Gone Fishin’



Sorry things have been a little light lately. Griggsy is on vacation and I’ve been dealing with my own stresses and levels of freaking out. Uncle Walt is going to be away pretty much until Friday, but I will, hopefully, have fantastic news to share then.

On Tuesday I am making the ~10 hour drive to Fayetteville, North Carolina to interview for a teaching job. I am guardedly optimistic about this. I don’t want to say too much or give too much information away, at least not right now, but this could be a fantastic fit for me. It could also be a chance to do what I’ve talked about for some time – hit the reset button on life. Recently I described my life as being “like the old 8-bit NES blinking on and off and someone was furiously pressing the reset button hoping it would catch.” This may be a great opportunity for me to hit the reset button myself and do so with a little stability in my world.

I am excited and terrified and confident and worried and cocksure about everything. I don’t know what to think or how to feel, but I’ll allow it. Hope is better than the alternative.

We’ll see how things go, but there won’t be any blog updates until Friday at the earliest. You can still contact me on Twitter at twitter.com/AvoidingTheClap (@AvoidingTheClap) – I will have access to that via my smartphone (which may get put through a wall). Well wishes, death treats, trolling, and general herp de derp is always welcome.




I had a number of things I wanted to talk about, but I’ve been having a bugger of a time putting things into words today. I started writing a different entry this morning. I just haven’t had the focus I needed to put into words what I was thinking. Unfortunately, that feeling is nothing new to me. It has been one of those things I’ve had to deal with before and I like to keep reminding myself how much it sucks. Good for a little perspective at times.

Originally I was going to post about my pond I’ve been working on (I promise I will and will post the photos soon), but it felt a little lazy and disingenuous, especially when compared to some of the other things I’ve discussed. Outright I didn’t have the concentration or ability to work on a new Pens Preview. I really enjoy writing those, but they require some serious focus and dedication to examining details and working through tons of stats and various numbers. I’m feeling edgy right now, no way would I be able to write one of those.

Then I saw something that got me going. Grant Imahara of Mythbusters fame Re-tweeted a link to a video early today. He linked to this video.

Generally speaking I avoid listening to commercial radio and/or Pop music/Top 40 type stuff. Just not really my style (that, my friends, can be another post where I get on my snobby soapbox about the lack of talent, or more appropriately, the inability to sell a record based on talent because the consumer is a tasteless assclown). Honest to goodness, the most exposure I get to pop music is when it is covered by the people on Glee (haters gonna hate). The most exposure I had to this song was from Glee’s rendition of it or the random and sparse occasions when I would be in a shop or someone else would have a radio tuned to a top 40 station. With such limited exposure to it I never really considered the lyrics or, frankly, who the artist was. I had to look up that the track is one of Pink’s songs. What makes that even more depressing is that I really enjoyed Pink’s 1st record and was so-so-to-happy with her second major release. She just kinda fell off my radar as time went on, but that’s nothing new to any who know me.

I watched the video and I really enjoyed it. So I watched it again. Then another time. Each time I was noticing something about it, but it wasn’t about the actual video of the people featured in it. I was noticing the lyrics to the song. As mentioned previously, I don’t often find much value in pop music. In all likelihood this song, too, will be forgotten in a relatively short stretch of time, but I wanted to give it a few moments of my time because it speaks to something I like in my music, literature, etc – it empowers.

You may laugh, and I may look like a fool for saying so, but it is a song that I feel is something of an anthem for people, or at least a rallying call. Obviously there is a party element to the song, but I see it all as a carpe diem type mentality. More importantly, I see the call for individuality and being oneself. The repetition in the chorus calling for all the underdogs and those who are “wrong in the right ways.” This is a common thread with those of us who are a one-off type personality.

I am an odd bird. I don’t deny this. I pride myself on being, well, a little strange. Those who have come to know me over the years can attest to the fact that, well, I’m pretty darn weird. Not a bad weird or a creepy weird, just…odd. I don’t often see things the way others do, nor do I often have a popular opinion on things. I am a self avowed geek of all trades. I don’t deny it and I was one of the few who embraced being an oddity at a younger age. It worked for me and I try to encourage people to be themselves in this life instead of what other people want them to be.

The song, however, really caught my attention when I saw it paired up with the video of the cosplayers from the Comic-Con. Comic readers, cosplayers, video game players, etc have been at the fore of groups deemed socially unacceptable and generally seen as a strange underclass of weirdos that nobody likes. I grew up reading all types of comics. I am a video game collector. I’ve been to a number of E3 conferences. I go to toy and collectible shows. I’ve even been known to dress up for events before in costume (William Howard Taft being one of my more famous appearances). I know the looks I’ve gotten from people for being, well, all of those things I listed. They are even more shocked when they actually talk to me and realize I am sociable, rather intelligent, don’t smell like dirt that’s been humped by a hobo, and cast a wide net when it comes to things that interest me.

This video, though, got me really thinking about how these people, my people, really are wrong in all the right ways. We don’t belong but we also don’t really care. We are, as the song says, a bunch of “dirty little freaks.”

The people featured in this video are everything I like to see in others and like to see in myself when I can. These people are fearless.

They know the type of reactions they get from the general society and just how many people could possibly see them lip sync-ing to a Pink song on Youtube and they all said “fuck it” and just went with it because of being sure of who they are and what they do for themselves. I admire the Hell out of all of them for doing as such and I wish more people were confident in what they do in this life. It is like the old saying of sing/dance like nobody can see you. Just go out and do your thing. Be yourself. Be empowered. Be fearless.

