Friday, May 10, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
I have missed this feeling!
This week started my month long quest to start my day spiritually. The past few years have been amazing, so before I start to sound as if I'm whining about "some missing part of my life" I want it to be known that I am an incredibly happy man. My married life is more wonderful than I ever imagined. I've never loved anyone more than I love TheWife. It almost hurts. Weird, right?
School is also going incredibly well. I've won three different awards in the past semester, including some monetary ones. I've also won a scholarship for a summer program in Prague, including airfare and a per diem. My GPA, even after my second 19-hour semester (including French III and the ever-hated Calculus) is a 3.78.
Even my social life has been good. I've got some amazing friends. The love I feel for Bestest is powerful and I miss her on the few days a week that I don't talk to her. My family is doing well, my sister got a kiss from Robert Downey Jr. Another finally has a job that she loves. I mean, ACTUALLY loves! AND lost a bunch of weight on top of that.
The world isn't perfect, but there ARE a lot of puppies and rainbows out there right now. Hell, even Amanda Berry was found this week. What the what?
|The world is not falling to shit, my friends.|
But what has been missing is my spiritual connection to things. I used to meditate a lot. I have done so perhaps 5 times in the last couple of years. But, this week I started a new dedication to my spiritual and emotional health.
I start with the qigong exercise Draw the Bow. Then, I do a very mild meditation, sitting cross-legged on the floor and concentrating on my breathing for 5 minutes. It's very mild, but the feeling I've had over the past couple of days has been amazing. Starting my day from a centered state has done a lot for how I feel throughout the day. It's a feeling I've missed more than I knew.
Here's a video of the stance for anyone that is interested. This is not me or anyone I know. I just found it in case some of you are interested in the technique.
How do you start your day? I'd love to hear tips that have made a difference for you.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
So, if you people don't know what Farscape is, or you didn't watch Battlestar Galactica, I can tell you this blog entry isn't for you. Come back next week, when I review Iron Man 3. Or, maybe I'll review Oblivion. Or possibly GI Joe. Or, perhaps I'll actually talk about art. Go figure.
I loved Farscape, and like to think I have a little bit of John Crighton's personality (though, my wife seems to think I'm more Rygel. Not sure wh...hey, there's chips!)
Anyway, we started watching Defiance because of Rockne S. O'Bannon, creator of Farscape. It also reunites many of the production team from Battlestar Galactica, another favorite. So, how could it go wrong? Hell, it can't. Right?
I thought that about another show I was excited about. A little show called Revolution. Well, turns out I hate Revolution. And unless Defiance tightens up I'll be hating it, too. These two shows are a little too close for comfort for my tastes.
|If only NBC had a blackout when they aired this illogical snoozefest!|
For example, they both have an annoying female lead. Tracy "pouty faced" Spiridakos: She's young. She's brash. She's tough. Her whole purpose is to get the group into trouble. She's...annoying as shit. I find myself yelling, "sit the fuck down!"
|Quit pouting. Your face will get stuck like...oops. There it went.|
If I were there I'd hit her with a rock or a pogo stick or something and leave her in the dust while me and the town/group of travelers went along on our merry way...with much less hassle in our lives. Stephanie "scowly faced" Leonidas is getting very close to...did she just cut that dude down? What the fuck..."WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING?? You're just going to get him killed later!" Ugghh.
|She must have auditioned for Revolution, but she scowled too much.|
Both shows have a father figure that is so badass that we wish he was our father figure. In Defiance, it's an adopted father, and in Revolution it's an uncle. These dudes may be badass, but they sure as shit spend a lot of time getting into trouble because their bratty niece/fake daughter can't keep their brat urges contained. You want to be badass? Get a grip...right around the throats of those two little scamps and march them to the docks/train station, pay for their passage, and send them on their way. Now, THAT'S badass!
