View Full Version : Return of the 500 Words
01-09-2011, 03:45 AM
If you don't know, on the old forum I challenged myself to write 500 words a week. Well I fell off pretty bad, but its back again! Also feel free to join me in this thread. Since 500 words is tl;dr, likely nobody will read your stuff so there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
As per usual my stuff is kept here for anyone that cares: http://jubeh.tumblr.com/
I don't know if I'm remembering this correctly because my memory is pretty shit, but there was this Marylin Manson interview where he described music as an escape. He could put on a record and recede into this musical shell where your parents, your teachers, or your friends couldn't bother you. If I recall correctly, I could not relate at all.
When I was younger, I consumed music. You have to understand that this is around the time Napster became this huge deal. If you wanted to hear a song, you could just download it for free. How wild! It seems silly now, obviously, but it was almost like a race back then to see how much music you could accumulate from lesser known bands.
Oh you haven't heard of them? They're the best, but there stuff isn't sold in stores.
Well of course it fucking isn't. But I just ate that shit. Who are these guys? Okay this one song is good. Oh yeah, they're my new favorite band. I bought all their shirts.
To this day I don't think my friend Austin has ever listened to a song all the way through. I would come over, and we'd go through his library of newly accquired music and listen to about thirty seconds of one song before moving on to the next. One time while we were listening to "Smells Like Teen Spirit", he started up the next song to show me how much bass it had. I put him on the spot.
Hey man have you ever even heard the last verse of that song?
He tells me no and then asks why. Well fuck him then.
It wasn't until I was maybe 19 that I got it. After landing a job at Wal-Mart -- every boy's dream -- I managed to save up enough to snag some sweet headphones. Now I had no idea why I needed such sweet ass headphones. I just knew that I needed them because there is a right way to listen to music, and it involved them.
After that it hit me pretty fucking hard. I don't know if it's because I got turned down for a third date by I girl I really felt I had a connection with, or if it was because I hated my awful fucking job, or if those headphones were actually as super fucking sweet as everyone told me they were. But on a lonely day like any other, I put on "Since I've Been Loving You" by Led Zeppelin and vanished. Just poof.
I imagine if anybody else was in the room with me they would have freaked out. I was nowhere to be seen!
Wherever I was was very comfortable. I remember just seeing blue and yellow lines freaking out like some sort of musical muscle spasm. It was like being heartbroken but in love. My eyes were shut and I rolled around like a cat with some serious nip. The good stuff from oh you know that place in south america.
Yeah I "got" it. My house could have burned down and I would have died there, just listening to that song. As a matter of fact, I would have loved that. I can't think of a better way of dying.
So there you have it world. If you ever see my immersed in sound I want you to murder me. You would be doing me a favor.
01-09-2011, 10:01 AM
Me love you long time; I'll join you.
01-09-2011, 10:58 PM
I talked about my friend Austin in my previous 500 Words and about how he never finished listening to one song before moving on to the next. Now you could weave that into some sort of metaphorical blanket statement about people who don't see things through to the end, but we're not going to do that today.
Austin's dad died last week. His name was Rick, and he was the tallest motherfucker I had ever met.
I met Austin when I was about 5 years old. Since my parents worked most of the day, I would end up with any number of different babysitters. Some (read: most) were fucking awful, but some were okay. Austin's parents were somewhere in between. His mom would sleep on the couch, not really bothering with either of us, but Rick was this humongous force. As a 5 year old, he seemed like a monster from Power Rangers. Though instead of a rubber suit he wore leather chaps because he was also this badass biker dude. Figures.
As I got older Rick seemed to get smaller but whenever I thought about him I couldn't help but imagine as the giant I once knew. It was always jarring to see him in person because he never matched my mental image of him. The last time I saw him was at work. He was looking at cds, and we started to talk a bit. We were the same height. My years of growing, his years of shrinking. I was so close.
But that's just now how the world works, now is it. I'm preparing myself for the viewing now. I have no idea how these things work. I don't know how anything works. I'm barely an adult. I have no idea how to go to the doctor. Or how much I'm supposed to pay for an apartment. The world is falling apart around me because I refuse to grow up. I know I have to help Austin make ends meet somehow but I'm in no position to do that. It's inevitable.
Time to go super saiyan I guess.
01-10-2011, 01:23 AM
Jubeh, I love how you can make something sad into something hilarious with just one sentence.
01-10-2011, 01:27 PM
awesome.just post 500-word-something right?
01-10-2011, 02:46 PM
Yeah doesn't matter what you write about.
