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Ahh October, how I love you so...

So it's been a while and catch-up time comes right in the middle of my busiest time: October, that blissful month of horror leading up to my favorite day of the year.

It's been quite a busy one. The big events started off with the digital screening of Lawrence of Arabia, which I haven't gone to see on the big screen in quite some time. I went with Jen and despite some tricky moves to get to Revere in time, it all worked out well. It really is the kind of film where four hours just fly by. After that I took the bus back to Salem and despite some gnarly traffic made it back in time to see the parade. It felt a bit lackluster this year but still was pretty fun. I'll admit I miss the old mayor's night out ritual that accompanied it not long after.

Throughout this time I'd been wrestling with various ideas for costumes, knowing I'd set up more than one. My big choices were Dr. Bernardi from the Twilight Zone episode Eye of the Beholder, Walter White from Breaking Bad, the Man (aka Smiley) from Carnival of Souls, and Peter Vincent from the Fright Night remake but I thought of that last one a bit too late. Something for next year or Arisia perhaps. It seems Dr. Bernardi will be the way to go. Here's how that's looking so far:

small test shot 2

Granted the final version will be painted better and include make-up around the face and eyes to blend it in. I'll be making a female version for Rosie so we can run around Arisia together like this.

She in the meantime will be dressed as Ellen Ripley from the first Alien. I've gotten all the patches and pins she needs and am working on a flame-thrower for her. We went to an early costume party with her in the costume as it stands and me dressed as the Alien (well, dressed in black with her Alien head mask on). The costumes looked great but I could barely see which was hazardous in a crowded house with dim lighting.

Last weekend was the annual Rock n' Shock trip with Robin and Stephen. First they took me to this amazing Jack O'Lantern display at the Roger Williams Park Zoo. They had some strange, cool stuff.

Then came the convention itself. I got to meet and get autographs from Tony Todd, the Candyman himself, Brian O'Halloran from Clerks, David Naughton from An American Werewolf in London, and got a better picture with Doug Bradley. The experience was a bit different this year. I had a few slight freeze-ups when meeting several of them. I mean, I get tongue-tied talking to anyone, much less celebrities. I also became conscious that different celebrities handle these kind of events differently. Some are more conversational and like chatting people up. Others seem to proceed in a much more business-like manner, which can admittedly be a bit disappointing. Still, it was a good time and I also finally got my Leslie Vernon action figure.

Coming home from that, I had a quick meal with Gabe and we went to see The Walking Dead season premiere at CinemaSalem. It was mobbed and we were both a bit perturbed by the fact that the cafe wasn't open and the aspect ratio on the show was off but it was still fun. I missed it tonight but hope to catch it next week if I'm still conscious.

Work has been stressful this month since two employees have been out, meaning I was assigned a few tasks I don't know how to do very well. Still, I managed to survive it and I think they should be back on Monday so I can be back to normal business, aside from training a new intern.

This weekend, Shana, Gabe and I had our annual horror movie marathon, which like last year, ended up curtailed to two movies, the Nightmare Before Christmas and the 1989 version of the Woman in Black. After that we went for dinner at the Village Tavern, which was extremely crowded anyway before a rowdy fire department marching band came in and turned the place into total chaos. I had extreme sympathy and appreciation for the staff who were struggling to deal with this unexpected complication. After that, we walked about for a bit and popped down to a bar in Beverly for drinks and Monopoly, which amazingly I almost won.

Tonight was the Kane Hodder live commentary for Friday the 13th 7 and it was a blast. He's known for being scary but Hodder can be damn funny as well and I gained a new appreciation for the stuff he does in those films.

So I have one more work week and then a week off leading into Halloween. This Saturday is the Coolidge marathon and then right from that I head back here to hang out with Robin and the gang, with a possibility of Shana getting to meet Robin at last. The Queen pared up with the Best Thing That's Ever Happened. This will be a day.

I've also been hitting the horror movies and television shows of course. I didn't officially do the October movie challenge this year but I might as well have. I'll do another entry with the rundown on all I've seen soon. For now, sleep.