Both of these shows have strong female leaders played by actresses that we hated in other shows. Defiance has the always annoying Julie "I think there's a gnat inside my ear" Benz from Dexter.
|bzzz bzz bzzzzz. I'm talking. bzzz bzzz bzzzz.|
*Spoiler: I could not wait for her boring ass to die on Dexter. I looked forward to it with more glee than I did with Andrea from The Walking Dead. And now, here she is again, like a spider that you thought you'd killed but it only fell behind the dresser and now you'd seen it moving toward you just as you were about to fall asleep.Yeah, she's just like that. But not that interesting. More boring than that. So, like...if you're bored at home and then someone invites you to a party and you thought you'd left the boring at home, but then you get to the party and it's boring too. Yeah, Julie Benz is more like that.
On Revolution, it's Elizabeth "two-expressions" Mitchell. I've seen more range on a cowbell.
|She always looks like you caught her reaching into your purse for weed money.|
Every line is delivered with such purpose. And that purpose is to deny it any inflection or emotion. So, kudos. Last I saw Revolution she was the bratty kid's always angsty mother. Maybe they killed her off, by now. The odds are good, however, that she's still there actually removing depth from the rest of the show. There had better be one hell of a plot twist to explain why she left her family behind. I mean, one wicked, Bob Newhart of a plot twist. Some real, Bobby Ewing sort of shit.
So, if you have Defiance on the DVR and you're waiting to see what people think about it, now you know. But, don't delete it. It COULD get better. I hated the first couple of episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was wrong about that, and I could be wrong about this.
Then again, I wasn't wrong about The New Girl, now was I?
Disagree? Give me your arguments in the comment's section. I'd love to be convinced otherwise!
Friday, April 5, 2013
|This sounds like one of my exes.|
I'm Staton the Obvious, and I have always hated Andrea. Always. Since her wishy washy days as a suicide wanna-be. Then, her partnership with Shane and then...the list goes on and on. I couldn't wait for her to die. Every episode, I would wait with baited breath. Will this be the one? No? Shit. Maybe next time.
But, let me say this:the writers NAILED it! They managed to semi-explain her stupidity, her dumb decisions, her ineptitude at everything. "I just didn't want anyone to die." Awwwww.
As the Prison Gang made their way to that metal door with the blood leaking from beneath, I kept thinking "Please be dead, please be dead." But she wasn't dead. Just tired from killing Tobias Funke or whatever his name was. Guess we'll just have to wait til...OH SHIT! Look at her THROAT!! She's looking up at everyone all ashen and sweating. But at peace. And then, her confession to Sherriff Lobo. "I just didn't want anyone to die."
|Sheriff Lobo and the Predator look on in relief...uh, I mean pain!|
Not just her words, but the characters's responses to it. It got me. I felt bad for wishing this on the poor girl. She wasn't bad. She just didn't want anyone to die. There was no "Thank god, bitch. DIE DIE DIE!!" I was actually feeling sorry for her. Not sorry enough to hope she pulled through, but sorry for her.
And then I remembered that she spent about 20 minutes talking to the dying guy instead of picking up the fucking pliers in order to get out of the fucking handcuffs and I thought, "yep, died like you lived. Like an idiot. Peace out!"
And by the way...does Bizarro Mayberry have a spa? Where the hell did she find time to get a pedicure!?!?
Yeah, good riddance.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
In honor of Easter, a wonderful group of artists created a little challenge: Create a painting using peeps. Simple enough. But some great ideas came from it. This is a great group and I'm hoping we do more work like this!
|HAPPY HOUR PEEPS|
10" x 10" Watercolor
|LITTLE BO PEEPS|
6" x 6" watercolor
|A FISTFUL OF PEEPS|
11" x 14" oil on canvas
12" x 4" Oil on Canvas
Pablo Villicana Lara
6" x 6" Watercolor
Saturday, March 9, 2013
I am on the downhill slide of a very shitty few weeks. I fractured my elbow, caught the flu, got something that I thought was strep, went through mid-terms and I'm currently working on a project that has been one of the most intensive, short-term projects I've ever worked on. For nothing. This doesn't even have to do with my business. This is for someone else's business.
