Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Waiting on the Good Word...

Ramblings Post #183
There are some words that when spoken chill the soul to the core. Although they aren't your basic "I didn't tell you I was allergic to nuts?", the sometimes funny "I need a spot to stay for a while" or the classic"Oh No!", they tend to invoke a specialized, personal kind of terror. Words such as "we need to talk" which never seems to bode well for the listener. Another is the oft repeated "I have something I need to tell you," the neon precursor to bad news that makes the wise suddenly start crawling through their memories for a warning sign they might have missed. Oh, it were only so simple.

I have a personal cringe inducing phrase comes from its repeated use, usually as code for world of issues that very shortly will weigh on my mind. It's use is supposed to be be disarming, and I know they're trying to put my mind at ease but those words carve a pit into my stomach. It's now almost a reflex action.

It's two words : I'm okay.

This is usually how Sporty will start off a sentence to tell me she's having problems. I got a short message last week that started with that. What kind of problems this time I'm not sure, because she's been keeping her cards close to her vest lately, which may mean the other shoe is about to drop. Well, not so much as drop as come down on my throat. Metaphorically speaking. But then I have a penchant for imagining the worst.

After all, its been four years since she packed and headed west, so the idea that the degree of emotional intimacy we once wouldn't have changed is at best a fallacy. There had been a point in our relationship where she'd give me her itinerary out of habit, explaining answers to questions I hadn't even asked. Well, most questions. I didn't ask much, I trusted her. Anyway, that trust she put in me felt good. That we will be that kind of close again still is something I hope for, but in either case the underlying feelings that got us there haven't faded. At least not for me.

Before my mind wanders too far down the hypothetical dark trail and into the land of fantastical hysteria, I'm going to start believing its just a natural state of depression that strikes us all from time to time. We have up and down days. For a young woman, she's been through a lot. And although she's on the upswing (overall), there is are still a lot of issues she's handling. And sometimes, when you wake up and the sky is gray, the outfit you meant to wear you forgot to wash, traffic is bad and it seems that everything is coming at you all at once, you get depressed. And then, the world turns just a touch... someone tells a funny joke, your song comes on the radio, that sandwich your made is just right ...and you're back.

Which means by the time I post this, this feeling will be in her rear view mirror and I can stop imagining dragons.

Yeah, I'm gonna run with that.

Barkeep, I think you know what I need.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sunday nights on the couch

Ramblings Post #182
I like television. Well, not most of television. Some of television. On my old Direct TV box, they had a little nine box square speed dial feature that meant I could skip 95% of the channels I was paying for if I so desired. And because I so desired I did so with vigor and zesto. On my new box, you have to pay for the extra HD to get that damn hot channel box...and whereas I like Direct TV, it's not quite that kind of relationship.

I have watched television since as a small child I realized it was window to the outside world. At one point my parents didn't need a TV Guide, they had me. I knew all channels, what was coming on when, the tricks to make the TV work properly when the screen got fuzzy, you know everything. And although I did spend my first eight years in Atlanta watching a 19-inch set (because I was out and about and really didn't care), the feeling for that magic was still there. Well, not really.

As I've matured I'm down to liking just some television. Very little in fact. Well, the parts I can see when I'm not doing something else, or usually catch in the middle because my eyes are tired of reading cases or the parts I can watch after I'm finished everything else, which is why I'm now considering actually buying something off an infomercial. Except on Sunday nights. Sunday nights on Showtime starting at 10pm, I watch something I actually like.

At 10pm, it's Don Cheadle's House of Lies. In it, Cheadle plays Marty Kaan, a management consultant who with his team travels each week to somewhere to solve some business problems. Wait, I made that sound way too nice. Cheadle plays Marty "the Con-man" Kaan, a self centered huckster who reminds me of the cleaned up version of my brother's old business partner who goes out each week with his crew to see if they can convince a new company to hire his company. Whether it's bringing a stripper to a business dinner or doing drugs in the parking lot with a VP to learn a few secrets, Marty's goal is as always to make sure his firm gets the afterwork business. It's very funny, sometimes a little raw, and but altogether a good watch.

House of Lies cast

Then at 10:30pm I watch Californication. Watching this is almost an afterthought, as I understand the show is in its fourth or fifth or something season. The episodes I've seen this season revolve around the protagonist, Hank Moody, writing a movie for what has to be the most gratuitously named black character in all of filmdom ever - Samurai Apocalypse. The episodes I've seen seem to indicate that at its core it's one of the shows where everyone has a huge house, drives a great car, always has a pocket full of cash but never appears to do any work at all. I normally hate those shows. Well Samurai did put in some work in a music studio, so maybe that. It's watchable, but it really is only on my radar because of its time slot.

