Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year Of Milestones or Resolution Time, Resolution Time

                I’m not much of a New Year’s Eve guy, mostly because I haven’t had a lot of success on the last night of the year.   I did the party thing in my younger days of course, but those evenings generally ended up with my face investigating the inner workings of a toilet or lying next to a woman, trying to hide a raging Charlie Horse after having my pass freshly rejected.  I saw Poison and Warrant once (Don’t judge, it was the 80’s), but that ended with a former roommate (who tragically shed his mortal coil this year) attempting to balance on a spike strip, falling the wrong direction, and slicing his foot like Uma Thurman taking out one of the 88 Keys in Kill Bill.
One year my wife Charger Gal was sucked into this vortex of sucktitude as we went to San Diego for her first Charger game.  The result:  Her favorite player, Drew Brees, had his shoulder decimated, leading to his leaving for New Orleans where he now challenges Jesus and the creator of Gumbo for most popular person in the history of Louisiana. The Chargers were crushed by the rival Denver Broncos, and Charger Gal became deathly ill.  Now we end the year with our own personal tribute to gluttony:  In-N-Out Burgers and an extra-large bottle of white wine.  (You know you’re jealous).  We also do our own little year in review with one another.  (We try to include our dog B Is Love in the proceedings, but the cheeseburger she gets from In-N-Out zonks her out by 9:30.)   
We also talk about our resolutions for the year ahead.  It’s a significant year for us:  We both turn 40 (Don’t quite look it but feel every bit of it), celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary (Unless I screw up on a monolithic level, which has been known to happen more than I want to admit), and 5 years of B Is Love being a part of our lives.  Such a significant year requires significant resolutions and based on my impeccable track record on resolutions, I have no doubt that at least one of the following has a better than average chance of mostly coming to pass.
Lose 30 Pounds – I know, I know, the oldest resolution there is.  You know why?  Because most of us are fat!  I’m telling ya though, if I accomplish this task, my 1-10 rating shots straight up to 6.
Sell A Screenplay – One thing about certain goals; you get to keep listing them until they come to pass.  Springsteen once asked “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse?” This sounds depressing as Hell so I think I’ll just keep dreaming this dream until it does, in fact, come true.
Get A Gig Blogging – Be it freelance or teaming up with a site full time, this is the brass ring for 2011.  I’ve really enjoyed writing for this World Wide Web thing and look forward to doing more of it in the coming year. 
That’s the list.  I’ll aim to be as observational as Seinfeld, as anti-establishment as Carlin, and as confessional as Pryor with the thoughts and words ahead.   And yes, I did just compare myself to three of the greatest comics of all time.  One must dare to believe they can fly like an eagle in order to soar above the crowd.
Like what you read?  Come sign up to follow the blog.
Hit me up on Twitter:  @mrc_truedat

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Eviscerating The Christmas Shoes or Making A Sad Song Happy

                I was driving with my wife Charger Gal the other day, listening and singing along to the Christmas tunes on the radio (Yes, we’re saps like that).   Over the speakers of my car began a song that was unfamiliar to my ears, but made my wife explode in the excited proclamation “You gotta hear this song.  It makes me cry every time.”  I myself never get excited by the prospect of being driven to tears, but I respect my beloved’s opinion and listened intently. 
                The song in question was The Christmas Shoes, the tale of a narrator who’s standing in line, not feeling terribly in the holiday spirit until a scruffily attired young boy armed only with a gaggle of pennies explains to the cashier and the narrator that he only wishes to buy a pair of shoes for his gravely ill mother before she meets Jesus tonight.  The narrator is so moved by the child’s plight that he pays for the shoes, thus renewing to himself the true meaning of Christmas.  The song ends, and I would be dishonest if I didn’t admit to having a golf ball sized lump in my throat, but I also possess a comedian like need to take the piss out of any situation so I snarkily stated:  “And then the kid get to the hospital and finds out his mother is dead.”
                To say this comment did not go over well with Charger Gal is equivalent to saying Noah guided his ark through a rough patch of inclement weather.   But the Gods of retribution had it in for me this day, for as we came home and began flipping channels, Charger Gal discovered the TV movie based on the song was just starting (A Hallmark film starring 80’s teen heartthrob Rob Lowe.  Talk about sticking it in and breaking it off on a guy.)  Charger Gal proceeded to watch the 2 hour flick (Yes, they stretched a 4 minute song into a 2 hour film) and ended up so emotionally drained it took two hours and multiple glasses of wine to return her to some semblance of normalcy.
                Now call me kooky, but I have this crazy desire to be HAPPY during the holidays.  And between the song, the movie, and the post traumatic sadness disorder, that’s 4 plus hours of my life with my wife I’m not getting back. That is unacceptable and thus I must respond.  So, for husbands who must endure a morose spouse, for people who wish their Christmas to not be interrupted of its’ Merry, and for the overall greater good, I must now go Ivan Drago and break The Christmas Shoes.
                Let’s start with the real villain of this song…the kids’ father.  The song states that the boys’ clothes are worn and old and he is dirty from head to toe.  How about a shower and a new shirt dad? And if, as the little boy states, the mommy doesn’t have much time and could very well meet Jesus tonight, why is the dad letting the kid go out and buy shoes?  Shouldn’t the kid be by his mom’s bedside?  Way to go dad!   And just how old is this little bastard?  Apparently he’s not old enough to understand that a crap load of pennies can’t buy you a pair of shoes even at Payless.  Of course if the father was worth anything, maybe he’d give his kid the money before letting him go out and setting him up for failure?  Seriously, isn’t this neglectful Neanderthal due a visit from child services?
                Let’s talk about the title object.  Does mommy really need a new pair of shoes?  By all accounts it doesn’t seem like she’ll be doing much walking with the precious time she has left.  Oh, so now you’re on me to leave the family alone?  Fine…how about this scumbag behind the counter?  The little boy tells his tale of woe, the one that moves our narrator to shell out the big bucks for the titular footwear, and the cashier is so unmoved that he/she might as well respond with a W.C. Fields “Go away kid, ya bother me” retort.  Now you’re probably thinking “At least he can’t say anything to the narrator. Not our bastion of giving and understanding to the true meaning of Christmas.”  THINK AGAIN!  Are we sure his gesture of kindness isn’t really the ultimate sucker act from one big ruse?  I read Oliver Twist, I know how this works.  (Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But it’s December, one can’t help but have Dickens on the mind.  Ooof, that didn’t come out right.)
                Do you smell that?  It’s the stench of retribution.  I look over at Charger Gal; her mood is much lighter, as if a defense mechanism against ever feeling moved by this piece of music again has been implanted Inception style.  Something tells me she’s not the only one.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Like what you read? Come sign up to follow the blog.
Hit me up on Twitter:  @mrc_truedat

