Air Soft Bullets

•March 7, 2012 • 5 Comments

These could count as 1,900 trinkets, but I’ll just count them as one. These are bullets for an air-soft pistol I bought and lost years ago. I kept the bottle of ammo in case one day I found the gun, but I think it’s time to give up. Right now The Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize” is playing, I’m sipping Irish whiskey, and the line, “Let them know you realize that life goes fast; it’s hard to make the good things last,” is very inspiring.

It’s easy to buy a fake gun and some ammo, and it’s even easier to shoot something, but it’s much harder to use the ammo without the gun; it’s harder – in some cases impossible – to shoot something without a gun. I think I too often try to shoot at things with an abundance of ammo, but without a gun. For instance, this whole writing thing that I do every day; I feel like I have all the proper gear – I went to school for it, I have a medium that works, I even have an audience (thank you, by the way) – but I think I might be missing the gun.

For me the gun is honesty. I can write all I want with all the tools I have, but without honesty it’s just like throwing little plastic balls at a target, instead of shooting them from an accurate and powerful source. My goal with future posts in this blog is to write them with integrity and character so that I’m not just hurling fun posts into the air just hoping they hit something, but actually propelling them with purpose, vision, and love.

 

Red Robin Dolls

•March 5, 2012 • 10 Comments

OK, life got nuts there for a bit, but I’m finally back to trinket tossing! Good news: while I was gone this blog got its 1,000th WordPress follower, so a huge thank you to all you awesome readers who are finding this blog interesting enough to share it with the peoples. Word’s getting out, just like the trinkets… are getting out… of my house. Yeah, OK, the wordplay didn’t work, but you got the gist. To the trinkets!

It wasn’t until my mother died that I actually considered her Mickey Mouse addiction. As we began to sort through her things my family and I noticed that a significant chunk of it was in some way related to Mickey or Minne Mouse. It either was Mickey, had Mickey on it, or–upon opening–Mickey was mysteriously inside of it. I could give you a long psychological explanation for her Disney tendencies, but I’m already bored with this sentence, so I’ll just hit you with the implications. My mother’s abundance of vigor and compassion manifested itself in seemingly trivial objects. For instance, these Red Robin figurines. They were given to me and my girlfriend–who is now my wife–by my mother when she found out we had met at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers. This would have been cute, had we met there by chance bumping into one another en route to a photo op with the chubby mascot, or even if I had picked her napkin up off the floor as I was walking by and said, “Excuse me, this napkin was on the floor glowing with awesome beams and beauty rays; it must belong to you.” But no, we met there because we worked there. The way we met there is in fact romantic and funny, but having these little figurines does not help us remember that, having them just trivializes our meeting–it takes a bit of the magic. My mom didn’t know that we would feel that way, however, and this is how I have decoded my mother’s seemingly random obsession with objects: she wanted more than anything to share life’s joys with the ones that she loved. We went to Disney Land when I was little and I remember having a blast as a family, so every time she saw Mickey after that trip it reminded her of the time we spent exploring, laughing, and bonding together as a family. She infused her tangible objects with intangible emotions she never wanted to forget, and that’s why, when she saw two little Red Robin figurines in a thrift store, she snatched them immediately; because she thought our memories of how we met would be full of intangible emotions that we could export into the dolls, so that we would be warmed with joy every time we saw the objects. Unfortunately these toys mostly remind us of where we met, instead of how we met, and where we met comes with a flood of other awkward emotions that have nothing to do with how we met.

I just reread this post for grammatical stuff and realized that I am no different than my mother; this entire blog is about tangible objects infused with intangible emotions–that awkward moment when your addiction to trinkets is a genetic trait. Yikes.

Bike Tag

•February 27, 2012 • 9 Comments

This is the only time in my life that I’ve been reprimanded via art. It’s easy to tell someone they suck, but it usually comes across hurting the sucky party’s feelings–somehow this person figured out a way to do that without the sucky party (which was me) even caring. In fact I was actually happy to have been told I suck.

I locked my bike up to a post because the rack was full, and I was late for class, even though I could have ridden around the corner to the other racks, which are never full. When I returned to my bike this aesthetically pleasing tag was hanging from my handle bars with a note on the back that said something like, “Hey, we love that you ride your bike, but you can’t lock it up here. Please find some of the other racks which have ample space for your bicycle. Thanks!” Yeah, I was at a liberal arts college, but what if all diciplinary measures in society were like this? If you get caught pirating music, they could just send you a guitar in the mail with a note on the back that says, “Hey, we love that you love music, but here, make some of your own. We think you’ll find it’s worth paying the money after you know just a bit about the work that goes into it.”

I understand that many people are trapped in a way of thinking that doesn’t allow for rational understanding about healthy alternatives to their deviant lifestyles, but for a petty criminal like me, this sort of appeal to my humanness made it impossible for me to continue my negligence. I wanted to follow the rules not because I was told to, but because I respected the person who told me to. Had there been a ticket on my bike for twenty dollars, chances are I would have paid it and continued parking my bike wherever I wanted, hoping that I just didn’t get caught. Instead, I thought, Wow, how cool. They took the time to let me know in a respectful manner–I’m gonna take the time to respect their property. When I see this now it reminds me to appeal to the humanity of individuals with whom I interact, instead of vilifying them in my mind and debasing them with my words and actions.

