Smoke & Hips


The mood was devilishly sour, which matched my Whiskey Sour in a Reeves’ ‘most-excellent’ manner.  I’m prone to alcoholism, but I forget often.  Something with how the world hazes over when you’re properly inebriated…it makes life seem more real.  A moment of clarity in a world that is bent on capitalizing on broken, lovestruck people like myself.  I arched my back to desperately try and pop the ache, but like most things of late…I failed miserably.  I finished off the whiskey, ordered a shot of ironic Skyy, drank that, and ordered a Sex on the Beach.  It was a bit out of character, but (hey) you only live a blurry once.  Someone brushes my shoulder and taps it twice in quick secession—   Quick, but light.  I turned.  Amidst the cliché club lights and the deep boom of the bass I saw a beautiful brunette with long curly locks staring back into my grey eyes.  We embraced—our lips touching gently (at first) and then exploded into something more…  Suddenly the Skyy seemed not so ironic, nor the Sex on the Beach.  We parted, she tipsied, and I caught her by the small of her back.  We leaned in close—  One of the beauties of cliché nightclubs.

“Where are John and Greg?”

“Who?”

“Who?” I owled.

She firmly grasped my hand and led us through a haze of smoke and hips.  Dreams, wet and dry alike, were being forged between all of the lonesome souls that we cascaded through—  Emotions compounding upon emotions, ad infinitum.  We weaved and parried between those looking for love in all the wrong places, or those looking to forget all together.  Eventually, we arrived back at our nice nook nestled within the cranny of sin. We slumped together in loud whispers.  Chiding each other for not being close enough—  Asking superficial questions just to pass the time between stolen kisses.  As my hands inched closer and closer to the prize…my thoughts…my drunken thoughts…wafted to yet another brunette.  This one was tearing off her ring in muted frustration and driving…driving away.  The music suddenly shifted, and those that were dancing scuttled as those that weren’t filled the newly created void like flotsam washing upon the dance floor.  A quick peck snapped me back to the moment…and to Diana.

“Do you want another drink?”

“Is that rhetorical?”

“Is that?” she smirked.

I watched her as she walked and weaved back into the sea of people.  My best friend John—and Diana’s friend Greg—slid into the booth beside me.  Greg seemed to be an introspective, giant of a man who had never gained the courage to tell Diana his true feelings.  John and I had only met him tonight, but even with just a few brief comments we both saw how Greg felt.  Diana was either clueless or never had the heart to let him down properly.

I heavily bet on the latter, while John the former.

John was a different beast all together.  John is a stocky Irishman who pounded drinks to drown his own recent and equitable sorrow.  Who knew that fucking a married woman, who was engaged to yet another man, would end so badly?  Clambering out of low-hung windows in the dead of night and sprinting across Cheney farm fields was never what our old Track & Field coach had in mind, but John used what he was taught and he did it well.

I swear when John chased the worm the worm ran.

For whatever reason, there was an electricity that clung in the air about us that evening.  It hovered and crackled with intensity.  John and Greg lamented, while my sorrow extended elsewhere.  Whether it be sex, sorrow, or sex to mask sorrow we all found our reprieve that night.

“Where’d you guys head off to?” I shouted above the music.

“Outside.  We both needed some air.”

“You okay to drive?”

“No, not yet— man.  I need to sober up a bit.”

“No worries.  I’m in no hurry.”

Diana slid in close next me.  She sipped both drinks before passing me one.

“What is it?”

“Just drink it,” she smiled.

I took a large swig, which finished half the cup, “It’s got bite.”

“That’s because it’s 151 and Coke.”

“Nice!  If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were trying to get me drunk?”

“Nah, just loose.”

“I’m already loose.”

“Cool, your jets turbo.”

I grinned, “You started it.”

She returned my grin, and kissed me yet again.  By this time Greg and John and begun instinctively conversing to avoid the awkwardness that would have come at a table filled with more-sober company.  However, no one noticed the intimacy building between Diana and I…save for perhaps Greg, but even he was distracted with light-hearted conversation.

John leaned over to me and shouted once more, “I think we’re going to go outside, again.”

“You alright?”

“Yeah, I just don’t feel so hot.”

