Wednesday, November 27, 2013

link and rum?

Curious. Is there some special way I should be starting these? Like, if I had to guess, I imagine most of my posts start with "So..." or, some sort of fumbled "Oh, I should post something!" But let's be honest...

Who cares? Heh.

Annnnyhow. I was driving the shuttle for my hotel this morning (the typical shuttle gentleman has taken a new job, thus giving the hotel a way to not cut hours as we head into our slow months) and I had a fairly interesting trip. Normally, conversation goes something like this; Patron: "Hey! Tell me about this thing I see! Or, maybe I'll ask you if you've always lived in pittsburgh!" Me: "Hey! I may or may not have any idea about what random landmark you've pointed out's history is. And, yes! Sorta. Mostly."

But this one went haywire after that. A mother and daughter, the latter college aged, hop on to go to Oakland. They ask me if I've lived here all my life, blah blah, oh the mother is from DC but daughter was born here... But, while we're heading up Bates, Mother tells me that her girl was born right here at prestigious Magee's hospital. The daughter points out that many abortions happen there.


I feel the hairs on my neck lifting. Standing on edge. The shuttle is quiet, and everyone (probably just me) is holding their breath. They don't know me. They don't know how many strong opinions I have. Should I be quiet and let it pass? Should I say something, at risk, to see what side of the abortion debate they stand on? Do I really want to invite something like that into this drive? And, worse, do I want to risk my tip?!

If you know me, you know I have absolutely no way to keep myself from speaking.

"... Well, a lot of babies are Born there, too. It's a hospital that caters specifically to women and all..." It's hard to write in tone, but trust me, it was a prodding one. Sort of jab-y, should you be against abortion. Making light, and all.

What luck! The girl was pointing that out just because she's seen the protesters. /wipeforehead Good enough. What begins next is a fairly amusing discussion on the first amendment rights given to us by the US Constitution. It wasn't in depth, but it Was thrilling... How often to you get to talk about things like that, understanding that some peoples views may be distasteful (to ourselves), but that they're entitled to yell it from whatever soapboxes they can climb on. It wasn't exactly a discussion at some high, well versed level, but I loved it more because it wasn't. It was normal people, a mother and daughter that I assume very rarely let the thought trouble their minds, just getting into a civil discussion with a stranger. On something important. I loved it. We then touched upon Neo-Nazi's and more heavily on the KKK.

Not that this is the first of it's kind I've experienced. Not on hate-speech and such, but I did get to enjoy an interesting discussion on taxation from a gentleman I was bringing back from a job-required workshop at CMU. Just, randomly, came upon the topic, and the merits of and the cons against. I let the gentleman know that he could go and fix that system, and that I'd handle an issue I found to be just as pressing to the economy (student loan debt).

Somehow, I doubt we'll fix anything, but it was refreshing. I almost feel like it's weird to enjoy those two happenstances so much, but looking back... They're highlights. It gives me faith in the world, in a small way.

Just a fun thought bouncing around in my head, kids.

Good Night!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

svu marathon fun.

So, this may be something that was worth writing pretty long ago. Well, not really Long ago. Maybe a couple months.

My father died, a couple of months back. Life was really hectic. Honestly, without looking at some e-mails about filming, or talking to my mom or brother, I wouldn't be able to tell you the exact day. I was sleeping when it happened, because I'd been doing the night shifts with him in the hospital, and I slept when I just couldn't be there any longer.

Calling him father seems like such bullshit. He was my dad. Not my father. I never called him that. Too impersonal, too cold and correct. He was never an impersonal or cold person. A lot of who I am comes from that. A lot of my anger, too, I think, but that's ok. I loved him, and he loved me, and he knew that. I do to, but that doesn't make things much easier.

