Friday, September 19, 2014

Quickie Review - Noah

Darren Aronofsky is by far one of the most interesting directors out there. He is one of the few directors out there who has come close to matching Terrence Malick's vision for aesthetic beauty in films, but all his films have a very common thread. They lack that one thing that makes them great. He tends to weave in and out of a story, forgetting which characters we care about and which we don't. He seems so content on destroying them on screen, that we have no choice but to leave a little bitter. Not one film has ended on what can be considered a happy note. Many leave us gasping for air. His non-Hollywood approach is refreshing, but at times leaves me feeling fatigued.

I will say, I went into Noah with low expectations. Sadly, they weren't met. It is rare, that not a single scene plays well, but this was the case. From the ridiculous opening credits to the finale scene, the movie felt like a Lifetime movie with a big budget. Even the religious points were so clumsily done, one couldn't applaud or jeer the attempts. The dialogue was amateurish with Russell Crowe's especially bad. If there was a shining light, it was Ray Winstone, but even this, is just overacting to create an atmosphere of anarchy. The beautiful Jennifer Connolly and Emma Watson are completely wasted and their crying one mirrors my feelings.

In the end, I would say there are few movies I've enjoyed less. Usually, there is some humor in something this horrible, but there was none in Noah. I also had hoped for some sort of biblical argument to arise from it, but even there, it was bland. I normally, even in the worst situations, say "see for yourself," but I think everyone would benefit from finding a better use of their 137 minutes.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Early Saturday Morning In A Strange House

My sleep schedule usually has me going to sleep at 7:30am, not waking up. This morning I awoke and the house was empty. As someone who is used to an apartment the size of a postage stamp, it was a bit daunting. The ice cold floor sent chills from my bare feet up into my spine. I closed a bathroom window which let the 41 degree temperature creep inside the house. I have only the summer clothes I packed, so many weeks ago and that concerned me. With nothing large enough to fit me, I slipped a tiny blue blanket around my shoulders and made coffee. A pair of socks was added to the ensemble, but warmth was not joining in. A bagel, toasted and sips of coffee slowly warmed me slightly, but as I stepped onto the floor once again, I was again reminded the odd chill on a normally tepid September morning.

I wash dishes and ran and jumped back into bed, Warmed up enough to venture out for a rare television flip through. I settled on English futbol and drank my the rest of my now cold coffee. I thought about what I would do at home, huddled under a comforter, the warmth oozes up from the floor and droplets of sweat beading on my brow. A shower fogging up everything and back into bed. Staring at my phone, but nobody calls, texts or writes. I'd stare at the cracks, with anger boiling inside, until finally I'd flee. Off to nowhere or anywhere. Searching for an escape, many times alone anyway, but with a draft or a bottle, eventually finding conversation with some poor victim.

Tick-Tock, the clock with the birds clicks with every second. One-two-three seconds closer to death or something simpler, say lunch. The time goes by so slowly in the morning and so quickly at night. Why is time so unfair. Waiting in a doctor's office makes a mere five minutes of our existence seem like hours, but the hot steamy embrace of a lover, makes those same five minutes flash by like seconds? Why are there no calls interrupting us during work, but they cause the steam to disappear from a dinner for two? My mind wanders from the time ticking to the mistake I made. Reminded constantly, but why should I be upset. My mistake made other people's lives better. Isn't that what it is all about? Isn't it?

