Rebellions are Built on Hope

rogue-one-a-star-wars-story-logoI just got back from seeing Rogue One for a second time. While this won’t necessarily be a formal review of the film, I will try to keep this post spoiler free and a sort of thought journal about the movie. If you have not yet seen the film I highly suggest you go see it. Especially if you are a fan of the Star Wars franchise. As a stand alone film, Rogue One does serve well for action and drama. However, the plot and character development may feel a bit lack luster without the context of the episodic films. Being that this is the first in the Star Wars Anthology series, it makes sense that it does not spend too much time building up back stories or motivation for the characters. We know that it is about the rebellion against the evil Galactic Empire. As I’ve said, I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible. The film starts without a crawl unlike previous Star Wars movies. This is because it is not an episode, but rather a catalyst between Episode III and Episode IV. Some people are saying it is like Episode 3.5, but in all reality it is more like Episode 3.99. Rogue One ends, without me giving too much away, in a perfect transition into Episode IV.

The theme of the film is hope, and as mentioned in the movie – and as the title of this post declares – rebellions are built on hope. I would have to say that Rogue One carries this theme well from the opening scene all the way to the end. The cast does an excellent job in portraying a rag-tag group of rebels that won’t take any of the Empire’s political shit. As the main character, Jyn Erso played by Felicity Jones, says “I’ve never had k-2so-in-star-wars-rogue-onethe luxury of political opinions.” With her childhood mostly spent in solidarity, we can see how this would be true. Knowing that it was the Empire that created such a hostile environment which forced the Ersos apart, Jyn’s vendetta plays out on screen in an explosive way. That’s to be taken both figuratively and literally. While all of the cast could fill their own countless tomes of depth and detail, to save time I will point out one other hero we are introduced to in Rogue One. K-2SO, a reprogrammed imperial security droid, voiced by the wonderful Alan Tudyk, is by all means the comic relief that is peppered so perfectly throughout the film. He is consistently dropping one liners that often get a roar of laughter from a packed house. This movie is a little slow at first, but with good reason. We are getting into a movie with (mostly) all new characters and do need some sort of set up. But after the first act the drama and action are just about nonstop. The final battle on tropical planet Scarif is one like we have never seen before in a Star Wars film. I use the word “on” loosely here. I can’t say anymore in order to keep it fresh and unspoiled for those who have yet to see the blockbuster of the year. Go out and see this movie as soon as you can while it is still in theathres. You will be totally immersed in it. Both times I saw this film, I felt a strong disconnect once the credits began to roll and I walked out of the auditorium. A good movie will do that to you. It will take you away from your own reality so much that when you return it is a bit of a shock to the system. I highly rate this film two thumbs up. It is tied with Episode VII: The Force Awakens in my personal ranking of the franchise. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back will always be the best, or maybe… for now anyway.

Hello WordPress, my old friend…

I’ve come to talk with you again. It has been a few months, I know. I apologize for the hiatus. Since my last post, I have officially finished my first semester of college. I never thought I would have been able to say that. Getting in to and going to college is much easier than I had realized. Of course, I am greatly privileged to do it as effortlessly as I have, and I try to stay humble about that. In that first semester I took 3 courses, all of which where required. Freshman Comp I, Developmental Math Combined, and a course called New Student Experience. I completely loathed the latter course. It was designed to help students define their academic and career paths for later down the road. Sounds easy enough, right? The only trouble with that is that I do not yet know what I want to do with my career in both academia or the professional capacity. Most of the assignments were for you to look into your own future about 8 to 10 years to see where you were and how you got there. You had to come up with a purpose. I’m going to college to find that out, how could I possibly figure that out in the first semester? I’m glad I got an A in that course so now I won’t have to take it again. Ever.

Freshman Comp I was a breeze. I’ve always had a knack for writing. That’s not to say I didn’t learn anything in this class. I did learn quite a bit. Before taking this course, I had no idea about MLA formatting or citing sources. I’ve never gone to high school and I feel that is why I wasn’t as familiar with these areas as my classmates may have been. I also passed this course with an A grade. In fact, I was required to purchase a book for this class. Not once during the course did I even open the damn book. Everything I needed for my assignments I either already knew, or the learning material was made available online through the class itself. One thing that sucks about that is I paid $58 for the book. Now that the semester is over, I am selling the book to Chegg.com for a measly $15. The real kicker of it all is for this next semester I am taking Freshman Comp II and the book required is literally the exact same book, only a different publication year. I would keep last semester’s book but I don’t want to take the chance of having to actually use the material and it being on different page numbers or in different chapters than what is instructed. So another $58 later and I will be getting essentially the same book again. That’s college for you. It’s a business.

