Excuse Me

Salt N Pepper

Salt N Pepper

I was sitting in one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants during my lunch our. Within the garbled conversation and slurping of Pho noodles (pronounced fuh, not fo like "What's up fo"?), I'd heard two middle-age men talking.

"Will they gain the life expectancy back with the time they put in the gym?" a salt-and-pepper haired man said.

Let's do the twist!

Let's do the twist!

"Not likely," a chubby-cheeked man said.

"They've done studies where going to the gym doesn't extend life expectancy but usually results in more injury," salt and pepper said.

"It's just a waste of time," chubby cheeks said. "I have better things to do than spend my whole day at the gym."

I wondered how much television they watched and how that was contributing to their quality of life. To some, a lot. To others who like to exercise and have passions outside of creating excuses for themselves, not much.

During my voluntary confinement in my 6 X 6 cubicle, what I'd like to refer to as my day job, my cube mate said, "I'm still carrying weight. I had him like a month ago."

Her cube mate said, "It's not like you're a celebrity."

Before: Dayem!  After:  Damn!

Before: Dayem!  After:  Damn!

One of the things I've done as a teacher, as an actor, and now a writer, is listen to what people say and do. You can read a lot about a person by what they're saying. In both the above cases, excuses are being fed to themselves and each other about not doing something, exercise. But the excuses could've been anything:

"I don't have time to pursue my art."

"My passions aren't going to pay for my bills."

"It's just a hobby. I can do it anytime. But with work, family..."

"I don't even know where to begin. And who am I to think I can paint?"

"I don't have them money to start this."

I've definitely used excuses. What are they good for? Ultimately, excusing yourself from knowing the truth. What might that truth be? How powerful we are.

To attain anything great, we must first realize that we are capable. Once we become too entwined in our own self-doubt, we begin to create roadblocks that actually block us from moving forward.

Hell no we won't go!

Hell no we won't go!

I can't tell you how many people widened their eyes and told me how impossible publishing a book can be. But the only way I can become a published author is to first write. If I don't write and only focus on how difficult the road may be, I'll never take the first step to get published. Does that mean those thoughts don't occur in my head? No. I just focus on the task at hand, which is simply to write.

There are pundits at writing conferences that say you have to network, have a web presence, have white teef (teeth for you ghetto challenged), walk the walk, talk the talk, and be one with the all mighty universe (that would be Oprah) to get published.

Be as you wish to seem -Socrates

But none of that is important until I write. Writing to a writer is the most important task. Obvious write (right)? This simple philosophy is lost at writing conferences.

Instant Message, Ugh

One of my favorite things to do is read people.  I used to think that I had to be present, to be there next to the person, to feel their eyes.  And I don't mean getting my grubby hands on people's corneas.  To be there  wasn't necessary.  But as instant messaging becomes a tool in corporations, it becomes a tool for me, and anyones else, to learn to read people through their IM. People IM they way they talk.  Which is fine!  But it's funny when people type "Uh..."  And they do type the ... after the Uh.  Like they want you to know they're thinking.  I've also seen my questions answered first with "er".

Er?

Or what about the "Let me think about that."  Why not just think about it, then respond once you've pondered, surmised, and worked through?

I also love the "Hmmm."  I love it cause I do that when I don't know how to respond.  Gives me time to think without typing let me think.

So what's the point?

One thing that is true in our world, in our universe, is we're all connected.  It's the reason I can read people when they're in my presence or not (something anyone can do).  There is an energy like the force in Star Wars that connects us all, connects us to the environment we live in.  We think of ourselves as separate beings, when we are really a single entity.  It's the reason why when a person hurts someone, they in turn hurt themselves.  When people come back from war they're forever changed and suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.  The death they see, the death they cause rips their souls.

Remember Harry Potter?  How Voldemort wanted to rip his soul into pieces by killing others?  There is truth in that.

I've had to think this about a lot.  The main character deals with this not only within himself, but with the families that are opposed to the erupting war.  A war that he's partly responsible.

And of course this idea doesn't just apply to death.  This applies to hurting someone emotionally.  I can't tell you how many times I've argued with my mom and felt guilty about it afterward.  Or the number of times I've fallen into severe arguments with my ex-girlfriends and felt horrible.  In the end, no one wins a fight.  Both sides are hurt, exhausted, and don't want to connect with each other.

Is it better to be right, or to be happy?  Because isn't the  meaning of life happiness?

J.J. Abrams Turned Star Trek Universe On Itself

Did J.J. Abrams turn the Star Trek universe on itself? The problem with remakes, even ones that are considered prequels, is that you have to be loyal to the source material.  James T. Kirk who was captain of the starship Enterprise must become captain again.  Spock must be teamed up with Kirk.  Then all of the prior installments must be observed, so the current prequel plot lines don't contradict them.

This can limit the storyteller.

What Abrams did was pure genius.  He used the Star Trek universe as means to allow him the freedom to make future Star Trek movies with no ties to the prior movies.  He used time and alternate universes to help free himself from the past.  See the movie and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

The movie itself was well made.  The dialogue, writing, action was really on par if not better than previous installments.  There was great chemistry among most of the main characters, and there were enough surprises that helped propel the plot.

The characters traits were well defined in the beginning.  And this matches well to young adults who tend to be idealistic in nature.

They even used the odd man out in red in a mission that foreshadowed his quick death.  You remember?  In the old episodes when they beamed down, the one person who no one cared, wearing a red uniform was the one who was going to die.  Saw that a mile away.

I totally recommend the movie.  You don't need to be a Trekkie to enjoy this.  However, there are plenty of inside jokes for Trekkies of all levels.