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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: michaelreyes72@hotmail.com

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Just a Friendly Reminder, Complete with Beautiful Artwork


Have a good weekend everyone. I don't know about you, but for personally I think things are starting to look...oh, COME ON! Do I seriously have to finish that joke? The picture speaks for itself, and you know what you should be doing this weekend.

Central Casting: My Top Five Celebrity Girlfriend Replacements

I'm single. Painfully, obviously, unwillingly single. Time to have some fun with the situation, and recast the role of "Possible Future Ms. Controversy". That in mind, and in no particular order, here’s five celebrities that could probably help me get over this situation as quickly as my ex did. (Actually, I take it back. I was single for the month that she broke up with me and she was dating someone, so I’ll never be able to get over it quicker than she did. Seeing as she jumped from lillypad to lillypad on this one and all.)


5. Kelly Clarkson

She’s incredibly hot, she’s the only American Idol I actually like listening to, and she seems like she’d be a lot of fun to hang out with.


4. Zooey Deschanel

I swear, I look at her eyes and I immediately forget about anything else. She’s pretty, she’s down to earth, and we’d probably have a lot of “aww” moments in front of everyone.


3. Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Absolutely stunning, and she’s gotten to work with both Quentin Tarantino and Edgar Wright. Images of us on diner runs with those two geniuses, their awesome friends, and my awesome friends, abound.

2. Summer Glau

She kicks ass and she’s a dancer. I would love to learn how to do both, and it’d be particularly interesting if she was teaching me. (And again, awesome diner run friend potential there with the Firefly crew, and others from the Whedonverse.)


1. Mandy Moore

Yes, I know she’s married. No, this doesn’t change my mind; because her and I would be a wonderful fit together. Anyone who knows me knows how much of a crush I have on Mandy. It just makes sense. (Plus, we’d make a hell of a duet.)

Closure: The Movie Version

If you haven't seen Michael Clayton, don't watch this. Watch the movie, because everything that leads up to it gives this awesome asskicking moment that much more depth and kick. This is what I'm aiming for with any future meeting with my ex. Blistering truth, and triumphant resolve. I'm not the guy that you cheat on and dump, I'm the guy you respect, love, and marry.

What Have We Learned? (Week of May 29th)


I'm starting to think I should rename this column, because I usually end up throwing in a lot about what I've learned and passing it off as what "we've" learned. Sorry for the egotism kids, but this is therapeutic.

Honestly, what haven't I frakking learned this week? I learned that the one person I trusted the most avoided and lied to me, while hiding behind work as a convenient excuse. I learned that I was easily replaced by an older model, probably not as awesome and charming (and modest) as myself. I learned that the woman I was dating was replaced by a facsimile that looked and sounded like her, but overall went "bitchcrazy" and betrayed me. I learned that there has been a dagger in my back since March, and the gaping fucking wound that it left is still healing right now. I've learned that I'm still bleeding out from this whole mess. One moment I'm confident, the next I'm crestfallen. One moment I want to forget she ever existed, the next I want to run back to her arms. It's all standard breakup stuff, I know. This shouldn't have happened. I now exist in an alternate timeline where everything got screwed up and I have to find someone new who'll even think of sharing their nights, much less their life with me. Somewhere along the line, I got labeled as "the Baxter".

For those of you unfamiliar (I'm not terribly familiar myself) with the term, "the Baxter" is the guy in those romantic comedies who gets dumped at the end of the film for the other big ticket star. See also: any "other guy/girl" in a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie who isn't Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan. Though funny thing, I guess I now know what Dennis Quaid went through when Meg dumped him for Russell Crowe. (However, we all remember how well that worked out for her, don't we?) I guess that's something to keep positive about. I mean, Dennis Quaid fell in love with someone new, had twins, and made some sorta decent films. But he's still Dennis Quaid. You can still watch him and think "he's a nice guy...I like him". Whereas Meg Ryan just kinda fell off the face of the Earth, because it became nigh impossible to believe her as the spunky, cute pixie she used to be. After all, she left Dennis Quaid.

