Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Send PD Back In Time!

Ok, so a lot of you have commented on my running over the years, and some of you have joined me both in training runs and in big races, and for that I will be forever thankful. Since a few years ago I decided to focus all that run energy on to a bigger item.
And today I'm announcing that the number 7 item on my bucket list is a go. I will be running the 2017 New York City Marathon for Team Fox to help raise funds for the The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research . The race will be November 5th, starting around 9am at the Verrazzano Narrows bridge and ending 26.6 miles later in Central Park.
You can help!! The fundraising goal given to me by the foundation was $3200. Deep breath in. I know, i know....its a lot. But i'm not asking each person to donate $3200, as nice as that would be...I'm just asking for a few bucks here and there.
This is something extremely important to me. Not just the running. Helping others who are in need is perhaps the greatest thing about this whole endeavor.
At the end or start of this message depending on how the post works, there will be a link to my Team Fox profile with info on how to donate.
You can also message me for details on how to join my team if you want to tackle the challenge yourself.
Expect more posts in the coming months as I spam your feeds with this. :-PFeel free also, to share this with as many people as you can.
This is a great thing, a wonderful thing in fact, and very important to our future. The future is an important thing, for as Doc Brown said, "your future hasn't been written yet, no ones has, so make it a good one."

https://fundraise.michaeljfox.org/2017-TCS-NYC-Marathon/LCPhotowerx

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Press Room

   At first, I did not want to make another political post, knowing full well the furor and dissent the last one caused. I didn’t want to cause any more of an uproar. "Others have already spoken", I figured, so why add another voice? Then I realized, if this, “administration” gains any real power, they might silence those who attempt to resist, and resist we will.

   What transpired today, and has transpired over the past year or so is gut wrenching. I fear, however it will only get worse. Within moments of the evil dictator’s insertion, rights and reason were torn asunder, replaced by lunacy, consternation and hatred. 


   Though the term of office is stated at 4 years, I, along with many others fear we won’t make it that far. No, we could very likely become victim to a madman and his evil cadre’s inability to form a coherent, logical statement. It is this very ineptitude that may place us in the crosshairs of some very dangerous enemies, who, until now have been kept at bay by a man who’s legacy will be forever remembered as one of the greatest leaders of all time. 

   That man, Barack Obama, a force of nature, will sadly see his greatest achievements undone by a horrid demagogue and his legion of doom.

   This cruel and malformed creature, with no respect for others will not be the, “savior” his followers believe him to be. This individual has zero respect for human rights or for common decency. His kind is an assault on democracy, and to call him a member of the human race is an insult.

   To the followers of this maniac, I have a bevy of inquries. I ask you, why? Why do you hate immigrants? What injustice have they inflicted upon you that drives you to look upon them with contempt? Are you not the product of immigration yourself? Surely you must realize that your heritage, unless you are a full blooded Native American, begins elsewhere. Your ancestors, if they could gaze upon you presently, would undoubtedly be shaking their heads in shame.

   To those who support this tyrant, I ask you why? Why do you believe that demeaning and degrading a woman is acceptable? Humorously shrugging off sexual assault, physical, mental, emotional and vocal abuse towards any gender cannot be tolerated. Surely, you have a woman in your life that matters to you. Be it a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, girlfriend, wife or friend. Emotionally, physically, mentally, they must mean something to you. Would you not be angered if one of these transgressions fell upon them? It boggles the mind how one can support the mindset of this filth and still be allowed in the company of the opposite sex. Failing to treat women as equals is just as troubling. How you can endorse the ideals of a misogynist abuser is beyond my comprehension, and abhorrent in every sense of the word. 

   To those who stood with this wretched slimeball, I ask again, why? Why did you not abandon him when he mocked a disabled journalist? Have you no soul? No compassion for those who suffer? Do you not know someone who is impacted by a disability? If your answer to that question was, “nope”, then I have news for you. You do know someone who is disabled. Me. In acting the way he did at that moment, the moron who is now dismantling the legislation that offers me and countless others the access to treatment showed his carelessness toward the very populace he sought to serve.

