So I write this in an apartment in New York City with my future wife on her laptop not four feet away. And I wonder is this my life?
I look back on this blog and I see where I was three years ago.
I started the Confessions to help me be able to be open about myself and in that, I succeeded beyond my admittedly low expectations. This time in 2008, I was unsure of myself in pretty much whatever I did whether it be school or work or just my relationships with people.
Amazing what change a few years can bring.
But what I’m getting at is that maybe the reason why it was so easy to let real life wash away my inclination to blog is that I’ve outgrown the need for it.
This one at least.
I am still a writer. I still have notebooks and a few GB worth of various story skeletons and character designs. I still think of possible backstories for interesting strangers I pass by day to day.
Just don’t know if I’m a blogger any more.
If not? Then I will look back on that time of my life fondly. If I am? Then this blog is going to have to change because as strange as it is to say, that after 15 years of self loathing and anxiety, I have learned to accept myself and have no shame about just who and what I am.
Heh, look at me getting at sentimental. I have a few ideas for this little corner of the interweb so we will have to see what comes out of it as we move towards 2012.
This whole confidence thing is still kind of strange, almost like a new pair of jeans you really like but don’t fit just right as you haven’t broken them in yet. I wanted to figure out just who I was back at 20 so now that I have my answer?
Hi, I’m Kendall Arrington. Writer. Teacher. Student. Cook. Blank Shooter. Northern Southerner. Burgeoning New Yorker. Abuse Victim. Self-Deprecating. Former Homeless Kid. Amateur DJ. Witty. Lapsing Devout Catholic. French Toast Lover. Mildly Repressed.
Pleased to meet you. I hope we become good friends, warts and all.
Thanks for the adventure, folks. It was often hard and sometimes damn scary but maybe that’s the part we don’t get as kids. That happy endings are not just a matter of course. They’re earned. You fall down again and again but sometimes you find just the right spot and it’s gold.
Maybe I’ve finally learned that I am worth having one.
Ain’t that something?
“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Preach, Christopher Robin. Preach.
Testing one, two…testing one, two…is this thing on?
¡Muy bien! Let’s dust off these cobwebs, shall we?
Welcome back, folks, to the Confessions.
And no, your GReader isn’t playing tricks on you.
For those of you who’ve had the distinct pleasure of talking to me, you are well aware that I will say anything. Well more like my mental filter is just very selective in how it wants to work. I will be the first one to get people to laugh in an awkward silence. Those of have ever talked to me on Skype, Google Video, the phone, or in person probably realized quickly that I am just a wee bit of a motor mouth.
Yet despite all my love of talking, I suck at meeting people.
Oh sure I can go up to someone and introduce myself but I always feel anxious. Like I always feel like I’m bothering people by talking to them. Maybe it is just the last shades of my inner shy child but it always happens whenever I meet someone new.
Even online, I do this. I’ll get on Gmail or Skype (if you haven’t added me yet, for shame) and see people who I would love to talk to are on but I just freeze up. Some time I will actually open the conversation box and just stare at it because I have no idea what to say or how to get a conversation started. It’s like in middle school when I was still at Big Bang Theory-levels of social awkwardness.
Then comes the actual starting a friendship and where 95% of my anxiety stems from. I was pretty much an outcast (very very much not by choice) until high school and even now at 23, I still sometimes wonder if people are actually my friends. Yeah, I know that’s a common fear but so far as I can tell, not many others have this thought immediately.
I generally follow a few steps: I meet someone. Whether at a store, train, in class, at work, and find myself in a conversation with them. This happens repeatedly. I start hanging out with them purposefully. But I still hear that voice in my head going “what if they are just humoring me to be polite?”
I hate being alone.
Abhor it. Loathe it. Despite it.
I thrive on having someone to talk to. It’s like giving a starving man a feast. Without the GI issues, of course. And I’d be lying if the thought of going back to that does not fill me with dread.
Is this fear unhealthy? As long as I’m not going to insane lengths to keep people in my life, I would think not. But I’ve never really been one for denial so might as well get it out there. Considering how many people in the past year alone, I’ve cut out of my life for various personal reasons I think I am OK on this front.
Or so I hope.
The people who are all ready my friends, and have proven so time and again, deserve better from me.
