10 Minute Moments: You Need To Want More

Sometimes we simply get stuck. We find ourselves in these routines. Wake up. Shower. Get ready for the grind. Work like a dog and pass out to wake up and start over again. Or maybe it’s nothing like that. Maybe instead it’s wake up past noon or later. Have a beer or two. Pass out. Drink some more. Or maybe smoke. Maybe it’s neither. You might wake up to your kids vying for your attention. Then trying to work and being unable. Not enough time. Not enough room. And those kids, they don’t stop asking for you. It’s so easy to get stuck. To conform and be satisfied with all of this.

It’s so easy to let yourself get dissuaded from what you really want, from what you’ve always wanted deep down. You’ll make excuses for yourself just like everyone will make excuses. “You’re jut growing up,” “You have priorities now,” “This is reality,” and it’s all one and the same bullshit.

But every writer writes about this. Every person thinks this. Why is it any more special coming from one voice than another? Does it even matter? I thought we were talking about something important here – beyond the medium – the message itself.

This is just a reminder to myself that I don’t feel too fantastic this morning. I went out with a friend of mine last night and proceeded to treat my liver to some Glenlivet and my lungs to a couple of Camel Crushes and now I’m in pain. Less pain about my body, more pain about not having gotten any writing done yesterday, and realizing how easily I could get sucked and suckered in to this life. Working to get paid and blowing it all on a few moments in between the work week. And there’s nothing wrong with this now and again. Never anything wrong with working hard, trying to get by. Something completely wrong with allowing that to be the only thing you want.

Remember what you want.

Because you want so much more.

And when you get exactly what you want (and you will if you keep at it in some way or other), always remember that you NEED to WANT MORE.

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Song of the Day: Cat Power “He War”

I saw Cat Power about 6 or 7 years ago perform here in Miami at the old I/O Lounge (now The Vagabond). She (Chan Marshall) performed maybe 2 or 3 complete songs during her hour and a half long on-stage breakdown. It was a bizarre thing to witness. My friends and I were big Cat Power fans and we’d heard some vague rumors about Marshall being a bit shy and awkward during performances, but we quickly realized those rumors were fairly downplayed. She started off  alright, but quickly got distracted when she realized/decided that her guitar was out of tune. She asked for help from audience members and a couple of guys went up to help her out. It probably ate up about 30 minutes, the lot of them standing around trying to perfectly tune her guitar strings. Eventually I think she switched over to the piano and had a similar fit about that. She finally began to play again toward the end of her set, when the club actually began playing music over her to stop her from going on. It was pretty unfortunate since it seemed she had finally gotten into her zone. Still, the few songs she did perform to completion were fantastic. I would pay money to see her again.

 

“He War,” off the You Are Free album, was a tune I used to listen to over and over my senior year of high school. I don’t ever listen to enough Cat Power these days.

Music Monday: David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust

Everyone loves David Bowie. And everyone that doesn’t only feels that way because they’ve never heard (enough) Bowie or they have terrible taste.

Alright, maybe that’s not fair to say. But it’s no secret that Bowie’s one creative, talented, innovative bastard that’s made some incredible music over the years, regardless of how you feel about him or his work (not to mention his influence on music and on society in general – I can never get enough Ziggy Stardust androgyny.)

Earlier this year, I mentioned getting hooked on Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album as a side note in a blog post. I spent the entire month of January with this album on loop in my car, learning the characteristics of each individual song. It’s rare that I find an album that I absolutely love from start to finish, but there’s just something about this one. Five Years starts off slowly but quickly sucks you in, and every subsequent song just gets better and better. I couldn’t even tell you which is my favorite because it changes every time I hear the album. (Okay, so I guess it’s a tie between Lady Stardust  -namely the original demo-, Moonage Daydream, and Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide… Although Suffragette City and John, I’m Only Dancing -though that’s a b-side but whatever- are also a fuck ton of fun).

The point is, this is an incredible album and if you haven’t already listened to it, I suggest you get yourself a copy ASAP. Or ask me and i’ll get you one (already did it for two friends).

Here’s one tune to get you started on falling in love with Ziggy and the Spiders.

Also, if you haven’t already, definitely check out the documentary named after the album. For those of you with Netflix, there’s also the David Bowie: Spider from Mars: Interviews doc, which spans several decades of interviews related to that era of his career (but is NOT the Ziggy Stardust film itself).

