Friday, May 31, 2013

Great taste, Less filling.

Growth is overrated. Really, why do we have to learn and grow when it is so much easier to stay stunted and stupid? It’s the world we live in right? Good luck seeing a movie with a plot or dialogue that sounds like it wasn’t fished out of a Cracker Jack’s box. Our finest literature these days comes from 10 year old boys’ bedrooms. Screw growth; it only brings you down. I grow so that I may realize how many weeds exist in my garden? How what I thought was a tomato plant was CGI-created, GMO-produced, and poisonous-rogue IRS agent? And I was being audited because I once saw an Amanda Bynes film “What a Girl Wants” and thought she was cute until I realized that girl wants to crowd all of the news articles with her crazy on every search engine online with an obsessed press and a damn Twitter account. I can’t provide receipts for that, I’m guilty!

I don’t know what is more impressive. The fact that we can make the #1 movie with no plot, fast cars, cartoonish-looking actors and action scenes that make me want to jump from the top of a building to a moving car below just to see if I can not only land without a bruise but smile and zip into Daytona before the checkered flag. Or the fact that a damn Twitter page update from a D-list retired child celebrity becomes the top story on Google news daily. Give me a freakin break! The promos alone before Fast and Furious 6 made me realize we live in a society I am not sure is salvageable. After Earth with Will Smith may be closer than we think, but why would any space aliens want to eat our brains considering the high calories and artificial sweetener they are full of to begin with. It would be like a child gorging on cotton candy. Surely there is a better planet to take over than Earth!

Hey I paid the tickets for F&F 6. I have no moral high ground to walk on, but if I did it would be quick sand anyways. You can’t function in this world without dumbing yourself down to function in it. It’s a daily compromise with each other just to get through the day. It’s like a game of Texas hold-em poker. I know I am not always as smart as the guy or gal next to me, but am I as stupid? Should I bluff them or will they call my bluff? We compromise everyday just to survive and if you think you are the one bluffing that you are smarter, you’ve just been called. You are holding a Jack-Ten unsuited and all-in. You are screwed. That lunatic child-star who is having her tenth Twitter breakdown of the day is holding Ace-King, and she thinks you are ugly.

Where do we go from here? I used to think I wasn’t intelligent enough to be a writer. I felt my voice was saturated with generalities and I couldn’t hold a candle to what real dignified authors that sit in elaborate writing rooms do, smoking pipes while they churn out novels for an admiring public. As our attention spans digress and our ability to even read a paragraph of those great novels wanes, I realize novels are dying anyways. Who can sit down and read one unless the characters jump out of the pages and onto our tables talking in Twitter-friendly verbiage that will hold our attention? But who am I kidding; I already lost you at growth didn’t I?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Running Man

The thing that frustrates me to no end on this recent bombing in Boston is that it takes a moment of clarity that people have running and suffocates it in the same saturation of media and life that we run to get away from. Running is therapeutic. I never thought I would say that, but running clears the mind of garbage and the mindless things we focus on and takes us to some primitive place where all we focus on is the breaths we take and the road ahead of us. More than endurance it is a healthful cleansing for me from my own self. At mile two we may be still stuck in our own minds but by mile 5 we are free of our own barriers that we’ve set up in our minds. We hit that euphoric runner’s high and feel a peace even as our feet pound the pavement.

Now it is bogged into that same news cycle which closes in around us. It’s amazing how big the world is but how small it feels under the microscope of media we have created and that infiltrates our daily lives. Events all over the world hit us real-time as if we are there and a part of it when we are neither. We are all inter-connected, when we are truly not. Their pain is our pain, but is it really? Should we care what happens somewhere else, of course, but when it consumes our own daily lives do we not lose perspective on life in general?

Being on a road running is the only place that can free many people from the constant media and technology that forcibly pulls us all together. We can’t get away when we flip channels, or surf our phones or the web, it is all around us. Doesn’t matter what page or channel you find yourself on, it is there waiting for you. On the road you’ve been freed from that direction. It is important to empathize and being knowledgeable but we can’t control the events that we are getting fed to us daily. It is life the good, the horrible, the tragic and a lot of it is reprehensibly ugly. We can’t look away because it is all of us and can be all of us. We could have been there or we know someone that was. We are the event as much as the person next to us, or at least we are told we are.

