I’d Like To Thank All The Little, Little, Little People (Who Live In My Head And Tell Me To Do Things)

Come one, come . . .  a few more!  During this holiday season in which I am going to more holiday functions than I ever have before (there have been three or four Christmas parties in this past week alone), I have found myself receiving gifts that are beyond my expectations.  One was from an aunt of mine who gave me an entire turkey dinner in a box, with a whole frozen (but pre-cooked) turkey, mashed potatoes, mac n’ cheese, and that cranberry jelly stuff that I always spend  twenty minutes prodding with a spoon but never get around to eating.  If you have never gotten meat as gift from a family member, let me tell you something:  It’s fucking weird.  One aunt once came over just to give me three Cornish game hens.  My mother once sent me a care package that was full of sausages.  All these things were delicious, and they know I love to cook so it’s not that abstract, I have just never been able to tell some one, “Yeah, my mom sent me these sausages via the United States Postal Service,” without feeling like I should be in a Coen brothers movie.

"Vee have some sausage dat dein mother sent from Arizona, jah?"

The other gift (other than that wonderful cold hard cash of awesomeness that only grandmothers can give) was I have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award! 

The nomination comes from the Funny or Tragic, a blog filled with enough dark humor to make you feel okay about sitting in the dark alone, laughing like a maniac.  From a new take on cattle prods, to this wonderful post about boobs, Funny or Tragic is filled with hilarious musings and colorful cartoons.

And now I have to pass this award to five to fifteen people, as it’s one of the rules.  The other rules are that you have to inform your nominees of the nomination, while providing a link to the person who nominated you along with your thanks.  Then you have to tell seven random things about yourself and post up that little green picture.  This is going to be hard as I’m not sure I know more than eight people in my life all together (one of whom is me looking in the mirror).  But it’s also a good thing as I had no idea what I was going to post today and was too lazy to figure something out.

RANDOM THINGS

1. I shave my toes, except for the two biggest.
2. I don’t remember names. Not that I can’t, but I tend not to care about a person’s name. I find it is always easier just to look into a person’s eyes and say, “Hey. How is everything going?” This works, 100% of the time, and no one seems to mind.
3. My favorite nut is hazelnut because it tastes woody. My favorite wood is sandalwood, because it smells nutty.
4. I name inanimate objects like my stapler (Milton) or my three-hole punch (Norman), and I regard them as important friends/allies. I deduced I do this because I was lonely for my entire childhood.

FRIENDS!

5. I judge the space of my apartments by how well I can safely do I cartwheel in them. (i.e. – My apartment is two and half cartwheels big.)
6. I have a desperate need to own a three-toed sloth, which I would name Couscous.  I also want a manatee, but I don’t know what I’d name him.  Maybe Filbert.

Or Gerald Puffybottom.

7. I could never make up my mind which candy bar to buy when I was in the grocery store, and stopped buying candy altogether because the indecision was driving me nuts.

NOMINEES

This is the really hard part as I end up not reading many blogs.  After work and creating my post of the day once I get home, all I want to do is sit back, drink some whiskey and watch Monty Python.  Add to that the few I do read I’m sure have already been nominated, and I don’t want to look like the blogging-newbie I am.  Plus this whole exercise (while being part fad) also is about introducing new bloggers to more people, so I don’t want to end up repeating.  But here are five blogs I am always eager to read:

A Man Chasin’ His Hat

From intriguing articles about the new generations and how the changes in culture are sculpting their behavior, to crazy short stories involving metaphysics, psychology and robots, A Man Chasin’ His Hat is a place of brain candy.  Smart enough to almost be considered nerdy and abstract enough to almost be nonsense, it’s always a delight to read and ponder over.  Some of my favorite posts are It’s Like Some Kind of Torture and Reverse Doppler.  It’s hard to properly describe this blog; the closest I can get is saying it’s like Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land – It’s crazy and sometimes a little confusing, but 100% fun.

