Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Operation Just Cause

22 years ago today I was fast asleep. Under the veil of darkness, navy seals swam stealthily towards their targets. Weapons were locked and loaded and night vision goggles snapped into position. The overly confident enemy sharpened their blades of corruption. Bombs fell…whistling merrily as they descended upon poverty. Bullets flew, their traces glowing through the night like fireflies at warp speed. Cannons blasted; helicopters were hovering dragons spewing fire upon fortresses. Explosives were anonymously planted like carefully placed parcels under the Christmas tree.

City blocks singed. Ashes fell for what seemed like weeks. Looting was done casually and without remorse. Old appliances replaced new ones. Some fell from windows as shiny new microwaves and toaster ovens found their posts. People intently looked for matching shoes in heaps of merchandise strewn about, as if they were in the store during a sale. I saw one kid pulling a dryer on a sheet of cardboard, his friend pushing from behind, grinning with satisfaction over their bounty. Everyone in the city had new clothes, but this was far from a fortuitous holiday as thousands were suddenly homeless, refugees in their own streets.

The months, weeks, and days leading up to the conflict were filled with minor inconveniences. Sometimes we had to stay late at school for safety reasons. Infantrymen and their German Shepherds patrolled the school grounds. M16’s were as commonplace as backpacks and school books. With a multitude of military installations in the country, military personnel, vehicles, and weapons were ubiquitous ornaments on a tropical backdrop.

Curfews were eventually implemented. Checkpoints and searches became the protocol. Unlike airport security, we welcomed soldiers into our homes as it made us feel safe and gave us brief moments to express our appreciation. I remember my step-mom would make sandwiches and give them cookies, sodas, and caprisuns. It was obvious they appreciated the hospitality and the reprieve from their usual rations. I imagined some of them bragged to their buddies, while others stuffed their cargo pockets and greedily enjoyed their snacks in solitude.

Armored vehicles patrolled the streets instead of police cruisers. Tensions were measured by words from the phonetic alphabet...Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta, indicating the degree of alert. Things eventually became tense. Stories of Americans being detained and harassed quickly circulated. A car was shot up. Servicemen were killed. Panama’s dictator declared war. Weeks later he surrendered, blanketed by blaring rock n roll music.

Somewhere in the night, a new president was sworn in; a barrage of missiles and bullets pierced the humid air. Families huddled close together, a corrupt dictator fled, and bombs peppered the city like a falling deck of cards. Somewhere in the night, a teenage boy was dreaming as an invasion took place. 22 years ago today…I was fast asleep.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Southern Comfort

I recently read a friend's blog post where she had confessed to reading an article that suggested Southern manners shouldn't be taught to children because they are demeaning given their historical context. This immediately made me think of similar complaints that we tend to hear in more frequency during the holidays.

The idea of not teaching children manners is unfathomable to me. It points to a fundamental problem with society; not only people's aversion to teaching discipline and respect if it has any relation to religion or an undesirable historical context, but also to an egotistical and illusory concept of entitlement masked by a desire for political correctness.

Look, I say yes ma'am and no sir, because it's how I was raised to show respect to my elders, strangers, and to those for whom I work. If you find it offensive, express that to me and I shall refrain from saying it to you, out of respect. But to get enraged because it was said to begin with, or for you to want such practices eliminated from a child's upbringing because you are so vehemently insecure, hyper-sensitive, think the world should bend to your will, or because they have some historical context which you find offensive is a little ridiculous.

Unfortunately, most of our history as a race is littered with war, slavery, death, slaughter, and sacrifice, but from those ashes and from that bloodshed we have emerged, evolved, and hopefully gleaned the positive to pass on to future generations. It's inconceivable to me that people continue to hold on to the past and to victimize themselves and entire groups of people. Everything we do today has roots in some pagan ritual, some form of organized religion, some travesty, a rite of passage, or as a result of overcoming adversity in order to survive. Perhaps we should get rid of Thanksgiving because Indians were killed and Christmas because, God forbid, there's a baby involved who was believed to be a forgiver of sin. While we're at it, let's stop calling our country America because, for all intents and purposes, its a term mired in the genocide of indigenous people.

Okay, so perhaps Christopher Columbus day is a little stupid. I'll give you that. But I am going to continue opening doors, offering my seat, wishing people a Merry Christmas, saying yes and no Ma'am, and eventually teach my children to do the same. I would venture to say that anyone who takes offense to such trivial cultural gestures of politeness has issues far beyond what can be fixed by the mere elimination of them. I don't get offended when a Japanese person bows as he greets me, when Muslims witness Ramadan, or when the Chinese celebrate the new year a month after the rest of the world has, and do so in the name of warding off a mythical lion who apparently is afraid of loud noises and the color red. Who would have thought?

In the spirit of good will, peace, and family, I think we should embrace each other's cultural differences and spread good intention and cheer, regardless of why or how we came to do such things. In the end, we can't change our origins anyway, we can however choose to take these opportunities to share in the merriment, company, and joy of others, whether there is a nativity scene under a tree or the faint glow of a Menorah's candles on a mantelpiece. In either case, I'll be having a few drinks.....I hope that doesn't offend you.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Good Reads

Whenever I mention Good Reads to people I often get facial expressions that suggest I asked them for a quart of blood, or if they know the exact distance to the moon. Due to society's digital addiction to social media, I imagine that most people would have heard about this site by now, but I guess it's never too late to learn you a lil sumthin sumthin.

