A Little Perspective From Tom Church

Posts tagged ‘silly’

Ten Must-Read Short Stories

Hey guys! How’s college, you ask? Not bad, thanks.

Let’s get down to business though! Or actually, let’s get away from the formality and talk about short stories. One of my personal favorite literary mediums, I’ve got loads of short story collections at home and have brought a few with me. I can’t get enough. Sometimes I’ll say “that’s enough poetry” and stop reading poems for at least a few good hours. “That’s enough of Greek plays for a while.” “That’s enough philosophy…” Some subsections of literature make me feel queasy after a while.

But it’s rare that I ever get fed up with short stories. Perhaps it’s because I know where to look. I’ve got all my favorite guys nearby all the time–my Lovecraft, my King, my Vonnegut, my O. Henry–and needless to say, the Internet helps sometimes if I don’t technically own what I’m reading.

Today I am in an awfully literate and musical mood. I am feeling as poetic as ever. And I wanted to give you guys the low-down on what some of my favorite short stories are; the select tales that stand out in my mind as being truly spectacular. For each story I relate, there will also be a song; perhaps the song is what the story reminds me of, or vice versa. Perhaps playing the song while reading makes the experience all the more sublime. I will be sure to elaborate, don’t worry.

And four more things!

1) For your convenience, I will be sure to label the story in question as being relatively “short,” “medium,” or “long,” emboldening whichever one the story in question happens to be. That way you know what you’re getting into. These stories all take less than twenty minutes to read, and some take even less than five. Trust me, they’re bite-sized. But they will (hopefully) fascinate you, just as they fascinated me.

2) I will have you know that this is indeed a “list” post, meaning that I will be listing these things in order from least-appreciated to most-appreciated. However, don’t take that to mean that these are my top ten favorite short stories of all time. That list is ever-changing. These are merely ten stories that I hold in very high regard for some reason(s) that will hopefully be made apparent upon a read-through.

3) I will not use more than one story per author, to spice things up. And the stories (and songs) will be linked within their respective places in this post, so that you don’t have to search frantically all over the Internet.

4) The blog only allows so many Youtube videos to be embedded on the page, so some will show up merely as links, you may click them and be taken straight there.

Enjoy!

10) A Rose For Emily — William Faulkner

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This story is chilling and peculiar. It can sort of be classified as a “thrilling” read, but I wouldn’t say it’s a horror story; it’s just not something I’d really expect from Faulkner after trying to understand The Sound and the Fury.

Now, hold on a second. I know that I just recently wrote a post about scary Internet stories, but you can trust me when I say that I have my reasons for including any scary short stories on this list (there are a total of four, counting this one). I am generally a fan of scary stories and concepts, so this one got my attention and has held a place in my mind ever since. I can’t name many stories written in the first half of the 20th century that are so absolutely strange. This story is unique, both as a styling of Faulkner and as a work of literature during his period in history. As far as I know, people regard it well.

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/wf_rose.html

This link will take you straight to the story. It reads in a bit of a formal fashion, but stick with it and I’m sure the ending will surprise and interest you.

A Song to go Along

If you’re reading a creepy story, you’ve gotta be listening to something slow and edgy, perhaps a little haunting. That’s where this Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s song comes in: it’s called “A Journalist Falls In Love With Death Row Inmate #16.” It is about just what it says, and it is both strange and somewhat endearing.

Listen to this song:

before reading | while reading | after reading

9) Little Drops of Water — Kurt Vonnegut

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This story is a step in the opposite direction. There is something magical about Kurt Vonnegut’s stories, and I don’t know if I could ever really pinpoint it, but one of the best ones I’ve read by him was “Little Drops of Water.” It deals with an older man who often has loose romantic flings with his younger piano students; but one of those students decides not to be taken so lightly, and the events that unfold are a stroke of genius.

https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/jenor/ADS/HarpersMagazine-2009-06-0082535.pdf

Above is the link. Like I said, this story is opposite to “A Rose for Emily;” it made me happy when I finished.

A Song to go Along

This story put a skip in my step, and naturally I’d pick a song that does the same. I’d go with an upbeat Coconut Records song, particularly “It’s Not You It’s Me”…

It’s a feelgood song worth dancing to!

Listen to this song:

before reading | while reading | after reading

8) Uncle James — E. Nesbit

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Out of the millions of children’s stories on the planet, some of my favorite have been by Seuss, Milne, and Nesbit. Edith Nesbit wrote fantastic childrens’ stories, lots of which involved dragons. Her style is reminiscent of Lewis Carroll, but perhaps a little more grounded in reality, because many stories involved young, princess-and-commonboy protagonists.

