Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Through the hoops and against nagging demons

I've always fallen just short of my dreams, mostly because of nagging insecurities.

As a child I wanted to be an astronaut. I joined the Young Astronauts club that met once a week after school and stuck with it for several years. I even got as far as Spacecamp in Huntsville Alabama. I went through much astronaut training and was doing great, until food poisoning caused me to vomit in front of a real life astronaut who was kind enough to speak for us. I stopped going shortly after out of embarrassment.

My Uncle Mike inspired me to become a rock star. I wanted to perform music live, I wrote twenty or so songs, and then told myself I wasn't good enough.

Currently I have two things I would like to complete. A) become a published writer and do pretty well. I'm still well on the road for this. My problem is 1) I don't dedicate enough time to my craft. I spend an average of 1-2 hours daily. Stephen King says spend at least 3-4. 2) I haven't gone through the trouble of finding an agent just yet, which is a necessary evil if you want to make it in the industry. I feel like I shouldn't do this until I have a couple things fairly complete for submission.

B) I want to teach. I kept telling myself that I didn't want to go through the trouble of getting my certification through the PACE program here. However applying for these other jobs have left me feeling sort of down on myself. I don't really want to be the manager of a restaurant or the assistant manager of PetCo or even a cashier at Best Buy. Yesterday I decided, screw it, I'm going through the program. To apply I have to take the Praxis exam to make sure I have intelligence capable of teaching others. I have to have two years of full time work experience, which I do thanks to noodles, and I also need to get to Columbia South Carolina and pick up the application form and preferably attend an information meeting. (The next one I can go to isn't for another two weeks) Then if my application is accepted, I need to get hired at a high school around here.

This is my written testament that if I don't do this, then I will let myself down, and now I will at least feel that I've let everyone that reads this down. So pray for me, hope for me, wish me luck, or just kick my butt when needed, but I have to do this.

Alright Alright, a break in the top 10 lists...

For some reason Wifey and I were wusses last night and passed out at 9 pm which means I've been up since about 7am. (That's EST) I'm watching something on National Geographic channel about these soldiers who's job is to find all of these treasures that were looted from the Iraqi national museum. Some stories were swapped about looters trying to get treasures.

Some people stole artifacts to keep them safe from people that would melt down gold or sell the artifacts illegally. They gave large portions of the museum back after Iraq's violence died down a little.

Another group tried to chip chunks off of an ancient Sumerian wall. A guard saw them and tried to scare the group off by shooting his machine gun into the air. Unfortunately for him, they came back a couple minutes later with their own machine guns and started firing at his trailer. He was out of bullets. (Mostly because he was an idiot and shot all his ammo into the sky. I say shoot to kill. And those bullets have to come down at some point. Think about the people a couple miles away having a sweet BBQ and then bullets start raining down, impaling Aunt Susan's lung.) They made off with 1.5 of 4 giant walls. Total value $550,000,000.

Suddam apparently took some stuff from the national museum before he went into hiding and before Bagdad was captured by America. The main point of the show is to find this golden bulls head that goes on a triangular statue. He took it to the national bank, which is largely underwater. The soldiers rent a pump, and pump out the basement. They found the supposed vault that Saddam hid this head. They found some museum boxes, but can't open them until they get permission from the museum, bank, and pentagon. However they do find enough money in the reserves to pay anyone on Iraqi payroll for three full months. Finally they open the box and its a happy day. They not only find the bulls head, but tons of gold bars, an Egyptian princess statue, a crown, and a priceless bowl that was lost during the first Persian Gulf war.

So I started thinking, in a chaotic situation what would I do. Would I loot for personal gain or would I loot to save objects? I would like to think my head would be working enough to decide this, but I have a feeling I would go into self preservation mode. (AKA, the fetal position) I would travel through basements, abandoned streets, and would try to get behind attacking forces so I could assumingly run from the conflict and escape bombardment.

I would like to think that I could drop-kick an enemy combatant, take his weapon and wage a one man, Chuck Norris like war, but lets be honest. I'm too much of a wiener. I would probably be huddled in a basement near my pile of poo that was created after the first bombs dropped.

I don't think I would do well, but again I can't say for sure unless the situation presents itself. (Which I hope it never does) I'm hoping human instinct will kick in and I would make it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's been awhile...

Well, I've skipped a couple days on the blog. I had told myself I would write for 365 days straight and I already screwed that up, 5 posts in. I guess its been to ruin my streak now, than when I'm 250 days deep. That would've been a frustration equal to dying in a Nintendo game warranting throwing a controller.