In a Lonely Place

Some interesting and not so fun developments over the past little while:

First off, after a few dental visits, I had those three funky wisdom teeth removed, partially by Rosie and partially by a surgeon with an interest in classic sci-fi literature, which made for an interesting visit. There has been lots of pill-popping, lots of sore gums and a general feeling of grossness on my part.

I've been trying to make headway on my other projects. Had a really good day of writing on the train, where I finally felt it all start to click, to get into the character's heads and hit some good beats. I'm hoping that will recur. I also had a productive day yesterday on the blog project. Still working through that.

Just the same, I feel further from my goals then ever. It seems like everyone else has a plan, knows what they want to do and has the drive to do it. I feel like that guy at the high school reunion who everyone thought would go someplace but is still living in the same town, working a cash register.

Began, quite accidentally chatting up a new fellow employee at work, a cute girl who's a musician named Amanda. She's quite pleasant and so far I've managed to not embarrass myself, but again I feel that weird separation between me and the seemingly 'normal' people. I can never imagine someone like that being interested in me, and to be fair I'm not sure I'd be interested myself. It's all really strange. The Wendee situation showed sometimes someone who's similar to me with shared interests and personality isn't enough. This case seems to show someone different from me isn't enough. I begin to question if I reall even understand what droid I'm looking for.

I feel like I'm moving toward a hermitting period again. We'll see.

Jul. 3rd, 2012

Been meaning to post here but have not been able to 'use my words' as my sister-in-law would often say to my niece and nephew. Hard to verbalize all the insane stuff going on in the noggin.

I've had a very up and down day and coming off an up-and-down weekend. There was a midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show screening in Salem for pride week. I really have to stop going to those, at least the ones by this shadowcast group. The audience is so busy yelling stuff it all blurs into noise.

I really only went because some of my friends were going, and there was a bit of good news as one friend I was worried was upset with me turned out not to be at all (for more of that phenomenon, see below). I felt bad one in particular left, seemingly due to feeling uncomfortably there for multiple reasons I sympathize with. It is this one in particular that troubles me at the moment, or more precisely, the reaction she provokes in me currently, which seems very familiar and very bad.

This is someone I've felt some attraction to for a while, a feeling I attempted to quash as best I could because it was inappropriate previously and it's just as inappropriate now, albeit for different reasons. At both times, it was an attraction that had no future and I knew that then as I do now. It's pointless and yet it's gotten harder to push that down lately and it's taking my mind to bad places, the same bad places it would go to with another certain someone not too far back. I find myself doing the same stupid little things in the vain hope of getting her attention or vaguely hoping when she's around town I might run into her, even though because of all this when around her I clam up and get all awkward.

I spent Sunday on my own, partially because I had originally made plans to see a movie with the person in question but never heard back from them. Now, to be fair, she had warned me a cancellation was a big possibility and I get the strong sense she had much more important things to deal with than a movie night so it makes sense it would have slipped her mind. And after I didn't hear anything for a while I probably should have just gone off on my merry day but still I waited around for confirmation one way or the other. This seems particularly familiar but in this case it's less a matter of being angry with the person than angry with myself. And then today the possibility was voiced this person may relocate far away. I should be relieved in some way but I'm not at all.

Dealing with this problem as usual brought out the floodgates as usual. I have to wonder if it's always going to be like this whenever I'm attracted to someone. Am I even capable of having normal romantic relationships like humans do? And as I know the many ways this person would not choose me, I seem to see that those same reasons would invalidate me from the contest for anyone. I look at myself and wonder, who would choose this?

The static fills my head again and my head finds itself swimming in images of self-destruction. Finishing Madame Bovary today on the train probably didn't help. There's a scene where a character commits suicide through poison with their final expiration described in gruesome detail and my brain hovered over it, that image of death, of finality, and found something beautiful and alluring in it. I seem to go back in forth between being terrified of the cold void that could lie past death and comforted by the prospect of such total oblivion. There's this poem half-formed in my head that keeps going round and round. I haven't actually put it into solid words yet. I'm afraid to. It feels too much like a note.