Die Umlat

Have you been fired recently?  Have you had any luck finding a new job?  Have you been burned by internet scams and horrid job recruiters?  Do you like some truly underground music?  Then head on over to Die Umlat, where you can read all the war stories from the wounded in the “Seeking Employment” front.  From her weekly posts of actual job scams used on craigslist, to her own experiences coping with unemployment, you get to feel a slice (or in a lot of peoples’ case, get to share it) of one of America’s hugest populations right now.  She also has posts reliving musical moments from her childhood, or introducing new and upcoming artists, reviews of some new restaurants and other articles concerning whatever pops into her head.

Nerdy Baker

I started following Nerdy Baker before I actually read one of the posts.  The big picture I saw of some homemade cheese-toast was enough to have me going back to the beginning and reading every post she had.  Also, the title of the blog is pitch perfect as I also like to cook and am probably more of a nerd than I feel comfortable with admitting.  Two of my favorite, most cheesy-bread-filled glorious posts from her are Here We Go, Sourdough! and Pull Apart Cheesy Herb Bread.  She also provides links that would sate the nerd in anyone, and her writing is down-to-earth, funny and delightful.

Sets and Lights

Having gone to an arts school and gotten my Bachelors in Theatre (an absolutely useless degree), a piece of my heart will always belong onstage.  Sets and Lights helps bring me back into that world with minimal effort, which is probably why I like it.  It discusses a lot of issues with the technical side of theatre, an industry and workforce that has always gone unnoticed and forgotten despite being the reliable backbone of us poofy actors onstage. If you ever wanted to hear what working a live theatrical show is like, tune into and read of few of his posts.  It’ll make you feel like you standing backstage, wearing all black and waiting for the actor to hit their cue so you can start the music, hit the programmed light sequence and start closing the curtain.

The Thirsty Wench

Another blog I just started following without really reading a post first.  Beer?  Yes, I’ll follow you, and with vigor!  A blog dedicated to all things having to do with that wonderdrink, The Thirsty Wench helps take you through an introduction to beer to reviews of some more crafty-beers.  It’s a blog devoted to getting you to drink, and she deserves a medal for even attempting such a mission from God.

So there you go; five blogs I love and that I think you should start reading too.  I just hope they haven’t been nominated yet, or I’m gonna feel like such a tool.  One of those tools that looks silly and is completely obsolete now.

Like this.

And I’m almost to my 150th post.  I’m actually astounded the blog has lasted this long, as posting every single day can really be a pain in the ass sometimes.  But I’m going to keep at it, at least for the first year, after which I’ll probably die down on the number of posts in lieu of creating longer, more complex and more engaging works.  That’s still around 200 posts away however, so things won’t be changing anytime soon.

Thanks once again to Funny or Tragic for the nomination, and congrats to all of those who were nominated.  TO FRIENDSHIP!!!

No, not those ones.

A Soundtrack For Hard Times

Jean-Michel Bernard – Mr. Fletcher’s Song

I’ve recently gotten over a bout of unemployment, and although my stint into the land of the jobless was comparatively short by many respects, even a few months without making an income can be nerve-wracking and life-changing.  No matter how hard you look for a job you are going to be left with time to spare.  I sent out so many applications, sometimes fifty a day, and I still had enough time to create this blog, write a few scripts, record a few songs, work out, clean my house and then apply for more jobs.  And after all of this I would still have two or so hours of free time, during which I have to focus to keep myself from hellish introspection and complete insanity.

Johnny Cash – I Won’t Back Down

Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come

During these times, a person can also feel so utterly alone and isolated (because, you know, all your friends are working and shit, so you have no one to talk to during those hours) that staving off depression becomes a full time job.  A shitty, non-paying, ineffective job.  Because you’re going to get depressed, you can’t help it.  I know I did, and there was nothing I was going to be able to do to keep it away.  The only thing I could do is to make sure that I didn’t let the depression keep me from applying, blogging, writing, or whatever it was I chose to fill my time with.  I never just sat back, turned on the television and waited for something to happen.  It’s an odd feeling to continue to work while depressed, to have my optimistic side that looks to the future and my realistic side based in the present fighting over which way I am screwed more.

