It’s time for an Academy Awards makeover

I moved to California to become an actor and failed. I can’t say I gave it my best effort. That was when I peaked as a screw-up. I spent more time watching movies, up to three a day, to escape, than I did practicing my craft, though I did take lessons. And when I took the time to memorize my lines, I did well, but that was the exception.

Perhaps if I’d spent more time acting instead of watching movies and the Oscars, dreaming that one day I’d be up there thanking my agent and everyone at William-Morris, including the lowly assistant that once brought me a diamond-studded bottle of Evian when my mouth was dry from negotiating the size of my trailer’s hot tub on the set of my next blockbuster movie, I would have had an acting career.

So, as a long-time Academy Awards freak, who used to watch every minute of every show, I feel they’ve become so “yesterday” and stale, delivering the same formula every year. Even worse, each year is more sanitized than the previous year, going as far as casting two harmless young actors to host for fear a comedian might tell a joke making fun of spoiled millionaires who have the greatest career in the world and can order anything they want from the Pottery Barn catalog. Poor, sensitive show-biz folk.

Where did the surprises go? The unpredictable moments? The politically incorrect? The causes? It’s definitely show “business” now, wrapped in a sterile Kraft cheese-slice wrapper. How many thank you’s to agents, mothers and God can one take in three-plus hours?

There’s something disconcerting about watching all of these masterpieces of make-up and genetics get up on stage to receive a reward for having the greatest job in the world – and thanking others who have the greatest job in the world. They are rewarded for being the most pampered of the pampered.

Then there’s the apples to oranges problem. How do you compare these talented people and works of art to each other and say one is better, or the best? It would be easier to get over this hurdle, as it was in previous years, if the show was better. Now it’s lack of meaning and quality opens it up to criticism and the picking of rotting meat from its bones.

I say blow it all up and give it an Ultimate Fighting Championship flavor mixed with a dash of Wipeout and spoonful of Survivor. I’d like to see the actors battle for the award. Put them all on stage, the Oscar in the center, and let them run for it like a Barry Bonds homerun ball. Spray wet cement and margarine on the stage while they fight it out. The actor who comes up with the Oscar, keeps it. Perhaps, the Oscars could go Pay-Per-View?

Even this concept might get old after a while with the winners constantly thanking their trainers: “Thank you to my Ultimate Fighting Coach, Busta Cap, who taught me how to crush a man’s ribs with two fingers. Sorry about the hurt I put on you, James Franco, but the Oscar is mine. All mine. ‘F’ all of you. I am the best actor – and I got the gold in my hand to prove it.”

It might get old eventually, but it would keep me off my DVR remote’s fast forward button for a few years.

Stay fresh.

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Day Tripper to Ventura Harbor

At the beginning of February, it felt like summer. Now it’s cold and windy and feels like winter. We went to Ventura Harbor yesterday. And even with three layers of clothes on, the cold and wind were brutal.

This harbor was cool, but the area around it had a solid 80s vibe to the decor. Here are some pictures.

It had rained the day before and the last clouds of the storm were still hanging in the mountains.

I thought this was interesting. There were a lot tile works around the harbor.

Like this large round tile dial buried in one of the inner walkways.

There were several metal boats in the harbor. I thought they looked cool.

This photo shows the foam and white caps. It was hard to stand up in the wind. In the distance, there is a small rain cloud. In the next photo, taken 10 minutes later, it’s gone.

I like the color of the water in the photo above.

I’m standing on the beach in this photo. Yesterday’s snow is shown in the distant mountains. The flags to the right show how hard the wind was blowing.

I don’t like clowns. One day, this one is going to escape his box. I don’t want to be hanging around when he does.

Stay warm and healthy.

 

 

A new dog or not?

It feels like when I’m not eating or sleeping or sitting at the computer with a nebulizer, I’m buying something or thinking about buying something. Truth be told, I do buy stuff when I have a neb in my mouth, which makes sleep and meals the times I don’t? I can’t even guarantee that. Curse you, consumeristic country I live in. My value as a human can only be measured by how much I buy.

I digress.

As you may know, I spent over two months searching for a used car. Now the big decision is getting a new dog. I want one.

We have a lab and a rescued mutt. The grateful mutt is a chow mix and has some serious guard dog, bite your ass and never let it go, in him. I like that. Problem is, he’s around 14-years old and the gas and growl are going out of his tank. He can’t hear anymore, which downgrades his guard dog status to “if you step on me at night, I’ll notice.”

So, I want a dog with some physical clout – the looks and size to make anyone back away. And the ears to hear intruders coming a mile away. Oh, and the internal drive to remove their flesh should they try to harm my family while I’m lounging in a hospital room on the other side of the city getting my daily rub down. Or, if a brick falls from the sky and takes me out for good, I’d like to know my family is in good paws when I’m gone.

I’m thinking German Shepherd.

