Wednesday, January 17, 2018

My Bucket List

I might wind up transitioning this to its own blog at some point, but for now, here it is in all it's glory. All bloded and underlined items have been completed.

 1]Find the one.
2]Change someones life.
3]Do a lap at Daytona and Indy in my car.
4]Go on a cross country road trip.
5]Cook thanksgiving dinner.
6]Complete a state magnet collection(except jersey)
7]Run the NYC marathon.
8]Drive a fire truck 5 feet.
9]See the northern lights
10]Walk the big NYC bridges.
11]Climb a Worlds Fair Tower.
12]Tour Hart Island.
13]Walk Manhattan.
14]Meet a President.
15]Fix an old pickup.
16]Kiss in the rain.
17]Mix m&m's and skittles in a bowl and see what happens.
18]Get to the top of the Chrysler Building.
19]Dye my hair green.
20]Rebuild my Grandmothers house.
21]Build an accurate Airwolf replica out of LEGO.
22]Cut a giant ribbon with giant scissors.
23]Fly with the Blue Angels.
24]Watch the snow fall on a field with the girl of my dreams.
25]Go on a skeeballing date.
26]Play hide and seek in IKEA.
27]Have a marshmallow fight.
28]Make Ice Cream.
29]Cook A Turkey.
30]Have a paint fight with the girl of my dreams.
31]Go apple picking.
32]Drive Route 66.
33]Go indoor skydiving.
34]Rock climb.
35]Slide down a bowling alley lane.
36]Drive a speedboat.
37]See a tornado in a field.
38]Watch a slinky go down the stairs.
39]Send and get a reply for a message in a bottle.
40]Complete a Rubik cube.
41]Drive a Corvette.
42]Ride the Cyclone.
43]Eat a meal way beyond my means.
44]Go to all 5 boroughs in one day.
45]Go scuba diving.
46]Dinner at Tavern on The Green.
47]Sit in a Batmobile.
48]Make homemade Cheez-It's.
49]Slap someone with a fish.
50]Drive a golf cart.
51]Play a game of chess.
52]Write more letters.
53]Finish Super Mario Bros. for NES.
54]Make tacos.
55]Successfully complete a "Dukes of Hazard" style hood slide on a car.
56]Work a job that makes me happy.
57]Go to a fancy restaurant for dinner and make out on the table.
58]Ride in a motorcycle sidecar.
59]Run a 5K dressed as the Flash.
60]Duct tape someone to a ceiling or wall.
61]Swing from a rope into a lake.
62]Sleep under the stars on the beach with the girl of my dreams.
63]Make out against a car.
64]Make a garbage bag sized water balloon and drop it off a roof.
65]Learn Archery.
66]Go whitewater rafting.
67]Ride a mattress down a snowy or muddy hill.
68]Acquire a piece of P.S. 11
69]Eat an oyster.
70]Throw someone a surprise party.
71]Eat an entire pizza.
72]Go ziplining.
73]Leave a note in a library book.
74]Climb a lighthouse.
75]Have a silly string fight.
76]Finish a coloring book.
77]Have a Lightsaber battle in public.
78]Meet a Superman actor.
79]Build a Lego racetrack.
80]Hit an apple with a baseball bat.
81]Publish a book.
82]Own a piece of space-flown NASA material.
83]Enter an eating contest.
84]Build a tree house.
85]Tour the Jelly Belly factory.
86]Do a then/now photo shoot.
87]Go snow-tubing.
88]Meet and ask Neil DeGrasse Tyson about Pluto.
89]Acquire a Burger King sign.
90]Get dunked by a giant Gatorade jug.
91]Clean a hotel room before the maids.
92]Slide down a giant water slide.
93]Have a real art gallery exhibit.
94]Make Dr. Pepper Wings.
95]Attend a hockey game.
96]Drive at Bonneville Salt Flats.
97]Do a photo shoot at AMARC.
98]Mount a cow skull to the front of my car.
99]Make a potato alarm clock.
100]Eat a decade old Twinkie.
101]Acquire the 1992 Hess truck.
102]Blow a train horn.
103]Go swimming in honey.
104]See all the space shuttles.
105]Steal a pen from the White House.
106]Go fishing or swimming in Washington Square Park fountain.
107]See a white Christmas.
108]Have my work exhibited in a Photography museum.
109]Go to CNN HQ, ask what it is, hope they say, "This is CNN." and leave.
110]Meet a cop with the first name of Dan, watch him arrest someone so I can say, "Book em, Danno."
111]Go to Coke HQ wearing a Pepsi shirt.
112]Wreck something with a front end loader.
113]Go to a Cubs game.
114]Weld a book holder out of steel plates in the shape of my initials.
115]Dress up like Santa and make a little kids day.
