Sunday, December 29, 2013

Things that will allow me to live in the woods by myself, but still have wifi and not drop dead and get eaten by bears

I ****ing hate New Year's Resolutions and I never keep one.  So I need to call them something else.  I'm going to call them, things that will allow me to live in the woods by myself, but still have wifi and not drop dead and get eaten by bears.

I will stop complaining about insignificant things. I am so critical of the people who complain about traffic on the way to their six digit job, but I complain when the TV goes out and I can't watch the game and eat nachos.  I need to stop that shit.

No more shots.  Shots kill me. Shots make me wake up in the middle of the street. Shots make me pee in places that aren't a toilet.  Shots make me spend ridiculously more money than I need to spend.  Shots also make me believe that the strange girl who asked me to buy her a shot is interested. Estimated time I'll keep this up.... St. Paddy's Day

Get my hip looked at.  I haven't been able to walk without pain in over seven months. I need to do something.  I have a high threshold for pain, but there are days, I literally take 10 minutes walking ten feet to the bathroom.

Get a full time job, but something I can call a career move.  I've been out of full time work, despite looking for a long time.  I just can't find anything even remotely inviting that pays enough to give up my part time gig (which actually pays the bills).  I also haven't found one possible job giving me even 80% of what I was making when I left my old job.

Have a prospect for a new place to live by November. I pay minimal rent, but my space is too small.  At this point in my life, I'd even be willing to have a roommate.  I'm painfully bored (can't stand the town I live in) and need to be around someone.  Of course, finding a significant other would be much better, but as of late, the market for a broke, limping, out of shape, pain in the ass is not great. Sugar Mamas need apply.  I will cook, clean, take care of your kids (if you have any), love your pets and be faithful!  It has also dawned on me that having a few guys and girls over on a Friday night would save me about $50 a week.

Watch more movies.  I know this sounds crazy, but over the last two years, I'm down to somewhere around 120 new movies per year.  I used to watch somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 new movies per year.  I'm so obsessed with film, it hurts not being able to concentrate long enough to watch a two hour film.

Write more.  Not this stupid blog, which 12 people read.  I don't care if I write a manual for how to manually stimulate a hummingbird, I need to get my laptop fixed, get Microsoft word and get going and start writing an hour each day (minimum).

Be more careful trusting people. This is the fifth year in a row I've found myself burned by those who I felt were friends. It's been them cheating on me or my friends going after the person I'm interested in.  It's been opening my heart to those who didn't reciprocate or only pretended to do so.  It's been people I've known for years spreading rumors and lies about me, defending them to others, even though they do so. 

Pay off my personal debts to individuals.  I currently owe four people money.  Nothing crazy mind you, but that facts absolutely kills me.  I just don't have it.  The problem is there is this feeling of guilt every time I have an extra $50-$100 here or there and I spend it on something useless.  I'm going to try and put a little away and try and knock it down, because two of the people truly need it. P.S. I didn't borrow money from any of these people.  Don't ask.

Don't fall into other people's misery and let them turn it into the appearance it's mine. If you know me and my social media ways, you know what I am talking about.  I also need to ignore the maniacs out there and not play into their games.  They are only trying to accumulate likes and comments and don't care when I offer my shoulder to cry on or my time.  I probably need to just cut ties altogether, but it's not in my nature.

I will own a pet by the end of this year.  Most likely a cat, but maybe a dog.  I need a companion and something to snuggle with who I can care for and who will love me unconditionally.

Eat more fish!
Read an entire book!










Quickie Review - American Mary

I knew absolutely nothing about this movie other than the fact that it was popular among a small group of horror enthusiasts on Twitter.  So last night, upon the urging of the "Monster Honey" from a wonderful group of gals called The Horror Honeys http://www.thehorrorhoneys.com/, I dove in.

The movie stars Katharine Isabelle, who horror fans will remember from Ginger Snaps trilogy and Freddy vs Jason.  Isabelle plays Mary Mason, a beautiful young, but not too young, medical student who is an exceptional student and we learn quickly how devoted to her craft she is.  Needing money, the broke student goes to take a job as a stripper (massages) and shows up with a garter belt and a resume.  So up until this point (about 15 minutes), we're expecting this to be the typical exploitation film. Not so fast, this bad boy...er girl, is written and directed by Sylvia and Jen Soska, who are known in the horror world as The Twisted Twins. The Twins carefully construct each character and give them each flaws, closets full of skeletons, some redeeming qualities and ironically values.  What is almost as shocking as the storyline, is that we not only like this band of misfits, but we understand them.  Maybe not Penis Boy, but everyone else.  One note: There is a minor (in terms of lines) character named Lance who is absolutely amazing in every scene he gets a chance to speak.

American Mary is not as graphically violent as many films, but there are some subtly shocking scenes.  It is not filled with rage, despite the pent up emotions of many of the characters.  It is truly a character study of people lacking something, each wanting to become something they don't have and doing anything in their power to attain it, whether it be emotionally or physically. 

I will add one last comment to the review that I don't normally do, because I hate giving any real plot points away.  This movie is a rape/revenge film and while the rape and revenge scenes are handled differently than most horror films, it is difficult at times.  That being said and judge me how you will, I can only hope that every rapist on the planet meets a Mary!


Saturday, December 28, 2013

The 21 Best Movies I Watched In 2013

Here is the simple criteria.  These movies could have come out in 2013 or they could have come out in 1913. This list is simply a list of the best of the best from my laying in bed with my thoughts, some coffee (maybe a snack) and film in front of me.  They are in no particular order, but I may give some "best of" nods at the end.  This is out of well over 100 movies.

Everything Is Illuminated - A young man's search to find out about his heritage.
The Kings Of Summer - Boys coming of age.
Secret Honor - One man fictional showing of Richard Nixon unraveling.
La Jetee/Sans Soleil - Sci-Fi & Documentary done exquisitely.
Stoker - Superb thriller about a family being torn apart.
Dear Zachary - Absolutely heartbreaking documentary.
Lincoln - Biopic with incredible cast, recounting a great moment in history.
Silver Linings Playbook - Beautifully touching tale of the craziness of love.
Django Unchained - Wild West meets Hip-Hop meets Social Commentary
Argo - Near perfect drama about a real life hostage rescue.
The Secret In Their Eyes - Beautiful, but intense "crime" drama.
Bully - Most important movie of the last five years.
Tyrannosaur - Brutally painful tale of broken hearts mending with odd outcomes.
Persona - Mental illness viewed as only Bergman can do.
Taking Chance - The grim reality of war after the dead come home.
Sleep Tight - Eerie thriller that makes one question their privacy and safety.
The Raid: Redemption - The best action movie "ever."
Kill The Irishman - True Irish mob tale that is better than any recent Italian ones.
Fish Tank - Young girl's painful coming of age, but beautifully handled.
Starbuck - Funny tale of sperm donor, recently redone with Vince Vaughan.
The Guard - Hilariously funny crime caper set in Ireland.

Five Best Actors:
Peter Mullan - Tyrannosaur
Ray Stevenson - Kill The Irishman
Daniel Day Lewis - Lincoln
Philip Baker Hall - Secret Honor
Ricardo Darin - The Secret In Their Eyes

Five Best Actresses:
Mia Wasikowska - Stoker
Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
Katie Jarvis - Fish Tank
Tilda Swinton - We Need To Talk About Kevin
Helen Hunt - The Sessions

Five Best Films:
Secret In Their Eyes
Argo
Tyrannosaur
Stoker
Lincoln




Friday, December 27, 2013

Free Writing - Take 31 (Speed round)

Feeling cold. A feeling that is usually foreign to me. Things I can't control weakening my being. My thoughts keep coming back to an unexpected turn. A true punch to the gut, a gut filled with the happiness of a Christmas duck, but one that has left nauseous, not because of it's decay, but because of something so completely unprepared for that it beats my soul.  I will get by and I will survive this bump in the road. I have metaphorically (and literally) become my own bump in the road and need to one day be the car.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Irony and Epiphany


I'm staying away from the religious and celebratory irony and going straight to the sources.  I don't even want to get into the irony that was the mass at the Vatican.  When the Pope contradicts what's in the Bible, what is left?  Maybe I need a little lesson on blessings, but when the Bible says do not pray for idols and then the Pope says he must bless the statue of the Baby Jesus, I'm going to question everything I hear from here on out, even more so than I usually do.  Oh look, I got into it.

I digress.  This year, Facebook showed me just how funny and ridiculous faith, appearances and people's general levels of happiness are.  The people who told me they love everyone, because that's what Jesus taught, spewed hate and vile words nearly every day.  The people who posted pictures of their vacations, trips to sporting events and lavish dinners cried the blues or, more often than not, let slip that all was not well either financially, emotionally or in the world of relationships.  Those who posted pics of smiles, the biggest smiles and threw their happiness in the face of those less elated, posted woe is me status updates all throughout the holidays.  Those who were miserable, continued their misery loves company quest and left nothing back.  Those who were indifferent, like myself, tried and succeeded in finding the silver lining, many times, the one we weren't even looking for.

Once again, true friends said the right thing, did the right thing and were there for me and I for them.  This wasn't a year about spending on an item to somehow prove our care, but merely a time to share an experience, a laugh, a moment.  I didn't have any intimate moments of the romantic nature and oddly, this year, there wasn't even the silly back and forth that I've found myself in the last four or five years, usually leading to an odd falling out.  This year was about an awakening for me.  A realization that walking up a chilly street, turning to glance at the setting sun, gives me as much joy as a more momentous occasions.  I realized that new, good people will always come in an replace the ones who try and tear you down, compensating only for their shortcomings, whilst blaming your life for their anger and sadness.

I realized more than ever this year, that I have been a bit of a magnet for people who need someone strong to use.  Whether it be to support them emotionally, to fill some intellectual void they find themselves in when looking at who they surround themselves with and most of all, those are jealous of the realist I am and my acceptance of fate.  I've had lovers disappear from my life, gloating of their happiness, but telling all who will listen just how miserable they are.  I've had friends who left me, telling me how how pathetic I am and how lost I am, yet searching for anything to define themselves.  I've had people threaten me, only trying to make up for something in their lives that has emasculated them, whether it be a relationship, an upbringing or their own religious beliefs.  I realized that there are even less people in my life that matter than even I originally believed.  I have embraced that core and cautiously added a few more, even those who I've been warned against. 

