Friday, December 23, 2016

Storms Over the Chesapeake

So let's bury my past underneath these sheets
And watch the ice crack the windows
And cover the floor in sleet

Your dreams were always just too big for your head
Told you to deflate them
And bury them beneath your skin

The storm howls outside us
The storm howls within
And I'd give my everything
Just to let you drown me one more time

I don't like sounding obsessed
I just want to feel it again
Just want to know what it is
Just want to feel you inside
Want to know what it's like when

The storm howls outside us
The storm howls within
This night's getting longer
And the walls are thin.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Whisper, a Howl

And there's an uncertain wavering light
Slicing through the windowblinds
Orange lines like bars across my forehead
And the air inside this room feels much too thick
My bare legs beneath the blankets are warm and slick
With anxious sweat, the things we try to forget
Crawl back from underneath our beds and
Hover haunting above our heads
Outside a dog howl breaks the night
Reminds me how with every passing second
The light is dying within our eyes
Down the hall there are photographs
Of places we can never go back
Into the bodies we used to have
Scars never grow back, bones never uncrack
With every gray night that fades away
Every circling waltz of the moon
Drags us farther from those photographs

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Embers

A breakdown from the inside
A silent sparkle as the family starts to crumble
We sit alone in separate rooms
The darkness keeping us awake

The days fly by and you don't say a thing
Everyone talks but no one's listening
Walls crack, doors shut, eyes close
To the distances between ourselves

The strings pull us farther away
With every passing moment they try listening
But conversation has died when the lights
Went down, and there's barely glowing embers

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

We'll Be Dust One Day

It's an old man with a tattoo on his neck
A young girl with scars on her legs
A storm is brewing out in the Atlantic
And my heart is full of holes

There's footprints in the attic
Interstates full of traffic
There's dust on my soul
It's criminal, the memory

Up and down the west coast
The people die and the flowers grow
And I'm just sick of growing old
There's always war in the back of my brain

It's a guitar with broken strings
The birds flew south before the snows came
Passed out in the front yard again
And he won't forget, she won't forgive

It's sweaty arms and sore throats
It's the quiet things that no one knows
About you and me, our darkest dreams
There's a ghost inside my skin

The constellations behind the clouds
The stars bleed and the sun burns out
It's the waves of Lake Michigan
And the sound of broken glass

It's the bodies in the lake
It's the pictures that you wish you didn't take
The way you held me in your arms
The taste of you inside my skull

The smell of gasoline after the accident
All your childhood Christmas lists
The warmth of the southern breeze,
The saltwater air, your blood in my mouth

I've been lost before
And I've been safe before
I've been hurt before
Hurt me
Hurt me
Some more

I've been under the ice so many times
Holding my breath and watching the sky
Waiting for you like a funeral
I was waiting for you till the moon came out
And the rains and the floods washed away
The thought of you, that you could ever be
I wanted to, I wanted you to want me too

Friday, October 21, 2016

Collecting Video Games

             


I love the Sega Genesis.

I've devoted entire pages of my website gushing about the system and its library. Part of this is due to the fact that it was the only video game system I had as a kid and I never got to play more than a few games in the library. I sold it off in elementary school, but in junior high, I bought the Smash Pack collection for PC and the Sega Genesis Collection for my PSP and it rekindled my love for the system.

At that time period (2007-2009) interest in retro game collecting was slowly rising, but it hadn't really become mainstream. At that time period, I was also in junior high, with no money, transportation, or incentive to collect games. Unfortunately, when I decided to actually re-buy a Genesis and some games around 2013, I realized that I was on the same track as everyone else. A bunch of people jumping into the collecting scene (just like a bunch of people jumping into a bathtub at once) caused the prices to rise higher. Still, Sega has never been as popular as Nintendo, so prices were still very manageable compared to SNES games and NES games.

