Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fear and Loathing in Overland Park pt 36-46

And this next section takes up the month of July, 2008 (wherein I go a little Bat-happy). Please to enjoy the insanity. I need to turn this into a book or something. I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free. You will see that quote twice in this post.

Part 36


“It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

-Patrick Henry

Independence Day is right around the corner, and that means a few things:

It’s Will Smith weekend.

Fireworks and idiots blowing their fingers off.

Our brothers and sisters abroad will continue fighting for our freedom, and most of us won’t think a thing of it.

You know why? Why do you and I and all the rest of us sit back on the 4th and forget about all those people who have given their lives for our independence?

Because we’re too busy worrying about our jobs. Our cars. Our items that determine our self-worth. The size of our televisions. The amount of crap we have that is better and bigger than the amount of crap that our neighbor has.

Above and beyond that, we’ll be more worried about eating as much unhealthy crap that we can and feeling guilty about it the day after the 4th because we broke our diets yet again.

That is what independence means to most of us today. And it is a sad day to see that most people don’t care about freedom that cost so many people so much blood and pain.

“The true character of liberty is independence, maintained by force.”


I recently became good friends with a gonzo currently fighting overseas in Iraq for Operation Enduring Freedom or whatever they’ve decided to call it. He and I got to talking recently and a lot of things came up that seemed strange to me. A lot of things that I rarely think about.

We rarely think about.

Our independence was gained in a show of force. Our “founding fathers” showed their strength against the British crown and fought for what they at the time considered independence from the dictatorship of Britain. We all know this.

And ever since that day, we’ve been in a battle all across the globe, trying to show our strength as an independent nation. Yes, we all know that as well. But my gonzo Victor told me why he does it. Why he puts on his fatigues and body armor.

Why he fights some unseen enemy he’ll probably never come face to face with.

He fights for the idea of independence. Freedom. He fights to uphold an ideal that he’s held in his heart since the day he was born. He fights for a free society that all people can appreciate and be a part of.

“The four cornerstones of character on which the structure of this nation was built are: Initiative, Imagination, Individuality, and Independence.”

-Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

Now of course, my highly opinionated self did not agree with him. With the methods that we went to war. I don’t agree with our government and never will. I will never suit up and fight for this country because I don’t believe in the methods in which we struggle and show our force or the people in charge.

And neither does Victor.

He fights to protect the ones he loves. He sees it as something that only he can do. And he doesn’t fault me as a coward. He doesn’t fault me as a communist or socialist or whatever peace-loving beatnik speak you may want to throw my way.

He sees me as human and I’m who he fights for.

It’s amazing what the human will can actually achieve when it wants to.

“Independence – is loyalty to one’s best self and principles, and this is often disloyalty to the general idols and fetishes.”

-Mark Twain

We all struggle for independence in our own ways. We obviously do.

Against our parents. Family and friends. School. Work. On various websites related to networking and meeting friends.

How do we find independence in this age where everyone is an independent and a non-conformist?

The only person we must conform with is ourselves. No one else.

You don’t agree with a principle or byline or law? Who is the ultimate person that stands in your way from changing that thing that doesn’t seem right or free or correct to you?

Just yourself.

You’re the only person who gets to defend your own independence when it comes down to it. It’s all up to you and your own imagination and the way you truly want to be disloyal to something you don’t believe in.

“It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment, independence now and independence forever.”

-Daniel Webster

Independent thought is sometimes considered the greatest threat to a free nation. But your thoughts will always be your own and no one can change them or choose what you are to believe but you.

So while you’re staring down your fifth bratwurst or hot dog or hamburger or anything of that sort this weekend, think of a few things. Think independently and be free. Look around you and take a chance to just look at the people around you and think of how they all got there.

Maybe their grandfather was at Normandy on D-Day and if he had died that day you’d never be here. His fighting for Independence abroad and fighting those wishing to change the world for their own self-worth had two potential results: his death or to assist in ending the war and protecting the US.

Maybe their son is over in Afghanistan fighting Terror and wishing for just one of those bratwursts that you’ve devoured and gorged yourself on on this upcoming Friday.

Maybe their daughter is in Iraq, scared out of her mind that she may never see her baby brother again and give him a hug, and she just wants everyone there to remember her as a great sister, regardless of what happens or how she changes.

“Those who won our independence… valued liberty as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.”

-Louis D Brandeis

While those fireworks are going off around you, lights exploding in the sky, remember that half a world away, there are other explosions facing someone’s family member. And they are fighting for our independence.

Fighting for people in power who are too afraid to fight for themselves and change the world in a better way so that men and women don’t have to struggle with guns and explosives.

Fighting for the men and women in power to line their pockets just a little bit further and give themselves the ability to have a bigger television, a better college education for their son or daughter that also won’t fight, and fighting for a bigger piece of the freedom pie.

Because once the war is over, all the sides will be split and evenly distributed, right?

So as always, fair readers, the choice is presented to you. The choice is yours to make.

The choice is thus: is your independence the freedom to eat as many bratwursts as humanly possible and stuff your face while thinking about the sales this weekend and that giant TV you always wanted? Or will you celebrate this day the way it is meant to be celebrated? The birth of the home that you live in. The birth of the nation that you follow.

The independence that is still being fought for today.

The choice is yours. Choose wisely today, as tomorrow, your choice may not count, depending on what happens in the world when your choice is being made.

“There is no more independence in politics than there is in jail.”

-Will Rogers

Part 37


(Because the damn YouTube embedding wouldn't work on this thing, there are a couple of Links to clips, TV promos, and actual film minutes straight from the Dark Knight. Enjoy, and remember, there be spoilers afoot!)

First Five Minutes of The Dark Knight

You want proof that Gooch and I are not the same person? That just because you've never seen us in the same room together, that we are not one and the same, that we are not opposite sides of the same coin (Harvey Dent/Two-Face, Bill Paxton/Bill Pullman, Dermot Mulroney/Dylan McDermott)?

Another 9 minutes of The Dark Knight

I still own thousands upon thousands of comic books in single issue format. I have bags, paper sacks, boxes and boxes, large plastic tubs, and anything you can think of full of comic books. Bookshelves covered in graphic novels.

Walls with posters of various heroes.

Commission sketches from comic-cons drawn by some various awesome artists that I thoroughly enjoy.

Swedish then English clip of Heath Ledger as the Joker

Action figures and statues of my favorite heroes and villains.

Thank Veloci-Jesus my wife embraced my comic nerdiness.

But my apartment is a shrine. I am so completely entrenched in the comic world that you wouldn't believe it if you saw it. You ever have any comic universe questions that need answering, I'm your man. You ever need to nerd out on old school comic characters, I'm your fanboy.

Four more Batman TV clips

Hell, the title I hold is now a featured word in Webster's. How cool is that?

So for the next two weeks, I will be looking into the universe that is Batman. His hero partners, villains, friends, family, you name it. His psyche. I will be taking a closer look into the world that is Batman.

I even own the Batman Handbook that tells me all about how to become Batman.

I'm still working on the damn grappling hook.


Part 38

Continuing the Bat-trend

Today's look inside the brain of Batman: The Handbook

But first: All it takes is $60 and a dream.

If you can tell me where that quote comes from (and I promise, it's not Bat-related at all), then you win a prize. And that prize is free enjoyment and the ability to openly join this wonderful group of people.

The Batman Handbook

What kind of person reads a book that tells you how to disarm a gunned assailant, break free from a chokehold, take down an entire room full of goons wearing masks (without killing anyone or using excessive force), and bulletproof your vehicle, thus making it the most efficient way of kicking crime in its balls or hoo-has?

The kind of person who has a billion dollars lying around. Or had an effed-up childhood. Or has the willpower to fight people much stronger and eviler than them.

Or a combo of the three.

So I have two of the three.

I just didn't have an effed-up childhood.

That's a joke.

So enjoy it. That one's free.