So, Goodreads.com is somewhat of a social media site for people who like to read. It allows you to easily organize all of your books into different shelves, those you have read, are currently reading, and those which you would like to eventually get to. It has a great search engine, produces recommendations, keeps you updated on your favorite authors and genres, has book clubs, talks to facebook, and even links directly with amazon if you just can't wait to purchase something right away. As if those weren't enough features, it is similar to facebook in that you can add friends, see what they are reading, and read their comments about books they've reviewed. To get started, it scans your favorite email address to see if any of your contacts are already on the site. Me gusta.

The only thing I don't like about it, is that its newsfeed cannot be imported into hootsuite.com, another one of my favorite sites, that allows you to stream up to five social media sites for free onto one dashboard while monitoring or publishing to any or all simultaneously. It eliminates the need to have 5 different tabs open on your browser to update each individually. Brilliant. I'll talk more about hootsuite in another post. 

Goodreads has a reading challenge that keeps track of all the books you read in a year and helps you reach a specific goal. I like to think of it as a personal trainer. I picture an owl with a headband and sweats, pushing me to flex my brain for an extra page or two. I figure it was better than Richard Simmons in his nuthuggers. But hey, whatever motivates you. My goal this year is for a modest 30, which I'm pretty close to hitting. I think I may be closer than indicated, but can't remember the dates I finished certain books, so I'm not including those. When I do have the time to dedicate to fiction, time that isn't consumed by reading the Kama Sutra text books or articles, I generally keep a book a week pace. There's a widget on this blog that documents my latest reads. I don't always get around to posting my full reviews.

Anyway, for those of you who like to read, I thought I might suggest it. If you do decide to explore, or even be bold and sign up, my screen name is Mr. Poopie. His Sexy Caramel Highness and intrepid Ruler of the Universe was too long. Sometimes you just have to make small sacrifices...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Um, Your Bush is on Fire...

I recently read an article about some of the challenges that are preventing ebooks from becoming more widespread. In the article there was a side caption that mentioned cell phones being increasingly used as e-readers, a little nugget of information I find slightly harder to swallow than a Volkswagen beetle. One of the things that ultimately contributed to my purchasing an Evo (droid), over an iPhone was the substantially larger screen. 

Not only do I like the idea of being able to see more of pictures, movies, and text, but I also have large hands, which make navigating through screens of compressed text and icons increasingly difficult. However, even with considerable more putting green, I’m not inclined to nestle into bed or lounge on a couch to read fiction on tiny digital text.

Another attribute of smart phones that make it difficult for me to believe that droves of people are using them as e-readers, is their inappropriately short battery life. Even with animation disabled, screen brightness on its lowest possible setting, and all unnecessary applications closed, I find that battery life alone make using a smart phone as an e-reader pretty unrealistic. 

Don’t get me wrong, if I need to pull up directions on how to do something on the fly, read an article, prove someone wrong, or read reviews to a business or product I’m interested in, then using my smart phone to do so is not only prudent, but obviously better than the alternative. However, the last thing I want to do is replace a magazine, newspaper, or book with my phone. I’m generally not one to jump on a bandwagon on mere principle, but this is a trend I don’t see myself following even if a burning bush told me to do it.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hello Haiku....it's been a while.

Well, well, well....guess what today is? That's right, it's Haiku Wednesday; a trend I had almost forgotten and left to the wayside. But it has found new life! Feel free to join in...go on...you might even like it.


Tufts of hair and dirt,
Tumbleweeds across the plains.
Roommates are joyful.


Cacophonous chimes,
dishes find their rightful place.
Music to my ears.


The mighty pen sighs.
weak the padawan foe is.
No match for the force.


The night's messenger.
whispers soft the day's secrets.
The raven watches.


The dogs eat heartily.
covered is the yard in mines.
Never has she scooped. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

When regular porn just won't cut it...

I've always wanted to skydive...it just never occurred to me that I could do it while having sex. I suppose for some people, the thrill of jumping out of a plane isn't enough; apparently, neither is good old fashioned, regular, wholesome porn either. According to MSNBC.com, a porn star in California, who also happens to be a skydiving instructor, thought it would be a good idea to jump out of a plane while having sex with the secretary. No, I'm not joking, you can check it out for yourselves here. Although my imagination has been known to conjure up some rather fanciful and outlandish ideas, I regretfully admit that this would have never crossed my mind. (Well, okay, the secretary yes, but not quite in that context) I can understand why a person capable of doing porn would have come up with such an idea, especially one that moonlights as a skydiving instructor, but an innocent, mild mannered administrative professional? 

According to the article, the local police department has issued a statement about the incident saying that there are no criminal charges pending. Apparently, the creators of the indecent exposure and public nudity laws were not insightful enough to include sexual acts that occur at high altitudes. I wonder how this makes people in Nepal feel? I find this mildly amusing because, to my knowledge, temperatures at higher altitudes generally aren't conducive to blood flow, and anyone who's ever had sex while a fan was blowing on them, (don't ask) knows that personal lubricant is absolutely necessary. I'm assuming that a porn star would be privy to this information and would have been thoroughly prepared, but what kind of calculations might one need in order to figure out the wind to lubricant ratio before some serious chaffing takes place? See, I told you my imagination was robust. I bet you didn't think of that did you? I mean, if you're going to do it, you may as well do it right.