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The 12 Songs of Christmas or Music Not To Slit Your Wrist To

                As is customary this time of year, the music of the season infiltrates our lives in every capacity we can think of:  Commercials feature people with an over/under of 74 ½ teeth displaying fake smiles and a piss poor ability to lip sync.  Elevators and department store sound systems take songs that are at best barely tolerable and turn them into mindless musak massacred pieces of soulless synthetic slop.  Now contrary to the programming of this years’ holiday specific channels, there are holiday songs that exist not sung by the cast of Glee.  So in honor of the 12 days of Christmas that represent the homestretch of this season of receiving cleverly disguised as one of giving, I present my personal mix tape of 12 quality Christmas songs for your enjoyment. (Note for the Twihards:  A mix tape is a series of songs with a similar theme that is presented to another person, usually in CD or cassette tape form.  Back in the day, this was generally utilized by nerdy soulful types to express affection for females, who usually responded to such gestures with as much appreciation as New Yorkers to a 9/11 joke.  Not that I’d know about such things.)   Thus without further ado…
                12.  BAND AIDDo They Know Its Christmas” – The song from Europe that makes you feel guilty about any success you have in life by a super group of rich musicians. It always gets a listen for hearing which participants still resonate (Bono, rocking the mullet in the video), which you forgot about (Paul Young, also rocking the mullet), and which left you scratching your head (JT from Kool and the Gang?).  Still, I always find myself singing “Feed them” by the end, which in turn makes me think of Sam Kinison’s iconic Ethiopia bit (NOTHING GROWS OUT HERE!  NOTHING’S GONNA GROW OUT HERE!)
                11. THE PRETENDERS “2000 Miles” – I find that the older I get, the more I appreciate the soothing hard worn wisdom of Chrissy Hynde’s voice and lyrics.  The song is an ode to those who are away during the holidays, thus making it a perfect tribute for the men and women fighting for our country.  This opening back to back lament of heartache also underscores the fact that there are SOOOOO many sad songs written about Christmas.  Why do we call it the most wonderful time of the year again?
                10. RUN-DMC “Christmas In Hollis” – Now we’re getting hip and happy.  I remember as a teenager that Music Television (Despite all evidence to the contrary, the M in MTV does stand for music) would use this song as a frequent bumper during the holidays  and why not? It’s such a great jam that will get your head bopping in no time.  Plus, your mind can’t help but harken back to the beginning of Die Hard (And why doesn’t that film get brought up in the discussion of great Christmas films? Nothing says Christmas like Bruce Willis, bare feet, and broken glass.)
                9. Bing Crosby and David Bowie “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth” – Here’s the 70’s in a nutshell:  In the Christmas special this song appeared on, Bowie was whiter than the phony snow on set, and it’s the most normal he had looked up to that point in his career.  He also proceeded to blow Crosby, only considered to be the greatest American voice until Sinatra came along, completely out of the water in a one-sided display only equaled years later during the Axl Rose-Tom Petty Free Fallin’ duet.  Bonus:  You Tube the pre song banter between the two.  Military fathers and gay sons aren’t this awkward.
                8.  Relient K “The 12 Days Of Christmas” – And you thought there wouldn’t be any sort of modern music on this list?  The group that answers the question “What would Blink 182 sound like if they were a Christian band?” gives this timeless tale some fresh sounds and asks questions we’ve all thought. (What’s a partridge and what’s a pear tree? /I don’t know so please don’t ask me.)
                7.  Michael Bolton “Our Love Is Like A Holiday” – Yup, Michael Bolton.  The song crystallizes what I imagine musicians who just want to get home for the holidays feel and has a soft, romantic vibe.  (And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I was once a courier who shared an elevator and hung out in a lobby in Universal City with Bolton at his pinnacle and he couldn’t have been a nicer guy.  Nothing at all.) 
                6.  Harry Connick Jr. “Must’ve Been Ol’ Santa Claus” – There’s no doubt in my mind this song was recorded in New Orleans.  The jazz vibe just oozes through this tune about a kid who gets to hang with Santa during his annual sleigh ride.  I have no tap dance ability whatsoever, but it doesn’t mean Harry and his gang don’t make me want to try. (No matter how scuffed up the floor below me may become.)
                5.  CHUCK BERRY “Run, Run Rudolph” – There have been countless remakes of this song, but none did it better than the Godfather of the Guitar.  The thing that always stands out is just how clean the solos sound.  So many modern day guitar gods use their tricks of the trade, but Berry always just let the instrument do the talking. (Probably because he had no choice.)  Plus his voice, never technically proficient, is perfect for the playful nature of the tune.
                4. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” – There are countless live recordings of The Boss, but this is the song that completely captures what it is like to see E Street Live.  Bruce telling the fans a story that doesn’t quite resonate, but is entertaining nonetheless;  The band taking any song put before them and jamming in unison like they’ve been playing it 100 times a day for 20 years;  the uncontrollable joy that manifests itself in the laughter on stage and the smile on your face.  That personifies Christmas more than any number of “Ho, Ho, Ho”’s bellowed by the Big Man.
                3. THE EAGLES “Please Come Home For Christmas” – Don Henley’s voice has always been a contradiction: soothing beauty swirled with cantankerous admonishment, all hiding the vulnerable pain underneath.  That makes it perfect for a tune about a guy marveling in the joys of others around him while asking for his loved ones’ return with more than a hint of edginess. There hasn’t been such a reluctant romantic since Lloyd Dobler held up the boom box in Say Anything.  
                2. U2 Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – It’s not Christmas time until the tree is up, Linus has given his spotlight speech on the birth, and I’ve been caught air drumming in the car to the beginning of this infectious two minutes and twenty-one seconds.  Bono is in prime voice (and still rocking the mullet) and you’ve never heard a song sound so vibrant when its subject matter is so sad. (AGAIN with the sad stuff!)
                1. NAT KING COLEThe Christmas Song” – The Gold Standard.  Despite Spielberg’s attempt to stamp it with tragic overtones in Catch Me If You Can because he can’t get over the fact his parents divorced and he didn’t have a perfect existence (Yeah Stevie, you’re a real ‘effin party of one on that front.), it remains THE song to pour some wine, turn out all the lights except for the tree, curl up on the couch with your wife on one side and your dog on other, and listen to utter cool wrapped in a singular velvety voice.  And that I do know something about.

Like what you read? Come sign up to follow the blog.

Hit me up on Twitter: @mrc_truedat

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Things We Think But Do Not Say or I Love You Stupid!

