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Showing posts from 2012

Free Writing - Highlights of a Bad Year

During even the roughest of years, there is somethings that shine. Grandma's 99th birthday!  Almost a year later and she's hanging on for the big one. Can't wait. Laughing with her and my father.  Old stories, I've heard 100 times and they never get old.  A text Christmas morning. One text, that is all I received, I sent probably 50.  Only two people sent to me first all day. Maybe it's me.  Good friends, lost loves. My fault as always.  Hospital bed, feeling sick, but a week away from the world was invigorating.  Unexpected people stepping up and expected people stepping down.  Seeing my kids the afternoon after a tragedy.  Tears held back, but needed to see them laughing and playing to heal.  Dancing til all hours with complete strangers. Laughing at the silliness of others taking their flirtations so seriously. Life is so simple when you don't try so hard to be someone you're not or someone you think the other person wants you to be.  Connecting with an …

New Year's Resolutions - Yeah Right

Each year, we all make a list. It's a dumb list of things we need to give up or have to try.  In writing the list, we make the efforts ahead of us much bigger than they have to be.  We make the simplest things seem insurmountable, because we tie them in with major changes or accomplishments.  I have spent most of 2000-2012 doing for others. Don't misinterpret this as me complaining about not having time or chances to do things for me.  That is not what I'm saying.  What I am saying is that, while it may appear I'm carefree and do what I want, the reality is, I find myself always being the one asked for a hand to help, an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.  When the roles are reversed, most times the needy are no longer there, because they have what they need and are too busy.

In 2013, I'm going to say no a lot more. I'm going to pick and choose those I am there for, with the understanding that caring is a two way street.  In the past twenty years, I have h…

Goodbye 2012 - A Look Back

2012 was in no uncertain terms, one of the worst for me personally.  Obviously, losing my mother, grandparents and a sister (sort of) was more difficult, but for me, just me, this was the worst year of my life.  I had to depend on others, I was in the hospital and way too many people I cared about died or had loved ones die. This year proved to me that getting older sucks.  I'm not going to dwell on that though. I'm going to look back on the good parts.

The best part of this year has been the time I've spent with family. I don't think I've ever been closer to my father, my brother or my grandmother.  I'm more distant with cousins and such than ever, but the core of who I am and why I'm the way I am is here, aside from my mother.  My mother would have been 70 this year and I cried a lot over her.  That being said, I laughed a lot more with family than I ever could have imagined.  I value them more than ever and they were there for me in so many ways when I n…

Thank Goodness That Is Over

December 26th.  For many of us, it's a day of relief.  Even returning to work in past years has felt OK.  I actually laid off the history lessons on Jesus and Santa this time around. I kept my disdain for this time of year to myself for the most part.  Of course I threw in the occasional barb, but I respected the day for the most part and left my random thoughts inside my brain and off this blog and my social media sites.

This year I'm up in Ithaca, like last, but so different from two years ago, when I stayed home and did my own thing.  I don't like this time of year and not for the completely misconstrued religious connotations the holidays takes on, but because of the forced love and appreciation.  As I looked at so many pictures on Facebook and Twitter it made me wonder how it happens. We live in a society where we must share our family time with the world? To brag and boast about the amount  of money we spent or the amount of food leftover, which most likely will end …

Free Writing - Take 15 (Christmas Edition)

December 25.  A white sheet blankets the street.  A perfect scene on the outside. Much different on the inside. A blah 24th, with a stomach ache and fatigue. Happy smiles upon arrival. A casual but festive dinner. Grandma showing her age. I worry.  She's only started looking her age in the past year.  What does 99 look like anyway.  Tree is lit with ornaments from a much happier past. The years go by and the family dwindles.  No replacements, no scampering about by children.  An average age in the mid-50's.  It all feels so weird.  A handful of present, I'm hoping of which none are mine.  A gift on order to, still hasn't been shipped.  It's been years since I've wanted anything for Christmas.  Years.  I need nothing more than to be surrounded by those who I care about and who return those feelings without question.  It's so different that last year and the year before.  Midnight texts to this one or that. Reaching out with words so kind, even if masked by s…

How Can Anyone Have Any Holiday Spirit This Year?

