Everything stupid about The Purge, part one

April 8, 2014 § 7 Comments

I went to go see The Purge in the theaters during opening weekend. It was one of the rare times over the last few years where I was actually excited enough about a movie to go see it right when it came out. All three of us thought it was going to be a really fun horror/thriller due to a good trailer and a fascinating concept:

Once a year, all bets are off. For 12 hours, you can do whatever you feel like and there won’t be any legal consequences.

Seems like exactly the type of original story from Hollywood that people beg for on a daily basis, but there was one glaring problem: The Purge is one of the stupidest fucking movies I’ve ever seen. All three of us came out of the theater half appalled and half in tears from laughter because of the sheer amount of stupidity. It seemed like it only got dumber and dumber as it went on.

Just when you thought the movie couldn’t get any stupider, it did. In that way, The Purge is worth the viewing. In another way, it’s simply one of the dumbest movies I’ve ever seen. Not quite “so bad it’s good” like The Room or Birdemic, but as far as concepts and character decisions go, it’s more outlandish and ridiculous than anything I’ve ever seen.

I tried to fit everything stupid about The Purge in one post, but I barely made it into the second act before I had filled up a really long post. Here’s the first part of what’s so stupid about this movie.

The opening title:

America. 2022.

Unemployment is at 1%.

Crime is at an all-time low.

Violence barely exists.

With one exception…

“Blessed be the New Founding Fathers for letting us Purge and cleanse our souls, Blessed be America, a nation reborn.”

Why it’s stupid:

According to the Bureau of Labor, the current unemployment rate is 6.7%. That’s down from a high of 10% in October of 2009. The lowest it has been in the last 10 years is 4.4%, as recently as May of 2007.

Isn’t it reasonable then to see our country get down to 3% unemployment… without allowing them to murder and rape and violate each other once a year?!?!

“Crime is at an all-time low… except for that thing where we’ll look the other way, even if you dismember your own children and eat their flesh. As long as it’s only on this one night! Thank God we eliminated crime though, am I right!?”

We have laws to protect us from being murdered and raped and pillaged for a reason, and I don’t know why “Having a little patience before you kill someone” is a reasonable excuse for ignoring that. I agree that The Purge had a great concept, but assuming that it would happen as a way to curb violence (and raise employment? I don’t understand the connection) is stupid.

Opening credits:

We see “Purge Feed” footage of people killing each other in the streets on March 21st of every year (this is also supposedly going to start happening within five years, you guys! Fuck, who did we elect after Obama? He sounds like a son of a bitch.) while Clair de Lune plays.

Why it’s stupid:

Beautiful classical music playing over violence is so fucking cliche. Ugh.

Also we set the scene for this happening every year on March 21st. Maybe I’m picking nits,  but why not set it for the summer? As we see later on, the kids are coming home from school that day. So on the day of the purge, we let our kids go to school, and presumably, it’s a school night! What if one of your kids misses the bus and has to walk home that day?

Oh fucking well, your son is dead!

And I think we’re burying the lede here a bit: Everybody gets to watch CCTV footage of the entire city. Is that a year-round thing or just on one night? Seems like some costly infrastructure to set in place for just 12 hours of viewing every year. I want to see the movie that takes place on a regular day, do people just watch CCTV footage of the local bar, strip club, grocery store, restaurant and jerk off? Tell me more about that!

“You’re number one sir!”

We see our lead, Ethan Hawke, and he’s driving home in his nice car, through his nice neighborhood, and quickly he establishes on a phone call that he sells home security systems for the purge. After that he calls his secretary and asks her if she’s heard the news yet.

She says, “Yep, you’re number one. You came out on top.”

Why it’s stupid:

This is supposedly one of the biggest moments of his career and he found out after the work day was over, on a phone call with his secretary. Why wouldn’t his boss tell him during the day, in a meeting, with a big celebration and a gold watch or some bullshit? This is how he finds out?


“Great news everyone, we did it. Go out and celebrate! Hope you don’t die though, seriously.”

Talk radio:

Hawke then turns on talk radio and it’s your average DJ taking calls from around the country to find out how people will spend their purge. There’s even more pounding home of how people love their security system. A guy talking about how he’s going to kill his boss.

Then he pulls up next to a neighbor and is like “Yeah, you do your system check like I recommended?”

and the dude is like “Yup, it works great” (remember this stuff for later)

And he’s like “Great, I have the same one. Only the best, my dude!”

Why it’s stupid:

This is what I’m talking about with the whole concept of the purge not working. This guy is like “Yeah, I’m gonna hunt down my boss and kill him.” Would anyone blame him for that? No. And yet the opening title sequence says, “Unemployment is at 1%.” What it should say is “Unemployment is at 1% and bosses being murdered is at 43% so that’s why we keep having to hire new people.”

The concept of the movie is that people need to release all their tension of not being able to murder people by being able to murder people one night a year. It also assumes that everyone is going to murder a stranger.

It’s pretty common knowledge that you’re much more likely to be killed by someone you know than by a stranger. “Hey fuck you, dad! I hate you, mom! Okay, now lock us inside the house together so that nobody will come kill us.”

Also, what are the insurance laws about murder on the purge? Can you kill your wife and collect the insurance money? I’m imagining that on purge night, people just kill their spouses in record numbers.

But thank god you bought that security system from Ethan Hawke!

(By the way, I honestly don’t think that very many people have bloodlust. I fear what the writer of this movie thinks about the rest of us. Or what he secretly wants to do to us.)

The odds of being murdered are very, very, ridiculously low. It was recently ranked as the 16th-leading cause of death in the U.S., and just 1% of deaths a year ago were a result of murder. Out of those, only 30% were the result of an attempted felony, like robbery.

If the number was more like, 15%, then maybe I could see a need for a night of death and destruction. But we’re honestly putting EVERYBODY at risk, to appease like 30,000 people that really wish they could kill someone and get away with it.

Yeah, that makes so much fucking sense. GOD THIS MOVIE IS SO STUPID.


“Release the Beast”

The tag line for The Purge, the day not the movie, is “Release the Beast.” People keep saying it to each other and on the radio.

Why it’s stupid:

God, that’s so fucking stupid.

“We got an hour before commencement.”

There are 62 minutes until the start of The Annual Purge and Hawke gets home and kisses his wife Lena Headley, who is just making dinner all la-dee-frickin-da and having a great, wonderful day.

Why it’s stupid:

This is like the fifth or sixth year of the purge, you know, that night where you can rape and murder people and do whatever the fuck you want, and this family is acting like it’s just another day. Like it’s the fourth of fucking July.

How could you possibly be used to the purge already? THIS ISN’T A FUCKING JOKE, YOU COULD BE MURDERED TONIGHT.

This scientist:

Lena Headley then sees her attention turn to the TV of this scientist talking about why the purge is necessary to “contain societal violence.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 12.46.48 PM

Why it’s stupid:

Oh, five seconds ago you were acting like the purge was no big deal and now you’re interested in what this scientist has to say about it?

Also, fuck this scientist.

Purges: How do they work?!

Lena also tells Ethan that their daughter Zoe has been a real bitch all day and he needs to take care of this “Henry situation.” Really? Hasn’t she been at school all day? As we’ll see in a second, she’s also in her room with Henry, so how much have you actually seen her today? For like, two seconds before she ran up to her room to fuck her boyfriend?

