Waking up at 7am to make it to Independence by 8am. Blaaaaaaah.
Thanks to NP for this suggestion
Let’s keep it short and simple. I wouldn’t survive the zombie apocalypse. I don’t have any survival skills or any people skills. People won’t look to me for leadership or anything like that. I don’t know how to clean/reload/maintain a firearm. But I can swing a mean tire iron.
Here’s what I’m hoping will happen if the zombie apocalypse finally does come. If I’m lucky, I can get away from the populated areas with as many family members/loved ones as I can. If I’m super lucky, I’ll survive long enough to be picked up by a band of survivors with members who DO have survival skills. From there, I secretly hope my charm and humor can keep group morale up long enough for them to forget that I’m a complete waste of resources.
It’s not much of a plan, but it is a plan. I don’t plan to grab a shotgun and go gung ho on a bunch of zombies when I know my chances of survival are extremely limited. Sticking to other people that know what the hell they’re doing is much smarter than trying to be by myself. Strength in numbers!
You want to see something up here? Up in these little blog spaces? Go ahead and e-mail me with your blog post ideas. Keep it short and simple and let me do the thinking. Try not to go for pieces that are so personal I’d feel uncomfortable sharing. Community writing for the win!
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Jeff for this post idea.
You ever been down in the blues and all everyone tells you is to “be happy” like it’s the simplest god damn thing in the world? I hate that. If “being happy” was as simple as everyone makes it out to be, then there would be no such thing as sadness. It’s a foolish idea. Happiness (IMO) has always been easily attainable if I could just follow five of these simple rules. Problem is: I break my own rules.
1) Get a god damn hobby.
Look, I’m all for thousands of people meticulously piecing together models of robots or whatever, but it’s never really been my style. I can see the appeal though. Getting your mind off of your problems all in favor of one small project. It doesn’t even matter how stupid and silly the project is, you just want to finish for that small burst of self-esteem and completion. I’ve got hobbies too! And they usually don’t involve sitting around and gluing sticks together. I like to play games and name the characters after my loved ones. Or I like to day dream about rebuilding the world in my own image. Or what I’m doing right now. (That last one is writing for some of my…duller readers.)
2) Break Something
Remember folks, we are aiming for short term stress release and happiness here. And I don’t care what you think, but I’ve never been happier then when I’m busting something up. Go to Daiso and buy a ton of shitty little cups and bowls and blast them apart in the parking lot. There is such a thing as a beautiful destruction, and you’ve never seen it until you’re the one that causes it. It’s empowering really. Knowing that you have the capability to shatter something that someone took so much time and effort into creating. Creation and destruction go hand in hand. If I can’t do one, I’ll do the other.
3) New clothing and look
It’s true. Dressing better makes you feel better. Go ahead and tell yourself that you’re beautiful in the inside when you’re covered in grease and dirt. It’s hard. Go buy yourself a new pair of jeans. Get a god damn hair cut. Feel good? It’s you versus the world and you just got your second wind. Go get em tiger.
4) Focus on your victories
If you ever feel stressed out from the hardships of life, remember that they’re not your first and they’re probably not your last. From there, look at how you’ve conquered the ones before you. You’re still standing aren’t you? Well that means you can probably take this one in stride. If you think about your previous accomplishments, you can ride them out through the rest of the storm.
5) Remember the world isn’t over
No matter how you want to shake it, the world is far from over. Even after your despair and hardships, there will be people who will continue to prosper and suffer. Do you want to live to keep fighting for that little slice of happiness? The world doesn’t end with any amount of suffering. It’s going to end for you when you’re dead and buried. And until then, there’s going to be a lot more coming and you’re going to have to keep taking it. Keep your chin up and don’t get in over your head.
I finally got around to watching “My Sassy Girl”. Yes, I watched a Korean drama. Is your mind blown? No? Because it should be. I’m not the kind of guy who dabbles into foreign films about feeling good and loving yourself while finding love around the corner, and if you’ve met me you can probably tell. So what’s the deal? I got friend carded into watching it. (Also, I couldn’t find a better excuse for wanting to watch a romantic comedy, but in a foreign language.)
Well, that’s not the whole story. I’ve been interested in Korean dramas as a medium in which i can poke fun at my portly friend, Martin. Yes, I know exploring a new genre of film just to make fun of a friend sounds kind of pathetic, but that’s just the kind of friendship we have. Back in the day, doughy Martin used to try to give me tips in love for no apparent reason. And I mean really sporadic bursts of his wisdom just kind of always interjected into our conversations.
Me: Man, I’m pretty fucking tired.
Martin: You know, you should be nicer to girls. It makes it easier for them to love you.
Me: SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.
You can only imagine me putting up with this for awhile. So I finally decided to question the source of his fountain of infinite knowledge and tried to find out what the fuck made his advice so viable compared to the millions of other dating articles/websites out there.
And Korean dramas were the answer.
