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Do You Understand Life?

You might think you understand life, but until you witness Johhny Wiseau’s beautiful disaster The Room for yourself, I’m here to say you don’t understand shit. Witness.

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Recap

In my last post, I made my intentions quite clear:

  • A few friends and I would gather
  • We would make merry
  • We would watch The Room
  • We would explore boundaries and definitions: What is funny? What is awful?
  • Where does Tommy Wiseau ‘the director’ end and his character ‘Johnny’ begin?
  • Lastly, why did nobody fucking try to stop me when I made these intentions clear?

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So here we all are, weeks later. We saw The Room and we lived. We all still exist. The TV room is clean again, quiet. Still. That stillness an act of passive betrayal to the truth. Because the sins that I saw right here, in this room – they were real. The pizza’s long gone; the drinks consumed. The Room is back in its dvd case where it fucking belongs, locked away for all time, calm, so deceptively calm. It will remain there, imprisoned forever like some foul mummy, until such time that I deem myself ready for penultimate punishment, second only to…

No, not death.

The ultimate punishment, I now know, could only be another viewing of…The Room. I will try not to reference too much from the movie, but in this I will fail. I’ve already failed. I understand life. The internet’s already ripe with reviews of Tommy’s work, and to add more low hanging fruit to an orchard of failure will only yield rotten results. My will may be strong, my goal may be pure, but still I will fail.

I will fail because in order for you to truly understand my story, I need you, the reader who has presumably not seen The Room, to relate to my mindset during my own viewing. And I’m fully aware that you likely will never see The Room. In fact, don’t see it. Don’t. There are entire infinities of reasons to not see it. Save yourself, save your time, save your money, save your current perspective on life, which has gotten you this far. I want you to witness without interacting, which I know may be impossible from a scientific standpoint. I want you to witness without me having to relive, but I know that’s impossible too, so I’ll soldier on for the good of all. I’m doing this for you.

I’ve already failed. I’m just a man and like all men, am flawed. Accept me, accept my failures. Love me for them. Witness.

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I begin.

It began like many other group hangouts have, where the goal is to journey together into a scary dark cave of terrible cinema: We started with drinks, of course. We could have simply poured shots, but I thought we needed something with more kick. Enter the Vino Kicker.

If you think that sounds like a shot of vodka dropped into a glass of wine which you then chug, then it’s exactly what it sounds like. Originally dubbed the “Word Merger” by yours truly, my radical and lovely girlfriend Vanessa suggested Vino Kicker, and it stuck. There are no pics of us actually kicking them back (Mmmm yess, let the hate flow through you) because all our hands were full and selfie sticks are for people whose priorities need immediate, aggressive reconditioning. But rest assured, they certainly…packed…a..Ohhh I’m gonna do it…kick. Alright that’s enough.

We took ‘before’ pictures, which I will rely on in the event that I need to prove we were of sound mind. Here we are, still looking respectable:

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Okay, ready?

We then entered…The Room.

We entered with high hopes of witnessing cinematic abnormalities, and readers, know that we were not disappointed. I’m an organized person, so I’m making a real effort to not simply make a bullet point list of all the many, many oddities that we saw, but fyi I might relapse later on. I want you to feel it, like an experience from a past life that you can’t quite put your finger on, like Winona Ryder being such a ho in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

I can definitely relay how I personally feel, now that I’ve seen The Room. I feel like I want to excise the chunk of my brain tissue that remembers this movie and wring it out like a wet sponge, then collect the juice and weaponize it as a form of intellect and emotion eroding spray, like mace that makes you cruder instead of blinder. Think of the very end of American Psycho where Patrick Bateman not only refuses to repent for his crimes, (real or imagined), but laments only that he possesses no faculty to infect the rest of the world with his own dark insanity. Is this what The Room has done to me? Did I even watch it? Was this all just a fever dream?

Oh no, I definitely watched it. I couldn’t have imagined it. I’ve got creative juice, but it’d have to be blended with lead and boiled down to a noxious sludge in order for me to produce the same ideas that rose to the top of  the stew that makes up Tommy Wiseau’s frothy, salty version of reality. I’ve backed myself into a corner, I have no choice now. I have to try and explain the movie. Watch, as I fail.

I can’t tell you what the plot is, because it isn’t. I know that sentence isn’t grammatically correct, but I can’t really do anything about that. The plot isn’t. It isn’t. Instead, I can tell you what I think it was supposed to be.

Johhny (Tommy) is a man’s man with a heart of gold. He works in the “computer business”. He is good and pure and innocent, and head over heels in love with his girlfriend Lisa. But alas, Lisa has become bored with, and perhaps even resentful towards good Johnny, for reasons unknown. One day, on a whim and using minimal effort, she seduces Johnny’s best friend, Mark. There are at least three sex scenes which I will never mention again, ever. Then, Mark and Johnny essentially spend the rest of the movie grappling with the situation (Mark with his betrayal and Johnny with the discovery of said betrayal) in a way that makes you feel embarrassed for being alive and having seen something so awkward and not yelling STOP! at the top of your lungs, or at least smashing your TV.

But wait, there’s more!

  • There’s Lisa’s mother, whose character comes the closest to what this movie has to offer as an actual person. Also, it becomes offhandedly revealed that she has cancer, but this is never mentioned again in any form.
  • There’s some weird neighborhood kid whose name I forget who is for some reason good friends with Johnny, who comes and goes in Johnny’s apartment as he pleases, and who for some reason thinks nothing of literally jumping into a bed that already has two adults laying in it, under the covers. I’m not sure, it could be his hair, but every scene he’s in makes me feel weird.
  • If memory serves there’s contention involving drugs.
  • There’s also gun violence. The attitude here seems to be hey, why not.

In Memoriam of My Mind

I’m a pretty punctilious person (thanks Kingpin!) and I’ve got a decent imagination. I know how to explain abstract ideas and complicated concepts in plain language; it was my job for almost five years. And honestly, my vocabulary should be sufficient to accomplish this task. I’ve got all the tools I need, and I know how to use them.

But that description above is about as much as I can do.