As far as the Developmental Math Combined course… well… I got a D. This means that I was pretty close to getting a passing C grade, but not quite enough. Now I will need to take this course again this semester in order for me to be able to take any other courses. For semester number 2, I am taking Developmental Math Combined (again), Freshman Comp II, and, the one I am most excited for, Art Appreciation. I am so thankful for financial aid as so far the only out of pocket expenses for school have been gas to get to campus for the midterm and final exam for math. Everything else has been covered in full with a remainder which gets refunded a couple weeks after the semester begins. If you are reading this and have ever wanted to go to school for anything I would highly suggest you do it. Like I said, I never went to high school, but I did get my GED. If you are in the same boat that I was in, go get your GED and follow your dreams.

As for other areas of life, I have been tossing around the idea of moving out of Florida for some time now. In a previous post I wrote all about how I wanted to move out to California. While that is still true, I have begun to factor the logistics and financial realism of a potential west coast move. It has made me reconsider the state that will be my Floridian exodus. Colorado seems like a better choice for me at this time in my life. The cost of living is significantly more affordable than both Florida and California. It will be nice to have seasons other than humidity, hurricanes, and surface of the sun. I’ve still never actually been in snow. I’m thinking of Pueblo, CO right now. However, I’ve also been researching schools out there at which I can continue to spread my wings. One school in particular has caught my interest. The Colorado Film School has some pretty interesting facilities with state of the art equipment and tools to help young storytellers do just that, tell their stories. From an early age I often would enjoy making little home videos. They were never really movies with a plot or characters. They were mostly just random weird shit that would amuse me. I really enjoyed the editing of shots and the whole process overall. I still have a few tapes out in the garage from when I was 12-13 years old. I need to buy a VCR and adapter so I can archive them digitally.

I am not 100% set on going to film school just yet, but if I do I would be going for the writer/director program. I’ve always wanted to learn how to write scripts and plot stories, craft characters and story arcs and the like. It’s not even about being successful as a writer or director. I mean, of course that would be preferred, but just getting an education around something that I enjoy is good enough for me. Films like Clerks inspire me to make films, and films like Pulp Fiction inspire me to write films. I should note that these are two of my most favorite films for that reason. I recently saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and holy fucking shit did I enjoy it! I will need to see it a few more times before I can give a full review, which I may or may not post on the blog. I do want to get back into the habit of blogging at least once a month. I feel that is a realistic goal given my work and school schedules. For now I’m going to continue to listen to music and think of films I could create. Music always does that to me. Good music makes me want to write scenes for that particular piece of music. Anyway, until next time…

 

Hurricanes, Music, and Madness

This whole working full time and going to school full time thing is exhausting to say the least. I haven’t been able to revisit this blog in some time now. I’m currently listening to some classic punk rock on Apple Music. Sheena is a punk rocker in case you didn’t know. I have a couple of math assignments due tonight by midnight. I’ll start working on them after a short 3 hour nap when I crash later on. However, I could fire up the Keurig and be a real college student and just get that shit over with. I’m beginning to think that I can’t publish a single post on this blog without referencing coffee at least once. Okay. That settles it. I’ll be right back…

That’s much better. I’m drinking some random k-cup I ordered from a Groupon deal. It’s some double-chocolate brownie flavored coffee. It’s really good. It sucks that the 100 k-cups I ordered are all non Keurig-licensed cups and so I have to sort of “hack” it in order for the machine to brew it. That’s where you cut or peel the top off of one of the licensed k-cups and place it over the top of one of the “inferior” k-cups. But enough about coffee and EULA violations.

I’ve switched the music over to the latest release by the band Against Me! as they are the supporting band on the recently announced Revolution Radio tour from Green Day. Also, I’ve never heard their music before. I’m liking what I’m hearing so far. Unfortunately, the tour does not come to Florida this time. However, plans are currently being formulated and a budget is being reviewed for the possibility of traveling to their show in Duluth, GA in March. This would be enthralling. Green Day is my favorite band and I’ve only seen them live once during their 21st Century Breakdown tour. Best concert experience of my life.