   To those who align themselves with this disgusting waste of an embryo, I have to ask why? Why did you not desert this uninformed vermin when he picked a running mate who has zero respect for those who chose to love in a way he, “doesn’t agree with.” I don’t agree with veal, but I can coexist with it and not disparage those who like it. If a man chooses to marry a man, a woman marry a woman, a man chooses to become a woman or a woman become a man is no concern of ours. It does not impact our lives. What it does do, is make the world more diverse, more unique and more wonderful. How anyone can infringe upon those rights is shameful and unkind. As an aside, this same running mate, who vowed to, “never forget the first responders of 9/11”, voted against the Zadroga Act. This is the piece of legislation that would ensure that the health benefits of those very first responders remained intact. Without it, many will continue to get sick and die. Never forget indeed.

   To the people siding with this waste of an embryo, I have to know why you believe in the claims this asshole makes about the economy, when he is best known for bankruptcy and loss of employment? Why do you believe anything he says on education when he was sued for creating a fake college? Why can you believe anything said by him in regards to military policy when he took four deferments during Vietnam, while others fought and died? How many different kinds of disgusting does he have to be until people realize how dangerous a situation we have now been placed in? 

   Sadly, I know some of the people who fortified this gutter trash and his clans behavior. You embarrass me. There is simply no other way to state my feelings on the matter. Your uninformed stubborn attitudes will be a contributing factor to the dismantling of progress and the re-institution of an inhibitive backwards society that will likely end in pain.

   I really wish you could answer those and the countless other questions we, the resistance have, I hope that some of those who support the gutter trash could logically answer why Earths changing climate is of no concern. I hope some of you can insert reason into the chaos. I hope. 

   Barack Obama offered, no…imbued us with hope. He lifted us upon his back, and carried us through difficulty the best he could. He showed us that our darkest moments would be squashed by our brightest ideals. He gave us the belief that anything was possible, and with hard work and determination, the America we all dreamed for could become tangible.

   It is that America that we should be, it is why we the people resist the regime of this dictator. We will not stand idly by as our belief structure is gutted by sociopaths. We are the resistance, and we are growing in number, and we will return this nation on its true path. That path does not simply lead to glory, it leads to equality, love and freedom.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fifteen Catalysts

   Time is an odd thing. It is often said that, "as time passes, old wounds heal." What is often left out is the fact that sometimes, when wounds heal, they leave scars. Scars are everlasting, and usually...hidden. But, on occasion a scar is used as a turning point, or sometimes even shown with pride, so to say, "I was wounded, but here I am, still breathing, resiliently defying..."

   Fifteen Years ago, we, as a people, were badly wounded. The scars are not hidden, but the resiliency is. We have somehow become frightened of expression and of compassion. We have used a once galvanizing clarion call fade into the background. Thousands of people gone in one day...we vowed to do right by them, to make ourselves better, but it is now difficult to see that solemn promise being kept.

   I have watched, for years as the people in charge chanted, "we will remember!"...then shook my head as many, including my friends got sick and succumbed to the toxic cocktail they inhaled. It took a, "fake news anchor" who exhibited genuine human outrage to right the wrong, though his efforts were successful, for many, it was simply too late.


   Remembering  this day is important to me for a number of reasons. One is to educate, both myself and those who come after me, that in the darkest of times, goodness does actually shine through. Another reason to remember, for me is to set firmly the demarcation line of where my naivete ended. 

   I look at my, "Old Life" in the days before that one with fond memories, and while it wasn't always a picnic, it had a certain carefree feel to it. I enjoyed it, my youth. I miss it. I look back at photos of myself and friends and smile, thinking of how much better things were. Each day, I'd wake up and go about my day with relative ease in regards to the world around me. I'd go to bed each night, say goodnight to my turtle, Barney, whom just passed away two weeks ago, after being my constant, my pal for twenty five years...I'd then drift off to sleep, dreaming of another grand adventure awaiting me the next day.

   Now, I glance at the world around me, and find cynicism and morbidity taking an ever increasing foothold on the collective consciousness of society. Hope and good will are being replaced by myopic attitudes and cruelty. We as a people, as a race are supposed to advance....culturally, mindfully, healthily and personally.

   "Here comes another liberal minded rant", some will undoubtedly say, rolling their eyes. And that is where the problems begin. We are so consumed with defining others, putting them in a pre-labeled box before we get to know them, without realizing we're putting ourselves in the same type of box. 

