Archive | August 2013

Devastated…

I’ve been living in the same town for about 10 years now, and visiting it for much longer. Ever since I started dating my wife, which was approximately 13 years ago, I joined her familys tradition of going to Canterbury Ales in Huntington NY for birthdays and anniversaries. We also went there for regular occasions such as being hungry or thirsty, and most times it was to have a drink with friends and enjoy great atmosphere and good company. It was our Cheers, our McAnally’s, our Bronze. Unfortunately, I say this in the past tense for a reason.

I just received an email from Billy, the owner of Canterbury Ales, for being part of their loyalty program. I read it, and felt like a ten ton hammer bashed me in the chest. The email is shown below, unedited, and in its entirety.

Dear Canterbury Customers,

This is a hurtful letter to write but you deserve, at least, a brief explanation. As of today, August 26th, Canterbury Ales has shut its doors. While it’s a bit too personal to go into detail, I will say that the past few years due to the economic slowdown and a multitude of other factors, it was time to stop.

Canterbury Ales, has become a landmark, reached a benchmark that not too many establishments do; 36 1/2 years! We’ve seen births, first dates, engagements, marriages, we’ve celebrated anniversaries. We’ve mourned or celebrated loved ones we’ve lost. Canterbury’s was a haven for the thirsty, the hungry, the lonely, the social and just countless friends.

I thank you all for the support you have given Canterbury’s over the years, most of them good ones. I apologize for not personally saying goodbye and saying thank you to each and every one of you.

This was my life. I grew up here, my family grew up here… many of YOU did too. From my days as a “doorman” to bartending, managing and 28 years of ownership, my blood, sweat and tears went into Canterbury’s. I owe such a debt of gratitude to family of Canterbury employees, friends, customers and vendors.

This was not how I expected it to end… I never expected it to end.

For those I’ve hurt or upset my apologies… But this is a very personal, hurtful and upsetting time. Unfortunately I was not able to endure.

I wish you all well, and once again, thank you for the years of support.

Sincerely,
Billy

I’m almost at a complete loss for words. I can’t begin to fully describe how this feels, because the true loss hasn’t even set in yet. Devastated is the only word that comes close. I actually got very choked up reading the letter, and can’t picture life in this town without being able to go there for a drink with a friend, or for their delicious food, or for their awesome staff. This was the only true “pub” on Long Island, in my opinion. It was an older looking place, with memories and lives worn into the dark wood. The people there got to know each other, and it was a very small town kind of feel for such a populated area. The waitresses AND the owner all knew my wife, her mother, and I on sight, and knew our children.  For me personally, there have been countless joys and sorrows spoken about there. I’ve gone there to celebrate new life, and celebrate to honor those who’ve passed on. I actually felt, in a way, like it was “my” pub.

I’d like to end this off by saying thank you. Thank you, Billy, for such an awesome place. Thank you and your staff throughout the years for the incredible atmosphere, brew, food, kindness, caring, and memories. You cannot be replaced, and you’ll never be forgotten so long as I draw breath.

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No words…

Sorry man, never saw it…

So I had a thought the other day, which makes 2 so far this year! I’ve been doing a few movie reviews of those that most people hate but I happen to like. This sates a particular part of me, since I get a lot of shit for some of those. My new idea is for me to make some reviews of the odd, random, and/or seemingly unknown movies that I like. This doesn’t mean nobody at all will know them, but so few people do that it just makes sense to me. These reviews will be called “Never heard of it”. Keep an eye out, I should be spamming a few of these out over the next few weeks, once I’m able to come up with a snazzy graphic like the one for “The Hated”.

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Coming soon to a diatribe laden personal blog that nobody admits they actually read…more reviews to clutter up your Facebook feed! WOOHOO!!!

Assume the role of relationship killer

Throughout my life, I’ve seen and experienced many relationships rise and fall. It can be tough for people to keep friendships and romantic relationships during their teens and 20’s, since most people are still changing and growing into full maturity during these times, and have a tendency to just drift apart. This, however, is not always the case. I’ve witnessed, both as an outsider and a participant, many a friendship fail over stupid and/or completely avoidable reasons. While the specifics differ, the core reason usually has to do with communication, and a fairly large amount of times it all comes down to assumptions.

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Well, this escalated quickly…

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Someone says something that irks you or seems odd to you, and you assume they mean one thing or another, based on a myriad of reasons. These reasons can range from your knowledge of how that person has acted towards others in the past, to your past experiences with others who acted similarly. Problem is, people tend to assume someone meant one thing, even if they didn’t actually mean that at all. This is a big problem because that initial reaction causes an immediate emotional response which attaches itself to the memory of the statement/incident. Because of this, any future conversations or arguments about it will be tainted with emotional bias, however irrational, and will make it difficult for that person to think objectively.