I actually pre-ordered Revolution Radio, which is the latest album from Green Day. It came in the mail finally yesterday. It was supposed to arrive the day the album was released on the 7th. However, that’s right around the time that Hurricane Matthew decided to fuck that delivery schedule all up. We fared well throughout the storm. There was no damage to the house or cars or anything. We didn’t even lose power once. It was just a windy rain storm for this part of town. It was a moot storm. That’s a great and terrible band name idea; Moot Storm. Shit! Moon Storm… now that’s a sick name. As far as Revolution Radio (#RevRad) goes, I’ll be posting a full review at some point in the near future. I’ve already listened to the album at least a dozen times. I was able to get a hold of an early leaked download of the record a while before the official release. I do not condone piracy at all. I just could not help myself, and at that point I had already purchased my copy on vinyl which comes with a digital download anyway.

 

!!!TRIGGER WARNING: MENTIONS OF DEPRESSION, SUICIDE, AND DRUG ABUSE BELOW!!!

 

As for me, I’m doing okay right now. I mean it is 4:30 in the morning, I’ve finished that cup of coffee and my cat, Nova, is currently sitting between my back and the back of the computer chair I’m sitting in. She likes to do that quite a bit. I’m not complaining at all. She’s nice and warm on my back, and it feels lovey in a way. Cats are cool like that. Well pets in general, really. They can be therapeutic. Speaking of therapy, I will be starting that again with a new therapist in a couple weeks, if not sooner. I’m on a sort of waiting/cancellation list to get in sooner than the first of next month. As of a day or two ago I was not feeling too well. I hadn’t been feeling too well for a couple of months but I tried my best to fight it and stay strong. Sometimes you eat the bar and, sometimes the bar eats you. (If you don’t get that last reference you need to watch better movies.) Mental illness is a cunt. I have been struggling with it for years now. It hasn’t fully gone away either, and realistically it never will. I can only treat it and learn how to cope with it in healthy ways. I was recently put on Klonopin for anxiety by my psychiatrist. I have had bad experiences with this drug in the past, so it’s my fault for not being up front about it when he mentioned prescribing it. The reason I didn’t say anything is because last time I was being treated with all sorts of medicines that either didn’t work at all or only mildly helped with my conditions. This time I’m on Abilify which has been a miracle worker in terms of the bipolar depression department. My anxiety has reached an all time high and it was beginning to lower the effectiveness of the Abilify. So I asked the doc for something extra for anxiety. I figured that despite my past experience with Klonopin, that with the Abilify in tow I would be okay. Somehow I thought they would balance each other, and myself, out. Nope. Not the case at all. For me, Klonopin – or clonazepam – is a suicidal ideation-inducing medication. The last time it got to the point of me cutting myself. Not in a suicide attempt or anything. Just a self-harm thing. You know, the usual emo shit. I’ve still never had any actual contemplation of suicide and have never attempted it. I just get to this place where I kind of obsess over the idea of it and it’s just a dark, downward spiral. At first, the dosage of the Klonopin was so small that there were no noticeable effects. The doc then decided to double the dose. That’s when I began to abuse the Klonopin and mix it with my Ambien for a weird sort of I don’t know what. I’m not the party type. I don’t drink except for maybe a glass of red wine or two with a nice, fancy meal. I hate taking pills in general, even something as simple as ibuprofen. They tend to always get stuck on the back of my tongue and start to dissolve before I can wash the taste away. It’s really gross. As I was saying, I basically began to become a fuck up. Becoming a fuck up and being one are two totally different things. I’m now being proactive with my issues and am seeking help with my psychiatrist by being completely open and honest about everything. The same can be said about my new therapist. I have tried therapy before but I didn’t give it a proper chance. Mostly due to the fact that my last therapist was like a cunty older version of Edna Mode from the Incredibles. That’s not blaming my lack of effort on the therapist either. I believe that in order for therapy to work, you must have a good relationship, and good vibes with your therapist. My new one seems like someone who would be more in-tune with my personality and that’s promising. I just have yet to have my initial visit. I hope they can get me in sooner so I can get the ball rolling on this thing. The therapist is actually out right now for surgery so the appointment availability is kind of pushed back so far for a reason, but they will fill me in if there are any cancellations before my appointment.

