Sunday, June 29, 2014

Confessions of an Optimistic Existentialist

I think that people sometimes get the wrong impression about me. I am not always the nice, kind, sweet guy you all think I am. I have made so many mistakes in my life. I wish to atone for them. This has been weighing heavily on me, and I wish to clear my conscience today. They say "the truth shall set you free", so here are my confessions...

When VCRs were still at thing, I didn't always be kind and rewind 

I sometimes drink coffee after 5 PM

I do not always squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom

I completely zone out during work meetings, occasionally nodding my head and interjecting the random "I agree"  so that I can keep up the appearance of listening

When the Miley Cyrus song "Party in the USA" comes on in the car, I turn the radio up

When it comes to chips and dip, I have been known to double-dip

I have changed the font size on periods at the end of sentences in order to stretch a college research paper from 19 pages to 20 pages (it really does work)

When I type LOL, I'm not always literally laughing out loud

I judge people I don't even know soley based on their bumper stickers

When driving, I sometimes go 60mph in a 55mph zone. And if I am feeling particularly bold, I'll even push it up to 63 or 64 

When I was in junior high, I kissed and told once 

I have feigned excitement over Christmas gifts that I didn't really like

(related) I have re-gifted. On several occasions.

When I was little, I would sometimes put the mouth end of the thermometer on a light bulb to make my temperature seem higher than it was in order to get out of going to school

After 4pm on a Friday, I mentally check out for the last hour of work

I didn't let the dogs out, but I know who did

I do not to drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day

I was suspended from high school. Twice.

One time I had pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all in the same day 

In 6th grade, I dropped a pencil on purpose once in order to look up a classmate's skirt. I got caught.

I sometimes laugh at jokes that are not funny

If I really like an ink pen, I will sometimes "borrow" it and "forget" to return it

I feel so much better after having gotten these things off of my chest, as this was quite cathartic. I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted. The truth has most definitely set me free.  

Do you have any confessions? C'mon, you'll feel better if you get it off of your chest. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What's Your Favorite Book of All-time?

"A book is a gift you can open again and again" ~ Garrison Keillor

Last week, while writing my blog post about libraries, I found myself thinking about the power of books in general. How a story can transport us to an entirely different universe. How we can get literally lost in the pages for hours and become oblivious to anything and everything around us. I don't think anything else can do that in the way that books can. 

We all have that book...that first book that introduces us to the magic of reading. For me, that book was Mutiny on the Bounty. I read it for the first time when I was about 12, and I was simply transfixed. It follows the story of the HMS Bounty, a merchant vessel owned by the British Royal Navy in the late 1700s. 

The ship was transporting food and plants to the West Indies, but never made it due to a mutiny led by one of the crew members, Fletcher Christian. Mr. Christian orchestrated the mutiny due to the extremely cruel treatment of everyone on board by the captain, William Bligh. 

Long story short, the mutineers put Capt. Bligh, and those loyal to him, in a rescue boat, while they took control of the Bounty and set sail for a tropical island in the South Pacific. At the risk of spoiling it in case somebody ever would want to read it someday, I will not write any further. But I will say that it is an incredible book. I've never been so lost in a story. 

What about you? What is your favorite book of all-time?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Libraries are Places of Magic

"When I got my first library card, that is when my life began" ~ Rita Mae Brown

To me, libraries will always be a place of magic. When I was a little boy, I used to beg my mother or grandmother to take me to the local library. They would drop me off and I would spend hours there just perusing random books. When I found one that captured my fancy, I would find a secluded nook somewhere in the library and just read there for hours and hours...getting lost in stories.

I used to use the Dewey Decimal System to look up books. Does anyone remember that? Good times.

When I went to college, my love affair with libraries continued. I used to intentionally register for classes that had 2 or 3-hour blocks in between them so that I would have time to go the library for extended periods in-between classes. I eventually found this isolated room on the third floor that had a little reading desk by a wooden-framed window. Nobody was ever usually up there so I would always read by that window. On warm days, I would open the window and let the sunlight warm the pages that I was reading.

Amazing memories indeed.

Libraries today are so much different though. They have changed so much in the few years that I have been out of college. Everything is digital now. People just don’t go to them like they used to. And when they do, everyone is reading on a Tablet, Kindle, or a laptop. I read a story recently about libraries and how so many of them are closing.

I think that if libraries ever die out, a part of us will die out as well.

