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Showing posts from 2019

The Perfect Home

The perfect home, for me, needs just four things. A space to sleep, to bathe and use the toilet, and to cook. I've often thought about how, had my old studio, which was 182-square-feet, with the bathroom making up over one-quarter of the total space, been set up differently, with natural sunlight, in a different setting, it might have been perfect. I'd take those dimensions now, as long as it had the one missing element. Outdoor seating. A deck, a porch, a screened-in or glass-encased place to view the world. A tree, birds, rabbits, or deer. A place for my cat to explore and for me to enjoy a sunrise and later, a sunset. An area big enough for a bistro table, as I might enjoy the occasional visit or conversation. I would take this surrounded by other homes, but perfection would be remote, a dirt road, a field, some forest area, the unknown lurking back at me. This is all I need and my house would become a home. I've lived in many places over the last few years, but it'…

Live Each Day As If It Were Your Last?

Cliches have always been a big part of daily conversation. Social media has made them obnoxiously prevalent. While my current least favorite cliche is "to the moon and back," not only for its eye-roll-inducing silliness, but for the ignored limitation on one's claim. In a universe so vast and wide, the trip to the moon and back is quite short in comparison to say, anywhere else. So why would anyone boast their love or feelings only spans where man has been?

While watching Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru, which means "To Live," it dawned on me that our view, Americans that is, is very limited. Think of a similar movie in American cinema and one immediately comes to the Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life.  If one were to be aware of their impending doom or, in the case of George Bailey, see life if he'd never existed, you quickly realize that the bulk of the Capra movie is about self-adulation and ego. Sure, it's shown through flashbacks of selflessne…

Let's Face It: Jesus Would Be In A Cage In 2019 America

Let's be honest about one thing and if you can't be honest with yourself, then you're not going to be honest with others. Religion, regardless of your affiliation, is based on the trust and honor of a series of philosophical laws, meant to keep the masses controlled. Within these laws are basic human principles that govern all of us, not so ironically, much like those who wrote The Bible, except for those in power. Christianity, more than any religion, has been used by a government to scare people into submission to power. In today's America, it is the single most un-Christlike religion in the all of Christianity.

If you've read the Bible, it's no secret that immigration has been an enormous theme throughout. While often overlooked, the mere existence of Hell is proof that not all are accepted within. God himself/herself/itself created turned away those who believed they were his equals, much like our government is turning away those who simply want to be apart…

January - June 2019 Movies (and more)

2019 has been an odd year for me in terms of movie watching. I've re-watched a lot more movies than in years past and I've watched a lot more series and stand-up comedy. I've needed the laughs and thanks to the likes of Chris D'Elia, Doug Stanhope, and especially Iliza Shlesinger, I've laughed a lot. I've also tried to catch up on the Marvel Universe, and while I'm in the minority, I'm not so thrilled with this decision. Below my list, I'll give you the top five films I saw for the first time in 2019, well half of it, and the bottom five. I'll also give you my biggest surprise and my biggest letdown.


Bird Box - Tense, amazing acting, social commentary, homages. It lived up to the hype!
Marvel: The Avengers - Fun, tons of action, corny humor. Comic book comes to life
Avengers: Age of Ultron - nowhere near as much fun as The Avengers.
Spider-Man: Homecoming - Great fun despite the lack of a bigtime villain.
Avengers: Infinity War - Action-packed, dece…

How Sunday Fun-Day Has Changed

One might think I am about to reminisce, a long-ago time when arms and legs were toned and strong. There may have been an ab sighting, I do not recall. My youth was filled with active days and drinking nights, usually ending up with me missing a trash can or the toilet if I was lucky enough to get home in time at all. I was heavyweight in appearance, but a lightweight in my abilities to handle beer, let alone alcohol. Then when night, after too much of everything, I got the sickest I had ever been. I swore off drinking, as we all do, and that lasted but a week. A strange thing did occur though, and for the life of me, I cannot explain. Seemingly, in one moment, I built a tolerance and I never got sick again. Not a single time. That was well over a decade ago. I went from being able to drink a 12-pack to being able to knock down a case or more, with a few shots to boot. Then, even more shockingly, I was able to drink booze and way too much of it. Responsibility was not always my forte,…

This Minor Gripe Is A Microcosm Of My Life

If anyone should read this, please understand that yes, I know, this is minor. That is the point entirely.

