Monsters in the Attic

davrosA great philosopher once said, “We don’t get to choose who we love.” I mention that now because I can’t help but feel sorry for Mickey Rourke. The man, by all accounts, has nobody to blame but himself for his difficulties in getting work. He bottomed out about ten or fifteen years ago after spending his early years being a massive douche to everyone, and after The Wrestler was hailed as his comeback, he sunk back into relative obscurity fairly quickly, probably because he demanded more money than he was offered, was a real handful on set, and publicly feuded with several people (to the point where he called Martin McDonagh, one of the greatest living writers in any medium, a “creep”). But nobody can be all bad who can give a speech (and for that matter, a performance) like this. This could very well be one of the best acceptance speeches I’ve ever seen. Maybe you just have to get right up in his face to get the best out of him. I hear Darren Aronofsky had to literally point a finger at him and tell him to behave and in return, he’d get an Oscar nomination. Huh.

I missed out on a bunch of the big summer movies. I heard positive things about Godzilla, X-Men, Edge of Tomorrow, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but missed out on all of them. But I think I will make time for Guardians of the Galaxy. Pretty much everyone says it’s an assload of fun, and isn’t that what summer movies are all about? The last one I saw in theaters was How to Train Your Dragon 2, and yeah, that was pretty good. I miss my old ritual of In-N-Out followed by a movie, and one of the advantages to my job is that I can do shit like that during the day. The more I do this, the more glad I am that I didn’t get a job at one of the universities around here like my parents want me to do. My mother doesn’t get it and doesn’t want to. My father thinks he gets it, but doesn’t. Which one is worse?

It’s funny about how our ideas of what’s funny evolve over time. The move Airplane! is funny no matter how many times I watch it even though the films it’s mocking (the Airport flicks) are barely remembered today. I guess good comedy has a way of transcending a cultural context. The joke about the Hare Krishnas in airports is still funny even though I don’t think Hare Krishnas hang out in airports anymore. (They used to hang around my college campus. They’d hand out copies of the Bhagavad Gita saying it was free, then ask for a donation. Guys, come on.) Much like other aspects of my personality, I find that it’s a lot easier to be comfortable with one’s sense of humor the weirder one allows oneself to be. So if you aren’t familiar with her work already, feast your eyes upon Rachel Bloom. I love that fucking woman.

I’m reading a self-help book right now. I saw the author plugging it on The Daily Show years ago and figured that since I never read any of the books that they plug on that show, I should start with this one. It’s not bad, if a little bit simplistic. He is upfront about not having all of the answers (if only that stupid woman who wrote The Secret could learn to be so modest) and basically just says the only “secret” to happiness is not being afraid to go after what you want. You can make excuses about not being able to quit your job and look for one you like more because you have kids to feed, and maybe there’s a grain of truth to that, but if you aren’t at least taking baby steps to improve your situation, it’s really on you, isn’t it? My one beef with it is that I regard his definition of happiness as overly broad. I believe that it is possible to be spiritually fulfilled and still not exactly happy. A lot of my best memories involve doing shit that was rewarding but not fun. If I can combine the two, great. But sometimes you do have to choose one or the other.

The author does make one point with which I wholeheartedly agree. He says that there is a difference between relief and happiness, that the feeling one gets from taking a breath after being underwater for a while is not the same as the feeling one gets from having a nice dinner with a friend. If I had to pinpoint something that is at the root of all toxic personalities, it is the tendency to conflate the two. Abusers make other people miserable because that way they can act as if it was all one big misunderstanding and everyone can be happy again. Except that the victim wasn’t doing anything wrong. If the only thing they’ve gained is that you’re no longer picking on them (at least until they start to get on with their lives, at which point you will swoop back in and start picking on them), then they haven’t gained anything. Positivity is more than just the absence of negativity. This much, I have learned.

I can feel some people my own age adopting a different set of values than I have. Maybe they had those values all along and I just didn’t notice. What I do know is that some people know who they want to be and some don’t. Some have “settled” for a certain life, so to speak. I’m not sure what I would be willing to settle for, because I still don’t have so much of what I want. When I was a teenager, I honestly wondered sometimes if I would still be around in ten years. I am, but I am nowhere near where I wanted it to be. So in the meantime, I will have to sort out my own priorities. Perhaps my friends will eventually learn to cool it with the excuses.

I saw these guys play when I was living in NYC. Watch this and you’ll be able to say you knew them before they were popular. Also, I kept wishing the shirtless dude’s shorts would disappear. It would be so…musical.


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