“Let’s growl”

We see Zoe and Henry kissing up in her room and I’m pretty sure he’s about to fingerblast her when she says, “I love you.”

Then Henry says, “Let’s growl”

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 12.50.22 PM

Why it’s stupid:

Henry suggests that instead of saying “I love you” like everyone else, they should growl at each other.

I seriously want to jump off of a bridge.

“You have to get home before lockdown”

Zoe tells her stupid boyfriend (If Ethan Hawke doesn’t kill this growling moron, I will. This is the only reason for a purge; to kill douchebags like this one. “Let’s Growl”!? Holy fucking shit.) that he has to get home before lockdown. Which must be like 50 minutes away by now.

And he’s like “Aww man.”

Why it’s stupid:

Seriously, how can Ethan sell all these home security systems when it seems like nobody is actually all that concerned about the one night a year where I’m legally allowed to do whatever I want to you and your entire family?

Not that I have the bloodlust, but apparently some people do!

Get your ass home and be with your family, and hope they don’t kill you, you fucking idiot. “Let’s growl” fuck you!

“Let me sharpen my machete here in the backyard”

As Henry is leaving, we see Zoe’s neighbor sharpening his machete in his backyard.

Why it’s stupid:

Even if it’s legally allowed, doesn’t anyone in this purge universe have any moral obligations to themselves and everyone else? Or am I the only one that doesn’t want America to turn into the Tutsis and the Hutus?

“Oh, hey Mr. Smith! Nice looking machete! Whatcha gonna do with it?”

“This little thing? Gonna chop off my wife’s arms and legs tonight while I have the chance!”

“Okay great! Good luck! I totally don’t think you’re a creepy weirdo, since it’s the night of the purge and all.”

“That makes total sense.”

“Agreed. Total sense.”

My goodness. So stupid.

“I made you some fucking cookies, I don’t hate you at all, look at how much I’m smiling, this isn’t weird!”

So then the neighbor-lady Grace comes by bearing cookies as gifts for Lena Headley. Seriously it’s 30 minutes to the purge, get in your fucking houses.

Then this other dude and his wife drive by and they are all smiles too. Seriously, everyone in this movie is so damn “happy.” “Those cookies are crazy-good” says the guy driving the car.

Then Lena grabs the cookies but the bitch Grace won’t let them go. (Hmm, what’s that about?!) and they start walking up to the house. Grace is like “Oh wow, the new addition to your house is sick as fuck. You guys had a really good year, much better than the rest of us. Your husband sold a security system to everyone in this community. Some people think we basically paid for the addition to your home. We bought this shit and what did you do for us? Just gave us the security systems we asked for.”

Then she literally does say to Lena, “You’re too sensitive.” because she got offended by the fact that all the neighbors hate them for selling them shit. What a bitch.

Why it’s stupid:

Beyond the fact that the movie is now giving us all this seemingly-needless exposition (spoiler alert: why the fuck would they keep bringing up the money, the success of the family, the security systems, the cookie plate she won’t let go of, the false niceness, if it wasn’t coming back for an even more pointless “surprise” later on?) it’s also just really fucking stupid.

“You’re a real sensitive piece of shit. All I said was that the whole neighborhood hates you for selling us stuff. We’d have more money if we hadn’t bought stuff, and you’d have less money if we hadn’t bought stuff from you. Bitch.”


So Lena and Ethan also have a really stupid-looking son named Charlie. He creeps up behind his mom trying to look up her dress with this creepy looking doll on wheels. It’s like a Roomba for Charlie Manson.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 1.11.01 PM

He’s controlling it from a hidden little cubbyhole in his closet. I’m sure this won’t come back again later.

Why it’s stupid:

Who wouldn’t worry about their son if he took a doll, burned half of it off, added a red LED light to it’s eye, put it on wheels, added a spycam to it, and drove it around the house sneaking up on his mom and seeing what she’s up to?

At least Lena Headley is used to “family fun” from her days on the Game of Thrones set.

“It’s stupid”

Ethan and his family are sitting around the table and says, “Okay, everybody tell me about your day.” and then Charlie has some sort of heart condition and says “It’s nothing to worry about” but has to check his vitals or some shit.

Then Ethan is like “Okay Zoe, tell me about your fucking day.” and she says “I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s stupid.”

Why it’s stupid:

Finally, somebody says something in this movie that is fucking reasonable. I like to think that the actress playing Zoe was actually looking at the director when she said that. It wasn’t a line in the script. She was just speaking openly and honestly:

“I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s stupid.”

Also, Lena says that there are “no carbs” in their dinner that night (This is exposition that I actually think we DON’T need) but I’m 99% sure that the only food I definitely see is carrots.

Carrots have carbs, honey.

“I did it.”

But Ethan Hawke actually just wants to tell the family HIS news.

“I did it. I did it. All sales are final, and I’m on top. My division sold the most upgraded security systems.”

He’s so fucking excited. Like, it’s the best thing that has ever happened to him. And the result is… “Way to go, hon.” “Good job, dad.” and that’s it. Even Ethan is like, “Okay, what’s next.”

Why it’s stupid:

It reminds me of the scene in Birdemic where Rod makes a sale for a million dollars (with a 50% discount) and is like “Yes. Sweet. I did it.”

The Purge is, on many levels, as stupid or dumber than Birdemic.

The Ferrins are having a party

Grace’s family is having a party on the night of the purge. It seems like people can go in and out.

Why it’s stupid:







Finally, it’s time to lockdown. Honestly, it seems like a lot happened in that “62 minutes until Annual Purge” but whatever. Ethan and his family look over the neighborhood with their many, many security cams (but hmmm… could they have still overlooked something? He’s only THE SECURITY GUY.) and they lock shit down and he gets his gun.

Also, this is a gun that Ethan Hawke owns.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 1.25.06 PM

Jesus, man.

And I’d also note that this is the year 2022, but really all of the technology seems in line with what we had in 2013. They lock shit down with iPads, basically. Man, we really stopped trying after Steve Jobs died.

Why it’s stupid:

Because this whole movie is stupid. I’m exhausted. I’m only 15 minutes into the movie but I’ve been writing for two hours.

What a stupid, piece of shit movie.

“Police, fire and emergency medical services will be unavailable until tomorrow morning at 7 am, when the Purge conclues.”

That’s a message, word-for-word, on the TV screen at the start of the purge.

Why it’s stupid:

I have a couple of questions. First of all, what’s going on with time zones? Did we eliminate them? 7 am ET? Is it a rolling purge, like New Years? Can I start in New York then if I still feel like killing more people, start heading west? How does this make any sense? Is school and work cancelled for the next day? What if I have to go to work at 5 am? WHAT THE FUCK IS THE POINT OF ANY OF THIS?

Second of all, YOU’RE TURNING OFF 911 and ALL MEDICAL, FIRE SERVICES? I understand police, I guess, but what if my grandpappy has a heart attack?! It’s 12 whole hours, how many thousands of people will die of accidents and other shit that they didn’t deserve? I guess you’re just absolutely FUCKED if anything happens to you during the 12 hours of purge, even if it’s not due to the purge.


I am only 17 minutes into the movie and quickly approaching 3,000 words. I need to take a break. We’ll see if I can even bother to continue this, but look at how much stupid we already have… and Oh God, the ending is the stupidest part.