   "We live in a great age, where we can accomplish great things.", others will say, boastfully. Terrific statement, yet we couldn't even take care of our own after Katrina. The U.K. can't even decide what it wants to do, and North Korea is one stubbed toe away from a potential nuclear annihilation. "It's just politics.", the saying goes. That is essentially the same concept as driving a car with no tires. You know how to can fix it, but you go ahead and let it happen because you're too lazy.

   There is absolutely no evidence supporting the statement that we live in a, "Great age." And the blame lies within us. We were given opportunity after opportunity to better ourselves and at nearly every step of the way, we stumbled. "We're gonna give you better healthcare options, so you can see more doctors, but that medication you need to keep you alive? $600. Don't have it? oh well, enjoy death!", "An original idea for a movie? Psshh...we're gonna do that movie you saw and liked years ago, but change everything! The Shawshank Redemption is now set in a downtown Phoenix daycare facility!"

   I don't remember the 60's or the 50's, primarily because I hadn't been born yet. But from what i've been told, and seen, parts of it were refereed to as, "The Greatest Generation." Once you get past segregation, threat of atomic death, and sexism, sure, we can call it that. Back then, we landed on the moon and, which gave us the will to dream for better, the economy was booming, family meant something, and the civil rights movement was in full gear. We used to fight for things that mattered. Now we fight because "my team is better then yours."

   We aspired to be better for our future generations. Now we strike down laws because some jagoff politician in Texas wants his constituents to be able to carry an assault rifle to Arby's in the event their sandwich isn't cooked right. Countries oppress love because of some misguided interpretation of a book. We make people famous for no reason, and belittle those who should actually be praised. Then out come the "matters masses." without realizing they're all being divisive. And in return, more people are sacrificed for what essentially matters to nothing.

   Fifteen years ago, in the days following, we cared, we showed compassion, good will, and kindness to everyone, the world over. We may have boasted, but it was part of coping. Now we boast because we're the lunatic in the room screaming at a light switch.
 
   We once constructed things that mattered, bridges and railroads to carry people everywhere, hospitals and libraries, schools and homes for all. Now we build soaring glass clubhouses to honor the wealthy and unworthy, while many others, who actually are worthy, call a piano box home.

   The wealthy want to explore the universe, meet other beings, and this is something I agree with, but I wish they could see that we haven't even figured our selves out yet. Much of the ocean world remains a mystery to us, as do our own bodies. Land on Mars? Great idea, I'm actually in 100% support of that, but first, lets maybe get a cure Parkinson's so we don't have to see people like Micheal J. Fox suffer anymore. Let's get Lupus and MS nipped in the bud so I don't have to see my friends go through pain ever again. Is this the world we really want to show?

   There was a time when we once interacted with each other, searched, discovered and explored the world around us, but now, we sit behind glass and plastic screens and abuse, mock and deride. We rate, we click and we drool, but we don't live. We ignore others just build a digital farm, while the impoverished dig in dumpsters for dinner. But remember, we live in a great age, where everyone gets a piece of the pie right?

   Money is hard to come by these days, and I don't blame any one specific person or group. It has been my belief that our over-reliance on most technology to the point of which it has even invaded our toilet paper tubes, is causing more harm then good. Not everyone is adept when it comes to technology, not everyone wants to be, and some are simply inaccessible to it. But when you create an object which has the sole purpose of rendering another object obsolete, you then extinguish an entire legion of employment in that sector, creating a valley of talented, hard working and educated individuals who now find themselves aimless.

   I'm really happy your iphone can shoot 9 megapixels, but do you know what ISO is? Got a great filter there I see. Only took you a swipe to add it huh? What about the hours of prep work a real photographer goes through to make sure the shot is perfect? Guess that means nothing now huh? I'll just use my degree as a dinner plate now thank you. All those years of hard work will taste really good with this Chicken Piccata.

    They say money can't buy you happiness, which may be true, but it sure as hell can keep the bills away and put food in my stomach. I don't want billions. I just want to survive. And right now I don't feel like I'm even doing that. I feel like I am treading water with a 50 pound weight tied to my ankles.

   I haven't been truly happy in a long, long, long time. I don't remember the last time I was to be honest. I had a connection with happiness, maybe it was in my childhood, but now I just have spits and spurts of random joy, which, while nice, isn't what life should be about. I am aware adult life is not an everyday party. And I know I'm not perfect, no one is supposedly. I guess that most people at their core are decent and kind, but even those, I feel far behind from.

