Dirt Napping

Man, what a month it has been! Can you believe in just a couple of weeks we have seen not one but four celebrities pass away? I know a couple were circling the drain but the other two, wow, out of nowhere. Well, let’s give them a shout out.

42-3870-smEd McMahon lived the life, didn’t he? He always struck me as a guy who liked his drinks a particular way as well as his women. I could be wrong but neckerchiefs and gold bracelets never lie. At 86 one would say that’s a good long run but I did feel a little bad about his homes going into foreclosure right before he died. I think Donald Trump bailed him out but still, that sucks something fierce at that age with the legacy he had. I hope he is up in heaven having a bullshot with Phil Hartman.

farrah-fawcettI think we all knew Farrah’s time was soon but still, an icon like this going down is still hard to swallow.( That sounded dirty and I am sorry.) Even as a young kid I remember looking at this exact poster in my Uncle Brett’s room and thinking, “I don’t know what is happening but I like it.” She blazed the trail by empowering women to embrace their beauty and use it rather than feel ashamed and hide it. At least that’s how I perceived her intentions. Her passing really brings to light the fact that cancer is terrifying and no matter who you are or what status you hold, it can still get you even after years of battle.

caratulas_MICHAEL_JACKSON-THRILLER_Ok, I did not see this one coming. Not at all. I know he lived a life of mystery and bizarre behavior to include a total face transplant, having a monkey, living in Neverland, napping with kids and naming his kid Blanket but I never imagined him passing so young. I remember when Thriller came out and that video terrified me as a kid. Those monsters were far more scary and disturbing than any rated R movie at the time. I can still close my eyes and think of Vincent Price’s part in the song and walking at a fast pace to my parents room for a safe night of slumber in their bed.

I will be honest, the man was a genius. He seemed to defy gravity when dancing and his albums were nothing less than perfection. I have yet to meet a person that didn’t like something he did. I bet even the Taliban has a little love in their hearts for Moon Walker.

m171161359As Scooby Doo would say, “Rut the Ruck?” Billy Mays died? Are you serious? I have always had a fascination with the man and it wasn’t for his ability to sell you shit you would not normally buy on TV but rather his high decibel voice. The man had no indoor voice and I wrote about that almost two years ago. You can find that here. Well Billy, I am sorry you were silenced so early. Your voice will forever be in my head  saying, “Billy Mays here!”.

You know what else died? My favorite bar in Idaho. It is true, my home away from home is gone forever. I know that including a bar in a blog about dead people is a little insensitive but I really feel like I lost a lot of friends.

When I moved to Idaho I knew no one. I mean really no one at all. I was living out of a hotel until I could find a place to live and my only real means of social interaction was the gym and the local pub next door called Paddy’s 2. That very day I first stepped in there I was taken under-wing by the bartender, met a nice lady would allowed me to to stay in her basement until I found myself a permanent pad and went on to forge many friendships that I still have today. It is sad when such an establishment goes under and you have only memories. And with a bar they are usually foggy ones.

IMG_0693Happy trails, Dougie. Until we meet again.

On a happier note, you are looking at, er, reading at(?) the proud member of probably the last 100% VHS rental store in America. Yup, it just proves that Idaho is still hanging in the 80’s. Of course I rented Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The ‘Burbs because that is how they were intended to be seen. Oh VCR don’t fail me now, we have work to do.

IMG_0692Oh, and somehow I caught pink eye. Jokes on me.

Perspective And Inspiration

I don’t know how it happens but every so often in life I stray off the path and get a little lost. I lose the big picture  and the priority of people who should mean the most. I basically lose my map on where to go from here.

Sure there are my own theories for these times of discombobulation but one has to ask, why? Am I running toward something or running away? What are my true fears in life; failing or being alone? Is there really something more to all this?

I guess I am just reaching for perspective and inspiration.

I sent this poem to a dear friend of mine. These immortal words were written by the ALS warrior, Jon Blais.  I keep this poem in my wallet and read it whenever I need to center my thoughts.