Dependent upon your love for film in general, or more specifically the words of Cameron Crowe, you will recognize the first half of the title above as the name of Jerry Maguire's Mission Statement.  A magnum opus that gets him fired but unexpectedly kicks off his gratifying journey of rewarding self discovery.  When most people think of a phrase of this sort, they usually associate it with negative connotations such as the aspects of a friend or loved ones’ physical features or mental prowess normally reserved for ridicule and disdain.
I see it a bit different. (Kevin Smith is hardly the only person capable of having a view askew.)  I see The Things We Think But Do Not Say as representative of our fear from expressing the deep affection we feel for one another.  Think about it for a moment; How often do you hear a person extol the virtues of another with unbridled enthusiasm?  Now think about how often the person they are exalting is in the room when they do it.
Society exhibits this “He’s a wonderful human being, but don’t tell him I said that.” mentality for a multitude of reasons, almost all of which trace back to the analogous theme of fear.  We have become so emotionally fearful in modern day America that if FDR proclaimed the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, a great majority of people would respond by suggesting he attempt to have intercourse with his fecal matter. (People in denial tend to be angry like that.)  We fear potential rejection or ridicule when vulnerably looking someone we care for in the eye and telling them what they mean to us because the possibility exists that the reply will be crickets chirping, thus leaving us feeling like a comic who can't get the laugh due to something in their delivery and is now powerless to prevent himself from sweating beneath white hot lights.  Conversely, we can tell other people anything and everything about a person we care for, liberated of any potential denial or humiliation and thus free to trip the night fantastic as we wax poetic over the virtues of someone who has carved out a niche in our hearts. 
You may be getting the vibe that this subject is limited to only the most romantic of situations, but allow me to break into my best Lee Corso impression and state in one singular word “Notsofastmyfriend”.  Not only is that not the case, but I would daresay this happens infinitely more often when the subject is friendship.  Put yourself to the test:  How many friends have you said "I love you" to directly?  Now how many of those same friends have you spoken of in rapturous tones to others and stated, sometimes in so many words, "I love them to death."   This is the point where you say to yourself in a rationalizing tone: "They know. They have to know after everything we've been through."  Take it from someone who early on in life thought he had to always maintain an even strain and learned this lesson the hard way:  Sometimes people just want and need to be told what they mean to you as if they have the IQ of Forrest Gump.  Even a person possessing the most outwardly confident of personality has internal doubt and insecurity that gnaws away at them ever so slightly, waiting for someone to make like Bill Murray at the end of Lost In Translation and deliver a whispering vow of eternal solidarity only they can hear.
Don’t think about style points for they matter not. You don’t need to deliver a Shakespearian sonnet nor do you need to be as melodramatic as a typical character on Grey’s Anatomy.  One of the most heartfelt moments of my life was when my younger brother Excrement looked at me during a New Year’s Eve party and simply said “Thanks for everything you’ve done for me.”  It still makes me smile to this day (Yes, I know nicknaming my younger brother Excrement ruins the emotional punch.  What can I tell ya?  He loves the more common vernacular for the word.  Nobody said true feeling was perfect.)
So take a word from someone who speaks the truth:  Look a friend in the eye and speak to them like you would if they weren't in the room.  You won’t be disappointed and may even be surprised by the heartfelt nature of their reaction.  As for the warmth that will course through your own veins from speaking in such candid tones, that won’t exactly suck either.  And to those of you who have come away from this vignette with the observation its nothing more than a self-absorbed plea for the people closest to me to do some expressing of their own… what do you want Sigmund, a cigar? (Sometimes they really are just cigars ya know.)

Like what you read?  Come sign up to follow the blog.
Hit me up on Twitter:  @mrc_truedat

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Starbucks Can Suck It or This Tastes Like Coconut

                If you’ve read my blog, you know that I have a major bug up my backside about Starbucks, evidenced by my incessant need to state in a Tourette’s like rant that they can suck it whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Friends say I sound like a jilted lover when I talk about Coffee Megalopolis.  (I don’t know why they always have to take their side.  Where’s their loyalty?)  It wasn’t always this way between us; there was a time where Starbucks and I were thick as Butch and Sundance…and given how things turned out, it makes sense I’d use an analogy of two guys who ended up riddled with more bullets than Sonny Corleone.
We were introduced by my wife Charger Gal.  I’d never given the Java conglomerate with the green lettering a second glance before she led me through their doors.  As she ordered with the glossed over expression of a Stepford Wife, I explained that I wasn’t a hot drink kind of guy.  That’s when she said the words that would alter my life:  “They have Frappuccinos.” This ice blended concoction intrigued me enough to give it a shot.  And thus I was introduced to what became my signature drink:  A Venti Mocha Frappuccino Light, extra-blended, no whipped cream. (I refuse to say the words “No Whip”.  I may act like a douchebag at times, but I have no desire to be so intentional about it.)   
I suddenly found myself utilizing Starbucks and their 1,457,692 locations for everything:  Meeting with friends, getting out of the house for a walk with Charger Gal and our dog B Is Love, sitting alone to write and people watch.  How commonplace did it become to see me with this chilled goodness in my hand as the years passed?  Try a hundred dollar a month habit.  I would deal with any size line or any level of behind the counter incompetence and do so while looking like a smile ridden victim of Nicholson’s Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman.  This devotion culminated in a friend of mine giving me a personalized gift card that spelled out my exact order for any fresh faced barista who dared alter the magic elixir.  Little did I know that the ultimate sabotage would come directly from the Willy Wonka of Morning Joe.
One day I walked into the Starbucks near work and was regaled with the pronouncement that Frappucinos were now created to customers exact specifications.  I didn’t quite get what was so new about this, seeing as how my gift card already performed this task quite satisfactorily.  I was told that Coffee Megalopolis no longer delivered pre-packaged Frappuccino mix and that these drinks would now be made from scratch by the workers.  Now they say you should trust your gut and I have an above average amount of gut to trust, thus my being a big time subscriber to the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” adage should have set my Spidey sense into overdrive.  But addiction is a monster and mine needed to be assuaged.  I ordered my drink, retrieved it from the counter, and headed to work before taking my first sip of the new Frappuccino.
IT. WAS. DREADFUL.  It was an abhorrent assault on the taste buds that could only have been previously utilized by Jack Bauer to torture terrorists in CTU.  This could not be.  It must have been a mistake, a misfire of epic proportion.  So I returned later that week and ordered again…and again, my sense of taste was overtaken by a tart bitterness that must resemble semi-sweet chocolate mixed with castor oil.  Maybe it was just this Starbucks that was chockfull of incompetence.  I began scouring the local stores near my home.  One after another, each made my drink from scratch as I waited with frantic anticipation.  One after another, each drink was worse than the last, culminating with asking Charger Gal to take a taste (a passive aggressive attempt at retribution for introducing me to such heartache no doubt).  Charger Gal’s response was twofold:  That the drink tasted like coconut and it was time for us to make like LeBron and take our talents to Coffee Bean.
Coffee Bean is an admirable substitute.  The drinks are solid and the local store is a fine place to hang with Charger Gal and B Is Love while reading the paper on a Sunday morning.  There are some drawbacks:  the drinks are a bit more expensive, the baristas have a habit of adding whipped cream no matter how many times I request it not be (Leading me to theorize that every Coffee Bean barista regardless of gender possesses a food fetish behind closed doors), and they charge tax if you enjoy your drink in their facility.  How a coffee house executed what the current political administration cannot is beyond my comprehension, but hey, that’s life.
As for Coffee Megalopolis, I drive by its stores on occasion…which is to say every 45 flippin’ seconds.  I still can’t understand why it had to forsake me in such a way and I continue to harbor a virulent vitriol that I unleash whenever afforded the opportunity. But in those moments where it’s just me and my deepest thoughts, I hope that the day comes when they return to their pre-packaged mixture of ice blended delight. 
 I still have the card, just in case.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Talk Religion To Me or Every Worship Has Its Thorn