I have a feeling that we're not going to see the end of this skydiving tomfoolery. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a commercial in the near future advertising personal lubricant potent enough for even the craziest of adventure seeking genitals. I may have been beaten to the punch on the whole skydiving thing, but that commercial idea is all mine. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Protest this...

I used to think that protests were a waste of time, particularly those aimed at corporate powers or the government. I mean really, besides creating unnecessary pressure on local law enforcement and fodder for the news, what do they really accomplish? What do they change? Over time, I've realized that my feelings were such because we haven’t had a reason to seriously fight for a worthy cause in a long time, whether it was for independence, allowing women to vote, or to end segregation. The idea of protesting against the government seems like a vain endeavor, very much David and Goliath without the voice of God or impeccable aim to guide our ammunition. How is it that this attitude exists when it is the government that was created to serve the people?

The more I ponder the current status of the political game, corporate greed, climate change, and the ever increasing abyss between socio-economic classes, the more I realize that now is as good a time as any to assemble in protest. Our current president alluded to much of this need with his campaign message of change. He was right; we were just foolish to think that he could do it alone. We thought, somehow, that casting a vote and then going back to our entitled lives of lattes, smart phones, and miniature dogs, that things would magically change.

You can’t really blame us though can you? In essence, we have become entitled. We are a society fraught with the entitlement that comes with instant gratification. With the spawn of the internet and our ever powerful handheld devices, we have been conditioning ourselves to believe that things such as the economy, the presidency, and the attitude of millions can be changed as quickly as we can change our facebook status. 

However, what we’re failing to realize is even though women can now vote and we can all drink poor tasting, bacteria-infested water from the same fountain, protests are still needed now more than ever. We have enjoyed years of economic growth and supremacy, and in our complacence we’ve allowed politics and corporate America to grow into powerful, monopolizing behemoths; enormous conglomerates run by CEO’s more concerned with their elite financial status than ethics. Wall Street, lobbyists, and the insanely wealthy continue to take advantage of legal loopholes that do nothing more for the economy than they do for bridging the gap between financial classes. 

Protesting isn’t just a right, but a civil duty. If we’re going to turn things around, we have to demand transparency with political campaign funding. We must demand that corporate greed be punished, that the affluent pay appropriate taxes, and that the attitude towards education and health insurance be shifted. How is it possible that we continue to lay off dedicated, loyal, intelligent, and ethical educators, but grant huge bonuses to CEO’s in charge of organizations mired in legal trouble and financial ruin? I don’t know about you, but I know who I’d give a pink slip to.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

King of Popping Pills...


Apparently Michael Jackson is still capable of taking over the media with his escapades even in the afterlife. Schamone! I was listening to the radio coverage of Dr. Conrad Murray’s trial, the physician who was administering potent sedatives to the King of Pop, and in my professional opinion, something is seriously amiss.

The doctor is being charged with neglect and involuntary manslaughter, and what I find interesting is that the defense’s case is Michael Jackson killed himself by taking a bunch of pills after the doctor had left the room. Now, I’m not a lawyer, forensic scientist, or even a criminal justice major, but neither am I an idiot. If a doctor is supposed to be keeping a close eye on patient who is taking powerful sedatives leaves a room, and keeps a bunch of medicine within arm’s reach of that barely coherent patient so that an overdose is possible, then that in my mind is the very definition of neglect.

Providing in home patient care with medications administered only in hospitals without the presence of medical staff is already dangerous and requires extra degrees of vigilance. The mere fact that the doctor left the room under the circumstances underscores gross neglect and medical malpractice. Conrad Murray violated the first tenet of the Hippocratic Oath, which is to do no harm, regardless of whether the defense’s proposition that Michael committed suicide is true or not.

To top it all off, neither when the medics arrived on the scene, nor when MJ was taken to the hospital did Conrad disclose the medications in the patient's system. I don't know whether or not that could have made a difference at that juncture, but that is far from the point. Everyone knows that by telling doctors what medications are present in the body increases the chances of survival and minimizes the chances of administering a lethal combination of meds. How is it that Conrad had two opportunities to do this, but let it slip his mind?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Baby I love your way...

When I was in junior high school, I was in love with a girl named Rachelle. In fact, I was so in love with her, that when she broke up with me, I cried like a baby. Well, technically, she broke up with me after I confronted her about making out with my best friend Francisco, but who’s really keeping track? She remains the only girl I ever cried over. Oddly enough, one of my biggest regrets in life was telling her that I thought the song she dubbed "our" song was stupid, before I had really listened to the lyrics and let their simple, yet powerful meaning sink in.

I remember the night it happened, no not when I saw her making out with Francisco behind the gym, although I do remember that day as well. I mean the night she called me and told me to turn on the television. I remember talking to her while the video to "Baby I love your way" by Blue Mountain played in the background, the bright glow from the t.v. screen casting shadows across the room that danced to the music. She told me to listen to the song, and that she had decided it was ours. Before the song had even ended, I told her that it was stupid and that we should pick another one. I don't remember exactly why I thought this, or what my alternate suggestions were, but what I do know is how much I've grown to love this song, and how every time I hear it, I think about how much I regret hastily showing my disapproval to someone who was expressing something so heartfelt and loving. I of all people should know how meaningful songs can be.

