Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

Announcements for my standup comedy gigs are here at gregtito.com.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Been meaning to post this for a while



This game is really addictive. It makes a mosaic of pictures gleaned from Google's image search and you have to guess what the search term was. Sounds complicated but it's really intuitive and fun.

Score is all based on time and there's a listing for the top scores of the day. See you on the list.

Little warning: I just played a game of this in my cubicle and one of the pictures in the mosaic included a woman's naked breasts! How scandalous! The search term was beer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

NYC, cont'd

So, back to what I was saying about Paris, Fran-- New York. I remember, don't worry.

Let me start be addressing the illustrious Bernadette and her comment. In no way did I mean to suggest that anyone living outside of New York (of which group, incidentally, Bern is a part) was acheiving less important things. As she said, there is nothing wrong with living your life the way you choose. And there are millions of people who acheive very great things outside of New York or any other urban center.

What I love about the city, though, is that you are forced to make something great. Because so many people flock here, the deed that distinguishes yourself must be superb. Average doesn't work, neither does pretty good. You have to be great to make it in New York.

This is not always the case, not all 10 million people in the 5 boroughs are great at anything. But all of those 10 million people consider themselves New Yorkers, which means something. And the reason it means something is because of this underlying need to acheive something great.

Can you tell I've been reading Ayn Rand?

But on to the second thing I'd like to discuss, why I get angry when people curse the city. The main reason I get pissed when someone says, "I hate the city," is that usually they are damning it for the exact same reasons that I love it. They hate the feeling of competition. They crave the slowed down, "easy" lifstyle of the suburbs, where everyone is perfectly happy taking their 6 kids to soccer practice in their new minivan. They wish they didn't have this need to acheive.

What people are really saying when they blame the city like that is that they feel inadequate in the face of so much greatness. Which is understandable. Which is totally ok. I'm sure that the same people who acheive the great things also feel like they are inadequate. It's what pushed them to acheive what they did in the first place.

But don't curse the city because it makes you feel inadequate. It's not an external source that is making you feel the way you feel. It's something internal. The people who say, "I hate the city," are going through their own personal issues. Whether it's loneliness, or lack of a career, it is not the City of New York that is making you feel bad. Everyone has problems. Everyone can be unhappy, even people in the suburbs. My dear wife Mephistopholes likes to imagine that if we move out of New York, life will be peachy and nothing will ever make us sad. That's a vicious case of Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome.

Yes, in the suburbs, you would probably be a big fish in a small pond. People will look up to you for even having been in the city for only five years. You could have the easy life of BBQs and blowjobs.

But isn't it better just to have that chance at greatness. To be a part of a truly magnificent community. To live in view of the Chrysler building. To walk down fifth avenue just to find a sandwich. To not only be able to eat good cheap Thai food but have a choice of at least five Thai restaurants in one neighborhood. To be able to go to movies with Jimmy Fallon behind you in line by himself (this just happened to Mephistopholes.) To be able to perform at open mics with people that you know will be on Comedy Central one day.

Isn't that better than saying, "I hate the city"?

Monday, July 25, 2005

New York, New York

I live in the city.

I moved down here in June of 2000, with the wide eyes of a 22 year old who's most vivid memory of NYC was a school trip in the 6th grade. The city seemed large and magnificent compared to my little beach hometown in CT. It was also really hot, but more on that later.

It's been a little over five years of living here. Mephistopholes and I elected to settle in an up-and-coming part of Brooklyn all those years ago and we haven't strayed far. Williamsburg and the L train have meant home for five years, even though we've lived in 3 different apartments. My neighborhood is 1 part hipster, 1 part Polish immigrant and 1 part other (being the general city mix of black, latino, homeless, junkie, Asian, prostitute). Williamsburg is just an East River away from the majestic skyline of Manhattan and I like that.

Friends of mine moved down to the city with me or shortly after. There was a sharp transistionary period for most of them as they figured out how to cope with the hardships of urban life. I think most of this hardship had to do with not knowing exactly what to do with their lives, something that I even grapple with now. Each one of them got over the Six-month Hump and now lives a somewhat productive life either taking away my hazardous waste or teaching children how to make movies or keeping money out of the hands of accident victims.

