Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Month To Go

The year is coming to a close quite rapidly so I'm again re-evaluating this blog. Am I doing what I set out to do at the beginning of the year? Am I a better person because of the work that I've put into this blog? Am I happier? Am I sadder? To be honest, I have no idea.

I don't get many comments on my blog posts, but that's not really the point of all this, is it? Not to me it isn't. I'm not trying to sell jewelry or advertise a concert. This blog isn't based on foot traffic. Maybe it should be, but it's not. I set out to write more, and that's exactly what I've done. This is my 130th post this year. That means that I've blogged once every two and a half days, approximately. Compared to last year, that's pretty awesome, I have to say.

I blog about all kinds of stuff. Memories, the 90s, music, childhood memories, the 90s, my favorite bar, and sometimes a combination of a few of these. And sometimes I write about nothing at all. And other times I am super serious. Other times I'm funny, but I never realize I'm funny until people start laughing. And with a blog, well, I can't really hear the laughs. I just hope that I get a smile or two out of the small handful of readers I have. Or a reaction of some kind. Hell, I don't care if the reaction is crying or screaming or punching a baby. I just hope the words I write do something to someone out there.

Not that I'm doing this for everyone else. I'm doing this for me. For growth. For purpose. For... release. I swear to God I have no idea what shape I'd be in right now, the day before the last month of 2011, if it wasn't for this blog. I tend to rant a lot on this platform I've built for myself. And I think that's okay. I think a bit of ranting and venting is healthy. It's better than bottling it all up. Like I said, I don't know what kind of shape I would be in right now if I hadn't picked up this blogging thing.

Maybe I'd be dead.

Probably not, but I'd probably wish I was. Or everyone around me might wish that I was.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Social Media Working Against Me

As I'm sure every one knows, I love Social Media. I am constantly connected to Facebook or Foursquare or Twitter. I share quite a bit. I don't consider myself an oversharer, but I do update my "friends" and followers often. I see this as one of the points of Social Media.

I never ask myself, "Who cares about that, chaz??"

But some times my status updates and tweets and check-ins work against me. Every one knows everything about me. If I go to a get-together or a family function, inevitably the conversation turns to "so... what have you been up to?" And people talk about their children or work or school or the relationship they just got out of. Until they get to me.

"Oh, I know what YOU've been up to... I'm always reading your facebook status changes!"

And then everyone has a little laugh about how much I share my life with "the world." Which isn't really true, but I put up with it and smile along.

We won't get into the fact that most of my Facebook "friends" or Twitter followers don't comment on my updates, they just stalk my feed to see what I've been up to or what witty thing I have to say.

(I once heard second hand that a friend of mine wakes up every Monday just to see how many/which adjectives I will use to describe how much I dislike Mondays.)

Because I share so much on Social Media, I am cut off when it comes to explaining what I've been up to lately. I don't get to take place in that conversation.

So what is the solution? Should I stop sharing so much? Should I block my family and friends from seeing my updates? Should I stop going to get-togethers?

I don't see any of those as a possibility. At the moment.

I am a guy who enjoys talking and conversating, and Social Media is working against me. Or maybe I am working against me. After all, no one is forcing me to tweet or update my status. When I post something, I'm not thinking about talking about it later at a party. I'm just thinking about what is happening right now. And that, I think, is one of the points of Social Media: share what you're thinking at the moment.

But I always have more to say. If given the chance, I can always expand on my tweets and status updates.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Second Family

I am obsessed with television and movies. I can't help it. I love watching TV. I love watching movies. Some people may call it an addiction, but I'd explain it a different way.

My favorite shows and movies are those with lots of dialogue. Lots of talking. I love seeing how people interact with each other. I love seeing how people react to what other people say. It's hard to explain some times. Whether a comedy or a drama, a documentary or a sit-com, there are always great relationships. There are always great conversations. There are always interesting characters.