I think that just about covers it. I’m doing alright in school, I have love and care around me, and – to quote one of my favorite new Green Day songs off of the new album – I’m still breathing. I hope that if you’ve read this far that I have not caused you to worry or stress. I’m okay right now and the future looks like it could be getting better. I just am taking it one day at a time and I appreciate everyone who is there to support me. In person or online. You are all my strength and motivation. I’ve let myself down too many times, I’m not going to let anyone else down too.

 

Peace, Love, and Rock n Roll!

So it goes…

I’ve started school now. College to be precise. You have to be really precise in college. I’ve been a bona fide college student for about 3 days now. So far, so good. I’m currently enrolled in only 3 courses. But since this is my first year of college, as well as my first year back in school in any form for many, many years, I think 3 classes is just about right. Not too much, and not little enough that leaves me disinterested. Math is a bitch. It has always been a bitch in my life. Like a school bus driver that would never put on the radio, or the lunch lady you were always afraid of. Math is to me what Mount Vesuvius was to Pompeii. A fucking time bomb. I am getting along well enough but sooner or later that shit is about to blow the fuck up. All over my face. Not good. And definitely not for sharing, Bruno. I mean, I really shouldn’t be bitching. I remember being like 10 years old and wanting to be in my 20’s and going to college. I do not know why. I guess it was a part of that ever illusive dream of being normal that I used to want so badly. But now I’ve come to realize I will never be normal and that I never really want to be. And that’s just dandy. Normal is predictable. Predictable is boring. Boring is death.

School is not boring. Not yet, anyway. I remember being in class (in middle school) and wanting to just sleep through most of, if not all of what was being taught. I’ve actually done this before. Now that I’m a little older I can only see how disrespectful it was to my teachers. But, to be fair, the Florida Department of Education never really gave a shit about me. They only cared about the school’s grade and funding. I mean I never really gave a shit, why should they? I was, and still can be from time to time, a stubborn fuck. I learned my own way. I observe, and use the internet at my advantage. I’m not trying to say I’ve figured it out or that school is for losers. On the contrary, I’ve come to learn the importance and value of school and a “proper education”. I just did not get along well with the bureaucracy of how my public schools were being run. But I digress.

College life is busy life. I’ve found myself spending breaks from work at school and vise versa. I am lucky in that I work full-time from home over the internet. I am also going to school the same way. My work schedule pretty much determines my schedule for everything else so I work in as much school time as I can. I’m doing pretty good so far, I think. I mean it is only day 3 of the whole semester. I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m trying to document my progress, early as it may be, on my blog. I know I won’t be able to blog as much with the added work load, however when I do blog I feel it will often breech the subject of school. If I get too much to talking about one thing, I apologize. But this is my blog, so fuck you at the same time.

It is 3:30 in the morning as of me writing this and while I am off the next two days, and have all of my homework finished, I should still probably try and get a good night’s sleep. I have to pick up some medication in the morning so I think it is now time for me to end this post. I will see you all next time!

The Upside Down

I know I said I would try to hold off on posting while “ambidrunk” otherwise known as under the influence of ambien. But I can’t help it. I forgot about wanting to post tonight and took the drug. I’m trying to navigate my way through my mental state that is currently turning into some Stranger Things chocolate pudding. I’m not even sure what I want to talk about in this post. I did just finish writing a song that I have been working on for a number of days now. I need to polish a bit, mainly my lackluster vocals. I’m not a singer but I try. Maybe one day I’ll get some vocal lessons or coaching. Shit is just out of the budget right now. One day. In a few days it will be my weekend again and I’ll be staying in a suite for a night to enjoy the day at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure here in Orlando. This music that I put on to help me relax and focus so I can keep hammering out words like a contractor hammers old bent nails out of old lumber is putting me to sleep more than anything.

Holy cow you guys. I just dozed off after last sentence. I need to go to sleep so I don’t continue to dribble on about nothing. I’m sure I’ll have some trippy dreams tonight. I’ll blog them tomorrow some time. Good night everyone! I’ll see you on the upside down.

