Ice King, Adventure Time

This Is What A Convention Means To Me

The past few years I've began going on a con circuit in my local area. I've been to cons in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas ranging from small, local affairs, to full on anime conventions, to comic book sci-fi extravaganzas, and more.

I just came back from a weekend at a convention called Tokyo in Tulsa. My least favorite part of going to this convention is my drive. Over three hours in the summer heat, in a car that has no AC, in humidity levels over 70% and temps hitting triple digits. When I came back home early Sunday morning I was tired, soaked from sweat, sore all over, had a massive headache, and felt like death. "I'm not doing this again next year", I said to myself. After a cold shower, I went online to see what the dates for the convention next year would be.

What was funny was that I was, as you could tell from my previous entry, emotionally strained. I really didn't feel like going to the convention this year. I still wasn't convinced when I left my driveway. When I parked my car in the parking structure I looked out and saw a flood of cosplayers, glompers, and girls that couldn't speak at abnormally high frequencies. I made my way to the convention center, and when I sat down for my first panel, that was when I remembered why I was there.

As I have alluded to in my previous entries, sometimes I get this feeling that no one really gets me. I like video games, anime, and Internet culture. I quote things like "Imma fire mah lahzah!" when it seems appropriate. Yet no one seems to get it. No one in my family understands these things, even after I explain them. One day I was trying to explain 'Lil Bub and Grumpy Cat to my mom, but she didn't show any interest even though she loves cats. I talked about my recent victory of Castlevania on the NES at work one day, but they didn't understand the gravity of what it meant. There are a couple of guys at work that like games, but one is more about the storytelling aspect and the other is about achievements and proving how 133t of a gamer you are. I'm about having fun, cracking jokes, and just having a good time with other people which, correct me if I'm wrong, is the main point of a game. I also won't go into another pity party about not really having friends to hang with since you get too much of that as is.

This latest convention was weird. It is supposed to me primarily an anime convention. Sure, my main motivation was to get something signed by the guests, but I also love going to panels and shop in the vendors area. Unlike last year, there weren't as many panels that I wanted to attend. So with that, I went to the second major part of the convention: the gaming room.

Imagine if you will, a large room that is filled with rows and rows of tables and chairs. Wires are descending from the ceiling like a stalactite. Whole quadrants of tables dedicated to console gaming, like Call of Duty on the 360, or whichever modern FPS you can conjure in your mind. Whole sections specified for LAN parties for League of Legends or World of Warcraft. Another entire row of tables and chairs solely dedicated to Super Smash Bros with people of all ages, including children playing and laughing along as their character beats up another with a fan. Weird virtual reality machines set up to whisk players away to a land of adventure. And finally, an entire section that bleeps and bloops like you remember from the 80's and 90's. That's right, arcade and pinball machines from across the decades set up in a loop of crowded glory.

So in short, even though I was at an anime con and it has been my hobby of choice the past few years, I spent more time in the game room.

Just a week ago I was wishing I had the opportunity to play the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on an actual honest to goodness arcade cabinet. Here it was, at this convention, begging for me to play it to completion. Another thing I got to experience was the Nintendo Playchoice 10, a cabinet that I didn't know existed until a few years ago that I thought I would never be able to play in real life. It was right there. I got to play it. Sure, to most it may not sound like something special, but to this guy it was a realization that I finally got to do what I couldn't do as a kid. Play Super Mario Bros 3 on an arcade cabinet in an arcade section. I didn't get to go to many arcades when I was a kid. I think I remember going to some maybe a total of three times in my youth. This was payback.

Though the best was playing Super Smash Bros. It has been nearly a year since I played the game with someone else next to me. Thankfully, I stuck with a group that was playing for fun. We cracked jokes, laughed, and just had a great time. Then we ended up saying things like "Come at me, bro" or "Do you even lift?" and we laughed. They got that humor. I felt like I truly belonged there. Even though I haven't played Smash as enthusiastically as I used to, after we played for a while the others started asking me if I would play with them in the doubles tournament the next day. I was super flattered. Even though I may not have been the best there, they wanted me to play with them. I haven't felt that sense of belonging since...I can't remember.

We played until they told up they were going to lock up for the night, which meant it was past 1 in the morning. I played Smash Bros. for over 3 hours without a break. Again, this hasn't happened in forever. I can't remember the last time a game sucked me in for that long. The same thing happened for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Super Mario Bros 3. People asked if they could play with me, or I would ask if I could join in, and we would laugh and crack wise at the game, or share inconsequential trivia. These are my people. This is where I belong.

This ends up being the case more often than not for cons I go to. It seems almost like a chore to go sometimes, but in the end, I regret nothing. I needed this more than I initially realized. It made me feel human, but it also made me feel like I wasn't alone. I've been having serious doubt about who I am, and whether or not I am capable of having friends or a relationship of any kind. Conventions remind me that this guy, Allengator, he is actually alright. There are people who can tolerate him, that don't try to make him feel weird about loving something inconsequential, that can understand his logic, his sense of humor. Maybe, just maybe, I can find someone or some people out there that are like that. At least now, I have some hope which was all but faded away before.

That is why conventions mean something to me.
Ice King, Adventure Time

All Because Of A Stupid Children's Cartoon

Life has a funny way of kicking you in the gentleman's region sometimes. I mean yeah, I thought I found love earlier this year only to be told "I'm not attracted to you". You find some cool people to hang out with that enjoys the same things you do and then boom! They all move away, not really far either. It starts with a "Oh, we'll TOTALLY hang out like we used to" to those awkward IMs you get at 1 AM, to perhaps a like on Facebook, to...well, nothing. Perhaps you found a new show that really excites you, until that one episode happens that turns you into an emotional wreck. I'm going to talk about the latter.