I know that when I'm away from home I'm at my happiest and that is a sad statement.  I know that the stress of getting to and from work every day has affected my love of it.  I know that my financial situation, which others define me with, will never be one that will define me, but I would like to one day not think about it.  I know that when I'm away I miss no more than ten friends and think about spending time with only four. 

I know that holidays are not celebrations of a new beginning or even truly a time to be thankful, but merely a chance to breathe and reflect. They are a bitter reminder that we, as humans, are weak souls.  For if we acted the way we do during the holidays the other 364 days of the year, we'd all be better for it.  The holidays have all become Halloween, as we wear masks to hide our truths and portray what we wish others to see. I refuse to play into that charade and will be who I've been since day one. I will anger many, please few and hold my head high when spending time with those who matter, all the while, being humbled by their gracious nature. I will do this every second of every year, not only on selected days of this and the coming year.

Peace and respect to all, but love, thanks and admiration to those special few.



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Quickie Review - Everything Is Iluminated

A near perfect film, in that it adds humor to a topic often devoid if such an emotion. It could be classified a road trip movie, but that would trivialize the awakening in the final third of the film. The end message, while confusing in sine ways, was brilliantly done. The movie is all about understanding; self, surroundings & we all can learn from each other. It is that illumination that makes all of the same. We just need to be brought to that point and this movie dies so beautifully.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ithaca Calling?

Thanksgiving in a little town called Accord. Turkey, dressing (two kinds), all the other fixings and lots of wine. A nice snooze and then a bus ride to Ithaca. Lamb, chicken, delicious bean soup, pork chops, salmon, trout, cassoulet and other delicacies danced on my tongue over the two plus weeks.  Delicious dips and cheeses and once again lots of delicious wines.

So now it's time to return.  A little piece of me dies when I return home.  I'm not content there.  Happy to see friends, of course.  Can't wait to hug some tightly and wish them holiday cheer.  Glasses will clink together in celebration of health and happiness and there will be laughs, lots of laughs.  It is where I live and where I have lived for 28 years.  It no longer gives me any satisfaction to say so.  Unlike my neighbors, the town's changes aren't what bothers me.  It's the bitterness that surrounds me.  The sound of the train I had trained myself to ignore has been replaced by slamming doors, loud people and car horns and sirens.  To listen to this town you'd think it was the crime and accident capital of the world.  It is constant noise and maybe it's my age, but solitude deserves silence.  My thoughts are constantly interrupted by minuscule noises, getting louder by the day.  A socket doesn't work. A hole left unfixed in my ceiling. A neighbor who finds it necessary to converse right outside my door as the early sun hits my blinds.

Ithaca is silent.  The snow muffles the already quiet town.  So much so that I awoke the other night and could have swore I heard the snow hitting the ground.  I looked out to an amber sky, light dusting on a rail that fences in the deck that we enjoy each summer. The porch sits unused, resting from the summer of activity.  I miss it so, especially during the cold mornings. I drink coffee, steaming hot, but only for a few seconds, while the winter chill evaporates into it's steam.  Sleep comes easier, meals taste better and conversations need no raised voices and no explanation. 

I find comfort in getting older and not needing to cling to something as phony as a town.  Roots are wonderful, but roots are who you are, never where you are.  My town confuses this and believes the place they stay is the reason they stay.  It's fear.  A fear I know, but need but one thing to overcome.  The root of all evil will cure my fear, but will it be enough?  Is Ithaca calling?  Not necessarily.  Maybe Wolfeboro, Andes, Portsmouth or Alna.  Some place where I knew only joy.  I need that again.  Laying one's head down in a place that brings pain is not healthy.  Eastchester has become a jail sentence.  Those who have left and some who still live there refer to it as the bubble.  There are no secrets, but the lies are plenty. I need a new start. I've joked about into the wild, but trust me, I'm not THAT pretentious.  I just want to wake in a place, with the sound of nothing that nature didn't create and call it home. 2014 might be the year.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Snow

I don't know if there is anything I like more than sitting watching the rain from a porch or out an open window, but snow comes pretty close.  Snow fall, aside from being beautiful is so different, in that there is no sound.  Just a slow accumulation of whiteness, blanketing the black streets.  There is just something so soothing about it.

I think there's something therapeutic about a snowfall.  Almost as if this clean sheet lays down over the dirt that is our everyday life.  The pureness covers the metaphoric evils that lay beneath.  Sure, we know what is there and within hours the next day, that dirt and grime will seep through and turn that clean slate into something even worse than originally sat there.  But for those moments, when the snow falls, especially at night, we see those individual flakes, working to form something beautiful.  Like the covers we hide under at night, symbolically protecting us from all the monsters of the day, as we dream of worlds filled with fantasy and splendor.  Only to awake to reality.  Although sometimes we awaken to that beautiful snowfall.  I know I smile.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Envy

Envy is a dirty word.  It's one of the seven deadly sins, but is it always bad? Envy can be a motivational tool.  I wrote about my feelings about the Seven Deadly Sins years ago, but this is a new feelings.  I don't ever feel envious of anyone, because I know we all have our warts, it's just that so many of us choose to mask them, while I'm pretty open about mine.  I just feel it's better to be open with people about who you are, what you can offer and what you can't.  I know my good qualities and I'm more than aware of those people (not all) deem to be negative.  So why am I suddenly experiencing a feeling of envy.  Well it's difficult to explain, because it's the idea of something more than a specific example.  Cryptic crap, let me start again.

I recently met someone who is with someone else.  I found them very attractive and they possess two characteristics I find incredibly sexy.  They are tiny and they are incredibly intelligent.  Obviously the first one is simply a plus, but the first second one excites me just as much as any sexual or aesthetic trait.  They have their shit together and they have a goal.  Two things I am not close to having.  Here is where the envy came about.  While my "career" isn't anything in terms of importance compared to theirs, they praised my dedication, my desire and my passion doing something, even I feel is somewhat unimportant in the grand scheme of things.  Compared to their career, mine is laughable to be put in the same conversation.  That is not where my admiration stopped.  Little comments, expressing appreciation for my quick wit and my ability to include everyone in my conversations, even those who initially had nothing to add.

So is this envy?  I know I will never be with this individual and while their might be similar people, with similar traits out there, it dawned on me that the people who I make the biggest impression on are always those who I can never have.  I'm sure in a few weeks I won't think twice about this person or maybe I will.  There are those people who walk by our lives and leave their footprints in the wet cement of our grey matter.  I know it's best to move on mentally, but isn't life about wondering what if, while moving on and accepting that for whatever reason things are the way they are because of some unexplained plan?  Sure, I don't even believe that horse shit, but it makes it easier and isn't that why we hold beliefs, to make pain easier to understand? Yes? No?  I don't know either.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Eight Items I Can't Live Without

I am very vocal at my disdain for the materialistic nature of most people.  I find those people lack so much in their lives that they have filled it with houses, cars, jewelry, trips, etc to compensate for life's simple pleasures that elude them.  Sure, ask them and they tell you I'm jealous or I'm compensating, but the reality is, I've never been into items. I collected baseball cards as a kid and when I got tired of that, it became frivolous in my mind to try and own stuff which really added no pleasure to my life.  These days a nice meal, some drinks and a good conversation are all I need, aside from the basics like a bed to sleep in and shelter from the elements.  That being said, there are certain luxuries we all need and I'm no different, so I made a list of the things in any given week I simply can't live without.

1.  My phone.  It used to be my laptop, but with no WiFi, I have become one of those people who needs a phone at all time.  Ironically, I average less than 4 minutes of actual calls per day.

2. Netflix - As a movie buff, this is my only true extravagance.  At $18 a month, it should tell you a lot about me.

3. Coffee Maker - I've actually been drinking less coffee as of late, but more for sleep reasons and not because caffeine keeps me awake.  That being said, I use it more than any appliance in my home.

4. My Playstation 2 - you read that correctly.  It is and has been my DVD player for 14 years.  I use it almost daily.

5. My Debit Card - I find that I never have cash on me anymore.  Sure it would be nice if the debit card didn't seem to run out as often, but such is life.

6. My Chef's Knife set - two knives, nothing special.  They came with a cutting board and they changed the way I cook. 

7. Spices (especially Cumin) - I love to cook and what I love about cooking is the complexity added by something as simple as spices.  Adding cumin and mustard powder to black beans and sprinkling chicken & rice with smoked paprika transforms a simple dish into something almost special.

8. My Comforter - I am never cold, but I can't sleep unless I'm wrapped in my comforter.  In the summer, my A/C cranks and in the winter my windows are open.  I need to be cool to sleep even a little, but I also need that snuggle of the comforter.

This list was going to be the standard ten, but for the life of me I couldn't think of another two to add.  Yes, I care that little about materialistic things.  




