Friday, September 30, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is the perfect movie for people who love weird and strange things.

There are a few spoilers in this review.

I never read the book Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but after seeing the movie last night, I wish that I had taken this phantasmagoric trip into the squirmy delirium of the author's mind. Upon its completion, I couldn't imagine another director that could handle the odds and ends of this peculiar tale better than Tim Burton. In much the same way as fairy tales can lend themselves to shocking moments by throwing an old woman in an oven or meeting a girl with no hands, the movie captures this same kind of viscera by giving us a Lovecraftian villain that has to eat human eyeballs in order to not be monstrous. How undeniably clever.

Asa Butterfield is Jake (who is perhaps at the lankiest that I have ever seen him), and he's a good hero for the story. I liked seeing a male cast in a sympathetic role, as the thing that makes him most peculiar is his ability to see the monsters coming. It's an interesting twist, because unlike Cassandra in the Iliad, Jake's ability to see the evil coming is believed by everyone, and it's through their unique combination of talents that all the peculiar children manage to come together to protect one another.

The one negative criticism that I have for the movie (I think) is entirely me. I found it difficult to keep track of the timeline and the loops through time. It was a fascinating (and ingenious) way to create bubbles of fantasy in our modern reality, and it lent the movie an "Alice in Wonderland" feel. But my mind kept wanting to try and resolve how things worked exactly, and sometimes I got confused with the looping and wondering why sometimes they could emerge in 2016, and at other times they were in 1943.

But perhaps all that we were supposed to take from the story is wonder. After all, how often is it that you see a boy walking with a rope tied to the waist of a girl who's floating like a balloon behind him? Maybe that's the stuff that dreams are made of.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sweet Christmas...Luke Cage is the hero Foggy deserves.

You've probably watched Daredevil on Netflix. If so, will you at least agree with me that Matt Murdock is pretty much a dick to everyone. Jessica isn't much better (as in Jessica Jones). She's snark all day long, and it could really be tiresome hanging around that. Of course, Jessica's baggage comes from her father getting killed and somebody raping her while controlling her mind, but still.... I'm gonna borrow a word from Monday night's debate: temperament. Luke Cage has got good temperament. I like it, and he's the hero that Foggy deserves.

It's obvious too that Claire prefers Luke Cage to Daredevil in the trailer. After all, she's a nurse and probably gets tired of stitching Matt up every other night. Luke Cage is unbreakable. That's a nice if not boring quality to have in a superhero. I just hope that the villain is good. Compared to Kingpin and David Tennant's mind controlling rapist, the bar has been set pretty high.

For those of you who don't know, the dude with the XXL hoodie in the bodega in the trailer below (which Luke Cage trades out for his own) is Method Man, from Wu-Tang Clan. He shows up in lots of movies and was in The Wire.

This Friday is gonna be great. We've got an interesting movie coming out and on top of that,  I can begin binge-watching Luke Cage. I'm so ready to see him punch people like it's no big deal again. I'm calling it right now: this year's lazy Halloween costume will be a "bullet" ridden hoodie.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Dust is a short film that is one awesome example of how crowd-sourcing and Kickstarter can make amazing things happen.

This is the matte painting of the mine that's featured in the film. I wish I could draw with this kind of detail. What amazing talent some artists possess. I wonder how they do this? Photoshop? Click to Embiggen and really get an eyeful.
I watched this short film called "Dust" over the weekend (it's about 23 minutes long), and I thought it was really good. The story is pretty straight forward. Most of humanity lives in walled cities, and there are people called "Trackers" who are basically a kind of medieval "witch doctor"? At least that's what I got from it. The only one of note is of course the main character who has been studying a lifeform called a hydra which has the ability to basically evolve to cure anything. It cleaned up the streams of the world (making them non-toxic), and it appears to be able to neutralize diseases too. It's definitely an interesting concept.

Here's the official description of the movie from the Vimeo site:
A Sci-Fi/Fantasy inspired by anime and classic horror, Dust is set in a harsh and unpredictable natural environment where people have isolated themselves in an ancient city behind a massive wall. A socially marginalized tracker teams up with a black-market merchant to save the society that has rejected his way of life.
I kind of wonder if the dystopian world of "Dust" is some alternate Earth of the future or if this is a story of humans who have come to live on an alien world and essentially lost any technical advantage over the environment that they used to have. The alien life evolves rapidly, which is interesting to think about.