My show, my soap opera, is Shameless which I watch at 11pm. I realize that this is a remake of a Brit original, and normally I would watch the original then lord it over everyone how I had watched the real deal instead of the knockoff. But this knock off, styled more to the American taste, actually plays better to me. That and I had already gotten used to the American cast so when I saw the original it didn't feel right.

Frank and the kids...and yes the baby is black.

The Shameless story is of the Gallagher clan, a nest of hustlers, thieves, and con-artists headed, well, kinda headed by Frank Gallagher, a single father of six children who is an inveterate alcoholic who would be two grades below the trailer park if they lived in the south. Well, not really, the family is actually headed by Fiona, Frank's daughter who trying her best to keep the family together since her father will occasionally sleep wherever he passes out and whose only regular home appearance is to pick up his fraudulent disability check. The cast is huge, the story lines diverse and just when you think you know what's coming they manage to throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing.

Now considering my classmates are going out to clubs (according to their facebook posts), jetting off to locales and vacations (according to their facebook posts) and generally hanging out (according to their facebook posts AND photographs) a couple of hours a week for TV ain't that bad. I think.

Barkeep, whatever Frank is drinking, I would like the opposite of that.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Um, could you repeat that?

Ramblings Post #181
Sometimes, it turns out that you don't have it all figured out, you don't know what just happened and you need a minute to realize that you're not only not in Kansas anymore, you're not quite sure if you even ever were in Kansas. It's suddenly realizing it's really night time, or the shirt you thought was blue is really see through hot pink. And you're wearing it right now.

Mad Magazine's Spy v. Spy

As I waited for my Friday morning class to start, I listened to a pair of guys (because they were speaking across seven seats) rationalize taking away the right to vote for the vast majority of citizens and walk themselves through a justification of unlimited corporation contributions as a good in the election process. They used half a piece of ancient Greek logic and one or two other concepts that never would have occurred to me. This is in law school. That they spoke without a trace of irony, in conversational tones, made me realize just how broad the thinking is even in a small room. I realize as an attorney that we're taught to argue both sides, but let me put the conservatives nightmares to rest as colleges are not quite yet the unbridled drum circle of liberal brainwashing that they think they are. That was not an exercise.

To be honest, there is that FB friend, the one with the Obama out of countdown desktop app, I will admit whose purpose is to keep me apprised of the general thoughts of the conservatives. He repeats the party-line talking points and muses how every little thing he doesn't like about the current administration is grounds for its immediate dismissal. His presence and rather frequent posts remind me that everyone doesn't see things like I see them, doesn't think like me. More, because he links stuff, I get to see where some of the conservative thinking originates. It's fascinating. I feel a little like a social anthropologist at times.

Now, I'm a firm believer that no one side is totally right and the other is totally wrong, a concept touted by so many of the pundits. Or that one side is evil, or that one side has God's endorsement, any of the messages being floated. Some of the rhetoric to date has gotten out of hand, but then when you're running for President, or really any position worth having, some hyperbole is to be expected. Lately, in my opinion, its been getting too out of hand. There is playing to win, then there is playing to injure.

The thing I think everyone seems to have forgotten in our hustle and bustle to come up with a solution to our litany of issues, is that no one really wants disaster. Yes, despite allusions to the contrary, every figure in history eventually vilified by their actions started out with a noble cause or a great plan. We need to remember that very few are truly evil, and that the constant references to everyone but the speaker being against all that's good probably needs to be dialed back just a touch.

For the record, I found no merit in my classmates plan to disenfranchise gross amounts of the American populous and fundamentally change the electoral process in this country. That idea of The American President... brought to you by Coca Cola and Walmart and what would surely be the the creation of a permanent gentrified class didn't phase them makes me wonder what other ideas are out there that I really need to see the logic that they're working with. One of the classes I'm taking this semester is in the fine are of Negotiation, and one of the techniques they stress is separating the interests from the issue. I think we all need more of that in modern society.

I wanted to ask these guys are we (as a country) still interested in freedom for all people? Or just those who can afford it? Do we as a people still believe in the idea that "any kid can be the President" or now are we just giving that lip service? Having we finally reached the point where the American Dream is now reserved for only those of proper station?

Because if so, then I think we need to have a whole different talk about what you think America means.

Barkeep, didn't mean to get all patriotic, but I'm still trying to figure out who they're taking their country back from.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines and other thoughts of little substance

Would you know love, if you saw love? And if it showed up tomorrow, would you be ready?

I usually throw together a little missive for valentines, to spark the thoughts of those who I hold dear in hopes that a little expansion of the mind might be good for the soul. I read a question the other day it got me to thinking of whether or not I, or really any of us who are single in this day and age, are really ready for love.

"If love came your way would you be prepared to receive it"?

Love is giving of ourselves. Wanting to give of ourselves.