Brett Dennen – Ain’t No Reason

Des’ree – You Gotta Be

Peter Gabriel – Don’t Give Up

But you get through it (or you don’t and you spiral down into obscurity, liquor and homelessness) and you realize that the hardest part about it all is the lack of control.  You are, more or less, at the mercy of the companies and the economy, and talk about shitty things to be waiting on.  I don’t trust either of those as far as I can throw them, and I don’t even know how one could throw the concepts of business and financial stability. You can’t hang your daily morale on those fuckers.  During the hard times, you have to live for the small victories: a sale on beef, your car insurance dropping $10, a phone interview, a short contract job taking dictation for a week.  When you live for the small things, it’s amazing how the tiniest improvement makes you incredibly happy.

Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Modest Mouse – Float On

Mumford & Sons – After the Storm

And any one who gives you advice other than, “Keep your head up,” needs to find the nearest catapult and send themselves hence, forthwith.  While I’m sure there are some people who need a reality check, I believe the larger populace understand that when you’re in a hard place you may need to take a job you hate just to survive for the day when things do work out.  “You may not get the job you want, Nic.”  No shit.  The job I just left wasn’t the one I wanted, so I get it.  “Maybe you should get three jobs.”  Maybe you should suck my dick, because even if I got three minimum wage jobs and worked 24/7, I still wouldn’t be able to pay all my expenses.  “Are you applying to all you can?”  NO, I’M SITTING ON MY ASS, HITTING THE FLOOR WITH A HAMMER, EATING MUSTARD PACKETS AND STALE BREAD.  I get they’re just trying to help, but do these people really understand how much time there is to think about all of this, how much a person tries to get into anything, anything at all?

The New Radicals – You’re Gonna Get What You Give

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass

Seal – Don’t Cry

So if you’re going through unemployment, keep your head up.  I can’t ensure that it’s going to get better anytime soon, but just know that you’re not alone.  Live for the tiny victories, always stay busy and don’t listen to anyone that’s trying to poo on your party.  As long as you’re putting your all into and you don’t give up, your luck will change.  Hope is free.

Bob Sinclar – Give A Lil’ Love

The Bad After-Effects of Weight Loss No One Talks About

When I graduated college in the spring of 2007 I was 5’5” tall and weighed 260 lbs.  I’m still 5’5” (not for lack of trying!) but I now weigh somewhere between 175-180 lbs.  I lost weight the good old fashioned way: I steadily changed my eating habits by eating apples for breakfast instead of steak and ice cream sundaes, and by increasing my daily activity from twirling in my chair until I was dizzy to using as much energy as it would take to choke a grizzly bear.

Don’t ask me how I know this.

But there is a list (albeit a small and somewhat petty one) of downsides to successful weight loss that people don’t talk about because if you heard someone say, “Yeah man, I lost 25 pounds, I look and feel better than I ever have and it fucking sucks donkey dick,” you would slug ‘em a good one right in the jaw.  I know I would.  And yet there are unforeseen drawbacks.

Buying New Clothes

The moment when I put on a pair of pants, strapped my belt as tight as it would go, and my pants still fell off was a great moment for me.  When it happened a second time it was annoying.  The third time got me worried because I realized I wasn’t going to be able to go outside because I couldn’t keep my clothes on.  Sure, I could tape everything to my body, but I worked at a law firm and they would not have thought duct tape to be very professional, no matter how shiny.