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Although this appears to be gender biased and sexist, it does happen to have a lot of truth to it….

The first reason I mentioned (there are tons, but I’m only gonna talk about 2 here), is how someone has acted or spoken previously. Consider this. You have a close friend who, when they get upset with someone, pulls away from them and blows them off constantly. Then, all of a sudden, that person appears to be blowing you off. You don’t speak for awhile, and you immediately think that they are upset with you. When you finally talk to them again, you may be a little guarded or even angry, thinking that something you did upset them and you weren’t able to even explain before they pulled away. But maybe it wasn’t that at all. Maybe that person was just going through a tough patch and needed some alone time to work things out. Maybe they were swamped with work and family shit, and didn’t have time for friends. I’ve done that before as well, and wasn’t even aware I was doing it. The only way to know is to ask, and the best way to ask is from a place of honesty and compassion. If you really care about that person, try to reach out and say something like “Hey, is everything ok? I noticed you’ve been pulling away lately, and want you to know that I’m here if you wanna talk about anything, or have any problems.” Let that person know you give a shit about their friendship, feelings, and well being. That is, if you really care about the friendship itself. This also goes the same for romantic relationships, and is much more important in that situation.

The other reason I’ll go into is based on your personal previous experiences. This has a fair amount to do with your self esteem, and how you’ve been treated in the past. The best example I can give is my own experience. If I’m walking around in public, and a girl looks at me, then looks away and smirks, I immediately think she’s somehow laughing at me. She might be thinking I remind her of someone, or I might be wearing a funny shirt or whatever. It doesn’t matter. My initial response is almost always that it’s because of something wrong with me. This, of course, has to do with my past, and what it was like for me growing up, especially in school. Hell, for all I know, she might even be thinking a little wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean, say no more! Still, my initial response colors my entire reaction. I’ve been around others who have had similar responses to something someone either did or said to them. For something said, it could be completely complimentary, but the initial assumption could be very negative just because it’s all you know. Dangerous ground.

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He cut one, can’t stand the smell, and is trying not to laugh. She thinks he’s physically sick of the relationship and wants a divorce.

I’ve spoken about communication before, but it’s never too much. This is the major reason, in my opinion, for relationships failing. Whether it be a close friendship, a marriage, whatever. It doesn’t matter. If we assume someone’s intention, and let it fester, it will easily blow a small innocuous thing way out of proportion. If you have a question about someone’s intentions, ask them about it, and do it from a place of peace. If you wonder if you upset someone unintentionally, go to them and ask. It’ll make your bond with that person much stronger, since they’ll realize you actually give a shit about them and their feelings. Remember, if someone comes to you to talk about an incident, they either want to build a better friendship, or want to keep the existing one intact. Think about that the next time you silently hold a grudge over something without all the information. Trust me, I know from experience that great friendships can be lost and ruined over stupid shit like this. It’s happened to me, and I’ve been responsible for it. Once the haze of righteous anger fades, and the clarity of calm realization hits, it unveils wounds that will never fully heal.

Oh, and this is all dependent on the honesty of the other person as well. Gauge your trust in others carefully. Still, I’d rather be up front, honest, and emotionally open. If that person abuses that, they lose out. I lose nothing, personally, by being the “better person”.

The Hated – Review of Rocky 5

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Much better poster than the actual one.

I will start this by admitting that I loved each and every one of the Rocky films. Some are decidedly better than others, but none are so bad that I wouldn’t watch them if they were on TV. Still, of all the Rocky movies, Rocky 5 gets the most hate. This movie shows a Balboa fallen from grace because of his asshole brother-in-law. Paulie makes a stupid deal and they lose all of their money. They move back to Philly, Rocko opens Micky’s gym back up, and starts training fighters. Enter Mike Tyson Tommy, the machine, Gunn. He wants Rocky to train him, which he does, then sells out to Don King and leaves Rocky in the dust. He fights until he realizes that he’ll never get respect until he fights Rocky, who ends up beating his ass.