The book is one of those weird little things that make no sense when you see it on the shelf, it just completely catches your eye. There is something about it that just harkens back to the days of old when you would sit on the lawn with friends and wish that you were slaying a dragon or fighting druglords and tearing crime to pieces with your bare hands.

The book just smacks you in the face and belittles you and says "SWEAR TO ME!"

And then throws you off a building. Upside down. Poor Mark Boone Jr.

Anyways, yet again, I digress.

The book is ridiculous. It teaches you how to fight crocodile men without dying. It teaches you how to rapple down a building. It teaches you how to do a backflip (seriously). It teaches you how to use your own city to your advantage.

And it teaches you how to dodge bullets.

It doesn't take a Bat-fan or a comic fan to enjoy this book (though it does help, what with stellar comic artist David Hahn on the illustrations and the immense amount of Bat-lore behind it). You can enjoy this book thoroughly just if you wanted to learn a little bit more about self-defense, and get a nice little lark out of the rest of the reading.

Seriously, when the hell am I going to need to bulletproof my vehicle?

Great book. Give it a read. Better to read in a public place like a library or the common area of the University's union so you can get a lot of really weird looks from people who don't appreciate your gonzo-ness. That way, when you get to the end, you can kick their ass for looking at you in a really odd way.

The Death of Thomas and Martha Wayne

Why in the world would you go see a movie (The Mark of Zorro according to the comics) or an opera (Mefistofele according to Batman Begins) in which the movie theater/opera house is connected to Crime Alley?

Isn't that like going to dinner at Murder Diner or living in Rape Central or enjoying a nice frosty cold one on the corner of Beheading and Sodomy?

What kind of a human being, who cares about the safety of their child and took an oath to protect men and women (Thomas was a surgeon, you know), would take their loved ones to Crime Alley?


Blu-Ray Batman Begins

Say that three times fast.

When I first saw Batman Begins in theaters, I did not like it. I admit it. I made too much out of the movie. I hyped it so high there was nothing it could do. It was going to save Bat-films for me after the awful taste left in my mouth from Batman and Robin.

It was going to be so much better than Superman Returns could ever hope to be. It was going to be everything I wanted.

It had a great director and a fantastic cast (anything featuring rugged manly man Rutger Hauer in the cast is good enough for me).

And boom. It didn't live up to the hype.

I blamed David Goyer. A bunch of crappy foreshadowing (the water main scenes, Wayne Tower being in the middle of the city). Too many people dying or falling down off camera. Too much crappy action sequences.

Seriously, the first scene where Bats kicks ass, he's in a circle of jerks and is kicking and punching them all, and one has no clue who is punching or being punched. And at the end of the scene, there is an extra leg, or an extra person standing up next to Batman. Then the scene changes, and Bats is the only one standing.

Should have fixed that in post.

But every viewing past the first, this movie pulled the Sam Raimi Spider-Man on me. The hype had been crushed. My hopes were dashed. Now I could like the movie (I just hope the third Batman doesn't feature him being an emo bitch and making all the fans of the film series wishing that he would slash his wrists and let Venom win the day).

So the Blu-ray release was this week. Was it the same exact disc as the 2 disc special edition DVD release as before? Yes and no. Was it the same disc as the HD-DVD release of last year?

Yes and no.

The Blu-ray sound and picture still seems cleaner, sharper, and so much plusher than before. They added a few bits and pieces (like the 6 minute IMAX prologue seen in front of I Am Legend in IMAX last December and since watched about 40 times since finding it online). The pop-up menu has grown on me, and the Blu-ray experience is just so much more seemingly interactive. I don't have to stop the first disc to change discs and watch the special features.

As I am one of those special features watchers.

There are still things I don't like about this movie.

I've never liked Michael Caine. I'm not the biggest fan of Morgan Freeman. I absolutely hate Katie Holmes in this movie. I hate how Ken Watanabe and Cillian Murphy and Tom Wilkinson got shifted out of the movie super-quick.

But all in all, I'm an idiot and I spent money on something I already own. But blu-ray is better. So there.

Best Batman Movie to date

I am ready for The Dark Knight. I really am. But in the mean time, I will watch Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

It is still the best Batman movie ever. It is on the top of the list for the best comic book movies ever.

It features the best Batman ever (Kevin Conroy, the man who made Batman who he truly could be in my eyes). It features the best Joker ever (so far, as I still haven't seen Heath's Joker in the full movie, Mark Hamill still takes the cake), and before these last two movies, it had the best cast of any Batman film ever.

Kevin Conroy

Dana Delaney

Hart Bochner (director of PCU and High School High and the jerkass who sells McClane down the river in the first Die Hard and gets brained for it)

Stacy Keach

Efrem Zimbalist Jr (Don Ho can sign his name 3.4 times faster than Efrem can)

Abe Vigoda

Dick Miller (the dude's been in every Joe Dante movie and played the badass Murray in Gremlins 2 among other roles)

John P. Ryan

Robert Costanzo

Bob Hastings

Mark Hamill

Marilu Henner


There are so many people in this movie that are just plain awesome, that it just hurts. So why so serious? Take a gamble on this fantastic movie from the true architects of the Bat-universe (Bruce Timm and Paul Dini) and forget about the other stuff for now. This is the Batman that shaped my interest in Batman.

And it still does.

Next time: I will be looking a little bit closer to the Bat-mythos and his partners in crime. As well as something else. Something, sinister. Something, crazy.


Part 39


Partners in Crime-Fighting

By now, you know that I might have a vast knowledge of Batman. You might even think I'm a nerd (this point has come into contention in the past, but I wear my nerdness with pride and joy). Hell, I went to a local comic store and was called out on my nerdiness just yesterday, by my wife and two different clerks.

So I can completely enjoy this method, this habit, this dark secret that I have.

It's like the Batman to my Bruce Wayne (and yet again, could Gooch or I be Batman while the other is Bruce? I digress).

Today we start our look into the psyche of Batman and his universe by looking at his partners. And the first partner is:


Dick Grayson. The original Robin. His first appearance was in Detective Comics #38 all the way back in 1940, 11 issues after the first appearance of Batman.

His family belonged in the circus as the Flying Graysons, and they were murdered by a mafia boss who was getting money out of that circus.

Dick was his first partner. The smooth legged little bastard who started the whole gay hysteria in comic books that Dr. Fredric Wertham did his best to kill the comic books kids loved because he saw an underlying weirdness in the relationship between the smooth-legged, green undies wearing Dick, and the long underwear of Bruce.

The 1950s really affected comics in a big bad way.

But Dick Grayson was the light in the Bat-universe. Yes, there was some kind of strange homosexual vibe coming from the characters (that can be seen immensely now), but the time was different.

If you want to think that Batman was a sadomasochist who loved little boys, that's your bag. And that's probably why Christian Bale never wants to see Robin in his Bat-movies, even though it makes logical sense for the third movie.

Now, I was never a big fan of Robin, not until the 1990s cartoon that showed him as a true partner. Not until I read about his adventures in his solo book as Nightwing did I care for Dick Grayson. Not until Dark Victory did I understand what this character truly meant for Batman.

And currently, Nightwing is one of my favorite DC characters. He's like Batman, only not nearly as insane.

Robin 2: Electric Boogaloo

Jason Todd was the kind of Robin the grim and gritty 80s brought us. The Robin influenced by the worlds of Frank Miller and the need for more darkness in the Bat-universe.

Sure he kept the smooth leg look from Dick Grayson, but he also become Batman's sidekick after trying to steal the Batmobile's hubcaps (see Batman #357 for the details).

He was a punk. A brat. A little dick who was overly aggressive and angry at the world. He was a pocket full of C4 ready to explode. He killed people by pushing them off buildings.

And for his crappiness as a sidekick, DC set up a hotline in which readers could call a number and decide whether to let him live or kill him.

You see, in 1988, they had a story called A Death in the Family, in which Jason was attempting to find his mother. At the same time, the Joker had become a diplomat and had immunity for his past crimes, and Jason Todd ran afoul of the Joker overseas (who was looking for the same woman who was potentially Jason's mother).