I have had Netflix for a while now and have experienced movies and shows I would have otherwise never have seen. Some are good, like Reaper, some are bad, like The IT Crowd. Some just hits you in the right spot. I found that in a little known show you probably never heard of called Adventure Time. I gave it the "Three Episode" clause, and it only took 5 minutes for me to be hooked. I don't have cable or satelite, so I do not get Cartoon Network, so I was eagerly awaiting the season 2 release. When I got it, I became more invested in the show, and considering that it is 5 seasons and counting, I had some catching up to do. Thankfully, each season is 26 episodes long, but each episode is only 11 minutes long, so it did not take long to catch up. However, I finished much later then I should have because I had to stop watching it after I saw some certain episodes.

Maybe someday I'll do a more full blown review of the series and characters, but by far my absolute favorite character in the series has to be the Ice King. At first it was because he was incredibly quotable and a silly villain which made me reminisce about the days of the Disney Afternoon shows and seeing villains like The Beagle Boys or Megavolt. If he appeared in an episode, even just as a cameo, it instantly made the episode better for me. Then I realized something else about his character, in that he seemed relatable on some level.

Take the episode called "The Eyes" for example. In the episode, he is spying on Finn and Jake in order to learn the secrets of true happiness. There was something tragic in his logic, showing the viewer that he is simply just a lonely and misunderstood character. There are hints of this in nearly all his major appearances. This got to a point where I found myself actually rooting for him once in a while. True, he is a sociopath and I don't condone stealing/locking up princesses in his castle, but you can't help but think that he simply doesn't know of a better way of dealing with (Note: for those of you who don't know, Adventure Time features just one human, Finn. Everyone else is just some kind of mystical creature or human hybrid.)

The came an episode called Holly Jolly Secrets where Finn and Jake steal some of the Ice King's private video diaries. I was hoping they would feel some sympathy for his character, but sadly they didn't seem to care, until they got to the final video.


[Spoiler (click to open)]The video is of Simon Petrikov who finds a mysterious crown which is just like the one the Ice King wears. The video cuts forward through time as Simon is slowly transformed into the Ice King and that is when we find out that the Ice King actually used to be human. This actually explains why he seemed more human than the other creatures in the land of Ooo. The reason he longs for marrying a princess stems from him losing his fiance due to the crown corrupting his mind, later calling her a princess. He doesn't seem to acknowledge his past as much as someone with a stable mind would.


This brings me to the episode that actually sparked this entire post titled "I Remember You". The episode pairs up Marceline the Vampire Queen and the Ice King and more of his past is revealed. At first the Ice King is there to make a song that will make the princesses swoon over him, but it gets sad pretty quick. He starts off by listing the princesses that tickle his fancy, then starts to show some desperation, and soon after breaks down. An excerpt of the lyrics go as follows:

"Hey, princess, did you get my text,
With a picture of my awesome gun-show?
I'm also working on my pecs!
If you like, I'll send ya a picture of that, too.
Oh Bubblegum, I really need someone
Or anyone, pretty much anyone...
I'm so alone! Won't somebody tell me what's wrong with me!?
Anybody? Anybody? Anybody!
Anybody! Grod, in the sky,
Please tell me why!"

Ice King Sad

As this happens he starts using his ice powers all over the place in grief and pushes Marceline away. He hides in the kitchen while she admits that she actually liked seeing him. He then asks her if she wants a hug and she gives him a long-awaited one. Of course he misinterprets this as a romantic gesture, but she shuts that down right away. I was ecstatic that someone actually tolerated his presence. He really deserved it after all the stuff he goes through in that show.

Then Marceline sees more clippings from his past and tries to remind him of who he used to be. He reads the pages, he knows he wrote them, but he simply does not remember a thing about his past or the things that took place, like taking care of a younger Marceline. She breaks into tears trying to make him remember but it just doesn't happen. I'll admit. I was tearing up as well.

There is one more episode with the two of them as of the time of this writing, but aside from a sad Cheers reference, there isn't much to say other than that at one time, the Ice King was a really stand up guy.

For me, I got hit with a double whammy from that episode. First, I'll take the narcissistic path and just say that I completely relate to the Ice King. Throughout the series, yes, he has done bad things, but at his core he just simply want to have friends and companions in his life. The only time he has someone, other than Gunter, it is either because they are trying to save someone he stole or they want something from him. He doesn't really have friends or romance to speak of, though he longs for it, and when he searches for it, he gets short changed. True, a couple of times he did find something and took it for granted, but there is a universal truth to his character that I believe all people need. Friendship. I'm not trying to get all preachy or after-school special on you, but seriously, everyone deserves a friend. I grew up with some really great friends and the streams of time or circumstance has made everyone go away. I find myself staring at a computer screen each night, wondering if I can find someone who gets me. I know I bellyache on here all the time about finding that special woman to complete my life, and that hasn't changed, but at this stage of my life, I would settle for just someone who can tolerate my company for more than an hour. Just like in Ice King's song, I spend nights asking Grod why I can't figure out what's wrong with me. Why am I so repulsive to the friendship paradigm? What's wrong with me? Why doesn't anyone reach out to me? Why is having a conversation with me or just me asking to hang out a joke to others? How much longer do I have to go through this?

So the reason I can relate to the Ice King's sadness is because I experience that sometimes. The things he says, the questions he asks, the sadness he feels, I have felt. People smiling, talking about families and relationships, I can't relate to that. Loneliness? I can relate to that all too well.