As I've stated before, too many of us have confused love with being the object of affection, in that when we use the term "I want to be in love" what we really mean is "I want someone to love me." And that person better bring pie. We want someone to call when we we want them to call but not so often as to annoy us. We want someone who looks hot, but will love us even though we could stand to lose a few pounds. We want someone willing to treat us to those things that make us happy, but won't expect much of anything in return. We want someone great, willing to work with us

What a lot of us really want want is a just a worshiper at the our temple.

Or, we want the person whom we want to see naked to suddenly be able to fulfill all the other dreams and fantasies of personal satisfaction we've cooked up while feeling lonely. Not only will they be sexy, they'll slot right into our lives and think of us and only us because it feels so perfect.

And because we're looking for the wrong thing, with probably the wrong person, there is a high probability that we're never going to find them. I'm just saying. But none of us wants to get used, so what we're looking for is, and I know this is going to sound odd, someone we can eventually feel guilty about screwing over. That or the "beautiful instant love" love thing that happens in movies when attractive actors recite lines in carefully picked locations that create that dream of a "meet cute" that we all know is waiting for us. Either or.

"If love came your way would you be prepared to receive it"?

If someone who adored you, who made you smile and laugh, who was thoughtful and sincere came along, would you accept them if they were shorter than you hoped? Or a little larger than you expected? Or didn't make you want to get naked? Could you be able to see past the imperfections and make reality the much vaunted ideal "you can't judge a book by its cover" line we were taught by responsible parents. I wish I could say I could. Or have. I admit that I've politely declined to pursue possibilities because she didn't fit an archetype I'd devised that incidentally eliminated as much 99.95% of the female population. As though I was some great catch.

Love is giving of ourselves. Wanting to give of ourselves.

It's funny when you think about it. Someone desperately trying to give you something you've been desperately searching for and you turn them down because you want the wrapping paper to be a different color. I've done it, and I'm a hopeless romantic! I need to be slapped.

"If love came your way would you be prepared to receive it"?

Barkeep, a round on me for everybody drinking alone.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Where Do broken Hearts Go?

The voice of generation. That's how they described her when I heard it on the radio. Sporty had already shot me the email, and I was trying to go to Black Law Student Association function (I tried!) when what sounded like the unfolding of a national tragedy. Partially because it was so far away (the function was at Dave & Busters on 85, which like five or six exits outside the perimeter on the other side of the city), partially because the DJs sounded so depressed, and partially because they played "I Will Always Love You" from the Bodyguard Soundtrack, I turned around and headed home.

The voice of a generation. That phrase resonates, but then back when Whitney came out, and you had to know how to sing, her debut did contain You Give Good Love, Saving All My Love for You, Nobody Loves me Like You, How Will I Know, All at Once and Greatest Love of All. That's six songs I probably can lip sync to even now, without trying. Two years later, she hit us again with I Wanna Dance with Somebody, Didn't We Almost Have it All, and Where Do Broken Hearts Go. And that's just the 80's, the first two albums!

Then there was the Bodyguard Soundtrack, with I'm Every Woman and I Will Always Love You.

I Will Always Love You. I've listened to that song a lot. It's almost my theme song.

Sure Whitney had problems, only amplified by her stardom. But her voice in her prime was as good as it gets (that would be just below Aretha). And I did want to dance with somebody. I thought I gave good love, so I wondered where my broken heart went.

I hope life treats you kind
And I hope you have all you've dreamed of.
And I wish to you, joy and happiness.
But above all this, I wish you love.

I actually have done this. I actually believe that's how you should leave any relationship that didn't work out.

Voice of a generation. She just might have been.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm Staying in My Lane

Ramblings Post #180
I have a bad case of senior-itis. I'm working through it, going to class, getting into my homework and the readings, trading notes and dropping by the library so I'm not in the house staring at the walls. But I'm just so ready for what comes next. I'm ready, but I'm also filled with trepidation that might not be good enough. Which means I'll just keep trying to be good enough, until I feel good enough. At which point, I may be too good. See? Logic.

I was reading through...okay, looking through some tumblr blogs...well, tumblr galleries if you want to be nice, and I realized this blog would be a whole lot simpler if all did was post pictures and make the occasional comment. If the pictures were of naked women, this joint might even be popular.

I'm just saying.

Picture sourced from the internet. I guess.
Yes, that is Abe Lincoln. On a Grizzly Bear. I don't know why.

This picture is wholly unrelated to anything at all in this post. Or really anything I can think of. But if I had another kind of blog, I would have posted it and not even thought about it. Maybe I am getting old, because I can't see myself doing this, posting pictures I think are cool, and calling it "my blog". I don't get it. Not there is anything wrong with it per se, but I just don't see it for me.

I started this blog as a mental outlet, my own little showcase of my storytelling ability that would go around the world and be heard by someone out there. Somewhere. To tell some jokes, relate some stories, maybe leave some kind of mark that I was here. This was supposed to get snarky over time, become popular and showcase me as I imagined myself to be. Swinging through the Atlanta nightlife and barking up the wrong trees. Then life happened. And this became a way to "scream into the electronic darkness" because I didn't have anything else. So popular really wasn't the plan.