Holy shit, I remembered wondering if I had just struck oil or just been dropped off in the middle of a mine field. And after getting the recommendation, I figured why not?
First of all, it’s not a fucking drama. It’s a romantic comedy. If I can laugh at the expense of the characters, I think it’s safe to assume it’s a romantic comedy. Again, this is Martin’s fault, not mine.
Secondly, it struck an emotional cord with me. Or more likely, it made me feel like that everyone was falling in love except me. Now what’s the deal there? I can watch Western romantic comedies or romantic dramas all night and I wouldn’t even break my stride. I have multiple thoughts on this, but keep in mind these are all bewildered hearsay.
It might be because of the how I can relate to the appearance of the cast. Yes, call it racist, but they are Asian. And I’m Asian. A lot of the friends I’ve grown up with and fell for are Asian. So it kind of makes sense that a romantic comedy built around Asian people with an Asian cast can seem to hit more at home with me than a movie about a white couple in New York. It doesn’t help that the guy seems oafishly familiar to a few of the boys back in high school. Or that the female lead is the epitome of wacky cuteness that seems to resonate with every description of the “ideal love” that I keep hearing about.
Or maybe I felt that it wasn’t so much about the drama as it was about the romance. In the essence of the film there was affection, not conflict. Yeah, there was a little conflict to keep it going, but mostly the scenes were day to day stories about the couple and how they felt for each other. If I watch a western romantic comedy, they’re always trying to find ways to overcome the obstacles between the two of them. After awhile, I get sick of it and I just say to myself (and to a lesser extent, the characters in the movie) “Shit, if you want to be with them…just be with them.” But with “My Sassy Girl”, they did just that. And it was affectionate and sweet, but not sickeningly sweet. I never found myself thinking “This is completely unrealistic, couples NEVER do that.”
But most likely, I think I got lonely just when the movie started. Yeah, it happens. People get lonely, and being lonely is the worst part of the human condition. It reminds us that we have to strive to have healthy relationships with other people. I still don’t believe in learning from Korean dramas, but I’ll have to prepare next time for when I watch one.
A Pessimistic Romantic
And then there was time. Time to write, time to sleep in, and time to conceive of awkward blog posts. But seriously, now that I’m done with school I’m actually considering rebooting this damn thing. Not because I have anything particularly powerful to say, but I believe that it’s healthy for me to have a place to “post it note” my ideas. So here’s a few updates that are going on in my life.
1) My house has been robbed. They’ve stolen all my video games and consoles, thus forcing me to rebuild my collection from the ground up.
I admit, I’m pretty pissed off about this. I probably spent over a thousand dollars on that motley collection of RPGs/FPSs/ and RTSs. But at the same time, rebuilding brick by brick has been pretty fun so far. I’m trying to be more selective when it comes to video games. Aim for sales from various websites and only buy first print games that I know are going to suck ass to try to find later. (I could be wrong on the first print point. I thought Demon’s Souls would be hard to find, but now they’re reprinting all the time.)
2) I’ve finally graduated!
You’d think this would mean that this blog would be focused on job hunting and what not, but I’m still going back to school in the fall to pick up my teaching credential. So what does this mean? I have no idea. I don’t feel like a college graduate, nor do I feel like there’s some great adventure awaiting me. I am looking forward to student teaching in the fall though, and perhaps you’ll read a few posts on that. The worst part about this is that it means that a few of my buddies are graduating as well. And unlike me, it means that some of them are leaving to study elsewhere or to job search.
3) I’m assisting in the planning of a charity event.
Crazy right? I don’t do this kind of thing. But since my friend needs help and I’m bored off my ass, I figured I might as well try it. I don’t have much information on it at the moment, but expect a few updates about that as I go.
4) Trying to turn this blog into a more opinionated kind of thing.
Seriously, I try not to express my opinion in public. Sure, I’ll tell my friends once in awhile, but I’ve always found putting my opinion in a blog for everyone to see to be quite awkward. But I’ll try it because I do have a rather strong opinion on certain issues. I don’t know if this makes the blog more interesting
I know this isn’t much, but I hope to post more in the next few months. If you’re bored “Stay awhile and listen.“
“Goddamnit Martin!” is all I can mutter before our position is smacked down by enemy mortar fire. Martin had gone out of his way to shoot a rocket at an enemy tank and had revealed our position before Jeff can spawn on me several seconds before. So basically the first thing Jeff saw was heavy mortar shells stomping him into the ground. Martin and I made it out though, but only to face the aggravated wrath of a menacing tank driver. We ran in opposite directions in hopes that it would only focus fire one of us. It went after me, and the heavy tank shells left manhole sized craters across the road where I would use later in the game as cover from enemy snipers. To say the least, I died.
