11th Jul2007

Four Year Blogiversary – A Look Back

by Will

“‘Cause you said forever, and ever. Who knew?”

Ahh…a cute White girl, eating watermelon. Be still my Negro heart!

Anyway, four years ago today, this blog was created. Yeah, I know I celebrate a *lot* of anniversaries on this thing, but this is the real deal. Williambrucewest.com has only existed since 2004, when I bought the URL. However, the blog portion, “The World According to a Russian Exchange Student”, was created on July 11th, 2003. It used to be found at waynemanor.blogpsot.com, which somehow belongs to someone else now…

So, 4 years of rambling. The odd part is that I feel my life has come full circle. I’m almost right back where I started. There’s not a lot of progression found in these posts. Sure, there are broad character arcs, from the Natalie saga (“I’m so in love with this lesbian who doesn’t love me back”) to the H&M rants (“I can’t stand this place and I’m too good to be here.”). God, I can be such a drama queen! But have I really grown as a person? Is there any evidence of that? I don’t know about that.

In 4 yrs, I’ve documented 4 full-time jobs, 2 part-time jobs, 2 girlfriends (in “real-time”), 1 car, and 3 moves. I look back at my first week of posts, and I still feel the same way about much of that stuff. Not much personal growth there.

I’ve watched this site change from “the thing I do when I get bored at work”, to the “please read my blog because I’m funny and I really depend on attention from others” phase, and now the “hey, I’m gonna write this shit because it’s funny to me, and at least Tarek, Marcus and James (and possibly Austin) are reading it” phase.

I’ve gone back and forth between the “I’m only going to riff on pop culture, but not talk about myself too much” stage to the “I’m gonna wear my heart on my sleeve” phase (see aforementioned lesbian and the “Alouise” saga). Contrary to popular belief, I’m actually a pretty private person. I love getting in everyone else’s business, but I don’t like them in mine. That’s why I’ll write about observations, and crazy situations in which I’ve found myself, but you’re not likely to find me in a discussion regarding how I “feel”. That’s why I think I like the pop culture stuff more. Going forward, I think we’re going to gravitate more in that direction.

I don’t really know what I set out to do when I started this. I mean, blogs were somewhat cutting edge back then. They were seen as “the next big thing”, and while Blogger existed to help you along, blogs weren’t standard with each Facebook, Friendster, and Myspace profile like they are now. In fact, Facebook didn’t even exist back then, while Myspace was still just for high school drop-outs. My, how times have changed!

Anyway, I think I just created this thing as a vanity project. I thought I was funny and I wanted attention. Every now and then, I’d have a great post (in my mind, anyway), and I’d aspire to greatness. I’d think that my site would become a destination website, where people would come for the funny. I thought I could be an everyman version of Wonkette. Why do you think my URL is my name? It was pretty much a way for me to maximize the attention I got, but maximizing exposure.

Here we are, 4 yrs later. Wonkette’s pretty much a shell of its old self. I go to sites like elephantlarry.com, and think, “Now, that’s funny!” Me? I’m kind of a hack. I think that’s become more apparent in my recent humor, as I’ve devolved into BET “Man, aren’t White people crazy?!” humor, and my liberal use of “Negro” and “Nigga”. That’s the easy way out. That’s the Comicview approach, but it’s not going to cut it in most situations. Especially seeing as how only 1.5 Black people even read this site.

