Thursday, February 28, 2013

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film: 49. The Invisible

49. The Invisible


For some reason people hate this movie. In a way I don’t blame them, the advertising for this movie really fucked things up. They advertised it as something COMPLETELY different than what the film actually is.

Nick Powell plans to skip his graduation in order to fly to London and be part of a writing program. His best friend Pete is being bullied by Annie who is a troubled teen. After robbing a jewelry store Pete sees Annie stash the jewels in her locker.

Later her boyfriend Marcus turns her into the police but she assumes it was in fact Pete. While trying to beat a confession out of Pete he lies and says that Nick was the one that ratted her out (assuming Nick is already on a plane to London). Nick however has decided to please his mother and stick around after all. When Annie finds Nick she beats him to the point of him hanging onto life. Out of fear she hides his body and flees.

The next morning Nick wakes up in the woods and walks to school. It appears that no one can see or hear him. Nick believes he is still alive but having an out of body experience. The only person who seems to be able to hear him is Annie (although she thinks it’s just a voice in her head). Annie eventually tells the police where to find Nick’s body and is murdered by Marcus shortly afterwards.

I remember at the time it was released none of my friends wanted to see it each my buddy Jeff. We went together and fell in love with the movie. The Indie soundtrack introduced me to Oceansize and Death Cab For Cutie (who I probably should have been already listening to) and the story was captivating. 

The film is about personal decisions and redemption. While it ends with the death of Annie, she makes up for her past sins before dying. There’s a bittersweetness to this. Many people will just assume she died as a worth thug (as the principal says she will) but Nick will always know that she wasn’t that person. This is why he strikes up a friendship with her little brother.

It’s far from a masterpiece but it had a huge impact on me and I love it despite the poor reviews and critical reactions.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 49. Run DMC - Raising Hell

49. Run DMC: Raising Hell

Do you like Rap Music? Have you heard Raising Hell by Run-DMC? You haven’t? Guess what... you’re not a real rap fan.

Raising Hell is one of those things that every rap fan has to listen to and at the very least appreciate to be taken seriously. Ranked up there with albums like LIcense to Ill, Ready to Die, Enter the 36 chambers and Low End Theory as part of the important historical moments in hip-hop.

You don’t get a better opening song quite like Peter Piper. The song exemplified everything that made Run-D.M.C. great. You get them trading off rhymes at rapid fire, great beats and scratches from Jam-Master-Jay and more fun fairy tale reference-brags than you can handle.

It sets the standard for all the other great classic tracks on the short album including It’s Tricky, You Be Illin, My Adidas and Walk This Way, the latter being the first hit song to bridge the gap between hip-hop, rock n roll and pop music; this would be perfected a few months later by everything the Beastie Boys did on License to Ill. 

Chris Rock (as well as creditable music magazines) have all called this the first great rap record. There’s a reason for that, because it is a great record and it’s one of the first important rap albums. This brings me back to my original point, if you like rap, you own it to yourself to at least listen to this album at least once.

If you’ve been reading these articles as long as I’ve been writing them than you’re aware that 9 times out of 10 my albums are moderately known or only appreciated to a specific type of person. Run DMC is one of the few records on this album that’s importance has been pointed to and praised by various sources (including The Sources’ 100 rap albums; 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die and Time’s 100 Greatest Albums just to name a few).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Self Observational Sunday - The Dream Job 2007

Probably the best working experience I ever had was working in a mom and pops video store. I don’t think there ever was nor ever will be a more perfect job for me. Sadly video stores in general are now a thing of the past.

When I was a kid I ate up movies like crazy. Every Saturday my family and I would go to blockbuster, pick out a movie and get some pizza and enjoy dinner and movie as a family. As I got older we started using West Coast Video (appropriate for PA) because they were a little cheaper. I immediately fell in love with West Coast; we started going there when I first started to get really into horror movies and they had an extensive collection of rare horror titles.

