Imminent Memories Is In Print!

My first book, my passion project, is completed! I am so happy to have finished this journey, it was amazingly fluid at times and also really trying at certain points. I had to stretch my mind over five genres including some subject matter that disturbed me to write about. It’s one thing watching it – it’s another putting the “pen to paper” yourself. How Stephen King remains sane after all these years I do not know.

In the end it came together fast. On Sunday April 15th I blew out my ankle on the best run of my life and it will be a long time to recover. To address that frustration or quasi-depression in being robbed of my chance of running glory (I was on a 24 minute pace that morning…A pace that would have won me the 5KM outright that I was training for) I pushed through in getting this blog up and running and also to finish Imminent Memories. The book is a collection of 5 short stories and probably most reflects the Netflix series “Black Mirror”. Though, I did not see Black Mirror until the book was complete, the tone and styles are somewhat similar. Themes I address are artificial intelligence, politics, warfare, digital immortality, and more.

The book is for sale online here: http://www.blurb.com/b/8689353-imminent-memories

A short preview can be found below.

Thanks for your support!

P.S. I’m totally geeking out over getting my own ISBN number.

 

Johnny Cash – “Hurt”

“What have I become, my sweetest friend?” – Johnny Cash, “Hurt”.

I said I’d be reviewing “whatever” here on this blog. That could be any media but a reoccurring theme for non-films (ok, most of them too) is that it needs to be something that makes me think and become reflective. Johnny Cash’s song “Hurt” recorded in 2002 slowly before his death is one such song. It makes me think, it has every time I’ve heard it since it came out, and I had to talk about it.

The song itself is a cover of Trent Reznor’s song, which you can find on YouTube. Passionate and disturbing in a very different way, I would actually not recommend looking it up so the Cash version is the one that sticks in your mind. The trick to the emotive power of this song is that you have to understand where Johnny Cash was in his life. This is a man who enjoyed huge fame, wealth, accolades, and women. Yet, in so many ways he messed up his private life.

He was at various points a womanizing cheater, a drug addict, he attempted suicide, he dealt with a messy divorce, he even started a forest fire that almost killed him while in a drug induced malaise. He was charged with several misdemeanors (though he never did any hard time).

At the point when “Hurt” was released Johnny Cash was only a year away from his death. His wife June was to pass only four months before he did in 2003. This was a man who knew that the Reaper was not far away. He could see the vultures start circling overhead and with so little to look forward to – it was time to look back.

The voice we hear is subtle yet emotional. Cash does not ‘over sing’ the lyrics but there is a tremble in his voice that carries through the entire song and is more noticeable during the chorus. I would like to say his voice aged like “fine wine” but that would be a clich√©. While I think his voice is great for the song, there’s a sense of weakness. It’s as if it saps the energy (and positivity) of the listener. We’re sharing an experience with this man though and I believe that empathy, if we feel it, shows our humanity.

Let’s break down some lyrics I think are especially important:

“And you could have it all, my empire of dirt, I will let you down, I will make you hurt.” Going off nothing solid here I think Johnny Cash is thinking back to the “empire” he built as a star but that it meant nothing for the time he spent away from his children and the destroyed relationships his career left in his wake.

“I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel, I focused on the pain, the only thing that’s real. The needle tears a hole, the old familiar sting.” Here I think the connections are more concrete. I can’t believe Cash would have thought of anything but his drug use and suicide during this time. Honestly, I think that type of reflection would take a lot of courage for him to do. This period for him must have been dark and shameful in retrospect. Like a blot on his soul he cannot purge and is making an attempt to resolve.

“I wear this crown of thorns, upon my liar’s chair, full of broken thoughts, I cannot repair.” The “crown of thorns” takes a little understanding of Christian terminology as it refers to a literal crown of thorns given to Jesus to mock his “kingship”. In this case, through the lyrics Cash may have realized that his “kingdom” of wealth and fame was a mockery as well – what good are those things when he hurt the people around him?

The saddest part of this line; however, is the phrase “I cannot repair.” That’s the truth, that’s why we try to live life with so few regrets. Fact of the matter is, when we screw up, that becomes history. It happened, it can’t be undone. Forgiveness exists sometimes but lets not lie to ourselves that somehow undoes the damage. The scar is still there and its’ ugliness will remain.

This wasn’t a “happy” review, you might feel a little depressed and wondering why you should give this a song a listen if you haven’t heard it before? Because it’s real.

Look, I love to take pleasure in the beautiful parts of life – but life doesn’t always come up ‘roses and daffodils’. We make mistakes, we hurt ourselves, we hurt those that we love. We make choices that dig holes for ourselves – then we keep digging.

We need to learn to appreciate each season of life even if it is a bitter tonic.  There is satisfaction though, in having the courage to look to our past, own it, confront it, and try to make peace with it as best we can.

Now try listening to the song with that perspective:

Crazy, Stupid, (Scandalous), Love

Ironic, but my first movie review here is the type of film I almost never watch: the romantic comedy. It was recommended to me by my brother for…Well, reasons? I’m not big on synopses so I’ll keep it to a minimum and as general as I can with these.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is about a number of different people either falling in love or dealing with breakups. There is a pretty large assembly of characters but it primarily revolves around Steve Carell’s character “Cal” who’s being divorced and has no clue on how to enter the dating world. He meets Ryan Gosling’s character “Jacob” who’s a perennial ladies’ man only into women for one-night stands. He takes Gus under his wing to get him back into “the game”.

The movie’s strengths are that it is entertaining and keeps you interested in the story. At the end the movie intertwines most of the characters in a pretty good and unexpected climax. The characters are well-acted, especially Gosling who absolutely steals the show, in a role that requires unexpected breadth from him.

However, did you notice I didn’t use the word “funny”? While entertaining, I only had a few chuckles. In addition, there’s a pretty awkward (RE: “scandalous”) subplot of a 17-year-old babysitter trying to gain the affections of one of the adult characters. At the end of the film a 13-year-old boy who has a major crush on that girl is given what is very strongly implied to be nude photos to “tie him over” until they can possibly date when they’re older. This is framed as a sweet act but to me it came off as creepy and tasteless.

I would recommend the film to those who have struggled in finding their match, crushed on an older person, had a major childhood crush, or just want to see Steve Carell in an almost shot-for-shot remake of “The 40 Year Old Virgin”.

+Good cast

+Interesting story

+Fun ending

-Lack of big laughs

-Creepy subplot

Final grade: B-

 

 

 

 

 

The Therapy Begins!

First things first – this blog is solely designed for my own entertainment (IE: therapy) which others may or may not find interesting. When I’m down, upset, or just bored, writing usually makes me feel better. However, since people seem to enjoy reviews of stuff and my writing, hopefully you’ll get something out of this.

The idea of this blog is simple: I will review movies primarly, video games and books secondarily, and anything else I feel like reviewing at random times. There will not be any set dates for postings: whenever I feel I need to do one, I’ll make one.

The hyphen in “Re-View” is more than just style. I will be reviewing many books, films, shows that have been released for many years, even decades. I have a soft spot for media I feel has been overlooked or forgotten. Many of these films can now be found on Netflix, YouTube (for digital rental) iTunes, etc. I hope a few of you at some point take these recommendations to heart.