Friday, October 26, 2007

Nerd Alert!

I've picked up the past oh, like four issues of the New Avengers, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by a guy named Lenlil Yu (I think). Since I've never read his stuff prior to the New Avengers, I think Bendis must be one of those love-him-or-hate-him kind of writers, in that he fills his panels with snappy dialogue, and slowly building plots. After wading through a pretty boring 12-issue arc of Uncanny X-Men (they were in space), and the slightly more interesting follow-up arc (they were in the sewers, fighting some renegade Morlocks) and the interminable wait due the don't-even-care-about-it-anymore postponings of Astonishing X-Men (which used to be my favorite title, since Joss Whedon has written it for the past three years), New Avengers is my New Favorite Comic. And that's a really long sentence. But if you care, New Avengers is basically the main resistance to the Superhero Registration Act of last summer's Civil War crossover. While I am apathetic about most of the other post-Civil War developments (The Initiative? Meh), New Avengers is pretty f'ing cool, and I think it's largely because of Bendis. I'm a sucker for good Spidey jokes, and given that the current story has employed Dr. Strange (who I unfairly dismissed as a superhero for weirdos when I was a kid), and the team features Wolverine, Spider-Man and guys like Hawkeye (now called Ronin), Luke Cage and Iron Fist, all of whom I never really appealed to me. So in other words, if you are so inclined, go pick up the past five or six issues if you can find them. I think you'll dig them, especially if you expect to hear another delay in Whedon's final Astonishing X-Men arc.

--The Robopirate


So anyway, here I am, up at 3:17 am because of combination of fajitas, beer and golfing.

That's right, golfing.

At one point, a golfing partner said, "oh my gosh you really have never done this before." I replied that having known me for three years, was there anything about me to suggest that I would have ever set foot on a course.

Turns out, golf is kind of hard. Even with the assistance of beer. Which led to the comment made by another golf partner, "you'll do better once you've had a few beers. Which is true about everything in life, really."





Yeah, I can see it.

--The Robopirate

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Can't shake it.

Man, I am just sad.

There aren't any other words beyond those.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bet you really wanted to know this.

You know why I liked living by myself? Because a closed door and drawn blinds ensured that alone time meant that I would actually be alone. Now, I have to apparently lock my bedroom door.

On a different note, how do you get someone to stop smoking? At this point, I'll tolerate Junior's weed if it means he ditches the Marlboros. In addition to his failure to recognize that no lights and a closed door is the universal roommate sign for don't-come-in-here-or-else-we're-going- to-have-an-awkward-rest-of-the-evening, he's raised my ire tonight by constantly hacking and coughing. Here's the conversation I had just now:

"Are you sick?"

"No, I just had a cigarette."

"Junior, why do you smoke."

"Because there's nothing like having a cigarette when you come home from work."

I should point out that he is highly susceptible to the sort of phrases and ideas that are bandied about as part of a lifestyle conceived by a marketer in order to sell something. Throughout his life, this has ranged from breakfast cereal to toys to Marlboro Lights.

"Do you even want to quit?"


"What have cigarettes ever done for you?"


And that was the end of the conversation. So it goes. The problem I have is that from time to time when I get hammered, I think that a smoke will go with those 7 or 8 beers just fine. In its temporarily pickled state, my brain gleefully follows the dubious logic that if my exterior smells like a bar, my interior might as well match. And then the next morning, I always think jeez that's the last time I do that, because I totally feel nasty. So in other words, I'm that guy. The guy who rails against smoking but who is ironically a social smoker. So I have a problem effectively yelling at him. The difference is that my tobacco missteps are so occasional that they're hardly worth mentioning beyond barely founding a case for my own hypocrisy. Same with the dope.

But all the same, I wish he'd knock off that goddamn coughing.

One night, I think this was the first or second night after we moved into the new place, I came home from bartending to find him camped out on the balcony getting high. And camped out is barely an exaggeration. He had a chair. And a black light. And a reading light. And his iPod and its speakers. And a towel. And his bong (on a side note, he refers to all of his paraphenia as his "pieces." We used to just call them pipes). And I went through the roof. Why couldn't he just smoke a joint in a chair on the balcony without making it such a big production? Why did I have to come home to find an array of blown glass drying on a towel on the kitchen counter? Why did I have to find a copy of High fucking Times in the bathroom?

In other words, I wanted to know why he couldn't just smoke pot instead of being a stoner.

I explained to him, with the rage of a 1,000 sitcom dads, that it is stupid to see this chunky kid who used to be a D-1 athlete take the time to set all this shit up on a balcony just so he could get baked. He, of course, didn't see what the big deal was, and as I realized immediately, I didn't actually realize what real big deal was either. I didn't catch it until afterI had explained to him, this time with saltwater running down my cheeks, that it was weird and sad for me to see this chunky kid all chinese-eyed and addled, talking about "pieces," and "baba kush," when what I remember when I look at him is the 7 year-old who fell asleep in his Sonic the Hedgehog costume after trickertreating. Or the 3 year-old who thought that the pregnant cat my dad brought home from work would eventually lay eggs. Or the four year-old who fell asleep on my dad's shoulders during the Electrical Parade at Disneyland.

In other words, what I really wanted was for him to be a kid again. And I say this with complete sincerity, unsmirking, without a gram of smarm: my heart broke.

