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Sunday
Jun102018

Seeking Help

I've been wanting to write something about Anthony Bourdain since I heard the news Friday, but couldn't quite find the words. I'm not sure I have them yet.

When I first saw the news alert on Friday, it hit me hard and quick. I can't say that Bourdain was a hero of my mine or that I spent much time looking up to him. But I admired him. Every time he popped up somewhere, I thought: "Damn. What a life. If I ever become one tenth as influential as he is, I'll be a success." He crafted his own path through this world, doing his own thing. He got to a place of success on his own and not just following what others had down before him. I admire that.

He started as a cook, became a chef, overcame drug addiction, became a writer, became a television host of a travel show, which slowly turned into a journalist. I loved No Reservations early on, because it was fun and Bourdain had some great voice overs. I loved it after it turned into much more of a journalism show following their Beirut episode and he continued that in CNN's Parts Unknown.

Bourdain made an effort to show the truth of the countries he went to. The real people, the real culture, the real impacts of war and violence that had impacted the country. It wasn't your basic travel show and it wasn't your basic journalism special on a foreign country. It was it's own thing. It was his thing.

After my initial reaction, another thought hit me: "That kind of makes sense." For a man, whose writing and to some degree his lifestyle, were inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, to take his own life makes a certain amount of sense.

Hunter S. Thompson was 67 at the time, but could feel himself going. He was in pain, he couldn't live his life the way he had. He was done, so he left on his own terms rather than see himself fall further into a life he didn't want to live.

I don't know and we may never know what Bourdain's reason for leaving were, what he was dealing with, or if it had any impact on his decision, but maybe it did. It didn't have to though.

Every story and social media posting following the news have included this number: 1-800-273-8255. That's the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. It's an important number.

But that hotline feels like it's a last minute, Hail Mary pass for those suffering. You don't need to get to that point to seek help. Here's a website that I found very helpful: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists . It can help you find a therapist or counselor in your area. If you're dealing with depression, anxiety, or even think you might be, or you have a tendency to go to darker thoughts, try therapy.

The website has pictures of counselors, information about them, what their specialities are, what their treatment methods are, and what kind of insurance they accept. If you have ever thought "maybe I should find someone to talk to" then you should find someone to talk to. I have found that a lot more people go or have gone to therapy than I thought before.

It's not a shameful thing. Look at all those listings on the website, if only a few people went to therapy, not all of those people would stay in business. There's two important things to keep in mind about therapy.

First, as a very wise friend told me, you have to find the right one. Maybe you need to go to 2 or 3 different ones before you find one that you feel comfortable with and you have to feel comfortable. I went to one and did not feel comfortable at all and very quickly stopped going. The second one I went to, I lucked out, and she dropped a Seinfeld reference in the second session. That's someone I can feel comfortable around.

Second, going to therapy is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of strength. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but it's true. You are admitting that you need help, but you are actively pursuing that help to improve yourself. If you were a high school football player and you wanted to get a scholarship to college, but you weren't good enough, you would improve yourself by working out more, getting help from trainers and coaches, listening to advice. None of these things would be considered a weakness, they would be considered a strength. Looking for someone to talk to about what you're feeling is no different.

It's not easy. It can be scary. But realize that whatever you're wrestling with, you don't have. Just take things one step at a time.

Thursday
May242018

Fantastic Four and X-Men Can Still Join Marvel

I woke up this morning to the internet worrying that Comcast will mess up the Disney-Fox Merger. Actually, I woke up to my cat knocking shit off the dresser, but then I saw people worrying online.

I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's possible that Comcast now wants to get into original content, but I doubt they are doing it for the purpose of getting Marvel characters like The X-Men and The Fantastic Four. I'm sure though that's what Disney is looking for in their deal.

At this point, I see three things happening, and all of them end up with the Fantastic Four and X-Men being able to join the MCU.

Scenario 1: In light of the Comcast offer, Disney sweetens their offer and ends up buying Fox.

Scenario 2: Comcast buys Fox, the merger goes through, and they then sell the rights to Disney for several billion dollars.

Scenario 3: Comcast buys Fox, keeps the rights to the Marvel Comics characters, but works out a deal with Marvel/Disney to co-produce films starring those characters. Similar to the deal Sony worked out with Marvel for using Spider-Man.

I don't know which of these seems most likely to happen, but I don't think there is zero hope of seeing Wolverine pop up in the MCU. Even if the Disney/Fox merger does happen, it's still a few years from going through. Marvel has movies planned that don't involve these characters, so they aren't necessarily biting their nails with concern.

At some point though, on a long enough timeline, some kind of deal will get worked out to bring these characters together. Why? Because they make a lot of money. And everyone's going to want a piece of it. Up until the point superhero movies fall out of public love, but until that happens, everyone's going to want a piece of the billion dollar franchise that is the MCU.

Tuesday
May222018

Gyllenhaal Joins Spider-Man

It's being reported that Jake Gyllenhaal is in final talks to play Mysterio in the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming. The sequel reportedly takes place in London and Europe, so I will be referring to it as Spider-Man: European Vacation.