If you have the time, I highly suggest that you watch the embedded video. It's good to see a sci-fi story with a Japanese influence in it (was it filmed in Japan?), and it's really well done (I heard it was crowd-sourced). That and the dialogue is quite good (as is the acting).
Dust from Ember Lab on Vimeo.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The drug company Allergan challenged other biotechs to self-police themselves for reasonable price hikes and no other company in the world joined them.

Great beauty is a fairy tale blessing bestowed upon princesses at birth. There's a reason for that: everyone wants to be beautiful. And whether you like to admit this or not, money is the same thing as beauty in the United States (and in many cultures around the world). People who are beautiful have many social advantages in life. Well, the same thing can be said for people with money, i.e., they have many social advantages in life.

It's honestly time that more people accepted this for truth.

Yes, I'm actually going there. I'm saying that people who have money are "in a sense" beautiful. They have as much power over society (sometimes more so because beauty fades with time). If you think rich people don't have as much power over society as beautiful people (or you don't value money) then congratulations, but you're wrong (and in the minority). If it horrifies you that I could sit here and write that, "a beautiful person could have their pick of sexual partners" and insist that the word "beautiful" in that sentence could be swapped out for "rich," then I think you're naive. I think that there are a lot of angry, delusional young people out there who have been struck by this reality, are having difficulty wrapping their heads around it, and very much want society to change. Well I've got news for those people: that kind of thinking has been happening for thousands of years. It's also not going to change.

It's not a new idea to actually be young and think it's reasonable to be 1) young, 2) beautiful, and 3) wealthy enough to never be dependent on anyone else for anything. After all, chances are a young and reasonably fit person already has the first two qualities in the bag. That third quality seems perfectly attainable, right? If it weren't for society and capitalism standing in the way. But more and more, that third quality is (in all reality) the size of a mountain equivalent to Everest. The fact is, most people will not have what it takes to reach the top of that mountain (or to even make it to base camp). Most of us (no matter how you feel) will be mediocre.
It's a nice thought. But I think a lot of people are born to
just do this very thing. Again, not my rule. Just a fact.

Sorry to pop your narcissistic balloon.

But that's what narcissism is, right? It grows from that sense deep inside you that you deserve better and people just don't recognize the greatness you are due. I think it's healthy when you examine those inner feelings of bitterness at not being appreciated and the light comes on and you realize, "Hey, the reason I'm being treated like this is perfectly valid. I'm a mediocre person, have accomplished nothing that society deems as great, and as far as I can tell...never will."

Like being born with natural beauty, it is possible to be born "rich." But for most of us, this just isn't a feasible reality. For most of us, you will be born into a system in which you (and your children) will live in socio-economic bondage for your entire lives. In other words, you will always be "beholding" to someone for survival. And if they ask you to jump, you better learn to jump just right.

So where do the young get their idea of it being reasonable to ask, and be given, just three "small" things in life? Perhaps they were coddled too much by parents who told their children, "You are a special snowflake."

But here's the thing. Saying,
"All I want in life is to be young, beautiful, and to have enough money to not be beholding to anyone. I don't think that's asking for much..."
is what I would call a complete "break" from actual reality. It's insane. That anyone wouldn't look at that and see that it's actually asking for everything just blows my mind. And if I learned one thing in life, very few people ever get everything that they want. Not my rule. I'm just stating how it is.

Sure, there are people who insist that money isn't important in a partnership. They turn their noses up and live in denial. It's a demonstrable fact that arguments over financial matters and stress is the greatest cause for divorce and the destruction of relationships. Having six-pack abs only goes so far.

Is this how it should be? I have no answer with regard to this question. I can only say that this is how it is. This is how life works for many people in the world. And here is my point: greed is part of the culture of America, and no where is this more apparent than with drug pricing.

Drug price hikes for a life-saving epipen from drug company Mylan recently created a "media hurricane." I watched the CEO of Mylan addressing congress on Thursday on CNBC. She flew to her meeting in a privately-owned jet. And she showed nothing but contempt for anyone that doesn't see that these drug prices are necessary to ensure the proper delivery of the life-saving drug. If people can't afford it, well those people just die I guess. Why does she think this way? Because she wants to be beautiful, and having lots of money is the same thing as beauty.

This isn't the only example. Another CEO of a drug company a few months ago got called on the carpet before congress over a tear-inducing 5000% price hike to a drug (Daraprim) that saves lives for people afflicted with a rare "life threatening" disease having to do with exposure to dirty cat litter.

