Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 64-65

Day 64: Why do people who always go to the same place say that they love to travel? I don't claim to have any love for travel, but I do like experiences. I like waking up in a new place, setting out without any list or brochure and just finding things. I remember, long before the internet going on vacation and getting into the car with my parents and not knowing where we were going, not sure when we'd be back and getting lost. Stopping for lobster or clams in a coastal town. Asking for directions, not to a town, to a destination, but to a highway. Sure we went back for a second summer, two years later and we went right instead of left and never once visited the same places. We swam in the same river at dusk and saw a few of the same faces, but the experiences changed every day, every summer. I've never understood how anyone can stay in the same house, in the same town, on the same beach, year in and year out and enjoy it as much as before? I did the Jersey shore two years in a row and while I had fun, I had no desire to return to the same area. It had run its course.

I'm not saying there aren't places we don't hold dear to our hearts, but I'd like to think it's the new people and the new things about it that brings freshness to these places we call special. I realize there are places that are truly second homes and this is different. I understand when sweat and tears have been dropped in creating a place away from home that has the same feel, but is that a vacation or a getaway? Going away with other people, you start to feel this odd sense that it's all deja vu for them and that transfers over to you. It slowly, secretly deprives you of that new experience and in some ways, it makes you realize that their happy place can never be yours. I know I've never felt as enthusiastic about the places others covet and I assume they felt the same about mine. Our desperate need to be content and continue routine binds us from letting go and experiencing. I have always hated that.

And so it seems that this is the case with home or what some call home. I've been mocked, teased and even "corrected" by some who never understand when I answer Brooklyn, when asked where I am from. Why it is so difficult for me to utter, Eastchester or Westchester when asked where I live. There has always been that hesitation. I wonder what it will be like for me, not having to say those words. Will those who are acquaintances with me, because of location, dismiss my friendship? I assume some will and some will miss me.

I never really want attention, despite my posts and my ranting on social media. I want to be noticed by a slight few and I notice them. I assume people think my motives are selfish, but those should know that I read as much as i can of other people's posts. I skip over the religious and political memes that are merely other people's words, copied and pasted or regurgitated, but when someone takes the time to share of themselves, I always take a few seconds or minutes to read it. Many times twice, if I want to comment. Sure, there are times when this sparks debate, but I want those people to know that I cared to comment, because I cared to read it. I always welcome comments, both serious and funny, critical and in agreement or just additions to my thoughts. So many who are indirectly my targets seem to take such offense and maybe I'm wrong, but a lot more people tell me privately that I'm not. So I continue. Well, for another month....at least. #100DaysOfHopper

 Day 65: Well, when I started this, it was in reaction to the completely fake people out there who do their "random" acts of kindness, their 100 days of "happiness" and the overall attitude of so many who are either, so blind to the world around them or feel the most miniscule events are catastrophic. Despite the public comments, I've been told some really nice things and on occasion, been told that I went a little heavy and made it obvious as to whom I was speaking of. I assured those people that the targets of my words weren't astute enough to realize and I'm sure I was correct.

I do find it interesting that the only time I received truly positive public comments was the time I pointed my opinions at myself. Something I do in private conversations all the time. So I may open up tomorrow a bit more and ask anyone who cares or is interested in knowing anything to ask me any question, as long as it doesn't hurt or embarrass someone else.

That being said, I do want to make one comment for today and if anyone finds offense, maybe you should think before you speak, act or continue your way of life.  If you do something for someone else, whether it be a loved one, a friend or a stranger; if you are called upon in a time of need, from any corner of your life; if someone entrusts you to assist them in their time of need, please remember that their call to you, you specifically, because of trust. I'm sure most do not wish for their woes to be shared on Facebook or even during idle chat. Your help, assistance, your care and nurturing means the world to these people. It is you laying aside your life, your woes and everything your world, to be the one shining moment of theirs. So when I read or listen to people's accounts of their wonderful altruism, great parenting and true friendship, I always listen or look for one word and I count. How many times does this person say "I" or "Me." Makes you wonder who all these heroes out there are doing it for and why, doesn't it? #100DaysOfHopper