01-10-2011, 08:37 PM
My eyes sting like hell, and my forehead is pounding.
When I saw Rick in the casket it was like he was uncomfortable. It seems they went out of their way to accomodate such a huge man but the thing was still too small. He had this scrunched up angry look in his face. Like he thought it was funny too.
That's how Rick always looked to me. A man wise beyond his age, he was constantly giving Austin and I shit for being so stupid. I've adopted a similar stance believing that age isn't really an excuse for ignorance in this era, and I owe it to him. Fuck your self-esteem. I realize now that it's because he knew we were strong, and its only today I realize how truly strong we are. I told a person I loved them in the first time since I don't know when. I told a person I would be there for him.
It took a while for me to get alone with Austin but I wanted to tell him everything. I told him about the suicidal thoughts and the crippling depression and how that was all going to change. We're adults now and we need to start acting like it. My dad could die at any day, and I would be absolutely unprepared for it.
I told him that him selling me his car was one of the bests things that had ever happened. How I finally felt like I could call myself a grown man, and not be embarassed waiting for my grandma to pick me up.
The viewing itself was incredibly awkward. It was just a few people at first, but then tons poured in. I started to realize how many people one person can touch in their lives. His whole biker gang was there. Scruffy looking dudes with nicknames like Road Runner, and Target. These people were the closest to him, but didn't cry. Bikers die all the time. You've gotta be strong.
Austin recited to me the story of Rick's death. How Austin woke up on his birthday to his mom screaming. Austin, I can't wake your father up! He won't wake up.
Wake up dad. Wake up.
01-13-2011, 04:21 PM
Ah, my first 500 words.
Many things excite people. Heck, I get easily excited by little things. Like meeting somebody else who likes the same things I do, or finding something tasty, or discovering a little known place. Well, the latest thing I got excited by—classical music. Actually, fusion of classical with rock to be precise. Pachelbel’s Canon is my most favourite classical piece now.
The first time I ever heard this piece was when my musician friend, who lives next to me now, played it on her synth. She played it in piano mode. I fell in love. I asked her to play it a million times after that and even learnt a part of it. Then I got distracted and forgot about Pachelbel Canon for a while. Recently, I watched an anime about classical music, Nodame Cantabile and got hooked. Inspired by the melodious symphonies and concertos, I opened my Mozart folder (which I’d downloaded a long time ago) to listen to something sweet and tingling. There, I found Pachelbel Canon again. But I had only the 3-violins version of it. So I proceeded to download a piano version if available. And I did not find the piano version, instead I found something more awesome. It was called “Canon Rock” and it was a rock version. Of course, there were lots of versions in guitar as well, in differing tempos. I listened to all of them, the “Canon Rock” in the end. And there. It blew me away.
It started with an orchestra-kind of music, and then entered electric guitar playing at the same pace. Slowly the pace picked up filling up my heart with some kind of excitement, while the drums and other instruments joined in. The tune sounded so awesome that it actually gave me goosebumps, it pulled me in completely, it put a smile on my face and filled me with joy and some kind of hope. As the tune went on, my heart-beat also quickened its pace. Wow..so damn good. I am already a crazy fan of the guitar, and put it together with an awesome tune. It froze me.
Then I decided to dig in a little further and googled and wiki-ed it. The origins of this piece are unknown, though it is speculated that Johann Pachelbel composed it for J.S.Bach’s oldest brother’s wedding (who was also Pachelbel’s pupil) in the late 1600s. The rock version was composed by a Taiwanese musician and composer, Jerry Chang (JerryC) much later.
I’m still dazed by it. It still gives me goose bumps whenever I listen to it. I guess I’ll take time to recover. But I decided something when I heard it : before I can do anything on my guitar, before I practice any chords or anything, I’m going to learn this piece first. Oh well! I also realise something else, if the Canon in D wasn’t Mozart’s, what is it doing in my Mozart folder? Oh well! Guess I’ll just let it be. Time to listen to one more time!
01-16-2011, 06:27 PM
Jubeh, I hope you know how happy I am to read these from you again.
01-16-2011, 08:35 PM
Don't make it weird.
I decided not to write about the funeral for a while in case any of the feelings of that day were fleeting, but they are very much still in me. I don't know how long it'll be until I can talk to Austin the way I used to because every time I hear his voice I see his red eyed face behind the podium next to his father's dead body trying to lighten the mood with funny anecdotes.
Everyone had such good stories to tell. His boss from work talked about a time they went hunting where Rick couldn't buy a shotgun in time. Turns out there was a raffle where they were giving away a shotgun, so they stacked the cards in his favor.