When I was nine, my mother passed away from breast cancer and one of the ways I would comfort myself would be to play Smokey Robinson's "Just to See Her" on my older sister's record player. I would lie in her bed listening to the song over and over again until I had cried myself to sleep. I guess I thought that if I recited the lyrics to the song enough times, that I would be granted the opportunity to see her again, as not being able to say goodbye was a huge point of contention in my life for a long time. Both songs share such simple affirmations, but represent extremely powerful sentiments.

As I drove home tonight from a friend's house, a familiar song played on the radio. I sang out loud to it as I normally do. Moonlight had already tucked the city in, and the night's cool breeze flowed through my hair. Street lights projected long shadows across the pavement that reminded me of that regretful night. The gift wrapped nostalgia brought a smile to my face. I'm not sure why this one memory is seared so vividly in my mind, or why it has left such an indelible impression. I just know that I won't ever take such a moment for granted again. Interesting how life chooses to teach us sometimes isn’t it?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Double-edged Pen

One of the things I love about writing is that I get ample time to choose the right words and combination of words that most accurately express how I feel or what I’m thinking. In school, when a teacher mentions an essay, I smile confidently while most of the class responds with grunts and whines of disapproval at their unfortunate luck. I relish in the opportunity to write, while those with the gift of gab would prefer extemporaneous speech.

When you’re speaking, there’s no reset button, no redo’s, or take backs. Once it’s out, it’s out. (More painfully so of that almost invisible spray of saliva that somehow escapes us on rare occasion) Sometimes, you can clarify, elaborate, or elucidate, but once the vibrations of your initial utterance take form, there’s no going back. Since there is a greater degree for misinterpretation and poor selection in regards to words that are spoken on the fly, I often choose to write to someone instead, particularly, if there are feelings involved. However, there is a lot to be said about verbal and non-verbal feedback that you miss out on, like the telling nuances of facial expression and body language. Also, not being there to explain something they might have misconstrued, and not finding out immediately how they feel about what you wrote is a part of the trade off. In either case, choosing your words wisely is an understatement.

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always written poetry. Eventually, it became a form of catharsis, a way to release emotions. Over the years, it stuck with me and was my solace in times of emotional uncertainty or turmoil. When I am inspired or passionate about something, I am compelled to write. Words are how I interpret my own sensory data about the world around me, and a way to share that information. Interestingly, there is an aura of vulnerability, a window to the soul that is opened when pen meets paper, and stays that way long after the candlelight is extinguished, or the glow from the monitor fades.

Writers are an interesting lot. We write for many reasons, and while many of us write for ourselves, there is still a desire for reassurance, admittedly or not. Just as with any other art, writers want to elicit emotion, persuade thought, inform, or to know, even in the smallest way, that they are appreciated. We want to know that our toil was worth it. We want validation; a modicum of recognition, whether a knowing nod or a pat on the back. It isn’t easy to get in front of a group of people to talk, but with practice, you can master all the little skills that come naturally to us during regular conversation. When you speak, you can be whoever you want. You are the gatekeeper and can choose to reveal as much or as little of your true identity, peeling back the layers with slow and deliberate action, or ripping them off like a band-aid. However, written words provide a direct portal to your essence, a window to your being...they are a giant aquarium that passersby can look through and point with wonder.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Help


I recently had a conversation with my dad about my last blog post. He mentioned that most of it was over his head, but what he did share was that he remembers back to the three years he spent in seminary, when he had to meditate for an hour and half each morning. He remembers how grounded it made him, but he also recognizes that he was young and inexperienced. He explained that they were encouraged to meditate on specific things, but weren’t told exactly which ones. My father feels that had he meditated later on in life after garnering more experience, he could have benefited more. What stood out to me in those words was that even though he claims to not fully grasp the deeper layers behind meditation, he is fully cognizant of its power.

According to Deepak Chopra, meditation is not just about reaping the therapeutic benefits of slowed breathing, improved immune function, and melting stress. Meditation is more about going within, or tuning into one’s self. Quieting the mind is about accessing the gap between thoughts, which is the gateway for tapping into the field of pure potentiality, and ultimately accessing infinite creativity and imagination. Furthermore, through meditation, one learns about the power of intention that orchestrates its own fulfillment, which many refer to as the law of attraction.

What I think Dr. Chopra was describing, in a rudimentary way of looking at it, is that the more we meditate, the more we harmonize our consciousness. We think more clearly, we de-clutter the deluge of thoughts we have each day, we learn to let go of our egos, and allow the universe to unfold as it will. It’s kind of like running a defragmenter on your computer. It runs more efficiently and smoothly. Through meditation, we are allowing ourselves to run at optimal levels. I think people are misled by the idea that one can change his or her life simply by thinking positively. This is a way how people often interpret what happens to them when they meditate, but positive thoughts alone do not manifest happiness. In fact, Dr. Chopra believes that holding on to that idea too tightly may just cause you more stress. 