Let me give a brief description of my living situation for anyone who may not know. I've been living for two and a half years with a married couple, both men, their dogs, my cat, and over the course of the past two years, a combination of three other tenants. I've also experienced periods of time when it felt as if their young grandkids lived here more than some of the tenants. That actually was a pleasure. One must also understand that I pay more than the other tenants, due to a slightly larger bedroom. After a little more than a year, they bought a new house, and to my surprise, they offered me a room in this one. I much prefer the old one, but personal preference is not my complaint. To my bigger surprise, when we moved, a change occurred. To the two self-diagnosed sufferers of OCD appeared to lose all desire to clean; anything! The last time I saw them clean was April…

Random Thoughts 9/12/19

I used to write blogs titled "Random Thoughts" a lot in the past.

Turning down the thermostat is probably a good idea before you install the A/C

Over the past 18 months, I've probably started the dishwasher 60% of the time.
I've unloaded it about 97% of the time.

Finding work without owning long pants is harder than looking for work without a degree.

Neighbors who don't wave back are one of the reasons I hate people.

Since becoming vegan, I've noticed animals, some wild, are willing to get much closer to me.

I don't think most people know what it's like to have a parent you don't speak with.

Most people respect and want to hear your opinions; right up until they disagree with you.

A second point. Do you ever realize how people judge other's intelligence by the level of agreement they have with them?

Social media's rapid-fire overload of information has changed our ability to hold onto joy and anger.

I sincerely believe being surrounded by …

Waiting

I have to move, but where do I look?
Over the past few weeks, I've looked as close as one-tenth of a mile away from where I am now and up to 12 miles away. That's a narrow window of opportunity I am giving myself. The reasons? I worry about my car making it through another Central New York winter and the public transportation is a confusing maze of connections and times that would be a great detriment to my sanity. I also feel compelled to return to a job I love, for the kids, but which last year, brought on as much stress as I've had to endure in the workplace in almost a decade. It aged me. I can feel it.

So why am I here? I am not necessarily happy, either at work or at home. I do not have what anyone would call friends here. I have what was once known as family, but those relationships have drifted considerably. I have no love for the beauty of the area, as I've been here long enough to take it for granted. So I'm here for the kids, in part, because I feel my p…

The Hilarity of Writer's Block

Over ten years.
Over 1300 blogs.
This morning, I wanted to write a movie review about Richard Harris' role as Frank Manchin in This Sporting Life. I then thought about posting my ten favorite films of this year, January to June. I then reread a blog where I predicted the end of Andy Roddick's career, after his heartbreaking, soul-crushing loss in the 2009 Wimbledon final. Finally, I took some time to think about my procrastination, not in the blog format, but in life in general. I realized I don't have writer's block, because who the hell cares if I write another blog ever again? I make up these obstacles. Walls, as my mother described them, always putting something in front of the task at hand. I've long wanted to write a screenplay, a novel, a short story, but nothing ever materializes, even though I once sat down on a Sunday morning and cranked out 27 handwritten pages, nothing ever grew from it. I do this with searches, conversations, relationships, and even in…

Birthdays

I cannot remember my 45th. It was the first birthday away from the place I'd called home for 30 years. I am sure there was some festivity, but I do not recall. My 46th was spent alone. Inner turmoil had started to spill out, while my physical state had deteriorated to the point that walking, even from bed to the bathroom, was a chore. A change of scenery, a recent life-changing surgery, and my 47th would be spent with a longtime friend. It was also the first time I shared a drink with another in quite some time. I hobbled to a waterfall, sat at a bar, even lounged in a hot tub shortly after. Again with my 48th, a new locale. A more festive time, but a summer of lounging, scraping by, reading, movies, and surrounded by solitude. My year would change within the next six months, and within a year, my 49th would approach. A relaxing time with another, but the ever-present knowledge that all that I've known over the last two and a half years would be changing. For a few days I coul…