Take Your Protein Pills And Put Your Helmet On

So I… God damn it! I need to stop starting shit with “So”. I apologize. Anyway, I really need to remember to take my Ambien and get some sleep tonight. I have to work in the morning and I’m on a 4 by 10 schedule which means I’m at work for 11 hours, minus an hour for lunch. I have to push through 4 days of stress and then I get 3 days off again. That’s my life. For now. As I’ve mentioned countless times on this blog now, I will be starting going to school online in about 10 days. So those 3 days off will soon be invaded with homework and projects and things. I’m actually excited to get back into school with myself being the one pushing me through it. I never was a model student. Anti-establishment ideals and teenage angst often make for a cocktail of “Fuck you!”. Now I am going to be “The Man” that I once thought I was sticking it to. I’ll be the reason I have to get up early to attend class. I’ll be the one making the changes I need in my life. It feels good. I’m 26 and finally going to school. I never thought I would be a college student.

It’s 9:45 at night and I start work at 11 in the morning. I should be taking the Ambien in a couple of hours or less. It takes about 30 minutes or so to kick in. I’m re-watching the first season of Showtime’s Californication. I watched the show back when it came out almost 10 years ago. I only got to see the first season as I moved out and no longer had cable for a while. It’s a great series and I’m excited to see the next 6 seasons as they are available to stream on Netflix. Marathon Duchovny. That’s a pretty good way to spend limited T.V. time. I mean, I don’t really watch much T.V. as it is. But in any case I do enjoy most things I watch. I’m selective in that way. I’ve been neglecting not just this post but also this show. So I’m going to go ahead and post this and get back to watching the show. I’ll post again when I can. I’m going to be pretty busy here coming up soon. Have a good one, folks!

All I Have To Do Is Dream

Dreams are amazing. They can take you into the most incredibly detailed, and extraordinary worlds. They can also manifest pretty much any emotion imaginable. Have you ever woken up from a dream and felt angry about something that happened in the dream? It’s hard to shake that feeling for the rest of the day. You tell yourself that it was just a dream. That it holds no weight in real life. Oh but dreams totally do. Dreams are like mind movies. But we rarely have control over their direction and production. They are still mostly a mystery but science has been cracking down on finding out the true significance and potential of dreams. I have very vivid dreams quite often. This is a side effect of the Ambien I usually take to get to sleep at night. A lot of the time I will be upset when I wake up solely because a really interesting dream has ended. It is rare that I will wake up angry, but it really sucks when I do. Like I said before, it is hard to shake negative feelings throughout the day when you wake up with them. But by the same token, when you wake up after a really great dream it makes the whole day that much easier to take on and enjoy.

Funny how the mind works. It can create such beautiful art or concepts and theories, or it can create hellish nightmares and cause terror and fear. It’s the eternal yin and yang. I’ve just woken up from an interesting dream. It involved a shape-shifting room, some video games, and driving in a car smoking a hookah while simultaneously driving over the hookahs of some skater kids. Weird is an understatement. I have no idea where these images and scenarios come from, but I’m so grateful for them. How boring would it be if you had nothing interesting to think about during the day. I know a lot of people don’t have that luxury. Jobs demand focus and attention, as does school. And during the week I will be granting them both of those things. But when I have the time, I love to think, and think, and think. I really can’t help it. So when a really interesting dream comes along I love to analyze it or think of a way to make the mind movie into a real movie.

I need to start keeping a dream journal. I’m just so damn lazy when it comes to telling myself I need to do something and actually doing it. Maybe I’ll use this blog from time to time as a dream journal. I would love to make my mental visions into real ones for people to enjoy. Because dreams are random as hell and don’t really have a plot, I think it would have to be either just a collection of dreams in one sequence or something that involves traveling between dreams. That would be pretty sweet, right? A dream-hopping movie? I think Terry Gilliam would be the best director for that. I mean, have you seen The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus?┬áThat whole film is like a Dali painting come to life. I love it. That’s what I imagine a dream movie to be like. Very surreal and trippy. The imagination is an incredible place. It’s more than a place, it is a tool. A tool that we can use to craft some amazing pieces of art. It is a terrible thing to waste. Sometimes, I’m guilty of wasting mine. But it is never totally wasted. I have half-finished lyrics and poems, and plenty of paintings that line my office walls to prove it. One of these days I’ll attempt to paint something from one of those weird dreams that I have. But for now I’m awake, blogging and drinking coffee. If anything interesting comes of this I will be sure to post about it. However, life is pretty mundane overall. The dream world, that’s whats fantastic!