Time to give it to them.
Last time on The Confessions of an Odd Duck:
In the past few years, I have been able to track my pattern where women are concerned.
Boy meets Girl.
Boy and Girl become good friends over time.
Boy and Girl jokingly flirt.
Boy twigs that Girl may not be joking.
Boy freaks out, broods, waffles on whether to do something about it.
Girl informs Boy he is being an idiot. Kissing may be used.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
With the exception of Scarlett, this is how EVERY SINGLE ONE of my relationships has gone.
Boy Meets Girl.
Boy and Girl realize the other is their snarky match.
They antagonize each other for a few weeks like 1st graders.
Boy and Girl find out they both like Call of Duty.
Girl makes Boy her bitch.
Boy and Girl bond over video games.
Girl has her tires slashed and quite a bit is stolen. Boy is called to pick her up.
Boy stays with Girl as she has mild breakdown.
Girl officially declares Boy one of her best friends.
When Boy’s roommate disappears after they get into a fist fight, Girl and her roommate largely take him in.
When Boy discovers his girlfriend had been cheating on him, Girl is the first to try and help him through it.
Boy realizes he might have feelings for Girl. He fights it completely.
Boy and Girl rent a house together.
Boy plays matchmaker for Girl.
Boy and Girl feel like they have lived together for years come Christmas.
Boy and Girl go to New York where Girl’s old roommate cottons on to how Boy might feel.
Girl seems to be flirting with Boy. Boy is terribly confused.
During a spring break trip to Cancun, Girl and Boy own up to how they both feel.
And now here we are. Those of you who saw the post yesterday or cottoned on to what I was talking about on Twitter, your eyes were not deceiving you.
Am I young? Yes. Am I financially stable? Yes. Am I emotionally stable? Against all odds, yes. Do I see us being compatible enough to make this kind of commitment? Hell yes.
My entire life I have always wondered if I am going enough for things. Second-guessing myself has long been second nature here. But I am self-aware enough to acknowledge that I can and do make her happy. During a conversation over coffee with Pippi, I admitted out loud how close I was to at least buying the ring, she questioned why I hadn’t all ready.
This woman knows me better than 95% of the people in my life. Nine years of friendship probably helps. So to hear that from her shouldn’t have surprised me even if it did.
She pointed out how I’m less flighty with Scarlett. How her edges seem to soften with me. How fiercely we go to bat for each other. How we are utterly unafraid to piss the other off if we think they are wrong. How open we are with each other. How we like to just spend time together. She closed by saying that we act, and have for a long time, like any happily married couple she could think of.
And as I thought about that, I reviewed our relationship since those first days in Chapel Hill, and realized she was absolutely right.
I want this. I want my life to be with her. I want to wake up at 70, look over, and see her sleeping next to me.
Hence why Sunday afternoon saw me roping Marilyn into helping me pick out a ring. And why Monday had me calling her parents for That Talk.
But various heartbreaks have beaten caution into me. I remember how happy I was with both Tink and Eva. I remember how those both ended, even if Tink was entirely my fault. I am trying to let my mind rule for a bit over my heart and if you know me, you know how hard that is. Looking before I leap does NOT come naturally.
That is why I am waiting on popping the question. Really do not want to imagine how it would feel to get turned down on that one. It’s no longer a question of “if” but “when”.
But, like the optimist I somehow am, I see the silver lining here.
This delay gives me time to plot how to do this.
Because after this tweet from A Mom In Real Life, I feel like there may be a challenge here. I have a few bare-bones ideas but nothing remotely concrete. Over the next few months, I am probably going to be asking you all for advice on how to do things. Especially our tech savvy bloggers.
After all, anything worth doing is worth doing right.
*Half the title of this post is directly lifted from the lovely Jeney. Who if you hadn’t congratulated her on her engagement yet, you should. Now.
As of this morning, I’ve been accepted to both.
Seriously Higher Education Gods? You want one of the most indecisive motherfuckers on the planet to choose where they’re going to spend the next 2-3+ years? I have trouble deciding what I want for dinner most nights.
And now the clock is ticking.
All I can say is that I all ready know and love New York City so LA? Need to see your A-Game when I come visit. You’ve got a lot of ground to recover.