“Uncle James” is one of those stories. Tom, the gardener’s boy, is in love with the young princess Mary Ann. They live in Rotundia, a world where things meant to be big (elephants, whales, etc) are small, and things meant to be small (guinea pigs, rabbits, etc) are big. The story is wonderfully written and even admits at a few points to be skipping over the more boring details of what occurred.

http://www.online-literature.com/edith-nesbit/book-of-dragons/2/

Read it and enjoy! And then go back and read the stories that will never fail to make you feel like a vulnerable little kid again.

A Song to go Along

Listen to “White Daisy Passing” by Rocky Votolato. It’s a pretty, Elliott Smith-esque song that turns a normal walk into an endlessly pleasant experience. And I’ve always associated children’s stories with nature and comfort, wonder and tranquility.

Listen to this song:

before reading | while reading | after reading

7) The Boogeyman — Stephen King

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Reading this story for the first time was terrifying. I couldn’t sleep well for weeks. Maybe I was merely young and impressionable, but honestly this story is masterfully creepy and awesomely surprising. It’s a must-read, absolutely, for any horror fan.

http://loloyd.homeip.net/ebooks1/Stephen%20King%20(Bibliography)/1970’s/1977/Short%20Stories/Stephen%20King%20-%20Night%20Shift%20-%20The%20Boogeyman.pdf

 

This story is guaranteed to deliver.

 

A Song to go Along

Well, I actually have two. The first one, “Haunted” by Radical Face, is a primer. It gets you in the mood, makes you feel haunted and eerie. It’s like wind blowing down a subway tunnel, or climbing into bed with the lights off. It’s just the right atmosphere to instill before reading a creepy book. Immerse yourself dammit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoCiyB8dMPk

Listen to this song:

before reading | while reading | after reading

 

Then listen to this song while reading. It’s from the Dead Space video game original soundtrack. It’s actually pretty horrifying and yet also unobtrusive, because it has no lyrics. Give it a try.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfbV6sSrn_4

Listen to this song:

before reading | while reading | after reading

 

 

6) I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream — Harlan Ellison

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This story is truly mortifying. It’s an astoundingly dark take on the progression of robots and computers, set in some strange future, where a handful of humans live together, taunted and tortured by a merciless Artificial Intelligence. The narrator is one of these people, and he talks about who they are, and who they all used to be before the machine systematically wiped out humanity. It seems that the only reason they are still alive at all is to be treated as playthings, because a computer with no test subjects apparently is capable of growing bored. The ending is strange and may be pretty shocking, but it’s a story that deals with one of many possible futuristic outcomes. And while it’s a little bit hard to foresee happening, it’s still brain food in a way. It gnawed at my mind for days.

http://pub.psi.cc/ihnmaims.txt

Read it, dwell on it, curl up in a ball.

 

A Song to go Along

The song “Anthem” by Emancipator is, in my mind, a perfect fit. It has that synthetic, futuristic, tech feel that this story offers. It’s kinda slow, dark, and fosters a contemplative mood. Try listening to it while reading and see what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PEGDGxZdzA

You will be a changed human.

Listen to this song:

before reading | while reading | after reading

 

 

5) The Last Leaf — O. Henry

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O. Henry stories have always been the best. They have plot twists, which in my eyes is a sign of creativity and intelligence. And they’re not cheap either, they’re genuinely clever. And mostly they tend to be meaningful, which is something I can easily appreciate. “The Last Leaf” is one of my favorites.

http://www.online-literature.com/donne/1303/

It’s witty, it’s quick, and most of all it’s touching.

 

A Song to go Along

A song to go along? How about the song that hasn’t left my iPod since sophomore year: “The Past and Pending” by The Shins. No matter how many times I listen, there is something so compelling, so soft, so soothing and intimate about this song that makes me want to listen again. Most songs dry up and go away, but I will always listen to this song when it comes on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6dYB35lF_0

Listen to this song:

before reading | while reading | after reading

It’s fantastic and it’s calming, and it fits well with the story. CHECK IT OUT!

 

4) Pygmalion and Galatea — Edith Hamilton

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Now, this story isn’t actually the written property of Edith Hamilton. She’s just the Greek historian who managed to simplify it from poem form and basically synopsize it. But no matter what form it takes, I will always love this story. It’s about a man who detests women and decides to create a female sculpture in order to expose all the flaws of the gender–what happens next is not worth spoiling. I’ll link you guys to the Hamilton retelling of this story but encourage you all to read Ovid’s 10th poem in Metamorphoses, which fully accounts for the supposed experiences of Pygmalion.

http://www.dl.ket.org/latin/mythology/3fables/love/pygmalion.htm

It is one of the more touching love stories I’ve read before.