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Facebook Statuses from 1970 To Now

What if Facebook had always been around?  Imagine how truly amazing our statuses would have been?  So much better than today's boring bullshit about going to cross fit, doing yoga, pictures of food, etc.  Well here's what mine would have looked like if Facebook has always been around

1970 - Wait, what is that bright light. I can't fit through there....ahhhhhh!
1971 - Hey Mom, why do the other kids get titties?
1972 - I must be fucking gorgeous the way everyone makes kissing faces
1973 - Wait a minute, where are the bars on my bed?
1974 - Who is this ugly guy and why is raising a peace sign?
1975 - Grandma and Granpa gave me $5 - getting 250 pieces of gum bitches!
1976 - First grade is rough. Need a fucking nap.
1977 - I wanna be a Jedi when I grow up.
1978 - Girls have cooties.
1979 - New School. I have a free period. I'm nine? Hold me.
1980 - Wow, I'm a decade old.  Thanks for the Playboy grandpa (no really).
1981 - Wait, wasn't that the guy from that movie with the monkey?
1982 - Is that a hair on my balls?
1983 - Graduated 8th grade and still haven't kissed Jennifer Singer.
1984 - I have a girlfriend who is 17. I have no idea what I am doing.
1985 - I'm moving out of Brooklyn to Westchester. I hate life!
1986 - Buckner!!!!!!!!!!
1987 - So that's sex! And look the commercials aren't even over.
1988 - Do I go to graduation or make $63.20?
1989 - I am just taking a "little" break from college to work.
1990 - I'm rich bitches! Who wants to go to the New Ro and drink?
1991 - I'm 21, dating someone and have no other social life.
1992 - Work 40 hrs, Little League 25 hrs, Girlfriend 50 hrs. Sleep - the rest.
1993 - Wait, the guy who cheated on his wife and smoked weed won?
1994 - Run Juice, Run! He's the craziest person...what did Tonya Harding do?
1995 - Thoughts to all those in the OKC bombing. The world is getting scary.
1996 - Single for the first time in a long time. Hello Mardi Gras!
1997 - Wow, Tupac is dead.
1998 - I'm going back to Birchmont! Woohoo....greatest place ever.
1999 - This show the Sopranos is pretty fucking amazing.
2000 - Didn't think we'd survive the clocks not working. Phew!
2001 - Saddest day of my life. I am at a loss for words.
2002 - Run-DMC will never be the same. R.I.P. Jam Master Jay
2003 - I thought these wars were supposed to last six months?
2004 - R.I.P Mom (Never realized the Sox won year she died - she was spared).
2005 - This apartment is perfect. I can reach the fridge and the toilet from bed.
2006 - Saddam Hussein is dead. Not sure how I feel about watching it though.
2007 - Red Sox again? Woohoo!
2008 - Grandma, we have a black president! I know, voted for him. Wait, what?
2009 - What's this Facebook thing? I'm going to check it out for ten minutes.
2010 - Woohoo I should have health care in no time and I can fix my knees.
2011 - Wall Street looks like a fun place to be right now.
2012 - Apparently, intelligence is looked down upon from those on social media.
2013 - As a child, our parents would put us in a circle and watch as we shared our toys, laughed together, hugged and kissed each other and cried when we were separated. As we grew older and moved our separate ways, we laughed, kissed and cried as we said our goodbyes.  Now as an adult, I realize we don't laugh, kiss or cry together, because we've all become so self absorbed that the act of sharing emotions is foreign. I speak not only of my small inner circle, but of the world as a whole.  I hope I can write something better for 2014, but I know that it will only get worse. It's not pessimism, it's reality.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Free Writing - Take 30

Sipping the last sip of my morning coffee at a quarter to five. This is Ithaca life.  A nice life.  No motorcycles roaring down the road.  No sirens waking me at all hours of the night. No discourteous neighbors letting the door slam or having loud conversations outside my door.  The birds that woke me in August have gone south for the winter.  My move north seems almost apropos.  Going against the tide, against the grain, against the masses. The chilly air warms my soul.  Even today, the only sounds I heard were that of the sanitation workers, picking up the remains of Thanksgiving.  I love Ithaca's silence, because it allows me to think deeply. No worries about being disturbed and no self induced distractions.  I miss my kids, their laughs, but more so their stories.  I missed those who know me so well, ages 5-11, even better than those I call friends.  The six year old who knows my sarcasm all too well, yet people I know for 27 years are perplexed by it.  The five year old who tells his teacher's aide that his favorite day is Monday, because he gets to see Jon Hopper, yet my truest friends I see rarely, if ever.  The little kid who appears to be unable to focus on his tennis swing, yet gets better with each passing week, while those who sit next to me at the bar, seem unable to understand my thoughts.  The brothers who view me differently, one as fun loving and the other as a disciplinarian, fully realizing that I treat them in accordance to their behavior, yet my Facebook acquaintances can't fathom my reactions to their taunts or my nods to their acceptance. People will never understand why I've suffered to stay with those kids.  Being a parent isn't the same.  I get to watch these kids grow on their own.  Sure I'd like to think I play a small part, but the disconnect in our reality is healthy.  Unlike the one I've come to see between those I call, hesitantly, friends.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Things I Don't Have An Answer For After This Week - Some That Know The Truth Will Find This Funny

Sorry, I had to do it.  You guys know me, I'm an open book.  Since Tuesday or Wednesday or whatever day it took place, the feedback I've been getting (remember, I'm blocked, I can't "stalk") has been hilarious. The people who have jumped on the bash Hopper bandwagon are a collection of people I wouldn't piss on in a fire.  And the one's who have made comments about this person have done so privately and without any contempt.  They truly feel sorry for this sad person who obviously got so much more out of our debates than I did.  That being said, I'll miss the banter, when it was kept on topic, but this person always made it personal, then ran screaming and crying when the personal attacks were rebutted. Despite his religious claims of holding no anger in his heart, anyone who read his posts, especially his comments on web pages, knows he is filled with hate and rage.  I on the other hand, do not believe in God, do not believe in this internal goodness in all and I'm sitting back loving the fact that this act (of his) has left him so disoriented.  As he was apt to do, he would repeat my pleas to him, thinking he was being clever, but I mean it when I hope life turns for him and he can find that happiness he's obviously not getting from the places most of us turn.  I sincerely mean that, but hey, it's me, so I'm going to have fun with this while I can.  Sorry. If anyone views this as petty...you don't have to read it, but just realize all my comments, my statements and my (haha) "threats" were reactions, not actions.

If someone is proven wrong by the same person over and over, with empirical, historical, scientific and mathematical data, does it make them correct if they one of their best friends "likes" it on Facebook.

If someone threatens you and you ignore them, but then when you tell someone else who is friends with the one who did the threatening, is that a threat?

If someone unfriends you on Facebook, then bashes you ten seconds later, but adds the comment "I heard he's been slandering me" does that instantly make that person classy?

If the person who bad mouths you gets high praise from people who are addicted to cocaine, who can't spell and who are part of religious cults, does that mean their words hold more weight than say those who are on your side, who choose the high road and don't comment or like?

If someone whose occupation relies on the ability to do math properly, but can't understand basic mathematical data that you supply them during a debate, is it wrong that you choose not to refer your friends to them for business?

If someones religious beliefs contradict the meanings in their religious books, yet they preach about your ignorance, who is the one who is ignorant?

If someone says they only stayed friends with you because they believed you were suicidal and then they unfriend you, does that mean they think you are healed?

If someone tells you how miserable you are and how happy they are, why are they the ones not smiling in pictures with their families during wonderful moments, yet I smile even in times of stress?

If someone tells you the only reason you debate people is to boost your ego, yet they are the one that starts the debate, is that a riddle or a conundrum?

If someone says all you write is lies, then why would they bother with you for so long?

If someone claims to have an IQ of 130, yet doesn't know the basic concept of the argument THEY brought up, would you believe that person?

If the person who unfriended you writes things with such malice and cheers on those in agreement, but you speak about it with laughter and sarcasm, who really lost out on the "friendship?"

If someone likes the Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys, shouldn't we just feel sorry for them and accept that there is something wrong with them?


Black Friday 2013 - A Reflection Of Society & Many I Know

In my entire life I've never wanted a gift more than time with my family during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving.  Even the thought that one of my family members would give up free family time to wrestle for toys, clothes and other items, slightly sickens me.  Throughout my life, I've been very happy for all that I've had and never wanted for anything more.  I've wanted to give more, but never once have I craved an item to fulfill my life.  Not even as a child.  When I was younger, I asked for one thing every year.  A new Nerf football.  That was my Christmas/Hanukkah list every year.

While glimpsing at the news on my phone and reading of bomb threats, brawls and alleged shootings, it saddened me that in my brief life, the world has become such a materialistic place.  Every morning Facebook sickens me with pics and posts of engagement rings, new cars, vacation spots and other shows of decadence, while millions can't even put a tuna sandwich and a salad on the table.  Clean water is a luxury for so many humans on this planet, yet I'm inundated with demands to donate to the life of a dog.  When did we become this way?

On Thanksgiving and the following day, now dubbed Black Friday, I passed by no less than five homeless people.  The frigid air made my heart sink as one older gentleman pushed a shopping cart along the side of a long road.  Where was he going?  Was a turkey dinner in his future?  What was his story?  It truly saddened me to see this man with all his life's belongings fitting into a tiny cart, while others threw punches over an Xbox.  Kids are getting dumber. They are growing up with health problems from lack of activity.  They lack the life and social skills required to survive and more and more of them will end up like that poor man on the side of the road.  Where was his family? 

Poverty has always been a problem in this country, but with the increase in size and the lack of jobs, it's becoming overrun with those in need.  For the past two or three years, I've gone without gift giving.  It pains me to spend money on a "thing" when the meaning of the season is togetherness.  I don't pretend to suffer this time of year.  I'm warm, I eat well and I enjoy it thoroughly, but experience and age has made me realize that a tangible item isn't what happiness is about. It's not what anything is about.  Religions of all types ask us not to covet materials, yet those who call themselves devout smother themselves the most.  They ask us to give of our riches and help those less fortunate, yet in our capitalist society, we've lost that mindset.

Black Friday came and went. Many, including those I call friends, joined the masses.  Many did not.  Many viewed the charade for what it was.  Many spent quality time with those who they've been too busy to do so with.  Many traveled home from Thanksgiving celebrations and others just played games and sat around and enjoyed each other's company.

Maybe I'm being reflective too early, but it's funny how those who have turned against me over the past year or two all have one thing in common.  They are all controlled and manipulated by the almighty dollar.  They all claim to have Jesus in their lives, but know not the meaning of his words.  They all also have put me down for my lack of greed, wealth and accumulation of items.  They brag about their dinners out, their shows, their cars, homes and their wonderful jobs.  They all, without exception, have asked me to compare myself to them in the way they see themselves and then belittle me, but they are all empty.  They all have the same things lacking.  They lack the same closeness I have with my immediate family.  They take for granted those members and make excuses for them.  They see their material life as a symbol of success, but I know these people and they never smile.  They never take joy out of the little things in life.  Their lives are consumed with comparison and envy of that one thing that can't achieve. 

