After a few bad years, I’m staring to believe in meaning again. Weirdly cosmic things are happening again, but maybe belief is precipitated by a willingness to believe, rather than forcing its way into your life. Maybe it knows that I’m a student of subtlety.

I found a stretch of road on Route 55 in Poughkeepsie which has a Trading Post, a pinball supply shop, a comic shop, and a diner called The Daily Planet with a huge Superman on the wall. Well, Beckie found two of these things, but their proximity to each other is pretty impressive.

The Trading Post promised to trade my NES games for theirs, if I so chose – so I packed up a box of spares (mostly Super Mario Bros and TMNTs, with an extra Dragon Warrior and Kirby’s Adventure thrown in for good measure), and an armload of LPs and made my way north. When I arrived, their NES list didn’t match what they had online, they didn’t have Battletoads & Double Dragon, and the owners weren’t there, so my hot car full of plastic things was of no use to them. It was a bit disappointing, since their e-mail implied that I could stop by any time, so I bought 4 overpriced NES games and left.

The pinball supply place was a parking lot over, so we found it and walked inside, only to realize that it was not actually a shop but a warehouse, and not a walk-in kind of place. The owner was really awesome and actually hung out and talked with us for a few minutes, and apparently, there’s a significant need for a pinball repairman in the Hudson Valley. I didn’t get to poke through boxes of pieces for art ideas, but the whole thing was really informative. I came home and ordered a classic book on pinball machine repair, and started browsing eBay and Craigslist for machines I could possibly fix up for practice. Bride of Pinbot is especially appealing – it’s cheap and in Kansas, and needs some minor electrical repairs. Something about stumbling across this place on a map without actually looking for it, and this information – it might mean something. I’m good at fixing stuff, and I know where to get cheap acrylic parts in any shape I want.

The comic shop was tiny, but really nice and clear, and a shelf full of $5 graphic novels, and ‘Crazy Hair’ with art by Dave McKean, which I never bought for full price because I’m fundamentally opposed to giving Neil Gaiman my money, though it seems like ‘Countdown to Adventure’ is the victim of some kind of spill. You can’t complain for 5 bucks.

The Daily Planet was a really, honest diner with huge food and sassy waitresses, and nothing with goat cheese or grape leaves on the whole menu. I got the biggest burger I’ve ever seen and only managed to eat half of it, and they even cooked it rare.

The rest of life is writing and rewriting and hoping that something catches on fire and propels me away from everything else at a terrifying, exhilarating speed.

I loaded up Google Earth to map out all of the places I’ve always wanted to go, and it was loaded with landmarks from Philly. Which was kinda depressing. I deleted them and decided to start over – but it kinda felt like a punch when the map zeroed in on my once-paid-for apartment. It is a time for new things. It has been for a very long time.

Making points of entry to islands in the middle of lakes, neighborhoods that exist between highway dividers, parking lots, trading posts and power line trails. Nowheres.

There’s a place near Poughkeepsie that trades NES games, so that’s Thursday’s destination. I placed a Hudson Valley Craigslist ad seeking out NES games, requesting a list and an e-mail. Five replies, but I was remiss to imagine that a single one would include anything resembling a list. I’m not inclined to reply to anyone requesting an immediate phone call or who has not actually read the very brief ad. I know this is something I’m asking for, but if I’m going to approach a stranger with money in my pocket, I’m not going to provide a list of my weaknesses.

I’m trying to understand why an amateurish, styleless artist on eLance who bid $300 more on a project than I did actually won the bid, and it’s only serving as more evidence that art success, while eventually driven by ideas and talent, is all about finding the right coincidence, and that can only be done with constant work. It’s exhausting to submit three or four new proposals every day, joining websites to find work because I have no self-marketing skills and I detest the gallery scene.

The universe may provide, but it’s taking its time.

There is so much joy in this :

===================

Evidence of Graceful Destruction I (Jefferson Valley, NY)

December 1 2004

Today was a good day, until I got to work and suddenly, my brain folded in on itself, like some kind of sexy origami goldfish, which is beautiful, but serves little purpose as a brain.