 

PS. Sorry for the delay on this week’s Music Monday. Will try to be more consistent on timing and length of these posts. Generally, it’ll be a music recommendation, but I might veer in different directions as time goes on.

10 Minute Moments: You Can’t Win Em All

Writing is tricky business. Especially when you tend to mostly write about your life, your experiences, the people around you. I’ve always been envious of fiction writers. They can invent entire worlds out of nothing, creating the people they wish existed, painting imaginary landscapes with whatever words they choose to use. Even in my fiction writing, there’s a lot of honesty behind it. Or maybe honesty is the wrong word. Just, reality I suppose. My fiction is basically life with a few names, places, details changed around. Sometimes I add my own spin on how I wish things would have ended rather than how they did. Hell, it’s my story, right? No one told Hemingway to downplay his perspective. (I think.)

My biggest challenge has always been in trying to soften the blow of what actually happened for the sake of whoever was involved and for the sake of whoever might be reading. It’s hard to be okay with the judgement you’re sure to receive for your work. I’ve always tried to be a people pleaser, so when someone doesn’t like me or what I’m doing, i’ve frequently taken it to heart. It’s only recently that i’ve started to buck up and understand that you simply CAN NOT win everyone over.

Some of the most influential, creative, interesting, successful individuals were disliked by some. Usually, they were disliked by many. I often wonder how many writers wound up alienating everyone around them because of the things they wrote. I should find out where their support group meets… If I ever make it that far, anyway.

Any writers out there have advice on how to develop thicker skin? Anyone have any stories on how your writing got you into trouble in the past? I’m sure i’m not the only one.

Here’s a fantastically terrible song about this problem. Seriously. This song is the best thing to come out of this short blog post.

Apparently the song is about football (of the soccer variety). I don’t know either.

Reasons Why Your OKCupid Messages Go Unanswered

Pris Killingly: Serial Online Dater, at your service.

A few posts ago, I gave some advice on how to meet people from the internet and came out of the online dating closet. I’ve been a practicing OKCupider for a bit over a year now and have received a ridiculous amount of messages throughout the past few months. Some messages have been awesome and intrigued me right away. Some were a bit more bland and got lost in the shuffle. And then of course, a few stood out because of how absurd or ridiculous they were. When I first got on the site, I did my best to answer each and every message, even if I had absolutely no interest in the sender. Basically, I thought it was just bad manners to allow a letter to go unanswered. But time passed and the more messages I received, the harder it got to answer them all. Eventually, I began only selecting the more interesting messages from people I might potentially want to date or hang out with, leaving the rest to collect virtual dust until I got that message again: Your mailbox (incoming+sent) is almost full. Soon you’ll stop getting messages! That’s when I know it’s time to let the bygones be bygones and off they go into the trash.

I still feel kinda bad about letting so many of these messages go unanswered. There are many reasons why this happens. It’s not always one simple answer and truth be told, while I can be a bitch as much as the next person in my regular life, i’m actually a pretty nice person on the whole and i’d like to think I make for a decent online dater. (If you don’t believe me, i’ve got references!) So for those who are upset that I didn’t answer back, for those that don’t give a shit, or for others of you who are just now getting into the online dating game, here’s a few reasons why your letters might go unanswered. Advice on how to avoid letter rejectionitis included within each explanation.

Please don't be as creepy as Conebone69! (If you get the reference, congratulations. You're awesome.)

1. Your username creeps me out. This is essentially the first impression you’re making on me. When I get an e-mail from OKC, the first thing i’ll see if your username. Make sure it’s something not too over the top. If you reference body parts (e.g. bigblackcock*, ballsdeepstud, etc) or how “hot” you are (e.g. sexypapi69 or something to that effect), I probably won’t want to talk to you. If your username is something too specifically geared toward something that doesn’t interest me at all but is obviously a passion of yours (e.g. dragonwzrdking, gonefishing, anothergoodxtian, etc), I might also not answer. Maybe this is too judgemental of me. Maybe “RonPaulFanboy” has other qualities aside from wanting to constantly fellate his favored presidential candidate**. However, my distaste for RP is too great to get over and as I do need some way to filter out the messages I get, RonPaulFanboy will likely get deleted in favor of someone else.