I've not put enough thought into all this (the writing and post part, at least), but in the amount I have, I know I haven't really dealt with it perfectly. It's hard to. I spend most of my life trying to be practical, or pragmatic. How can you talk to people about your dad dying? If they're not some professional, how fair is it? "Hey! Mind if I intrude on your emotions and good day with my shitty ones?" It feels... Less than friendly, doesn't it? I know, I Really know it won't make it much easier on me, but it Will be rough on them. There's a whole bevy of expectations there. One has to exhibit all the correct emotions socially, if they don't care, and if they do, I don't want to put someone through that. So, the slight comfort I might feel comes at the expense of my friends comfort, and I don't like that. I don't agree with that math, so I just put it away. I think I experience it, but I know I'm just setting it aside for Future Mike. Past Mike is a bit of a thoughtless jerk.

But, hey! A couple glasses in, and it makes it a bit easier to think about it all without that same practiced tact.

I miss him. He had faults, and plenty of them, but so do I. And I knew I wouldn't have him long... He had me so late in life, it was only a matter of time. But I really had hoped he'd get to meet any children I had. It makes me so damn conflicted, wanting to be mad and sad at the same time. He could have lived longer, but I honestly don't know how much he wanted to.

By the by, it was cancer that got him. But, I know it was from a whole laundry list of things that really did it. Cancer was just a result. He was an unhappy man. A lot of things happened in his life that I think, unaccomplished and amateur psychologist that I am, led to him just never feeling truly comfortable wherever he was. Though, I think me and my brother brought him close to comfort. He stayed, and I honestly think he had only the best intentions, if not the strongest willpower.

I apologize if all this is just rambling and branching into thousands of directions. I didn't really start this with any real concept of what I wanted to say beyond that I miss my dad, and I wish I were a little worse at handling it. Pragmatism might be the worst of the 'good' traits I like to think I exhibit. Synonyms? "Sensible. Practical. Commonsensical." I like to point out another. "Hardheaded." Fits me like a well tailored suit.

My dad was a good man. He made me angry, and I him. It was out of love. I loved him with every bit of myself, and I know he felt the same way about me, even if we were both so bad at showing it. What we did, we did with good intentions at the heart of them. I wish I'd had more time with him, to see him using his goofy, ridiculous humor to amuse the kids I hope someday to have. I wish I could have talked to him before he went, to have back the time the delirium he was in (drug and cancer induced) stole from me. I would have liked to have had time to put together the right words, to explain how much he'd taught me (to do, and what not to do) and how grateful I was and am that he was my father. The world will always be a bit darker, grimmer without him walking it. I don't think you can ever claim to be an honest adult with your parents alive... There will always be a warm, delightful, protective bubble. The world can't truly be as scary a place with your dad around to protect you. It's different now. Everything is real.

Well. Sorry. I really don't mean to impose on anyone's day. It's just nice to write, cry, and put some of these emotions of mine out. Better out, than in, right? Anyhow. Back to your normally scheduled lives.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

that was me.

First four days are done. I've just gotten home, and I keep feeling like I've got plenty rattling around in my head to make a half-decent post on here.

So, let's begin with the major thing. College classes. Last three (hopefully) that I'll ever have to take, and then I'll have that elusive, illustrious scrap of paper that will tell everyone "Hey! This guy! He's cool! Totally worth your time!" Except, of course, it doesn't really. Just tells you that I've forked over the money to pay for the new over-hyped highschool. But, whatever. Three classes, two sociology, one psych, all looking to be fairly easy. Sociological Theory may be a pest, with it's tiny papers and fairly... I don't know. How do I describe the professor? She's a sweet lady. Very nice. I'd give her a 5, though, on a scale of terrible to great. Nothing phenomenal. Soc 362, Racial and Ethnic Minorities is right up my alley I suppose, though I'm loath to admit it. I try to be all socially aware. The class though, I get the feeling it'll just devolve into really low-level thinking on the subject, which will most likely leave me grumpy and argumentative.

But here I am, thinking of them as average and myself any better than them. Ugh. It's whatever. I just wish the class had a few different, more interested individuals in it. As it is, most are filling a requirement (As am I.).