Spoiler alert: the brat got his ass handed to him with a crowbar from the personal hands of the Joker, and the story ended with a grenade being lobbed at him. He was killed, because fandom hated him.

I would have voted for his death as well, just because he sucked so bad.

Rewind to just about 3 years ago, and Under the Hood, one of the best recent Bat-storylines, showed the return from the grave of Jason Todd, this time as a villain named the Red Hood (again, tied into the creation of the Joker). They explained his death and rebirth away with a 4th wall punch (not kidding) and the return was dumb, but him coming back all Punisher-style worked.

And then they had to make him a boring old good guy again.

Robin 3: The Best

Tim Drake. Batman 436 shows his first appearance as a kid just smart enough to learn the secret of Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and the Batman. This is the world's smartest, youngest detective, and he knows who Batman is at the ripe young age of 9 just based on video footage he's watched and having seen Dick Grayson during his time in the Flying Graysons.

Granted, each and every one of us would know exactly who Batman is, just because we aren't stupid. But in the DC universe, it's hard to know exactly who he is (I suppose).

So Drake figures it out, basically steals the Robin costume, and assists Batman and Nightwing against Two-Face (by keeping Bruce from killing him, showing him the light, all that nonsense).

Anyways, so Tim Drake becomes Robin. He's the light to Batman's dark. He doesn't take the job as seriously. He understands the need for some humor. The need for humanity.

He isn't all grim and gritty. He wants to be Batman someday, but not Bruce Wayne Batman. He's the world's greatest detective, and he has the same problems as the readers: high school, homework, you name it.

Hell, he has girl trouble while Bruce Wayne can bed anybody.

And that makes him the best. He's a real kid with real problems. And he was exactly what the Bat-mythos needed. And still needs.

Batman's Worst Enemy

Besides himself, the worst enemy he's ever faced and will ever face is:

Arkham Aslyum

The Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane has been featured in damn near every incarnation of the Bat-universe. It's been in the cartoons. Most of the movies. Obviously the comics.

It is a haven of madness. Named after the dead mother of the founder (who either committed suicide or was euthanized), it was the home of Amadeus Arkham and his wife and daughter. Ever since then, it was a haven of madmen, murderers, thieves, insane clowns, rapists, Clayfaces, you name it, it's had it.

As Gooch mentioned previously, all of the inmates were set free from the Asylum during the Knightfall saga by Bane, which ended in Batman's back being broken and a terribly dark time for the Dark Knight.

It has held every single Bat-villain at one time or another, and they all managed to get out either through their influences or by breaking free or by screwing with the system and making the doctors there think they had rehabilitated.

Two really great stories featured this Aslyum as the protagonist (or one of the protagonists) of them.

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth

Arkham Asylum: Living Hell

Both stories feature a look inside Arkham and what it does to the people involved. And just look what's it done to Batman.

It's supposed to be the place where he sends all those criminals who are a vicious and cowardly lot. It's supposed to be a place where they are kept for the rest of their natural lives. But they never stay there.

They are never there for long.

All Arkham does is drive them madder and make Batman's life a bigger living hell than it already was.

Which is why that is his greatest villain.

Besides himself of course.

Next time, we'll take a look at something else: the city. Gotham must die.


Part 40

The big Four-O starts with a bang, and a car fire, and of course, BATMAN!

This past Saturday started out like any other, except for the fact that it was raining and cold in the middle of July. Strange weather and a very strange day would be had by myself and a group of my gonzos.

You see, the night previous we had seen Hellboy 2 which gets a big meh from me. Better than the first (which I still don’t like), but being a Hellboy comic book fan brings me in on a completely different wavelength from most other moviegoers.

Ron Perlman as always was inspired casting as Hellboy. But the movie should have been called Abe Sapien and Hellboy, or BPRD, or something, as most of the movie isn’t even about Hellboy.

He seems an afterthought to most of the plot. The movie and the plot seems to be happening around him, and the things that do happen to him just seem tacked on and quickly fixed or glossed over.

So that’s my review of Hellboy in the quick.

Saturday, the cold, rainy, 60 degree weather, started my day with a nice, neat little coughing/sneezing spree, which made me feel all kinds of alive.

To follow that up, had free tickets to see the Royals play the Mariners on Saturday night at the K, affording my gonzos and I the ability to check out the world’s largest HDTV, or whatever it is.

Dressing for the cold weather early in the day and feeling quite like an idiot when the sun came out and the heat started to rise, I questioned my internal temperature gauge as my gonzos and I began our tailgating experience.

Tailgating, in this instance, meant washers and a 30 pack of Ice Cold Bud Light.

And I suck at washers. After not having played it for a couple of years in any way, shape or form, the teams were chosen and I was very rusty. One game of washers lasted roughly 30 minutes, and it was the most heated competition this side of Beijing that you’ll ever find.

People started chanting my name and we still lost by 8 points I think.

Because I suck at washers.

Anyways, ice cold Bud Light really started the day off much better than the sneezing fit ever did. My day at the K I should have called this blog, but it’s not just about me.

It’s about my gonzos and me.

And boy was there something all kinds of crazy that happened after the fact.

You see, we weren’t the only ones playing washers and tailgating. There was a group of guys, similar in age, build, everything to my group of gonzos and myself, playing a variation on washers directly behind our vehicle.

Of course, a driving lane separated the two vehicles, but you catch my drift. We were about 10 feet apart.

Anyways, one of the idiots playing washers behind us was also grilling some chicken on one of those little carry-on grills, the grillmate or whatever it’s called. And he was flipping said chicken with his lighter.

Real bright cookie, let me tell you.

To continue this story, you have to understand that I thought these guys were idiots. And they were.

The genius flipping the chicken with his lighter and serving up sandwiches to his friends put the grill behind the vehicle, what appeared to be a 2007 Pontiac G6, white, beautiful condition, put the grill behind the vehicle.

Didn’t cool off the grill. Water down the coals. Nothing was done.

And of course, in the middle of our game, a big flame erupted from the back of the car. Black smoke appeared out of the back of the car like the black smoke monster from Lost, and I thought my time on the island was up.

One of my gonzos called the fire department, and in his elated state, said “Bring a hose.”

We’re all geniuses, you see.

We all thought the genius who cooked the chicken put the grill inside the car. Smoke filled the vehicle and the windows were dark gray from the inside. The entire car was filling with the smoke and black smoke and flames grew higher from the back of the car.

And the fire department came, put the fire out quick with the hose, and ruined the car even worse with gallon upon gallon of water pouring into the back and throughout the car.

Sucked. Let me tell you.

So a very eventful day was had. Oh, and the Royals won with a walk-off Home Run. And the day at the K was all kinds of fun for us.

Even though I still suck at washers.


If you look at Batman comics that have been published, or the movies, or the cartoons, whatever, Gotham City has been shown in about a million different lights.

The cartoon gave it a very noir look, black, dark, graytones, everything a shade of black and darkness in every corner. Beyond that, the vehicles found within the city were all 1940s influenced, the mobsters, the guns, the galas, all very noir.

Everything about the city was noir influenced and influenced by the time period when Batman first arrived in the comic-world.

Obviously, the Batman TV series was a product of its time and Gotham followed suit. Everything was bright and boisterous. The city looked like Southern California (probably because that’s where it was filmed). Lots of water and submarines and Laugh-In styled outfits and villains. A real product of its time.

Then look at the Tim Burton movies. They follow suit with all the old Burton films. Dark, dreary, a lot of miniatures, lots of cold landscapes, snow and ice, very noir influenced as well. When the bright neon lights come on or the clowns come out to play, even then the colors feel muted and ugly.

It’s the true Burton style.

We won’t talk much about Joel Schumacher’s Gotham City, but it’s very neon influenced. Very colorful. Very kitschy. The complete wrong feeling for Gotham.