I don’t know… but I know that I don’t know. – Lloyd Dobler   
                That line of dialogue, as stated by the protagonist of the seminal 80’s teen flick Say Anything, pretty much sums up my thoughts on religion.  By nature, I have a tendency to be decisive on my points of view, but I have always vacillated with regards to religious conviction.  The spiritual side of me has seen the power of faith literally save lives right before my eyes. The pragmatist in me is as cynical as Han Solo with regards to accepting a theology that there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything.  This skepticism is brought to the forefront in December;  a month meant to celebrate the birth of the most famous only child in history via our gratitude and appreciation of one another in the fellowship of humanity… assuming we can squeeze in such sentiments between excursions to indulge our worship at the altar of consumerism.  (Please note:  As you probably just surmised, I’m going Tom Skerritt in Top Gun on this subject: Tough but fair.  You’ve been warned.)
                It is this type of hypocrisy that sends the scales in my religious perspective tipping downward.  My mind shifts into overdrive, recalling that while love should be the overriding emotion brought about by worship, NOTHING has caused more death in any lifetime than religion.  Think I’m wrong?   I’m not a Biblical scholar, but I’ve read the good book enough to know that any literal adaptation of its contents would be rated R for graphic violence.  Need something cemented in human history?  Try The Crusades, The 30 Years War, or the founding of a country based on the desperate need of its inhabitants to live in a place that separated church from state. (That would be America for those of you who became confused during the attempted Bush-Palin 21st century rewrite.)  Need something more recent?  How about an attempted genocide in Auschwitz designed to eradicate an entire people from the planet?  Still need something closer to home?  Try a tragic September morning in New York, DC, and Pennsylvania. Face it gang, death in the name of thy creator dwarfs the casualty totals racked up by plagues and pandemics combined.
                 Speaking of creators, why are there so many?  God, Allah, Bhagwaan, Elohim, Jehovah, L. Ron Hubbard.  Is there an Omnipotent Hall Of Justice where they all convene to preside over their followers?  Oh, I forgot, the majority of followers are steadfast in the belief that their creator is the only creator and anybody who doesn’t think that will pay a price in the name of said creator, thus returning us to the death by religion theory that started us down this slippery slope.  Let’s move on.

And I believe there is a time for meditation in cathedrals of our own. – Billy Joel 

                The sentiments of the Piano Man bring up another point of contention:  Why do the most outspoken of followers feel the overwhelming need to dictate how I worship the Lord?(And why do they always seem to do it in front of a camera while collecting money on his behalf?)  What happened to the notion of showing your respect and love for your Lord in your own way?   People I have encountered in my life who are amongst the kindest, sincerest, and most comfortable in their own skin are those whose devotion is their own; you would see examples of it in their workspace or home, but never would it be extravagant nor would they attempt to press their personal beliefs upon you.  Why does it seem that so few followers find this acceptable?  Should I ever succeed enough in life to have my own James Lipton Inside The Actors Studio moment that culminates with the over enunciation of the question “If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?”  I’m very secure in what the answer will be:  "Just because nobody else understood how you worshipped me doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate it."
Sadly, this does not prevent those claiming to be of supremely devout faith from stating in no uncertain terms that anything done to God’s dissatisfaction (i.e. THEIR dissatisfaction) will result in eternal damnation.  Last I checked we were made in God’s image; have you met a one of us that’s perfect?  Me neither.  What’s more, if you subscribe to the notion that you must be of a right mind 24/7/365 or risk permanent exile from the Promised Land, then the case can rationally be made that  selfless atheists must be the most decent people on the planet.  Their actions are dictated by an earnest desire to do what’s right rather than borne from dread of repercussions they might receive on the other side.  That’s not to say the non-religious aren’t capable of such rigidity themselves.  It’s always been ironic to me that John Lennon wrote the lyric “And no religion too”, but broke up the greatest band in history by exhibiting the same “I won’t like you if you don’t do exactly what I want exactly when I want it” sentiments associated with the religious types he condemned in those very words (Come on fellow Beatle freaks, make like Darth to Luke in Empire and search your feelings, you know it be true.)
In the end, for all the ambivalence I feel and all the rational thoughts that would state otherwise, I want to believe.  Maybe it’s just a grown up fairy tale told to console ourselves amid the surplus of pain and hardship we must endure walking our prospective paths.  Maybe I just need something to explain why a song I haven’t thought of in years magically comes on my radio or when my belief in self crosses the line into over confidence I always seem to trip over my own feet and knock myself back down to Earth.  Maybe I just need to feel there’s something after death besides being a lifetime buffet for earthworms.  Or maybe…just maybe…when I’m deep inside my head, asking for protection of the people who mean the most to me and hoping that the goals I’ve set for myself aren’t as unattainable as everyone tells me they are, there’s a voice that will answer:
                Life Is A Mystery. Everyone Must Stand Alone. I hear you call my name...and it feels like home.

Like what you read?  Come sign up and follow the blog?
Hit me up on Twitter:  @mrc_truedat

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Setting Up Xmas or You Realize It’s November, Right?

