Stories by Crazy

A little crazy never hurt anyone…

Ideal Date #7

Do you like home-cooked hot food?
Mine comes with first-degree burns.

Till Now

The last three months have been a complete alskdjfo awijern cioco iuerieak wnwpe rowd invm ocijarwe.

(If that made no sense, then I think I have explained my condition accurately.)

I purposely and unintentionally stopped writing here because of school, school, and questioning what to share. My head’s been spinning, trying to keep up with people and work, that I forgot to spend time on the things I enjoy the most and are most important to me (even though I would deny it all in person). Having some time with spring break, I have blown off the cobwebs to pen some thoughts on the blank pages.

***

Relationships. Are. Hard. (How hard, Dave?) Not just the ones you probably immediately assume, but friendships, familial ties, work ties, etc. They’re like consumer goods: everyone enjoys them until they go wrong, in which they try to trade up and over. But relationships aren’t commodities. They’re much more important, and I feel like the dumbest person when I iterate that.

Growing up, it was strenuous having to move all the time. (I feel like I’ve told this story already.) Every few years, I would have to leave the friends I had just started to enjoy being around, only to have to start over. Probably a nice skill to develop, except meeting people was extremely difficult for me. Most people would just blame personality type, but to be honest, I was worried what others would think about me.

I’m weird (if you haven’t deciphered). I’m not like white T-shirts or low-cut socks. I’m really really difficult to be around when I talk, and it’s worse when I start to force my opinion down your throat. I did tone it down a bit by talking less (or not talking at all), and it’s only by the grace of God that I have any friends.

I’m also notorious for burning bridges, which is ironic to the point of hypocrisy. If I don’t value a relationship enough, I’ll let it die or worse, and I’ve gotten all the backlash from those moments. You would think after the first or second time that I would learn from my mistakes, but the story never works itself out. In a sense, I think of it as a “cleansing,” removing the chaff, but it’s never that — it’s more like cutting out an organ. Only in hindsight, though. Again, grace of God that people even talk to me after the first encounter.

I think it wasn’t until recently that I realized that my friends like me for who I am regardless of what benefit it is to know me other than to know me. It breaks my heart, cause if I were in their shoes, I would cut and run away from me. The Christian would say, “He needs love. He’s just as broken as we are.” My immediate reaction would be, “GTFO.”

And yet, everyday, I’m starting to notice who my close, ride-or-die friends really are. There were many people that did the whole “don’t forget us little people when you make it big” when I left Seattle, but slowly, most of those people ended up doing the thing they asked me not to do. I don’t blame them, as life keeps us busy, but all the same, I do feel disappointment that the relationship I viewed was not the same relationship they viewed. It does stress the fact that it takes two to tango, and it takes two to make a thing go right. It’s not just their fault, but also mine. And no one’s.

***

Failing is a skill that never gets easier. If you ever listen to comedians pontificate, they often say that you’re not a real comedian/-enne until you bomb (once). It helps you learn from your mistakes, makes it easier to take rejection, and solidifies “who you are.” As Nietzsche famously said, “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

As a famous ex-network talk show host once rebutted, “What [Nietzsche] failed to stress is that it almost kills you.” And he’s right. Once it happens, you feel like someone just snatched the life right out of you. You may cry, you may hold it together, but you always feel broken inside. And it’s the worst when it’s something in which you hold a lot of pride.

Mine was my first ever screenplay. Anyone can write a screenplay, but like music or art, it takes a master to make it great. And I thought mine was on the way to being good enough to hopefully get in the good graces of my hard-ass professor, who would hopefully send it to an agent that could land me a job once I graduated. Bake my cake and eat it without getting a sugary stomach ache.

Instead, he tore me a new one. While there have been students that cried due to his brash criticism, I held my ground, much like someone trying to save face while taking a public whipping. Even so, it was the most incredibly embarrassing moment in my film school life to date. All eyes staring at me, watching me as my work was shredded to bits, maybe hoping to see me crack. (Note: though my professor sounds harsh, he still cares for all of his students.)

It was depressing the next few days. Could I salvage this story, or would I have to start something new and be completely behind all the other students? I wracked my brain for countless hours, and eventually, I decided to start fresh with something closer to the chest.

And it was like a breath of the freshest air from any of the peaks of Washington State entered my lungs with rejuvenation. I was technically behind, but I felt like this was it. This is a good story that I want to tell, not so much one that I want to get made into a picture to earn a ton of recognition and money. This was the one that really spoke to why I wanted to come to film school: to move and motivate people to do something better.

I’ve got a lot to catch up on work-wise, but for once in a very long time, I feel like things are going to be okay (with school). Even with all the stress, mess, headache, crying, sleepless nights, forced malnutrition, etc.

