Always Explore

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When I was younger, I was obsessed by the idea of being anywhere but where I was. Why stay in New Jersey, I would think to myself, when there was almost an infinite amount to be seen outside of my known world. My imagination was also spoiled when I was little – my mom, or dad, or brothers would read to me stories of Greek myths, Tolkien, and His Dark Materials. My entire world view was based on the idea that sitting still in one place was almost sinful.

To need to explore seemed like a default state of nature to me. By the time I reached high school, explorers and drifters had become heroes of mine. Almost eight years after first learning about Ibn Battuta, for instance, I am still hard pressed to think of someone who I admire more. I mean, the man spent the second half of his life traveling from Morroco to Mecca, down the East coast of Africa, back to Turkey, and then all the way to China. Oh, and he did it in all in the 14th century – and got rich because of it! Who could pass up the chance to explore in the face of the amazement of something like that?

explore
 Photo credit at tatteredpassport.com

I like to think that I have made the most out of any chance to explore so far in my life. I have been to 4 continents, the Arctic Circle, and I have lived in Turkey – even if it was only for 2 months. I definitely have not let chances pass me by, but I am afraid. I graduate in two months and after that, if I manage to find a job, my dreams of long-term traveling seem to be mostly dead. I am waiting to hear back about the Fulbright Grant, which would allow me to live in Turkey for another nine months (perfect amount of time to have a kid a bail), but that isn’t certain. Unless I want to commit to living abroad for years – like my brother – my years of exploration seem to be quickly running out.

Except, they aren’t. There is always another frontier to explore, although I never realized it. As cheesy as it may sound – if it does sound corny, I can’t really tell – that last final frontier is the future. Although I may never be able to explore as much strictly temporal space as Ibn Battuta, it does not mean my life has to be any less interesting.

I have no idea what will happen in my life. Even tonight, I know only vagaries of a plan – meet with some friends, go to a party, hopefully get Pizza City. That’s the thing, though! Legitimately every action I can ever take is a journey unto itself, with every outcome possible and unknown.

That’s not just exploring, that’s a full on adventure.

Suck it, Ibn Battuta, my life can be just as bad ass as yours… even if I don’t travel more than 75,000 miles before steam power (damn!).

Warrior Pope

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There is something inherently bad ass, beyond any explainable reason, about the term warrior pope. Maybe it is due to the juxtaposition of terms, or maybe it is just trying to imagine Pope John Paul II with a giant ax, that causes this to seem hilariously and magnificently cool.

Whatever the case may be, my friend Steve and I were sitting around one day when our playful banter slowly degenerated into us trying outdo each other’s last ridiculous idea. Similar to Han and Greedo, it is impossible to say which one of us planted the seed for the best idea in existence first, but we both certainly helped to germinate and nurture it.

The idea was simple, we feverishly agreed while lounging on opposing couches. All we had to do was learn to program games for iPhones and Androids, and then we would be set. What was the idea for the game, you ask? Simple! The game would start just after the world’s most famous, and sexy, exorcist was voted into popehood by the College of Cardinals. Of course, the Devil can not stand to have his arch-nemesis – an uber-demon banisher – become pope, so he opens up the gates of Hell straight into Vatican City.

Warrior Pope
demotivationalposters.org

As demon spawn spew out into the world, they begin possessing every cardinal they see. The game starts here, and proceeds in a simple platform method. As a heavily pissed-off and radicalized warrior pope – I’m imagining a cross between Duke Nukem and Pope Urban II – , you set off on a mission to free all the cardinals’ from the demonic grasp of the hell-spawn.

Here, the game becomes like a cross of the classic Mario Brothers games and Dante’s Inferno. As the pope battles his way first into Hell, and then through each progressive layer of Hell until reaching the Devil at the center, you must exercise the demons out of each cardinal you find.

Each level would also have mini-bosses and actual bosses, which would consist of progressively stronger and angrier demons rooted deep in the cardinals’ souls.

Maybe there could also be power-ups, such as being able to ride around in the pope-mobile or having invincibility while wearing your pope-hat.

Honestly, I just love the idea of playing as a 16-bit pope casting out demons. At the end of the game he could even take a little bow while giving Satan the finger; it would be adorable.

Waiting for the Inevitable

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anxiety
howtocalmanxiety.net

I was trolling through blogs today, and I ended up at the site 1,000 Awesome Things. I had been here before about a year ago and gave it a cursory glance, but I never thought much of it. Today, though, I read an article about remembering friends who have passed on, and it got me to thinking about the fragility of life. Instead of being scared, or sad, about how random life is – and how it is very possible, when considered objectively, that death is always right there – this author ended on a positive note about enjoying every moment

I’m a worrier, and for the longest time I was loathe to admit it. I always knew deep down that my worries – about whether my friends really wanted to hang out with me (obviously not), or relationships, or whether I was happy where I was in life – were completely counterproductive. It’s not as if I could change people’s perceptions or attain happiness through thinking about it as hard as possible; no, only actions count… or, I guess, you could find a hypnotoad and just be convinced of the value of, well, anything really.

