Journal Entry Type #106: Very Early Thursday

I’ve been listening to music a lot more now that I have to commute to and from work. It has its moments where I listen to the same song being played over and over again. I have no idea who sings it and have to either look it up or ask someone who sings this terrible or weird song. I don’t get it. Many of the same current bands sound the same to me. I think the last great decade of music was over 20 years ago. With this being said, the one song I keep hearing and think is a combination of strange of good and questionable parts is by Twenty One Pilots called “Heathens.” It starts out pretty decent but then it disintegrates into weirdness. It’s like putting a head of cow onto the body of a horse. The music and singing seem disjointed. I never understood the appeal of many of the current singers. I just don’t and probably never will. If you want to hear great lyrics combined with great guitar playing, check out any song from Purple or Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop. The DeLeo brothers are 150% great at their craft.

I’m slowly getting back into making progress on my second novel idea. I’m finding some light at the end of the tunnel and hope to be done by my first draft by the end of this year or early next year. I’m also learning to be patient when it comes to self-publishing next year (if everything goes as planned) and finding the motivation and inspiration to hunker down in the fall and winter to get this done. I know I won’t have as much rewriting to do so that makes me happy. There is no way that will happen because I’ve done it once and writing your first novel is always the hardest (for now since I’ve only written one). While my mind is thinking about many different things, ranging from things I’d like change to wondering why I had this particular dream last night, I believe I’m on the road to a better life. I used to think life would be ripe for the picking forever, that dreams do come true, but now I understand sometimes all the fruit has been taken and dreams sometimes end up as disappointments and turn into nightmares. This is where I believe many people are living. We are straddling between there and here, now and then, left and right.

Another song I heard was from Billy Joel was “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” It reminds me of the political emotions and views these last five years. I get people are sick of hearing about the feuding between Democrats and Republicans. I’ve sort of thought that myself lately. If you have access to FB or social media, then you really know any topic discussed will turn political in a heartbeat. People can say almost anything they want, but there is danger when it is clearly wrapped in a blanket of falsehoods and conspiracy theories. There comes a point in time, in order to save your brain from getting too mushy, where you need to step away and not care too much what it going on. Then again, if you stop caring or worse, lash out at your opponent just because you can, nothing gets solved. Since COVID started, as a collective whole people have rallied to help others but not all of us can help. It’s hard to when you have no pennies to pinch. What I find rather appalling is how some people go to great lengths to show they belong in the billionaire’s club. Each to his or her own, but if I had a billion dollars, I wouldn’t be hoarding it. This is all for today.

Journal Entry #105: All I Got is Saturday with Less Sarcasm

Denise Gould, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s 9/11 today. The 20th anniversary year when the Twin Towers were hit by planes and then collapsed in NYC. I feel bad for those still struggling with the loss of their family members, friends, and co-workers who died that day or after that day due to injuries and suicide. Anything as catastrophic that fundamentally cuts your safety net out from under you is bound to send you back a few feet if not miles. Survivorship after something tragic happened is a concept that is very familiar to me and also foreign. I’ve never been one to have survivor’s guilt. I had the opposite. The other part of experiencing something horrific is trying to work through and around it. Basically, cope with how it affected you as an adult. While others may feel comfortable with their stories about mental illness and issues, it still bothers me when I’m talking about myself. This is probably why I’m procrastinating on returning to my second novel idea because it’s more personal. I haven’t figured out how to write the story the way I want it to be written where I’m completely satisfied. Something is missing within my mental outline on how it will be perceived. It will pack more of a punch, have more meaning as an autobiography, but with it comes less freedom for creativity. The emotional part of it seems too removed as it is currently written as a fiction story but it is necessary for me to do this. I suppose shedding my fears of making it too dirty, too horrible, too violent, too real for readers shouldn’t be what prevents me from writing it the way I want to even as a fiction story. So with this in mind, I’m waiting for the day to visit NYC in the future (have no idea when) and experience new things and maybe find some inspiration along the way. I’m reflecting on how I felt last year, how I wished things had changed in 2021, and what the rest of 2021 actually looks like. This is reality hitting me in the face with many caveats and no concrete answers. I’ve been living a life with non-answers for the last two years and while I wonder what will happen in 2022, a lot of my questions seems useless. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. Sure, I have some control over my life but in many ways I have little. A part of me wants to thaw out and get back into a routine. The one I used to know and crave. A part of me thinks what’s the freaking point. Nothing seems to be going how I envisioned, very far from the mark, and while it could be worse, it doesn’t bring much comfort when I hear the words. That’s all I have to say for today.