116]Set up a really good Lionel train display with my dad's trains.
117]Have a different donut every day for a month straight.
118]Hit a home run at a softball game, or a minor league ballpark.
119]Go to Mardi-Gras.
120]Make a house out of toothpicks.
121]Have an underwater kiss.
122]Take a bubble bath with the girl of my dreams.
123]Do the Empire State Building run-up.
124]Buy a book for a random stranger.
125]Go to Quoddy Point for New Years Eve.
126]Take a picture at the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota, send to Weird Al & have him autograph it.
127]Attempt to run the Badwater marathon.
128]Have an astronaut sign a can of Tang.
129]Watch a Roller Derby.
130]Photograph a spinning Ferris wheel at night with a slow shutter.
131]Play a game of extreme Frisbee.
132]See the 4th of July Fireworks from Roosevelt Island.
133]Go to the Thanksgiving parade.
134]Go on a transatlantic cruise.
125]Read "War and Peace."
126]Find a secret spot with the gal of my dreams.
127]Place an FDNY patch on the Oklahoma City bombing memorial.
128]Bake cookies with the gal I love.
129]Make a fairly accurate Empire State Building sand castle.
130]Photograph someone on a mostly abandoned railroad track.
131]At some point binge watch Dr. Who.
132]Take cute photos with a gal in a photo booth.
133]Put an American flag sticker on the British consulate.
134]Visit Centralia.
135]Wear clogs for a whole day.
136]Attend Bristol night NASCAR race.
137]Go on a stargazing date.
138]Play a game of Tennis.
139]Watch a sunset with someone.
140]Touch the Canon 1200mm lens.
141]Open a lava lamp.
142]Have bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner for one day.
143]Drive a DeLorean.
144]Make a gingerbread house.
145]Photograph hand writing.
146]Drive either an aircraft carrier or the Staten Island Ferry for 5 minutes.
147]Be photographed by Google Streetview.
148]Release a paper airplane from the top of Rockefeller Center.
149]Legally reach the top of the Verazzano bridge.
150]Get two hole in-ones at a mini-golf game.
151]Wear a Yankee hat to fenway.
152]Put soap in a fountain.
153]Build a brick bbq.
154]Plant an apple tree.
155]Dive in Alvin.
156]Get a Polaroid.
157]Ride a jet ski.
158]Put a small bit of Washington D.C. mall water in a bottle.
159]Get sprayed with a fire hose.
160]Run up the "Rocky" steps.
161]Go surfing in San Diego.
162]Fly a kite.
163]Sit at a NY1 news desk.
164]Eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's in one sitting, in January.
165]Photograph lightning hitting the Empire State Building.
166]Wear a Superman cape for a day.
167]Enjoy a beach bonfire with friends.
168]Have a Chinese food date.
169]Go to a Packers game.
170]Make an accurate Captain America Sheila replica.
171]Walk the Grand Canyon skywalk, look down and laugh.
172]Knit a sweater.
173]Attend an Olympic event.
174]Have a picnic with the gal of my dreams.
175]Go kite surfing in a storm.
176]Acquire a piece of Meteorite.
177]See a space launch.
178]Go on a shuffleboard date.
179]Make a hamburger in the shape of the USA.
180]Build a baseball out of LEGO.
181]Make a functional surfboard out of Duct Tape and cardboard.
182]Send a Go-Pro into space on a weather balloon.
183]Have cherry pie a'la mode in a Gazebo on a summer day.
184]Gold leaf a brick.
185]Get a screenshot of me on the Jackson Hole town Sq and/or Vegas strip webcam.
186]Make someone belly laugh.
187]Get a punching bag.
188]Go tech-free for 24 hours.
189]Photograph a sunrise.
190]Catch A foul ball.
191]Be part of a flash mob.
192]Draw on a street with chalk.
193]Put a banana in someone's tailpipe.
194]Choose Chewbacca as a write-in candidate for an election.
195]Get hugged from behind.
196]Photograph people being happy.
197]Enter a butter carving contest.
198]Use a giant wrench.
199]Acquire an airstream trailer.
200]Be the reason she wakes up every morning.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Don't Profit, Don't Be Late.

   I'm an emotional guy in a time when that's still not well accepted, I wanna get that out and in the open now.