Marcelene Desperate
Ice King Oblivious

The second thing that got to me was Marceline desperately trying to get him to remember his past. Tears started forming in her eyes as she begins to realize that the person she used to know is gone, lost to insanity and the fog of memories. It has been a while and I'm not sure I admitted this on here, but a few years ago my father was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer's, something that has evidently ran in his family and can very well be the fate that is in store for me if I make it to old age. There is also a lady that went to my church that lost her husband several years ago. Soon after her mental state took a turn for the worse to the point she had to be taken to a nursing home. A man who has known her for many years went often to visit her but after a short while, even though he had been there just days before, she did not even know who he was anymore. I know that eventually the same thing is going to happen to my father. It hurts to know that in the end he may not remember who his children are, who he married, or things of his past. There have been plenty of signs already, and each one is heartbreaking to watch.

I'm sure many of you know that this ailment is not curable. There is no magical cure for when someone is diagnosed with this. The best you can do is keep your mind active, do activities, and with a little medication, you may be able to slow down the deterioration of your mental faculties, but all it does is slow it down. You can't stop the inevitable from happening, just like many other diseases in the world. I've seen my father look at pictures of things we did years ago as a family, like going to the fair, or going to Silver Dollar City, a local theme park, and he simply doesn't remember them very much. I've done medical research and I know he has just a few years left. Precious time to be with him.

Sure, the Ice King isn't suffering from that exactly, but the symptoms are essentially the same, it is just that the insane Ice Wizard has taken over his being while his old life is all but vanished save for some memories from Marceline and scraps of his journals he wrote in.

I'm not going to take this journal down. It is about the only place I can vent, in hopes that someone will read it, and realize that there may be reasons why someone is sad, or doesn't know how to express true happiness. People are convinced that someday I'm going to show up and be in a fantastic mood, smiling and just being all happy, sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns pooping cotton candy. The best I can ever muster and be completely genuine is simple indifference. The truth is I don't know if I'll ever experience that again. Somedays it seems like the chances of me finding a true friendship or companionship are about the same as soccer (football to nearly any other country out there) becoming the most popular sport in America. It seems distant, almost possible, but almost impossible to obtain. Perhaps I'm just a cautionary tale for others and that is my lot in life. To be an example of how not to end up in your personal life. If your worth is determined by the number of friends and relationships you have, I'd be the one that is looked down on by hobos. Virtually and perpetually bankrupt.

So yeah, that is why a Children's cartoon show hit me hard. I Remember You is probably the most popular episode so far of this series because of the sheer emotion and backstory the characters have. So many people wrote how it got to them, and it is easy to see why. It reminded me so much of two things, my social worth, and the inevitable mental loss of a loved one.

When is the last time, if ever, has anything in media affected you that much?
Selecao Emblem

Just So You Know

I remember that this site exists.  Swearsies.  I'm looking at a different way of updating it.  Hopefully you guys have an HTML5 compliant browser, because things are about to get fun-kay here.

In other news, no real new news to report.  That is all.

The Allengator
Ice King, Adventure Time

Friend Me?

I could have sworn I posted more recently than May, but no.  The blog does not lie.  I have neglected this place for the better part of a season.  My usual excuses apply here.  Work was keeping me busy, life got in the way, conventions happened, and I have a different blog I only pay a tiny bit more attention to since my pagecount on here is fairly low.  I make no apologies nor do I promise to blog more.  I mainly come on here to either tell a funny yarn or complain about life in general.  This blog is either where my comedy writing career will launch or a place I can go to that is cheaper than a shrink.

To be honest, no matter how hard I try, I'm in a rut.  I big fat 'ol rut.  And when I'm in a rut, I don't feel like talking on here.  Life is...kind of normal.  Quiet.  Lonely.

Sure, I'm slightly complacent, but I've also been hard trying to improve myself and enjoy who I am.  I'm going to conventions on a fairly regular basis which is something I would have never said a few years ago.  I'm also trying some new things and experiences.  I decided when I got this new job to go out and be someone better than I was.  Learn more about local culture.  Spend more time with friends and do things.  For the most part, maybe with the exception of the last thing, I've succeeded.

One thing I've learned is that it is impossible for me to act like myself anymore.  I've tried being honest about who I am.  I'm a flamboyant geek.  I love anime, video games, and Internet Culture.  You know who else enjoys things like that?  Barely anyone else.  I've had to tone down my geekiness just because no one really gets it or appreciates it.  More often than not, people seemed annoyed by it.  I know I know "Be yourself" and all that.  Trust me, easier said than done.  When the status quo seem annoyed with your shenanigans, it is time for an evaluation.  I still have my turret and Hatsune Miku items, but I don't talk about them or the significance of why I have them.  It's my story, and no one really wants to bother with it.

Then again, I'm an anomaly in the geek world.  I guess I'm a religious geek.  This is odd, because most geeks tend to be fairly liberal with things.  Most of the conventions I went to had some things I do not approve of, but that is the case anywhere I go.  Here's the thing, I love my anime and video games, but they are things my teenage self would enjoy.  They aren't full of incest, yaoi or yuri, or furry love.  Most are just good romantic, comedy, sci-fi shows that surpass what is on primetime TV nowadays.  I don't watch extreme or graphic anime.  Same goes with video games.  I want to Mario Party like something awful.  Not Call of Duty or God of War, but some good nostalgia with fun nerd rage.  This would be great if I had friends who were into that sort of stuff.

I feel kind of friendless right now.

That is not an exaggeration or a pity party, but a serious look at my life currently.  I have a couple of people I regularly hang out with, and I found out a couple weeks ago that they are moving, one several hours away, and the other not as far, but the distance is there.  Its no longer a hop, skip, jump away to fun.  After this, I'm here, and that it about it.  Sure, I have family, but no one plays games or enjoys any of my hobbies outside of watching things on Netflix which is hard to find something we all enjoy because our tastes are very different.  It's funny.  I've gone to several conventions as I said.  Some big, some small.  There was one I went to that had three to five thousand people there.  I was surounded by people.  Despite that huge number, I felt alone.  Funny how someone can feel that way in a huge crowd.