 

A Song to go Along

I like soft love songs, and so I’ll let you guys give this a listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aZh261KZWI

It’s one of the prettier songs I can call to mind, and it makes me feel sad and in love at the same time. And while the song may end on a bit of a morose note, and while certain parts of it may seem flaky and too honest, it just reinforces my own notions of true love and of keeping promises–in any case, it’s a pretty song, and I recommend giving it a listen. It may make your read a bit more interesting, and hey! It sounds like the narrator of Lua is disillusioned with the idea of love, just like Pygmalion.

 

 

3) A Calendar of Tales: August — Neil Gaiman

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If you have not yet read Neil Gaiman’s Calendar of Tales, go do it! Or better yet, have them read to you! Just pick a month and give it a listen, they never disappoint. Gaiman decided to connect to his audience by asking them what ideas they had about all of the months of the year; then he handpicked certain Twitter replies and wrote stories about them. It was a fantastic and generous idea.

My favorite of them all is August, closely followed by April and then July. But here’s a direct and obvious link to August:

http://keepmoving.blackberry.com/assets/desktop/pdf/neil-gaiman/august-story.pdf

This one is all about forest fires, and also the kinds of misconceptions humans have and perhaps the false sense of security they sometimes have in the face of danger. Ultimately, though, it’s just really poetic, and made me feel good at the end. It made me happy.

 

A Song to go Along

This song. Red Right Ankle by The Decemberists. It’s beautiful and charming, just like the August story. It makes me feel like sitting outside on a stoop, shooting the shit with someone close, watching things happen in the heat of August.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYwkmPKsctQ

Listen to this song:

before reading | while reading | after reading

 

 

2) The Yellow Wallpaper — Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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This story is probably the greatest psycho-thriller story I ever hope to read. It was the most insightful and interesting look into the mind of a psychotic I’ve ever seen, written by someone who may or may not have ever been this sick. Without spoiling it for you, I will just go as far to say that the narrator in the story, a woman on “holiday” with her husband, who is a physician, is afflicted with some sort of mental issue which causes her to become depressed. The rest is warped.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/literatureofprescription/exhibitionAssets/digitalDocs/The-Yellow-Wall-Paper.pdf

It is a bit long, but honestly it is perhaps the most rewarding “long” short story here. I promise.

 

A Song to go Along

I can’t even really think of a song to match what kind of eerie feeling this story manages to purvey. Here. Listen to the sounds Jupiter makes via electromagnetic waves. It’s the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3fqE01YYWs

You’re welcome.

Listen to this “song”:

before reading | while reading | after reading

 

 

1) The Green Morning — Ray Bradbury

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This story is right out of The Martian Chronicles. Brief aside, of all the things and people I owe my relationship to Erin with, Bradbury is probably number one. We bonded over him quickly and excitedly because every story, every single story we’ve ever read by the guy is fantastic. He’s imaginative, creative, brief, simple, and yet so thought-provoking it’s ridiculous. We can never get enough of him.

Normally I’d go on and on about “Usher II” which is Erin’s and my favorite story in The Martian Chronicles. That story is absolutely fantastic, especially if you know your Edgar Allan Poe. But I decided to go with a story that wasn’t scary, and that didn’t require too much prior knowledge to certain things to appreciate the story. So I went ahead and chose “The Green Morning,” which is by all means spectacular.

http://anton.shpigunov.com/2011/07/the-green-morning/

And for your further enjoyment, if you appreciated that, you can read the entire book here. Pick a story and go with it, they’re all short and all fantastic.

 

A Song to go Along

A good song? Hmm… how about “Broken Afternoon” by The Helio Sequence?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYOEm_H5nQA

This song is vocally powerful but instrumentally soft, as if the singer is preaching or proclaiming his ideas. It’ll make you think of Johnny Appleseed when you read the story, or Benjamin Driscoll rather: the Johnny Appleseed of Mars.

Listen to this song:

before reading | while reading | after reading

 

 

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed! If you ever want more musical or literary recommendations, be my guest and ask me. I will absolutely give you guys some pointers.

Thanks for reading!

 

-Thom
aestheism, not atheism.

