Self-medicating?

I was recently informed that I am a self-medicater. What this means is that I like to use substances to alter my state of mind so that I can be happy. Obviously this would create a codependence issue, unfortunately it feels excellent when done “properly”. I also recently realized that I when properly medicated I am actually more present and self-aware ans I respond to regular stimulants like anyone else, specifically caffeine or nicotine. Interestingly enough, it seems that I also prefer cheap beer and the way it makes me feel versus the more expensive, specialty or micro brews.

So tonight I am playing a game, the sequel to a game I played under heavy influence several years ago when I was self-medicating, and I discovered that the joy I felt while playing the game then and “altered” (my preferred term versus “high”) is the same joy I get playing the game unaltered. It’s very heartening to know and very relieving as well. I am drinking beer, but it is cheap beer and I haven’t eaten anything today, so I wonder would I feel the same drinking a Sam Adams seasonal instead of a good ol’ Busch Light? Truthfully, as country as this probably makes me sound, I prefer the Busch Light.

Part of me craves, almost to the point of craziness, becoming altered now. Yet, I can now say to myself, “Nope, you don’t need it.” Another part of me reminds myself that there may be a day again some time in the future that I can become altered again, but even knowing that, I manage to simply shrug it off and go back to my game and beer. Most interesting of all, I can recognise the depressing aspect of alcohol and remind myself that any sadness I think I am feeling is likely caused by it and not a genuine sensation I am feeling. Never before have I been in such control and so content. I hope this continues and that I can continue to post here, perhaps even with more frequency. I just received an opportunity to write comedy and be compensated for my efforts. Never before has a dream of mine been so close. A small part of me thinks that it’s not possible and that something will inevitably go wrong. I relish this newfound ability to call shenanigans on my brain’s own bullshit.

Is this what happiness feels like?

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Let me tell you about how jacked up my organization is…

I have a sparkling record for three years and three months and three separate leaders who put it on paper in the most official capacity at their disposal. Not once in my four years at my current occupation did I complain about my circumstances or my treatment, despite the most recent nine month period during which I was told at every turn that nothing I did before mattered, nothing I was currently doing was good enough and I possessed no skills that were of any use to my current leadership, both regimes under which I served. It should also be noted that one member of the first regime, in less than nine months from moving to another region, has been punished and separated from the Army because of his professional conduct. Ultimately for myself, nine months, one marriage headed for divorce and one failed APFT later I spent five days in the Mental Hygiene ward of a VA hospital to receive treatment for suicidal and homicidal ideations brought on by stress.

 

Within ninety minutes of being released from the hospital I was debriefed and asked if I was “better.” I informed the debriefing parties, my Company Commander and First Sergeant, that I had benefitted from my treatment and that as long as I could be granted the time I had been prescribed to maintain my mental health treatment I would continue to improve. I was informed I would be afforded this time. This would be the last time I would ever speak with either of them about this matter.

 

At this time I was in the position in my office for which I was best suited, not to mention the position I most preferred and most enjoyed, paperwork and administrative expert or “processor”. I continued to conduct business as usual, under the pressure of doing both my job and a second job that was in violation of all guidance and training I had ever received in this particular Army organization. While under this pressure, I was forced to deal with the additional pressure of battalion and brigade leadership teams fully aware of their defiance of guidance and comfortable with that reality and imposing unrealistic goals upon Soldiers at every level while failing to support those same Soldiers in every meaningful way. Specifically when integrity was in question, it was not uncommon for battalion leadership to accept the word of personnel outside of the Army over the word of NCO’s who are typically held in esteem for their trustworthiness and required to follow a strict moral code that values integrity. While conducting business as usual, issues that would have been ignored in other brigade and battalion areas of operation are held up as massive violations of policy and punished with such severity that lengthy careers have been prematurely terminated. All the while company leadership, who is also aware of the defiance of guidance and violations of policy, is in such fear of being removed themselves that they do nothing to enlighten USAREC leadership about the failings in the battalion and brigade and pass the pressure on to their subordinates at company level, in direct opposition to the same moral code mentioned above. It was during this time that I was dropped by my mental health provider for failing to attend my monthly appointments out of fear that I would be persecuted professionally for putting my mental health issues above my duty and at no time since I had been released from the VA hospital had anyone in my company leadership inquired about my mental health, which is a clear violation of not only the moral code but a glaring example of poor leadership.

 

Upon getting a referral from my Primary Care Physician I began seeing a new mental health professional who concluded after her initial session with me that I needed to work with her on a weekly basis; in other words four times as often as I was to be seen by my previous therapist. With her help I discovered that the issues that put me in the hospital were the culmination of problems I had not been appropriately dealing with for nearly fifteen years. However, in just five months since working with my second therapist I have not only improved as a Soldier but substantively in every other aspect of my life; as a husband, as a father and on a personal level I would have never before thought possible.

 

While seeing my new therapist, errors I had made doing my job in my “business as usual” sort of way caused me to be removed from processor and put in a position where I had previously been less than successful, “prospector” or the Army’s version of a talent scout. At that moment I was counseled professionally regarding the matter by my first line supervisor, a team leader, as well as the company commander. After this counseling session was complete, the commander then asked about the state of my family and personal life (but not my mental health counseling nor any related issue) for the first time since I had been released from the hospital six months prior. So while the timing of the question angered me, I maintained my professionalism and made him aware that I was irritated and I did not feel now was the appropriate time to discuss it as I was too emotional. He continued to insist until my team leader stepped in an offered to take me out of the office for a bit to cool-down. This particular moment was brushed off as inconsequential though I was later made aware it may have been perceived as just one more piece of evidence that would suggest I was a sub-par Soldier with an attitude and a persecution complex. I would not speak with him again in a professional capacity for another three months.