***

In everything, I cannot begin to illustrate how much Christ has done, and maybe it is serendipitous that it is Palm Sunday Passion Week as I write this. In all my problems, the solutions stood right before me, tapping on my forehead. I was just too caught up in everything else to notice.

Knowing God makes it easier to keep relationships, and knowing Christ makes it easier to fail. It’s crazy and sounds too good to be true, but it is easier. And free. And free-ing. I think less about marriage, jobs, how I’m going to pay off all this debt, and the future (although they’re still there, in my mind wasteland). It’s kind of like emptying your mind, but it is also filling it with God.

The buck’s not supposed to stop at me. As Christians, we’re called to spread the Good News to all; and yet, I still hear of stories of Christians with good intentions, but no tact or manner. It really does suck that it happens, and then other people generalize Christians as such — they make the molehill steeper every time they “profess” the Word of God.

I do want to share my faith with others, but I’ve realized that it’s not a one-and-gun deal. I hate to harp on short-term missions, but sometimes, I wonder if the impact will last and take root — most of the time, it just turns into a vacation. Not to say that they aren’t beneficial, but I’d rather get to know this person or people, walk with them, talk with them, live life with them. It might be why I don’t have the urgency to travel, or constantly looking for “a good time.”

Spreading the Gospel is work, but it shouldn’t be force-feeding scripture. It should be an lifelong, open invitation, regardless of reception. You till the ground and nurture the crops, and then hope to God something does happen. It’s a waiting game, not a baiting game.

I could throw more clichés or well-worded phrases and rhymes, but at the end of it all, it’s just a bunch of words. You would have to walk or talk with me, one-on-one, everyday for the rest of my life to see if what I spew is hypocritical or something sublime. And even then, you would have to come to the conclusion, not me.

And if that wasn’t an invitation to walk or talk with me through this crazy stupid fine thing called life, then I don’t know… but I got a good feeling.

The Bandage

CREEEEEEEEEEK!

Jason opens the oven door to clear out the excess pots and pans, and to rearrange the oven racks. He mutters his narration, trying to keep himself on task as his girlfriend, Elaine, is due to arrive in an hour. The pressure is on for this first experience as he activates the oven.

“Umm…”

He hesitates, but then rummages through the refrigerator. He pulls out a bowl of brined chicken, a container of diced tomatoes, and another container of chopped garlic and onions. In a fury, he lays out the chicken on a glass baking dish, purees the tomatoes with the garlic and onions, and pours over the saucy concoction over the poultry.

“Where’s the cheese?”

Jason moves back to the refrigerator, rummaging for the mozzarella and parmesan. After a few moments-

“Ah! Got ’em!”

Quickly, he shreds the mozzarella before getting the grater to dust the top of the dish. He vigorously pushes the parmesan against the grater, so much so that he accidentally nicks his thumb.

“Ouch!”

He holds his injured finger betwixt his lips as he tries to find a bandage. He rips open five drawers before he finally finds the first-aid kit in the cupboard. No time for antiseptic — just a bandage.

DING!

“Aw, crap!”

Jason barely applies the bandage when the oven signals its readiness for cooking delectable deals. He shoves the prepared dish into the oven, set the timer, and moves onto the salad. Before he knows it, the front door to apartment resounds a KNOCK-KNOCK!

Jason rushes to the door, his apron flapping. He opens the door to Elaine, her floral dress and hoodie pairing.

“Hey, Jason!”

“Hey, Elaine! Come on in! I’m almost done making dinner.”

“Mmm. It sure smells good!” she exclaims.

Jason guides her to the dinner table, set with homemade mason jar candles, rustic placemats, and shined dinnerware. Elaine sits in awe at the elegant effort, examining the beauty amidst the chaotic backdrop of a bachelor pad.

“Have a seat!”

Elaine plops down on the couch, baring her soft shoulders with the removal of her hooded sweatshirt. From the kitchen, Jason schizophrenically loses his mind between the dinner and Elaine. And her shoulders.

“How about some wine?” Jason calls from the kitchen.

“Sure!”

Jason fumbles with a bottle of cheap Bordeaux wine and a corkscrew. “You look really nice tonight!”

Elaine replies, “Thanks. And thanks for making dinner and everything.”

“Of course!” he exclaims, gritting his teeth, bracing against a wall, pulling with all his might.

POP! Finally… Jason checks the cork and notices that his bandage is missing. He frantically looks around, but cannot find his misplaced bandage.

“Can I help with anything?” Elaine asks as she approaches the kitchen.

Quickly, Jason grabs a wine glass, and in cool fashion, pours out the wine as Elaine enters.

“Uh, no! Tonight is my treat!”

DING!

“Well, I hope you’re hungry,” Jason says with a smile, handing Elaine her glass. She sits at the table, while Jason tries to pull himself together from the nervous wreck he has become.

He steels himself as he sets the table with the entree and main course, taking extreme care to plate the food for Elaine. He smiles at her as he sits down at his seat.