But I've noticed a recent trend amongst my circle of friends, even infecting my dear Mephistopholes. "I hate this city." "Nobody cares about anyone here." "This is not how people are supposed to live." "I would never bring up a child here." "This place sucks your soul." I honestly do not understand these sentiments. This is not to say that I don't feel unhappy sometimes. Any reader of this blog will know that I haven't been a Smiling Sam these last few months, but I never once accused this great city of being the cause. When I hear these accusations, I get upset. There is a physical feeling of hurt that contracts my chest when I hear, "I hate this city." I've been trying to understand a couple of things, why people say these things, and why I get so affected by it.

There is so much oppurtunity in New York. Maybe too much. If you want to be a musician or a publisher or an actor or an investment banker or a construction worker, New York is the place to do it. It is a city of superlatives. It is a city of acheivement. For many years, I considered merely living in the city as an acheivement. But all of the possibility for acheivement also makes this city feel extremely competitive. There are no longer any small ponds. There are only big fish eating the smaller ones in the largest pond in the world.

So I can understand feeling that there is a lack of compassion in the City and that is because everyone you meet is trying to acheive something. They don't care if they step on you on the subway or in their climb to the top. This can be frustrating or hurtful but I got over it during the Six-Month Hump. It is precisely what makes the city so great, this need to acheive. Without it, there would be no skyscrapers or Broadway shows or New York Yankees (yes, I hate the bombers but you have to admit they are a part of the greatness of this city.) The alternative is a podunk town in Montana with one gas station and a second-run movie theater. People are nice and happy as punch in Montana but they don't really do anything, do they? (This is in no way an indictment of Montana and if anyone from Big Sky Country actually reads this, please note that I could just as easily use Michigan or Missouri or any other state that starts with an M.)

Now as to why it bothers me so much when people curse the city, this enters the grey area of public opinion.

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I have to stop here as I am now about to go home. As much as I like blogging, it is not enough to keep me here at work past 6pm. I will pick up this discussion on the morrow. Farewell.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Posting for the sake of Posting

Haven't had a lot of free time at work lately. I still owe you guys a treatise on Star Wars, but that will take a while. Some news:

  • I got another couple assignments from Next Generation. They finally ran my modding article but the editor added a bunch of stuff about the GTA Hot Coffee Mod that's in the news. The first few paragraphs aren't by me but the rest of it is. Check it out anyways.
  • The short film I produced last year is going to debut at its first film festival in a couple of weeks.
  • I am not gay.
More on this later.

Friday, July 15, 2005

What the Fuck?

Not that I'm an angry or jealous person or anything, but when blogmate Savage takes an unannounced month-long leave of absence from blog-writing, he's suddenly bombarded with comments when he posts a few pictures of Belize. And from stangers too! At least people that I don't know. And here, I've been pretty prolific in the last few months and yet the comment-train on this blog has stopped pulling into the station, even from my "friends."

What gives? Do I need to start posting more pictures? Or posting less about angry basketball games? I ask you, my faithful readers, what do I need to do?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Blog as anger management

Strong feelings always make me come back to blogging. When something bad or stupid or frustrating happens to me, blogging about it is sometimes the only respite I receive. Or if someone does something and I can't respond or come to any resolution through conflict, ie. yelling at the person, blogging is all I can think of doing. It's as if immortalizing the incident in the printed word is retribution enough. Or at least it's the only retribution option left to me.

So, this is what happened. Ill Wind is midway through the summer season. I wasn't going to play on the team this summer, remember how I was getting frustrated with their lacksadaiscal play. But they approached me because they didn't have enough players to form a team. I hesitated, but it was a way to get more of my people in. I brought in Brit, a lanky 6'4" center, the one position that I thought we were severely lacking. All was well and good for the first few games. We were 2-1, the loss coming from a highly skilled team.