Now, before I delve into complaining too much about it, the truth is that I'm learning a lot. This is not about how terrible this project is. All that whining was simply so I could delay going back to it for just a few more seconds.
That's right. I'm working on the project RIGHT NOW! I should be researching condiment sales over the past 5 years (don't ask). Instead, I'm here.
And this isn't even the only distraction I'm partaking in.
Over on the next internet screen I'm on a little site you may have heard off. It's called youtube. Check it out. It may just catch on. I'm watching a movie called "Ninja Massacre". It's a full movie. A full, ninja-leaping-from-rooftops, long-eyebrowed-megalomaniacs, badly dubbed, whimpering-girls-who-suddenly-jump-90-feet-and-kick-someone's-ass martial arts extravaganza! I'm 11 minutes in and it's terrible.
Some old dudes are standing in a square when some ninjas and the long-eyebrowed man threaten to kill them all unless they turn over The Secret Message. Of course, there is no secret message, the old people say. Long-eyebrows isn't buying that crock of shit. The ninjas attack! And, as the title hints, it is a massacre. Arrows and swords fly, and the long-eyebrowed man kills the oldest of the old dudes with nary a sweat. But hark, what's that? A...wait...is that a baby? Someone is carrying a baby? Could THAT be the secret message!??!
Long-Eyebrows doesn't think so. He's about to slaughter that helpless ball of noise with a sword lined with a bunch of rings. Just as he's about to slice it open like a letter from Publisher's Clearinghouse, some chick comes leaping in out of nowhere! She dressed all in pink, like some pink power ranger of death. Pinkie Tuscadero and Long-Eyebrows go at it for a few seconds, then Pinkie grabs the baby and leaps out of there like a pink grasshopper fleeing a formation of black ants! BOING!
There's some exposition that I don't care about so I get some water and a handful of sunflower seeds. By the time I get back, Long-Eyebrows and his gaggle of ninja are gone. There's just a group of dead old people, like bingo night gone wrong.
Wait...maybe it's about to get better. Some young guy just came in and is trying to wake up his dead master. "Master!" he screams while shaking the oldest of the old dudes's body. A body riddled with arrows. Good thing Master wasn't just trying to get some rest. I'm sure shaking a dude riddled with arrows is probably not good for him. And right on cue... "I shall avenge you!" Damn right you will! This movie just got good as a motherfucker!
|"Brow before me!"|
But it will have to wait. I need to pause and...yes, there it is, still waiting for me. Work. Where was I? Oh yes...ketchups.
I spend a whole 15 minutes working. Did you know that childhood obesity is actually down in the state of NC? Did you know that there are only 5 states where that is the case? Do you care?
When I get to the point that I want to rip my left eyeball out of it's socket, I turn back over to the youtube. "NINJA MASSACRE!" I yell at the top of my lungs. I hit play.
Jimpao isn't dead. Our hero finds him struggling. "Who did this?" he asks. Jimpao croaks out something about the Mandarins or Tokugawa or The Hand or Splinter or something and our hero is about to cut into action.
But first, we have to cut to some chicks. Chicks in blue. Chicks who, in the credits, must be known by their hair styles. Pig Tails wonders where their Mistress is. Bangs agrees. They can't go on without their Mistress. So, just like that, they nominate a new Mistress. This one is the Lady in Red. Everyone agrees, including Side Pony Tail and Poof Top. Lady in Red reluctantly takes control. I've never seen her looking as lovely as she did that night!
Time passes...I guess. No one tells me it does, but Pinkie is washing some kid in a little bathtub and he's got some weird tattoo on his back and the kid is, like, 3 years old. And Pinkie says, "Aha, the secret message!" So, Pinkie "Sherlock Holmes" Tuscadero, now wearing white (so I understand if that gets confusing) decides to train the boy. He's leaping all over things, stabbing shit, getting dunked in the water and treated like crap, a la Karate Kid.
"I don't wanna train anymore!"