And then a really cute girl came in looking for info on banned books. Like, really cute. And then she left, but only after telling me that she liked my lenticular Spider-Man ring. Because hot sweet jesus, nothing says ‘excellent in bed’ like wearing a Spider-Man ring, because if you’re wearing one, you really obviously aren’t overcompensating for anything.

That’s all I really have to say. I was probably rude and short tempered to everyone today, like that kid who asked me to sharpen his pencil. To my credit, he’d obviously intentionally broken the point clear off, as well as half of the pencil, and probably chewed on it a bit.

=================

December 5, 2004 [note : I have no idea who this was about]

You want to know a perfect evening?

A perfect evening is encountering a beautiful woman at the library and getting in a car with her, heading south, and finding a wonderful little Thai restuarant in a small town, listening to gypsy jazz on the way and hearing her laugh until she’s out of breath. She stays until about 3 AM, watching bad tv with you and enjoying it, and when she leaves, your pet cthulu still smells like her.

=================

=================

=================

December 24, 2004

During the worst of it, it seemed to make perfect sense to steal my grandpa’s car (since small town library pay does not a car afford) and drive west until I couldn’t go anymore, living on credit cards and diner meals and gas station bathrooms and a backseat full of Tom Waits and Pixies CDs. I have these elaborate escape fantasies, vanishing from the world, deleting myself, rebooting. Canceling my membership to the world. Not inserting another quarter to continue. Winding up someplace unfamiliar, some kind of black-clad drifter who saves a kitten from a tree and is never seen again. Playing the crane machine at some mid-western bowling alley and sticking the fuzzy results on the back window of the misappropriated car. One day, I will do this, without the car stealing part, and preferably with a pretty girl at my side to share in the adventures.

=================

December 27, 2004

Here’s something that they really don’t tell you when you sign on to work at a library.

People will return books covered in the most foul, horrific, uncategorizable substances imaginable. A thin film of alien substances that the patrons exude, or betray the living conditions that they keep. I’m not talking about videocassettes that are returned covered in strange, yellow water. No. And I’m not talking about the books which were read by heavy smokers and exude cancer as you scan them.

I’m talking about speckles of barbecued sweat. Books doused in perfume and onion juice. Things that reek of flea collars and alcohol and skin. Skin doesn’t have a smell until you’ve had to handle a book covered in it and it stains your hands with the foulness of it, and you can only identify it as something that must have come from a person, at some point. Juices and powders and chemicals, spilled. And I…. I touch them all. And then, I smell the book, which probably makes me look crazy. Sometimes, I wash them off. Other times, I just shelve them right away to get them away from me before I get queasy. More than a few of these have surely visited bathrooms.

Because people are disgusting, disgusting things when they touch books, apparently.

=================

December 31, 2004

So, I started Animal Crossing at around 8 AM today. I played until around 10:30. I took a meteorite from the lost and found, even though it didn’t belong to me.

Already, the similarities to my life have become disturbingly clear. The number of ‘bells’ that I must pay off to properly own the house in which I live is about exactly what I need to pay off on my student loan. Except the Sallie Mae Loan Raping Company doesn’t accept old clothes and oranges in payment, and I can’t just deliver a package to a crocodile and call it even.

I named my character Flank. He has a house all to himself, with a stereo, and a rug, and two Nintendo games. And a creepy, spinning meteorite slowly rotating in a corner, giving me cancer, probably. And still, he’s better off than I am.

Unfortunately, I arrived on Raffle Day, which means I can’t buy or sell anything, which is the main gist of the game. All I’m doing is writing haikus to reptiles and mailing them off, occasionally delivering an item from one town member to another and running around aimlessly, my pockets full of oranges.

While I was out, I swear I heard a lady call her two sons ‘Vincent’ and ‘Price’, and immediately decided that when I get two cats, that will be their names.

I got to write about The Thing for Splice. My anger at the priorities of the world will be used only for good, I promise.

