Saturday, December 22, 2007

Is it March yet?

Right now, I'm listening to my mom feign interest and wonder at one of Junior's friend's ear gauges. See, we're in Lodi for Christmas, and because he can't spend time being bored and misses his friends, he is going to spend the night at his other friend's house.

Now, I know how being at home with your parents during holidays is boring when you're nineteen, but we hadn't been back from the airport a whole hour when he boosted off to go hang out with his friends last night, and now this is an extended stay tonight.

I can't really blame him, but this is one of the core differences between he and I. For instance, when I lived at home, I made a point of keeping all my chemical misadventures under very tight and out-of-town wraps; he left coke straws and other paraphernalia in his pockets for my mom to uncover. I rarely brought a girl over for dinner; he got caught banging one in his bedroom. When I came home for the holidays, I stayed home until about the middle of the visit. He goes out the proverbial minute he walks through the door. And what's worse, he premeditates little niceties with my parents in order to buy himself a do-whatever-the-fuck-I-want card for later. It's not that my parents are stupid, it's that Junior is stupid in that he believes no one can see through his bullshit. He's a peculiar mix of sloppy indiscretion and cagey scheming. While he is ultimately self-serving, he is also a total follower. I'm looking forward to his report-for-duty-date in March.

I have also listened to Junior make the following sweeping statements in the time between touching down at SMF and right now:

"I don't turn the heat on EVER!" Yet somehow, we have an electric bill that is nearly $170, due January 7th. Maybe he's right; maybe he never turns the heat on, but he also never turns the TV off.

"In Texas, everybody drives like idiots." This from the kid who got three speeding tickets while living in California, never mind an unreported accident in Fort Worth where he sideswiped some lady in a minivan. I don't know about everybody in Texas driving like idiots, but I do know one person who does.

"They honk a lot in Texas." This was news to me; apparently Fort Worth is similar to a movie about New York City traffic. He later explained that his friends honk all the time, which I suppose gives superficial credence to the statement directly above.

You'll notice also that his generalizations frequently feature the prepositional phrase "in Texas." He justifies this because his experience in Texas is limited exclusively to Fort Worth (though as of the past two weeks, it includes now downtown Dallas and Weatherford), and therefore, he has nothing else to base it on. For Junior, Fort Worth is Texas. Granted, this actually makes a lot of sense, and I do recall seeing a Fort Worth tourism brochure that referred to Cowtown as the "most Texan of Texas cities." But man, I can think of few people in Austin who would beg to differ. And a couple in Houston. And now that I think about it, there are probably some people I know in San Antonio that would take offense to that. I don't know about Dallas, because I hate Dallas.

I'm just saying is all.

--The Robo-Pirate

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I have stories to write, and I'm stuck, so

I'm going to bitch. I'm going to bitch because it will temporarily relieve me of a bit of writer's block. I am mentally constipated right now, and I say constipated because even if I could get the ideas out of my head, I'm pretty confident they are shit anyway. So I am going to bitch.

I bought an Xbox 360 in June of '06. I'd saved money for this purpose since it debuted at the end of '05, and for over a year, I only had one game for it. It was a nerdy Adventure/RPG called Oblivion, and it has consistently held my interest FUCK I CAN'T FUCKING THINK!

I could go back and edit this and make it all clever, but Junior is here right now with one of his friends and they are sitting in the living room blasting away at Halo 3. Who cares right? Well I do because I am having a hell of a time tuning out the digitized grunts, explosions and machine gun fire murmuring through the wall. I am having a hell of a time tuning out the audible side of a moronic phone conversation being held by his friend, and I am having a hell of a time getting over the fact that I am exiled to my bedroom because of a couple 19 year olds.

"Hey, maybe you could grow up a bit. Aren't you almost thirty or something? Yeah, I am, but here's the thing:

I bought Halo 3 shortly after getting the internet, because I thought playing online would be fun. And for a while it was. But then Junior got a hold of it and totally ruined it for me. Now I don't even like looking at the box. I know that sounds ridiculous, but bear with me for a bit.

Getting the internet wasn't a huge ordeal, and neither was getting a subscription to Xbox Live. The thing about Xbox Live is that you can subscribe to it for free, but in order to take advantage of its best features, you have to pay fifty bucks a year. I think that's pretty reasonable, especially when one of the key features is a sort of gamer-matchmaking function that pairs you up with gamers of comparable skill. In other words, when I logged on to play Halo 3 multiplayer, I was matched with people who were just as bad as I am. So I forked over $50, and I bought a year's subscription to Xbox Live Gold. Junior promised that when he had extra money, he'd pay for his own account so he wouldn't have to use mine. I knew that the likelihood of $50 extra dollars appearing in his wallet was on par with me riding a magic elephant on the moon, but I didn't really care. I didn't see it being that big a deal.

I held that opinion for almost an entire month.

As you may recall (assuming you read the super-sad post from a month or two ago about how I felt lost and more like a dad than a brother), Junior was smoking a lot of pot. And all that pot smoking was really fucking annoying by itself, but what made it worse, though, was that around this time, all Junior did when he wasn't working was get high and play Halo. And this was okay for a while, but then one afternoon I picked the controller up, logged on and got my ass kicked consistently for a good hour and a half before I quit. Now I know I suck, but the last time I had gotten around to playing online, I wasn't terrible--I probably had a pretty even win/loss ratio. What happened was that because Junior has played so goddamn much, my gamertag (what Microsoft calls your account) was under the impression that I was really good at Halo, and as such, I was matched accordingly. Now it is no fun for me to play.

Truth be told, it's not that much fun anyway. The single-player game is short, until the end where it gets tedious. The multiplayer is mostly fun, unless you're bad and made to play against people who aren't. Then it totally blows. If you've read stories about how Halo is easily ruined by racist jerks, well, they aren't too far off--I didn't encounter too many racists (on the contrary, I seemed to play with a lot of black dudes), but I did find a lot of jerks, especially after turning up in last place every time I played. But I didn't buy it so I could shoot computer-controlled opponents by myself. I bought it in order to shoot real people on a team.

If you reread the paragraphs above, you'll notice that I have written "I bought" two or three times. I know that's not a lot, but with a bit of backstory, you'll begin to see why counting that phrase is relevant.

See, in order to get internet, as you are probably aware, you have to pay extra to get it set up. And even though he works two jobs, Junior never has any money, so I paid for it to get set up. And so we could both use the internet at the same time, I also paid for wireless router. Not the cheap one, mind you, but the one that was made for gaming. I also paid for Halo 3.

As you may have guessed, I am chafed because despite the fact that I paid for the fucking game, I have played it the least. This really pisses me off.

But then again, how can I be mad at him, really? I mean, he's not doing anything wrong. In fact, he's pulled a 180--he stopped smoking pot and will be enlisting in the Navy in a couple weeks. I'm very proud of him and the choices he's made of late. But fuck, man, am I sick and tired of hearing that goddamn game!

I complained about this to Kerry a while back, and he figured out what my problem is: I don't like to share my things.

I honestly couldn't argue the point. As evidence:

I miss my one-bedroom apartment.

I miss being able to use my Xbox whenever the fuck I want.

I miss jumping in the shower and finding my body wash was right where I left it (rather than in, say for example, Junior's bathroom).

So in other words, I'm kind of a jerk.

Sharing. Sheesh. Maybe I need to go back to pre-school.

--Steve the Fucking Jerk