And of course the Nolan Batman film/films. Dark, dreary, noir influenced, but also very much influenced by the grime and dirt underlying the cities of Chicago and London. It’s a real city, breathing and influencing the dark people that walk its streets.

Just like in the comics.

You see, Gotham City has been around pretty much since day one in the Bat-world (since Batman #4 to be exact, in 1940). And from day one, it’s been an influence on the characters of Batman and his cohorts as well as the villains and civilians.

I made a comment about Thomas Wayne taking his son and wife to Crime Alley recently, and I thought about it. All of the alleys, all of the streets, pretty much everything in the city of Gotham probably has that negative glow behind it.

Crime Alley just happened to be the one they went down.

You see, if you read the comics, in any depth at all, you get a feeling that the city is breathing. That Arkham Asylum is Batman’s worst enemy because the city is festering and creating these villains and Arkham Asylum keeps funneling them out into the city.

The city is a character just as much as Batman.

In fact, in the late 1990s, early 00s, there was a massive Earthquake that came and went through Gotham and tore it to shreds. Congress declared the city a No Man’s Land and despite the best intentions of the crusading Bruce Wayne by day and Batman by night, the city was deemed a lost cause and its citizens were ordered to leave.

The story started previously because of Ra’s Al Ghul (played by Liam Neeson for reals in Batman Begins). He released a virus during the storyline Contagion (which killed tons of people in Gotham) and then that lead right into Cataclysm (with a 7.6 earthquake that tore the city apart even worse) and that lead right into No Man’s Land.

The city would never be the same, and it was saved by Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor. Yes, that Lex Luthor.

You see, Gotham City is just as much a part of the Batman as his villains, heroes, and friends. You can see that by the way he changes due to these storyarcs. He has to be more focused on the battle against crime and forget about Bruce Wayne. For extended periods of time, the city causes Bruce to disappear and Batman to be all that there is.

And the City of Crime never sleeps. It never ceases to destroy all the good that Batman attempts. It feeds on the weak and takes everything away from them.

It is a city of corruption, greed, disgusting filth that only can be seen by looking at Batman’s Rogues Gallery.

It is a city of Crime. And it is best seen through the eyes of those it has most affected, and that person, as always, is Batman.

Next time, I don’t even know what’s left to say about Batman. Except, it’s coming!!! And I hate myself for not being the dominant personality and getting to see Bats tonight.


Part 41

The world we live in is a lie…

So the company screwed me over again today. Apparently, my response to some questions on an interview were not up to the standard that the interviewer expected out of the interviewee, so I continue, stuck in the same position I’m in, for who knows how long.

And that’s the world we live in. A joke. A world where people who say the right thing, kiss the right ass, or perform other duties while smiling get the position to move ahead in this company whereas people who bust their asses and work really hard get nothing to show for it.

I hope I have kids someday so I can wake them up early to the way the world really works. You either kiss ass or you’re made to be the ass. That’s the way it works.

But can it be better? Can it ever be fixed?

Probably not.

But there are superheroes in this world that want to do something to fix it. I just wish I had the ability to do that. Maybe then I’d enjoy my stupid worthless existence just a little bit more.

Real-Life Superheroes: Called Reals

So real-world superheroes? Would they work? Would they do any good?

They think they are.

Each and every one of them probably grew up with the same inflated sense of self-worth as the rest of us. We can be anything we want to be as long as we keep our minds to it.

No you can’t.

You can be anything you want to be so long as it fits into the mold that was deemed appropriate for you from some idiot who is above you in some way, shape, or form.

Is there hope?

Only if you do something about it.

Only if you realize that in spite of what’s given to you, in front of you, or deemed appropriate for you, that you can change that. With just your willpower you can achieve something better than yourself.

And that is how we tie this back into Batman.

You see, he’s just a man. A man facing a never-ending villain that rears its ugly head in every aspect of his city.

But does he back down?

He’s just a man (that happens to be a billionaire but still) whose parents were gunned down in front of him while he was a child and his entire sense of self was warped because of this. So he dressed as a Bat, learned the ways of pretty much every martial art known to man, and did something with his life.

Sure he acts within his means and within his life as the idiot drunk playboy that has to act like that to keep appearances up. When all he wants to do is go out and dress as a Bat and kick some goon’s ass as opposed to going to some Snow Owl Preservation Society meeting.

So do we back down? Or do we have a choice? A choice not to sit idly by and accept the world and the way of life that is being forced down my throat from all aspects of my life?

Maybe I’d like to dress as a Bat. Or wear make-up and shoot heroes in the head and cause uncanny amounts of havoc on the world.

But when the whole world is against you, can you be a hero? Or do you have to end up the villain?

Are you the villain of your own story, or do you get a choice with that as well?

Like everything else I’ve ever told you, there is always a choice. Right now, the choices facing me are like looking down the barrel of a gun. There’s one, and then there’s the other.

One is fighting against what’s being pushed on me and attacking the structures that seem to be forcing me into submission. That option is difficult. It involves struggle. It involves change. It involves adapting to a way of life that is unforeseen to me, something I might not be ready to accept, something that might be so hard that it hurts.

Or I can choose the barrel and swallow the bullet that tastes sweet and burns the roof of my mouth. The easy option. The option that involves standing still and letting the bullet tear away all sense of self-worth and empowerment because the company wants me to fit within the structures they have built me and deemed me to be less than satisfactory in one stupid aspect.

So what do I do?

Take a leap of faith and jump from the top of the roof without a net, or accept fate and let the barrel of the gun cave in my brain and make me autonomous with the way they want me to be.

I choose the or.

I will take the leap, and hopefully prove to someone, my wife, my friends, my gonzos, my coworkers, or myself, that I can be a hero when I want to be, even though sometimes I seem the villain.

I can be what I need to be this time.

I choose the or.

I choose the hero’s road.

“Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth.”

-Will Rogers

Things with Bat in them:

One of my gonzos, one that gets the most shout outs than all the rest, made this mention to me. Besides people in real life who act as superheroes and do food drives in full costume, what else could I discuss today?

And his idea: how much cooler something can be with the word bat in front of it.

So I thought about it.


One of those stupid characters that causes mischief and mayhem and attempts to be funny because he’s an Imp (like Mr. Mxyzptlk, the dumbest villain Superman has ever faced).

Bat-Mite is a magical being that tricks Batman into crazy situations so that he can see his favorite hero in action. What a dick. But cool name.

The Batmobile:

Come on? Batmobile? It sounds stupid, it is a stupid name, but because of it, most superheroes that have their own ride add Mobile to the end. Which is all kinds of cool, thanks to Batman.

The Bat-Cave:

Goes without saying. A cave full of bats that Bruce Wayne turns into his own personal HQ, just like the batmobile, this allowed a ton of other superheroes to incorporate caves and things of that nature into their own repertoire, as well as adding their name to it (see, Green Arrow and his Arrowcave).


In all the tabloids, he’s the one we want to hear all about. He’s got his own musical, his own cartoon/comic strip, and lo and behold, we all love him. He’s Bat-Boy!


Goes without saying. Just look at all the stuff Gooch and I have written about him recently.

And there is more. But that’s about all I can think of today. So I’ll stop on Batman and leave my thoughts at that.

Next time, same bat-blog, same bat-channel, we’ll see how much blood I can squeeze out of this Bat-stone with my first article post-viewing of the Bat-tastic film. There is only so much more I can say, so next time we’ll see a review of the movie, and then a return to form for this here Blog. We’ll get more gonzo, as I have a lot more in me left to say.


Part 42

Batman: The Finale

But first, a small point of contention I have against Dr. Charles Gooch the 3rd (don't know if he's really a third, but I like to think that he is).

This, ladies and germs, is a link to the Watchmen trailer.

Watchmen Trailer

And yes, it is that good.

This movie has been promised to us since 1986. Since Terry Gilliam (one of my favorite filmmakers) got his hot little hands on this movie. And ever since, it has gone through about 6 million iterations. It even went to another of my favorite filmmakers more recently, Darren Aronofsky, right around 2004.