First Reactions

If you know me in person, you know my first reaction to most things is an attempt at humor, often using sarcasm, which may or may not be kind. I also completely understand the psychology behind me continuous use of humor when showing gratitude and this is due to the discomfort I get from others doing for me. I should add, I recently wrote a social media post about the constant and consistent misuse of thankfulness, gratefulness, and the oft-misused term of being blessed. I realize how we react to things, especially when people do for us, says more about who we are than any other factor. Our first reactions speak volumes and this is why, if we use humor or mocking irreverence, it's important that we know our audience. I don't always do this successfully, especially when I am truly thankful (not grateful). 
The thing that has struck me in my life recently is those who seem to go the extra mile to show, not only no thankfulness or gratitude, but to complain about the one or few t…

June 28th, 2019

I had attempted to write a poem about this morning, but I know all too well that poetry is not my forte. I tend to fall into cliches, but not like social media, where I can taste colors, and smell words. I speak of sunlight as if it's the dawn of man, when the reality is it's merely the yawn of man and beast. We both yawned, Swag and I, then stretched, his more graceful and with much less crackling. He runs, I limp, both waiting to greet the day. His prep takes less time, as pantless and shirtless is proper attire for my feline friend. He will later walk back upstairs, while I carry his food. Zig-zagging against my legs, showing his appreciation, tail standing tall. I"ve beaten this theme to death: the morning sun, the hope of a new day, the inevitable good and bad, the struggle to sleep, all just to repeat this moment, hopefully without rain. Today will be different I tell myself, as I stare at the same mug, on the same table, on the same deck. Forty-six days from now it…

Retirement

When I was 16, I worked more hours a week than I do now. Younger people may not know this, but when I was in high school, the minimum wage was somewhere around $3.75. Then again, the dollar sure did seem to stretch farther back then. When I graduated high school, I immediately started working full time, then at the end of the summer of 1989, I started roofing. my hourly pay was dreadful because I was working 7 AM - 5 PM, but I loved it. A few months later I would get a substantial raise. I worked there, at that rate, for a little more than six years. I was making more money per year then than I am now. A lot more.

Over the years I've had some decent and not so decent jobs. Some paid well, some paid terribly, and some paid an outrageous amount, but couldn't supply me with enough hours to call it a career. Come to think of it, I've never had a career because I've never stayed in any job other than childcare for longer than six years. Not even the same field. I do and I d…

My New Go-To Stress Reliever

We all deal with stress daily. Some of it is even good stress, such as exercise, housework, or working on some type of project where the results allow for the body to relax much more so than just lounging around. Stress is a dirty word and for most of us, stress negatively affects us. It messes with our sleeping and eating habits, and if left to the point it festers, it can have repercussions for both our mental and physical health. I've long believed that stress, or more so how we handle it, is the number one cause of colds and sickness. The mental health part is obvious, but when we are completely stressed out immune systems always seem compromised. It's one reason why we all need something. For me, it has become cooking.

Let's be clear. I am no master chef and my lack of patience does not allow me to enjoy cooking when the process is not active. I like to stand over, mix, stir, taste, season, and every other thing one can do. I like the preparation and the idea that I a…

The Perfect Time

Mid-June
Fifteen Minutes since the sun had risen The sounds of birds The screen door sliding open, then shut The sounds of the morning Joe That first sip He stalks through the high grass and low brush,
King of his personal jungle I await his return with a much easier meal to catch All the others are asleep The sun blocked by the house I'll be gone from soon These moments; this deck. The quiet The solitude
I'll miss this.
Only this. That one time of day where there is hope That today will be better than yesterday Then the world wakes Tomorrow I'll hope for the same Still waiting.

