Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 64-65

Day 64: Why do people who always go to the same place say that they love to travel? I don't claim to have any love for travel, but I do like experiences. I like waking up in a new place, setting out without any list or brochure and just finding things. I remember, long before the internet going on vacation and getting into the car with my parents and not knowing where we were going, not sure when we'd be back and getting lost. Stopping for lobster or clams in a coastal town. Asking for directions, not to a town, to a destination, but to a highway. Sure we went back for a second summer, two years later and we went right instead of left and never once visited the same places. We swam in the same river at dusk and saw a few of the same faces, but the experiences changed every day, every summer. I've never understood how anyone can stay in the same house, in the same town, on the same beach, year in and year out and enjoy it as much as before? I did the Jersey shore two years in a row and while I had fun, I had no desire to return to the same area. It had run its course.

I'm not saying there aren't places we don't hold dear to our hearts, but I'd like to think it's the new people and the new things about it that brings freshness to these places we call special. I realize there are places that are truly second homes and this is different. I understand when sweat and tears have been dropped in creating a place away from home that has the same feel, but is that a vacation or a getaway? Going away with other people, you start to feel this odd sense that it's all deja vu for them and that transfers over to you. It slowly, secretly deprives you of that new experience and in some ways, it makes you realize that their happy place can never be yours. I know I've never felt as enthusiastic about the places others covet and I assume they felt the same about mine. Our desperate need to be content and continue routine binds us from letting go and experiencing. I have always hated that.

And so it seems that this is the case with home or what some call home. I've been mocked, teased and even "corrected" by some who never understand when I answer Brooklyn, when asked where I am from. Why it is so difficult for me to utter, Eastchester or Westchester when asked where I live. There has always been that hesitation. I wonder what it will be like for me, not having to say those words. Will those who are acquaintances with me, because of location, dismiss my friendship? I assume some will and some will miss me.

I never really want attention, despite my posts and my ranting on social media. I want to be noticed by a slight few and I notice them. I assume people think my motives are selfish, but those should know that I read as much as i can of other people's posts. I skip over the religious and political memes that are merely other people's words, copied and pasted or regurgitated, but when someone takes the time to share of themselves, I always take a few seconds or minutes to read it. Many times twice, if I want to comment. Sure, there are times when this sparks debate, but I want those people to know that I cared to comment, because I cared to read it. I always welcome comments, both serious and funny, critical and in agreement or just additions to my thoughts. So many who are indirectly my targets seem to take such offense and maybe I'm wrong, but a lot more people tell me privately that I'm not. So I continue. Well, for another month....at least. #100DaysOfHopper

 Day 65: Well, when I started this, it was in reaction to the completely fake people out there who do their "random" acts of kindness, their 100 days of "happiness" and the overall attitude of so many who are either, so blind to the world around them or feel the most miniscule events are catastrophic. Despite the public comments, I've been told some really nice things and on occasion, been told that I went a little heavy and made it obvious as to whom I was speaking of. I assured those people that the targets of my words weren't astute enough to realize and I'm sure I was correct.

I do find it interesting that the only time I received truly positive public comments was the time I pointed my opinions at myself. Something I do in private conversations all the time. So I may open up tomorrow a bit more and ask anyone who cares or is interested in knowing anything to ask me any question, as long as it doesn't hurt or embarrass someone else.

That being said, I do want to make one comment for today and if anyone finds offense, maybe you should think before you speak, act or continue your way of life.  If you do something for someone else, whether it be a loved one, a friend or a stranger; if you are called upon in a time of need, from any corner of your life; if someone entrusts you to assist them in their time of need, please remember that their call to you, you specifically, because of trust. I'm sure most do not wish for their woes to be shared on Facebook or even during idle chat. Your help, assistance, your care and nurturing means the world to these people. It is you laying aside your life, your woes and everything your world, to be the one shining moment of theirs. So when I read or listen to people's accounts of their wonderful altruism, great parenting and true friendship, I always listen or look for one word and I count. How many times does this person say "I" or "Me." Makes you wonder who all these heroes out there are doing it for and why, doesn't it? #100DaysOfHopper

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Free Writing - Take 47

I always laughed as a child when someone would say "read between the lines." It always sounded so silly. As an adult, I can't stand cliches, sappy metaphors and overused catchphrases. I think that is my daily struggle. My educated friends have mastered reading, even skewing the lines, but true intelligence is all about viewing what lies between. Not metaphorically, but literally. Today I saw a very long post, filled with self righteousness and pride. The likes piled up and comments of support came from many, especially family members. I sat and read, then read again and again. I read until the lines no longer mattered and what was between them shined through. Apology, guilt, excuses for not being the person one wants to appear to be. A fake, fixing his mask like it's Halloween. The facade is well known and well documented. The chuckles come from all sides, even those closest. So many who are quick to judge also fall victim to the charms of those who seem so sincere. I scroll down, to the innocently aloof. The one who needs so many answers to life's such arduous questions. The help comes in the form of support, relief, answers to questions where the answer isn't only known, but the next step has already been taken. The trap has already been set. The victims already known.  All a game, to feed that ravenous appetite for attention.  Scroll even further to find the philosophical damsel in distress. One night alone and her loins ache to be touched, but we all know, should one ever attempt such a frivolous act, the scene turns one of vulnerability. The pleading to be taken, quickly turn into accusations of use. Not abuse mind you, but use; friendship that has crossed a line that was never there to begin with.  They once were spoken, but now they are printed for all to see. The hope is not to snare one in her trap, but to get as many as possible. To parade around, like worthless dogs, to fulfill some twisted emotion where love is supposed to be. Who knows why we bother. Or maybe I shouldn't assume that it is a bother for others. Maybe they all share these desires, to be liked, to be noticed, to be admired, for everything they are not. I drift, away. Two hundred plus miles, so often returning to compete in this game I despise, only now, I quit.

Monday, July 28, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 62-63

Day 62: A Sunday, nobody will read this, so I can really get saucy on here. I could talk about my first sexual encounter or maybe that time I robbed a bank, got chased by cops and ended up dying while surfing the big one.

I think I'll talk about simple things. Like appreciating what you have while you have it. I don't think I did this much of my life, but now with Facebook, it seems so much more important. Sometimes while I'm making a sandwich, I truly stop and think about how for so many, that moment would be the highlight of their week. I sit and sip coffee on a cool morning and despite all my physical woes, I can stand up and hobble to the pot for a second cup, while others rely on so many others.

I don't want anyone to think this is meant to rain on anyone's parade, but when I see pictures of engagement rings, new cars, maybe even a new home, I wonder why it's posted. Sure, you've worked hard or you've found love, but shouldn't that be about you and the person you're sharing with? Why does the world need to see a tiny ring to prove that someone loves you. I know that I've never cared for a second whether or not anyone believed the sincerity of my feelings, other than the object of my affection. Why do I need a tangible object to prove this? Is that love?

I once had a car given to me as a gift. I put gas in it, turned the ignition and it took my from point A to point B. I spent $1800, including insurance on it over the course of two years. It has hear and A/C, a radio, I drove friends places when they needed a ride, I went to work and back and on occasion I went on dates and maybe even fooled around once or twice in it. So explain how your $70,000 car does more and why people need to see pictures of it?

I know I've rambled on about materialism, about needing to be accepted, admired and even adored, but is it really important at the end of the day? Is your life so empty that 40 pictures, depicting you and your beau or your children parading around some beach, being waited on hand and foot are necessary? Don't misunderstand, I like being treated well and even pampered on occasion, but I'm not taking a picture of the person doing so, asking them to mock enthusiasm so the world can see how much joy I bring. No, I thank them, tip them generously, often more than I can afford and hope they enjoy their time alone because of how wonderful they made me feel. It's between me and them, not the world.

We have all lost touch with what is important in life. Sure we can post memes or quotes, little blurbs next to pictures that say "best dad ever" or "happiness," but what does that mean? I don't know that love, happiness or family truly have clear definitions. I consider those people I think of when I'm joyful and wish they were there to share it as the ones I love. I consider those who are there for me when nobody else is as people who love me. I find those moments that make me forget my physical pain or the mental stress of my financial situation to be happiness. I find the ability to make someone smile, laugh or hold their chin up through adversity to be what makes me feel what others call happiness. I find those people, blood related or not (and mostly not), who I can't live without, to be my family. I find that person who has taught me a lesson I carry every day, to be a brother or sister, aunt or uncle. As a child, I had more aunts and uncles that weren't related than I did who were. They are the ones who helped raise me into who I am today. They loved me and I loved them, they brought me happiness and I did so in return and we both recognized that there was no science in our definition of family.