So the best solution is to make more friends, right?  At my age, that isn't easy.  Most of my friends I ever made were from the forced interaction called school.  The next couple of jobs I gained a couple more friends, but most have moved on or away.  At my current job, I've mentioned a few times how I am a little different from most of the guys there.  I'm not complaining or think less of anyone, but most there have their own lives.  Most are married, have kids, are involved in a serious relationship, or I have a difficult time relating to.  Next would be to meet someone somewhere, but where is that?  I stay away from the mall if at all possible.  I don't drink, smoke, or do anything promiscuous, so bars and clubs are out of the question.  I love the church I attend, but sometimes I am the youngest person there with the next oldest person being my sister.  The same problem exists.  We enjoy very different things.

Online?  Don't get me started on online. 

So here I am, spending another Saturday alone, playing a game by myself, listening to show tunes, and blogging about said subject.  This has been every weekend lately.  Nearly every weeknight.  Lying with my face to the ceiling, wondering if anyone thinks of me, or if I'm just an afterthought, a parasite that needs to be ignored.  Sure, I keep busy, but that is to keep me from wondering.  Keeps the anxiety at bay, until I try to go to sleep, and spend hours laying there in turmoil wondering if this curse of solitude will be lifted. 

If I may quote from the Bible.  A book I read often is Ecclesiates as it serves a lot of wisdom, but also humbleness and futility.  In chapter 4 there is a passage there that haunts me:

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I feel alone when I fall.  I feel left out in the cold.  I feel overpowered.

So I've tried some experiments.  I've posted honestly who I am on a certain personal ads site.  I said I'm a geek who doesn't smoke, drink, and is not looking for sex and is keeping himself for marriage.  And I post some pictures.  Not one response.

Who I am doesn't seem to appeal to people.  I'm not at a place where I can just fundamentally change who I am.  To be honest, I like who I am.  I'm more honest with myself than I was in high school.  It just seems I don't belong in this society, possible this world.  Everyone has more priorities, like family and significant others and I wholeheartedly understand and support that.  I'm not selfish.  My dream is to have a loving wife and kids.  Though that seems impossible considering I hardly have anyone anymore who I can qualify as a good friend.

I pray to God for help.  I ask for forgiveness for the wrongs I have done, and all I ask for is companionship.  Someone who says "How about a night of Smash Bros.?" or "There is an awesome event downtown tonight at the arcade.  Let's go!".  Someone who doesn't make me feel guilty about them taking out time for their family or children if they have one.  A person I can message that makes me feel better about things. A person who wouldn't make me compromise my beliefs, who I am, or my personal habits.  An individual who accepts me for who I am and can tolerate, or even encourage me to act like myself and ignore everyone else.  At least I wouldn't feel like a pariah.  A plague.

Maybe I'm too emotional at the moment, but this has been weighing heavily on me for many weeks, and even more so the past couple of weeks.  I've been horribly sick and needed someone to take me to the doctor.  If my mother wasn't here, who would take me?  I would probably suffer.  A fitting analogy.

If you have friends, cherish them.  Tell them you appreciate their presence in your life.  Love every second you get to have with them.  Never take it for granted.  Feel good you have a backup, someone to pick you up when you fall, to back you up when you are against a challenge.  Thank your lucky stars they are in your life.  Be thankful you are not me. 

Remember when I said this blog works like a psychiatrist sometimes?  Forget I said that.  I'm more saddened than when I first started this mess.  I'm ok if people are tired of hearing me balk about this.  Ignore it.  It isn't like reading it and doing nothing is any different.

The Allengator
Ice King, Adventure Time

How Far Will I Go For Love? Evidently, a Trip to Pluto Would Be Faster

I had not one, but two women recently talk to me online from ads I have on specific dating websites.  Yes, I am a lonely guy, and yes, I miss holding the sweet body of a lady, but I've had a couple of experiences lately that have made me think differently, not about sexuality or something like that, but how far I'm willing to go to find love, and what I am looking for.

The first one I will call "Seemingly Desperate Female", or SDF for short.  We were talking and making mention of the fact that I call myself a "flamboyant geek".  Soon, she started to talk about kinks.  Unfortunately, she was talking to the world's most oblivious guy and hit a wall of sorts. 

You see, I'm a virgin, and plan on being one until marriage.  I also know my weakness for temptation and realize that the way to keep me in check is to never learn about exact procedures or meanings of certain vocabulary terms until I am going to wed my wife.  Ignorance is truly the best invention since the light saber.  Don't get me wrong, I know about things that turn me on, and am looking around for various things that excite me, but I file that for future use instead of acting upon it.

So then I mentioned one of my turn-ons, and she immediately exploited it, majorly.  She told me if I would do a couple things for her, she would act out on my fantasies.  I was ecstatic, and thought about the possibilities, then I realized something.  I didn't really know a thing about her.  So I started to ask her some simple questions, like what she was doing with her life.  Where she saw herself several years from now.  SDF answered these in quick succession with a "please come over to my place ASAP" attached to the end.  Evidently, she knew everything she needed to know about me.  Then I asked her, "how soon do you want a relationship" and her answer was "NOW!!!!!!! VISIT ME EVERYDAY ASAP!!!".  Now I am not a genius, but there are some truths I know.  One, someone with pure motivations for love wouldn't be so forceful. Two, no woman in the history of women have ever come on that strong to me.  It just doesn't happen.  Three, I felt like something wasn't right.  So I did the thing that made sense.  I assumed that SDF was actually a dude who was trying to troll me, and told her I wanted more time to get to know her.  Evidently, that response was enough to make me non-existent.