Then you have Psych, my lab on Cognition and Learning. It's another instance where I'm feeling a little farther along on the curve. I can't wait for us to get on with things, to move past the silly simple introduction to the ideas we'll be covering. Watching some of the other students converse about what is a Positive or Negative punishment or reinforcement, or what is the conditioned/unconditioned stimuli/response just amuses me, but makes me feel somehow like time is wasting.

I guess I just have to admit I'm excited to be doing this again. I haven't felt this interested in academics since freshman year. I -Used- to be a deans list level student. I hated looking over my transcript and seeing that phrase earlier on in my college career, and then where I managed to go after that. But who cares. I feel up to the challenge, refreshed and ready to see what I can take from some subjects I actually find interesting.

It's also crazy how I Still know people on campus. I've been gone so long, and I still find myself getting pulled aside, hailed, still hear my name floating about. It's enough to give a guy a bigger ego. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it's great to know that one has left a strong enough impression for someone to either hate you enough to never let it go, or to remember and recognize you through through the changes years put us through. It's nice to have friends out there, and it's, in a way, to know I still have enemies. Only boring people have no enemies, ya know.

The drive, as well, one hour either way... It's a pleasure. It's just long enough to enjoy the solitude, to let myself relax into my music or my thoughts without becoming tedious.

I feel pretty good about this, guys. Don't try to break my stride. It's got me looking at other aspects of my life, things that I've needed to do and haven't gotten to, things that have needed to be dealt with. I keep whining about wanting a cleaner slate, but here I am holding onto things that should have been discarded a Long time ago. Let's see... can I be more obtuse? Can I be more cryptic? Deal with it.

Next thing on the plate... Considering what to do when these loans come in. Being adult is a role I'm never going to totally feel comfortable with.

Fragile Art.

Monday, November 19, 2012

what a scene.

Yeah, it's lame of me to make a post so long after my last. I realize this.

Really, I do.

But... I dunno, fuck you and your expectations if you somehow unrealistically had any. I gotta tell you, when it comes to me it's typically in your best interest to keep expectations Reeeeeeally low. That way I can keep you pleased with the least amount of work, and that sounds delicious to me.

Anyhow! Back to posting.

So. Finished the films. Scott's, my partner in Man and Camera, turned out well. I liked it, and I think it sets us up for more in that vein. I'm not big on the supernatural aspect, but I do love the lack of dialog. And our lead's very camera friendly face. That worked well, and I think we all had a good time getting it together.

Aaaaand then there was mine. Who'd have guessed. I'm not a writer, so, the concept of putting on something penned by myself was fairly frightening to begin with. You have to understand, I not-so-secretly (if you know me well, I suppose) loath putting on things like that. I love my own acting. Oh, how I love my own acting... There's no vulnerability in letting people see that. I'm proud and sure on stage. Now, writing, that's a different story. This is from a kid that used to leave the room to use the restroom in 8th grade when his teacher showed the taped presentations of Spanish speaking done by each student in the class. I can't tell you how naked I'd feel. Shamed, embarrassed, I'd flee a student or two before my part, and then would be back shortly after it ended. Not exactly smooth, but it was easier to deal with than watching. Fast forward to now, and I can hardly watch the film I tried to write, direct, and star in. I'm satisfied with the acting. My opposite in the film was amazing with what he had, though I wish I'd had more time to really impress upon him what I wanted out of the character. I liked my parts. But it... well, it didn't transfer well. People watching my failure as a director to notice how badly it was going, the failure to keep people motivated and working hard despite being burnt out from filming the day before. The lines weren't right, the story doesn't come across.

Watching it as unbiasedly as I could possibly manage, all I saw was a 5 minute film of two strange men talking in an abandoned building. I couldn't really make out the exact things they were talking about, as some of the dialogue just ended up jumbled or wrong, important snippits lost to editing or simply skipped by accident....

Let's put it simply. My film was a growing pain. I feel like I've learned a ton from it... And, first and foremost, it's that I need to never take on that much of the creative process as I did. Three phases? Jeez. I think highly of myself, I guess. Second, I should never write. Period.