Again: Don’t watch this movie. It’ll push you into this weird zone that you’ve hopefully never been to before, where you find yourself shushing your own girlfriend during the movie so that you can more clearly hear dialogue and plot ‘developments’ that cause throbbing, visible tumors to grow out of your neck right then and there. It makes you feel like an asshole, and then you sit there and think to yourself “Man, I feel like an asshole” and you know what, you’re fucking right.

I don’t want to give away the ending in case you ignore all of my advice, also all of the mental warning lights that you have SHOULD* be blaring in your brain right now, but in case you do watch this piece of shit anyway I’ll just say that you’ll be happy to know that the suffering, in a general sense, finally ends.

I know I’ve given nothing away, because the truth of that last statement is a universal constant that’s been proven in the CERN laboratory in Switzerland. The leading scientists there have informed me that regardless of how the movie ends, in order for my statement to remain true and accurate, all that need happen is that the movie actually, mercifully, end.

*If you’ve read this post and alarms aren’t blaring in your head as a result, then hey, you clearly have no survival instinct at all and I think you should watch The Room. Yeah, go ahead and watch it, and furthermore I think you deserve whatever happens to you, in the same way that I think people who shoot themselves in the face while cleaning out their loaded shotgun in their living room, while tragic, maybe have no one to blame but themselves. Nature, God, the Universe or whoever, they all roll a lot of dice when they make life, and not all of them turn out to be high rolls. The lower rolls used to get weeded out naturally – “Hey Throgg, let’s go poke sabertooth bear with stick, ha ha!” – but in today’s society with auto-everything, lots of them survive. They thrive even. They explore, and can sometimes wind up doing things like producing/acting in movies called The Room, or writing this blog post.

If you want to get drunk and watch shitty movies with your buds and laugh, more power to you. Invite me over, because I love that. I mean, they’re making a Sharknado 4, can you even believe that? Uhm wait, of course you can, because drinking and watching shitty movies with your friends has been a fun part of life since goddamned 2006, and there’s been an actual market devoted specifically to that concept for some time now, and I think that’s rad. But this isn’t that, do you hear me? I can’t tell, because I’m not sitting right next to you as you read this. This is not that.

Do you understand? Do you understand me?

I ask again: Do you understand life?

My Room

The Room

Friends, lovers, pizza delivery folk, disturbed downstairs neighbors, the Asian woman hiding in my attic, the Mothman who seems to have set up shop in my garage, Future Bello and most importantly the Watertown coroner – I call you to attention.

I ask for your guidance, your patience, your time and your strength, and in the Asian woman’s case for you to please flush after you’re done in the bathroom while I’m out of the apartment during the day. Let’s at least please maintain the illusion of your parasitism.

I ask these things because this weekend I will be hosting a viewing* of The Room, and if any of the reviews that I’ve encountered of this production are even partially accurate, I will need each and every one of them before the day is done.

If you know me and you’re reading this, you may think to yourself, “He’s just going to get drunk, order pizza and watch a shitty movie with his friends while the Mothman spies through the window and a foreign vagabond sleeps in his attic!” and you, sir or madam, are entitled to that. You’re not entirely wrong either, at least not in a technical sense. But truly you’ve missed out on the big picture, like ‘famous’ rapper B.o.B contesting that the Earth is flat, or an ant drone unaware of the existence of colonies other than her own. The Universe exists in a simultaneous myriad of colors and states, and like it or not, The Room is just another beautiful part of it that I’m going to explore.

I imagine the journey into The Room to be not a clumsy evaluation of a flawless cinematic and artistic failure, but rather as a sojourn into the self. If you don’t understand; if these words – and more importantly this concept – impress no value upon you whatsoever, then by all means turn back. At best, you’ll learn nothing from this post; at worst you’ll hurt your little mind. Carry on heeding the commands of your Queen back in the lonely anthill of your world as you complete your sentence of perpetual, servitudinal existence on this flat and meaningless Earth.

But there’s more to life, isn’t there? It’s out there waiting. Don’t you want to seek it?

would you like to know more

Of course you would.

Was Starship Troopers just a movie about killing giant bugs? Or would you define it by that one pretty sweet shower scene? Was it created and enjoyed for the purpose watching some really intense, impressive and graphically violent scenes? You could say “Yes” and once more you could be correct, at least technically. But what you’d be leaving out is the loads of political and social commentary that were prominently displayed in virtually every scene. And until my consciousness is processed, recorded by The Federation, edited for content and streamed “All Net, All Channels”, I will do my best to relay my unfiltered opinions to you, the people, right here on BelloBitesBack.

In watching The Room I take a trip not just into myself, but into those who choose to accompany me on this venture as well. And as such things go, so too do they journey into me. Metaphorically, I mean. Put that away.

We companions will bond in a rare way as together, we explore such concepts as the very meaning of what it is to be terrible.

For example, if seeing this movie makes the artery in my neck throb due to excessive frustration, is that what makes it terrible? Or is the more terrible part the fact that it exists in the first place? Or is this an example of some perverted cosmic humor? Is God laughing at The Room?

What even is ‘funny’ anyway? Is it more funny that Director/Writer/Star Tommy Wiseau clearly suffers from one or many undiagnosed mental disorder(s)? Or will my predicted outburst of laughter at the internet infamous line “You are tearing me apart, Lisa!” drown out the protests of my moral quandary?

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“Tommy please, it’s rude to stare. Tommy, for the last time close your mouth. Tommy, goddamnit, now you’re doing both. Oh fuck this, I quit.” -Tommy’s handler, if he had one.

And wherein lies the true essence of failure? Is this movie a ‘failure’? This, the weird fruit of Tommy’s jilted artistic vision (barely avoiding a cheap joke about his equally weird eyes, whoops, I just failed a little too!), or is it something more personal? Following this thought process I find myself asking: Are those shitty paintings that orangutans create to be counted as ‘failures’ as well? Motherfuckers barely even have thumbs! It’s amazing to me that they’ve figured out what a painting is in the first place, which is why whatever they produce is so impressive regardless of what a piece of shit it ends up looking like. To what standard are we measuring poor Tommy against, I ask? Where we expecting the next Inception? Can a person who pursues his own vision so unapologetically and fails in such a spectacular fashion truly be said to have ‘failed’? I mean, he followed the hell out of his vision didn’t he? That’s more than tons of people do! So what, yeah, maybe writing, directing, acting, acting normal, maintaining random snippets of logic or even maintaining even one unbroken line of coherent thought in a 99 minute story just happen to not be the areas where Mr. Wiseau excels. Excuse me, Picasso! How quick we are to judge! If you call a fish a failure for its inability to climb a tree…I dunno Chuck, but maybe you’re the failure.