The Same Conversation

I'm guilty of this.
You're guilty of this.
We're all guilty of this.
We do it every day. Whether it be with strangers, acquaintances, friends, family, or whomever you can think of; we all do it. Smalltalk or not, we tend to have similar conversations with the same people every day. We ask the same questions, get the same answers, and most often give the same replies. Watch people you speak with every day. Watch their mouths. They're mouthing the words you're about to say. You already have your response ready. The safe, generic, attentive, yet passive, supportive, yet dismissive statement in reply to the never-ending repetitive thread. We've all become social media.

But, and this is a big BUT, we engage with people who have nothing else? What if this mundane line of thinking isn't out of boredom, civility, and the normal social awkwardness of speaking, not texting or messaging? What if this is who they are? What if this is all they have and, even worse, all …

It Feels Like Forever

I've always wanted to write a book. Moreso a screenplay, but I believe I'd need some program to make it easier. Shorthand has occurred to me, but it's 2019 and I'm no freak. I am but not in that way. I've actually had a mental block as of late, but not with writing. I've actually been writing blogs like crazy, then deleting them. This blog; my blog, was always more about mental self-preservation than it was about being noticed. In the past few weeks, I've written more about efficiency vs inefficiency, the beauty of pregnant women, some thoughts on prayer, a supervisor's immaturity and need to be liked, my own personal state, the empty bucket list, and even the definition of love. I've deleted them all, either because they are too personal or they might be viewed as an attack on someone's character. I'm used to people attacking my character, so you'd think I'd be OK reciprocating, but I keep reaching to be better. Plot Twist: It's…

Nature's Calm

Have you ever worked or lived with a child who is viewed as special, different, hyper, distracted, impulsive, disruptive, socially challenged or exhibits social anxiety? Have you ever tried to maintain their attention or interest in a classroom, gym, or organized setting? Have you tried to instill discipline or explain rules, procedures, and guidelines to them? If you have, you know this is the most challenging thing in your life.

Have you ever sat back and allowed them the freedom to do what they want in nature? In a wooded area, with a creek, some hills, fallen trees, broken branches, leaves both alive and dead everywhere. Bugs, insects, small animals, and some not so small. Sheltered from the rain, the sun, and the wind. Maybe it's the air, a stunted wind, that doesn't blow so much as massage. The coolness on a hot day and the slight warmth on frigid ones. Don't speak of rules or directions, just watch. A tree to climb or jump over, depending on its state. Leaves to kic…

Ten Thoughts From The Last Four Days

During an evaluation meeting, my supervisor's six-year-old served us tea with a make-believe tea set and it was the best thing that has happened all week. Her demanding she clean up and do the dishes makes me have hope for the future.
When two people share the same job and one thinks it's the other's responsibility to do many aspects of the job, but not theirs, one has to ask the question; Why does this person feel entitled?
I've spent more than two days pay in tips over the past ten days. No matter how little I have, I will never shortchange those who work to serve me. If I can't afford a 25% or more tip, I won't go out.
In a world where we must be careful how we do things and how we explain them, there's nothing quite like a child's touch, to assure you that you're doing things right. Whether it be holding your hand, resting their head on your shoulder, or them climbing on your shoulders, just assuming this is what needs to be done, it validates t…

The Value of Us

There will always be people who lie, cheat, and steal. They will succeed at times, if not most of the time, because we live in a society that looks at the bottom line. Success, no matter how it achieved, is revered. The struggle is not. I could point to a hundred stories that we deem a success story and in almost all of them, the person who struggled to assist, to motivate, or to simply care for the one who succeeds is either ignored or a footnote. This short blog is about those footnotes.