Although I must admit that I find bears infinitely more awesome that a bobcat. And as I would feel nowhere near the bowel-voiding terror in front of a lynx, that is a point in UCLA’s favour.
As a Southerner, I have to think about which is more galling. Becoming a West Coaster or becoming a Yankee?
No, no contest there. The teasing I would have to endure from Tink alone decides it.
Lastly as Scarlett is heading to Stanford, being a mere 5 hour drive away instead of half way across the country is pretty damn appealing if I don’t say so myself.
*I honestly don’t know which to pick.
**No, I really would not live it up to a coin toss or the (mostly) rather silly reasons listed above. I’m not that stupid. I think. Give me alcohol and you might get a different answer.
There’s been a bit of talk around the blogosphere lately about how people don’t read blogs to hear about YOU. And of course, there is that old accusation of blogging cliques and how you have to develop a persona if you want to build any sort of friendships.
Folks, what you see here is what you get.
I try to be a nice person like most of us do.
The common mistake people make with that sentence is that they key in on the word nice and ignore everything else.
No dear friends, the key word there is try.
To give a bit of background, back when I was but a wee Kendall (ages 12-15) I didn’t give a fuck about anyone or anything. Guys wanted to start trouble? I’d say “let’s go.” I skived off more homework than I did even if I breezed through tests. It wasn’t so much that I ran with the wrong crowd as I pretty much told the world to piss off. It was also around this time that my mom realized I had issues, too bad it was kinda like water on the ashes from the bridge.
Obviously I grew out of that dark patch.
The kicker is that Bastard Kendall is still there, muffled but still there. He may have learned that loyalty is not a pipe dream. That empathy is not weakness. And that you can be a nice person.
I generally try and keep that part of me under lock and key. I like being the nice guy who tries to help everybody. Cynicism only leads to bad places and I’ve had enough of that for one lifetime. I like being the one who keeps others smiling with the off-the-wall things he says and does. I enjoy making people happy.
Doesn’t mean I will not tell someone where to get off.
I think it; I say it. That has always been my way.
The problem is that certain people apparently think that because I am so nice 99% of the time, they get the idea in their head that they can run roughshod all over me. In those times, I let the asshole out.
Basically I have three main modes.
1. ) If you’re my friend, you’re as good as family and there is almost nothing I won’t do for you. Need someone to cater your party but don’t have the cash? I’ve got you. Have editing you need? No problem. Flat tire? I’ll be out to you shortly.
2.) If I don’t know you, I’ll be friendly if a bit distant. You’ll get my normal snarkiness and a diluted form of my dirty humour.
3.) If I don’t like you, then expect apathy on my part unless you really need something. This whole guilt thing is still a bit too overwhelming at times I suppose.
Am I a good person? Yes. Am I a nice one? Eh, most of the time.
I am the guy who used to pop off at the wrong move and I am the one who goes gaga around any small child.
And I’ve learned to accept it.
Hello, my lovelies, and welcome to my Top 10 nostalgic TV shows. If you didn’t read Monday’s post, you can find it here. Before I go on, I need to say something. Some of you are going to disagree. Some of you may even disagree strongly.
Verily I say unto you: make your own damn lists. Pick your favourites. We’ll all get nostalgic together. Fun right?
But on with the show.
Also, there be spoilers ahead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Now like many kids who don’t actually remember the 80’s, I did see reruns of Transformers G1 in the early 90’s. However, it was the Beast Wars series that got me hooked. Why would this rather controversial show make my top 10 list in its predecessor’s place you ask? While yes, BW had great action and dialogue that overflowed with heavy innuendo the real draw were its wonderful characters. If you ask the fictional death that I remember most, I’ll still tell you Dinobot. Anyone who dies quoting Shakespeare after beating up Megatron with a stone ax deserves nothing less than a suitably heroic death. Also this Megatron is such a glorious egomaniac. “Yesssss.” Now if only they had been able to use “The Touch”.