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living,
I want to know what you paid for.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are,
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
For your dreams,
For the adventure of being a live.

I want to know if you can live with failure,
Yours and mine,
And still shout at the edges of a lake, river or mountain,
Yes, I am a warrior.

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have,
I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair,
Warry and bruised to the bone,
To do what needs to be done for someone you love,

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
And truly like the company you keep
In the empty moments of your life
And remember me,
Your friend.”

It never ceases to amaze me how people confuse kindness and love for weakness. I guess nice guys do finish last but I didn’t know we were racing. George, you said it best.

“What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other.

-George Eliot

calvin-n-hobbes-733953 You need to be with people who get you. To be able to accept someone through faults, imperfections and quirky little peccadilloes with no thoughts of selfish gains is what life should be about. It’s tough to put your honest self out there and minuscule imperfections weigh heavy on people you care about. That’s a great sign to pack the car and head for better abodes. Life is too short for that.

neda-iran-videoSee? Life is short and every time you think it’s hard or dull remember, there are people who see it end every single second of the day. I saw this video the other day and it brought me right back to Bosnia and other war experiences I have had. These images change you and they should. Good people in your life understand that and are sensitive to it. These images should invoke passion about ending violence or at least touch something in you other that chalking it up to a buzz-kill. Be with those who know and care where you have been. RIP Neda.

I guess this post was a little more self absorbed than I wanted it to be. There are times I believe we all stray and need to realign in both body and mind. I do believe that happiness is a choice but man, it’s choice that hides in the most odd places. Judas Priest said you don’t have to be old to be wise. I believe that and strive for it each day. Even on days when I need a nudge from the Blazeman.

This is how I choose to live my life.

  • Being alone doesn’t have to be lonely.
  • True strength is hard to quantify. It is invisible physically but it shows when it counts and everyone will see it.
  • Ask for a shoulder and don’t hold back on giving one.
  • Honesty is never regrettable. It is when people love you for someone who you are not. Be you. God made you and last time I checked He was perfect… or something like that.
  • Tell people you love them. And do it often.
  • Don’t dwell on what should have been, concentrate on what can be.
  • Apathy sucks. Be passionate because it inspires.
  • Run like you are not planning a return trip. Always look ahead.
  • Don’t use those around you for gain unless you can give it back to them.
  • Compassion is why we are alive. Truly, it is the only reason we are breathing right this very minute. So don’t hold back on giving it.
  • Complacency, rejection and even major hurts happen. Don’t let it harden you and don’t let it weaken you. This too shall pass.
  • Never drink milk before or after an intense cardio session. They lied. It does a body no good.
  • Hold out your hand if you need to. Someone will grab it. I believe in that.
  • Smile at people.
  • It is true that there are few people that have your best interest in mind. That’s no reason to be a dick.
  • Never be ashamed of being you and don’t feel sorry for yourself. Just try to do better each day.
  • Call your parents. And if you can not, pray to them. They love you no matter where they are.
  • Admit to being wrong and never hold back an apology.
  • Share.

Ok, that was a preachy list. But I felt I needed to write that. Life is a series of choices. Those are mine. Love ya.

I Wish…

  • That Monday night’s NBC line up was still Alf at 8:00 followed by Amazing Stories.
  • That I could still pick prizes out of the treasure chest in the dentist’s office.
  • My Honda wasn’t referred to as a mini van last week. It’s an Element fuck-o.
  • I could stop dropping my phone. It only has a few drops left in it.
  • I could run like I did when I was 7 rather than this frothing, gasping run I do now.
  • They would have changed the name asthma to something without the word “ass” in it. I had it when I was a kid and always felt a little embarrassed by that.
  • That there was something other than golf we could do for meetings. I am all about bumped boats or flip cup.
  • They would make a Jaws 5. One that makes up for 3 and 4.
  • I was in a huge field with one of these.
  • imagesThat I lived in a state that had people who could spell salad correctly.
  • IMG_0678I could eat my weight in Thai food and be better for it. And smarter.
  • I was spending Father’s Day with my Dad.
  • I had more time to read books.
  • I didn’t tear up during the movie, UP. There is no way that a 31 year old male can live that down. My “allergy” didn’t fool anyone.
  • Beer gave me the super power of flight.