 

Bear in mind, in the time-period that spanned from my hospitalization to day I was removed from the processor position, another Soldier in the battalion had committed a serious impropriety. This is a choice he attributed to pressure. My very own company commander conducted the inquiry of the impropriety and recommended no punishment because of the toxic situation in which the Soldier had been working. Despite that recommendation, the Soldier was punished, by the battalion with the most severe punishment that could be handed down for the violation. Prior to that, a Soldier in a neighboring battalion killed himself and an eighteen year-old high school student who was in the process of joining the Army. Yet, I was not approached at any time about the potential improprieties I was believed to have committed and nor my mental health issues that came to light because of suicidal and homicidal thoughts.

 

Shortly after I was reassigned to prospector, company leadership instituted a new policy wherein they would review the daily schedule of each individual Soldier in the station, down to the hour, each month to scrutinize work ethic and productivity. I was separately, and repeatedly, informed that my continued employment was contingent on these reviews and quantifiable progress in the scrutinized areas was vital for me to remain in the Army, not just USAREC. Once again, these reviews are in direct defiance of USAREC guidance, the accompanying training and the methodology under which I was groomed.

 

Finally, two months ago, while still dealing with the possibility of divorce and under the most intense pressure I had experienced thus far, I suffered a lapse in judgement and violated my integrity. In order to satisfy what I felt was an unrealistic and unattainable goal set by the company commander I submitted false information which he quickly discovered. When confronted I, in a panic, attempted to cover it up as I did not know how much he knew or how far he would go to uncover the truth. I was informed I would be counseled for the inputting of false information and would be meeting with both the commander and the First Sergeant the next morning. During this meeting I was presented with evidence that the mistakes I made professionally, to include the undocumented (and therefore for all intents and purposes nonexistent and not usable as evidence to justify anything) instances, since being hospitalized framed me as lazy and a liar. Because my most recent APFT score less than four weeks before was another +235 the “lazy” part was retracted; however my integrity was still in question and I was told they truly believed this about me. The commander also made it a point to inform me that he had gone to his leadership, the battalion commander, to ask for advice on how to deal with this situation.

 

When I informed them that my integrity lapsed because I saw that my leadership’s integrity appeared to already be absent, they laughed. A better description might be “they scoffed.” I informed them that the pressure I was under caused me to fear the consequences of mission failure more than the consequences of not doing the right thing. When I was asked to what pressure I was referring, both leaders declared that it could not possibly have come from them and that their integrity was above reproach. In that moment I believed that no amount of explanation on my part with regard to their own integrity violations, as I perceived them, would serve me as I felt that they had both already made up their minds about me and could not see that the things they were doing could ever be construed as lacking in integrity. I explained instead that at the battalion and brigade levels the continued defiance of USAREC guidance made it difficult for me to live the same values when clearly leadership at those levels could not. I was scoffed at once again.

 

I was then informed that none of that was any of my concern and that the only leadership I should be concerned with was theirs; they were well-suited and well-prepared to complete the mission they had been given with the resources and personnel they possessed. It was my responsibility to simply do what they asked and use my experience and position to help my fellow officemates complete the tasks they had been given. Once again, I felt that I could not explain that was where much of my despair and frustration originated: if I were to train and mentor my fellow Soldiers in the methods I had been trained, I would be continually in direct opposition to their orders as their orders were in defiance of USAREC guidance. I was then informed that my annual NCOER had already been completed prior to this event and could not be changed. I was told previously, on the day I was moved from processor to prospector, that I had been giving extra chances that I did not deserve. On this day I was told I was receiving mercy; I had twelve months to convince him that I was a better Soldier than what he believed me to be and to prevent me from getting a “No” under “Integrity” on my next NCOER. This would of course be the end of my career in the Army. I was also being recommended for the maximum form of non-judicial punishment as a result. He did however lower it from the maximum to a lesser punishment, “for showing integrity that day.” I was then “retrained” on Army Values, specifically Integrity, and told to “get back to work.”

 

Less than two weeks later I was implicated in an impropriety. It was brought to my company commander’s attention that I had informed an applicant attempting to the join the Army not to reveal an arson charge he received and the resulting rehabilitation program he completed as a juvenile. I informed the company commander that he had never told me of an arson charge at any time and had only ever mentioned a single minor infraction as a juvenile that was of no consequence so I never listed it, as was common practice at my previous duty station. I was then informed that I had committed a serious offense and my conduct would be reported to the battalion commander again. I am fully aware that as a Sergeant First Class my mastery of the regulation in my chosen field is my responsibility and I am not attempting to deflect blame. It is my intent to highlight the glaring differences in environment between my previous station and my current. While the company commander continually insisted that he had already noticed a positive change in me and that he would assist me at every step in the process by which I was to receive my punishment, I still feel as though I was not properly briefed and that it may already be too late to do anything else to defend myself and present myself to the battalion commander in a way that more reflective of the Soldier I truly am.

 

Once again today I received a monthly review of my work ethic. I was informed that while my “numbers” had clearly improved, upon deeper scrutiny it actually had not. Instead of meeting only three-fifths of my projected goal, I in fact, only met one quarter of my goal, because the other fraction of work was not the direct result of my specific and dedicated efforts, and therefore I could not take credit for them. While I was never explicitly told by the commander that this was disappointing to him, I was later informed by my team leader that once again I had provided him with more evidence that would support the point of view that I am a sub-par Soldier who is not suited to this job or the Army organization as a whole. My team leader then proceeded to counsel me, under guidance (or perhaps more accurately pressure) by the commander on my individual shortcomings as a prospector (once again in direct violation current of USAREC policy) and that I had now nine months to improve my standing with the commander. I was then informed that next year, because of the non-judicial punishment proceeding, that the battalion leadership would insist on a “No” under “Integrity” on my next NCOER and that in the following nine months I had a near-insurmountable task ahead in convincing the company commander to defend and hopefully prevent the “No” from appearing on my NCOER.