In the summer I’d ride my bike to West Coast every day and wander the aisles looking for the horror film to fulfill my thirst for odd and gory. Sometimes you picked a winner and other times … well let’s not think about those right now. As I wandered those aisles I dreamed of working in a magical place like that. I honestly wish I was making that up but it’s true; at 10 years old my career path was to work at a video store and then be the youngest director to win an academy award… I achieved half of these goals by the time I was 21 (spoiler alert … I don’t have an academy award).

One day I rode my bike to west coast to return some movies and rent some new ones and I found the place locked up and empty. I was pissed that I had already put the movies into the return slot before checking the door (hey free movies right?) but I remember being genuinely depressed. With out any warning my beloved second home was gone.

My family was forced to return to Blockbuster but it never really quenched my thirst like West Coast did. By High School I stopped renting movies all together; when I was a freshman in college I discovered Netflix and that was life changing for me. It wasn’t the same as browsing the aisles but it was pretty great to have any horror movie my heart desired (for the most part) at the click of a mouse.

I think it was in 2006 during the peak of MySpace’s popularity that my weird blend of acoustic punk and purposefully bad cover songs caught the ear of two high school students. They were playing a show at their local Starbucks and wanted me to be the opening act. In this little block of stores was a comic book shop and across the street a mom and pops shop called California video.

I didn’t even walk into the video store that day (but my friends did; they excitedly informed me it had a porn section). A few months later I found myself unemployed and driving around my home town applying for whatever jobs I could. It was at that moment I had a very random idea to go that video store.

I wanted in to find an empty store. I walked around and found a man who looked similar to Kurt Cobain just sitting on the floor watching a movie. I asked “Is the manager here?” and he said “That would be me.” I knew I wanted to work at this place more than anywhere else.

I introduced myself and inquired about a job. He gave me an application which I filled out and then asked me if I could come in tomorrow for an interview.

I returned the next day for the interview. I had practiced all the possible questions he could ask. Instead the interview involved him asking me what my favorite genre of movie was and why. I told him Horror and gave an short explanation (basically the same stuff as what I was talking about earlier). And that was it. He offered me the job at $9 an hour and scheduled me to start training that Friday.


Come back next week to find out about all the crazy antics and my firing!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film: 50. Loser

50. Loser

I’ll start off by saying that this is not a good movie. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea and think that this being #50 means that I think it’s a better film than Princess Bride, Psycho or It’s a Wonderful Life (among others). Regardless this film was an extremely important film to my high school years.

I saw this movie the summer before High School. At that point in my life I was a geek, a big one. When I say I had basically no friends I mean that I quite literally hung out with one or two people (who were also geeks). I was always in love with the geeky punk girls that I never had the guts to actually speak to. To put it simply, I was Jason Biggs’ character Paul Tannek.

Paul Tannek is a geeky kid from a middle of nowhere town who gets accepted into NYU. He’s excited to see a whole different side of the world, but is paired up with Adam, Chris and Noah as roommates. They are trendy, rich kids who see Paul as an annoyance and a chore. Meanwhile Paul starts to fall in love with Dora Diamond, a grungy girl in his English class. What he doesn’t know is that Dora is secretly dating their professor Edward Alcott.

It wasn’t until post-college that I realized the film was a modernization of the brilliant 60’s comedy The Apartment. This movie did a lot of things for me, not neccessarily all good. For starters this began a short-lived obsession I had to Mena Suvari. While the actress continued to be adorable to me, she was always at her most attractive in this film. Furthermore it filled me with hope that one day the geek would get the girl. I remember many a lonely weekend when I’d order a cheesesteak and watch Loser and dream that I’d meet my own Dora Diamond one day.

I’ve yet to meet my Dora Diamond, but life got better. High School wasn’t as bad as Junior High (although it sucked) and college was incredible for me. My freshmen year of college was easily the best year of my life. What’s funny is once I hate college, my need for watching Loser completely ended. As I re-watched it for this write up, it didn’t hold the same weight for me.

