At least Pirate and I still have our love.For those of you who only read the front page on Wednesdays, Lowtax wrote yesterday about the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia. I suffer from a similar problem, but mine has more to do with being too optimistic in myself than anything else. I have a bad tendency to make overly complex or grandiose plans and then never follow through with them. Sometimes I'll follow through just enough to actually get that particular something done only to find that the mediocre results were not even worth my half-assed effort. This is not a recent development for me like Lowtax's nostalgia; this curse of boundless optimism has been with me my whole life. I'm sure when I was a toddler I was certain that I would insert the largest object mankind can create into my mouth and then walk around the kitchen with ten thousand crayons drawing unbelievably beautiful pictures on walls. Instead I merely shifted slightly in front of the TV screen as Big Bird babbled unintelligibly and a patty of feces expanded to fill my diaper.
For decades, or at least two decades, this has been going on in my life and it's a trend that shows little sign of slowing. Lately I've failed to produce a mod for Morrowind, failed to produce a gaming web site, and failed to do many things which I have tasked myself with. But these most recent mistakes would be little more than speed bumps on the road of success if they were backed by many finished projects. Instead my life has been a series of missteps, bumbling and often hilarious, and to appreciate my recent failures you must examine some of my older mistakes.
Log Cabin, Age 6Page 7 of my log cabin blue print clearly shows that scuba man must shoot underwater tank robot in the chest.Project Plan: Jealous of neighbors who seemed to have amazing tree houses full of wonder I decided that the time had come for me to do what my parents seemed unwilling to do and design and build my own tree house. I carefully worked out a detailed schematic in the form of a twenty page hand-drawn story about a scuba diver fighting an army of robots underwater and set to work gathering materials. I briefly considered purchasing lumber, but my 25 cent per week allowance would not even come close to covering this cost. The one building material I had in any significant quantity was firewood. We had huge stacks of the stuff, and in an amazing leap of logic I assumed that I could just sort of pile and stack the logs until I had a log cabin.
Project Reality: Firewood is heavy and six year olds are not very strong. I think my plans for building the log cabin went into budget and schedule overruns somewhere around the point where I had to actually lift a log. Other factors contributing to this plan falling apart include, but are not limited to:My parents yelling at me for spending too much time loitering suspiciously around the woodpile.The end result of the project was pretty similar to the starting result of the project, which is to say that I had a pile of fire wood shifted slightly from its original position. You would think I might learn a lesson about making my goals a bit more realistic. Think again.
An entrancing pool containing tadpoles.
I was basing the ground floor plan on an illustration of a scuba diver shooting a laser into a robot that looked like a tank.
The Great American Novel, Age 10
Project Plan: Man was I precocious! Many people spend their entire adult lives trying and failing to write the great American novel, I tried and failed at the tender age of 10. My plan was to put all of my knowledge about post-apocalyptic earth, brain-transplant cyborgs, and alien invaders to use and prove myself as the next Ernest Hemingway before I made it to Junior High school. I think my novel had a working title but I have no recollection of what it was. The plot revolved around characters cleverly named after myself, my friends, and some hot girls in our 6th grade class. It was a real ensemble cast of characters from Nick the grizzled bounty hunter, to Matt the grizzled fighter pilot, to Robert the grizzled cyborg. All of them battled an endless stream of robots, cyborgs, aliens, and sinister government operatives. Think of it as "The Matrix" meets "Buck Rogers" meets "Trisomy 13".
Project Reality: I painstakingly scrawled 250+ pages of violence onto college-rule paper in clumsy block letters. I had page long descriptions of how thick blast doors were, entire chapters devoted to gun fights in the streets of underground cities, and compound sentences about people shitting their pants when they got their heads blown off. If fan fiction had existed at the time it's a safe bet to say the proverbial grizzled Zack character would have been making out with Gadget from Rescue Rangers or something. The tragic ending is that not only did I never finish this masterpiece, but I also lost all of it and only a few short years later attempted the same thing again. My second attempt was a really fucking terrible post apocalyptic/supernatural scifi action piece set mainly in Egypt that had creepy S&M themes in it.
The Lead Singer of a Band, Age 14
Project Plan: A lot of kids experiment with being a musician when they're in high school. Seeing as how I took a year of the snare drum in the fifth grade (another failed project) I considered myself "well prepared" for a hot career as the lead singer of a local band. It just so happened that some of my friends had lost their current lead singer and I thought that I was the perfect person to fill the guy's shoes. I was basing this idea on the fact that I liked listening to some really awesome music and I could totally sing better than anyone else in the shower with me when I was singing in the shower. I wrote some lyrics and gave them to the guys and we hammered out my first song entitled "Aborigine". From there it was going to be a fast track to playing local gigs, releasing our first album, and before we knew it we would be signing a record deal and touring in stadiums. Some time soon after that I was confident that I would be drinking all the soda I wanted while Cleopatra waved a fan made out of hundred dollar bills, possibly onboard my very own submarine.