This year, I'm thankful, I'm not like any of them.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quickie Review - Bullhead

The description on Netflix was very misleading, but despite the sometimes muddled subplot, the movie is powerful beyond expectations. Matthias Schonhaerts is magnificent as the brooding lead. His scenes spent alone are chilling, especially those spent in his inner sanctum, a bathroom equipped with as mini fridge. The entire story is really about three characters plagued with inner demons caused by one horrid event. One it has changed so drastically he becomes the one thing he never wanted to be, one fights regret and her disdain for the men she views as animals and the other fights cowardice, with possibly another hidden secret. The pain they each feel is displayed perfectly. The subplot that attempts to tie the movie together waivers at times, but it is just a vehicle to allow the real story to come together. The devotion Schonaerts showed the role was amazing and shines through. The film is also beautifully shot which adds so much to the picture. While the subplot sometimes masks the real story, it's definitely worth seeing for some incredible acting.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Insomnia Isn't Just Not Sleeping

Insomnia is dreaming while you're awake.
Insomnia is dozing off for seconds that feel like forever.
Insomnia is hearing the hum of the refrigerator like a marching band's drum.
Insomnia is feeling your eyelids
Insomnia is the painful awareness of time
Insomnia is fear of schedules.
Insomnia is heightened sensory perception
Insomnia is thinking about the phone bill 30 times in 30 minutes.
Insomnia is having that mistake played over constantly.
Insomnia is knowing how often you pee.
Insomnia is constant thirst.
Insomnia is pain, itchiness and general discomfort.
Insomnia is the neighbors dog, cat or late night footsteps.
Insomnia is worrying that even if you do fall asleep, it won't be enough.
Insomnia is never being tired, but never being awake.
Insomnia is what keeps you going, until it tears you down.
Insomnia is waking up in a strange place, only to find it is home.

Quickie Review - Frances Ha

I grew up with Noah Baumbach during the 4th through 8th grade and have enjoyed his vision. His realistic dialogue, captures the characters insecurities, their strengths and their quirkiness. It's easy to dismiss Frances Ha as another hipster love story, but that would be to dismiss Miss Gerwig's incredible performance. To call her a lovable loser would also be dismissive. To give up on your dreams, even more importantly, what brings you happiness, just in order to "be an adult" is heartbreaking. Gerwig is so effective and controls every scene with the mastery of a seasoned vet. Three scenes stick out, but the ATM scene was masterful. Her expression, her defeated look and her resolve, took a moment in everyone's life we take for granted and makes it a major life decision. Amazing to see a nuanced film with such incredible performances from relative unknowns.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Been A While

Almost a month since my last blog. Haven't really been feeling it recently. Don't want my reality to be misconstrued as negativity. The reality is that life's getting harder to deal with. The physical pain is causing mental pain, more in the form of anxiety. Sleep is once again foreign, unless some serious sedatives are in order, but that is causing its own issues.  I'm treading water, but the weather seems to be getting worse and the waves getting bigger. Staying afloat is more of a chore than a mission, or act of survival.

With movies, my kids and a smaller handful of friends than usual, I keep my ahead above the tide. Sometimes it seems useless as the inevitable is bound to happen. I find solace in knowing those around me are well, or at least better off, but they need to be. Others count on their strength and survival.

The walls I've talked about pressing in seem tighter. The metaphor isn't really one at all, as the space that confines me seems more like a cell than a home these days. I sit outside now, gasping for air, waiting for the next hurdle. We all have them, I've just let them accumulate like some crazed outdoor maze.

Will the cheese be at the end or will I find myself lost? We'll see.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

World War Z - Quickie Review

The Zombie apocalypse is upon us. The genre has been shoved down our throat so much that we're numb to it. Brad Pitt taking his turn intrigued me, but what more could be done? Well, think of 28 Days Later minus the boredom.

WWZ is fresh. It's fast. It's fun. For me, that is all you need. It's pure entertainment. The metaphorical BS is left Archie door. The world is doomed and one man is trying to save what's left, but really, he just wants his family
safe. The close up zombies are few and far between, but the masses are plentiful. WWZ doesn't try to duplicate any other film. It is different and that is what makes it special. It does steal an idea from other movies, but almost in the reverse way and it works. While I normally seek substance, this won me over with style. Two hours of carefree style!

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Four Days As A Dog Owner

I've always loved dogs.  I had a Siberian Husky as a child and when she had to be put down due to biting someone, I was devastated.  I also love cats and have always had cats in my life, but when my father's cat died last year, that was it for me, other than my brother's dog.  I've been contemplating a pet for two years now and almost committed to a cat, but then time away from home put a damper on those hopes.  Last week, my sister in law asked if I would be willing to stay at their place and take care of Roman. I accepted.

Roman is a huge, black Standard Poodle.  He is one of the friendliest dogs ever.  When I first walked into the apartment, I heard him barking.  It was about 5:30AM and I wondered how good of an attack dog he might be.   I opened the door, said hello, let him lick my hand and then tried to get a few hours sleep.   Within seconds of me getting into bed, he left the living room and laid down right in front of the bedroom door and stayed there until I got out of bed.  I got up, we went for a walk, I fed him and we became instant buddies.

Four days later, my back is hurting almost as much as my hip from all the walks, but I had a great time. We walked, talked, played catch, laid down together to watch TV (Don't tell his Mom that I let him on the couch) and ate meals together. Well basically, I'd feed him and before I could get one plate out he was sitting,staring, looking for a carrot stick or anything else.  I didn't want to break any food rules, so he received one or two carrots two different times.  The funniest thing was sleeping. I don't sleep much, so when he heard me, he'd usually get up and be ready to go or play.  Today I slept a little later and our normally schedule 8-8:30 walk was interrupted by my snooze.  He laid in bed, not making a sound and watched as I walked into the bathroom and back into bed. He waited a good 20 minutes and then came in, stretched, made the noise he makes to let me know it's time and we went out.  I appreciated his patience.

His patience is another thing that amazes me.  We spend so many day, sometimes years, getting used to those around us, but it took him four days.  The first day, he pulled me around and my inability to walk really slowed his pace. He sometimes wouldn't pee or poop and the one day I let him off the leash in a yard, he wouldn't return to me.  During this last walk, as I opened the door and sent him to the front door.  Instead of running down the stairs, he waited, only stepping as I did.  Mimicking my gimp.  We walked and for the most part he stayed at my pace.  Instead of wanting to continue as we walked to the front of the house, so my grimaced look and slowly walked the stairs, waiting to continue.  We went up and he waited patiently for his dinner.

I realize that I will miss him dearly.  I'll look forward to Thanksgiving when I see him again (hopefully sooner).  I'll miss our walks, our playing and his head laying on my leg.  I'll miss that unconditional appreciation that only animals and babies ever show is. I don't think I'm ready for a dog.  I don't think I could mentally handle leaving someone or dragging them with me every time I go somewhere.  Familiarity is an awful aspect of human life, but it's so important to animals.  It's not fair to be honest, to either species.

My days with Roman confirmed something that I always knew.  Love is inherent, but hate is taught. Saying I love him means nothing.  Just like saying one is good means nothing.  It's our actions, that prove our worth. It seems to me that my life seems to be about gaining the trust of children and animals and receiving love, respect and admiration in return. I'm poor financially, because that's all I want from human too.   Money means nothing to me at all, but unfortunately, no bill has ever been paid by love, respect and admiration.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Secret Honor - Incredible Richard Nixon Portrayal

Secret Honor is Robert Altman's adaptation of a play which starred and stars Philip Baker Hall.  It is a one man show that shows a shattered Richard Nixon, drunk, maybe even insane, attempting to come clean on everything....everything in his entire life.

Please ignore anyone, who in downgrading this, refers to Hall not resembling Nixon or to the movie being a monologue.. It actually improves the tale..The entire screenplay adaptation is about presenting the mania caused by Watergate. How because of it, things that were always common became taboo and how this "new" media aims to destroy.  The film also adds to conspiracy theories, but also states much of the common knowledge both parties hide. It is both a condemnation of Nixon and a sympathetic look at the cog in the wheel who was cast out. Brilliant on so many levels.

A few things that amazed me, when finding out when this was made. It speaks openly of candidates being taken from Hollywood and formed by the media machine. It tells of how money controls these parties and not the candidates.  It also makes clear the same money controls both.  When watching it, keep in mind, nobody even wanted to even speak of Nixon. The timing makes it brilliant if you're old enough to remember that era.

*****

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Karma

I read more Facebook statuses about karma than almost any other topic not related to one's kids and pets.  Karma is the most overused and most incorrectly used term out there today.  Just could you drove your daughter's friends to the movies and had to sit through two hours of One Direction, doesn't mean you are in for a life of pedicures and back rubs. That's not the way it works.  Karma is one of over twenty aspects of the Buddhist belief as to why your life is the way it is and very little of it has to do with this specific life. You may have been a wonderful being in past lives or you may have been a tyrant.  One thing that should be known is that if you really read into it, bad promotes bad and the cycle continues.  It's Buddhists way of explaining the inequality in the world.  Much like other religions use faith and the afterlife as a tool.  In Buddhism there is rebirth, so karma when used by a Christian, Jew or Muslim is about as silly as it gets.

Here is the other thing. Sit back and think about your life.  If you're pointing to that one thing you did for a friend and they didn't return the favor, so you out them anonymously on Facebook, are you really a good person? If you are doing good things because you want something in return, you are not doing it because of your wonderful personality, you're doing it out of selfishness and wish recognition and reciprocation.  This is almost as silly as this new "random acts of kindness" bullshit all over the Internet. If you think about it for weeks and need to tell the world, it is in no way random. 