After the disappearance of SDF, I had another response from a girl I will call "Normal Starving Lady".  We really hit it off.  After the mistake of SDF, I made sure to let her know that I was looking for a real relationship, but I needed to know the person first.  She agreed with me, and we talked for a few hours.  After a spell, we got into the topic of guess what, out turn-ons.  I told her mine, and she told me she was a virgin, but needed physical contact in the form of making out.  Now, I am not opposed to making out with a lady.  I used to with my ex long ago.  They were passionate times of raw romance that made me feel like I was important to someone, and that I wouldn't rather be anywhere else.

NSL told me that she needed to feel that again, and asked me when I could come over.  I said "LOLWUT", but more respectfully, then asked her what her version of making out was.  Let's just say our definitions were pretty different. Hers involved some...hand work...while mine was just holding and kissing someone until you are out of breath.  I told her I didn't want to go beyond that, and she said she would try to live with that, and asked me if I could come over either tonight or the next day. 

Then a vision of George Bush came to me and said "Say Nope to Dope".  I told him that made no sense.  Then he corrected himself and said "Just say no".  Then a pair of Nikes came in and said "Just do it".  So here I was, being pulled by my animal lusts, and my love for catchy phrases from presidents.  I guess this was a parallel to my decision of physical attraction vs. respecting a person.  In the end I had to ask myself, how far do I want to go for love?

I looked inside my conscience, I thought about God, and I thought about cheese, because I was hungry.  Finally, I told her I couldn't do that, because it wasn't respectful to either of us.  She agreed we were heading for trouble, and that was the end of that.

So now here I am, I had two offers this past weekend to have my physical lingerings for the female body quenched after several years of nothing, and I rejected them both.  Some would say I'm a wimp.  Some would say I'm a gentleman.  I have no idea what this says about me as a person.  One thing I do know is that I have no fear of commitment.  In fact, I can't stand people who don't want to commit to anything.  It irritates me that a simple I Love You has more weight than coitus.  However, did I just run away because of my so-called morals, or was it because deep down inside, I'm scared?

Honestly, I don't know the answer to that one.  That will be my thought to ponder for the next little while.  Maybe I am seeking a relationship built on a connection, maybe a friendship, and a mutual respect for one another instead of a raw, physical, animal-like fulfillment.  Sure, I want both, but I realize that I favor the person over the acts.

If this makes any sense to anyone, let me know.  Am I crazy, or just merely ignorant?

The Allengator
Ice King, Adventure Time

Want Tickets to the Gun Show? Well, I Don't Have Them

I live in a rural part of Missouri that is mostly comprised of farms and octogenarians, so the main methods of education are Jesus, MFA, and Gun learning.  While the first two don't bother me, the last one does.  You see, I'm now 26, and I just shot a gun for the first time at a shooting range over a month ago.  I am clearly a disgrace to my native state who would be the last area on Earth to ever revoke the right to bear arms.  In fact, if it were up to the voters, I'm sure there would be a unanimous landslide to change the state motto to "The Sho-Me Your Gun State".  Tru fax.

My history with guns is quite sad, considering the above fact of my recent shooting spree.  When I was in Jr. High, we were required to take a mandatory hunter's safety course over a couple months.  I was in a class filled with "veterans" of the hunting business, some bragging that they have been hunting since they were "one years old", however that works.  Then again, I guess that is no different from me saying "I've played video games since I've had the motor controls to handle an NES controller, so about 3 years old.  I have pics.  Anyways, the mighty hunters were bragging because they were all licensed (We had to take the exam as part of our grade) and for once they were the experts on the subject while eggheads like me were completely and utterly hosed.

We took the exam weeks later, and I studied only a tiny part of my brain out, which was barely at all.  After all was said and done, I ended up with the highest score of 100% while the guys who have been doing this all their lives almost failed.  Actually, I take that back, I got over 100% because I found a discrepancy with one of the questions compared to the official manual.  Since I was known as "the guy who never went hunting", and I breezed the exam, I was one of the more loathed people in our Jr. High.  I got my hunting license, but never used it, and never shot a gun.  In fact, the only reason I took the exam was just for my grade and nothing more.

Fast forward a decade and a half, give or take, and I'm comfortable with not knowing how to disassemble a death machine.  I work at an IT company that is filled with individuals with the same tastes as mine.

Except that is a lie.

Again, I'm on the outside looking in.  Everyone there is a major gun enthusiast.  I am known as the "anime guy" because I'm the only one there who watches anime.  I don't talk about anime like they talk about guns though.  Seriously, all I have to say is "I saw a mag in a display case the other day" and the entire office erupts with several straight hours of determining if the barrel of a gun needs to be realigned, or what type of bullets work best in an AK-47.  I just sit there, alone, listening to Pandora on my computer because I have nothing to add to the conversation.

The guys like to go out for gun field trips to the shooting range once in a while.  Every time they went, I was coincidentally busy.  That was not a sarcastic or sly remark, I really was busy.  One time the Chuck finale was on.  Another time I had a date with some stir fry.  I knew eventually they would reel me in because "I would look funny shooting a gun".  Finally, I agreed to meet them at a shooting range so they would shut up about me missing the target and screaming like a girl when a gun went off.