Project Reality: "Aborigine" was one of the worst songs ever committed to tape. My nasal warbling was akin to a wounded duck fleeing from a pack of very angry and very small dogs. The rest of the band was amateurish but at least practiced. Oblivious to the horror I had wrought I oversaw the careful mixing and production of the track. I labored intensely to get the exact right mix of fake Native American chanting backwards masked correctly. Luckily the recording of this nonsensical, angsty, downright pitiful piece of crap has been lost to the sands of time, unluckily I remember the whole thing I like just got finished recording it. Here is a sample of the lyrics to why this plan failed miserably.Hysterical insanity washes over me,Here's some of the chorus. It was pretty radical.
Drowning in this sea of shit,
Remember the way it used to be,
Ignoring every little bitGateway is opening,Fuck, I wish I was making this up, I wish I had just written that crap to amuse you. It's true, those are 12 year vintage Zack Parsons lyrics. First of all I have no idea what the song was even about. It was sort of going for that whole Satanism vibe of heavy metal, but then it also had this really pussy eco-alternative theme to it as well. I never mentioned being a lead signer again and within a week they had a guy who would do covers of Dinosaur Jr. and write vaguely amusing songs about fucking.
Final parting of the seas,
Chemicals are raining,
Harbinger of disease,
Take a look around you,
Not much to see,
Try to confound you,
But there will always be
College, Age 18-19Wooooooo! PAR-TAY!Project Plan: By the time I was headed off to college I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to be, I felt assured that I was on the right course. I double majored in film and history (as if majoring in your first semester even means anything) and proceeded to religiously devote myself to study. I knew that in four years, maybe five if the college screwed me out of any easy path to a Bachelor's degree, I would be heading off to get my Master's or even to the magical fairy land of World War II documentaries I pictured myself in.
Project Reality: Of all of my plans I would have to say that college failed the most miserably. I wasted a ton of money on college and accomplished barely more than I would have if I had just stared at a wall for months on end. I would attribute this spectacular abortion of a plan to two things; "alcohol" and "computer games". I had never even had a whole beer in high school so I was getting a fresh start at college, and boy did I take quite a plunge with that drinking. I was drunk at least three days a week and when I wasn't - hell, even if I was - I was playing "Command and Conquer" or "Daggerfall". With today's sue happy America I could probably hit up Westwood, Bethesda Softworks, and the city of Milwaukee for at the very least the cost of my college tuition. I threatened to beat people up, staggered around campus like a drifter in a trench coat, and generally made a nuisance of myself to anyone I met that was trying to take their education seriously.
The Great American Novel Part 2, Age 23This mockup cover for my novel is not pretentious at all!Project Plan: At some point between high school and my stint here at Something Awful I gained the ability to write somewhat well. I churned out a few short stories that I actually still think are pretty good, if flawed, to this day. This got me thinking that it might be high time to take another stab at that Great American novel. I was no longer obsessed with gunfights and making things explode, I had put a lot of good literature into my own brain, maybe I could recycle some Kafka or something! Starting around the same time I began writing here I was working on an all new novel, a cyberpunk yarn full of political intrigue, cloned assassins, and lots of weird metaphysical garbage about the human mind. This was going to be me best unfinished novel ever!
Project Reality: The biggest failing of my last major fucked up project was the fact that I chose to write the whole goddamn mess in first person present tense. It is insanely hard to have a complex narrative done in first person and doubly so in the present tense. To say that the whole project failed because of this would be shortchanging my ability to lose interest in long projects. I just ran out of steam some 13 chapters and around 200 pages into it. I had the ending all planned out, I had the climax outlined, I just didn't want to wrap it up and it sat untouched for months. In the past week or so I have decided that it's through, finished, caput. I would offer you fine folks a sample of it but none of it really amusing enough to waste your time with.
After all that you would think I would have learned my lesson, but I haven't at all! In fact I am not only already starting work on another novel, I am also starting work on its sequels and an entire prequel trilogy. I intend to ruin an entire franchise of books I never wrote in a span of a year at the most. It is also to you that I pledge a solemn oath: these books that will never be published or even finished will feature the one thing that all of my other fiction has lacked up until now. Non-stop hardcore teen lesbian sex.
Actually, I think it's time for a "Feast"! Ben "Never Funny" Platt has subjected himself to the movie "Feast" and then he has subjected himself to reviewing it. Which is sort of like watching it three times, so he deserves at least a purple heart or something.
We see a girl running through a forest in slow motion as Peter, a genial black stereotype narrates his nightly dream of killing and eating her. Well, "narrates" might be a strong word. Peter doesn't really have what one might call a strong grasp of the English language. He drops entire syllables from the middle of his words. It seems like he's just seeing the script for the first time, which may very well be true. His psychiatrist, Brenda Whitlock, tells him that his dreams are the most unusual she's ever heard. Her clients must be the most boring people on Earth. Brenda is played by the repulsive porn star Sharon Mitchell. Miss Mitchell must have had a difficult time adjusting to the world of legitimate acting, as this is one of the few scenes where she actually has clothes on. Believe me, that means it's one of the better scenes.
Sounds like a taste sensation to me! Waddle on over and tear yourself off a hunk of that meaty review!
Natural and supernatural horrors mount on an expedition to an island music festival for the wealthy.
With college finals approaching, it's time once again for Microsoft Word autosummaries of all the old, boring books you were supposed to read.
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