m burning daylight on games. With that said, up until last night, things haven’t been going to well for me, but I’ll save that for another post.
The long and short of it is, I just need to power through these games and I can back to writing.
I Make My Own Fate
Wait. That doesn’t make any sense. Isn’t Fate supposed to be something that happens regardless of what you do? If so, how can you manufacture it? On the other hand, if nothing can be done to avoid Fate, that means everything you do creates your Fate. Therefore, we all make our own Fate. Like Terminator 2.
Good, now that that’s settled, I don’t really believe in Fate. Scratch that: After thinking about it, I do believe in Fate. See, I had my doubts at first, because I’ve always thought of Fate as being these huge grandiose moments in my life, like winning the state lottery or finding the woman of my dreams. Since those moments have never happened to me, I figured that I would believe in Fate when I saw it. But then I thought about all of those little moments of “coincidence” that have really helped me out, like when I overslept my alarm for an interview and one of my neighbors makes a ruckus that wakes me up on time. Things like that have happened to me so many times in my life it’s becoming undeniable that there are forces at work, aiding me. And, of course, the opposite is true.
Then there are the big things, which I had forgotten about until just now. I know I’ve mentioned the time I was suicidal in a previous blog. During that time, I decided I would create my own porn site, but I knew nothing about HTML. So I taught myself. The site flopped, of course, BUT– later when I was back in school, my grades weren’t too hot and my Dad wanted to see my grades. In the entirety of my college career, he had never asked once to see my grades, but he was asking now. As Fate would have it, I could access my grades through the Internet, using the school’s Web site, which was a service provided for free by my university. So I simply downloaded the HTML, doctored the page to bump up my GPA with a few less D’s and F’s and printed the sucker, which in turn saved me from my crazy Father! Now if that isn’t Fate, I don’t know what is.
So why all this jabber about Fate? Mainly because I was having drinks with Richard Elfman last night and we got to talking about it. Well, let me back up here.
Whenever I’m feeling bored, I crawl Craigslist and check out any postings for freelance writing gigs, just so I can expand my portfolio of published work. As is the way with Craigslist, most publications put out ads anonymously. So, from the handful of ads that I responded to, I got one decent response from a Richard Elfman. While the name raised my eyebrows, I didn’t think it was the Richard Elfman. I mean, there’s gotta be Elfman’s out there that aren’t related. Besides, why the hell would he be running a publication? Then I did a little research and lo and behold it really was him.
And he liked my work.
So while that’s kind of Fateful all on its own, here’s the bit that really gets me: At my current job, I work 8 to 5, Monday through Friday as the sole copywriter. Since everything written typically passes through me, it makes it difficult to take time off unless I’m ill. So when Richard tried to hook me up with a roundtable interview with the cast of The Women in the middle of the week with just one day of notice, I had to pass. Hang on to that bit of information for a second.
At my current company, I was also hired on a salary-paid employee, which means that I’m not paid by the hour. However long I work doesn’t affect my pay. Salary status is especially nice when things slow down and the company has to cut hours to meet budget costs, since salaried employees aren’t affected. That all changed this Friday. As of tomorrow, I’ll be a wage slave. My supervisor tried to spin it by telling me that my pay wouldn’t change per hour and that there’s no guarantee that I’ll lose hours, but c’mon, they wouldn’t change my status unless the company was planning on cutting my hours. The paltry change in how much vacation I accrue certainly wouldn’t make that much of a difference cost-wise. So while I was bummed at the prospect of losing a fifth of my income when the inevitable slash comes, it will actually free me to make these industry gigs for Elfman’s publication: Buzzine.