Monday, December 20, 2010

The Ghosts of Moving and the Power of Brooding

It’s been maybe six months now since I’ve moved to the land of hipster hippies, ultra cool fashion models and Hollywood. I’m quite sure there are a few other industries here but being a hippy is a full time job and we have some of the nation’s best looking and well kept hippies. It’s important we keep clear about the topics to come, far be it from me to say we’ll talk about one thing and then do something entirely else. I don’t want to be that one uncle of yours that always distracts you with the funny puppet in his left hand while punching you in the face with his right hand. That would be cruel and a bit unfair; that job is already taken and I am for keeping jobs in America. But since I am in California – despite it’s all too easy ability to be classified as that-state-that-should-just-sink-already – maybe your uncle needs to be outsourced for a bit. Oh, have I shown you my new puppet?
I am now a graduate of Purdue University's Graduate School. I hold an MS in Computer Graphics Technology, with my thesis focusing on real-time fully recursive raytracing on the GPGPU using CUDA. It was a blast. I'm happy to be such a geek that I actually know what that means and then to have written a graduate thesis paper on it and all the GPGPU and CPU code to accompany it. I am gainfully employed in Los Angeles, California. I moved out here for a job and it seems to be going well. Those stories will arrive shortly enough as will topics like:  LA’s homeless, medical weed, the neighbors, the bachelor apartment, the move here (tornadoes, creepy bathroom shower, towing with a minivan, Mojave desert , pizza hut), first LA party and the girl ready to shower, yoga, Santa Monica, the ocean, Venice boardwalk.

Before a breakdown of all the experiences of moving to a new location begins I need to explain one of the most unexpected consequences of moving around so much: thinking you see people who haven't been around for 2 to 10 years or more, and realizing your mind or eye is playing a trick. It really wasn't that person after all. Damn...

The Ghosts of Moving and a Hilarious Segue into the Power of Brooding, Complete with Anectdotal Data.
Seeing people time and time again after having lived in so many different places, these are the ghosts of past lives staring at me through faces familiar. In an instant I see friends, enemies and the likes between as strangers walking by. One moment’s instant later, once fleeting the flash of recognition, familiars become strangers again and the Lives I’ve had months or years ago remain, tragically or gratefully, in the past. There’s someone I see more often than anyone else on stranger’s faces. I don’t remember his name or specifically why I remember him more often than others I knew better. We were classmates in highschool, my second highschool. He was in band and I believe a percussionist as well. Marty, his name was Marty. He was cool. Like the Fonz, but with the post pubescent modernity of grunge, a hidden or downplayed intellect, and an easy way about himself. I can’t decide which of the following two facts was more important to me – that he was my friend, or that he had looked and walked like a bad-ass.

Marty, I see you more often than anyone else. Greased hair pulled to a slick pony-tail, black combat books with silvery clasps, black leather jacket with teeth enough to scare a piranha, you were cool and you were my friend. You were the closest I may have been to actually being a bad boy. To my friend Marty, should you read this, I say thank you. Thank you for being a friend (if even only for 7 months) to an awkward, isolated teenager with more brains than common sense and social skills combined and for doing so while being the Fonz.

I’ve tried very hard to be a bad boy. For decades I have bought in to the mythos of bad boy as sex magnet extraordinaire for ladies innumerable. Roll you eyes in mock moralism if you must, but everyone knows the desire of wanting to be desired. Whether you know the presence of being desired or you know the absence of being desired, the knowledge of this desire and its spectrum is within us all. Having spent most of my time wanting to be desired I am always in awe of people who are desirable. It seems like one of those magic gifts.
In growing up I have often felt myself capable, more than half the bell curve of humanity, of numerous things. Though I am an introvert, I can connect to people and find inroads to people that make connections faster. I am sensitive and genuinely kind hearted. And yet, for all me believed abilities and manners of being, that feeling of being desired has not been consistent for me.
And... I could never be a bad boy. I can brood and be moody. But, and would you believe it, girls/women/chicks/dames tend to not actually like this, I think. My testing data over the past 30+ years shows a significant decline in utero-estrogen activity around boys/men/guys/dudes who brood, mope, are sullen or are affectedly moody. This is most unfortunate as I’ve put a lot of stock in this approach. Let’s have a look at a typical moody-male with random girl interaction. We will have multiple interaction samples from which to extract data to more accurately and formally create an ironclad theorem that applies in all situations, at all times, for all people, everywhere, always... forever.