First night in nearly three weeks I've relaxed and watched a movie.  A shooting took place in the movie and it was a comedy.  A comedy about a true story.  It kind of made me sad, that despite it being very good, I was so numb to the one violent scene.  This week has made me numb to almost everything.  Tuesday night, I passed on a Christmas party.  I told myself it was for many reasons, but I think deep down, I don't want to celebrate this year.  Christmas isn't supposed to be about Jesus', but in reality it is about making kids happy.  Hard to feel festive this year.  Hard for many reasons.  Newtown, Connecticut is just one.  Hard to feel festive when I'm witnessing so much hatred in the world and not even the vast world I don't know, but the world I live in.  I've been called more names in the last few months than ever before in my life. Ironically, nowadays those who are touting their belief in the second amendment, don't believe in my first amendmen…

Why I Will Never Own A Gun

I could probably list two hundred reasons.  I could start with the fact that I am confident in my own abilities to defend myself and my property that I don't need one.  I could also state that I don't own anything that is valuable enough to shoot someone over.  I could state that while I am a cynic and a realist, I do not feel my life will be at risk any time soon.  I could tell of how my mother would write on my birthday party invitations "No toy guns, please."  I could tell of my cousin killing himself.  I could tell you about being jumped by some kids with a gun, only to luckily find out I knew them and it was a case of mistaken identity. I could tell of my friend getting his eye shot out by a ricocheting bullet while sitting in the middle of a lake fishing.  I could tell of my friend getting shot in the head (and thankfully living) by drug dealers.  Or I could simply tell you that I've been crying for five days because some kids and teachers I never knew were…

A Different Kind Of Day

Today I went to my job as I do almost every other school day.  I run an after school sports program and have been at the same school long enough to see kindergartners graduate high school.  In our society there are strict laws about what behaviors are acceptable.  I am very careful not to do anything that would ever be deemed inappropriate.  I limit all contact with the kids to high fives unless there is an injury.  Today, all that went out the window.  With the events that took place in Newtown, Connecticut still unfolding I felt myself tearing up as I walked through the front doors to the school. As my kids came in I found myself overwhelmed and holding it together took everything I had.  Obviously, none of the kids knew of the tragedy and their innocence was what got me.  That innocence which was ripped from so many earlier today.  As the class went on, I found myself making my way around the room and at some point and touching every one of them.  A handshake, a high five or a pat …

Serious Reflection: A Strange Few Days.

Funny how the people most concerned with their shoes, aren't willing to walk in other's.
Doing laundry is something I feel the need to complain about, but I actually find it quite relaxing.
I had the least amount of fun one night out that I have had in a long time.  Made me really question things.
I had the most amount of fun I've had in one night, two nights later.  Made me question things even more.
Funny who you miss, when you always see them, then you don't for a bit.
Funnier, is who you don't, under the same circumstances.
I've noticed that the more open I am about my feelings, the more people criticize me for them.
I think that most people believe those we know are generally intelligent, but it's a huge misconception.
I wrote a Facebook status about ignorance being bliss and truthfully, nobody who commented, got it.
Physical pain, regardless of location, makes day to day tasks almost impossible.
Shame manifests shame and truly makes me understand how …

Free Writing - Take 14

I had a plan.  A good nights sleep.  It was so very much needed.  Alas I was able to get an hour, maybe two.  I'm tired now at 4am, thanks to a second serving of melatonin.  My body is breaking down from this lack of rest.  Bad knees that have hampered me for 15 years are getting worse.  A hip problem and a lower leg problem have worsened.  My back hurts at times and my torn rotator cuff has started to ache.  People don't know the pain I'm in on a daily basis, because I don't talk about it often.  I walk like a zombie to the bathroom.  My knees don't bend at times.  The pain is excruciating.  So is life I guess.  I had a good class today.  Kids going crazy, but at times hilarious.  I wanted nothing of today, but to lay in bed. A rough couple of days.  Party like a rock star?  Well a rock star who is just a friend to just about everyone these days.  I wonder when I'll meet someone or connect with someone in a way that is more than the normal, high-bye, you'r…

