Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quirky

You know what I love?

Me.

Know what else?

All of my friends.

Know what we have in common?

We are some strange, strange people.

People can spend a lifetime trying to fit in, when all that does is suppress the wonderful, weird, kooky quirkyness of us all.

I try, but it's difficult to put my finger on exactly what it is about us all that's just a little off. Maybe that's it - Maybe it's hard to tell because we're just a little off, but in a whole lot of ways.

I found the above photo somewhere lurking in the world wide web. I have no idea what's going on there and that makes it so much better. It does help me refine my point a bit, though. When it comes right down to it:

Are you willing to put on your lobster suit and have a day?

Because we are. I can only imagine the moment when a lobster suit arrives at my door. In my mind, it is a glorious moment, indeed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Phylactery

I fucking love phylacteries.

So Jews have this thing where they take some strips of parchment with particular verses from the Torah, put them in little black boxes and strap them to their arm and forehead.  This allows them to bear a symbol that their hearts and minds are in dedication to god.  I only found out about them a couple of years ago when I was walking through the airport and saw the two Jewiest Jews I had ever seen.  A quick Google search for "little boxes Jews wear" led me to the fascinating history of the Tefillin, or phylactery.

I was particularly fond of this because sometime before, completely independently,  I had started wearing a pill fob on a belt loop with important lessons that I had learned written on scraps of paper inside.  There will always be difficult times and in those times we sometimes forget the most important things about life.  So whenever I get upset, I'll open up my little silver box and remind myself.  You can see it in just about any picture of me that includes my waistline.

I can't help but feel that these two practices share a philosophical link.


So Liches have this thing where they take their soul and put it into a small item, usually a box or bottle, called  phylactery.  This allows them to operate their undead bodies remotely.  If their bodies are then destroyed, perhaps by a wandering group of adventurers, no damage is done to the spirit and the body can be rebuild in a matter of days.  In order to permanently destroy the Lich, you must first destroy its phylactery.  However, they are usually guarded by powerful spells, powerful creatures, and hidden deep within keeps or catacombs.  It's a pretty ingenious survival plan... well... depending on your definitions of survival.

Either way, phylacteries are about taking something of great spiritual significance, and putting it in a small box.  There's something about the idea that I find fascinating. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Orion

So, another possible contributor to my overwhelming ego might be that I was named after highly influential mythical figures.  My full name is Adam Orion Jones.  I'm really only out-shined by some guy named Jesus Superman Gandhi.  Jones wasn't my last name at birth, I took it on when my old step-father adopted me.  I had the chance to change it back when my mother divorced him, but I kept it because:

1. I had never known my birth father at this point.
2. I had built an identity as Adam Jones
3. It was so common that it didn't feel tied to my step-father.
4. It had such a nice ring to it. "Adam Jones" flows very easily.

The super common last name added sort of an everyman appeal to these legendary figures.  I liked it.  But I've gotten a bit off topic.

Stories about Orion are extremely varied in Greek mythology.  There are many different versions of his life and deeds.  Many of which were fairly awful, but these were the Greeks. All of their heroes were sometimes villains.

However, it was universally agreed that he was super tall, handsome, strong, talented, and generally awesome.  
It's a lot to live up to.

Did you know that Orion was such a badass hunter that Mother Earth created a giant scorpion just to kill him?  Okay, he may have been planning to kill every animal on Earth, but still, that's a hell of a way to go.  It's no wonder that I hate scorpions.

The other legend of his death involves his goddess lover Artemis being tricked into shooting him in the head while swimming in the ocean.  Coincidentally, I also don't like the ocean.

Still, I think the next dog I get will be names Sirius. (His dog was so awesome they put him in the sky, too.)


Any of you guys feel compelled to fill delusionally large shoes?

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Nightingale/December Song

N was one of my favorite entries from last year, so I wanted to have fun with this one, too. 
Also, pro-tip: When looking for inspiration for subjects starting with N, doing a Google search for "n word" is not a great idea.