I know it's the beginning of a hard road, and I know it's going to be filled with setbacks, drawbacks, flashbacks, and what have you. I just wish it wasn't so goddamn easy to remember the quirks she had, the wonderful times we spent, and the Danielle who actually gave a shit about me. Wherever she went off to, I miss her and hate her new pathologically lying bitch replacement. As a matter of fact, a lot of people do. She became Sarah Marshall in my life. She wasn't so sweet or nice anymore, and she showed everyone a side that no one thought existed. Even her family doesn't believe or condone what she did. For once, I have the world on my side in a breakup. I have people encouraging me to talk about it, I have people making me laugh so it doesn't hurt anymore. The best part though is the support I've gotten from my friends at work. This experience actually drew me closer together with people I haven't spoken all that much with, and it's made me realize just how much I fit in here. (One really funny bit though, the President of my company looked at me yesterday and said, "What's today?" I told him the date, and he said, "Tomorrow, the hunt begins." He was referring to the recommencing of my dating life.) All of this helps, but the obvious cold math keeps repeating the inescapable fact that in my damaged mind the thing that would help me most was the thing that harmed me the most...her.

I hate waking up and realizing I dreamt about her. I hate being reminded of all those little things she did. I hate that for the past two years I dated two people, only one of them actually caring about me. I'll take my pain, I'll do my time, and I'll make myself 200% better than ever. I'm going to chase my dreams, and I'm going to show her what she's missing. I'll even eventually respond to her email, but not until I get my thoughts straight. I'll get over her. I have to. I've tried saving others, and now it's time to be the one who's being saved. Because somewhere out there, someone who deserves saving waits, and I have to be ready.

I'm closing this post with a monologue from The Holiday, which is such an amazing "chick flick" that it transcends the label to become just a good romantic film. As of late, I've come to the realization that I have gone through a situation similar to that of Kate Winslet's character, Iris Simpkins. She was romanced by a man who eventually got engaged to someone else, but somehow still wanted her around. By the end of the movie, she takes a big stand for herself and tells him this:

"You broke my heart. And you acted like somehow it was my fault, my misunderstanding, and I was too in love with you to ever be mad at you, so I just punished myself! For years! But you waltzing in here on my lovely Christmas holiday, and telling me that you don't want to lose me whilst you're about to get MARRIED, somehow newly entitles me to say, it's over. This - This twisted, toxic THING between us, is finally finished! I'm miraculously done being in love with you! Ha! I've got a life to start living. And you're not going to be in it."

If she really wants to be a part of my life ever again, she's going to have to earn it. I gave her a lot of leeway, and I compromised myself for her. It's about time I pulled the strings, and take the control I've been given in the situation. I have all the power now, and I'm going to use it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Quick Joke - News vs. Entertainment

People ask me, “Mike why do you read movie blogs before you read the actual news?”. I ask them, “Am I still alive?” They say, “Obviously.” I tell them, “Well I obviously made it here, so there wasn’t anything in the news that could change that. Even if there was, I probably could do little to prevent it. So I’ll go to work thinking about cylons and the next Harry Potter movie, and you can go thinking about swine flu, the Supreme Court, and Dick Cheney’s big mouth. Chances are, I’ll live longer."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Getting Sarah Marshall’d


As some of you might know, I had a meeting with my ex this weekend. Not only didn’t it fail to lead to any hopes of reconciliation, but I was then informed that she’s been seeing someone else since she dumped me. Yeah…that’s why they call it a twist ending. I have a long, drawn out spiel chronicling the whole fucking matter, but I’m not so sure if I’m going to publish it or not. That whole nice guy thing is apparently still kicking in, even if the person we’re talking about betrayed me and kicked my heart out of my chest in the messiest, clumsiest, most icy and heartless way possible. She broke my heart twice in 10 years, and she didn’t seem to be the least bothered. As much as I tried to fight it, old instincts and anger are surfacing. I’ve got some dark times ahead of me, so I hope you all can deal with this out there. Except for her, of course. I want her to feel all that I’ve felt and then some. Call it typical bitterness or whatever you like, but it’s what I feel. I’m human, not an emotionless automaton who doesn’t strive for physical contact. I thought she understood me, but that went out the door when she asked for friendship after she admitted to seeing someone else.