                I know Black Friday has been discussed ad nauseum – I even wrote my previous blog on the subject – But there is another tradition that takes place on the day after Thanksgiving.  It garners no attention in the papers or television, but it transforms my abode into a tribute to the most wonderful time of the year.  Submitted for your approval and entering its eleventh year, the day my wife Charger Gal and I set up Christmas in our home.
                I’d like to tell you we conduct this transformation at such an early date due to our deep love for Kris Kringle, shiny lights, and the colors green and red, but it’s really based on practicality: We’re both off work and the calendar for December always fills up prior to its arrival.  So with turkey still digesting within my girth and caffeine coursing through my veins due to a run to Coffee Bean (Suck It Starbucks), I begin pulling out the multitude of storage bins in the corner of the garage reserved for holiday cheer.
                Now at the risk of coming across as self-absorbed, I have always had a fantasy that Vegas  is fond of setting odds for whether or not I will wrench my back transporting the Christmas bins from garage to house. When we lived in our apartment and I had to climb up and down a narrow flight of stairs to accomplish this task, this was even money.  Nowadays the distance is shorter but the body is creakier, so call it two to one.  I complete the task without ending up like a retired professional wrestler, much to fantasy Vegas’ chagrin. 
                Charger Gal now begins looking through each bin, inevitably leading to her annual proclamation that something is missing.  As she investigates this further, I pop in Elf for its annual viewing and reacquaint myself with Bob Newhart’s hysterical opening monologue.  (Nobody has ever known how to evoke more gut busting laughter from a stutter as Newhart) The opening credits begin and I turn back to Charger Gal, who has nearly completed to assembling of our fake tree.  Yes, I said fake tree.  I saw as a child how quickly real trees can go up in flames and destroy property, so feel free to sweep up dead pine needles while waiting for you seven foot match to alight.  I’ll be A-OK settling for Charger Gal’s Christmas Tree candle and a slightly off kilter looking oversize phony plant thankyouverymuch.
                With the tree complete, our attention now turns to the ornaments.  Charger Gal has three goals with this process:  Make sure there are enough plush ornaments to hang on the bottom of the tree in case our dog B Is Love gets a hankering to do some unannounced tree rearranging, make sure everything else that goes on the tree is personalized to us and our life, and make sure I don’t break any said personalized objects.  There are also ornaments whose time has passed, leading Charger Gal to have a Boyz II Men “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” moment of remembrance before turning to me and somberly stating “Dump ‘em Michael.”
                The ornaments are hung on the tree with care, amid hunger pangs that tell us food must soon be fed there.  Charger Gal and I retreat to the kitchen (singing the “Baby It’s Cold Outside” duet from Elf all the way) to make a couple of plates of leftovers.  Charger Gal is very specific in creating her leftover plate, ensuring that all components of her feast avoid contact with each other.  Conversely, I throw everything into my leftover bowl and form a goulash that Bluto Blutarsky would be proud of. (And you wonder why she worries about her sentimental ornaments?)  We return to the living room and proceed to set out our Christmas houses, Carolers, snowmen, CD’s, books, and a generous helping of Santas.  This is done while simultaneously fending off B Is Love from helping herself to our leftover feasts.  The final touch of the inside décor is hanging up our initialized stockings. I always place them in C,M,B order in the hopes someone will get the subtle New Jack City reference, but no one ever does.  
                Now we move outside to hang the lights.  Our relationship’s unorthodox but successful dynamic springs to the forefront as it is Charger Gal who climbs up our made in 1958 ladder and hangs the lights while I hand her clips, hold the ladder steady, and attempt to read the minds of passersby.  Charger Gal actually gets a kick out of handling the task so I have no problem giving her the moment.
                We return inside and settle on the couch to watch Will Ferrell save Christmas.  I examine the house, its festive vibe punctuating the completed make over.  I cuddle with Charger Gal while B Is Love lies at our feet and think to myself how warm and safe this all feels…and how it will all be back to what passes for normal these days in a month.

Like what you read?  Come sign up to follow the blog.
Hit me up on Twitter:  @mrc_truedat

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Black Friday or The Line Starts Where?

                Come Thursday evening, when a majority of us are sprawled out in front of the boob tube while allowing the L-Tryptophan to lull us into a food coma of epic proportion, there will be a gathering.  It will take place in parking lots and in front of closed entrances to giant retail store all across the country and long about the time you and I are waking for our wee small hours of the morning urination deposit, these stores will open to embark upon a madness of their own creation – BLACK FRIDAY. 
                I didn’t even know what this cavalcade of bargain shopping was until the first year I was living with my wife Charger Gal.   I remember at 4:30 that morning I groggily took in the sight of Charger Gal putting on her shoes, the slightest jiggling of keys captured by my ears.  I softly asked “What are you doing?”  (Though I’m fairly certain I included the more common vernacular for intercourse in the middle of the question.)  She kissed me and said she was off to do some Black Friday shopping and that she had always wanted to see what it was all about.  She returned 3 hours later, looking as if she had been through the Battle of Hogwarts.  (Ok fine, she didn’t leave in her Sunday best.   No need to get snarky about it.) She regaled me with stories of what she had been through.   I listened intently…and went right back to sleep.  But as I returned to my peaceful slumber, I swore Black Friday was something I would never experience for myself.
                And then two years ago, I did. (What do you want from me? The economy sucks and it was before I realized most Black Friday pricing can also be found online and the top notch deals are essentially limited to products with a quantity of 2.) 
                I left the house at 7AM, having been warned by Charger Gal that setting out for Black Friday at such time was a mistake before she requested that I please return home with Coffee Bean (Suck it Starbucks).  The morning was foggy; an ominous sign.  I pressed on, venturing forward to the local strip mall that has within its confines a multitude of retail outlets tailor made for consumer consumption.  (I don’t know why I just turned into Joe Friday from Dragnet either.  Make like Steve Winwood and roll with it.)
                The cornerstone of this merchandising megalopolis is the trifecta of Toys R Us, Best Buy, and Walmart that occupies a 2 football field stretch along the Northwest end of the strip mall.   I pull into the large parking area expecting to have to park a little further back than normal, but there’s no parking.  At all. After 20 minutes of motoring up and down the aisles in desperate search for an open spot that is as likely to exist as a Jolie-Aniston sex tape, I remember a little known set of parking spaces behind the Walmart.  I cross the distance like I’m racing Vin Diesel in The Fast And The Furious. Eureka, one open spot left.  Let’s hit the stores.
                I walk around the corner to approach the front of Walmart and am taken aback by the sea of men, women, and children roaming about the front of the store, none of whom are in the frame of mind to drop a verse of Tupac’s I Ain’t Mad At Cha. They curse humanity and deliver rousing damnations of their creator of choice.  In other words, Black Friday is just like any other day at Walmart, and since I’m not a fan of Walmart any other day, I feel secure in my decision to make like U2 and walk on.
                The pavement leading to Best Buy is littered with a plethora of Coke cans, beer bottles, plastic plates and cutlery, and to my astonishment, a turkey carcass.  An actual turkey carcass.  I shake my head, hold my breath, and make my way past the remains of the makeshift feast and into electronic heaven.  I take in a store that long ago exceeded the fire code for number of patrons allowed and proceed to make like an NFL running back, darting through and around the customers as each 18 inches of daylight presents itself.   My best O.J. (pre Bundy and Rockingham of course) turns out to be an exercise in futility, as the things I have come to purchase are all sold out.  Defeated, I head toward the exit and pass two men engaged in a heated disagreement over who gets the last cell phone both covet like Gollum over his Precious. These guys probably spent the night sharing turkey and singing Imagine and now find themselves fast approaching fisticuffs.  American consumerism in all its glory.
                I walk outside with no desire to even attempt Toys R us and ready to wave the white flag, but I catch out of the corner of my eye the Petco that sits tucked in between the mega powers.  It is open, near empty, and begging me to spoil my dog B Is Love.  I waste no time in doing so and then remember there’s a Sports Chalet further down the strip mall.  I drive over and parking is plentiful, the back pack Charger Gal wants is in stock and on sale, and I am rapidly starting to enjoy this whole Black Friday thing.  I leave the strip mall behind as the fog begins to burn off and head to Office Max.  They are out of some merchandise, but have what I’m looking for so life continues to be good.
                My last stop is the Target near my home.  You would think it would be as much of a mad house as the other big name stores I have passed or briefly entered, but things slow down after 8AM.   I make my way around the store and study the faces of the employees who have been there since the start of the morning. They look like virgins who have been subjected to a Ron Jeremy film festival.  My good friend Ponyboy has worked at Target for over 20 years and has this face for days after working a Black Friday.  It leaves me scared straight, thanking my lucky stars that retail is not my way to earning a living.
                So to quickly recap:  Sport Chalet, Petco, and Office Max good.  Walmart and Best Buy bad.  I hope that helps those of you who make this trek to worship at the altar of the almighty deal.  I have no plans to join you this year…but I do get the ads emailed to me in advance, just in case.