 

Obviously this doesn’t even cover the fact that I believe I was being discriminated against because I am a Reservist and I am still being discriminated against for seeing a therapist and have now been denied two possible experiences that would benefit me for the purpose of promotion as a result. There are also two other Soldiers in the company who are likely suffering similar discrimination. As well there is the issue that those same Soldiers are experiencing the same leadership failure from company leadership with regard to their issue as well. That is specifically: leadership not following up at any time since the issue was reported.

 

Never before has anyone questioned my integrity with the severity I have experienced under this particular command. However what is worse to me, never before have I personally and professionally been treated with such disrespect while my rank, my knowledge, my experience and my record appear to have been outright ignored. I do not know what I did to this leadership team when they first arrived to deserve this treatment.

 

Not once did anyone in the current company leadership ask the question, “How does a SFC with a spotless record for nearly twelve years, an APFT score of +235 (which also happened to be an improvement over his previous APFT score six months prior) and a sparkling NCOER turn to illegal substances, nearly lose his family to divorce and end up hospitalized for suicide in just four months after PCSing?” I also have reason to believe that no echelon of leadership above the company was ever made aware of my hospitalization or later issues. I was informed recently by an incoming Sergeant Major at battalion level that I needed to take care of myself and my family first, above my duty and mission accomplishment and yet I feel like leadership at multiple levels is actively trying to prematurely end my Army career, subsequently preventing me from doing exactly that.

 

I’ll tell you how a Soldier suffers such a downward spiral in four months: No incoming counseling, no meeting with company leadership and no initial 30 day NCOER upon my arrival to this unit, followed by continual assurances from company leadership that I am worthless, threats of maximum non-judicial punishment for non-punishable “offenses” and eventually a new leadership team that promises to fix all the company’s problems but never actually addresses the welfare or well-being of each individual Soldier. A perfect example would be a URAC form I completed two months prior to being hospitalized that showed me as high risk; all the warning signs of a depressed individual were clearly there. A better example would be a falsified URAC that was completed by my team leader (after speaking to a suicide counselor but before being transported to the hospital) but signed by the First Sergeant the day I went to the hospital. Perhaps I should mention that the company leadership lived within walking distance of my family on post and never made more than one attempt (after COB the first day I was hospitalized) to contact my family or to find out if they were in need in any way during my absence.

 

I have always stood up and taken responsibility for mistakes that I have made and been more than willing to learn from them and do better and I have two former team leaders that would speak to that, so do not think that I am trying to get out of my non-judicial punishment for the committing of the impropriety or falsifying data. Both of those team leaders advised me multiple times to contact IG with my issues and though I came close several times I never did. I felt it would be dishonorable to potentially ruin the careers of two men I barely knew and who I was sure deep down did feel as though they were doing their jobs not only correctly but well. I just wanted to be treated like an adult and with the respect that the Army teaches you to give and that NCO’s are conditioned to expect, especially talented and motivated NCO’s that believe in the Army, the Army Values and try to live up to the NCO Creed at all times. I simply wanted to highlight the circumstances that led to the committing of both integrity violations and propose the possibility that if leadership had not failed me perhaps none of this would have ever happened at all. I want to ensure that if I am going to be held accountable for my own lapses in judgement, integrity and leadership, that those who outrank me and are expected to set the example for me and my peers be held to the same standard.

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Pacific Rim

My latest Drunk Live Tweet. I tried to keep the tweets that made it to Twitter as spoiler free as I could. I think I did a pretty good job. Without further ado:

 

Oh, thanks for that definition from Japan.

 

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!

 

Has it occurred to anyone that these things are just poor frightened animals? Have we tried going into the damn fissure?

 

Seeing this, I can only imagine what the Halo movie is finally going to look like.

 

You know what you tell a a Jaeger Pilot? Not much. #OldJoke #PacificRim

 

So what you’re telling me is, the world came together to build something THIS AWESOME! Isn’t that be motivation enough? #PacificRim

 

Eat plasma you freakin’ dinosaur!

 

Eat plasma you Power Ranger Villain reject. #PacificRim

 

Old tin robot. Cute.

 

Canada’s always gotta have the last word. #PacificRim

 

How do alien animals from another dimension adapt to being punched in the face? #PacificRim

 

I wish today’s military would let me grow a mustache like Idris Elba’s.

 

Idris Elba. Damn. #NuffSaid

 

You have got to be kidding me Charlie Day AND Burn Gorman?!

 

Charlie’s five o’clock shadow looks really good in 3D.

 

American bulldog in 3D. Nice #PacificRim

 

I want to mind meld with a giant alien monster animal.

 

Kaiju brain trying to communicate is probably the scariest thing I can think of right now.

 

Clifton Collins Jr. is one of the most underrated actor in Hollywood.

 

That’s pretty sexy looking hair for “rugged and unkempt.” #PacificRim

 

Fighter pilots are the same everywhere.

 

those are some nicely spit-shined black boots. I wish we still used black boots in the Army.

 

Marshall you’re a dick!

 

Wait a minute, something isn’t right here.

 

Human/kaiju drift. #Barf

 

Yep. Something really isn’t right.

 

Idris Elba for Doctor Who. Seriously.

 

So if I can see the sexual tension, what must that feel like when you enter each other’s brains? #PacificRim

 

God dammit, I love Charlie Day. This is his most amazing and impressive role ever. #PacificRim

 

Baby Mako looks so much like my niece it’s scary.

 

This is what the opposite of a good trial run looks like.

 

Hmm… you think that boat with the giant fuck-off horns has something bad going on inside it?

 

Ron. Fucking. Perlman. In gold boots with a golden balisong.