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Top Ten Cartoon Pigs

I recently came to the realization that I can potentially make a top ten list for literally anything. Potato recipes, torture methods, even methods of insulting your elders. But today’s list will focus on cartoon pigs, and my personal favorites.

Keep in mind that these pigs are ones I’ve grown with and loved. I won’t list a pig if I don’t know jack about it, so I (regrettably) can’t talk about Porco Rosso, Natalie Porkman, or “Treat Heart Pig” from the Care Bears animated series.

10) Nago, Princess Mononoke

Most animated shows or movies tend to go with the “cute” pig approach, but Studio Ghibli went ahead and spun that around for their (relatively) edgy release Princess Mononoke. Nago was a giant, wild boar who rampaged into town and was eventually subdued by the locals. It was revealed that Nago was aggravated because he’d previously been shot by Lady Eboshi. His rage caused him to literally become somewhat demonic, setting the stage for the movie.

Nago is a tribute to badass pigs everywhere. He shatters the cutesy pig stereotype, and even helps represent the primeval and retaliatory side of nature in the movie. Come to think of it, he’s probably the only pig on this list with any depth at all. Cute pigs are just better.

Image

9) Card Wars Pig, Adventure Time

This one is important because of its tangible strategic value. No other pig has had this much tactical importance before, and I think that after this episode of Adventure Time aired, a kind of global understanding of a common pig’s tactical usefulness was suddenly conceived. This pig occurred in an episode called “Card Wars,” which was all about a holographic card game mimicking todays’ Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh and the like. When Finn “floops” the pig, it eats all of Jake’s corn, which translates to Jake losing vital energy and support for his troops; ultimately, this episode’s blatant wisdom led to the Pig Flooping Act of 2013, and the world witnessing a drastic decline in world hunger and street crime.

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8) Inoshikacho, Dragon Ball

This porcine selection is actually part boar, part deer, and part butterfly, all in one. Its name comes from the card game Hanafuda: Koi Koi, where it is possible to match up all three of the aforementioned animals to achieve the Boar-Deer-Butterfly (Ino-shika-cho) combo. But in Dragon Ball, it’s just a big conglomerate of all three animals. In the show, Inoshikacho was actually a cute little purple pig, but it was raised under the negative influence of Master Shen, and grew up to be a rampaging douche. It just makes me wonder how it would’ve turned out with a little care and nourishment. All of us are products of our environments–even pigs.

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7) Peppa, Peppa Pig

Peppa is from a kids’ TV series that hails from the UK. And while I am not particularly familiar with her show, I am familiar with her personality and her way of handling particularly displeasing situations. I feel like Peppa has a very humanistic and sassy side to her that not many pigs have attempted to, or accurately, portrayed. Watch the video below to see what I mean:

6) Hen Wen, The Black Cauldron

Hen Wen is an unlikely sidekick on an epic adventure. The Black Cauldron is just a fantastic movie, and Taran and Eilonwy by themselves are great characters, but I’m sure you’re already aware that things go better when they involve pigs. While she’s not with Taran for the entirety of the movie, she does manage to be especially helpful: she is oracular, meaning she has the power to prophesy certain events and view Taran from afar. Coolest damn magic pig I’ve ever seen.

Image

5) Spoink, Pokemon

How could you not love Spoink? Erin fell in love with Spoink the minute I gave her Pokemon Ruby Version for the GBA. On her travels, she came across a gray-and-purple pig with a spring for an ass and a little pink ball on its head. And the way she doted on it caused both of us to fall in love with it (I was falling in love all over again). Spoink is cute, bouncy, and he’s also psychic, which to me is the most badass Pokemon move type. Spoink is the ultimate pig Pokemon, beating out Tepig… and… Mankey? A pig monkey? And… Swinub? A… small… uh…

5spoink

4) Pig, The Legend of Zelda Games

The pigs in the Zelda games are special. They don’t… do much, really, but they’re special nonetheless. They’re cute, and they’re funny–one of the villagers in Windfall Island actually says that one of his pigs is “special” and doesn’t respond to human contact by running away. The definition of “special” can kind of be interpreted as… negative. Ultimately, I viewed the pigs as fun-loving, perhaps small-brained, additions to the scenery, and it was always fun trying to catch one by crawling around and sneaking up on them. They were also very useful sometimes because tossing bait caused them to dig a hole and unearth very important treasures. Fascinating little creatures.