I still enjoy the movie as a piece of 90’s nostalgia. It’s got a great soundtrack and I still really enjoy everyone’s performance in the movie. I still dream of finding my own Dora Diamond one day, but at the end of the day, I no longer need this movie to get me through a rough week. But I’m glad that a depressed and lonely kid in 2001 had it in order to get through a rough week.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 50. Sigur Ros ( )

50. Sigur Ros: ( )

There are few bands who’s music are perfect for movie scores quite like Sigur Ros. Their blend of layered relaxing music and mix of Icelandic and Hopelandic (a made up language of Gibberish) their songs are free to open interruption. No album demonstrates it like their third LP ( ).

I first heard of Sigur Ros through my friend Mitch. He suggested I download a few of their songs. I enjoyed them but didn’t love them. A few days later I attended a screening of Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou in which one of Sigur Ros’ songs was predominately used, that was when they caught my attention. A few weeks later I found this record in the used bin at F.Y.E.

I went from appreciating Sigur Ros to absolutely loving them within the hour it took to listen to this album. While it’s not regarded as their best album (critically speaking then 2nd album Agaetis Byrjun is their highest rated album) this is my favorite of theirs.

I love structure and concept of the album. The album contains no title, no lyrics and no song title, it’s completely lined up to be about whatever the listener wants it to be able. Furthermore the musical structure changes mid-album. After Untiled Track 4 there’s 30 seconds of silence before tone completely changes.

Untitled Tracks 1-4 are soothing and mellow songs. A mix of ambient guitar and xylophone give the songs a care-free vibe. While Untitled Tracks 5-8 are darker and more aggressive. This creates a double meaning to the albums title, not only is it ( ) so that the listener can incorporate whatever the album is about. However the two parenthesis also represent the two halves of the album.

In college I used to listen to this album when I was studying to put myself as ease. I even convinced other students to purchase the album around finals time. I can’t recommend this album enough. If you’ve never heard Sigur Ros before, this is a perfect starting point.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Self Examination Sunday - Love is the 'I Don't Care'

I will always admit that I'm a hopeless romantic; this has been a fact for quite a few years now. This Valentine's Day (or Skip 45 day as my friends and I celebrate) wasn't filled with depression and gut wrenching sorrow quite like ones in the past. However a few things have occurred that have made this one particularly memorable...

The first instance occurred at work. I work in a small little office and am currently (they just hired a few new people starting next month so who knows if this will change) the only single person in the office. Everyone but me and one other person are married and that other person is currently engaged. One of my co-workers was handing out BlowPops. When she got to me the only blow-pop was Sore Apple. I'm not ungrateful I mean it's better than no Blow-Pop but let's face it Sore Apple is the red-headed stepchild of the Bubble Gum Filled Popsicle family. The people who like Sore Apple are the weirdoes who also enjoy yellow starbursts best.

For weird ass movie night (a weekly event that happens every Thursday at my house) was spent eating pizza with friends and watching Better Off Dead. There's few 'rom-com/teen flicks' that are as bizarre in nature as well as dark humor making light of suicide and depression. It's a delightful film that could never be made in this day and age.

All in all I survived the "holiday" and had a great time throwing a concert for Chords for Cures. But it was last night that my singlehood got thrown n my face by my own mother. I was attending a valentine's day party (a yearly party my friends and I throw that's more about them getting drunk and having a good time than Valentine's Day). While I was at the party my dad was trying to call me; since I was amongst friends I let it go to voicemail. It was immediately after I ignored the call I got a text message from my sister that said "You. Are. Going. To. Kill. Mom". It was at this moment that I got a voicemail from my dad. I was fearful to listen to it. The voicemail stated 'Your mother has signed you up for an online dating site. Just a heads up".

And that's when the ChristianMingle emails started coming in.

Happy Skip 45 everyone.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film: 51. The Princess Bride

51. The Princess Bride

I’m told that if you didn’t grow up with Princess Bride you don’t love it, but I didn’t seen Princess Bride until I was about 16 years old and I immediately adored it. What’s always bugged me about this movie was that most people (specifically guys) immediately write it off based on nothing more than the title. Admittedly the title sounds like a romance set in the dark ages (which it is) or an animated fantasy film (and it is fantasy) but what the title doesn’t tell you is that it’s hilarious and packed with lots of action.