Again, why is this happening? Simple answer: people desire to be rich. We call it greed. Greed happens because money is so incredibly powerful. It makes wishes come true. It gives you power over society. People respect, worship, and envy those who have it in vast quantities. It has the same importance and desire associated with it as a straight man's fascination with a super-model. Cry in horror all you want, but unless the power that money has over people is lessened, things will only get worse.

It's not reasonable to expect people to not crave beauty. Therefore, it's not reasonable to expect people to not crave money. And I think I'm being perfectly honest when I say that very few ugly people would ever want this to change, because money gives them the social advantages that youth and beauty would naturally bring.

On September 6th, the Allergan CEO promised in a blog post that their company would limit future price hikes (in response to widespread criticism of the drug industry's practices). If you don't know, Allergan is an enormous biotech company. The CEO, Brent Saunders, also challenged other companies to join a pledge, fearing that someone like Hillary Clinton would start a push for federal regulation of drug pricing. This (of course) would make it harder for pursuers of money to become happy because there'd be fewer dollars to spread around for things like private jets, wining and dining, and being "pillars of the community"--another way of saying, "person with too much money gives it away for social status."

That seems promising, right? Someone in a big drug company finally got a clue and challenged others!

But here's the thing: No other company since then has accepted the challenge. Nada.

Allergan is the only one.

They've talked about this on CNBC. Some of the hosts of Squawk on the Street were kind of shocked. No one accepted the challenge? Is there no goodwill?

Yes, you are correct.

There is no goodwill.

No one in their right mind would say, "I choose to be ugly." No one in their right mind would say, "I choose to be poor."

That's our society. It's time everyone accepted it as fact. Look...I wish it wasn't so. I wish that money wasn't so powerful, but the rules to the game were set long before I ever arrived. I just happen to be useful in explaining them to people who may not understand how life works.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Can I hope that the Netflix Lost in Space series is a hybrid of the movie and the original series from 1966?

Netflix is remaking the 1960's television series, Lost in Space. I liked the original series, and although I did not hate the movie (made almost two decades ago), there were some things that I'd like Netflix to take from that too.

Yes, the movie had flaws. There was terrible computer graphics, and the monkey was an awful choice. The inclusion of the monkey is how you know everyone involved in the movie is probably doing cocaine.

But the father/son relationship was really interesting. Will was brilliant but the father was distant. I also liked the way Dr. Smith manipulated Will, because it brought out the real strength in the father/son relationship. Also, the same guy who did the voice for the Robot in the 1966 show did it for the movie. That's kind of cool. Also, will the Robot shout out "Danger, Will Robinson!?" You know that has got to happen, or it isn't Lost in Space.

As for the original series, I enjoyed it. Of course, I only saw it on reruns but there wasn't really any complicated back story that you had to swallow. These people were all on a colony ship that got lost in space. How easy of an explanation is that? It's pretty much an invitation to make every episode crazier than the last, because anything can happen in an infinite universe.

My hope is that the new one borrows gritty elements from the movie and somehow fuses them together with the silly, comedic vibe that made the series worth watching (especially if you are a kid). Netflix has a good track record for making quality programming, so here's to hoping that it's good.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ironhead Studios just revealed the maquettes for the Flash and Cyborg for the new Justice League movie.

Maquettes are sculptures that are made before production so that a film studio can see what the final appearance of a certain something might look. Just a day or so ago, Ironhead Studios (they worked on Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) instagrammed (is that a word?) their maquettes for Flash and Cyborg. Although not quite complete, I think they look pretty awesome.

In the photograph below, Cyborg is on the right and the Flash is on the left. The Flash's suit looks really interesting, and kind of reminds me of the body armor that you see in first-person shooters like Crysis and Halo. Body armor is all the rage now peeps (at least among young men). It's kind of interesting how you now see skin-hugging sci-fi suits popping up everywhere from video games to comic book movies.

It's almost as if the whole nerd world kind of went and got itself an armor and weapons fetish.
A photo posted by Ironhead Studio (@ironhead_studio) on

Friday, September 16, 2016

Apple has done it again because I love iOS 10 and I'm totally buying the iPhone 7.

Apple has done it again because it knows its fanbase really really well--a group of infantilized, computer-illiterate, selfie-snapping, emojingoist, heart-fingered, consumer zombies. It turned its messages app into something that's really fun to use with iOS 10. I wasn't expecting any of the features that I found, and when I discovered what they could do, I started sending invisible selfies, confetti, hand written notes, and gifs to friends and family. Figuring them out is messy, chaotic, and challenging. But I still love it.