I think that life would be 50% better if I had a really big, nice garden. I figure that a fair portion of life is worrying about how we’re going to continue eating – even more than how we’re going to get to work. We go to work so we can eat, anyhow. Garden time can’t be too far from now.

I spent the morning at Toyota, getting routine maintenance for my car and the third or fourth Corolla recall fixed up, listening to Modest Mouse on my iPod instead of the embarrassingly bad Fox news out of Manhattan and reading ‘Made by Hand’ by the EIC of MAKE Magazine, which is an incredible entity unto itself. I think that today’s piece for Splice expresses a lot of what I was feeling when I read it, since it was mirroring a lot of ideas I already feel strongly about, from both spiritual and creative standpoints. Nothing’s been the same since Orange, MA. Reduce need, be more efficient.

So, it was a weird kind of slap in the face when I saw that my car was running on empty. The local gas station hasn’t worked in two or three days, so I’ve just been waiting on filling up the tank. This wasn’t aided by the fact that Toyota left the keys in the ignition and the car running while I signed the requisite paperwork, so I drove around a little bit to find a gas station and ended up at a Valero, which I’ve never heard of until today, and which is entirely full service. I’ve never been at a full service station in my life, except for in Jersey where it’s apparently the law, and as a very DIY kind of guy currently full-throttle into DIY mode after reading ‘Made by Hand’, I felt like a colossal hypocrite. I swear that it was only by accident. I’d ride a bike if my town had any room on the roads whatsoever and it wasn’t overtly suicidal.

Working my way through learning new writing mechanics for one job, vector work and consulting for another, waiting to get paid a few thousand by another, getting turned down by a fourth. Aspiring for one really good job instead of working six and still looking for more.

And a garden.

I’ve been pretty busy, so the freelance search isn’t as active as it once was, but here’s an exceptional job lead from this week :

—————–

10 Entertainment news daily- 100 words each. ($2 per 500 words)

• Excellent English, great command over grammar, perfect sentence structure and punctuation usage.

[This was followed by a very lengthy set of rules and conditions. So... this is a $4 per day job for roughly 2 hours of work. This is a fair measure of the level of respect that is given to professional writing by professional entities.]

—————–

I was recently verbally undermined and insulted by an editor at one of my gigs after an article of mine went live. I wrote a perfectly coherent piece about the use of gimmicks in artwork, and whether or not they were effective. (Verdict : sometimes, in certain conditions).

While this particular writing venue is one which really gets off on flame wars and interpersonal conflicts in the comments section, and I do feel the need to defend my perspective, I’ve never really been interested in old fashioned Internet fighting – at least not on a serious, non-comical level. If this is the only way you can make your publication interesting, it says more about you than it does me. I also feel like it’s especially unprofessional to attack one of your employees in a public forum – not because of a job poorly done, but a pure difference in perspective.

The editor in question didn’t really seem to be even completely disagreeing with me – just attempting to start a problem that people could watch, while his views on art were summed up by his own statement that, essentially, art is something you do to pass time until you die. I indicated that our perspectives were so obviously different, based on that statement alone, that I didn’t think I could ever really express my own ideas in a way he’d accept. Of course, this brought on more goading – this time, undermining my credibility as an artist. I didn’t make any statements about how he sounded like an impotent old man – I just declined to make a scene for him, and invited him to send me an e-mail if he’d like to continue the discussion.

Of course, after his rapid-fire responses, I didn’t get an e-mail. I’ve also resolved (based on the advice of an experienced newspaper journalist in a very angry little community) to completely ignore any comments that pop up on anything I write over there. I don’t get paid to be participatory – but at least I get paid.

I will say this, though : just because lots of people like something, it doesn’t automatically become art. The beauty of art is that it completely defies universal appeal, and that people will hate it and love it from whatever perspective their life has given them. I just happen to think that the ‘art’ of the dude who makes things out of Peeps is incredibly stupid and lowest common denominator – not because the idea is poor, but the execution is so simplistic that it’s embarrassing.