I remember the first time I saw the movie. It was a Saturday afternoon. I went to a bible study with my close friends Reese, Ken and Andrew. After bible study we’d either go to the mall or hang out at Reese’s house. This particular Saturday Reese had to work so Ken and I went to Andrew’s house and played a game of risk. To pass the time we threw on Princess Bride and I quickly lost the game, part of that would be because I’m awful at Risk but more so it was because I was so pulled into this strange movie.

The film is based on the best-selling novel by William Goldman. I have read the book and I can honestly say that while the movie isn’t a ‘better’ adaptation than the book, it is definitely on equal level of the book and one of the better novel to film adaptations. This had a lot to do with Goldman writing the screenplay as well. Because of this all of Goldman’s weird side characters have remain in the film while a lesser adaptation would have removed them early on in the script writing process.

The movie is a simple concept. An old man reads a book to his sick grandson. As he reads the story we see it acted out. The book is a romantic action and fantasy filled with pirates, giants, torture, sword fights and true love. The sick boy (Fred Savage) represents the audience (again specifically male). Goldman is well aware what the child represents and even has him totally uninterested in hearing the story based solely on the name of it. However he becomes more involved as the film goes on, reacting at dramatic moments and making the story stop whenever it gets too girly.

The star of this film is Goldman’s bizarre and witty dialogue. Characters speak completely outside of the time period and every character has a contradictive nature to their  look. The giant is a poet, the evil wise-guy is super short and the pirate is smooth talking and friendly.

We live in a time period where people discuss remakes and reboots constantly. While I get annoyed when a movie I love is remade, I very rarely get aggressively angry. If a studio were to announce plans to remake this cult classic, there would be an immediate uprising. If you have managed to avoid it this long, make it a point to fix that grave mistake in your cinematic diet.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 51. Mae - The Everglow

51. Mae: The Everglow

I honestly never knew much of anything about Mae until I started trading CD mixes with my friend Lauren Hoot. She put Tisbury Lane on one mix and I couldn’t stop listening to it. It was one of two or three songs on the comp that completely dominated my college years. I bought the album it appeared on (Destination: B-Sides) which was alright by B-side standards but wasn’t exactly a masterpiece. 

That’s when someone told me how brilliant The Everglow was. I decided to take a risk and buy it based on just a recommendation and nothing else. Th album starts off with a little prologue presenting the album as if it were an audio book and immediately kicks into We’re So Far Away. This song is so painfully beautiful that it steals the whole show. This isn’t to say that the album is bad because it’s not (It’s #51 for crying out loud), however while the rest of the album is full of great sing-a-long indie rock/emo tracks I find myself thinking back to that beautiful piano melody and lyrics.

Have you ever heard a song that spoke so true to you that within a few hours of hearing it for the first time you committed the song to memory? That was We’re So Far Away for me. 

Perhaps I’ve talked up this particular track too much? In fact I’m sure I have. It feels impossible to transition into the rest of this album but I will try my best. 

Dave Elkins (lead singer/guitarist)  truly writes fantastic earworm hooks. It’s hard to avoid getting songs like Suspension and Mistakes We Knew We Were Making embedded into your brain. It really is a shame that the band’s discography has been so limited (only 3 full length albums in a ten year career). However the band managed to create a unique sound and develop a solid following from various bands well outside of their “christian label bandmates”.

