Friday, December 30, 2011

Memories of Laser Taggings past

Before I post about the happenings of this evening, I have another tale to tell. A tale of debauchery, of deception, of... (Ok, maybe not that major, but it's always a great story!)

Many moons ago (Maybe 6 or 7), we arrived at the laser-tag arena on a Friday night. The parking lot was full, and a bus was there. We thought nothing of it. It's full pretty often, but you are still able to get in to play. As we stepped into the building, which as my friend describes, smelling of feet and jizz, we saw the mass of people. It was not looking good at all. We waited for what seemed like ages in this line, only to reach the counter and be told there were no openings for games that night... The Lutheran Church had booked everything. We walked out, extremely angry at these damned bastards, and went to Wal-Mart for a quick lightsaber battle, and returned home. The next day, we tried our luck at getting in for the 20$ all you can play evening special, and we were in all night for a tale of intrigue.

It began on our second or third game. Before entering the arena for 20 minutes of intense laser-based combat, I noticed a moderately cute girl with brown hair and a nice figure. Not exactly something to fall in love with head over heals (as the girl on the train was), but hey, she was dateable material, even given my high standards. The game went on (quite well if I may say so myself), when I said "F#$@" as we were over-run in the high ground. Well, this cute girl from earlier went "Ok, let's go ;)" (Winky face implied). Obviously we didn't and carried on with the combat, but my interested was piqued. Maybe I'd make it to home plate with this lady!

I made sure to get a good look at her after we left the dark playing field and realized that she was quite attractive, and my friends agreed. We figured she was probably 16 or so (I myself was 17 at the time). After a couple more games, we were hanging around the door to get some fresh air when her and her friend came up. She asked for my number and my name, and *obviously*, I gave her said number. A few minutes later, she texted me. We texted back and forth quite a bit, I went in to another game, came back out and texted her some more. She then asked what my age was, and I shared "Still 17, but not for too long". She replied along the lines of "Oh, tehe, I thought you were in your 20's!", and responded that she was THIRTEEN, but would be 14 quite soon. At this point, I gave up on the whole home base thing. Not into jailbait at *all*. I was f#$@ing floored by the fact that she was a thirteen year old hitting on a man she thought was in his 20's.

We decided we might as well have a bit of fun with this from my friend's phone. We called her several times, and as soon as she answered, quoted the full "Do not fuck with us" scene from Fight Club, and proceeded to hang up. She was a bit scared until we finally told her who we were!

Well, once I arrived home around 11 PM, she texted me suggesting we play 20 questions. I didn't want to be a total jerk and stop talking to her right after hearing the 13 thing, so I figured I would oblige with this last request, say I was going to bed, and never contact her again. I said "sure, go ahead", and she texts me with 20 questions... Yes, she asks me TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT MYSELF! "What color eyes do you have? What's your favorite game?" etc. I simply replied by sending her a link to a Wikipedia article detailing 20 Questions. She said she was playing a *different* 20 questions. I said to myself, Dear God, what an immature little girl. I couldn't even converse with her... I told her I was going to sleep, and planned to never speak to her again.

The next morning, she texted me telling her that even though she had only met me the night before, I was like her "New BEST friend ever!", to which I did not reply. Kids these days seem to be making the concept of a friend, or even best friend, completely meaningless. I have never heard from her since.

Man, I thought I was on the track to getting a girlfriend until the 13 thing, and figured "Meh, I could kind of be an acquaintance here and there" until the 20 questions deal, as well as her other childish ways.

This girl appeared to be about to finish high school, with a more maturely filled out body than girls my age, yet turned out to be THIRTEEN. Must be something in the water, or those growth hormones in the cows. Either way, always get an age confirmation or you might end up disappointed or disturbed that you took even a brief interest in someone so young!

I still wonder if she was an FBI plant in a pedophile sting operation. Thank God I'm not one, or they would have had me by the balls! At least now they know I have no interest in such crap!

Slow Day

So today was a pretty slow day with no real lessons learned. I did, however, attend an open-mic at a bar/nightclub a friend of mine's dad owns, and had a blast playing at the end of the night. I was lost on a couple songs (I do pretty poorly learning as a band plays a song! I need at least a few minutes to digest the chord progressions, riffs, etc), but all in all, it went pretty well. I'm planning to go laser-tagging with a couple friends tomorrow, and hopefully will have some interesting tales to tell, and maybe some life lessons learned! Stay tuned!