   Yesterday's passing of Cranberrieslead singer Dolores O'Riordan hit me in a way I didn't anticipate. I was a fan of thier music, but not to the point of which it'd stop me in my tracks, but I appreciated them and the fact they took pride in their Irish heritage.

   What struck me most is, I remember moments when I was listening to thier songs as,"new"...now it's all but classic rock which is...sobering. She and time will dictate how my generation is viewed, that fact is not lost on me.

   This past October, I lost a friend, Marcus, who I sadly didn't get the opportunity to get to know as well as I would have liked, yet that also struck me in a far heavier way than I thought.

   Life is precious, the masses will say at times like this. It's a cliche that borders on white noise, but it is true. What,  moreover is true, is that time is what really is precious. Time and those you choose to spend it with.

   Spend it with the quiet people. They often have good things to share. They observe quite well.

   Spend it with the boisterous people, they'll break ice quite well.

   Spend it with the young. You'll find that thier views on the world are full of hope and wonder.

   Spend it with the old, for they have experienced more and have valuable lessons to teach.

   But do not spend too much time alone. The people we surround ourselves with make us who we are.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Nobody Calls Me Chicken

   In a few days, i'm going to run...quite far, because I want to. Today, a lot of people ran...because they had to. They literally ran for their lives.

   Once again, my city was the target of fear, of horror, and of cowards. I wish I could say this is a rarity in the world, or at least in my country, but sadly, it is becoming an all to common occurrence, one which I fear will become so common, it will one day be considered, "blase`", and carelessly forgotten. It is at  that moment, one that I hope never happens, that we will have truly given into fear and terror.

   We need to be shocked, scarred and frightened. We should not take this, or ANY attack lightly and, "carry on with our lives" as if nothing happened. People, innocent, good people died today. Innocent, good people died a month ago, nearly 60 of them, and has anything, anything at all changed? No. Will anything change after today? I hope so, but probably not, and if it does, I fear it will unjustly target those of a different religion and skin color.

   Terror...fear...it does not have a color. It has a mission. To hurt, kill and destroy. You cannot uniformly associate one group of people into that realm. It is xenophobic, racist, and simply put...not fair. We need to be better than that. We need to learn how to be kind, how to be inclusive, how to adapt and we just need to learn....how to learn.

   That's one way to fight this. We should not act wholly on our fears. Yes, we need to be cognizant of them, to acknowledge that they exist, but to let common sense and thoughtfulness take a side in our thought processes as well.

   I'm still running, not from fear, but in spite of it. So this Sunday, at 11am, I'm going to tighten my laces and run 26.2 miles. Sure, i'm scared. Of falling, going too slow, my legs giving out, getting a sock wedgie, or having Gatorade go down my nose(I don't have the best run/drink aim), but I won't let that deter me from going out there and kicking ass.

Monday, September 11, 2017

After Ascension

   Each year on this day I attempt to repeat the same schedule as I did 16 years prior, at least I try to. As the years pass, I have found life often alters the schedule. As a friend once said, "we plan and the universe laughs." Sometimes change like this can actually be for the better.

   That day is slowly beginning to fell like many years ago, and that actually scares me. The passage of time in general is quite sobering.

   The ruins of the chasm in lower Manhattan have been filled with the memories of a day forever frozen in memory. I, until this spring during a race, refused to set foot on that hallowed ground. "This is not my place", I thought, until the kindness of a friend imbued me with spirit and determination that made the open wound in my mind and soul begin to heal...just a bit.

   This is one of the many reasons why I run. It is healing, freeing, in a way, even though it can be at times tortuous, it lets the mind expand and breathe, giving birth to new ideas and thoughts, pushing the clutter aside.

   It seems as though we're sometime out of touch with ourselves and with others. And we need that to end. We need to learn how to make better use of what we have at our disposal.

   You may find that even what was a traumatic event, in many cases, becomes a learning experience. You grew and gained from it. Eventually, even, you might even become a better person from it. That is how we are supposed to grow as a species, as a culture.

   Yet, we're lately, we seem to be out of touch with ourselves and with others. And we need that to end. We need to learn how to make better use of what little time we have on this rock, what we have at our disposal, and utilize it to improve the world. We are not doing this right now.

   For example, Staten Island, while my home, no longer feels welcoming to me. A place I would once staunchly defend to no end has turned into a cesspool of bitterness and bigotry of which I fear there may not be a return from. This is something that was told to me by multiple people, all of whom I rebuked, until last year. We need to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves, "Have we really progressed as a culture, as a species?" I don't think so. If this is the best we can do, i'm not impressed.