Battlefield: Bad Company is the latest FPS entry of the famed Battlefield series (developed by DICE and produced by EA), and the first to incorporate the destructible environments of the Frostbite Engine. Traditionally, Battlefield games focus on dozens of player controlled characters on a single map fighting over control points with vehicles, airplanes, air strikes, and dozens of other goodies. As you can imagine the addition of destructible environments leads to a few interesting moments and strategies. I once had Martin blow down an enemy wall before me and Jeff put down suppressing fire on the position. This release is also the first to be console only, a big step considering the Battlefield series is usually known for being on the PC. I picked it up on retail for 30 dollars, cheap considering that 60 dollars is the norm for new games. I was wary at first. A PC developer developing for console? They’re definitely venturing into a wider market, and with a bigger audience means changes to the traditional game play.
But enough of the stuff people don’t care about, let’s dive into the review.
Story: You won’t get your usual “War is Hell” story here. Instead, you get a comedic approach to a fictional war with friendly (or not so friendly) banter flying around between the squad mates. I really didn’t focus on the story, I was in it for the multiplayer. But I was still surprised to see DICE take a Battlefield game and make a story out of it. Traditionally, Battlefield games have no story, but instead focus on the multiplayer maps as dozens of players slug it out, so I was surprised that they took such a drastically different view from the “norm” for FPSing. Usually in FPS stories, you get A) badass hero goes out of his way to save humanity (Examples include Halo series and Duke Nukem series) or the B) War is Hell and any story character worth liking is going to die (Call of Duty series). It’s interesting to see something else besides the usual soldiers that are depicted as “noble defenders of justice and the American way”. In Bad Company, we get a bunch of misfits that are punished for different reasons (Placing C4 in the officer’s latrine anyone?) and are thus sent into Bad Company (the name of the company, not the name of the game). Think of Bad Company as moving target practice for the enemy. Before you know it, the cast of Bad Company is chasing mercenaries, stealing gold bars, and invading neutral countries by themselves.
Notable Story Pros:
+ Funny dialogue between the squad mates seems day-to-day. Far from the usual corny “war movie” dialogue.
+ Finally an FPS on the 360 where my favorite character doesn’t die!
+ Destructable environments allow the player to experience new tactics and routes besides the usual “destroy enemy targets” in an FPS
-Can be a bit too easy (main character gets a free insta heal with a short cooldown)
Story Score: 8/10 Fun and easy to pick up with a light hearted story. But it’s no Bioshock, and I’ll forget this one in a few months.
Graphics: Nothing to write home about. I remember playing Bioshock and COD4 for the first time and going “Whoa.” as I was thrown into a new world that was strangely enough, more realistic then my own room. But when I popped in Bad Company and looked around at my fellow squad mates, I couldn’t help that they felt strangely blocky and grainy. The environments is where the developers seemed to spend most of the time. The environments alone are also nothing special, but toss in some C4 or a mortar strike and you get to see some fireworks that actually made me open my eyes (and that’s quite the accomplishment)
Notable Graphic Pros
+Explosions are sickeningly satisfying.
Notable Graphic Cons
-Everything else seems “Average” and “Grainy”
Graphic Score: 7/10 Not mind blowing, not eye gouging awful either. Average. Great Explosions though.
Although the graphics aren’t that great, the Audio makes up for it.
Audio: No famous voice actors here, but the voices gets the job done for the characters. The finer point of the audio is the combat sound effects. The explosions and the constant “PA!PA!PA!” of machine gun fire definitely gets you tense, and before you know it you’re diving behind cover everytime you hear the report of a sniper rifle. The tanks and humvees roar to life when you enter it, and rewards you with a sickening crunch of steel on steel when they collide with another vehicle. Artillery strikes whistle before nailing your position. Playing multiplayer for the first time is like entering a symphony of carnage, and you can do nothing but relish the sounds that are can create tension, but is strangely beautiful.
9/10 Amazing except the VAs. The VAs for the story characters can be better, but sound effects are spot on.
Gameplay: The meat and bone of every review. Everything else can be shitty, but I’d still play a game if it had amazing gameplay. And Bad Company has amazing gameplay. Upon entering the multi-player screen, players are given the choice of kits with each kit specializing in a different area. Imagine them as “classes” from an RPG, each with a different role and strengths. Assault kits are the tip of the sword, often using their gernade launchers as mini wrecking balls, blowing away enemy cover then tearing them apart with their assault rifles. Demolition kits do what they’re expected to do. Blow shit up. Armed primarily with a shotgun and a rocket launcher, demo kits cause more havok by tossing around gernades like they were candy and dropping anti tank mines wherever they go. If you love fireworks, you’ll love this kit. Recon kits snipe, I don’t know why they didn’t just call them snipers. Nothing real special about this kit, besides the laser guided bomb they can unlock to blow the hell out of tanks. Specialists kids are the best at house to house fighting, utilizing C4 to blow down walls. C4 can also be used for an assortment of other tricks (can anyone say suicidal golf cart?). Support kits do as the name says they do, they support. Armed with a heavy machine gun, the support kid can also drop healing packs and repair vehicles when necessary. And the cherry on the sundae is the sweet mortar strike unlock that allows the player to blow away enemy positions and tanks.