I just want the break. CNN, Headline news, Yahoo, Google, Drudge, TMZ, stop!! Whatever media mouthpiece is plucking into our eyes, ears, psyches, we need the ability to step back, step off, and run away. Now they’ve taken some of that escape away. They’ve polluted the water even more to the point where even running will have to be done with some cautions we hadn’t planned a week ago. That drift less freedom just got taken away from me. I know that is a selfish thought but I don’t care. It’s mine. I refuse to apologize for it. I hope when I hit mile 5 or mile 10 that I still have that moment where my mind is released from itself, if only a moment and I’ll take it. I appreciate that I have those moments at all.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Quick Holiday/'12 wrap-up-We lived!

I just realized run-on, fragmented sentences and misspellings create a nice red and green holiday underlining for the holidays. It’s a greeting card from Microsoft for the stupid people. Awesome! Spell check must be Ebenezer because I just lost my colors. Alright, so here we go. I have to psyche myself up for another column because it has been buried under boxes or old Holiday decorations and lights and some creatures that have been living in my garage attic. No they aren’t aliens waiting to take me away to the French Alps and then their home planet rescuing me from my Mayan predicted destruction, apparently they were just rats re-introducing the black plague for a 13th Century renaissance...rats!!! Wow, ok welcome back random rats, I swear, but yes the column/blog/mental cleansing apparently was backed up. I feel like I am taking my first drink of alcohol after years as a teetotaler.

How was the year for everyone? 2012? Didn’t think we’d make it this far? Not sure what to do now that we have? Glad you didn’t build that bunker after all? Has anyone knocked on the bunkers of those doomsdayers to let them know it’s ok to come back into the light? I feel like the old psychic from Poltergeist calling into the white tv fuzz that used to exist before we all got sucked into 2000 cable channels of reality television..”Carol Anne…Carol Anne…come back to the light…Carol Anne???” And her little voice calls back..”I just got a show on TruTV with PaulyD screw you old psychic lady! Did you predict that?”

It’s been a good year for me. I ran a lot, more running that I’ve ever done in my life. At least the type of running that doesn’t involve sirens behind me and that is a positive. When you can run recreationally and not for survival that is the good stuff. I didn’t write as much (obviously) because the words now come out pouring like a backed up faucet minus the lead poisoning. I ran four half-marathons in 2012 and another one on the horizon in early February to start of the New Year. It’s hard to motivate myself to run when the snow flurries and wind chill pounds you in the face and the darkness swallows you like the whale swallowed Geppetto in Pinocchio but it is also kind of cool to have cars pass you in awe of your a) bad ass(ed)ness and b) outright insanity. My race in February is in Huntington Beach, so that helps motivate, plus Maui on the docket in early March is also motivation…because I don’t want to look like the whale that swallowed Geppetto!

2013 will be an exciting year to come. I have a feeling I’m in for unveiling new chapters in my life and may even write one or two for once. I won’t make it a long blog because with the Holidays, attention span (yours, mine, ours, etc) I don’t have the stamina to write another few paragraphs in ’12. I just thought I’d let you all know I still write (things that should stay in my head) and you haven’t missed anything in the process. Hope all of my family and friends have a wonderful Christmas and New Years wrapping up the 1-2. See you all in the very lucky ’13.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My jersey says idiot

I don’t envy kids today. We live in a world where it is more important to look good than to feel good. Our infomercials show us that a toned fit body is more important than the knowledge received picking up a book. I am as guilty as the next person, the commercial I can’t get out of my head is the fitness routine based on MMA fighting which seems to guarantee abs that will make me look like a chiseled Octagon fighter. Abs I could crack eggs on in the morning, all the while I’ve completely forgotten the link to the cool infomercial online a few weeks back which could teach me any language in two months. Which one would bring me more value? Making breakfast on my stomach or learning skills that would allow me to eat breakfast anywhere in the world?

