Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I've got the Late-Twenties-Staring-At-The-Thirties Blues

If we knew, when we began, what it would be like, would we keep going? Would we continue to grow and mature and reach for each birthday, each accomplishment, each stage completed like some kind of live-action Mario Bros with crappy bosses but good graphics?

Look at the facts; the older we get, the less impressed we are with the little miracles of daily life, the more mundane our daily activities become, the more responsibilities we acquire with fewer fun and exciting new rewards. It really is all like a crappy Mario Bros game! Follow me on this one. It all starts out so new and exciting, because you’ve never seen any of this before, and each mushroom is a thrill, each minor accomplishment is high-five worthy, and the first time you best a major foe, achieve something major, the payout is phenomenal. And then you go to the next level. There are new things, it’s still interesting, but the same shit from the last stage in life doesn’t thrill you the way it used to. You need fireballs now; just jumping on your foes isn’t interesting enough. And the challenges have to become bigger, more complex to hold your interest and challenge you. But at the end you still get fireworks, you still get a sense of accomplishment, you still feel like high fiving because you are moving forward on to bigger and better things.
But this is Mario Bros/Life. Eventually, around the fifth or sixth level, you realize there’s a recognizable pattern to all of this, and you figure out how to make your way through on auto pilot. I’m not saying there aren’t still challenges, you may even have to repeat a level once in a while, but the thrill is, as the song says, gone. There are no more major surprises, you have seen everything your pixilated world can offer, and rearranging it doesn’t make it new. You still high-five after an accomplishment, but your heart’s not in it because you know there’s going to be another one in due time. And you know there’s no magic to success, you just figure out the pattern and beat it and move on. It all becomes hollow and meaningless; you’ve seen the fireworks one hundred times and are no longer impressed, and even the tiny pixilated princess doesn’t thrill you. So you just wait for it all to end, because nothing will ever take you back to that level of excitement you felt the first time you played the first level, and saw it all with new eyes.

Who knew a chubby Italian plumber in red overalls could be so dark, right? Or is that just me?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Grammar Nazi

Now that I have a cell phone, I am forced to stop complaining about most to the viral annoyances brought forcefully into contemporary culture via the Typhoid Mary that is text messaging. I now text while walking, shopping, talking, driving, etc, and begrudgingly absorb all the disgusted looks I earn, only mildly nostalgic for the days when I gave those same looks to others.

BUT I will not abide the further degradation of the English language, especially that of the written. It does not take that much longer to write "are" than "R". Are those two button clicks really going to make or break your life's efficiency? Wigger please.

The problem is the written word, and grammar in general, is already facing such shocking abuse. I have, in my still short life, seen the accepted spelling of the word "okay" shift to "ok", which while succinct, is just shamefully lazy and a clear act of submission. The shift is still not complete; I find my Mozilla browser still recognizes the full spelling as correct, and the abbreviation as incorrect. But I know Word prefers the two-letter spelling, and I can't help but always remember cartoonist Bill Watterson's story of an editor changing his text from the correct spelling of okay to the abbreviation. I know it's incredibly pretentious, but I empathize with his outrage.

For me, though, the largest outrage is the increasingly flagrant abuse of the apostrophe. Let me begin this rant by disclosing that I have often had difficulty remembering when it was appropriate to use and apostrophe with "its". You know, until I managed to just remember the rule. However, the growing use of an apostrophe when pluralizing anything is astonishing and sick-making. Honestly. It is not that difficult, we all learned this in elementary school. Apostrophes are for possession and contractions. period. Except for with it's and its, but really. There is never any need to use an apostrophe when writing the word "balls", as in "Your usage of the written word sucks balls".
Except, I guess, for the rare situation when you would write something like, "That ball's vein looks like it's going to burst." But really, how often does someone write that? This might be the first time in the history of the written word. Maybe.

I don't have any succinct way to wrap this all up. I suppose with more time I might come up with another mildly funny point, then join all my points into a neat bouquet of bitter rage and present them with a final thought, but I've been on hold with the county of Los Angeles for a full 27 minutes now, and i think my head may explode from the repetitive stress of listening to their Muzak over and over.
My whatever god they pray to have mercy on their souls. And mine.