I know that some of this has been poorly worded and phrased. I apologize for that. Like I said, I’ve been real edgy and unable to focus. Additional apologies as this has gone from one idea to the next. It’s been one of those days. In light of yesterday’s events and the milestone marker it was, I’m surprised I’m as together as I am. I also want to take a moment to thank everyone for their kind words and their thoughts over the last few days. I know I allow myself to get down about things and sometimes lose the perspective that I do have a number of good people in my life who genuinely care about it. It doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated, even if I am terrible at expressing it sometimes. But that’s who I am and you all have accepted me for who I am, just as I try, try, try to accept all of you for who you are.

Fearless. Not cocky, not covering up shortcomings, not a sleight of hand. Unafraid of what criticism may come and being in one’s glory. What a feeling. I hope I can continue to be fearless about things in my life. I hope you all, too, get to experience that. Be without fear and you will live forever.

Guest: Griggsy’s Gripes

Remember when I said about guest posts? You do? Good, because it is my honor and pleasure to unveil the first in a series of posts from Griggsy (you can follow Griggsy on Twitter – @Griggsy96). Griggsy and I have known one another for a few years through various channels and he approached me about doing a weekly column for AtC. I was only too happy to give him some space to do his thing. There are few better minds out there when it comes to Pittsburgh sports than Griggsy and I like to think he’s got an interesting outlook on many different things in this world. [EN: Griggsy uses an uncanny amount of ellipsis, too.]

Griggsy will be giving us his thoughts on everything ranging from sports to personal life to politics to the ongoing quest for steady employment. I fully expect everyone to treat Griggsy with the same respect, if not more, than you would treat me with. We will be working together on how to tweak the column over the next few weeks, so bear with us when things may look or seem a little different from week to week.

Without further ado, I give you the first installment of “Griggsy’s Gripes.”


Griggsy’s Gripes

Lesson #1- I am terrible at starting and ending whatever I write.

I have never had the skill that great writers have. They know how to draw you in right away with a great beginning; usually a sentence, but often a paragraph. And then they have a way of writing a great ending, making their work stick with you long after you’ve moved on.

Don’t expect that from me. It’s a miracle I’ve gotten this far, and likewise a miracle you’ve read it.

Anyways, when Walt allowed me to be involved with AtC, I was thrilled to have the chance. Now, I just have to hope I don’t screw it up. I figure I should be able to handle that, right? Right?

Lesson #2- This is who I am.

My name’s Chris, but everyone knows me as Griggsy. I’m a 28-year old who is (pathetically) unemployed at this point in my life. But before you ask, I don’t live in my mother’s basement.

I have my own room upstairs, thank you.

I was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, went to Penn State University, got my degree in Economics, and returned to the Pittsburgh area. Foolishly. OK, that’s not true. I love Pittsburgh. I’d just love it more if I had a career at the moment.

I am also very self-deprecating. As if you couldn’t tell at this point. But I digress.

Lesson #3- This is where I am.

Like I said, I was born, was raised, and now live in, the Pittsburgh area. As a male of my age in this area (maybe better said, as a person of my age), I am a massive Pittsburgh sports fan. A lot of my focus is on that, naturally. But, that’s not everything. Where I am, mentally, also causes my focus to be on the economy, the government, music, movies, literature, love, hopes, dreams, etc.

Lesson #4- This is why I’m here.

All of the above leads me to what I’ll be doing here at AtC. I have opinions, strong ones, about what the Pittsburgh Penguins are doing, and how my love life is going, and why the government may be killing my chances to find gainful employment that doesn’t include the phrase “would you like fries with that?”, plus just about everything else under the sun.

So, with Walt’s blessing, I’ll be showing up periodically to get my thoughts out to you. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it, and maybe learn a new perspective on things. Hell, I’ll just be happy if you make it to the bottom of each post.

Lesson #5- I don’t take myself too seriously.

I say this because I expect, and welcome, criticism of all kinds. If you think I’m a moron, tell me, but tell me why you think it, so I can work at no longer being a moron.

Lesson #6- Avoid the Clap.

Jimmy Dugan was right.

Lesson #7- …

Craig Adams is a god, Finns should be your heroes, hockey is the best sport ever, baseball’s starting to gain on football, relationships are hard work, jobs aren’t that easy to find, non-fiction books are better than fiction ones, Springsteen’s overrated, so is Will Smith, Pink Floyd’s underrated, so is John Cusack…..

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to get into each of those.

Until then……


The bulk of the posts will be written by me, obviously, but I wanted to address the issue of having guest posts.


I am very happy to have some personal friends as well as people I’ve gotten to know over the years via the internet post on here. I already have one request from a friend, one of the nicest guys I know, and I look forward to getting him involved in the blog game.


IF anyone would like to write anything – be it a personal entry, some anecdote, a short story (truth be told, I would love to see someone write a serialized story that went over the course of a few weeks), a rant, a discussion on sports, or anything that tickles your fancy, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Tweet or email me your suggestions or ideas. You can most easily reach me by email at avoidingtheclap@gmail.com and, again, by Twitter @AvoidingTheClap. Those of you who know me personally, feel free to get in contact by other means if you are comfortable with that.


I appreciate the feedback I got on the format, too. I, personally, like some of the widgets on the sidebar, but I understand how they can become cluttered. Expect things to continually change as time marches on. I like to think that Avoid the Clap can act as a microcosm of life, and be complete and total chaos for a while and then become all kinds of awesome once I work though my psychosis. A personal recommendation, though feel free to do as you please, is to utilize the CTRL + scroll wheel to enlarge the text and general viewable area on the new theme. It is a little small, especially if you are using a large widescreen display like I am. Do as you please, just a friendly recommendation from your local jerkstore.

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