When I was a kid, I used to love climbing trees, it was one of my favorite things to do. On one particular afternoon when I was about 11, I was down the street from my house hiking in a wooded area with a bunch of trees and tall grass. I remember there was this one specific tree with a low branch that looked easy enough to jump up, grab, and climb.
The night was a cool 61 degrees, much more comfortable than the 95 plus of the daytime. Liam was at his campsite in rural southeastern Utah, about 100 miles east of St. George. He started a campfire, cooked some corn, and then found himself in the comfort of his tent as he stares directly overhead to the stars above. Earlier that day, Liam hiked 3 miles up and back from the top of Angels Landing, a popular vista at Zion National park.
There’s a popular movie trope where someone sells their soul to the devil for some immediate benefit. Good looks, guitar playing skills, it could be anything. Whatever they gain isn’t really the point, the point is that eventually the devil will make his due and those chickens will come home to roost. In a way, I feel like that’s what I and many of my friends did with football. I’m a product of football, so much of my character was formed from the grit of football.
The past few days have motivated me to build a new computer from scratch. I mean I’ve been meaning to build one for the last year, this just was the straw that broke the camels back. This is an embarrassing story given how boneheaded I was in assessing the problem, but nonetheless.
It all started when I moved to Long Beach, for some reason my monitor was going to sleep immediately after booting up.
After it was announced that John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma, I’ve had my eye on the responses across the political spectrum. From Barack Obama, to Donald Trump, to Bernie Sanders, and they were all as expected. Thoughts and prayers and warm outpourings of support. However, the further I deviated my attention from the mainstream in either direction, I noticed the more vitriolic and perhaps honest they became. This stark contrast made me reflect, because it appears many people vehemently disagree about this, but does John McCain deserve sympathy?
As the polls were closing on November 8th, I was in a bar in Sacramento sipping away at a rye whiskey and tobacco cocktail named after Ken Bone. I sat in the midst of the liberal crowd while the vibe was slowly starting to feel more and more panicked the more time passed. I knew Donald Trump was going to win, so I was already working through having to calm the potential riot that could occur.
The first time I watched a Terrence Malick film, it was Tree of Life a few years ago and I couldn’t last any longer than 45 minutes. My problem was I didn’t understand how to specifically watch a Terrence Malick film. This is because his movies don’t follow the linear storytelling motif. To The Wonder doesn’t necessarily feel like a movie, with a plot, rising action, and an eventual climax. It feels almost like a reflection of life, it feels more like a memory, or how I would perceive my own life if I was sitting at the end of it looking backwards.
We’re witnessing something I don’t believe we’ve ever seen in American Politics. The republican party is eating itself alive and the most surprising part is that this all started a long time ago.
Over the past 20 years, the right wing political machine has continuously fanned the flames of fanatical rhetoric beginning with conservative talk radio. I know because I was an avid listener of it in the early 2000s. Rush Limbaugh from noon to 3, Sean Hannity from 3 to 6, and if I was ever in the car between 9-11pm, there was Michael Savage.
Last week, Scott Mescudi (better known more by his stage name Kid Cudi or Cudi for short) checked into rehab for depression and suicidal urges and did so with a public confession on Facebook. This started what I believe is an important, yet long overdue conversation about mental illness. I was on twitter discussing it with a friend and he tweeted at me, “Kid Cudi changed your life”. I agreed because Kid Cudi is something far beyond a pleasant sounding combination of samples and tones grouped with poetic set of lyrics.
I’ve immediately latched onto Westworld, but not for the same reasons as some of my peers. Some mentioned the action, some mentioned the acting, and some mentioned the science fiction, but I think they were all missing the core. In my opinion, Westworld is (going to be) a show about existentialism that uses robots, and the wild west as simple plot mechanics. If people think this is only going to be like watching a life like twitch stream of someone playing Red Dead Redemption, they wont be able to see the forest for the trees.
I’m writing a story with a character faced with a moment of excruciating loss of a someone close and I’ve been chewing on the concept of loss to better understand how to appropriately frame it and eventually, have that character come to terms and accept it. The simple fact that someone who was here isn’t anymore misses the wide spectrum of deafening emotions that explode when tragic loss is experienced, regardless of how it occurs.
I saw an Anthony Bourdain quote the other day that struck me at my core.
“I understand there is a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed, smoke weed all day, and watch cartoons and old movies. My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid, and outwit, that guy”
We had a saying back in the day, “That’ll preach.” It basically meant that line is extremely effective in making a point.
Over the past few years I’ve made a long and slow theological transition. The whole overview of that will be in another post at another time, but in a nutshell, I’m moving away from classical theism. However, I can assure people I won’t be turning into one of those Richard Dawkins quoting, trilby wearing aristocrats everyone hates at parties. If I were to use an analogy, if Christianity was a house and every room was a different denomination(with the Pentecostals upstairs making all the racket), consider me outside in the backyard in a tank top and cargo shorts shooting off model rockets while some post-rock band is blaring on my boombox.
Loneliness is a dirty word. The slightest insinuation that you’re lonely normally brings with it a slap on the back and the stereotypical, “You need to be happy with yourself before you get into a relationship” line. Which is kind of a rude assumption when you think about it. Throwing around huge over-encompassing words like happy or satisfied with qualifiers like “with” and “by” can easily lead you into a semantic graveyard.
After the tragic attacks in Paris, the continual and constant collision of varying ideas and values is taking off on social media. With the Syrian refugee issue on hand, many on my friends list have voiced their beliefs and concerns about every possible outcome. I’ve seen people voice their legitimate caution while others spew blatant propaganda with the desire for religious and even racial ostracization. I even saw someone mention using the nuclear bomb in Syria, which is a view which should be mocked, ridiculed and shamed.
Another mass shooting happened on Thursday, this year’s 274th (275th after another in Florida might make the list) and conservatives and liberals are similarly are coming out of the woodwork spouting the same rhetoric they have for years and no one will be changing their view. I’m noticing people are merging the two separate issues of mass shootings and overall gun violence into one gigantic monolithic issue, which is completely understandable, but is a misunderstanding nonetheless.
This is my first blog post from my new home in California. I really haven’t had time to sit down and manifest my thoughts into words until tonight. Sharing the couch with two dogs, (Roommate’s not mine) glass of whiskey at my side, neat, I finally feel the calming of the fast paced change that happened at the end of December. I went from Pittsburgh to Chicago, down through Texas to Corpus Christi, then to Houston, then off to Washington D.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more aware of these moments with people who are considered special. Times when you feel as if it is the calm before the storm, the calm that’s often time spent preparing. When you are around those people, it feels like the best course of action is to become a sponge. Absorbing everything that’s said, they contain astronomical amount of memories and experiences that induce awe and respect.