I don't feel like doing a top 10 list today, mostly because they kept getting too long and I would want to add things I forgot later on. Today I will only do a top 5 list and fill in of the past two days.

Wifey finally had two days off. She'd only had one day off since we moved down here, and it was ruined by her feeling ill late into the night. (Although, not her fault.) So the past two days we spent just hanging out hard.

Sunday we tried to find a church out here, but were unsuccessful. She found a church that seems to be ran by younger people (and by younger I mean 35ish) and it starts a little later on Sunday (11:15) so we can mildly sleep in. Unfortunately we never found, and by the time we gave up looking it was 11:30, and had no options. So we went to the beach and ate at a place called the Sea Captain's House. Its an awesome atmosphere, but last time we ate there it left me undecided on the food, but tettering more toward the no good side. It redeemed itself this time. I had a roast beef sandwich that hit the spot while watching the ocean.

We went for a pretty good run. She estimates it was a little over two miles round trip. We were gone for 27 minutes and walked for about 6 or 7. (My back was hurting)

After lunch we hung out on the beach for a minute and then went home where Sallie painted (one of her best and largest paintings) and we consumed the first two Rocky movies (she'd never seen them, for shame) and a steak and potato dinner. The steak was mediocre (we had to commit a sin and do them on a Forman grill since we're in an apartment) but the potatoes were first class. Sallie wasn't feeling well so we laid in bed from about midnight until 2ish when she finally fell asleep.

Then Monday we made some BLT's for breakfast (with Turkey bacon, its healthier, and I think it tastes better), laid around for a while watching the Devil Wears Prada, (surprisingly not bad) until we just had an urge to get out of the house. We went for the same run route we did the day before only this time we only walked for 1 minute and finished the entire run in 25 minutes. We had a comic book movie night, taking in X-men 3 and Superman Returns, finally falling asleep to an episode of Heroes. So in honor of last nights movie watching I will present my top 5 favorite comic book heroes.

1. The Punisher- I've always loved the anti-hero that isn't afraid to kill the villains. He's traveled as far as Russia and central America to get his kill.

2.Spiderman- Spiderman has more or less always had some of the best writers and most indepth realistic story lines. Recently he had to decide whether to stay married to Mary Jane or erase his whole relationship with her to bring his Aunt Mae back from the dead. That's a tough decision. The only blemish on Spiderman's record was the horrendous feature film "Spiderman 3." They give him an emo-kid hair swoop to make him look evil. This is one of the first times that Emo-kids and non-emo-kids have banded together to hate something.

3. Batman- The ever tormented DC superhero. Especially recent translations of the dark knight interest me. He's always one drink away from turning into the Punisher and killing his villains. If he did kill his villains he probably would make it to the top of the list. (But he would run out of comics, because often the same villains come back several times over) He's not only taken on the llikes of the Joker and Mr. Freeze, but he's fought the Predator and won, something Arnold could barely do.

4. Wolverine- Yes I do like Wolverine. Unfortunately Marvel has decided to whore him out to every comic they need to build sales for, but Wolverine was once (and largely still is) a complete badass. When he's not beating the crap outta villains, he's telling cyclops to shove it, and smoking cigars.

5. "V"- V from V for Vendetta is the anarchist anti-hero you just have to love. He takes on the future British fascist regime with nothing more than some knives and one liners.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Today I finally connected my new Xbox 360 (Funny story involved with why I have a new one. I sold me old one to buy my wife her engagement ring, and then she bought me a new 360 for Christmas. Gift of the Magi anyone?) to the internet and set up my gamer tag and such. This allows me to chat with other players, download movies and games, and post my gamer score. For those of you that don't know, a game score is basically nerd bragging rights. Every Xbox 360 game contains 1,000 unlockable gamer points for doing various things. (Such as killing 150 villains with a shotgun or doing 3 flips with your car) I used to have something like 2,300 of these points before I sold my 360 and killed my gametag. I'm now humbly back at 345 points. (I will return) Anyway, enough of my rant, this list will be dedicated to my fondest Videogaming moments.

First off, some honorable mentioned games that aren't going to make my list. 007 Goldeneye for N64 is on so many top 10 lists. I enjoyed the multiplayer experience, but became frustrated with those that looked at my screen and new the maps by heart. Since I didn't have an N64 I usually got poned pretty hard. Halo, although a great game, has been so overplayed by now (and followed up with the disgraceful Halo 3) that I can't even consider it because I can't look back and remember my fondness for it. Megaman was great, but I just can't bring him into the list. This list will be a top 13 list because I just couldn't erase any of these.