   I was careless with someones emotions once, and I'll be paying the price for it for the rest of my days. My best piece of advice on this matter is something that was given to me once by a friend who was a police officer, and its something i've tried, but likely failed at...maybe it will serve others better. He once told me, regarding another matter, "Go with your gut, your cut will get you home at night." He, of all people would know. Extrapolate on this a little and apply to other facets of life, particularly to the one you love the most. Learn from my mistake. 

   It's not just frustrating to know exactly what you want out of life but can't get it, its infuriatingly sad, and leads to a defeatist mindset. Maybe i've become as cynical as the rest, but I can't help it.

   I've been trying to understand the meaning of being. I can't grasp it. We live our lives, day in, day out, often repeating the same schedule, acquiring mass quantities of everything and nothing along the journey, consuming them rapidly, and then relieving ourselves of them. We recycle this patern until we to are eventually relieved of our life. So if we live just to eventually die, whats the point in everything in between?

   I know my place in the world. If the two year fruitless job hut i'm currently enduring is any proof, I'm also not that important. I'm insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and any chance I've had to accomplish great things has likely gone by. I hope i'm wrong, but chances are, I won't be remembered in 200 years.

   That being said, I am still effortlessly stubborn at times, and that is why I haven't quit yet. I will battle the darkness just for the sheer sake of pissing it off. Maybe that's the New Yorker in me, maybe its part of my mothers Irish heritage, I'm not sure. She passed in September of 2003, just another notch in the framework that leads me to utterly despise this month. I'm not one for attaching personal meaning to songs, but when Green Day released, "Wake me up when September ends.", I couldn't help but feel like they were in my thoughts. One of the lessons I learned during that time was to get to know your parents. You may disagree with them and that's ok, but they are your parents. They are, unpretentiously, the greatest link to your existence, and one day, they won't be there.

   Aside from that , I, as always, look to my friends. I've had many and lost many, some through my own idiocy, some just through the passage of time, but the are a select few who I've learned will always be there for me. Be it sitting in a garage eating bubblegum on a random summer afternoon, putting their arms around me when the world was falling apart, or some who seamlessly mix top hats, aviator sunglasses and sledge hammers becuase, it really is no big deal. I keep these people around because the older I get, the more I realize I need these people, and just maybe, they need me.

   I think about others mortality more then my own. as I said, I know my place, its not very high up. Others are more deserving and that's why I care about others more then myself sometimes. Those weather alerts I give out that people laugh and scoff at? I do that because I want to use my well educated and knowledgeable weather brain to help people. 

   I don't have money, so I can't help that way, I'm not in the greatest physical condition, so that's out, but I want to assist in anyway I am able. If I could sacrifice myself so that everyone I care about doesn't die, I would, and the fact that I can't...eats at me sometimes. I can't fix the fact that I worry about these things. I worry constantly. About the future. About the present, and about the past. And here's the masochistic thing; I know that worrying about it won't do anything, but I can't stop myself, I can't stop my brains constant motions. Its one part of a larger problem, one that cannot be easily fixed.

   It has been said that everyone dies alone. But if I mean something to someone, anyone, if I helped someone, if even a single person remembers me, then maybe I haven't truly"died." Maybe none of us have. I'm an Atheist. I don't believe in religion, but i'd like to hope that my life, and everyone's lives have meaning, or purpose, or, as Carl Sagan once said, "It's an awful waste of space." 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Glory Gets All The Green

   The doors of the elevator opened with a typical ding, and the usual wooshing motion as most elevators do. This despite the atypical stair count. One Hundred Three.

   "I must be insane." , I thought to myself as I stepped onto the skydeck floor of the Sears Tower(I refuse to use that other name.). Immediately, A sense of overwhelming emotion took over me. The skyline I gazed down on...was not one I was used to.

   "No, this isn't right." I thought. "This is not home." To the left was a lake, not Brooklyn and Queens. To the right, endless landscape, uninterrupted for as far as I could see, not the Hudson river. Most jarring of all? What lay in front of me. It was not the Flatiron, leading to the World Trade Center, eventually offering a glimpse of my home of Staten Island. It was more skyline, this time with a lake ending its vastness.