And, while I'm posting, with New Years eve coming up, what are your plans? I myself am lined up to... sit at home and enjoy some spirits on my own. Quiet and reserved, but fun. Just the way I like my evenings!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Love on a Train (Part 2)

Imagine a blonde girl who fits every adjective we use for the ones who pull us in. She fits them all – She was cute, she was beautiful, sexy, gorgeous, everything. She looked at me, and I looked at her, but I feigned a cough into my sleeve to break it, being the shy guy that I am. The Metrolink arrived, and as is custom with sporting events, we all were crammed in like sardines.

Much to my surprise, she happened to board the same car I did. Maybe not to my surprise – I did my best to line up to board the same car as her. She sat near the door, and I ended up standing deep in a crowd of people about 3 or 4 rows ahead of her. As we sped through St. Louis, I turned around to see the beauty behind me, and once again, she locked eyes with me. Not in a “Stop it, creep” kind of way, but in a “I noticed you, and you are welcome to advance” kind of way. The whole time on the platform and on the train, she radiated a smile that was one of the most genuine I've ever seen. I'd like to think that I contributed to this, but at the time, I was terrified that I had. It would have virtually required me to make my move – something I have tried in the past, with no success whatsoever (But that's a whole other story).. Again, I feigned a cough into my shoulder and acted like I had been looking around the train.

As I did everything I could to avoid making any contact with what I was beginning to believe would be the girl of my dreams, I started thinking back. I have always condemned myself for doing exactly this. Fighting to avoid eye contact for fear of rejection – or maybe even fear of success. I scolded myself. Here was potentially the girl of my dreams, a few rows back, who almost seemed to be begging for me to make contact with her, to enter my life, and me enter hers. I resolutely told myself that as soon as the crowd I was trapped inside of thinned out, I would sit next to her and force myself to surmount my shyness around strangers. I would hopefully at least spark a friendship, if not more, and be sure that we would be able to contact each other in the future, whether through facebook or phones. Luckily, the next stop was a casino, with a massive parking lot, where numerous people from Illinois park their cars to gain speed over the train while also avoiding the downtown traffic. After the next stop, it would be do or die time...

The people began shuffling off the train en masse, and I began mentally psyching myself up. (No, I was not hopping around like a man about to enter a boxing ring, though I sure felt like it in my head!) Just as the doors were closing, I turned around to survey the path towards her, and saw her walking off onto the platform. The moment she stepped out, the doors closed and the train was rolling away. That was it. The last I would ever see of her. I felt as though my love life was over. This was one of those girls you believe you'll never get over. I sank into a nearby seat and imagined what could have been, had I acted sooner and squeezed to the crowd to her.

Two months later, I am over feeling as though she is the only girl for me, but on this cold, December night in the Midwest, my mind still drifts back to that autumn day, and the loveliest girl I've seen in what seems like years, walking off the train, never to be seen or heard from again, all because I acted too late. I could have at least prevented the “What if's” of the next few days by simply saying a few sentences to her and maybe giving her my number. All I had to do was squeeze through maybe six to ten people... But my chance was lost.

Let this be a lesson – if the opportunity for anything in life is there, take it while it's available. If you wait until you think the moment will be just right, you can almost guarantee that it will slip through your fingers and possibly never present itself again. It's better to approach with a lackluster plan than to wait too long and never try any plan at all.


-Brandonman

Love on a Train (Part 1)

It's happened to all of us. That moment of eye-contact, completely accidental, with a girl on a jam-packed train, bus, or street that leaves you speechless. No, I'm not making a post to complain about obese or creepy women. I'm talking about one of those girls that you feel like is a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. She's all you can think of for the next couple weeks, and you feel as though you could never love anybody else! Blissfully ignorant, yes, but damn, if that feeling isn't crushing and crazy idea inducing at the same time.


First, a tid-bit of backstory. It was Thursday, a nice fall afternoon, when I came home and was digging through the refrigerator, starving as I always am in late afternoon, when my dad phoned me. A friend he works with was a St. Louis Blues (Hockey Team) season ticket holder, and was giving us his two tickets for the night if we wanted them. Honestly, I am not a sports person at all, and view them as a complete waste of time and money, but still enjoy going to the stadium to experience a game, typically baseball, every now and again. I'd never watched a full hockey game, much less been to one, but I knew that the game could get intense with fights potentially breaking out (Sounds like a fun time to me!), so I figured what the hell, and said that I would go. Later that evening, we carpooled in his truck to Taco Bell and then to the metro-link (which is an electric train that connects major stops in the St. Louis area), and were on our way.