Ooh, I know!

Let me share some music with you.  I rarely ever do this, but I've been inspired recently.  My friend over at The Modest Peacock has her Music Mondays and I thought I'd horn in on that a little.

There is a song that really helped me out a while ago.  It's by a band called Sunset Rubdown on their Dragonslayer LP back in 2009.  It's called "Nightingale/December Song."  I hope you like it!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for McCoy

Look at him majestically holding that... item.
If your name is Dr. McCoy, you're probably a badass.

I think part of my love of being a crotchety old man at any age probably stems, at least a little, from Doctor Leonard McCoy.

Here is a man who is on a space ship where people are fighting, dying, sexing, exploring, inventing, and overacting and all he wants is for those damn kids to get off of his lawn.  That is some master level curmudgeoning. 

The wonders of the universe have no appeal to this guy.  He's seen it all.  He's not impressed. He's a doctor.

I'll admit, I haven't seen the original show since I was a kid.  The character was probably a little more in depth, but I remember him as being a grouchy savior of mankind.



I wish I had a tie to match my fur.
As I was becoming a teenager I found myself struggling between the seemingly mutually exclusive virtues of brawn and brain.  That is, until I acquainted myself with Doctor Henry McCoy.

The X-Men taught me about the dynamics of social conflict, the shapes they could take, and ways to resolve them.  They also taught me that like Hank, you could be strong, visually off-putting, brilliant, and compassionate.  It's a lesson that is just as relevant in my life today.

This guy was a super genius who mutated in the Beast.  He is crazy strong, agile, and a highly skilled fighter.  So what did he do after he gained this outstanding physical prowess?  He dedicated his life to science and Mutant equality in politics. 

Grade A Badass.




Shown here having excellent taste.
My favorite, though, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is Doctor Karissa McCoy.  I first met her on April 16th, 2011 and my life has been immeasurably more excellent since then.

Yes, she is beautiful, intelligent, kind, blah, blah, blah... that's not really the important part.

See, I grew up as an only child, didn't have a lot of friends, wasn't too social, never had a long term relationship... I was alone a lot.  I think partially as a result of this (and probably a bunch of other stuff) I have become pretty self centered.

Over the last year, this woman has begun to teach me how to open myself up and care about others in a genuine way.  I still have a long way to go, but without her I may never have started.

I do recognize the irony of complimenting someone else  by saying how they made me less self-involved, but I think it's a start.

She also likes Ponies, Doctor Who, and debating the possible homoerotic subtext of Fight Club.

Also she has great boobs.



The Dr. McCoy family is so inspiring, I was shocked when I learned that this guy wasn't a member.

I wish he was my mentor.

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Lessons

Life is a constant stream of lessons.

Such as I didn't think of doing L is for Life until I had already conceptualized this post and written that sentence.  Bother.  Well, there's always next year.

I am entranced by the relationships between mistakes, wisdom, suffering, and joy.

There are times that I look at humanity and consider myself one of the more wise among them.  However, the only reason I ever make any good decisions at all is because I've made the bad ones so many times that I eventually realized what I was doing wrong.

I still make as many mistakes as ever, perhaps more; just not the same ones.*  Experience and personal growth open up whole new worlds of mistakes to make.  Each error brings knowledge and insight that I try my damnedest to absorb into myself.  Sometimes it works.

Recently I've been making a lot of mistakes.  Some pretty big ones.  I'm trying not to get overwhelmed by it all (that's a mistake I've made too many times before).  Instead, I'm focusing on the lessons.  What caused this?  What can be done to fix this?  What can I do to make sure that this never happens again?

As Long as I Learn my Life Lesson, I can nail this down and move on to a whole new world of mistakes.






*One of the lessons I still haven't learned is how to use a semi-colon.  I have no idea if that was right.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Ketchup

It seems that I know a lot of people with K names.  All of those people wanted me to write a post about them.  Some of them flip-flopped, some of them remained firm, but all of them scare me.  If I followed through with any of them, I feared I would be stabbed.