Don’t misunderstand me; this isn’t a pity party, but more of a bit of introspection. So, where do we go from here? Why do I even keep this site going? Well, it’s all I’ve got. I’m at a point in my life where this is the one thing that’s truly mine, and it’s the one thing I’ve got control over. It’s my canvas to do with as I please, and it’s my vehicle for expressing myself. I don’t do this for anyone but myself. There are no more “why haven’t you posted in awhile” or “when are you going to continue such and such story?” comment posts. No, I’m more about, “I feel like talking about dating shows today, and that’s how it’s gonna be.” Sure, I get the occasional “Anonymous” comment (even if you don’t have a Blogger account, you could still write your name), but it’s not really an exercise in audience participation anymore. And I think I’m fine with that. I’m cool in my little cyber shell. I think it’s the Model of Blog Identitiy Development. Jenn went through the same thing as she dealt with the transition from personal blogger to feminist blogger to Asian American Activist destination site. The cycle ebbs and flows, but if you get too wrapped up in it, you start pandering to an audience. My audience thinks like me. If I get the occasional straggler from another site, I welcome the company, but we’re not going to have a discourse. Up until now, I didn’t even respond to comments. I think I’m going to change that going forward. But I’m not here to change lives. I’m just here to live mine, and sometimes take you along for the ride. If that sounds like something you might like, take your shoes off and sit a spell, ’cause I’m sure I’ve got a story to entertain you. In any case, I think I’ll break character and *not* end this post with an ellipsis. Thanks for putting up with me all these years!

04th Jul2007

Fourth of July ‘Splosions!

by Will

“I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.”

First off, let me say that I’ll never understand Myspace politics. I shuffled my Top Friends around to reflect the real-time state of things. I didn’t remove anybody. I simply shifted. And all of a sudden, I’m some asshole? It’s ranked by who I speak to most frequently. That’s pretty much it, but somehow I’ve slighted someone. I didn’t do this…

Anyway, happy 4th of July! I’m starting to think that Michael Bay is my real daddy. Why? Because I f’ing love explosions. Most people would be frightened or the noise might get to them, but I *love* them. No, this isn’t going to be a Transformers post. I haven’t seen it, nor do I have any real desire to, seeing as how my days have been wrapped up in Transformers for the past 3 months…

No, I’m talking about fireworks. My friend Lindsay and I went to the National Mall because I’d never seen the DC fireworkstravaganza. It was pretty awesome. As I sat there, watching beautiful things explode, I didn’t have a care in the world. It was somewhat therapeutic and just what I needed. I’m twisted, I know. Guess I’ll have to bring that up in therapy next week…

12th Apr2007

Top Design, Style Network, MySpace, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and Soulmate iPod

by Will

“Tonight, my heart is smiling. And it is an eternal smile.”

I really just want to post enough to push all of my neurotic posts to the archives. NOT the best impression to give a person when they randomly google you. I’m sort of scattered right now, but I know I haven’t posted in ages, so let’s go the stream-of-consciousness route:

-I’ve really been into Top Design. And I never thought I’d like that show. That’s a lie; I’ve actually wanted to be an interior decorator for a few years now (truths!). Anyway, next thing I knew, I was knee-deep in some Todd Oldham. Speaking of Todd, he’s too touchy-feely. I get that he wants to be supportive and all, and I’d hate to think I’ve become used to the Cowell-Ramsay-Trump model of reality show “coaching”. Todd’s just too…gooey, and he gets under my skin. Plus, has anybody noticed the latest trend in reality shows: The “married” gay guy? I’m talking about the guy who will NOT STOP talking about his wife and daughter, to the point that even the gay judge can’t help but crack a smirk.

-I’m also really into Work Out again. Zen has got to be the cutest personal trainer ever! You guys can have your L-Word. My show has real lesbians! Man, I’ve really got to get over lesbians…

-What the Hell is Taquita & Kaui? Is that a new Kool-Aid flavor?