I don’t want to say much more about the matter, lest it render the future publication of “A Bitter, Prolonged Truth” obsolete. However, I can give you the Cliff Notes: I was dumped for a 32 year old manager she worked with, she’s happy, I’m furious, she wants friendship, and I want to confront her. That confrontation won’t happen, so I’m left to vent and deal with others, while wishing I could tell her to her face what I think. I sort of feel bad about being like this, but do you honestly think I have a choice here? I’ll answer her email in my own sweet time, but for now if she’s looking for some sort of indicator as to how I’m feeling she’ll just have to find me here. Make no mistake, I reserve the entertainment rights to this tragedy. I get to make the uncomfortable jokes, I get to be the bitter one, and I get to hold the cards should she even dare approach the negotiation table.

And now, some jokes:

- I trusted my ex-girlfriend. That was before I found out she was a direct descendant of Judas Iscariot.

- Q: What did my ex say to her new boyfriend?
A: “Mike? Where we’re going, we don’t need Mike.”

- Q: What’s the difference between me and my ex’s Jetta?
A: As much as she wants to get rid of the Jetta, she can’t afford to.

- There’s fitting irony in the fact that one of her last gifts to me was an air freshener that said "Love", and contained a jelly heart. Apparently, that's what she thought I was made of.

Yeah, I'm not bitter.

Update: "A Bitter, Prolonged Truth" will never see the light of day, at least in the form it's in right now. Possible in a heavily edited, more clear headed form; but not in the raw, rage filled form it's in now. Thanks to the person who helped talk me out of it, you know who you are.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Monday GAAAH! (4/18/09)


Here’s to the graduates of the class of 2009. May their hangovers be light, and their spirits unbothered by the thoughts of a shitty job market and soul crushing debt!


- I finally succumbed to outside pressures and sales pitches and got a Blackberry. I really didn’t mean for it to happen, but that’s the nature of Verizon for you. On the plus side, it is rather cool and important looking.

- Box Office Roundup time: I didn’t think they had it in them, but Angels and Demons came in first with Star Trek trailing very closely at second. I guess Dan Brown hasn’t worn out his welcome yet. (I’ll eventually see the movie, just after I’ve finished the book..) Also, way to go Brothers Bloom for kicking ass in limited release. This weekend’s useless predictions: 1. Terminator Salvation; 2. Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian; 3. Star Trek. Lovable Loser: Anyone who’d rather be seeing Up this weekend.

- Sir Richard Branson is now taking Virgin into the realm of internet banking. If you ever get the feeling the world is a small, small place; try to picture how small it looks to Sir Richard. You’ll all of a sudden find that the world is actually much bigger in comparison.

- 24 Season 7 ends tonight. As a refresher, please refer to this Monday’s graphic. If you can tell who left, who’s dead, who’s a villain, and who was never a major plot point to begin with, then you’re ready for the finale. (And it better be a damn good one.)

- I’ve been helping take care of a batch of kittens lately, and I find that if you care for something small and furry it really does take the stress away. (It also activates long dormant baby talk functions in your speech that would be embarrassing otherwise.)

- I bet you thought I was going to say something about Katherine Heigl's death on Grey's Anatomy. Nope. I prefer to pretend it doesn't exist. Much like the visions of her long dead boyfriend, The Comedian. (Zing.)

- Think Steven Colbert would fight me in a bear suit? I think that'd be funny.

- We've already seen the media swarm over the Economy and Swine Flu. I dare ask, what do you all think the media craze that dominates the airwaves this summer is going to be?

- Up. Still dying to see it.