Also Guitarist Zach Gehring was originally in Unsung Zeroes who’s band appeared on number 88 of the 100 Albums That Make Me Love Music.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Self Observational Sunday - Going Down to Poughkeepsie and Meet some Tapes of Mine

About a month ago a friend lent me a bootleg of The Poughkeepsie Tapes. While I usually don’t support bootlegging (my family however is all about having the latest theatrical release on a shitty grainy DVD) I see it being quite important/useful in cases of the rare/never to be seen-again field. Websites like VHSPS help us get those horror films and 80’s comedies that have yet (and probably will never) had a proper DVD release. Thanks to them instead of spending $150 + on an out of print copy of Fright Night 2 or Fade to Black I only had to pay $10 plus shipping and handling. Is the picture perfect? Fuck no. It’s a VHS transfer (with the original movie trailers at the beginning) but it’s better than nothing. It’s also through bootlegs that I was finally able to see such movies/TV specials they want you to forget like The Star Wars Christmas Special and Bates Motel (a terrible TV Show Pilot/TV Movie starring Bud Cort based on the infamous Psycho Motel). And thanks to bootlegging I was able to finally see The Poughkeepsie Tapes.

I guess saying “finally see” is a bit misleading. While I heard the title mentioned on some message boards and the horror subreddit I really didn’t know much about it until my friend mentioned it to me. I did a little research (while trying to avoid plot details). It seems that the film came out circa 2007, played a few festivals, had a decent response (enough for word of mouth to spread anyway) and then … the end? The film never got a distributor and despite a mild cult following and word of mouth there seems to be zero plans of ever releasing it. I was curious what I was about to see.

Poughkeepsie Tapes is hardly anything ground breaking. It’s like a weird mutant child of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Saw and Cannibal Holocaust. We have a mockumentary (although that word doesn’t properly apply since there’s no comedy its simply a fake documentary) about an extremely busy, violent and uncatchable serial killer who plagued Poughkeepsie, NY and other surround cities. What kept me entangled into the story was the multi-layers of torture and despicableness that our serial killer stoops to. His rein of terror kicks off with the kidnapping and murdering of a small girl and builds from there. Some of these attacks are borderline impossible but that’s part of the fun/mystic of it. It’s not like the film never pretends it’s not a movie (the closing credits don’t just list everyone with “______ as herself” or anything) so there’s no reason to not enjoy it as a piece of entertainment.

The acting isn’t the greatest, in fact at points it’s plain bad. As I said earlier the attacks are most are unrealistic at best but regardless of that a month after watching it… I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ve yet to revisit it. Part of me really wants to while another part of me fears disappointment the second time around; I mean to be honest there was disappointment the first time around… but much like when I watched Pink Flamingos for the first time it attached itself to my brain like a tumor.

The first time I ever saw Pink Flamingos was early in my Netflix career. When I first signed up for Netflix the appeal was getting movies that I’d never find at Blockbuster and had heard about for years. This means that Pink Flamingos was probably one of the first 5 movies I got on Netflix. I remember the excitement of watching it, followed by disgust, followed by utter disappointment by the closing credits. I couldn’t throw that DVD into the return envelope fast enough. I sealed it up and throw it in the mailbox. The following night I was hanging out with a good friend and talking about the movie and as I talked and talked I realized something. I desperately wanted to watch the movie again. Since the mailman had already taken the Netflix back I went onto Amazon and bought myself the DVD.

I began watching it repeatedly, memorizing lines, showing it friends and even bringing it to parties (where it was eventually turned off). Now the movie is easily one of my favorite films of all time. I realize that makes me sound like a sick bastard (much like my love of Joel Reed’s Bloodsucking Freaks that I touched on last week) but there was this weird ‘dangerous’ appeal to Pink Flamingos. That is also the appeal for Poughkeepsie Tapes. While I doubt this will be a film I’d ever watch obsessively and bring to parties it does have a danger factor. And that danger factor is that you can only see it as a bootleg.

Much like the Video Nastys of the 80’s and 90s the fact that you can’t legally acquire has given the film an extra level of ‘danger’. Perhaps the reason the Wikipedia page states “it has not be released on DVD and there are no plans to do so”. It definitely adds a nice ‘you aren’t allowed to see this’ factor to it all doesn’t it?