And I absorb it all. Maybe it's because I'm a writer. Or maybe I just really love to people watch.

But lately I have been feeling jealous of the people I'm watching. And this worries me a little.

I have always wanted to be part of a group of people that was like my second family. A small group of friends that hang out together all the time, go to the same bars or restaurants a lot and spend holidays together. I used to be part of something like this, but I was a teenager. I want a grown up version of that. There are tens of hundreds of movies and television shows that depict this kind of group. And most every time I see them, I get this sinking feeling in my stomach.

Why can't I hang out with these people?

I bet I would totally fit in with that gang!

Am I missing out on something more because I'm not part of some second family existence?

But then I think about the fact that this is all fiction. These are characters written for entertainment purposes. They aren't real. People like this don't exist. Right? But these characters and conversations and scenarios were written by somebody. They had to base them on something, right? They probably knew people like these characters or they were the people in the scripts they sold.

And now I'm all depressed again.

Who wants to help me out with this? Who wants to be part of my Second Family? We can spend holidays together with lots of food and inside jokes and create great memories. We can also find a great bar or restaurant that serves great drinks and has a killer jukebox and maybe even has live bands on the weekends (but absolutely no karaoke, sorry). We would sit in the same seats every time we hung out there and the bartenders and waitresses would all know our names and our usual orders and... doesn't that sound awesome?? Wouldn't you love to be a part of something like that?

I know I would.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Post

No one reads Sunday newspapers for any breaking news. I used to work at a convenience store at night and over half of the Sunday paper would get delivered Saturday evening. It is mostly filler: coupons and Op-Ed pieces and celebrity news.

Politicians and newsmakers of all kinds know that no one really reads the Sunday paper, so they don't make any major announcements over the weekend. And blogs aren't any different.

I am not going to write about anything groundbreaking or exciting today. I am writing for the sake of writing. I am writing to write. Writing makes me happy. Writing helps me forget about the crap of life. So instead of writing something award winning or something that friends and family will pass around for days and weeks to come, I am writing something to keep my blog active.

Or maybe, because I know no one reads Sunday posts for anything earth-shattering, I should write about something important. Maybe I should unveil some dramatic tidbit. Maybe today is the day I blow everyone's freaking minds!

I once killed a man.

I am announcing my intentions to run for mayor.

I am going to become a doctor.

I actually did have sexual relations with that woman.

I have super powers.

One of the above headlines are true.

You decide.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

First Kiss

I came across a writing prompt yesterday I thought would be fun to try: Write your first-kiss micro-story. 300 words or less.

Try as I might, I wasn't able to keep it to three hundred words. I'm too wordy. So sue me. But here's my not-so-micro-story about my first kiss:

Although it was my first party of my junior high life, I wouldn’t be in junior high for another month. The great thing about this party was that the host was one of my good friends, a friend I used to play basketball with in his driveway, and he was friends with a lot of catholic school kids who were going to be attending our public school at the end of the summer. And most of them were girls. Girls I didn’t know, but I just knew they were beautiful.

And oh, how right I was. The three that stood out were Linda, my friend’s steady girl friend, Sarah, and Jesse. Oh Jesse. Jesse was a short girl with short brown hair and a smile that went on for days. And I was smitten. Oh my god she was gorgeous. I had to meet her. I had to talk to her. I had to slow dance with her.
At some point, while “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” was playing on the boom-box, I was pushed into her, and we just kind of stood there for a minute, her hand on my waist, my hands on her shoulder and butt.

It wasn’t on purpose!

I quickly slid my hand from her butt to the small of her back and said her name. Jesse. And she said my name back. Chaz. She knew my name. OH MY GOD SHE KNEW MY NAME. We spun slowly around a few times and then “Wild Thing” came on we stopped. I looked into her eyes and I knew this was my chance. I was going to kiss her. My first kiss.