 

Hey, when did I turn on Top Gun? #PacificRim

 

Dude, Marshall Pentecost just told you, TWICE, don’t touch him. I had a platoon sergeant like that once.

 

Everybody stare at the dude who just fucked up. Like he isn’t already self-conscious about it. #PacificRim

 

I love how stereotypical the russians are.

 

I really love the way they gave us tons of giant robots, but didn’t overdo it.

 

Crimson Typhoon is fighting Godzilla from the Roland Emmerich piece of crap. Symbolic? I think so. #Pacific Rim

 

That thing just farted a damn EMP!

 

Oh, snap, your redheaded step-child just became useful. #PacificRim

 

ron Perlman was just channeling Jos Piscopo in Johnny Dangerously! #PacificRim

 

Let us fight about nicknames we don’t like during a life and death scenario, shall we?!

 

Oh suddenly douchebag has respect for the has-been?

Holy shit, Gipsy Danger has Mega Man’s Mega Arm?! #PacificRim

 

Wicked tongue!

 

BATTER UP!

 

Why wasn’t there a videogame for this film?

 

Wait a flying-monster punching minute! Bat wings? Sword? Japanese kill quote? I love Guillermo and I hate Hollywood.

 

Is there a medal for bisecting a kaiji in mid-air? An achievement? Something?

 

Hey, when did I turn on Evolution? #PacificRim

 

Why is the spit pink?

 

Nice jump scare Guillermo.

 

That shot in the mirror is trippy in 3D.

 

Burn Gorman needs to make a guest spot on “Sunny.” What an amazing thing that would be! #PacificRim

 

This is some of the most beautiful CG I have ever seen. I need more!!!

 

GlaDOS is the voice of the Jaegers. Well done Legendary, well done. #PacificRim

 

That’s 2 kaiju bisections in 1 day. that’s very unlikely, but buh-dass as all hell.

 

Oh now you want to take orders. You stupid, honorable sonuvabitch.

 

Chivalry isn’t dead after all.

 

You ever seen a nuclear detonation beneath the ocean? Ya want to?

 

WHY WON’T YOU DIE?!

 

Don’t you understand, movies that involve war of any kind have to follow Murphy’s Law. #PacificRim

 

Can you swim in a plastic suit of armor?

 

Buying the soundtrack. #PacificRim

 

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Suicide is painless?

September 9, 2013

 

Long lonely drive back from Syracuse today after a long and lonely drive up there, despite 5 kids in the van. Had my therapy appointment today and it even seemed like Pam was upset at what I did last week. I know she’s not, she could care less either way, but she clearly saw something that confused her:  how can I have made so much progress and in a single moment fucked it all up. Thoughts of suicide came back. Not serious, not really. Still, when all I want to do is talk to someone I love about it, and everyone else seems too busy with their own shit, it’s depressing. I texted Jared, he responded in a typical Jared fashion and still after the exchange was over, I felt as though he doesn’t want to be my friend as much as I want to be his. I wonder if calling Jason my best friend on the podcast hurt his feelings, or if perhaps Heather said something to him that caused him to turn against me again like Andy did before, or has he simply “grown up” and no longer interested in the things I’m interested in and thinks that we have nothing in common anymore? I want to talk to Kristen about how sad I am, how sad this makes me, but I get the feeling from her that she’s too upset with her own issues that she couldn’t care about mine. As I type this out I realize how stupid it sounds and I remember that I should never assume anything. Let the other person tell me if they don’t have time or can’t be bothered, don’t not talk because you think there mind is already made up. And even as I think that, I then think I still probably won’t.

 

I think about stories I’ve heard that suicidal people go on meds only to get better enough to actually go through with it and I wonder if that’s why my thoughts have returned. I think I should go to the Mental Illness Happy Hour forums and talk to others and then I think, “No, that’s one more thing I don’t have the time for.” Bad grammar notwithstanding. I hate ending a sentence with a preposition. I think that SFC Hawkins is right that I need to take care of this and myself first, and that I can trace my specific work-related issues right back to that moment in November. Then I think I need to send up that IG complaint before they try to kick me out of the Army. And then I talk myself out of it.

 

Maybe I should call Tim again, I think. But then that means admitting to him that I’m a giant piece of shit. Yesterday for the first time in a long time I felt awesome because Brad Trachtman told me I was funny, and smart and he liked the way my brain worked. Today I realize that someday in the future someone could say of me, “Hey did you know that Jesse Holt was in the Army once? He was even a recruiter,” just like people talk of other celebrities who used to serve in the military. Today, I get home and I’m sad, hungry, depressed, angry. Kristen is upset because we won’t have the money we need to pay our bills at the end of the month. meanwhile I stare at the 60” tv, think about the 55” in the other room and don’t say a thing because I’d rather not have a fight right now.

 

All I want to do is crawl into my black leather chair and meditate. Perhaps hopefully have an out of body experience which is why I started meditating in the first place and knowing I’ll probably fail at that too. So, instead I sit here in the dark, writing out how I feel, regretting everything I’ve done this entire day, fuck, for the last whole month really, and thinking that wrecking my car and killing myself in a way that couldn’t be proven as suicide would be the best thing to happen to everyone I know. Last time I felt like this, I had lots of alcohol in my system. This time there is none. What to do?

 

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Video Friday

liltooclinical:

NICE! Way to go Patty!

Originally posted on DiHard:

My good friend Patty Marvel did her first stand up set!!  It is a solid performance for a first time person!  She is adorable and has a great deal of potential.  I hope that she keeps it going!

Here is an extra feature for your eyes!  2 Nerds 1 Podcast produced the first of what I hope to be many videos about cooking for the lazy time challenged person!  I am equally horrified and amused by this video.  Go Joe and T$!!