The vehicles are well done, neither being “Overpowered” nor “underpowered”. A single player can take down multiple tanks (ask Martin), and a good tank driver can blow away a whole team. For a mix of speed and lethality, a squad can pick up a humvee with a mounted gernade launcher on the back. Or just a golfcart to fuck around with. Helicopters are lesser armored than their land based counter parts, but they pack a punch by delivering salvos of death on the enemy base, while combined with the manuverbility that only a flyer can bring.
The weapon unlocks and rank system is icing on the cake, adding another complex system to an already enticing game. The better a character is, the more tools and guns he can unlock. All stats are updated to the EA website, so if you pwn hard you can show off. Overall, there are less unlocks than BF2142 (a previous installment of the series), but each unlock is more crucial and fills a special niche.
There’s only two game modes, and that might bother some people. Gold rush is a complex gametype where one team defends, and another attacks. The attacking team receives a certain amount of lives, while the defenders do not. The defenders instead are tasked with defending their gold crates, and they can acheive victories by killing off all the attacking team’s lives. The attacking team can regain some lives by killing off the crates.
The second game mode is Conqest (which I have not tried yet.)
Although this seems rather meek, there is enough variability and fun in Gold rush to satisfy me. If I want team deathmatch, I’ll play Call of Duty or Halo.
+Fast paced combat
+variability in each game means that one strategy won’t always triumph
+endorses team work
-Friendly fire might bother some people who aren’t used to it (Preference really, I believe friendly fire stops spraying and praying)
-Hard as fuck to fly a helicopter.
Score:9/10 Fun and entertaining, especially with a few good friends. Nothing ground breaking though, so not derserving of a 10.
Conclusion: Try it if you want something out of the ordinary for the Xbox360. It’s definitely fun with a few friends due to its focus on squad based combat. But it’s far from ground breaking, more of the usual stuff from DICE with a few great features added in. With the new price drop, definitely buy it.
After this cock of a week (Three essays, all 6-8 pages and one 15 pager), it’s nice to have a little reprieve by taking having a nice twelve hour sleep session and then going to a concert. Sucks that next week I have to do the following:
1) Write a 3-4 page application on Subjective Reader Responses in regards to Raymond Carver’s “Popular Mechanics” short story.
This one is awful just because it’s from ENG 101. Criticize your response to critiquing a paper. Yes I know it’s confusing.
2) Response to the Shakespeare scenes I saw Yesterday.
This one isn’t that bad, just a small response about how the director changed certain things from the original text.
3) Memorize a Shakespeare soliloquy.
This one is pure ass. I have to recite it in front of class too.
4) Edit my fiction paper and possibly write another satirical essay to submit it to the Department English Awards.
I’m greedy, so I might as well try it out.
Finally, after I do all that I get to enjoy me some Spring break.
This is how many fiction characters end their story. They die, or they pass out or they get raped. Yes, they’re supposed to learn a lesson by dying, passing out, or getting raped, but what happened to the days where people learned a lesson without getting their ass kicked? I hope all my characters survive. I like my characters, they’re quirky little caricatures of myself and the people I care about. I wonder what it would be like if people learned their lessons like that in real life?
Andrew: And the moral of the story is: Don’t do drugs.
-Andrew is suddenly hit upside the head with a baseball bat, raped multiple times by unknown assailants, then has his throat slit-
Man, life must suck in fiction-land.
I rewrote this thing twice, and I didn’t fully proof read it yet. I don’t know if you guys will get the message, but I hope you will. But I want to post this so all my friends can see and hopefully even read. It might not be good, but maybe it can entertain them for a bit. The story is called “The Art Gallery”. Thanks for reading guys.
The young man was sitting in the back of his art classroom, wondering how to draw something that was good enough to avoid criticism, but bad enough to still fly under the radar. He strived for adequacy in a school where inadequacy was the norm. And he was fine with that, as long as no one could spot him out amongst the caricatures of high school students, he could do as he pleased. No amount of probing or prodding would make the young man urge to “rise and realize” as the self-help instructors often spewed during their bimonthly seminars that the principal had hoped would boost student morale. It didn’t.
The young man had heard the expression “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” countless times before. And he tried to live by that expression, but it didn’t seem to work for him. He often received so many lemons that he had become sick of lemonade, so he started turning the lemons into lemonade and throwing it in the faces of whoever gave him the lemons until they gave him the oranges that he wanted in the first place. But the outcome was bittersweet, and wasn’t worth the effort. So he finally took all the leftover lemons that life gave him and threw them at the canvas in a mixed act of wonton destruction and creativity.