Netflix Documentary Series Recommendation: Untold (2021)

When I started watching these, I didn’t know what to expect. The Untold Deal with the Devil was the first one I watched. After it ended, I was convinced the second one about Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce) would be decent too. I was not disappointed as I listened to her (formerly him) describe how he trained incredibly hard in order to win the Gold medal in the decathlon during the 1976 Olympics. From there, the episodes were just as great as the two previous ones. It probably helped because I knew nothing about these sports incidents/stories because either they happened before I was born but mainly I’ve never been a die hard sports fan in any sport. These documentaries couldn’t be more varied. Deal with the Devil is about a female boxer surviving her husband. Caitlyn Jenner should be self-explanatory. Malice at the Palace is about professional basketball players relationship with fans. Crime & Penalties is about a minor league hockey team tied to the mob. Breaking Point is about professional tennis players and the way mental illness is perceived. As a non-sports fan, take a chance to watch all of them. You won’t be disappointed. I learned new things and finally understood why Metta World Peace was on DWTS.

I rate Untold FOUR FINGERS and ONE THUMB at 100%

Amazon TV Recommendation: Jack Ryan Season 1 and 2 (2018 and 2019)

Say whatever you will about this series but I really liked it. So far, there are two seasons dealing with Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst, that trades his desk for being in the field (first season in the Middle East specifically Yemen and Turkey and second season in South America specifically Venezuela). Ryan is a part of the CTC (Counterterrorism Center) and T-FAD (Terror, Finance, and Arms Division). What happens in the series is close to what is going on in currently in the world: nuclear weapons, cyber espionage, political red tape, terroristic acts, and viruses. The main cast is John Krasinski as Jack Ryan and Wendell Pierce as James Greer, and Michael Kelly as Mike November. The supporting actors that stood out the most to me were John Hoogenakker as Matice, Ali Suliman as Mousa bin Suleman, and Tom Wlaschiha but of course all the cast was great. Jack Ryan is created by Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland. I can’t wait for season three and hope it keeps going.

I rate Jack Ryan FOUR FINGERS and ONE THUMB at 95%

Trifecta #68

Poem: Don’t Ask Me Why

Don't ask me why the birds have stopped singing.
I don't know why they have have gone silent on a beautiful day like today.
Somewhere else, the day is not so beautiful, in fact, it is nighttime. 
The owls are hooting and not letting those around sleep a good night's sleep.

Don't ask me why it has not rained in over a month.
I don't know why the tears of the Earth make us suffer so much.
Halfway around the world, exactly, in a different city, it is raining every day.
There are floods, families with lost homes and possessions.
They only carry memories in their tragic minds. 

Don't as me why the children are not paying attention.
I don't know why their mental faculties have slowed down year after year.
The classrooms are not like they used to be, neither are the teachers.
Some students have no desks to sit on or pencils to sharpen.

Don't ask me why the same areas get bombarded with rudeness.
I don't know why the people revolve through the same door.
It does not seem okay for this to happen and yet, it continues.
There are times these same people need to interject, not surmise. 
Some attempt to break away but it is not enough.

Don't ask me why. 
I beg of you.
Don't ask me. 
I do not have the answer.
You must be tired as I am.

Five Quotes in September

The Best Last Eight Movies I’ve Watched Since July 2021

I’ve watched more movies than these eight, but these were the ones I think were the worthiest to watch out of all of them. This will basically be a quick recap of each one. The Courier and Mary Shelley are the drama/biography movies. Godzilla vs. Kong and Along with the Gods are the action/sci-fi/fantasy movies. Unhinged and Escape Plan: The Extractors are what I call take it or leave it movies. Jolt and The Little Things are movies I expected more of by the end. As always, it is up to you whether you want to watch any of these or not. Also as always, whether experience gained or time lost is no fault of mine.