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Pretty sure he did the fallen from grace thing for the comfy clothes and the ability to wear that hat again…

Now that you know everything of importance that happens in the movie, we’ll get down to it. This is very similar to the other movies, except it focuses more on Rocky moving on and taking Mick’s place. Micky used to be a fighter, and he ended up a trainer. Rocky is following in his footsteps, which is a good and logical progression. He’s done being the fighter, he wants to be the father and mentor. The problem is, he can’t let go. He sees himself in Tommy, and since the fighting world is pretty much the only one he knows and is comfortable in, he clings to it via the newcomer. For him, he’s reliving his fighting days in the only way he can. The main result here is the change in the dynamic of his family life. He, in a way, replaces his real son with his surrogate son, due to their similarities. Only after the betrayal does he realize what he did, and what’s happening. Keep in mind, Rocky is not an intelligent man. He’s also sorta socially inept. In many ways, he’s just a large child, which makes him pretty easy to relate to.

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Hands up, hands up, gimme that belt gimme gimme that belt gimme gimme!

We also have Tommy’s journey, the typical deal with the devil type of stuff. He chooses his ambition and desire over the potential family and friends he might have had. He leaves Rocky for the money and publicity, and a ridiculously hot redhead (that part I TOTALLY get!). I do admit that Tommy Morrison, who played Tommy Gunn in the movie, can’t really act for shit. As such, the movie ends up having a mildly comical overtone due to his bad acting, and Richard Grant’s overacting as Don King George Washington Duke. Stallone also cast his own son to play his son in the movie. Apart from adding to the bad acting, he also posed the question of “How did his son age like 5 or 6 years during the flight back from Russia?”.

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The kid was there for his sage advice at the end…get it? huh? oh come on, that was awesome!

Honestly, even though it was a break from the traditional Rocky formula, I still  enjoyed it. It was cool to see Rocky street fight him at the end, even though street fights aren’t much like that, and that last uppercut was so far from connecting that another person could’ve fit between them and still not have gotten hit. It had its sins, but was not a bad movie overall (like Superman IV, fuckin’ yikes!). It doesn’t measure up to the other films, but hey, can’t get it right every time.

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Tommy was offered money, fame, AND sex with this chick! You’d have done the same shit, so quit bitchin’!

Shitty revelations

About a year and a half ago, I started this blog. For the most part, it was done just for the hell of it. On occasion, though, it has served a more therapeutic purpose. In therapy, the concept of journaling, or writing down your thoughts and feelings. I’ve done that a few times here, and this is once again one of those times. My reasons for making this public is this: If anyone else who reads this has had the same thoughts/feelings, they’ll know they aren’t the only one. Solidarity is important, especially when it comes to issues or challenges we face internally. I fought for a long time with thoughts and emotions that I thought were just me being different or crazy, only to find out they were perfectly normal. Another big reason, which is actually an issue of mine, is that I want people to know me better. I’m not a very easy person to really understand, and a VERY small handful of people have been both in the position, and gave enough of a shit, to really get me. This is my way around that, in a way. If that says something bad about me, or make me a loser, then so be it. Nothing new there.

Last night was the last game of the season for my company’s softball team. I decided to play this year, and they didn’t have a problem with my lack of prowess on the field. I didn’t do well during the season, and last night was no exception. When I was driving home, I was considering it, and a few things came into better perspective. It was the first time I actually fully acknowledged something about myself. I’ve kinda known for awhile, but always just ignored it and distracted myself, instead of following the path and seeing how far down the rabbit hole I could go.

3omo96I came to realize that this all relates to a big issue for me, which in my mind is a major personality flaw. I believe that I’ve been given a fair amount of gifts, so to speak. Gifts like intelligence, coordination, etc… My problem is that I have done very little with them. I have literally dozens of hobbies and interests, and I’m not particularly good at any one in particular. I’m average at some, below average at most, and awful at a few (like softball). The title Jack of all trades, master at none is fitting, since it doesn’t specify how good a Jack is at a trade, and usually has a negative connotation. I’m well aware that proficiency takes practice and dedication, and that’s my problem. I have virtually no drive to excel at anything in particular. I have desire to be good, but no get-up-and-go to put myself out there and really kick ass at it. It’s frustrating to deal with because most people just say to me “just do it, don’t think about it, just do it”, which would probably work for most people, but for some reason it doesn’t work for me. I need that drive to really make any headway. I was told by my vocal coach that if I actually practiced and worked at it, I could be a pro level singer, but I never have an urge to practice, even though I’ve long dreamt about being a truly great vocalist. I used to do martial arts, and while I was decent at it, I never excelled at it. I took fighting class, and was one of the worst fighters there. Just lacked the drive and focus. This also makes it hard for me to fit in with a commune-like structure, since I don’t stand out at anything, and end up having little to offer aside from sarcasm and alcohol consumption.