What are your thoughts on libraries? Do you, or did you, have a library that you frequented or still frequent? Please share your stories. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Bendering of a Fender

Friday evening after work, this was the scene
Another vehicle assaulted mine, oh how so very mean

At first I thought maybe they were offended by my Bengal’s license plate
Ah those opposing fans, how they can be so irate

The impact sent my vehicle into the one in front of mine
All three of us sat there for a second, like a fallen domino line

Luckily nobody was hurt, no worries at all there
And nobody was angry, there was nary a swear

As we all gathered ‘round to survey our car’s damaged exteriors
We were all thankful to have relatively unharmed posteriors

There was even a laugh or two shared as we waited for the police
As the minutes passed, the shock of the wreck eventually decreased

Thank goodness none of us had an outstanding warrant
Being led away in cuffs would have been so abhorrent

The guy who hit me was extremely apologetic
I told him that accidents happen – the damage was only cosmetic

I think the lesson I learned here, and will carry with me forever
Is no more driving on Friday the 13th, never ever ever

So as we all hit the road, driving away feeling generally ok
I realized that I had been needing material for a blog post anyway :-)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gazing Upward at the Moon...

I love the moon in the way that most people love the sun. Maybe I was Dracula in a former life. Tonight, the full moon will coincide with Friday the 13th. How cool eh? It won’t happen again until the year 2049! I can’t wait to see it.

It was extraordinarily bright last night. I had to go outside for a while and enjoy it. While appreciating the moon’s beauty last night, I caught myself wondering, as I have before, about how many people in the world were looking at the moon at that very second. Of course I’ll never know the answer to that question. But I always wonder.

Do you ever wonder about that?  

When I watch the moon, I just sit there in wonderment and awe. Here is this glowing white sphere in the sky, bringing magic to the darkness. Ribbons of moonlight stretching across the sky, reflecting off of ocean’s surfaces, and percolating through tree tops to the ground below.

It is beauty on the grandest of scales.

Do you take time to appreciate the beauty of the moon?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Who's Your Favorite Villain?

"The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture" ~ Alfred Hitchcock 

There are lots of famous villains throughout the history of fiction. Dracula, The Wicked Witch of the West, Darth Vader, Norman Bates, the dude who melted Frosty the Snowman (evil bastard).

Oftentimes, a story's antagonist is every bit as compelling, and sometimes more so, than the hero. I think we are so fascinated by villains because they are flawed, as we are flawed. Of course 'flawed' would be the understatement of the year for some villains, but you get my drift.

And would heroes exist if not for villains?

To me, the most compelling fictional villain will always be Hannibal Lecter. What a fascinating, character. Though I would damn sure never accept one of his dinner invitations.

Who is your favorite villain in movie, television, or literary history?

Friday, June 6, 2014

What Did You Want To Be When You Grew Up?

When I was a little boy, I had two dreams. I either wanted to be a marine biologist and study the Great Barrier Reef, or I wanted to work as a conservationist and study the Mountain Gorillas of East-Central Africa. I used to spend hours watching Jacques Costeau documentaries, which sparked my interest in marine biology. And I used to spend hours and hours reading and re-reading Diane Fossey's biography Gorillas in the Mist, which detailed her pioneering work in studying the mountain gorilla. 

I also considered becoming an Indiana Jones-style archaeologist, but I didn't look right in the hat. 

When you were little, what you you want to be when you grew up??

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Society With Their Heads Down

“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots." ~ Albert Einstein

One thing I have noticed a lot whenever I'm in public lately is that nobody interacts socially with each other anymore. Everyone's heads are down looking into their phones, iPads, Tablets, iPhones, Kindles, or any other electronic device. I'm surprised that everybody isn't walking around running into poles, stepping off of cliffs, walking into the middle of traffic, etc. After all, nobody raises their heads up anymore

I have especially noticed this in restaurant situations. I often see couples in a restaurant sitting across from each other while both of them are looking down at their phones the entire time. They're not even looking at each other or engaging each other in conversation. You know, that act of actually talking to one another?

At this rate, nobody will know how to socialize with each other in 50 years. We will be a planet full of extremely socially awkward individuals that have no idea how to interact with other human beings.

I have been trying to make it a habit to keep my phone in my pocket lately whenever I am out in public, in a restaurant, etc. I do not want to fall victim to this irresistible urge to always be looking down at whatever electronic device I have on me. I want to be able to enjoy my surroundings, interact with those around me, and see the world in front of me.

Have you noticed this increasingly disturbing trend? What are your thoughts?