Dreams of Absurdity

Flying fish everywhere.  Not the kind that leave the water gracefully, landing back in their habitat with grace. Not the Alaskan salmon jumping upstream, dodging the eager claws of a Grizzly.  No these fish fly, with wings feverishly flapping like the hummingbird.  They pass me by as I trek down a snowy hill.  Footprints left in the soft snow.  I slip and fall. I end up in a chair, an editor for World Ttraveler invited me in.  Is this even a real magazine?  I'm escorted into a room, where a woman sits.  She looks like Alanis Morissette with hair cascading down her shoulders. She moves much faster than a normal woman, much like someone in a constant state of fast forwards.  The room is bright and she asks me how I enjoyed Rome?  The Coliseum is present in a photo framed above her.  I tell her tales of gladiator fights and nighttime excursions to Venice.  The fish reappear, but she is oblivious. The fish are there to enhance my story.  I tell of Venice and the sharks that live under…

Free Writing - Take 13

Thoughts racing as I lay in bed.  We take for granted we'll always see that person again. We take our friends, family, and every day wonders for granted but worry about such silliness as how others wish us a happy holidays. Today someone wished me a Merry Christmas and I thanked them and returned the well wishes.  I then pointed out to them that I see them about two times a week and it's three weeks away.  They nodded and said "you never know."  You don't.  I smiled at someone today.  She smiled back.  I didn't want to be rude to the person I was with, so I didn't proceed with anything else.  She smiled again. Ran her fingers through her hair.  My friend left and she ignored me.  I find this behavior strange.  I'm not good at The Game.  I don't like playing games when it comes to emotions.  I walked home, looking around.  Quiet Tuesday night. I felt fatigued.  A possible cold coming on or my body run down from a serious party weekend?  Sniffles.  …

My Weird Food Stuff

I need something to clear my head right now.  This is the best thing I could come up with.  Just some food related things that I've noticed about myself recently. I consider myself a bit of a foodie.  I grew up in a house where restaurant level meals we're a norm.  To be honest, to say you could eat as well at a restaurant is actually an insult to my mother (and father), being that I've never had anything in a restaurant that my mother couldn't make better, with maybe one exception; the porterhouse steak at Peter Luger's.  Some call it being a foodie, others call it food snobbery.  As many know, I'm critical on most subjects, but food is probably the one thing I have the most issues with.  That being said here are some weird things I've noticed recently.

I absolutely hate pot roast.  Cooking a shitty, tough piece of meat for nine hours, doesn't make it good, it only makes it a shitty, tender piece of meat.  I'm pretty much opposed to all stews, with…

One of the Strangest Days of Social Media

Absolutely nothing of importance happened on November 28, 2012.  If one needs proof, they just need to take a gander at social media.  Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with absolutely nothing of interest.  Try as I might, I couldn't even spark any interest in anything.  I wrote a blog, hoping to spark a movie debate and got one response.  I posted something which somewhat questioned the existence of god and our existence in general; no takers.  The closest I came to a debate or conversation of interest was when I made irreverent comments about people's posting pictures or stories about their pets or babies for the 200th time this week.

So what is happening to everyone?  The reality is nothing has changed.  The election result hasn't stirred up much, because our deadbeat congress is still playing games.  The weather continues to be odd throughout the world, but half of us refuse to admit that climate change will in the end be out downfall. So what has taken us over, both ph…

The Ten Best Sports Movies of All-Time

I will preface this with two thoughts.  Despite my love of sports, for the most part, I despise sports movies, because they rarely capture the essence of the sport.  My second point is very simple.  This list will infuriate almost every sports fan who reads it.  My judgments are based on the merits of the film as cinema, not as sport.  It's those movies that capture what it is like to play, to compete, to win and to lose that make it all worth it for me.  I do not believe a great sports movie should be embraced due to one spine tingling scene.  There will be no Rudy or Jerry MacGuire.  I will not count movies that have an athlete in them, but that is secondary to the story, so there will be no On The Waterfront or Basketball Diaries.  I will not penalize a movie for its sport being an individual endeavor not seen as athletic.  And to most people's shock and awe, I will not include three films which are universally considered the three best sports movies ever.  There will be no…

