Which Kind do You Have?

Miscellaneous

I’m not a very talkative person. I don’t mind “awkward” silence. It’s only awkward when you make it, but to me it’s just a time to think or observe. I’m not sure how much is true about the following statement, because I was too young to remember, but when I was little my parents were worried because I didn’t talk much. My aunt, on the other hand, wasn’t worried in the slightest. She claimed I didn’t have to talk. I had two older sisters and a caring mother who would get whatever it was I was pointing at. That was my way of communication. I had all the power in my tiny, baby index finger. I still find myself doing that sometimes, so my apologies if I’ve offended you by doing so. Some old habits never really wear off.

What I’m lacking in communication, I make up for in observance; I’m always observing my environment. I don’t mean it in the sense of paranoia, like where’s the closest exit to run to in case there’s a crazy-man walking in the door right now. I’m just observing what’s around me: architecture, people, things that would make a unique photo, how you have a booger in your nose, but don’t want to bring it up. Just kidding, I’d let you know. I just like making mental notes on things, so I can eventually talk your ear off via blogging.

This past weekend my girlfriend and I went shopping at some outlets near our apartment. Shopping was something I used to enjoy. Having those two sisters who were at my beck and call when I was little meant a lot of days spent shopping, and it kinda wore off on me. I was never opposed to hopping in the mom-van for an afternoon spent at the mall. I think it was because there were stores I actually shopped at in the mall back then. Nowadays I do a majority of my shopping online, because there aren’t many brands I wear which have physical stores, so my feelings towards shopping have been tainted.

While I was walking with my girlfriend around racks and tables of clothes, I began my coping mechanism: observing. What was I observing you ask? I was observing the coping mechanisms of other guys who were out shopping with their significant other. There were many different types of male species: black, white, Spanish, Asian, tall, short, skinny, fat, thugs, red necks, classy guys, meatheads, blah blah blah. You name it, that guy was there. After many hours of deductive reasoning and late nights of going over my research, I’ve come to realization there are three types of guys who shop with their significant others, and I would like to share them with you.

The Perfect Man

Women dream of the perfect man; typically referred to as those tall, dark, and handsome fellas. What makes them perfect varies from girl to girl. One girl may think the perfect man is the one who brings home the money, buys her whatever she wants, takes her to exotic places, does all these expensive things, because love = money. Other women think the perfect man is someone who wears Ed Hardy, works out 75% of the day, has enough grease in his hair to stop your breaks from squeaking, and lives by the infamous phrase “GTL”. Whatever man is perfect in your eyes is fine with me. I won’t judge what gets you going.

When it comes to shopping though, the perfect man is not described by the clothes he wears, or how much gel is in his hair. This man is described by how well he handles shopping. He’s the man who will hold all of the clothes his significant other wants to try on. He’ll go and get a dressing room ready while his significant other looks for the one last thing that will make that outfit exquisite. Need a different size in those pants? He’ll take off and get you that size like he’s rounding third base, headed home to score the winning run.

He’ll also provide honest feedback, because honesty is key in a relationship, and he lives by that. “I love the way that shirt brings out your eyes!” “Those pants fit you extremely well!” “I really like what you’re doing with that top/bottom combo; it fits you to the T” are things he’ll usually say. If he doesn’t really like something she’s picked out, he’ll let her know in a loving way: “Babe, I think we could find something a little better to compliment your new hair style.”

This guy is Dreamer McDreamerton, for sure.

The “You’re on Your Own” Man

Ever walk into a store and see three guys standing at the entrance, looking as helpless as Little Orphan Annie? Yeah, those are the “you’re on your own” men I’m talking about. These guys don’t even bother with shopping. Once they walk through the doors, it’s like they walked into Spider Man’s web: there’s no way you’re getting out of that. They were probably dragged away from their 65-inch TV’s right as tipoff started, dreading Monday morning’s water-cooler talk. They know Steve’s going to brag about how he witnessed the craziest ending in sports history and laughs as he reminds you of how you were stuck shopping. Shut the hell up, Steve. You have a booger in your nose, and I’m not going to tell you about it.