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Free Writing - Take 47

I always laughed as a child when someone would say "read between the lines." It always sounded so silly. As an adult, I can't stand cliches, sappy metaphors and overused catchphrases. I think that is my daily struggle. My educated friends have mastered reading, even skewing the lines, but true intelligence is all about viewing what lies between. Not metaphorically, but literally. Today I saw a very long post, filled with self righteousness and pride. The likes piled up and comments of support came from many, especially family members. I sat and read, then read again and again. I read until the lines no longer mattered and what was between them shined through. Apology, guilt, excuses for not being the person one wants to appear to be. A fake, fixing his mask like it's Halloween. The facade is well known and well documented. The chuckles come from all sides, even those closest. So many who are quick to judge also fall victim to the charms of those who seem so sincere. I scroll down, to the innocently aloof. The one who needs so many answers to life's such arduous questions. The help comes in the form of support, relief, answers to questions where the answer isn't only known, but the next step has already been taken. The trap has already been set. The victims already known.  All a game, to feed that ravenous appetite for attention.  Scroll even further to find the philosophical damsel in distress. One night alone and her loins ache to be touched, but we all know, should one ever attempt such a frivolous act, the scene turns one of vulnerability. The pleading to be taken, quickly turn into accusations of use. Not abuse mind you, but use; friendship that has crossed a line that was never there to begin with.  They once were spoken, but now they are printed for all to see. The hope is not to snare one in her trap, but to get as many as possible. To parade around, like worthless dogs, to fulfill some twisted emotion where love is supposed to be. Who knows why we bother. Or maybe I shouldn't assume that it is a bother for others. Maybe they all share these desires, to be liked, to be noticed, to be admired, for everything they are not. I drift, away. Two hundred plus miles, so often returning to compete in this game I despise, only now, I quit.

Monday, July 28, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 62-63

Day 62: A Sunday, nobody will read this, so I can really get saucy on here. I could talk about my first sexual encounter or maybe that time I robbed a bank, got chased by cops and ended up dying while surfing the big one.

I think I'll talk about simple things. Like appreciating what you have while you have it. I don't think I did this much of my life, but now with Facebook, it seems so much more important. Sometimes while I'm making a sandwich, I truly stop and think about how for so many, that moment would be the highlight of their week. I sit and sip coffee on a cool morning and despite all my physical woes, I can stand up and hobble to the pot for a second cup, while others rely on so many others.

I don't want anyone to think this is meant to rain on anyone's parade, but when I see pictures of engagement rings, new cars, maybe even a new home, I wonder why it's posted. Sure, you've worked hard or you've found love, but shouldn't that be about you and the person you're sharing with? Why does the world need to see a tiny ring to prove that someone loves you. I know that I've never cared for a second whether or not anyone believed the sincerity of my feelings, other than the object of my affection. Why do I need a tangible object to prove this? Is that love?

I once had a car given to me as a gift. I put gas in it, turned the ignition and it took my from point A to point B. I spent $1800, including insurance on it over the course of two years. It has hear and A/C, a radio, I drove friends places when they needed a ride, I went to work and back and on occasion I went on dates and maybe even fooled around once or twice in it. So explain how your $70,000 car does more and why people need to see pictures of it?

I know I've rambled on about materialism, about needing to be accepted, admired and even adored, but is it really important at the end of the day? Is your life so empty that 40 pictures, depicting you and your beau or your children parading around some beach, being waited on hand and foot are necessary? Don't misunderstand, I like being treated well and even pampered on occasion, but I'm not taking a picture of the person doing so, asking them to mock enthusiasm so the world can see how much joy I bring. No, I thank them, tip them generously, often more than I can afford and hope they enjoy their time alone because of how wonderful they made me feel. It's between me and them, not the world.