Like what you read? Come sign up to follow the blog.
Hit me up on twitter at mrc_truedat

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Walk Around The Block or I Didn’t Need Those Shoulder Blades Anyway

                It always starts the same way:  She approaches me and sets her head on my knee.  She looks up at me with big blue eyes that scream “Take me.”  She playfully opens her mouth, sticks her tongue out, and softly pants.  I can never resist her charms, no matter how tired or busy I am, nor do I want to.
                That is the prelude to every walk I take with my dog, B Is Love.  (What did you think I was describing perv?)
                Once I have committed to this neighborhood excursion, the first thing I have to accomplish is getting B Is Love’s harness on.  It sounds easy enough, except B Is Love approaches it like a MMA fighter performing a punch avoidance exercise.  I end up in a sweat and she ends up growling with delight and my incompetence. 
I strap on my iPod as we walk through the backyard and enter the garage.  B Is Love paces before the garage door with the fervent anticipation of a prisoner being released from solitary.  We just bathed in sunlight 10 seconds ago but you’d swear she hadn’t caught a speck of it in a month. This plays into my Larry David level of neuroses about being a bad dog owner so I grab my garage door opener and click. The door opens and B Is Love immediately ducks underneath, leading to my daily 15 seconds of petrification as I wait for the door to open high enough for my stuffed Irish pig behind to squeeze through while thoughts of what would happen if today was the day the door decided to malfunction and separate Breezy and I dance through my head.  Electricity comes through again however and B Is Love and I are off.
                We start off down the back alley leading to the neighborhood, unintentionally instigating the high pitched bark of the Chihuahua in the house across from us.  B Is Love glances with derision at this desperate to be adopted by Paris Hilton, no quiero Taco Bell rat dog that’s the size of the toys she loves to run around the house and chew into oblivion and moves on.  We come to the end of the alley where the holding mechanism on B Is Love’s 26 foot leash comes in handy to keep her from running up to the passing cars and introducing herself.  We cross the street – I never get tired of watching her legs move with the expediency of the Road Runner after foiling Wyle E. Coyote – and we begin the walk in earnest.
                With no further crossing of streets, B Is Love breaks into her walking strut, a cross between a peacock and John Travolta and the beginning of Saturday Night Fever.  I embark on my own walking boogie woogie wonderland of oblivion thanks to the tunes jamming from the iPod, but this momentary aversion from reality and all its imperfections is brought to a screeching halt the moment B Is Love comes across her first squirrel.  The next few moments  unfold as follows:  The squirrel taunts her like Floyd Mayweather Jr. at a press conference, B Is Love takes off after the squirrel in a frenzy, and my wanna be fifth Beatle singing self gets his shoulder pulled from his socket.  B Is Love never catches the squirrel (Much to my relief) and I rotate my arm in a reminder of why I never need to do shoulder specific exercises at the gym.
Now we settle into the smelling and peeing portion of the walk.  First, B Is Love engages in a sniffapalooza that entails more starting and stopping than the 405 freeway during rush hour, culminating in her discovering a preferred territory marker and unloading.  Now while I find urination to be an agreeable feeling, I must say that I don’t partake in the unadulterated pleasure that B Is Love gets from it: Her joyful eyes and broad smile lead to kicking the freshly sprayed grass into the environment for all to share.
We press on and come across a house with a cat residing in the front yard.  You would think the appearance of a feline would have me prepping my shoulders for another workout, but against all laws of nature, B Is Love just likes looking at the cat as if her appearance is a symbol that all is right with the world.  It is, as Bill Murray described in Ghostbusters, dogs and cats living together.  The same cannot be said for the Husky/Akita mix we come across on the back end of our walk that always growls from beneath its fence like the living embodiment of Metallica’s Thing That Should Not Be.  B Is Love makes like Rocky after Mr. T. incites him, thus requiring me to restrain her with all my might while wondering how so much strength can be packed into 70 pounds.
The walk comes to an end and I reopen the garage door to find my wife Charger Gal has come home in our absence.  B Is Love becomes excited and as soon as I undo her harness, she takes off to give her mommy some love.  I walk in and take a seat on the couch, a touch bummed that being the one to take her around the neighborhood doesn’t warrant such warmth.  I rationalize to myself that’s life and reach for the remote, but am met by B Is Love’s gaze.    We lock eyes and she delivers a series of licks across my face that leaves us looking like Fred Flintstone and Dino.  I smile brightly at my friend as I rub her belly in appreciation of the silent thank you that never fails to warm my heart and remind me it is the simplest gestures that are often the most profound.
Like what you read?  Please sign up to follow the blog
Hit me up on Twitter:  @mrc_truedat

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Sunday Baptism or They Do What With The Water?