If they aren’t dragged away from something they’d rather do, sometimes these men have every intention of being that perfect man mentioned before. They gave themselves the mirror pep talk while getting ready that morning – “Okay, man, you can do this. It’s only going to take 30-minutes, 45 at most. You’ll be in and out of there as fast as that time she told you she was only 17.” They walk into those stores scoffing at the guys sitting by the doors, telling his girlfriend how those aren’t “real men” under his breath. 45-minutes turns into an hour, and she still hasn’t tried on her cart full of clothes. Chalk another one up for the store. This guy’s toast. Off he goes to the front of the store, where those guys he was mocking earlier are there welcoming him with open arms, because guys don’t hold grudges.

He, too, may be someone’s Dreamer McDreamerton.

The Hybrid Man

If “the perfect man” and the “‘you’re on your own’ man” had a baby, voila, you have yourself the hybrid man. This guy most likely won’t offer valuable advice about what you picked out, but he sure as hell won’t leave you alone as he sits at the entrance. He’ll walk with you through the aisles of clothes and shoes, but the aura he gives off won’t be good. He usually looks like Simba following Mufasa, after he was caught exploring the shadow lands. You know, sulking like he knows what he did was wrong and disobedient, but he’s man enough to accept his fate.

He’s often times one step away from being “the perfect man”, but the genes he got from the “‘you’re on your own’ man” prevent him from taking that step. “Honey, what do you think of this shirt?” “It’s nice.” “Babe, what do you think of these pants?” “They’re blue.” “Sweetie, do you like these shoes?” “Sure.”  He’ll give you some feedback, but it’s as useless as carrying your iPhone around when you’ve gone over your monthly data. The significant other would probably benefit more from her man sitting by the entrance, but appreciates the effort and is still happy they’re spending time together.

Although he provides the short, useless feedback often obtained from the “‘you’re on your own’ man”, he does have qualities of “the perfect man” as well. While by your side, making it obvious he’s not 100% interested in the current situation, he usually copes by joking around about certain clothes. He’ll be the one who picks up a shirt and says, “Why would someone even wear this?” as a lady walks by wearing that exact shirt, leaving you two giggling like school girls. Or, he’ll put on a hat and ask his girlfriend what she thinks of it, then act as serious as possible about buying it. He tries to make light of the poor situation he’s in, but he puts your thoughts first.

He’s the real-life Dreamer McDreamerton.

In conclusion, I think it’s better off I keep my talking to a minimum and keep observing life. You can’t get in trouble for not saying something. Well, let’s just say you can’t get in as much trouble, because if you don’t say anything, then you’ll get in trouble for not saying anything. It’s a weird world we live in.

It’s Coming…

Miscellaneous

There comes a point in everyone’s life where we have to be patient. Whether we’re waiting for it to be Friday, because work sucks, or we’re waiting for the next post of a very amusing blog to be published, we must tolerate the delay without getting upset. Luckily for those of you who enjoy my blog, the wait will be over very soon. For those who are waiting for Friday, well, there isn’t much luck in store for you. Perhaps catching up on the posts you may have missed will get you that much closer to Friday. I heard Stacy, the most popular senior in high school, reads my blog. Don’t you want to be as cool as her? She has so many friends who care so much about her.

You want to know a way to test your patience? Order something off your favorite clothing brand’s website on a Friday night. Talk about time stopping. You’re guaranteeing a couple more days of waiting in aggravation for that package to arrive, because your order will be processed the following Monday. Then, once it is processed, you’ll track your package more often than a senior frat bro checks for his final exam score in calculus leading up to graduation. We all know after your sixth year of college graduation is never going to happen, especially if calculus is keeping you back; it’s the worst thing ever created.

The thing that has been testing my patience lately is the arrival of Fall – the greatest season of all time. So many things occur during the fall, it’s almost too much to take in at once. We have the arrival of the college football and basketball seasons, the arrival of the NFL, NHL, and NBA (meh) seasons, the holiday season, and most importantly, the arrival of changing weather.

Collegiate Fall Sports

College sports are far more enjoyable to watch than pro sports in my opinion, especially football. It’s a combination of two things: 1) the atmosphere in and around the stadium, and 2) collegiate athletes seem to play with a greater need to prove themselves more than professional athletes.

