This video is awesome. Great collaboration. Pass it on!
My new nephew, born Saturday. I’m proud to say that he doesn’t resemble an alien as much as most newborns usually do.
But in a polluted world, he may come to resemble one. He might breathe in too many exhaust fumes and his two eyes could merge into one big eye in the middle of his forehead. I think that happened to some kid in Azerbaijan last year, or some other place youve never heard of. A cyclops baby would have a hard life. What if he needed glasses? He’d have to strap a monocle to his head. I dont think his insurance would cover that. And what if he walks by a cute girl and winks at her? He’d walk into the pole he didn’t see while his eye was closed. He would be laughed at, mocked, driven to seclusion, and write a book no one would read.
Seriously though, I can’t help but think of him now while I read the news…I wonder what the world is gonna be like for him when is an adult. It scares me a little. But then I remember that the world he will live in will be the world that WE have created for him, the world that we are creating right now. What more motivation can we ask for in order to start taking care of our planet…and of each other?
I’ll offer a tip for those of you who need help getting the ball rolling: consume less. It’s so freaking easy to do. Buy a sturdy water bottle that you can refill with your own filtered water. That simple task can save you hundreds of dollars a year by avoiding bottled water costs; eliminates the need to dispose of the bottles; decreases the demand for goods in plastic bottles which in turn saves millions of barrels of oil that are used to make all that plastic, increasing the supply and driving down costs so you also save at the pump; decreases our consumption of declining fresh water resources (at least in some cases, because many brands of bottled water get their product from the same sources at public tap water); and makes our world a lot cleaner.
Of course my brother would not want you to read this… he keeps telling me about the yuppies who come into his store and buy bottles of Fiji water for $4 a pop. You guys are making him a rich dude.
But the fact is, in effect, the real cost is much greater. I hope it’s worth it to you.
I texted this message to my friend on my way back from dinner, where I discovered that someone I care about is huge liar and hypocrite. It was a depressing discovery because I had a lot of respect for him before… my friend wanted to know how the dinner went, and here is the message I sent, in it’s original texted format:
Not too bad. But bad. I need to start doing drugs. Numbness is good. Short term at least. Words have limits. Theyre pretty worthless. But powerful. Weird. Limited, worthless…but so powerful. Mayb the impact is a result of the realization that theyre worthless…when you didnt believe them to be b4. Thats powerful.
Relax, Im oK i swear.
I dunno how I feel about this now, as I read what I wrote…I guess words arent totally worthless, cuz if they are, why am i even writing this? But maybe words are just the conduit through which we share our thoughts and feelings…ourselves…making words shallow in and of themselves, yet precious in effect. Hypocrisy, more than anything I think, illustrates that words are nothing in and of themselves, and that they derive meaning from their source. I’m gonna start paying as lot more attention to the source going forward.
Whatever. Words are overrated sometimes. I’m gonna bike to the park and lay on the grass for a while.
Last night I went to bed at 2AM, much later than usual, and even then I couldn’t sleep. My mind was too busy formulating arguments, acting out imagined confrontations, and wondering how their consequences would shape my future. I was thinking about remote places I could move to so that I could avoid similar confrontations, then chided myself for entertaining the idea that even an ocean would provide a carpet vast enough for me to sweep my demons under. Sure, Fiji is pretty far away, but the demons that inhabit my head would still be within a whisper’s reach…unless I could somehow unscrew my head and punt it into orbit. Yet even then, would I finally find solace, or would what once were whispers turn into ear-splitting screams, increasing in pitch after every attempt to drown them out?
Probably the latter. But I didn’t go quite this far last night in bed. I was just pissed. I had just finished a two and half hour long “conversation” with my older brother. We barely speak unless we have to, and these days, I strongly prefer that arrangement. He does not. He wants me to call him more often, and he wants me to want to call him more often. He wants to be close, the way were raised to be, the way brothers are supposed to be. To many this may sound logical and wouldn’t be the subject of much debate. But when dealing with personal relationships, especially familial ones, how can there be a blueprint for the way they are “supposed to be”? Don’t all siblings have different relationships with each other? Relationships are based on mental and emotional connections between people. If every person is different, would not a relationship reflect that distinctiveness? Shouldn’t it?
The problem lies partially in the fact that my brother has an idea of the kind of relationships brothers should have, and he wants ours to conform to it. But I don’t feel that way. Not that brothers should not be close, but rather the relationship should be built on that mental and emotional connection, rather than the inherent physical one that family members are born into. I do believe that there is something innately unique about the familial bond, the idea of a shared origin and history. But I also feel that my brother, and many other people, get too lost in the melodrama of “the same blood coursing through our veins” bullshit and forget the bottom line – I’m and adult, you’re an adult, I’m this way, you’re that way, I believe this, you believe that…and in this case, I believe that you’re way of being and adult makes you an asshole.
There, it’s out in the open, sitting on the table both of us were envisioning in our minds as we spoke on the phone. A little box that my brother’s astral form walked over to and opened, pulling out the sweater that my astral form knitted for him. It was a thick, heavy sweater with an unattractive horizontal stitch that made him look fatter than he was. And in the middle of the sweater, it read, “ASSHOLE.”
He refused to wear the sweater, of course. I tried to explain to him in a sincere and sympathetically blunted fashion why it was a perfect fit for him, but when I held it up to his chest and he stole a glance in the mirror, he didn’t like what he saw, and threw it back in the box. But I explained to him that I didn’t knit that sweater alone; he had been knitting it with me, guiding every pierce and pull and knot of thread. Whether or not it looked the way he wanted it to look is irrelevant. We both made the fucking sweater. Wear it, Goddamit. I’m sick of hearing that the sweater should read “BROTHER” instead. If you want, you can make it read “ASSHOLE BROTHER”…but he never relented because he didn’t believe that the two words could form a meaningful phrase.