And each and every time, I thought, the world's greatest comic book story ever produced will not be a good movie. There is very little that anyone can do to make a solid movie out of this insane piece of writing.

And lo and behold, 1201 came around really really early this morning, and proved me wrong.

The stupid Harry Potter Teaser pissed everybody off. Because it showed nothing and just hyped the name and release date.

And then the preview started. And it was good. So good.

Who Watches the Watchmen, you ask? Each and every one of you come March. If you weren't sold on that movie, I can't understand you. It had everything for the comic fan in me and lots for the movie fan.

Quick shots interspersed with direct panel lifts from the graphic novel.

It even used the damn Smashing Pumpkins song from Batman and Robin in the trailer (Though I'm not sure which iteration it is, whether it be The End is the Beginning is the End or the Beginning is the End is the Beginning, hmm). But anyways, yet another possible reason Gooch and I are slightly different.

I have my doubts still, but Zack Snyder jumped another 100 notches up the list of directors who get an immediate watch when their films come out.

Okay, the main event:

The Bat-experience.

The IMAX viewing is quite possibly the most wonderful experience for a movie I've ever witnessed. I've seen a few there, the normal IMAX movies like Whales or Dolphins or some Earth-based movie, I Am Legend, and the dreadful Superman Returns.

But this takes the cake as the movie to watch in IMAX.

All the exterior shots in Hong Kong and Chicago are worth it.

The scene of Batman on the building in Hong Kong made me really really really ridiculously afraid of heights. And I'm only partially. But it was so high and I think, to a degree, it was real.

I don't want to spoil it as there are quite a few faithful viewers who've yet to see it, BUT I will say this:

The hype is real. This is as good as they say it is.

Heath Ledger is amazing. He is quiite possibly the best screen villain ever. Better than Jaws, better than Anton Chigurh, and much better than Hannibal Lecter. He chews so much scenery and seems so completely not over-the-top in doing so that my gonzo and I after viewing had this to say:

It knocked Mark Hamill after the pedestal as the best Joker of all time.

And that was a really hard thing to do in my book.

It knocked Mask of the Phantasm out of the top spot for comic book movies. It knocked Iron Man and Unbreakable out of the top spots for comic book movies.

It took everything I knew about comic book movies and gangster movies and made them so much better.

People have been comparing this to Heat, or Godfather 2, or The Departed. I can safely say, in my head, it's better than all three.

Yes blasphemy on the count of Godfather, but I've never been a big fan of those movies to begin with.

But this movie never stops. It never feels the 2 and a half hour length. Each of those movies starts to drag in certain scenes (though Heat probably the least of the three) and you never sit and go, jeez, it's only been this long.

When it got over, and my watch was on 230 am, I wanted to see it again.

I wanted to get right back in line for the 330 showing and say whatever, this is my movie now, I want to take all rights to it and be Batman.

I wanted to go out of the theater and expel justice with my fists.

But instead, I came home and read Batman: The Long Halloween, and man, if it isn't one of the better Bat-stories out there.

Anyways, see it for yourself.

All of us reviewers and friends are trying our damndest not to spoil this once in a lifetime moviegoing experience for you.

The Oscar buzz is worthy.

Gary Oldman is outstanding as Jim Gordon.

The action scenes are much better than the first (though still not perfect).

The Nolan Brothers have eclipsed what I already thought about them (and I own The Following, Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, and the Prestige already).

Poor Michael Jai White. Spawn will never get a break.

And I've got a magic trick to show you.


The blog gets back on track next Monday with more Fear and Loathing, but before that, to the gents that sat next to my gonzo and I, the Vandelay Industries shirt was a nice touch.

Thank you for following proper nerd-movie etiquette. However, one point of etiquette you failed to pass: the ass or the crotch. While passing someone, you must always ask: do I give you the ass or the crotch? And with guys, always ass. With women, most certainly, always crotch.

That's all folks. Go and spend money on the Bat-Man. Don't make Gooch and I look like idiots for spending the last two weeks salivating in anticipation for nothing.


Part 43

Keep hope alive…or something.

“Take hope from the heart of man, and you make him a beast of prey.”

-Marie Louise De La Ramee

There is only so much we can hope for in our lives. Each and every one of us has something special in their hearts that they hope for. But let’s preface this blog with a story, with an idea.

Batman came out and shattered the records at the box office. What kind of message does that say to someone wanting their superhero to be on the same level as Batman? Doesn’t it look all but impossible?

Doesn’t the small-press comic guy then cower in fear as his comic book goes into fast production just like every other comic book because it could never do as well as the Dark Knight?

Or do you keep hope alive and not worry about the astounding numbers of the Batman? Do you realize that the spectrum is very broad and therefore there are differing levels of defeat as well as success?

Take that same ideal, that same thought, and put it in the context of your own life.

I’m in the midst of what you’d call a quarter-life crisis.



Looking at every aspect of my existence and seeing what needs to change.

And there are so many different aspects, how does one pick exactly what should change?

“Hope, like faith, is nothing if it is not courageous; it is nothing if it is not ridiculous.”

-Thornton Wilder

A man like me rarely considers faith.

But a man like me doesn’t consider himself a man anyways. I still see myself as a boy. Growing up in the burbs and thinking the world was much bigger than it really is. But it’s not. It’s much smaller.

Everything is so close to my fingertips, if you pay attention to the world news on MSNBC or Time or CNN. Or ESPN or whatever other million websites you choose from.

I get my news from the Onion.

But I’m not a man of faith. I don’t believe in it. I believe in loyalty. I believe in honor.

Do I feel hope?

I hope so.

So in my quarter-life crisis, I’m still re-evaluating everything I have, including my goals and dreams and hopes for my future. I always wanted to be a screenwriter, and I’m working on that. I have two books I’m working on. I have a comic book idea or 30 that I’m working on and currently in the process of developing and potentially getting published by March of 2009 (that’s right).

But I’m still in this existential crisis, because, can a man who has no faith, truly have hope?

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Can a man who believes in nothing believe that the hope he holds in his heart, the dreams he’s had since childhood, could truly ever become something more than what they are?

Or are these dreams truly something that will never come into fruition?

That’s the problem. That’s the crisis.

Looking on my life I feel no sense of accomplishment. I feel, after having written 42 blogs with a similar underlying idea of choice and living in the or, that maybe I’ve done something.

Maybe I’ve become something worthwhile.

But maybe I haven’t.

For all my abilities and all my ideas, I still work for the Company that lies, cheats and steals your dreams and turns them into a cold bile that overflows from your throat as if you’ve become a pod person.

I still write and dream, but do I dream as big as before?

I’d like to think so.

Do any of us dream as big? As big as Martin Luther King? As big as creating a better world with just a thought and the ideal of peace? Do any single one of us dream big and try to make those dreams reality, or are we content to just sit idly by and let things happen to us?

“My views and feelings are in favor of the abolition of war – and I hope it is practicable, by improving the mind and morals of society, to lessen the disposition to war; but of its abolition I despair.”

-Thomas Jefferson

I think I’ve used that quote previously, but I still enjoy it. We can hope that abolition of war is there and capable of being used. But it’s not likely.

We can hope to become writers and poets, but it might not be likely in a world full of boys and girls with the same dreams of writing and being artistic as you, me, and everyone else around you.

We can hope for a better world, one with no war, one with no famine, or disease, or disgusting acts against other humans, or greed, or any of the other seven deadly sins that gets us every time.

But it’s not likely either.

Unless we act.

“If you wish to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.”

-Joseph Addison

We persevere.

That is what we do.

In the face of great adversity, we don’t give up. We can’t give up. No matter the cost.

No matter the adversity that faces my crisis, do I give up? Do I give into the demons that so far have followed my every turn and darken my every path?

Do I grab the gun and accept the fate that could have possibly been dealt to me on my first attempt at taking my life, or do I accept the fact that I am small but I dream big and hope big and no one can take that away from me?