I told Shana about some of this (must come up with a nickname for her here... apparent the Adorable One won't cut it) and that took a lot. It's not that I don't trust her but I don't like dropping these issues on people. It doesn't seem fair. More than that, as I clumsily tried to explain to her, I don't feel I deserve to. I crave people's pity like some pathetic thing but also shudder at the idea of contaminating them with it. I try keeping it bottled up, hoping on some dark low-level that it will become too much for me to handle and I'll just be done with it. But I have to put it here for now. I need to get it out of my head.

So with all that buzzing around, work was bad. I broke down a few times but thankfully the office was nearly empty in anticipation of the holiday. I really lost it after checking my e-mail. Due to logistical problems, I decided I wasn't going to be able to make it south for the Queen's annual 4th get together and after writing her to that effect, I dreaded her response. I thought she'd be angry or upset and I hate that I thought that about her, the same way I dread that reaction from all my friends and loved ones. She did write back the sweetest response possible and that made me break down even worse, from both relief and shame for thinking she'd act otherwise. One thing I didn't mention in my letter and probably should have (though perhaps she'll read it here) is that there was one other reason I decided not to come. And that's because with my head where it's at lately, I don't think I should be around a large group of happy people. I get the sense that's a recipe for a distinct and strong flavor of bad.

So instead I'll probably spend the 4th alone and that feels appropriate for good or bad reasons depending on my mood. Grrr... I think I could deal with being either stable or suicidal if I could just pick one and stick with it. Bouncing back and forth is the worst part.

It's very late now. I went to Boston for Godzilla as a cheer-up and it worked temporarily but I can feel the dark already coming back. Tomorrow I may try for a haircut which may require something drastic, and then I guess I might go see the Lynn fireworks with the family. Don't know. Not sure of anything now.

Jun. 24th, 2012

Clearly things cannot continue in this manner for very much longer.

Upon reflection.

Another good weekend and yet again feeling off, both physically and mentally.

The physical may be due to my lack of sleep over said weekend. Friday I had an early dinner with MI and tried Life Alive, the local organic joint down the street, which I quite liked. Happily MI managed to survive her potential aspiration of kale, at least thus far. We headed down to Jen, Gabe and Alla's and had a good time overall, though I felt bad since Gabe volunteered to drive me home afterward but that wasn't until 3:30. Poor guy must have been exhausted. I owe him one. There are other issues involving that night that relate to a large problem I've been experiencing but I'll get to that in a minute.

I managed about six hours of sleep and then was up Saturday. I had a nice lunch with Shana at Finz and then eventually got picked up by Jeff for Abbie's dance recital. Things were running late but we managed to just make it. Abbie had two routines at the beginning and end of the show, which ran for three and a half hours. Thankfully it was less of a chore since A: I'm getting used to going to these lately and B: the kid is great at it. Even from a distance I could pick her out of her group as she seemed to know the routine better than the others and even made me enjoy music from Grease, which I've never really liked. We headed back to their place for a bit, I gave them some movies for Abbie to enjoy on their upcoming vacation, including Jurassic Park since they're going to Universal, and to home it was.

I discovered I had to get up earlier than I had planned to make it to Brookline in time to meet Elissa for our second round of Frankenstein showings, resulting in only six hours of sleep again. The theater was full of Sherlock fans, to the point I was hoping there'd be some Trainspotting fans just to even it out for Jonny Lee Miller. The show was great and we already bought tickets for the other show next Monday at 7, which I highly recommend to all reading this if you can make it. It is easily the best adaptation of Frankenstein I have seen in any form and I'm investigating if I can put together a creature costume from it for Halloween.

After the show we went to a pub for lunch and Elissa and I had a great discussion about things, including the problem I'm going to discuss in a moment. We also discussed my anxiety about calling the Dad for Father's Day, which I eventually did and which was even more awkward than usual, to the point where he seemed really eager to get off the phone.

Despite a full night of sleep I have been exhausted all day and my stomach has been upset, so I'll be turning in soon, but I had a rough day emotionally as well due to reflecting on the weekend and this problem I've had for a long while, but which seemed particularly acute lately.

