Wednesday, September 14, 2011

English Skills on Facebook

C’mon, folks. I make a ton of errors and inaccuracies when I’m conversing on social sites, and there are probably even a few in this very post. But I know how to spell, and I know the most basic of the basic English rules. It seems that many do not. As a writer, it bugs me pretty badly.

I can’t do math very well. I never have been able to. However, when I do attempt it, I don’t mistake a division sign for a multiplication sign, and I don’t write a 2 as a 5. I at least try to get it right so that everything makes sense. Mistakes are made, and even with best efforts, stuff gets screwed up. It happens, and I get it. I do. But, can we at least *try*?

English perfection isn’t for everyone, and some folks can’t even conquer spelling very well. That’s fine! I can tell when a post was created by someone who simply isn’t good with English, and there’s not much grieving I can do over it. What really irks me is when people who claim to be writers butcher posts. Oh, man, that’s a peeve-and-a-half.

Questions don’t end with periods. Triple exclamation marks or question marks are not only incorrect, but they do not make the sentence any more exciting, or any more of a question. One works, all the time. “There” house isn’t on the next block; “theirs” might be, though. Oh, it goes on and on.

As I have mentioned in previous blog entries, the re-posts are some of the worst. Horrible punctuation, absolutely no grammar, misspellings, and sometimes they are ALL IN CAPS. That’s annoying, not attention-getting. Should you choose to re-post a copied and pasted ad, take a few seconds and edit the damned thing. Just because you didn’t make it up is no reason you have to look like an idiot. I’m just sayin’.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Who touched that last?" and other odd questions.

So, sometimes, I let my mind wander. I have always done that. Okay, not sometimes; I let the thing wander wherever it wants, whenever it wants. Last night, I was at a rock show in Pomona at the Fox Theater. While the first band was setting up, I was eyeballing around the place.

The ceilings were really high, and there was some rather ornately designed blocks toward the top of the walls. As I stared at the blocks, which were probably seventy feet off the floor, I had a weird thought: Who was the last person to actually be up there and touch that specific one? Or the one next to it. Or that other one, about ten feet down. Maybe, they hadn’t been touched since the place went up, which is a long, long time ago.

I often wonder about things that simply cannot be answered. Maybe I’ll see an old, rusty car in a field, and wonder who took the keys out of the ignition for the last time. When was the last time the engine was shut down? What position are the pistons in? Would it start, right now, if someone gave it a little TLC? How many miles on the thing? Was it discarded prematurely? Was there still life left in it when it was abandoned? Small things like that plague my mind at times.

Sometimes I wonder things like this: What if someone gathered up every pee I had ever taken, and measured it? How many gallons have I peed in my thirty-six years? While that number can surely be estimated, no one will ever know the true value. That somewhat bothers me, and I don’t know why. Another pondering: What would it feel like if I were forced to endure all the pain I had felt in one year, in a single instant? Would I survive that if it was a relatively decent year? Would it kill me instantly? What if all the pain were localized to one place, like say, my big toe, or my elbow? Just for an instant. Fractions of a second. What the hell would happen?

Death is intriguing to me, too, as it is for many of us. So many questions! How long does it take the average embalmed body to completely turn to dust? I honestly have no clue, and I really wonder. Does the last heartbeat feel differently than the billions of others? I guess if it’s a heart-attack it would. After death, I mean directly after, how long are we still feeling stuff? These are things I want to know.

Does your mind go to these places sometimes? It doesn’t bother me that mine does, but I’m not sure what good it does to constantly wonder about unanswerable things. I guess it keeps the ole gray matter chooglin’, though. I guess it does at that.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I thought I wanted to be white trash

Okay, not really, but I did want to own my own trailer or mobile home, ever since I was very young. Silly things like impressing the neighbors and having new cars have never interested me a bit. From my earliest memories, I have always wanted to live in a very simple place and do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Well, that comes with a price.

In 2007, I finally got the opportunity to purchase my very own mobile home. It was a 1961 beauty, and it was the first one actually in the park, which was created in ’61. I loved it, and I was happy to finally own something, and be a part of a community. I made friends with the neighbors, I did side-jobs for the manager, and I took pride in my home.

We landscaped the whole thing, we painted it in cool colors, and we made sure the inside was always clean. This was my home. I never considered myself white trash, but I didn’t mind the label, if it made someone feel better to think that of me. I drove an old Jeep Cherokee and a used Taurus, and I worked part-time for a parking company in downtown Riverside, CA. Life, as they say, was good.