This is the downside of internet piracy for me. These rare gems are too easy to find these days. If I want see something a quick look at piratebay or even youtube and I have it. I miss the hunt. Even though my friend and I could have watched this movie in youtube… there was something far more exciting about tracking down your own personal copy to put on a DVD shelf. Kudos to the people behind Poughkeepsie Tapes for at least trying to keep a feeling of forbidden fruit in horror. While the film doesn’t work on every level it’s supposed to, you are able to look past bad acting and buy into the story because after having to search all over to acquire a copy it doesn’t feel like a movie anymore, it feels like a secret document.

Fuck it, I think I will rewatch it. Maybe.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film: 52. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

52. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

I first heard of Scott Pilgrim when Jonathan London describe the comic as a must read. I immediately went to the local comic shop and picked up the past and present issues. I fell head over heels with the book. I was literally Scott Pilgrim (as in I was 21 dating an 18 year old asian high schooler and getting picked on by my friends). 

Scott Pilgrim filled the void Harry Potter left between my best friend Jeff and I. When the Harry Potter book series was still incomplete we’d go to diners late at night and discuss the potential conclusions to the story. Then the series ended. Scott Pilgrim popped in at just the right time for us to discuss and attempt to figure out how the book would end.

When the movie was announced I continued to get more and more excited with each piece of news. They were casting the right people for each role, they had Edgar Wright directing which was also the right person. I couldn’t wait to see the movie (but refused to do so until I had read the final book of the series). 

When I finally saw the film it was at a free screening in Philly and I adored it. This movie had the potential to be terrible since the book is a very strange it was very possible that the movie would make zero sense. Luckily Wright found a way to keep all the video game and pop culture references in tack without losing the audience.

I was disappointed by how poorly this movie did and the general backlash towards Michael Cera. While I think he did have a long period of time playing the same type of character movies like Youth in Revolt and Scott Pilgrim show him expanding his acting a little bit but still failed to draw attention. 

This is also one of those movies with perfect soundtracks. Every song is so well used including the original music from Beck. I remember being excited when he was announced as the person who’d craft the songs of Sex Bob-Omb. My friends who only knew Beck as a weird indie artist didn’t think he’d pull off the right “shitty garage sound”. However being that one of my favorite songs by him was Motherfucker off Mellow Gold I had no doubt he could make the songs work.

There will never be another movie like Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and I’m pretty glad that this will always remain the most unique comic book-romantic-comedy-action film of it’s kind.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 52. Weston: Matinee

52. Weston: Matinee

The first time I ever heard Weston was a friend’s band who used to cover one of their songs. The song was Old Shirt/Heather Lewis from their album Got Beat Up. Got Beat Up is a straight up pop-punk good time and arguably an under-appreciated masterpiece of the genre. The follow up Matinee sounds like a completely different band by comparison.

It’s sad how unknown this band is when their style and sound was leaps and bounds ahead of the masses. Matinee is to Weston what Pinkerton was to Weezer. It’s packed with personal stories, love songs and satire. It’s extremely critical towards the Radio and the Music Industry.

The albums plays out like a movie by beginning and ending with the sound of a projector. To even further push the "movie" theme the lyrics are written in the main booklet in a "screenplay" format.

The opening track (appropriately named Opening Chord) is about how unoriginal music is. Lead singer Jim Synder sings "You probably heard this melody line before/I thought it up at the Grocery store/So stop your engines and start the press/I probably ripped you off, yeah that's my guess". The theme of unoriginal music continues into the next track Record Store, the closing track Radio and the fourth track Indie Rock Star when Jim chants "We're just a plain old indie rock band/We're bigger than the Beatles ever were" The stand out track on this album is also the shortest track. The 2:25 song Mrs. Perfect Girl is everything that a good old-fashion pop punk should be about. It's short, it's sweet, it's to the point and most importantly, it's very catchy

Am I saying that this is an album that should be owned by everyone on the planet? Not at all, but this is the type of CD that when you listen to it you want to pick up a guitar and start your own band.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Self Observational Sunday: Invasion of the Nostalgic Nostalgia

Sometimes I feel like I’m cursed to live in the past.

This isn’t to say that I never live the moment because I must certainly do; but I find myself constantly be overwhelmed by memories of high school, college and even a few years ago after college. These attacks come from random triggers when I least expect it. However in recent weeks there were two MAJOR ones.