Free Writing - Take Twelve

The sun will rise in a few, but will I.  I'm awake, but will I rise?  I've noticed I spend so much time trying to self educate myself.  Just spent forty minutes researching something for what will most likely one day be a four or five paragraph blog.  Unnecessary, yet necessary.  I awake morning after morning and do some sort of puzzle.  I need this.  I fear what is happening to people who are older.  A forgotten memory, some recent some from years back.  The rubber band of life snapping back into the form it was in our youth.  It scares me.  I can't remember people's names at times.  Acquaintances from years ago, some from just a week.  Today I saw two students I've had for the past three years.  They took this session off and their names escape me. It saddens me.  Another mother smiled and waved and her son's name escaped me.  I pride myself on never forgetting my kids names.  I think back to earlier today, comments made that made me question myself briefly, …

Scenes From A Sofa Bed

It's only 1am and my eyelids feel heavy.  A different smell, feel, ambiance. I'm cold. The floor isn't warm and soothing like at home, but there is life in the house. I have the remote, but I do not press.  I have no interest in staying up watching mindless TV and suffering the next day.  I drift off into a deep sleep.  Awoken by the sound of a bird or a car, I sit up. I struggle to get out of the metal framed bed trapped inside a couch.  The somewhat uncomfortable bed, hidden inside, is a metaphor of sorts for how I feel.  Jovial on the outside, but struggling with the rigidity of life. I grab the arm and boost myself.  The chill of the wood floor is soon missed as I step into the kitchen.  Icicles pierce my toes.  I head to the bathroom and feel a draft.  I skip past the dining room table and hop back into the warm confines.  I'm restless.  I listen to some music, read some news.  J.R. is dead. The world will recognize him more than the child killed in Gaza last nigh…

Conundrum of Care

How do you tell someone the words they speak of another are misguided?
If someone revered by two is not what they appear,
would you tell or let the facade go on?

One's pay, meek at best, but it's received
in return for a service of utmost importance.
Why does it hurt to smile?

Rolled eyes, angering me, but for once
this boat I can not rock.
It's not my place, but could it be one day?

When the tables are turned,
will I be able, knowing myself,
to turn the other cheek?

Thanksgiving: The Yin & The Yang

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It always has been. Sure, as a kid, getting presents was nice, but Thanksgiving was always my top choice. Maybe it's because my family didn't treat it like other holidays. Spending it with family wasn't a necessity and turkey, while prevalent, wasn't always a mainstay. Spiral ham? I never tasted one until about seven years ago and I've probably had it once since.

Thanksgiving was a time to spend with those who really mattered in our lives and we're an honest family; that didn't always mean relatives.  We usually took in our friends who had nowhere else to go due to location issues or simple bad breaks.  These were the people who were there for us during the year, so why not be with them on a day of giving thanks.  Most people just gather around and eat the staples, overeat, gossip, watch football and get drunk. That was never us. Still isn't really.  So here are my highs and lows of Thanksgiving.

Good: It's a da…

Thankful: 2012 Edition

Three years ago I wrote about my disdain for the kiddies table.  Two, about those I've been thankful for through the years.  Last year, I thanked individuals who really impacted my year in a positive way.  This, year, and please don't run away if you're reading this.  I'm not that thankful.  I've had quite possibly the worst  year of my life.  Constant leg pain like one wouldn't believe, a hospital stay, economic woes I've never known and a falling out with nearly 90% of the people I spent most of 2011 with. I should be a miserable fuck, complaining about my life, the way I debated politics this year, but I won't.