We have all lost touch with what is important in life. Sure we can post memes or quotes, little blurbs next to pictures that say "best dad ever" or "happiness," but what does that mean? I don't know that love, happiness or family truly have clear definitions. I consider those people I think of when I'm joyful and wish they were there to share it as the ones I love. I consider those who are there for me when nobody else is as people who love me. I find those moments that make me forget my physical pain or the mental stress of my financial situation to be happiness. I find the ability to make someone smile, laugh or hold their chin up through adversity to be what makes me feel what others call happiness. I find those people, blood related or not (and mostly not), who I can't live without, to be my family. I find that person who has taught me a lesson I carry every day, to be a brother or sister, aunt or uncle. As a child, I had more aunts and uncles that weren't related than I did who were. They are the ones who helped raise me into who I am today. They loved me and I loved them, they brought me happiness and I did so in return and we both recognized that there was no science in our definition of family.

I try and stay true to my thoughts, so when you see a photo of some delicious meal, some beautiful sunset or a scenic view, I do not want envy, but I want the few who know the struggles I face, to know I'm OK and these pictures are of where and what I wish they were sharing with me at that moment. I just hope that one day I will. #100DaysOfHopper

Day 63: What I have learned from reading Facebook the past week. Sorry if you read this in it's entirety, I went off the rails a bit and called out a few people's self serving and excuse ridden, hypocritical bullshit regarding charity. Should have been done separately as to not take away from the petty annoyances stated before it.

1. My friends and their friends who are TEACHERS are as equally baffled as when to use your & you're as well as their, there and they're.

2. I never knew how many doctor friends I have and who participate in "bring your kid to work day." Six different friends lost their patients with their own kids this weekend.

3. Women who are married, living with someone or in a serious relationship who are left with no plans, wine and Facebook on a weekend night, immediately become the loneliest, most unappreciated, unloved philosophers in the history of the world. Guys don't post, so I'm assuming Call of Duty or masturbation.

4. We're all not photogenic (I am not for sure), so there's nothing wrong with taking a second photo before posting.

5. The same guy friends of mine who rant and rave about steroid users being cheaters and having no place in the game's history, all posted their praise for Joe Torre and Tony Larussa getting into the Hall of Fame as managers.  No two managers combined have managed more suspected or admitted PHD users.

6. There are some people who, even during the best of times, will sneak away to complain on Facebook about their horrible lives.

7. If most of my friends said God and Jesus as much in person as they do on Facebook, I'd probably let them meet them.

8. People that ask questions they know the answer to or could easily google are a) looking for attention b) trying to get other posts noticed c) really that dumb

9. Either the price of going to Yankees games went way down or I have some of the richest friends in the world.

10. Girls who work out....you look beautiful (so do you girls who don't), but when your jawline starts looking like Russian dude in Rocky III, it's time to stop.

11. Vegans....OK, this is going to be an entire future post and it's not going to be me babbling my opinions, it's going to be facts.

12. Unless you've been in Iraq or Afghanistan, nobody needs to check-in at home.

13. People that aren't normally "personal" posters who post something simple from the heart. When you do it and it's happiness, it's why I don't leave this stupid site.

14. If you post your max lift with a video, that shit is cool beans. If you post some random video you found on the internet of someone else working out, it's kinda weird.

15. If you're "feeling" anything and you simply post that on Facebook, please realize, I'm probably feeling a phone, a frosty beverage or a pillow...occasionally, my junk. Just so we both shared.

16. I know as well, if not more than most, that death is a fact of life. We never move on, but we move forward. I worry about some of you who hold on so tight. It's not healthy for you and especially not for those who need you.

17. Why is it when guys post drinks of their cocktails sitting on a bar, the comments read "drunk, faggot, go home," but when women do it, they read "you go girl, that's what I'm talking about, party!"

18. If you share 800 things you thing people might be interested and there isn't a single like, comment or share, it may be time to reexamine your friends or who you are trying to appeal to.

19. If there is a picture taken of three people and one of the people in the picture happens to stand behind the other two, this is not a photo bomb.  Now you know.

20. It's not insomnia if you can't fall back to sleep after four or five hours of sleep, one night a week. That's a bad night's sleep. As someone who suffers from it, it drives me crazy when people who get six hours instead of eight post that they have insomnia.

21. And yes this will sting a few. Don't call anyone out for anything you're not willing to do. If someone wants to question the merits of dumping a bucket of water on their head, instead of donating as little as $10, they have the right and they are right. The challenge, which didn't start in Pelham or Yonkers, but on the PGA tour, is a brilliant idea, but it's built on the pyramid scheme of 1 person getting three, then them getting three and so on.  The concept is, to get at least five levels. If there is no crossover, that tiny $10 donation adds up to over $2500. As per one news report, there were over 1000 videos for one of the causes and only $4000 was raised.  Sure money might be coming in as they did it, but it should be known that is pretty paltry. 

Ok, so you're the righteous fellow who is bringing attention to the cause, but are openly admitting you haven't and will not be donating, because your charities are more important. First off, about bringing attention. ALS has been around for over 150 years and gained great notoriety because of Lou Gehrig over 80 years ago. The NY chapter of the charity is a four star rated charity with over $3 million dollars a year in donations and fundraising. So it's not a secret if you even remotely pay attention to the world. As for throwing in comments about your own charities while "supporting" another, that's just tacky. Especially when it's preaching about a cat or a dog over a human life.

I used to donate tons to the American Cancer Society, until I found out that less than 60 cents of every dollar is spent on the helping. So excuse me if I don't want to donate directly to one of my 20 friends who are always posting pictures of their charity's organizational nights at some fancy restaurant. I'll check charity navigator and when I see yours posted as a legitimate and open-booked charity, highly rated charity, I'll dump a bucket of ice water on Christmas morning on my head and donate $100. For now, I donate to the best food bank in New York, City Harvest and the only cancer research fund that donates 100% of it's donations to charity, Jimmy V Fund. As not to be a hypocrite, I too made a donation to the http://www.als-ny.org/  And not to sound like a complete jerk, but I've watched 71 videos dedicated to one family and 43 to another. Not one link to a charity on any of them (If I missed it or couldn't hear it, I sincerely apologize). #100DaysOfHopper

Saturday, July 26, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 60-61

Day 60: I don't know what has me more worried, women who care about the movie 50 Shades of Grey or the ones who publicly admit to mentally demoralizing themselves by reading all three of the novels. This has nothing to do with the content, because Erotica is the number one selling genre among female readers. Yes, us dopey ass men can't visualize sex in our minds, which is why our idea of romance started with an ice cream and the backseat of a car. Women like to be mentally stimulated, which makes the whole 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon even more disheartening. Not only was it poorly written and poorly edited, it's not even the least bit erotic to anyone with higher then a fourth grade education. I mean how many times can someone repeat "my inner goddess," before any self respecting woman throws the book against the wall?

Listen, I myself read quite a few excerpts from this piece of trash, just to see what it was about and I can honestly say, I got a bigger boner from Free Willie.  And no lie, just the title, because I'm a guy and we think with our dicks. Seriously, even that shitty movie stimulated my grey matter more than this written diarrhea and that is saying very little.

If you're into this kind of novel and would like to see a film version to get your minds and loins going where your significant other is failing, may I suggest watching The Secretary, 9 1/2 Weeks, Body Heat, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Lady Chatterley's Lover, The Lover, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! Emanuelle or the American remake of Jean Luc Godard's classic Breathless. All are much more cerebral and are sure to stir your obviously dead libidos. #100DaysOfHopper

Day 61: I've tried to not make these little commentaries about me or directly call out anyone in particular, but that might change a little.  Well for today, at least.