In the past 10-12 years, I don't think a week goes by that I don't do twenty things for others with absolutely no reciprocation, yet I'm not looking for it.  Sure, when I moved into my apartment nine years ago and the three people I had helped two or three times each, weren't around to help, it bothered me.  Was it karma?  Have their lives turned into some pit of hell? No, they are all doing much better than I.  So in a past life, maybe I was Idi Amin or Hitler and this is why my life is so miserable, right?  Nope, the things that happen to use happen because of chance.  I love the people that gripe about how they work hard and I don't and that's why they have a great job and I don't.  So explain to me how you're on Facebook seven of the eight hours you're at work and you work hard that other hour?  Come watch me run a class, a camp or watch me when I had an office job.  Yes there were down times, but you didn't see me on social media ripping other people's "easy" work schedule.  Will karma catch up with me or with them? Absolutely not.

Stupidity is karmic in a sense. I know a lot of stupid people.  You know what?  Their parents are stupid, their grandparents are stupid and their kids will most likely turn out stupid.  Doesn't mean they are good or bad, it just means that they are genetically transferring a lack of intelligence and it was transferred to them.  Ooh, did I insult someone? Well, guess what.  You can fight this.  Just because your parents were failures in education, doesn't mean you have to be.  Oh, but they started a business and it's successful?  Excellent!  Job well done. Doesn't mean they are smart.  Three of the dumbest people I know make three to four times what any of my other friends with PhD's make.  Is it karma that this happened?  Is it hard work?  No, it's neither.  It's chance, opportunity and many times a shit load of luck.  It's also the life path we've chosen and how we've handled the bumps in the road. 

I could sit back and blame a million things for why I am where I am today.  All could have multiple reasons.  Some my fault, some others, some life and some chance.  You know what it has nothing to do with? Karma, faith, prayer, or any other useless thing that does nothing but to excuse one from the responsibility of their own actions and that dreaded word, fate!  We all know complete wastes of space who have excelled in their lives and we know good people who have suffered.  To be honest, I know more drug addicts, adulterers, horrible parents and connivers who do well than I know good people who do well.  I know more stupid, selfish people who never helped those around them, but had personal success than those who did for others.  Selfishness has its merits.  It is a valuable tool that people use to promote self worth and if you're willing to let those around you suffer to reach your goal, well in many ways, you're a better person than I am.  You have an intestinal fortitude that I don't possess.

Nobody will read this who posts about karma anyway, but the next time you're going to wish bad on someone else based on your past life and your present life's actions, you might want to learn what you're talking about first.  Then skip the rhetoric. While you're at it, donate some money to a charity. Pick a group of people you despise and make their lives better.  Who knows, I could be wrong and your next life might be grand.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Review - The ABC's of Death

Every once in a while a movie comes along and the premise is brilliant.  That doesn't always spell success, but usually when you have an idea like the one posed to directors in this movie, you'd think it would be at least a minimal success. Well minimal is the key word. 

The ABC's of Death is a collection of 26 vignettes directed by some up and coming names in the horror business.  Each one was given a different letter of the alphabet and told to make a movie.  In case you want to see the movies, I don't want to give away the titles, because that is part of the allure of the movie.  The secret words, while in alphabetical order, aren't revealed until after the short is finished. This is actually quite effective, because it makes the viewer think about the word a bit while watching.

For brevity's sake, I'll break down the scores and the number of films that received that score.

1- 11, 2- 3, 3- 2, 4- 5, 5- 1, 6- 2, 7- 0, 8- 0, 9- 1, 10- 1
As you can see the list is very bottom heavy, with an average score of 3. That being said, it is worth seeing for the first four segments, which I had averaging over 7, including a 9 & 10.  One has every single aspect of horror and suspense wrapped into five minutes and the other is just a brilliant reversal of what you think is going to happen from start to finish.  The two sixes are the first segment which is just somewhat shocking and a very sexual towards the middle, which is so visually stimulating I gave it credit for that, even while the idea is lacking and the horror aspect of it, a little bothersome.

Overall the movie is pretty terrible, but if you get a chance to see A, B, D and O, you'll be pleasantly surprised.  Especially B&D.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Quickie Review - La Jetee

I will give nothing away about this movie, so do not worry about a spoiler other than a reference to the movie it inspired.

I have taken a film class, worked with a director, spent vast hours studying film and yet this eluded me until Friday evening.  A friend mentioned this to me a while back and I was skeptical, being I had not even heard of it and I'm not a real fan of the Sci-Fi genre. I'm blown away.  Despite not liking 12 Monkeys (for which this film was the inspiration), I will now have to see it again, because of this film.

What amazes me the most about this film is that I knew exactly what the ending was going to be within the first few seconds of the film and none of it mattered. The film is almost entirely still images, which did a magical thing; It allowed us to make our own movie within the pauses, the fades, the darkness.  The narration leads us, but it is us who creates the full picture.  It is us who is taking the journey.  Aside from the one full motion shot, which lasts all of maybe two to three seconds, I was amazed at how much it felt like a regular movie.  That one shot however was exhilarating.  I can't explain it. Definitely one of the best shorts ever and without a doubt one of the greatest sci-fi films, despite being a mere 28 minutes long.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Worst Movie Ever Candidate - Rubber

So the writer/director spends a half a million dollars to prove that the average movie audience is stupid?  He could have saved time and money by just filming an audience watching any of the recent superhero movies or the top rated televisions shows. Yes, I got it, so please don't think condescending thoughts about how the movie was to clever for me.

What truly bothers me is that this could have been a borderline brilliant movie had it actually had some direction.  Had the people not been poisoned by died of starvation waiting for something to happen.  Had the silliness of the mass killings not occurred. Had some of the actors stepped out and some remained.  The bottom line is that the Duplex wanted to offend the viewer's lack of intelligence, but his lack of vision and skill did nothing but offend our senses.  An utter waste of time and energy.

Free Writing - Take 29

This will be a short one because it's almost 4am and this is the latest I've been awake in a long time. I had gotten myself to a pretty good schedule, but with one terrible flaw.  I've been napping at the same time I'll soon be teaching.  Three meals alone again and I forgot how much I hate it.  Dinner was awful.  Rushed, ill-conceived and added flavors that didn't meld together.  I look forward to breakfast or brunch tomorrow. Today made me realize some things about Facebook. There are some truly shattered souls out there. Smiling pics, quotes from the heavens and little jokes to mask the pain.  What about those that don't mask it. The one's who put each and every one of life's obstacles on for everyone to see?  I worry about them, hope that it's all for attention and not a cry for help.  I feel like the Internet has become a hotline that nobody answers.  I find it even funnier, although appreciated, that people don't get what I'm doing.  It shows the intelligence of most.  The ones that ignore and talk behind my back, they are the dumbest of the bunch.  Speaking to those who tell me everything.  Then there are the ones who like to follow.  The ones who comment to keep tabs. The ones who insult, not realizing I know more about their lives than they know.  There are the ones who embrace, who get it, who smile, who laugh, who mock. The small circle of people who know what IT is all about. Today was a weird day.  Movies, sleep and math.  Scribbles of paper with numbers and lines.  One could break into my apartment and find tons of them. The Unibomber without words and without bombs.  Statistics and theory blowing up in my brain.  Impressing nobody, but satisfying my own curiosity.  Imagine if I had been born earlier and had the math degree.  Had the insight to write it all down first.  I was a boy, but I was figuring the same. One man makes millions with the same idea I arrived at years ago.  He gave it a name, I call it scribbles.  A winner derived from the boredom of one.  This all seems like babble, but it makes sense to me.  I can't wait to feel the cool sheets on my feet and hopefully think about nothing.  Last night I thought about others, thought about life before.  Smiled and cried.  Slept and awoke, to the same feeling I felt years ago and will feel years from now.  Wonder. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Free Writing - Take 28

It's later than I've been staying up since the last few nights. At least it feels like today has been longer.  The first day spent almost entirely alone and in over a month and it made me realize how lonely I've been lately.  Sure I have friends and I appreciate them, but I don't have anyone to say goodnight to, so wish my sweet dreams or to wake up and converse with each morning.  It's a lonely existence living alone.  Sure the quiet and the lack of restrictions is nice at times, but there is something about being able to chat over a meal that I miss a lot.  Today marks a somewhat painful anniversary of sorts.  Not really an anniversary, but an epiphany that was forgotten and never really recognized.  Nothing has changed in two years and I'm a lesser person because of it.  This isn't a pity cry or anything like that, no, it is merely a realization. I have cut ties with many and ironically one of those ties said hello recently.  Too late, too tired and a dying phone battery made a connection impossible, but then, awake the next  morning, I didn't return the last text. I messaged someone else from my past.  The last few days, I've somewhat embraced pain, both mental and physical, both the past and the present.  Pain has become part of life.  Age, experience, weathering of one's soul.  Call it what you will, but pain reminds us we're alive.  Pain reminds us of better times and allows us perspective.  Three months ago I had hopes for certain things and I'd given up on others.  I've given up on many more, but I have new hopes.  To call them dreams, means they will never come true, so I'm apprehensive.  I want to do so much when I return, but that little green item which makes the world go round is out of grasp for many weeks to come.  Parties, games, maybe even romance, all put on hold, while time creeps up from various directions.  Looking to sink it's teeth into me or at least my wallet.  Debts increase, money decreases and with it, opportunity.  Ah, to be able to start fresh, how nice that would be.  Well, I time myself on these and I have but a minute left.  I will miss the taste of haddock in a golden fry, the tangy tartar and the cold Chardonnay. The paprika sprinkled rice and the cool evenings.  The sounds of two glasses clinking and the sounds that remind me that there is something better that awaits. I hope.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Movie Remakes We Need To See

I normally hate remakes and if it's from something I love, there are times when I refuse to watch the remake, no matter who is in it.  Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is a perfect example of this.  I also don't like when I see remakes that aren't credited as remakes, because the writer/director completely stole the idea.  Take Hunger Games for example.  Anyone who watched it knew immediately it was an expensive rip off of the brilliant Battle Royale.  Then there are the remakes which actually work, like The Jason Statham version of The Mechanic, which stays true to the grit and violence of the original.  So this got me thinking about movies that either failed the first time or could benefit from some modernization.  They could also be made simply by pure inspiration from the original, but lacking any real ties.