2. You have absolutely no pictures. This is a no-brainer. Online dating sites allow you, nay, encourage you to post several pictures of yourself in order to give your potential date an idea of what they’re getting themselves in to. I use the allotted 10 image limit that OKCupid gives me to provide others with a good idea of what I look like. Even if you’re just looking to be friends, I still want to know what you look like. If I wanted to hang out with someone whose face I can’t see, i’d call over the gimp.

Huh? What? Sorry, wasn't listening.

3. You have nothing interesting to say. Alright, this isn’t necessarily fair. Maybe you just didn’t know what to say or how to say what you wanted to say without sounding creepy, weird, desperate, or some combination of those things. However, just saying “hey” or “sup?” or “hi cutie” or whatever makes the receiver of the message (me, in this example) feel like a. you’re not very creative and b. you don’t like to put in much effort. And if there’s one thing I highly value, it’s someone who puts forth effort. Make a casual mention about something on my profile and/or in one of my pictures. Or come up with a funny icebreaker. Make it so that i’d feel a bit like a jerk if I didn’t somehow respond, even if i’m not necessarily fully interested. There’s always a chance I might become more interested as a result.

4. You lay it on TOO thick. From time to time, I respond to someone who compliments me on my looks via message. But if that’s the only thing you’ve got to say to me (e.g. “Damn honey, you look good!”), my attention span might not last. Some people also just go a little too overboard with their approach. “You with all those curves and me with no breaks!” is just one of several lines that, while appreciated (this shit makes me laugh always), won’t necessarily work on me, and therefore might not work on many others. Also, people claiming they want to sweep me off my feet and show me everything i’ve been missing need not apply. I like my feet firmly planted on the ground. I’m usually looking for an equal to run around with instead. But I guess some people might go for that stuff.

5. I wanted to answer, but couldn’t come up with a clever response in a timely manner. Basically, I read your message and you seemed pretty cool, but then I had to rush to work and decided i’d respond later. Except then I got home and realized I needed to get groceries, so I told myself i’d write when I got home. But then I forgot I didn’t have any clean laundry, so I went to do that, and when I got back online, Facebook and Twitter began vying for my attention and I completely forgot to write to you. And then, a few days passed, maybe weeks, even months, and then I remembered I wanted to write to you but possibly felt embarassed to do so now, after so much time. This is a rare occurrence but it HAS happened. In fact, I just wrote to someone today who seemed like a fun person to hang out with that i’d exchange messages with last May but then completely forgot to follow up with. We’ll see if he responds.

Why must you insist on making me facepalm so much?

6. You picked a fight with me for absolutely no reason. This has happened. I once had a guy message me to let me know how much he hated Charles Bukowski (after seeing “Ham on Rye” listed as what I was currently reading). He went on to talk about how drunk writers are all overrated hacks (he obviously didn’t know who he was writing to). I entertained his messages for a couple of minutes and then finally got bored and stopped responding. He continued to message me, eventually asking if I was interested in him at all. My jaw dropped to the floor and as I picked it back up, my finger hit the ‘delete’ button.

7. I’m kinda-sorta seeing someone. Kinda. I don’t really date monogamously at the moment. Truth be told, I haven’t really found anyone that i’d want to take such a step with (for various reasons). However, there have been moments here and there, very rare and short-lived ones, where I wanted to see where something might go with someone. And so, I might’ve felt a bit strange answering your message at such a time. Obviously I’m still single and none of those situations quite worked out, so the chances that this is the reason your message went unanswered are slim to nil, but it might be true again in the future. You never know.

Take a lesson from the Fonz. Heyooo!

8. You have absolutely no confidence in yourself. I know this probably sounds mean, but if you don’t think you’re anything special, why should I? No, but seriously, if your first message is loaded with phrases like “I’m really shitty at this”, “I know I don’t have a chance”, or “I’m probably not your type,” well, for one, it’ll make me kinda sad because I’m sure you’re probably a very nice person but are lacking in the self-esteem department. I’m not here to be anyone’s cheerleader though. It’s hard enough to keep my own esteem relatively up (while working against ever becoming too much of an egomaniac) without having to try and let you know how special I think you are. My job is not to massage egos. Figure your shit out, learn your best qualities, embrace who you are, and then get back to me.