-Duke Nukem 3d provided much needed violence, nudity, and cursing for a 12 year old Dan. Witty banter while shooting an alien with the shrink gun, only to stomp on them second later filled the time in between me storming the strip clubs, and throwing cash at the girls while they showed pixelated boobs and Duke Nukem saying "Shake it baby."

-I remember seeing a commercial where Mario punched Link in the face and Donkey Kong threw a barrel at Star Fox, and I thought that is about the goofiest concept for a game I've ever heard. It wasn't until two years later that I embraced the N64 stick and played Super Smash Brothers. I still play this game anytime I find someone with a Nintendo 64 and the cartridge.

-Silent Hill for the Playstation still remains the only game I've ever had to turn off because I was too scared. The part that stuck out was in the abandoned elementary school. I check a phone to call for help, and its dead. The lines been cut. I can see the wire cut in half laying on the table. Then as I'm about to walk out the door to the room, it rings. My kidnapped daughter cries "Daddy, please help me. Come quickly." F-That. I still have nightmares.

-In 1994, my cousin got a Playstation game counsel and he bought Resident Evil. I had always been a fan of zombies ever since seeing Night of the Living Dead on channel 11 in the middle of the afternoon one day. The graphics blew me away and I thought they will never get better than this. (How wrong and naive I was) Two 10 year olds trying to figure out how to beat an adult game was no easy feat. He was the trigger man (in charge of the controller. I still only had a Sega Genesis and couldn't figure out how to move in 3d.) and I was the brain. It took three weeks, tons of saves, but we finally beat it, clocking in for a final play time of 9 hours. (The game took most 5 the first time through, so not too bad for us)

-The one and only time I played Virtual Boy will always stick with me, only becuase it was a horrible concept that was done horribly. I stuck my face into the goggles to see that red, semi-3d world give me a headache.

-The original Zelda was the first Nintendo game I remember posing a huge challenge that I felt I couldn't let go. I spent a whole week drawing out a map, square by square, trying to figure out how to beat the dang thing. (My mom threw it away before it did any good) But it was worth it, because when little Link held up that first piece of the triforce, I felt the world depended on me finishing it.

-Metal Gear Solid still is one of the top games I've ever played. I've never felt like I had to earn a win as much as MGS. The storyline was amazing, still one of the most solid. I think I learned most of what I know about weapons and military tactics from MGS. The first time I saw the credits rolling, I had broke a sweat, tears rolling down my face, and my breathing was heavy. Then they told me I unlocked the stealth suit, and the epic 15 hour journey started again.

-Again in 1994 (it was a big year for video games) It was customery for the Easter Bunny to bring us each one $20 gift, but this fateful Easter morn, while zombie Jesus was roaming the country side, we had one large box staring us down. Tearing the paper, ignoring the colorful, candy stuffed, plastic eggs hidden around it, we revealed a Sega Genesis. We'd been stuck in the NES stage 3 years past what we should have, and the Genesis was a great step up. We got NHL 94 with the system, and that Easter we had a 20 person, family-wide tournament. I picked the Calgary Flames (because my dad had dibs on the Blues) and I beat everyone with the tried and true skate in front of the goalie until he goes down and you score every time.

-Super Mario 3 was the first time I can remember getting to choose what level I wanted to play. The concept was so foreign to me and I think everyone else. Levels are almost nonexistant (at least in the traditional form) in modern gaming, but any games that do have levels usually rip off the Mario 3 format in some way.

-Mariokart on the Super Nintendo started a long lasting addiction. I've played and loved every Mariokart since, and besides the battle mode (the gamecube battle mode was pretty lame) everything has improved. Everyone knows the sound of picking up a weapon, and I think we've all though how nice it would be to have a red shell to take on life.

-Warcraft was the first RTS game I played, but it wasn't until Star Craft that I lost sleep. My friend and I would order a large Imos pizza and play over until 5 in the morning. Zerg rush entered my vocabulary for the first time and anyone that's played for more than 3 minutes call the other aliens "the toss." I still play this game from time to time and I basically touch myself thinking of the sequel due out sometime late this year or next year.