I had a lot of things to say, but instead, we get this.

So let me tell you about how much I love ketchup.

When I was a child, my step father would put ketchup on the sandwiches he would make me.  I grew up thinking that was normal.  I thought a lot of things were normal back then...

I've since learned right from wrong in reference to how ketchup is traditionally used.  The main benefit of that knowledge is that I now understand when I am turning the tangy delight into a wretched abomination of tomato slather.

I'm not so obsessed as to put it on everything.  For instance, it has no place in desserts.  I admit that, now.  However, I do think that it has far greater uses than many give it credit for.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for J. R. R. Tolkien Can Eat a D!€% (with cursing)

So I've never read any of the books, only watched the movies.
I began thinking: Wait... what?

There are several things that I just don't fundamentally get,
such as:

The One Ring
So there's this ring.  It has four powers:
It makes you invisible.
It drives you mad.
Everyone wants it.
Bad guys can track it

Seems like a pretty shitty deal.

It was never satisfactorily explained to me what the importance of this ring was.  It could maybe control the other rings and their wearers?  Why not just have everyone who was wearing a ring take theirs off?  I'm sure there was a reason, it's just that no one ever told me what it was.

Sauron
What the fuck was this guy?  I'm sure that he was more than just a big flaming eye, but what was he?  Why didn't he ever do anything?  As far as I can tell, he didn't actually have to exist for the story; everything would have happened the same way without him.  He contributed nothing.

Wizards
Okay, here's the part that really baked my noodle.  I could not figure out what the deal was with wizards.  There was no magic academy, no school, training program, or anything.  Where do wizards come from?  Are there only like, two ever?  Where the shit does magic stuff come from?  Do you not have to be a wizard to do magic?  Then what the shit does being a wizard even mean?



It finally got to the point where I broke down and consulted the internet.

Me: What the shit is Gandalf, anyway?

Internet: Gandalf is an Istari.

Me: Okay... well... what the shit is an Istari?

Internet: The Istari are a group of Maiar.

Me: Oh.  Huh.  I see.  What... what are Maiar?

Internet: The Maiar are lesser versions of Valar.

Me: Seriously?  You're doing this?  Okay.  What are Valar?

Internet: The Valar are the physical forms of the most powerful Ainur.

Me:  I swear to shit, what the shit?!  No, calm down, you're Adam Jones.  You can do this.  Okay internet.  Tell me.  What are Ainur?

Internet: The Ainur were created by Eru Il├║vatar.

Me: Fuck you, I'm done.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Imagination

When I was a small child I was confused by the concept of imagination.  I thought imagination was being able to have completely new ideas spark from nothing into your mind.  I couldn't do it.  I thought I was broken. 

All I could do was take things I already knew and swap around bits to make some kind of composite.  I never created anything new, I just rearranged old stuff.  It felt more like a mathematical process, there was a logical progression behind it.  I regarded this as a pale substitute for imagination.

As I got older, my list of things I could swap around grew tremendously.  After a while, it wasn't just pieces I could swap around, but whole concepts and abstract thoughts.  I could mix and match just about anything to get whatever new thing I needed, but it was still never a new thing.

I honestly couldn't tell you when I realized the truth.  It wasn't that long ago. 

I'm sure that there are people who have imaginations that work the way I thought it did.  I'm also sure that those people are absolutely insane.  Imagination isn't a magical genesis which leads to something from nothing.  It's finding new ways to express what you already know... No, that's wrong.  It's finding your way to express what you already know.  That is one more reason that you should never stop learning.  The more knowledge that you gather, the more colors you can paint with.

Information inspires imagination.


I've recently taken up poetry.  I find that going on walks helps my creativity get started.
What sorts of things do you guys do to get your imaginations flowing?

