It’s a Secret!

Do you ever feel like something you enjoy is some big secret that no one else has heard about?

I was talking about rediscovering ‘Chuckthe other day. That’s one of those great secrets I’m thinking about. Nobody I know seems to have heard about ‘Chuck’. I know that enjoyed a strong following, because it was a fan campaign that kept it on the air for the last 3 years. It just seems like every person I mention it to has missed out.

It’s the same thing with the music group ‘Cake‘. I discovered ‘Cake’ several years ago. around 2004 when I was still in college. I never investigated them much, I was content to just

Cover of "Prolonging the Magic"

Cover of Prolonging the Magic

listen to the one album my friend told me to buy.

Now, we have things like Pandora and Spotify, and I was able to find a little bit more of their music. I like pretty much all of it. They do happen to be one of those groups with a relatively consistent sound from song to song, and album to album. I don’t mind that. I know some people don’t care for that kind of consistency in their music.

The thing is, I feel like I’m the weird one because nobody knows about these things I enjoy so much. I’m always one to share the things I enjoy, so I like to tell people about these wonderful things. All I get in return are blank looks, and a half-hearted ‘Sure, I’ll check it out…’

Am I the only one this happens to on a regular basis? Does this, in fact, mean that some of the things that I like that I think are normal are as weird as the things that I like that I acknowledge are weird? Did that previous sentence make any sense?

 

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Under Pressure…

I owe a certain artist an apology.

Back when I did my other post based on his artwork, he was working on a piece based on a prompt that I gave him. After completing this, I was then to take the prompt and his work based on it and write another post. This was supposed to be an awesome collaboration that produced fun and unexpected results. Right about the time he finished, my story posts started. Here we are way later than it should be.

 

You’re gunna want to be more careful with those things! Copyright Eric Meister 2013

The prompt was ‘Tension’.

The first thing that came to mind here was the overwhelming amount of pressure that exists for most of us on a daily basis. It’s almost too much when you really take the time to lay it all out. Especially when you consider that most of these things are continuous and they overlap.

For instance, say you’re talking about someone working as a waiter in a casual dining restaurant, with a long term significant other, that lives in an apartment. That certainly doesn’t seem like an overly complicated existence. Let’s look deeper: Pressure to perform at work, to be accurate, quick, and friendly, all while getting paid not enough and dealing with difficult patrons. There’s pressure to make enough money to afford rent, and other assorted bills. To make enough to have spending money, but you shouldn’t be working too many hours. You have to leave time for that significant other. You also have to leave time for yourself to be able to recharge.

Without adding in any sort of grand life plans, or internalized pressure, it’s beginning to look a little daunting. I know what some of you are thinking, “That’s nothing. Life is just like that. We’ve all got to juggle lots of balls and we make it work. That doesn’t seem like that much. Don’t complain.” That’s not the point.

The point is, should it be that way? It really does take a lot to survive the overly pressurized society that we all live in. Most of us are taking on to many things, while also expecting results of a level we may not be capable of. That doesn’t matter. If it’s not right, we’re a failure. So we take on more to prove to someone, maybe ourselves, that we can handle it all. Wouldn’t it be nicer if that wasn’t how it had to be though?

I wasn’t thinking about this because I’m especially stressed or anything. This is just a long-standing query of mine. What are we all working so hard for? Most of us work so hard or so long that we are actually inefficient. As a society, we don’t get enough sleep or relaxation time. We plan every minute and we organize ourselves to structure our stress.

I’m not trying to tell everyone to slow down and take more vacation days. I was just noticing the culture that has been created. Wouldn’t we all be happier, and therefore more productive, with less stress, less pressure, and less tension?

Sometimes that much tension causes you to drop something…

 

Does It Matter?

I say no. I say the form that it takes makes no difference to… I never told you what we’re talking about, did I? Whoops. Let’s back up.

I know it’s late, and for that I’m sorry. I also know that I missed Friday. I suspect no one was waiting desperately by their computer, refreshing over and over again waiting for my post. It is a goal of mine to post something every weekday right now, and I’m annoyed that Friday got away from me, even if you aren’t. So let’s get back to my original point.

Does the form that a story take make any difference in regards to the quality of the story being told?

I say no.

Cover of "Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pi...