As if that weren't bad enough, I found myself able to empathize with my parents over a whole catalog of hurt feelings. I could now appreciate the anger and disappointment they felt when I came home from my first semester of college, reeking of Keystone light and a 2.4 GPA. I understood the resignation in my dad's voice when I told him, no I'm not going to quit the band. And finally, the defeated sadness in my mom's eyes when I told her I had foregone with saving myself for marriage no longer looked like martyrdom. In these instances, I bristled at all the various manifestations of parental disappointment, because every fuck up seemed to be a matter of how I was reflecting on them, not how I was reflecting on me. At the time, I always thought, fuck, it's my life and my mistakes, and you guys weren't perfect either. I'm pretty sure this is exactly what goes through Junior's head the instant I begin to pontificate.

Once again, I wish I could be a big brother. I feel like I don't know how. More than that, I feel a little lost.

And by a little, I mean a lot.

--The Robo-Pirate

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Life has Turned into a Dorm Room from 1997, Minus the Bob Marley Poster and Curlies All Over the Floor.

Let’s see here. Last post prior to the last post was in uh… February. Pretty terrible. You didn’t miss much, though. Band played some shows, I saw Valient Thorr a couple more times, got a new amp, my brother moved in with me…

Obviously, that last one is sort of a big development.

If you dropped by this spot often enough, you might dimly recall that my brother, who I’ll call Junior, was going to college and playing water polo (or wasserball, in German, apparently). Well, that didn’t work out. If you believe that marijuana (or, let’s face it, booze) is not a gateway drug, well, I have some bad news about the tooth fairy, too. Long story short, he moved here in August in order to grow up a little (and by a little I mean a lot) and get back on track. Results, as they say, may vary.

Now, I don’t care if he smokes weed. We’ve all been 19, and some of us have clung tenaciously to 19 for over a decade. But there’s a line (and not a fine one, I think), between recreation and self-medication. I mean, yeah he’s working two jobs and he’s sort of figuring out that life for most people is not an episode of Entourage. But the one-dimensionality of it all is wearing pretty thin. I don’t know. I hate saying that I took him in, because it makes him sound like he was some sort of junkie everyone had given up on, which wasn’t really the case. I suggested he move in with me so he could get a taste of living on one’s own, and how it sucks when you have to work crap jobs in order to barely have enough to pay rent and fill up your gas tank. And more than that, our parents needed a break.

He’s doing okay. I think he’s learning a little about gratitude (which in my mind has been the most egregious offense to our folks—he treated them like ass in exchange for free room and board, car insurance, a cell phone, etc. etc. etc.). And moreover, he’s a good kid with a good heart. I feel bad for being hard on him. I just don’t want him to echo the same mistakes I did. And he’s putting down the bong (or rather, leaving it alone) more and more.

What I was initially worried about when he moved here was not having his head in the proverbial clouds. It was him getting depressed and lonely because we are ten years apart and I don’t know too many people under 21. Fortunately, he met some kids at one of our shows with similar interests, and now I routinely come home to an apartment full of 19 year olds. This is good and bad. On the upside, he has people to hang out with, and they’re pretty cool kids. Junior and his new buds smoke Marlboros and what, if I had to guess by the smell, might very well be dirty diapers. I’ve never been a gourmet when it comes to dope, but whatever they’re buying is definitely shitty. They also play a lot of video games, which as Jackie pointed out, is adorable. Prior to getting Xbox Live, this was Mario Kart and Goldeneye (Junior is, without a shred of irony or kitsch, an old-skool gamer, which is one of the many things I love about him—in fact, he is almost completely devoid of irony. This is a subset of his personal naïveté, a character trait that is simultaneously endearing and worrisome). Now they stay up until 4am playing Halo 3. And this is what's annoying, coming home yet again to a bunch of kids who don't have to get up and go to work.

In the latter activity, I wish I could hang with them. If not for the ol’ dayjob, I’d love to stay up drinking beer and shooting red or blue iterations of Master Chief with Junior and his friends. But I can’t, on account of the frustrating advance of adulthood. And this is currently the big sticking point between him and me.

For several years, my mom has complained that Junior “rats around all night.” And I never thought it was a big deal until I discovered that he slept in until the mid afternoon because he’d been up until four doing whatever the fuck he does. I don’t care about the staying up late. But I’ve been of the mind that the price for staying up late having fun is suffering through the morning of the following day. Even on weekends, I am out of bed before noon, and usually I’m out of bed before 11. And this also was the case during college, when I had marginal jobs and no places to be. Yet Junior has an entirely different philosophy. And so we go round and round; I fulminate and sermonize, he makes promises, and then when he gets up an hour before he has to go to work in the afternoon, I shake my head and think up a big sarcastic speech to deliver the next time we have some time together. Repeat. I can’t say that he’s as lazy as he used to be, but the constant sleeping still pisses me off to no end. And yes, I’ve considered that he’s depressed, especially when you couple the sleeping with a constant cannaboid fog. But lying in bed in hot bedroom that smells like burned Pampers is no way to pull yourself out of a funk.

Still, the whole process seems to be moving forward. He owes me money, and I’m being a jerk about it, and when he can’t afford to buy crappy shwag maybe then he’ll really get what I was talking about when I said, “my life really isn’t as big a party as you think it is.”

And then, what would be really great, is if I could start to feel more like a big brother than a parent.

--The Robo-Pirate