If you know me at all, you knew this one was coming. I watched Power Ranger from the get-go and I think a good part of that had to do with how much I love the opening. Was it cheesy? Yes. Were the fight scenes ridiculous? Of course. Did the plot make sense? Most assuredly not. And we loved it all the more for these facts. I remember the revelation that Tommy was the evil Green Ranger, I remember Lord Zedd and Rita getting married, I remember the movies, the toys (I may still have a Dragon Dagger and Falcon zord, I’ll never tell), but mostly I remember playing outside until this show came on when every kid on the block hightailed it back home. This show, in many ways, was my childhood and I will always remember it fondly because of that.
Warner Bros. really brought their A-game when it came to their cartoons because this gem of a show is still cracking me up a decade and a half later. Animaniacs is quite possibly one of the most irreverent children’s cartoons I have ever seen in my life not named Looney Tunes. When told they needed to have a moral at the end of the show, the writers came up with the Wheel of Morality which were always a complete non sequitur. Filled with sexual innuendo, almost no fourth wall, and a completely insane cast it was probably one of the best cartoons ever made. Also educational as its the reason I know all 50 state capitals, the nations of the world, and the presidents in order. If you missed this one, definitely check it out on Youtube.
I love Star Trek but this was the show that completely got me hooked on science fiction as a kid. Almost unknown to nonfans of today, Babylon 5 had some of the most epic storytelling I’ve ever seen outside of a film which is why I get tweaked when I realize just how underrated it is. And as much as I enjoyed Stargate SG-1 or Battlestar Galatica and worship the ground Joss Whedon walks on, neither BSG or Firefly top this. Stargate is a distant fourth here. Most frustratating of all, if you want to watch this one you need to own the DVDs and good luck finding them. Unless you know some shady bootleggers. Like I do.
As big of an otaku as I am, there is no way in Hell I was not going to include my gateway anime on this list. Like many American kids growing up in the 90’s, this was the first anime (or its prequel, Dragonball) our generation ever saw where we knew what anime was unlike Speed Racer and Gatchaman (G-Force in the States) from the 70’s. Known for its rather…extended fight scenes, flashy moves, signature art style, and as a source of many Internet memes Dragonball Z is quite possibly one of the most successful anime imports of all time. Also notable for just how mature the unedited version was with panty shots, heavy cursing, perversion played for laughs, and of course violence. If you watched this show and ever have some spare time, check out TeamFourStar’s Dragonball Abrigded on Youtube which is piss-your-pants hilarious. You won’t regret it.
Before LOST, this was the jigsaw puzzle plot show. Before Buffy was kicking ass. Before a town in the Deep South wet crazy over vampires. Before the Winchester brothers struggled with angels, demons, and serious codependency issues, there was The X-Files. With quite possibly the most convoluted plot I have ever seen and more UST than you can shake a stick at, this show most definitely left its mark on me as it was the first supernatural/alien themed show I saw in my life. Even a lot of concepts and catchphrases from this one entered mainstream use even today. Ever heard o the tinfoil hat? Or someone referred to a Mulder or Scully? “Trust No One”? This is where they originated. Although the less said about the movies, the happier I’ll be.
I will go on record and say this is my favourite Disney show. The story of a clan of Scottish gargoyles who are betrayed and then frozen in stone sleep until 1000 years later when a loophole in the spell sees them awaken in (then)modern day Manhattan with all the culture shock that would entail. Then everyone from revenge-bent humans, manipulative businessmen, Oberon’s Children, and various other mythological creatures are pounding at their door. Like most shows I enjoy, it was the well-rounded characters that kept me coming back for more. Just look up “Xanatos Gambit” and you’ll find out why the man is one of my favourite chracters of all time. Also have to give Gargoyles its props for handling gun safety and racism in the most mature way I have ever seen unlike most cartoons which would just say they were bad. I’m looking at you Captain Planet. This show was also responsible for getting me interested in Shakespeare as a kid.
My sick and twisted love affair with B-grade sci-fi and horror movies? Came from here. My habit of mocking any bad movie to make it more enjoyable? Came from here. My blog motto? Adjusted from the theme song. Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a show where the human host (I prefer Joel) and his robot companions, Crow and Tom Servo, would lampoon some of the worst science fiction movies of the 50’s and 60’s, especially the works of Ed Wood who is widely regarded as one of the worst directors in Hollywood history with Uwe Boll looking to be his successor. If you can find episodes, and good luck there, give it a try. Remember, it’s just a show. You should really just relax.