Then again, this is said to have been the worst movie of all time. How will we react?

Though I have a good idea of how the gathering will go, I can’t foresee all the possible moral mutations we might stumble through in our quest for Truth. But I can guess!

Is attacking the concept of what art should be a crime? Should it be? What are the limits of my liquor consumption? When does the pizza arrive? How much abuse can be simultaneously shoveled onto all angles of my soul before it collapses under the black weight of hopelessness? How can I take from Tommy that which I expect his movie to take from me? What’s wrong with me? How did I get this way?

Is this what that bastard wanted all along?

Maybe The Room isn’t about delving through an artistic abomination in the hopes of finding a sliver of humor. Maybe it’s not even about getting some of my closest friends in one place so that we can set our differences aside for 99 minutes and point and laugh at the same thing. Perhaps The Room was set up in such a fashion so as to inspire the viewer to seek their own definition of its existence and purpose. Just as to some, Starship Troopers is merely a movie with pretty good boobs and some awesome battles, to me it is a political and social commentary that happens to be in movie form, which also happens to incorporate pretty good boobs and some awesome battles. If I’m right, well then, I guess we all have our own ‘Rooms’ to explore and define don’t we? And what does this say about My Room?

Mine is achieving the goal of a shared experience of self exploration, (the mental, PG kind), and it is a noble, if lofty goal. Yes of course, we’ll drink. Yes we (or at least I) will mock Tommy for his physical, mental and artistic shortcomings.  And yes, yes, FOR THE LAST TIME YES, I promise I’ll never subject any of you to this movie ever, ever again.

But through the mental anguish and incredulity, through the blurred vision, past the possible fistfights which will ensue when I refuse to change the channel and notwithstanding the banging on my floor from an irate downstairs neighbor, (just kidding, she’s nice), we comrades will have found something valuable and true in ourselves – and in one another. In each of us exploring and defining our own Rooms, we will have found something eternal.

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I doubt anyone’s ever said this, but Tommy, for “The Room“…I thank you.

*Follow Up to the viewing of The Room to be posted shortly.

A New Leaf

So check it.

Based on your collective literal years of silence I could tell that you all were just sitting, waiting, practically aching for my return to the blogosphere. Waiting for the return of a semisane segment of the internet where you can unwind for a bit. Waiting for so long…

For unedited fun.

For one-sided jokes and witty banter.

For the occasional serious-ish usually rant-inspired political commentary.

For heartfelt, trustworthy advice about what to do whenever you form an opinion about something but aren’t sure what to do with it:

Unwrap your opinion

Heh, see?? See what we’ve been missing out on?! All this time we’ve been growing in our own separate ways when we could’ve been growing together. You don’t really wanna grow solo, do you?

Don’t answer that.

Ah, I got sidetracked. Back to me. Here’s my idea:

You tell me what to write

Publicly comment on this post – not on my facebook – and give me a topic to write about. Could be anything!

Basically, I’m asking y’all for a writing assignment. Maybe a fantastical situation like how an elf might break into a castle using magic. A serious question about serious shit, like say guns or flags or other things that get people riled up on facebook currently. How about living on a deserted island with only a spoon? What’s it like to be a stone gargoyle who just woke up for the first time in 600 years in modern day Germany? Is it okay to scare someone if they laugh about it after? Should we forget that CRISPR-Cas9 even exists, or should we start cranking out humans that we stat out like a character in the newest Fallout game? And if we do, how much do we charge to hold the controller?

Why is it still okay for people to refer to hamburger as “hamburg”???

If you really live on the edge ask me to write about what I eat in a single day. My point is, there’s lots of topics out there and my writing’s gotten rusty. Friends, anonymous folk and internet strangers…Help me sharpen me up?

Ugh – so, the rules. Gotta say ’em, but they’re super easy.

  1. I’ll pick one topic to write about per week.
  2. A week might go by and I might not pick a topic if I don’t like any of ’em. Incentivize me – and everyone – with fun suggestions! Blow my mind!
  3. If your topic/suggestion is super weird, super gross or super offensive (for this blog haha) I just won’t publish it. That way no one will know but you and I, (and I won’t tell anyone), so I guess like, shoot for the stars! Worst case scenario is it remains private.

Sound fun right?

No, you don’t think so?

That’s okay, I can help with that. First, unwrap your opinion…

the most amazing idea

I just got the most amazing idea. I’ll share it with you all soon. In the meantime, I’m re-releasing some old favorites back into the wild…

By Carl Critchlow from Mtg’s “Overrun”

A Kernel of Enlightenment

Today I found my Spirit Animal.

The elusive being that best encapsulates, best incorporates the truest representation of my deepest inner energy. The closest possible physical manifestation of my eternal soul. My dreams, my aspirations, my passions and the culmination of my most important goals personified in their rawest form.

Gaze into the sun, if ye dare.

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Full Video Here. Please watch it.

Glimpse perfection.

Witness nirvana.

Enter the infinite with me.

Some liken the energy that comprises their innermost selves to a ‘noble’ animal; an eagle, a bear. A wolf perhaps. But in my heart of hearts, I am a man. Behold a man.

This is a man who truly cares about nothing. The literal definition provides complete clarification:

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Once more:
“a place or state characterized by freedom from or oblivion to pain, worry, and the external world.”

Does a better example of such exist? Please, I implore my readers. Don’t reach this conclusion simply because I feel strongly. Use your own reasoning. Observe the facts.

Analyze this man’s physical appearance. Spend a minute to really notice his fucking outfit. The sneakers. The sweatpants. He has no qualms appearing in public this way. He has no qualms about anything.

Note that it is in fact raining on this man; note his posture and lack of umbrella. Complete and utter relaxation radiates from his person. Not a care in the world.

Of course it is possible that he’s drunk – but observe – there’s no beer to be seen.

