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Outlet mallin' ...


Even after nearly two years at this, I still get surprised when I write someone here and people understand exactly what I'm talking about and share their own stories of ennui and near self-immolation. Last time, I talked about doubt and although it's not exactly the most comforting thing, it's nice to know there are other 27-year-olds out there trying to figure out what it's all about and why you're not exactly where you thought you'd be.

So thanks for your concern and thanks for your words of encouragement. And thanks to the person that suggested that I'm exhibiting symptoms of a possible panic attack that could lead to a cardiac episode. Did I say comforting? I meant, "terrifying."

Someone else sent a wonderful quote by Forugh Forrughzad, who apart from having an unfortunate name, also had an unfortunate occupation: Poet. He said:

"I feel that I have lost in life. And I know much less than I ought to know at twenty-seven years of age. Perhaps the reason for this is that I have never had a bright life. That love and ridiculous marriage at the age of sixteen shook the foundations of my life afterwards. I have never had anyone to guide me in life. No one has provided me with intellectual and spiritual training. What ever I have, I've gotten from and by myself. And all the things I do not have, I could have had. But mistaken paths and lack of self-awareness and dead ends in life have not allowed me to attain them. I want to begin again. My bad traits are not because of bad actions, but rather result of intense feelings, of fruitless good intentions."

Damn, dude. Prozac.

The great thing about brains is that they don't mind doing a complete U-turn and fucking with your head. Fucking with your head is what your brain does best, given its close proximity.

On Sunday and Monday night, I had incredibly vivid dreams that were practically entire novels spooled out before I woke up. Suddenly, I had all these story ideas, almost fully formed. One of them was during World War II and I was some kind of Navy SEAL guy, putting on some scuba gear and put together with a bunch of people saying goodbye to their families. It was interesting, dammit.

The other one, don't laugh, was a vampire story. But with a actual original not-clichéd twist that I'm hoping to make work in story form. I've never, EVER had an inkling to write anything vampire related, but this one was damned vivid, so I'd better do something with it before I lose it.

It's like my brain if overcompensating now with tons of ideas after jerking me around and making me feel like a loser. So, thanks brain. Better late than never, I suppose.



Part of my Labor Day Weekend was spent at the Tanger Factory Outlet mall in San Marcos. This is an enormous set of factory outlet stores that stretches for absolutely miles. There are people who got there when it opened a few years back and still haven't finished their shopping. They're trying to get the best deal on a new pair of Nikes.

I looked at some clothes, and some shoes, and some crap-ass CDs (outlet malls are great for clothes and shoes, but don't ever try to buy music or DVDs there. In that sense, the mall is "outlet" in the sense of "ass.")

The people who shop at the outlets are a different class of shopper than what you find at the regular mall, or, God help you, Wal-Mart. These are the triathletes of shoppers. They can withstand any foot fatigue. They can spend an entire day going from store to store and not get tired. They'll haggle when something is already 95 percent off. They are bionic shoppers. They don't feel pain. They can't be reasoned with!

I ran into a couple of these people at the Sony store. I knew my brother was on the lookout for one of those new PlayStation2 Network adapters. It's a little black piece of hardware that hooks onto the PS2 and allows you to play online.

There are roughly 23 bajillion PS2s out there. Sony, in its infinite wisdom, decided to make about 10,000 network adapters by its release date.

My brother had struck out at the Electronics Boutique and other stores and had pretty much given up on finding the coveted device. So when I went into the Sony store, I asked the lady at the counter if they had any, totally not expecting them to even know what I was talking about. "We've got one left," she said. She held it up for me. I'm a gamer, so of course, I could only stare and behold its beauty.

The crazy people are just hiding.

I made a quick cell call to my brother and he authorized the purchase. I went around to the register to pay. "You want it after all?" the same lady asked. I drooled into my hand in response.

She tells a guy to get the adapter back out of the display case for me. "Is that the last one?" he asked her.

Just then, another guy approached the counter, thinking they were getting the adapter out for him. My shopping companion told him I had gotten there first and the lady helping me backed that up.

This guy came over behind me. He looked like he was in his early-30s, white, normal-looking. This man, this mature adult looked at me with hatred as if I'd just stolen food directly off his child's high-chair tray. He hated me. For buying the last PlayStation2 Network Adapter.

Then another guy came in right behind him. "Is that the last Network Adapter?"

The woman at the counter whispered to me, "I'd be really careful when you leave." She was dead serious.

So, all of a sudden, I was afraid for my life. And my next stop was the Nike store to look for some shoes, so there was no doubt in my mind that sometime that day, I was bound to get jacked.

I managed to get my own Adapter from Sony for review and let me tell you; it's pretty sweet. I mean, nothing sweeter than PC gamers have been experiencing for years, but there's still a cheap little thrill in pumping up your PS2 for some online asskicking.

PS2 Network Adapter: Worth dying for?

Right now the Adapter is probably the most droolworthy thing out there as gamers go. Just try mentioning it to a hardcore PS2 player who doesn't have one. They'll rip your throat out for taunting them.

I've seen that same burning look of hatred on women's faces over clothes at the outlets. The outlets are a place for serious shoppers only. If you're not ready to get down and bloody, you should probably stick to the poseur mall, the one with a Sears and a JC Penney.



Wrote a review of an IMAX movie, "Mexico," that'll be up for just a few more days. I got an encouraging e-mail or two about it, so I know I wasn't completely off base.

And how about those American Idols? Hurry up and go vote. Kelly needs to win.


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