Those who were lucky enough to have gone to/go to a school which has a powerhouse football program, hell, any football program really, should consider themselves lucky to have experienced Fall Saturday’s for 4+ years. Unfortunately, my school didn’t have a football program, but I was able to experience the energy Saturday’s brought out of people whenever I went to USC (University of South Carolina) football games, and boy was it a great feeling. From the start of the tailgate, through the duration of the game, and even after the game, the energy in the air from college football is strong enough to make the bleachers bounce up and down, and probably power the whole city.

Benefitting the most from the energy generated from us fans are the players themselves. These guys feed off of the yelling and screaming of fight songs, which only leads to them wanting to play harder, better, faster, stronger.

N-now th-that that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger, I need you to hurry up now, cause I can’t wait much longer…

Sorry about that. Whenever you’re given a chance to rap the lyrics of Yeezus himself, you must take advantage of it. Anyways, where were we. Because these college athletes are feeding off of the crowd, it seems like they play with a greater sense of urgency to prove themselves, and that makes the sport more enjoyable to watch.

Professional Fall Sports

I come from a city where our teams like to play with your emotions during the Fall, and it’s hard to watch. The Nationals have been succeeding during the regular season over the past few years, but once playoff baseball starts it’s a whole different story. They’ll typically win the first two games of a five game series, and then go on to lose the next three in a row, crushing your heart as badly as Summer Roberts crushes Seth Cohen’s time and time again in the Orange County. Both the Wizards and the Capitals are on the up and up, but they often times have fallen victim to the same playoff woes as the Nationals, thus crushing the hearts of many of their fans.

As for the Redskins, I don’t even want to talk about their situation. If they win five games this year, it’ll count as an improvement. If they win seven games by some miracle, they’ll have matched their total amount of wins over the past two years. However, if the Redskins are sucking, that means one thing: fantasy football is in progress, and there’s nothing that makes football more enjoyable than participating in fantasy football.

Holiday Season

Tell me one thing that’s greater than being woken up by the scents of a Thanksgiving dinner tickling your nose? The days leading up to Christmas you say? Well, I think you got me there. I’m a sucker for the Christmas season. Listening to Christmas songs while sipping hot chocolate on the way to cutting down your very own Christmas tree probably tops the list of holiday activities. It even tops raiding CVS the day after Halloween for all of the discounted candy.

If you’re not into the holidays, you’re not a human being. However, there are things even you will be happy about: more holidays. Each month leading up to the end of the year contains at least one holiday, which means one more day off from work. If you don’t like missing work, I envy you, because you probably have a job you actually enjoy. Take your job-loving, holiday-season-hating self somewhere else during my favorite time of the year. Also, would you mind checking to see if there are any job openings there?

Changing of the Weather

I’m sick of walking outside and instantly sweating in places I didn’t think it was possible to sweat in. I’m sick of getting into a hot car whenever I want to go somewhere. I’m sick of all of the mosquitoes taking my tasty Puerto Rican blood. I’m sick of hearing all of those cicadas buzzing high above from the trees, acting as a constant reminder as to just how hot it is (talk about a summer anthem). I’m sick of my sunglasses fogging up when I get out of my car. I’m sick of feeling uncomfortable walking outside in shorts and a t-shirt, for Christ sakes. I’m sick of summer. I only want summer around long enough for me to get a good tan, and then I want it to go away. I want it to go away for one reason, and one reason only:

Flannels.

Luckily Fall is inching closer and closer. However, I think my flannels will have to wait a little longer this year. After moving to Charleston, SC, it’ll probably be hot until November. Guess I’ll have to snuggle with them so I can have that skin-to-fabric contact.

What’s the Point?

Miscellaneous

It’s raining outside. There’s nothing better than the rain. Rain provides water for our agriculture, which in turn provides jobs for people to gather said agriculture, which ultimately provides the human race with food. Rain gives us lazy people even more of a reason not to leave the house – “I mean, the sun is out, but there’s also a 30% chance of rain at 5:00pm, and if I go outside, I’ll stay out past 5:00pm for sure. Better not risk it!” Rain is relatable to so many good things, but there’s one thing that sucks about rain:

Mosquitoes.