View original

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Important Questions

Just very recently I finally came to terms with the reality that is:  I have Adult ADHD. I just turned thirty-one, mind you. Tonight I’m sitting here with my wife at the lake as we stare out of the bay windows and drink some wine and I asked her, “What are you thinking about?”

Her response:  “That’s a lot of boats heading that way.”

“Really!?”

Slightly irritated now she says, “Yeah?” As if to say, “So, what of it?”

That scares the shit out of me because at the very same moment I was thinking about a song from an episode of “Thrilling Adventure Hour: Sparks Nevada, Marshall on Mars,” what it was I did earlier today that upset her so, how would I get a haircut before Monday, how would I also trim my facial hair before then, “Dammit, it’s my fault I didn’t pack a razor even though Kristen packed my suitcase for this trip,” “Is that couch a foldout bed,” “What am I going to do about work Monday,” and a handful of other things that I can’t recall precisely at this moment. This is what it’s like for me all the time. It never stops; it never slows down.

This is the only way it has ever been my whole life! Now I’m struggling to understand that it isn’t like this for other people. My brain isn’t anymore special or exceptional than anyone else’s, I don’t think anyway, but is it really that calm in other peoples’ heads? Is it really possible to only be thinking about one thing at a time at any given moment? That doesn’t make a single gods damned bit of sense to me!

This line of thinking of course has only opened up completely new thoughts and questions. I am taking medication for my “condition,” which I only call it that because I think it’s jacked up to call it a disorder, or an illness, or any other word that means “abnormal,” and I know that when I’m on it I am a different person. I’m less impulsive, less animated, among other things. I’m also in therapy to help me cope with my bad decision making that has plagued me most of my life and how I can improve it. My therapist tells me that what I really need is an expert on these medications to properly adjust the dosage I am on to maximize the good it can do for me. Does this mean that if my dosage is adjusted properly and it improves my mental state even more that my mind will be as calm as Kristen’s at moments like these? Is that really a good thing, I wonder? Can I even handle that?

I don’t know, as I’m just beginning to learn that psychotropic meds have effects beyond what we can predict, not to mention that when your mental state really does change things that made complete sense to you before seem completely insane later. I don’t think I even want my mind to be that calm. It’s not that I necessarily like the chaos that’s going on up there all the time, but if my mind really is capable of a dozen thoughts a minute, is it really wise to be reducing that to one a minute rather than attempting to harness that power to do truly great things someday?

I’m also angry. I can’t say if it’s justified or not, but I’m angry that other people appear to have no conception what it’s like to be drowning in thought twenty-four seven. I’m angry that medical professionals who may or may not know this feeling are telling me and others like me what normal is and is not. I’m angry that I can’t say certain things without it sounding like I’m actually saying, “The voices in my head said…” and immediately branded a crazy person. I’m angry that at this point I probably sound that way to some people already.

I also have no outlet for this anger. My old outlet is no longer an option. Suffice it to say, this only makes me angrier. It doesn’t help that sometimes it feels like the only person who understands is my therapist, which is a phrase I had hoped I would never, ever in my life say because I feel it makes it look as though I’ve made poor decisions forever and ever. The anger gives way to pain when I start to think that no one else can help me either, especially the ones closest to me whom I want help from the most.

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Prometheus Observations in Tweet Form

Charlize Theron saying “you cut me off” is unnecessary and bad filmmaking. #UnnecessarySpokenDialogue #PrometheusLiveTweet

Truly, this movie is better in 3D on my couch.

Why did the captain get out of the freakin’ ship?! #GenuinelyStupidDecision

Why is alien rubber always disgusting, wet and squishy?

Oh I get it! David has a soul and Vickers doesn’t! #ImDumb #MassiveSpoiler

Not much hotter than Charlize Theron with a flamethrower.

Is this how the seed stuff in the beginning affects humans or was that bio weapon?

This was a really unnecessary closeup of Shaw.

Noomi is no Sigourney.

The squid baby would probably convince my wife to never watch another movie I pick out ever again.
If that didn’t, Zombie Fifield would.

Zombie Fifield also doesn’t make any sense by the way. Just sayin’.

How did she run so freaking fast after an abdominal surgery you ask? Rewatch the film, she was mighty freaking high.

I would like to point out that even eighty years from now space travel wont be this dramatic, not ever.

Ideas Elba. Damn. #NothingMore #ReusedTweet *wink*

Not sure what a gentle nuzzle of the hand was supposed to mean.

I truly don’t believe that level of misogyny will exist in the future. I’m probably sadly, horribly wrong.

The ship’s crew just saw the science team get executed by an alien and the bridge is completely calm?!

If being thrown to the ground by the exhaust of a SPACESHIP TAKING OFF doesn’t break the helmet, a human zombie fist wouldn’t.

The entire shot of the spacecraft crashing, from Idris Elba yelling “Hands up!” to when Shaw wakes up magically still alive, was probably the scariest thing I can possibly think of. #Prometheus3DRewatch †

That is a ridiculous axe for a spaceship.

Why is it spaceship and not spaceplane or space*

How is David still on the floor after that crash?

If it wasnt either of those two previous things, giant facehugger in all of it graphic, hi-def, face-raping, terror would tell my wife I’m never to be trusted with movie night again.

They were so afraid of humans reaching the stars they created a weapon that killed themselves. Does that not terrify you?

I wish somebody had stopped Fox from including the xenomorph.

I think I may re-edit this movie.

*Unfinished thought

†Posted with accompanying photo on Tumblr (liltooclinical.tumble.com)

Hashtags  included for personal reasons.

