There’s a Video Game Controller Out There, on That Roof

Disclaimer: I don’t want to write about what’s going on right now, because it’s all anyone is talking about. As an American, I find it so difficult to watch the news that I can only take it in 5-minute bursts at the end and beginning of the day. So, if you were hoping for my perspective on the pandemic, I’m sorry, but I just don’t want to write about it.

What I do want to write about though . . .

LS-Controller on the Roof

. . . is the Playstation 4 controller on that roof just across the way.

I saw it when I sat down at my window, intending to keep hammering at the timeline for my WIP.

But progress on the timeline was so slow that I kept glancing up at the shape of it. A black dot that, in different light, had been a plastic bag from a bodega, sun-stuck to roof tiles. But now . . .

“Is that a controller?”

I squinted, but still wasn’t sure.

I got my camera, but the zoom wasn’t good enough.

The magnification was, however.

LS-Controller on the Roof Zoom-In

“Son of a bitch,” I said aloud.

Why is it out there?

Who throws a controller, even a broken one, onto a roof?

Actually though . . . it doesn’t look broken. Is it even scuffed?

Did it land right-side-up like that?

Did someone just . . . climb up there and lay it down?

It wouldn’t be impossible. There have been weird things on that roof before.

LS-Controller on the Roof Boots

Like these boots left by construction workers while they were rain-proofing it.

But I didn’t just notice those boots–I noticed their absence. I’ve been checking that roof for more weird shit to photograph since moving into this apartment, so how did I miss this controller? And how long has it been out there?

It could’ve been tossed out there this past week in a really unfortunate burst of lockdown-gaming rage (it’s a PS4 controller though, so I doubt it, because Mario Kart isn’t on PS4).

Or it could’ve been a bizarre, bottle-flipping challenge? The kind where you get only one turn? No. That doesn’t make sense.

If I had to write a story about it, the protagonist would’ve stolen his friend’s only PS4 controller and put it on that roof as a prank directly before lockdown. Maybe he can see the friend’s window from his room, so he just waits for the reaction. Maybe he sends texts with hints about where the controller is, assuming his friend is looking, but that friend never answers. Never appears at the window. The protagonist doesn’t go crazy (too ham-fisted) but does devote way too much attention to that friend’s reaction, going through the trouble of moving things in his room so he can sit where he can both play his own video games and watch the old red curtains of his friend’s room.

But, of course, as time goes on and that friend doesn’t show up, the protagonist gets impatient–sends texts that are never answered. Maybe Summer comes and the protagonist’s parents put his AC back in his window so he can’t sit there anymore.

And then, maybe he starts to forget about it. His parents just leave the AC in the window until it snows. They finally take it out, but the roof is covered with snow, so our protagonist can’t even see the controller, the gag forced into hiatus.

And so maybe the protagonist completely forgets about the prank until the following Spring, when he looks out the window and realizes the controller’s gone. No triumphant text from his friend. No smug look from the window.

No idea if his friend took the controller back or even saw it there, water-logged and sun-dried.

Ultimately, it would be a story about a stupid kid, sitting at a window, finally noticing that the red curtains across the way, in his friend’s room, are blue now.

The PDF That Just Wouldn’t Die

I’m not sure how it is for you, but Photoshop projects always take longer than I expect. I have an idea and think, I can get that done in an hour tonight. But then I get in front of my computer and realize I just can’t edit a part of the project the way I’d intended or a part of my design just doesn’t look good on paper. A great example is the first issue of RED Comics; nearly every panel was a trial (although it was one I enjoyed because it forced me to troubleshoot with a lot of methods I made up on the spot [all of which–thankfully–worked]). But at most, that tacked on an extra week to the project (more like an extra day when you factor in getting home from work late and spending only an hour or two of my daily writing time on the comic).

Unfortunately, when a project gets such a tiny portion of work time, they sometimes take way longer than an extra day to complete. Especially if they’re ridiculously (and unnecessarily) complicated. Like my Yonkers 3.31.11 PDF.

Which took all of eternity to complete.

I exaggerate, but if you haven’t taken a look at the Yonkers 3.31.11 PDF yet, please do so now (right click, then download the link) and then continue reading here.

If you think the pictures are awesome, I thank you. But what I really want to get at here is that the design for the PDF (the fonts, the order of the photos, etc.) took a month and a half to finish and I can’t really tell you why–aside from maybe saying that I cycled through a bunch of different fonts, tried to make a different logo, and tackled a bunch of other completely absent concerns that had the project spinning in limbo for way longer than it should’ve been (and, of course, spending an hour a night with it [and sometimes no time at all with it] didn’t help the project’s progress at all).

So, why bring this up? What’s on my mind? It’s simple. Maybe I’m burning myself out? I recently edited my friend Kenneth Broadway’s novella manuscript (a fantastic novella, I might add) and when I handed it back he said, “Let’s actually meet and talk about this though.”

I probably made a face and said, “Well, yeah, definitely, dude. When are you free?”

To which he said, “No, when are you free? I’m not the guy who’s always crazy busy doing a million things.”

I’m pretty sure I raised an eyebrow. “I’m not that busy. I just–”

“Work with Ronin at HotMop Films sometimes.”

“Well, yeah, but–”

“And go take photographs at ruins with Felix Velez.”

“That’s true–”

“And work with Chaos Mechanica on writing and film projects.”

I remember stopping to think about it. And then saying, “Yeah… I guess I am pretty busy. All the time.”

It was a charming thing then; it was nice to think that I’m finally being as creative as I’ve wanted, but I’m starting to realize that maybe I have my hands in way too many projects at once. The divided attention is slowing everything down. But then, the question becomes, “What do I drop?” Photography? The novel? RED Comics, which I just started (even though I just bought a few DVD’s this past weekend specifically to use for issues 2 and 3)? My ink abstracts have already fallen by the wayside for years, and that’s always disappointing to me when I think about it; do I really want another interest to fall by the wayside with it?

Or am I just wasting time thinking about all of this when I should be figuring out a way to optimize my workload? … I think I know the answer to this one.

Getting Closer

I realized I have something time sensitive to say, so I have to try to belt it out before that company I just mentioned arrives.

If you haven’t already heard about it, you should know about the Met’s Get Closer photography contest. It’s not a huge deal; you photograph a piece from the permanent collection and then get a close-up of one of its elements. Then you submit them to the contest’s tumblr with a short blurb about why the element you captured for your close-up is meaningful to you. The prize is a year’s membership to the museum and the use of your picture for add campaigns (bragging rights). Like, I said, nothing crazy, but it’s something to do with an afternoon. Make sure to check out the actual contest rules to make sure you know everything you need to before heading over.

Only, if you’re going to head down, make sure you do it soon; the last day for submissions is this Friday–April 8th. And, if possible, make sure you give yourself a lot of time at the Met; it took me longer than I expected to find the piece I wanted to shoot for my submission (and before I found it, it was a solid two hours worth of photographing everything I found interesting, which wasn’t bad because it’s the Met, but still, that meant stopped and photographing just about everything).

Oh, what was that you just asked? “What was your submission, Louis?” did I hear? No wait, that was a car horn outside, but whatever, here it is anyway: The Fist of the Archer Herakles. If you know me at all, you’ probably saw this coming. Mythology? An archer? Yeah. So me that it’s ridiculous.