   Yup. I definitely wasn't home anymore. This fact I had known for at least 24 hours. Hell, I knew it even before we entered Chicago. I knew it when we, that being my friends and travel pals(re: willing victims), Chris and Lauren stopped along I-80 in front of a sign that proudly exclaimed, "Welcome to Ohio!"

   We would later discover the exclamation point offered far more hope then it should have. You see, Ohio is a wide empty space, not to unlike donald trumps brain. I do believe a travel guide of Ohio would be as fun a read as a book on the history of tissue paper. I had to think long and hard about that joke, because not much can compare to the monotony of a drive through Ohio. Maybe C-span?

   I'm sorry, I trailed off. Thats likely because I left a part of my brain back in Ohio.

   I was taken aback by the emotional response. I didn't quite understand it, and I still can't fully wrap my mind around it. It was almost as overwhelming as the intense vertigo and unbalance I felt, but not as strong.

   Two weeks later, after recanting the tale of my trek to the Windy City, i've been greeted with another response. One of raucous joy. One of my friends pounded down on an exercise table, seemingly more excited then I was. This surprised me. I've found this to be a common thread, and today I was told why. "You don't go anywhere, you live in a bubble."

   This much is true. I do live in my 5...well...pretty much 3 borough bubble. I don't get out mu...well...ever. Being in another timezone was a first for me. Having deep dish pizza was a new experience, as was seeing a fire truck with a black top.

   Thats life when you have Asperger's. It's a type of Autism. Some of the symptoms, at least a few of which I have; include a difficulty in maintaining relationships, an inflexible adherence to routine and self sustainability, an extreme focus on a subject to a point of obsessiveness, and environmental sensitivity. I was sadly diagnosed with a learning disability later in life, which made pinning down the exact type difficult, but, with research, its been made a little easier. Sadly, however, this is just the tip of the iceberg of my medical troubles. More on that another time. Maybe.

   My main purpose for the trip was to work Comic Con Chicago, or as its lovingly called, C2E2. I would use whatever skills people thought I brought to the table, be they wearing a fire helmet for hours on end, or yammering on about my new camera to the point of exhaustion, as I once again managed autographing for another con. The, "Con-Life" we call it, cognizant of the fact we are likely never to be mistaken for hardened criminals.

   The secondary purpose for the trip was to fulfill my brains desire to see the, "Second City" I'd been so obsessed over, even though I couldn't, and still in some aspects still can't figure out what the pull is.

   Then it dawned on me. The main reason is simple. I need to get out of my bubble and it was my brain telling me, "This is where the journey starts." Why it chose Chicago first is anyones guess. Perhaps its the similarity to New York, as to ease me into the trek. Maybe theres something more for me there and I simply haven't found it yet...maybe I found part of the puzzle. I'm not sure.

     I am sure of one thing. Despite every thing holding me back, i'm grateful to have accomplished what I once thought was out of my reach. Hell, even the day of, I was half convinced it wouldn't happen.

   I'm happy it did. I'm happy I breathed in the cool Lake Michigan air. I'm happy I got to hug Ryan and Brittany. I'm happy to have met Enrique and Toni. I'm happy I heard the little Gelfling laugh. I'm happy I got to experience life an hour slower. I'm happy I that I want to do it again, because, in my mind at least, that means I did something right out there, whatever it may be.

I'm happy that all of you are happy for me, because it means, despite all my shortcomings, despite all my problems, I still have friends. There is happiness in friendliness, but glory in friendship, and with you all at my side, I have glory days ahead.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The Paramus Holiday Inn

   In six days I will be able to purchase large quantities of my favorite food group, Chocolate, for heavily discounted prices. Except that with no steady income, I really shouldn't.

   But I will allow myself a few pieces because its nice to treat myself every so often.

   Undoubtedly, many of the chocolates purchased in the coming days will be accompanied with other sugary treats, along with flowers, cards, a gold metal bikini(I know there are a few of you out there.), and in some cases a rock that indicates you will soon be part of a joint bank account. Yippie for you.

   Cynical? Yes, yes I am. I've seen love before, in its many forms.

   Love for a sports team...until that team cashes out on itself and its fans in favor of the almighty dollar. Love for a fanbase...until that fanbase becomes so self-involved it alienates its core. Love for a food...a food so tasty that you know you can eat it forever, until you find yourself hunched over a toilet at 3am.