What in the absolute fuck is the point of a mosquito? They have to be the worst species of life on this planet. All they do is buzz around and suck the blood from us humans, then leave you with this itchy, red bump on your body that causes you to scratch yourself until you bleed to relive the pain. You remember that one time your dad pointed out a prostitute to you and said, “Hey, son, check it out: it’s a walking STD!”? Well, I want you to go up to him right now, remind him of that time, and then tell him he was wrong (not because of what he said, but because he was truly wrong). Then proceed to tell him that mosquitoes are in fact the equivalent of walking, well, flying STD’s, because they pretty much transfer blood from one thing to another. You’re dad will be so impressed with your creativity and critical thinking abilities that he’ll retire early and jump on your back for the rest of his life, which might not be bad, because the mosquitoes can bite him instead of you.

I live in the mosquito version of Dave and Busters. Mosquitoes come here to feed on terrible, half-priced apps, bad service, and games you can never win (that’s unfair of me to say, because I’ve never been to a D&B, but I can make a very, very strong assumption). My apartment complex is surrounded by wooded areas, and inside the complex itself we have three man-made ponds. Every time I step outside, I come back in with at least 5 new mosquito bites. Often times these flying demons sneak into our house when we open the door to go out/come in, and I hear them buzzing around me, but I CAN NEVER KILL THEM, SO THEY LINGER AROUND LIKE A DOG FART; THEY’RE LITERALLY FEEDING ON MY GIRLFRIEND AND ME AS WE SLEEP! It’s getting to the point where my whole entire body will soon become one giant bump, and I’ll probably die due to the amount of other people’s blood I have coursing through my veins.

I took Zoë out one day, and while I was standing there waiting for her to do her business (because business is done outside, not inside) two mosquitoes landed ever so daintily on my ankle. These mosquitoes couldn’t have been more than an inch from one another, happily sucking days away from my lifespan. After a moment of oblivion on my part, I finally noticed and happily murdered them on my own bare skin, because fuck’em, that’s why. Upon lifting my hand as I basked in the glory of defeating everyone’s enemy, I saw enough blood on my ankle for the blood bank down the road to meet its monthly quota. Seriously, if I hadn’t of noticed these two on my ankle, they probably wouldn’t have had the strength to fly away with how much blood of mine they consumed. They’d roll away, laughing at me, as my foot changed from normal foot color to not normal foot color.

In all seriousness though, I was curious as to what purpose mosquitoes serve, so I consulted everyone’s smartest friend: Google. I found a link to a website called “Quora”, which is a website where top-of-their-profession individuals provide everyone else with answers and knowledge on pretty much anything. I should have stopped after reading the layman’s-termed answer Google gave me, because a “Neuroscience PhD and all-around bio geek” (that’s really what she called herself) provided me with an answer that made me feel stupid, which lead to a state of serious annoyance. I mean, her answer was upvoted by an Organismic and Evolutionary Biologist for christ sakes. Seriously? I’ve never even heard of that.

I went on to read a few more, which I find weird now after having gone on that rant about hating the first answer so much, and found out mosquitoes are an integral part of many ecosystems. They’ve been around for over 100-million years, and if they were to all of a sudden vanish, many other species would suffer due to a loss of a primary food source. One answer also stated mosquitoes help with preventing overpopulation of the human species, due to carrying and transferring deadly viruses. I guess that’s good, right? I don’t know. Shortly after reading all of these answers I closed my computer out of frustration fueled by stupidity. I felt like the kid in class who had a question, contemplated asking the question because he thought it was stupid, disobeyed his conscious and asked it anyway, then heard the faint chuckles from the back of the class after asking – “Now, class, no question is “stupid”, but some are pretty damn close.” Fuck you, Mrs. Jones…

And mosquitoes.