I try and stay true to my thoughts, so when you see a photo of some delicious meal, some beautiful sunset or a scenic view, I do not want envy, but I want the few who know the struggles I face, to know I'm OK and these pictures are of where and what I wish they were sharing with me at that moment. I just hope that one day I will. #100DaysOfHopper

Day 63: What I have learned from reading Facebook the past week. Sorry if you read this in it's entirety, I went off the rails a bit and called out a few people's self serving and excuse ridden, hypocritical bullshit regarding charity. Should have been done separately as to not take away from the petty annoyances stated before it.

1. My friends and their friends who are TEACHERS are as equally baffled as when to use your & you're as well as their, there and they're.

2. I never knew how many doctor friends I have and who participate in "bring your kid to work day." Six different friends lost their patients with their own kids this weekend.

3. Women who are married, living with someone or in a serious relationship who are left with no plans, wine and Facebook on a weekend night, immediately become the loneliest, most unappreciated, unloved philosophers in the history of the world. Guys don't post, so I'm assuming Call of Duty or masturbation.

4. We're all not photogenic (I am not for sure), so there's nothing wrong with taking a second photo before posting.

5. The same guy friends of mine who rant and rave about steroid users being cheaters and having no place in the game's history, all posted their praise for Joe Torre and Tony Larussa getting into the Hall of Fame as managers.  No two managers combined have managed more suspected or admitted PHD users.

6. There are some people who, even during the best of times, will sneak away to complain on Facebook about their horrible lives.

7. If most of my friends said God and Jesus as much in person as they do on Facebook, I'd probably let them meet them.

8. People that ask questions they know the answer to or could easily google are a) looking for attention b) trying to get other posts noticed c) really that dumb

9. Either the price of going to Yankees games went way down or I have some of the richest friends in the world.

10. Girls who work out....you look beautiful (so do you girls who don't), but when your jawline starts looking like Russian dude in Rocky III, it's time to stop.

11. Vegans....OK, this is going to be an entire future post and it's not going to be me babbling my opinions, it's going to be facts.

12. Unless you've been in Iraq or Afghanistan, nobody needs to check-in at home.

13. People that aren't normally "personal" posters who post something simple from the heart. When you do it and it's happiness, it's why I don't leave this stupid site.

14. If you post your max lift with a video, that shit is cool beans. If you post some random video you found on the internet of someone else working out, it's kinda weird.

15. If you're "feeling" anything and you simply post that on Facebook, please realize, I'm probably feeling a phone, a frosty beverage or a pillow...occasionally, my junk. Just so we both shared.

16. I know as well, if not more than most, that death is a fact of life. We never move on, but we move forward. I worry about some of you who hold on so tight. It's not healthy for you and especially not for those who need you.

17. Why is it when guys post drinks of their cocktails sitting on a bar, the comments read "drunk, faggot, go home," but when women do it, they read "you go girl, that's what I'm talking about, party!"

18. If you share 800 things you thing people might be interested and there isn't a single like, comment or share, it may be time to reexamine your friends or who you are trying to appeal to.

19. If there is a picture taken of three people and one of the people in the picture happens to stand behind the other two, this is not a photo bomb.  Now you know.

20. It's not insomnia if you can't fall back to sleep after four or five hours of sleep, one night a week. That's a bad night's sleep. As someone who suffers from it, it drives me crazy when people who get six hours instead of eight post that they have insomnia.

21. And yes this will sting a few. Don't call anyone out for anything you're not willing to do. If someone wants to question the merits of dumping a bucket of water on their head, instead of donating as little as $10, they have the right and they are right. The challenge, which didn't start in Pelham or Yonkers, but on the PGA tour, is a brilliant idea, but it's built on the pyramid scheme of 1 person getting three, then them getting three and so on.  The concept is, to get at least five levels. If there is no crossover, that tiny $10 donation adds up to over $2500. As per one news report, there were over 1000 videos for one of the causes and only $4000 was raised.  Sure money might be coming in as they did it, but it should be known that is pretty paltry. 

Ok, so you're the righteous fellow who is bringing attention to the cause, but are openly admitting you haven't and will not be donating, because your charities are more important. First off, about bringing attention. ALS has been around for over 150 years and gained great notoriety because of Lou Gehrig over 80 years ago. The NY chapter of the charity is a four star rated charity with over $3 million dollars a year in donations and fundraising. So it's not a secret if you even remotely pay attention to the world. As for throwing in comments about your own charities while "supporting" another, that's just tacky. Especially when it's preaching about a cat or a dog over a human life.

I used to donate tons to the American Cancer Society, until I found out that less than 60 cents of every dollar is spent on the helping. So excuse me if I don't want to donate directly to one of my 20 friends who are always posting pictures of their charity's organizational nights at some fancy restaurant. I'll check charity navigator and when I see yours posted as a legitimate and open-booked charity, highly rated charity, I'll dump a bucket of ice water on Christmas morning on my head and donate $100. For now, I donate to the best food bank in New York, City Harvest and the only cancer research fund that donates 100% of it's donations to charity, Jimmy V Fund. As not to be a hypocrite, I too made a donation to the http://www.als-ny.org/  And not to sound like a complete jerk, but I've watched 71 videos dedicated to one family and 43 to another. Not one link to a charity on any of them (If I missed it or couldn't hear it, I sincerely apologize). #100DaysOfHopper

Saturday, July 26, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 60-61

Day 60: I don't know what has me more worried, women who care about the movie 50 Shades of Grey or the ones who publicly admit to mentally demoralizing themselves by reading all three of the novels. This has nothing to do with the content, because Erotica is the number one selling genre among female readers. Yes, us dopey ass men can't visualize sex in our minds, which is why our idea of romance started with an ice cream and the backseat of a car. Women like to be mentally stimulated, which makes the whole 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon even more disheartening. Not only was it poorly written and poorly edited, it's not even the least bit erotic to anyone with higher then a fourth grade education. I mean how many times can someone repeat "my inner goddess," before any self respecting woman throws the book against the wall?

Listen, I myself read quite a few excerpts from this piece of trash, just to see what it was about and I can honestly say, I got a bigger boner from Free Willie.  And no lie, just the title, because I'm a guy and we think with our dicks. Seriously, even that shitty movie stimulated my grey matter more than this written diarrhea and that is saying very little.

If you're into this kind of novel and would like to see a film version to get your minds and loins going where your significant other is failing, may I suggest watching The Secretary, 9 1/2 Weeks, Body Heat, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Lady Chatterley's Lover, The Lover, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! Emanuelle or the American remake of Jean Luc Godard's classic Breathless. All are much more cerebral and are sure to stir your obviously dead libidos. #100DaysOfHopper

Day 61: I've tried to not make these little commentaries about me or directly call out anyone in particular, but that might change a little.  Well for today, at least.

When you were in elementary school, you were taught things you didn't know, by someone you assumed knew the right answers. As you grew older and school became more of an exploration, you were asked to go an do research on your own, formulate your own thoughts based on this research and then prepare them in a written document which would later be graded based on its accuracy, originality and how insightful it was. So why has that method of learning completely stopped?

The majority of my "friends" are between the ages of 25-55. Now this is a large age group and I've posted this age group for a reason. My younger acquaintances, many no more than single digit ages, are inquisitive. They are handed a problem or asked a question and if they don't know, they immediately look it up online. They use a number of clicks until they are happy with the results and then they proudly represent their findings.  My friends who are older, use tangible text, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries and other text, to formulate some sort of answer that they believe to be complete and factual. This is how it is done my friends.

Posting completely erroneous information, found from a source that is completely biased in one direction or another is lazy. Posting quotes from other people, without checking its authenticity is also lazy. Posting meme and video after meme and video of something you believe to be true, without ever checking it's factual orientation is no lazy, it's ignorance.

Last night, during a discussion, I had a conversation about the difference between education and intelligence. Years dedicated to one topic doesn't promote intelligence, it promotes knowledge in said topic, that is all. Well rounded intelligence is the ability to not only retain knowledge, but the ability to search and attain more knowledge on any number of subjects. Education assumes that you did this, but who knows whether you did enough to get an A or just enough to get a D. Who knows if you have retained all or any of that information and we haven't even thought about whether or not the information has changed since you were learned about it.