Except me. I’m the only one with the power to change things for myself.

Just like you and yourself.

And if every single one of us perseveres in the face of this great adversity ruining the world we love so much, will changing ourselves help to change this once great world?

It can’t hurt to try.

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will themselves not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die.”

-Daniel H. Burnham

And that is why this blog continues.

It might not be the best living testament to my hero Hunter Thompson, but would killing myself or leaving hope behind before I’ve said everything I need to say or doing everything I need to do accomplish anything better?

Would my life being lost be a better testament? Or would living and dreaming as big as I continue to do make more sweeping changes to more vast landscapes?

I’d like to think so.

It might not be as gonzo as it once was, but these are also essays for us to look at. Things to hopefully help each and every one of you do something different.

As I’ve mentioned before, try something new.

Read a book.

Write a book.

Join a club.

Create a club.

Put a blanket out underneath a tree and just stare at the clouds.

Dream as big as those clouds above you. Be fluffy and earnest, and someday, you just might rain as well.

“Nothing average ever stood as a monument to progress. When progress is looking for a partner it doesn’t turn to those who believe they are only average. It turns instead to those who are forever searching and striving to become the best they possibly can. If we seek the average level we cannot hope to achieve a high level of success. Our only hope is to avoid being a failure.”

-A Lou Vickery

But don’t take my word for it. I’d rather be a spectacular failure than a nothing. I’m still thinking of running under the Freak party ticket for anything that pops up, just to prove that I can do whatever it is I want to do.

And there is another crisis, I don’t know what it is I’m supposed to do.

But I’ll keep talking anyways. And maybe it’ll help. Or hurt. Or assist. Or make each and every one of us think of something better, or do something better, or want to do something better so much that it forces them to act.

And the action will be the hardest thing.

It won’t be easy. Oh no, it will not be easy. But how easy do you think it was to die for your ideas or for your country when others so easily would rather live and be cowards?

How easy do you think it is for the warriors overseas to not think me, you, and all the rest of us are cowards?

I mentioned my gonzo Victor before and I mentioned how he doesn’t believe me to be a coward. Even though I’m here, and he’s most certainly in the middle of some heavy gunfire right now.

But we dream different dreams. And we hope for different things.

Each and every one of us.

“One ought to seek out virtue for its own sake, without being influenced by fear or hope, or by any external influence. Moreover, that in that does happiness consist.”


So as every speech writer or speech reader or speech teacher knows, this last part is the easiest part: the call to arms. The call to action.

Take a look at your own life. Are there any dreams, wishes, hopes that you’ve passed over for fear that they would be too hard? That they would be unobtainable?

Is there a book you’ve always meant to finish? For the younger crowd, a game you’ve always wanted to beat? A life you’ve always wanted to live?

There are things each and every one of us thinks are impossible, that are so hard that why should they be started.

But that is a choice.

And as always, you get to choose what is too hard and what is worth doing, in your own life. You get the choice. Do you want to lead or follow? Do you want to do or lie stagnant and let life happen around you?


Do you choose to be something more than you are? Do you choose to hope in spite of everything and move forward with all the impossible things you wanted to do as a kid and still want to do as an adult?

I choose the or. My choice will always be to be something more. To strive for something better, bigger, and more boisterous. That is who I am.

I am the or. I am the choice. Now it’s your turn to be your own choice.

“I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”

-Nikos Kazantzakis


Part 44

Recapturing youth

“Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.”

-Herbert Hoover

There is a very thin line between being young and being old. And for the most part, it’s all in our heads.

Each and every one of us is young in our own special ways, and each and every one of us is old in our special ways as well.

That’s why the idea of recapturing something long since past and trying to do so while complaining about the youth all around just seems self-sacrificing. It’s like saying you want to be young, but you think the youth around you are just a bunch of worthless bastards.

And in today’s society, aren’t we all?

We’re all bastards, corporate-minded individuals that watch corporate-created television and drink corporate-created coffee and talk about how the Man is getting us down. But is there really a man? Is there really anything there to recapture?

“Yet I think nostalgia of any kind is a double-edged sword. When people see a TV show title from their youth, they’re looking for a piece of that old experience to come back, and the truth is, they’ll never recapture it.”

-Frank Spotnitz

In this world of remakes, sequels, prequels, requels, television shows based on UK or Australian produced programs, movies based on musicals and musicals based on movies and musicals based on records, is there anything left?

Have we all just been weaving the same story for centuries? And each story is the epic poem, weaved and worried and worn and turned into something so completely ridiculous that it resembles a sitcom on national television.

“I would like to recapture that freshness of vision which is characteristic of extreme youth when all the world is new to it.”

-Henri Matisse

And therein lies the problem.

Everybody wants to recapture their youth. I’m nearing 25 and I want to recapture my youth so that this awful job and this stressful existence would leave me be. So that my responsibilities would be so much smaller and all that I would have to do is watch cartoons, eat Cheetos, and play outside.

Hollyweird wants to recapture its youth. It wants there to be movies like Citizen Kane, but at the same time, it wants every single movie that comes out to be categorized as it would be like another movie.

It’s like Speed on a plane, but with snakes.

It’s like Die Hard on a train.

It’s like Citizen Kane but with monkeys and guns.

It’s like Robocop but with a Bollywood background.

And each and every one of us eats this shit up.

Because youth is safe. Recapturing our youth is about finding what was safe and warm and easy to us and felt good and having our entire lives feel like that. Having everything we love in the world packaged in a box that reminds us of something else.

But the world constantly changes, and that’s why we age. Because we are supposed to change.

We are supposed to accept that the characters we loved growing up have grown up with us and are no longer simply comic book icons (that have been around since 1939 and have changed each and every year).

We are supposed to accept that because the biggest movies make the most money, that every movie thereafter has to fit that mold (even though some of my favorite movies of all time: The Fountain, Southland Tales, Brazil, etc, made no money).

We are supposed to accept that music videos and music video directors are the ones with the vision and therefore they should be directing the big budget action movies. Either them, or Rob Cohen.

“It is the youth who sees a great opportunity hidden in just these simple services, who sees a very uncommon situation, a humble position, who gets on in the world.”

-Orison Swett Marden

So we accept.

We change with the world.

We understand that we can’t all be rock stars or movie stars. We can’t all be the next big thing in Hollyweird, and a lot of us are okay with that. We’re so okay with it, that yes we complain, but we understand.

We don’t lie to ourselves and remember our days as a youth and how great everything was while trying to recapture said youth and then tell every youth you meet how asinine they are and how childish they act.

Because that would be stupid.

We see that we don’t have the most enviable jobs, and yes there is a choice, and we know what the choice is, but responsibility sometimes dictates biting our tongues. No matter how disgusting it might be.

Because the world doesn’t run on candy canes and dreams.

We are here to get on with it.

“Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age.”

-Ambrose Bierce

We are here to realize that youth wasn’t all beautiful and happy. We made mistakes. Mistakes that broke bones, that hurt feelings, that ended relationships and friendships.

Mistakes that changed our lives and the lives of people around us.

That is why I’m not excited for the movies related to my youth. GI Joe and Transformers and all the rest. They can just stay put in my childhood memories. Because I’m not old enough to want to recapture some pipe dream about what I remember when things were a lot worse than I remember.

Because recapturing your youth is all about one thing: rose-colored glasses.

So stop and think for a second.

What was it really like?

What did it really feel like the first time you remember climbing a tree or riding a bike? Was it all beautiful and were there violins playing in the background?

Or were there scraped knees and broken bones?

There’s always something more to the picture.

“To be happy in this world, especially when youth is past, it is necessary to feel oneself not merely an isolated individual whose day will soon be over, but part of the stream of life flowing on from the first germ to the remote and unknown future.”

-Bertrand Russell

And the fact that there is always something more is what makes it so wonderful. It’s what makes it so real and so amazing.

There’s no going back. We all know that. Time travel is a dream that can never truly exist in the real world because the science isn’t real. Just like how I feel about God, they don’t match up with the real thing.