   But love of another person? It never worked out for me. Oh sure, i've had my fair share of crushes...who hasn't? But that one form of unconditional love, what the Greeks commonly call, "Agape", wherein one that sees the person for who they are, regardless of flaws, shortcomings or faults? That type of love that everyone really wants? Well, I failed miserably at that.

   I had my chance, I truly believe I did. The best part of it was, I wasn't looking for her, nor she for me. It just happened. It was lightning. It just felt right, felt natural, not forced. After countless pursuits, it just...happened.

 
   But I blew it. She opened up to me, I to her, until I sabotaged myself. I got in my own way. So used to the proverbial bad luck that I call my life, I was unable to process the simple fact that, "Hey jackass, she likes you for you." was staring me straight in the face. The toxic mixture of fear, ignorance and stupidity was one I moronically drank, leaving the aftertaste of complete regret in my system.


   I don't know what would have happened if I, for once, took a chance at being happy. I don't know if i'd be running marathons with her, or if i'd be building a house with her, or if i'd be with someone else entirely. I don't know this because I didn't take the chance. It's a regret i'll have to live with for the rest of my life. 


   You're only given a finite number of chances at real happiness in life, I believe. I had one, and I let it slip away. There aren't any second chances for a guy like me. 


   And I know you're saying, "that's not true.", "there are other fish in the sea", and every "don't give up" cliche that you can think of. I've heard it all. I've done the math, which by the way, I suck at, and I know where I stand. I stand alone. But i'm ok with this. Really, I am. This is restitution for my actions. This is my punishment, and it is exactly what I deserve.


   Let mine be a cautionary tale. Don't let your fears dictate your other emotions. If you get, "silly little butterflies in your stomach.", don't ignore it, don't push it aside. Embrace it. 


   If misery is what follows you, take the path to happiness. Trust me, it's exactly the detour you need. If doubt seeps in, plug it with belief. Belief that you are an amazing person and that you deserve to be happy.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Liberté

   In the middle of New York harbor stands something not many know about, even if they think they do. It is an Eiffel Tower of sorts, one not visible from the open skyline, but from the inside of the Statue of Liberty.

   This structure is in fact, what is keeping the statue upright, it is the statues skeleton. It is ingenuity designed by a brilliant individual, Gustave Eiffel, a French individual, as part of a gift to America.

   It is now that very same integrity, compassion and generosity that the French people are exhibiting in the face of a truly despicable act. The courage and grace the are showing in light of todays tragedy is something we can all learn from.

   Sadly, this is something they have seen before. Sadly, this is something we too have seen before. The coming days will see many reactions, ranging from grief to anger, and likely everything in between. This is a natural human reaction to a catastrophic event. One reaction that I fear is unwarranted violence. Violence is not an answer to an act of violence. This is not an example where, "fighting fire with fire" will solve anything. "An eye for an eye" will not end this. Nor will a rush to judgement without knowing the facts.

   Today was a terrible, terrible day. The best way to combat it, is to celebrate life. Give. Live. Love.

   There has been an image that has caught on in the past few hours. It features the Eiffel Tower as a peace symbol. That is not simply the French way, it should be the universal way.

   Some will argue that this is not the time for peace. This is the time to react with, "swift, unquenching, unrelenting justice." I ask you, what, precisely will this accomplish? Violence begets more violence.

   There are many who argue that these are, "terrorist masterminds." No they're not. "Masterminds" are brilliant people who solve hunger, cure diseases, discover new species and reach for the stars. No, the people who did this were cowards who hide behind a shield of weakness and fear. They are afraid of the freedom and lust for life that the people of France and the rest of the civilized world relish and enjoy every day.

   We as a race, as a people are better then the sum of our weakest. The strength of our kindness is what we should choose to put in the spotlight.

   What was the response of the French people following todays acts? They opened their doors to offer safe harbor to those in need. Normal citizens, in the midst of a city gripped by the unknowing terror of cowards, giving refuge to total strangers. That is what today should be remembered for. Humanity. Love. Compassion. Hope. Giving.

    That gift Gustave Eiffel helped fashion stands in the middle of our harbor not just as a gift from the French, it was proof that they stood, defiantly on the side of Liberty and peace with us in a time of struggle. Now it is our time to stand with them, to lift them up when they've been knocked down.

