I've always been something of a perfectionist, so complaining about things that are less-than-perfect comes naturally to me. Still, I can do more than complain. I prefer to do more than complain. I used to be a very laid-back, happy-go-lucky sort of guy. Humor used to flow easily into my writing. What happened to me?
Perhaps a better question is, "What happened to the world around me?"
Anybody who knew me in elementary, middle, or high school and has seen me even remotely recently could probably tell you I really haven't changed much. I'm taller, wider, and beardier, but still a theatrical goofball with an overactive imagination and a cabinet full of Spaghetti-O's. I'm still a terrible backseat gamer, a goody two-shoes who can barely lie to keep a birthday party a secret, and a squeamish liability at a horror movie. I have the same lack of fashion sense (thankfully I'm through my sweatpants-in-summer phase), essentially the same hairstyle (with a few exceptions, like the floofy ridiculousness featured on my first driver's license), and the same penchant for playfully flipping other people's ponytails and pigtails whenever they're within reach (long hair is magical). I'm not absolutely identical to the me who walked into his first day of fourth grade and threw up on the floor, but I'm not too far off.
I also tend to be more forthcoming about personal information than I should be. Maybe I should work on that.
The more I think about what I've been writing, the more I'm realizing what the root of my bitterness is. Everything that makes me happy is being systematically distorted into something that makes me unhappy. No doubt there's more to it than that, but I cope better with Big Life Stuff and the stress of being a so-called "grown up" when my sources of entertainment function as escapism, and not something to be escaped from.
I've stated before that it usually takes time for me to warm up to change. I am not instinctively opposed to it, but I don't often see the need for it. Don't fix it if it ain't broke; make it better, not just different; that sort of thing.
Over the last several years, I've watched my three favorite entertainment franchises--Star Trek, Metroid, and Mega Man—veer off toward the boundaries of what I'll tolerate as a fan. I've endured an endless parade of website redesigns that seem to cater more to the people designing them than the people using them—Facebook, YouTube, Gmail, Pandora, and Blogger have undergone everything from minor tweaks to major overhauls, inevitably replacing something I love with something that annoys me. I've seen more and more large corporations—Capcom, Nintendo, Microsoft, Borders—make decisions that call into question whether they know anything about their consumers.
I've witnessed geek culture get absorbed into the mainstream with The Big Bang Theory, 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, and Mega Man 10's Easy Mode; now I'm just like everybody else, and my geek cred means nothing because we're all geeks now. I've watched the fan community create so many mashups of Firefly, Zelda, Star Wars, Calvin & Hobbes, and Doctor Who that there's barely any meaning left to them—what was once a charming novelty has become a mass-produced commodity. I've heard more and more music on the radio that hooks me with a great instrumental introduction and sends me away screaming when the vocals come in.
Too much change. Too little improvement.
And too much time spent agonizing over the few major merits in a sea of incredible flaws. If only they had fixed this, or left out that, we could've had something more amazing than anything before it. I miss the days when I could simply like or dislike something without deliberating over the pros and cons. It's draining to write about the things I love when they're also the things I hate, but the things I merely like usually don't get me fired up enough to talk about them unprompted.
Thus, you have my general bitterness commentary. However, if I can get off my soapbox, I'm sure I can also get out of my...
um...complainy pants. Bitterness boxers? I should stop gravitating toward clothing.
Effective as soon as I feel like it, this blog will be taking a more positive direction. I still reserve the right to complain, but I'd like to do so in a manner that's more humorous and thoughtful than it is straight-up cathartic. I feel more like myself when writing with a smile on my face, and I haven't done enough of that lately. I take requests, so let me know if there's anything you'd like to see.