One year ago yesterday, I was supposed to be moving into an apartment in Philly – taking the back roads to transport a mattress on top of my car without attracting attention, a car full of boxes up to my second floor room in a nice little house with a nice little patch of dirt, finally having a place to call my own and struggle with and fix and break and breathe in.

Many of those boxes are still packed, shoved into corners where I don’t have to look at them, still in New York. Stacks of things with destinations that were never realized, and one year of dust later, it’s really rather depressing to think about all of the places that the time went and I didn’t.

25 September 2004

I must have been super-loopy this morning.

I sleep with the TV on, because the dull sussuruss of the blue demigod helps me sleep. It sets my mind to wandering. It provides light, since I can’t sleep in the dark. And, should I wake up in dark and / or silence, I bolt upright and seek out one of the two, if not both.

Call it an unnatural sensitivty to the paranormal, or just the paranoia, but I can usually only sleep KNOWING what’s going on in my room, where I’m situated, and with something to play over the natural eerie sounds of the house and surrounding wildlife. It’s not a normal drive around here unless you have at LEAST two close enounters with squirrels, all of which have terrible timing and fail to look both ways.

(This is not to mention the lady who stopped in the middle of the main road through town to THINK, for no apparent reason whatsoever besides mental insanity, and pulling off into one of the many side roads would have completely thrown her over the edge. After sitting directly behind her in my car for at least a full minute, the growing mass of cars behind me began their symphony of anger, also not seeing the point of our stillness. After another 15 seconds of honking, the woman steps out of her car and begins to scream at me. Keep in mind, I haven’t honked once. I assumed that there was a perfectly asinine explanation to all of this and I wanted to hear it. All I’ve done is throw up my hands in a visible shrug, the real-world equivalent to the more familiar ‘WTF?’, a universal symbol to everyone around me that ‘I dunno either’. So, she’s screaming at me, ‘I’m lost! You got a problem with that???’ I retaliate with the very lame and very true, ‘I didn’t even honk at you!’ She then gets back in her car and speeds away at an unsafe velocity, as if to make up for the speed that she was previously lacking. And that, as they say, was that, and it was effing crazy.)

So, I have to sleep with music on, or a light, or the TV. It’s a bad habit, but it makes me feel safer. This means that I often wake up to odd infomercials, or, in a worst case scenario, Baby Looney Tunes. I stopped watching Comedy Central to fall asleep, because their 4 AM infomercials all involve the size of my junk, and I do NOT need any deeper inferiority complexes shoved into my head subconsciously. These things get into your head as you sleep and seriously mess up any hot, sexy dreams you’re having. Suddenly, that redhead indie fantasy chick is disastrously unsatisfied.

Cartoon Network is usually good to fall asleep to, as they usually recycle their evening lineup, fade it into old anime and eventually, upon daybreak, an assault of Ed, Edd and Eddy or Kids Next Door. Neither of these are great shows, but they don’t involve my penis, usually, so I’m happy.

Once in a while, I wake up to this blendery thing, narrated by the perky American woman and the possibly Australian man. It all happens at a kitchen counter, which is oddly surrounded by a variety of overacting extras. The smoking BINGO lady, the husband who petulanty declares that he hates broccoli and crosses his arms with a huge frown, the black lady. You can make pesto in 3 seconds, people! And you can grate cheese, like, faster than the speed of light. It’s cheese, and then, BAM, it’s a cheese VAPOR.

If you’re lucky, it’s Girls Gone Wild. The commercials are better than the actual thing, unless you’re especially into seeing drunk girls and the myriad of breasts that they decide to share. Me, I could care less. I prefer girls who aren’t, you know, soused whores.

All of this leads to one thing. I found a link on my computer this morning that I didn’t recognize. Apparently, I can make millions in real estate buying and selling, and this was an AMAZING idea when I half-lucidly stumbled out of bed this morning, subconscious infomercial (which I vaguely remembered after visiting the link) having beaten my brain to a pulp. Somehow, I turned on the computer and added a link to this guy’s website to my favorites list, without even knowing it. Because this is what TV does to you when you’re not paying attention.