   Our best self must be shown. It is not the fire of a gun or an explosion for which this day should be remembered, but the fire of, "Liberty Enlightening The World." that should resonate. That is human way, and as we witnessed tonight, the French way.

Vive la France!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Blue Thunder

   When i write about today, i usually try and put a positive spin on things...try and encourage light through the darkness. This year however, that might be a difficult task to accomplish.

   Personally, the past 14 years have been one unending roller coaster, and now, I fear i'm at the lowest dip on the ride, and i'm just not sure I have enough gas in the tank to make it to the top.

   Fourteen years ago, the world changed, irrecoverably. Your world and mine. Fear replaced joy, anger replaced common sense, and i'm still not sure it can ever be the same, and in some ways, I fear we've...i've...grown so accustomed to this way of living, instead of fighting to restore the world we once knew, we fight to further isolate ourselves, to push away those we love, and those that love us. We turn away help instead of asking for it, we lash out, with hostile abandon at the slightest thing. We shun differences behind a mask of acceptance. It's sad.

   I'm sad. Yes, woe is me, as the the cliche goes. Well, to be honest, woe is an apt way to to describe my current situation.

   I remember the summer of 1994. I remember the heat seeping in through the windows of our apartment. It would bake the wooden doors and give off this ever so slight sweet smell that would permeate through the house, like every summer. To me, that was the sign summer arrived. Sure the calendar would say June 21 is the true start to summer(and my birthday), but to me, summer actually began when that scent entered my nostrils. That summer was, for some reason, to me at least, the pinnacle of my life, it was where I thought all things would be possible. I thought I could accomplish anything.

   I was foolish. As I lay here in my darkened room, body wrecked and mind weary, I look back at that time and shake my head.

   One can only endure so many hits, so much bad news until you wonder, "what the hell am I doing wrong?" Bills. Injuries. Lost family. Lost Loves. Lost Friends. Loss of peace of mind. Life is loss, thats all it seems to be.

   Lately I find myself laying awake in bed each morning, asking, internally, "whats the point?", then I shuffle my feet to the floor and press through the day, numbly trudging through the seemingly endless "thank you for your interest, but we've decided to look at other candidates." emails. I look up at my diploma, a framed reminder of tirelessly learning a skill that I really have no true talent in. Then my eyes shift to a wall of framed photos. Photos of friends and family, all of them smiling. Enjoying life as it should be. I silently wonder when i'll see these people....if i'll see these people again. No one wants to be around, "Mr. Woe is me.", I mutter to myself. A 33 year old joke that life has passed by.

   "Whats the point?" I again ask myself. This time my glance turns to my running shoes, positioned neatly under weights that i'm unsure of when i'll be able to lift even 25 pounds again.

   In many ways, I think I injured more then my arm, I injured my psyche. Perhaps that was always damaged and this simply brought it to the forefront. It made me realize how fragile things can be. It's personally reminiscent of that day fourteen years ago, when the realization that reality is at times, needlessly tragic.

   I'm not ok. I don't know how to be ok, I know what people say makes them ok. They think because it worked for them, it will work for everyone. That's not how things work. Things don't simply, "get better" because of a magic pill, or a happy picture. It requires a lot more, and i'm just not sure how to go about it anymore. I've exhausted option after option, and been met with no results. This is something I find ironic in our, "mental health is the most important thing!" culture.

   It's incredibly hard sometimes, to even go outside, with an ever encroaching fear, dread and sense of worthlessness in your system. I think that part of me sometimes hates my life so much right now that i'm at the point where one big motivating factor is that I want to get revenge on my own bad luck so much I just keep plowing through the day just to piss my bad luck off. I'm stubborn like that. I can't keep that up forever though. No one can. Thats not how you live life. You're supposed to be happy right? Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Thats one of our rights, isn't it?

   Well, i'm still waiting on it to come to fruition. I've tried to make happen, but to little or no avail. Trying and failing time after time after time is not ennobling, its simply exhausting. 

   Once more, I glance up at the picture wall. I see the photo of Larry Sullivan. Ok Larry...I'll keep pushing. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

   I'm listening to KISS now. It was my cousin Joe's favorite band. As I start to write this tome, the date reads June 25th. He has been gone two years. This October he would have turned 47.

   As far as blood family goes, he was more like a big brother then a cousin. More of a mentor and a best friend then any of my family, outside of my parents of course. Joe was far greater a person then I could ever hope to be.