They're cute when they're 30 pounds

Although I’ve had dogs my entire life and believe myself to be a capable trainer, as is my wife, I’m not sure I have the energy to raise and train one of these powerhouse dogs capable of delivering serious hurt. I’ve had one bad dog bite in my life when I crossed through a neighbor’s yard and couldn’t outrun their dog. Yes, it was a German Shepherd and yes it did bite me in the ass, tearing away the entire backside of my white short-short tennis shorts. I have a healthy respect for these dogs after the embarrassment and hurt the one that chased me down delivered.

Labs are easy. Run them in the morning, give them a few carrots and feed them at night and bingo, bango bongo, they do what you say and love you. A German Shepherd is different. They are finely tuned with instincts to protect. You have to be careful not to send them the wrong signals lest you want to bury your neighbor in your backyard late one night because your new dog Fritzkrieg ripped open his throat when he held up a pair garden shears to wave hello. Oops, bad dog. You can kill a 200-pound man with your teeth, but you can’t handle a shovel? What good are you?

The discussion continues in my house. Any bets on how long it will take to make this decision?

Shallow thoughts and deep fears

The birth of my daughter nine years ago made me see the world differently – good and bad. It was a great day. There have been happy moments that have made me feel guilty I’ve experienced them, like the squeal of pure joy my daughter makes over the simplest discovery and surprise.

When she was three or four, I would hide an object, usually a small stuffed animal, under a couch pillow and let her believe she had magic powers. “Say the magic words,” I said. And she would do her best to say words that sounded magical. I would press the object against the pillow, lifting them both, and “presto” it was gone. Then through some strategic tosses with my wife the object would make its way into another room in the house where my daughter would discover it. Magic; magical. To live and experience that moment and the look on her face of amazement and pride makes me the luckiest of men.

But not every story has a magical ending. There is the reality and responsibility of raising a daughter into this world and ensuring she experiences the joy of her own child’s mad happy scream one day. And I try not to be a pessimist when I look at the future that is not my own, but was part of my creation. I see peak oil capacity on the horizon, more people in prison than ever before, whorish government officials abusing their power, depleted fish in our oceans, and population growth this earth’s limited resources cannot support. And I worry. I worry a lot. And I feel helpless. A lot.

Couple these fears with my opinion of how low humanity can sink, including me, and I spend my days holding dark thoughts at bay. I’m not ready to buy a Mayan calendar yet, but I’m worried “something wicked this way comes.” And I feel like I should be doing more to prepare my wife and daughter for the day it shows up, though I hope it never does. I want to be proven wrong, but the math and science don’t look good.

I worry about my wife and daughter when I’m gone. They’re not as street smart as they should be. It’s not in them. They are good. I have seen more than I ever wanted to, or asked to. Been in situations I shouldn’t have been in. Done things in the past I’m not proud off. Sins may be forgiven, but they’re not forgotten.

I have no answers tonight. Just the need to get the thoughts and fears out and fill the open space in my head with solutions and positive thoughts. There is always a solution. Now I just have to think of one. People I love are depending on it.

Just another reason I hate our government

The rich keep getting richer in today’s America of not making them pay their fair share of the load. It helps when our politicians protect their interests and not the interests of the lower and middle classes.

If you feel like you’ve been working harder, paying more for services, and making less, it’s not your imagination. Click on the links for the math.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110223/ts_yblog_thelookout/separate-but-unequal-charts-show-growing-rich-poor-gap

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

End of rant.



Having a blog rocks! And so does Josh of Joshland!

If my daughter reads this blog one day, I hope she takes away the lesson that you can only get rewards in life if you take a first step in one direction or another. When I started writing this blog I had no idea it would return the level of support, intelligence, humor and kindness that it has. I’ve been blown away over the past year by the experience, as I thought I would attract two or three people who had read every page on the Internet and were down to mine. Like love, I find it best not to analyze anyone’s reading choice too deeply, lest the magic fade. I’m grateful for my new friends – I’ll leave it at that.

And then there is Josh from Joshland, a kind soul unlike any other who walks the walk of inner strength and positivity; a person who has experienced more than a reasonable amount of heartache in his life with cystic fibrosis and the death of his sister, Angie, from CF. Mere mortals might give up. Not Josh. He colors this world orange with his  crazy pal Moganko* and almost makes me want to believe in the goodness of humanity (almost, which is a future blog post).

So, what does this crazy friend of mine from the land of Vikings go and do? He creates two amazing graphics for me. The banner at the top of the page and the Unknown Graphic below. I opened my email and there they were – gifts for moi. And I like gifts. Yes, I am the luckiest person alive.

My humble thanks to Josh for the thoughtfulness and generosity. The banner will go into rotation immediately and appear randomly, depending on my mental state. Regarding the other graphic, I like admiring my handsome self in it. The resemblance is uncanny. Well done, Friend of Moganko.

Please raise your nebulizers for Josh tonight. Salute.

I rock in my purple shirt. Fox doesn't like the way he looks.

 

*There is some debate whether Moganko created the character Josh or vice versa. It’s a mystery that remains unsolved.