I Hate Harry Potter and iPhones and I Like Punk Rock

I have an attitude and sometimes is gets me in trouble. Other times, I know it has saved my life. I’ve been walking past my TV all morning trying to fix my central heating system that died a couple days ago. My son has been sitting on his derriere the whole time gawking and Harry Potter. Like I stated in the title, I hate this show. It reminds me of what the establishment wants us to pay for. It has no history in it for kids, no culture. It really is a stupid story if you asked me and every movie he has forced me to see has sucked … period. My wife reminds me that people in my family may take issue with this post so let me just not apologize in advance. You like it? Explain why on your blog 🙂

I relate it to Johnny Rotten singing:

I am an anti-christ
I am an anarchist
Don’t know what I want but
I know how to get it
I wanna destroy the passer by cos I

I wanna BE anarchy!
No dogs body!

Anarchy in the UK illustrates my attitude well I think. I was a punker through the 80’s and I aim to stay one now. I use my iPhone but I will never love it. Rest his soul, Steve Jobs had some great ideas but he was no messiah. I see him as more of a large scale Billy Mays pushing Oxy-Clean. I want to challenge every system that takes hold of this Earth. I want to be a free spirit. I’ll never forget my friends who were through my history. I hope my kids follow me but if they don’t and choose to pad the pockets of JK Rowling and Stephanie Meier then so be in. They will have plenty of fragrances, shoes, and lego collections that will match Holywood puke. I guess that would be one advantage if I was trendy, I’d have a lot more to buy and do. Alas, I prefer being the rugged individualist. I’ll close with my favorite fight attitude poem to date (by Dylan Thomas):

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I say, fight the system and don’t let it define what cool is, or what anything else is for that matter.

Life Feeling Lighter for Me

I’m feeling lighter than air lately. It’s as if a field of seeds is finally sprouting. I’m not worried about much these days and I have little to no anxiety. So, what am I doing differently? Nothing. I am simply doing my meditation and exercise along with the other diet stuff I have opened up to in the last year. I take a multivitamin every morning after my mandatory breakfast. I jog most every day. I have all but cut out sugar from my diet. My wife has been great in helping me to keep my glucose numbers down. I am not diabetic yet but I do have elevated glucose levels which has pushed me to eliminate all forms of sugar and empty calories.

All these healthy habits have not been fun to develop but now they are my habits. In the past week or so I have noticed I have less of the irrational fears I have suffered from most of my adult life. I am so glad to be alive. I have grown to believe it is okay to be vulnerable on this human journey. I believe it is all there is and perhaps that is what has ameliorated many of my anxieties. Anyway, I got that going for me. I just thought I’d let you know.

Shipping the Whirling Leslie

I worked with a musician once who swore his whirling leslie was the only instrument able to make his song perfect. He actually had it living on the other side of the country and in order to get it here for our band, we had to have it shipped. Why wouldn’t a Target keyboard suffice? In the end I was very glad we had it shipped but the process seemed daunting when we first started, This was Hammond B3 organ with a whiling Leslie speaker and once we found a trusted place for shipping furniture, it was the most exciting thing in the world waiting to hear him record it.

When it arrived, he was elated. Chewing his Dentyne gum he got the thing up and working and starting wailing out trills on the thing. I could finally see that his vision was correct. When I told him it might be expensive he said: “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” When the song was fully recorded, I had to say I knew and agreed with exactly what he said. What an amazing sound it had. Every time I hear that song, though the quality is not perfect, the sound of that whirling Leslie gives me the chills. Since then I have learned that with music and any art project in life, it is best to pull out all the stops and get the instruments/tools you need to do it in style. Below is one of the songs we recorded with the Leslie, in case you are interested.

Talk to Me – 1992[powerpress]

3 Health Goals

Three letter acronyms like UFO and VHF have been used through time to make terms memorable. I create my own acronyms in various aspects of my life to define goals and set thereby set more focused priorities. As a personal blogger I really have no more or no less to offer my readers than my personal areas of knowledge. I have a large array of bits of information on an exclusive set of things. Up to now, that has included teaching, blogging (the nuts and bolts), movie reviews, humor, and some others.