When you were in elementary school, you were taught things you didn't know, by someone you assumed knew the right answers. As you grew older and school became more of an exploration, you were asked to go an do research on your own, formulate your own thoughts based on this research and then prepare them in a written document which would later be graded based on its accuracy, originality and how insightful it was. So why has that method of learning completely stopped?

The majority of my "friends" are between the ages of 25-55. Now this is a large age group and I've posted this age group for a reason. My younger acquaintances, many no more than single digit ages, are inquisitive. They are handed a problem or asked a question and if they don't know, they immediately look it up online. They use a number of clicks until they are happy with the results and then they proudly represent their findings.  My friends who are older, use tangible text, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries and other text, to formulate some sort of answer that they believe to be complete and factual. This is how it is done my friends.

Posting completely erroneous information, found from a source that is completely biased in one direction or another is lazy. Posting quotes from other people, without checking its authenticity is also lazy. Posting meme and video after meme and video of something you believe to be true, without ever checking it's factual orientation is no lazy, it's ignorance.

Last night, during a discussion, I had a conversation about the difference between education and intelligence. Years dedicated to one topic doesn't promote intelligence, it promotes knowledge in said topic, that is all. Well rounded intelligence is the ability to not only retain knowledge, but the ability to search and attain more knowledge on any number of subjects. Education assumes that you did this, but who knows whether you did enough to get an A or just enough to get a D. Who knows if you have retained all or any of that information and we haven't even thought about whether or not the information has changed since you were learned about it.

One night, while I lay in bed, my boredom was overwhelming. I thought about this very topic and here's what I found. Over fifteen data filled "facts," with sources. Only two were accurate. Seven quotes, only one accurately showing the correct author and the actual words he had used. This was my favorite. Eleven Bible quotes with comments below written by the OP or their friends. Not one, not a single one, understanding what the quote meant or the context it was written in. Lazy, uneducated or ignorant. I'll leave the people who posted them to choose their own labels. Like I said, I don't like directly pointing at one person for the failures of so many. #100DaysOfHopper

Friday, July 25, 2014

Simple Questions

Whenever I am up in Ithaca, I get to truly relax, but I also get to reflect. This time has been much different, because I have some serious questions hanging over me and they are and will continue to have an enormous impact on my life. Those questions will not be asked on this page. What will be asked are questions I've found myself asking based on what I'm seeing from the world from afar.  I do not have answers I wish to share at this very moment, but they are things I will share in the future.

If the world were to become blind, would your perception of beauty change?

If a mother/wife who is surrounded by her family, continuously claims to be alone, are they really a mother/wife?

Is it normal to rarely grieve?

Think of the five people you know who have the most education. Now think of the five people who are most financially successful. I'm assuming right now, you have pretty much the same list. Now think of the five most intelligent people you know.  Any matches?

Maybe I'm naive, but isn't maturity simply knowing when to stop always looking for something better and enjoy ALL that you already have?

Is there anything more sad than someone whose primary reason to better themselves is for someone else to notice?

The most counter-productive invention ever is the snooze button, but is there anything better in the world than having someone say "just five more minutes" when you're cuddling in bed?




Thursday, July 24, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 58-59

Trying to keep it light, because of because of what today means to me. We'll see how long that lasts.

Day 58: Keeping it light, because of the heavy mo(u)rning. A few thoughts to get you through the struggles of life. I will admit that a few of these are adapted from other people's jokes, but I tried to make them original.

Remember:

It takes just one moment to show someone how much you love them, but indecent exposure charges vary by state.

If you have a teenage son, hand him a Capri sun, if he's drinking that bad boy in less than five minutes, it's time for "the talk." If you have a daughter and her boyfriend can, might be a good time to tell him about that time you stabbed a man just to watch him die.

The next time someone tells you that Facebook is stupid, bring up that time they were busy feeding their tamagochi.