It’s not about getting new clothes, it’s about having to throw out all the old ones.  While you relish being able to burn those khakis that always made you feel like an animated refrigerator box, you’re not so keen on having to throw away your favorite shirt or best outfit.  The few items you have that had always made you feel almost normal are now horribly frightening reminders.  It’s like if you had a security blanket as a child that you had to give up when you became a teenager, only to realize afterwards the blankie was infested with lice and scorpions.  It’s the bursting of a bubble you weren’t ready for.

Buying an entire new wardrobe can also be goddamned expensive, and depending on your budget you may not be able to restock your closet, which means dressing like a clown until you have the funds to replace everything because you only have enough money to pay rent and buy food.

Yeah.  Food.  Liquor is food.

My tip to avoid this:  Buy a sewing machine and learn to tailor your own stuff.

Auto-TMI

The battle with weight-loss is ever changing.  Even if you are well-educated in nutrition, your own personal struggle will take many twists and turns until you find the exact method that works for you.  This struggle includes lots of research on diet and exercise, quite a bit of trial and error, and loads of time.  You’ll become an expert because you will have had to build your regiment from the ground up.  So when discussing weight-loss, a floodgate of information is let loose and before you know it you’ve bored everyone within earshot to death.

“Uh oh, I did it again.”

I don’t think I’m better than anyone else because I lost weight, I just want to share the information I’ve learned with as many people as I can.  Losing weight can be extremely difficult and there are many pitfalls along the way.  I had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way and if I can help someone else avoid those same traps, then I’d like to try.

But you can go overboard.  The trick is to always remember that anyone asking for advice (or just mentioning the subject) doesn’t necessarily want to know how switching from rolled oats to steel-cut oatmeal did wonders for your insulin levels, or how strapping 30 lbs. of paper to your back before you went hiking helped you lose that last ten pounds, or how the only way you were able to lose 70 lbs. at all was to eat the same bare salad everyday for four years.  My tip: Just say, “Eat less, move more,” until someone asks for more detail.

Psychosis 

I look like a crazy person who recently escaped from a backwoods mental institution when I go grocery shopping.  I’ll stand in the cookie aisle, slowly pacing back and forth, muttering about the pros and cons of buying a single bag of Pepperidge Farm Milanos.  I will pick up and then put back and then pick up and then put back the same pack of beef.  I do this because I have not been able to turn off the voice inside of my head that tells me not to eat things that are bad for me, even though I reached my weight goals.  Once you have conditioned yourself to do or not do something, it is harder to break those habits.  For example – I had to convince myself that all cookies were made with arsenic, and that if I took even a small bite of one I would keel over, foaming at the mouth.  But now that I am done with my diet, I don’t say to myself, “I have worked hard and deserve a little more jubilance in my food.  Congrats, Nic!  Here, have a cookie!”  Instead I become very paranoid that my former, fatter self is time-traveling and is trying to kill me with poisoned desserts.  So I will pluck out the package of cookies, throw them to floor, and with a slight smirk will whisper, “You’re not going to get rid of me that easily, you fat time-traveling bastard.”  Then I look up and see the worried stares of the cashier and my fellow patrons.

“Just smile and keep pressing the panic button until the guards come to take this crazy man away.”

My tip:  Use self-check out.

The Lingering Fat Mind (For people who need to lose 50 lbs. or more)

You know that voice in your head?  That tiny, but very powerful one?  It is persuasive, it is conniving and it is sadistic.  It’s the voice that makes you believe you’ll never look or feel good; that tells you to keep eating because why fight something you will never be able to change?  This is the Fat Voice, and his only purpose in life is to make you feel shitty until the day you die.  This is the real reason that large people stay large.  This is the voice that makes people regain weight that they have lost.  It’s the “You’ll Always Be Fat And Therefore Completely Worthless” voice.

The Fat Voice

I’ve got some bad news for you.  After you lose all the weight you wanted to lose, you are still going to have to take care of this asshole.