Allow your eyes to drift to his upper torso. What is he barely holding onto in his left hand? Whatever it is, does anyone honestly believe he would pick it up if he dropped it?

Look at his fucking jacket; it’s clear he’s been at this for awhile. For most people, accumulating that amount of popcorn kernels about their face, neck and chest without brushing them clear would be an act of sheer willpower. We don’t see things like this often, because many people simply don’t have that amount of willpower.

Does it look to anyone like this man is exerting any willpower?

The way he chews, the head tilted back.

What in this world could possibly worry this man?

The foot waggle. Pure serenity.

The way that he comes up for air at the end of his feeding – it can’t be faked. In the modern world, a petty place of lies, deception, false advertising and double-talk, this man is a beacon of absolute truth.

He’s not fighting for what he believes in. He’s not oppressing or opposing oppression. He does not condemn and does not mind if others condemn him. He is absent from worry, free from concern. He has achieved everything he could ever want. He understands that every second of life is a gift, a gift that he graciously, shamelessly, utterly accepts.

This man is the master of his destiny. He simply is.

The metaphysical state that this man has reached exemplifies everything I’ve ever wanted. I’m so far behind him that I can’t even begin to fathom how he must view the world that the rest of us live in. Me with my worries and concerns, my meetings, my frozen windshield wiper fluid, my heating bills. My worn socks, my shirts that have frayed elbows. My finances, the next snowstorm, the progression of my training. My career, my relationships, my entire life. A thousand anvils of weight pressing down on my shoulders.

And then I rewatch the clip. I watch his shoulders. I notice the rain. I absorb his posture. I see how he comes up for air for the express purpose of not suffocating to death on all the popcorn he just poured down his face.

And I know that I am witnessing my Spirit Animal. Oblivious to stress, pain. Completely wild, unapologetic, ferociously fucking free. Never stop.

We’ll eat popcorn at the top.

Awash

Sam didn’t realize just how weakened the stern floorboards had become until one of them snapped beneath his feet. The boat rocked atop the rage of the ocean and the storm was a real bitch, fierce and without mercy. Sam’s old rubber boots were slippery on the deck and his weight was displaced. He skidded futilely and slammed against the guardrail just as the prow shuddered from a sidelong swell. Furious but helpless, Sam screamed a curse as he went over the side into the cold, black ocean. 

Icy, salty water jolted every bone; the fight for air invigorated muscle. Tossed about in the current like a plaything, Sam remembered life and kicked and clawed his way to the surface for it.

He surfaced in a panic. As he sputtered for air he vomited ocean; frantic eyes squinted and sought the familiar light and shape of his vessel, The Spero. Her light was the only thing to be seen for miles in every direction, and Sam homed in on it quickly. He sprinted as fast as he could.

It only took 30 seconds until he had to stop from exhaustion. How could Spero have gotten so far? No stranger to the ocean and even slightly embarrassed for his flub, Sam shed his boots beneath the waves.

‘Let them sink’, he thought. ‘I have to get there.’

Renewed for the moment and barefoot in the ocean, Sam set out through the storm once again for the glimmering lights of The Spero, which by now were a little bit dimmer.

After another two minutes he relinquished his baggy yellow rubber pants; ten seconds later he abandoned his trademark yellow jacket. They slowed him down tremendously and he’d be faster without them. Already, his feet and arms were numb.

Almost naked, Sam choked up water and felt the warmth dribble down his chin. The Spero was further now, fainter. Sam caught himself wondering about the headline that would be in the paper when she was eventually found, captainless, crewless and adrift. Then he snapped out of it.

NO!!!

The heat of Sam’s fury and adrenaline surged through his limbs and actually fought against the chill that was spreading through his body. He’d been a strong swimmer in his youth and was no stranger to the ocean; he’d even been overboard once before. Sam disregarded it all and swam with all of his energy. Sam swam for his very life.

He stopped only when he was completely drained. His arms and shoulders were on fire and his legs felt like lead weights. Sam was out of shape and he hadn’t taxed his body this way for years; already he was beginning to cramp. As he struggled just to tread water and stay afloat, Sam realized that The Spero was no closer. No, it couldn’t be. The waves were relentless and the storm hadn’t slowed at all. He grasped the reality of the situation and felt his heart jolt into his back. He would die here, he thought.

He started to thrash and curse in denial and a wave smashed over his head, muting him, defeating him. He rubbed the salt water from his eyes and spat out another mouthful of the sea; it was all he could do to keep from drowning right then and there. He would die here, he knew. Cold and alone.

He suddenly missed The Spero more intensely than any feeling he had ever felt before. The unique and uneven waterline of her bow, the warm homeyness of her cabin, the rusty chains and anchor, everything – even down to the creaky old stern floorboards which had finally broken and spelled his own doom.

Then, Sam experienced a rare moment of clarity.

This was his fault.

There’d been so many warning signs he had seen with his own eyes and ignored. He’d been directly in charge of so many factors that had lead to this outcome. He saw the past few years of his life for what it was; a series of actions and decisions bound together, calculated for the sole purpose of keeping his self neglect intact.

Why was it that Sam had never gotten around to addressing any of the replacements or repairs that The Spero so obviously needed? He remembered the day when the radio had snapped free from its mounted fixture, and how he’d haphazardly screwed it to the inside of the cabin wall that afternoon. “That’ll do.”

He remembered the first time he’d had real trouble with the motor out on the open sea, and how he’d given himself such credit for fixing the problem with duct tape. He hadn’t looked at the motor since. “Great job, Sam.”

The Spero had lost the ability to turn full starboard when the rudder had become stuck one especially cold winter. He’d been fully aware of this, and had compensated his steering to accommodate it for years. “Good problem solving.”

Why hadn’t he replaced or maintained the rusty chains and ancient anchor? Why was his gear so comically outdated? Why was he so out of shape? Why hadn’t he upgraded his tech? He concentrated and remembered where his life beacon was – unopened in a dusty drawer in the same box that it had come in, beneath a pile of old receipts in the cabin.

Sam remembered the first day that the stern floorboards had groaned in protest as he’d walked over them. “I should probably get those looked at” he’d thought. But over time he’d gotten used to the creaks and the groans, to the objections and various compensations he had to make for The Spero and for himself, in order to avoid change. He had always seen it as ‘keeping an even keel’; he had even defended this logic to others who had expressed their concerns.