But you know they can. You have a sibling. You share a deep bond that will probably last your entire lives. You say you probably love him or her in a way…but really you know you do and just don’t like talking about it. You haven’t had such a fucked up lifetime movie-esque past that would cause you to completely deny those feelings, or to outright abandon them. But you can love someone and still dislike them. How you interact and socialize with someone on a regular basis – not when compelled to by circumstance, but rather on the basis of trust and comfort – will be governed by whether or not you like that person, rather than by virtue of a shared genetic code that too often unravels and takes the shape of a noose that tightens with every struggle.
Unlike my brother, I am OK with not being that close; our relationship is 23 years in the making, and I accept it for what it is. I cannot will myself to change how I feel about him, nor will I attempt to in an effort to recreate p. 17 of the Happy Family Handbook. I am not against change, but if it happens it will happen naturally, just like it always has. I am lucky enough to have people in my life who I genuinely like and trust and can count on for support, mainly close friends. And while my brother spent a lot of time last night on the phone trying to impress upon me the fact that friends can never be family, and warning me that they cannot be counted on the way a brother can, my past and recent experiences, as well as my observations of the experiences of others, have proved to me that anyone who believes this has not been blessed enough to experience true friendship. Your brother or sister may also be your friend, but then again, they may not be one at all. My brother was quick to regurgitate what he felt were time-tested nuggets of traditional wisdom, but given that he has proven himself to be unworthy of my trust, they were interpreted to me as nothing more than clichés – hollow and meaningless, and certainly inapplicable. I can’t help but imagine someone sitting in small lonely boat out on a lake, hookless, baitless fishing lines deeply submerged, floating stationary and lifeless as the fish swim by, attentive but not persuaded.
What I’m trying to say is that while family ties are special, they should not be taken for granted so as to simply assume that they can forge and maintain a healthy relationship amongst those between whom they exist. It is not that easy. Meaningful relationships rarely are, and they shouldn’t be. Trust may lie in the heart, but it is not necessarily bound by blood. And while the grounds for closeness might be more fertile in the family plot, it also requires a hell of a lot more water. If it’s important to you, you would be wise to tend to it often, because even if the flowers never completely dry up, it is actually quite easy for them to grow apart.
I don’t watch TV (only the occasional game and TV series’ on Netflix) enough to know what movies are out, so I wasn’t surprised when I went to the AMC theater on 34th/8th and didnt recognize any of the movies that were playing. We chose Under the Same Moon after reading the synopsis and deciding that the film had a chance to be good (I am really cynical when it comes to watching movies in theaters other than my beloved Lincoln Plaza Cinemas).
The movie is about a young boy in Mexico whose father abandoned him as a baby and whose mother illegally crossed the border into L.A. so she could make some money to send back home. When his already tenuous living situation in Mexico falls apart, he realizes he has no more ties to his homeland and decides to make the dangerous trip across the border in the hopes of reuniting with his mother. The kid is smart and endearing as both a character and an actor, and the film does a good job of capturing the inherent pain and suffering both of immigrants who risk their lives in search of opportunity and of the families they leave behind. Do the paychecks being sent home every month heal the wounds of the children who grow up without their parents? What is the true price of seeking economic opportunity away from home? The film examines these questions, and except for a few lapses of overly-sappy melodrama and some contrived exchanges, the strong acting and script make this film a rewarding one.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 greencards
Saw two movies at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas this week – Lust, Caution, directed by Ang Lee, and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, with Ethan Hawke and Sexy Ass Marissa Tomei ( that is actually her full un abridged name, I checked. I first found that out when I saw her in My Cousin Vinny). It’s interesting how these two movies have many similar themes but are portrayed in such contrasting styles.
Lust Caution is about a young group of Chinese collegiate actors during WWII who decide to fulfill their patriotic duty by exposing and killing a traitor in the government who is working for the Japanese. They act their way into the traitors life, with the lead role going to a girl who tries to seduce the traitor to get close to him. Once she enters the life of this complex and dangerous man, the degree to which she dedicates herself to her character is consuming, for it is the only way she can accomplish her mission and stay alive. The magnetism between her ‘character’ and the traitor is not only compelling, but is really a beautifully unfolded story.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead also involves a lot of lies, acting, suspenseful and dangerous relationships, and emotional frenzy just as Lust does, but the storytelling couldn’t be any more different. The movie is about two fuck-up brothers who go to desperate measures to salvage their own fucked-up lives. They try to work together to do so, but everyone in this movie has an agenda and tries to cheat their way towards achieving their goal. While the goal starts off as simply trying to make some quick cash, their history of deception catches up to them, and as their problems snowball they find themselves simply trying to stay alive. What’s compelling here is the uncensored ruthlessness on display that portrays the lengths people will go to save their own ass; in this movie, these lengths usually involve family betrayal. In the end, justice is delivered by an unlikely source, which completes the cycle of betrayal. Both movies are really depressing, Lust in a sad way and Devil in a fucked up way. But, both movies are also really good. Ethan Hawke plays a great loser, and Sexy Ass Marissa Tomei, wife of one of the fucked up brothers, is naked half the time, and God, Sexy Ass Marissa Tomei is sexy. Of course she is married to a really ugly guy in the movies, just like when she was married to Danny Devito in My Cousin Vinny. Why do cast directors not realize that doing that jeopardizes the realistic-ness of the movie? It’s a crying shame, I swear.
Lust, Caution: 4 out of 5 ninja stars (it takes place in China. I couldn’t think of anything creative. does this make me racist?)
Before the Devil: 3.5 out of 5 spanks on Marissa Tomei’s ass