Cover via Amazon

I just finished reading the whole first compendium of The Walking Dead. I also just finished the 3rd book in the Scott Pilgrim series which I am just now getting, one book at a time as they are released in color. These got me thinking about if the fact that they’re technically comic books has any effect on the story. I claim that if I enjoy they story, then it makes no difference if it’s a graphic novel, traditional novel, young adult books, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, television show mini-series, short film or feature length film. What really matters is the quality of the story, and more importantly, how I feel about it.

I love the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Movie. I also love the Graphic novels. I really think it’s got an interesting blend of story, and whimsy as well as a large amount of pop culture references. I also happen to think that the humor is especially hysterical in a way that only causes me to laugh harder when someone thinks that it’s stupid. The movie seemed aimed at a more generalized young adult crowd, while the graphic novel seems more specifically targeted. The main point being that the story is excellent.

If you’re an adult and you really seem to get the most enjoyment out of young adult or teen fiction books, who cares? Did the author write an engaging story that entertained you enough that you wanted to keep reading and enjoyed the entire time? then who cares what section they keep it in at the bookstore?

Do you feel silly reading “comic books” because you’re an adult and “those things are for kids”? Doesn’t matter if the author captures your imagination.

It’s no real secret around here that I am a giant child, and I am unapologetic about that fact. I devour stories, in all their forms. Almost everyone has some form of media that seems to speak to them in a way that the rest don’t. Don’t let someone’s arbitrary cataloging turn you off to something that you enjoy because you’re worried what someone else might think. Be a man who reads romance books, or a lady who likes high fantasy. Be a teen girl that likes aliens or a young boy who likes Agatha Christie. Doesn’t matter.

Let whatever kindles your imagination start a fire that never truly dies. Keep that fire burning in embers until the next thing comes along to help you stoke it back into a roaring blaze. Most of all, don’t let anyone else tell you what to stoke your fire with.

Anyone ever tell you that what you were reading/watching/listening to wasn’t for “people like you”? What was it?

Different Versions

All this talk about Cover Versions got me thinking about something else: Different media types.

Promotional poster of The Walking Dead.

Promotional poster of The Walking Dead. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I suspect most of you have at least heard of The Walking Dead. I am (per usual) a little late to that party. I’ve seen the first season of the show on Netflix, and I’ve got the first 6 Graphic Novels in the Compendium that I’m working on now.

This is not a “Books are better” rant. I was just noticing some of the differences between the Graphic Novel version of The Walking Dead and the television version. The story lines diverge pretty quickly. It sort of lends itself to choosing which version of events you like better. Not so much about which one is objectively better, but more about which version you prefer.

This shows up in things like Dexter too. It seems like it’s more common in adaptations from one media type to another, and more specifically when the original version is in a series and it’s just used as inspiration for another series.

I have to say that I find this type of comparison infinitely more interesting than the standard “They left so much out of the movie from the book.” It’s true that this happens a lot, but that’s kind of just an unfortunate side effect of translating something into a timed visual media like film.

Are there any things that strike your fancy in more than one type of media?

Word (In Which I Show My Age)

Aren’t slang words fun? They’re a frequently changing set of words that are socially acceptable that change on a whim, without notice, and mean nothing.

What makes them really interesting to me, is that everyone has a certain set of words they gravitate towards. There’s always some set of slang words that someone hears that really makes sense to them. Those words get stuck in their vocabulary. They use them when they go out of fashion, they use them when most people consider them ‘too old to be acting cool’, and eventually, they stop using slang altogether because the ones they want to use get them made fun of.

Just for shots and goggles, lets look at some slang words that are either in,out,weird,wrong,or funny. because we can. (equal opportunity ribbing going on here, promise)

Boss – Out, but petitioning for comeback

Bro – In, but only with the people who desperately think they’re the cool people

Hip – On the edge, still correct, but no one actually uses it

Phat – Just hysterical that it ever mattered

Word – Not really in anymore, though still used and generally ok when not overused

Truckin’ – Heh. Definitely not the 70’s anymore

 

I suppose the point is really that it’s kind of ridiculous that we keep trying to come up with new words and phrases and redefine them.

Take a step back, and think about all the different slang you’ve used over the years. The ones you remember, say them out loud. Just for a chuckle.

We all sound a little ridiculous.

-Christopher