But, enough with my bitching on that. I'm so very excited to steal some of Scotts time and see what we can do with a more substantial short film. The ball is already rolling on it, we have the script, we have a director, grip, sound tech, camera/film nerd, one of the three actors.... Basically, most of it's ready to go. We need to drink like fools and finish off our drunken e-mails, make some DVD's of the already finished films to send to the poor shmucks that gave us money. But, we'll get it done, and on track. I can't wait.

Also! I feel like I should, at least here, tell the world that I'm finally set up to finish my damn degree. Three classes at IUP. Just finished applying for financial aid, registered for the classes, I feel like an adult. I'm cleaning myself up and taking the steps required to get myself to the point I should have been years ago.

Sometimes the brakes catch.

But no worries. I'm getting it back into place. I feel pretty secure with my future at this point... Amazing friends, Lauren and I looking into moving in together after her current lease ends, degree finally getting finished, a good job with opportunities to move up just waiting for me to take them. The future seems really bright at this point, like that first step out in the early afternoon. You know, in the winter when the world is covered in snow covered in ice, and the sun is high without clouds to diffuse it, all that light hitting all that white. It makes you have to squint, but it feels right. The first brisk step into the day.

I really need something interesting to blast on here soon. I think I know what I'll talk about, too, if I can bring myself to write again.

Love you kids,

Fragile Art.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

always and never.

I'm feeling those things tonight... What are they called? Umm...

Fuck. Emotes?



If you want to very effectively put me in a half-broken with sadness, half sorta conscious of everything? Make me go through the things I hoard. I'm cleaning out the attic at my parents place, as I'll be living here for a little while and need a space for me to exist without feeling like a hobo, and I can tell you. I hoard, through them. There was So much up there, even after they cleared a decent chunk out. Old school binders and notebooks (from when my handwriting actually resembled that of a respectable adults, as opposed to the embarrassing scrawl I manage these days. Also, I knew math once. I really did.), gaming stations, stuffed animals and toys I used to spend hours making up stories around with my brother. Little scraps of the past, of my life. Things that have ended and past, and tease me. That's a typical thing, though, right? Yearning to return and do these things again.

Save points, bro. That's the one thing life needs. Fuck, I'd never have left my second year of college.

But, there it is. We move on. I did with each bit that was tossed in a discrete black trash bag, tied up, and set to go out to the trash. I give it a 4.3% chance that I rush down to the back porch and rip them open, clutching all those dusty relics to my chest whilst sobbing.

The thing that got me the hardest, which I didn't expect it from? My first cellphone. I know that sounds completely ridiculous, but you have to understand what that tiny combination of plastic and metal symbolizes. It's a portkey, but instead of just transporting over a distance, it takes me through time. That was college, when I still cared about it. When I was interested in my classes (to a point). When I spent hours on it, talking to only one person. I remember being completely conscious of how few minutes I needed, so long as I had unlimited time with at least one person. Remember the whole My Five thing? They could have set me up with a My One, and gave me 30 free minutes for other people a month. I started to text, and that was good enough for dealing with the rest of the world. Waking up to work out with Erick, remembering how he was the only other person with a different ringtone set up, and slowly growing closer to him. The little noise the thing made when it opened, and how it filled almost everyone with amusement when they noticed it. The waterdrop. Tost and Turned, when it felt so right!

Happiness changes, you know? Even then, it was different than the happiness I knew when I was a child, playing as different street fighter characters with my brother in our yard. That was happiness. Hours gaming with him, yelling and pushing. Not a hint of a dark cloud. But, later, oy. Everything was bright and exciting and right around the corner. Looking to the future, but with it as some strange, indistinct thing that you could mold with your mind. Nowadays, I sort of just accept the happiness I find. I have great friends. I have such major things just starting for me... Man and Camera, an easy career in hospitality that it looks like I could mold so easily into, a family that wants nothing but some of my time and an occasional call and hug. There are always dark clouds though. I recognize them and accept them, and do my best to realize it's just how life works. Things are very good, but sometimes I have to be reminded of it.

Growing up, amirite?