The first movie that came to mind was the mid-80's horror comedy, Night of the Comet.  It starred up and comer Catherine Mary Stewart, who never really made it big, but is "that girl" in a ton of movies you've seen.  Basically it's an end of the world movie, with two girls trying to survive and figure out what is going on. As we all know those rarely work, but with the current infatuation with zombies and some pretty good movies representing the genre, this would be a great time to do an updated, scarier version.  I could definitely see this as a great vehicle for two lesser known television actresses, but would love to see a serious twist with Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning.

An incredibly underrated movie from the 1950's is The Incredible Shrinking Man.  One could call the movie a horror film, because of the ongoing battle with a spider and the obvious fear of wasting away to nothing, but the movie is really a spiritual awakening for a man who needs to feel all is not lost.  Actors who can command the screen without  a co-star would be great for something like this.  My first choice would be Kevin Spacey, but one could go older with Bill Murray or younger with someone like Jamie Foxx.  I don't think the movie would play well with a very young pretty boy.  Another option would be to cast a strong woman like Jodie Foster.

Gilligan's Island is a classic TV show, but if one was to really take a look at it, stripping away the humor, it could make for a great social commentary on class warfare in today's world.  I'm imagining this as a British film. Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson as the Howells, Michael Fassbender (yes I know he's German/Irish) as the Professor, Emily Blunt as Ginger, Emma Watson as Marie Anne, Ray Winstone as Ray Winstone playing the Skipper and Daniel Radcliffe as Gilligan. I would envision this as more of an adult Lord of the Flies.  With this cast, anything would work.

I have a few other ideas, but might have bigger plans for those???







Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Texas Hold'Em Craze

Like most people I watched some nobody named Chris Moneymaker win the World Series of Poker.  Unlike most people, I had been watching the World Series of Poker since it's days at Binions when guys like Amarillo Slim, Doyle Brunson, Stu Unger and a young Johnny Chan were in their heyday.  Edward Norton in Rounders was not my introduction into the "sport."  That being said, I had never been in a tournament, but when I got my first invite, I jumped at the opportunity.

My first tournament was a fundraiser. A five table shootout. Eight men started at each table and played until there was one winner who would get their $100 back. Then the five single table winners would play until there was one winner and the winner would receive $1000.  I dominated my single table and actually was the player who knocked out all seven of my opponents.  We sat down at the final table and within about twenty hands it was down to three of us.  I was second in chips and laid back while the chi leader bullied the other guy into 3rd place.  Now, with an aggressive opponent, I knew I just needed to get lucky. I caught a pair of Jacks on the first hand post flop and went all in.  He called with an Ace high and I doubled up, but still had less than half the chips.  We went back and forth, trading blinds, until I got lucky and took over the chip lead.  It wasn't two hands later he went all in with a small pair and I called him with A-J suited. I caught an Jack on the flop and he could only win with trips, which I caught on the turn, clinching victory.  First tournament in, up $1000.

I then started playing in a weekly tournament which was nine guys, who would play two single table tournaments.  It was $50 buy-in with payouts of $250-150-50.  We actually kept track and after about eight weeks, I was up about $1100. The game eventually grew to about 14 guys and went on for a few months.  Then we heard about a tournament in Yonkers with about 70 guys.  Eight of us went and paid the $100 buy in. This tournament was a little different in that you could re buy for a half stack for $50.  There was one interesting wrinkle. You could pay for the extra half stack to start the tourney.  So I did the obvious thing and bought $1500 in chips.  When I sat down, only one other player had done this.  We dominated and soon, there were only three tables of nine left and I had about $15,000 in chips.  I coasted into the final table and sat down with $18,000, the chips leader with $30,000 and the other seven had an average of about $6000.  It was pretty funny, because of the 70 people involved about 62 of them knew each other and then there were the eight of us, five of who made the final table. The top five got paid and unfortunately two of my friends missed the cut, one who I knocked out.  I was fortunate, I made it to the final two.  I went in a severe chip leader to one of the cockiest assholes on the planet, but he got very quiet when I flopped a straight and slow played it to death, while he raised and raised.  Within five hands I had won the tournament and $3400.  By the end of the year, I had been playing Texas Hold'em nearly every week for 16 months and was up roughly $6000. The following year, in weekly $100 and $50 games, I managed to stay ahead about $3500 and the third year about $2200, thought I had limited my play to once a week.  The fourth year I was only playing once a month and the level of play in this tournament was pretty low.  I won money, but it wasn't much and for the year I was up a few hundred.  My love for the game was deeply affected, because i knew the game was no loner a game of skill, but one of luck.

One night, with no interest in playing, I got talked into a game. I sat down and opened a beer.  The cards came around and someone made a ridiculous opening raise. $10,000 in chips, the blinds $25-50 and this person makes it $1000.  The person next to me makes it $3000.  I look at my cards and see KK.  I immediately think they both have A-K and figure I'm about a 75% to win, but know if no ace come on the flop, I'm almost golden. I make it $6000 and the first guy folds and the second goes all-in.  Of course, he has aces and knocked me out the first hand.  I got up and left.  That was April, 2008 I believe.  The last time I played poker in a tournament.  I can honestly say, I have no desire at all to play poker. 

I won way more than I ever imagined and it actually paid for a lot of things.  I played in other big tournaments and I've won other big prizes, but the game takes an incredible mental toll on you when you play it the way I did.  I started to realize that what I loved about the game was that it wasn't a game of chance, but a true test of skill.  When I started sitting down with guys who didn't understand the complexities of the game, it became a game of luck and that's when I became disinterested.  I will admit, I played one game since...with six good players.  I won. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Comment About Every Post On Facebook Over The Last Four Hours

I'm bored and I need some writing practice.  Instead of my free writing, I'm scrolling back to 8PM and I'm not going to write what the comment was, just a one or two sentence comment on the status updates, links and memes.  I'll leave off the ads the generator posts by pages I follow and keep it to people.  And no, this isn't going to be all negative, haha.  If you actually looked at Facebook a lot this evening, this is about how exciting it got....

Beautiful letter from one beautiful sister to another.
A weather status. Shocking.
Another weather status, but this one was funny.
Soccer, I have no idea who that is.
Hope your dinner was excellent.
Someone thinking Assad is controlling Obama?  What?
My friend's weekend plans.
Seaside heights fire. Sad.
Bunch of girls taking pics during dinner.
Someone's family watching a game.
Hey I posted that earlier.
One word status that makes no sense.
Hilarious new car woes.
Weird picture.
Advertising a business.
Hyping a band I can't stand.
Someone posting something to get a reaction.
Dammit, I'm missing this.
Pandering for replies.
Hottie watching football.
Awwwww that's adorable?
Yowza! Best view of the day.
Some of my friends drink a lot more than me.
Frustrated reporter reporting yesterday's news.
Pet Woes
Kid Woes
Friend reaching out
More old news
Cool pics of space
More booze
Sentimental stuff.
Ugh, don't you know when nobody likes it, nobody reads it?
Drunken dinner?
People sharing actual ads? Huh?
Cute kid!
Yom Kippur
More News nobody cares about
A bible verse which I had to look up, Exact opposite of how this person lives.
Who bitches about the refs when their team doesn't play and isn't a gambler?
Yankees fans rooting for the Red Sox....never catch me doing that.
More Seaside sadness.  Nobody commented on Boulder.
Me explaining my lack of interest in a movie - riveting.
More seaside.
More old news.
Why would you show missing kids pics when your friends are nowhere near?
Animal shelter
Fundraiser
Weekend plans
Weekend plans
Weekend plans
A recipe....looks gross
More seaside. The fact Sandy hit isn't a coincidence, it hit the whole northeast coast.
Weekend plans
Old school pics
What I did at work that isn't remotely exciting to anyone that doesn't work with the person.
Yankee fan whiners.
Church stuff
Shout out to a friend. Very nicely put.
Daughter
Video
Meme - not funny at all
Seaside, yes we know
Artwork
Me being a wiseass
Me bored posting singers
Me bored posting a picture
Gym stuff (wow first one).
Crazy Train...and not the song
Jet fan screaming
Jet fan happy
Friend talking about something I'm clueless about
Friend posting link about something I'm clueless about
Look another 15 pics of the same thing
Inspirational meme
Me trying to make people laugh
Meme
Meme
Meme
Jet fan making fun of the Bills (they are playing the Patriots)
Jet fan going ape shit
Friend letting us know what he's doing, if you get the joke.
Yankee fan waiting til game is over to mention Yankees
15 more pics
Cute pic of daughter
Happiness
Complaints
Someone wanting everyone to know they are happy

and this is why I love Twitter






Thursday, September 12, 2013

9/12 - A New America

Well, yesterday was one of the more painful days on social media. Everyone telling everyone else how they are doing patriotism wrong and how they bleed red white and blue. It was about as patriotic as a cross burning if you ask me.  First I woke up to about 30 pictures of the towers, reminding me about a day that I really hate thinking about.  Do we dig dead people up and parade them around once a year to seem more noble?  No, we remember them, shed a tear and we do it in our own way, privately.

I got into a twitter war with some ass hat who kept telling me about the 800,000 bikers in Washington who were shoving it up the Muslim's ass and representing the United States of Fucking America!  Then the person told me to suck some dicks because I laughed at what I thought was a man (the name was Dan).  After cursing at me, calling me gay and some other stupid shit, she told me she was a mother.  I bid her good day and told her that I hoped her kid didn't end up to be a dumb twat like her mother.  Yeah, sorry, but I had to stoop to her level to shut her up, because she wasn't understanding the big words.  By the way, this was all over the fact that I questioned the number of bikers when I read that the entire march was a mere 1/3 of a mile long and in double file, this could only have been a few hundred bikers at most.  I read something from a DC resident that it was no more than 3,000.  And many of them didn't ride, because they stayed back to harass the 20 Muslims and revved their engines during a moment of silence for those whose lives ended on 9/11.  Classy!  This isn't a reflection of all bikers mind you, but pretty much those who rode in that anti-Muslim march.  It should also be noted that there were quite a few accidents....drinking and driving?