For me, besides the obvious physical benefits, what I get most out of meditation is detachment and surrender. Firstly, I get to take a step back from life’s hectic pace and detach myself from thought, feelings, judgments, and expectations. I guess, I do to my mind what I help other people do to their body, which is relax it. Surrendering is letting go of the ego’s illusory control and recognizing that life will show me what I need to see when I’m ready to see it. There is a greater plan at work, and I can either spend my time uselessly fighting the current, or joyfully enjoying the waves. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Transformers

Sometimes I feel as though I lead two lives. While I’m at work, I’m tapped into the mother ship. My heart and soul naturally gravitate towards the Center’s vortex of healing and nurturing energy. As though a monk’s apprentice, I am ever diligent and mindful. My body speaks to me, I listen. I hydrate, I meditate, and make conscious efforts to nurture my vessel with healthy and powerful sustenance so that I can not only facilitate my own transformation, but be ever present and grounded to help guide others through their own journeys. Being a massage therapist is hard work. Being a conduit for divine energy, guiding others towards healing, and holding space for those who must navigate uncertainty and change, adds another layer of demand on my body and its resources no matter how gratifying my efforts may be. Needless to say, I too need to replenish and rejuvenate in order to provide the best possible atmosphere for my guests.

However, when I am too far to feel the gravitational pull of the Center’s energy, it seems as though I unplug from the matrix. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t engorge on fast food, engage in voodoo, or moonlight as a serial killer, I’m just not as mindful towards ensuring mind and body balance. I still work out, feed my mind, and generally eat healthy, but I feel I still leave a lot on the table in regards to optimizing my body’s processes and guiding my spirit towards greater fulfillment. Ideally, I’d like to be eternally in tune with the universe’s plan. I don’t necessarily mean that I wish to know exactly the path that lies before me, because let’s face it, that would be boring, but I definitely want to be more acutely attentive to its voice.

How does one go about this you may be thinking? Well, I intend to follow another piece of advice I usually give my guests who visit the center to undergo Panchakarma, a powerful process of purifying the mind, purging the body of built up toxins, and increasing vitality. What inevitably happens, is after people have overcome some challenges, healed themselves, or simply replenished their batteries, they go right back to doing the things that brought them to us in the first place. We are only human, yes. And all of us, even the most mindful and transcendent souls, eventually need to rid the body of toxins and blockages. However, the idea is not just to heal enough to get back into the ring, but to incorporate lifestyle changes in one’s life until it is realized that one doesn't have to be in the ring at all.

I find that so many of us approach life in this manner at times. Our minds create the perception of struggle. Our egos immediately manifest an attitude of having to overcome, to be victorious. Before we know it, it seems like we are exchanging blows with the universe. I don’t think I need to tell you who really wins do I? Well, in my case, let’s just say I’m glad that heavily padded gloves are involved.

What I usually tell my guests before the they ride the waves of bliss back from whence they came, is to take at least one thing they learned while with us and commit to integrating that one thing in their life until it becomes a habit. Forget changing your entire way of life overnight. It can be done I’m sure, but such drastic changes are unrealistic and unfulfilling. Take small bites. Chew. Meditate for ten minutes every day, take up yoga, or make a vow to give up frozen foods. Whatever it is, tackle small endeavors and revel in achieving them. I’m going to start meditating with more frequency. I find that my writing tends to go to another level when I do. At times, it feels that inspiration looks for me, instead of the other way around. Sometimes, I even conjure something clever, funny, or inspiring. Joy and abundance are rarely achieved by climbing a mountain, but more often by smelling the flowers along the way. See, it’s working already.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I watched the new Planet of the Apes movie last night, and I must say I was quite pleased. As a fan of the originals, I was highly anticipating the remakes. Even though I am not a fan of James Franco (I feel he is a little monotone and limited as an actor), the movie was still an excellent prequel to the rebooted series.

There is a considerable amount of action, but what was most fascinating to me was the intense psychological undertones at play. I don't know if being a communication major had much to do with the that particular observation, but it was rather amazing in the way that communication was portrayed in this movie. If you have ever watched a show on chimps or monkeys on National Geographic, then you will definitely appreciate the subtle non-verbal communication within the film. The premise, as the title of the movie implies, is basically the story of how the apes became intelligent and overthrew the planet staking claim as the dominant species. The movie's protagonist, a Chimpanzee appropriately named Caesar, is exposed to a drug that boosts intelligence and allows the brain to repair itself. The drug was created by Franco's character as a cure for Alzheimer's, and is given to chimpanzees for testing.

After undergoing a significant amount of abuse, from both humans and his fellow apes, Caesar plots his escape from captivity as well as positions himself as the leader of the simians. Although all of the apes are computer generated, they are remarkably realistic looking, and their facial features accurately captivate the broad range of emotion and thought processes capable by apes and humans alike. I was particularly impressed with the methods Caesar implemented upon his own kind to establish hierarchy, and ultimately his superiority.

In short, I think The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was a great summer movie. I generally scoff at the length of today's movies, but I thought that in this instance the extra time was well used and was appropriate for the development of the story. However, any longer, and the movie would have overstayed its welcome as the film's plot is linear and obviously predictable. I would recommend that parents heed the movie's viewer rating, as there is a considerable amount of violence. Monkey see, monkey do. Now go watch it!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Short Circuit

I did something yesterday that I'd never thought I'd do...I bought a netbook. I know, I know, I did try to make it as masculine as I could. I got it in black, doused it in cologne, gave it a spiked collar, and put skull and cross bones stickers all over the cover. Somehow though, I still don't think it's enough. In the end, I'm still carrying around a mini computer. Handy, but not handyman-ish, if you catch my drift. Similar to dudes at the dog park with a Yorkie or toy poodle. You can have all the muscles and tattoos in the world, but you can't make that shit look cool. Well, maybe Mickey Rourke can, possibly Mr. T., but not the average guy. Thankfully, I'm not entirely average...just half a cup.