   He, in spite of seemingly endless tough breaks never let the world keep him down for too long. He was the quintessential optimist in a world that, at times, seemed to revel in negativity. When, during, "the storm", he lost it all, he still managed to put on a brave face, smile, and find a ray of sunshine through it all.

   That he always, to this day manages to put a smile on my face is something I wish he knew. Be it through his kindness of heart, or his, and I am not exaggerating here, endless stories, he always found a way to pick me up. If I lived life half the way he did, it'd be an accomplishment.

   He will always be my best friend.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The E-Street Band, Performing Live At The Enchantment Under The Sea Dance!

   I don't exactly remember the last words my mother said to me. She was far gone by that point, physically, whereas, I was too far gone mentally and emotionally. I know I was afraid. I didn't know how i'd carry on without her.

   12 years later it still seems like just yesterday. Its kind of difficult to grasp how much has transpired in what in my mind anyway, amounts to a short period of time. Twelve years shouldn't have rushed by as quickly. But I look to where I am now as opposed to then and I think the trials I went through prepared me to better survive those of today.

   She knew and accepted the outcome of her diagnosis and faced it without fear. She did not fight it, which at the time angered me. Then I realized, after a while, in some odd way, she gave me her final bit of strength to fight what would be the hardest time of my life. Its as if she knew the days ahead would be filled with difficulty, but somehow, I made it through. I've often told of how trying those times were, and sometimes been met with, "how did you not jump off a bridge?" For starters, I don't like heights. Unless there's rope involved, I do not like them. Even then, i'm not a fan. But...I made it becuase she gave me the strength. For the record, i'm an Atheist full and through, but I know, in some way, she helped me through it all.

   Shes not in the clouds looking after me. I'm well aware of that. If that was the case, I wouldn't be going through what I am now. But I know, inside me, shes there in some way. She is the reason people claim I make good art. If dressing my friends up in costume is what she had in mind at the time, i'm unsure of that, but I am sure I enjoy it, and she would absolutely love that. She loved the idea of art, of creativity, be it with a paintbrush or a pencil.

   I choose to remember her by trying to make my own kind of art. I use a camera. Or multiple cameras. The camera holds memory, both in physical and psychological form. You look at a photo and your mind snaps to what was happening at that moment, and the mind starts to imagine. And thats what I love about the art of photography. It gets the imagination in motion. That in turn, gives the spark to the engine that will produce excellent or horrible ideas. The only way to find out what the result is to go for it. Make art. Good or bad.

   Thats what she would want me to do, and thats what I am doing. I'm doing something. I'm in motion.

   I find that when i'm not in motion, I struggle more. I think thats one of the reasons I run. I feel better when I run. I don't like stopping. I don't like stasis.

   I like energy. I like movement, flow, locomotion. Maybe one day i'll stop, but for now, I just have to keep on going. Keep moving, keep pushing, keep producing. And there again, is the big message. Keep doing, keep going, but above all, keep being excellent. Thats what she would want, and i'm fairly sure all our maternal figures would want.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Boxing With Doc Hollywood And The Geenie

   I've been working to get a photo project off the ground where I photograph people looking up at me as I stand on a slightly elevated position facing down. The whole thing came about from something I've noticed. Everyone looks down these days. Literally and figuratively. Smartphones, Tablets, Smartwatches. Down, Down, Down. I'm guilty of it as well.

   The past few weeks in general have had a downtown look towards them. Building explosions, journalists passing away, terror attacks...its all so depressing. I'm already depressed, so i suppose this project is another one of my many ways to find an outlet...or a means to help fight that depression.

   So, with that in mind, i'm calling it, "Always looking up." I took the title from Michael J Fox's first book, of the same name, with the subtitle, "the adventures of an incurable optimist."

   Now i won't go as far as to call myself that, but I tend to skew towards hope and light in the world as opposed to darkness, which is why my geek hero of choice was Superman. No disrespect to Batman, whom I also like, but I need light and happy in my world. I know a lot of folks tend to say, "The world is not a happy place." Well, those people need to watch a baby laugh. That'll change their mind right quick.

   With this in mind, in the coming days, weeks and months, i'm gonna need some help with this and a few other projects, so if you could be so kind, keep yer eyes open, and look up, you might catch a glimpse of something wonderful.