A car door slams and I am soon no longer alone and I creep back to the room and slide under the covers, the blue blanket has gone back to it's place. No longer needed as heat pumps through the pipes. I'm away from the dungeon of home, but find the cracks are replaced with the buzzing little fly, trapped between the window and the screen. I let him go and wait for someone to open my window and let me out. It's not to be and I imagine what the spider is thinking as he stares down at my world, then goes about his day. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Free Writing - Take 55 (Beyond That Day)

Eight million people in that naked city and thirteen years later, all eighteen seem to have been there. Running up stairs, carrying people to safety and digging in rubble. To me that day was a sad blur, sitting in safety in a Westchester co-op. The following day, I get the call from friends there. I ask if I can give my time. Please, I beg them, let me not feel so helpless. It's a crime scene they explain. A friend visiting, is accepted, but 30 blocks away. Triage during the day, tales and tears at night. My friends, cops, firemen, correction officers, work amidst the horror. Weeks later, one describes. The sights, the sounds, but it's not what gets him. The smell. I see a side, not often seen. I tell him again how much I wish I could have done more. Thirteen years later, with social media has taken over and every second or third friend claims to have been digging in those piles, enduring the horrors, being patriots. I know how their untruths hurt my fine friends. It burns like the smoke they inhaled those days after. I see post after post with those same two words and they don't know anything. They don't know what three, yes three people, have said to me at different occasions. Those two words, emblazoned in our minds, also completing their sentences, but with such powerful meaning.

I know I can't. I would give everything I have, if I could erase it from my memory. I wake up at night smelling the death, seeing buckets of rubble with hands, feet and chunks of flesh. Wallets, keys and pieces of jewelry. I wish it would all go away, but I know it won't. I know, try as I may, I will....Never Forget.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Drunk Girl

Standing in a bar, talking to a girl. She tells me she goes to Iona. We laugh and I pour her a drink from my pitcher. We talk some more and she tells me she has to find her friend. We pass each other a few times and then we're back together. Talking, laughing. She plays with her hair and touches my arm. She whispers something in my ear. I stare over her shoulder at the group of guys, all very aware I'm not a student. They whisper, muscles flexed, but I'm 19-20, I can take on the world. The girl walks to the bathroom, I see her stagger and her friend giggles, says she needs to help her. I drink. The group is gone. I begin to care. She appears, but is blocked by five, maybe six of them. Her friend pushes past as she falls forward, caught by this Casanova in black. Her friend comes to the bar, while my eyes stay fixed on this behemoth. His friends touch grab her and hug her, whisper in her ear. She somehow comes to the bar and tells her friends of the guys who live in her dorm. She apologies and explains they are her friends. Her eyes roll and I grab onto her. I tell her friend to let the bouncer know, I'm taking her home. He comes over and I explain that he needs to stall the group of guys. He nods. I make my way outside, her friend giggles some more. The girl starts to fall and can't speak. She kisses my cheek and tells me how nice I am. I smile. I pick her up and she starts to get mad. "I can walk. I'm fine." We cross the street and make our way up the block. A commotion behind me and I know. Her friends giggles turn to fear. "They're coming," she says. I get to the front of her building. The pack catches up. Taunts of tough guy and suggestions of putting her down and walking away. Suddenly, a punch to the head, but I keep my eyes on the door. Another in my back. Her friend is now crying. She is drooling or throwing up, I don't know. A security guard from inside stands. I sigh. He walks out. Tall, thin, but athletic enough that I relax. One last punch to the kidneys and I keep walking. "What's going on he says?" A voice from behind me yells, "This fucking creep is trying to get in on our friend." Another voice sounds and my heart starts to race, "C'mon Mike, it's us, this guy doesn't go to the school." A hand on my shoulder and the security guard sternly says "I can't let you in the building." I walk through his stiffened arm. He grabs a hold. I tell him to get off me and call the cops, but I'm going in.


I lay her down on the bed and her friend, still crying, pulls the covers down. I explain that she can't leave her alone. I get a small garbage can from the corner and put it near her. I pull the covers up and tell her goodnight. She wouldn't recognize me if she saw me the next morning. Her friend hugs and thanks me. She promises me that she won't let anyone in the room. I say something stupid about not ever getting in this situation again, but this is college and tomorrow it will be a story about how nothing happened.