So many people have come before us and all have a story. Whether it be success or failure, our lives rarely fit nicely into the American Dream cliche of "hard work equals success." The hardest I've ever worked has returned almost no profit, financially or emotionally, while the easiest jobs I've had, have earned me respect. I think what we deem easy is given a negative connotation as something we slack off at, but that's simply not the case. Most of us who enjoy our jobs work j…

R.I.P. Sadie

In January 2017, I moved into a new house. My landlords had two betta fish, one male, and one female. They shared a tiny plastic fish tank with a divider. My landlords were told when they got them that they only had to be fed once every six days. This, of course, was not true. Soon after, the male died, the divider was removed, and the female, still unnamed, had her living space doubled. Without their knowledge, I had begun to feed them once a day. Once the male had died, the female seemed to thrive. I read online, that in these circumstances, betta fish only live about 100 days. I tried my best.

I named her Sadie after a sweet young girl who I knew from the school I work at. Sadie, tended to stick to herself, seeming amused by others, and often rehearsing for some performance only she knew about. She was bright, friendly, and warm, but she preferred her own company to others'. Sadie, the fish, reminded me of her daily, lying still, alone, but swimming to the top of the bowl each …

Perspective

Yesterday, I was without hot water. I complained. A passive approach was taken to rectify the situation and I took an ice cold shower. I complained. When I left for work, it was still not fixed. I complained. When I returned from work, nobody was home and the water ran cold. I complained. I let it run for a while and after a short time, it was warm, then hot. I was relieved.

Yesterday, a mother, sisters, brother, and a multitude of friends grieved the loss,of someone they loved. They also, celebrated, as best they could, his birthday, which fell upon the same day.

Yesterday, a kid smiled and joked with me. He lost his father recently. Another, whose parents recently split, shared his excitement over his new hat. Yesterday, a coworker, who seems to be hiding some pain, made us all laugh.

Yesterday, as I came down from my rage high, over the inability to take a hot shower, I went on the internet. I checked Twitter. The first post that I saw "Remember: Flint, Michigan, still with cl…

Happy Mother's Day

Come July it will be 15 years since my mother passed.
I like to think she taught me well and since our last talk, I've become a man.
We didn't always see eye-to-eye, but that may be the greatest lesson she taught me.
Last night, as I spoke to two moms, one with adult kids and one with children,
I realized another thing she taught me.
Our best is not always enough. Knowing that is the passing grade.
I am who my mom created, even if she didn't give birth to me.
I have more faults than one man should, but I go to sleep knowing she'd be proud of me.
Not for what I've achieved or made, but for who I am.
We all love our mother's, some would say unconditionally, but maybe, at the end of the day, that's the greatest lesson she taught me. Love those who are there for you in your darkest days, not simply because they are present.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who rise up for your children, when most are simply "there." .

Shortest Blog Ever

Listen to music that makes you cry
Watch movies that make you cry
Read books that make you cry

Whether it be sadness, happiness, or simply triggering memories, crying is the best therapy ever!

Random Thoughts - Haven't Done This In Ages

Five Minutes and Go

People should always care about themselves more than any other, right up until the point it becomes obvious to others that they care about themselves most.

Never underestimate how others will feel about you being praised. It can go either way.

There are times when I realize what I miss most in life and the fact that I will never have it.

This weekend is Mother's Day and while I've never been sucked into the Hallmark holiday silliness, it brings back some odd, funny and sad memories.

I will always do first. I realize this is not today's norm.

When did burping while others are eating become as much of a social norm as watching a podcast at the dining room table?

Please pick up and put down the seat, dependent on your aim and which gender you identify with.

I'm still learning; every day.

I miss philosophical/sociological conversations.

The state of American politics has become so ludicrous, I really wonder if there's a better place to be.

With each…

Fear Culture

Culture. Culture has become a dirty word. Rape Culture makes men who question their own actions fire off insults at women and anyone supporting #MeToo. Drug Culture has most people condemning opioids and blaming everyone from mom and pops in Middle America to Big Pharma and the government. They also feel pot is the same, if not safer than booze. Something I have always found asinine, despite my support for its legalization. Pop Culture has blown up since the advent of social media and the race to be in the know often makes some shun the hip references. Older people have no time or interest in it, even if it caters to their likes. Then there is gun culture. Which isn't actually a thing, due to the fact that guns are as American as baseball and apple pie. Unfortunately, gun deaths and mass killings are now as common as many of the things we pride ourselves on. Sadly, this has not been a deterrent for gun lovers, who blame the people with the guns, not the guns, never quite seeing th…