We arrived there, and I realized St. Louis was playing against Los Angeles, one of the cities I'm considering making a move to in the near future. I figured that I'd cheer for the opposing team. Why not have a little bit of fun with the game? I mean, I couldn't be the only LA fan out of thousands of people, right? Wrong. As the players took to the ice, I realized I was one of maybe a dozen or so people who cheered for LA. At this point, I began getting the stink-eye from everybody around our table. I realized at this point... This experience could be pretty fun. Throughout the game, I faked that I was actually interested in this game, and cheered LA as loudly as I could, all while boo'ing St. Louis. I'm a St. Louis boy at heart, but it's a game, why not have fun? Towards the end, my dad said he would likely never go to a sporting event with me again, but it was worth it. I don't go to these things very often anyways! Being one of the only LA supporters in the arena, I'm pretty sure I pushed them to victory with my screams of support that echoed out through the silence when they were doing well. They beat St. Louis by 1 goal, and we left with me feeling as though I had contributed to the game. (A side note: I discovered a few days later that the people to my left were friends of the season ticket holder we got our tickets from, and seem to have permanently moved their seats!)

Now we reach the part of the story that truly matters... Her. In my time I spent away from my seat hitting the bathroom or getting water, I noticed: Hockey games have an exceptionally high concentration of extremely hot babes. (Those of you on the hunt for some hotties – they're the place to go!) Thanks to this excellent observation, I activated my chick radar, and watched out for cute girls without boyfriends. We left the arena, and reached the Metrolink platform without incident (Typically, homeless men and beggars line the way to the platform, but oddly enough, not this night). This is when I saw her.


-Brandonman

(To be continued in Part 2)

On SOPA

So here is my first post. Political and far-reaching, as I imagine many of these posts will be. Gaming, guitar, passing hours online without realizing where they go,and politics encompass most of my free time. Sadly, eating, sleeping, drinking water, and working out a bit encroach on my time spent doing these tasks, so you might see things related to these creep in as well. Keyword, Might. Here goes my first post!

Currently, our Senators and Representatives are debating the passing and institution of an act that could alter the very structure of the Internet as we know it, and potentially leave it much less free, entertaining, and useful as it is today. This legislation, the “Stop Online Piracy Act”, or SOPA, was originally designed to help combat the use of foreign internet servers to facilitate piracy in the United States. The movement is supported primarily by Republican congressmen , unions in the entertainment industry, the lobbying group “U.S. Chamber of Commerce”, and several other major corporations operating in the United States. The bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice to obtain court orders to censor websites operating in or outside of the United States that have in any way brought copyrighted media to the public. The Department of Justice would also have the power to block these websites from receiving any ad money from US companies. This bill also increases restrictions on content streaming (such as Youtube) – it would define unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content as a Felony.


Unfortunately, this bill's vague wording and proposed implementation suggests that they will do massive harm, with little gains. Theoretically, the wording of this bill would allow the Department of Justice to shut down websites such as Facebook and Youtube for the actions of their users posting copyrighted material if strict and expensive measures are not implemented to prevent this. (That music video you watched on Youtube today that is not on the artist's channel, for example, could be in violation). Some major players in the potential passing of these bills have suggested that this would not be the case, although promises from this high up are never worth their weight in gold, so to speak. These bills could drive many web hosts out of the country, which would have a very adverse effect on our already stagnant job market. Startup websites and online businesses could also be discouraged due to the potential legal problems involved, as well as financial resources needed to ensure that users are not posting copyrighted content. Many opponents of the bill also argue that its section on content streaming leaves many internet users and innocent websites open to horrific repercussions, although an aid to one of the bills sponsors says this is false. Opponents suggest that the wording in this section could easily put websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube in legal gray areas with the potential to face federal charges, censoring, or blocking of ad revenue by the federal government. Internet users of sites like Youtube could also face Felony charges for posting copyrighted content, such as covering a song without paying royalties and streaming online, or simply uploading a music video or song to Youtube. One can hope that the proponents of this bill will keep their word in ensuring that this bill is not abused in this manner, but why take the risk in the first place?


Numerous well-respected companies and people have spoken out in clear opposition to this bill, including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Mozilla Corporation, Nancy Pelosi, and Ron Paul. Some have even likened the possibilities this bill opens up to the censoring that occurs in China, Iran and other nations that we consider “enemies of freedom”, although the validity of this relation can be seriously questioned.


Whether you believe in clamping down on piracy on the internet with tougher federal restrictions or not, S.O.P.A.seems to be a very poorly thought out way of dealing with the issue. Unfortunately (Or maybe fortunately), our congressmen cannot read our minds. If you support this bill, or are in strong opposition to it (as I'm sure you've gathered, I am), I urge you to write your senators and Representatives, whom you can find here: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml


-Brandonman