Sam saw that the lights of The Spero were distant, just a flicker by now, and his rage abandoned him. He wept. He wept for the realization that his life would soon be over. He wept for everything he hadn’t gotten to do and everything he’d never be able to try. He wept for all the time he had spent walking over and navigating past his problems, but not fixing them. Sam wept most deeply because he knew he’d never get the chance to make any of it right.

If he had one more chance he knew he would. If only he had one more chance! He’d keep his passion for sailing and renew it with a fresh, brand new start. He would buy all new gear, make repairs, hire a crew – he’d had enough money for years now. He’d fix and address every problem with The Spero and he would finally start taking care of himself again like he used to. There would be no more problems resolved by duct tape or rusty screws, no more nights that end with a crossword and a whiskey, because Sam would love himself again.

And that had been the true problem the entire time, the single note which had spawned his self neglect and lead to his self defeating spiral. Deep down, with nothing to hide from witnesses who were not present, naked, freezing and alone, at last Sam acknowledged the truth. It could only have ever ended this way; he had seen to that. It wasn’t The Spero’s fault or the storm’s fault; he had done this to himself. Inch by inch, in each neglected rip and tear and crack and groan, Sam had ensured that his worst fear would come true.

Unwilling victim of his own insidious trap, Sam resigned himself to his fate. He was out of chances to turn this around, out of chances to love himself. If only he had more time! – but he didn’t and he never would.

The Spero was nowhere to be seen, perhaps she was over the crest of the next wave in the far distance, perhaps not. Sam looked around. Giant waves continued to roil and smash in the dark, the freezing wind howled in his ears, numbing his skull and stinging his eyes, but Sam didn’t mind anymore.

Out of chances, void of love, without hope, Sam exhaled and closed his eyes. Then he let himself sink, down into the cold black sea.

As he sank into the depths he looked up and surrendered his final breath. Sam watched the last of his air bubble up towards the surface, to become part of the world that he had abandoned long ago. He belonged here.

Raptors (Clever Girl)

Mark heard the soft pitter patter on the pavement behind him, but he didn’t process it in time. He began to turn around right as the lead raptor pounced. He panicked just in time to drop his groceries in his driveway, but not in time to cry out for help. Mark only felt the predator’s savage impact slam into his back and neck, then he knew no more.

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Eight minutes later, black blood dripped from the muzzle of the lead raptor, pit pit pat on the pavement. Temporarily sated, the pack retreated from the vulnerability of the dull streetlight as one, to the calm safety of the shadows. With a flick of its head the lead raptor motioned to the next house down the street, and again the pack moved as one.

street

In the quiet black of night, the house was silently surrounded. Front and back, from the sides and always in the shadows, the raptors took their positions. Velociraptors are amazingly fast learners, and they had gotten the gist of setting this trap by now. They lay in wait with a predator’s disciplined patience. Five minutes of motionlessness became ten, became twenty. No newcomers, all quiet. It was time to move in.

house

Smooth as instinct, the pack of raptors converged to the lawn in the backyard, to the back door. As usual the lead raptor took position at the front, next to the door. Silently, gingerly, it just barely teased the doorknob with its foreclaw, testing. Raptors don’t understand luck so much as opportunity. The door was unlocked, and the opportunity was there for the taking. They took it.

A sharp twist opened the handle and the pack of predators flowed in like water. Three immediately sought the staircase and ran up the carpeted stairs, making heavy thuds on the steps that might have sounded like a man sprinting, but just a little too fast. The rest of the pack fanned out on the ground level, quickly and deftly seeking the proper positioning. Each unit moved with energetic purpose, occupying the entirety of the space completely and suddenly.

The unlucky family members, the ones who had been roused by the sudden noise at the door and on the stairs, were barely even conscious long enough to register a sense of danger, but most of them were lucky. The pack attacked as one and left no room for compromise. It was over in minutes.

Temporarily sated, the pack filed back out the backdoor and into the shadows. The lead raptor exited last. Black blood dripped from her muzzle, but made almost no sound as it fell into the grass. With a flick of her head, she motioned to the next house down the street, and the pack moved as one.

Always lock your door.

Shark Week 2013

You know it’s Shark Week right?

51989793_SHark_224346c

Whaaaat? Oh shit!

great-white-shark-smile

Yessss, finally!

Move out of the way bro, Shark Week is on.

Move out of the way bro, Shark Week is on.

SHARK WEEEEEEEEK!!!!

SHARK WEEEEEEEEK!!!!

I’m assuming that by now, everyone alive must have seen the “Live Every Week Like It’s Shark Week” slogan on something; a t-shirt, a pillow, whatever. But unlike the other 51 weeks of the year, now we all finally have something to be excited about. It’s your right, your privilege, your responsibility to get PUMPED and treat the next seven days like the gift that they are. See how pumped that bear is? Your level of excitement should reach or exceed that.

We are all terrified of sharks
If you’re not scared of sharks, I’m sorry to say this but you’re an idiot. Go back to school and re-do grades 5-12, because you clearly didn’t learn any of the shit that you need to know to make it as an adult. If you’re not scared of sharks there’s something so fundamentally wrong with your grasp of threat levels and scale that I actually don’t even know if it can be corrected through additional traditional education. Just think about it for a second. You’re swimming in the water, maybe only up to your waist, maybe even a little further out. It’s an awesome day and you’ve already caught a few decent waves. Something triggers your sixth sense, like when you can feel someone staring at you on the subway and you just ignore it because your stop is coming up and you don’t want to make a scene. But you’re in the water, and you can’t just walk away and get off the T, because even in your prime, your stupid fat human body flounders ungracefully like an elderly seal with one flipper and a cognitive disorder in the water. So you just stand there like an idiot and tell yourself it’s nothing. Then the smell of dead fish slams into your nose like a big metal sign that reads “GET OUT OF THE WATER, DUMBASS”. But you still do nothing, because the part of your brain that registers fear and appropriate response is busy crapping itself. Logic can’t explain it because you’re surrounded by water and waves, but everything suddenly gets deathly quiet and a black dorsal fin silently rises above the surface of the water about four feet away from you. You think about that one time that you put your cat in a pillowcase and kind of twirled it around for a little bit for no reason and you hope it’s not enough to secure your position in hell. You try to send a command past the white hot ice in your chest, telling your hands to make fists, but you can’t tell if your hands get the message. You’re not sure if it’s due to your Fight or Flight response, but either way your sphincter is a flicker away from discharging everything that’s inside of you at a moment’s notice. But then a tail fin splashes about five feet away from the dorsal, propelling the nightmare fishbeast away from you, giving your soul, your fists and your butthole a reprieve. With all of the dignity that someone who almost just crapped themself can muster, you turn tail and barrel out of the water like an elderly seal with one flipper and a cognitive disorder.