I'm not sure how I feel about this news. I'm possibly hoping it's a play to get someone else to sign on as Mysterio.

It's not that I dislike Jake Gyllenhaal - actually it's partially that - but it's more that I can't picture him in a comic book movie. All his movies that I've seen, he's done excellent work in, but all those roles were darker, much more serious. He was great in Nightcrawler and Prisoners, but those are complete tonal opposites to Spider-Man.

 

Aside from the difficulty I have spelling his name, I'm also distracted that he looks like a rich man's Tobey Maguire - who played Spider-Man. See where I'm going with this? No? Fine, I'm not really sure myself. It just feels weird.

I think the largest problem I have is that I just don't see him as Mysterio. Michael Keaton as Vulture, I saw immediately. It was perfect. But I can't imagine Jake as a Bubble-headed villain. I'm sure the team working on the movie will nail the costume. I just can't picture it. Which is probably why I don't work in costume design.

I'm sure it'll work out fine, even if it is Jake Gyllenhaal.

What has me really excited though, is that Mysterio is an underused villain. He was always one of my favorites in the 90s animated series and the 90s comics. I'm really liking the fact that they seem to be keeping away from Norman Osborn and the Green Goblin, going for the lesser utilized villains.

It's something I hope DC learns from and in future Batman movies, they stay away from yet another Joker. Or in Superman, take some focus off Lex Luther.

The other thing that I'm really excited about is, it seems like we're leading up to some version of The Sinister Six. Even if they don't go through with it, we're going to be more than halfway there and as a fan, that excites me. We already have Vutlure, Shocker, and the man who becomes the Scorpion. Add Mysterio, we're two away.

The only reason I think they may actually head in that direction is that the Vulture is set to return for European Vacation and that The Tinkerer who helped Vulture in Homecoming is connected to Mysterio in the comics. And with a third movie in development, maybe we'll see a supervillain team up, better than whatever Legion of Doom DC is planning. Or what happened in Spider-Man 3.

Sunday
May202018

The Problems of Call of Duty

The reveal trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 launched the other day. And after watching it, reading a little about it, especially the lack of a single player campaign, I have to say Call of Duty has some problems and it's probably going to sound like an old man yelling at a cloud again.

The first issue is the lack of a campaign, or the lack of a story when there is one. The high point of the Call of Duty franchise was undoubtably Modern Warfare. It was such a fan favorite, it got remastered for Playstation 4 and XBox One. Part of this had to have been the great campaign mode. It also had a solid multiplayer mode and was set in a mostly realistic world. After this, we dove into the future of warfare with privatized militaries led by Kevin Spacey (a move I'm sure everyone regrets.) And then into space, fight Jon Snow, who turns out knew a lot. But the campaigns were short and not worth it. They focused on celebrity casting rather than telling a good story.

The second issue, is the need to constantly be moving into the future tech of warfare. I get it to a certain point, in order to sell more games, you have to make something worth buying. Which means you need a new product that's not just the same thing, you need new advancements to attract more people to buy them. But there's a percentage of people out there - like myself that prefer a straight up shooter. We don't need fancy tech, barricades out of nothing, exo skeletons that let you do a double jump like a 90s platformer. Look at the success of Call of Duty: WWII. It was great and there were no extras, just straight shooting.

The third issue, is nothing about the nature of the game itself, but the community. I'm kind of sick of multiplayer games because of the other players. The trash talking filled with swearing and racial slurs, mostly uttered by children. And yes, a lot of these kids beat me, and that's fine. I'm not old, but I'm old enough that I don't have the time to spend hours playing online, honing my skills, the way that anyone still in school has time to do. I'm just sick of playing and hearing kids ask there mom for 5 more minutes and then they'll start their homework.

Maybe I am aging out of multiplayer games in favor of more solo experiences like Far Cry 5 and Assassin's Creed Origins and the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2. I doubt I'll ever age out of games completely, but at some point, I'll stop multiplayer completely. How do I know? I watched the Black Ops 4 trailer and felt zero excitement.

Sunday
May132018

Happy Mudder's Day!

It's Mother's Day. The day in which we all go on social media to tell everyone else how great our mom is and why she's different than any other mom. Oh, and share pictures at a two minimum. One has to be you as a child with your mom and her crazy dated hair and the second a more recent one, usually at a big event like a graduation, wedding, etc.

I don't know why we do this. Mother's Day is supposed to be a day to honor your mom and do something for her. Take a minute out of your hectic schedule to say, "Hey, mom. Thanks for bringing me into this crazy world. I know how I turned out. I tried. You did your best." Not necessarily tell everyone else how great your mom is.

 

Nine times out of ten, the person seeing your post prefers their mom to your mom. I'm glad you love your mom, but she's not my mom. Your mom didn't care for me when I was sick. Your mom didn't tell me to do my homework. Your mom didn't wipe my ass. (Probably should have put that one first.)

All mothers are great. Your mothers are all great cause they are important to you. My favorite mother is mine cause I'm biased. But I think there's one mother we can all agree is better than ours...

Next year, let's do something different. Tell your mom how great and wonderful she is. Make sure she knows how you feel. It doesn't matter if everyone else knows cause they'll disagree.