"You'll train if you know what's good for you!" she says while shaking her fist in the air!
I watch all the way through the training montage. That kid gets his ass handed to him. Also, we learn that Pinkie is blind. What???? She wasn't blind the last time we saw her. Mind blown, I flip back over to my assignment.
Did you know that Heinz has a 60% market share of all ketchup sales? Me either. Think about that next time you dip your french fry in ketchup. Or don't. I'm probably not going to.
I make it a full 20 minutes before the words in front of me start to blur. Which reminds me of that Blind Chick and the Secret Message Baby. I go back to the youtube. But first, I yell, "NINJA MASSACRE!"
|Which kid are you? Hell, even the director can't tell you apart!|
Chicks in white ninja uniforms lose to Young Revenger and some kid. Who the hell is this kid? It isn't Secret Message. That kid is getting his ass kicked by Blind Pinkie. A lot. I learn a valuable lesson. If I ever get busted spanking my kid in a Wal-Mart parking lot I'm just going to tell Social Services that I'm teaching the kid kung fu. Then, when the kid does something wrong I'm going to whack him across the back with a stick. Works every time.
Back to the training montage. Now there are two kids. Secret Message and Mystery Kid. There's no Rocky music, but there's some yakety sax that's just as good. Secret Message flailing around with a lot of wind sounds while Mystery Kid kicks down some trees. Secret Message fights some dudes (but it turns out those dudes are actually monkeys. Who wrote this movie. It's AMAZING!!)
Ok, I've got to get back to work. It'll be dinner time soon. I can use that as an excuse the watch the rest of this awesome...OH SHIT!! That Secret Message kid just broke into a castle and is beating the hell out of everybody!
Screw work. I'm going to make some popcorn in my wok and watch the rest of this movie!
Saturday, February 16, 2013
So, as you know, I like to talk songs. Sometimes, talking a song yields better results than other times. For a good example, you can read my blog entry, Kid, I Wanna Be a Man in Motion , or the sequel at Song Talking II: Electric Boogaloo.
So, as you see, you just talk the lyrics of a song and hope that either the people you're talking to join in or that they become baffled beyond measure and you get a good laugh. This was a case of the latter.
My pal Aldo calls me from across the quad on NCCU's Campus. I wave and alter my course to intercept him. He's a good pal, but we don't share any classes this semester. He's got a young kid with him (Aldo and I are approximately the same age). He introduces himself, but since I don't like people's given names I immediately dub him as HipHop.
Aldo and I exchange pleasantries. Then, he gets this look on his face like he just learned that there's free pizza in the next room. He swats HipHop on the shoulder and says to me, "This cat has some problems with school. You should give him some advice."
I do not have time for this. I have to get across campus for a class within the next 7 minutes and I am NOT a fast walker. I look at my watch. 6 minutes.
HipHop says, "What? It's nothin'."
Aldo says, "Dude, tell him what you were telling me!"
HipHop says, "What's he going to be able to tell me that no one else could?"
I stop looking at my watch. I look at Aldo. He's grinning like the Joker in a poisoned squirt-flower gag factory. HipHop is looking at me as if to say, "this dried up old loser can't help me."
I hear myself say, "What's your problem, Son."
Aldo says, "This cat has some deep knowledge, man. You have got to listen to him."
HipHop sighs. He actually sighs, his doubt is so deep.
"What's his problem?" I ask Aldo.
"He can't handle all his work." He's beaming.
"How many hours are you taking?"
"Twelve," HipHop says. Twelve. The card catalog of my mind is working overtime while I talk.
|Damn! Good thing I'm not paying for this...oh wait, I AM paying!|
And then, it comes to me...
"That's a lot," I say. I take a deep breath. I squint at him, focus on him. "My friend," I say, "you have to learn to pace yourself. For the pressure. You're just like everybody else." I clench my fist. "Pressure."
He's looking at me, brain empty. I sigh, like I was talking to an obstinate four-year-old.