“Let’s eat!” he exclaims. The two bite into their chicken parmesan.

“Mmm…” Elaine licks her lips. Jason’s satisfaction with Elaine’s satisfaction is almost palpable, and all seems to be running smoothly for a romantic night in… until he sees his bandage dangling from her tongue.

“Uh-oh.”

Elaine continues to chew, but as she does, her facial expression shifts from enjoyment to curiosity to worry, and eventually to disgust as she peels out the very wet, very sauced bandage from her mouth.

“OH MY GOD!”

“Elaine, wait! Let me explain!”

Her gag reflex kicks in as she vomits over the table, splattering onto Jason’s front and into his mouth. She kicks out of her seat, dragging the table cloth, food, and place settings with her. Meanwhile, Jason tries to wipe away the spittle and fragments on him and potentially in him.

“WHAT THE HELL, JASON?!”

Elaine grabs her purse and rushes for the door, but not before vomiting again by the shoe rack, right into Jason’s shoes.

“Oh, come on!” Jason cries out.

She cranks open the door and start to leave. Jason catches the door at the last second and pulls it open.

“Wait! What about dessert?” he asks longingly.

Elaine gives Jason a most confused and annoyed look, before another gag convulsion, followed by a very liquified spray of stomach contents. She holds her mouth and rushes off, leaving Jason at his door in a complete mess. He sighs as the coagulated drips fall to the ground, and he shuts the door defeated.

Five Words

Five words to describe my ideal woman?
How about: cool badass with an hourglass.
Or: won’t murder me in slumber.
Or: doesn’t try to be funny.
Or: resists temptation to correct grammar.

Seattle Freeze, Scary Movies, and Other Things No One Cares About

People in SoCal don’t use their turn signals. Why? What is the point of having them if you’re not going to use them? I feel like I’ve nearly gotten clipped on the highway a dozen times. It’s starting to explain why there are so many accidents in SoCal.

Also, leaving your turn signal on or using the incorrect turn signal fall into the same category of failing at driving. Why, SoCal? C’mon…

===

Ever since I saw Paranormal Activity, I intentionally avoided watching horror/scary movies. This year, I decided to put aside my insecurity and communed with a few film school friends to watch three flicks for Halloween: It FollowsSuspiria, and The Babadook. The first two were okay (mostly because I was so tired that I fell asleep at times), but the last one jumped me out of my spot on the floor to the empty recliner behind me. I had a few moments where I came close to overdoing the expletives.

All scariness aside, they were beautifully shot, as often commentated by our panel that night.

===

Recently, I reached out to someone to inquire about searching for churches. They were somewhat insightful, but brought up the issue of the Seattle Freeze. This was my first time hearing about this phenomenon, but once I did my research, I realized the validity of this claim. Seattle people, in general, are really impersonal. Not to say that they aren’t nice, but they don’t commit to anything. They’ll be your friend, but they won’t be your friend. Superficial forced friendliness.

I wasn’t exempt of the disease. It did take me a while to get settled in Seattle, and then once I had my clique, I was rarely very welcoming to newcomers. I must confess that this wasn’t limited to work and social circles, but church as well. It wasn’t that I was a hater, but in retrospect, I probably seemed that way. I think I finally broke that cold streak, but even here in SoCal, where the people are genuinely friendly and want to get to know you, I find myself putting up the Seattle Stiff Arm. (Coined it here. Use it and abuse it.)

What I found hilarious in the definition of the Seattle Freeze was that “girls lead you on for weeks and snub you with no explanation.” I can’t attest to that, but at the same time, I wouldn’t disagree. If I listed every time I felt that some girl gave me the Seattle Stiff Arm, this post would be insanely long. I probably would burn a lot of bridges naming names, not that I haven’t already. Keeping it real is morally awesome, but socially damning.

===

I attended a party, which is unheard of for me. At said party, one person that I got to know urged me to get one young woman’s number. I don’t know why me specifically, since there was one other single guy at the party, but they (other’s got involved) prodded me to do so.

I didn’t. I wasn’t interested, not that she wasn’t cute. My explanation was that I wanted to concentrate on career, which was partially true. Also, I didn’t really get an organic opportunity to introduce myself and immerse in conversation (a B.S. reason). Eventually, I explained (after the party) that I was interested in someone else, which is the truth.

I don’t know why I’m being targeted to upgrade my bachelor life. Maybe people are seeing that I’m lonely, and need company. Probably not their reasoning, but I’m just speculating. Not saying that people are pummeling me with potential, but I have noticed it more often than not. In any case, my standards are so over-demanding, that I think people will eventually give up.

===

If you’re wondering about the title, I’ve been reading through a blog that has been quite entertaining. The writer has an interesting take on things, and when I’m in a creative drought, I find the blog a refreshment. You can check it out here.