Anyway, I mainly bought it because my laptop is a little unwieldy and the battery life sucks. I have to plug it in everywhere I go...making me feel like I'm escorting a patient with a dialysis machine. This smaller version of my laptop has 9 manly, labor-intensive hours of battery life. Essentially, I can write all day. I also got the netbook so that I might be more inclined to write, and so far, my plan is working beautifully. However, my life is never without the one two punch of cosmic irony and comedic entertainment for the Gods. As I sat down at a local internet cafe with my organic fuel and my petite lap top with grandiose plans of creating some literary magic, another patron removed his cell phone from his pocket to make a call. He didn't answer his phone mind you, but proceeded to make a call...to his grandfather. This man appeared to be in his late forty's, which puts his grandfather in...oh, I'd say hard of hearing age. Consequently, he had to yell at his relative during this painstakingly long conversation about travel plans to Salt Lake City, Uruguay, and failed plans of a home restoration project. I know more about his inconsiderate douche than I'd ever want to. I think it's cool to use your phone at a cafe where people are reading, having breakfast, and pondering the meaning of life, as long as  it is brief, or quiet, or both. Otherwise, take a walk Jack.

As I was smiling at the universe for my auspicious serendipity, another gentleman sat at nearby table that didn't seem to agree with today's news. It's not unusual to be privy to the occasional verbal display of government disapproval under one's breath, but apparently, this guy was devoid of volume control and appeared to have Tourett's. So, on one side, I had inconsiderate phone guy speaking loudly about nothing important, and disgruntled, Tourett's guy voicing his displeasure with the world on the other. I half-expected a construction crew to chime in with a jackhammer. And you wonder why I don't update my blog more often.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Morning Glory

So, I woke up at 7:30 a.m. this morning. Now, I realize that for many of you this may be a common practice, and may even be a lifestyle preference. However, for those of us who work in the dark cavernous bowels of a spa, and who have a genetic predisposition to laziness, this time may as well be when Satan comes to Earth with legions of demons and proceeds to possess people’s souls. At least it would explain why so many people are grouchy in the morning.

Interestingly, however, what I do find when I’m fortuitously awoken around this time, is that I am amazingly productive. I know, I know, how more paradoxical could I really be? Lazy and productive. Talented and unmotivated. Look, I don’t make the rules, and quite frankly, I had nothing to do with the ingredients that make up this tall cup of enigmatic, sexy, chocolate, deliciousness…I just play the game like everybody else. 


In any event, life is not without its little ironies. That's what makes it all worthwhile right? So, in the truest fashion of blatant epiphanies, I realized that midnight may not be my muse after all, but her sister who I call the Dawn Duchess. Not as fickle or as mischievous as her sultry twin, the Duchess apparently keeps inspiration in her back pocket like a folded twenty you find after slipping on a pair of jeans before you go out. Pure awesomeness. I've cleaned, done laundry, had breakfast, scanned the headlines, birthed an idea for a poem, AND started this post all before the time I usually curse my alarm and wipe the sleep from my eyes. I feel energized and my hands are a blur. I'm back in the saddle baby! Well, at least until my espresso wears off... 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wall Street

Extortion – (noun) the act of securing money, favors, etc. by intimidation or violence; blackmail.

As I entered my local grocery store, I noticed a Hispanic couple huddled around the Red Box movie dispenser as if it were a campfire. The wife was in pajamas, with a bright pink, fleece blanket draped over her shoulders like a homeless person, speaking into a cell phone. I momentarily imagined her children on the other end, relaying whether or not they had seen particular titles.

After I had concluded my shopping for the night, I patiently stood in line, curiously surveying my immediate surroundings. The man in front of me kindly put the little plastic partition behind his food items, as if to invite me to unload my basket, and give my arm a reprieve (later, I would more appropriately guess that the man was putting the partition on the belt as if to say, I’m not paying for your food you poaching hoodlum).

As the cashier was totaling the man’s purchase, he asked the shopper if he would like to donate to people with disabilities. At hearing this, the man scoffed and berated the boy for extorting money out of him. The cashier innocently claimed that he was told to ask all the guests for such a donation, while the old man angrily grabbed his bags and scurried off into the night.

When it was my turn to be extorted, I happily volunteered the requisite dollar, and smiled at the kid who was still a little shaken after the interaction with the man who hates the handicapped. I thought about the grocery store showdown as I left, passing the couple still hogging up the movie rental machine, oblivious to the idea that someone else may want to rent a movie. I thought about the oppressive, extortionist, regime we have as our government, and how wonderful life may be if only thousands had sacrificed their lives to ensure that their descendants could live in a time where they were free enough to simply say no to people asking for money.