Only recently, probably within the past two days, have I truly sat down and thought, “Well, fuck me. I worry about everything. Might as well just accept that and go on with my life.” Lo and behold, I have started doing that, and it feels pretty great. As a great friend once said to me – once said, being sometime last week – “No matter what you do, you’re stuck here. Might as well enjoy the ride.”

The problem with worrying and anxiety is that it is baseless. I remember in third grade – in a memory that, in hindsight, probably spells out exactly how strange I was – hearing from another kid at lunch how a giant meteor was going to hit the earth in thirty years and kill everyone. NASA said it, so we were all guaranteed to die. Most kids thought about it briefly and then started talking about dinosaurs…and then Jurassic Park.

I remember sitting there, though, by myself and bugging in. I kept thinking to myself, maybe not in so many words, “fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I don’t want to die when I’m only 37! Fuck. Fuck.” Let alone that at that time, I wasn’t even ten yet. I hadn’t even experienced a full decade, and thirty years was, for me at least, literally life times away. Still, I kept thinking about it and worrying, as if that would somehow change the meteor’s course enough that it would only hit the bullies, or Boba Fett would save me, or something like that.

Very recently I had a revelation. I was sitting around in my living room with some of my best friends, when a sadly familiar feeling crept upon me. It was the feeling of total abandonment and loneliness, as if an abyss had opened besides me and was tearing me away from everything. Then, it hit me.

I felt so alone because I am terrified. I am terrified that everything I love, all my relationships, are inherently transitory. Try as hard as you might, everything changes and change is terrifying. Realizing this is power, though. I know now that I can not stop life’s course, but I can appreciate every little moment. If anything, this transitory nature makes every moment even more special. This is only happening now, for once – make sure to appreciate it.

Afterhours

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“Do you want to see my tits?” is probably something every girl wonders at some point when talking to a guy, probably, I blanketly assume.

With Deadmau5 you don’t need to wonder; he definitely does. Actually, listening to his album Afterhours by Melleefresh vs Deadmau5, it’s easy to believe that the only things either of them care about are tits…and fucking…and grimy grimy house music. And, you know what, that is completely a-okay.

Actually, it is way better than a-okay. It is fantastic – amazingly, disgustingly, epically good. If you were to press me on why this album is so great, though, I would be at a loss of words to explain it to you. So, please, bear with me as I try to explain what it is about this album that makes it impossible for me to stop listening to it. Even now, as I write this post in my office cubical, just thinking of the album is causing me to hum it obnoxiously to myself. To fully understand, check out the video below.

Do you understand why I am addicted to it a little more now? There is something almost hypnotically engrossing about the filthy (in the best possible way) sludgy beats, the highly processed female vocals, and of course the super explicit lyrics. The fact that Melleefresh also did voice acting for Star Wars: Ewoks only sweetens the deal – how can you not love someone whose career spans both Star Wars and progressive-house music, perhaps two of the best things ever?

All effective music should also evoke some emotional response. In terms of this album, I cannot help but picture myself dancing balls-out (literally) in a dank divey club – the best sort of club. Can’t you just picture the sordid atmosphere with traces of mist from the fog machines still floating in the air? Or finely dressed women dancing on couches for no reason? This song, and album by extension, captures that feeling of wanton abandon and sleaze perfectly.

When my friend Ryan first played this album for me I remarked about how it made me want to fuck the first thing I saw – in that case, my desk. I stand by that statement, and Ryan – not surprisingly for anyone who knows us – agreed with me wholeheartedly; although, to be fair, it is a fairly erotic desk. Apparently when Ryan first played this album for his girlfriend, her first response was to say she wanted to fuck to it too. There is just something about this that so successfully taps into people’s psyches that we all react the same way.

Or, maybe we’re all just horny stupid college seniors…nah, it’s definitely because its Deadmau5 and Melleefresh.

So, in short, this album is heavily recommended if you like: nauseatingly dirty house beats, explicitly sexual female vocals, moaning, sex, filth, clubs, Ewoks, and Deadmau5. Not a bad list, huh?

The World

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organic growth
Photo credit at Christoper Gielen (christophgielen.com)

I was taking a piss the other night in my perfectly well lighted, but typical dingy and disgusting college bathroom. Aside from the splattering noise of my piss hitting the sides and the water inside the porcelain bowl, all I heard was the noise of the TV from the neighboring room and my roommates drunkenly laughing. I didn’t hear any sounds of animals from outside, or the wind, or even just the sound of natural silence – why would I? I live in a fairly large college city, I should, and do, expect this.

Slowly (it was a long piss) my gaze left the bowel and traveled along the wall to the electrical outlet above the sink. Blinking in the socket was the small orange light demonstrating **aside, is demon and demonstrate from the same root? Should check that out** the circuit was still alive and flowing. Staring at that small, slightly flickering but always constant, light it hit me hard – I barely live in the world. The world as I know it, and most people in general, isn’t really the world – it’s just a further extension of humanity.

I think, for me at least, this is no where clearer than New York City. There is nothing natural about that city, nothing organic about it besides the organic growth of the city itself; that, in itself, is astounding. We refer to cities growing organically versus a planned city, but there is still nothing organic or natural about cities. Don’t get me wrong, I love cities, and I especially love NYC, but that is not the world in the slightest – it is the compounding and extension of millions of people. Not only people directly involved in the growth of NYC, but the billions of people in human history who have helped to develop what it even means to be human.

We say we are animals, and that we are still part of the world, but we really aren’t. We have divided the world into the natural and the human, heavily so. So heavily, in fact, that people need to set aside times in their life to experience ‘nature’ by going for hikes, or walks, or going fishing. Even then, though, it is still as if we have never experienced the real natural essence of the world.

Last summer, I was in Turkey for two months. While there, I went for a hike in the world’s second largest canyon – and fuck, was it amazing and beautiful. Looking back on it, though, that canyon is still fully within the realm of belonging to humanity now, not the world. Why? Well, simply because it is completely enshrined by the humanity around it – food vendors, bus stations, restaurants, camping grounds, etc. I am not complaining, I am just saying that this natural wonder ceases to be natural. It is instead just a wonder of the world that has been engulfed by humanity.

It is astounding. Thinking of life like this, I fully expect to never really leave humanity, or to truly experience nature. Any nature left, now, seems like just the leftovers of the world – something we looked at and said, to ourselves, “Well, we should probably try to preserve something.” It is bittersweet. Thinking like this, I realize how much we are just products of those who came before us.

At the same time, it is fully reasonable to wonder “Have I ever been outside?”

The Start of Something

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This is the start of something new, I can feel it. Usually I say things like this a lot, and then completely forget about my goals and aspirations. I mean, it has taken almost a month since creating this blog to even write this first post. That is a little sad…a little pathetic. Well, no more! I will actually start to write, and I will try my best to update this blog two-three times a week – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We’ll see how well that works out.

I have big plans for this. Just as the name implies, BendedBrains, this blog will track the horrible mass of electrical charges people generously call thoughts of mine…as well as random occurances, music and movie reviews, chance encounters, terribly animated unicorn pictures… Basically, the wonders of a brain bent out of shape.

For example, a couple of days ago I was walking along the wonderfully scenic roads of New Brunswick with a few friends (unfortunately I can’t remember who was there or really said what, so this will be a little vague). The day was beautiful and inspiring and the start of spring. People were out and about, smiling and laughing in small groups as everyone eagerly sought to drink up the sunshine like an alcoholic drinking every last drop of an O’Doul’s, hoping that it would do something… Our conversation matched the lightness of the air and the warmth of the season.

“Imagine if people were like starfish,” one said, “and we could regrow limbs.”

“It would be crazy,” we agreed. “The whole human experience would be so different. Our concepts of pain, everything, would change.”

“Yeah! But imagine if we could only regrow body parts if we ate them,” I chimed in, “So, like, you could chop off your finger and regrow it…but only if you ate it first. Think of the bar bets!”

I don’t really know what is worse – the fact that I nonchalantly threw this idea out, or that it was so readily accepted and the conversation continued on without missing a beat.

“Of course, it would be difficult to eat larger things, though. Like, it could take a while to work your way through a leg or something.”

“Yeah, but it could get rotten during that time,” it was pointed out.

“Mhmm, very true…I guess you would have to keep it in a freezer or something, if you couldn’t finish it off all at once,” I agreed. “I guess, in the end, it just honestly makes the whole regeneration thing much harder than if we were just starfish…”

“Agreed.”

Although, having typed this out, I can’t help but wonder now – what would happen, hypothetically, if someone else ate one of your detached limbs? Would it still grow back? Or would that person then suddenly have, say, three legs? *Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more*

Anyway, this will be the type of thing you can expect to find here. I hope you enjoy your stay, don’t become too horrified, and hey! You may even end up learning something; however, just remember, I never told you this would be worthwhile.

I never said this was worthwhile

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