I think I need to thank the sticker-loving millennials out there who obviously drove this product update like the crack of an overseers whip from their offices in the Cupertino-based tech giant. Sure, a lot of these features are absurdly frivolous. However, they (strangely) seem to add a lot to the very banal experience of texting. However, just be careful because I could see it being super easy to accidentally send your in-laws kissing lips. And my criticisms don't necessarily stop there.

First, the multi-functionality of the new send button also has the potential to throw off a lot of people. Now, it's just a small circle with an arrow in it (easy to miss) and you have to hold it down for at least a second before it gives you other options.

Second, the message app features a little circle with everyone's photo in it. I don't think there are any actual people in my phone who have photos on their contact cards (I'm not a millennial so I don't snap selfies all the time, and I don't have many friends who are millennials...but there is this one guy...later on that). So, long story short, I get to look at a stupid circle with the person's initials in it for no reason. It makes me think that the expectation might be to walk up to them and say, "Hey, let me take your photo so I can add it to your contact card on my phone."

Overall though, all of these new features have way more entertainment potential, and they easily outweigh the bad stuff.

So have you tried out iOS 10 on the iPhone yet?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This footage from Mad Max: Fury Road just proves that it was robbed by Spotlight at the Academy Awards

Mad Max: Fury Road was a miracle of a film from beginning to end. I'm still a little shocked that it failed to win Best Picture earlier this year at the Academy Awards. But if you still aren't sold on how much effort went into making this film, please PLEASE watch this video. It shows just how much of the movie was real, how much was stunt work, and that the actors were totally committing themselves to a very controlled (dangerous) chaos.

Twenty years from now, no one will even remember Spotlight (the film that actually won Best Picture). But people will still be talking about Mad Max: Fury Road. And to anyone that says the plot was too basic, I think it was actually brilliant. After everything the characters had gone through to get where they were, they realized they had nowhere to go but back the way they had come. And after a solid thirty minutes of heart-stopping action sequences, the entire audience groaned “Oh shit!” exactly at that second because we ALL knew what would come next. And we were not disappointed.

Thank you, George Miller.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Here are ten solid reasons why Game of Thrones keeps garnering new viewers and is the fantasy phenomenon of our age.

Game of Thrones has won a lot of Emmy's. In fact, it's won so many that it's the most awarded drama in history. Cue Walter White's dissappointment. You may already be aware of this fact. You all know that I'm a huge Game of Thrones fan, and in the lingo of the Californian millennial I declare, "It's super cool." However, I also want to answer the question (for those who have yet to take "the plunge" into this series) of "Why should I watch it?" There are (in fact) ten solid reasons that don't have anything to do with Emmys (who cares about awards, amirite?).

1) You need to fill the void the Hobbit movies left in your soul. This was a huge "Battle of the Five Armies" void. No amount of Legolas spins and flips felt like a bandage to this particular horror. And let's face it, the Shannara Chronicles falls waaayyyy short.
2) Glance at it for the renaissance fair costumes. Cersei was rockin' an impressive dress in the finale episode "The Winds of Winter."
3) Stay for the guilty pleasure of all the boobies.
4) Feel terrible seeing what the creators are doing to all of the boobies.
5) The Red Wedding.
6) WTF just happened?
7) Accept that everything you love is going to die horribly in this show, and then realize that this is actually pretty close to how it is in real life. Nihilism memes I luv u. :)
8) Watch a few more episodes out of self-hatred.
9) At some point (if you have a brain) you'll realize that this is a masterpiece of a series...well acted...and an impressive show.
10) You become a dedicated fan and infect others with your enthusiasm. You invest in Game of Thrones merchandise that may (or may not) include a dragon egg that you proudly display in your house.

Friday, September 9, 2016

It's weird to think that the story of Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet is the ultimate ode to male violence at having been friend-zoned by a woman.

I read on io9 that Marvel's capstone movie, Avengers: Infinity War, is due to be released in late 2018. It seems like a long time away, but it really isn't for us older peeps. I (for one) feel like I take a nap and my rent's due again. That aside, in the new Avengers movie we finally get to see a lot of Thanos on screen...a bad guy that's been hinted at (and plugged) in almost every single movie featuring an Infinity Gem. It all started with Iron Man in 2008...that's ten years...and one hell of a project. I've got to hand it to Disney to have kept it all together through three different phases. And between now and then we still have a Doctor Strange movie, a second Guardians of the Galaxy, another Spider-Man movie (starring the incredibly cute Tom Holland), Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther. It blows my mind at the amount of maneuvering (and money) that all of this took in order to bring a dream of an entire superhero universe into reality.