What I’ve learned after doing one week of open mic comedy

March 17, 2014 § 4 Comments

I’ve written a bunch of posts here on my blog that are presently in draft mode. The reason that they haven’t been published is because I think they’re all terrible and haven’t felt like posting terrible stuff (even though that never seemed to stop me before.)

(Ooh, there’s that self-deprecating humor that you’ve missed so much!)

I also just haven’t had as much time to write for myself lately and that’s probably a good thing. In addition to my 40-hour-a-week full-time job, that I’ve been mostly-displeased with lately, and my 20-40-hour-a-week job as a sports blogger, I’ve also taken up a third “job” as of the last week: Stand-up comedy. After years of speculation and curiosity, I finally got the nerve to go to an open mic and see what it’s all about. I had spent years using the excuse that I needed someone else to motivate me to go do an open mic, to have a partner-in-crime, but it was finally time to come to terms with the fact that none of my friends were going to do it. With little else to lose at this point in my life, I looked up some places where open mics were happening around Los Angeles and drove 45 minutes to a dive bar last Sunday night.

Though I was very nervous at first, as I usually get when going to a place where I won’t know anybody, and having the typical “I should just turn around and go home” when I first see the joint, it didn’t turn out to be that bad at all. I sat around for two and a half hours (okay, that part sucks) and what I saw was… a lot of bad comedy. Some good comedy of course, but mostly bad. Mostly just people getting up there and getting zero-to-little reaction from the crowd. That’s when I realized that absolutely nothing mattered and absolutely nobody was really judging you; they just want their five minutes. I might as well be doing comedy for a room full of cats, except only like three cats, and maybe cats might actually be somewhat interested in what you have to say.

I did my five minutes and got one good laugh from a guy in the back. That’s more than I even needed.

In the last week, I’ve done five open mics. There’s been a lot of waiting (I’d say that I’ve waited about eight hours to do 20 minutes on stage) and a lot of learning. If you’ve never done an open mic before and your curious about what it’s like, as I was for years before finally just doing it, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

- Most people are bad at stand-up comedy. This isn’t an indictment on the dozens of amateur comedians I’ve seen so far, it’s just a matter of the fact that we misunderstand what it takes to become a successful comedian. Whoever your favorite stand-up comic is, they were doing comedy 7, 10, maybe 15 years before the first time that you saw them. Everybody assumes that Louis CK and George Carlin and Richard Pryor just got on a stage one day and immediately rose to the top, but that’s just not how it works. Some people are naturally the types that should try stand-up comedy, and some people aren’t. That’s a definite fact. But that only means that they should start honing that craft over many hours of practice. Eddie Murphy seems like the type that had success at a young age, and he did, but he also started getting together comedy routines when he was 15-years-old, possibly younger.

People don’t give stand-up comedy the same credit that they give other professions, but it’s really not any different. You wouldn’t give your car to a mechanic that just seemed “naturally awesome at fixing cars” but had never looked under a hood before. Most people at open mics are bad not because they aren’t funny, but because they’re looking under the hood for the first time. As far as I’m concerned, the people in this business that are successful aren’t the funny ones. A lot of people are funny. It’s the hardest working ones…

- If I’m going to create a career in the comedy field in any respect (I’m more interested in writing than actually doing stand-up, but I need to get into this space somehow) it’ll be because I out-worked you, not because I out-joked you.

On my second night of stand-up comedy, I met a guy who happened to go to the same college as I went to. (It’s a really insane coincidence because we went to a school very far away from Los Angeles.) He first did an open mic six months ago and he said he’s done… six of them. As I said before, I did five in the first week. My impatience has always been a burden to me and probably those around me, but it’s also what’s driven me to get places faster than the next guy. I always feel like every moment that I go without getting closer to my goal is another moment where I’ve drifted further away.

I honestly hope that’s the last time that I do five open mics in a week. I need to do a minimum of seven and probably more like 10-12 depending on how long it takes me to get a good schedule down. If you do one open mic per week, that’s 3-6 minutes per week that you’ve spent honing your craft. If you do 10 open mics in a week, that’s up to an hour that you’ve spent on it. If you think about it, it’s probably one of the toughest jobs to fine tune due to the fact that there’s a limited amount of space with which to practice. Though joke writing can be done whenever, that’s not the most difficult part of doing stand-up comedy.

Not for me at least.

- Getting comfortable on stage takes time and creates a lot more problems than you may expect.

I’ve always felt that I was naturally comfortable in front of large groups of people. When I was in high school, I did a freestyle rap in front of my entire class in order to win the electoral vote for Vice President. I do karaoke on the regs. But this is a completely different beast, especially when you’re trying to remember to do a number of different things at once.

Do you remember your routine? I always think that I do, and if I just sat here and read it to you it would probably take an hour to do so, but then I still somehow manage to come up short of things to say when I still have over a minute to go.

Are you able to get out your words properly and coherently? It’s not that easy.

Can you keep your composure with six people staring at you deadpan and not making a move or a sound when you deliver the punchline that you SWORE was gonna kill?

What do I do with my hands?

The only way to get comfortable on stage is to be on stage. The only way to be on stage is to hit up as many open mics as possible, and in Los Angeles there’s no excuse for not being there. Trust me, I’ve tried to come up with so many good excuses over the past week, and none of them pass the smell test.

- Make friends or at least be friendly. You’re not going to get along with everybody on the open mic circuit but you’re also not going to make friends with everybody at a Phish concert. It’s certainly a competitive field but I don’t see the other comics as my competition. The only competition you have is yourself and the only thing about it that I know for a fact is that the “Me tomorrow” needs to be funnier and better on stage than the “Me today.” (Thanks, McConaughey.)

That’s it.

Over the last week, I’ve met a bunch of really cool, really helpful people. I’ve met people that were on their first day like me, and I’ve met people that have been doing it for 1, 3, 6, or 8+ years. I’m sure it won’t be long before I meet people that have been doing it for even much longer than that. Not a single person that I’ve talked to hasn’t given me advice that they felt (I assume) would help me get further along in this business, as long as I’m willing to put in the work. There will probably be days (often) that make it seem obvious that quitting is a lot easier than moving forward in a business with so few rewards in the first five years, but if I fail, I fail. I just know I won’t fail today. And having confidants to pick you up and express encouragement, will definitely be a big reason why I won’t.

- Doing comedy for money is a job that you won’t get unless doing comedy for free is something you treat like a job.

I wrote for over a decade before I got paid to do it. Nobody was going to pay me to do it unless I proved that I actually could. That took many years of practice, despite what my many friends have said to me about how they “can totally write too, I should start a blog and immediately be paid for it!” There are countless infuriating posts on Kickstarter of people that want YOUR money so that THEY can write and publish their shitty book, make their shitty documentary, or finance their shitty invention. I’m not talking about a Veronica Mars Kickstarter where the money is going to dozens or professionals that have experience in this field, I’m talking about lazy 22-year-olds that think you should give them $10,000 to backpack around Europe and document it. Yes, that really happens. Another person wanted $8000 so that he could watch the entire Imdb Top 250.