In case you don’t know I’m describing a personal experience, maybe in a little too much depth. I guess the takeaways are that I am absolutely terrified of sharks and also that things may get messy if I am within arm’s reach of something that can eat me.

But that doesn’t mean that I hate sharks – I respect the HELL out of them.

I pure, straight, HATE you...but goddamnit do I respect you!

I pure, straight, HATE you…but goddamnit do I respect you!

I do NOT advocate for the overfishing of sharks just for trophies or for the thrill of it. I don’t want to wipe out these magnificent predators any more than I want to see majestic lions killed off. Sharks are terrifying and for good reason, but my own personal horror is far outweighed by the respect I feel for these nightmare fishbeasts. If your emotional development is so retarded (I actually do mean ‘retarded’ as in ‘delayed’, but the slang works just as well here) that your own feelings of fear or uneasiness are enough of a justification for you to want to kill off a certain animal, I hope that animal eats you. It’d be perfect karma, just ask Quint.

AAARRGGHLLPBPBPBBBLLBp...kkkt!

AAARRGGHLLPBPBPBBBLLBp…kkkt!

Hmmm, Quint will get back to you.

Sharks are smart
Sharks are probably smarter than you think. Yes they’re just animals and yes they’re fish, which are generally typically regarded as less bright than most furry mammals. I don’t know that sharks will ever evolve to a point where they could ever be trained. And maybe that’s a good thing.

We don’t really know how much sharks can learn in a conventional sense, but their sense of instinct, which MUST be what drives them, has gotten them this far along just fine.

If you know anyone who surfs or is in the ocean a lot (lifeguards, maybe Coast Guard, things like that), just ask them and they’ll tell you – sharks are around you in the water all the time. Surfers know this, and they just get used to it. I’ve heard the same thing from multiple people who’ve surfed or had careers where they’re in the water very often, which is that if most people knew how many sharks they were sharing the water with, really close by to them and pretty much every time they went in the ocean, most people wouldn’t go in the ocean. That’s butthole quiveringly scary to me, but it’s true. The reason that we don’t hear about shark attacks every single day in the news is because by and large, sharks seem to understand that we are not food. It’s pretty impossible to definitively state why they don’t attack us more often – maybe they’ve learned over time, or maybe it’s just pure instinct that drives them to not stray from their regular diet unless they’re sick or weak, or old. I guess it could just be that we taste bad, but somehow I doubt that. I’m delicious.

Evolutionary Superiority
Science loves sharks because as far as we can tell, their evolutionary path has pretty much peaked. If life was a video game, sharks would be characters whose skill points are all maxed out in every category. They’ve been around since around the time of the dinosaurs and they pretty much haven’t changed at all, except in size.

That's Megalodon making T-Rex look like a snack.

That’s Megalodon making T-Rex look like a snack.

On the other hand, that’s a screenshot from a show they’re gonna play on Shark Week, that investigates the theory that this motherfucker never actually went extinct like we thought and is still alive today. I guess the good news is that when something as big as a building eats you, the chances of you struggling for more than a few seconds are probably pretty low. Even if your best friend was eaten right next to you, you’d probably still never have to encounter the most emotional question ever asked.

Size aside, sharks have been at the top of their game for literally hundreds of thousands of years. They heal from physical injury amazingly fast, they have super senses (sense of smell, underwater radar via their “lateral line“), everyone knows that their mouths are basically tooth factories, we have no idea how old they can even get or ‘if’ they can die of old age, and to the best of our knowledge, they cannot get cancer. Just that last point alone is freaking remarkable, but imagine how far people have to go in evolutionary terms before we can say just one of those things about our own species. I’m not even greedy enough to ask for a disease-free future or immortality; I think I’d honestly just settle for having multiple rows of regenerating teeth. It’s crazy to me just to think that animals like this exist out there right now; I cannot get enough of sharks.

Great White sharks can freaking JUMP out of the water to snag prey that’s above it. R.I.P., Snuffy…

snuffy the seal

Honoring Sharks on Shark Week
I’m one of the idiots who watched Sharknado, and I regret it. It was so bad I could spend an entire post ranting about it, and I might do that in the future if I get bored. For now though, I’m going to try to push that entire experience out of my mind so that I can focus on Shark Week, and how to honor it properly. So how do we?

Like all holidays, Shark Week is special and only comes around once a year, so when it arrives, treat it with the respect it deserves. Watch at least a show or two every night of Shark Week – odds are you’ll learn something. If you’re a social butterfly and hang out with friends, play one of the many drinking games associated with Shark Week as you watch. Here’s this year’s version:

shark week drinking game 2013

To whoever made that game, I want to give credit where credit’s due and tell you that looks super fun. Anyone doing anything Wednesday night? I’d play this.

Tuning into the Discovery Channel is usually a good thing all by itself, but when there’s guaranteed shark centric shows on all week and I’ve literally spoonfed you a shark themed drinking game, there’s really no excuse not to. What could you possibly have on your agenda that’s more important? I’ll accept training in a martial art or doing some type of volunteer work, but really not much else.

Finally, there is one last way I can try to honor these nightmare fishbeasts, who I admire and respect, who I am terrified of, who are masters of their domain and who swim with humans side by side, and occasionally bite them.

I can bite back.

For years, it has been my dream to eat a shark steak during Shark Week, preferably while drinking a Landshark Lager, which is probably the only acceptable time to drink one of those.

Am I right? I mean who buys these?

Am I right? I mean who buys these?