When I think about the ultimate villain, Thanos, I also realize that (despite the copious quantities of action) the build-up of every single character thread ends with a powerful love story: that between Thanos and Lady Death (whom we have not seen). Here's a panel from the comic that explains what I'm talking about:
Or maybe (and more appropriately) Thanos is just an angry schmuck who ignores a woman's rejection of him to the point where he kills half the universe in a futile attempt to impress her. Just think about that for a moment. Thanos' story is the ultimate example of male frustration at having been "friend-zoned" by a woman he obviously wants to shag badly. I think it's a good story, but I'm sure social justice warriors on Facebook will point out the obvious in that "Thanos" (being a stand-in for the modern man) is owed nothing by "Lady Death" (a stand-in for the modern woman). They might also point out that the film is the ultimate testament to male violence, which we really can't argue with since Thanos does end up killing half the universe. Pretty terrible, right? But it makes for a good fiction.

All of this also makes me ask where Marvel (and Disney by extension) can possibly go after Thanos? How do you top saving an entire universe? The escalation seems a bit "problematic." I sure hope they don't decide to reboot everything, but then again, look at how many times Spider-Man got rebooted already. What was once old is new again and so on and so forth. Whatever happens, I'm sure that it will be entertaining. Disney rarely disappoints.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I spend my time and resources exactly how I want to because I deserve to have that freedom as payback for all the crummy years of my childhood.

Today is the first Wednesday of September, and because of that special occasion, I'm once again taking part in the Insecure Writer's Support Group. For more information on that, click on this link HERE.

This month's question that we participants answer is: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

This question is actually pretty easy for me. My life isn't as full as some others, either because of choices I've made in life or through a lack of distractions due to my own personality. I think I do really engage with people, but I engage with them in non sexual-tension-filled ways (not my choice...believe me...I'd love to be the flirty one that gets all the attention). For example, I'm the person that people always go to in order to solve a problem (which I actually hate) but they never go to when there's something fun to do.

In other words I just emanate a general aura of "Oh...Mike is uber responsible and will never drop the ball...but...yeah...we don't want him at the party because he's uncool. If he wants to PLAN the party...that'd be great...." And just so you know, I'm 45 so this is a far cry from teenage angst. It's how I actually feel as an adult, and it's based upon decades of behavior that I've analyzed in an attempt to answer the question, "Why do I feel that people just want to assign me unpleasant work to do?"

But to be fair, I'm quite capable of self-criticism. On the subject of "spontaneity" (and my lack thereof) it's something I will own up to (you will never see me use my iPhone to make cute videos filled with laughter and warmth). It's hard for me to cut loose and dance and to be comfortable in my own skin. However, I think its fair to say that my ability to be cute and fun loving was destroyed by years and years of psychological and emotional abuse that made my childhood kind of a living hell, but at the same time it inoculated me to the harshness of the world. In a way, my father and mother simultaneously managed to be the worst/best parents (if that makes any sense) that they could possibly be. And just to be clear, I would never wish the kinds of things I went through on anyone. However, the "emotional skin" I grew in order to deal with the psychological abuse made me able to deal with life in ways that I could never have imagined. Events that absolutely crush/devastate people (that I know) are barely ripples to me on the Sea of Fate, and I actually love that. But the side-effect is that I don't naturally cuddle with dogs and talk about how new babies smell and take selfies with everybody. I wish I could do these things comfortably and naturally, but they always feel awkward to me. What doesn't feel awkward is scrubbing toilets, because for the longest time, that's how people treated me. I was the person people always called upon to scrub the toilet and clean out the garbage.

So needless to say...I don't have people banging down my door to do "Happy Fun Time." And with no partner, this leaves me with a lot of spare time after work and on weekends. I fill that spare time with whatever I want to do. It could be an art project (which I started this weekend) or perhaps it could be another writing project. When I get bored of one, I go and start another. So yeah...I've got the luxury of time...and I know that's just not something that most people have an abundance of. I truly wish I was one of those people with such a full life that I had to juggle everything. As a caveat though, I also guard that time like a zealot. Allow me to explain.