You can’t just talk about doing it, you just have to do it. You can’t ask for handouts because there’s something to be learned from going through “the struggle.” When Jay Leno started doing comedy in Hollywood, he moved out to LA from Boston in 1972. He had $50. He left his apartment in Boston and told his neighbors that the door was unlocked and to take what you wanted. He slept on the streets outside of The Comedy Store until he could get paying gigs and he refused to take any other job besides being a stand-up comic. He was even arrested twice for vagrancy because he so vehemently refused to do anything besides comedy. I honestly don’t think I have that much dedication, but I’m going to give it as much as I got.

Just because you aren’t being paid for it, doesn’t mean it’s not a job.

- Finally, I don’t know shit about what it takes to be a stand-up comic. As Barenaked Ladies (and my favorite comedian, Scott Aukerman) once said, It’s been one week since I started. I’d like to think that I know a bunch but in reality I only know one week’s worth of information on stand-up comedy and there’s still so much to learn.

And I’m very excited to find out what that is.

Face Off (1997) review: We are all two people once

January 18, 2014 § 3 Comments

Almost 40 years ago to the day, there was a book published called The Inner Game of Tennis. I don’t know the ins and outs of legality and copyright infringement on a book that I’m sure few people are picking up new copies of, but you can read the whole thing online for free. That’s one of the nice things about not actively seeking books to read until you’re in your thirties.

Most of the good ones are just out there to be had and won’t cost you a dime over your regular monthly costs of having the internet.

Now to be honest with you, I haven’t read the entire thing. As with most things that are written, I mostly just started it and I hope to finish it one day. I can tell you however that it didn’t take long to get the gist, and it was easy to understand why Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll considers this book to be one of his greatest inspirations, despite being about a completely different sport. In fact, the book has little to do with sports at all.

The author Timothy Gallway was on the Harvard tennis team and then went on to be one of those club pros that teaches rich moms, dads and their kids how to “play” tennis. After awhile, Gallway started to get bored of simply allowing his clients to fail — as you can imagine most of them would — and began to look for ways to actually improve a person’s game. And it wasn’t about strategy, it wasn’t about stamina, it wasn’t even about technique, but instead he started trying to think about how the mind reacts to commands and then how to make the body best follow through with those commands. 

See that?

Mind + Body. Two separate entities in the same ‘parental’ unit, i.e. You.

Think about a time when you’ve tried to do something right that you were new at or not very good at. Take bowling for example. I am one of the worst bowlers you will ever meet. I know that a lot of people say stuff like that, but the reason that I know I am one of the worst bowlers is because naturally everybody bowls in groups. Nobody bowls by themselves except for actual bowlers — it’s not like playing video games or shooting hoops. 

If you went to the bowling alley on your own, rented shoes on your own, bought a lane on your own, stood next to actual groups of people playing in groups as friends and family on your own, then you’re either a bowler, want to be a bowler, or an alien trying to fit in with humankind as best you could calculate. But you miscalculated somewhere from the Degobah System to Albuquerque. 

Because people bowl in groups, I’ve been able to judge my skill against the skill of every group I’ve ever bowled in, and in every group I’ve ever bowled with I’ve finished in last place. Dead last. I’ve never hit 100. Not once. Not “one lucky night,” not one night of cheating with the bumpers, never. 

I am one of the worst bowlers you will ever meet. But it’s not like I’m not trying!

Every single time I bowl, I pick up my ball and slide my fingers in nice and gentle. I feel the weight of the ball in my hand and I stare at it while I rub my right hand (I’m a lefty) on the outer crust of the ball. I caress it. I hook it like a Longhorn in my left hand while I start to take the steps up to the front of the lane, while aligning myself on the little white pyramids that point me towards the Glory Land: 

Those 10 little pins, just begging to be put down so they can go for a ride and do it all over again.

I stand to the right so that my left arm lines up better with the target, which is that cocky little sumbitch that stands in front of the rest of the pins like he’s Cmdr. General Bowlinpin. I have no idea if I’m standing in the right place, as I have had no formal training except for 25 viewings of Kingpin. (Which is better than learning from 25 viewings of There Will Be Blood, otherwise I’d be killin’ Paul Dano over and over again. Spoiler alert?) 

(You deserve to have TWBB spoiled. That was like seven years ago.)

Now that I’ve ritualized every precise moment in the dance, that’s when everything goes wrong. 

I start a little stutter step towards the lane while I begin my arm’s descent. *Okay fingers, put your seats in the upright position and your tray tables back up, hopefully this will be a smooth landing* That’s when I begin to make the most fatal error that anyone with my skill level can make. 

I start to think about it. 

I think about how hard I’m going to throw the ball when it’s finally time to let go.

I think about the direction of the ball and the placement of my hand when it’s finally time to let go.

I think about when it should be time to finally let go.

I think about not thinking about it.

I finally do let go and it’s like…. It’s like if I told you to down down from 3 and slapped you in the face halfway between saying ’3′ and ’2.’ That’s usually how bowling goes for me because you release and sometimes you’ll know instantly that it’s going in the gutter and sometimes it just instantly goes in the gutter. For me at least. 

When I’m talking to myself about everything that needs to go right, that’s when everything goes wrong. When I’m just about to give up, it’s almost like a Michael Corleone moment. JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS OUT, THEY PULL ME BACK IN!

If I’m a horrible bowler, I’m a worse golfer. I’ve played golf — with a serious intent to do good — about 10 times. At most. Less than 200 total holes, probably way less. But I remember with perfect precision, detail, and vividness, the best three shots I ever hit off the tee. And on every single one of them, I had completely released myself from “doing good.” 

The best shot I ever hit was two years ago on a public course here in Los Angeles. I walked up to the tee, probably the 11th or 12th of the day, so I had already known I was about +5 on every hole up to that point, and I still had a cigarette in my mouth. I didn’t care anymore. It was a par 3 and I had that cig in my mouth, and while my three buddies were jibberin’ and jabberin’, I just swung.

“Fuck it.”

The ball came within a foot of a hole-in-one. 

Can you imagine how dismayed my friends would have been if me, the worst golfer that they have probably ever met, had gotten a hole-in-one in his career before any of them had? Even on a shitty par 3 that was probably 150 yards (or whatever they measure in. see how much I’m paying attention?) that’s a big deal. All I had to do was stop caring about it.

So what did I do on the next hole? I thought really super hard about how I’m not going to think hard about it and I fail, of course. Because learning how to unteach yourself to teach yourself so constantly in the moment, takes years and years of practice. Anyone can do it once by cosmic chance but to actually lose yourself — an actual athlete like Michael Jordan may refer to it as “the zone” — on purpose, is something special. I may not get in “the zone” as an athlete much, but I probably have areas where I’m comfortable enough to do that. Just not in sports.

There are other areas where I can probably start to bind the mind and the body together so that they’re not just talking to each other, but working together in perfect silence. We all have that. When we can just get our second self to shutup for awhile. 

I think about my “second self” a lot lately, but in a different way. I think about things I’ve done in the past, embarrassing things, things that I would never actively want to do again, though I know I’ve done it at least once before. I wonder to myself, “Who is that?” 

That’s you.

“Why did I do that?”

I literally do not know, but you did.

“Can I not do it in the future?”

Of course.

“But will I not do it in the future?”

I can’t answer that.

“But you’re me!”

Well, you’re you too. 

“Like your favorite band.”

You could not resist.