9. All your pictures are inconsistent and/or terrible. Some people look different in all of their images. This bothers me to no end. Which one do you REALLY look like? I might still talk to you, but this is always going to bug me to no end. Also, if you’re taking low angle shots of yourself… please… for the love of the gods… STOP! It’s not flattering for anyone. Not anyone.*** I’ve actually been considering lending out my services to people (especially gentlemen) by advising people on which pictures to use in their online dating profiles. Hell, i’ll even take em for you, so long as you quit it with the low angle. Shirtless pics should also be avoided unless it’s a pic of you at the beach/pool/other large body of water and you’re very comfortable/confident in your body (not necessarily that you’re super fit, but that you carry yourself well). Also, pictures of you looking like absolute shit with captions like “Looking like shit after a long night out” or “Exhausted, cranky, looking terrible” should be avoided. Why the fuck do people post bad pictures of themselves? We all have a good side, a perfect angle that captures what we look like and still puts us in the best light. Go with what works. PS. I don’t want to see pics of you in more than one Halloween/theme party costume (unless they’re amazing costumes – dressing in drag isn’t amazing unless you’re actually in the biz of being a drag king/queen FYI). Goofy fact pics should also be kept to a minimum. We might think that’s what you actually normally look like and then we’ll never take you seriously.

Arrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhh!

10. You are rude. “I wanna fuck u” is not a good icebreaker – unless maybe you’re Ryan Gosling. Also, harassing me by sending constant messages after I failed to respond to the first one is a quick way to get me to completely ignore you. Sometimes I take a while to respond because I want to figure out the right thing to say, or maybe i’ve just been busy, or I might be seeing someone at the time and don’t want to try to date anyone else. Or maybe i’m just not interested. (It’s probably that.) Whatever the case, it’s fine if you send me another message a few days/weeks down the line as a friendly reminder that you messaged me before. Make your intentions known. If you’re writing to ask me out on a date and I didn’t respond and I still don’t, take the hint. If you’re writing because you honestly just want to hang out and don’t expect anything, and you tell me this, I might be more inclined to meet you. Or maybe I will want to go on that date. You really never know. All I do know is that there’s few things that irritate me more about online dating than assholes who want to call me names because I wasn’t interested in them. Get over it, psychos. It’s not cool. I should make a Tumblr reporting you all so no one dates you.****

11. The answers to your questions freak me out. Some people don’t take the question portion too seriously and give a lot of bullshit answers while others try to be as honest and consistent as possible. I don’t always read through people’s questions because, well, I don’t usually have the time or attention span for it. However, sometimes I like to give it a once over. Some red flag answers for me that might cause me to NOT answer you back? Anything that indicates you’re anti-choice/pro-life, extremely religious/religion-oriented (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, whatever – it just doesn’t interest me and will likely cause major conflicts down the line), you don’t believe in evolution, you’re Republican or agree with the Tea Party in any way, you’re racist, you’re sexist… Need I go on? Everyone’s got their hot-button issues and these are mine. Don’t like em? I don’t want to date you.

12. I’m just not interested. Sometimes people just aren’t interested. I’ve sent out messages that went unanswered and lived to tell the tale. They either had one of the above reasons for not answering, had a different reason, or, the main reason – they just weren’t interested. And that’s okay. We’re not always physically, mentally, and/or emotionally attracted to everyone, no matter how nice and good looking and pleasant they might be or appear to others. It happens.

Hope that shed some light into this potentially perplexing problem. Now get out there and date some strangers! I swear it’s good for you.

 

 

*I’m not using any actual usernames i’ve seen to protect the quasi-innocent.

**Just joking about this. Kinda. I really don’t like Ron Paul or the kool-aid drinking following he’s got, but i’ll save that for a different post.

***Alright, maybe some porn stars can get away with it, but this is because we’re looking at other body parts most likely and forgot to check out the face.