I'm thankful for my family.  Who has helped me out emotionally, financially and quite frankly just doing little things that have really gotten me by.  My father allowing me to stay with him when money was tight, so as to save my money for bills not food.  For lending me a couple of bucks when things seemed bleak.  My brother for really st…

Recent Realizations

On Sunday, a friend walked over to me and asked me "when was the last time you actually wore long pants?"  It took me all of two seconds.  "I pointed to another friend and explained "June 9th, his daughter's wedding."  It made me start to think about other things, I've realized about myself.  Obviously, many of these things would be considered quirky, but they are just me.

I love cooking breakfast.  A good omelet and an English Muffin is the perfect match for a steaming pot of coffee.  I've never been that much into sweet breakfasts, so pancakes are a rarity.  It dawned on my recently that in all the years of cooking eggs, I've made omelets, poached eggs, fried eggs sunny side up, over easy and over hard, hard and soft boiled, I've basted them even shirred them, but in all the years, I've never once made scrambled eggs.  I just don't like them very much.

I grew up wearing baseball caps.  I used to be that guy who wore a cap everywhe…

Free Writing - Take Eleven

Turkey has taken over for topics such as politics and the weather. The balmy temperatures make me feel we should be talking about Easter and Passover, but I'll take it.  Just went for a walk.  The air was cool, but refreshing.  Cooped up inside all day.  Lots to do, but haven't started.  Seven hours from now,  I have to be on a train.  Dad's Birthday. Dinner? Mediterranean I believe. I've glanced at the menu and I'm thinking something simple, but I always order seafood when dining out.  I had some laughs today.  Little kids say some funny shit. As I entered the room, they spoke of ghosts, then proceeded to shoot these paranormal entities with guns made out of fingers. The sky got dark as I waited for a cab.  My travel cost me nearly 40% of my pay for the day.  No way around it, so I accept.  Thankful for a friend and my brother who have helped me out and saved me a few hundred dollars.  Tomorrow, I'll write about what I am thankful for.  It might be shorter tha…

Random Thoughts About The Past 10 Days

The election is now 10 days passed and this week has seen turbulence and unrest on social media and in the news.  There have also been the repercussion from Hurricane Sandy to deal with as well.  In all this mess, most of us have still found time to live our lives without too much added stress and anxiety.  Below will be some statements, some opinions and some humorous observation for a ten day period that has seen some amazing stuff happen and some pretty ordinary stuff take place.  Some things might be about certain people, but don't take offense.  Your identity will remain anonymous and please remember,  you said some of these things in public.

Do republicans understand how angry democrats were when Reagan tripled the deficit and Bush doubled it? Yet, we didn't show any of the animosity I'm seeing since last Tuesday.

Why did it take a sex scandal involving a general for us to recognize the war that's been going on for over a decade?

I think the thing that has bother…

The Best Songs I've Heard Recently

This list might surprise you if you've heard the songs, because they aren't all knew songs.  These are all just songs I've heard for the first time in the past six months.  They cross different genres and there is no order.  They are just songs that touched me in some way.  Some are because of the lyrics, some the melodies or some simply because they say something to me for whatever reason.

Heart Healthy - The Forecast. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p7XujdRlb4
I first heard of the Forecast on a video game. That songs was called the These Lights and is one of my favorites.  This song, just speaks to me in it's simplicity about doing whatever it takes to be with someone.  The song is literally nothing but a repetitious chorus.

The House That Built Me - Miranda Lambert  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQYNM6SjD_o
My inability to go visit my old neighborhood more and to spend time on the street I grew up, remember happier times and maybe gain some perspective on where I a…

Free Writing - Take Ten

Been a little distracted lately.  Feeling sick today, but I brought it upon myself, so how can I complain?  Went out for football tonight and realized it was a bad idea.  Left after taking one sip of my first beer.  Watched a Korean film and really like it.  For the first time in many weeks, I'm missing someone.  Not sure why....maybe it's because of this weather.  Looking forward to Thanksgiving and spending time with my family.  A little upset with how negative people around me have become.  I'm not the most positive person, but this whole election showed me that people are more concerned with their own interests and being right than about the issues.  It's mid-November and I'm sitting with the air conditioner on, but there's no such things as global warming.  Seventy degree weather, a hurricane, an earthquake, a snowstorm, low 30's and now mid 60's all in three weeks?  Call it what you want, but something is not right. My writer's block is in ful…

Movies I Hate That Everyone Likes

About three years back I wrote a blog titled the 11 most overrated movies.  My number one selection was The Shawshank Redemption and I've accepted that I am the only person on the planet who despises that movie.  So in the interest of stirring up some controversy, I've decided to revisit this and make a list of movies that I believe are complete crap, but adored by the general public.  I don't mean I dislike these movies, but view them as unwatchable and gave them one star in Netflix ratings.  Enjoy and please feel free to argue.