“You know me. I love puns and wordplay.”

That’s one thing, my friend, that we can both agree on.

*self-effacing high-five*

(or maybe even *self-facing high-five*?)

Everybody should be at least two people, all of the time. Not in a schizophrenic way, not in a psychotic way, but just in the way that we constantly need someone to check ourselves. Or in the case of zooming your zoomzoomzoom, to wreck ourselves. I’m not just talking about conscience, I’m not talking about the angel and the devil on either shoulder, and I’m not just saying the person that you talk to when you’re bowling. 

Maybe more like Marty McFly when he goes back to back to 1955 and sees himself the first time he went back to 1955. The times that we have to face the choices that we made and reconciling with yourself that you were the person in your memory playback, but are you the person in the memory playback? 

Did you actively seek ways to change or do you need to change at all? You’re always two people at once, but you’re also always one person that one time.

Face/Off was a movie that was released in 1997 starring Nic Cage and John Travolta. They switch faces to kick off the second act, and apparently the FBI has first crack at science and technology that is still not available (that we know of) 17 years later. It makes less sense than most movies I’ve ever seen. Not just movies though, but ‘things’ in general. It’s nonsense.

I give it 4/4 Nic Cage’s


This is a movie blog now

January 8, 2014 § 5 Comments

It’s been awhile since I have written on KennethAuthor.com, the blog that I started awhile ago to talk about anything I wanted and am currently paying to own the domain name rights to. (Back off other authors named Kenneth that give a heck!)

I don’t want to say it’s because I didn’t have enough time. I have the same amount of time, really, as I did a year ago.

I don’t want to say it’s because anything terrible happened in my life. It’s the same amount of terrible as it’s always been.

I guess my absence just sort of happened, and like taking “just one day off from the gym” or “eating just one chip,” a little turned into a lot and so a few weeks after my last post, I return. Sort of. I have returned to say that I’m returning, though I don’t know how often the posts will be up. They’ll either be a lot, or a little, or somewhere in between. But the other thing is that rather than have a place to write about “whatever I feel like that day” I’ve decided (again. I’ve done this before.) to narrow the topic down to one thing.


No, wait. Damn it! Films! Movies! Moving pictures! Hollyweird, California, you see!

I like movies and I want to spend more time delving into them in the same way that I get to write about and delve into football and the Seahawks. Yesterday, I created a big spreadsheet containing information on every Nicolas Cage movie. What am I going to do with this spreadsheet? I don’t know yet, but I never gather information with a specific goal in mind. I just gather it because I “need” it, and who doesn’t need more info on Nicolas Cage?

Who doesn’t NEED more INFORMATION(!!!) about the great and almighty NICOLAS “FUCKING” CAGE WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

My first thought is that I’m going to watch everything Nic Cage has ever done as an experiment. To prove something? No. To gain something? Almost certainly not. But just because I can.

Where do you start with Nic Cage? From the beginning, with his short appearance in Fast Times at Ridgemont High or perhaps Valley Girl? Maybe during his action trilogy that shot him into the stratosphere, starting with The Rock? His Oscar-winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas or maybe his Oscar-winning performance in Trespass. (That’s an incredibly funny joke that I have to explain with this parenthetical because most people have never heard of Trespass, the movie that made 16-THOUSAND dollars at the box office.)

I actually think that one of the key moments of Cage’s career came in 1995′s Kiss of Death co-starring David Caruso, which happened to come out just before Leaving Las Vegas, and was Cage’s first big flop. It’s an interesting point in his career that could have gone either way, but luckily for him, things worked out.

For awhile.

But I think I might start with Zandalee (1991) because it’s a movie that very few people have ever heard of or seen (straight-to-video) despite having quite an all-star cast. Despite the cast, it appears to just be an awful and terrible film… that is available in it’s entirety on YouTube! 

If you want to watch it in prep for an article or podcast about the movie, then just go to that link. Until then, I’ll see you next time here at KennethAuthor: A (nicolas cage?) Movie Blog!


Preparing for the 10 best years

October 11, 2013 § 7 Comments

When I was a kid, I always used to come up with something that my next birthday represented. This can probably go back as far as when I was 9-years-old, but maybe it goes even deeper. My memory of childhood isn’t so good (if that’s because of repressed memories, please never let them unpress) but this action I took on my birthday’s is something I often think about.

When I turned 9, that was the last year of being in single-digits.

When I turned 10, that was my first year of being in double-digits. (And if I was a little genius kid, I probably would’ve said something about binary code but to be fair, the internet was not even around yet for the public.)

When I turned 11, that was identical-consecutive-numbers.

When I turned 12, that was proper-numerical-order-numbers.

Of course 13 is a big one, because that’s the first time you are a teenager. And then you are classified quite succinctly as being “a teen” and all that it implies, for the next seven years of your life. When you turn 13, you really become a classification of your age, you’ve truly entered “decade assignment” and from now on you might have tasks to perform before your next decade, goals to reach or otherwise be considered a failure.

I don’t know how many of those goals that I properly hit as a teenager. I didn’t have my first girlfriend. I can’t believe I’m even going to admit this, but I didn’t even have my first kiss as a teenager. I got drunk for the first time. Smoked a bit of weed and didn’t care for it because I got way too high. (I’ll never understand this apparent notion that you don’t get high your first time; I thought I was getting high for the first time and also dying for the first time at the same time.) On that note, I didn’t care for the first time I got drunk, aided by my sister’s boyfriend-at-the-time and a bottle of whiskey. Why would anyone start a young kid on whiskey, if not only because that dude turned out to be a giant asshole.

I did the normal things. I got my driver’s license, turned 18 and bought cigarettes and dirty magazines, graduated high school, got into some trouble, went off to college, and before you know it I’m in my twenties.

The funny thing about turning 20 in this country is that it’s the most anticlimactic of all the decade change-overs. Nobody spends their adolescence waiting to be a 20-year-old. Turning 20 is only another roadblock in front of the true goal: Turning 21.

I really wasn’t even much of a drinker when I turned 21. I wasn’t much of a rabble-rouser as a teenager, I didn’t do drugs or get drunk except for on sporadic occasions, and when I turned 21 I went over to my friends apartment with one of those mini-kegs of Heineken that my mom had given me as a gift, and maybe drank half of it. I wasn’t even drunk; that didn’t become an interest of mine until literally the next semester at college, when I made a new group of friends and now had full access to the bars. Now I consider it to be one of my favorite hobbies!

What are the goals of a person in their 20s these days? It used to be that by the time you were 25 you better have a career, a spouse, a bun in the oven, and a house for your spouse with an oven and some lovin’. Start preparing for your retirement 40 years before it’s due. My understanding is that you’re supposed to hire an accountant named Ira so that he can help you save up 401,000 dollars by the time you are 65.

Those goals don’t seem to apply to the 20s anymore. Now your goals are to not have goals, to travel, to date a lot, to use protection to avoid putting any buns in any ovens, entering the housing market is a terrible idea, and “most people really don’t even have their careers figured out until they’re 40 so don’t worry about it!” This current generation of 20-somethings is now sort of the “eh, it’ll work itself out!” generation. It’s the generation that puts the drinking bird toy by the keyboard so that it keeps hitting the proper button to keep Springfield from having a nuclear meltdown and goes out to watch Naked Lunch. Your twenties is literally the time between being a teenager and being a 30-something, and that is literally how people in their twenties interpret that time in their lives.