4zeldapigs

3) Piglet, Winnie-The-Pooh

We can never forget the classics. I love Piglet. He’s a worrisome and tender little fellow who would follow Pooh to the ends of the earth. That kind of loyalty and devotion is unparalleled by any other pig in the entire cosmos. A wonderfully gentle and surprisingly quaint little fellow, Piglet is a fantastic pig.

3piglet

2) Tonton, Naruto

Tonton is an amazing pig in my eyes. She’s not only Shizune and Tsunade’s sidekick–she’s like, their mutual best friend. She’s an adorable little pig with a little sweater and even a pearl necklace and she can sniff out danger and aid in the combat by running supplies and medical equipment around on her stubby legs. She works so hard that sometimes Shizune even has to patch her up. She’s a spunky little pig.

2tonton

1) Waddles, Gravity Falls

We love Waddles. Everyone loves Waddles. The pig practically embodies the image of a cute, lovable, cartoon pig. It’s small and silly and it’s the perfect partner for Mabel, who likes to be goofy and weird and throw parties with Waddles and stuff. The episode where Dipper gives up a shot at dating his crush so that Mabel can keep Waddles is a truly glorious moment in the show’s history, and the addition of Waddles to the show is nothing short of brilliance.

MABEL, WADDLES

There you have it! Some truly awesome pigs. Here are some runners-up:

Babe (Babe)

Oolong (Dragon Ball; bit too pervy and humanlike for my taste)

The Pig character (Adventure Time; Erin says his barritone voice ruins it… but I like him)

Porky Pig (Looney Tunes)

That’s it for today. And while today’s top ten list was suited to a very specific niche in the broad spectrum of human interests, I assure you there’ll be more to come–perhaps ones that are even more general.

-Thom
aestheism, not atheism.

Pokemon Gameplay In A Nutshell

I am always completely thrilled with the Pokemon games–whenever a new one is released I get all hot and bothered. Sometimes I’m prevented from playing them due to lack of money and appropriate handheld device, and that is saddening, but the fact is that I’ve never lost faith in Pokemon after all these years. There are groups of people that will tell other people that “Generations 1-3 are better than 4 and 5” or “Generation 1 was the best, the rest are bullshit.” Those people are [censored]. They are [, generally speaking, people who are well-accustomed to said generations, who have not played through Generations 4 and 5 and have not gotten to know and admire the new and unique Pokemon these games have to offer. I myself prefer Generations 1-3, but I will never be found completely shunning the newer additions to the series due to silly reasons like ‘the newer Pokemon are shittily designed.’ The same arguments can be made about Generations 1-3, I promise.]

 

The fact is that Pokemon’s dynamics are ever-changing. And people who fail to keep up with them are too easily deterred. Some would rather dismiss the new games because they are too foreign, and that’s just a shame.

 

The Pokemon games have progressed exceedingly well. The basis of the game was incredible to begin with, though: a wide range of Pokemon to be caught, raised by gaining experience in battles with other Pokemon, evolved and basically refined into kickass, unbeatable monsters. I mean, they gave you 151 to begin with, and on top of that no Pokemon is the same as any other Pokemon even if they’re the same species. Statistics vary, even moreso in later generations because the Pokemon gained ‘natures’ which influenced their stat gains as they leveled up.

 

Also very impressive is the game’s use of TMs, which are short for technical machines. These are game-changers because they allow Pokemon to learn moves that they would not normally learn; certain Pokemon can learn certain TMs. For example, Squirtle the water-type can learn Water Pulse, which is a powerful advantage in battle, especially at lower levels. But there’s no way a Charmander (fire-type) would be able to learn it. Just like a Squirtle can’t learn Flamethrower. It makes a lot of sense, mostly.

 

Pokemon gyms with gym leaders have always been awesome. The gym leaders are the boss battles of the game–trainers can be relatively challenging, but they’re mostly used to effectively level up your team of six Pokemon. Gym leaders are harsh and are normally very challenging, especially when you’ve got a team that’s poorly suited to go up against a leader. If you go up against an electric gym with only water- and flying-type Pokemon (which are both weak against electric), you’re completely screwed unless you’re a great, great deal higher in level than their Pokemon are.

 

Speaking of battling, a great addition to the game was rebattling. The earlier games were very flawed because once you beat a trainer, they could never be battled again. Their money dried up, their Pokemon would never be used against yours again. They simply stood there, only talking to you when you talked to them. It stayed this way in Gen I, but in Gen II there was a ‘phone’ addition to the player’s gear that allowed trainers to call the main character when they were ready to battle again. It was tedious to run and find these trainers, and it was also hard keeping track, but it was something. In Ruby and Sapphire the phones were subtracted, and the trainers were catalogued in a Pokenav application that showed a little red square next to the trainers who were ready to battle again–but this was very infrequent and a little frustrating when you needed to go and level-grind.