As I read Facebook and scanned Twitter, it dawned on me that about one in ten people were posting because of their personal sadness.  They were almost all posting to get a like, a comment or appear better than others.  The highlight of the day was the Towers, wrapped in a flag, with an eagle crying blood.  Patriotic?

It really struck me how angry my friends were.  Many commented on political or satirical threads with anti-Muslim, Obama or anything not American remarks and some were vicious.  The memory of that day is still vivid, but what has happened to the world, especially this country is lost.  We're no longer a true super power.  Sure, our military expenditures dwarf the rest of the world.  Our firepower is unquestioned, but what about our moral fiber.  We've never been more split on issues in our nation's history.  9/11 is a great indicator of our divide every year.  As one friend put it, "it's the scab we keep picking, never allowing it to heal."  This is so true, but we revel in this.

Some might read this and see me as anti-American, but that couldn't be further from the truth.  I'm as pro-American as they come, but I'm not proud of what we're becoming.  I don't like the hate and I do a hell of a lot more than most to stop it.  I stand up to the uneducated and ignorant bullies on social media.  I stand up to them in person too.  I use facts and intelligence, which used to be deadly weapons in debates, but they fall on deaf ears.  Now it's how you tell the information and it's substance and validity mean nothing.  If you can tell your story and it seems feasible, you can sell it as fact. Or you can do what some of my more dimwitted friends do and just ended your sentence with the word fact!

Yesterday, I thought about 9/11/01, but I also thought about my street in Brooklyn and I went down the street. Male, female, rich, middle class, poor, French, German, Colombian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Greek, Black, White, Chinese, Cuban, Republican, Democrat, Independent (when it meant something), Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, multiracial, multi-religion, atheists, straight, gay, bi, asexual.  This was all within one block in Brooklyn. This was what this country was. We watched over each other and we loved each other, for no other reason than we were neighbors and we shared one two things in common.  We were New Yorkers, but more importantly, we were Americans.  On 9/11/01 we were all Americans, but ever since that day, this hasn't been true.  At least not in the way I knew it before.




Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Obsessive Reader Who Never Reads

There is no question I fear more from intellectual types than the dreaded literary question, "What are you reading?"  Among certain people, it is always assumed that you spend your evenings, curled up on a couch, a snifter of brandy by your side, with thin-rimmed glasses set atop the edge of your nose, completely immersed in some classic novel.   Sadly, I haven't sat down with a book in many years.  It is, among others, one of my biggest regrets.

Despite have a plethora of spare time, I just can't keep fixated on one subject.  I make excuses constantly, claiming bad lighting, no comfortable seating or an acute case of adult ADD.  Two of these three claims can be easily proven, the other is probably something I have had since birth, but luckily was born in a time where it wasn't stigmatized.  I've always had problems with reading.  Not the actual act, but the act of sitting still long enough to actually read something.  I claim also to be a slow reader, but many who have handed me items, don't believe it to be true.  My father just handed me a three page section of a book written by Patti Smith, where she talks about her time with the poet Jim Carroll.  I could go on and on about this, but what I found was, I was soon ten pages in and the clock had barely moved.  Interesting writing captivates me and makes me lose sense of time and space, which is a wonderful feeling.  I remember reading Delillo's White Noise in one sitting, albeit an 11 hour sitting.  I attack books like movies, but soon realize that I could watch six movies in the same time and these stimulants will take me in six different directions and I generally choose this method of escapism.

I recently took a quiz on "classic literature" and was shocked at how much I had read, almost all during my younger years.  A few weeks ago, a good friend told me they were somewhat amazed at how much I read.  I looked puzzled, but they explained that while reading my rants, responses and diatribes on Facebook, they realized that I had researched all the topics I was commenting on, citing sources and displaying an incredible memory for multiple topics.  They asked me to do a little test.  To take a day and count the pages I had read.  I didn't even know how to go about this, but I did anyway.  The final tally at the end of the day was 256 paragraphs.  I don't know how much that is in comparison to a novel and I don't know if that would be considered a lot, by the every day reader.  That is how little I know about reading.

I enjoy reading, but I get bored easily. I am constantly starting books, magazine articles and other written works and putting them down before I am finished.  I usually do so, simply because I am no longer interested.  This is why the works of someone like Stephen King disgust me.  Get to the damn point already!  I love reading short stories, poems or critical essays.  Things with a clear beginning, middle and end.  I also need the writing to make me visualize.  I hate photographs and drawings in novels, because I need to be able to make the story my own.  I love dissecting each line as I read, trying to see where the story is going before it does.  I have become so adept at doing this in movies, that the twists that become that of legend are usually a ho-hum experience for me.  This doesn't mean they aren't enjoyable.  It actually pushes me internally to one day sit down and do it myself.  I just need that spark of inspiration, because I realize how much of my writing is shit.

I rarely sit down to read a novel anymore and this is one of my personal demons.  I might die without ever reading the classic not taught in our educational system.  There may be an uncomfortable silence, from the person who always has an opinion, when the topic of literature comes up.  I will try and change that, but for now, I'm too consumed knowing everything there is to know about two thousand different topics and while some might have to do with pride and/or prejudice, I will be silent when one comments or questions anything pertaining to the Austen novel.  I might have grown up in a different time, but I have succumbed to the 140 characters or less generation and I'm not entirely ashamed.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Best First Day of School Ever

With all the pictures being posted on Facebook of friend's children going to their first day of this grade and that, it is making me slightly nostalgic.  The first day of school is an interesting one, because depending on the situation, there can be various emotions battling each other.  For most, there is a thin line between excitement and fear, something that most people try to recapture as adults, but never quite grasp that feeling of the adolescent butterflies that we fear and welcome all at once.

My best first day of school was fourth grade.  I was entering a new school and a revered school.  I had finished second grade in June of 1978 and had taken a test to get into a prestigious private school called St. Ann's.  Despite its moniker, it as not a religiously affiliated school.  At the time, it was the best school in NY and in many eyes, the best in the country.  It was far from a normal school and I looked forward to fitting into the school where not everyone had to fit in.  My bets friend was going there and while that had a calming effect, it wasn't exactly as it seemed as there would be a huge change.  Was I ready? Would I be eaten up and spit out? Would I be scared?  Most of all, would I be able to handle it?

Not three full months after finishing second grade, I was entering a much more difficult school, so there was pressure.  The fact that I was skipping third grade and entering fourth, made it all the more nerve-wracking. I remember walking in on the first day and seeing all these unfamiliar faces. I was the new guy. Most of the students knew each other, but as I soon found out that wasn't a big deal.  What scared me the most was my schedule.  Yes, unlike most schools, we had a schedule and it wasn't the same every day.  Classes were on different floors and while most of my classes were on the fourth or fifth floors, I did have science on the 6th and Gym on the 12th, music on the 11th and art across the street.  Yes, this was 1978 and we all walked unassisted from one building to the next.

My first class was language structures with Bob Swacker, a thick bearded man with small thin-rimmed glasses.  Mr. Swacker explained that my skipping a grade would be a problem because I was expected to write in cursive and I hadn't learned.  So now, on top of being a year younger and starting a new school, I had to teach myself how to write in script.  Something, I fully admit, I still haven't mastered.  Penmanship aside, I loved the class. This was followed by Global History, also with Mr. Swacker within the same classroom.  There was some sort of break between the first two classes, maybe a homeroom of some type, I don't remember, but then it was off to gym.  The weather was nice, so the gym class wasn't held inside, but at a park, about a four minute walk from the school.  Most of us ran.  Upon return, I went to my locker, grabbed my books and it was off to math class. Then there was something I hadn't experienced before. A free period.  They called it study hall, but the reality was, I was free to roam the school at my leisure.  By then, I had made some friends and they showed me where things were.  After lunch, I headed off to science, music and English (not to be confused with language structures). Then it was back home, where my mouth went a mile a minute as I explained my day to my mother and father.

They sat in great confusion and puzzlement as phrases came from an eight year old's mouth that made them question the money they were spending, that they didn't have, to send me to this school or reputed prestige. 

"There are 12 floors and we walk to the park by ourselves."  It should be noted this was a big ordeal the following year, with the much publicized disappearance of Etan Patz. "We have 'free' periods." "We share the school with kids from Kindergarten to 12th grade.  The 12 graders even have a room where they can all hang out and smoke, inside the school." "My English teacher invented a bicycle you sit down and put your feet out to ride.  It's like a lounge chair with wheels." 

And then came the one comment that would floor my parents and change my life and view of education in many ways, even today.  "Mom, Dad, there are no grades."  As someone whose only fear was being able to compete on an intellectual level, the idea that I wouldn't be graded, in comparison to other students was a weight lifted that you could not imagine.  What we did receive were well documented and incredibly descriptive evaluations detailing all of our strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes they came with no weaknesses at all, but for the most part, they always had just enough to keep us working our hardest.  It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me and it changed me.  It made me realize the work was the important part and not the rote memory. That the performance and actual use of intelligence was more important than merely having it.  When I left St. Ann's and returned to the public school system, it hurt me, because I was not expected to use what I had learned, just basically regurgitate it.  This to me wasn't learning, it was institutionalizing. 

As I look back on that day, I remember the best part about it.  It wasn't a single teacher or friend that I met.  It wasn't anything I wore, nothing I read or anything I heard.  It wasn't any sense of pride or feeling of accomplishment that touched me.  It was the most simple and at the same time, most complex feeling I'd ever felt.  It was the knowledge I would not be judged on one test, one paper or project, but on where I ended up and how I got there.  Each of my five years in St. Ann's was a unique journey, with no A, B or C to change the path I was on.   There was no feeling of grandeur from a 92 or feeling of despair from a 79.  Those 13 points wouldn't define what type of student I was or who I had become. It was a paragraph, maybe two at the end of each semester, which stated what we excelled at and what we needed to improve upon.  Imagine if every kid were to be judged on what they can do and what they need to work harder on and they never were told that they are 17 points from being perfect or seven points from being satisfactory.  It was then I gained an appreciation for education and knowledge, but it was then, I know now, that I began a life of cynicism in how we judge ourselves and others.  That day was nothing but optimism and the sometimes false pretense that we can achieve anything we put our mind to, as long as we're constantly told we can and that no letter or number will ever define us. 