Try being a student today and playing sports. We find out every day another hero we idolized cheated to success. How would you like to be the young cyclist with the Lance Armstrong poster on your wall? I find myself watching baseball and not marveling at their skill but wondering what their testosterone count is. Are they 3-1? What are they doing to stay undetected? I am not going to lie, I was wondering how I could obtain testosterone myself to go ahead and speed up those ab exercises in the first place. If you look good it must be healthy right? If you aren’t cheating you are not utilizing all the tools. And hell, in the case of football you are only guaranteed so many years of playing without damaging your brain on concussions why not maximize your profits and make sure you sign a top dollar contract.

I just watched a baseball team yesterday trade for three players with contracts paying 270 million over the next 6-7 years. This California team is worth more than half of its cities, which are filing bankruptcy. City employees, firefighters, police forces, are losing jobs and benefits because of the financial hardships due to short-term thinking and failure of long-term planning and we just shell out an extra $100 (at least) every time we go to the park to distract ourselves from how bad the rest of our lives are. I wrote a long time ago in internet years (last year to be exact) that we live like the Romans before the collapse of the Roman Empire. We pay to watch these gladiators in the Coliseum and obsess over statistics while our own houses crumble around us. We are grateful if one millionaire who arrives at the park from him mansion in a limo graces the field in our presence and does something he is paid millions to do in the first place. We cheer them on like conquering hero’s and buy their jerseys until they find another park that pays them more. Meanwhile we are still paying their salaries in higher ticket prices and concession stand prices, long after they have driven away to “grace” another field.

I love sports as much as the next guy but we are crazy. We have literally saturated our daily lives with numbers and statistics that mean nothing, give us nothing, and achieve for us nothing, but the ability to distract ourselves. And we seem to be ok when we find out that some of our heroes cheated. We rationalize that everyone does it anyways.  Is it not fitting when our own companies cut down on employees and benefits, job promotions, yet find the hidden fortune to place their names on stadiums and sponsor athletes? These nearly billion dollar Coliseums that the masses flock to that are sponsored by the same companies that also make it difficult to afford the games in the first place? We are being squeezed. Each and every day us the consumer are being squeezed by our purchases and lifestyles. I say this as I can’t even watch Fox on Direct TV because of a dispute with a broadcasting company in Yakima that holds our Fox television rights. Both sides claim they are working for us. Both sides will agree to just charge us more. Don’t worry, it’s coming. Do you hear that sound behind the trumpets of the Coliseum? It’s the sound of eggs getting thrown at our washboard abs. Better react fast, that’s dinner.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

About that Mt. Ashland hike....

When you reach the summit of anything there is an exhilaration that can be overwhelming. It can punch you in the gut with honesty. It can make you reflect on choices in our lives we are both ashamed and proud of. You can be filled with an enormous relief and excitement and also a deep sadness. We realize how small we are, tiny in the large world we live, and also how many things we set upon as children that never were fulfilled or imagined. It’s not all glory, it’s an awakening. It’s clearing of mental cobwebs in sweat and tears and pain that can make every emotion within us pound our psyches like an orchestra.

Somehow in my long four hour trek last weekend I found myself pushed like I hadn’t been before. I was angry at my naivety of my fitness level and arrogance. I was stunned that people who appeared less able-bodied blew past me. I wondered what the hell I was doing, several times, it all sorts of colorful foul language to myself, my girlfriend, and the damn bees that swarmed me repeatedly up the mountain. I channeled the voices of every motivation movie clip or sound bite I could remember in my life. Quotes from great philosophers, authors, motivational speakers, movies, and Yoda played through my head instead of IPod music. “Try not. Do, or do not.” I heard the little green bastard scold me as I struggled up different portions of the trail. Like young Luke my arrogance was overwhelming. And just like old Yoda, old men sped by me up the hill.