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Well, this doesn’t help. Thanks Marcus…

The real problem here isn’t the lack of drive, because that’s just a symptom of a more deeply rooted problem. I’m not 100% sure this is the real issue, but logically it makes the most sense. Fear. I’ve been fearful my entire life, about a myriad of things. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any odd phobias like heights, spiders, enclosed spaces, carnies, etc. Considering the “gifts” I believe I possess, I fear giving my all and being left wanting. It’s a huge flaw in my ego. This is probably the #1 reason for my self deprecating humor, and why I always talk down about myself. If people expect less of me, and think I’m fundamentally incapable, then me being average is taken as a win overall. The problem is, I’m actually capable of much more, but I’m too afraid of the failure to bother trying. It makes me a huge hypocrite, since I’ve berated others for doing exactly this about one thing or another. Granted, it wasn’t nearly as systemic as it is with me, or at least I don’t know it was.

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wise words from a man much wiser than me…

My fear of giving my all and still failing goes back a very long way, and is now so ingrained in my psyche that it’s a core part of my identity. I don’t think the change will ever occur, don’t think I’ll ever get past this. Too many years as a kid being told I was worthless, not good enough, etc, all led to this, and I didn’t bother acknowledging it until it was too late. It eventually evolved into a sort of apathy, where I just don’t care enough to succeed. I know I could be better. A better musician, a better worker, a better fighter, a better thinker, and a better man. All things being considered, viewing myself in full perspective, this all results in me having great tools, and not really building anything with them. This, to me, makes me an overall failure, which is probably why my obvious low self esteem doesn’t feel forced or disingenuous. My only hope is that I can mask it enough to hide it from my children, but knowing them, they probably have some sort of clue. I just hope they don’t see that as the right way to be.

Body image issues

I typically try to shy away from the more controversial subjects, since wading through hatemail is rather time consuming. Most of what I post here are my inane ramblings, reviews of things, or biased news regurgitation. Today, however, I’ll be stepping outside of that. If it results in a flood of shit, so be it, cuz I think this is very important and needs to be said.

A good friend of mine recently commented about my postings or ‘likes’ on Facebook, the ones relating to how women look and whatnot. I thought about what this person said, and realized I was part of a bigger problem and didn’t even realize it. My posts were taken in a way that I did not intend at all, and I’d like to make anyone who reads my trash stuff understand both where I stand, and what’s going on.

Over the years, I’ve noticed the ebb and flow of what can be referred to as ‘the ideal body image’ for women. Whether it be large chested, small chested, rail thin, curvy, tall, short, or whatever, it seems to change a bit over time. Hundreds of years ago, it was wide hips and small breasts, as seen in many renaissance paintings. The issue at hand has to do with how narrow minded and limiting this is, and also how it results in shaming of one group or another.

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I’ll take both, in no particular order…

First of all, I’m well aware that everyone will have specific preferences when it comes to the opposite sex. Some prefer specific hair color, height, race, even religion. As far as looks go, I personally think that a very small handful of women can be considered to be “flawless”. Everyone has things about themselves that are, for lack of a better term, imperfect. It’s just a fact of life we all have to deal with, both women AND men alike. However, that’s not to say that someone not being “flawless” is not absolutely beautiful.

 

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To be fair, the top is listed as loving your body, the bottom is of “real beauty”. Kinda fucked up when you think of it.

The post I put up basically said something along the lines of “real women have curves”. This statement, when actually thought about, is pretty fucked up. I’d never really thought about it before, since upon seeing an attractive woman I tend to lose what little intelligence I have, resulting in a neolithic set of rules and intellect. Personally, I find a very wide range of women and body types attractive. My philosophy is, why limit yourself? The only thing that’s unattractive to me is someone who is unhealthy looking. If someone is morbidly obese or morbidly underweight, then they don’t strike me as healthy looking, personally. Other than that, we ALL (mostly..I’ve been to walmart) have good things about ourselves physically. I, myself, am well aware of my good points and bad points. It’s not to say that I’m hideously ugly or less than a man, I’m just far from perfect. My point is, me posting that does not IN ANY WAY mean those are the only types of women who are attractive.

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Aside from the top being beach candids and the bottom being glamour shots, on equal ground they’re all hot.