Then last night, we had to play against a team with only 4 players. They were missing some guys. The rules state that we play for the first 10 minutes 5 on 4, and then we have the option to call a forfeit. So the game starts and, here's the kicker, we are losing from tip off. They have one less player than us and they were outscoring us, outdefending us, and outhustling us from the first shot. The team had one excellent player, a black guy with a sick shot. He was everywhere, getting rebounds, shooting threes. I felt that our team was playing at half-mast, with one hand on our dicks trying to frig ourselves into some respectable formation. We had nothing.

Ten minutes pass and we're down by 8 or so. Then, incredibly, one of their teammates leaves the gym. Suddenly, it's 5 on 3. And we're still losing. Badly. I suggest going man on the remaining three and Ill Wind just looks at me blankly. "Huh? What's man?" Eventually, I go man on the black dude while the rest of them do a zone, a little box-and-one. He got a lot less shots off, but that kind of defense falls apart when the other two get wide open shots slicing through my illustrious teammates.

We were down by 12 at the half. I didn't know if we wereforfeiting or not because the captain, Jason, hadn't made a decision. He was just as aggravated as I was but he wouldn't do anything about it. I suggested talking to the other team and giving them two of our players so that we could at least have a five on five. Once again, I was met with, "Huh?" Christ, we were in a lose-lose situation. If we won, we beat a team of three. Big Whoop. If we lost, then we lose to a team of three. Winston actually says to me, "If we lose to three guys, then we deserve a loss." Well, yes, of course, but then let's go out and make sure we win.

I forgot to mention one thing. The main guy on their team never stopped mouthing off. He had words with the refs, with me, with everyone else on my team, even people on his team. That's not uncommon in this league but with him there was a sense of maliciousness, of derision. He was unsportsmanlike, basically. He was a dick.

So the second half starts and it's more the same. Some shitty playing from Ill Wind, and the black dude making absolutely sick shots from three point land. Then the real incident happened. I didn't see this but apparently the dude actually threw the ball at Han in response to being fouled or something. Robert told the black dude to cool off. Walking down the court with the ref behind him, the dude said to Robert, "If you get in my face one more time, I'm going to punch you in the face. I'm going to put you in the hospital." He said it quiet enough that the ref didn't hear him. But I did.

I came up to the two of them and tried to get the ref's attention. "He's threatening us," I said. The ref didn't listen but I continued to try to get him to hear what's going on. Finally, the ref whistled, turned towards the scoring table and made the T with his hand. "Technical foul. Black 33. Unsportsmanlike conduct." My number is 33.

What the fuck? I get tagged with the techinical? What did I do? A player is threatening my teammate with physical violence and I get a technical. Where is the justice in that?

I didn't know what to do. I walked off the court. Told someone to go in for me and I started getting ready to leave. What's the point? I could not continue playing this sham of a game. If I had made a huge scene and screamed my head off like I felt like doing, I would have been the asshole. But if I left, I felt like I was abandoning my team and I was also being an asshole. I didn't know what to do. Eventually, I walked over to the scoring table and kept score for a long time.

We made a late game surge but still lost by 3. I made a beeline for the ref to discuss what happened. I was very clear and concise. My voice may have been high in decibels but I didn't feel like I was yelling or anything. Robert and Jason come over and try to get in on the discussion. But all they end up doing is telling me to calm down and not to yell at the ref. I a little bit flipped out at Robert, "No, I'm not going to calm down. The game is over, we're not losing anything by talking to this guy. He fucked up and I'm going to tell him why." Then I walk away, letting them handle it.

I'm boring myself talking about it. It really made me think about anger and resolution though. I don't know what made me more mad, the ref bungling or my teammates telling me to calm down. I mean, really, the only reason I stayed after the game was to yell at the ref. I felt like I earned it. Yelling would have done nothing but I craved some form of conflict, some resolution. But that was thwarted by my teammates. I found myself arguing with them instetad of with the goddamned ref.

The whole ride home I was thinking about the incident. I will never get any closure from it. The ref will never say, "I made a mistake." My teammates will never say they should have let me yell at the ref. I will never "win" this fight. All I can do is rant. I can tell others about it. I can blog about it.

And that makes me feel better, I guess.