                Why is it that whenever a person who fails to frequent church finds themselves standing next to one their nervous energy goes into overdrive?  My wife Charger Gal informs me that my best friend Cowboy Jelly is showing all the signs:  The hands in the pockets…The rigid posture…The tense shifting back and forth…The inability to look any direction but downward.  It’s like a child awaiting punishment.
 I thought this was God’s house.  Now granted, if you take the rationale that every church is a home for the almighty, you’ll quickly realize the big man has a jones for real estate that would put Donald Trump to shame. (And no taxes to boot.)  But that aside, there’s just no reason for Cowboy Jelly to be like this.
And I’m gonna tell him that…just as soon as I’m able to loosen my posture, unglue my hands from my pockets, figure out how to look upward, and stop rocking back and forth like Tom Cruise on Oprah’s couch.  Look, my relationship with God is complicated (We’ll get there in a blog someday…TRUST ME) but this day isn’t about me.  My friend Only Child is having his daughter baptized and I’m here to share in the blessed event. 
So Charger Gal, Cowboy Jelly, his freshly minted fiancée Dorothy Gale (Named for her affinity for the state of Kansas), and myself venture into the church.  Dorothy Gale is the only one amongst us who thinks to go dip in the holy water.  As I consider whether that makes the rest of us heathens, my eyes gaze upon a throne at the front of the church.  It is ginormous and completely looks like something Joel Osteen yearns to conduct a sermon from.   I glance about the church, taking in the other children dressed to the nines.  I also take in their mothers;  it’s clear based on their looks and attire that a couple of them have previously spent time in this church confessing to sins I only wish I had assisted them in committing during my single days.
My impure thoughts are broken by the arrival of the minister.  He’s a regal looking man of the cloth whose appearance is a cross between Father Christmas and Floyd the Barber from the old Andy Griffith Show.  He motions us to head toward the rear of the church, which confuses me.  Every baptism I have ever viewed took place in the front of the church, the better for the minister to do his best impression of John Lithgow in Footloose.  (HE IS TESTING US!)  But despite my discombobulated state, I venture back.
The back of the church has open doors leading to a small white room, the centerpiece of which appears to be a beautiful birdbath.  As I wonder how our feathery friends could make their way inside to use such a lovely watering hole, I overhear others state this will be utilized for the affusion, a process where water is poured over the infants heads to signify the baptism.  E me.  It hits me that this is a far better way to perform the service:  Each entourage can make their way into the small space and observe the baptism without the prying eyes of strangers who have no vested interest in the child in question.  But I’m on a roll with misconstruing each step of this process, thus Father Floyd the Barber Christmas asks all of us to fit into the small room. (Why utilize a room that could house King Kong when everyone can squeeze into a space usually reserved for people with hot plates?  Oh yeah, the birdbath.)
My posse and I stand just outside the room, but with a perfect view of the birdbath, Only Child, his wife The Perfect Teeth (named for her pearly whites that Hollywood stars could only hope to obtain) and our girl of the hour, Mellow.  Not only do mommy and daughter look radiant, but Mellow is so chill in her dad’s arms that she effortlessly twirls her legs in different directions the way John Belushi could maneuver his bee antennas to move in multiple directions.  
Now Father Floyd the Barber Christmas raises his hands and I’m convinced he’s about to refer to me as a friend, Roman, or countrymen and ask me to lend him my ears.  The ceremony begins and Mellow has her moment of affusion that she handles with graceful aplomb.  The conclusion of the affusion is immediately followed by Only Child’s parents breaking for the exit like Usain Bolt in the 100.  They have to do final prep for the post baptism party and as the next child begins to bellow tears normally reserved for the acoustic heart of a Target, I wonder if they need assistance. 
My eyes turn back toward the festivities when they freeze on the sight of Cowboy Jelly checking his phone for football scores with the subtleness of Kobe hiding disdain for Shaq.  I grab his hand; tell him it’s wrong, wonder why he has to be so selfish that he can’t let one Sunday of football pass by for his friend.  Of course, that’s when my eyes catch Charger Gal doing the exact same thing.
Oy Vay.  (Yes, I went Jewish during a Christian ceremony.  Why do you ask?)
I turn back and see Father Floyd passing out candles to each of the parents that each child attempts to grab like they are well lit toys.  I settle in for the rest of the service while silently pondering the odds of the church turning nto the Universal Studios Backdraft exhibit.
At least there’s plenty of water in the birdbath.

Like what you read?  Please take a moment to sign up to follow the blog.
Hit me up on Twitter:  @mrc_truedat

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Trip To Costco or Get Your Free Samples!