I was able to amass quite a nice collection in the past three years despite being priced out on a lot of games. The most I've ever spent on a retro game was $25 for Shining Force, and only because that is my favorite video game in the world and I knew I would get my money's worth out of it. My conscience and frugal nature won't let me pay any more than that for games which I can easily play for free on my computer through emulators.


Still, I've managed to get some great deals and steals on a few higher-ticket games. But in 2016, retro game collecting is as popular as ever and the supply is only going to get more limited as the years go by and the 90s drift farther into the past. For stuff like Sonic 2, there are millions of copies floating around, but the rarer games are drying up and when they do appear on Ebay, they're way up in the double digits.

Some collectors are willing to pay out the nose. They're willing to sacrifice. I'm not one of those collectors. Genesis is my hobby, but it's one of many. I have many other hobbies that demand my time and money, as well as bills and family obligations and the fact that I only have a part time job at the moment. Money isn't tight, but I can't be dropping hundreds of dollars a month into a collecting habit. That's not wise in the short-term or in the long-term.

I price my collection at roughly $900. When you add it all up like that, it does seem like a lot, but it was spent over a period of years and most every purchase was under much consideration. I make a point to play every game in my collection and I try not to buy crap that I won't play.

But as I'm nearing the 3 year and 200 games mark (nearly 30% of the library) I'm finding less and less to spend my money on. A good chunk of the library is worthless sports games that I will never play and hold no nostalgic value, so I see no reason to waste money and space on them. The rest of the games are simply out of my price range unless I catch my local game store slipping or get lucky in an Ebay auction.

I'm not giving up on collecting, but my purchases have been much less frequent over the past year. I'm not bored with Sega. I love collecting. I love the boxes, the manuals, the cartridges, finding good deals, the collecting scene, all of that stuff. Maybe when I get a decent-paying job, I'll feel more comfortable spending more cash on some of the nicer RPGS (Shining Force II is one of my white whales) but I think I'm just taking a break right now. Plus, at the moment, my collection is packed into suitcases because of the flood and I have no TV to play the games on.


One day, you will be mine, yes, mine, all mine!

I've been watching collection videos on YouTube and stuff again, so I'm kind of getting in the mood despite my situation, but I have to pace my spending because I'm having to rebuild my book collection as well - a much cheaper hobby than video games, for sure! Still, though, I'm very happy with my collection of games, and I don't plan on parting with it any time soon. Hopefully, my future wife will understand!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why I'm Not Voting

Two sides, same coin.


I guess you could call me a centrist. I think this stems from me being a very empathetic person. I always try to see both sides of an argument. I try to understand ideas different from mine and why a person would hold those ideas. In this polarized society that we live in, I think more people need to take this approach to ensure we don't start a civil war over stupid social issues. I believe the majority of people are centrists who don't fall neatly into the left or right, but agree with certain issues on both sides. However, the loudest voices in media are often those who pander to the far right or far left and leave the middle ground out of the equation. Thus, people who would otherwise be fairly evenhanded start being dragged to one side or the other and into an echo chamber where all of society's ills can be blamed on the liberal agenda or everything wrong can somehow be traced back to Republicans. It's pretty stupid, and it's the inevitable result of a two-party system. It wasn't always this way and it doesn't have to be.

But here's the thing, if there was ever a year where a third party could have even a tiny shot of even getting onto the debate stage, it was this year. And neither Gary Johnson nor Jill Stein have it in them. While I personally like both of them, I do have political disagreements with their policy, because they are both still too partisan for me. Johnson is too far right and Stein is too far left. Stein has never held public office, and Johnson does not seem very knowledgeable about international affairs as I would like to see in a presidential candidate.


They coulda been something...


Still though, they both should have been on that debate stage, and the coalition between the two major parties to squash third parties is nothing less than criminal. We need more ideas. America needs to know that it has more options than red team or blue team, when neither party represents true American values anymore. Instead, both are slipping further and further apart, alienating and abandoning the true base that lives in the middle and rarely votes at all. I live in a deep red state that will go to the Republican party almost every time (though we did elect a Democrat governor last year.)