A Walk In The Woods

On Thursday, my job took a group of 25 kids, third, fourth, and fifth graders, on a hike. It was a short hike and part of the enticement was to find 100 little plastic monkeys. The monkeys were colorful and somewhat easily spotted, but had been strategically placed hanging from trees or hidden in holes made by woodpeckers, beavers, and other creatures of the wild. Oh yeah, and I got to hide them before work.

I'm writing this, not for any sort of acknowledgment, because I got to take the walk through the woods twice. Once alone and once with the kids. Both were enjoyable for different reasons, but the best part of the entire day was being able to do it; without pain. Being able to share in these activities means the world to me and despite my knees feeling it later that evening, just being able to do it gave me a joy few understand.

As I left work on Friday, my new assistant director thanked me for my hours put in and going the extra mile. She meant it metaphorically, but I felt c…

40 Minute Bathroom Breaks

I am starting to believe that my job needs to hire a urologist and a gastroenterologist.

It's just not possible that every time there's work to be done, so many people have to use the bathroom and for lengths of time that oddly match the amount of time said work takes to be completed. What's even more astounding is how few people complain about this and how those who should be livid, seem oblivious to this ongoing scam.

BTW, I peed three times yesterday, over the course of 10 hours. The most I've gone to the bathroom in one day since October!

It's also amazing how often "adults" feel the need to use the bathroom when they are confronted, reprimanded, or simply asked to do something that matches their job description and their pay grade.

Oh, don't get me started on hurt feelings.

A Chair

People love to say they are not judgemental, but I believe we're always judging, How then can we decide who to befriend, trust, fall in love with, or ignore? Many people take time to figure out and often their first impression is not at all what they end up being. To be quite frank, this is most often the case. In time, given all the chances, I find that most people will let us down. Not in catastrophic ways, but I truly believe we, as a species, are innately selfish. Unlike animals in the wild, we're given everything early in life, and selflessness, compassion, and empathy are learned traits. I often wonder if there is something universal that can open our eyes, almost immediately, to who someone is. It is not fool-proof, but I have found one. A chair.
How someone treats a chair, in respect to others, is a telling factor in how they treat people. Now, we're not here to discuss dating etiquette and how to treat someone else in regards to the chair, because societal rules c…

A Note For Me, Not For You

I hate texts.
I hate notes.
I hate not being contacted, approached, confronted, etc in person.

I am in a tiny minority of people who feel this way and an even smaller minority of people who do not contact, approach, confront, etc others this way. It's frustrating because what I've learned is, it's easy to ignore and if you ignore these methods enough times, people will do for you, instead of expecting you to change.

I'll give one very simple example and put this to rest. In my lease, it states that my landlords will not clean up after me; specifically dishes. It would be simple to assume this also means I'm not expected to clean up after them. We all know what assuming means. While I'm not saying I'm asked to do so, I do have a bit of a dirty dish issue, and I find myself constantly taking care of other people's dishes, both at home and at work. I even do this at other people's houses, if they let me. But one day, while a little drunk, I cooked and …

A Moment Of Honesty

About two weeks ago, marked a decade that I've been writing this blog. I have somewhere around 1,400 posts and most have been read, or simply seen, by less than 30 people. I've had a number of comments over the years, mostly from strangers, or simply online acquaintances, and very few from people I've known personally. Of course, the comments from them often occur via forms of social media, but most of the comments have been positive. One thing that has always struck me is when the comments come, but I'll save that as not to blur my message here. 
Over the last few years, I've gone from living in a tiny 180' sq foot apartment, to living with my father, briefly living in a motel room, to renting a room in a couple's house, then moving with them, when they bought a new house. I now have two additional roommates. To say my home life has been tumultuous would be an understatement. To say it's been happy would be a lie. For most of this time, I've had no…