For most of my life I was afraid of my mirror.  I could only look if I was facing directly towards the mirror, and even then I was only focusing on one particular area.  When I lost weight that voice was still there.  I had literally cut my size in half (I can now fit both of my legs into one pant leg of my old pants) and I was still having trouble looking at myself.  This is where the real fight begins for people who are seriously overweight because it’s not the weight loss that’s hard, it’s convincing yourself that you are worth the effort that’s hard.  By losing weight that voice is going to be threatened and will scream at you louder and harder than before.  My tip: Drill it into your brain that your sense of self-worth has nothing to do with your weight.  You did this to be a healthier person, not to be validated as a decent person.  You worked hard to get to this point and you deserve to treat yourself with kindness and respect.  And more to the point, you have always deserved it (unless you’re a dick).  Give yourself a break and love yourself.

I’m starting to sound like Dr. Phil; I better wrap this up.

Just remember:  If I can do it (and shit, I am a lazy drunk) then so can you.  You’re not alone.

On Roommates

In my short 26 years on this earth I have lived in two countries, four states and ten cities, and I have moved at least fifteen times.  In the past decade alone I have lived with twenty-one people in five different apartments.  The lessons I’ve learned have added a few beliefs and habits to my repertoire.  Some of them include a cold-hearted detachment to the people around me and the automatic mistrust of every single person I encounter.

Like you, dear reader, you shifty-eyed bastard.

But on a much much more encouraging note it has also left me with a set of rules and guidelines that make living with other people (whether you have previously known them or not) a tad bit easier.

Chart of Chores, a.k.a. Every One is Getting Screwed At Least Once a Month!

I understand that waiting to wash the dishes until you have used every single dish in your house (very fun actually, especially when you attempt to drink apple juice from a pasta strainer) doesn’t lead to good roommate relations, nor is it very hygienic.  So creating some sort of system to regularly clean the dishes is the best idea.  “Why don’t you just wash the dish right after you use it?”  Look, I’m trying to be serious about this and you’re over here cracking jokes; I’m lucky enough to remember to put on my pants before I go out the door.  More structure is needed, something that goes beyond trying to remember who is next in line to clean as I just demonstrated with the open door sans pants example.  A chart works wonders for this and can include more than just dishes.  Taking out the trash, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, taking blood and urine samples, feeding the gnome kept in the attic; anything to help keep the house straightened.  The chores can rotate so that everyone always does each chore just once a month thereby ensuring that although you will be stuck cleaning your roommates’ messes at some point, the rest of the time they be cleaning up after you.  Just don’t take it too far, like, “CLEAN MY SHOES FOR I AM YOUR LORD AND GOD!”

"You'll be better off not knowing what I was doing."

Ability to Pay Rent, Because Not Every One Understands the Obvious

I’d love to live in a world where I didn’t have to pay rent.  I’d also love to live in a world where bacon helped you lose weight, Paris Hilton and Michael Bay had to clean every sewer on Earth with their tongues and receiving oral sex was a mandatory part of my employment.  Alas we don’t live in a magical world of rainbow dreams and sunbeams so regular payment of rent is required.  Yet there are many people who seem to think that paying rent is like extra taco sauce: completely optional.  But there’s these things called contracts and the ones for apartments called leases (I know all these new words are scary, but stick with me) and that these “leases” have been around for awhile and can be pretty airtight.  So you not paying rent is like . . . look, no more fucking sarcasm with this one.  Pay your fucking rent.  If not, move into your parent’s basement so we can all know what a fucking freeloader you are.  (People hit hard by this economy and haven’t been able to find a job in years excluded from this one.  You’re the heart of America, keep courage.)

Annoying Habits and True Motivations for Homicide

“STOPBREATHINGTHROUGHYOURMOUTHI’LLKILLYOUCLOSETHEFREEZERDOORI’LLKILLYOU!!!”