But does that scare me?

Hell yes it does.

It scares the living shit out of me.

I’ve never been so scared in my life.

I mentioned the idea that I’m having what can be considered a quarter-life crisis, and you know what, that makes me smile. It’s my choice to go through it, and instead of letting it kill me, I will let it guide me.

And it is. It’s guiding me to try new things. It’s guiding me to get out and write the book or pitch the movie or do something with my life that will make me change.

And time isn’t up yet. I have a long time left.

But I will grow old.

And I’m okay with that too.

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!”

-Robert Browning

We have all the time the world offers us. I could keel over tomorrow, but I won’t. I won’t because I choose to thrive and survive. I choose to live my life in the proper way that I deem fit.

I choose to do everything that I want now, so that I don’t come to a mid-life crisis and try to recapture my youth and complain about no one enjoying what good they have and the greatness in front of them.

I choose to write my book now and maybe a memoir later. I choose to do everything I can to be remembered in my own way and change the world in my own way, whether it be with a single person, a large group, or a million people.

I will choose the perfection that I believe in.

I will grow old and gray and love the fact that I can. There were times when I thought, growing up, that I wouldn’t make it to 20. And then on and on. And every year that passes is a good year.

Whether it’s hard, whether work is difficult, whether life gets me down and suicide creeps back in, I know that every year I’m alive can and will be a good year. It will be perfect.

“The condition of perfection is idleness: the aim of perfection is youth.”

-Oscar Wilde

So yet again, I put this to a question. I put this to a choice. I put this to each and every one of you gonzos, freaks, weirdos, nerds, geeks, dweebs, people. We are, each and every one of us, something different.

And let’s be excited about that.

Let’s enjoy what youth we have. Let’s enjoy it while we still have it so we don’t have to look back and think about what could have been. Let’s do everything in our power to remind ourselves that we are still young, in our minds, in our hearts, and in our dreams.

This is all a bit flowery from my normal blogs, but I promise, there is a purpose.

That purpose is to remind each and every one of you that growing old is a choice. That looking back on the world and youth with rose-colored glasses is also a choice.

And each and every choice belongs to you.

You have the ability to choose whether or not you become old. You have the ability to choose, just like you have the ability to choose what life you live, what job you take, and what television or movies you watch.

Just like you have the choice to be excited about what you choose to be excited about.

This is your choice.

Either grow old and become something you don’t like. Or stay young in your heart and your mind and keep those dreams flowing through.

Make the change in yourself and the change will happen.

The world will change with you, one person at a time, because that is what you choose.

So I choose to be young.

I choose to act accordingly and enjoy what little time I have on this world. And I choose to do so with a smile on my face.

“He whom the gods favor dies in youth.”

-Titus Maccius Plautus

And I bet you’re all going to be smiling right with me.


Part 45

More truth…

“Oh, ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road, And I'll be in Scotland before ye, But trouble it is there, and mony hearts are sair, On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond."

-Lyrics from Loch Lomond

We’ve been down this road before it seems. We’ve seen these clouds and we’ve seen these dreams before us. And we’re back. We’re back in the same situation we were before.

And we are seeking for the truth.

And we are seeking to take the high road in finding it.

We don’t want to come down to a lower level and meet someone eye to eye who doesn’t fit the criteria of person we want to deal with.

Because in truth, we all know the type of people we want to deal with. We all know who our friends are.

They aren’t people you meet online and have internet conversations with. They are people you’ve known since you were 13 that helped you move into your first apartment and every apartment thereafter. They are people that count on you to make the tough decisions in life for them and help them when they are forced to make them.

They are the people you go out with, nightly, see at parties, bars, and clubs. The people that know you by name and know your face, antics, and wit. They are the people who don’t judge you based off anything but past experience. They are your brothers and your friends.

The wife you go to bed next to and the wife you wake up next to.

These people are your truth.

“Let us talk sense to the American people. Let us tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains.”

-Adlai Stevenson

You see, truth is what you make of it.

My gonzo self wrote an essay that gained some notoriety among my friends and family as very bitter. It dealt with truth and what it really meant in a world devoted to American Idols, country singers that don’t sing country, and people that live fake lives on the internet, acting as predators to young ladies when they themselves are much, much older.

You see, each and every one of us passes judgment on the person beside us. The person whose blog is above ours or below ours, based on solely what we’ve read or seen on the internet. Or what we’ve seen on television. Or what we’ve been ingrained with since birth.

But can truth change?

Can our truth be changed, even daily, by the way we interact with people?

I say that it can.

Truth can be people just like it can be anything you want it to be.

Your truth could even be a lie. It could be leading people on to think you’re some lothario that’s always on the prowl when really you just sit home and watch television all night and play video games.

Your truth can be anything that you want it to be. Anything at all. So long as you believe in it just enough.

“The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.”

-Albert Einstein

And to take Einstein’s idea: aren’t we all cattle?

Aren’t we all following some pre-ordained way of life that has been passed down to us for generations? Aren’t we living through the same motions as other people that have come and gone just because we feel that we have to, or for some reason, have an obligation to?

We all suffer the same cattle mentality.

Even those of us who claim we are nothing more than non-conformists are really just believing in some ideal created by someone else.

So you look different from other people? So what, we all do.

So you think different from other people? So what, we all do.

Being a non-conformist is conforming to non-conformity, and you are still cattle. You saying that you believe in nothing means that you believe in something, because nothing just so happens to be something (thank you George Carlin for the assist in circular reasoning).

Each and every one of us has a belief system. Something we hold so dear to our chest that it is true to us.

“Truth has not special time of its own. Its hour is now – always and indeed then most truly when it seems unsuitable to actual circumstances.”

-Albert Schweitzer

We are all dictated to some rules or regulations.

The Company has guidelines that I must follow to keep my “job” because bills aren’t cheap. But does that define who I am?

Does what you see in front of you, or even on this page, define who I am?

No. My truth and my self are defined by me. By the people I surround myself with. By the things that I do. By the person that I am on the inside.

And most of us will never meet the other person on the other side of this screen reading this blog because that’s how the world works. We’re all so close as to be just a finger click away, but we’re still so far away because our little worlds aren’t big enough to accept new truths inside of them.

And how depressing is that?

“Therefore, be ye lamps unto yourselves, be a refuge to yourselves. Hold fast to Truth as a lamp; hold fast to the truth as a refuge. Look not for a refuge in anyone beside yourselves. And those, who shall be a lamp unto themselves, shall betake themselves to no external refuge, but holding fast to the truth as their lamp, and holding fast to the truth as their refuge, they shall reach the topmost height.”


The truth shall set you free.

So you want to know the truth?

I am married.

I am going to be 25 this year.

My wife and I are moving into our second apartment together in the next few weeks and the moving process sucks.

I have a great group of friends who deal with my idiocyncracies on a daily basis with flying colors.

I have a family that respects my decisions and allows me to move forward with the same stupidity.

Those are just a few and there are thousands more.

I’m an atheist and that is my choice.

I didn’t choose to be an atheist to be cool or non-conformist. I chose it because the truth was there in front of me that I can be a human being and achieve greatness without believing in a higher being.

And that has set me free.

“Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.”

-Leo Tolstoy

I believe that communism is great, in theory, but would never work for the greed of man.

I am a comic book fan, and I do not hide it.

I am everything that I want to be because I don’t hide behind falsity. I have a gonzo nature that allows me to thrive in a world of stuffy shirts and business-minded individuals, even in a business setting like the company.

I have the ability to change the world with my truth, just like you do with yours.

We just have to stop hiding.

We have to stop hiding behind everything that looks exciting and flashy and let the world know who you really are.

Warts and all.

And that’s the truth.

To make the world a better place, to change things, we have to accept that each and every one of us is different and each and every one of us has some truth in what we see in the world.