I disagree with Trump on virtually every issue and I think he is a massive fraud, liar, and criminal: if I voted for him, I could never clean the stink of hypocrite off of my skin. However, I disagree with Clinton on many issues and I feel she has utterly failed to speak to any of the issues I find most important. She collaborated with the Democrat party to screw over Bernie Sanders (who I supported) and denigrated him, his ideas, and his voters with the bullshit "Berniebro" controversy trying to paint him as a sexist. I find many of her positions indefensible, like the fact that she's way too chummy with Wall Street. Also, she's been a First Lady before. I don't think anyone in the immediate family of a president should be allowed to run. This isn't ancient China; I don't want another Bush Dynasty.

Such a misogynist sexist pig, right?


I don't plan to vote next month because despite what everyone tells me, I don't believe my vote counts. I also don't believe the partisan hacks on TV rustling my fellow Americans into a frothing panic over the next president, claiming that America will be destroyed if candidate X gets into office. Whoever is president, it's going to suck, but I'd rather not have a reality TV star packing the Supreme Court with far-right nut-job evangelicals who want to turn the clock back to 1950. I spent 20 years of my life happily apolitical and I wish I could go back. I wish I could stop caring about politics, but it is something that does have an effect on me and everyone I know. It's hard to ignore.

One might do more screwing than the other.


Bottom line: Vote or don't vote. Vote for whoever you want. Don't let people feed you lies about "throwing your vote away." Don't let people shame you for not voting. It's America, that's your freedom. I'll never tell anyone else how they should vote, and I don't see myself supporting another candidate anytime soon after Bernie Sanders. Perhaps one day in the future, another politician will earn my vote, but until then, I won't be dragging my butt down to the voting booth on a November morning to put my name behind a person I don't believe in.

Monday, October 17, 2016

All I Have Are My Words



All I have are my words. I was not blessed with a preternatural grasp of mathematics or acting ability or anything else. I was not blessed with a talent for writing, it is something I cultivated, practiced at. I did it when it wasn't good, when I didn't feel like it, when it wasn't fun. I did it because I had to. This ability, this need came about from my sense of the world and my curiosity to figure out as much about it as I can. I think this observant nature stems from my introverted nature. I think an introverted nature can be beneficial and also sucky at the same time, because as much as you long to understand people, you feel you never can. You always hear the questions in the back of your mind and you know that they don't ask those questions and you kind of hate them for being able to go through life without worrying all the time about things they can't change anyway. This is not to discount extroverted writers, who offer a needed counterbalance to introverted writers who can admittedly slip into navel-gazing at times. Extroverted writers see the world in a different way and they write for different reasons. Of course the whole introvert/extrovert, right brain/left brain is a convenient fantasy, a shared illusion that we all tell ourselves because its easier that way, because human nature is prone to labels, to groups, to separating into us vs them. I try to defy these things, and I do it through writing. I write because I have to, simply. I get a hundred ideas a day and if I can translate even one of those into some kind of sensible words on a page that maybe gives some kind of enjoyment or peace to another human being, well, that's all I really feel I'm here for. I wasn't born to be a president or a CEO or a celebrity and I'm fine with that. All I really want to do is to write.

Being a writer is about hearing the voices in your head, catching them, and penning them down to paper, where they became real. It's not the act of writing that I'm all about. A lot of times, the actual physical, mental act of writing sucks. Some days, everything comes out like crap. Hacky. Cliched. Stilted. I can imagine the critics' reviews already. I know exactly what they would say because the worst critic is always looking me in the mirror. Yes, the act of writing is frequently annoying and stupid, but when it's good, it's great. When I feel that wave coming, feel that lightning flowing from that great, mysterious ether out there that's really just my mind. Someone said that there are only really a few plots to use, and most of writing is finding out how to put your own little variations on those age-old storytelling machines, to make them yours.