When he was done he let out a sigh of relief, because he was once again adequate. The emotional lemons that he threw on the canvas didn’t scream for help, nor did they scream for attention. Instead they laid there and oozed complacency like the young man had wanted. He wasn’t a big fan of art, but much like every high school student in the state he was required to do so. It was either art or choir, and he remember trying choir for a week or two before realizing that the other people in the choir would actually have to depend on him to be adequate, or better. The moment he stepped below adequacy is the moment that he would become a burden on his fellow choir students, and the young man didn’t think he could live with that. So he joined art, where he believed that he could fly under the radar of the friendly teacher. The young man had discovered long ago that friendly teachers could never divert too much attention to him because they were too busy being friendly to every student, dog, cat, rock and other teacher they came into contact with. And he was perfectly fine with that.
Suddenly he heard his name break the swish-swish-swoosh pattern of strokes across the other students’ canvases. He suddenly became alert, like he was paying attention to whatever lesson was happening (which there was none). He tensed up his shoulders in fear that another teacher had caught him not paying attention or not writing notes or not doing whatever adequate students are supposed to do. And he heard his name again, but this time he caught a short break from his pseudo studious manner in order to analyze the tone of the voice. Before he could figure out what was going on, his art teacher swooped across the room in his over-sized pants and dress shirt like a great Californian Condor and perched behind the young man. He asked the young man to move in order to get a better look at his painting, but the young man could not comply because he was still frozen in horror and confusion. The teacher then pecked him along with his ruler and leaned his oversized nose towards the still moist canvas. The young man could not fathom what was going on, and his animal instincts told him to lunge towards the door. “Fight or flight” as he recalled his biology teacher saying. Before he could properly decide between running towards the door or throwing his stool out the window before climbing out, the young student’s art teacher let out a shriek of praise or fear. He hoped it was neither praise nor fear, because either one could lead to disastrous conclusions. In half a second he made a short prayer that the cause of the shriek was maybe a pencil or clothes pin piercing the knobby talon-like feet of the teacher (The teacher had told the class on the first day that walking around without shoes made him feel as “free as a bird”) But no, his hopes were dashed as soon as the teacher broke into a smile so large that it could actually be seen behind his phallic nose. Which was an accomplishment in its own right, but the young man couldn’t figure out if it was a bigger accomplishment for the teacher or for himself.
The teacher ranted and raved about the artistic quality of the young man’s work, showering him with praise. The young man did not like being showered with praise; he preferred to bathe in adequacy in the privacy of his own mind. Or maybe even in a sauna where the burning lava rocks of adequacy would turn the refreshing water of adequacy into steam. But the showering of praise was not for him. He fidgeted on his stool, something he found to be a lot more difficult due to the mechanics behind a stool. One fidget too strong on one side of the stool would cause him to topple over. The other students glared at him, some in admiration, some in jealousy, and some in mock awareness as their eyes glazed over in boredom.
The teacher decided to reward the young man with art gallery tickets, two to be exact. The teacher commented on how he could use the extra ticket to bring his girlfriend. The class laughed. The teacher looked around and feigned bewilderment before deciding against further embarrassing the young man by reprimanding the class.
On the bus ride home, the young man ran his fingers over the engraved text etched across the tickets, careful not to accidently smudge them with leftover paint residue from class. He didn’t want to go because going would prove to the teacher that the young man had an interest in the arts, which he had none whatsoever. But he didn’t want to hurt the teacher’s feelings by not going. And the teacher would know too, because he’s the type of teacher that would perch behind the young man in art class while running his hands through his light feathery hair before trying to discuss the gallery with him. The young man sighed against the bus window, watching his breath make a small foggy circle on the bus window. He wanted to draw something in the foggy area, perhaps an angel or a demon, or even a smiley face with horns or a halo. But he decided against it, he wasn’t an artist after all. He was simply a student with a brush and too much time on his hands. He decided to go the next day, not to impress anyone but just to make the teacher happy. Besides, the teacher was still young and passionate about teaching, and the young man didn’t want to be responsible for turning the teacher into a jaded mockery of his former self.
The next day, the young man boarded the public bus towards the art gallery downtown. When he finally arrived, he departed from the bus only to watch as dozens of smiling young men and woman entering the art gallery carrying large books with such content looks on their face. The smiles on their faces in front of such a cathedral of art history betrayed their intentions of discussing high society issues within the confines of the gallery. It was as if they believed that if the city was laid to waste, then the art gallery would be spared because it was the pinnacle of high society and the last bastion of humanity. The young man shifted his eyes back and forth, from the building to the people that entered it. Did he really want to be here? He asked himself if it was worth the time and trouble of having some young person ask him about some social issue he rather not talk about. He didn’t want to talk about it because there was a ninety percent chance that he didn’t care. He tried to edge back towards the bus, as if someone had been watching him, but he only turned around in time to see the giant movie advertisement and the bus it was attached to speed away.