“We don’t want to leave behind the time in our lives where nobody held us responsible for anything but we also want to be treated like adults!”

By the time I had hit 27 I was already itching to get into my thirties. Don’t get me wrong, I also don’t want to be held responsible for anything, but I’m also fine with surrounding myself with people that don’t expect me to be an adult. When I’m at a business place — like work — I consider myself to be more of a “three kids in a huge trench coat” that walks around pretending to be an adult.

“Business! Reports! Filing things! Print!”

I turn 31 in December and I’m already starting to think about what it all means. What the clock on my life is doing. When will I be “too old” to do certain things? I don’t really worry about things like “playing video games for an entire weekend” or “eating a Lunchable for mid-morning snack” because those are timeless, but there are plenty of other bigger life decisions to consider.

When will I be “too old” to date a girl that’s 26?

When will I be “too old” to have a kid?

When will I be “too old” to quit my job and travel Europe?

When will I be “too old” to consider myself “too legit to quit”?

I look at myself as someone in my early-30s and I think to myself, this could be your last chance to not be “too old” to do anything you want to do. Nobody has ever told me it’s a bad idea for me to quit my job and risk being poor, because I don’t have anyone to support. The age difference from 31 to mid-20′s isn’t bad at all, and if the opportunity to date anyone arises, I’ll let you know.

And there are going to be plenty of grampas that “Do the Hammer” in about 30 years, so don’t you worry about that last one.

But I start to look at other people now, older people, and start to consider what I’ll look like when I get there. I start to wonder “How am I going to look when I’m 45?” or “How will I come off to younger people when I’m 50?” I don’t want to be a creep but at the same time, I don’t want to be an old fogie that doesn’t know how to boogie. (May have just nailed my own coffin there.)

I sometimes go to a bar near my apartment and it’s one of those “locals hangouts” with the same 15 people every night (and about 5000x less charming than Cheers) and I see this group of old men hitting on young women and I think “Oh God no. Not me. Never” and it freaks me out to think about becoming one of those dudes if I don’t either settle down before I’m 40 or develop an anti-aging potion-slash-lotion.

(And really, if I develop that point/lotion, I’ll be so rich that none of the rest of it really matters, so yes, I’m working quite hard on that too.)

So I look at myself now, and I look ahead, and I think:

This is it. This will be the best 10 years of my life. My first 10 years were so stupid that I barely remember them! The next 10 years seemed to have me missing a lot of what you’re supposed to experience when you’re a teenager and I tend to look back on that with embarrassment and regret. The next 10 years were all well and good, but they are gone now and you can’t dwell on that. The next 10 after my 30s will be the first time that I really start to resemble “the dad” of pretty much everyone I knew in school. When you’re 40, you’re perfectly capable of having a kid that’s going off to college. That might not be as normal these days, to have a kid when you’re 19 or 20, but it’s not extremely abnormal either.

I’m not only not ready to be an actual father, I am equally unready to look like a father.

(I picture Maury Povich yelling at me: “Ken, you are NOT the father….  Buuttt.. you could be. You look the part. Technically, you’re not, but I would not have all been surprised if you were the father of this 15-year-old.”)

There’s no choice now but to enjoy it. I’ve lived nearly the first full year of being in my 30s and it’s not like each year is going to be better than the last. At some point you peak, at every point you are one second further from a person that is 26-years-old. And then one day, you’re 40.

(At which point, I’ll bargain that that is the best 10 years.)


Is it love or is it Thailand: The third and final chapter

October 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

So with much procrastination and a lot of “man, do I really want to say this?” I have finally finished telling my story of my trip to Thailand. It’s certainly personal and frankly, I don’t know if it paints me in a good light, but at least it’s over and I can move on to the next thing. I don’t know what that will be. I received my yearly notice that my rights to this domain are going to expire and I’m not sure what to do with this blog anymore.

I guess we will just have to wait and find out.

To download and/or listen to part III, just follow this link:


Thanks for listening! I’m sure that wasn’t easy.

Bangkok Taxi Dangerous: Thailand travel tips and experiences podcast, part I

September 12, 2013 § 1 Comment

I returned from Thailand on Monday and it was one of the most surreal and amazing experiences of my lifetime. I met new and interesting people, saw some beautiful temples, ate some amazing food for so cheap that it should be illegal, fell in love for 24 hours, walked down the most ridiculous alley I’ve ever been to, probably interacted with some very shady characters, got bitten so badly by mosquitos that my foot swoll up to twice it’s normal size, and got asked if I wanted to be “f’d in the a”!

I talk all about it in what could be a 2 (or 3) part podcast. I think that it would have been very helpful to have something like this to really prepare me for what was to come, however then again it was part of the experience to NOT know what was coming.

I tried to embed the player and add a download link but apparently WordPress sucks. God damn it, WordPress! You can go to this link though and listen to it from BlogTalkRadio or download it from the same page. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fieldgulls/2013/09/12/nsfw–thailand-travel-tips-and-adventures-part-i

The audio sounds shoddy to begin with but that’s because I was trying to add a rain sound effect! This is something new I’m trying, thanks for putting up with me.

Kob kun kob!

Ask Kenneth ♥-Thur: Whirlwind and Fired, Does Early Sex Kill Hopes of Any Relationship?

June 13, 2013 § 4 Comments

We’re back!  It’s time for another edition of me answering questions from ladies that are looking for the perspective of a dude.  Not just any dude though, but me, a guy that’s been on no less than ten dates and had sex before.  It was cool.

Speaking of sex, here’s today’s question.  It comes to us from Accidentally Racy:

I’m enjoying reading your advice and figure getting a guy’s prospective is going to be way more efficient than my girlfriends’. So, here goes. I had a first date with this guy that lasted 7 hours because we had this amazing connection and couldn’t stop talking with each other about everything from the little things to the deeper subjects; we also ate dinner and bowled. We kissed a lot at the end, and I went home. The next day, he invited me to his place to ride his motorcycle, listen to him serenade me with his guitar and voice, and “watch a movie”. Watching a movie led to kissing which led to sex.

Having sex on a 2nd date is a big no-no in my book, but it just happened as these things do. We talked on the phone for an hour the next day and all seemed well. I went over there again on Wednesday, and he seemed distant. I haven’t heard from him today, and I am afraid that now that I have “given the milk for free” way too soon, I may have screwed up my chance at something real. So, my question is, if you as a guy share a deep connection with a girl and then sleep with her on the 2nd date, is the girl no longer relationship material? Is there anything that I can do to turn the odds in my favor at this point? Any insight would be appreciated. 


Dear Accidentally Racy,

Let me first say that in general, each gender views casual sex in a different light:

Men – “Had sex, all is well.”

Women – “Had sex, now what?”

That is definitely not a hard and fast (hehe. pun.) rule.  There are a lot of dudes out there that attach emotions to each sexual encounter (sheepishly raises hand) and a lot of women that don’t (slyly peeks to see if any girls raise their hand) but on the broad spectrum, men can walk away from sex and women want to know “What’s next?”  Why?

Because you are the gatekeeper, am I the keymaster?