 

Fire Red and Leaf Green employed the Vs. Seeker which gave the player the power to ask nearby trainers for battles whenever they wanted. This was the most useful of all rebattling methods. I was impressed.
With the introduction of more Pokemon comes way, way more battling methods and team combinations. Many newcomers build a one-sided power-team that is basically a couple, if not one, strong Pokemon that do/does all the battling. The rest are HM slaves, or Pokemon that are in the party that have one purpose: to learn moves that enable the main character to go new places. These are moves like Hidden Machine 03, Surf, which allows the player to swim with their Pokemon across the water; or HM02 Fly, which allows them to fly on their Pokemon to towns they’ve visited before. These teams can honestly turn out very well–I beat Sapphire many times using only a starter Pokemon for battling. They end up leveling well beyond what the other trainers’ Pokemon are because they’re getting all the experience from battling, experience that should be shared among the whole team. I’ve fought the Elite Four (final battles against four very powerful trainers and a fifth–the champ) using a level 70 Swampert that killed all of the level 40s and 50s. It was great.

 

Since I’ve been playing so long, I like strategizing a bit more. I like trying to keep my whole party of six at the same level, so that I can have a team that balances out. This means that whatever Pokemon I’m up against, I’ve got at least one Pokemon who can kick its stupid sorry ass. If I have a Venusaur (grass) and I go up against my rival’s Charizard (fire), I’m screwed. But if I can swap Venusaur out with, say, a Golduck (water), I can destroy the Charizard. If he then throws out an Exeggutor (grass) that can easily kill my water-type Golduck, I throw out an Arcanine (fire) that takes care of his grass-type, etc. It’s actually very easy to figure out what kinds of Pokemon you’ll need to achieve a team like this, and there are many possibilities.

 

I’ve just started over my Heartgold version and I’m pretty psyched; I’m gonna have a really kickass team.

 

-Thom
aestheism, not atheism.

Being Silly (Thom’s Thoughts)

There are many people who would boldly proclaim the importance of seriousness, the wonders of sternness, and the power in silly sobriety.

I am not one of those people.

Generally, I believe that the most powerful behavior is that of happiness, and what better way to show you’re happy than smiling? And dancing and being goofy and singing? It shows that you’re uninhibited, that you have no fears and that nothing bothers you deeply- you are your own shield, your own Aes Triplex.

People grow up, don’t they? People get big and smart and they start working and they don’t ever quit. They devote their entire lives to doing something they choose, but they can’t back out of it as easily as they’d sometimes like to. And to some people, it seems so bleak. It’s turning into something different, and that means that you can never again revert to what you once were: just a kid.

But that’s not totally true. There are people in my life, and people in everyone’s lives, that have, quite simply, grown up “the correct way.” The perception differs from person to person, but mine is this:

The correct way to grow up, to grow old, and to die is as a happy child, seeking fun in ever newer and stranger ways.

Now, immediately, you may think:

1) What of innocence? Will it ever be broken, or will we practice ignorance?
2) What of well-being? When does ‘fun’ for us become too irrational, too harmful to ourselves?
3) How in the world will we sustain ourselves?

These questions are easily tackled. Just like many other aspects of life, the trick is simply said and yet not simply done: balance.

Innocence will be broken. Ignorance has long-term negative effects that we don’t want to ever see slap us in the face. Instead, what we do is we learn, for learning is fun- and while not everything we learn will please us, we will understand that happiness lies in our perspective of ourselves and our surroundings, not objective facts and saddening probabilities. The only fact we need pay any attention to is that we are who we want to be, and we are happy because we are happy.

As for our well-being? Well, seeing as we aren’t going to end up completely oblivious to the negative effects of our behavior (since we’re gonna learn, right?!), then we’ll know not to do anything risky, and not to do anything completely and totally bad. Drugs. Law-breaking. Other reckless behavior. Those things are only pleasing for unhealthy people, anyways, and we’re going for healthy! There are so many ways to be fun when you simply open up your eyes to the strange and unique beauties found in everything. Imagination is powerful, and so are the goofy and uncoordinated physical capabilities of our bodies. I swear, jumping can keep me entertained for hours. I’m sure it will as an adult, too. Maybe you, the reader, will not necessarily find it as amusing… but you get the picture. The only sorts of fun we should rule out are those that have negative outcomes on us or on others.