I exit the stairs and there are two policemen standing there. I walk over and hand them my wallet. They ask me what I'm doing there. I explain. They don't seem to believe me. They ask Mike to check on the girl. He leaves and I ask where the guys who hit me were. They look at me and say nothing. Mike comes back and stares at me. "The two girls seem to be OK." Questions of how long I knew the girls, my intentions and my duration in their dorm room are asked. I answer all of them, asking them again where the guys who hit me were. I explain that my friend is still in the bar and I must return there. They laugh. They leave and shake the security guards hands. As they exit, they tell me that the next time I'm seen in the dorm, I won't be so lucky. They continue to walk. I go back to the bar, talk to the bouncer and ask if my friend is still there. "He's in the pizzeria," he says. I go in, sit down and have a slice. "Where the hell did you go? Did you get lucky? he asks. I laugh, "No, but the girl I was with did and so did her friend." He looks, I tell him the story and explain that there's a good chance we're not getting to the car unscathed. We didn't and 25 years later, I'd do it again.




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Free Writing - Take 54

Dishonesty, we're taught from a young age, is the root of nearly all evils. Yet, all it takes is having one whole dollar to another man's dime to make it the truth.

And I hear I sit with nary a nickel.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Will I Be Eating Crow?

I've always loved the smack talking of being a sports fan. Part of the fun of the games is being able to root for your team while making those around you endure a good natured ribbing. I've always been very vocal about "fans" showing up during the playoffs and then starting the trash talk. I'm in it until the end. No matter where my team's place in the standings. With all that being said, yesterday was a tough one.

Yesterday was one of the first times in a very long time, I had nobody to watch the games with. The opening week of football and I had little or no interest. I watched exactly six plays between 1pm and 7pm and felt like I'd redeem myself as a fan at 8:30, when my Denver Broncos kicked off the season. The problem was, I still really didn't care. My team, if there are no major injuries, are a shoe in for the playoffs and many experts feel, a return trip to the Super Bowl. After last years defeat, I just want to get back. Unlike the uncertainty other fans might feel, I'm immune to that, which also makes me immune to the excitement. This combined with my current location, equals boredom.

Let's face it, professional North American football is a boring sport. It's become nothing more than runs up the middle and dump passes and even though my team does that better than anyone else, I still long for the days of scrambling quarterbacks and a 1,200 yard rusher being an enigma. Those days are long gone. So is my passion.

So let's get to the point. Why would I eat crow? At halftime my team was ahead by more than two touchdowns and I fell asleep. My last post on social media was mentioning how unstoppable they were. When I awoke at 12:45, I attempted to go back to sleep. I laid in bed, thinking about my financial woes, a female friend from my past and present and the sun soaked day I'd wasted between an awful tennis match and not much else. Then it clicked that nearly every first week game had a huge turnaround. It made me start to really wonder. I decided to come upstairs and write this before looking at the score, with thoughts in my head.

Did my team continue it's dominance and win by four or five touchdowns?
Did they squeak by, letting their opponent back in?
Did they blow it?
Were there any major injuries that could ruin the season?
Are my social media pages littered with praise?
Or are they filled with abuse?
I don't know and won't until I publish this blog. I can only hope for the best, but the reality is, while I do hope they crushed their opponents, I don't care like in years past. Too much on my plate lately to care about sports and if you know me, that's a large plate to fill.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Free Writing - Take 53

What does it say about someone when they pick up and move from their comfort zone and the two things they miss the most are Chinese food and laying in bed watching DVDs? The people seem so distant, from a time in my life I can barely remember and yet, my move isn't even official. I can count the calls on one hand. The texts on two. Twenty-nine years should mean more, to all parties. I've had three friends tell me they miss me. I've known the three a total of about 12 years. Think about that. I'm not looking for pity, I'm looking for reasons for the effort I feel I've put in with others to be reciprocated. Is there a word for that which doesn't represent me wanting too much? I promised myself this would be a short one and my few minutes are now up.