Godzilla vs Kong is a battle between bad and bad so to speak. While the story was decent, I really wanted to see more fighting between the two mythic creatures. For some reason, I felt sorry for King Kong much more than Godzilla. I’m not a die-hard fan when it comes to either one although if I were to come face to face with either one, I’d pick Kong because I feel I’d have a better chance of surviving if his animal instincts kicked in. Then again, maybe not. Overall, I wanted more action throughout the whole movie.

Along with the Gods is what happens after you die. It relies on the concept of heaven and hell. According to the movie, the purpose and quality of life is up for debate after the body is buried or cremated. This type of movie incorporates different planes and ones that are heavily immersed in spirituality and fantasy. The human interaction among the mother and sons tears at your heart strings as much as the relationship between the sons. There were a few scenes that stood out and made the movie worth watching.

Mary Shelley is about the creator and writer of Frankenstein. I remember studying her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, in an English class. This movie concentrates on her relationship to Percy Bysshe Shelley and other male writers during her time. It discusses the origins of her creativity and how she maneuvered herself in a world of male writers. Some writers are truly born that way and Mary Shelley was one of them.

Unhinged made me wonder why I was even watching it although it gives a good realistic view of road rage. People become extra brave when talking on cell phones, driving in cars, and on social media behind their screens. I not only got to see Russell Crowe doing his out-of-control schtick with a belly but was reminded to be cautious to not piss off the wrong person on the road. A person who doesn’t give a shit about the consequences is a dangerous combination anywhere so I’m glad this one only a movie—this time.

Little Things is one you’ve seen before. It’s a mediocre story without any thrills or consequences. I’m always up for a good detective story, but this one disappointed on many levels. The main issue was the storyline. It sat there like a lump on a log. There was nothing special about it and while the cast was well chosen, it wasn’t enough when the credits rolled. The ending was sort of a bummer too. I guess I’m not sure why I’m recommending it. Maybe, it’s to see Jared Leto as a convincing creep, Rami Malek post Freddie Mercury, and Denzel Washington with white hair.

Jolt is an interesting concept although there was something missing from it. I believe it was a few additional scenes that could’ve made it more cohesive as a visual experience. This movie reminded me of the Underworld saga due to its content. You get what you think you’ll get: a woman with an anger problem that has trouble trusting people where the trust is further eroded throughout the story. The vest she wears should have had more of a part. The story had a linear direction but by the end when a character showed up out of the blue, I wish she had shown up earlier.

The Courier is the best one out of all of them because I had no idea what really happened to the real life Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkosky. Their relationship makes for a great story. The fact it was during the Cold War doesn’t hurt either. It had everything I like in a movie including the great acting, suspense, and non-Hollywood ending. It didn’t take much for me to be invested since I enjoy reading and watching about espionage. As a dramatic story, this is one of the best I’ve seen in a while.

Escape Plan isn’t as machismo as the Expendables saga and it’s basically a revenge movie. The plot was sort of predictable despite not seeing the movie before and after it in the series. I still picture Sylvester Stallone as the actor from the original Rocky in terms of appearance, but he sure hasn’t lost his bravado. The scene between him and the younger antagonist was great. It was the best scene in the movie. I wanted to see more although seeing Dave Bautista mowing down guys with his machine gun was the next best thing.

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September Quotes about Fall/Autumn

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.” – Chad Sugg

 “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

“Another fall, another turned page…” – Wallace Stegner

“Notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.” – Victoria Erickson 

“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.” – Shira Tamir

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”– Jim Bishop

A Few Quotes from Movies (I Like)

“To find something, anything, a great truth or a lost pair of glasses, you must first believe there will be some advantage in finding it.” –All the King’s Men

“By all means, move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me.” The Devil Wears Prada

“A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.” — The Social Network

“Great men are not born great, they grow great.” –The Godfather

“Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.” –X-Men: Days of Future Past

“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.”–The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

“Our lives are not fully lived if we’re not willing to die for those we love, for what we believe.” – Selma

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