One night, while I lay in bed, my boredom was overwhelming. I thought about this very topic and here's what I found. Over fifteen data filled "facts," with sources. Only two were accurate. Seven quotes, only one accurately showing the correct author and the actual words he had used. This was my favorite. Eleven Bible quotes with comments below written by the OP or their friends. Not one, not a single one, understanding what the quote meant or the context it was written in. Lazy, uneducated or ignorant. I'll leave the people who posted them to choose their own labels. Like I said, I don't like directly pointing at one person for the failures of so many. #100DaysOfHopper

Friday, July 25, 2014

Simple Questions

Whenever I am up in Ithaca, I get to truly relax, but I also get to reflect. This time has been much different, because I have some serious questions hanging over me and they are and will continue to have an enormous impact on my life. Those questions will not be asked on this page. What will be asked are questions I've found myself asking based on what I'm seeing from the world from afar.  I do not have answers I wish to share at this very moment, but they are things I will share in the future.

If the world were to become blind, would your perception of beauty change?

If a mother/wife who is surrounded by her family, continuously claims to be alone, are they really a mother/wife?

Is it normal to rarely grieve?

Think of the five people you know who have the most education. Now think of the five people who are most financially successful. I'm assuming right now, you have pretty much the same list. Now think of the five most intelligent people you know.  Any matches?

Maybe I'm naive, but isn't maturity simply knowing when to stop always looking for something better and enjoy ALL that you already have?

Is there anything more sad than someone whose primary reason to better themselves is for someone else to notice?

The most counter-productive invention ever is the snooze button, but is there anything better in the world than having someone say "just five more minutes" when you're cuddling in bed?




Thursday, July 24, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 58-59

Trying to keep it light, because of because of what today means to me. We'll see how long that lasts.

Day 58: Keeping it light, because of the heavy mo(u)rning. A few thoughts to get you through the struggles of life. I will admit that a few of these are adapted from other people's jokes, but I tried to make them original.

Remember:

It takes just one moment to show someone how much you love them, but indecent exposure charges vary by state.

If you have a teenage son, hand him a Capri sun, if he's drinking that bad boy in less than five minutes, it's time for "the talk." If you have a daughter and her boyfriend can, might be a good time to tell him about that time you stabbed a man just to watch him die.

The next time someone tells you that Facebook is stupid, bring up that time they were busy feeding their tamagochi.

I'm 44, so this goes for people my age.
Showing someone you care: 
1974 - Card
1984 - Candy
1994 - Flowers
2004 - Jewelry
Today - Not looking at your phone

Why do people who always start sentences with "No offense, but..." also always say "Only God can judge me?"

Finally, if the person you say gives you the most happiness in life, is also the person who gives you the most pain, it might be time to reexamine your definition of happiness, not settle for less of it. #100DaysOfHopper

 Day 59: Too soon, too far, too much, too... Ah, this is the private response I get to most of the things I want to write on Facebook, but don't.  You know the true irony of people who say "F*** Political Correctness?" They wouldn't like it if people pointed out how uneducated, racist or completely wrong they are.

Something is taking the world; just kidding, lower Westchester isn't the world, but people in it believe so or so I was told by a non-resident last night. On the outside it appears to be harmless and positive, but it takes for granted and adds to our completely oblivious attitudes towards real world problems.  Every day I see this and that cause which the world around me embraces, but the big picture is always out of site. The research, the devotion and the benefit is all irrelevant as long as we all have fun and are amused. Sorry if I'm sounding self righteous, but those who truly know me, realize my barbs are rarely for my own benefit.

I'm not saying we shouldn't have fun and we shouldn't enjoy the fruits of our labor, but when does waste become more than fun? I could bring the political angle into it, but I'll refrain. I had planned on writing something else, but this kept popping in my head and it just came out. Today, I saw something for about the 70th time in three days. It was done in the name of charity. Then I read about three quarters of a billion, with a B, not having clean water to drink. It made me not feel so badly about not participating and definitely made me refrain from apologizing for it. Sorry if my selfishness is offensive to others, but the ten people I offend, I do in tribute and out of respect for the 12.5% of the entire world who doesn't have a voice or a choice. #100DaysOfHopper

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why Are Parents So Stupid?

I love reading social media and seeing all the comments about a variety of topics regarding parenting. This parent is going to let their kid do this and this kid isn't. This parent thinks it's OK for their nine year old to have a cellphone and this one doesn't. This one thinks it's too early to have "the talk" and this one is a grandmother. It's fucking ridiculous. Who are you protecting your kids from anyway?

Other places in the world, kids know about antisemitism at four and are ducking bombs, because they are Palestinian at three. Some are even dying. There are kids in our country who see fat kids at school eating donuts and slurping down soda, but don't understand why they haven't had a meal in two days. There are kids that see dad is in jail or mom has a black eye and they figure this stuff out.  So why do parents in suburbia think their kids can stay so pure?

Everyone knows the average kid in the suburbs spends half their lives on the phone or computer, so if they want to find something out, they will.  Oh, you don't want your kid to stay out too late, because it's dangerous? For whom? It's your friend's kid selling or doing the drugs and you have no idea sitting and having cocktails all fucking day at the pool, then driving home, so why is it dangerous? Oh my kid can't read this book, because it has dirty words, sex and violence in it.  Yeah, well look in the mirror at the people in their lives, look at their backgrounds and ask yourself who the real demons are.

I think parents have lost touch with reality. You know what everyone's greatest fear in life is? Being Googled, because in today's world, anything that happens stays on record. Sure, you might have beaten that murder rap or rape charge, but the reality is, that people can still find this stuff out and with comment sections and the tiniest bit of digging, people can find the true story. This is also why adults on Facebook and Twitter really need to watch where they cast their stones, because a little computer savvy and the right connections and your skeletons might be making a Walking Dead appearance on social media.

Let's protect our kids from real evils like racism, prejudice and illiteracy.  Let's make sure they accept people's differences, realize we don't all believe in the same god, if any at all and that education is important. Let's teach them right and wrong and not just our definition, but reality's definition.  Let's show them through our actions and our convictions how to live and learn. I know more people who think they are doing the right thing by their families, but don't even seem to realize the person they need to protect them from the most, is the person protecting them from living.

#100DaysOfHopper Day 57

Day 57: There is nothing I get a bigger kick out of than people thinking their Facebook persona isn't really them and that people don't know the real them if they are basing it on status updates. When people come up to me and say "Hey, you're the opinionated, liberal-minded, insomniac jackass who thinks he knows good food, likes to party too much and is having problems with his landlord. Oh yeah, you also like to call everyone on their shit, but more often than not throw your own ass under the bus from time to time, aren't you?" i say, you missed "Die Hard Sox & Broncos fan, musically insane, honest to a fault, terminally lazy and suffering from more aches than you can imagine." They go, "hey, nice to meet you....please don't write anything about me you dick!" Then I tell them I can't make any promises and inevitably write about them without them realizing it's about them.

So here's the deal all you caped crusaders; what you put down for the world to see is you. If 90% of your posts are about your job sucking, we assume your job not only sucks, but the misery it causes is spilling over into your social world. been there, done that, it's nothing to be ashamed of. If you value materialistic things more than peace of mind, you'll continue down this path, develop stress related disorders and eventually die young from some ailment you didn't see coming. Don't worry, none of your misery laden Facebook posts will be included in your eulogy. We'll do what we always do and forget that you were an alcoholic womanizer and talk about the great dad you were.

Listen, if you go to an event and you post every six seconds and complain about everyone around you, we're assuming you're not there to see the band or the team, but to let people know that your life isn't as sad as it seems online. Sure we're completely tricked by your smiling selfie, but your obsession with getting a picture of the fat fan singing the wrong words or sleeping at the game, tells us you're really not that into the same thing the other observers are there for. And when there are more posts about the commute to and from the arena than those retelling of your experience, please spare us the philosophical babble about it being about the journey. We all know you'r(e) not that bright anyway,

I know more about people's real self from Facebook than I do from real life. When I sit and listen to someone call another every name in the book and then two hours later see that they are best friends, hanging out at some random meat market on a "girl's night," I know more than any words in person can express. If I spent five years hearing about someones despicable behavior and see you arm and arm with the caption "best person ever," please save me the explanation when we run into each other.

There are people out there and here who truly do not like me, because I have no problem calling people on their shit. In return, I expect nothing less from them and let me tell you, it's liberating to have someone say some of the shit a few of you have thrown my way. I take it personally and it makes me better, whether it's positive or negative, as long as it's true.