It was a dark and stormy night.  I made it to the shooting range which is located on a cliff above a busy interstate.  The wind was blowing my car back and forth, and those who know me know I'm not a light guy, so that was a shocker in and of itself.  I heard thunder, and looked at the weather radar on my phone.  While it looked stormy, nothing serious was on the way.  That is when I realized I was hearing gun fire.  I ducked my head, said a prayer to not kill myself or others, and made my way in to Sound of Freedom.  At first sight, it doesn't sound like a name for a shooting range.  It sounds more like a music or patriotic store.  Nope.  It was full of ammunition, guns, mounted animals, testosterone, camouflage, and guys with bad goatees.

Eventually, the guys from work showed up, and we paid to go and shoot at targets that were conspicuously shaped like human heads.  One guy gave me earmuffs that allowed for human speech to come through, but kept gunfire to a dull roar.  We walked to the range and my life changed forever for a few minutes.

The shooting range looked like something out of a drug-induced nightmare.  It was like the 60's mated with a warehouse and a horse track.  You know the gates the horses start from?  Well, it was like that, but with the lanes colored in what can only be described as psychedelic colors.  The only thing missing from this place was The Monkees singing "FREAKY RAINBOW ROOM!!!".

I watched on as the others emptied clip after clip of ammunition.  Suddenly, a realization came to me.  Based on the price of ammunition in the lobby, anime is by far a cheaper hobby.  With one victory secured for my hobby, I was offered to shoot something called a twenty-two.  I took the pistol in my hand and evidently pointed it the wrong direction judging form everyone's reaction.  With my barrel pointed the correct way, I shot at Fauntleroy, the name I gave our silent, bullet-holed profile man-dude.  Then I learned something.  Evidently, you need bullets in the gun to shoot at the target.  Fine, I knew that much, but I had no idea that was what they referred to as a magazine.  I thought that was a grip or something.  After putting bullets in the piece, I shot at Fauntleroy with a passion that could only be called psychotic.  I yelped like a trooper, apologized to Fauntleroy for clipping his ear, and laid the twenty-two down.

After emptying a few magazines, I sat down and watched the others shoot themselves silly.  One guy had a sub machine gun and was missing his target, Patricia, a lot.  So more attention was on fixing his sight.  Eventually, he broke Patricia's heart more times than I could count.  Then the big guns were brought out.  I was offered to shoot something called a nine millimeter.  I said no, I needed to level up my gun slinging skills.  They looked at me as if I was speaking in latin or something, and, with more volume, started destroying the targets.

Yes people, these are programmers.  Those nerdy guys you think work behind a desk and computer?  They are actually gun-wielding enthusiasts.  Remember that next time you call tech support.

Eventually, I was coerced into shooting one of these bad beats, and I am proud to say I didn't scream as loud when it went off in my hand, though the recoil was a pain.  Nearly tore the hide off of my hand.  I noticed sparks coming out of the barrel, so I figured I would be engulfed in flames any second.  So I put the gun down, and cowered next to the wall, hoping they would leave soon.  A little while later, we left and I got a brand new appreciation for guns.

Now I can see why some people would want to choose shooting guns as a hobby.  I mean it's is's...expensive?  Fine, I still don't see it, and I doubt I ever will.  I would much rather use throwing stars or the force to stop a crook than open my bag, load my magazine, put the magazine in the gun, prep the barrel, point at the perp, take off the safety, and pull the trigger.  See?  By step two I would already be mugged or killed.  This is why I employ the "cover face and genitals, run like mad, and scream like a girl" tactic.  Gets them every time.

This post brought to you by someone who scored perfectly on a hunter's safety exam.

The Allengator

Ice King, Adventure Time

So This Entry Happened...

So the past month has been filled with a lot and not much, in that order.  To put things in to a nice synopsis:

- Went to my first full-on anime con in Springdale Arkansas and had a blast!  More details will appear on my anime blog in the near future, when I feel like typing outside of work.

- Caught a nasty case of bronchitis the past month

- Had a birthday, nothing special happened

Other than that, I have absolutely nothing to talk about!  All I have is blah blah blah, single and depressed about it.  Job going well, blah blah blah.  What is it like to have blah blah friends blah blah Mario. 

In closing, try some ketchup with your fish next time.  It is quite yummalicious.

The Allengator
Ice King, Adventure Time

My Last Day Alive

On the subject of the rambling thoughts of my mind lately, I feel the need to share a dream I just had.  To preface this entry, I want to say that I often dream of my death, usually in gruesome ways.  One time, I was impaled from behind to the point that the spear was sticking out of my mouth (that would definitely be an ouchie), and another I was being chased by my so-called friends in a field and they overtook me and burnt me at the stake.  What is odd is that these don't bother me.  Perhaps its the fact that it is so over the top that it doesn't scare me, or maybe it just seems too unrealistic.  I really don't have a good answer for that.  In fact when I tell people I often dream of my gruesome death the reactions range from "that's disturbing" to "seek professional help".  Let me say that I don't welcome nor obsess over these things, but see them as my subconscious pulling a prank on the rest of my conscious.  The id is pretty ticked off when that happens.

So yes, I dream of death often, but a recent one has weighed a lot on my mind lately.  The dream is actually simple, but I think reveals a lot about my attitude.  My doctor comes to my house, which is weird because he is not known for making house calls.  I've been feeling really down and ill, and he tells me without sugarcoating it "You only have 24 hours to live".  I'm not old or deathly ill, just under the weather. so I asked him if he was joking, and he told me with a straight face he was not.  He then goes into some kind of "Your air and blood tubes are closing in.  Soon you won't be able to breathe or feel anything.   No one has ever lived more than a day when hearing about this."  He leaves and then I have to prepare for my funeral and take care of any last minute business or items.  Instead, I lay there, stunned.  I don't cry, I don't scream.  Nothing.  I just lie there in fear of the inevitable, waiting for death to come to me.  The thing is that I am good enough to go around, do anything I want, but I have a small window of opportunity to tie up loose ends on this earth.  And I just lay there.  I did nothing while my family gathered around me and I started to give away my stuff.  Then I close my eyes for the final time, and I wake up freaked out.

I've never had that violent of a reaction to a dream before.  I used to have nightmares as a kid, which are silly now that I'm older, but this one really got to me.  Would I really waste my last day on this Earth, especially when I have the capabilities to do whatever I want?  Would I die with regrets of not living life to the fullest?  Do I have unfinished business that I need to attend to?  It is actually an interesting thought exercise that usually I admittedly don't pay attention to.  When asked that question, I say that I don't regret anything nor fear it, but in my dream, in my subconscious, I am scared, and I feel remorse for this happening.  What is left unsaid?  What else do I need to do in this life?

Sure, I have goals and somewhat of a bucket list.  One is to travel down the entirety of route 66 across the country.  Another is to visit all the Hard Rock Cafes in America.  Obvious ones include a wife, family, and the "American Dream".  I want all of that.  With my new job and holidays and whatnot, the trips are a reality.  However, I'm not even close to achieving that goal of having a family of my own.  I know I balk about that a lot on here, but if I were to die alone, I would die regretful. 

Next time you are asked that question, if you only have a week, or a day to live, think about it long and hard.  Sure, it may not be realistic, but imagine you were told you will definitely without fail die on this day in a week's time, how would you feel?  Would you regret anything?  Would you do something differently?  Would you travel or do something different or out of character?  Who would you tell?  Who would care and be there for you?

Perhaps this is from my recent studying of items of a philosophical nature.  Maybe this is my wake up call to do something.  Whatever it is, I'm confused about any action to take.  I'm going to try some new things in the coming months to see what happens, like an experiment.  I'm interested to see if my basic nature really is changing, or if I need to get back to reality and face life head on.

I want to do more than I did in my dream.  That's all I know for certain right now.

The Allengator
Ice King, Adventure Time

Romance, Solitude, Philosophy, Women, and a Dark Sadness

I've been waxing philosophically lately.  Sure, it is partially my usual seasonal disorder of depression, but it just doesn't seem like it usually does.  Perhaps I'm about to undergo another evolution in the character of Allengator, maybe I'm just having a worse time than usual.  Who knows?

I hate being a loner, but that seems to be my role in this world.  I'm also the nice guy, which I'm starting to take some insult to.  Nearly everyday I have people, acquaintances, strangers tell me that I'm a nice guy.  So far that has gotten me...nowhere.  No one truly appreciates the value of niceness anymore.  To get anywhere in life, you have to be able to get your hands dirty.  Being told your nice is like being in the friend zone.  You know what I'm talking about, women see you as a friend and a friend only.  I'm sorry, but if I am friends with a female, more than likely it is because I feel some kind of attraction towards her.  I would be hard-pressed to find any heterosexual men who would consider a female being a "friend only".

Right now, I mainly have two people who talk to me, and that is putting the term lightly.  Their social lives dictate that I am only allotted a certain number of minutes of conversation a week.  Here, I would bend over backwards for anyone I consider to be my friend, but their time is better spent chatting with others on Facebook, working, or going places with other people while I am alone in my room twiddling my thumbs.  Dedication is something that just doesn't exist anymore.  

I'm also considering becoming more misogynistic than I am now.  I'm not saying that I think less of women, but I am starting to revert back to that third grade version of myself that has a huge mistrust and disgust for women.  So far, every single female I have met in my life has let me down at least once, many more times than that.  They also just see me as a tech guy, or someone who is a "buddy".  I've tried talking to women from dating ads, but it always ends up the same.  I talk to them, and as soon as I send them a pic, they ignore me.  So yeah, I know I'm not the traditional definition of sexy or even cute, but I think its beyond rude to just drop someone as soon as you see them.  I talked to someone for a couple of weeks and she kept talking even after I sent a pic.  Things were going great until, just suddenly, she stopped talking to me.  Nothing.  I looked things over, I didn't say anything that looked offensive or bad, I apologized to her if I did say something out of turn.  Nothing.  This story repeats itself many times, one way or another.  

I want a girlfriend badly.  I would say desperately, but that would make me sound like a pathetic moron which I try to stay away from as much as I can.  I am a romantic person, as much as I despise Hollywood's and fictional novel's definition of it.  I have a lot to offer, I'm loyal, and I'm passionate.  The older I get, the more I'm sure I'll never meet that special someone.  I feel the clock ticking, but not in the traditional sense of the ever present "biological clock", though that too to some extent.  You see, I know love it patient, and all the qualities you can find for it in the book of Corinthians, but I also read somewhere that it is also bad for a person to die with passion.  Its just that, when I do meet that someone, I don't want to feel like I wasted my time getting to her, or lost time because I was not looking.  When I find her, I want to dedicate my life, my soul, my being to her.  Whatever time I could spend convincing her that someone as pathetic as I can and does truly love her and a fleeting hope that the favor can be returned.  The thing is the longer it takes to find her, the less time I will get to do that.  Every day that passes by is one less day of not being able to hold her, to talk to her, to love her, and to prove that she is the thing that completes me.

See, I am a romantic, even if it is a pathetic version of one.

Of course between the population of females of the Earth either calling me a "Nice Guy Buddy", ignoring me, or just overlooking me, it is almost like they have declared me some kind of pariah in this life.  Always there but never touched.  Always there and never considered.  A perfectly fine piece of machinery that is becoming seized up with lack of use.

Without this thing, I feel incomplete, like I have nothing to live for.  I'm not talking about serious life-ending here, but I have no direction in my life.  Sure, I have a great job now that I wouldn't trade for anything, but that is only part of the puzzle.  The job hasn't really transformed me as much as I had hoped.  At the end of the day, sure, I'm wearing boxers instead of briefs now, and I have some more self esteem, but I'm still me, and I'm still outside the social circles of human kind.  I just wish someone would appear in my life, turn it upside down, and ride off with me in the sunset.  At the very least, with someone special in my life, I would have that direction, I would have that goal, and I would not feel as alone in this world as I do now.

I've been reading about solitude lately.  Have you ever read the book Walden by Henry David Thoreau?  I've been mulling over some thoughts from that lately and while some of it is, in my opinion, poppycock, or over my head, there is some truth to it.  This is a man, who lived in civilization, then moved into the woods to write about mankind and how to live life.  This by no means makes him an expert in any stretch of the imagination, but he has some thought provoking passages in there:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion"

To live deliberately is something I think I still need to learn how to do.  I'm not saying I want to go camping or live out by myself, but it seems like a foreign concept to me.  Also.  I've been reading a lot in the book of Ecclesiastes out of the Bible lately.

"Two are better than one,  Because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

An opposing viewpoint to living alone is having that companion to help you back up.  So if I feel like I have no companion, then there is woe for me?  If I want to seek a higher understanding of nature, I have to go for solitude?  Even in philosophy, I can't find a direction to go towards.  I've questioned a lot of things lately.  I've also pondered about the meaning of life, what my raison d'etre is, and why the world can be such a cruel and lonely place for someone like me.

In the end I'm becoming more sure that my fate may be to die alone, or not know true companionship.  People move on with their lives and abandon you.  The world keeps spinning irregardless.  Sure, I've had friends over the years, but no one sticks around or feels like putting in the effort that I put into the relationship.  All I have to do is put on a brave front, a smile, even though my heart is breaking.  I choose to hide my true self to people because no one likes him nor wants to take the time to understand him.
  For now, that is probably the direction my life is going, and its a path that will ultimately lead to my death, alone, incomplete, and forgotten by all, for we all come from dust, and to dust, we return.  Come into the world with nothing, leave with nothing.

I feel secure in putting these thoughts on here because no one will ever see them nor would they care.  This place is a better journal than a pad of paper would ever provide.

The Allengator
Ice King, Adventure Time

Chuck Post-Mortem

It was hard saying goodbye to a friend you invited to your house over the last five years, but tonight it was done.  Chuck is now over.  I know my love for the show has been well documented on here, so I will just cut to the chase of what made tonight, and the series itself, so great to me.

The mid 00's (not sure if I am hitting that decade correctly, but whatever), brought us all kinds of great television shows.  During that time three main shows ruled my life in the form of Lost, Heroes, and Chuck.  Lost was getting ready to end it's run, Heroes went off the rails a little too much and never recovered, but Chuck was always there.  Sure, the jarring reboots were not the best in television writing, but it still maintained something special.  After it ended tonight, that was it.  The last of the great shows from the mid-to-late 00's. 

Since then, no show has held a candle to Chuck.  I've tried my best to get in to shows, but so far no dice.  Grimm seems like a darker version of Pushing Daisies.  Glee got a bit to agenda-ish and big-headed for my taste.  New Girl, while good, has dropped a few pegs lately.  I've tired several times to get in to Once Upon a Time (and may still get there to help fill the void), but just can't seem to appreciate it.  Chuck just had a feel to it that compelled me to watch and root for team Bartowski every week.

Perhaps it is because, especially at first, the series spoke to me.  Chuck is a down on his luck nerd who has seemingly no luck with women, stuck in a dead end job, and has an affinity for pop culture and video games.  I could relate easily.  When the series first aired, I was Chuck Bartowski.  Watching him evolve from man-child, to man, to competent spy made me live vicariously through the show.  Ok, so I have no will to be a spy, and feel like I'm a long ways from being a "man", but it was still relatable,

The series was not perfect.  This season is probably my second least favorite season, but even at its worst it still excelled where most shows fail nowadays.  Yes, the writing was sometimes clumsy.  The plot started making little sense.  More holes in the mythology started to appear the longer it was on the air.  I didn't like the transition from plain Chuck to super spy Chuck.  The final antagonist virtually came out of nowhere.  The list can go on. 

The thing the series had that a lot of other series lack was heart.  You could tell the actors loved doing what they did.  Chuck fans were extremely passionate to keep it going for five seasons. Nearly every interview with a cast member, they would bring up the fans and thank them, and you knew they meant it.  I doubt we will see this happen to another series for a long time.  Sure, some shows have more of a following, but Chuck fans were passionate, loyal, and acted when called.  Name another series that went to the lengths that Chuck fans have gone.

Also, I would have never guessed the show would last as long as it did when it first premiered.  I would have given it maybe two seasons.  It went for five seasons.  Almost 100 episodes which would have given them syndication rights.  Who would have guessed that it would outlast Heroes in both length and number or seasons?  Heroes started off hot and when Chuck appeared on the schedule during Heroes' sophomore season, I would have never called that.  The series came back after the awful writer's strike which caused the death of other shows like Pushing Daisies.  It had partial seasons, premiered halfway into the television season, was opposite of Gossip Girl, House, and Dancing With the Stars.  Yet it survived for five seasons.  I think that in an of itself is an accomplishment.

So yes, tonight was bittersweet for me.  I will miss the little show that could.  I am still in denial about the whole thing, but I will come to accept it in due time.  Thank you Chris Fedec, Zachary Levi, and the others of the cast and crew of this incredible show.  You gave me reason to turn on my television at least once a week.  Actually, I think I misspoke there.

Chuck is the little show that did.

The Allengator