Basically, the penis is Indiana Jones and the vagina is the Holy Grail.  Men spend 24.5 hours a day trying to have sex and women are constantly fighting off dicks like they’re being swarmed by bats, so when you finally let one into your cave, you want to know that it’s the right one.  Or at least, a decent one.  And sometimes it can be really hard to tell, because like I said, guys can get really good at getting sex.

I’m a firm believer in the 10,000 hour rule.  That with 10,000 hours of practice, you can be an expert at something.  Well with guys trying to have sex, they’ve spent like 100,000 hours doing that.  But only during the times that they are awake, or most of the time that they are having REM sleep.  Every once in awhile we’ll dream about death, but that’s honestly about sex too.

But we are all different creatures.  I don’t think any women want to be thought of as a set of stereotypes to which everyone and abides, and we have to recognize that while each gender certainly has characteristics that would be true with the majority of individuals, we’re all still different.  So I wouldn’t want to give the impression that men are lying this way and that way in order to have sex, nor am I saying that your beau was lying to you or pretending to be something so that you’d sleep with him, but it’s certainly possible.  Frankly, and this is why I probably have had less success with women than most men, I’d be in your shoes more often than I would be in his.  I’ve had very similar encounters, and while I wasn’t super upset about it because of the absolute shortness of those relationships, it certainly makes a person feel like they’re less than.

But you’re not less than.  And he might not have been using for sex.  Look at it from a macro level and remove sex from the equation and what do you have:

A really good first and second date over a period of no more than 36 hours that simply fizzled out before the carbonation bubbles even hit the surface.  Which is ridiculously common.

It’s mostly the sex that’s messing with your head.  The idea that you gave up the Holy Grail “for nothing.”  That you may have been duped or bamboozled or took a hit to your self-esteem because you thought he was so perfect for you and might have actually found someone worth holding onto for awhile but he possibly doesn’t feel the same way about you.  “What’s wrong with me?”  “What did I do wrong?” “Why can’t he see me how I see him?”

If this is how you’re feeling, if you’re feeling low and used, let me please urge you to cut that out right now.  There’s nothing wrong with you, or what you did, or that the time you spent with one-and-done was less-than-fun.  You chose to sleep with a guy on the second date because you felt certain in your heart that there would be a third date.  A fourth.  Hell, a fifth even!  And now he’s gone MIA and you wish you could take it all back.

Don’t wish that.  Embrace it.

Embrace the two or three days that you could live inside of a Richard Linklater movie.  The last time that I really thought I might have found a relationship, rather than just a date or two or someone to makeout with, she turned cold before I did.  The texts became short and finally stopped.  If we had been out a few times and had always had a good time with each other, then why wouldn’t she want to continue to do that just like I did?  What was wrong with me?

Nothing.  Nothing was wrong with me.  The reasons that other people have for not wanting to see other people just one more time can be many, and it doesn’t mean that there was something wrong with the party that got ditched.  That’s like saying that there’s something wrong with the square peg that doesn’t fit in the round hole.

There’s nothing wrong with square pegs.  They hold most IKEA furniture together.  They’re great!

And if that doesn’t make you feel better, then I can only offer one more piece of advice.  A line from John Steinbeck to his son that I keep pounding home over and over again, because whenever I think about the one that got away, I remember this mantra:

“And don’t worry about losing.  The important thing is not to hurry- Nothing good ever gets away.”

If this one got away, if he hasn’t returned your calls and has fallen off the map, then he wasn’t the right one.  Let him be the right one for a couple of days, let yourself experience the experience, and then learn from it and move on.  Every time I think of that last person that “totally should have been a relationship” I remember that nothing good gets away, so therefore she was never going to be more than what we were.  That if it was good, then it would be.

But it’s not.  And that’s okay too.  Let yourself identify with the male gender for a moment and simply take it as a casual encounter and remember that there’s nothing you can do to “turn this in your favor” other than to live today as happy as you can be.

Without him.

quitting smoking might not be as hard as you think

May 13, 2013 § 5 Comments

*the following is the account of one man’s experience with quitting tobacco.  it does not reflect the experiences of any other individuals.  names have been changed to protect the identities of the innocent.*

*dun dun*

I remember my first cigarette, but more importantly, I remember my first dip of chewing tobacco.  After all, that’s what set this crazy train in motion to begin with.  After spending a good 18 years of my life chiding my own mother for her smoking habits, I suppose it seemed more acceptable to use tobacco as long as I wasn’t smoking it.  (Though that’s not entirely true either; sadly I had spent some of my wasted youth riding skateboards around a community college campus on Saturdays and finishing butts with friends.  It’s amazing what you think is acceptable when you’re 14.  I still wouldn’t kiss me if I were you.)

It was a night like any other, chillin’ out maxin’ with my friends — who were now living in their own places (!!) and we could do whatever we wanted.  Which… still isn’t that much when you think about it.  At least not when your’e 18 and broke and still unable to legally buy alcohol, not that it’s much of an obstacle to overcome though.  I was hanging out with a lot of athletes at the time, of which I am not myself one, but athletes tend to get bored and even the nice ones will dip chewing tobacco because it’s still seen as kind of a masculine way to pass the time.  I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to try something once, but the lesson that you can never quite learn any other way besides the hardy way, is that getting “high” is really hard to stop doing because it feels so damn good.  And trust me: If you’re 18, had never really gotten lightheaded from tobacco, and putting a giant dip in your mouth (that’s a few letters from an entirely different sentence right there), you will get stoned as f— from chewing tobacco.

A large quantity of nicotine (much larger than your average cigarette) goes directly into your bloodstream all at once.  You close your eyes and all of a sudden you can still think about stuff — but your brain is all of a sudden gone.  It has to be.  Your head is far too light to contain any matter anymore.  It’s the most relaxed you’ve ever been, and I can put my hand on the Bible to testify that it never felt that good again but it still kept feeling pretty good.

You don’t all of a sudden become a regular user.  You’re aware of the risks and you’re not “one of those guys” so you manage to avoid regular usage.  Maybe just once every few days.  Then maybe once a day.  You’re in control so you buy a can, but just this once because you’re going over to your buddies house tonight and that’s the end of it.  Before you know it, you’re lying in a pool of your own vomit — which is littered with chewing tobacco of course — in some strangers backyard without a home, money, your wife left you and took the kids, and your stocks are through the floor.

(Though an extreme exaggeration, I would like to say that the first part of that story is also false… it is not.)

About a year after developing an addiction to chewing tobacco, I went over to a friends house.  He was a smoker and had never had “a chaw” while I was a chewer that didn’t care for cigarettes.  Then we decided to try each others habits and sure enough, I quit chewing for smoking and he quit smoking for chewing.  It was like a wife swap except this is probably less hazardous to your health.  And so I smoked, for ten years, and never tried to quit for even a day.

I wouldn’t say that I am typically a weak-willed person.  I had a very strong will… a very strong will to never attempt to quit smoking because I was worried I would fail hard.  Everybody talks about how difficult it is to quit, that most people fail at their attempts, that it’s harder than quitting heroin and alcohol and Jake Gyllenhaal combined.  (I realize that in the movie it’s Gyllenhaal that says it to Heath Ledger, but mixing Ledger with addiction jokes seemed to be in poor taste.  Yet ignoring a great Brokeback Mountain joke would have also been a travesty.)