So for all you people who think this Facebooking is silly and doesn't matter, I suggest you go back and delete the five straight days of boss bashing, husband hating and magnificent friend MF'ing, because people read it. As I told you once before, a complete stranger made an education diagnosis of my life a while back and she was on the money. She hit a bulls eye and said that my negativity over a given weekend had changed her view of me and she wanted to distance herself from having to see it, because she liked the person she knew and wanted to keep it that way. We parted ways, but still comment on each others tweets from time to time and their is no animosity. You know why? Because she based her feelings on the only thing she knew and that's what I chose to share. And she was right. #100DaysOfHopper

Monday, July 21, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 55-56

Day 55: Never put off what you must do, but never choose what you need to do before doing what you want to do. If you are ever granted the opportunity to do that which makes you happy, regardless of whether or not it means delaying what needs to be done, grab that opportunity. Some will use the excuse that they are suffering now so they may enjoy the fruits of their labor at a later date. Now is guaranteed, later is not. Happy Sunday. Enjoy! #100DaysOfHopper

Day 56: Water parks, theme parks, specialized camps depending on the sport or fad of the moment. Beachfront condos, oceanside resorts or gated communities. Instructors, teachers and so-caller directors. By plane, by boat & sometimes a limo. This is what constitutes a "normal" childhood summer these days.

I wouldn't trade what I looked forward to for anything in the world. Sure, I went away and we did the vacation thing. Bacon and eggs, antiquing, hikes, museums, swimming in the lake and a game of catch. Dinners, sunsets and falling asleep to the tales of Robin Hood and his merry band. Fun, but nothing compared to what we all really looked forward to on those hot summer days.

Out the door at 8am and didn't return til 6pm. All day, every day, unless it rained. Then, and only then, it was off to the movies and a slice at Queen. How childhood expectations have changed. #100DaysOfHopper

Free Writing - Take 46

Lately, I've strayed from the format of giving myself a time limit on these.  So tonight, I'm giving myself exactly three minutes and then I'm stopping...no matter what or where I am.

The last three weeks has been spent in deep reflection. Relaxed and soothed by good food, great company and more sleep than I'm used to, I've been able to free my mind of what ails me, but the reality is that it is only multiplying. There may be changes on the horizon. Monumental changes in regards to my life, but they aren't all the changes I want. There is a realization that loneliness and depression are going to increase and that terrifies me, being that I'm not in the right place emotionally to take on that burden. That being said, I have my family and I have a minute group of friends, especially one, who has been there. I am excited about moving on, but I greatly fear it may be two steps back or more, before that step forward is taken.  I am also conceding victory and for me that pain is real. It's not in my nature. There is no battle to lose to win a war. This is a lost battle and a lost war. I just hope it leads to a rebuilding of some....time

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Things That Are True No Matter How Much You Hate It

Here are some some lame, some obvious, some startling and some things you all should know to be facts that most don't. The first two are strictly my very strong opinion....the rest are facts that can be confirmed by research.

It is becoming very hard to support Israel while it continues bombing Gaza.

The state of American television & radio is the worst it has ever been.
One in four Americans believes the sun revolves around the earth.

Quinoia's popularity is decimating farmers and the environment in Peru and Bolivia.

Pretend the number of Facebook friends are the US's population. Divide that by six and imagine six of your friends going to bed hungry every night. That is the state of hunger in the US.

Since World War II, the national debt has risen by 4.8% per year under Democrats and 8.2% under Republicans.

The average 16.9oz bottle of water sold in America is 2000x the cost of the same amount of tap water and twice as much as a gallon of gasoline.

Obesity has risen steadily by state nearly every year since 2005. Facebook started in 2004.

And finally,

Statistically speaking, Derek Jeter has been 85% effective (based on his career averages) over the last 20% of his career. Sorry, had to.





Saturday, July 19, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 54

Day 54: Do some people just completely ignore their friend's posts? Complaining about a minor problem that happens to you once in a blue moon, that others struggle with every day of their lives, isn't only nonsensical, but somewhat inconsiderate and selfish. #100DaysOfHopper

Day 54: When I was a kid, the best pizzeria in Brooklyn was right next door to an X-rated movie theater. The place had posters everywhere and the titles were raunchy as one would expect. Romancing the Bone was my favorite as a teen. Nobody thought twice about this being offensive, because it wasn't anything odd or unnatural. Today parents go ape shit if their kids see a pair of boobs on screen. Which probably leads to their kids having odd thoughts about the opposite sex and leads to fears and misconceptions, which in turn leads, most likely to sexual dysfunction and misogyny. We all know what that can turn into.

When our generation was younger we played with fire crackers, lawn darts and sneaked into parks, pools and lakes to go swimming. Sure at times we crossed the line, but there was never malice in our actions. Today, kids are so repressed that when "forced" to go outside, they end up in trouble. It seems to me that this new wonderful style of parenting, where you know where your child is at every second and you know everything about their lives is hindering not only their independence, but their creativity. Kids all dress alike, talk alike and act alike. I see it in my friend's kids and I see it in the children I work with. Individuality is being so suppressed that kids hate being themselves in every way, for fear that they will become social outcasts. It is so bad that even their parents, regardless of their denial, all seem to dress alike, talk alike and act alike. They pretend to like the same things as their neighbors, for fear of rejection. Gossip and bullying doesn't only happen between children.

When did the world become so afraid of being itself. I'd much rather spend an evening talking to individuals with varying thoughts and ideals than a group that shares the same feelings, true or portrayed. I might be a know it all, but I do know kids and sometimes not being the parent is as valuable as "knowing my kid." My parents knew me and many of our parents did and that knowledge was never shown more in what they didn't try to control as much as, if not more than, what they did. #100DaysOfHopper

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hesitation

You ever want to write something, because you really can't put into words what you're going through? I wrote one blog about my apartment and deleted it, because I worry my words of anger might come back to haunt me. I wrote another about a situation I'm feeling that I deleted as not to anger someone I care about. Yet another was deleted as not to embarrass or compromise my relationship with someone. Lastly, I deleted a fourth, because it didn't seem fair to air my dirty laundry about things, I may in fact have a huge role in, but seem blinded by my own frustration.

I am very open as anyone who has read this or actually knows me will tell, but the last few months have generated such negative emotions within me, about people I care about, that I'm at a loss for words. Something that has been a rare occurrence over the years. I'm not looking for sympathy, empathy, apathy or any other word ending with the letter "Y," but I am looking for a break. A break from bad luck, bad decisions, bad friends, bad attitudes and bad business. I'm looking for one bright star in a gloomy night.That is all I want right now. A reminder of good things, better times and hope.

I also want to add that I want to thank the very few who have reached out. It means the world to me. Especially since they aren't the ones I expected and they are the ones with more on their plate than I. Thank you.

#100DaysOfHopper Day 52-53

Day 52: People really need to open their eyes and stop this nonsensical defense of this moron reporter in NJ. The officers death is an immense tragedy and the neighborhood's reaction was disgusting, but the reporter's racist opinion should not be commended for its accuracy & courage. Had he committed race in his comments, he may still have a job, but would his comment have been any more righteous? No!

I have signed petitions to have the memorial removed and have looked into what is being done for the officer's family, so don't think this is about being anti-cop, because you're wrong. This is about my mental fatigue from dealing with people and a society that feels racism in certain situations is ok. Don't forget when you write things in anger, that hate breeds hate. This outpouring of support for the officer is beautiful and I stand with you, but this outpouring of support for an ignorant reporter only increases the dissent that minorities have towards law enforcement, the media and our stereotypical assumptions.

Not only is the comment prejudiced, but it's a slight on the abilities of single mothers to raise someone to show respect. I can tell you from experience, the children of single mothers I've encountered over my life, are the polar opposite of this reporter's inaccurate statement.

Now from reading most of your posts, comments and replies to past events, I realize most need to be told how to feel, what to believe and who to hate in a given situation, but there are times, when you need to simply realize that we live in a horrible world filled with more hate than we know what to do with and only one thing conquers that and it's not support of more hate. THINK! #100DaysOfHopper


Day 53: How far back do our memories go? I know I remember things, at least I think I do from when I was five, but when telling others, I'm reminded by family, that they happened when I was two or three. This leads me to believe that these "memories" are nothing more than stories that have been told before that I've matched with photographs, then weaved into an elaborate tale. It doesn't mean that these events didn't occur, but simply that the true memory doesn't exist.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the friends I've had along the way, who I've lost touch with. Most of the people I know have lived in the same town or close proximity, for most of their lives. I envy that in one sense, because the memories they share must seem so much more real, because there are others who shared them to confirm their feelings. I moved at 15 and nearly every friend I had before, I have lost touch with. It's difficult not to be able to bounce stories off another and have laughs and cries over things in your past.