                It is 9:59 on a weekday morning. I find myself grasping a supersized shopping cart that I instinctively use as protection to remain separated  from a large group of people. They surround unopened double doors like sinners with attention deficit disorder, awaiting entrance to a confession they can only articulate via unintelligible babble.  They grip similar carts to my own, only theirs contain children who pierce the morning air via lungs capable of sounds no human ear should be forced to withstand.   The doors open and the masses huddle in to hand over money via the collection plate of multiple cash registers.
                It is 10 AM and I am in front of a Costco at opening time.  What the Hell happened to my life?
                This is hardly the first time I have entered this tribute to merchandise sold in bulk quantity; I’m usually here with my wife Charger Gal, just so I have someone to cling to as I work my way through the horrors within.  But I was off and wanted to be the good husband so I volunteered to go it alone.  Of course the 54th regiment volunteered at the end of Glory and look how it turned out for them.  So with deep breaths normally reserved for the practice of tantric sex, I move forward.
                The first thing I always notice is how it is mandatory I have my membership card out upon entrance, yet nobody ever wants to look at it.  I admit it’s not the best picture I’ve ever had taken of myself, but it’s not Lindsay Lohan after an all-night bender either.  Yet there’s the greeter (normally old and bored or young and full of ADD) looking every which way but toward my black and white, half-smiling visage while stating a pleasant “Good morning” to nobody in particular.  I shake off the hurt from the rejection of my pearly black and white and move into the store, passing the registers manned by employees and managers who smirk at this initial sea of humanity like Tom Hanks waving his cap while cursing fans under his breath in A League Of Their Own.
                I can’t blame them.  My friend Mr. Incredible (named for his striking resemblance to the lead character from my favorite Pixar film) works for Costco and has told stories of self-absorption that would make the Housewives of Beverly Hills blush.  People walking in with half-eaten pies and demanding a refund under the assertion the pastry didn’t taste very good...then sticking their hand out in expectation.  People throwing titanic temper tantrums over false claims of price differentials that wouldn’t cover the cost of 10 minute parking in downtown LA…in the 70’s.  There’s nobody I know who has lost more faith in his fellow man during the course of his 30’s due to job experiences than I have…but if I’m playing amateur psychologist (and not even staying at a Holiday Inn last night to do so), I’d bet Mr. Incredible isn’t too far behind me.
                Of course, you don’t need to have a friend working the inside to notice the insane tunnel vision of Costco customers.  I’ve long maintained that the greatest NBA defensive team in history roams their aisles.  If you’ve ever been in one, you’ve seen them. Their carts are always stopped long ways; their arms are forever extended as if eagerly anticipating measurement on their wingspan.  They directly block the front of the freezer door containing the chicken breasts you wish to purchase, uncertain if this is the brand they want even though it’s only brand there.  They wander around the liquor section asking no one in particular if the white wine bottle in their hand is a good red.  They ogle you with an unnerving Stepford Wife stare that illustrates the lights aren’t on and nobody was ever home.  And of course, they partake in free samples.
                Free samples are to Costco what Adam Sandler’s attempts at drama are to his box office record; they seem like good ideas in theory, but ultimately lower the success of a body of work that really wasn’t all that great to begin with.  I have seen people become so exasperated by the human artery clogs that are the free sample hubs they abandon their half-filled carts and walk out.  On the bright side, these people are replaced by individuals who have no other purpose but to peruse and indulge upon said hubs. (Because paying customers replaced by freeloaders is always a combo for business success)  My BFF Cowboy Jelly proudly states that the Costco free samples are the cornerstone of a healthy, nutritious weekend lunch – He’s also heavy set and cheap, so take that pronouncement for what it’s worth.
 The newest part of this cherry on top of the warehouse shopping sundae is that sample servers now call out to every person that passes by like a carnival barker.  They used to catatonically stand like the living mannequins on Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade and much like those performers only moved when money was presented to them, samplers only moved when customers partook of their treats.  Now they’re PT Barnum and every single person that passes by is their next sucker born every minute.
In the end, I weather the malaise, reach the register and exchange an emphatic glance with the checker that really doubles as a chance for me to silently plea “I’m not them!” (She wasn’t buying, I couldn’t hold it against her.), make my way to the attendant who delivers a scan of my purchase and marks my receipt with a long pink line that indicates I’m not a crook, and I am free.  I move toward my car and breathe in the air of freedom.  Free of the people hopelessly attached to large quantities at fair prices.  Then it hits me… I’ve got a ton of photos to develop. 
Take a guess who has the best prices?

Like what you read?  Please take a moment to sign up to follow the blog.
Hit me up on Twitter:  @mrc_truedat

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Writing Process or Stop Blinking At Me Wretched Cursor

                I was meant to write.  The way George Carlin was meant to do stand up, Steven Spielberg was meant to direct, and John Lennon was meant to have incredibly crappy taste in Asian women.  Chevy Chase once said that when you discover what you are really good at, it comes to you rather naturally; no doubt referencing his uncanny ability for picking lousy scripts post Fletch.  Writing does come rather naturally to me – always has.  It is built into my very fiber of being and I am at my most confident and free when I am in the midst of stringing together words, phrases, and ideas in intelligent, clever ways.   I’ve never snorted cocaine or shot heroin.  I only took ecstasy once in the hopes of improving my bond with the girl I had just started dating at the time. (All it gave me was one mind numbing headache, much like she did during our tumultuous time together).  Yet I can’t imagine any of these narcotics or stimulants holding a candle to this creative addiction for which I have neither the methodology nor the desire to find a cure. 
                So then why in the Hell am I staring at a blank screen?
                While it is true that writers can be procrastinators of the highest order (I have cleaned yards, rearranged garages, and walked dogs and children across the greater San Fernando Valley to be a member of good standing in the order of dawdling), it’s not for lack of ideas – quite the opposite.  A writers’ antenna is wired to transcribe in entertaining detail life experiences both exotic and mundane, resulting in a logjam of concepts that constantly fight for release from the mind like NBA centers positioning themselves for a rebound.   Everything is in play…and EVERYTHING is daunting.  But if you’re afraid, buy a dog. (And there’s my dog now.  Look, she needs a walk.  I’ll be back later.}
                So seriously, what happens once one of these embryonic conceptions breaks through the whirlwind and carries its way from the brain to the computer screen via the stroking of the keyboards?  You have to make like Ferris Bueller and take the Ferrari out for a spin…assuming it is, in fact, a Ferrari.  Like it or not, as you begin to expand on the thought, far more of your ideas will turn out to be Pearl Jam post 1990’s than Pearl Jam first three albums.  It’s hard to decipher or admit when something of your creation is garbage, but much like Andy in Shawshank, you too must crawl through a river of excrement in order to come out clean on the other side, armed with an idea that’s worthy of expansion.  
                But how do you expand it in a way that delivers what you are trying to say and does so in an entertaining manner?  This part is much like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, looking down at her atrophied limbs and stating over and over again “Wiggle your big toe.”   Because once you answer that question, the hard part’s over…and now you start cooking.  The idea takes shape, expands, binds the points you want to make together, and opens itself up to humorous anecdotes and snarky one liners.  Before you know it, you’ve completed your piece.
Yeah, if you consider completed how you felt when the screen went black on the final episode of The Sopranos.
My ultimate goal in life is to be a screenwriter and if writing is rewriting, than screenwriting is rewriting and rewriting…..and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting some more.  There no doubt comes a point that no matter how big a fan of your work you are (and make no mistake, you better damn well be your biggest fan) even you cry out “IT’S JUST EXPOSITION!!!”  But it’s what you must do to get it right.
Finally the moment comes where you have completed your work, taking it from beginning to end with the precision of a car collector rebuilding a ’65 Mustang from scratch.  You are proud, as well you should be.  You look forward to showing it to people, secure that they too will appreciate its brilliance.  Only thing is, everybody’s a critic and everybody’s got their opinion.  Professionals call them notes; friends call them “I didn’t really like when…” And you know what?  More times than not, they’re right…which means you’re going through the whole arduous process again Bunky.    
And you know what happens while you’re going back through the looking glass?
Another embryonic conceptions breaks through, and you find yourself right back in front of a blank screen, trying to make something else come to life and wondering  how you‘re ever going to juggle so many thoughts simultaneously.
How do you think I ended up creating a blog while rewriting scripts?

Like what you read?  Please sign up to follow the blog.
Hit me up on Twitter:  @mrc_truedat