Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Drive


Don't you just hate it when you sit down in front of your desk, open a word document

And nothing happens?

Seriously. Back a couple of years ago, you can whip up a decent (if emo) post in a few minutes, hit the post button, and go back to sleep. You even finished a short story - the first story you ever published - overnight. Some folks even say that that was your best story. Of course, back then, you were in college, didn't have to work, a rampant alcoholic, and best of all, you actually read all them long books (most of which weren't even entertaining).

Argh.

So anyway, lately there's been a large decline in my drive to put two decent sentences together. I sometimes think that this is because I lack the endorphins necessary to think clearly enough without falling asleep after several minutes of staring into space. Other times, I think I just lack more alcohol in my system, and open the bottle that's always beside my table and knock back two hefty shots of neat brandy. This, of course, doesn't sustain my creativity as much as it quickens the onslaught of sleep and / or procrastination.

Truth of the matter is, I miss the times when I was so idle due to schoolwork that I had plenty of opportunities to think a story through from beginning to end. These days, I follow a strict exercise whenever I decide to work on a story:

- I look at a draft I'd written, and then I'd start reading it from the start just to get a feel of how the language flowed

- Since I'm going from the start, I see the flaws of each sentence / idea block, and I get caught up in the quagmire of revising them even before I make any headway in the story itself. Kurt Vonnegut calls this style "breaking."

- I get lost / give up on one particularly hairy plot point / flow problem, close the document, and watch porn. Well, okay, maybe not porn, but some similar distraction.

Once I manage to save enough cash so that I can spend a bit without feeling too guilty, I am going to get myself one of those miniature notebook computers. I know that I work best when I'm surrounded by the hiss of the masses you'd usually find in fast food joints.

Anyway, that's the latest from the front line. There's actually plenty more to talk about, but that would entail too much blood, sweat and tears from me, and I'd rather have a double enema filled with brandy than go through everything that's been weighing on my mind.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Who Moved My Cheese?


This morning, I groggily woke up at around four-ish to five thirty in the morning to start getting ready to go to work. I step into the can, take the requisite morning dump, and reach out to fill the big-ass bucket in my bathroom with water. Upon closing the faucet a few minutes later, I discover that the faucet head didn't screw shut like it usually should. It slowly eased into the closed position, instead of the usual screw-and-lock feel that I'd gotten used to.

Upon closer inspection, I discover that this was only one of three minor changes in the bathroom. The shower knob had been replaced with a wonkier (albeit more functional) grip, and the hose that led from the water closet of the toilet to the pipe had been repaired. For reasons inexplicable to me, my stress level hit the roof at around five-thirty in the morning.

I never pictured myself as a person who'd react this violently to change, given my Zen outlook on life, the universe and everything. There's also the matter of me being an advocate of change, the dude who's constantly stirring the waters in all of my personal and professional relationships in order to get something new to happen. The woman I've been seeing these days actually painted me impatient, something I never really considered but in retrospect, is probably true. But I guess there's a point in every person's life where you eventually settle into a routine of sorts and stop actively appreciating the permanence of flux. So much so that a simple thing such as a bathroom overhaul would be enough to make you spaz.

I just never thought it would set in this early for me. I'm at my quarter life, trying to figure out just what it is I want out of what I have on my plate right now; I may not be what you'd term as your average yuppie (I am not a professional in any way, at least I don't think so), but you could probably squeeze me into the same group. This group is supposed to be an elite force of fresh and aggressive people, ready to tackle whatever it is today's insane world of tomorrow has to offer, and for a time there, I thought I was one of them.

So what changed?

This afternoon, an hour before I knocked off for the day, I made my way to the office bathroom to take a piss. Now, the fun thing about the office john is that the cubicles are small and tight, with enough room for one man and his dignity. You take a dump there, and you try to lessen your shame of polluting the otherwise antiseptic air of the bathroom by making sure that your shoes aren't sticking out from underneath the cubicle's door.

A co-worker of mine was leaving just as I was about to go in. Benj (I think that was his name) is a really nice guy, probably one of the smarter folks in the Australian team, and he also happens to be a vegetarian, something I admire in most folks since I can't get myself to let go of the sweet and sinful taste beef, pork, and any other meat product has to offer.

It turns out the guy has a question to ask me, something about how webpages rank in search engines, which is normal since I'm supposed to be the one-man web content expert on the floor. I step into the cubicle whilst talking to him, closing the door behind me, but since I was just going to take a piss, I didn't bother to turn the deadbolt. I expected that Benj'd be pretty happy just talking to me through the closed door, since we could hear each other perfectly anyway. And then he opens the cubicle door and just stands there, asking me about content optimization and how Google ends up trusting a given website.

Now, I didn't take that against him, since the man's pretty decent, salt of the earth type of guy. He used to be a Hare Krishna monk which explains his vegan lifestyle, and the small tuft of long hair that he'd braided around his otherwise standard-looking barber's cut. But words cannot describe how uncomfortable I felt in that minute's worth of piss. Here I am, with my dingdong out of my pants and wizzing into a bowl, and here was this effeminate-looking dude standing right behind me. Jehosaphat.

This wasn't exactly my first encounter of the gay kind, and I don't think I'm that homophobic to turn down people just because of their sexual persuasion. Once upon a time, while I was in a drunken state, I remember cupping the fake bumpers of this queer who was taking supplements to, er, transform his body into something more effeminate. I even have photographs to prove it. And I am not perturbed by the fact at all. Mostly because I only remember the occurrence in passing.

But then again, something changed in me these past few months. I don't think Benj was gay in anyway (although if he was, I consider myself very very lucky), and yet I can't help but squirm with discomfort every time I get reminded of that scene in the Logicall bogs.

I don't know if I'm starting to get more prissy about things that I find uncomfortable as I get older, or if all this thinking I've been doing for work and otherwise is starting to drive me batty. All I know is that somebody's moved my cheese and I can't help but be bothered.