Now, I'm the verge of a degree I wasn't sure I wanted until now, starting a brand new career from scratch in a time when most people just want a job. This is now is me almost talking to myself, reminding me what my plans are, where I want to be.

Or...I could post funny pictures.

I think I still have some story to tell. More words to write. And I don't know if easy would get that story right. Might have to be a little difficult to make sure I did it right.

Barkeep. The brown. Because this lane is okay.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Five Minutes watching: The Big Bang.

I don't watch a lot of movies, because I don't have time. But at the end of day of work, then class, then reading for the next class, and writing down what I wrote so I can remember it all, I'll turn on one of them pay channels I have for just such an emergency and catch five minutes of something.

This review is not to be confused with the television show the Big Bang Theory, a show which I've actually found to be at times ridiculously enjoyable despite it's now strained original concept. No, this is about the movie, The Big Bang, a film trying very hard to be noir, is about a world weary detective, a missing woman, the mob, hidden diamonds and the Higgs-Boson particle. Yes, that Higgs-Boson particle.

It stars Antonio Banderas, Sam Elliott, this guy who had to be seven feet tall, with cameos from Bill Duke and Snoop Dog. I don't think ever saw the inside of a cineplex. One night I saw the trailer online and thought it looked interesting, well, if it's on don't change the channel interesting, so when it popped up on Encore the other night I decided to tune in. That it was on the Black oriented Encore channel I found strange, until I sussed out Encore's version of black includes every movie starring a non-white person.

But I digress. The film, how can I describe it? You ever see a film that would be good if they remade it, and when they remade it they actually put some effort into it this time? Yeah, this was that movie. Because the story was actually only 30% Hollywood re-hash, the cutesy physics angle and associated wordplay wasn't' too cutesy, and I honestly didn't figure out the twist until the characters did. The down sides? A weird, supposedly arty, slantly camera angle that got annoying after a while, bad acting, and the special effects at the end could have used a bit more polish.

It's a film that if they remade it with George Clooney or Sam Worthington, better. And I don't mean a re-write, I mean a word for word - shot for shot remake of this, it would be amazingly good. Or keep it ethnic and use Terrance Howard, Chiwetel Ejiofor or Idris Elba. Even Mos Def who can act when he wants could have pulled it off. Some of the trouble was Banderas, whose wandering accent made pieces of dialogue and the whole voice over thing hard to understand, and whose acting left a bit to be desired. Like if he had tried actual acting.

Seriously, ramp up the production values by 20% (or use darker sets) and you might actually have a good movie here. As it is, it's the kind of movie you watch only because the trailer was good, and once you've started watching it you just want to see the end. It's not Shakespeare, or even anything close. So if you're not doing anything else.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #25
Sometimes it just ain't enough to make a post, but it's still needs to go's just bar chatter.

Since Football Season ended a while back, and I go to school, I almost forgot there was a game on. Yeah, Super what? Whatever. Oh, and I had a sincere distaste for both teams playing. And the team I actually had a higher distaste for ended up winning.

It's an NFC East thing, you wouldn't understand.

So this will count as the entirety of my Superbowl post.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ground Hog Day

It's February 2nd, again. Again.

If you were forced to live one day to over and over, forever...what would you do?

I like to believe I wouldn't have to go through the first part of the film, where he indulges then despairs at his plight. I want to believe that once I realize my predicament, I would embrace the opportunity for self betterment. That I would immediately find something to read, watch movies I hadn't thought about, learn to dance, to sing, play instruments, learn languages, right wrongs. I like to believe I would.

But I don't think would.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Train rolls into the station

There weren't a whole lot of channels when I was kid. Back before my parents got the magic white box with the slider (this before the wood paneled box with the switches and the dial) we had three stations, public television and the religious channel.

On Saturday mornings they played cartoons, only then, instead of all day on two or three cable channels. It was event television. So on Saturday mornings as a kid you camped out in front of the TV for three or four hours to catch the latest stuff. Then you could go out and play. But I watched for a little longer. Because right after the cartoons went off, I took the hippest trip in America.

When I was a kid there was no channel that showed who the musicians were, no videos of their ideas (or rather a director or producer) with them snake dancing to the sounds. We listened to the radio to hear the music, we bought the record to love music, we watched Soul Train to live the music. It was for a long time the definition of cool. At least to me.

I was too young to go anywhere, to far in the country to see anything, so for me Soul Train was it - my ticket to the world outside of where I was. I recognized the dancers, I copied the moves, and I wasn't alone because I can't tell you how many parties I've been to since where people have started a "Soul Train Line" just to keep the party going.

Thank you Don Cornelius. Thank you very much.