****Future project? Maybe that’s a little too mean…

February’s Mixtape: Four Weeks to Breathe

Last month, I posted up J is For…, my January mixtape playlist, which consisted of songs i’d been listening to basically on loop throughout the month. This mix is a bit different in sound. Some electronic/indietronica, a little bit of indie rock, and some neo soul for good measure. The songs are mostly fun and upbeat and have been making my 6am drives to work a lot more enjoyable. The mix originally developed from an Erykah Badu kick I was having one afternoon. I started putting together some other tunes with a few Badu ones and then the mix kind of took off in a different direction, but I feel like it all meshes well by the end of it. Let me know what you think! Link and entire playlist below:

LISTEN: February’s Mixtape – Four Weeks to Breathe

Tame Impala “It Is Not Meant To Be”
Erykah Badu “The Cell”
Mayer Hawthorne “Green Eyed Love”
Omar “There’s Nothing Like This”
Joe Jackson “It’s Different for Girls”
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes “Home (Party Supplies Remix)”
Empire of the Sun “Walking on a Dream (RAC Mix)”
Arcade Fire “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”
Matthew Dear “Monkey”
Bloc Party “Blue Light”
Miami Horror “Holidays”
Cut Copy “Going Nowhere”
Broken Social Scene “All to All (Skeet Skeet Remix)”
Calvin Harris “Feel So Close”

Let’s see what music the rest of March brings us!

10 Minute Moments: I was too shy to take your picture.

I was hanging out with a friend yesterday watching Pecker, my very first John Waters movie. Aside from being hilarious and having a fantastic cast, and just being an overall enjoyable movie, it made me once again realize how many opportunities I’ve failed to capture on film.

I used to carry my camera around all the time. Certain years of my life (like 2005, for example) are heavily documented in images, and I love being able to go back to those images, to have a visual cue triggering all those memories.

Last year when I was traveling, I did my best to take as many pictures as possible, but I know I failed at documenting everything the way I wanted to. I forgot to take my SLR camera and only took my digital. The digital doesn’t inspire me to shoot the way my Canon Rebel does. It’s just so disconnected.

I love shooting with my SLR because I feel more involved in the image. One of my favorite things to do when I’m with someone and have my SLR on me is to keep the camera up and pointed at them for at least 5 or 10 minutes without really shooting anything. My friends for the most part tend to be shy at first when the camera is pointed at them, and I like to give them time to relax so that I can finally start taking the kinds of pictures of them I want to take. I love being very involved in portraits. It’s always an intimate rush to share my vision of someone with that same person. There’s just a connection there that develops, regardless of whether they’re a close friend or a one night stand.

I know I’m working on this procrastination project, so I think that this might be a good part of it. I’ve been discussing for a while now that I want to get back in to photography. I took a few pictures in the past few weeks but I’ve since run out of film. I’d like to make a list of people whose portraits I want to take. I’m not sure how it’ll work out since some of these people aren’t anywhere near me. On top of this, my biggest challenge is getting over being shy about taking pictures. So many times i’ve found myself wanting to take a picture of someone but being too scared of what they might think or read in to it when all I want to do is capture a moment in an image. I’ll definitely need to work on that. I’ll post progress as it comes.

I just went 6 minutes past the 10 minute mark. Damnit.

10 Minute Moments: Adjusting

Woke up with a stuffy nose, and I know it’s because my room is a mess and because I keep forgetting to take my allergy medicine. The sun isn’t even up and I’m not sure how I’m still awake. Or rather, how I woke up at all. It’s the end of February, and the only thing that makes me realize is that time simply refuses to sit still.

I think i’m going to try to do a little free write like this whenever I can. Too often, I jot down ideas of what I want to write about, I open drafts that I never publish, I write but I stop myself because it’s not perfect. Except that writing is never perfect. Art in every form is constantly changing, morphing from one thing to the next. Or maybe that’s just the kind of thing you think when you’ve slept maybe 10 hours tops in 3 days. Who knows.

I started a new job on Monday. I’d been waiting to hear back from them for about a month now. So far, it’s going alright save for the whole waking up before dawn part. Living out in the suburbs certainly doesn’t help the situation.

Other random thoughts as of late?

– Sandwiches are fantastic. I got hooked on Po’ Boys this month after celebrating Mardi Gras the only way I knew how (with food, although we had some Abita too. Did a little Boozin Betties write up on it here.).

– I don’t mind driving far distances as long as the traffic isn’t so bad. And yet, I live in Miami, where traffic is king.

– I’m still stuck between trying to figure out if I should try to TEFL abroad next year, or just move to New York, or apply to grad schools and see where they take me, or pack up all my stuff and move to California, land of milk and honey and lax laws about some favored personal items. Or maybe become a rubbertramp, pack my stuff in my car, and travel around. Except my car is unreliable. You see where I’m going with this…

And on that note, time for work. My 10 minutes are up.