Sorry about this week's lack of "gaaah", but today feels like a weak Monday. Which makes me wonder how next Monday's going to feel. (Here's a hint: awesome.) Nevertheless, since the comment thread is a public forum, I invite everyone to exorcise their Monday GAAAHs right here. Let it flow people, let it flow.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What Have We Learned? (week of May 15th)


I’d like to dedicate this to the class of 2009.


I think the important lesson of this week is to know what you’re getting yourself into, and to appreciate it once it’s gotten. Life isn’t exactly infinite, so the key is to pick your battles. If something is worth fighting for, then go out and fight for it. You should also know that if you’re going to fight for something, you have to do it with all of your heart. You have to fully commit yourself to that driving force that keeps you going along, and you cannot waver. Doubt does not enter into the equation, because doubt can become a self fulfilling prophecy that ends in disaster. Do not doubt yourself, but at the same time do not rebuff criticism. Chances are, the people who are criticizing you from the outside are seeing an angle you can’t see from where you’re standing.

Also, don’t try to rush things. Don’t plague yourself with timetables, maps, and strategies if you don’t have to. Just keep your head about you, know what you’re doing, and always have a back up. There is so much we can do with our lives, and it’s easy to confuse what we think we should be doing and what we know we should be doing. Also, as strong as you might be, there’s always a weakness. There is always something that’ll send you crumbling down like a house of cards, and you need to know how to deal with that. Life is full of twists, turns, and setbacks; but if you know what you want, and you approach it and chase after it with a clear heart and an open mind, then no one will be able to beat your tenacity.

Whether it be a cause, a person, or a life’s goal there are things worth fighting for and worth having in our lives. They are the things that enrich us, the people that raise us up and make us feel like we can goddamn fly, the causes that allow us to face the light of the day with at least acknowledgement that maybe, just maybe, today will be different. Everything can turn around in a second, and you never know when that second will come. So keep your eyes open, and you mind sharp.

Congratulations to the class of 2009. May you, along with all of the classes before you, make this world a little better than how you found it. May your dreams come true, and may your causes flourish. Most of all, may you live the life you always knew you would.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Cannonball Read - Entry 13: The Average American Male by Chad Kultgen

Entry 13 is here with amazingly lightning fast speed. Hope you're all ready for an interesting one! This isn't a Hachette release, but I'd still like to thank them for encouraging me to sample and review their fine publications. (What can I say? I like to throw recognition where it counts.) As always, I would also like to thank Brian Prisco for not only being able to make sense of my writing but actually seeing them fit for mass consumption. If fame and adventure through the printed word suit your fancy, here's where you should be going for the ground rules: http://www.pajiba.com/cannonball-read.htm; and here's where you go to sign up.: http://gospelaccordingtoprisco.wordpress.com/choose-your-weapon-the-combatants/

A while back I started reading the book Choke by Chuck Palahniuk for two reasons: The first being the fact that I enjoyed Fight Club and its "peer behind the curtain" mentality, and the second being the movie was soon to be released and it looked rather good. Upon completing the book I found myself liking it, but still a little underwhelmed. The reason being that it wasn't as edgy or as dark as I'd hoped it'd be. Though to be fair, Fight Club ended with society crumbling in on itself and you really can't get any darker or edgy than that. To safely put this introductory tangent to bed, I think this is the book I was looking for when I read Choke.

The Average American Male centers itself around our unnamed narrator. Make no mistake about it, this guy is a complete asshole. He obsesses about sex, he's interested mostly in his own personal gratification, and for the most part he doesn't sugar coat things. In other words, he's the stereotypical male. However, the genius in the character lies in the fact that while Kultgen's writing does fulfill the key stereotypes, it also exceeds one dimensional characterization. We're privy to this guy's thoughts, fantasies, hopes, and dreams. It's all unvarnished, and it's all very interesting reading.