Things my roommates have done that I find annoying: Not locking the front door, chewing with their mouths open, leaving the lights on all night, chewing with their mouths open, leaving the toilet seat/lid up, singing badly loudly, beatboxing in their sleep (actually that was just funny even though it kept me from sleeping), partying late into the night, never closing the kitchen cabinets, chewing with your mouth open, and living.

"Yeah, can you do something about that?"

The list of things that were impossible to live with: having sex on the couch at 8pm while all the roommates were in the house, misusing or stealing my stuff, not paying rent (PAY YOUR FUCKING RENT), and endangering my safety.  The list of things that you can’t (and shouldn’t) live with is a shorter list compared to the things that are merely difficult to live with.  Roommates have always complained about each other’s ticks and idiocentrices, but I think it says more about the person who is unwilling to live them.  It’s important to make the differences between these two categories very clear if you are going to live with someone.  The trick is to remember that for every single thing they do that’s annoying to you, you do something that’s annoying to them.  They sing badly, I snore.  They leave doors unlocked, I’ll rearrange the furniture without warning.  They chew with their mouths open and I hate them for chewing with their mouths open.  It’s a “Give and Take” sort of thing.  It may not help to keep you from being aggravated by this stuff but it will help you let go of those grievances sooner.  As for any other urges you might have to murder your roommates, I can’t help you with that one the remedy differs from person to person.

I take cold showers.

Respect & Straight-Forward Honesty

Listen (or read, or record yourself and then listen to it, or press here), it’s hard enough just living in the world as life tries to rape you up the ass as often as it can and though it may not seem like it we are all in this together.  Being respectful and understanding, even for five minutes, can be the difference between bonding with your roommates and putting a voodoo curse on them (and those never work).  Being straight-forward with them, while ensuring some awkward moments, helps rid the roommieship of any bad blood and keeps issues from festering.

The killer of roommate relations.

But this is the most important part of this list because in the end you don’t need to be friends with the person you live with, you just need to be able to stand them.  And if you’re respectful and forward, you will label yourself as a trustworthy and reliable person, which, now that I come to think about it, is all I really want from a roommate.  But paying rent and not chewing with your mouth open is a very, very close second.

Stupid Like A Fox

source: radarxlove

I had bought a pre-made latte drink from the 7/11 and was getting ready to eat stale toast and one scrambled egg while trying to convince myself this counted as a big breakfast.  I had driven to the convenience store that was just down the block from my apartment because the prospect of walking for almost five minutes on a Sunday morning was practically absurd to me.  I was living in the 21st goddamn century, why should I have to walk somewhere?  Everything was in place and more or less the same temperature (I had cooked the egg and toast before I realized I wanted some coffee) and I was ready to eat.  I unwrapped the plastic from around the lid, unscrewed the top and began to drink, only to stop and remember you had to shake these sorts of things to have a consistent taste and viscosity.  I put the top back on and began to shake.

This is where the trouble started.  I only placed the lid back on the bottle, I did not screw it on.  When I began to shake the bottle, the lid that would normally keep all of that yummy coffeelike liquid in flew off.  On any other day it would have gone right over my shoulder, but in the spirit of “I Do What I Want” I had decided to shake it towards my face that day.  As the bottlecap hit my nose my brain had enough time to say, “NIC YOU STUPID BASTARD . . .” before the latte covered my body.  I screamed some profanities (something along the lines of Cunt Fuck Hell Nigger Dick Clock), hit the table and stood up in surprise.  As my fist landed on the table it hit the plate holding the egg and toast and sent them flying into the air.  For a moment both the food and I ascended at the same speed, as if the egg and toast were standing up to make sure none of the coffee got on them.  But the illusion was dashed as the food also hit me in the face.  I stood there, latte dripping from my hair, eggs resting on my shoulders and toast between my legs soaking up what coffee had made it to the floor.  Thank God no one was here to see that, I told myself.