It seems to happen often that if I'm hanging out with my family or friends, no matter how much fun I have, after the fact I find my brain reflecting on my actions and conversations and picking them apart, finding any social faux paus I may have made or thinking about how things I said or done may have been misunderstood or may have been clumsy, socially awkward or unintentionally rude.

It came up Friday night when I was talking to a friend at the party and mentioned something in an attempt to make conversation. That seemingly innocent brought up a lot of bad experiences that have happened to that person lately. I felt really bad, like I had inadvertently steered the conversation into a painful area for her and I didn't really know how to react. I tried to be as sympathetic as possible but it felt awkward and made me feel awkward and self-conscious all night. And that starts the cycle and I realize other things I did that night, such as running back and forth to one of the bathrooms to set something up for the party may have disturbed those hanging out in the bedroom adjoining that bathroom during their conversation and been incredibly thoughtless and rude. And it just continues. Despite the fact that I had some really good interactions with people at the party, many of them strangers, the mistakes I made are the parts that linger for me. And that can lead to this weird social paralysis. I stop talking because I worry I'll annoy people but then think that by not talking people will think I'm snubbing them and thus think less of me. As you can imagine, this cycle gets particularly vicious after a while.

It happened again with Elissa Sunday morning and even though I brought it up later and she dismissed it as not worth worrying about, still it lingers. Then today with Jon I was doing well, asking how his anniversary dinner went and after a time it's like the synapses between my brain and mouth stop working and I say something strange and awkward.

It really bothers me, especially because all I can imagine is how awkward I must seem to other people. It amazes me watching people like MI work a room. My grandfather used to be the same way, the kind of person you drop into a room full of strangers and an hour later he's everyone's buddy. I envy that ability but it seemed to have genetically skipped over me somehow.

Anyway, the snowballing effect from this occurred at work and it really hit me hard. From the second-guessing part it built and built and made me question everything else that's been buzzing around the cranium lately. This past weekend I got two incredibly nice complements from friends to the effect that I have an excellent heart and that I'm the most sane person that one of them knows. Lately I'm finding it hard to believe both statements.

I try hard to be a good person, a decent person, but it never feels like it's enough. I feel like there's some set of expectations I'm falling way short of. I have such incredible friends and they're all so nice and I don't feel worthy of any of them. It's awful but so much of the time I feel like they're just being nice around me and that deep inside I make them uncomfortable. There's a part of me that is rational and knows (or at least hopes) that this is just an insecure delusion on my part, but there are many parts that can't help but believe it.

I don't feel like the sane one. I think if people saw what really goes on in my head, they'd be even more uncomfortable than I imagine them to be around me. It all makes me so tired and weary. I hate being so afraid. I hate feeling awkward and thick. I hate feeling like everyone must be ashamed to associate with me. I just wish I could feel normal.

Up and down again

Had a great weekend, one wherein I got to see a lot of friends. Got out to see Prometheus Friday night with Elissa and despite the polarized reaction to it, we both quite enjoyed it. I also got her John Carter as a cheer-up gift which she seemed to appreciate. Good egg that one.

Saturday was the Pride Parade with Rosie. It was a hot one and very crazy as people snapped up the free floss, toothbrushes, and to some degree, the cards. Watching the woman herself work the crowds was amazing. She was adorable. People started chanting her practice name as though it were a political slogan.

Sunday early Robin and Stephen came down and that was great. They gave me some cool birthday swag and we tooled around town before going for a bite at the Tavern in the Square. It was so great to see her after so long and it really began to feel like no time had gone by. That night it was Mel's birthday party. The kids were hilarious as ever and my presents seemed to be well-received, so that was good.

My work week was pretty productive. I managed to get a lot of urgent projects closed up.

I also managed to get a night out with Bob in during the week and will see Rosie again for a shindig tomorrow and then Jeff and his fam Saturday. So a full and rewarding week.