And with these two main tenets, we are able to sustain ourselves. Provide for yourself. I do not mean graduate from high school and study for the best-paying career you see as being reachable. I mean graduate and study and perform what you love, what you feel you could do for ages and ages. Do what you like! And be happy around others. Any people who insist upon being pessimistic douchebags? Well, who needs them? If you can’t seem to lighten them up, it’s always okay just to make sure you aren’t around them much.

There you have it! Be silly, childish, goofy, dorky, fun, and weird. Smile lots and be sure to mind your own business. Don’t intrude on others just for the sake of being bright and sunny to someone who might not like getting jumped by a grinning psycho. And avoid risky behaviors.

There. A guide to life, of sorts.

Goofball

What a weirdo.

-Thom
aestheism, not atheism.

Trusting The Internets (Thom’s Thoughts)

According to my estimates, a shitload of people use the Internets on a daily basis, and I say that’s freaking spectacular. Sorry if that was a bit of a shocking first sentence, but I went to the dentist today and they had free coffee, and damn if I didn’t dump all their CoffeeMate creamer in my cup and down it in ten seconds. It was phenomenal.

The Internets (also called Intranets, Nets, Webs, or Internet) have fostered infinity-times the creativity of a Chinese sweatshop, and have conceived more cat-related thought processes than the combined efforts of all the world’s cat ladies, the Hello Kitty corporation, and the creators of Catdog combined (in layman’s terms).

The Internets are impressive because they connect so much with so little effort. And I’ve found it hard to trust something so huge because huge things are hard to contain. The Internets are like six elephants in a bamboo cage smack-dab in the center of Ethiopia. It’s not gonna to be properly contained long.

I frequent pages like Wikipedia and stuff, big wealths of knowledge that are practically invaluable if you want to learn anything about anything. A few decades ago, these were encyclopedias. A few decades before that, they were just really, really old people.

These pages are so convenient, and so elaborately defined that it stuns me into stupor. Who knew Gumby’s parents’ names are Gumbo and Gumba? Who knew that in “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic,” the teevee series, the first season ended with the ponies’ competition in the Grand Galloping Gala (okay, I did, but still)?

But can you trust this shit?

Well, yes. Because I’m sure if you were to go out and freaking watch the shows, you’d freaking see that the freaking things you learned on the freaking Internets are completely freaking true.

Teachers worldwide may complain, groan, and bitch about Wikipedia and stuff, but I’ve never gotten an answer from that particular website that wasn’t completely and entirely true. Yahoo! Answers? Maybe I’ve gotten one wrong answer (Q: What’s the special ingredient in Hamburgers Diane? A: Rat testes).

Those hamburgers tasted like shit. But for the most part, I know when I’m reading the wrong answer, and I never read the wrong answer when it’s on a Wiki page.

I trust the Internets in that respect.

Here’s where you can’t trust the Internets: Ever seen the movie “Big Fat Liar?” It’s about Paul Giammatti committing plagiarism at its worst (plagiaristic adultery, I call it): plagiarism of a poor, defenseless little kid’s work.

This poor, defenseless little kid was obviously Frankie Muniz. Anyways, Giammatti steals his school paper, makes it into a movie, and then is publicly exposed by Frankie Muniz. And then, on top of the public nudity, Frankie tells everyone he stole his essay and made it into a movie.

Just kidding, no public exposure. That’s how I feel on the Internets; if I share any of my good ideas that I feel will someday help me to be successful, the Paul Giammattis of the word will snatch them up and make them into terrible movies and books and I will be full of shame.

I have a story written that’s about forty-five pages right now, and damn, I like it- I would just never post it on here, never even e-mail it to myself or another. Never even… anything. I just hoard it.

If it reaches the Internets, people will snatch it up, slap a copyright on it, and then sue me for being affiliated with it. I think that’s how it works. I don’t really know. But it’s happened before, probably. To other people.

I also think that maybe I have Paranoid Personality Disorder. I also think I sometimes go into caffeine-induced manic states.

Here is the last of my strength (or the last of my concentration): the Internets are reliable. They may be full to the brim of nasty disgusting filth if you look hard enough, but they’re contained by firm enough bamboo (meaning search refinements and such) to lead you in the right directions. The Internets we see are the creams of their crops, the tops of their lines. We get reliable information from various sources, gain insight on things we’ve viewed narrowly or have never considered before, and have ourselves plenty of laughs out loud. Therefore, the Internets are this generation’s best and most valuable friends, and should be treated as such.