I'm 44, so this goes for people my age.
Showing someone you care: 
1974 - Card
1984 - Candy
1994 - Flowers
2004 - Jewelry
Today - Not looking at your phone

Why do people who always start sentences with "No offense, but..." also always say "Only God can judge me?"

Finally, if the person you say gives you the most happiness in life, is also the person who gives you the most pain, it might be time to reexamine your definition of happiness, not settle for less of it. #100DaysOfHopper

 Day 59: Too soon, too far, too much, too... Ah, this is the private response I get to most of the things I want to write on Facebook, but don't.  You know the true irony of people who say "F*** Political Correctness?" They wouldn't like it if people pointed out how uneducated, racist or completely wrong they are.

Something is taking the world; just kidding, lower Westchester isn't the world, but people in it believe so or so I was told by a non-resident last night. On the outside it appears to be harmless and positive, but it takes for granted and adds to our completely oblivious attitudes towards real world problems.  Every day I see this and that cause which the world around me embraces, but the big picture is always out of site. The research, the devotion and the benefit is all irrelevant as long as we all have fun and are amused. Sorry if I'm sounding self righteous, but those who truly know me, realize my barbs are rarely for my own benefit.

I'm not saying we shouldn't have fun and we shouldn't enjoy the fruits of our labor, but when does waste become more than fun? I could bring the political angle into it, but I'll refrain. I had planned on writing something else, but this kept popping in my head and it just came out. Today, I saw something for about the 70th time in three days. It was done in the name of charity. Then I read about three quarters of a billion, with a B, not having clean water to drink. It made me not feel so badly about not participating and definitely made me refrain from apologizing for it. Sorry if my selfishness is offensive to others, but the ten people I offend, I do in tribute and out of respect for the 12.5% of the entire world who doesn't have a voice or a choice. #100DaysOfHopper

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why Are Parents So Stupid?

I love reading social media and seeing all the comments about a variety of topics regarding parenting. This parent is going to let their kid do this and this kid isn't. This parent thinks it's OK for their nine year old to have a cellphone and this one doesn't. This one thinks it's too early to have "the talk" and this one is a grandmother. It's fucking ridiculous. Who are you protecting your kids from anyway?

Other places in the world, kids know about antisemitism at four and are ducking bombs, because they are Palestinian at three. Some are even dying. There are kids in our country who see fat kids at school eating donuts and slurping down soda, but don't understand why they haven't had a meal in two days. There are kids that see dad is in jail or mom has a black eye and they figure this stuff out.  So why do parents in suburbia think their kids can stay so pure?

Everyone knows the average kid in the suburbs spends half their lives on the phone or computer, so if they want to find something out, they will.  Oh, you don't want your kid to stay out too late, because it's dangerous? For whom? It's your friend's kid selling or doing the drugs and you have no idea sitting and having cocktails all fucking day at the pool, then driving home, so why is it dangerous? Oh my kid can't read this book, because it has dirty words, sex and violence in it.  Yeah, well look in the mirror at the people in their lives, look at their backgrounds and ask yourself who the real demons are.

I think parents have lost touch with reality. You know what everyone's greatest fear in life is? Being Googled, because in today's world, anything that happens stays on record. Sure, you might have beaten that murder rap or rape charge, but the reality is, that people can still find this stuff out and with comment sections and the tiniest bit of digging, people can find the true story. This is also why adults on Facebook and Twitter really need to watch where they cast their stones, because a little computer savvy and the right connections and your skeletons might be making a Walking Dead appearance on social media.

Let's protect our kids from real evils like racism, prejudice and illiteracy.  Let's make sure they accept people's differences, realize we don't all believe in the same god, if any at all and that education is important. Let's teach them right and wrong and not just our definition, but reality's definition.  Let's show them through our actions and our convictions how to live and learn. I know more people who think they are doing the right thing by their families, but don't even seem to realize the person they need to protect them from the most, is the person protecting them from living.