The other part of it is the shaming. While bigger girls have suffered the comments and shaming over the years for their size, they tend to not realize that thin girls get that shit too. People will hate on them and shame them for fitting the “approved norm” or whatever it’s called. The post I stupidly put up is the same thing. It basically says that girls who don’t have curves aren’t real women, which is absolute horse shit. I recently read an article by a model who happens to be a Suicide Girl, and who is into cosplay. She is thin, works out a few hours a day, and has a very fast metabolism. She eats like crazy, but doesn’t gain weight, something I used to have and ended up losing upon entering my 30’s. She got a TON of shit at a con for wearing a revealing outfit, and for standing up for another cosplayer who was being shamed for being overweight. Phrases like “you need to eat something and not throw it up” were said about her weight, and she was accused of trying to play the “thin girl sticking up for the fatty” card for protecting the other girl. This is the kind of shit that makes no sense to me.

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She is #1 on my list, nothing to do with her size.

If I see a thin girl, her weight doesn’t make her any less hot, to a point, and it shouldn’t. Same thing goes in the other direction. Still, even if I THOUGHT it, I’d never SAY it. That’s just fucked up. I used to get shit for being thin for ages, and always felt ashamed of it. I always saw it as me being worth less than I would if I had a normal build. I’d tried weight lifting, weight gainer, and eating like crazy, but none of it ever worked. I was stuck being less than a man for years until things finally evened out. It wasn’t that I was unhealthy, I was very healthy, but all that didn’t matter. I suffer from some of that too, since people who are extreme in one direction or the other tend to first appear to be unhealthy, which is also a product of our society and culture as Americans.

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#2 on my list, also nothing to do with size.

Anyways, my point still stands as I stated it. Just because you don’t or can’t fit society’s idea of the perfect beauty, doesn’t EVER mean that you aren’t beautiful. Trust me, most guys I know think this way, and don’t rate/judge women the same way that women rate/judge themselves. We’re often very surprised when women express shock at being told how beautiful they are, because it’s very obvious to us. Don’t let society, Facebook, celebrities, or anyone else make you believe what “beauty” truly is. Trust the guys who don’t follow that bullshit, and believe what we feel and what we see. To follow that crap would be to limit ourselves, and we’d miss out on WAY too many hotties.

p.s. This post is meant to come off as honest and sincere, while also being very respectful. If you didn’t take it that way, I apologize, and my only excuse is that I’m a really shitty writer….I’m working on it.

I need more RAM

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2 suave muthafuckas!

I’ve been putting off this review for awhile, since I wanted to take my time to gather what little thoughts I have. A few months ago, I picked up the new Daft Punk album, titled Random Access Memories. I’ve been a fan of theirs, though not of the die hard variety, for many years. My first introduction to them was a flash animation starring the main character from River City Ransom, with him “dancing” to the song Harder, Better,  Faster, Stronger. I was so hooked, I bought the album Discovery. I know that album cold, and the movie Interstellar 5555 they did. I’ve always been a fan of older techno, ever since the early 90’s when it had a boom. Once they moved to the freestyle shit, I abandoned ship. Daft Punk is sort of the bridge between the two for me. All that being said, it was a huge culture shock for me when I realized that their latest album was nothing like their previous offerings.

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This gets the PNG seal of approval!

My initial reaction was distaste. I really loved the first song, since it was kind of a techo-ish, but with a VERY 70’s feel to it. Then I listened to the rest of the album and realized that the whole thing is 70’s R&B/Funk/Disco-ish. I stopped listening to it, since it was such a drastic turn that my puny brain couldn’t get passed the fact that they went from the Tron Legacy soundtrack (which is decidedly incredible!) to a 70’s homage. This all changed when I went away on vacation. The lish, the peanutty, the beast and I all went to Lake George for 2 weeks. We rented a house up there, and I brought my PS3 for late night gaming and daytime music and the occasional movie. I gave the lish a copy of the album before we left, and she immediately fell in love. She absolutely LOVES music from the 70’s, so it was well within her realm. The album ended up being the vacation soundtrack, being played daily on repeat. At this point, I was over my initial shock, and could listen to it objectively. The album, in short, is fucking awesome. Great grooves, great hooks, and a very chill overall feel. The album really suits a chillin’ out atmosphere, and has a good mix of upbeat and mellow songs. During the times that we were in the house, we grooved to the tunes, danced on occasion, and generally enjoyed the enhanced relaxation. Now, when I hear the album, I immediately think of our time there just chillin’ out in the house, looking out into the woods, just feeling awesome. The only song I’m not crazy about is the tribute to Georgio Moroder. The music is good, and I love much of the work Georgio did, but the couple of minutes of him telling everyone his life story is something I don’t need in a song. I bought a music CD, not a narration CD.

So, in short, pick it up and listen with an open mind. If you like the genres listed above, you’ll probably love the album.

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