People started recounting the times they had met Rick, and all commented on his intimidating size. One speaker said he met Rick in a bar while talking to a lady.
"I was talking to this girl and he walked up on me and said if you make her cry, I'll come looking for you."
And a guy that size isn't a guy you want out for your blood.
Austin asked me to sit in the family section with his mom and a few others. I looked incredibly out of place, but I understood the gesture. He and I might as well be brothers. It's hard to know somebody for nearly 20 years and not feel some sort of connection with them. It was always Austin that preserved that connection.
There were a lot of friends that left and never called. Austin always called. Almost too much. And I have to live with the idea that sometimes I just ignored him. I said, he probably just wants to tell me about some movie he watched. I have to live with the fact that I wasn't a good friend.
After they put Rick's body down, I told Austin's mom she would never have to worry about his son.
"He'll take care of you and I'll take care of him."
Maybe that'll make up for it.
School starts tomorrow and I am woefully unprepared. Due to the funeral business and me missing early registration, I only managed to sign up for classes on the very last day. Unfortunately, the classes I wanted are fall only so I'll just be taking government and a computer class this semester. I wanted to take programming but that will have to wait.
I'm also slowly approaching typing at 100 words per minute! I basically retaught myself how to type, and I now type much more accurately then I did before. It's a cool feeling to be good at something, and something that you could possibly be paid for. Not sure if I can find a job where I can just type, but maybe.
Maybe maybe maybe.
01-24-2011, 06:05 PM
I don't think I've mentioned this to a lot of people, but I've started making games. But in a hilarious twist of irony, I get anxious whenever I play video games because I feel like I should be working on my own game. Long after inspiration has faded, Space Delinquent lies incomplete. It yearns to be loved and nurtured. Longs to be a complete game.
Now do not get me wrong. Space Delinquent will be finished. But it's hard not to think about the next game, and the game after that, and what platform you are going to develop for, in what language.
Ultimately, I wish to satisfy my lust for telling stories. I can never draw comics on the level I want to. I have come to terms with that. I could't possibly write a novel. But games are a huge part of my life, and they are something I am immersed in. None of my real life friends read comics, and most don't even read books. But we all play games. And eventually, everyone in the world will.
I turned twenty-three recently and my thoughts have centered around moving out. It's not that I even really want to move out, but more that I don't want to be one of those guys that lives with his parents forever. I look at how much money I make versus how much an apartment is and it just does not seem reasonable. I can honestly say that I have no idea how people are meant to survive around here. What am I doing wrong?
I'm hoping to be good enough at making games that I can do it full time. I know it sounds crazy. As about as crazy as doing comics full time, I guess. But I'm going to school for computer science so it's a much more realistic dream, I think. I don't want to give up on comics forever though. I could probably find a way to combine the two thoughtfully given enough time. And no I don't mean using comics for cutscenes. It would have to take the traits that make them so good and somehow fit into a game. Something to think about.
02-01-2011, 12:21 AM
Yipes missed this by a day. Also Im not doing the blog anymore I have a tumblr now.
Video games exist everywhere now. Gone are the days where you picked up a stick out of the mud and had to figure out how to have fun with it. Now fun is programmed into your every day devices. I play games on my phone while waiting for class to start. I may not even necessarily enjoy playing them. It becomes a habit, like smoking, where you do it just because you feel you have to. Gaming has become so ingrained in who I am that it has begun to feel mundane.
I’m not the kind of person that gets defensive when something I like gets “invaded.” Outside of my nerd hobbies, I’m a pretty social person and I couldn’t care less about a guy who has only played Halo claiming to be a hardcore gamer. Who gives a shit? I refuse to be defined by my passions or hobbies, and I refuse to become twisted up in fanboyism. My identity is rock solid, as far as I’m concerned. If video games vanished one day, it would suck but I would be fine.
What I do have an issue with is getting sick of something so important to me. Absence sure as fuck makes the heart grow stronger. Back when I was younger and stupider, my friend Nick and I would pirate Dreamcast games. It got to the point where we would put in a game and play for as short as five minutes before moving on to the next game. If we weren’t captivated by the introduction, the game wasn’t worth our time. We became junkies looking for that good fix. The one that was as good as Power Stone made us feel. The next Crazy Taxi.
Truth is, we probably passed up some amazing games. We were overexposed. Apparently this happens to a lot of pirates. After I got a job and stopped being such a cheapskate, I thought the problem was over. But then there was fucking Steam.