He decided to walk down a few blocks, hoping to find another bus stop away from the hustle and bustle of the art gallery. But before he could even round the corner of the art gallery, the young man saw something he thought to be rather peculiar. Not just peculiar, but unheard of. On the corner of the art gallery was another young man, not much older than the student. But he was dirty, and his cheek bones had sunken in as if they were trying to catch the dirt and sweat and tears in the giant basin that was his face. The tiny creases near his eyes seemed to hold untold hoards of dust in them, and his facial hair was no exception. The man on the street had a small hat out with an even smaller amount of change inside. But this wasn’t the peculiar part, pan-handlers were common, and though a young pan handler such as this was a rarity it was still not unheard of. But there was something utterly charming about the vagrant. If it wasn’t for the dirt and ragged clothing, he would be deemed as rather handsome.
At the vagrant’s heel was a pet rabbit. Again, this wasn’t the peculiar part. The rabbit sat in a hunched position with a collar and leash around its neck that lead to the vagrant’s pocket. The strangest thing was that the rabbit happened to be very fat. Not just a little portly, but massively obese. No amount of hopping could reduce the hulking monster to its former cute self.
At first the student had pity for the fuzzy being. The rabbit that is, not the young vagrant. He squatted down to look eye to eye with the beast, which wasn’t that difficult considering that the long eared behemoth was massive. The beast glared at him sinisterly. And this was a bunny rabbit too, so it was very off-putting to have something that’s usually cute and loving to glare at him sinisterly. The student immediately thought of a scene he saw at the park which also reminded him of something that was also cute yet sinister. A toddler approached him glowing with the usual toddler glow, and smiling for what the young student had originally mistaken as friendliness. Before the young student could say anything, the little toddler had kicked him in the shin and ran away screaming “HE TRIED TO TOUCH MY PENIS!” This left the young man very distraught and confused, not to mention nursing a bruised shin.
The young student continued to see eye to eye with the beast, because the pan-handling vagrant did not seem to mind. The beast was large enough to make love to his leg, thought the young man. Scratch that, the beast was large enough to have rough fuck sex with his leg, because as the young man recalled, there was a very large difference between fucking and making love. And he doubted that the creature could truly make love to anything.
A hoarse voice had beckoned the young student to look up at the pan handler. The voice seemed detached from the user, as if it didn’t belong, but it still suggested that the young student should go across the street and buy the drooling, pulsating behemoth a carrot. The young student has been told multiple times by his parents and the priests to listen to the voice from above. And as he squatted there looking upwards at the pan-handler, he guessed if there was ever a time to listen to his parents it would be now.
The student looked right and left before he dashed across the street to pick up a single carrot from the grocery store. He fished the money out of his pockets, untangling it from the mass of pens, un-chewed gum, and house keys before he could count out the right amount. He then proceeded to run back across the street in order to feed the unruly beast. The young man licked his lips in anticipation, and looked at his Mickey Mouse watch that his aunt seemed to get him every year even though the one from the year before still worked fine. He waited for the seconds hand to reach the twelve, and made a little bet against himself that the behemoth would take at least a minute to devour the carrot. The student squatted again and slowly poked the carrot towards its doom in the rabbit’s endless gaping maw. A minor pang of guilt hit him in the chest, because the rapid crunching reminded him of cartoon damsels in distress strapped to a log as the log slowly crept on a conveyor belt towards a wood chipper. The vagrant’s thick “hu hu hu!” of laughter caused the student to look up again in curiosity. Then pain made him pay attention to what he was doing. He could do nothing to stop the creature from grinding the tip of his finger, and soon found it to be a difficult task to wrench his finger away from the creature’s mouth because the little bastard did seem to enjoy it. Finally, with a tug so forceful that it knocked the student off of his squatting position and onto his buttocks, he could finally take a look at the damage done.
It wasn’t as bad as he thought. It’s never as bad as he thought it was. A tiny little nip at the finger, hardly more than a pin prick. It did bleed a bit though, and for that the vagrant apologized. As the student sat there on his buttocks in the middle of a city street, he couldn’t help but conclude that the reason the fat bastard had grown so big was that it had developed a taste for human flesh. Before the young man could get back up, the vagrant knelt on one knee and offered a hand that was just as dirty, cracked and dusty as his face. Before the young man could thank him out of welcome, the vagrant leaned against the solid brick wall against him and lit a cigarette up. The student once again looked at the caricature of social poverty leaning against the urban backdrop, and he tossed a quarter into the hat before he walked across the street to catch his bus towards home.
Upon stepping on the bus, the young man searched every pocket, every nook and cranny on his body for the change to take the bus home. He was a quarter short. Frantically, he ran across the street to ask the vagrant for his quarter back. But the vagrant shook his head in disapproval, and the young man had to watch hopelessly as another movie ad with a bus behind it drove away.