But her friends grabbed her away and she was gone. Off to use the bathroom together and gossip and who knows what else. The rest of the night was a blur. Linda’s mom came to pick up the girls about an hour later. I missed my chance. I would never see her again. But then Sarah ran from the car and handed me a slip of paper. Under Jesse’s phone number were the words “Call Me!” My heart stopped.

Two weeks later my friend and I went over to see Jesse. As she leaned against her mom’s car, I leaned in and kissed her. I had no idea what I was doing, but I did it! I probably used too much tongue. I probably put my hands in the wrongs spots. But it was perfect.

Jesse and I are still friends to this day. She’s married with three kids and I see her every couple years. But I will always remember that one kiss we shared. We weren’t very good as a couple, but we are great at being friends. It may be the only time in history that someone used the line “but we can still be friends” and actually meant it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ten Months In

When I started this blog, it was a new year. This blog was a way to motivate myself to write more. To be more creative. To self-evaluate myself. And to an extent, I think I've done that. Two thousand eleven was going to be my year. I was going to do more. I was going to be more. I was also going to figure out a way to get out of Buffalo.

It's ten months later and thanks to all of the holiday commercials and ads that are already everywhere, I feel the end of the year pressing on me. I feel like I need to hurry up and get everything done that I need to get done. I feel stressed and anxious and depressed. Have I done everything in my power to get out of Buffalo? To be honest, no. I should have pushed more. I should have saved more. I should have sold more of my junk. I was supposed to Sell Everything And Move. And I didn't.

This blog is helping me write more. Last year I had so many great ideas and so many things I wanted to say, but I didn't have an outlet. I didn't have a platform. I didn't have the motivation. This blog has forced me to stay active, writing-wise. Even (or especially) when I'm angry or sad or melancholy, I write. Instead of keeping it all bottled up inside, I write. Instead of drinking too much or driving too fast or taking it out on my friends or family, I write. And then I write some more.

A fellow blogger (she's also married to me) shared a blog project with me. It's called Duplex Planet. And although it doesn't seem to have been updated in a couple years, it's interesting. The first post I read made me stop and think. He asked a bunch of senior citizens "If You Could Be Famous For Anything, What Would It Be?" My first reaction was why are you asking senior citizens that question? They're old. Their lives are nearly over. Why not ask young people that question or people having a mid-life crisis?

But then I realized how ageist I was being. Just because you're old doesn't mean you still can't make something of yourself. Just because you're old doesn't mean you can't become famous. And just because you're old doesn't mean you're not important. Besides, who wants to interview young people? Eww.

What would I want to be famous for? I'm thirty-something. I should have a good answer for this. I'm not a young person, I'm not a senior citizen, I'm not having a mid-life crisis (as far as I know). Maybe I want to be famous for this blog. Yeah right. People have to actually read it for me to become famous. Maybe I want to be famous for saving someone from getting hit by a speeding train. Yeah right. I wouldn't even know where to find a speeding train, besides I'd be too busy counting all the train cars to save someone from its path. Maybe I want to be famous for writing a great novel or an eye-opening play or something just as life-changing. Yeah, right. It's not... oh wait, that could actually happen! It could happen. Maybe not by the end of this year, but it could happen soon. Especially if I stop doing things that don't matter and start using that wasted time to do something important with my life.

Just because you're old doesn't mean you can't make something of yourself. And just because the New Year is closing in on me doesn't mean I can't do something with myself. I have a great job. Sure, it doesn't pay me what I'd like, but it's a job. Last year at this time I was unemployed. I was miserable. I was drunk. And listen, two out of three of those things do not describe me today. And that's something. Sometimes things move at a glacial pace. But the thing about glaciers is that you can only see ten percent of a glacier. Ninety percent of the glacier is below the water, behind the scenes making lots of noise and making moves.

I may not be packed and ready to leave Buffalo, but I can see that in my future. I may not be sure where I want to end up or where I want to go next, but I know where I don't want to be, and that's something. I am future-facing. I am making moves. I am trying to stay positive.