Steam sales are ridiculous. For the unfamiliar, games can drop as low as like three dollars. Not all terrible games, mind you. Sometimes you get a gem for a ludicrously low price. That’s not even mentioning all the games that are already a bargain. Ever since I started buying games on Steam, my appetite has become impossible to satisfy. I’m back where I’m started, looking for the next game while still playing the one in front of me.
Is this a matter of self-control? Probably. I’m pretty bad at that. Or maybe the internet has shrunk my attention span. Maybe. I can barely read an article without drifting off into other tabs. Or perhaps it’s just too much of a good thing.
I’m reminded of one of the most conflicting times of my life. Years ago, Texas was hit by Hurricane Ike. We lost our power for a good two weeks, and during that time I managed to read more and get to sleep at a decent hour. I played monopoly with my family, and waited around for the power to come on so that I could find solace on the internet, or maybe a game. When our power finally got up and running, I hurried excitedly for my computer all the while feeling like I was throwing something important away. Like when you start to finally enjoy camping out, but are overjoyed by not having to do it any longer. Nowadays I ask myself, were those simple days better?
No probably not.
02-09-2011, 02:39 AM
I mentioned a while back about the absurd amount of babysitters I had when I was young, but I didn't mention Rosa. Rosa was a Mexican woman my mom knew, and another one of my babysitters. Mom would drop me off at her house at the ridiculously early hour of six in the morning and Rosa would put on Inspecter Gadget and go back to sleep.
Rosa had two sons whom you could say are the reason I take video games so seriously. Actually, I hate to use the word "seriously" to describe how I feel about anything, because it's not like I play games religiously. I'll just say that I have a lot of faith in the medium and I see it's potential to tell moving stories through mechanics and interactivity. Whether games become universally considered art before I die or not, I'll be somewhere saying I told you so and possibly hooked up to a machine that is keeping me alive/dead.
Rosa's sons were Johnny and Ricky. They were nothing alike. Ricky was the oldest, and I remember him being much more quiet and mature. He often chose to maintain a dignified silence where as Johnny would just scream about anything. Johnny had ADD and was prone to epileptic fits, and was a generally wild guy to be around. He was a few years older than me, so he learned he did everything first. He started liking girls first, he started learning guitar first, and always discovered the coolest bands before I did.
Around the time when I was being babysitted by Rosa the fighting game boom happened. Street Fighter II was a household item, and Johnny and Ricky were violently competitive. Inevitably I was dragged into the fray. They taught me the moves, taught me how to play fairly (as opposed to cheaply), and most of all they taught me what it means to be a loser.
That is to say I lost a lot. They taught me to hate fighting games.
When Marvel vs Capcom 2 came out almost ten years ago, they brought me over again. I was in my teens by then, and I didn't need a babysitter. I had merely graduated from "that kid mom babysits" to "friend" and I legitimately liked Johnny and his brother. They were fun guys. So when we started playing Johnny told me not to pick Cable.
Why, I asked.
Because Cable is cheap*.
Oh, I said. I never bothered to question it, though ironically this took place during a period of my life where I was questioning everything. I had adamantly refused to ever do homework again (which is a story I will save for another time, and a promise I kept until college I might add), I became agnostic, and I began to realize how shitty the music around me was.
But for whatever the fuck reason I never asked what made Cable cheap.
So in staying true to form, Johnny destroys me. But he says that I can borrow the game to practice. Well thanks man, that is really generous. The funny thing is that the next time I saw Johnny was about a year later. We had grown apart a lot. He became the guitarist in a band, had grown a beard, but most of all had a life. Something I knew nothing about.
After a year there was nothing Johnny could do to touch me. He actually had forgotten that I had the game, and had put it into the back of his mind. I remember him remarking the poetic beating he had just taken.
It's funny that the only way I can win is when you accidentally pick the wrong character, he said.
Like music to my ears. But then Johnny did the unthinkable. He picked cable.
And guess what? He still lost.
I haven't seen Johnny in at least 5 years. It is definitely more than that, but it's hard to keep track. I wonder if he still plays fighting games, or games at all. Street Fighter became a key part of my life, and I began to invest time and effort into becoming better at something that nobody cares about in the least. I put down hundreds of dollars on joysticks and spent uncountable hours in training modes.
The next time I see Johnny I'm going to ask him if he's playing and how he's been. I'm going to ask him where's he's working now and how his mom is. I'm going to tell him about how much things have changed for me and how much I have grown. But what I really want to say to him is --
*Cable is very good in that game. I don't believe in the term "cheapness" as used by poor players, but if I had to call something cheap it would be the ability to combo three supers together to punish virtually every move in the game.
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