You know those rare moments when something triggers a laughing fit that just goes on forever? An hour, at least. I miss them. This scene; watched when I was about 15 or 16, completely blew me away.
A clip, out of context, will certainly not have the same effect on anyone else, but I was a young teenager, trying to soak in all the David Lynch I could via Blockbuster Video.
My friend Tom and I were renting Lynch’s movies one after another, submerging ourselves in the bizarre, dark and often frightening surrealism of Lynch’s work. For days.
So when we got to this scene in WILD AT HEART, we both quickly collapsed in hysterics. Rewinded the tape about 30 times to watch it over and over again. We didn’t even realize he was saying anything remotely coherent.
That kind of laugh might stop my heart these days, so I’m glad I was expecting it this time. Still got a chuckle out of me, though.
An old friend, Julie, suddenly came back into my life yesterday and reminded me of this song that I wrote when I was about 16. “I See Myself”.
She didn’t have to remind me, actually, as there’d been tiny bits and pieces of it that have haunted me for years. But Julie loved this song and would often play it herself. She remembered much more of it than I did. In fact, she still had some handwritten lyrics of the song. When I got to read all the lyrics again, I remembered it was actually called “Point of View”.
So I went looking through some old tapes I digitized years ago. Most of them were living-room recordings of my first band, Currently BLEU (Listen to those recordings here) and other jam sessions by myself and with my dad on drums.
Lo and behold, I found a recording of my dad and I playing Point of View. He didn’t know the song too well; it was a very informal recording, as you can hear. To be honest, the more I listen to this, it doesn’t sound like I knew the song too well at this point, either. *yeeish*
While the melody of this song was always a favorite of mine and has stuck with me forever, I always hated the banal, juvenile lyrics. But I wrote it when I was, like, 16… So, whatever. Enjoy.
I mean, this is more for me than you, but I still hope you enjoy.
I see myself start to smile. I see myself start to fade away (alt. ‘break down’). I see myself start to cry. Oh, why can’t I just die?
I see myself start to laugh. I see myself start to turn away (alt. ‘fade away’). I see myself start to look at things from a different point of view.
I see myself start to dance. I see myself start to turn away from you. I see myself start to fall. I guess I don’t know anything at all.
I see myself to smile. I see myself to break down. I see myself to cry. Oh, why can’t I just die?
I see myself start to laugh. I see myself start to fade away (alt. ‘turn away’). I see myself start to look at things from a different point of view.
Here’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot, lately. For the last year, at least, I’ve been trying to focus in on a particular idea; one that has been a driving force in my life for a very long time. A philosophy, if you will.
And while I always had a sense of where it came from, it didn’t fully come into focus until fairly recently. It came from a goddamned Mel Gibson movie called “Forever Young”.
There’s nothing special or groundbreaking about this philosophy and I assume it’s probably advice everyone’s heard in some form or another. But for whatever reason, it was this movie that presented it in an everlasting way. So powerful, in fact, that I had to dust off the old blog to put here for safekeeping.
THE (STEEP-IN-TROPE) SCENE:
A young Elijah Wood plays a boy who is in love with a girl. Gets nervous around her and walks away embarrassed. A wise adult figure, played by Mel Gibson, who is dealing with the loss of his spouse, pleads with the boy to tell the girl how he feels before it’s too late.
Nat, wake up! l was wrong.
Before, about Alice. l told you to forget about it.
You know how you want to know what you should do?
You must tell her.
The next time you see her, the very next time… when your heart pounds and you’re nervous–
You know what l mean?
Just let go.
Tell her how you feel.
It’s hard, but you gotta do it!
Open your heart. Sing to her!
Tell her everything.
Sing to her. The sooner the better.
Because… you might not get another chance.
And that’s pretty much exactly how I’ve lived my life as an adult. Not right away after seeing this scene. It stuck with me, sure, but it wasn’t until I became much more aware of my mortality that these words came back to me and would continue to bounce around in my head, in some form or another, on practically a weekly basis.