Year after year, my search for shark at local/Boston area fisheries is a bust. I’m prepared for the facts that it will probably be expensive and also that I have no idea how to prepare a shark steak (apply heat?); these are problems that I would gladly tackle if I could just FIND it for sale somewhere.

One of my friends is in Cali this week and sent me this picture:

SHARK MEAT

Honestly, he was trying to help, but seeing something I’ve wanted to bite into for years so close and yet so far…that’s a special kind of hunger. I want to bite the screen.

I want to feast on fresh shark flesh as I watch dramatic reenactments of nightmare fishbeasts eating humans, and I want to wash it down with a gulp of Landshark Lager, a beverage I would never purchase under normal circumstances.

I want to honor Shark Week, and will do my best to seek out and ingest a shark steak (preferably Mako) and Landshark Lager sometime in the next seven days. Doing so would fulfill a years-long dream for me, which honestly at this point has pretty much evolved into a fullgrown fantasy.

If anyone in the Boston area knows where I can purchase fresh shark steaks, please tell me – email me or leave it in the Comments. If it’s at all feasible, I will find and eat it.

I want to give sharks the honor they deserve. I want to show my respect for Shark Week 2013. Most of all though, I think I just want to bite back.

Bro Summit 2012: Spidery Death and The Meaning of Life

This past weekend was Bro Summit 2012.

Bro Summit 2012, a hearty combination of varied meats and spreadable cheeses. An all male liquid hetero-merry-go-round of extra excessive beer and liquor consumption. A medley of drinking games, fart jokes and actual, deathly poisonous farts. A gathering of uncloseted nerds nerding it up playing Magic the Gathering [of Nerds]. All major organs are currently on detox and will need around three more days of pampering to resume normal functionality, though the psychological scars may never heal.

Unfortunately there were very few pictures taken, as holding a camera or phone would require a free hand, and every free hand equals one less beer or bite of steak that could be funneled into my face right now. Even so I managed to snap a few, which is good because if I hadn’t these memories might be lost to the swirling sands of time. That’s a great way to say I’d be too drunk to remember. Here’s the first one I took while packing for Bro Summit on Friday, before any damage was done.

Magic cards, funny movies, LCR dice game, rechargeable flashlight, matches, fantastic nudie cards, combat knife.

Bro Summit 2012 took place at an awesome old lakehouse right on Lake Winnipesaukee; Ben’s parents have a timeshare there. However for the first time in history, they were gone and we had the place all to ourselves. Time to crack some beers, put on the Thong Song and tear this place apart!

The five of us (Gov, Brian, Ben, Joe and yours truly) rolled in on Friday night around 9:30pm. Through an act of providence, Joe and I happened to take an exit off 93N on our way up, and found a Wendy’s. I’d gotten a bag o’ JBC’s for all the boys, which disappeared shortly after our arrival. Though we’d essentially all pledged not to get too drunk the first night in (we wanted to save that for Saturday), we ignored that sentiment immediately and easily slayed the first 30 rack in about an hour and a half, then started working our way through the second. Ben’s rocking 80’s playlist set the tone perfectly for drinking games, which we played until around midnight. Then dudes started dropping, retreating to empty rooms scattered throughout the house, while the last few of us stayed up to watch Spaceballs on VHS in the den. It was glorious.

Saturday we were off to a relatively early start at 9am. The walls of the lakehouse are very thin, so I woke up when I heard voices in the kitchen below me. I knew the time had come for me to do my job. I brushed my teeth using the water I’d brought in a nalgene bottle, (all the running water is just unfiltered lake water), and tumbled downstairs to begin cooking the bacon. Oh yes, the bacon. Of course I made the entire pack of bacon, which divided by five hungry dudes is two and a piece bacons per dude. Men were milling around the kitchen absorbing coffee like sponges, hovering over me and the frying bacon, circling like fucking vultures. I tried shooing them out to wait on the porch but it was useless, the smell was in the air. Fifteen or twenty minutes later the bacon was good to go, and it was on to the eggs, cheese and microwave sausages. You see, I had placed myself in charge of breakfast and I had a specific vision in mind. I am happy to say it went according to plan. Here is that vision:

I put the sandwich down just long enough to take that picture and it practically got eaten by another dude. Just kidding, they were all crafting their own masterpieces.

I realize now that I’ve talked way too much about only the first night and first morning; if I continue with play by plays of the entire weekend you’ll never read the whole thing. I’ll sum up so that I can get to the topic I want to focus on.

  • Saturday midday we went into town and resupplied. Supplies included but were not limited to around 12lbs of assorted meat (robust sausages, a terrible amount of steak tips, more bacon, more eggs), spreadable cheese, pepperoni, two 30 racks, a bottle of Captain Morgans and a bottle of Wild Turkey 101
  • Got back to the lakehouse around 3pm; excessive consumption of everything began
  • Immediately began slamming rum and cokes
  • Played Magic for a good two hours. Magic cannot be played alone, but I will protect the full identities of the other players so as to protect them from ridicule. Their initials are Ben B. and Joe S
  • [blank section of time]
  • More food (pepperoni, cheese, cheese, chips and guac? More cheese?)
  • Shotgunned a beer with combat knife
  • Jumped in the lake, very cold. The trick is to get a running start:

Walking in slow is no good. Best to get a running start and cannonball your way in.

  • Shower + rum and cokes to warm up. Assembled fire pit for later use.

At this point it was just becoming dusk. I remember going into the bathroom for my shower and having a lightbulb go off in my brain, but I was riproaringly drunk so my epiphany vanished almost immediately after making its stage entrance. It would return later.

The rest of the night is awash in meat, Magic, fire and alcohol. Someone got the steak tips going beautifully on the grill. There were leftover sausages from lunch. Joe made beans and we husked ears of corn while taking shots. We ate meat until we couldn’t anymore, then drank until we could start [m]eating again.

Night fell and the fire rose. There’s something about sitting around a firepit that will never get old to me.

It feels right, it smells right, and it’s the perfect environment for S’mores, which we also ate. All of a sudden, rain. Sheets of rain. We ran inside and played LCR until we literally couldn’t anymore, gorging on steak tips like seagulls nipping at a whale carcass. Someone popped [my old VHS that has been relegated to the lakehouse for all time] Dumb and Dumber into the trusty VCR, and we retired to our respective fartrooms bedrooms for the night. It was man heaven in a man haven.