   In fact, in light of the recent weather events, some people are claiming the, "end times" have finally arrived. Me being a staunch atheist, just sees it as a continuance of the cycle of life, albeit not a good one.

   Yet through all this, I still have hope. I'm no longer the full blown optimist I was a child, though I look to the rest of my city, once ruined, and see that it has been reborn, and though some may argue otherwise, I think this is truly for the better. It's certainly beats the alternative. Being stuck is something i'm good at. I'm not happy about it, nor am I proud of it. It is, in fact something i'm attempting to rectify. But, unlike this city, it is not a change that can happen in an instant. You to can make positive change happen.

   Making my way through this darkness, I'm still searching for the bright light of my finest hour. It has been a titanic battle of wills, and many days I find it difficult to even get out of bed. But I do, and push through to the best of my abilities. Some days are better than others, and some days the only way I can get through it is by using the mindset of, "I know something out there is trying to beat me, and i'm gonna fight it just to piss it off."

   What was once an empty sky has once again been populated with glass and steel. Stone and wire. Men and women. People. Going about their lives. Everyone of them fighting a battle most of us will never know anything about. So when you interact with these people, or any person, take the briefest of moments and remember that. Be human. Show compassion.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Timey Wimey Stuff

   It's been a little over 24 hours since the announcement that Jodie Whittaker would be the next in line to battle Daleks and Cybermen as the 13th Doctor in the Doctor Who series, and to many angry misogynists disappointment, the world is still turning.

   Seriously fellas, its 2017, this whole preconceived notion that it has to be, "Male First" all the time needs to stop. We live in a better age now, one where gender roles should not matter, what should matter is equality, ability and talent, which is the only reason why Ms. Whittaker was chosen. Talent. Look into it as much as you want, conspiracy theorize to your hearts content, you'll still be wrong. She was chosen for her skill. Its not about gender this time.

   Now yes, I'm new to the Doctor Who scene, but i'm not new to the geek world. You see i've been around the block quite a few times, and what I see now screams of hypocrisy. Up until I wanna say maybe 12 years ago, being a geek, being into comics, sci-fi, fantasy and wizardry was not considered, "cool." In fact, it brought about quite a great bit of ridicule and abuse, some of it physical. 

   Now that many people have embraced the geek world, or, "nerd culture" as it has been commonly called (side-note: I don't particularly like that term.), there has been a backlash directed at those who seek to make peace with the geeks of the world. And I have to ask you, how does that make anything right? I'll answer for you. It doesn't. It makes you just as bad a person as those who mistreated you, if not worse. Once people seek to learn something new and embrace what you see as, "yours" (side-note number 2: its all of ours.), the correct response is to engage that person and show them just why you enjoy what you do, get them interested in it the same way you did, and then you instantly gain a new friend, a new person to talk to and the world becomes a better place.

   Now a lot of this backlash over the past few decades especially has been unfairly, unjustly and idiotically directed at minorities and women. 

   This irritates me to Hulk-like levels. The thought that a fictional alien who travels around in an old London police box through time and space cannot be a female for....whatever stupid reason would be laughable if it weren't so plainly moronic. Surely these, "Strong-willed men of men" had or have a mother, sister, wife, daughter or girlfriend at some point in their lives. What would these ladies think? What would their mother, who raised them, fed them, clothed them, bathed them, cleaned up after them think about the fact their son thought of their gender as a lesser than equal?

   Women should not have to defend themselves to the fragile male ego any longer. We've gone into actual space, because of women. We've conquered diseases, because of women, hell we exist because of women. 

   Someone in some dusty online forum commented, "there'll be bras all over the Tardis!"...because Tennant, Eccleston, Smith, Capaldi and every other Doctor left their BVD's laying around...? I don't remember seeing any of Rose's or Martha's bras hanging off a railing...though, admittedly again, i'm a bit new at being a Whovian. When did the importance of a fictional aliens placement of undergarments become more important than the actual reason we became a fan anyway? Not since Superman lost his trunks have people been so concerned about the genital region of a fake character.

   Once we learn to stop being afraid of change, and I need to practice a lil of what I preach there as well, we can all pay attention to what will in all likelihood be a wonderfully told fresh set of adventures and stories for us to enjoy. 

   I for one, look forward to this. You should as well. You need to open your mind to new ideas and erase archaic ones. The human mind, like something else I know of, is bigger on the inside.

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

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.