Personally, I’m thankful that the pet store, and grocery store ask me for donations. I find it convenient that helping others can be so easy. To be completely honest, if they didn’t ask, I probably would never find the time to do it on my own. I can see where people might feel as though being asked in public can be uncomfortable, or even inappropriate, but it is hardly extortion. On the other hand, using intimidation techniques in order to use the movie kiosk had definitely crossed my mind.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Despicable Me

Being a massage therapist has its major inconveniences, such as having to be extra careful handling everything from kitchen knives to post it notes. One false move can put you in a finger condom for a week, and let’s face it, nobody likes condoms. As active as I am, I always suffer from inevitable cuts, scrapes, or jammed fingers, and finding creative ways to work around ailing digits can be a nuisance.

So, needless to say, I occupy a
meaningless existence, missing 
out on the finer experiences in life such as opening beer bottles with my bare hands, picking up broken glass, pyrotechnics, and carpentry. However, I do take full advantage of crushing aluminum cans on my forehead. For all intents and purposes, the world is virtually a string of insidious booby traps, not unlike the one those teenagers in Final Destination had to maneuver through in order to survive.

Facing eminent death at every turn is not a foreign concept to me, considering that I watch way too many movies moonlight as a ninja, but not even we can escape the cold and vengeful grasp of irony. While playing basketball this morning, I was being extra mindful not to jam my thumb for the third time in 3 weeks, only to sprain my ankle after stepping on some Neanderthal’s foot. It truly is a travesty to see a specimen of my athletic prowess to be reduced to gingerly limping through the pet store carrying a 35 pound bag of dog food. Not only that, you become painfully aware of how you take dorsiflexion for granted until you have to sit on the toilet, or drive to work in traffic. So glad I could amuse you Universe...at least I won’t have to wear a condom.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Has it really been a week?

It’s Haiku Wednesday bitches! Hmmm…I wonder if that configuration of words has ever existed prior to today…Forgive my elation; I was momentarily possessed by Eminem. Anyway, yall know what time it is...So, without further ado:

Today is Wednesday,
I had to be reminded.
Ginseng is costly.

Put down your phone or,
you will not enter my lane.
How quickly birds fly.

Just got a new phone.
I think I have arthritis.
I am appdicted.

I had tea with death.
The toll of knell rang softly.
Her black carriage waits.

Words are my one solace.
My mind is the soul’s canvas.
Paintings never cease.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bonzai Daniel-san

Hey, it’s Haiku Wednesday! Well, okay, maybe I just made that up. Fine, maybe someone else suggested it, and then I created it. Does it really matter who in the  

Hey everyone, it’s Haiku Wednesday! I had this great idea come to me, and I thought I would share with you some Haiku. Nothing fancy….just something to put on the blog since I have people hounding affectionately reminding me to update it. I do have a few things in the works: short stories, poems, book reviews, and some random musings, however, I know how some of you like to intermittently hear my voice (and I suppose I should be more disciplined with writing everyday as well) I do not protest, I just don’t always like what my fingers type….I’m such a diva….or a perfectionist. I could be bipolar…I’ll take Haiku Wednesday for $200 Alex…

My dog is creepy.
He sits and stares at me.
I wish he could drive.


I love basketball.
My soul rejoices and sings.
My thumb is swollen.


The Rain is lovely.
Each drop fills my heart with joy.
The weatherman sucks.


The spider pulls close,
The corners of her device.
The prism deceives.


Raven and the moon,
Whisper deep into the night.
The wind's breath is cold.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pinocchio's Wish

For the majority of my adult life I can honestly say that I’ve never really known what I wanted. Well, with the exception of a few things like wanting to fall in love, obtain wisdom, and become a ninja, I have always known that I want to go back in time and be seven again, when there was never a doubt about what I wanted.


At seven, I wanted to build forts, climb trees, ride my bike, pretend I was a soldier, an eagle, or a cheetah. I was really fast. As a matter of fact, the only person faster than me was my best friend Robert. We had Big Wheels and would pretend we were the motorcycle cops in that show CHIPS. We would spend hours setting up hundreds of plastic army soldiers, and then take turns shooting at each other’s forces with rubber bands. I used to love the soldier with a parachute, and the one who was thrusting his rifle forward with the bayonet attached. I thought the flamethrower guy was pretty cool too. You have to be incredibly brave to strap canisters filled with gas to your back. My curfew was when it got dark. Sometimes I would realize that it was getting late, and I would race the darkness home on my bike. Sometimes I won, sometimes my Mother would have to remind me that I needed to win more often.

I always wanted chocolate milk, my Dad’s grilled cheese sandwiches, his pancakes, and pumpkin pie. I enjoyed travelling with him too. We had a game we would play in airports where we would try to guess where people were from and what language they spoke. He would make me practice signing my name. On the way to school, I would read the newspaper to him while he drove, and we would listen to Paul Harvey on the radio. We used to go to the local swimming pool where they played 80’s music and my dad knew all the people who worked there. They all admired him and it made me admire him too. I loved swimming and I wanted to be a dolphin. I wanted water not to go up my nose when I swam upside down. I wanted to find buried treasure, and turn cardboard boxes into space ships that would take me to the moon so I could walk on it. I wanted to watch my dad coach sports, take me to ball games, and have him unfog my snorkeling mask at the beach.

I wanted to be next to my mom every breathing moment. I wanted her to tell me things would be okay when I came home with fresh wounds. I wanted to hear her voice, whether it was reading me a story, or just talking. I wanted to go with her to church, or the orphanage where she found me, to bring things for the children who hadn’t found their angel yet. I wanted to cry when she left, I wanted to feel like she could rearrange the cosmos, which she could. I wanted her not to die. I wanted to take her place. I wanted to see her one last time.