Author’s Note: Apparently Joe had trouble sleeping and was laying awake in his room at around 4am. The walls are very thin at the lakehouse; he said he could hear everyone just farting it up and groaning/giggling all night in their own separate rooms. Except me, because my body is a finely tuned 100% efficient energy machine that produces no waste whatsoever. I don’t even poop.

The next day I woke up first, went downstairs to where the good bathroom was and pooped an entire steak. Let’s not talk anymore about that, but upon entering the bathroom I immediately remembered my epiphany and ran up and got my phone.

It was the spiders. Tons of spiders; spiders everywhere. I was surrounded by spidery death.

La la la, lakehouse bathroom, la la la

Oh, hi big guy. Are you the guardian of the good bathroom?

Hmmm, I see you brought backup. You guys stay up there, ok?

Well, it seems like you guys have quite the little colony going here…

Ohgodohgodohgodohgod

There were at least five more, big and small, setting up shop on the ceiling of the good bathroom, but the photos came out fuzzy. Anyway I think you get the picture. Baby spiders were building baby spiderwebs, just like the generations before them. Also, since I think spiders are cannibals, they knew to stay out of their neighbor’s yards. I know that spiders don’t go to spider school to learn this (or how to build a web) and that this boils down to some kind of instinct, but seeing generations of spiders above me as I unleashed steamy hell got my mind churning.

It was the spiders that made me remember the meaning of life. Yesterday when my brain was demolished, I must have looked at the ceiling and had a flash of translucence. The thought probably remained in my head just long enough to make an impression before I flushed it all away (nice metaphor?).

Anyway, the purpose of life is two-fold. Stay with me.

1. Be you as hard as you can be. 
Pursue what you love and what makes you feel right, whatever it is. Art, math, music, biology, fitness, whatever. Whatever it is. Like arguing? Go be a lawyer. Like playing video games? Be a software tester. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you have to be you. Don’t just pursue your passion; master it, or come as close to mastering it as your passion allows. Are you a black belt in something? That’s great! But you haven’t mastered jack; come talk to me when you’re a fifth or sixth degree.

This guy gets it; have you seen this commercial? He is being him.

Haha, gross.

And one more subpoint on #1, you should probably be doing that anyway, even if you think my blog is bullshit. Also, why are you reading it then?

2. Pass the knowledge. 
Ok, so you like drumming and you’re Travis Barker on the drums. You like insulting people and you’re Jeff Ross. You hate crime and you’re Batman. You’re still learning, always learning, but you are a master of your craft, a poster child of pursuing your passion. You made it. But realize, it’s finite. You won’t be around forever; do you want your knowledge, your unique interpretation of your skill set to die with you? Your responsibility is now to the continuation of the art or talent that you’ve sacrificed so much of your life for. Who will rock the drums like you do in 100 years? Who will call people fat and stupid with your own biting brand of brilliance? Who will be able to throw a batarang with such precision as to knock guns out of two criminals’ hands in under a second?

Please tell me you know what this is from

Think of an art, a martial art, or the ability to play an instrument. Unless you’re a prodigy (hint: you’re not) you’re not born with the ability to make music, draw a perfect circle or take someone’s center off balance. These and others are skills learned over decades, perhaps years of training depending on your focus, sacrifice and lastly, natural ability.

Do you want that skill and knowledge to go to waste, to be lost? Every Batman needs a Nightwing. Arthritis will claim the Dark Knight eventually, and when it does the only thing that will comfort him is the knowledge that there’s someone else out there bustin’ skulls his way.

Teach. Teach your trade, impart your knowledge; pass it forward to the next generation. No one else in the whole world has your knowledge or your expertise in your field, but it’s your responsibility to get the power to change that. Not everybody gets this chance. Share your experience and in doing so immortalize a skill, or maybe if you’re lucky, an ideal.

There, sitting on the toilet at Ben’s lakehouse, reeking of booze and surrounded by spidery death, I crapped out a steak, and the meaning of life came to me.

I now do my best to pass it forward to you.

Forward I Go

Forward I go, into the future. Forward, proceeding always down an endless corridor lined with open doors. The labels on each portal are as varied as they are unqiue. Triumph and tragedy, illumination and deceit, comedy and spite, love and regret. Unknowable adventures stack on top of themselves, lining up for me, piled behind each door. The past and present lend themselves to my journey, simultaneously serving as both my fuel and my guide. I choose what door seems best to me and explore the possibilities it yields. A whole new hallway lined with all new doors. I close the door behind me and continue moving forward, always forward. My future is happening now; my future is waiting for me. I move towards it.

I wait, stuck, sitting slothlike in the squalid present. I have no drive, no desire to trudge any further into the unknown. Unyielding time passes me by, uncaring, unsympathetic. The future flees further away from me in time while I stay behind in perpetual “now”. The carpet in the corridor that leads to my fate remains pristine and untrodden. The endless rows of doorknobs wait for my hand to turn them, but gather dust instead. The doors will not open themselves. I stare mindlessly ahead at the possibilites that await me, but actively take no action. The path before me and the path behind me remain silent, static. The future will always be there, I reason. It comforts me to know that this sentiment will only be wrong once.

Turning my back on personal evolution, I move backwards. The future, even the present become memories as I retrace my steps through my own memories. I examine footsteps I’ve taken long ago, rooms which have long since been explored. These rooms are secure, this well trodden path presents no possibility for surprise. I kneel down, blow the dust from the treasure-trove of my culminated life experience and get lost in familiarity. A photo, a drawing, a handwritten letter, a card, a toy, an award, a song, an article of clothing, certificates of birth, education and death. As I bathe in familiar feelings and awakened emotions, time passed between thens and nows falls apart like a house of cards in a hurricane. Perceptions and motives that are decades old independently resurrect themselves. Tempered, refined by over 30 years of experience, they claw to the forefront of my mind and re-establish themselves as they see fit. I am re-armed, my toolbelt refurbished, my weapons sharpened, my edges exposed.

I turn and look over my shoulder, forward, towards the future.

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