-I think there should be some sort of study about faith and myspace. Not religion, mind you, but the faith that people place in their interactions. Do you really make $250,000 or higher? Is that really Britney Spears’ profile? I don’t care if it’s got pictures of the baby, how do you know it’s really her? Just because her address is http://www.myspace.com/therealbritneyspears does NOT mean that’s her. Huh? No, YOU go to Hell…

-I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the only person watching Style Network. Every time I turn the thing on, they’re playing my favorite shows. Then again, when my favorite shows are How Do I Look, Clean House, Instant Beauty Pageant, and Whose Wedding, that’s not such an impossible feat. I mean, Clean House is on all the fucking time! Don’t get me wrong; I’ve developed a crush on Niecy Nash that I never thought would be possible. She’s like a Classy Ghetto. A grape soda served in a champagne flute. But I swear, it’s on when I go to sleep, and it’s on when I wake up. A network can’t be doing well with just one show on all the time…

-I am back into wrestling like it’s 2000! It’s the throwback stuff that keeps me there. Why did no one tell me Hacksaw Jim Duggan was still around? When the Hell did Tatanka come back? Shawn Michaels has been back awhile. You call up I.R.S. and Papa Shango, and you will have a new member of the RAW fan nation. Speaking of the RAW fan nation, what do I have to do to cut a promo? At first, I thought it was just for D-list celebrities, like Steve-O, but then I noticed they started letting regular joes do it, too. Marcus, make a call for me.

-I don’t like when Inferno and Duels overlap a RR or RW season with the same cast members! The things are shot separately, so for all I know, something down the road may seriously change the dynamic of the group. RW Denver isn’t even over yet, but somehow the entire cast except for Stephen and “Evanescence” made it to Inferno. That’s got to be a kick in the hot tub. How the hell do you choose 80% of a cast and just leave the other 2 hanging? Was it a contractual thing? Does Ty kill Stephen before the season is over? Does he pee on Stephen and have to go to jail…again?

-I can’t tell if Short Circuitz is trying to be In Living Color or All That.

Scrubs is the greatest show on television. I hate myself for finding it so late in the game. Also, because I would be the dork to notice this, I love how Ted’s a cappella group gets better over the course of the series. They’re pretty shitty in the beginning, but they’re pretty kick ass in more recent episodes. Of course I’d notice the a cappella.

-For 3 days, my iPod was my soul mate. She knew exactly what I felt and what I needed to hear. I feel that I am to blame for the brevity of our connection. You see, I was so impressed with her that first day that I took her to bed with me. My last memory of that night was me closing my eyes to the soothing lilt of Biebl’s “Ave Maria”. It was magical, like on Cinemax. Well, the next day, the ‘Pod and I were sympatico. If I was feeling weak, she’d play the theme to Justice League or Metal Gear Solid 2. If it were rainy and quiet, she’d play some Sade. But I was on to her. She just wanted to return to my bed. But I already knew that had been a mistake. Her place was in my glove compartment and nowhere else! As she began to realize that our relationship was not set on “repeat”, she developed a mind of her own, thus ending our rapport.

-I lost my comic collection database due to my HD getting fuxxored (did I get that right, hackers?) It’s like my view on life has changed. Ever since I started this job, I’ve changed my outlook on the free stuff. I might as well be Opie Taylor, as I roll the books up and stick ’em in my back pocket. Hell, I didn’t pay for them. But the sad thing about the database was that was 4 years of my life just…”poof”. Here’s the lesson, kids: back up your shit, and don’t waste your early twenties cataloging comics.

After these messages, we’ll be riiiiight back! *fire hydrant licks dog*

29th Jan2007

You Googled Me?!

by Will

“I got a li’l change in my pocket, going jing-a-ling-a-lang…”

So, it has come to my attention that not everyone reading this site exactly knows who I am. In the beginning, I wrote this thing for Jen, James, Austin, and Tarek. Over time, I gained a few, lost a few, and now I think I’m the only one who reads the thing regularly. Anyway, last week, one of my clients told me that he’d found my site and he liked my grasp on pop culture. Immediately, I asked, “What site?” He replied, “Your website.” Still not believing him, I asked, “Umm…how did you find that?” He answered, “Well, I just googled “Diamond” and your name.” Yup, that phony press release I wrote a few months back will now be my undoing. I could delete it, but it would still come up in the Google cache.