An idea hit him. If the young man was a cartoon character, he would have a light bulb shining above his head illuminating the ignorant darkness. Because he figured he wouldn’t be using it anyway, he asked the vagrant if he could trade the extra art gallery ticket for his quarter back. By dragging the vagrant along with him into the art gallery, he wouldn’t be alone and people couldn’t bother him about the inadequacies of society. Besides that, he would no longer be a stain on the clean sheet that is artistic knowledge. Actually, he’d still be a stain, but he would be invisible compared to the gaping, bloody hole that was the vagrant.
After offering the vagrant the ticket in exchange for his quarter back, the vagrant immediately interrupted the salesman’s hustle the student was putting on to ask if there was a bathroom inside. The student, assuming that the art gallery was like every other public building he has ever been to nodded his head. Before the student could figure out what was going on, the vagrant yanked a ticket out of his offering hand, dumped a quarter in the same hand and started power walking towards the art gallery with his large trash bag of belongings slung over his back.
The young student followed the vagrant’s shadow, barely keeping up to the vagrant’s rhythmic walk. Oddly enough, the vagrant tied the massive rabbit to a fire hydrant, insisting that the animal could take care of itself. The student agreed, because he could’ve sworn he heard a slight growling sound escaping the rabbit when he attempted to pet it good-bye. They both smiled at the ticket taker at the entrance, and the student noticed that the vagrant’s teeth were much whiter than he expected. Or maybe it was whiter because of how dirty and dark his face was? It was difficult for the student to decide.
As the student stared at the building directory, he could see the vagrant disappear into the bathroom in the corner of his eye. The student ignored this, as he was trying to figure out which exhibit to go to. After several minutes, the student finally decided to go to the Friedlander photo exhibit on the third floor. He had no idea who Friedlander was, but he enjoyed the aspect of photos much more then sculptures and paintings. Photos were just a depiction of the beauty that existed in everyday objects and people, not an over exaggerated painting that’s much nicer looking then its real counterpart. As soon as he decided, a man in a tweed suit approached him and immediately started following him up towards the third floor. The student looked behind him every few seconds to see if the tweed suit was still following him from place to place. Every time he looked back at the tweed suit, the tweed suit reacted by smiling a tweedy smile, exposing the man’s white teeth. It took him several looks before he realized that the vagrant had washed his face, shaved, tied his hair back and changed clothes to become the tweed suit that was following him up the stairs. The student even thought he smelled a hint of musk.
All signs of urban poverty had left the vagrant’s face. What was once a dirty vagrant now seemed like a young professor who spent too much time studying to understand how bad his tweed suit looked, but could still appreciate a beautiful portrait. The wrinkles that had once indicated stress from poverty now seemed like they were caused by staying up all night squinting at ancient texts, and the long mangled tied up hair was tied back in a neat little pony tail. Although the transformation seemed instantaneous and random, after the student thought about it a little bit more, it made perfect sense. What else would the vagrant carry in the black trash bag? Why of course the usual things that people carry when they travel: a toothbrush, a razor, and clothes. Seeing the vagrant in a new setting and outfit comforted the student, and he soon eased up to conversation.
They discussed their lives as they approached the third floor. Or, the vagrant talked while the student nodded his head in agreement. The stranger’s voice changed from a thick hoarse voice that betrayed his life’s earlier hardships, to a deep bass that rang through the student’s ears. This was a man’s voice not a beggar’s, and the student was quick to separate the two. As it turns out, the vagrant was once top of his class at the local university, and graduated magnum cum laude in a degree he chose not to specify. Then he received a high paying job, making twice as much as his parents ever made. But he was not happy with his life; he did not want to get married despite the reprimands of his father and the urging of his mother. So he sold all his belongings, quit his job, left a check in his parent’s mailbox and spent the rest of his days leaning against walls, observing the rest of society as they scurried amongst their lives. He was used too critiquing things that he saw in life, so critiquing photos would be enjoyable because they were meant to be critiqued. The student never really could understand how a man could take so much self-worth and throw it all away, but he didn’t care much for the stranger. Let the man be happy he thought, as long as he didn’t step on the student’s own happiness.
While glazing over some of Friedlander’s photos of urban scenery, the vagrant reminisced to the student about how he came in possession of the beast. As the vagrant was traveling across the Mid-West of America, he assisted a woman in building a fence in exchange for a solid meal, much like the traveling hobos of old. At the end of dinner, the woman gave him a rabbit from her hutch as a sort of morbid “to-go” meal. He couldn’t eat it, so instead he gave it all the junk food that sympathetic citizens gave him instead of change he refused to consume (the vagrant didn’t want to put that junk in his body.) The stranger had a far-away look, as if he was searching for a memory he couldn’t quite wrap his hand around. The student concluded that this stranger has seen much, and through his life he will see much more. Hence the creation of the rabbit behemoth.