Our narrator proceeds to meet and slowly fall for a girl (Alyna), while in an increasingly loveless relationship with his girlfriend (Casey) and staring, hitting on, and sleeping with anyone or anything that crosses his path. He has no compunction letting us know every detail and makes no excuses for himself. The funny thing is, as time goes on we start to see that our narrator isn't as invincible as he initially portrays. He gets scared, he has some massive issues, he has a couple close calls, and ultimately we learn that he does get emotional over relationships...it's just that most of those emotions come when he's looking in the rear view mirror of his life.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the book is when I started it, I did find myself thinking, "Wow, this guy really is an asshole". However, part of the reason he's an "asshole" is because people don't always enjoy what he has to say. Sure he does and says some things out of spite, but in the end he's playing the game everyone else plays with everyone else they know...choosing your truths and choosing who, where, when, and how to deploy them. Ultimately the average male is at once deplorable and commendable, but in the end he shares the same universal fears we all do.

The Average American Male is a quick read, and it literally only took me a day to start and finish it. The book reads like a diary, there's a lot of dialogue, and the plot clips along fast enough without any dead weight to hold it back. It's both funny and depressing, with bits of self loathing and happiness sprinkled in for some fun. I had a hell of a time reading this book, and I eagerly anticipate reading Kultgen's recent release, The Lie, in the near future. One final note: this book could cause some of you to get upset and throw it at whomever suggested it to you. (Particularly if you're female. No offense, but what us guys think of Sex and the City is probably what you girls would think of this book.) I highly suggest visiting the book's official website and watching the videos in order to get a feel for the book's content. If you're laughing instead of shouting...you're good to go. If not...stay away.

Next Book: Angels and Demons
It's been 10 YEARS since The tigger movie? WTF?!
Dear Michael Giacchino, bought the Star Trek soundtrack on saturday after seeing the movie. can't stop listening to it. many thanks for that. sincerely mr. c
Testing a new feature. "twitteriffic" thursdays. Which would basically consist of posts like this all day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Cannonball Read: Entry 12 – Priceless Memories by Bob Barker with Digby Diehl


Entry 12 is up and ready for your reading pleasure. If you derive pleasure from reading about reading, that is. As always, thanks to Hachette Book Group for distributing their fine literature, and thanks to Brian Prisco for making me look good on the front pages of Pajiba. If you should be so inclined to join our merry band of bibliophiles, read up on our quests at http://www.pajiba.com/cannonball-read.htm
and keep tally of the competition at http://gospelaccordingtoprisco.wordpress.com/choose-your-weapon-the-combatants/. But smile brightly, you might just be captured on Pajiba.com.

For 35 years, Bob Barker was most famous for two things: hosting The Price is Right and knocking Adam Sandler flat on his ass. I’m proud to say that after reading his memoir, he could do either of those things again and he’d still be good at it. The man has been through countless television and radio shows, trained as a fighter pilot in World War II (though the enemy surrendered before they even had a chance to fight him), and he’s been a tireless advocate of animal rights. All of this in 50+ years of showbusiness, and he’s still got energy in him to write a memoir.

The man has proven that above all else he is both personable and indefatigable. Through the course of his book, Barker recounts many points in his life that have made him who he is. It doesn’t always follow chronological order, but that lends itself fine to the book’s format. This isn’t a stuffy tome that merely recalls the life of a showbiz legend and pop culture icon, it’s a book written as if Bob were talking to a new friend. You could easily pretend he’s sitting next to you at a bar, telling you the stories about the good old days, and just when you think he’s done…he tells you that you’ve had enough. (Bitch.)

Mr. Barker’s personality and work ethic ooze from this book without effort, because if there’s anything he’s proven through the course of his long career it’s that he has charm and showmanship to spare. Never a harsh word for anyone, except for those who deserve it of course, you can picture his trademark smile flashing through as he tells it all. The best part about this memoir is that you can tell he’s had a lot of fun in his life, and that even as he’s writing about it all he’s still having fun.