That’s all.

Cleaning Out The Cellphone Camera

I guess it is that time again. Time to clean out the pictures from the ol’ iPhone and share a little bit of those “no shit, there I was” stories with you. This is always good for a stretch when I am in a material slump.

This past Christmas I was flying to New York for a little vacation and very relieved to be leaving 7 feet of snow. Really, there was 7 feet.  Anyway, during a layover in Minneapolis I was witness to a random caroler attack. It was a little awkward to stand there while everyone in the terminal ignored their performance. It went like this…

IMG_0417“Tis the season to be jolly…”

IMG_0418 *cough cough*

IMG_0417“Falla la la la la la la laaa”

IMG_0419Last boarding call for Delta flight 663…

All of my Friends know that when it comes to moving, I am the one who will always lend a hand. The only thing I ask for is beer and Led Zeppelin 3 on the stereo. But I will admit, sometimes the beer can complicate things.

IMG_0578“This couch will totally fit down these stairs. Just let me finish this last sip of wonderful PBR.”

IMG_0576“You’re good, you’re good, you’re good…”

IMG_0577“Oh dude, I am so, so sorry. Let’s have another beer and drag the fridge down here.”

IMG_0664Well, they almost got me back for that little accident by packing all the knives in a box. Almost got me.

IMG_0623Cracker please!

Image023This is actually from my work phone. Didn’t notice it had a flash until I was trying to learn the features.

You know you are in a cool bar when it is decorated with old Hasbro Star Wars’ toys. I still want an AT-AT.

Image110IMG_0663

This proves that I am still rocking the Wolf shirt. Actually, I don’t even notice it as a satirical jest towards the Idahoians. Maybe I am one now. uhhhhh….

So that was a pretty pathetic post but I am at work so it’s the best I can do. I will be reading you blogs today so sweep the floors, put stuff under the bed and fire up the tea kettle. You’re having company.

The Exorcist: Still The Same Effect In A Desensitized 2009?

When I was asked to write this article a couple of weeks ago I really didn’t put much thought into what the reasoning was behind it. I assumed that in preparation for this summer’s blockbusters it would be relevant to highlight a past mega buster of a movie and contrast it to today’s features. But as I sat on this assignment the cogs in the head began to turn (hard to imagine, I know) and I understood the premise of this article.

pf_931164the-exorcist-posters

In 1973 the world was introduced to a film that not only shocked audiences but had such a visceral effect that it provoked questions of faith, the church and even the tangible struggle between what is good and what is evil. This film is The Exorcist and still to this date it is known to be one of the scariest movies ever made.

Based on a true story in the late 1940’s about a boy would was supposedly possessed and given the rite of exorcism while it was documented in The Washington Post, Author William Blatty decided to turn this horrific story into a world best seller after recalling reading about it as a teen. While he understood the subject matter was terrifying to many, he never intended it to be a horror novel. Instead, his intentions were focused on the questions of faith, if there is an absolute good or an absolute evil and above all, what is man’s role in that struggle. I believe Mr. Blatty was even more surprised by the reaction when his novel was made into a movie that shattered not only the fiscal record of any movie of previous date but turned audiences into born again church-goers.

But here’s the question. Does it still have that same effect in 2009 that it did in 1973? Movies,music and TV and even the somewhat new addition of video games have come a long way in pushing the envelope to what will cause a gasp among viewers. I mean, Fox has busted down some of the late George Carlin’s 7 no-no’s on TV language by green lighting the words “shit”, “bitch”, “asshole” “dick sucker” and “Goddamn it”. Well, I know those aren’t the exact ones but hell if you can keep your kids from repeating it in the most awkward of places. My point is, I don’t think that the shock in cinema has very much punch anymore. But the brilliance that Blatty’s novel and William Friedkin film, The Exorcist, has is that while the younger audiences may not blink an eye at the split pea soup vomit or the head spin, they will always feel the internal turmoil of their own beliefs in faith.