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Hello

All day I've been trying to think of a good H word and haven't been able to come up with anything.  Then, all of a sudden, I think of three really good ones, but they would take a really long time to do well and I'm getting pretty tired.  Maybe one of those can be for next year.  I'm going to go light tonight and just say HELLO!

Isn't that nice?  I've always liked the word hello.  I'm sure a quick Google search would enlighten me, but as of right now, I have no idea where the word came from me.  It's a couple of nonsense syllables that mean nothing, it conveys nothing.  It's just a nice little sound that sort of indicates "I acknowledge your existence."

Feeling like you don't exist is a terrible sensation.  Walking around all day without anyone making eye contact with you or speaking to you can be surprisingly disheartening.

So if you can help it, if you can keep it in mind, make sure you smile to the people you pass by for the next couple of days.  Look them in the eye and say hello.  It might just do a world of good.


Has a simple act of acknowledgement ever changed your day?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Goblin

The history of Goblins in mythology is rich, fascinating, and not what I plan on talking about right now.

I probably first became aware of Goblins in 1986 with the movie Labyrinth.  I don't recall ever feeling any particular way about them at the time.  I think I just sort of took them at face value with sort of a "Sure, that makes enough sense, I suppose" attitude.

I think it was probably 1994 by the time I noticed Goblins again.  I saw them frequently while playing the new game Magic: The Gathering.  They were very different from the ones that I had seen before, but were still unarguably quite Goblin... whatever that was.

I then learned about D&D Goblins.  Later on I started LARPing, and they had their own unique Goblins.

These creatures were the first example I ever noticed of creators drawing upon a common mythos and interpreting it differently, but still staying true to the identity.  The interesting thing is that there is no one Source of Goblin.  The entire idea is one that we're all making up together and we just know when it's right.

In my creative writing class, someone wrote a snippet about Goblins preparing to ambush a couple of travelers.  It was meant to be an example of building tension.  


The teacher: Why are their swords rusty?
Me: Goblins aren't known for their maintenance, they're scavengers.  If their equipment breaks down, they'll just steal new stuff.
Teacher: Well, if they're scavengers, maybe you could have them use old farm equipment as weapons.
Me:  Sure, if it was their first time out, but the first people they're going to ambush would be people with better weapons.
Girl Next to Me: Wow, you sure do know a lot about Goblins.
Me: Well... yeah... I do.

Thing is, I didn't even wait for the author of the piece to respond.  I started reflexively talking.  Somewhere along the line I became so intimately familiar with Goblin Lore that it just became natural.

I think one of the reasons that these things have fascinated me for so long is that they have severe weaknesses, the most of any fantasy creature.  The fun part is that they have strengths to make up for each of them.

Weakness: A Goblin is pitifully weak.  A single one could be overwhelmed by a surly child.
Strength: There is no such thing as a Goblin.  They have a habit of overwhelming their foes with sheer numbers.

Weakness: They are cowards.  When intimidated, they will scatter like bugs.
Strength: They are vicious.  If they keep their morale up, they will gnaw through any defenses.

Weakness: They have no social structure.  If a Chief or a Shaman can display enough power to intimidate enough followers, they may be able to keep a small tribe in line for a while, but this will inevitably break down.  Goblins are irritable and violent, as if the entire species has just quit smoking.
Strength: They can be rallied.  When given an inspirational leader or a fearsome overlord, Goblins can be rallied to complete a single, simple task to the best of their communal ability.

Weakness: Goblins are fantastically stupid.  Your typical example has no ability to predict the outcome of an unfamiliar situation.
Strength: They are wily and obsessive.  Their ability to think outside the box is unparalleled.  This best shines through in any tinkering or engineering that they do.  Goblin creations are dangerous and flawed, but will usually do what they were designed to, if only once.

But most of all, they're fun.  They never get bogged down in things like image, politics, religion, or personal safety.  They are the ultimate expression of living in the moment.