Hold on, I’m Taking a Picture…

Miscellaneous

IMG_0221

You know those moments in the past you reflect back on when you’re older, and some say wiser, and you wish you would have stuck with a hobby, because who knows where you would be if you had? Well, apart from skateboarding, I’m now realizing photography should be added to that list. Pictures taken are moments captured in history. There will never be one picture that is the exact same as another and that’s what makes photography exciting. You’re in total control of capturing the next greatest moment in history to showcase to whomever you want, whether it’s at an art show, as a gift to someone in your family, or even just on Instagram (manny__iii – two underscores, if you were wondering =D).

When I was a sophomore…or was it junior-year? Shit, I’m getting old. When I was a sophnior in high school, I took an introduction to photography class. We learned the ins-and-outs of taking photos, the cameras themselves, lighting, working in a darkroom, etc. I was probably seen as one of the worst students in the class to my teacher, and an annoyance to my parents now that I think of it (explained later). It wasn’t because I was a bad kid who talked back or anything like that. It was because I didn’t put a lot of effort into it and procrastinated way too much (typical high schooler antics). It was an elective class, and I was on the varsity baseball team, with sights set on playing in college (boy were those sights blurred), so why would I need to focus on an elective class? God, if I could punch that sophnior in the face right now I would.

I can recall countless nights getting home from baseball practice and remembering I had a photo project that was due the following day. I’d go get my camera only to realize I had no film. “Mommmmmm…will you take me to go get film for a project that’s due tomorrow?” (This just made me realize I was a sophomore, because I couldn’t drive). Notice how I left out the fact the project was assigned a week and a half ago, but I eventually confessed during the 30-minute drive to Penn Camera (remember those places? God rest their soul). We’d get back from the deceased and I would take lame pictures of objects around the house, like lamps, clocks, and doorknobs. I pretty much set myself up for questioning from my teacher the next day. “Manny, when did you take these pictures?” “Ummm…errr…photosynthesis?” At least it has the word “photo” in it. Good job, kid.

My lack of interest in the class at the time still blows my mind. The first project we had in class was creating a pinhole camera out of an oatmeal box, for christ sakes. “I just ate my breakfast out of this box this morning, and NOW I’M TAKING PICTURES OF MY TEACHERS LEXUS IS350 WITH IT?! ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?!” It was perhaps the coolest project I ever did in high school, and 15year-old me was too blind to see the  potential photography entailed.

Other projects we had consisted of creating fake magazine covers (Mom’s beamer in the driveway), manually color-splashing photos (shed in the backyard), and this project where we cut two photos in 10-15 strips and pasted them on paper we had folded like fans, so if you were to angle your head one way you’d see one picture and angle it the other to see the second photo (kinda hard to explain, but I used my dads convertible with the top up and down). Are you sensing a pattern at the photo’s I took? I pretty much set myself up for procrastination, knowing that my subjects were literally right outside my door. Other kids in my class actually planned out certain locations to shoot at, and sometimes even had a friend model for them. Me? No need to plan anything out, I’ll just take a picture of my mom’s flowerbed in the backyard. Worst. Student. Ever.

Anyways, enough sobbing about the past. Almost ten years later and all that hard work has gone down the drain, to the water treatment plant, and studied by H2Ologists to be used as electricity for their iPhone chargers. What’s that? There aren’t such things as H2Ologists who charge their iPhones with water? Well, guess what? High school me made a camera OUT OF AN OATMEAL BOX IN 2005! It’s now 2015. Don’t doubt what the human-race can do in 2015. Come on, guys, use your head. After recently purchasing a new camera right before my trip to Iceland I’ve had to re-teach myself what high school Manny flushed down the toilet. But, seeing as how I’m unemployed at the moment, the learning is keeping me hungry to get better, so I guess it worked out.

I’m now at a stage where I’m obsessed with photography. I think my obsession stems from the fact I can relate photography to skateboarding. Both hobbies require a creative eye and patience; both hobbies will make the everyday stranger you pass on the street stop and take another look at what you’re doing; both hobbies are ways to escape from reality and put my mind at ease. But, perhaps the greatest thing photography and skateboarding have in common is that it makes you get up and get out of the house. There’s nothing better than exploring the world around you in my mind, and, when the time and money permits, the world outside of your comfort zone. Why not purchase a camera, familiarize yourself with it, and document those captured moments for eternity? Trust me, you’ll wish you did.