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Twitter Bios Are Utter Crap and We Should Stop the Madness

8 Oct

Writer. Cat wrangler. Lover of the Keurig Vue.

Comedian. Human. World War Two Enthusiast.

Actor. Sushi Lover. Possibly A Closet Plushie.

Bacon is my spirit animal.

Sound familiar?

Twitter bios are 160 character nightmares come to life.  I recall trying to put something that did not sound awful on mine, ultimately failing to not sound like a human parade of self-indulgent douchebaggery. Mine originally read something like, “Writer. Actor. Comedian.” This was until I realized that I am not really yet any of those things professionally at this point, and it makes no sense to continue competing with the millions of Twitter bios that proclaim one’s own amazing artistry and talent.  Even though I am a writer, and I love telling people this about myself and the grand plans I have for my life, Twitter really does not care.  Twitter is the new high school popularity contest, with people continually trying to one-up their feeds with self-serving praise or similarly self-serving humblebrags that are meant to entice people to want to follow their feeds.

The New York Times finally pointed out what everyone was thinking about the most self-indulgent Twitter bios to ever grace the Internets.  Tom Hanks is a notable example of a humble-brag bio.  His reads, “I’m that actor in some of the movies you liked and some you didn’t. Sometimes I’m in pretty good shape, other times I’m not. Hey, you gotta live, you know?”  This is a completely unnecessary introduction for one of the world’s most recognizable faces and one of the most awarded actors of our time.

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 8.31.12 PM

Mine currently reads, “Stop asking why I laugh like that,” which is a reference to the one of the most common questions I’m asked.  In my own mind it seems fine, but at the same time I realize that I am still trying to impress people by sounding subversive and unique. In our own minds, we are always a special snowflake.  It is human nature to want to stand apart from the crowd, especially in a time when people are capitalizing on saying things in 140 characters or less.

Add Twitter bios to a long list of things the internets have beaten to digital death: zombies, bacon, and vampires.

Is NYU Worth the High Price? Only for Certain People.

23 Aug

Photo Copyright by NYUJake Flanagin’s piece published yesterday in The Atlantic highlights the high cost of NYU and how the cost of attending rose $18,000 during the tenure of President John Sexton.  Sexton will be stepping down soon, but not without a steep price tag attached to a four year education at the school: tuition for the 2013-2014 school year will cost $64,000.  When I arrived at NYU in 2006, the cost of attendance for one year was $46,000. It was exactly my time at NYU and the short time that I’ve been out of school that has catapulted the cost of attendance into nearly unreachable heights.  This is my story of why I chose to attend NYU, and how I feel about that decision now.

I almost did not get to attend NYU at all.  It was the only college I applied to as a high school senior.  I chose to apply for the Early Decision program, and I received my acceptance letter sometime in late February or early March of 2005.  At first, the question of how I would pay for such an education was far out of my mind.  NYU did offer my a considerable academic scholarship that would cover about a third of my tuition.  The rest, I would have to borrow.  My parents were probably the worst people on earth to be giving financial advice. Every time I had a financial emergency, they told me to charge it to a credit card.  Yes, they are that crazy.  Their attitude toward student loans is similar.  My dad said, “You’ll get a good job and be able to pay it back.” So I decided to take out some student loans with Sallie Mae.  I hit one more snag; because my parents did not qualify to cosign for a student loan for me, I was forced to miss out on my first year of school because I could not get the money together in time for NYU.  I stayed home in Colorado Springs until the fall of 2006.  It really was a terribly embarrassing time for me, with everyone I knew asking why I couldn’t go to college.  I didn’t want to tell them.  But the plain fact is, college, and especially an expensive private college, is out of reach to most people.  And it was to me.  By the following year, I had built enough credit to take out student loans on my own.  In August of 2006, I left for NYU.  And so began my indentured servitude to Sallie Mae…

Following my graduation, I had no job lined up and really no idea of what to do next. I was 22 and had just gone through a horrible break up. I chose to move back to Colorado Springs.  This was a decision that I now realize was the completely right thing for me to do at the time, and my recent move to Los Angeles (as of last week) has also been at the right time.  While I was home in Colorado, I had to think of creative ways to try to pay back my student loans. I worked three jobs at one time, something I also did while in college, but made less money in Colorado.  I was unsure if my choice to return to Colorado was the right thing at all.  Luckily, I eventually found a good place for myself in a position at a law firm and was able to enroll in a rate reduction program at Sallie Mae.  I am not going to say how much my monthly payment is, but I will say that most people would probably spontaneously combust if they had to write the check I write each month.  But I’ve never missed a payment.

One of the things that few people refuse to believe is the simple platitude, “if there’s a will, there’s a way.” I’ve read too many sad stories on the New York Times of people becoming suicidal because of their student loans.  I used to be one of those people.  Then I realized that a lender may be able to damage your credit and take your life off course in the financial sense, but they cannot take away your mind, the experience you had in school, the people you met while in college, nor can they really destroy your life.  I feel that people get too stressed about money, especially in the way of student loans.  Yes, you should probably choose to eat before paying your student loans.  This is about priorities.  If you cannot handle the stress of having massive student loans, then do not go to private college in the United States of America.  Strong people need only apply.

Was my debt worth attendance of NYU? Yes.  For me, it was the right choice.  I got to study what I wanted, I met wonderful people who I am connected to today, and I had a priceless experience in New York City at a very young age.  However, NYU is not for everyone.  I pride myself on having a vast skill set and very specific goals of becoming a professional writer. I am aware that the only thing that will get me to that point is hard work.  Many young students today do not possess the skills, willpower, or work ethic to properly pursue many of their goals.  if you do not know what you want to do in life, you should probably not blow $100,000 or $200,000 on an expensive school.

The accusation that NYU sells itself as the ultimate dream school is blatant.  They sold me on the dream, but it lead me on a journey of self-discovery that Sallie Mae will never take away from me.  As much as student loans frighten, divide, and crush their victims, they’re a necessary evil in today’s America.  Without taking a risk, without daring to change one’s course toward an unfulfilling life, and without taking the steps toward upward mobility, everything would be stagnant.

Is NYU worth its steep price? Only for some.  It is for the daring, the bold, and the fearless.  The fear of student loans, as logical as it seems, is just another ploy to keep people indebted forever, and not just in the financial sense.  Do not fall victim to this mentality.  Control your life and your choices.  If NYU is right for you, you’ll know.

You’re the Best Damn Liar I’ve Ever Met

23 Dec

Wow, I’ve never met anyone as sly as you…. Thanks for the memories!


The Master & Other Things That Make Middle America Uncomfortable

28 Sep

Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master.

After reading various inadequate reviews of PT Anderson’s The Master, my urge to comment on what I believe is one of the most subtly brilliant films of the year is more pressing than ever.  When I saw the film last night, several people in the theater proclaimed that The Master was in fact “the worst movie” they had ever seen.  Let us keep in mind that I saw this film at a Cinemark chain theater in suburban Colorado Springs. When I saw PT Anderson’s last film, There Will Be Blood, it was in a room full of aspiring filmmakers and writers at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  These are extremely different environments for watching film, and I suppose my privilege is showing when I say that watching a film at NYU’s premiere arts school is much preferred over sharing a room with baby boomers whose biggest concern is living long enough to be able to collect their Social Security benefits.  My mother, bless her sweet soul, said she “should have seen the new Viola Davis movie about the teachers.” Sorry mother, but not every movie is about feeling good, nor should it be.

The Master opens with a stunning shot of an ocean’s blue-white tide, stirred by the engines of a World War II naval ship, the USS Missouri.  Freddie Quell, an emaciated, decidedly creepy-looking Joaquin Phoenix, is aboard the ship, at one point laying in a crooked Christ-like repose on the bow. Quell, we learn right away, is a severe alcoholic and a sexual deviant of sorts. In one of the opening scenes, Quell climbs atop a nude woman molded from the sands of whatever Pacific beach he and his fellow seamen camp out on, thrusting excitedly, much too excitedly for the amusement of his peers.

When Quell gets discharged from the Navy as the war ends, his mental state is evaluated by a Naval officer.  The officer shows Quell a series of Rorschach ink blots, with Quell’s descriptive answers consisting of “a pussy, a cock going into a pussy,” and a “cock upside down”. Something is wrong with this guy. Perhaps we should already know that, considering he drained the chemicals out of a warhead to get drunk.

When Quell returns to civilian life, he gets a shit job as a photographer in a department store, forced to experience the happiness of others through a lens. One day, he loses it, and gets in a fight with a male customer who says the picture is for his wife.  Quell, perhaps feeling tinges of jealousy due to his lack of real intimacy with a woman, attacks the man and runs away, embarking on a journey that will bring him to the mercy of Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the charismatic leader of The Cause. Stumbling onto a party yacht carrying Dodd and his family on the eve of the wedding of his young daughter Elizabeth (Ambyr Childers), Quell imbibes amongst the group until he blacks out, not recalling that he inquired of Lancaster whether any work was available.  What happens next is the beginning of an odd tale of love and commitment, acted out between two very different men.  Dodd, subjecting Freddie to his introductory methods of questioning known as Processing, asks Quell a series of questions, often repeating them until he elicits the response he wants. It is at this point that we learn some deep dark secrets about Quell, although they are not exactly shocking.

It should be remarked that at this time in the film, it is 1950.  The way that year is repeated throughout the film by various characters, though especially by Dodd and his wife Peggy (Amy Adams). 1950 is a hallmark year in movements for self-improvement.  In 1950, L. Ron Hubbard published his work Dianetics, which would lead to the establishment of Scientology as a formal religious movement. The parallels between Dodd and Hubbard are not glaringly obvious, and although The Master is called “PT Anderson’s Scientology film,” the movie does not insult Scientology nor make any overt comments on it.  However, Dodd and Hubbard can both be seen as charismatic, elusive individuals. As the film unfolds, we see Dodd questioned by several supporting characters, perhaps mirroring Hubbard’s experience as being deemed a charlatan in his formative years.  Hubbard, initially a writer of serial pulp fiction articles, was once quoted as saying, “writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.”

Dodd, perhaps taking a page from Hubbard, promotes The Cause as a method of self-improvement for man, a way of separating oneself from animals.  Dodd refers to Quell as an animal at several points in the film, further indicating the connection of Phoenix’s character as an id. Dodd, quite naturally, acts as the super-ego attempting to control the wild Quell.

Another interesting item of note is PT Anderson’s choice of casting redheads in the three main female roles – Adams, Childers, and Madisen Beaty, playing Doris, the inappropriately-aged love interest of Phoenix – are all pale redheads. However, in spite of the presence of these women, the real love story is between Freddie and Dodd. Both men form a dependence on one another, although the connection seems stronger for Dodd.

The Master is a veritable example of acting at its best and its worst. Not only do I feel Joaquin Phoenix deserves one of those little gold men we call Oscar, but I also feel it’s clear that his performance in The Master is one almost specially crafted for that express purpose. There is always something irritating about those films that arrive every fall and feature period costumes and people staring intensely at one another; almost in an attempt to make staring a requirement for winning acting awards.

The deep symbolism of The Master is too much to comment on in its entirety, but it is important to note that many critics do not adequately explore the symbolic and metaphoric meaning behind films today. Instead, they often pander to audiences who may find films completely enigmatic.  One critic, Lisa Kennedy  of The Denver Post, actually wrote in her review ‘Why are these women naked, you may find yourself asking.” Really? Are people asking this or do critics simply not give enough credit to filmgoers today? The scene Ms. Kennedy references has Quell envisioning the women at a party scene entirely naked, including Amy Adams, the pregnant wife of Lancaster Dodd.  This scene further solidifies Quell’s unshakeable status as representative of the id which Dodd so greatly despises. Quell, ever the animal, views this party as little more than an opportunity to get laid.

Perhaps the most-asked question about The Master is whether or not the film is about Scientology. Yes, and no. The many hints made by Seymour’s character toward a cult-like religion birthed from a book are quite enough, but they never cross the line into specificity.  To continue discussing the finer points of PT Anderson’s The Master would be a pointless exercise. Anyone who can find the motive to see the film in the first place is likely inclined toward dramatic, complicated films. However, if you find yourself walking out of the theater while saying “This is the worst movie I have ever seen!”, Dredd 3D will likely be playing a few screens down.

Paul Ryan Says He Climbed 40 Fourteeners. Paul Ryan is Confused.

5 Sep

So, Paul Ryan. Who is this guy? Is there more to him than looking like a well-fed Crispin Glover? Seriously, did his wife like him because he resembled George McFly?

Paul Ryan says things. He says a lot of scary things. Perhaps the most scary things he discusses are blatant lies about his personal achievements. The other day on The Ed Show, Ryan’s lie about his personal best marathon time was revealed. Ryan claimed that he ran a marathon in “2 hours and fifty-something” minutes, but Ed, researching the matter, found evidence that Ryan actually ran a marathon in 1990 with a time of 4 hours and one minute. Ryan surely thinks highly of himself.

Paul’s latest lie? Claiming that he’s climbed “close to 40” of Colorado’s fourteeners, meaning mountains that are taller than 14,000 feet. Having grown up in Colorado, and in spite of not being a climber, I am aware of the effort it takes to commit oneself to climbing ALL of Colorado’s 53 fourteeners.  Most people who set out to climb all of these mountains are residents, and often plan out how to climb them all ahead of time. I know one resident who has lived in Colorado for 8 years and has climbed only 15 14-ers, mostly due to other time commitments and constraints.  If Paul Ryan is a Congressman, like he claims, then how could he possibly have time to climb 40 Colorado fourteeners without living there?

Obviously there are more questions that need to be asked of Paul Ryan. Does he really like Ayn Rand? Does he know Ayn Rand probably would not like him? Is he kidding when he says Rage Against the Machine is his favorite band? Are him and the P90X guy BFFs?

So. Many. Questions.

Eli Manning Makes Tom Brady His Bitch…Again.

8 Feb

Once again all proved right in this world when Ugg-wearing model/football player Tom Brady had his ass handed to him by Eli Manning. Did anyone else notice those odd poses Tom Brady made in pictures shown when going over his stats?

First he had his hand on his chin as in deep in thought. I wonder what he thinks of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Then Brady fist-pumped for the children. He’s so hip and down with it.

Tommy boy made this face when the photographer told him he once too schtupped Gisele.

Love of Mine

10 Oct

God only knows why it’s taken me so long to let my doubts go. You’re the only one that I want.

Please, please come back to me.

Look Forward to the New Look of Fixed Air

27 May

Someone brought some technical difficulties to my attention – hopefully this post will work and you will be able to see some photos below.

I wanted to take a moment to thank my good friend Jasmine for graciously providing her photography services once again.

I have an interest in customizing Fixed Air in the upcoming weeks, so look for some changes. In the meantime, check out these pictures taken by Jasmine. She can make you look great on your worst day, so if anyone is interested in her services, please contact me directly.

Photo by Jasmine Rollins

Photo by Jasmine Rollins

Photo by Jasmine Rollins