So, I realize that I’ve been in shock jock mode lately. I write things just because I think them, and have a desire to see them in print. Still, not everyone would like to know that my weakness is “titties”, so I’ve decided that on this, the 3rd anniversary of williambrucewest.com, I’m going to try to personalize things a bit more. If anything, it might get me started on that book I’ve been meaning to write. I still might have the usual banter, but I’m in a weird place right now, and I’ve got some stuff to get off my chest. Anyway, that’s what’s on the menu for the next week or so…

26th Dec2006

Screwed By A Comic Blogger

by Will

“Only my success matters!”

Never put anything in writing! That’s what I’ve finally learned. I’ve always been paranoid, keeping every IM conversation and e-mail that comes across my screen. But the one time I got sloppy, I got screwed.

Today marks a milestone. I finally saw something I had written printed on a news site. Now, I had no idea they were going to print this, nor did I know that it was going to be shared with anyone other than the person to whom it was sent. But lo and behold, I fire up the Bloglines, and see one of my e-mail paragraphs pasted verbatim on a site.

Now, I’m not necessarily going to get in trouble. It didn’t leak trade secrets, nor did they publish my name. But there’s a specific way that I write e-mails, so any one of my accounts may know it came from me. I think the thing that gets to me is that I was never told that this was going to be passed along to news sites and creators! And this is the second time this has happened to me this month, but the first time it actually showed up for the public.

So, in closing, don’t put anything important on writing. And no, I’m not posting a link; the robots will find me. Let’s just say that it’s on Newsarama and leave it at that…

22nd Sep2006

My Take On Marvel’s Civil War

by Will

“OOooooh! The Chase!”

So, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. The reason for that is inability. Say it with me kids: “inability”. You see, I’d been stealing wifi from my tech-savvy neighbors, but they’re either dead or moved away under the cover of night because that nice, fast, sexy, free signal has gone the way of the dodo. And I had dial-up, but it made me want to stick things in my eyes. So, I canceled the service (NetZero SUCKS), and was ready to sign up for the Comcast Triple Play, only to learn that it’s not available in my area. So, I’m either going to get DSL or crawl back to NetZero. In the meantime, I’ve decided to be ballsy, and for the first time (well, second actually), I’m blogging from work. I know I’ve promised posts on this and that, but I’ve either forgotten the juicy stuff, or my heads just not there at the moment. What I DO wish to speak about, however, is Marvel Civil War.

For the noncomic readers, “Marvel Civil War” is a big crossover event happening in the world of Marvel Comics. That’s the company with Spider-Man & X-Men, but not Superman. On the same page? Good. So, the point of the storyline is to kind of mirror real-world events in the world of comics. Art imitating life, if you will.

It kicked off with a bunch of irresponsible teen heroes attacking an unsuspecting gang of villains. In the melee which ensued, a local elementary school was blown to bits, and 800 people of Stamford, CT, were killed. As a result, the government decides that superpowered people have acted irresponsibly for far too long and they should be regulated. They quickly pass the SuperHuman Registration Act, which must be signed by all heroes, villains, or vigilantes. If you’ve got powers and/or wear a costume, you’ve got to sign this bill. But the catch is that you have to reveal your identity to the government. If you’re an orphan with no dependents, this doesn’t mean much. But if you’re Spider-Man, with an elderly aunt and a hotti-hot supermodel wife, both of whom would make great targets, you’ve got a LOT to worry about. The sentiments split down the middle, as half of the Marvel Universe agreed with the regulation, while half opposed it.

The Pro side is led by billionaire playboy Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man. He’s what’s known as a “futurist”, and feels that the only way to avoided chaos is to go along with the law. Powers SHOULD be regulated, just as police and other enforcers are regulated. Under the law, he feels that heroes will gain the proper training and also be held accountable for their actions.

The Anti side is led by Captain America. I mean, his name says it all. He’s opposed to the law because he sees is as a violation of civil liberties. It’s the familiar “privacy vs. security” debate. With the passing of the law, he has gone underground with his own cadre who believe in his ideals.

Now, here’s the problem. When Marvel set out to write this story, they claimed that both sides would be represented fairly. There would be no clear “right or wrong”, as both sides would have their faults and points. But since the very beginning, the Pro side has been written like a bunch of assholes. Just as in reality, the message is being clouded by the followers. Now, most of the time i’m kind of middle-of-the-road, but when a school full of kids gets blown the fuck up, I say it’s time to reveal some identities. I think the Pro side have a good argument, but they resort to dirty tactics. ****SPOILER ALERT****I mean, anytime a man clones one of his closest allies, from a strand of hair which he scraped off of his furniture YEARS ago, that sum’bitch ain’t playin’ fair. ****END SPOILER****

And Captain America is violating the law. Sure, he may not agree with it, but it is what it is. The other problem is that he could have worked with them and figured out another alternative, but the minute he got a whiff of what was going on, he kirked out. In fact, the Pro team just wanted to talk, to hear his side of things. And what did he do? He punched them in the face. Sure, I realize Cap is from the ’40s, and he doesn’t understand concepts such as “red tape” and “bureaucracy”, but I’m sure they had civilized conversations back then. How could he not understand such a simple concept? Yet, it’s still hard to get mad at him because he’s Captain Friggin’ America. And it seems to be human nature to root for the underdog.

So, after this week’s issue, where the Pro side revealed they’d cloned a NORSE GOD(!), who killed a D-list Anti-side hero for “shock value” (Hell, even I had to wiki him just find out who he was), I’m left wondering: what are they even fighting for?

Each side is clearly past the talking stage. But it seems like the ideals have gone out the window. Now, it’s just a pissing match. As much as I can agree with the Pro side, they’re assholes and going about it all wrong. And as much as I understand the Anti argument, I don’t get the feeling that their own members know what’s going on. So, what could have had the epic effect of a “brother against brother” event has been reduced to a fanboy wet dream of “Wonder who’d win between Iron Man and Cap”. Well, seeing as how 1940s science never taught you how to clone gods, I’m putting my money on Iron Man.

In any case, I guess I’m just kind of surprised at how quickly you can lose sight of the goal, and the fighting just becomes…well, fighting. Baseless, continuous, monthly, four-color fighting. And I’m not even sure I’m still talking about comics…

03rd Jul2006

Why Are You Running Away…On Your Blogs?

by Will

“Papa Spank!”

So, I’m starting to feel like the Ted McGinley of blogs. I think I’ve written this before, but Ted McGinley is known as a “show killer”; every show he’s added to, with the exception of “Married..with Children”, is canceled soon after his addition to the cast. See also: “Rena Sofer” (go ahead, IMDB her. I’ll wait). Well, I’m starting to feel that I’ve taken on that role regarding blog threads.

Many people may not know, but I’d really like a comic friend (cue audience “aww” sound). That may sound lame, but people like to surround themselves with people with similar interests. When I was a trekkie, I had my trekkies. Now, I’d really like someone on my comic level.

Now, I’m not trying to be all arrogant about it when I say “my level”, but it’s no secret that I’ve sublimated a LOT of social angst into learning about this medium. I’d simply like to meet another current/former social outcast with a similar love of comics.

Well, lately, I’ve tried to take James’s advice. He always said, “Well, if you want to increase readership, you have to comment on other people’s blogs.” I’m not exactly an extrovert, but it’s a faceless, painless process, so I went for it. But I swear, every time I comment on a post, it’s either ignored and/or kills the thread.

I kid you not. Go over to Dave’s Long Box. Head over to Written World. Check out Seven Hells or The Absorbascon. Even the Marvel boards. Peruse the comment threads. I’m some kind of blogging pariah.

And it’s not like I have stupid things to say. I engage in the conversation. I offer intelligent points and counterpoints. I’m not some novice when it comes to comics. I’ve been in this game for 14 years! Sure, I may not be the ultimate fanboy, but this is really starting to suck.

Now, I don’t want pity comments or anything from this. It’s just an observation. I don’t blame the owners of the blogs; I LOVE those sites, and wouldn’t visit them if I didn’t. But who do you have to sleep with to get some attention on a comics blog? Two main exceptions come to mind: Ragnell was welcoming during “lurking week” and I had quite an enjoyable tete-a-tete with Jenn the other night. But otherwise, it’s kind of disheartening. I mean, I kissed Gail Simone’s ass the other night, and not even a patronizing honorable mention. I guess I’m going about this all wrong…

31st May2006

The Racial Incident

by Will

“An inch. It’s small and it’s fragile and it’s the only thing in the world that’s worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I know every inch of this cell. This cell knows every inch of me. Except one.”

This is my 500th post. Normally, when a blogging milestone comes along, I try to see what kind of adventure life will throw at me that deserves documentation. I look for crazy people on the streets, weird pop culture references, or just hidden stupid tales from my life that might give you a chuckle. Well, this is not that post. This may be the most serious post I’ve written. It’s something that I need to share, in print, because I really haven’t been able to vocalize it properly. So, please bear with me, and then we can get back to the regularly scheduled programming.

In the 70’s, Bill Cross created the “Cross Model of Minority Identity Development”. I’m not going to give a lecture, but he basically said that minorities lived in a cocoon until they experienced an encounter which changed their worldview. This encounter is different for each person, but they’re never able to look at the world the same once it happens. I’m sure that the people in the Africana department, who always joked that I was “so white”, would be glad to know that I’ve had my encounter.

Recently, I accompanied a friend as they visited with family. Now, I was apprehensive because I knew that one relative would be present, and this particular relative has never been even remotely welcoming to me. In the past, I would vocalize my apprehension beforehand, which would result in a possible argument, and more unnecessary tension. But this time, I decided to keep it inside and hope for the best. It was all in my head, right? This guy didn’t dislike ME. He just disliked everyone because he was an old curmudgeon. My friend even told me this. So, I figured I was the victim of a sense of age discrimination. Mr Smith was too old to learn new people, so I had missed the boat. That’s fine. But there were too many clues that he was going out of his way to dislike me. Especially when I’d see him meet other people, for the first time, and be friendlier than a whore on payday.

I met Mr. Smith over a year ago, and I can say that the “relationship” has degenerated from “nothing” to “malice”. When I first met him, I went to shake his hand, and he just kind of grunted at me. “He’s losing his hearing,” my friend reassured me. It was a lot of work for him to interact with people. Umm..OK. I grew up with old folks, so I could understand that. But then, for the first time, he used what would become his signature move: the disappearing act. Whenever festivities end, he has to go to the bathroom. And he pretty much stays until he thinks I’m gone. Oh, it’s all in my head, you say? Then, why is it when I leave, he’s peering out the window at me, sullen? He ain’t my daddy, so I know it’s not him longing for missing out on my childhood. I turn and wave, but he continues to glare. I’ve put up with this on a handful of occasions, but recently, he upped the ante.

Recently, as I was saying, I went with my friend to visit with Mr. Smith. We entered the house, and I immediately felt uneasy. Mrs. Smith was there, and she was quite friendly. I reached to take her hand, and she kissed my cheek. “This might not be so bad,” I thought, as my anxiety slightly waned. Then, Mr. Smith appeared in the doorway. I let him greet my friend first, since they were relatives, but I was determined to make this guy like me. I stepped forward, extended my hand, and asked, “How are you, Mr. Smith.” His mouth kind of twisted as he looked at my hand. Now follow this sequence. He hesitantly shook my hand, wiped his hand on his shirt, and proceeded to go wash his hands in the bathroom. He shook my hand and washed it off. HE. FUCKING. SHOOK. MY. HAND. AND. WASHED. IT. OFF.

I have NEVER…I’ve been all over the world, and dealt with a lot of things. I have a house in Alabama, I grew up in a white Republican church, and my fucking college essay was about my experience being black in the former Soviet Union, but I have NEVER encountered an asshole such as this man. And what gets me is that I can’t even begin to describe what he truly is. I feel almost as if there is no word to describe how this man has treated me. I didn’t want to “play the race card”. Maybe the earring scared him. Maybe my goatee threatened him. But I never wanted to zero in on it being about race.

The worst part, and the reason I have difficulty discussing it, is that it hurt me. It didn’t anger me. It hurt me to my core. I have never been shone as “dirty”. I have never had the most self-esteem, but in one gesture, I was made to feel like half a person. And it hurts. I can’t even be mad because there’s too much emotion for it to be simple “anger”. For years, I’d think of J and wonder, “Why is he SO mad? What could have him so angry?” But, not to put words in his mouth, but maybe he’s NOT angry. Maybe he’s hurt. Maybe he’s seen hands washed so many times that all he can feel is hurt. It’s worse than any break-up, worse than any mourning.

Mr. Smith doesn’t even know me. I am an Ivy League graduate, who’s never done drugs, never been in any sort of trouble, and I’m good to my friend, his relative. But instead, I’m just some dirty nigger. “Why’d you say ‘nigger’, Will? Why not ‘black person’?” Well, I ask you, is there a distinction to a racist? I could go off and defend my country, something that I know means a lot to him, and I’d still be that dirty nigger.

So, I’m sure you’re wondering, “What happened next?” Well, nothing. I mean, I wish I could’ve done something, but it’s one of those “hindsight is 20/20” moments. You’re so stunned by the sheer audacity, that you kinda have to catch your breath. Minutes later, we left. My friend apologized for Mr. Smith’s actions, but it wasn’t their place to apologize; they didn’t do anything. I’m sure they were embarassed and whatnot, but they were not to blame. Nor could I convey what I was feeling. Nor would an apology even suffice, from any party involved.

I’d heard these people were out there, but I wondered “why?” What makes a person so nasty? Sure, you may not care for people. Hell, I dislike everyone every now and then. Sadly, it’s human, but I make sure they never know it. Feelings pass, but this gesture was uncalled for. Would it have been so hard for him to grin and bear it? I’d have been gone in minutes. Is that the legacy he wants to leave behind? Most of his relatives seem shocked by these actions, so what is it about me, what do I remind him of, to make him act this way? Am I worth him ruining the positive image that he’s cultivated amongst his loved ones for so long? Mainly, where does something like this come from?

I don’t mean to be melodramatic. Most of you who know me know that I can be quite the drama queen. But in all honesty, my world hasn’t been the same since that day. It still hurts, but it also doesn’t. I kind of can’t feel. I try to put on a happy face, but it’s forced, and the people close to me keep asking, “What’s wrong?” The problem is that many of them would not be able to handle the truth. And I can’t really discuss the matter without wanting to cry. Sure, not very masculine, but you have no idea what that’s like. And if you do know, then, I’m sorry. I never knew. But I know now.

26th Mar2006

The Girls of True.com Are Gonna Get Me Fired

by Will

“A mouth’s a mouth!”

The girls of True.com are gonna get me fired.

You see, I’ve got this problem of signing on to myspace while at work. I know I’m not supposedto, but I get bored, and the next thing I know, I’m stalking people I haven’tspoken to in 10 yrs. But to make matters worse, it’s hard to be inconspicuous, since the site’s borders are plastered with the hottie hots of True.com. There’s the Mexican looking chick with the blue lacey bra. There’s that brunette chick. And, my personal fave, there’s the chick in the red shirt and the little shorts who’s opening her blinds or something. Mmm…but I digress. There’s no way to visit this site without getting in trouble.

And sure, I could sign off if anybody came by, but that just makes matters worse. You see, when you sign off, you get a FULL PAGE True ad as your sign-off screen. And those are even worse than the banner ads on myspace. Right now, they’re rotating between the weird goth chick in the patriotic bikini and that blond chick in the pink bathing suit who looks like she’s 12. I swear, a person could get in some serious trouble looking at that shit!

I mean, it would be one thing if I were perving it up on True.com, but that is not the case. Sure, I guess, knowing what I know, I should just stay off myspace at work. But there’s no fun in that. So, for now, I’m just gonna live in fear that the girls of True are gonna get me fired.

09th Mar2006

A Tuscaloosa Anecdote

by Will

“We have come to terms.”

So, I’m trying to find my “voice” again, so this isn’t really an official post. Anyway, I was getting sick of y’all leaving me “Why don’t you post yet?!” messages, so I figurd I’d throw you a bone.

While packing up to move recently, I found a few things that reminded me of a funny situation a few years ago. You see, we were on vacation in Alabama, and one day we happened into an old-time “five & dime”. This was the kind of place that sold you Coke in glass bottles, and actually refilled them if you brought them back. I mean, this place was straight out of the Andy Griffith Show. All that was missing was the lunch counter with the “no coloreds allowed” sign.

Anyway, I am always in the mood to spend some money, and I was about to have a field day in this place. I have this funny tendency to buy shit I neither want nor need; the point is to simply spend the money like it’s a shopping spree or something. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to ‘Bama, but there ain’t much there worth spending money on. I was about 10, so I had every action figure that was popular at the time. There shouldn’t have been anything to impress me in this time capsule of a store. But that didn’t stop me.

I proceeded to buy a pack of those green army men. You know, the kind that were only played with by kids in the ’60s and the poor kids of today. But that was nothing compared to what else was in the bundle.

I had a wrist-mounted dart launcher, a bow & arrow set, and to top it off, four lone ranger masks in different colors. I was just a stupid kid who liked junk, so imagine my surprise when I got to the counter and the owner looked at me funny. “Oh, no,” I thought. “I’m about to be the next Emmitt Till.” He cocked his head, looked at me, and asked, “You ain’t about to get into no mischief, are you now?” I looked at the items on the counter, and it was like everything was suddenly crystal clear. What the Hell had I been thinking?! I was buying weapons and masks!

And to top it off, not only did I look like some kind of junior criminal, but I was a low-rent one at that. At an age when most kids would have bb guns and spray paint, my militia was shaping up to be something out of “Howdy Doody”.

I looked him in the eye, smiled, and gave him my most sincere, “Oh, no sir. Not at all.” He kind of gave me another once over, and proceeded to ring up the items.

My mother had watched the entire exchange, and when I was done, I noticed that she looked upset. I thought she was on my side, and I was thinking, “That guy just asked me that ’cause I was Black.” But no, she came off with the patented Black mom response: “Boy, why you gonna buy some fool stuff like that? You got enough junk!”

By that point, as you can figure, I didn’t even want the stuff anymore. I had succeeded in wasting the money, and in one person’s eyes I was a thug, while in another’s I was a fool. Not the best end to that standoff. Oh well…

I thought of that story ’cause I found that dart launcher the other day. It makes me laugh at how stupid the entire exchange was, but I also thought about how I probably couldn’t even get away with that today. I mean, back then, it was a simple shop owner, making sure I wasn’t gonna be spreading terror to the quiet burg of Tuscaloosa. But today, if I tried to buy such stuff, I might end up on some kind of list.

The thing I always think about, though, is why he thought I was going to do something bad. I mean, sure, I was a little fat kid, in Alabama, buying weapons and masks, but WHY did that have to be a bad thing? I could take the racial approach, but I feel there are so many levels to it that sadden me. I mean, maybe I was going to do something GOOD with those items. Or maybe I just wanted to play. I guess I’m kinda blown that we’re always quick to assume something bad, but we never even entertain the idea that something POSITIVE might be afoot. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, after all these years, I’m really sorry that I went back and robbed him…