-The first time I played Nintendo, my cousin opened up his track and field mat and off we went into an 8bit adventure. I was in the middle of cheating at the long jump (I jumped off the mat like everyone else did and jumped back when I felt I had achieved what I wanted) when we received word that the Princess had been kidnapped by Bowser. We immediately switched to Super Mario Brothers only to find out Princess was in another castle. I still remember finding the secret 1-up mushroom on the first level and the first we warped to another area.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Top 10 Lists start

I watched the first Ghostbusters the other night and remembered how many awesome lines came from that movie. It's had me in a "top 10" state of mind. So for the next couple days I'm going to tackle my top 10 actors and actresses, videogames, videogame moments, and any other lists that might come to mind. Today, I will be providing my thousands of fans with my top 10 favorite lines from a movie.

10. "I can't fire them. I hired these guys for three days a week and they just started showing up every day. That was four years ago." from Rob Gordon in High Fidelity. This movie is smart and funny and is one of the few movies I can say is equal with the book. This line sums up three of the four main characters.

9. "It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything." by Tyler Durden in Fight Club. This was one line of about 100 from this movie that made me want to get rid of my apartment, drop out of school, and do what I want to do. Not only that, but its entertaining as hell.

8. "The only true currency in this bankrupt world... is what you share with someone when you're uncool." by Lester Bands in Almost Famous. I don't even need to say how amazing this movie is, but a secondary character (Lester Bangs) delivers some of the most poetic and beautiful lines.

7. "Ray, when someone asks you if you're a God, you say YES!" by Winston Zedimore in Ghostbusters. This moments after Gozer force lightnings the Ghostbusters almost off a roof top. This is the only movie I've allowed two spots on this list because quite frankly is deserves it. After twenty years it still holds up as one of the best movies of all time.

6. "They all have husbands and wives and children and houses and dogs, and, you know, they've all made themselves a part of something and they can talk about what they do. What am I gonna say? "I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork. How've you been?" by Martin Blank in Grosse Point Blank. An assassin goes back to his high-school reunion. Whoever pitched this screenplay was genius. The best part is, Martin Blank tells everyone he is an assassin and no one believes him.

5. "Clever Girl" from the Park Ranger in Jurassic Park. Surrounded by a group of raptors on the hunt. The Park Ranger had no prayer, only a shotgun. With his dying words he marvels in the deadly genius that is the veloci-raptor.

4. "Random thoughts for Valentine's Day 2004. Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap." by Joel Barish in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind. This is one of the last movies I can remember that was powerful enough to make me cry without having to kill a major character.

3. "Get away from her you bitch!" spoken by Ripley in Aliens. When facing a 40 foot tall queen alien, Ripley still is scarier.

2. "Yippie Kay-ye muther f*cker." from John McClain in Die Hard. Then BLAM BLAM, German terrorists are dead. John freakin McClain is probably be the action star, because A) he's believable as a badass. He doesn't have bulging muscles. He usually just has his witty banter and a 9mm (or whatever weapondry he's removed from said terrorist.) He even shot a terrorist through himself in the newest Die Hard. I mean come on.

1. "Let's show this prehistoric b*tch how we do things down town!" from Peter Venkmen in Ghostbusters. This uttered only seconds before he delivers "Nobody steps on a church in my town. Toast 'em" Do I even need to defend how awesome this line is, I mean come on really.

Well thats the top 10 for today. You might agree, you might disagree, but I will defend any of my choices to the death. Tune in tomorrow for another list.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The thrill of buying furniture

I don't know what it is, but buying furniture excites me almost more than anything. Besides a bed and maybe a dresser though, furniture is a weird concept. Furniture falls into two categories.

A) Furniture provides a place to rest the human body on. This concept is an obvious one I'm assuming evolved from early humans sitting on logs and sleeping on cave floors. We get tired running the world and sometimes the only way to properly rest is to come home and kick out the recliner or find our sleep number. This makes sense to me.

B) Furniture provides a place to rest things on or in. Now, this concept might not sound wierd when stated like that, but think about this. In a capitalist society, humans buy lots of things. (Many things we end up not needing. I once bought a giant 3 foot by 2 foot calculator just because it was hilarious. The thing hung out in my room for three years before I finally pitched it.) We bring these things back to our homes and find that we have no place to store our things. The solution: We buy more things to store the other things we already have.

I only realized how human this concept was when I moved to Myrtle Beach. My new wife and I realized how many things we owned, but how little furniture we actually owned. For two weeks all of our "Stuff" has been in boxes. We naturally went to the furniture store to solve this problem. (Actually make that stores, we went to 6 total) The smell of fresh unused furniture started burning my nose, my heart started beating, adrenaline started pumping. I honesty don't know if I get this excited when buying new video games or books.