But that wasn’t true.  There are times when I am glad others are not around to witness some of the things I do, but those actions are mostly no fault of my own.  I trip on a crack in the sidewalk, I step in some dog shit, I don’t know exactly where I’m supposed to be going so I end up just walking around in circles.  (Notice the walking theme?  Just more evidence that I shouldn’t have to walk to places.)

Sidewalks: They'll kill you and eat your babies

During these moments I feel like a complete idiot, but we all experience those and by the end of the day I will have realized that I am not alone.  These instances don’t speak to my overall intelligence.

But when I do something stupid I think it’s important that there are others around to see it.  They’ll laugh and poke fun at me, sure, but they’ll also sympathize with me and might help me clean up.  That laughter has always helped ease my own self-loathing; I’m able to step back and laugh at myself.  Suddenly it’s not embarrassing, it’s a story, one I’d gladly tell at parties because silly self-deprecation can always win over a crowd.

But there was no one else there.  I was alone.  What had started off as a really shitty breakfast I was going to delude myself into enjoying had become a one-man show.  I was on an empty, black stage, dressed like a mime and holding a green balloon with a hippo on it.  I had just finished a 45-minute interpretive dance piece symbolizing the secret cabal of sidewalks.  I bowed and waited for the applause, but none came.  I looked up and saw that there was only one person in the audience.  It was my brain, and he was laughing.  At me.  And he will stay there, laughing, for the rest of time so that if I ever start to feel good about myself my brain will remind me, “You can’t even shake a bottle of coffee without screwing up.”  Without anyone to share with, the whole experience just gets filed into the evidence that proves that not only am I not as smart as I hope, but that I am also as dumb as I fear.

On a brighter note, the coffee made the eggs taste better.

When There Is Nothing Left To Burn, You Have To Set Yourself On Fire

I know this is a bad idea.  I don’t need to imagine the pain I’m going to feel because I can remember it in vivid detail from the last time.  And the last time I did what I’m about to do, this incredibly stupid stupid thing I’m about to do, I didn’t use even half the amount that I’m using now.  I recall how there were no sensations at first, no pain at all, just a slightly sour tang towards the front of my tongue.  I was confident that if this was the worst to expect then I had nothing to fear.  I doubled the dose and smiled as my compatriots receded with caution.  “You fools” I thought.

But I was the fool.

Then like the rumble in the ground before the geyser bursts, I felt a deep stirring in the middle of my head.  In the dark, empty void that is my brain, a single flare shot up into the center and disappeared.  “How intriguing” I thought, “I wonder if this has anything to do with . . .”  Then my thoughts were blown away as an explosion ignited in my idiotic mind.  The painful wildfire covered every space inside my head, making my eyes water and my nose run.  I had just enough time to realize that the flare hadn’t been a single light in the night sky, but an ascending firework designed to lure me into a false sense of security before killing me.  Then the fire began to move.  The fire had a mind, a will!  The horror!  And its only desire was to see me degenerated to a worm writhing on the floor.  It gathered its force into a single ball of light, then shot forward into my nose, making my sinuses sting and wail.  Having no other way to express myself, I grabbed the table and started to lift it off the ground.  The pain only lasted eight or so seconds, but each of those seconds was a lifetime, lifetimes where I only knew pain and suffering.  Then it was gone and my brain returned to the void.  I wiped the tears from my cheeks and tried to remember where I was.  I drank a glass of water.  And then, without any thought, I did it again.  I willingly jumped backed into that lake of sentient, malicious fire.

And I am about to do it again now.  Because I am the fool and I can not stop.  I have been this way for so long that now I yearn for that time-bending pain, that oh so exquisite pleasure.  You may say I need help and I will not refute that idea, but the Lord Almighty help you if you try to stop me.  I would have you in a grave, your family in graves, before I gave this up.  So try it, you self-righteous sonofabitch.  Have at you.

In defiance of all common sense and reasoning, I pile even more wasabi on my tuna roll, pop it into my youth, and await for the glorious pain, the magnificent happiness, to flow over me.