That the bigots and the idiots and the pedophiles and sexual predators and internet junkies might believe in what they believe in and it is the truth for them. The truth is subjective. You don’t have to accept it, but it damn sure is true for them.

So that choice, that lovely choice I mention all the time, comes down, inevitably, to each and every one of you. To make the choice for yourself to believe in what you believe in and stop changing everything because of what you see in the media and in the news and in movies or television.

The choice is yours.

And as always, I choose the or.

“Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth.”

-Lillian Hellman


Part 46

Actual fear this time?

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

As the yellow banana boat made its descent down Quivira heading toward the Company, the gripping fear clouded over me.

Fear like never before? No. That would be stupid to think that driving into work would cause me to lock up in fear of everything that could potentially happen.

But loathing? Definitely. The loathing was there. And that’s right, as we near the end of the road and the upcoming road work ahead, the loathing sets in, and as that is the name of these chapters/essays/looks-inside, fear and loathing finally gets a look.

We will begin with fear.

Fear and Loathing in Overland Park was created as a way to look into my life and the lives around me, the people that affect me in good or bad ways, the people that annoy me, and then it turned into something else.

When I got sick of talking about myself and whining about how no one cares or whining about how no one reads this, I changed things. I opened the door to something new.

Fear can cripple the new.

Fear can keep us from trying and failing miserably at something so new and exciting that the failure in and of itself can make us feel so inadequate in our lives that we should not continue on.

But I want to be a remarkable failure. And driving into the Company parking lot, taking the bumps and crashes of the tank below me with ease and laughter, I realize something:

It is the fear that has kept me going.

“Some people are afraid of what they might find if they try to analyze themselves too much, but you have to crawl into your wounds to discover where your fears are. Once the bleeding starts, the cleansing can begin.”

-Tori Amos

And therein lies the point.

We are all afraid to look inside and see what we shouldn’t see. See the way other people see us. See what we really are in the world.

And we are afraid of this because it will make us feel small.

But should it?

That’s the question I hold before you all.

Should seeing ourselves from someone else’s eyes truly make us feel afraid? Feel fear?

Or should it open our eyes to the ways of the world?

I’ve been coy about the Company that I work for for a few reasons. The Company would probably not appreciate being dragged through the mud of someone of my prestige. Not that the prestige is high, in any sense of the word, but because I’m a peon. I’m a lowly worker bee.

I’m a drone.

Just like a lot of you are.

But am I afraid that being a drone or working for a Company like the one I work for defines me? Am I afraid that the people I know define me by the Company I work for or the job that I do?

No. No because I have never changed in the face of the Company nor will I ever.

One of my gonzos recently mentioned that that was the main reason we’ve been friends for as long as we have. In the face of everything, I’ve never changed. I’ve never stopped being exactly who I am.

Warts and all.

“It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.”

-Abraham Lincoln

Maybe doing right is changing things. Maybe doing right is the hardest thing you’ll ever come up to.

Maybe the right thing to do in some instances is being afraid. Afraid of what the future holds. Afraid of spiders. Afraid of heights. Afraid of leaving something behind that has grown to be a part of your day.

Afraid to leave the comfort of the web-world and show up, face to face, in person, at a real event, because you can be something better behind this world.

And like each and every one of us isn’t hiding behind some false sense of internet security and being a form of a stalker to women, men, or both on this website and any other.

But in the web-world, we can be who we really are. We don’t have to be afraid because we’ve got the security of people that stalk not being able to find out who we really are or what we really look like.

We have the ability to hide behind the blanket of anonymity because there are those people that belong on shows like To Catch a Predator because they’re so interested in vagina and feeling sorry for themselves that they can’t understand why no one cares what they have to say.

So am I afraid to do the right thing?


Am I afraid that someday I will grow tired of this website and follow through in leaving it behind?


So what am I afraid of?

“A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

-Albert Einstein

I’m afraid of being insignificant. But isn’t that irrelevant? I can be as significant as I want to be, so far as I can be a part of someone’s perspective if they choose to accept what I have to say or what it is I believe in.

I can be significant just based on what I say or do.

It doesn’t matter if the world remembers me. I know that in a few years I will start to do something a little bit better with my life, something I enjoy a little bit more, because I am making strides to do them.

I am making strides to change things.

My entire life I was afraid of being insignificant, but I didn’t do anything about it. Instead, I sat idly by and thought about death, destruction, suicide and pain, when I could have been making the changes and accepting things as they came to me.

And that is another fear that I have.

That I will die before I accomplish anything.

But my accomplishments so far may in fact speak for themselves. If I were to allow them to. But I don’t believe that what I have accomplished is enough.

So I don’t sit idly by and accept the things in my life as the only things that I have.

Instead, I wish to change things. So I will.

“Don’t fear change, embrace it.”

-Anthony D’Angelo

I cannot fear the future.

The future will happen whether I want it to or not.

They will inevitably remake all the movies I’ve ever loved. Turn all the books I’ve ever read into movies that pale in comparison to the books that I loved. They will inevitably turn all the television shows I love into crappy movies that make no money.

But maybe when they run out of stories, mine can finally be told. Maybe then my scripts will take notice of the world and people will stand and clap.

But instead of hoping for that and sitting by and waiting for that to happen, waiting for my piece and complaining that life is too hard and trying is too hard, I will not be afraid.

And I will go after what I want.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

-Ambrose Redmoon

So I fear that I will fail remarkably at trying the things that I want to try. At attempting to make movies, write books, change the world in my own inimitable way.

But I will always fail my own way.

I will never let someone else tell me that I should or shouldn’t do something. That I don’t have enough oomph to make the things work the way that I want them to. That I don’t have enough backing either political or monetary to make the things that I want to make.

I am an in your face person, and people will listen to me if I want them to.

Which is why I’m not dead.

I’m not dead because I feared what would happen after I died. After I took what could be considered a cowardly way out and instead continued to live.

For the longest time, I never thought I would live to be 20, and now I’m quickly approaching 25. So every day seems remarkable.

And every day is met with fear of the unknown.

“Do what you fear and fear disappears.”

-David Joseph Schwartz

Take the unknown inside of you and do whatever it takes to make the unknown go away. Are you afraid of the dark? Go into a really scary place, like a graveyard at night, and sit there, with no flashlight, and enjoy what you hear.

Are you afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building you know or the highest bridge you can find, and look over the edge. How alive does that make you feel?

That’s the whole point of this. That’s the whole point of the choices I’ve been putting in front of you, of the or lifestyle I’ve been spouting about for now 46 segments.

Trying something new, looking in the face of the thing that scares you will wake you up. Will make you feel alive.

Getting out from behind your comfort levels and accepting the world as a big scary place but allowing the big and scary part not to affect you will let you live your life almost completely unfettered.

Welcome to the or.

Welcome to the whole point of this ongoing look into the world around us.

Welcome to fear.

Welcome to your life. We’ve been waiting for you.

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth – more than ruin – more even than death…Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit.”

-Bertrand Russell

We are all here, living our lives as we see fit. And what can stop us now?

Just the fear that grips us and grabs us and takes hold of us and doesn’t let go. The fear that corrupts our dreams and turns us into wannabes and losers and poseurs and doesn’t allow us to cut ties with toxic friends or change our way of life or lose weight because it’s hard or go out there and meet people because no one cares, on a website, what we have to say.

The fear of the unknown will destroy you, and one day you’ll wake up and realize it’s too late and the world has passed you by.

But it may never be too late.

It just depends on your outlook.

Grab hold of the or and allow the unknown to make you feel alive. Stare death in the face and smile. Stare down your worst nightmares and worst dreams and laugh at them for being so worthless and pointless to spend so much time being afraid.

Go bungee jumping. Sky-diving. Skinny-dipping. Meet new people at bars.

Open the door for yourself to change and allow the unknown to wash over you, and allow yourself to be whatever it is you need to be for yourself. Not for anyone else.

This is it. Ground zero. It’s time to make the change.

Accept the or and be free.

“I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”

-Nikos Kazantzakis


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