================

2 October 2004

So, I saw on the TV that White Castle, famous for vending SACKS of squared-off burgers at discount prices, is now selling….’chicken rings’.

I can understand onion rings. Onions are a naturally ringed food, tightly aligned concentric circles of flavor. Chickens do not come in rings naturally. They are a loosely arranged mass of squishy, blood-soaked organs. There is nothing ring-shaped about them. Not a single thing about this situation seems natural.

I can imagine a few scenarios for this, and neither makes any sense. One involves a few immigrant workers sitting in a dark back room at White Castle, sculpting lengths of chicken (of which I do not want to venture their origin, since chicken doesn’t come in ‘lengths’ either) into mathematically perfect ‘rings’ for battering, frying and consumption.

The second scenario involves a whole chicken, a hammer and chisel, and a skilled expert who knows EXACTLY where to strike the chicken, aided by a magnified monocle. Of course, with one fateful swing of the hammer, all excess parts of the chicken would fall away, leaving naught but the single ring.

Chicken RINGS? No, nononono. No.

================

9 October 2004

Because I sometimes collect books about case studies of mental disorders, presumably to try to figure out what’s wrong with me OR to make me feel better about myself, I came across the following true story in a first edition (1981) DSM-III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), page 220, and I brought it home with me. It is called ‘Star Wars’, and it is exerpted below.

“Susan, a 15-year-old, was seen at the request of her school district authorities for advice on placement. She… was placed in a class for the emotionally disturbed. She proved very difficult, with a very poor undersanding of schoolwork on a fifth-grade level, despite an apparently good vocabulary; and she disturbed the class by making animal noises and telling fantastic stories, which made the other children laugh at her.

“She is often bored, has no friends, and finds it difficult to occupy herself. She spends a lot of tiem drawing pictures of robots, spaceships, and fantastic or futuristic inventions.

“The results of an evaluation done at the age of 12, because of difficulties in school, showed ‘evidence of bizarre thought processes and fragmented ego structure’…. Currently she is reported to sleep very poorly and tends to disturb the household by getting up and wandering around at night. [Her mother] says that since Susan went to see the movie Star Wars she has been obsessed with ideas about space, spaceships and the future.

“In the interview, Susan presented as a tall, overweight, pasty-looking child, dressed untidily and with a somewhat disheveled appearance. She talked at length about her interests and occupations. She says she made a robot in her basement that ran amok and was about to cause a great deal of damage, but she was able to stop it by remote control. She claims to have built the robot from spare computer parts, which she acquired from the local museum. When pressed on detail of how this worked, she became increasingly vague, and when asked to draw a picture of one of her inventions, she drew a picture of an overhead railway and went into what appeared to be complex mathematical calculations to substantiate the structural details, but which in fact consisted of meaningless repetitions of symbols. When the interviewer expressed some gentle incredulity, she blandly replied that many people did not believe that she was a supergenius. She also talked about her unusual ability to hear things that other people cannot hear, and she was in communication with some sort of creature. She thought she might be haunted, or perhaps the creature was a being from another planet..”

So, this woman would be about 37 now. A big ol’ harmless geek! Are you reading this, Susan?

I don’t really have a reaction to this. I just thought it would be neat to share… though I’d like to give little Susan the benefit of the doubt. Things outside of science and all that.

===================

9 November 2004

My niece keeps on asking me impossible questions. Things I simply don’t know the answer to, like ‘What channel is Buffy on?’ She thinks that by asking a hundred times, angrily, that I’ll suddenly know. Thinking that I could prove a point to her by asking her questions that SHE didn’t know the answer to, I said, “Okay, fine. How big is the moon?”

She thought for a second and said, “One hundred!”

I replied, “One hunded WHAT?”

Without hesitation, she yelled back, “One hundred ninety!”