Yes, really that often. Along with becoming a person who doesn’t and cannot lie, I’ve also become someone who will go out of his way to tell people things they don’t necessarily want to hear. But I have to get it out. I have to tell them how I feel; whether that is a long-overdue apology, or a testament of love/admiration, these are things I very often can’t hold on to.
And I feel better knowing I won’t have to attend someone’s funeral wishing I had apologized. Or more likely, knowing I won’t end up on my deathbed wishing I had told someone I loved them.
It’s hard, but I do it. A lot. And it gets easier every time.
FUN FACT: I just learned JJ Abrams wrote this movie! Also, aside from the scene above and the general corniness of it all, it’s a pretty darn good movie, I’d say.
Let’s be honest, there’s barely a need for this blog to exist on the web anymore. So why am I still updating the look and feel?
Trust me, I barely put any time into this. My old theme was old, outdated, never updated, and breaking. So a new one needed to be added in order to keep the thing from completely falling apart.
I wouldn’t have even said a thing if I didn’t care to at least have a record of when version 11 was put into place.
Man, I miss the old days where I could code up an entirely original design and spend days upon days fighting with the code to make it work the way I saw it in my head. As much as I appreciate the convenience WordPress has provided us designer/developers, it’s just become too easy. So now everything’s become boiled down, simplified, and worst of all, unoriginal. I suppose it’s like what the microwave oven (and subsequently, TV Dinners) did for cooking in general. Why bother creating your own meal from scratch when you can just look at a row of boxes in the freezer and decide which one you’re in the mood for eating right now? For lazy people like myself, there is no choice.
I posted a fairly vague update the other day on Facebook/Twitter about some bad tests. It’s not like me to be vague; I prefer to be an open book with nothing to hide. But some things I hold back on because I don’t want OTHER people to feel like they know too much. (TMI = gross, get away from me) So I guess consider this a TMI warning for what lies ahead. But I’m sharing it because I’m excited and scared. And I don’t really want to go through it alone.
I have long suspected (approx. 6 or 7 years) there was something going on inside me that wasn’t right. Primarily it was the rapid weight gain that I was powerless to stop which tipped me off. It made sense that I had some sort of thyroid issue. But on a couple of occasions, while in the ER getting blood work done, they said my levels looked OK. Then at some point, as my health declined further and more things were going wrong, I started thinking deeper. Then it hit me: Testosterone. I looked at the many symptoms of low testosterone and it all made sense.
The next time I saw my doctor, I inquired about getting my T levels checked. He wrote me out a script and I later called the hospital to find out how much it would cost. I was uninsured at the time and it would be $200. I was broke, too (as I still am), so I opted to not have the test done.
Meanwhile, my physical and mental health continued to decline. I’ve changed a few medications but I still am often too tired to make it into work. And frankly, my depression has left me in a place where I simply do not have the will power to work on helping myself by eating better or quitting smoking or much of anything, really. I’m aware enough to know I need to change things, but dissociated enough to not do anything about it.
Fast forward to about a month ago (I’ve been insured for about 2 years now) when I started taking some new medications. The doc ordered some blood tests per standard procedure, to make sure the new stuff wasn’t killing me or anything. And I remembered that testosterone test I never got done so I asked him to order that one, too. And I finally had it done this week.
Sure enough… I’m low on testosterone. Very low. 163 ng/dL to be exact. Now, it’s difficult to say what “normal” levels are, because it depends on many biological factors, not the least of which is age. And depending on what lab you ask, they range from 270-1070. But from my minimal research, it appears the average is 600-700. Anything below 250 is “super low.” One source I found said that infant males at 5 months old could potentially have a higher level than me. And almost all sources show men above 90 score at least 300-400.
Taking the good with the bad…
When my doctor informed me of this low level, he suggested I consult with my cardiologist to make sure it would be safe to go on testosterone therapy. I had to Google why. Turns out, last year some studies came out which pointed to a correlation in T-therapy & increased risk of heart attack. Add in the variable of someone with pre-existing heart disease and the risk increases more. And men under the age of 65… the risk becomes even greater. Ugh?! The FDA put out a statement saying they have found no convincing evidence of this in their studies, however. And I can’t even find a source that tells WHY there’s a correlation. Meaning: what is the reason testosterone therapy increased the risk for heart attack. Nowhere I could find laid that out. So, I am left to wonder if there’s any particular signs I should look for, or anything I should do in order to minimize this risk… if there even is something I could do.