Visor

•February 23, 2012 • 3 Comments

When have visors ever been cool? I’ll give you a hint: never. They’re not even useful unless you a golfer or a tennis player, but even those folks have started to figure out how lame visors are. For some reason I’ve always had this delusional thought that I could pull one off. This is the second visor I’ve owned in my life. The first got thrown out after countless failed attempts in front of the mirror, but when my teenage self saw this one in a skate shop, he thought, Hey, wait a second, it says “Quicksilver” on it–please understand that Quicksilver was the equivalent to Hollister back then–maybe if it’s got the Quicksilver brand on it, it will look cooler and I can finally pull off a visor! Instead of trying it on in the store I just bought it in case someone came up and asked me if I was a golfer or a tennis player, because when I said no, they would have inevitably asked, “Then why are you buying a visor? They’re not even useful.” When I got home and tried it on, of course, it still looked ridiculous, but I blamed it on a bad hair day and tossed the visor in my closet. After that, every year around summer time I would try it on again just to see if it worked, but it never did. Now, even if visors were cool, it’s got an incredibly outdated logo on it.

One of the things this blog is teaching me is how desperately stubborn I am, and by “stubborn” I mean “crazy,” because one of the definitions of craziness is the act of doing the same thing repeatedly, but expecting a different result. This visor experience has a message for my crazy self: if it doesn’t work, don’t force it. If you force it, don’t use popularity to do so. If you use popularity to force it, don’t be surprised when it still doesn’t work.

Tech Deck

•February 21, 2012 • 1 Comment

Playing with a Tech Deck was a lot like playing Tekken III because I must admit I was a button masher–and for those that are unfamiliar with the term, a “button masher” is someone who is miserable at a video game so they just frantically hit random combinations of buttons in the hopes they’ll do something right. When I played Tekken III, I was just happy to be participating, even if that meant losing every time, so I would just mash the buttons and watch the chaos unfold. Well, in elementary school when the Tech Deck craze came around I did the same thing. Just happy to be participating, I shoved my Tech Deck around on my desk with my fingers, just like all the other kids, moving my fingers to fake a “pop shove it” here and a “kickflip” there, but I would never actually accomplish a trick, and I was content with that–until I saw what Nick could do. Nick captivated whole groups of school kids with his Tech Deck skills; it was as if his index finger was Tony Hawk and his middle finger was Bob Burnquist. He would pull off real skating tricks–on purpose. After seeing Nick’s abilities I thought, “I’ve got to learn how to do something,” so for the next week I focused on learning how to do a 360 kickflip. When I pulled this deck out tonight I immediately tried it just to see if I could still pull it off, and I can; it’s not pretty, but I can. After that week of learning how to do the trick, I stopped playing with it all together. I can’t “put my finger on” why I stopped, but I assume it was because I discovered then that even the people who appear naturally good at something have spent many hours behind the curtain perfecting their craft. Yes, I realize that I’m talking about finger boards right now, but this applies to my general understanding of the world as well. While I understand that there are savants out there, for the most part people who are good at something are good at that thing because they try hard at it, and most of that effort comes when no one is watching. Since I don’t believe that Nick was a Tech Deck savant, that means that the effort he put into learning his tricks was much more than the effort I put in to learn just one. I think I must have realized I had other things I wanted to spend my time getting good at, like understanding why I suddenly liked girls.

Creed – Weathered

•February 20, 2012 • 8 Comments

I realize this blog has turned a bit confessional, and I’m trying to curb that, but I do have a confession I have to make; I listened to this album almost exclusively the entire time I was fourteen years old. I’m aware that we all do stupid things at that age–heck, we all do stupid things at any age–and I’m not going to waste our time by bashing their shallow lyrics or Scott Stapp’s melodramatic vowel contortions, and I’m not even going to say they’re worse than Nickelback (even though they are), but I am going to say, I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry that I corrupted my poor, developing mind with such unsubstantial blibbering because it taught me what a delicate line we walk between sanity and delusion. I was sold out on this album, and thinking about it now I feel terrible that my parents had to listen to me go on about it, but what else am I capable of if I could convince myself that Creed’s 2001 release, “Weathered,” was the best album in the universe? This awareness of my potential for delusion has been hugely helpful as I’ve experienced new things and assessed their intrinsic qualities. At preset that new thing is the TV series, Downton Abbey, which is the most amazing show ever created, and I will watch it every day for the next year of my life–wait, um, maybe I haven’t learned a thing.

Plant Pot

•February 19, 2012 • 6 Comments

When our art teachers told us to make something, we said, “Gimme one good reason why I should.” When they told us we had to simply because they told us to, we said, “Whatever, then I’m not doing it.” Then, when they told us that Mother’s Day was coming up and that we should at least make something for our moms, we said, “Yeah, okay, fine–but what do I make?” Man, teachers don’t get paid enough, but when I was 15 and said this to my art teacher, she told me to make this plant pot, and I’m glad she did because it offered me a chance to be misunderstood.

That is in fact a bee you see on the side of this pot and not a caterpillar, as my mother mistakenly assumed. “Oh, and look at the cute caterpillar on here,” she said. I can’t remember if I told her I intended it to be a bee or not–I think I did–but I do know I felt like trash. Not because of my mom, but because I had tried really hard on that part of the pot, and it didn’t pay off. I think that’s the nature of fear for me; that I’ll try really hard on something for nothing. Luckily there’s always something to be learned. In this case I learned that if you want something to look like a bee, and not a caterpillar, then give it some wings, idiot. In the case of blogging I’ve learned that there’s a fine line between social relevance and heresy. For me it takes being misunderstood to learn these types of lessons, so bring it on, world; send me all the people you’ve got who think nothing like me! The less they think like me, the more I’ll have to learn in order to be known. It’s hard work, but we’ve all got to do it.