The odd duo wandered past the photos of urban scenery and stared at the pictures of models changing in the backstage of a run way. Eyeing the pictures, the student couldn’t help but notice that they all look ashamed to be caught on camera in such a manner, with breasts and thighs abound. Beautiful things with such ugly emotions painted across their faces. The vagrant frowned and commented about how the pinnacle of beauty in our society still can be ugly when they think no one is looking. The black and white photos reminded the student of his own beautiful angel with a dirty mouth. And dirty hands. And dirty legs. And just a dirty body in general. Oh how life loved to give lemons.
The vagrant commented on how the shameful look on the models reminded him of a rape victim he had met once at a bus stop. The young woman at the bus stop was running away from her town, where no one will know her shame. They talked about how rape was common and that there was no stopping it. A pang of either sympathy or guilt escaped from the vagrant’s gullet, and the student couldn’t decide which one it was. He hoped that it was sympathy. The student sighed once more, and responded by saying that just because rape was common and happened everyday all over the world it’s not any less of a tragedy. The vagrant patted the student’s shoulder in a fraternal gesture and reminded him not to start feeling guilty over things that aren’t his fault. Thoughts like that could eat a man away from the inside.
They couldn’t bear to look at the models anymore, so the odd couple shuffled over to one of the less popular sections of the exhibit. They stood in front of the pictures, and tried to figure out what they were looking at. Judging by the pictures of children and the same woman aged differently, the two agreed that there were the pictures of Friedlander’s family. Although it was the emptiest crowded section in the exhibit, the odd couple felt strange warmth coming from the pictures. In these pictures the inhabitants smiled. Not because it was a picture and they had to smile, but because they were happy to be together.
One of the pictures stood out amongst the rest. A naked picture in a crowd of regular pictures stands out as much as a naked person in a crowd full of regular clothed people. There was a woman, possible in her mid 30’s laying on her side while carefully perched on a bed. The picture was taken from the head of the bed, as if the picture was taken while the photographer lay next to her. In small italic text under the photo the words “Maria Friedlander” caught their eyes. The two joked about how the photographer’s wife must’ve killed him for having this picture put on display. But still, it was beautiful. Not because she was a young naked woman, but because the smile across her face wasn’t painted, but was genuine. It was as if the photographer had told a funny joke or paid her a sweet compliment while they were cuddling, then suddenly snapped the photo while she was smiling. It was much more humanizing to see her in this state, the duo agreed. As she was strange, funny, and heart rending. Her legs were not silky smooth but instead long and lanky. Her lips needed no lip stuck for they gave way to a smile that stole their attention. She had no makeup on and her eye gunk was large enough to see to any viewer. Yet, she was beautiful. The odd duo looked at each other once more before they diverted their attention to the photo.
The student felt as if the warmth and love of the photo was drawing him in. It was strange to him, how something that should be so common was so alien. He wanted to lay his finger across her face, as if human contact could help him find the answer. And he did so; he laid his finger across the woman’s smiling face. And he kept it there, absorbing in the texture of a simple black and white photo while his companion watched on in a bespectacled bemusement.
Then he removed his finger, exposing a giant bloodied finger print across the woman’s face. He had forgotten that the rabbit behemoth had chewed open the tip of his finger less than an hour ago. Once again he was struck with the urge to run, much like he had the other day in his classroom. His heart felt like it was hit with a sledgehammer and he swore to himself that he would kick that stupid rabbit on the way out. The vagrant once again put his hand on the young man’s shoulder and started edging towards the exit. They walked out normally, no suspicion crept up on them nor did accusations follow them. The whole time the vagrant kept his hand on the young man’s shoulder.
As they both exited, the vagrant assured the young man that the blood would probably wash right off of the photo. The vagrant untied the leash for his monstrous rabbit and said his goodbyes in the hoarse homeless voice he had heard earlier before he walked away in his tweed suit. From across the street the young man could still see the vagrant, but it simply looked like a man and his dog. The thick pores of the city let out steam when the vagrant walked down a beckoning alley way, and before long he was out of line of sight. But the student could’ve sworn that the tweed suit had turned around to look back on him. He was sure he would never see the vagrant again. Or maybe he would see him again, but he would simply disregard him as another pan-handler. It’s hard to look past that, and it would be even harder to acknowledge him as the intelligent man that he had once met.
The young man boarded the bus home as the night sky enveloped the city, only to be warded off with the man-made street lights. Much to the annoyance of the bus driver, he held the quarter in his hand and stared it for quite some time before he deposited in the ticket machine. He couldn’t help but miss the warmth of the art gallery. He looked out the window to see the warm womb of the art gallery beckoning back him, but it was too late as the slow bus motor coughed and spurred forward. He thought about what to tell the teacher tomorrow on the ride home. The young man didn’t want to simply shove the ticket stub into the teacher’s hand, and sit down without much of a word. Instead, he decided that he would walk up to the teacher and tell him about the interesting man he met. They would dive into a discussion of the Friedlander exhibit, and then the student would tell him how Mr. Friedlander could capture human emotion like no other. Then the teacher would agree and tell him that many photos are like that. That is what he decided to do.