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The Amazing Peter Parker

So with the year 2012 behind us, I’ve finally got a chance to revisit nearly every big comic book film from the comfort of my own home. I firmly believe that a little distance and time always enhances a viewing experience, so six months after the initial release of the questionable Spider-Man reboot a mere ten years after the last Spider-Man origin tale, here is my ultimate review of “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

I’m a firm believer that a good comic book movie does multiple things right and this film makes good on that promise. Some of the best written Spider-Man comics have moments of pure, awkward life, delivered from the perspective of real-life, that is:  the ones the readers live outside of the comic book realm. Peter Parker awkwardly responding to a date invitation in the wake of a moment of triumph over high-school nemesis Eugene “Flash” Thompson or being found in the bedroom of the teenaged daughter of a police captain, despite the innocence of it, by said police captain are perfect examples that this film does particularly well. These scenes elicit a well-meaning chuckle from me, as well as the movie-going audience with which I originally viewed the film, because we can relate but any avid reader of Marvel comics will tell you that these are a common occurrence in the pages of a Spider-Man book.

While this entry in the franchise did tread on well-worn ground, for comic and film fans alike, it provided enough new information as well as a fresh take on the source material that in fact yielded two outcomes:  it was a new hook for film fans to draw them into what would otherwise be a simple remake but also a wink to eagle-eyed comic fans who’ll recognize it as a reference obscure plotlines during a time when Marvel was playing with new directions for the character. A third, possibly unintended but certainly welcome (to me anyway) was that it took previously unlikely coincidences, like Peter’s intellect and innate ability as a scientist, and gave them context.

This brings me to my biggest point and why I find this adaptation the best Hollywood has managed to do so far:  for the first time in the franchise the characters were true to their four-color counterparts.  Peter wasn’t just an outcast at school, he was a nerd, a geek, a dweeb, pick your perjorative for an intellectual recluse; he embodied it. He did the things he enjoyed, did well in school and got mistreated for it, but most importantly, he was a science enthusiast. I’ve heard the argument made that in this film Andrew Garfield’s Peter was the loosest interpretation of the mild-mannered half of the character and that the previous films captured Peter’s awkwardness and insecurity better but I think the greatest misstep the previous trilogy made was the almost complete omission of Peter’s genius-level intellect and his powerful desire to be a scientist. I would argue that Peter, even in the oldest day’s of the comic, even in the Ultimate Marvel Universe (where this film seems to take some inspiration) may have been awkward but not insecure. Even before being granted his amazing abilities, Peter always showed a comfort with who he is, despite the way others may have felt about him or treated him while his awkwardness was simply a result of his prioritization of his mental health over his physical fitness. Here we see Peter stand up to a bully and lose, well aware of the implications this event might have on his standing in the high-school hierarchy. The on-point characterizations don’t end their though.
Unlike the third Raimi film, Gwen here is an amazing intellect herself who just so happens to be an attractive young woman and not a damsel in distress who’s really only just a plot device by which to generate more conflict between Eddie Brock and Peter. She’s not only intelligent, she’s a strong woman and really a role model, heroic in her own way without super powers.  Denis Leary gave one of the best performances as a passionate law-enforcement officer I’ve ever seen in a film about superheroes, himself also true to his comic book persona. Dr. Connors, though the “baddie” of the film was actually a sympathetic and compelling character in his own right; someone who did the wrong things but for the right reasons. Plus, in a delightful change of pace, not only was he not killed in the third act, he attempted to redeem himself, but only he put himself in a place that would be key to bringing him back later, again, like a good comic book would.

To continue, in what I would call some of the most genius casting since Robert Downey, Jr. became Tony Stark, Martin Sheen and Sally Field as the venerable Uncle Ben and Aunt May couldn’t have been better! Though only brief, we got to see them as concerned relatives, playful parents and passionate caregivers. I cried when Uncle Ben died because I knew how much hurt Peter was going to have in his life without him. I wanted to hug May when she tried to argue for Peter after he missed his responsibility because that’s something my Mom has done for me. As a parent I have a whole new respect for those two because it’s never been more clear to me how frustrating it can be to want to help someone who keeps refusing it. Finally, in the most pleasant surprise of the piece, watching Flash go from being a bully to a decent human being and witnessing the start of his Spider-Man fandom, another wink to long-time readers, was fantastic.

I quite enjoyed the first trilogy of Spider-films that Sony gave us, despite my massive distaste for the three biggest names attached to them but it was pretty clear that by 3, audiences could no longer relate to Peter or Mary Jane and if Joel Schumacher showed us nothing else it’s that too many villains in a film just can’t work. A recommended listen for any who are so inclined would be the Spider-Man 3 episode of Earwolf’s “How Did This Get Made?” podcast. A point they make very early on in their review was that any adolescent Spider-Man fan would have no reason to pay attention to most of the film that doesn’t feature characters in colorful costume, and likely irritated by those scenes. Perfect examples would be the work-place tension between Peter and competing photographer Eddie Brock, the scenes detailing the failing broadway career of Mary Jane or the love triangle between Peter, Mary Jane and Harry. I’d also like to point out that a love triangle featured into all three Raimi Spider-films. I’m not saying that the director didn’t know his characters or conversely didn’t know his audience, but when a Spider-Man movie features a bad Saturday Night Fever homage where the characters in the movie itself are making fun of Peter Parker (watch the women he passes as he walks down the street if you don’t believe me), perhaps you’re no longer right for the job.

My criticisms of the old films aside, this time around, even Spider-Man was more Spider-man-ey than before, actually being quippy and funny, taunting the Lizard as he actually lost the fight. Spider-Man might be strong and fast and able to sense danger early, but Peter Parker is still a kid who gets things wrong and therefore, Spider-Man gets beat up, repeatedly.
All in all, I’d say it was brilliant and regardless of the reason Sony approved, produced and released it, I’d say it was a fantastic effort. I look forward to the next one. My only fear, and it’s likely to be justified, is that eventually more corporate nonsense will muddy up a future effort. I’ll withhold judgement until that time comes however.