After about six months, maybe a year, I began to actually look around: I was white trash. Drugs were rampant in the park, as were boozers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good night of slamming back the cold ones with the boys. But these were boozers. They woke up with a tall boy, and they drank until they fell down at night. That may be acceptable, and even somewhat cool, when you are twenty-one, but some of these folks were much, much older than that.

One day, our meth-addicted neighbor died, right in his trailer. It was pretty surreal, because folks were coming and getting high with him on the couch. This was a far cry from anything that I was brought up to accept. In fact, it was pretty far out there. Hours and hours after his death, some bloke in a mini-van came and picked him up in the dead of night.

Anyhow, the folks who moved in after him were complete scum. Loud parties, always a beer in their hand, a gajillion watts of bass coming from their piece of shit Honda, etcetera. Then, the neighbors behind us decided it was time to breed Chihuahuas. When your walls are really thin and there are eight yapping puppies at six A.M., the world seems pretty grim.

After that, our nice neighbor to the south moved, and what replaced him was a young couple with a toddler. Erase the picture that just entered your mind; these are not those people. Each of these winners weighed at least four-hundred pounds, and walked around either almost, or totally, naked most of the time. Seriously. We even had nicknames for them, but I’ll spare you my dark sense of humor for the time being.

By that time, we were house-looking. All day, every day. Really, it was that bad. We’d get up at 8 A.M. and be out of the house a half-hour later, and we’d house-hunt for a full eight hours. If we ran out of houses to see, we’d go to the movies, go out to eat, go visit friends. It was becoming expensive, but we simply could not take another second in the park. The new move-ins were wrecking our lives.

We finally did find a house, and I’m typing to you from the office of said house. It’s older, it’s cute and quaint, it has a nice bit of land, and a locking gate. Which we lock. The nights are quiet and my days are filled with writing and working in the garage, which are things I simply couldn’t do in the trailer. I have no landlord, I have no HOA to tell me I can’t paint the fence a certain color, and no yapping mutts or unbelievable amounts of house-shaking bass. There is just peace and comfort.

Now that I’m getting older and wiser, I see that my goal to be white trash was a bit off the intended mark. I don’t want to be white trash, and I’m not white trash. Now I understand completely why my parents drove around for weeks, scoping out the neighborhoods before deciding on a place to live. If you pick the wrong one, things can get topsy-turvy real quick.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Politics: Why worry about them?

There are two things I simply won’t discuss with anyone except my closest friends, and those are religion and politics. Especially politics. I don’t care about them, they bore me, and if I’m going to worry about anything, I’m going to worry about things that affect me or my loved ones directly. Things I can change.

Look, I don’t like soldiers going to war in Iraq or Afghanistan any better than the next guy. I don’t. But if I never turned on a TV or hopped on the Internet, I wouldn’t even know they were there. I’d still get up, have my coffee, and go about my day. Overseas conflicts about arms trading, oil, religion, or any other matter just simply do not affect my life one bit. I worry more about local drunk drivers than I do wars.

Another reason I hate politics is because it’s such a fake-ass world. I realize I’m only thirty-six, but in those thirty-six years I have never, or so extremely rarely as to be never, heard anyone say they love the president, or even a senator. Politicians spout a bunch of horse shit promises so they can get elected, and then once in office, almost none of it happens. So, why vote? They all just seem to be talking heads run by other people, anyhow. Does it *really* matter which talking head is in office? Maybe, slightly. Maybe.

Some of my least favorite people are the conspiracy theorists. According to them, there’s always something fishy going on, some secret, under-toe current of nastiness coming from the government. Well, so what? Look, *experts* in the field have dedicated their entire lives to analyzing government conspiracies, and have basically gotten nowhere. What makes you think average joes such as ourselves know any better? We don’t, and can’t. Stop wasting your time. Find a hobby, like model airplanes or sewing, and worry about improving your own life. Getting angry at politics is needlessly raising your blood pressure.

I tend to worry more about local laws and ordinances as opposed to global stuff. I think there’s enough going on right in our own communities to keep us busy for years. You may like to bad mouth Obama all over Facebook, but when’s the last time you donated a little money to your local police department, or gone to a city council meeting? Let’s get our hearts and heads in the right places, folks. Just sayin’.