And yet, as whenever I have a big up, there's a big switch downward after, even if there's no reason. Sometimes I think the up becomes the reason. Thinking about how lucky I am (and I'll admit it this time, I am lucky) to have such great friends and family and before long I'm thinking I don't deserve them and through that tiny little crack in the defense, that whole in the perimeter wall, the whole mess comes crashing through. I suddenly get tense and upset and my mind goes round in crazy circles.

Part of it also might be that tomorrow I'll be seeing some friends I haven't seen in a long while and I'm not entirely sure what's on the program and it makes me nervous. Plus I want to do well for those in charge.

Sometimes all of it, the good and the bad, gets so overwhelming. I find it impossible to keep it all straight, to keep it in perspective. I wonder how people with real problems deal with them.

The end of a long, wonderful summer...

Well, my second recent post and alas, it's for a sad occasion. It was announced today that Ray Bradbury has died. While not unxpected as he lived to an amazing 91 years of age, it still feels like such a loss, especially as he's the type of writer who never stopped. He often commented on how he would write something every day.

While he's often just classified as a science fiction/fantasy writer, I don't think you can undersell his importance to American literature. But more importantly, he just seemed liked a great guy, a man who refused to grow up and instead revelled in flights of fancy and imagination.

I first remember encountering his work on TV, through the Ray Bradbury Theater, a show adapting his stories to TV in the mid-80s. Or it might have been the film adaptation of Something Wicked This Way Comes, featuring Jonathan Pryce as one of the best film villains ever (see the accompanying userpic) and it remains a Halloween favorite of mine.

For actual reading it started with some of the stories from the Illustrated Man, probably the most famous collection of Bradbury's short work and full of an amazing variety of tales, ranging from the creepy holographic horrors of The Veldt, the lonely spaceman survival tale Kaleidoscope and The Fire Balloons, a beautiful story of religious faith meeting alien life.

And there was of course Fahrenheit 451, required reading at school, though I didn't really enjoy it until I could read it on my own time. And there followed the rest of his bibliography in a tumbling stream: Something Wicked This Way Comes, the Martian Chronicles, various short stories.

But as much as I enjoyed them, I don't think I really caught it, understood the real magnitude of what this man did in prose, until I read one of his non sci-fi books, Dandelion Wine. I remember the moment vividly. I was working in the movie theater then and the lobby was quiet, the shows all in for a while. It was summer, a really warm one, particularly since the AC wasn't working in Theater 2 then. That really is the best time to read that particular book, which is a perfect distillation of summer and youth.

Anyway, it was early in the book, in one of the passages describing those very concepts, that it hit me: the way the sentences flowed, the description, but most of all, the love of words! The pure simple joy of how much words could convey and suggest. Bradbury very rarely wrote simple, clear sentences, the way some of my other favorite authors do. It was all poetry, poetry found in the most basic of things, in people and places that one might take for granted ordinarily. Every object and place had a personality, every character had a long history that would push out between each period. It was stunning, and looking back I culd see it with sharper eyes in every story.

I always like to keep books of his short fiction handy and often dive into them when I can't figure out what to read. I tried to make a habit of buying one of his books every year at Arisia. His stamp is everywhere, in the rustle of autumn leaves on a cool, dark Halloween, in the red, dry dust on melancholy Mars, in the long, low wails of a lonely monster seeking a companion.

As he said, "Stand at the top of the cliff, jump off and build your wings on the way down." Not a bad philosophy for life.

An even later update than usual.

I've been promising several people I'd update this but have been putting it off for a while. Now it's late and my brain hurts, which is never the best time to write one of these, trumped only by me being drunk. Happily I am sober, not that I think it will help much.

Sooo... what's been happening. Well the birthday came and went. I turned 34, one of those weird, in-between ages. I seem to have been enjoying a mid-... or perhaps quarter-life crisis (we'll see how medical science goes in the next few decades regarding life expectancy) for quite a while now with no sign of abating. I feel stuck in a rut. I have a place to live and a good job that let's me pay for all expenses but it doesn't feel like enough.