Here is the link the original I had mentioned.
http://hopsthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/09/eleven-maybe-12-most-overrated-movies.html

300 - absolutely silly, ultra homoerotic tale of the Spartans.
Austin Powers - any of them. Michael Myers is a twat.  He's never done anything funny in his life.
Any Given Sunday - quite possibly the worst sports movie ever made.
The Cabin in the Woods - the second worst horror movie ever made. Cliche fest.
The Cabl…

About Last Night - Election Night Final Thoughts

Bob Dylan once sang "the times they are a changin'." 
Last night proved that hate, bigotry, sexism and pushing one's religious morals onto others doesn't work anymore in this country.  Women, gays and minorities won this election for President Obama. The elderly, the rich and the haves don't outweigh the have-nots anymore and this must be recognized.  Loving your country now means accepting all those who reside in it, regardless of whether you agree with their belief system.  It's what makes us the best country in the world. 
I also noticed something very graphic and telling last night.  Every single tweet and Facebook post written in  support of Obama's victory, was filled with inspiration, happiness and was eloquently stated, with proper spelling and grammar.  Every tweet and post denouncing the victory, was peppered with hate and lies, with misspelled words and improper grammatical notations littering.  As someone who has been debating these topics…

Final Thoughts - Election

I have argued about this damn election for months now.  Finally, it's going to be over and we'll have nothing left to discuss other than the made up tales of who did what and how the election was stolen.  The Redskins lost, so we're supposed to get a new president. It's worked that way every election but one for seventy years.  There are other silly predictors that sway towards the re-election of our president.  So who knows.

It is silly to say anything a day before the election, because most people's minds have been made up for a long time now.  The problem I have is that many of these minds were made up four years ago, when a black man that many of us had never heard of won the election.  In 2008, Barack Obama did something, I honestly didn't think I'd see in my lifetime.  Since his inauguration he has fought and uphill battle trying to right the wrongs of previous administration and has faced obstacles from the right for the entire time.  That being said…

Free Writing - Take Nine

Dreams
I make you breakfast after a long snuggle. Walks down the BRP path, something I don't love, but with you it's fun. Pictures of our hijinks. Dinner, avocados stuffed with crab meat, light pasta filled with pumpkin and osso bucco.  Tattoos and things I don't understand. Faces I know and faces I don't.  Hoping that one day someone says the words I want to hear. Making fun of me on Facebook or is it twitter? I wake and need to go back to sleep. Continue dreaming but the dream is gone. So pretty. So young, is it you now or you when I knew you. Different people, different places. I have that one, that one that keeps recurring. It's wrong. Not fair to her.  Not fair to me.  Arms wrapped around her, touching her skin...I awake, to a pillow.

Quick Thoughts: Hurricane Sandy

If you didn't see this gas issue coming, you obviously didn't care about those in New Orleans enough to be educated on what happens in these circumstances.
If you bought tons of microwavable food before the power went out, you deserve to starve.
If you thinking telling someone else to "do their part" is helping, you don't get humanity.  
If you think a person who lost their home needs a sandwich and a blanket, you've lived a much better life than most.
If you think your tiny donation to Red Cross doesn't help, remember, if everyone in not affected by the storms in NY and NJ donated $10 each, those in need would have more than $250 million.
Why is helping someone who lost their home to a storm - helping, but helping someone who doesn't have a home is a handout?
Why is it so many people are so vocal about what other's should do in emergencies, but so few actually help themselves?
I'm sorry if I don't feel for the person who lost their boat i…