As more iterations get more popular, the public idea of Goblins begins to solidify.  I imagine that from now on, your average nerd/gamer is going to immediately think of World of Warcraft Goblins as their standard.  I don't think that there's any thing wrong with that, really.  They're a pretty well-rounded example, in my humble opinion.



However, I could do with a few more like this:



Anybody else have any thoughts on these little green gems?

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for Facebook Can Eat a D!€%

I've had a love/hate relationship going on with the Facebooks for quite some time now, but it's recently taken a vicious, personal turn.

Like an old person, I long for the days of personal contact. If you have something to say to me, why not just call? Because it's just not efficient anymore, that's why. I'd be on the phone all day. It's a quick and easy way to keep all your ducks in one row, I get that.

The problem starts when people rely on Facebook as a tasteful and reliable way to disseminate information. Don't be surprised that I didn't know that you were pregnant just because you put it on your wall. Maybe 15 of my other 500 "friends" posted something before I got on and I'm too lazy to scroll down.

So now I have to be on all the time or I miss everything that’s going on. It’s become a social convention that if I try to buck, I’ll just get left behind. Except that I’ve already been left behind.

I’ve been learning how to behave around people my whole life and honestly, I learn slower than most. I know you’re not supposed to talk about a woman’s facial hair, shout “scrotum!” in a public place, or type in all caps. These things have been drilled into me since I was a small child. I’ve had time to get used to these rules and follow them somewhat instinctively. However, as technology grows, they keep adding new rules and I keep missing a few here and there.

I know a dozen tips and tricks to not getting stabbed on the subway, but I don’t know to be super careful when browsing through the profile pics of a girl you just met. Your buddy might bump your arm and make you accidentally press “like” on a 10 month old picture of her and her mom. Nothing says “I’m not a weirdo” like “Hey, you and your mom are super-hot. I approve.”


Any of you wanna share a story about how technology helped you humiliate yourself?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Evelyn

That is some hot shit, right there.
There are just a handful of couples that we know are supposed to be together - Jack and Jill, Romeo and Juliet, Adam and Eve... well, if you're gay there's Adam and Steve.

I'm not what you might call a Christian, but it's hard to fight the notion, this bizarre sense of imposed identity that there's supposed to be an Eve out there that I'm supposed to be with.  Truth be told, I've never even met an Eve.

Many, many years ago I latched onto the name Evelyn as a real-life equivalent.  Strangely enough, I always equated this name to myself.  In video games I almost exclusively play female characters.  My thought on this is that if I'm going to be staring at someone for many hours of my life, I prefer it to be a hot chick.  That said, due to the nature of video games, I still want to identify with these characters.  So, when it comes time to name them, I want to give them a feminine version of my name... except that there isn't one.  There's no Brian/Brianna, Joseph/Josephine, Francis/Frances version of Adam.  The only thing that ever felt right was Evelyn, so that's what I name all of my lady-selves.

I'm just egotistical enough to want to name a child after myself, but what if I have a girl?  I decided I would name her Evelyn.  I realize that it doesn't quite fit.  If a guy named Romeo married a woman named Karen and named his daughter Juliet, it would seem weird to me.  However, I don't care.

Then I actually met a woman named Evelyn.

Photo by Coilhouse
This woman is so prolific that just glancing at her itinerary drives me to nap.  Also, she is mad talented.  When I first met her, she bossed me around and posed me like a doll for photographs, before introductions.  So, super hot.  If she didn't live 1,000 miles away, we'd be knee-deep in babies by now.  It's probably better if she doesn't know that I've been calling myself Evelyn for years.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Draw Something

So remember how I have this rare disorder where I pass out and have seizures if I laugh too hard?

You should, it's hilarious and true.

Well, it hasn't been an issue for several years.  I've learned to recognize the signs of an oncoming fit and avoid them.

Until yesterday.

You see, I have recently become acquainted with a game called Draw Something. You are given a choice of three words.  You draw one of those words.  The other person tries to guess what it is that you have drawn and selects the word out of a pool of 12 letters.