Today's children will be different, because they will have social media and whatever new technology comes forth to shorten the distance between they and their friends. Cameras on phones and constant posting will keep these memories recorded and the little comments attached will confirm their feelings. This scares me to death.

I've always had an aversion to cameras and photographs, especially those that capture moments. One or two friends could tell you of a time I walked out on a girlfriend and friends because of too many photo ops. I rarely pull out my camera when out with friends and I despise being included in pics. One because I'm as photogenic as a spitting camel and two, because in my mind, it cheapens the moment. Not in any other way, than it causes us to forget. To forget to savor the moments, to drink it in and to digest them. It gives us the out, to forget that moment momentarily, because it's all on record. We can go back the next day or a week, or even years later and pull up these pics and reminisce about something we probably didn't fully take in at the time.

Too each his own, most will say. This post or my instance for people to stop when I'm out, will not sway people one way or the other. There are just some people who feel the need to capture each and every moment, like some bizarre form of dementia has overcame them. I find, no matter how trivial the situation, that seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling the moment helps me remember and in my mind, it feels so much more genuine than watching a video or gazing a picture.

There is always something about seeing the sun through the trees in the early morning that will remind me of Birchmont. The sound of a baby talking will take me back to grabbing my brother and carrying him downstairs for a morning feed in Brooklyn. Tasting the garlicky butter of escargot and remember dinners with wonderful family friends, who had much to do with who I am today. Touching certain fabrics who remind me of hugging loved ones who aren't with me anymore. Smelling lamb chops, paella or moussaka and having it bring me back to quiet dinners with my family and sitting across from my mother, as I always did. Photographs can make us see a specific moment, but it's what all the senses were doing at that moment that allows me to get back to those precious times.

I love looking at all of your pictures, but my photographs are in my mind and in some odd way, I think they are still developing. Becoming clearer and brighter as time goes on. I just hope that I can hold onto them forever and they don't become, like those we can grasp, a scattered pile, filling some old shoe box, hidden away in the dark recesses of someone untouched closet. #100DaysOfHopper

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 50-51

Day 50: I figured I'd write now, catching those early birds, so often scouring the net for some words or pics of inspiration. Despite my mockery, whether they be about relationships, fitness, family or connecting with God, they all contain one key element. The word(s) I, Me or You. They all convey selfish ideals to bring ones self to a better place, whether it be finding a partner, looking better in a bathing suit, having their family appreciate them or being somehow blessed by an omnipotent power. Each morning I wake to a barrage of these, many of my friends posting five, six or even seven. All, really nothing more than complaints, hidden in faith and hope for a better self and it makes me realize, that life, love and even faith is lost on these people, because a better you is only achieved by making those around you better. ‪#‎100DaysOfHopper‬

Day 51: While I know it's summer and some of you are frustrated, agitated, bored and angry that some of your friends are content, happy, carefree and lazy, it does raise some questions I have based on your Facebook posts. So here they are.

Does anyone really need to check-in at CVS or Walgreen's?

How much muscle do you build posting videos of other men working out?

How much valuable medical information is gained by posting that your kid is sick and you don't know what to do?

How broke does one have to be be able to afford to eat at a restaurant every day, even if it's just coffee at Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts every single day?

If you only post once in a while and it's always anti-immigrant, blacks committing crimes against white, pro-Hobby Lobby and you still use derogatory terms for other religions, races and ethnicities, you do know you're a bigot, right?

You do know that going to bed at 11pm and waking up at 6am, only because your kids have to go to camp, isn't insomnia, right?

When was the last time you did something completely altruistic and didn't post it on Facebook. This, is a trick question.

You guys have heard of google, right? #100DaysOfHopper

 Day 51 Part 2: I'm kind of perplexed by the idea that people are broke, but check-in to Dunkin Donuts & Starbucks. Do these people know that they sell cups that you can make coffee, actual delicious coffee, at home and then transport it? I spend $3.24 cents buying coffee and I make about 12-14 pots, ranging from 6-8 "cups." I've done the math for you, but it's the equivalent of 23 16-oz cups, which range in price from about $1.80 to $3.50 depending on what you add to it. That's $60 on average, for what I spend $5 on (I included milk). Figure that's two weeks worth and that's $1400+ a year you're wasting. I'm also sure, you are tempted to eat a donut or a muffin, so add that to your total.  Please, don't tell me it's time consuming, because I've been in Starbucks and DD and it takes longer there than it does for me to scoop, pour and wait.

I'm not greedy. Enjoy your savings and send me $8 a week for the next year.  You keep the $20. #100DaysOfHopper

Monday, July 14, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Days 47-49

Day 47: Funny how I'm always being abused for my music choices. I've been playing Robin Thicke for ten years and then Blurred Lines comes out and everyone's a fan. I was playing Let's Dance before anyone knew what a Gaga was and I got ridiculed for playing an Elton John cover by this girl named Ellie. But because I don't like the hipster trinity of DMB, Vampire Weekend & Arcade Fire (btw, even hipsters can't stand DMB anymore), I don't know music. Yes, I genuinely like the Spice Girls, Hanson & Justin Timberlake, but I was saying Justin Timberlake was the most talented performer on the planet in 2002. But what do I know? #100DaysOfHopper

Day 48: How much do we really care about our friends, our family and our loved ones? My guess would be a lot. But what about when they resort to Facebook for attention, good or bad? Do we take their cries for help or their claims of bliss as seriously? I joke often about people claiming the world is ending one day and then posting things such as "enlightened," "namaste" and "feeling blessed" the next. How does this happen and is it real?

Here's the thing that concerns me. It's not funny, it's not sad, it's very serious it accurate. Emotional states that change this frequently and to such extremes is a mental disorder. Many times the seasons cause us to fluctuate, especially feeling the doom and gloom of the light-less winter and the highs of the sunny summer. There are other hormonal issues some of us face and others, just handle the stress of every day life differently. That being said, our core emotions should not fluctuate to the point where someone is giving up hope one day and feeling like they are lost in an abyss, only to be followed seven hours later with feelings of euphoria and embraced by the love of family, friends and god. This, despite it sounding good on Facebook, is a terrible sign.

Over the years, I've lost a few people to suicide and a few more to illness due to depression. I've also known quite a few who have acted on the impulses unsuccessfully. Sometimes it's a cry for help and other times it's a failed attempt at their final solution. this troubles me, for the ones who have achieved their goal, left holes in the families and friend's hearts that do not mend. When I think back at those I've lost, I think of beautiful smiles, tons of laughter and in one instance a man I owe my having a brother to. I can't imagine, had these decisions been made earlier, just how much I'd have lost.

I make a lot of stupid jokes and I love to antagonize, but there are people out there who are hurting. They may simply be crying wolf or be the attention whores I love to call out and have been called, but their pain might also be real. If you have a friend or loved one whose moods change like the wind, it may be a lot more than just a status, but a need for real help. More than you or I can give. Remember, the boy who cried wolf might have driven people crazy, but that one time, there actually was a wolf. #100DaysOfHopper


Day 49: Today is the first day, I don't have much to say. So I'm just going to talk about a few things based on scrolling down the old timeline. Yes, obviously, if you posted something that resembles this, it is probably about you.

If your relationship goes bad and your gut reaction is to bash the person on Facebook, realize that you've basically told that person, while their decisions have caused your breakup, your decision guarantees that any reconciliation is not possible. Remember, your friends will most likely say derogatory things about your new ex, in an effort to comfort you, basically alienated them from that person you once told you loved. The real item is your heart. If you truly loved that person, one moment of sorrow or even hatred, would never compel you to react this way. Accept that it never truly was love and move on.

If you feel the need to share your financial woes with the world. If you complain of being a single parent, only working part time or being unemployed, it's best not to throw up pictures of all the places you dine out at, your beach home, even if only a rental and your children's excesses. While I realize, we make sacrifices every day, myself included, it tells us all that your real problem isn't money, it's common sense.