Too often to we see celebrities grousing and moping about how hard their jobs are and how tough life is. Bob Barker has been through a lot, seen a lot, and he still manages to say “Hey, that was fun.” He never takes his fans for granted, and he's always ready to wow the crowd because he knows that ultimately...his fate is in their hands. This is an unapologetically fun book written by an unapologetically fun person. Should he ever write a follow up, I’d be anxious to see what he has to say next. Until then, we’ll just have to remember to help control the pet population, and have our pets spayed and neutered.

Next Book: The Average American Male by Chad Kultgen

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A (Probably Useless) Public Safety Announcement: Beware of Fake IMAX


Aziz Ansari of Human Giant posted this blog post about the recent appearances of fake IMAX theaters. These are theaters with the IMAX brand name, promising IMAX sound and picture, but not delivering quite that. But they'll still charge you the same ticket price. Read Aziz's rant for a funnier, more comprehensive rant on the matter.

I only personally know of one fake IMAX theater in New Jersey, and that's the AMC Loews Cherry Hill 24. (Thanks to my buddy Kyle for the intel.) From what I've heard, all a fake IMAX consists of is two 35mm projectors with the same film that are somehow projected onto the screen to make it look like a bigger format film. That's it, and that's not worth $5 extra per ticket.

It wasn't bad enough that when AMC bought Loews Theaters they knocked out all morning showings on regular weekdays (you know, in case someone has a day off with their father and needs something to do), and it certainly wasn't bad enough that AMC doesn't know how to use Fandango correctly when it comes to the Best Picture Showcase, now we have to deal with AMC AND Regal Theatres trying to foist off some imitation IMAX as if it were imitation butter.

No dice, fuckers. If you ever want me in another one of your AMC IMAX theaters again (like that beautiful one in Lincoln Square), then you better wise the fuck up and cut the fake IMAX bullshit. This is strike two my friends. Strike three, and I'm petitioning another theater chain to start sprouting up in New Jersey, so I never have to play patron to your theater again. Or maybe I'll just stop seeing movies in the theater altogether, and just wait for the big IMAX movies to come out. That way, I can go to the IMAX in Tropicana (A PROPER IMAX) and I know I'm not being taken for my money at the theater.

P.S. It should also be noted that I too am tired of concession coupons in lieu of cash refunds. GIVE US OUR MONEY!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Monday GAAAH! (5/11/09)


Sabbatical’s done, back to work, kids!

- Mr. Seresecros has won the giveaway copy of Swimsuit. Do not fear though…Hachette is giving me more opportunities to give away some of their books, and I plan on giving all of the followers at least one book.. So watch for the next giveaway, and keep your fingers crossed.

- Speaking of luck, I really like those Chase Bank commercials where they play “Knock on Wood”. The cool soulful version, not that garish disco version that’s more famous. For some reason, I picture a guy in aviator sunglasses with a drink in his hand sauntering and bogeying his way through Las Vegas. (That’s so going in the script.)

- Star Trek kicked all sorts of ass. George Lucas is probably sitting in a corner in an alcoholic stupor right now, wondering how J.J. Abrams did what he couldn’t, which was reboot a franchise but at the same time keep story and characters in tact. This weekend’s futile box office predictions: 1. Star Trek; 2. Angels and Demons; 3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Lovable Loser: The Brothers Bloom (Which is doing the “Only in NY/LA” thing. It better come to Jersey.)

- My only complaint with Trek: Shatner could have had a cameo. They could have flashed forward into the future after the credits, and Kirk and Spock could have been sitting around talking about the old days, and what the universe would have been like had the time travel bit never happened. Spock could say something to the effect of, “better days awaited us as a result of those events”. Cue dramatic music, and ending. Mr. Abrams…I’m waiting for your phone call.

- My friend Kyle sold me on two books this weekend – The Average American Male and The Lie. All he had to do was show me one paragraph in The Lie, and I was sold. (It was a really good paragraph.) I’ll be reading those soon.

- House finishes season 5 tonight, 24 ends season 7 next week…I guess this means I’ll have to fill the void with Battlestar Galactica, House seasons 1-4, and The West Wing. (Oh, and Two and a Half Men. Sorry, guilty pleasure.)