A New Hope
Tonight, I got my little bottle of gel and begin therapy. I’m trying to simultaneously not be scared about these so-called elevated risks of heart attack AND not be too optimistic about seeing tons of benefits from this. But I am expecting benefits. Like I said, it all made sense. I knew in my gut there was something wrong. This fit. I’ve been vindicated. This is the answer I’ve been looking for. This will help me finally get ME back. I’m expecting to lose weight from a boost in metabolism. I’m expecting muscle-mass to increase, allowing me to walk more than a half-block at a time. I’m expecting the foggy-headedness to burn away, for the depression to lift some, for my confidence to rise some. I’m expecting the hair on my legs and arms to come back. And yes, I’m expecting my libido to come back, too. All these things left me years ago and I’ve just been sitting in a dark room ever since, wondering where they went. Now, I am hopeful. Hesitant but hopeful.
And if I do have a heart attack, then I wanted to get this out there so everyone knows. It was worth the risk.
My local Fox affiliate, WTXF FOX29 in Philadelphia, has the worst social media team ever. The other day, they posted this:
“We know it’s a Doggy Dog World…” Yes. They literally said that. But whatever. Stupid mistake, right?
But then this morning, my trusty TimeHop App reminded me of last summer, when the things that came out of FOX29’s Facebook Page drove a graphic designer like me up a friggin wall on almost a daily basis. And after talking with a co-worker, I decided I must put this all down in one place. Please indulge me by witnessing what happened throughout the summer.
Please note: This is a cellphone photo of a computer screen, WITH POINTER CURSOR STILL VISIBLE. The bottom caption asks us to “Click LIKE if you love Buddy [from Cake Boss]”. The top caption, below the fucked up pixelated border, says “Meet the Cake Boss on Sunday! Click the link above to see time & place”. The background of this caption box is filled with some strange, translucent white texture. It’s either an MS Paint spray paint effect or they are cloning a white area over and over again to fill the box. They use this technique a lot and I don’t know what it is or how it’s possible to be that awful.
Then there was the abduction story:
Worst use of Adobe Photoshop or best use of Microsoft Potato? I can’t decide. Click on it. Take a closer look. I dare you.
Here they want to know if we judge people with tattoos negatively. I’ll tell you what, if they had a tattoo that looked like this, I would. Who actually thought this could pass for a realistic-looking tattoo?! Who is doing all this? A summer intern is the most logical answer, I know, but have they no supervision? This is supposed to be a reputable news organization we’re talking about, here. Which reminds me…
I don’t know what’s worse; the poor Photoshopping job, the outright religious overtones, or the shameful use of a tragedy to increase your engagement rate. It’s too much. I can’t…
You see, fair laymen, engagement rate is a metric which Facebook marketers track. The number of times each post was clicked, liked, shared, or commented on counts towards a particular goal they’re hoping to reach. In fact, it’s “reach” that is the most important thing. Each one of those interactions increases the reach of that post. Meh. It’s a marketing thing. But that’s just it. It’s a MARKETING thing. This is a news organization. And yeah, you could argue that they have a product to sell. They want your eyes on their broadcast so they can sell advertising. And while that’s all true, this kind of activity does nothing but reduce your credibility as a news organization down to zilch. I cannot properly articulate why this is wrong to a degree that I would not lose any arguments in favor of this behavior, but dammit it’s wrong and I hope someone out there can help me properly convey why.
In the meantime, last summer, all they wanted was high engagement metrics, apparently…
If only hugging my mom was this easy.
Seriously, what they fuck are they using to fill in the white backgrounds for these caption boxes?
Feel free to peruse their posts from last summer. You will find more. To be fair, there hasn’t been much use of these MS Paint creations on their page for quite some time, now. So… that’s a good thing, I guess.
Thanks for indulging with me. Be sure to comment or share if you liked this blog post!