Unfortunately, I’ve had to let go of all these things. In their place, there is one thing that I know I currently want. I celebrate these moments, because they do not come often. I hold onto them like a child does his first sea shell, and I pursue them relentlessly. Now, what I want more than anything is to be able to write great stories. I want to be able to breathe life into characters who laugh and cry, tell bad jokes, and dress badly. I want people to believe in their causes, worry for their safety, and hate the villains who thwart their success. I want them to hate their parents, want children of their own, have their hearts broken, and find true, unconditional, unbridled, and unceasing love. I want them to have dreams, missions, dates, sex, and high school reunions. Most of all, I want them to know what they want. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Commercial Mania

Don’t know how many of you watched the Super bowl this year, but I was one of the alleged 111 million viewers. I am a devoted football fan and even though my team didn’t make the big game, I was still thrilled at the idea of getting to hang out with family and see the final grid iron match of the season. The super bowl is also a great opportunity to watch some witty, humorous, and imaginative commercials, of which I am also a huge fanatic. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t as entertaining as we all expected, but we did have the commercials to look forward to. In fact, most of the time was spent eating, talking, and playing with my nephew, stopping only to shush each other prior to a commercial breaks.

Of all the commercials that we saw, 3 in particular elicited boisterous laughter: A Dorritos ad, in which the chips were used to revive dead things,  a Bridgestone one that showed a guy who thought he had accidentally emailed everyone in his office, and subsequently drove all over the place systematically destroying everyone’s computers. (He even yanked out all the cords in the server room) Hysterical, and the third was a bud light commercial about a movie director who’s told that he’d get free stuff with product placements in his movie. I've included them here so you don't get sucked in to a mind-numbing vortex of sneezing pandas and laughing baby videos on youtube. (don't judge) Enjoy.






                                          


Oh, almost forgot. I really liked this next one too. 



Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Year Endeavors

This past year was, in many ways, one of the best in my life. While I had no profound epiphanies, transformations, or adventures, I did make small discoveries, which allowed me to grow as a person and become a more efficient communicator. In and of itself, I suppose this is a rather significant accomplishment, however, the results were entirely unintentional; so I’m not really sure I can start patting myself on the back. I will however, celebrate in some fashion, preferably with profuse libation and dancing in the streets. There may or may not be singing. I can’t make any promises because I find that the acoustics in the shower are a little deceiving….

As we bid adieu to 2010, and reflect nostalgically on all of our successes and failures, we inevitably welcome a new one. In doing so, we attempt to dedicate ourselves to fulfilling a specific set of resolves, or determinations intended to improve the quality of our lives. These “resolutions”, as we so affectionately call them, not only occupy quite a bit of our energies, but can even fuel sales in certain industries. Furthermore, they are often the source of much worry when there is already sufficient stress surrounding the beginning of a new year. Generally, I don’t like to get involved with setting myself up for failure, so I’ve concluded to comprise a list of “endeavors” for the new year instead of resolutions. I like to think of them more as general compass directions instead of affirmations I’ve vowed to fulfill in this life or the next. Here is a list of a few endeavors I’d like to see come to fruition; naturally, sans stress:

1.     Write more on this blog
2.     Write in my journal
3.     Write more poetry
4.     Write short stories
5.     Write more letters
6.     Write a novel
7.     Write a children’s book
8.     Eat more flan
9.     Write about eating flan
10.   Pay closer attention to patterns and reoccurring themes in my life
11.   Grad School

As you can see, I intend to take this writing thing by the horns, (wait, am I even still a Taurus?) and really attempt to hone my craft. Regardless of my astrological association, I feel that it’s time I ignored the voices voice in my head warning me of complete and utter failure, and fully committed to writing. It’s about time I regained my focus, determination, and aspire to fulfill my literary destiny. I mean seriously, it’s not like I’m operating or anything. Hmmm…operating, I do like the sound of that...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Helplessly Romantic

I sincerely hope that you all had a blessed and fulfilling holiday. I realize that it has been a little while since our last correspondence, so I figured it would be best to start the New Year on the right foot. Particularly, since the left is not nearly as handsome and veers slightly to the left. Nonetheless, we generally don’t talk about it as he is still loved.

As you all know, I come from a magical place that manufactures perfect shades of brown skin. Being a genetic benefactor of such awesome power also comes with other rewards, such as the proficiency to shout eloquent strings of expletives in another language, the ability to dance, and the capacity to consume copious amounts of flan. Communicating in multiple languages does have its obvious benefits, but it also has its nuances as well. For instance, my phone isn’t capable of typing the Spanish letter Ñ. This is paramount in order to distinguish the difference between the regular sounding “N” in Spanish, as in the word NO, and the accentuated “Ñ” found in the word AÑO, which means year. This “Ñ”, creates more of an “enyeeah” sound, making the word AÑO pronounced “Ah-nee-yo”.

I know what most of you are thinking, not a big deal. For the most part, the majority of you are correct. Whilst speaking, this creates no real obstacles for effective communication to occur. However, in writing, this little guy here ~, means the difference between conveying the word year, or the word anus. Needless to say, for the past few days I have been wishing all of my Spanish speaking brethren, and family, to have a Happy New Anus instead of a Happy New Year. And here you thought Spanish was so romantic.