Thursday, March 30, 2023

Force you


I saw Star Wars when it first came out in 1977. It was unknown at the time. There were no lines. I was blown away and saw it a couple more times but the lines came. I have seen every Star Wars film since. I have been to the Star Wars section of Disneyland. I am a fan, but not obsessive. But the one thing I always believed in from the film was the Force.

Okay, the cool thing about the force is that it was a higher power but not religious. You could tap into it without being dunked in water or going to Sunday School. You didn't have to be saved, but it saved you anyway. 

It's kind of what I came to believe in after rejecting religions and metaphysical scams. I think there is a force in the world. Maybe it is nature. Maybe it is just what goes on at the subparticle level with atoms and such. But I do think everything is connected. It's like the ocean. It's hard to imagine a separate drop of the ocean. It's all one thing. So maybe that is the force.

The thing I do struggle with with that concept is losing my individual self to the force. It is what I worry about when I die. I don't like the idea of losing myself and being merged with the whole. It is selfish, I know, but I've spent a long time being me and thought of not being me is unnerving. 

In all fairness though, none of the Jedi seem to lose themselves after dying. Obi Wan, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Yoda and eventually Luke seem to fade in and out like benevolent ghosts encouraging others to trust the force. 

I could kind of use that kind of encouragement. When my parents passed I half-way thought they would watch over me in some way. But nada. Oh, they occasionally pop up in a dream or two, but I can't recall being comforted. This does not bode well for the afterlife.

Funny we call it the afterlife. It's this optimistic hope that there will be something. It would be a shame if there were nothing. It would make living kind of pointless if we just ended. Which leads me full circle to it being nice to at least think we rejoin the Force.

Or am I being too Forceful?

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Breaking Bad (wind)


For whatever reason, my son is a bit obsessed with Walter White of  the Breaking Bad series. I am not sure why. I don't think he has ever watched an episode of the show.  It first aired in the year he was born -- 2008. Maybe that is the connection. 

I watched the entire series. I like Bryan Cranston, the actor who played Walter White. I have been watching his current series on Showtime called Your Honor where he plays a judge who goes bad trying to protect his son after a hit and run accident that kills a New Orleans mobsters son.

Cranston can't avoid breaking bad.

Anyway, my son was putting together a collage poster for his Spanish class with random photos cut from magazines. The photos were supposed to say something about his interests. There were several dogs and some cats. And smack dab in the middle of the poster he printed out and pasted a photo of Walter White.

I loved the randomness of it. In some way he has my sense of humor, though he would never admit it. And he is much more literal than I am. But I love that he appreciates the absurd. 

So I couldn't help putting my face on Walter White. Though I look a bit more like a Orthodox Jew than Walter White. And the art program I use to turn it into a cartoon like image gave me a serious unibrow.

But I kind of like it anyway. 

I'm bad.

Friday, March 10, 2023

When you're strange


When you're strangeFaces come out of the rainWhen you're strangeNo one remembers your nameWhen you're strangeWhen you're strangeWhen you're strange

-- The Doors 

Once again I started to write a blog post with a title I thought was clever and then searched my own archives and found I had written a post with the same name back in March 2009. The post was titled Kindness of strangers.  Basically (since you likely won't click on the link to read the post), it was about the anomaly of writing blog posts and baring your soul to what amounts to total strangers. This was back when I still clung to mistaken assumption that there was a regular group of strangers who hung on every word I wrote.

By strangers I was referring to people I didn't know, not odd people (though I have had my share of odd people read my blog).  And when you come down to it, I am a bit strange myself. I used to embrace that strangeness, but more and more I have grown quite self conscious about being strange. It's a catch-22.

I think this is one of those circle of life things. When I was a teen ager, I definitely wanted to stand out as unique but at the same time I didn't want to be (as my teen aged son says) the "strange kid." Too often being strange puts you in a fringe category that the management speak people call "success inhibitors". Unless you have lots of money like Elon Musk, being strange doesn't work in your favor in the business world. It sort of works in the creative/art world, but then again you are spending most of your time making espresso drinks or waiting tables so being strange doesn't really matter.

But back to that circle of life thing. I am now a hop and a skip away from turning 65 and have returned to that place where I want to be unique but at the same time, I don't want to be that "strange old man." This is difficult when your wardrobe consists of t-shirts that say, "What day is it?" and you wear the same pair of baggy jeans for months at a time. 

I have always taken pride in the fact that my blog is strange. It is so strange that I prefer that only strangers see it. I'm well past the point thinking people who know me would understand it. But I also still struggle (as demonstrated by the number of self pity posts I write) that my blog doesn't resonate with many people (or web bots for that matter). I can't remember the last time I had a comment about a post that wasn't spam about hair extensions or male enhancement drugs.

Where are my faces coming out of the rain? I mean, I barely wrote anything during much of the pandemic and no one noticed. Now that I am back posting no one seems to notice either. Did I mention I'm just about a week away from turning 65? There's not that much more time left for me to start trending. 

With my luck, a day after I finally come to the end of that circle of life, some famous person with a billion followers will discover my blog and post, "Hey you have to read this guys stuff, it's profound and hilarious!"

Wouldn't that be ironic Alanis?

Friday, March 03, 2023

Bright. Light. City.


I have been to Las Vegas six times in my life and I've never really gotten used to it. Three of those times have been to attend conferences so much of the time has been spent sequestered in conference rooms in large casinos wondering what the light of day looks like. 

The latest trip was to attend a conference. The hotel was Planet Hollywood which years ago was the Aladdin. It is a huge hotel and casino. I was on the 30th floor and I think there were 15 to 20 more floors above me. It was souless hotel like the rest with a casino designed to confuse and daze all who passed through it. And you couldn't help pass through it to get to anything. 

I don't play table games at casinos. It is too stressful for me to interact with a dealer. I play slots now and then, but I miss the old ones with handles and playful themes. The slots in the Planet Hollywood Casino were huge modern machines with complicated lines and bets. I lost $20 in five minutes and was done.

I spent most of my time at the conference or sitting in my room watching home renovation or cooking competition shows. The room was nothing special. Two queen beds, a television and a bathroom. No housekeeping the entire five nights. Not sure whether that is a COVID thing or a hotel trying to cut corners thing. And my pet peeve was they gave you paper cups, no glass cups and no coffee maker. 

I didn't go to any shows. I did go on a city tour provided by the conference hosts. That's where I got my selfie with the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. I also saw the major changes the strip has gone through since my last visit. Many of the classic old casinos are gone and replaced with mega properties or just boarded up. Hardly a buffet to be found.

I also got my photo taken with an Elvis impersonator at a conference reception. I think this is my third photo with Elvis in Las Vegas in almost three decades (second at a conference...that one was with Marilyn too). 

The King stays young and I keep getting older. And I think I'm finally too old for Vegas.