The greatest cartoon ever. Seriously. After the success of Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, Warner Bros. greenlit an animated adaptation which was ever bit as dark as the film it came after. This was the one that introduced me to superheroes and probably why Batman is still my favourite. A fantastic cast (listen to the Joker laugh about mass homicide and domestic abuse then remember its the same man who a few years before said “I am a Jedi, like my father before me”), fantastic art and orchestral music, and quite possibly some of the most broken villains ever. Harley Quinn, Baby Doll, and Mr. Freeze (“Hearts of Ice” will break you) especially. Gritty, often funny, action-packed, suspenseful, and at times heartbreaking this is the standard I hold all animated series up to. A special shout out goes to The Gray Ghost (voiced by Adam West himself) both of whom are given a heartwarming tribute from Batman in-story and the writers themselves. So my hat goes off to the Caped Crusader, who first introduced me to the world of comic book heroes.
Considering how often phrases from this show slip into my blog posts and regular speech, this really shouldn’t surprise you. The show that put Joss Whedon on the map, Buffy is quite possibly my favourite show ever. Buffy took the horror movie cliche of a girl getting butchered in an alley by some monster and turned it on its head by the eponymous girl hunting the monsters (mostly vampires) and kicking their ass. Why do I like this show so much? The characterization and the dialogue. You want to know where I got my sense of bantering humour from? Here you go. Helped that the actresses were pretty hot and that puberty was hitting me hard when I first started watching. A little TMI sure but still true. This was also the first show I ever bought the complete box set for and probably one of the most watched other than Seinfeld or Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Like it? Hate it? Want to tar and feather me?
Don’t worry, it’s a common reaction and one I’m long used to. And yes I do mean all three. I seem to have one of those personalities.
I enjoyed this and look forward to more lists in the future, maybe like top books or movies.
We’ll see what happens when it happens.
Happy trails kids.
Just like the boomers and X-ers before us, the early Generation Y crowd is getting older and as we do, we look at the new generation of kids and wonder just what the heck happened? To us, it seems like the Nineties were a golden age where Saturday morning cartoons were a way of life, you spent all day playing until the street lights came on, and where people seemed to be nicer in general.
Even though I was a month shy of 12 when 2000 hit (Oh Y2K, the amount of panic you caused was hilarious) it still feels like those days were another lifetime.
So after talking over nostalgia with my blog crush friend Jeney and during a rather awkward Gchat conversation (I fail at Gchat, seriously) came up with the idea of doing a little tribute to some of the most amazing shows we grew up watching.
Originally, we were only going to do the top 10 but as I was making my list I realized that there was no way I could narrow it down.
To make the list, 1.) I had to have watched the show sometime between 1990 and 2000 2.)that the show produced new episodes and didn’t just show reruns 3.)I have to be able to watch it now and still find it enjoyable. Therefore shows like Will & Grace, Seinfeld, Dawson’s Creek, and Saved By The Bell didn’t make the cut despite how much I love them as I didn’t start watching them until my teen years.
That being said, here is a look back with Part I of my tribute to my favourite shows from the Nineties.
And we kick the list off with Celebrity Deathmatch. This show, along with Beavis & Butthead and another further down the list, was one of the reasons I started watching MTV in the first place. Unbelievably violent, stuffed with pop culture references, and with a hilarious (and very loose) storyline. For those of you who missed this one, the show was structured much like an episode of (then) WWF Raw or Monday Night Nitro with several matches and interviews with the various contenders spread throughout. Most of the original episodes are on Youtube so if you want a quick laugh then you can’t really go wrong here.
Rugrats was quite possibly one of the first shows I ever watched not named Sesame Street or The Price Is Right. This was the show that basically took the question of what babies/toddlers are like when no adults are around and ran all the way to the bank with it. So how did this show with an admittedly lame premise manage to become one of the most Nickoledeon shows ever? The memorable, well-written characters and dialogue that often snuck in more mature humor that would fly over any kid’s head. Also this show had some of the most honest holiday specials I have ever seen with a special nod going to their final Christmas special and the heartbreaking Mother’s Day episode.