~ Scene 1 ~
Guy 1 is standing by himself in a dark bar, having a lemonade and checking out a cute girl, Girl 1.
Girl 1: “Hi! I’m Girl 1. Wanna buy me a beer?”
Guy 1: “Beer? That’s really expensive. Did you know if you buy a soda that refills are free? It’s much cheaper to do that than to buy a beer, plus if you tell them you’re a designated driver they’ll probably give it to you for free.”
Girl 1: “....” Turns around off her chair and walks away.
Guy 1: “Huh... weird.”
End Scene.

The critique on this is clear... flawless execution. We’ll now move on to the next interaction.

~ Scene 2 ~
Guy 2 is at the same dark bar, on a different night, being quite unhappy about not having a date. Already we see the execution of brooding anxiety in its ripened state as Guy 2 smolders from dismay, in a public social setting where fun and gaiety are the norm and rule. This then is the perfect spot to brood upon Life’s troubles, where all the happy people can see you. They’ll remark at your inner complexity, be dazzled by the intricacies of your inner workings that such a man can carry both the pain of Life so present in the smuggled wrinkles of a worrier’s face and at the same time be strong enough to stand without crumbling in a public setting. You can hear it now. “How brave he is.” “How must he carry such turmoil and still thrive and survive.” “He is an example and cautionary tale to us all, be better people or we’ll end up suffering like him!” “Quick, let us now act with a decorum’s more tactfulness and be grateful of our blessings thus far. Perhaps he will show us the way!” “He’s so sexy I want his bun in my oven.”
Guy 2 sees a woman he’s been trying to woo for weeks now and hides his face, brooding in how she’s ignored him thus far. Foolish her!
Girl 2 sees Guy 2 and waves. And here comes the master stroke of the dark and brooding trap that no woman can possibly escape. Upon seeing he’s been recognized by Girl 2, Guy 2 gets up from his seat, walks over to the door and out. This of course leaves Girl 2 with the following thoughts: “What a man!” “I’m so attracted to his brooding ways he must be that perfect blend of bad boy and Mr. Sensitive I’ve been looking for my whole Life. Now I can finally copulate with moral integrity and have the man of my dreams!!! Oh how I faint and fawn for such as he!” Please don’t be fooled by the complexity of this approach. This is the most powerful tool a brooder has, getting up and walking away.
End Scene.

In hindsight however, walking away proved a perfect way to continue brooding and not get the girl. You see... being moody seems to be an antidote to dating, the antithesis of companionship. It looks great in movies when hot teenage girls fall for the brooding highschool senior. Where’s that movie-turned-reality that I’ve adopted my Life so perfectly for? Well, I am in California now so if anywhere is the land of modified realities perhaps I’ll find my luck here. One final thought comes to mind about being aloof and it has to do with the clear adherence to the wishes of the feminist movement from the prior generation, echoed sans context in my generation.

It may seem ill advised to be so aloof, but think of the service this is providing women everywhere! I’m quite sure, the aloof gentlemen is the hero of all feminists everywhere. You see, I have a long habit of avoiding pretty girls because I know they don’t like being bothered. Women, imagine being respected and feared enough to be left alone and unbothered by men who are attracted to you. I am expecting any day now to receive the coveted award for most humanitarian work towards the goals of the women’s movement. I hope it’s a gold amulet in the shape of boobies.

Upon second thought, were I to chart my flirting activity on a rubber chicken graph (thank you Mr. Martin), you'd see an increased flurry of rubber chickens since arriving in California. What can I say? California girls, the flirting is excellent here and the dating has increased. I'm not crying in my beer anymore and that's a good thing.

There are other faces I see from years gone and the Lives born and passed with them. I see college friends, high school friends, ex girlfriends, an occasional lover. In profile, I look like my younger brother; in the mirror I sometimes see him. Seeing these faces pulled from the forgotten stores of old memories and fleetingly pasted on the faces of random passersby almost always causes a double take, and the occasional triple-take.


  1. Yessir, moody and brooding is the way to be. You couldn't have scripted those scenes any better!

  2. Andrew
    I love getting these updates and can't wait for the next one to arrive. Please make sure I am never taken off your send list.
    I hope you have a great Christmas and a wonderful new year in California. I remember my King Arthur with more love than you can imagine. Take care Death Brandriff