“You sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, I just need a couple of minutes.”

“Ok…we’ll be out in a bit.”

Again, the two stumbled off to get some air, and I stayed to get selfishly closer to Diana.  She wasn’t the one, but she was for this evening.  We talked and drank for a while more, and eventually we followed in the footsteps of John and Greg, and headed for the exit.   The cold November air stung like a hard dose of reality.  Diana and I were both drunk enough to be able to ignore it, but John and Greg sat side-by-side along the curb entrenched within the harshness of it.  Together they had cried and swapped stories.

Diana and I gave them their privacy and sauntered off towards our own sort of recovery, but I’ll never forget the tearstained cheeks of Greg…nor my best friend, John’s.

That was a lie.  It was in the moment that a looked back into Diana’s eyes.  My sadness ebbed and my drunken heart punched out, whether Greg was there or not.

Tonight was a night of nights.

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My Open Love Letter to Music


Feeling the quick-paced displacement of your heart, as it flutters to the beat of a specific drum, is nothing shy of facing mortality.  Music gives you the momentum to strive for inner greatness.  Immortals lack creativity, because that one moment that gives life meaning…never comes.  It hangs stagnant in the air, being ignored by those that don’t care; however for us mere mortals we thrive off of the thought of death.  We design our society around it– For death not only accentuates life…it gives it meaning.  Music is an extension of this elongated metaphor.  It makes my heart beat rapidly, just as it does when I think of Celeste, or put pen to paper.  It is an eternal muse, that I will always try to please, because it has given me so much.  Thank you musicians of the world.  Thank you.

“(500) Days of Summer”


“(500) Days of Summer” with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Grace Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Clark Gregg

Directed by Marc Webb, Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

(500) Days of Summer“(500) Days of Summer” struck me, and not in a good way.  I enjoyed it upon reflection, but not at first.  I felt sad, depressed, and filled with angst immediately following my Valentine’s viewing of “(500) Days of Summer.”  However, like aforementioned, my initial reaction was more based in the circumstance, rather than the actual quality of the film.

“(500) Days of Summer” falls into a sub-genre of the standard romantic comedy–one that I can’t really put my finger on.  I am almost positive that there is a name for it, yet my knowledge of film classifications is most impressive once I strike moot.  At parts “(500) Days of Summer” fit the rom-com bill perfectly; however, on the whole it’s an entirely different beast.  It exists in a subset.  It tries to more deeply explore the idea of love, rather than giving audiences another difficult kindling of a couple not meant to-be/meant to-be.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays, Tom.  I wouldn’t call Tom ‘helplessly romantic,’ but he is definitely more-inclined to romanticism.  He believes in true love and the concept of a soulmate.  His counterpart, Summer played by Zooey Deschanel, feels oppositely.  She possesses that certain kind of ‘x-factor’ and subsequently has been hit on her whole life.

So what would happen if these two met and fell in love?

That is precisely the intent behind screenwriters, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s “(500) Days of Summer.”  The plot is uniquely structured in that it skips around a 500 day period of Tom’s life during which Summer played an influential role.  The two obviously fall in love (after meeting as coworkers), but the real heart of the movie begs the question: Is this the one?

Ringo Starr Quote from (500) Days of SummerAs an audience member we get to see the goofy moments, the fights, the make-ups, and all-of-the other little joys and horrors of life’s relationships.  The story skips around never linearly progressing through the ‘500 days,’ yet the conversations amongst Tom and the rest of the cast compound to create a cohesive and synergetic film.

Funnily enough, the end of the film is quite surprising and poignant in the fact that it doesn’t end in the manner that you would hope or expect it to.  Not only does “(500) Days of Summer” focus on the trials-and-tribulations of relationships, but the gray.  That area between Venn Diagram circles that causes most so much anguish and joy.

I found the acting to superb.  Joseph-Gordon Levitt nails his performance and Zooey Deschanel is excellent company.  They have wonderful onscreen chemistry.  It seems a bit of a different role for her (not the typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl role), but it works.  The supporting cast is small, but their scenes are wonderful.  Tom’s friends and sister, played by Geoffrey Arend, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Chloë Grace Moretz, add to Tom’s personality by creating a funny trio (sometimes quatro) of banter–a type of banter that we have all had with our friends and can easily relate to.  Clark Gregg’s portrayal of Tom’s boss is perfect.  At times, I wish I had such a pragmatic boss!  Talk about rolling with punches and playing to people’s strengths during a time of emotional turmoil.