- I’ve been having a recurring daydream as of late. I wake up in this huge bed, in a beautiful apartment in New York. Sunlight is streaming into my room. It’s a Monday morning. I don’t have to do ANYTHING, except wake up and write, seeing as I’m a novelist and everything. In the meantime, I just lie in bed with a huge dopey smile on my face. The only words going through my mind at that moment are, “Living the dream, baby. Living the dream.” Nice to know I have something to strive towards.

- Happy belated National Rail Day, everyone! Celebrate by taking a train ride. (Sorry if I’ve offended the commuters in the audience.)

- Is selling out really selling out if they approach you first? Aren’t they selling out by trying to get you to plug their product, as opposed to hiring some bikini clad model?

- Brooke Hogan turned 21 this weekend. As usual, no one gave a shit.

- Michael Giacchino…plain awesome composer, all around cool guy, and he’s from Jersey too. Just had to put that out there.

- Did I mention I liked Star Trek? Because I really, REALLY did. Seriously, you know a movie’s good when you sit in front of the screen with your mouth gaping and/or smiling like a 6 year old at the end.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Cannonball Read: Entry 11 – How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on the Earth) by Henry Alford

Ok, so I couldn’t stay away for too long. Just figured I’d poke my head out in time for entry 11 in the canon of the Cannonball Read. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I dumped the freebie entry, so there will not be a review of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” comic.

Once again, thanks to Hachette Book Group for providing the literature and to Brian Prisco for causing Joe the Plumber to drop his name from the GOP’s list of beer buddies. For young and aspiring contestants, all the information you need is located at the Pajiba announcement page
here and Mr. Prisco’s blog here. Reviews may be posted on Pajiba in an effort to make the front page look pretty with nice book art, or pictures of Christina Hendricks. (I cannot blame them on the latter.)

Humans are funny. For the most part, they go about their lives doing what they damn well please, without any regard for what anyone else wants or does. However, it is when they get themselves into a situation they cannot dig themselves out of, that they turn to someone else and ask, “What do you think?” Some would say it’d indicative of the selfish nature of society, others would say it’s just the way we’re wired. Whatever the case, the search for wisdom and knowledge is one of the few features that comes factory installed with the human mind.

In the case of Henry Alford, he decided to embark on his own quest for knowledge after examining how his mother and stepfather were aging. His stepfather was mellow and didn't like to travel, whereas his mother was the complete opposite. So he decided to ask them both about their thoughts and feelings on aging, and as such he sparked his own quest to gather the knowledge of others, all the while trying to figure out exactly what knowledge is and what it entails.

During the duration of his quest he would see his mother get divorced for a second time, have a cat put down, and end up omitting an interview with a celebrity who wanted to be paid for his time. These misfortunes and missteps are interesting enough, but it’s the actual gain from his quest that is the most interesting part of the book. True to the title, Mr. Alford interviewed many senior citizens, both well known and almost anonymous, and asked them for their takes on life and its many wrinkles.

So what exactly is the wisdom we should be seeking in our lives? According to this book, wisdom is indeed subjective. Phyllis Diller’s secret to life is that, “You have to fill the air with fun!” Doris Haddock, aka Granny D, uses her lifeforce to fight for something she feels is worth fighting for, conventionality be damned. Edward Albee espouses the belief that grief “…never ends. It’s like a third arm.”, and that dying isn’t so much about who’s being left behind, but who’s doing the leaving. A wide variety of opinions is represented in this book, and parallel to the gathering of those opinions is the story of Henry’s mother and stepfather, and the separate paths they take after.