"You've only had to run so far, so good. But, you will come to a place where the only thing you feel are loaded guns in your face. And you'll have to deal with pressure."
|If I had a quarter for every beautiful woman that pointed a gun at me...|
I look at him as if to say, "eh? Right?" He reads my look and nods. He agrees. Pressure is a bitch.
I turn to Aldo and say, "They used to call ME paranoid."
Aldo asks, "From pressure?" I nod. He's picked up on it already.
"Yeah," I say. I turn back to HipHop and point at him. "But, even YOU cannot avoid pressure."
"No, I can't," he quickly agrees. He thinks he understands. He wants to show us his wisdom. He adds, "Every professor asks so much. Do this, do that! They act like no other prof is doing the same thing!"
Aldo can barely keep his shit together.
I nod sagely. I'm good at the sagely nod. "Yeah. But you..." I almost add too much. I'm gonna be statin' the obvious here, but there are rules to this. You can add to the song to help it make sense in the context with which you are using it, but you can't add too much. That's cheating.
I hesitate. I jab a finger into HipHop's chest and say, accusingly, "YOU turn the tapdance into your crusade. Now, here you are with your faith and your...Peter Pan advice."
Aldo adds, "damn right"
HipHop looks at him and wonders if he's missing something. He focuses on me again, taking my words more seriously. He asks, "I give Peter Pan advice or...I get Peter Pan advice?"
Aldo smacks him on the shoulder like a big brother and says, "You TAKE Peter Pan advice." Then, he taps his own temples and says in a hiss, "You have got to listen! Listen to the words!"
HipHop feels out of his depth, but he wants to catch on. He wants to understand. He concentrates again, staring at me.
I reach out and grab his jaw. I'm aware this is punching territory. I don't know this kid. But, I'm also twice as big as him. And the effect will be AWESOME. I turn his face a little to one side and say, "You have no scars on your face," as if I was showing exhibit A to the court. "And you cannot handle pressure."
Aldo screams, "PRESSURE." making both the kid and me flinch. Jesus.
Now I'm blaming the kid for being young. I roll my eyes. "All grown up and no place to go. Psych 101. Psych 102. And what do you know?"
"True," HipHop mumbles.
And it's here that I realize a big problem with my choice in song. There is no answer! He just keeps going on about pressure, pressure, pressure. He never gives you any actual advice. So, HipHop's brain is working harder than a freshman at a Stephen Hawking event and I have nothing to give him. He's over there nodding to me, trying to show that he gets it, wanting to ask some clarifying question. ANYTHING to help him understand. I've used my power for evil, not for good.
I lower my voice and say, almost to myself, "All your life is channel 13. Sesame Street. What does it mean?"
Aldo hits the kid again. "I'll tell you what it means. Pressure."
"Pressure," the kid repeats. He nods. "Pressure. I feel that."
|All together now: "Pressure!"|
I put a hand on his shoulder. "Don't ask for help."
"You're all alone. You'll have to answer to you own pressure."
He nods again.
"Look," I say, trying to be understanding. "I'm sure you have some cosmic rationale. But here you are in the ninth." I mime holding a baseball bat, standing at the plate. I look off in the distance. "Two men out and three men on. Nowhere to look but inside where we all respond to..." I make it a question.
He nods. "Pressure," he says.
"Yeah," I say. "Pressure."
Aldo has taken a few steps away from us. His back is to me. His shoulders are shaking. I can't look at him right now.
"Does that make sense?" I ask HipHop.
"Kinda," he says. "You...you gotta take care of your own shit?"
Sure, that sounds good to me. I give another sagely nod. "That's right. That's right."
Aldo says, back still to us, "Two men out and..."
And then, we break into laughter. I think I pee a little. Aldo says, "Baseball. I never knew what the fuck he was talking about!"
And I lose it. I laugh all the way to class...
...where I come in 5 minutes late...AGAIN.
Have you done it yet? Try it and let me know how it works. Or, if I've done it to you feel free to let the world know how annoying it is!