I’m off to google cats, ta-ta for now.

-Thom
aestheism, not atheism.

My Psychosis (Thom’s Thoughts)

To start off, I’d just like to say that as far as I know, I have no psychological disorders or problems… however, I’ve never really been tested for any, but I have a number of behaviors I can list right off the bat that could constitute some minor issues in the world of psychiatry.

  • all teevees, radios, and other sound-emitting devices have to be adjusted so that their volume ends in a 3, 5, 7, or 0 (i.e. 10, 13, 15, 17, or 20)
  • I can be as messy as I want to be in terms of orgnanization and room-straightening, however I would never use my fingers to eat ribs.
  • I do linger around little bottles of Germ-X from time to time.
  • I keep a napkin on my drink at dinner, especially if I have milk.
  • I am disgusted if I lick the tops of pudding, yogurt, or applesauce cups, however, if someone else does it, I’m like “That’s cool, yo.”
  • I eat one food group at a time.
  • If it’s anywhere near 12:51 on a clock, I usually keep glancing at it until it hits.

And I guess that’s the extent of my issues, really, but at times I can be pretty awkward or strange. If I’m watching teevee and the volume’s on something like 56 or so (quite probably the worst of all volumes!) then I’m getting up to adjust it. I’ve fought for the remote before. I just can’t enjoy the show.

In my psychology class, which proves to be the most interesting fifty-five minutes of every day of school, we watched a video on some woman’s struggle with washing her hands and everything. She couldn’t sit on the floor, and she cleaned everything incessantly. I saw something once about how some guy couldn’t touch doorknobs. Eventually, through therapy, he was able to touch them, even achieving the ability to *lick* them!

I can lick doorknobs. I can also crawl through small places and overlook scenery from great heights. I just hate doing those things. I’m not afraid of pooping my pants in front of millions. I would just hate to.

I’m sitting here, ironically, excluded from my Psychology class. I’m the douche who forgot to turn in his permission form to see Sybil, a movie about a schizophrenic, multiple-personality patient who goes crazy or something. I’ve been sent here to read. The book I’m reading is somehow even more brutal: my English teacher gave me a Joseph Wambaugh book entitled The Blooding, about brutal rape-murders in small English villages.

So naturally I can put that down for a minute. I wonder why we’re so compelled to learn about abnormal psych. It must be because it’s like a taste of the extreme forms of ourselves- what we’d be like if we were just a little more dopaminically imbalanced. We are the tame, lento forms of those who can’t lick doorknobs to save their lives.

Ah, well. Life’d be more interesting (and valuable) with raving lunatics all about. I always long to test my abilities (my most impressive of which are parkour and evasive maneuvering, which are seriously lacking) against a fiendish mental patient.

That in itself is probably a disorder.

-Thom
aestheism, not atheism.

Pigs and Cats (Thom’s Thoughts)

 

I draw two things, mainly. Cats and pigs. They’re fun and silly and I like making them say disjointed little things that have little to no real meaning.

My favourite, perhaps, is one where cats are holding a meeting. One is standing at the podium, and he says, with an air of importance, and of course, in a yowling fashion: “I… have a dream…” A nearby cat is raising its hand, saying “Wat time iz lunch?” And a pig, looking culture-shocked, sits numbly, with a sleeping kitten on his head.

Tragically, this same drawing was ripped recently, when I showed it to some kids in my French class. One of these jerks ripped the back of it, failing to remember that my prize drawing was on the other side. He received quite the verbal lashing.

I have others, though- to start you off, I’ll show you that one, damaged though it may be (and a bit bad quality-wise, but isn’t everything?):

As you can see, that little cat is saying “Wat time is lunch.” Also, you can see the tear at the top of the page.

The drawing itself is a bit cruddy, and up close, its cruddiness increases almost exponentially. But if nothing else, I like what the cat’s saying.

Here’s another:

Here we have a small kitten, fawning over a pig’s trough. “Mister Pig, I can has your trough?” it asks tentatively. The pig looks a bit surprised.

Here’s a third:

Here we have a shocked, rigid kitten yelling for his friend, Pig, to get the bucket off his head. Sadly, the pig is also tied up, having a bucket on his head. A very sad predicament for them both.

And lastly, a fourth:

A small cat, asking a pig and a cat (who are very obviously great friends) if they’d like more tea.

Pigs and cats, while being maybe my only area of remote expertise, is at least a thrilling, entertaining, and quaint drawing niche.

-Thom
aestheism, not atheism.

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