The nonlinear structure definitely plays to the quality of the cinematography in a very positive manner.  Life is chaotic and doesn’t make sense, until you start to piece it together after the fact.  The cut of the movie accentuates this, which (again) furthers the relatability of the film.

Directing-wise, Marc Webb keeps things in focus when they could easily have gotten off track and into confusing tangents that would have been detrimental to the film.  His skill is definitely praiseworthy and on that note I will leave you with this:

Check out “(500) Days of Summer.”  It’s not your typical romantic comedy.  It’s something more.  Something to be covenanted and something to entertain ideals with in spare moments.  It’s a great film.  Even with my initial reaction I can say this comfortably.

Absolut Love


He felt more charming than the Prince and slicker than Fonzie’s hair.  He couldn’t put his Roxy fedora on fast enough before he hit the Jerry’s and Shasta.  That was the blue-eyed girl’s name, “Shasta.”  It was smooth and so was she.  She went down sweet like a Mio Sweet Tea.  She was concentrated and so was her screwdriver.  He’d jackknife just to reach where she was.  He was nervous, but he didn’t show it.  He brushed it off.  There’s no way he’d jump the shark tonight.  They chatted; they danced.  She twirled; he shuffled.  She got close.  He pulled her further.  He brushed his lips against her own.  Not quite a kiss, but with the screwdrivers twistin’ it certainly felt like one.  The lights flashed and flickered, the drinks kept coming, hours blurred by in a mere span of minutes. Blonde curly locks tumbled before he took a stumble.  He blushed, but blew it off.  He grabbed her by the waist and made a bee to the bar.  Shots were poured, shots were taken, another pair ordered up.  A little bass, a little banjo played in the fore—there was a new couple entrenched in their own lore.  A past stricken from the page is never truly stricken.  They each had their baggage.  They both tried to drop it off at the airlines, but that carousal always comes back around.  The two danced for years.  Their lips finally touched, and fireworks blossomed and crackled across the Vodka fueled fires.  The carry-ons slowly fell away, their passports became outdated, but no one cared.

One Love, One Heart


Personally, I believe that we should always strive to improve ourselves.  I am not a very religious man, but I feel that it is necessary to learn about the world’s religions.  All-in-all, it doesn’t change my standing on the subject, but it has enlightened me to other people’s beliefs and culture.  We’re all human, but it seems like many try to pry at the minute differences between us to create conflict.

In the long run it is pointless.  We all live separate lives in an essence.  Our goals and desires should be chased after, they are our own personal and independent struggles, but during the process we need to be respectful to our fellow man.  I live in a nation that is woefully confused.  We call ourselves Democrats, Republicans, and Independents and we fight for everything and nothing.  I’m proud to live in an age that is providing voice to the people, but I am equally saddened by the violence and hate that has led to the finding of our voice.

I read and listen to people spew their hate for gays, blacks, women, Muslims, Jews…anyone they can think of, when in all actuality they hate themselves the most and that is why they act out in bigotry and ignorance.  We are all people living together as one.  In the words of two of my greatest mentors, Robert Schultz and Bob Marley, “One love. One heart.”

We are of one and we need to rally as one.  We are not a world of socialists, whites, Americans, Asians, Christians, and Catholics we are a world of people, and if we put as much effort into understanding each other as we did hating each other we would learn to love the life we live and in turn live the life we love.

We, as a people, need to educate ourselves, and not in the traditional sense.  College is not a necessity anymore.  We live in an age where true wisdom comes from others.  We need to read, write, and converse.  We need to debate and draw.  We need to watch the world as it is, instead of trying to force it be something it can never become.

No matter what religion, race, or creed you belong to there is one certainty about life that we can all agree on: we have at least one shot, and we should make it count.  Leave a legacy of knowledge and love for your children, not one of hate and bigotry.

There is only one label: human.

One love—one heart.