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The Dark Knight Rises, Part 1 – Drunk Live Tweet rough draft

Drunk Live Tweet – The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 draft

As is normal, the following is a list of all tweet sized observations, jokes or comments I make while watching the film and drinking alcoholic beverages. Jokes followed by the hashtag are goo enough to make it to Twitter, those that don’t either do not possess my full confidence or I deem them to be unworthy of tweeting. Let the games begin!

The drink: I call it Michelangelo – two shots of Three Olive’s “Dude”vodka in a tall glass of Sunkist Orange. #TDKRP1

It’s both a work of art AND a Ninja Turtle reference! #NerdDoubleKill #TDKRP1

Oh yeah! I forgot it starts with a race!. Sounds wonderful. Nice Dredd helmet. #TDKRP1

OOH EVEN BETTER! A Speed Racer squint! #TDKRP1

She don’t know him very well, do she?

Heh, “nailing the Mutants.” #UnintentionallySexyTweet #TDKRP1

Whenever someone calls Commissioner Gordon, “Jim” I immediately think of Bones. #NotEmilyDeschanel #TDKRP1

“Dammit Jim, I’m a playboy, not a vigilante!” – DeForest Kelly as Bruce Wayne #TDKRP1

*monotone* Ooh. Wow. What a surprise, a reminder of his parents. How original. #TDKRP1

Do people really squint and shake their heads like that when they have nightmares? Looks silly.

Very good music though, gotta say. #TDKRP1

QUICK, TO A PSYCHIATRIST! HE’S SLEEP SHAVING! (Thanks to @TheOperatorGWC) for this one. #TDKRP1

Some of this voicework in the Harvey Dent scene kinda bad and by kinda bad I mean really not good. Don’t think they were using the right emotions. *

Some of this voicework in the hospital is kinda bad and by that I mean terrible. Don’t think they were using the right emotions. #TDKRP1

I am really loving how well they recreated some of the iconic moments thus far though. #TDKRP1

Really uncomfortable by the use of “mommy” in that mugging. #TDKRP1

What a freakin’ stupid pimp. You’re handed out wads of cash and you’re blaming the ho for your troubles?

OOH! THERE SHE IS! That could have sounded a little less creepy. #TDKRP1

Talk about a chiseled jaw.

That’s a good sign. The cops can’t even keep a positive attitude about their performance.

YES! THE BEST BATMAN COVER EVER!!! #TDKRP1

Much better use of the rookie cop and the vet than in “Rises.”

I’d just like to point out that in real life, cops are not trained to use the word “freeze.” Never been sure what that’s about on TV. #TDKRP1

The vet cop telling the rookie to quit pestering the crazy, huge vigilante was priceless! #TDKRP1

I’m so glad that somebody finally commented on the hyperbole idiots use when interviewed on TV.

Sure, he’s not guilty, we’ll let him go. Not like there’s a sociopath with endless assets at his disposal on the loose or anything. #TDKRP1

“Good ol’ Betty.” – Jim Gordon “You named the batsignal, boss?” -rookie “I AM THE COMMISSIONER!” #TDKRP1

Because as we all know, grown men wearing superhero t-shirts are always taken seriously and not viewed as man-children. #TDKRP1

Goddamn that is some impressive animation!

Nice Harvey, this guy is clearly on drugs. Where do you find these people? #TDKRP1

Running on a tightrope hundreds of feet in the air where the wind blows just because after ten years is easy! Like riding a bike. #TDKRP1

Aww, Paget Brewster’s voice was a delight until I saw the character’s face. #TDKRP1

Nice! They kept in the magazine rack with the DC Comics on it. Nice.

I remember this movie! I think it was Elizabeth Shue and something about babysitting? #TDKRP1

So apparently the Robin costume also grants amazing gymnastic powers. Musta missed that comic. #TDKRP1

Remember when you complained about the baby shitting himself, now you know how I feel. – Batman #TDKRP1

Intermission – Need another Michelang– OH MY GOD DID THAT JUST HAPPEN!? #TDKRP1

Yea for the Bat-Tank! #TDKRP1

Wait, is that RoboCop in the Batmobile? #TDKRP1

Martial art powers locked in them green bikini shorts too apparently. #TDKRP1

Y’know Bruce, can I call you Bruce, they may be less-than-lethal arms, but they just fell in front of your tank, that you didn’t stop driving. *

Y’know Bruce, can I call you Bruce, they may be rubber bullets, but if they fall in front of your tank… #TDKRP1

I wanto to tell that girl she made a poor life choice by being here in the voice of Matt Foley. #ChrisFarley #TDKRP1

Oh and Bruce, suffocation can kill someone.

“Little girl, what do you want to do with your life?” “I want to watch giant, sweaty men fight in the landfill.” #TDKRP1

The music in this film is oddly reminiscent of Tron Legacy.

“Dick called it the Batmobile, something a kid would say”. Really? I think a kid would have called that “Giant Tank of Doom,” or something equally spurious. *

“Dick called it the Batmobile, something a kid would say”. Really? I think a kid would have called that “Giant Tank of Doom.” #TDKRP1

Wait, why is Lana editor at the Daily Planet? My memory must be pretty fuzzy.

Much of the mod fashion in this is so very questionable. #TDKRP1

I think that guy with the fake sharp teeth just ate the fat guy! #TDKRP1

Oh, I completely forgot that the leg brace in “Rises” had a precedent here with the shoulder brace.

I’m not sure I understood a single word these Mutants said. #TDKRP1

I wonder if all of the references that date this piece of fiction to the 80’s are lost on a majority of this audience? #TDKRP1

BATMAN FACE ME! After I clean this poop water off. #TDKP1

If fights were readable in sign language, Batman just told that whole audience “Your leader is a bee-otch!” #TDKRP1

“I’m outie 5000, yo!” -Jim Gordon #TDKRP1

This was the creepiest scene in the whole darn thing. #Finale

This was the BEST scene in the whole darn thing! Gave me chills! #Finale #TDKRP1 Ed. Corrected myself, clarified my point.