We spent 4 hours the first day searching the vast seas of stained wood and upholstery. The second day we returned to a place and bought a bed, dresser, mirror, coffee table, end table, night table, and couch. We spent almost $2000 on stuff to store stuff.

Anyway, I lost steam on my furniture rant while watching MTV. I'm currently watching a very nerdy kid from the suburbs trying to be Made into a rapper. His trainer is Talib Kweli and Jean Grai. Jean was trying to get emotion out of him and was trying to get him to ask her to battle, but he sounded so unsure of himself. She called him "MC Movie Phone." I thought it was hilarious.

So I guess that's how the blogs will go. Anything that pops into my head will become yet more trash on the internet.

On a side note and much less trashy, Heath Ledger died two days ago. Normally the death of a celebrity is sad, but usually doesn't affect me. I think the last time I felt anything was the death of Steve Irwin. Usually, my celebrity mourning is reserved for special celebs. Mr. Ledger wasn't in any of my favorite movies, probably not even my top twenty, but the man blew me away with every performance he's ever had. I thought he was great in "10 Things I Hate About You", "The Patriot", "Brokeback Mountain", and he was so good in "Lords of Dogtown" I didn't even know it was him until the credits rolled. I can only imagine how amazing he's going to be as the Joker in the new Batman movie. The trailers alone creep me out, and make me feel extremely unsafe. His death feels like River Pheonix's fifteen years ago. A person that carefully choose his movie rolls, refusing to fall into a category or stereotype, and was considered a heart throb and a talented actor simultaneously. His talent will be missed by people that truly appreciate movies that aren't the typical Hollywood vomit.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

All Grown Up

Thanks to Allan (Allyn, Allen, or however else I've spelled his name) I've decided to move my myspace blog to blogspot. Mostly because 90% of the time, Myspace crashes and you lose everything you wrote. In my case I spend the next 10 minutes rewritting (adding many curse words and leaving out much of the plot of the original) and slapping my forehead at how stupid I am for not save my text elsewhere.

Anyway, I will consistantly try to ask questions (and hopefully answer them) that have been on humans minds for centuries. Things like, "Can Frankenstein be bitten by a vampire, and thus turned into one?" (I certainly hope, cause that would be super-awesome) Or "When will Britney Spears finally step out of the spotlight, into rehab, and thus out of my TV?" (I have a bad feeling that it'll be death or porn before she's off my TV. Look at Anna Nichol for example.) This blog however will pose a serious question: "Dan Story, you've graduated from college with a degree in English and got married... what will you do now?"

I would love to say "I'm going to Disneyland" but the truth is I would be too worried about where my next paycheck is coming from to enjoy the likes of Mickey and Space Mountain. So what do I do now?

1) Write: I've always wanted to write in some form and I've been writing since I was 12. I love what I write. I think it's clever, engaging, and hilarious. However I just came from a seminar about getting published. Turns out that for every $6 book that sells, the author only sees about 35 cents. Which means I would have to sell 100,000 books to make $35,000. Something an assistant restaurant manager should make. (I say should because Al and I know this isn't always true.) The author went on to say that only 8% of authors in America make enough money to live off of. I still think I will get published but I need a day job.

2) Restaurant manager: I love cooking, and I'm pretty good at managing, but do I want to give 50-60 hours a week to a job, and technically never be off. I used to call distributors, set catering events, and call potential employees between classes, all day, everyday. F-that. I think the most stressed and depressed I ever was in life was when I was managing a restaurant. Not only is the job tough, but those customer things (which are a necessary evil) complain about the most ridiculous stuff, demand a free meal, but present you with an empty plate they had no problem eating before complaining about the food. No thank you.

3) Teacher: I would love to corrupt the youth of America, however South Carolina has some strict demands for certification when you don't have a degree in education. Basically it would send me back to school immediately on the road to a masters degree.

4) Jedi: Basically hippies that know martial arts and have sweet swords. However, since the fall of the republic, the job pays nothing, and you don't get accommodation.

5) Homeless: Hang out by the beach all day, asking for money... nah, I love being clean too much and I have a sugar momma keeping a roof over my head.

Well I have no idea what to do with my life. I've spent the past three days filling out application after application and you can only fill out so many personality surveys before you say "F it" and get pissed drunk by yourself. Any ideas would be well appreciated, and be looking for the next exciting adventure of all grown up.