When I broke down laughing, she revised her answer to “one hundred one?” And then implored me to tell her or she’d “break all of my bones and kick them a hundred times!”, which was a bit more gentle than her threat to “cut out my eyes with a knife” that she’d made last night.

=================

16 November 2004

My niece is just getting over a cold, and it is irritating her nose. As we were walking through the mall today, I noticed that her fingers kept on ending up in her nose. I refuse to walk around with a nosepicker, so I asked her to stop about, oh, 50 times before I pulled her aside and said very quietly, “Look, you can do that all you want in the car, but you gotta wait until we get there, okay?”

She said okay, but soonafter, her arm slowly started to move up to her nose. I restrained it, but I didn’t want to look like I was abusing some poor little child. I asker her to stop again, laughing pretty hard at this point.

“Please stop Raven…. we’ll be at the car in 2 minutes, okay?”

She looked at me with total seriousness and replied, “But I have boogers waiting for me!”

I nearly collapsed on the floor outside of the dollar store. I eventually ended up giving her a piggyback out of the mall just so that she’d HAVE to hold on and keep her fingers out of her nose. This was only the second time she cracked me up.

In Toys R Us, she indicated that she needed to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t bring her into the men’s bathroom, because heck, I’m not comfortable with that, and she has some kind of fear of being stolen if she’s let into the women’s bathroom by herself. So I asked her….

“Do you have to pee or… the other thing?”

She rolled her eyes at me, pretty exasperated, and said, “Stop… we just call it ‘the bathroom’, okay?”

Goodbye.

====================

23 November 2004

Here’s one :

“Robots ate my mom / I did not know they ate meat / but I guess they do.”

I win! I so totally effing win. I win haiku’s ass.

=================

27 November 2004

So, hanging outside the library side door today (where we typically recieve our donations, which number in the hundreds daily), I found a small pile of grammar handbooks from 1922. They detail, not much unlike the current bestseller ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’, the finer points of being an anal jerk. I know that I take great delight in finding the occasional malaprop or ambiguous verbal juxtaposition, but these manuals attack various terms and phrases and misuses of the English language, as they were common in 1922. About 80% of what they complain about, in dictionary form, has fallen into obscurity, much to the delight of the authors, who are very, very not alive anymore.

An example, taken from ‘SOS : Slips of Speech’ -

‘knight of the grip’ – A euphemism for a commercial traveler or drummer, which is preferred.

I think that today, however, that the term ‘knight of the grip’ applies to something wholly… other, and suddenly, it’s is my new phraseology for that special time when one explores their own ‘dragon slaying’.

“Pardon me, madame, but I must fulfill my duties as a Knight of the Grip. I’ll be back in 15 minutes. Perchance I may borrow and facial tissue? Forsooth?”

‘bitch’ – used for a “jade”, or applied to any other than the female of the genus Canis, is ruled out of all polite society as coarse to the lowest degree, notwithstanding that the word is permitted as a euphemism by the late editor of a popular dictionary.

… which brings to light the gangwars fought wildly in the streets between the dictionary editors of the 1920′s. They weren’t really fought with tommy guns or anything… more like, loud, big words shouted from moving cars in nasally voices and rough pokings with quill pens. Obviously, Mr. Frank H. Vizetelly, Litt. D. LL. D., who has a monopoly on half of the alphabet in his name alone, has an issue with the use of such slang being validated by its inclusion in any kind of literature. Except for his own. And finally….

‘soup and fish’, when used to indicate formal dress, is a vulgarism.

No kidding.

===============

29 November 2004

Last night, in my always-interesting and surreal dreams, I found myself in an abandoned school building. Perhaps it was the old Old Main Building from New Paltz, but there I was, lost in it as ever. And somehow, I found my way out, into a small house in the desert, which was very much not New Paltz. Such a juxtaposition is nothing unusual for the dream-state.

Within this house were 2 beds, and like a waxen figure on one lay a cute redheaded girl, unmoving, similar in appearance to a 1920′s starlet. I moved some hair out of her eyes, and as cute as she was, there was something sinister about her. Voicelessly, I heard something about how she would call her dogs to eat me.