So, I decided to find someone who is in their early to mid twenties that has not seen this said film. Low and behold I found a person that was closer to me than I thought. This assignment was starting to be easier than I thought. But then again she hasn’t seen The Godfather or Rocky or even Star Wars (the original I think). She considers these to be old movies and from that I gathered, not as relevant or even as engaging as newer films. It almost reminds me of the people in the audience of The Blair Witch Project that were visibly disappointed the witch was never seen. I guess they can’t all be movie dorks like me.

Actually this person is one of the smartest people I have met here in the great northern state of Idaho so it was a real treat interviewing her before and after the first introduction to the film The Exorcist. But, before I just popped in the DVD I asked a few questions to see where her mindset stood.

Have you ever heard of The Exorcist?

Yes.

Ok. Now we are going somewhere.

Where?

Every where really…friends, other movies… Always had a curiosity. Seen parts but never really got into it. Pretty much a girl goes crazy on a bed and throws up.

Girl goes crazy in bed and throws up. Hrm…probably shouldn’t touch on that. Are you sure we are talking about the same movie?

What is the scariest movie you have ever seen?

Blair Witch Project, Killer Clowns From Outer space, Child’s Play, Arachnophobia

Let’s see, spiders, clowns and dolls. Yep, that covers quite a bit of most fears.

What are you fears?

Spiders. Intruders, death, horrific death

I like how spiders have a running theme. Personally, I can’t stand them either.

What are your religious beliefs?

I believe in a higher power. No specific beliefs but you have control of your own destiny. I don’t believe in a predisposed destiny.

I think I am in the same boat too. I never liked the term, “things happen for a reason”.

Do you believe in evil vs. good?

No.

Interesting…

What is scarier; Blair or Scream?

Blair. The setting is scarier.

Absolutely. Camping has never been so fun since.

Do you think 1970, 1980 or present movies are scarier?

Don’t know. Not exposed

And this is why you are a great canidit.

Alright. So now that I have a pretty good idea of where her mind is at we can start the movie. I must say that I have personally seen it 666 times, and it keeps getting funnier every time I see it. But I doubt she will have the same opinion.

I think I will save you the minute by minute observations I made so I will just sum it up. Now, she is pretty tough and I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t have much of an impact. She did however admit it to being scary and there were a few squeezes and gasps through out the film. That in and of itself made me smile a little. Maybe these “old” movies still got it.

All in all I expected this. It’s not like I was hoping she would stay up for nights on end and trigger a bed-wetting disorder. I expected a few creep out moments and maybe a little trepidation of going to sleep after the credits rolled but nothing more. Like I said, she is very quick witted and well-rounded but what was a life changing in 1973 is not even pulse changing now. I might be bias because I did see this as a little kid and the closet light stayed on until I left for college.

We now live in a society that demands entertainment to have bigger explosions, louder screams, more F bombs, and gorier death scenes while removing thought and deep personal emotion. Perhaps it could be focused on the political front as Americans move toward a secular Euro mindset, slowly nudging religion out of everyday society? Maybe the current news around the country and the world has been so stressing that it tops even the most shocking scenes any movie can produce? Or maybe, and I believe this, that we now live in a time that is so fast paced, every thing needs to be digested in an instant? Whether it’s Tevo-ing The Hills or Twittering the fact you have a headache for thousands to know, we have in fact almost fully removed the brain and imagination from entertainment. If you can’t understand the theme in 1.5 seconds, people will turn to the 1,000 other choices.

Well, since then I have talked with her and it turns out the fact that the film didn’t scare her…scared her. How do you like that twist? It made her question why she was not reflective on her own internal struggle with religion and good and evil. I guess that is a new angle on this old film and it still can creep in your soul without making you hide behind a pillow.

I apologized and said I will be using her again. This time for the movie Who’s Harry Crumb?.


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