I've got used to saying "No" to people. Believe me when I say, there appears to be an endless supply of people knocking on my door with the goal in mind to put some brown-skinned single Asian guy to work doing some shitty task they don't want to deal with (the "scrub my toilet!" theme fits nicely here even though that's not what they want). A lot of people consider that the "bar offriendship" when it comes to me. "Hey I've got something shitty that I don't want to deal with. You're my friend...I could use you to help me out with it!" Unfortunately for them, I don't share this viewpoint on life. I think true friendship is deeply reciprocal and is built upon a foundation of immense respect. If I knew a task was even remotely unpleasant, I would never foist that on a friend. If I did ask for help, I would compensate them monetarily with hundreds of dollars (that I toiled very hard to get) or not even ask. Friendship is to be treasured and not exploited. Maybe that's the Japanese in me...a belief that one "honors" friends and keeps all the unpleasant things in a closet to deal with on my own time.

Some don't take my "No's" very well, and verbally attack me, pointing out (obviously) that I have resources that could help them. There's no arguing that fact at all. So I make it very clear that I'm saying "No" because I am choosing not to help them and am perfectly happy with that decision. Of course, this really pisses some people off and causes them to throw all sorts of insults at me (which I don't deserve but it happens anyway). It's almost like people are punishing me because I have a lack of blessings in my life, which seems ironic if you dare to look at it from my point of view.

The way I see myself, I'm a survivor/former victim of incredible psychological and emotional abuse. As a result, I'm abrasive enough and uncharismatic enough (in real life) that people only seek me out when they need help with something (no "Happy Fun Time" with Mike). If they do seek me out, they are sure to crowd enough other people into the hang out time that spending emotional time with me is vastly diluted. So (essentially) I have a lack of fun activities planned by others to fill my hours with (but I sure can get people interested in "Happy Fun Time" activities when I organize everything and do all the work) when the "average person in America" has the blessing of a house of children, a partner, a spouse, etc. to help them deal with life. Admittedly, a lot of those things happened because a person was born the right race, the right religion, the right politics (and world-view), the right sexual orientation, etc. to be "attractive" to peers to bring on those kinds of invitations (and had the emotional well-being to survive a society of narcissists). They were born into bodies that had very little challenges (as far as disabilities go) and into families that genuinely loved them and gave them trophies for participation and actually "valued" and would talk through their feelings one on one. Again, please know that I'm not complaining (because I sure as hell know I could be a lot worse off). Rather, what I'm trying to do is explain to you (the reader) why I have so much free time outside of work. The answer is simple: a life-history of a lack of inclusion.

On that earlier topic, I guess what galls me the most is when I get verbally attacked for saying "No" to a person's request to feed at the trough of my resources is that I know that the other group of people (those with children and partners) can say "no" and the person asking smiles and easily understands the rejection. But when I say "no" I get verbally attacked. These are "facts" in my mind, even if there's no way for me to prove them. However, it is very interesting that the guy who has probably suffered the most trauma is the one that continues to get assaulted by people who see him only as a problem a resource to be used and abused in their tool belt...because life is too difficult for them to deal with and they think (because I have things together) that it must be easy for me and therefore it's my duty to help others. To say it a different way, "the guy who lives a pretty miserable life (by average standards) is the one whom miserable people choose to use as a punching bag."

Anyway, this has been a long, emotional post, but I think it explains a lot about me that I wish more people knew regarding how I manage my time, and to some extent, the resentments I feel toward people who do nothing but try to take (instead of give). And yeah, I have no problem at all saying "No." It's time for someone else to scrub the toilet because this guy is not going to do that (for others) anymore.

I hope that if you take one thing away from this post it is this: it answers the question of "How do I manage my writing time in my 'busy' life?" And the fact is, my life really isn't all that "busy" due to intentional design. I spend my time and resources exactly how I want to because I deserve to have that freedom as payback for all the crummy years of my childhood. If I choose to spend that time writing or drawing, then it's because those activities make me happy. Would I rather spend those hours with a person who appreciates having me around? Yes, yes I would. But as I learned a long time ago, "You can control all the things in your life except love. There is no force in the universe that can make someone love you." And in this sense, the word "value" can also be used interchangeably with the word "love" and still ring true. It is my frustration to this truth--which then leads to acceptance--that (for me) is perhaps the greatest motivating factor behind my creativity in any form. It's why I write, I draw, and I read. At the end of the day, this world is cruel and mean and filled with a lot of nasty people (I know there are a few good ones), and my mind wants to seek out better worlds where I feel respected, wanted, and loved. Stephen King wrote:

"Writers remember everything...especially the hurts. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he'll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar. Art consists of the persistence of memory."
My memory holds a lot of scars and most of them aren't pretty, but at least I know who I am.

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