If your anger of any given political party's motives or actions brings you to post a story or a headline, be sure that you've actually checked to make sure it's factual. This morning alone I could have factually buried three people. Three people who constantly post "patriotic" bullshit, now actually understanding how government works or the realities of what has happened. There is a popular meme going around bashing Obama for his treatment of veterans, yet, none of them explain that the $21billion in budget cuts for veteran's health care was written in by none other than Paul Ryan. Knowing this and still posting it as a pro-conservative chest pound, shows you either lack intelligence or you're brainwashed. Also, if you are so angry about immigrant children coming to our country in search of a better life, may I please ask you to take down your Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Russian, Spanish or whatever other flag you call your homeland's and please tell nonna or yaya or granny to learn our language properly, since that seems to be your war cry. Dial 2 to speak to your grandparents!

Finally, stop saying you want to meet a nice guy or a nice girl, when you're more shallow than the kiddie pool at Lake Isle. If you wanted to meet someone nice, you wouldn't be hanging out at clubs or only dating people based on their jobs, where they live or what they look like. Yes, of course physical attraction is important, but have any of you been in a long term relationship? You look at the same person every day and while they may stay as beautiful in your minds eye as the day you met, it is usually due to their intellect, sense of adventure and humor and very rarely because they still look the same. We all get grey, wrinkled and find places on our bodies that weren't there when we were younger, but the reality is, beauty isn't skin deep, it's internal. May you all realize that and find it one day. I know I'm still looking. #100DaysOfHopper

Free Writing - Take 45

Too tired to concentrate on film or a book, but wasting away, reading misspelled and incorrect words, damaged relationships, sadness abound. I sit, possibly worse off than most, but yet I stifle it. Hidden under a robust smile and glassy eyes. The torture of reality, feels like lashes on my soul.  I drop hints, like bait, but there isn't a nibble. Sharing my secret with a few, for no reason other than to share; at times a common bond. The little girl next door whistling, calling for her cat to come home. It's midnight and she can't be more than ten. Alone in a big world, riding her bike by day, searching endlessly by night. Her cat, her companion. Too young to be living in this solitude and yet I envy her. Free from judgement. Riding her bike, playing in the dirt, sitting alone, contemplating a future I pray is brighter than mine. I gaze at photographs, the smile big and bright as I run naked through the weeds, contracting ever so slightly with each passing year. No fault but my own, I try to tell the voice in my head, but he seems content on reminding me of this and that. He points to the space where people once were and laughs at their absence. For a second I feel a stupor, brought on by the hours of the day, more so yesterday to be truthful. Sleep awaits, but for how long, before that nagging voice wakes, for no other reason, but to point out the void, which was once overpopulated.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Distance Makes Nothing Grow Fonder

I moved in 1985 and I stayed in touch with nobody.  I'm not blaming anyone, because I'm the one that moved and it was on me to keep those relationships alive. I reconnected with a few on Facebook, but that is it.

I've spent a lot of time in Ithaca over the last four years. Much of it spending time with my aging grandmother, but also, because my father is one of the few people in the world who I enjoy spending long periods of time with.  Over the years, he and my grandmother have taught me a lot about the world, myself and how people act within it. Over the last few, I've grown a lot as a person mentally, but I've grown apart from relationships and friendships and I see that today more than ever. 

The past ten days I've been in Ithaca and my birthday passed, while I was here. It dawned on me the morning after, that while I received plenty of wishes via Facebook, I only received about ten texts and not a single phone call. Not one. I'm not losing any sleep over this, as I too tend to text rather than use the phone for it's first use, but it really started to sink in today.  I've received five phone calls from friends in the last three months.  Five! 

The problem isn't fading friendships due to any reason, but my knack of distancing myself from people, either physically or metaphorically. I don't want to burden others with my ever growing problems, although a few have been inadvertently and they seem to rebuke my sincere apologies. My life has been very complicated as of late and aside from those I tend to run into, I've let many float away.  I don't plan on changing this, as my problems are not about to disappear and may only become more of a burden for me and I don't feel, like most others, to share that additional weight.  The future is not looking bright and grand changes may be on the very close horizon.  I guess, then I'll know what I've wondered since 1985, but with a new group of people. I won't kid myself, I already know.

#100DaysOfHopper Day 46

Day 46: With summer in full swing, I hope all of you able bodied friends take full advantage of what's out there. Especially those of you with kids.

Without beating the drum for my own personal pity party, I'm asking you all not to take your ability to enjoy life for granted. Physical limitations not only deprive the body, but they wear on the mind. People who are lucky enough to only read my banter and not have to deal with me in the physical world, might not realize that things aren't as they once were. No longer am I the chiseled Adonis you once knew, but a doughy , limp-legged, much larger shell of my former self. Think of Humpty Dumpty with a lot more yolks and a lot more jokes.

I currently sit in ithaca, enjoying the serenity, but surrounded by paths, waterfalls and swimming holes, I don't get to enjoy. Wineries, farms and markets, that I'd love to.peruse, but pain ruins their wonders. A bustling little city, praised for its activism, community on greenness. It's all right there, but it's not.

You have so much to explore and the ability to so. I think of all the things, I took for granted and haven't seen or haven't revisited. Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty or the Hayden Planetarium. The American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Bridge or Coney Island. The Brooklyn Promenade, the Botanical Gardens or the Bronx Zoo. Trails, lakes and parks. Simple pleasures like a pizza at Roberta's, a cone from Ample Hills or the lamb Ragu at Frankie's 457. Or for my Westchester friends, a slow walk to the duck pond, traipsing down the Bronx River Pathway, maybe a a jolt from a delicious cup at Slave to the grind or a burger at Pete's. A drive to Larchmont and stroll scenic manor park, stopping at Walter's or Sherwood's before home.

Maybe it's as simple as hitting a ball or shooting jumpers, sitting crossed legged or sprawled out under a shady tree sharing a meal. Climbing a mini mountain like Breakneck Point or taking a night cruise from New Rochelle.

So many I still can do, but the ones that require physicality are memories. I wish I could grab my friends kids and start a game of baseball or chase them on bikes. I wish I could take them or friends, to the places my parents, friends and older cousins took me. The simple pleasure of taking a walk, gazing at birds and fish and stopping out for ice cream before the long walk back are not possible any longer.

Had I known two decades ago that my once solid legs would become my biggest hindrance, I'd have done more. Had I known a year ago, the simple pleasures brought on by a midnight walk to clear my head, would become a pain inducing laborious task, I'd have stayed out longer. If I'd known all that surrounds me and always had, might one day not be "right there," I'd have done more.

I implore you all, especially those with children, to negate future the possibility of regret and get out there and see our little unique world. The one tourists travel to see and we call our backyard. Don't ever assume it will always be there, because while it may stand strong, there might come a day when you do not. #100DaysOfHopper


 Day 46 Part 2: Why do people post things without follow ups? I mean if you find it necessary to tell people you're going to CVS, I damn well want to hear what you bought, how crowded it was and of course, what strange creatures were there. It seems this need to let us know your whereabouts was important enough, well I demand closure.

Taking the kids to zoo! Well, let's hear it. I want to hear how everyone elses kids are one step to the left on the evolutionary chart and your little angels built a shack for a homeless meerkat family to live in. I mean, just stating you are going someplace only counts when it is some tropical island resort and you want all your poor friends to stew in their frothy juices for a week.

Seriously, people really need to come full circle. If you state you're going to bed, I want that first post to be "I'm up." This way, I know if you've had enough sleep or not and whether and how to gauge your posts throughout the day. I mean, look at those happy people who do yoga all the time. They state they are doing yoga and then it's post after post bitching about every little hiccup life throws at them. I want to know what kind of yoga this is, so I can steer clear. My friends who state they need a drink seem like a happy go lucky bunch, but they also don't post that often, because they pass out by 8:30 watching reruns of the Big Bang Theory and 90210.

People really need to step up their game, because if you don't know that everyone hangs on every word, then you don't understand Facebook. I'm gonna go blow my nose now. #100DaysOfHopper It was clear, phew!

#100DaysOfHopper Day 44-45

Day 44: Serious question: Isn't Yoga, Cross fit, Running, Spartan Races and simply going to the gym supposedly a great stress release? Just asking, because all the people that bore the **** out of us with these posts always seem to follow it up with negative, misinformed posts throughout the day.