This concludes the live-tweet of The Dark Knight Rises, part 1. Please don’t let my last interaction of the day be from a bot. #TDKRP1 Ed. My last “at reply” on Twitter was from a bot called Bixby Snyder in reference to my RoboCop tweet. Bixby Snyder the sitcom character featured in the original RoboCop film.

*Adjusted to fit the Twitter character limit

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Cabin in the Woods Live tweet draft.

As per usual, the hashtag “CabinInTheWoods” designates a tweet that made it to Twitter. At 15 min from the end of the movie, I was told to “shut the fuck up will ya” and realized I might have been a bit spoilery. Trying my best to keep this organized and understandable.

What a boring opening to OH MY GOD! #CabinInTheWoods

Yup I dance naked in front of my windows in broad day light when the neighbors can see.

I want that coffee thermos! #CabinInTheWoods

Is this the same facility where Buffy fought that Frankenstein thing? When did I turn on Buffy? #CabinInTheWoods

The stoned guy is my hero.

Dirty old man is HILARIOUS! And Terrifying.

Did I just see a bird fly into a TV? Why is their RV on a giant tv right now?

Two way in the bedroom! #BestCabinTripEver

Joss Whedon found a way to make awkward sexy. Sexual Harassment too.

Creepy house. Best resolution is dirty lakewater.

Nerdy guy making everyone uncomfortable in the office. #ImInAMovie #CabinInTheWoods

Stoner just called a wolf head a moose.

Did that girl just flirt with the *

Drunk girl making out with the werewolf. I think that might be illegal in some states.

If actual teenagers were reciting these lines, they’d be awkward, breathy and uncomfortable. #CabinInTheWoods

Scary movie physics: the inside of mansions are bigger than the outside.

Now he just dicking with us.

She’s a redheaded Buffy!

The stoner thinks he’s dreaming.

This 5th dimensional stuff is exactly what I’ve been jamming on all week! #CabinInTheWoods

We’ve got dirty Buffy and redhead Buffy. Another love-letter to Kitty Pryde. #CabinInTheWoods

Or is that supposed to be Dawn? It should have been Dawn. #CabinInTheWords

Puppeteers. Stoner guy just figured it out.

Drunk Thor. That’s what it looks like Avengers fans! #CabinInTheWoods

When was the last time you were in the woods in the dark? Never been that drunk. Nope.

Crime on Film: Voyeurism. #CabinInTheWoods

Orga–DAGGER IN MY HAND! #CabinInTheWoods

That was probably the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen.

Little Nemo on the bud. #CabinInTheWoods

That guy reminds me of my brother-in-law. Not sure if that’s a good thing.

Nice call back stoner guy!

A real teenage girl would be having an honest-to-God breakdown right now. #CabinInTheWoods

I’d like to see an edit of this movie where we don’t see the lab sequences. #CabinInTheWoods

Aww, don’t kill stoner guy. Ooh, nice Ash moment.

Calling the twist: This is all happening inside the human body, bacteria fighting off an infection. #WhatATwist #CabinInTheWoods

It’s ok baby I got y–BEAR TRAP IN THE BACK! #CabiInTheWoods

Frat boy is invulnerable. #CheatCode #CabinInTheWoods

Meanwhile, in Japan. #CabinInTheWoods

Fred from Angel is a cute lab tech.

Hell’s Locker Room?

Perfect place for an intermission #NeedABeer #CabinInTheWoods

That dirt-biking sequence was better than anything. Ever. #CabinInTheWoods

Scary movie logic: pretty girl *

Finished thought post film: Scary movie logic: pretty girl is also invulnerable.

Nerdy guy makin’ it weird again. Accidentally. No one cares. #ImInThisMovie #CabinInTheWoods

That was the best filmed office party scene .IN. THE. UNIVERSE!!!!

Stoner guy, really? Now stoner kids are our action heroes? He’s still nerding it up.

“Do we want to go down?” “Where else are we gonna go?” Puff on a doob. Hipster chic.

Is that a windo-THAT’S A REAL FREAKING WEREWOLF IN THERE! #CabinInTheWoods

CREEPY LITTLE GIRL! DON’T TURN A ROUND! #CabinInTheWoods

RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION TANTRUM!

So, what? Does this imply mid-twenties supermodel beauties are someone’s personal nightmare? #CabinInTheWoods

Stoner guy, thank you on the bottom with that little assist zombie arm. #CabinInTheWoods

Finished thought after the movie: Stoner guy, “Thank you on the bottom with that little assist zombie arm.” *wink*

Sorry kids, ritual torture is a sad reality. We can’t kill the ugly ones, are you kidding? They outnumber us like, 10 to 1. Seriously. #CabinInTheWoods

This is a Greek myth, told in a modern way. Pandora’s Box cracking open. #CabinInTheWoods

I’m sure the power will come right back on–GIANT BAT IN THE HALLWAY! #CabinInTheWoods

Oh, yeah, of course, the Clown and Unicorn killing riots of Doube-aught 6. That was a horrible year in the United States of *

Went for a future joke, couldn’t think of a future name for America, gave up.

Cute red head always knows *

I literally cried at the mer man. I. CRIED. *sniff* #DontJudge #CabinInTheWoods

Shakespearian?

Ooh, Sigourney. Nice.

Typical Whedon. Unbelievable fight. Still loved it.

Creepy girl who’s in everything. Also nice.

Smokin’ a doob at the end of the world. Sounds good.

Ooh, end it on a philosphical note. Nicest.

Wow, they actually did that. That just happened. #CabinInTheWoods
Starred (*) lines are unfinished thoughts.

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