I have anxiety issues. This is probably NOT shocking to anyone. I remember last summer my family rented a beach house in Ocean City, Maryland. No one but myself was able to go down for the first day so I spent the night alone down there reading Cider House Rules by John Irving and watching Simpsons episodes. It was definitely eerie being in a unknown house completely alone once it got dark out. I went upstairs to sleep and just as I was beginning to fall asleep (around midnight) the window slammed shut. I immediately leaped from my bed screaming and ran to the window. While I didn’t see anyone out there (because it wasn’t the fucking Twilight Zone) I was convinced someone had broken in and was going to kill me, so I did the only logical thing. Locked the bedroom door and stayed up watching movies until sunrise when I finally felt comfortable going to sleep again. The point of this story is that when I get a thought in my brain I can’t stop over thinking it and keeps me up all night.

In order to fight against this irrational anxiety and paranoia I’ve started going to bed listening to DVD commentary tracks. I find that forcing my brain to focus on something else (like a director discussing camera shots) offers enough distraction to allow me to fall asleep before my brain can create imaginary fears for me to battle. I’ve slowly been working my way through my DVD collection and am currently on the letter B (I own a lot of DVDs).

The movie I was listening to the commentary track of was Bloodsucking Freaks. As strange as this sounds but this film was one of the defining movies of my college years. It was in college that I became a Troma fan. I’d always enjoyed their films. I had seen Toxic Avenger 1-3 and that summer I had purchased Cannibal The Musical! after hearing praises for it over the years. But it was in college that I got a Netflix account and started receiving films like Tromeo & Juliet, Terror Firmer and Bloodsucking Freaks in my mailbox. Every time a film arrived a group of us would sit and watch the movie. Bloodsucking Freaks became this weird, disturbing film that we’d take to parties to watch people struggle to watch it. Most of these screenings took place in my grandmother’s basement. I loved that basement, it was the ultimate hangout spot. The only downside to it was that there wasn’t a door directly into the basement so people would have to come in through the garage.

I didn’t get much sleep that night. Not because of anxiety but because I was too busy being sucked into Eli Roth’s hilarious deadpan delivery in his outrageous commentary track. It made me miss the days in the basement, playing Super Soccer Shoot-out, staying up late watching movies, playing Risk. It was a time and an activity and a place that could only exist at the age of 18-22. It makes me realize I’m not satisfied.

You see, I complain that I haven’t changed much since I was 18. That I feel like the rest of the world as gotten married, gotten real jobs, had kids, own homes, etc and that I’m still working a dead end job and single. Yet when I actually have a real job or am in a sort of relationship I panic. I fear that the beautiful way of life I cherish will be destroyed by these things and I retreat. The dream life for me would be finding a job that makes me feel young and allows me to still waste time with my friends (which gets harder and harder with them actually growing up). This may seem like an impossible goal… but last Saturday I saw how impossible it wasn’t.

When I was in college I used to throw various concerts in the area under the promotion name Chords for a Cure. After college it sorta just stopped due to the busy-ness of the Real World. However the passion for it never went away. I missed throwing shows and befriending bands. I eventually decided it was time to bring it back and in December we threw our first show. It was a fun show with a decent turn out (about 40ish kids)… but last week we threw our 2nd show and it was like jumping in a time machine.

The nostalgia effect was mostly brought on by the fact that 3 of the bands playing were composed of members for 4 bands I used to book. Beyond that former members of their old bands all came out to the show to support them and Chords. Afterwards a group of 40 of us descended upon the local diner and reminisced on the old days. Something I noticed was that all these guys (for the most part) had given up the dream of being a rockstar on tour. Their band was a fun thing to do locally and nothing more. Why? Because they found jobs they loved. Be it teaching English, being a music teacher or a really anything they have interest in. Playing in a band is just a fun bonus.

I need to make the things I love a fun bonus to a great life; not just a reason to get through the week. This isn't just about me and my life... this is for everyone.