I have and have had so many grand plans that haven't come to fruition. For some reason I find it hard to stir up the drive to pursue them anymore. Maybe my attention is too divided, maybe as has been suggested, I just don't want them enough. But if not them, I don't know whatI really want. Maybe I'm just too damn lazy after all this time.

After my last dating fiasco I have decided to put a freeze on dating for a while, outside of things with MI, which have been fun. In fact, I'm marching in the gay pride parade next weekend to support her in her business endeavor as she attempts to reach an underserved demographic. I'm sure the announcement I'd be doing that on Facebook raised a few eyebrows, or at least I hope it did. Anyway, she's very supportive which makes me feel a lot better, and we've had some fun on some recent adventures, but at the same time it's not quite the same as a full-on relationship. Now though, I'm not even sure I'm capable of a full-on relationship.

It doesn't help that my mind keeps wandering to people it shouldn't in that regard. It's an odd neurosis that I find myself often highly interested in women with whom there is absolutely no future with me, and still hung up ones I know are actually harmful for me. It doesn't help that sometimes I get a few local reminders, as I did going to see Snow White on Friday, but I guess that's one of the hazards of living in this town I must deal with.

I've been trying to keep up with the summer movies as well, and have managed to do so to this point. Avengers is still top of the list, but I've enjoyed most of what I've seen, including Battleship. And next week, Prometheus, hopefully with Elissa.

I have managed to start work on a film blog as well. Not really a review blog, but more a film analysis thing, hopefully a bit less snarky, cynical and mean than certain other blogs out there. There's nothing much to see there as I'm still putting together the first real post, an in-depth analysis of the original Frankenstein, but I like how it looks so far.

I've also been bad with the movie collecting, buying a lot more than I have time to watch, especially now that I'm balancing True Blood, Sherlock, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, DS9 and soon Game of Thrones.

I also found out today that there's going to be a whole new roof put on my place in about two weeks. This is fantastic news as it means I won't have to move this summer. My rent will undoubtedly go up as a result but I'll take it. It is a major relief.

Since I still have a good chunk of my tax return as well as an extra paycheck this month, I'm considering what to do with the surplus. The big option is to have my teeth fixed properly since I know just the dentist to do it now, but I'm also thinking about my long-delayed trip back to New York, which I might do solo. We'll see.

I also have to make plans to hang out with Jeff and especially the Queen, who I've been unable to get together with for the past few weeks due to various things coming up but who I do hope to see before long. I feel so negligent in that regard. Must get better at that, not let friends drift away.

Ok, I'm tired and my head hurts. More later... just not sure how much later.

To clarify...

So, the specifics...

A few weeks ago I started seeing this new girl. She was cute and funny and intelligent and nerdy in all the ways I like, being able to detect a Doctor Who reference and fling back a Cold Comfort Farm one in response. Classy.

And yet while going out with her, much as I thought hanging out with her was great, things started moving very fast and I didn't quite feel the kind of enthusiasm for the whole thing that it seemed like I should have. When around her I was fine. When separated (she lives in Boston), I could feel the old anxiety and depression creep in.

So finally this weekend I asked about slowing things down, thinking maybe that passion I was hoping to feel might develop in time. This is a subject I really should have brought up sooner. However, the situation was more complex than that and essentially imploded, though to be fair, in the end she gave me the choice on it.

This upsets me for various reasons, not only because it suggests my mental health is nowhere near as improved and stable as I would have hoped, but it makes me feel I'm burnt out when it comes to feeling love, or at least love as I always perceived it would feel. The last two times I really felt it were both horrible mistakes in the end, which makes me wonder if that was more delusion than actual love.

This is why I hate dating. It's so difficult for me to do and still feel like I'm acting like the kind of person I aspire to be. I always end up feeling like a fraud.

Anyway, I'm not sure where to go from here so things are a bit foggy at the moment. More later...

So at last, an update...

... I wish I could say it was a happy one but it is not. It seems I've screwed things up again, or more to the point, it seems I've been screwing things up for quite a while.

Not to be cryptic but it's a bit late to go into detail. The specifics will follow when possible.