How about you take a little of your early morning feel the burn time off and read a book, maybe over a cup of chamomile tea and exercise the only muscle that really matters. Quite possibly, your mood, chi, Zen or Namaste or whatever you call your "state," might improve on the inside and do more than simply garner likes from friends on Facebook. #100DaysOfHopper


Day 44 Part 2: (Told you I was ready) Why the hell are the same morons (yes, some of my friends are really dumb) who believe that guns don't kill people, people kill people, the same ones ranting and raving about the parents leaving their kids or pets in cars? They are using arguments like "you should have to pass a test to have a child" and "are these people mentally stable" or are they even smart enough to handle that responsibility?

So let me get this straight. You are all for tests to drive a car. You want people who aren't mentally stable, smart enough or capable of raising a child or owning a pet to be tested and background checked, but you are all for handing these same people weapons to use when they "feel" threatened? The problem is one is actually a constitutional right and one isn't and if you were smart enough to understand that, you probably wouldn't be going on and one with these incessant posts of horrible stories.

And another thing. Where was your outrage when all these kids were shot? Individual acts of stupidity costs a life and some of you post the article as many as seven different times, but a school full of women and children are murdered and you say nothing. I swear, if we all unfriended people for idiocy, some of you would have some really lonely news feeds. You know, aside from pictures of your and your neighbor's kids holding sparklers that burn at 1100 degrees. #100DaysOfHopper


 Day 45: Think for a minute.
4.5+ billion people get by on less than $10 a day
2.5+ billion people lack adequate sanitation
2+ billion have no access to medicine
1.2+ lack clean water
850+ million people are malnourished
650+ million lack shelter
200+ million adults have no income

Recently (mine is last) on Facebook
My washer & dryer aren't working
I'm stuck in traffic
I missed my flight
My kids are so noisy in the other room
I had to wait 25 minutes in the drs office
My coworker was rude
When is this rain going to stop
I can't believe it's only Wednesday
Why does the WiFi work in all ten rooms of this house, but the one I'm in.

Does anyone else feel guilty?
#100DaysOfHopper


 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My Answers To Vanity Fair's Version Of The Proust Questionnaire

I did the actual Proust Questionnaire back on 2009, 2010 and then again in 2011, but didn't want to revisit it, so I took this questionnaire given to the comedian Louis C.K.  Obviously, his answers are probable much better and funnier, but here are mine.  Just a little heads up, I didn't read his answers before giving mine.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being able to wake up, without fear or worry and go to bed being able to share your day with someone you love.

What is your greatest fear?
Dying alone (and strong winds).

Which living person do you most admire?
 It's a tie. My father and my brother. One has amassed so much knowledge in one life it's staggering and one keeps amazing me by what he achieves in the face of adversity.


What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Right now, my skin

 

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Ambition. The most ambitious people I know have no respect for others and thus I generally have no respect for their lives.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
My weight, but mostly because I used to be a good athlete.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family. The last few years have been awful for me emotionally and they've kept me sane.

 When and where were you happiest?
The happiest I've been in my life were the summers I spent at Birchmont. With the exception of greatly missing my parents, they were the four best summers of my life.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could sing. Every time I see someone who can actually sing, they seem so happy. Maybe it's the emotion or the release of emotions, but they seem to glow.

What is your current state of mind?
Fearful that the future's brightness is turning black.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I could be more selfish. I know that's odd, but my selflessness has destroyed me in many way, but ironically, the only time I feel I was selfish, I ruined the best thing that ever happened to me.  So maybe I'm just destined to be wrong.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Oh my God, you really want to hear some shit, don’t you? I’m not answering that. Who would answer that???

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
 Making a difference in the lives of a lot of children.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
A cat. Who has it better than a cat?

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
 Losing parts of your life and having absolutely no control over it.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Honesty

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Honesty

What do you most value in your friends?

Sincerity


Who are your favorite writers?

O. Henry, Shakespeare, ???

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Behrman from O. Henry's The Last Leaf


Who are your heroes in real life?
My father

What is it that you most dislike?
The way the world has become so selfish. Nobody seems to care about anyone else anymore. It truly saddens me and is going to be the reason for our demise as a species.

How would you like to die?
As quickly as possible, but somehow I know that won't happen.


What is your motto?
I'll take wine and cheese over dessert any time. 

#100DaysOfHopper Day 42-43

Day 42: Some people think I just pick and choose people to go after, when the reality is actually the complete opposite. I wanted to write about someone of low intelligence who keeps beating the same drum, thinking it would sink in after a while that he might be wrong. I wanted to point out how disturbed I was to find so many pictures of the recent holidays showing children holding sparklers, which burn at over 1100 degrees. I wanted to ask people who go to concerts, the reasoning and their enjoyment in taking two thousand pictures. Who are they for? You were there, aren't your memories sufficient? I worry about senility too, but a photo of every song doesn't really make sense to me. I wanted to rip to shreds the numerous idiots who take pictures from their drivers side seats (I still might). All these things I wanted to do, in great detail, but didn't want this to become about one or two individuals. So I'll talk about friendship.

I recently stated that I somewhat dispute the cliche that actions are louder than words, because some words truly touched me recently. Yesterday, my birthday, was an insignificant milestone but started at midnight with kind words from someone who felt like they were with me and if I wasn't an idiot, would have been. The day followed with the most important people in my life, my father, my brother and my sister-in-law, wishing me the same. A wonderfully relaxed day, with no pomp and circumstance was just what the doctor ordered. I came home from a delicious dinner to find a message from one of my dearest friends and someone who despite time, distance and not seeing one another in nearly seven years, I still love like a brother. I received mostly texts and online messages and that is fine. I understand how today's world exists and I'm obviously very a part of it. So what is my "problem?"

It's who I didn't receive messages from. People who constantly look or looked to me for guidance, support and love during tough times. I have people who have reasons not to speak to me, who took the time out of their day to write two simple words, yet people I spent years of my life surrounding myself with, felt it necessary to stay in their own world. Sure computer and phone access might have been an issue or their own world might be too hectic, but I think about their birthdays or other occasions and it hurts. It doesn't hurt in the sense that I will carry this after today, but in the sense that I feel duped for time...well, served. It dawns on me that they were always selfish and it was always about them and I was blind to it. I'm rarely blind to things, but matters of the heart, when it comes to friends, I very often find myself to be clueless. I wrote a blog about one aspect of it, but this is the other.

I don't hate anyone simply for not wishing me a happy birthday. I realize that this handful isn't around in my daily life and there is no real reason that they should pop up on this silly occasion, but I do for them. I do for most, unless I'm completely at a loss for technological communication. I don't care if that message arrives late, but there was something about yesterday that opened my eyes. Friend is a strong word that I don't use lightly. I use acquaintance a lot, but friend is someone who shows you that you matter when you are up and down and you return that favor.

We love to pretend that true friends are the ones that are there for us when we are in our darkest hour, but that isn't really so. True friends are the ones who are there to make sure that we never experience that moment. #100DaysOfHopper


 Day 42 (Part 2): Ladies, I respect you all, but you need to start respecting yourselves. All I see and hear is how you are undervalued and unappreciated by the men you CHOOSE to date. Maybe if you stopped worrying so much about thigh gap and worried more about the gap between your ears, you'd be a little happier with your choices.

And men, this isn't an attack on women. I've heard you make little jokes to your wives and girlfriends about their looks, but it changes people. When someone is constantly hearing about their imperfections, it makes them unable to embrace what makes them special. Stop looking for that perfect person, because it ain't out there. Who wants to be with someone that's perfect anyway? Look at me all alone and shit. #100DaysOfHopper


Day 43: I've been reading a lot about you wonderful parents out there and on other social media sites and while I'm sure it's 100x harder than it looks, especially having to check-in and text 700 times more than your parents did, I have a few things I'd like to bring up. I'll do this in the Jeff Foxworthy style, but trust me, if you read this, I'm not being funny in the least. Sorry, but a few things have really gotten to me lately and aside from worrying if any of you have developed tendinitis from patting yourselves on the back, I'm genuinely more worried about yours kids and everybody's kids.

If you're offended by the lyrics of songs your little girl listens to, because they demean women, but you put makeup on her that makes her look like a floozy, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If you buy your teenagers a case to protect their iPhone, but don't buy them condoms (just in case), you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If your child is eight or nine and you've have never bought them dictionary, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If your child owns more DVDs than books, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If your child has one, yes one, can of soda a day, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If you buy your kid a car, before he or she has ever had a full time job, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If your child can name every winner on American Idol, but doesn't know his/her state's senators, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If your children do or don't like things, without ever experiencing them, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If your children believe in something, simply because you do, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If your boys don't treat girls like they treat you, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are. Secondly, if you aren't treated as well as your husband treated his mother and you allow your sons to grow up around that, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If there is a TV on during dinner and everyone isn't sharing details of their day, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If you have a girl and she doesn't know the dangers out there, because you want to preserve her innocence, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If a group of kids get in trouble and you defend your child, because you think he was led astray, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If you ever use the excuse "boys will be boys" to defend your kid from being a bully, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If you find yourself telling anyone who will listen how hard it is to be a single parent, you work two jobs, you are so busy, every time your child does something wrong, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

If your child seems more happy to be with other families than your own, you might not be as good a parent as you think you are.

And finally and most importantly, If you think, for one second, that your child is depressed or having difficulty dealing with every day life, don't be their friend, be their parent. They may hate you then, they may hate you for years, but you'll be able to talk about when they are older and not wish you had. #100DaysOfHopper

Monday, July 7, 2014

Putting My Heart On The Shelf

Forty-Four years old they tell me, but I feel like I'm 90 physically, 35 mentally and the maturity of a 7 year old. I guess if you took an average, it's pretty damn near spot on. I never thought it would be like this. Playing basketball with friends, grabbing beers and asleep by midnight only to wake early and bust my ass all day. Coaching kids, making new friends, falling in and out of love.  It was life as it should be.  No worries they said. You'll learn from your mistakes. Life is a long journey. Blah Blah Blah.

Changes. Sickness. Injuries. Death. Relocation. Unemployment. Mistakes. Contentedness. Lethargy. Happiness. Sadness. Pain.

For nearly half my life, I've been in limbo. Confused by what I think I want and what I really want. What I think I need and what I really need. What I think is right and wrong for me and what is actually right and wrong for me. I've made a few wise decisions, but in the end, it's been a series of poor decisions.  I've always followed my heart and never followed my head. While some will argue, it's my head that is my strongest asset, but it never feels right. It seems like every time my head tells me something my heart yearns for the opposite, but why?

Why is it that every decision I've made with my heart has failed me.  Even when it benefited me greatly in the short term, it spurned me in the long. I left a good work field to become a teacher and I'm not a teacher. I teach, but not as a teacher. I turned down offers that were too good to be true and now watch as others prosper in those same positions. I did what any good son would do, without regret, but I'll never stop wondering what if. I did things that brought me great happiness for months, but destroyed my happiness the rest of the year.  I let go of people who cared and surrounded myself with leeches and those who were never there when I needed. I let emotions control my life and followed my heart, when my mind should have stepped in.

"Always follow your heart" is so cliche and it's something I've done my entire life and now I sit. With my heart, torn and tattered like an old flag; old glory. Talking about the good old days, which in retrospect weren't much different from today. The problem with following your heart is that you find yourself always looking back, whereas your mind always looks to the future. I've put my heart on the shelf in so many ways. In romance, friendships and comfort. I've done so in attempt to salvage some dream I might have once had of who I am in that place. And now, my mind is winning. Telling me to flee. Telling me to bring it somewhere new. To leave my heart behind and move on. I spend so much time wondering what if and it is all due to the metaphoric pain from my chest, but the ache in my head is getting too much to handle. Pounding in an attempt to knock some sense into me from inside. Maybe not having a choice is the best thing to happen to me, but how do you leave your heart behind?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 40-41 (Birthday Edition)

 Day 40: As we all try to fit back into our pants after a day of overeating and drinking, let's all take a moment to be thankful for what we have. Whether or not you feasted or not, if you have the ability to read this, you're better off than most people in the world. Remember that always.

Facebook was relatively quiet yesterday, for obvious reasons. Most put down their phones long enough to look at the person talking to them, hold their nieces and nephews and to shovel copious amounts of food into their face. Not all though. Some treated it as any other day. Posting horror stories of battered dogs, hate crimes and an absolutely insane number of posts about kids left in overheated cars. Which had me scratching my head.

Who are these posts for? Are you sharing them for educational value? If so, can you let me know which parent you believe might do this, so I myself can call CPS. Are you posting them for the sake of relaying news you think is important?. If so, let me know, because I'll fill you in on much worse atrocities you seem unaware of. Or, as I fear, do these stories guarantee you the thing you crave the most? Attention.

We all want to be loved, liked, appreciated or at least noticed. We usually accomplish this by loving, liking, appreciating or noticing others. So why do we need to subject others to sad stories on an otherwise happy day? If you say it is your intention to ruin people's day, I find that more admirable than most reasons. At least you're calculating, which requires a higher level of thought and not just stupid for realizing that someone might just be taking a quick glance to check up on everyone else's happiness. I'm confused.

Why is it the same people who ask for prayers, repeatedly post about Jesus's love and kindness and shower themselves and their families with self praise, feel it necessary to post each and every horror story about someone else? Would you share it if it were your brother? Would it be a hot topic had your cousin left that child there? I only ask because there are times that information is handed to us and we have a decision. Thought, reason and accountability comes into play.

Over the years, I've known of stories of child abuse, pedophilia, rape, assault, adultery and assorted other crimes, indiscretions and topics that were real, horrible and at times tormented me. You know what they all had in common? They all involved people or family members of people I know on Facebook. Many times, the same people who share every atrocity they can. Get it?

Next time you feel the need to share someone's horror story, it might be smart to glance in the mirror and for some, the closet. #100DaysOfHopper


Day 41: Well, today is my birthday or as I like to call it Sunday.  Last night was the first time in almost a decade and a half that I watched the clock change by myself. Thankfully, I didn't feel by myself, thanks to the love of a friend. So I'm going to shift this a little and talk about myself.

I've never really felt comfortable with my birthday. People making a fuss over me. Receiving gifts and opening presents is one of the more uncomfortable experiences.  Much like Christmas and Hannukah, I'd much rather give than receive. I'm not a dessert person, so cakes and pies are pretty much lost on me.  Making a wish is usually a brief moment where I think about something I've tried not to think about all day. It's just an awkward day for me.

I've had some good birthdays, but none was better than my 30th in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. I was working at Birchmont and throughout the course of the day, during each of our three meals, I had the entire camp sing to me. It meant so much to me, not only because of the sentiment, but to feel like maybe I was making a difference in the lives of others, meant the world to me. While I know I'll never experience that feeling again, I do hope that everyone, if just once, everyone can feel the way I did that day.

I know they say that if you tell a wish it won't come true, but I'm 0-43 so far, so I'm going to let my wishes known hours in advance of any candles. I wish:

That miracles do happen and a friend's brother shocks everyone.
That a few friends with serious illnesses pull through.
That my brother stays on this side of the map, despite his desires.
That I'm wrong about some and they are as happy as they appear.
That every time I'm wrong, someone truly benefits.
That each and every one of you are here next year.
and finally, my selfish wish.
That my pain will go away and life can return to "normal."
#100DaysOfHopper

Friday, July 4, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 39 "Jefferson & Our Independence"

Day 39: Happy Independence Day to a land that is more dependent now than it has ever been, due to the inequality our system has created. Our "great" nation torn apart by two parties who can not comprehend the philosophies of our forefathers and who, like religious pontificators, imbed their own personal values while defining its terms to the lazy and less informed.

I spent the early morning reading the letters of Thomas Jefferson, one of our nation's brightest minds and one of our founding fathers. A man, who I assume by all of us, is held with high esteem and reverance. A man, who is undoubtedly the most misquoted and misunderstood of our founding members. A man, with such insight, that he not only prepared the text that would become the blueprint for our nation's government, but also quite accurately predicted its failures.

As we celebrate our nation's "birthday" and our two parties fight, neglecting our needs; we have one who misinterprets each and every word of our founding fathers and another who seeks to constantly change them. Two parties whose philosophical views are so apart, the greater good has lost meaning and vision. We now, almost 240 years later, are witnessing all of Jefferson's fears. One of his greatest, the inescapable fear of grand inequality. So, as some of you enjoy your thick steaks, juicy burgers and carafes of wine with friends and family, while others are doled out soup from strangers, I'll leave you with the words of someone much more eloquent and insightful than I. I ask only that you read the words of Jefferson in this letter to another of our founding father and take note of the date. Ask then, how did we allow ourselves to ignore the warning of what would destroy us, when it was foretold, more than 225 years before, by the men who we credit for making us what we are.

"I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property..[a] means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise."
Letter to James Madison (October 28, 1785)
#100DaysOfHopper