Now, some people's first instinct is to draw things as photo-realistic as possible.  There are some truly amazing artists out there.  It's worth a Google search.

Me on the other hand, I like to draw as simply and poorly as possible and see if people still get it.  To my continual pleasure, they do.  I would love to read a paper about how complex ideas can be communicated through simple images.

I have also found that the more ludicrous the images I draw are, the more amused I am when someone actually guesses it.  I sent my friend an image that looked suspiciously like a pitch black phallus with a red tooth pick and he immediately and correctly guessed that it was meant to represent Darth Vader.  Well, as it turns out, this was enough to trigger my seizures.

As it turns out, it is awkward to explain to your teacher that you were late to class due to seizures brought about by a cartoonish Darth Wiener.

In the meantime, I'll keep sending out pics like this:
I drew this myself.
Have you played this?  Do you know the joy?  Share your experiences with me.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Charity

Oh, humanity, why must you leave me so conflicted?

I hate you, don't you see that?  You rape, and murder, and write really bad fan fiction.

However, on the other hand, you make donuts, and glitter, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  Also, for some strange reason, you occasionally help a stranger who needs it.

I believe in you, humanity.  You beat me, you call me awful names, and I don't even have that fetish, but I still believe in you.  If you're going to get any better at all, you need embrace and nurture every aspect of charity.

So the lovely lady in the picture over there is going to help.  She's working with the St. Baldrick's Foundation to help the fight against childhood cancer.  She is going to shave her head to show solidarity with the kids undergoing treatment.  Now, I may have called her a monster in an earlier post, but I think that this makes up for it.

She needs help, though.  So if you, Dear Reader, Aspect of Humanity, would like to help out a little of your fellow man by making a donation, you may just leave the world a little better place.

The donation page is here: Donation Page

Ooh, also, as a bonus: She has agreed to send in a lovely picture of herself after the shaving.  I anxiously await posting that.

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Bucket List

I think about death.  A lot.

Not in any way where you need to alert the authorities or anything, but it does shape much of what I do and why.  Death is one of the most profound and universal of human experiences, and we spend most of our lives pretending that it isn't there.  If I were to constantly acknowledge death, could I ever spend a moment wallowing in self doubt or eating a cold can of soup?

Yes, I love soup, but no to the wallowing part.

It all goes by in an instant and I want to get as much of it as possible.  For that, I need a plan; One must be ready to go when opportunity knocks.

So I've decided to officially organize a list of life goals, how I'm going to accomplish them, and I'm going to share it all with you.

There is a new page on MeetAdamJones.com.  It is my Bucket List page.  Whenever I meditate perfectly and get new answers to the question "What do I want to do with my life?" I will be putting them here.

What do you have on your Bucket List?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Allons-y


Eleven months have passed since I felt the weight of April bearing down on my weary shoulders.

I almost missed it.  It wasn't until mere moments ago that I realized that it was A-Z season again.  I was tempted, sorely tempted to let it pass and be free from its tyranny.  However, I am on a constant journey towards personal growth.

For over four years I have been in the limbo between smoker and non-smoker.  I'll quit for many months at a time and then fall back to old habits.  I learn something about myself every time I fail.  I'm able to quit for longer periods, fail for shorter, and not fail as hard.  Eventually I'll win.  All I have to do is not give up.

It's the same for blogging.  There are many things that stand in my way.  Each time my momentum is blocked, I learn more about how it happened and learn to avoid it in the future.  The trick is to not give up.

Very well then, I shan't.  You and me, Dear Reader, we're going to have some fun.  I'm taking you with me on a magical letter ride.  I'm gonna take you to places you've only dreamed about.  I'm talking about those kinda dreams you get after watching Metropolis, Se7en, and Legend, eating three ramen burritos, and taking some cold medicine.  In other words, sexy.

I accept this awesome alphabet adventure.

Allons-y!