So, she called her dogs to eat me, without moving her mouth, saying something like ‘dogs! eat!’. From another room, there came a-flopping a big, thick pug dog without any legs, kinda like a worm, very slowly. Of course, I wasn’t too afraid of a legless wormdog whose only means of locomotion was flopping around on the ground, and all logic circuitry would dictate that I could just run back into the desert and escape the flopdog without any hassle. Little did I know that this dog was a champion flopper and matched my every step out into the desert. And if you don’t think that a legless pug dog the size of a small fridge keeping up to speed with you with the mere power of its gyrations through hot desert sand, chanting ‘eat! EAT!’ isn’t creepy…. I feel sorry for you.


This happened when I woke up. I’ve never won an Internet before. I have to say that it was fairly insane to see ‘LIKES’ notifications flood my screen rapid-fire alongside sudden friend requests.

We live in a strange world.

I woke up on Friday and decided that I had nothing to lose. In any context. This also encapsulates the idea that anything I have is worth losing for a greater good, provided that this greater good provided a solid life experience. And the thing I’m losing isn’t Batman.

Like anyone looking for adventure and danger, I went on Craigslist.

CL has been a quiet theme in my life since February. We have a tenuous relationship at best. It often disappoints me, but drags me back in with promises of work, women and old video games – but we spend a lot of time apart. I’ve met a few awesome people from CL, one of them being one of my best friends in the world. Earlier in the week, I was poking around the Hudson Valley people ads and responded to one I liked, and made a friend. I’ve also found a job there. Have always come up empty on vintage video games.

So, when I saw an ad for 40 oldschool NES games, plus a system, two zappers, controllers and all of the wires for $150, I was kinda willing to travel as far as I needed to go. After getting a list of the games and the price was dropped to $110, I determined that the whole collection would fill in a few gaps in my collection of 200-ish games, and I didn’t know where Port Jervis was, but it sounded like a fair after-work destination. Of course, if you’re going to make a deal on Craigslist and meet in a parking lot in a town you’ve never been to before, you want to bring someone to at least witness your murder and get a license plate number.

I don’t have a lot of local friends ’cause I live in an area which caters to wealthy families and not 20-something art guys, so I called upon my new friend to adventure with me. I can’t find the ad, but I’m fairly sure it was seeking adventure. My kind of adventure isn’t so much skydiving and foreign travel as it is long car rides into weird parts of New York to see what’s going down.

I also have come to believe is very quickly disrupting the gap between who someone is online and who they are in real life. For some people, there might be no gap whatsoever, but there are plenty of people who consciously or subconsciously use this space to create the person they want to be, no matter how distanced it is from their actual meat-selves. Leaping facefirst into disappointment or a genuine connection is really, really important before too many illusions construct themselves. I’ve made that mistake a few too many times.

So, everything was organized and awesome. Weirdly ambiguous and circuitous Google Maps directions and $110 in hand, we met and set off for Port Wherever. All I knew was that it was over the Hudson, due west of me, and right on the edge of NJ. Great music the whole 80-minute drive with an awesome person in surprisingly calm rush hour traffic in beautiful weather. Somehow, this combination of four things make me feel like life is really happening.

We met the guy in a parking lot about 15 minutes late, due to a weirdly unlabeled road – a small, young guy covered in tattoos and piercings. As we talked he said that he was selling his Nintendo (obviously well-cared for, as most of the games still included instruction manuals) because he was turning his sun porch into a nursery for his forthcoming baby. I could have wept. It takes a real man to give up his Nintendo to take care of a baby that well. I know a few too many people who have just thrown a crib in the bathroom and hoped for the best. Well, not exactly – but effectively that.

Easy drive home, stop at a diner, a few minutes of Harley Davidson pinball, and it was pretty much the perfect day. Finding little bits of ‘life is okay’ in the rest of this stuff is pretty great.

Nothing to lose.

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