I have known what it’s like to not smoke for say, a day, or even half-a-day, and could feel how hard it would be to do that… forever.  Nicotine and your lungs seem to become a single entity once you join them together, like latching on your hair braid to another person’s hair braid or one of those flying creatures except it’s way more real than just 3D.  It’s real life.  And when you haven’t latched the two together for awhile, there’s simply nothing else you can think about.

But I finally decided to quit on January 13th, and today marks four months without a single puff on a single cigarette.  Sure, it was a little difficult at first, but honestly the most important piece of advice on quitting that I could ever pass on is that no craving last for more than five minutes.  You do have a lot of cravings at first, like when you wake up in the morning, after you shower, on the way to work, ten minutes after you get to work, just before lunch, lunch, just after lunch, a little bit after just after lunch, with only an hour left to go at work, on the way home from work, when you get home from work, before dinner, dinner, after dinner, just before bed, when you’re in bed, in the middle of the night, etc.  But it’s only a few days until it’s only a fraction of those and you start to really break your habits.  It’s only a few weeks before I forget that I was ever a smoker.  People say “How’s the quitting going?” and my initial reaction is “Oh shit, I used to smoke, huh?”

Ten years of smoking was nearly eradicated from my memory after a few weeks of not smoking.  Yeah, I get cravings every now and then, none of which are very strong except perhaps for the one I have right now due to writing about it and remembering that I used to smoke, but it’s not even close to being enough to want to have a cigarette.

When my friends go out to smoke, I have no qualms about waiting for them.

When someone smokes around me, I have no desire to bum one.

All of my past habits associated with smoking, such as drinking and eating, are much better without a cigarette I have learned.

I didn’t even try to quit for a decade of my life because I figured it would be too difficult to imagine a life without smoking.  Now I can’t even remember what it was like to be a smoker to begin with.  If there’s something (it doesn’t have to be cigarettes) that you have some apprehension about doing, remember that it might not be as hard or as bad as you think, just resist the apprehension to try.


show me on the doll where you’re happy

April 23, 2013 § 7 Comments

I’m on that pursuit of happiness.  And I know.  Everything that shines ain’t always going to be of the gold variety.  I will be fine once I get it.  Yeah.  I will be good.

[dub step reeeeemiixxxxx] wub wub wubbbbwubbwubbbbbb

I have had a few interesting conversations lately about happiness, as well as some important internal reflection in regards to the topic at a time when I was starting to feel unhappy.  Let me try and put my thoughts in the correct order now in order to inflict the most happiness onto the brains of you, the reader.  It shall feel good for both of us, on this journey to pursue happiness!

Awhile back I was talking to a person, let’s call this person “girl”, and I told girl that talking to her felt like I had little marbles of happiness stored in my brain for safekeeping that would explode magical fairy dust of happiness all into my brain parts.  This could be one of several things:

- Love

- Chemicals, such as endorphins, being released into my brain

- Aneurysm, or stroke

The likely answer is probably number two, those little guys that show up when you’re “doin’ it” or eating a killer taco that tell you to be happy.  I like to think of a billion endolphins swimming through your frontal lobe and all the other lobes.


But the problem with attributing all of our feelings to chemicals and processes in the body and brain is that it doesn’t produce enough endorphins because we’d much rather believe in something bigger!  We’d much rather believe in magic, and love, and higher powers that are possessed in ourselves, in our souls, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  I want to believe that too.  Controlling our emotions is still a power higher than chemicals, and that’s just as important.

“Girl” and I don’t really talk anymore, so the happiness bubbles aren’t popping anymore.  This leads to the idea that sadness is the absence of happiness, and that’s not really true either is it?

It’s a really interesting question to ask if you are happy with the person you are today.  Well, I wouldn’t say that if I could choose a life that I would have chosen mine.  I might go with “The Gos,” Ryan Gosling, or even Topher Grace, but I’d definitely think I would go another route.  But then again, would I?  I’m not unhappy with the person that I am, and I think that the fact that I have always strived to be something else has molded me into something else already; the characteristics that make up Kenneth, both positive and negative, are all a result of wanting to be something else.  I’m perfectly okay with my positive attributes, and it only takes a little bit of light to fill up a lot of dark space.

But then when “girl” goes away, it feels like she takes the light with her.  That’s not how it is supposed to work; never give your happiness to anyone.  That is your happiness.  The happy is always contained within yourself, never give it to anyone, only let other people touch it, not take it.  Am I happy?  Well, not constantly!  But if you always remember that your happiness is a bag of gold that’s kept in your backpocket, and not gold pen that you can only borrow to sign this birthday card and then you have to give it back, then you can never be unhappy for too long.

Happiness is a motion-activated porch light that others can turn on with their presence.

Happiness is your favorite memory with your dad, or butcher.  In some cases, these are the same person!

Happiness is your favorite fake memory.  I visualize the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl on a regular basis.  I have the fantasy on a regular basis, they don’t win the Super Bowl on a regular basis.  Yet.

Happiness is VectorBelly.

Happiness is the song that makes you believe that anything is possible.  Like “The Promise” by When in Rome or “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” or “I Want It That Way.”

Happiness is the movie with a happy ending, like when you find out that sometimes you actually find a guy in ten days.

But no matter what happiness means to you, always keep in mind where its always resting like a sleeping Andre the Giant (the happiest of giants): Inside of you.  People, places, things, and any kind of noun you can think of that bursts glitter bombs of happy into the recesses of your brain (why do you think they call them RECESS?) are always contained within you, not feelings that others get to keep.  It’s yours.  If you’ve given your happiness to someone else, even if only to borrow, you’ve taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.   

Also yours: Sadness.  And it’s an addiction as well, otherwise nothing would be emo!

I used to have this metaphor for my life, that’s not especially uplifting but it is true that sometimes this is how it feels:

Sometimes I feel like I’m on a rowboat in the middle of a dead calm lake without any paddles, and sandbags keep being dumped into the boat, dropping it further and further into the water.  And the person dumping in the sandbags is me.

Now I don’t know how it’s physically possible to do this (where am I getting the sandbags from?) but sometimes I feel like I tend to add in sadness on purpose just to feel pity for myself.  For every happy place there is a sad dungeon.  (Not one of those dungeons with candy and video games, but a sad one without video games and with beets only.)  And we hold onto this dungeon, and it’s ours, and you can’t have it because it’s personal – stay away from my dungeon!  You don’t get my dungeon!

Why don’t we do that with happiness too?

“I’m chillin’ in my dungeon today because you took away my cotton candy fields.”

Absence of positive isn’t presence of negative.  Absence of positive is an opportunity to go in either direction, all you have to do is not choose to go to the dark side but instead stay with Luke and the Ewoks.  If you’re thinking about throwing another sandbag into the boat, think instead of cuddling a fuzzy little Ewok.  And money can’t buy happiness, but it could possibly allow you to rent a small person and put them in an Ewok outfit and cuddle them for two hours but no kissing.  And that would make you pretty happy for awhile.

Talking to “girl” could feel like glitter bombs danced in my head, but “girl” did not place them there, she only elicited an action or feeling.  Those pockets are always inside of you, it’s just a matter of knowing how to make them jump instead of sandbagging yourself.  Now, show me on the doll where touching makes you happy.  Oh, I think I know ;)


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