Do I believe that today?



Friday, September 6, 2013

My Ten Favorite Sporting Events - You Might Be Surprised

OK, this list isn't individual events I have been to or I'd have to include my brother getting his very first hit in little league as one.  Nope, this is the ten yearly (or close) events that I look forward to.  In reverse order.

10. Opening Day of Baseball - there is something about that five month wait that makes that first pitch extra special.

9. The Super Bowl - Despite the hype, the game is rarely as exciting as it is advertised.  Obviously, if my team is in it, this jumps up.

8. The Kentucky Derby - Name one thing you can lose money, get drunk and the best part is over in two minutes?  Scratch that.

7. Sunday at the Masters - Usually this is the best day in golf and has had some truly surprising results over the years.

6. The NHL Playoffs - doesn't matter what game, it's all the same to me. Amazing intensity for every second of the game.  Too bad the regular season sucks.

5. Any Game 7 in a World Series (Or Divisional Series) - Two best teams. Usually two great pitchers and usually drama.

4. The NCAA Final Four Championship - From tip to One Shining Moment, it's one of the best things in sports.

3. Breakfast at Wimbledon - The Men's Final on Sunday morning.  It is almost always two of the very best battling for three or four hours.

2. Any Red Sox/Yankees regular season game (when both are in contention) - The greatest rivalry in sports captivates me even when they aren't close, but when they are, it's magic.

1. The First (Two) Day(s) of March Madness - 16 games in twelve hours and then they do it again.  It's arguably the only time I'm ever completely uninterested in anything else going on in the world or directly around me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Building Intensity: The Shining's Unsung Scene

Despite Stephen King's claims that he doesn't like Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of his novel, the film version of The Shining is arguably one of the greatest horror films of all-time.  What separates The Shining from most other movies is it's ability to inject the horror slowly.  Unlike Jaws, which notifies us with music or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which fills us with dreaded thoughts, The Shining scares us with the Jack Torrance's slow decent into madness.  Scenes are carefully constructed to bring us to the incredible finale, but it is one scene in particular that completes the movie for me and it's not what you think.

The entire film demonstrates how desolation both physically and mentally takes it's toll on the main character.  As he withdraws from his wife and son, he allows the demons inside himself and the hotel to overtake him.  When he finally goes after his wife and son he is completely insane. In the most memorable scene, Jack goes after his wife and bashes the door she has locked herself behind in with an axe.  As he attempts to open the door she cuts him with a knife.  It is at this moment, a noise saves her.  Fast forward about five minutes and Jack is chasing his young son through a snowy shrub maze fully intending to kill him, only to find his own demise.  This all plays out perfectly, but the real gem of the movie is the scene that is sandwiched between these two more known masterpieces.

The scene of which I speak is built in clips through the previous scene, where Halloran senses Danny, the son is in danger.  He jumps on a plane and then somehow reaches the blizzard buried hotel.  The viewer realizes that this trip is both spontaneous and long.  As Halloran enters the hotel, he walks down a columned hallway, calling out for anyone that might answer. As he reaches the end of the columns, Jack jumps from behind one of the columns and buries and axe into Halloran's heart. This causes Danny, who had been silent until now, to scream and run from his hiding spot.  An insane looking Jack, rises into the screen, his expression one of sheer madness. It's a simple scene, but to me, it is the scariest scene of the movie, because there isn't a second we don't know what is about to happen, but when it does, it's pure magic.

If you're interested in watching the full scene, from the point Halloran enters the hotel, click on the youtube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD2KWPMsPUE

In most movies today, the fear invoked is one that catches us off guard or in the case of some foreign films, overwhelms us with violence or gore.  The brilliance in Kubrick's film is that even a simple scene like this, is built so perfectly with subtle movements, that the viewers find themselves leaning forward, bracing for the inevitable.  When it happens, it's all the more frightening.  It's a scene that will always stay with me for it's brilliance on every level.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Stop Trying So Hard People

School is a time for kids to not only learn, but to find their niche.  To find out who they are.  Usually they find a group of similar people and they find their comfort zone.  As adults, they stay with that path and it defines not only them, but who they end up with and how their children turn out.  This is pretty much the way it's always been.  Sure there are some who change religions, jobs, social setting and locations, but for the most of us, the trip isn't that exciting.  For most, it's somewhat defined by our surroundings.  I'm guilty as charged, so I'm not judging.  Not happy, but not judging.

Here's the problem.  Facebook!  Facebook has turned people who have always been one way into uncontrollable animals.  With the advent of Facebook, people who were completely happy in their own lives, now crave the unknown.  Everyone is jealous of everyone elses job, marriage, house, vacation spot, hobbies and social life.  It's an absolute clusterfuck of emotions, set off by (for the most part) lies.  You would think a daily snapshot into people's lives would make it more difficult to hide the atrocious lives many of us lead, but with a little subtle comments and maybe some photoshop, you can turn the regular into the spectacular.

I'm sure Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" will play in the ears of the readers, but here are just some examples.  There are the chronic spouse applauders. Praising their husbands or wives for being the best this or that and the most thoughtful people ever known.  Wasn't that you I overheard telling me about the impending separation last week at Stop & Shop?  Oh, you're wife is your "rock?"  Guess that woman I saw you with two towns over is your paper, because everyone knows paper beats rock.  Your husband is best, then why are there no pictures of him with your kids, it's always you and your parents?  Just asking, sorry to offend.

So you like to work out, jog, do obstacle courses, practice yoga, do kickboxing and eat healthy.  So do a lot of people.  You know who most of them do it for?  Themselves!  Not for Facebook.  You know why?  Because nobody and I mean nobody cares.  I have friends who teach yoga, teach MMA, teach kickboxing, teach sports, hell, I teach sports.  You know what I don't bore people with?  Telling them about it.  Nobody cares.  Sure, if you cook something delicious, a picture is great, but I don't need to know you jogged 2.67 miles in whatever time, because you had a slice of cheesecake.  Nobody needs to know that shit.  Nobody cares and if you're doing it for others, you've failed.  I know people who have had liposuction, gastric bypass, the ring thingies and they have lost much needed weight and they look wonderful.  They now workout. Good for them, but please, stop the preaching about a healthy lifestyle.  If I could afford non-essential surgery to make my fat ass skinny, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  You know what I'd post on Facebook.  Look at the miracle of vacuuming fat out, now let's hope my love for red meat and lethargy doesn't lead to a serious weight gain.

Also, you people who are too old to still be mesmerized by live music.  Get a grip.  Twenty-two year old skipping responsibilities to frolic in the sun, while listening to their favorite indie band is cool.  If you're 30+, you need to look at this as anyone else with reality based depression. This is why people watch TV, read, go to the movies.  Your obsession with this or that band at a certain age takes on a slightly sad tone. Oh and if you're doing this with professional wrestling at the same age, we need to have a sit down.

While I realize the reason for Facebook was never to have political debates and arguments about child rearing, it might be interesting to note, it also wasn't meant for people to promote their businesses and their religious beliefs.  It wasn't meant to be a help wanted sign for every lost animal to walk the face of the earth.  It was meant to share ideas and thoughts, so that is fine, but if you have an agenda and it's based on ideas other than your own, you might need to find a group of like minded people to stroke your fragile ego.

If you're 40 and you're taking selfies, I'm going on the assumption you are looking for sex or you aren't getting enough attention at home. This goes for both men and women.  If you're "happily" married and you feel the need to get as naked as you can on the Internet, please see the OED and look up happily.  If you are young and single, please remember that you're being objectified by the contents of your photos and it's human nature to make assumptions, so don't be surprised if the bookworm thinks you're a slut or the intellect thinks you're a meat head.  Then again, I find, people usually find what they deserve.

People might say, who am I to judge.  They are 100% correct.  I don't deserve a position of superiority and I'm not looking for one.  I do however don't want you to unfriend me, harass me, curse at me, block me, badmouth me or any other attack just because I call a spade a spade.  If you make yourself look stupid and ask me why people are mean, I will tell you.  Many times, I'll tell you before people are mean.  Also remember, just because friends liked your picture and told you you look nice or told you to have fun, doesn't mean they think you're the cat's meow. 

Stop trying to be something you're not.  Act within your age range. Remember if you're young those drunken photos might cost you a job and if you're older, they might make others perceive you have a problem.  Remember that meme you posted about deadbeat welfare receivers might make your white neighbor in a half a million dollar home laugh, but it might hurt the person you know going through a hard time, who needs those funds to survive.  Remember that your political views might be noble, but know if those politicians you're backing are as noble as those views.  Remember that what you think others don't see is very visible.  I've seen people who claim to be all loving bash religions, genders and races on what they think is a private page. I've seen people admit to crimes, who think they are telling a funny story. I've seen pictures with things in the background that went unnoticed to many, but could have ended marriages. I've seen people who never wanted their pictures on Facebook, plastered all over.  I see pages and pages of people not being who they really are.  Trying to either step into a world they aren't a part of or one they are jealous of.  I've seen those grasping onto adolescence, many years past the time it's acceptable.  I've seen people giving up their youth in an attempt to seem more mature.  I've seen lives being lied about and sometimes ruined, by others need to put every moment of their lives out there.  At one time, I did it with my personal life and realized it was not the way to go.

Here's the thing that bothers me most.  Every one of us is special in our own way.  We have something within us that is worth offering.  It's special though, not to be handed out daily, like some sort of party favor.  The thing that truly bothers me is how much acceptance people in today's world need.  I teach between 80-100 kids every year, it used to be more.  If I had a 100, I could have 99 pay me no mind, as long as that one kid said "thank you." If that one kid, told me I made a difference.  If that one kid, gave me a high five at the end of class.  For a very few, that is all it takes.  If you have a child of your own and they look you in the eye at night and tell you "I love you Mommy" or "I love you Daddy." Why do you need anything else, especially the approval of someone on Facebook?  Stop trying so hard and just be.