But, fuck it. Life is life. I think I'll be doing my best to finish up my re-write for that short film of mine. All this creative energy is flowing, and I should take advantage of it.

Fragile Art.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

*orchestra music from lord of the rings soundtrack*.

Yeah, I do think I'm funny.

Anyhow, look at me! Like I said before, a buddy of mine and I have come together to start working on short films, making a production dual called "Man and Camera." Honestly, being in the circles I'm in, and thinking the way I do, I'm actually a bit defensive of the name we chose. Man? Why Man? Look, it wasn't with any intent to be sexist. It was just the first name that came to mind that fit our ideals when it comes to film, theatre, and acting general. The focus is in the portrayal of the roles, not in the set, the plot, or anything else. That all will be managed with a "work with what you've got" sort of mentality. With that thought process, we're collaborating on two short films. We plan for them to be quite different, but with themes shared throughout. If you have any interest, you should check out our kickstarter!

But, honestly, I've been smiling since we finally got it accepted by Amazon and posted it officially. We were on Skype, video chatting and being goons, and you need to know this. The music we were rocking out to as we posted it? Singing and generally ridiculous? Cake. "Going the Distance." If that doesn't set us up for victory, I don't know what will.

An old friend of mine from my text rp days, back on B.Net, before I found DnD and acting, was the first person to pledge money. It was only a dollar, but can you understand how that made me feel? We hadn't talked in Years. He just happened to still be my friend on facebook out of sheer nostalgia and the fact that he's a witty, amusing fellow. But, nonetheless, we hadn't really communicated in any real way for at least 4-5 years, and he jumped to help me out. That means something, and trust me, I love and appreciate the help from everyone else, but none of the other donations have that same sort of "This is the least expected" feeling.  It had me feeling almost high. Colors were brighter, I was noticing just how beautiful PA was around me as I drove... Grah.

I'm too excited right now.

Fragile Art
"That's a lemon."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

it's been a long hot summer.

The first thing that any good actor learns very fast? You always put on a good face for the world. No matter what is going on in your life, you smile for the rest of the world. They aren't looking to you to bring them down.

Well, you either learn that or you end up on one of two paths:

A) You flame out. It's just not so easy to get roles when you just fall apart.

B) You become known as a "Dramatic Person." Not really something that makes anyone excited to work with you.

Dunno really why I bring that up right now, but it was just something I was thinking about on my drive home today from the hotel. I left early, half because I knew I would have to be back in the morning, the other half because it was just painful to be there. I'm typically alright if someone's in a bad mood, so long as they don't make it infectious. An associate of mine was having a bad day, didn't care to talk about it, but at the same time did care to make it uncomfortable to work with them. And, so, I'm home an hour early and I refuse to feel bad about ditching them. I offered, and that's that.

The kickstarter for a couple shorts me and a friend are working on will be going up soon, unless there are some serious problems, so that's a good thing going on right now. I'm excited to see what kinda support we get, and to get to real work on this. It's sorta scary, you know? I want to get Really excited about it, but it's such a small venture. I don't want to invest so much into something like this. I want to keep it in perspective, because at the end of the day these are just our first work. At least, my first, his first while working with me. We're cutting our teeth here, not trying to break the world. 10 minute clips aren't going to make careers. We'll still have such an uphill battle to face, but dammit. It sounds so exciting. I'm getting to make those first steps.

I still have to get to IUP soon. I'm going to see if I can't force my friend to Force me to get on that, because I think I need the added motivation. It's something I have so little interest in doing. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm more motivated Not to do it, which is terrible. But it has to be done. I'm such a weird person. I'm so good typically at dealing with the "Fuck. Alright. Let's just lower our heads and bull forward. It'll be fine" kinda situations, and yet, this doesn't fall under that umbrella somehow. I just honestly want nothing to do with being graded over BS, with writing another paper that means absolutely nothing to me. College wasn't a waste in my opinion, but only through the friendships I made and the experiences I lived through.

'Eh, anyhow. Continue on with your night.

Fragile Art.