I found that as I read this book, it had an almost zen like quality to it. I could pick it up at any time, read a little, and come back to it when I pleased. Yet, as lax as the pacing sounds, it still carries a strong message with it: wisdom is a tricky thing, and it may not even exist at all. We’re all different, with our individual baggage and hangups, and it’s what we learn in those flaws and discrepancies that sets us apart from all others. So naturally, we’re going to want to be able to pass some sort of knowledge on. Is it because we’re egotistical, and want to leave some sort of legacy behind on this Earth? Or is it because we’re altruistic, like Althea Washington, and we just do things out of the goodness of our hearts. Whatever the case, knowledge is something that we have to both seek for ourselves and learn from others.

This book is enlightening, heartbreaking, and at times pretty funny. Overall, it’s a book that feels good about life, warts and all. This is a book a lot of people could use right now, because with all the troubles and scares the world has been surrounded with in the first half of this year, it’s nice to know that something so simple can make us smile.

Next Book: Priceless Memories by Bob Barker with Digby Diehl

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What's Next?

I think I'm gonna take that break after all. Fear not though, I have a big project I've started work on and I'm still keeping busy. (A comedy script, if you're curious.) Also, I think I just need some time to let things fall as they may. I'm not going to lie, I'm scared right now and I feel like every morning I wake up and my mind's flipped a coin to see what type of day it's going to be. I'm not going to let it keep me down though. I'm learning not to be so passive, while at the same time I'm learning where and when to draw the line.

I honestly don't know if I'll be back to writing next week, or next month, or whenever. But I will be back. I promise that. I don't want to shutter this place up, but at the same time I need to have something to offer. Right now, I feel I have nothing to offer. I have to work on that. So please, pour over the old selections, and of course write in with suggestions. I'll see what I can do. Until next time, thank you.

Mike

Friday, May 1, 2009

You and Your Minions: A Helpful Guide to Power

Wrote this for a good friend of mine, upon receiving a battlefield promotion at work. Figured I'd share it with all of you. Enjoy.

Pro: You have minions.
Con: They’ll angle for any way to unseat you, and take over themselves if given a chance.

Pro: You have power.
Con: They want power.

Pro: You have the keys to the kingdom.
Con: You have to remember which one does what, and try not to lose them.

Pro: You hold the fates of many in your hands.
Con: You hold the fates of many in your hands.

What Have We Learned? (week of May 1st)


This week was a tough one. From the start, I honestly didn’t know how it was all going to play out, all I knew was it was going to be a bitch. For lack of better, non geek friendly explanations, I feel like I’ve lost Rose Tyler, Donna Noble, and River Song all in one shot. I feel like Vesper’s gone, and Audrey doesn’t want to see me anymore. For the non-geeks out there, I can only offer this…I feel like there is a hole where my heart once sat. It sucked to wake up sometimes, and for all I know it's because my subconsious dreamed of her and it realized when I woke up, "She's gone." Make no mistake, this was indeed a bitch, but I think there were still lessons to be learned.

I’ve gotten to be a bit introspective, and think I know more about what happened in my relationship. But then again, this is my perspective, and for all I know I’m wrong.

On top of that, I’ve learned that there’s a lot of worry out there in this world. Some justified, some not so justified; but both types are harmful. Worrying for the sake of worrying isn’t healthy, and I’m living proof.

Finally, I think the big lesson we’ve all learned this week is that life is not a game of odds. There are no sure things, there are no quick fixes or 100% foolproof solutions or concepts. It’s all in a state of flux and liquidity. As human beings we’re taught the standards of rationalization and proof before judgment, which systemically are very concrete standards. However, that’s merely because we make them be concrete. If we all learned to be a little more “fluxed up”, we’d be able to deal with life a little better.

I don’t know where it’s all heading. Never have, never will. Neither will you or anyone else. All we can do is make the best damn guesses we can, and continue to let it all roll off us like water on a duck’s back. Thank God I have friends and family that help me see my way through all of this, because without them I’d truly feel like a lonely duck. And again, thank you to all of you out there who read and comment and just generally make this hobby of mine worth it. Should there come a day it becomes a profitable profession for me, I think we’ll all be able to celebrate, because this place isn’t just mine…it’s yours too.

Have a good weekend everyone. See you all on Monday.

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