After the abortion known as Roundhouse, Nickoledeon decided to give sketch comedy one more try. And thankfully, they got it right this time. This was the first sketch comedy show I ever watched and remains one of favourites 16 years later. All That could also have been called Saturday Night Live for teenagers, or at least the first six seasons could before the show started to target preteens and younger kids instead. It also introduced the world to Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Amanda Bynes, and Nick Cannon.
The Adventures of Pete & Pete was a…special show. It followed the adventures of two brothers, Big Pete and Little Pete, and their interactions with the somewhat insane residents in their home town. But I, like most kids who watched, was far more interested in Little Pete’s fight against The Man (responsible adults) which was aided by his personal superhero Artie “For I am Artie — the strongest man…in the world!” and his other best friend Nona (played by a very young Michelle Trachtenberg). Also notable as one of the few old school Nick shows that had a full DVD release in the new millenium.
Reboot had a very simple premise, imagine your computer is a world unto itself with various programs existing as unique citizens each with their own quirks. Now imagine that there are certain programs whose main goal is to defend them from viruses and their worst enemy, you. Well more like your computer games. The first 3 seasons followed this format of various User games wreaking havoc until the final season which was pretty much Lost in (Cyber)Space. This was one especially notable for being the first entirely computer-animated TV series and for having such an open (and downer) ending.
If you asked me and my sister what we would be doing most Saturday nights as kids, we’d tell you we were watching SNICK for All That and this next show Are You Afraid Of The Dark? The premise of this one was every week, a group of teenagers would go into a clearing in the woods to tell horror stories that often borrowed from fairy tales and famous short stories. It ran from 1992 until 2000 here in the states and as such is one of the shows I remember most vividly. This is also the show that inspired M. Night Shayamalan’s hit-movie The Sixth Sense in terms of its now-famous twist ending. Best of all, the compete series is available on Youtube.
Ah, my first guilty pleasure show. Xena: Warrior Princess was a spin-off to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules that became a cult hit. A story that revolved around fight scenes, Greek mythology, some slapstick, and more lesbian subtext than I have ever seen in my life? There was no downside here folks. It followed the story of a former warlord as she tried to atone for the people she slaughtered during her conqueror days alongside her sidekick/bard/best friend/partner/soul mate Gabrielle all the while going up against tyrants, monsters, Amazons, a psychotic rival, a ridiculously powerful hellspawn, Caesar, and eventually the Gods themselves.
You know you were singing it, don’t even bother trying to deny it. This one may be one of the most well-known and well-loved Nineties shows of them all and it easily made my list at #13. Before he was saving the world on his time-off in Independence Day and after he was rapping about Summertime, Will Smith made his way into our homes and hearts as the smooth talking Philly kid living with his auntie and uncle in Bel Air. Both a coming-of-age story as well as comedy, I honestly do not know anyone who did not at least like this show. And as I consider anyone who didn’t as non-existent, I never will.
At #12 on the countdown is my other favourite MTV series. Daria followed the observations of the classic deadpan snarker, Daria Morgendorffer, as she and her best friend Jane, as they comment on the exaggerated stereotypes that populate their town and in particular their high school. With witty dialogue, a well-written story arc, and quite possibly one of my favourite examples of sibling rivalry in Daria’s bratty, manipulative, smarter-than-she-acts sister Quinn, this show easily deserves its spot on the list and if not for the fact that it is almost impossible to find episodes now would probably make my top 10.
And last on today’s list, we have The Wonder Years of my generation. Boy Meets World was about the life and times of Cory Matthews (Ben Savage, little brother of Fred Savage) along with his best friend Shaun, his older screwball brother Eric, his nuisance-turned girlfriend-turned wife Topanga and the surprisingly adaptable teacher Mr. Feeny. This is where I was introduced to the concept of bromance and the phrase, “she’s all grown up!” Notably, while the show was usually more comedy than drama it did handle issues like parental abandomnent/neglect, alcoholism, the troubles of being young newlyweds and the death of a parent exceptionally well. This show and specifically the characters of George Feeny and Johnathan Turner have had more impact on my life than any show ever as they are what made me want to be a teacher in the first place. Yeah, my career goal came from a 90’s sitcom. The finale episode is also one of the few times where even watching video of it years later will make me a sobbing wreck. “I love you all. Class dismissed.” -sniffle-
Come back around on Wednesday where I gab about my top 10 favourite shows from the Nineties.