Three miles into my ascent I felt amazing. I was running confidently and with purpose. I didn’t see what the big deal was about this trek. The hype seemed undeserved. Who can’t handle this? By mile six I realized what I had gotten myself into. The perpetual climb up trails that never seemed to level was infecting my false bravado. I was getting pummeled by the climb. That imaginary finish line that was around each corner was never there. I kept waiting for the incline to stop but at every turn would watch it only increase. It was like a scene out of Inception. The floor became the ceiling above me. I was hoping I could wake up but found myself just in another dream inside a dream with myself being played by Screech from Saved by the Bell. Where was the casting re-write? I thought I could easily have been Tom Hardy. Dustin Diamond??!!

By mile ten I was cursing the existence of mountains. What was the purpose of man to climb these things? We invented elevators and escalators to avoid this. Technology enabled us to not torture our bodies with such ignorant pursuits. Hell, even the old settlers had stagecoaches and horses. Yet you keep moving. Realization sets in that there is nothing else to do but move forward. No one is going to do it for you. It’s you versus your subconscious. The voices of don’t and failure against the motion of progress. Those voices are always there, mine just happen to sound like the munchkins from the Wizard of Oz, but helium-throated negativity is still a downer! And I’m going up!!

And up and up..and up. You realize by mile 12 and the promise of the Mt. Ashland Ski Lodge that up is eternal. The road leading to the lodge is no oasis of comfort but more unending Eternia that must eventually lead to Castle GreySkull. Oh how I wish Battle Cat hadn’t abandoned me on mile 7, but I must move forward.

The lodge was finally reached and a nice reprieve but I knew that the hardest part was yet to come. The entire run/hike was built around the final hurdle of the journey. I would have to climb to the top on Mt Ashland, the white weather ball that had glared down at me from Lithia Park in its brilliance. It seemed insurmountable, unattainable, yet was closer than ever until I turned the final turn on the trail and looked up at where it actually was. Holy Sh##$$%$&*(__()@#%$#! Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepppppppppppp.

This was a test of the emergency broadcasting system…

It was a straight vertical incline that looked almost like a ride out of Disneyland, if Disneyland found masochism fun for the whole family. This was the Matterhorn on steroids. This was the Alps out of the Sound of Music minus the singing children and the music and general happiness. 12.5 miles of hardship led me to half a mile of straight physical brutality. What made it even more intimidating were the people who has passed us miles ago who were still only half way up the final mountain to the finish. Dear God, what have I done?! There was no secret elevator passageway. No rope climb option. It was scaling, scaling rocks, hands and knees style. The dream inside the dream now spun upside sown with Yoda and munchkins singing and Skeletor glaring down at me.

All you can do is keep climbing. You must silence the singing, the doubts, the acid-trippy visuals and keep moving forward. Ten minutes later you look down and see the same bewildered face from someone else that you made when they are looking up at you. Twenty minutes later you are near the top the finish line beckoning. The altitude sucks you dry, the length exhausts you, but the finish is worth the pain. You are there, finished, four hours later. Someone tells you the top guy finished under two. You want to hurl that person off the mountain, but you are too tired to even lift your arms. They have a masseuse at the top for muscle relaxation, but where is the psychiatrist?! Oh, that’s what the beer is for? I share a keg with my green friend Yoda and Skeletor.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hazy day

Been a while since I’ve blogged so why not. I’m not melting outside, or inside for that matter, so those are positives. I realize that Seth McFarland is dialed into my psyche somehow. I’ve already been compared to Brian from Family Guy a few times and now his new character in Ted is named “Jon” is 35, single, a slacker, and his best friend is a teddy bear. It’s uncanny this guy! He is so dialed into me it’s ridiculous. I too like to sing way too often for my own and everyone else’s good. So are welcome. I am glad I can provide you endless revenue streams..but if you don’t mind would you please fire me back a little retro motivation on that creative genius you got flowing? Thanks!

It’s important to not lose sight on the important things. What those are today..I have no clue. I guess we have an election coming up in November. The new Iphone hasn’t arrived yet? The global economy is teetering, wait it’s not? Joe Paterno was really not the great guy we thought he was. Maybe we focus too much on self-image and preservation than doing the right thing in the first place. I love that the American uniforms for the Olympics are made in China. And also that American cities are filing for bankruptcy. These are all great positive things to look forward to. That global economy thing is looking to be working smoothly.

I had a client tell me yesterday that there is a city in California that is close to SF that is so broke their entire police force was laid off. They have beautiful homes that have been vacated because there are so many loans under water and no services available in the city. The vacant homes are being used by gangs and turned into meth labs. People in this city can’t call the cops because there are none. If they complain they can be intimidated and murdered, they can’t re-sell; they can’t safely stay, so they are forced to abandon their homes or load up on artillery. The old American West reborn, minus Gene Hackman who I read today has been retired from acting now for a few years. Where is Little Bill when we need him?!

Other than that we can train ourselves. We can make better buying decisions. Spend less, eat healthier, work out. I know I am addicted to the gym right now and running. At least when gasoline gets too expensive and the oil wells runs dry I can run to work! We got a vegetable garden growing that requires a heck of a lot of TLC and watering but has yet to produce any edible food, that’s progress I guess. All the money in the world can’t buy you your health. All the free health care in the world won’t prevent the diseases we ourselves have the ability to protect ourselves from just by living healthier lifestyles.

There is fog, smoke, and smog that can fill the air and cloud our vision and there is rain, sweat, and tears that can wash it all away. Liquid can cleanse pollution, either the external or internal we fill our lives with. But it’s only a temporary cleansing unless we change what polluted it in the first place. If nothing else at least hydrate yourself with some water or jump in the river, that is as long as there are no River Monsters in there. Those catfish are gruesome.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Firing squad

The last few days I became engrossed in the Hatfields and the Mccoys. Something about drunken hillbillies drinking moonshine and firing off sawed off shot guns at each others in the Appalachian wilderness kept me captivated. It's good to know that people were just as freaking crazy back then as they are now, but damn..people are crazy now! There is something in the atmosphere that is making people who are normally off their rockers even more delusional. Maybe that paradigm shift leading us to 12/21/2012. I don't know, but I'm scared and annoyed. Crazy people irritate the hell out of me. I understand conditions and the economy and whatever whacked stuff people feed their brains can affect them but I am over sympathy and compassion.

Is it possible people were less messed up 50-100 years ago? With technology and increased information and knowledge I don't see ourselves advancing as a species. If anything we are regressing into instinctual barbarians. Perhaps the internet and dripping of bad news like Chinese water torture on our psyches is forcing repression of emotions for individuals who need to lighten up. They can hide in daylight and explode in vengeance when they're perceived slights become unbearable in their deranged minds. It's bizarre. Hit the gym. Open a bottle of moonshine and get lost in the Appalachians. Find a pen pal. Don't go eating people's faces. Don't mail human body parts. Do talk to someone who isn't behind a computer screen. Do go outside and get sunshine or take a hike. Wow, it's just sad how screwed up people are today. We need to form an army to weed out the wackos before they infiltrate our lives. Who needs terrorist cells to worry about, we have the nut jobs in plain sight all around us apparently.

I personally am over analyzing why people act this way. We are not going back to dissect how someone picked on them in high school, or what their parents did to them as a child. We tend to blame the victims in our country than the criminals. Somehow this person needed help. No, what they needed was to be put down before they put any innocents down. We don't save rabid dogs with rabies by petting them. We shouldn't try to sooth psychopaths with words of condolences and remorse. The only mistake was that we let them be crazy around us too long. If we see crazy behavior we should be able to report it to authorities before they act, not only after. There should be a system in place to corral these individuals before they storm our coffee shops with their ammunition.

The news media doesn't help. They feed this frenzy cycle of tragedy in an attempt to get web views and advertising dollars to keep their word engines running, but it doesn't make it right. We shouldn't feed this culture of sensationalizing tragedy. It's like the media wants to break the next horror story first and we feed on it for days and every major outlet breaks down the reasons before they can break the next story. I don't know about you but I sure can't survive without watching another commercial about car insurance in between the doom and gloom they are spoon feeding us. Maybe that is why the Hatfields and Mccoys was such a great history lesson. They knew their enemies, by name. Now we don't know who is friend or foe, who is crazy or not, nor do we know what lunatic lurks around the corner from us.