Recently, health has, by chronic necessity, become a study of mine. I am by no means an expert on health and relaxation but I am gathering crucial and valuable information on it daily. It is for this reason, I am attempting to start a new category here called appropriately “health.” Since health affects every human alive, I am hopeful it will interest some. I also know that most, myself included, find the topic dull until they are in the throes of a health scare. I hope those in the healthy and disinterested camp will read these posts but if they don’t, I will fully understand if they pass this category by. I will try to keep these posts as universally relevant as possible.

Today, in the post of introduction of my new category I want to share the three essential health goals I have for myself these days (they are not in order of importance):

Relaxation
Exercise
Diet

The acronym “RED” has a lot to do will well being and health. I look forward to sharing what I am learning in these areas. How do you feel about the topic of health?

Teacher Cannibalism

Recently I was in a situation where a parent asked me whether she should file a complaint against a teacher, not at my school. Of course, I listened to the complaint carefully before giving my opinion. It was a hard decision to make because I know that some teachers definitely do the wrong thing while others are often misunderstood and falsely accused. Plus, it just feels odd supporting a complaint about a teacher. Working with people you are always subject to that.

After I heard what was at issue, I understood both sides. My advice was to approach the teacher first directly and if that did not yield the desired results, contact the supervisor and request a meeting with the three parties. In this case I didn’t feel I was committing “teacher cannibalism” while at the same time I was able to suggest what I feel is a healthy first step towards resolution.

There is always a temptation when hearing about a teacher in trouble to jump on the bandwagon against her/him. There is also a feeling of kinship (of sorts) that leads me to want to explain the teacher. That is, unless the actions shared are really weird and need reporting on the face of it.

You can avoid feeling feeling like a teacher cannibal by not joining in feeding frenzies. Be calm cool and collected as we try to be in this profession and you’ll be helping everyone involved.

Costumes

We make such a fuss about them and then never wear them again.

Face makeup, wigs, the smell of rubber latex masks. Don’t wear second hand masks.

Costumes are exciting because they scare us. It’s scary not knowing who’s behind the mask.

Kings

Henry the 8th would lop heads off. It seems Victoria didn’t have that power. Should kings have lopping off powers?

Food for thought, except those who have lost their heads. They would lose the food through the neckhole if they could swallow.

Ruby Sparks (w my Audio and Written Commentary)

Ruby Sparks is a romantic comedy written by Zoe Kazan. Ruby is a fictional character thought up in the movie by a successful writer in his early twenties played by Paul Dano.

Audio commentary from ‘The Damien Riley Podcast’ episode: Ruby Sparks

Much to his surprise, one day Ruby comes to life and takes on the role of his real life girlfriend. After that a roller coaster of emotions and love lessons ensue. For me, the strongest message in the movie is about the power we try to exert over each other in relationships. It has a truly all-star cast including Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Elliot Gould, and many more. Though the film started slow for me, it picked up in the middle and became a very fun and emotion-filled ride. I read online while watching the movie that the actress playing Ruby, Zoe Kazan, is the actual writer of the movie. For this reason, the audience gets the perspective of a woman being invented and controlled by an actual woman writer. I was impressed by Miss Kazan and will look for more from her in the future.

Final Thought: Relationships are often funny but more often perplexing. This movie uses metaphor and satire in the form of this invented woman to address some of those difficult issues. Paul Dano does a very nice job as a young writer trying to figure out life and love. He has definite ideas about what Ruby should be and he writes them clearly. I felt a real-life connection to what he was doing when he “wrote Ruby.” I thought at one point, “How would I ‘write’ my wife if I had the magic typewriter?” Through most of the movie I knew I would not rewrite her one iota. I think that is the message of the movie. We want “the perfect spouse” but in reality, we don’t know what that is for us. Better to let our spouse have her/his imperfections than try to craft them into something “perfect.” If those themes sound interesting, you’ll love this romantic comedy. I give it 5/5 stars. In some ways for me it was a perfect film experience.

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (w Audio Commentary)

This film in some ways is like “Fargo,” it has buffoons trying to commit crimes with disastrous results. It isn’t funny like “Fargo” though. In fact, this is one of the darker films I’ve seen in the past decade. Give a listen to my short episode on this film and see what you think.

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
R | 1h 57min | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 26 October 2007 (USA)

When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents’ jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother’s wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.
Director: Sidney Lumet
Writer: Kelly Masterson
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney

Audio commentary from ‘The Damien Riley Podcast’ episode: Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead