Jul 23, 2012

And you were gone, gone, gone

Aurora, Colorado
It took a few days, but I've processed my feelings on the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and although I didn't know anyone there and wasn't directly affected, it shook me -- as I'm sure it did most of you, too. My cousin manages a theater in Austin and I wouldn't be surprised if he was managing the midnight showing there; my brother and his girlfriend were both at one in my hometown... if anything had happened to any of those three people in my life, or had happened in my hometown, period, I would be distraught, inconsolable, and irate. Just thinking about the possibility makes my heart break and my blood boil for the victims and their loves ones.

Death is something I've dealt with frequently in my life. Because of this, I am constantly coming up with scenarios in my head. Not morbid or anything, and it's not something that consumes me, but because the deaths in my life have been shocking, unexpected and terrifying (minus my grandparents, whom I knew it was their time to go), I always remind myself that life is unpredictable. Before this whole thing happened, I was sitting in a theater about two weeks ago watching Savages and thinking, half way through the movie, that someone could come in the theater and start shooting and we'd have no way of escaping. What would we do? Where would I go? What were the options?

I don't condone living life "preparing for the worst and expecting the best." I think that's a terrible philosophy to have, especially because I believe that infers that we should be fearful. And I don't think we should fear anything. Unfortunately crazy, mental, chemically-imbalanced people come up with plans that make no sense. But still, it's always in the back of my mind... those "what if?" scenarios. 

Shooting scenes are something that when I see them, get me every time. I can't watch them and not believe they're real. They terrify me, and I think about them over and over and over. I felt this way during the first Batman movie, during the episode of American Horror Story where we find out Tate was a school shooter; even Inglourious Basterds. These scenes should be things I can dismiss easily - they're not real, right? But in the end they're things we all know could actually happen. I think that's why Friday morning's events really affected me. It could have been any theater, anywhere, anyone. And knowing those innocent people walked in that movie, excited enough to go at midnight; spirits high, awaiting to watch a show that would take them away from any real problems, issues or fears they had in real life. Now they'll never have a chance to try to fix the problem, work out the issue, or overcome the fear. They didn't get a choice in the matter.

I said this on Facebook on Friday but I truly hate it when people say things "aren't fair" or "life is unfair." That's exactly right... get over it. That's how I think most of the time. But I can't help but to say this whole situation is so unfair. I felt this way only a handful of times in my life: Columbine, September 11th; my aunt's murder in 7th grade. I know God has plans, and I trust him, but none of this is fathomable or fair to anyone involved. It's not fair that a psychopathic lunatic who thinks he is The Joker -- even Heath Ledger commented that playing that type of character plagued him -- can get the validation of walking into a public place and stealing the lives of 12 people and injuring (possibly crippling) numerous others because he came up with some insane plan to do so. That he can use his knowledge and intelligence (being a med student -- I think I heard he dropped out a month ago) for evil. It's not fair that he can takes lives of innocent moviegoers and, consequently, tear apart the lives of the people who loved them. 

I can go on and on but it's not going to do any good. But I do want to say that we should consistently reach out to people. You never know what they're going through or how any positive or negative comment can affect them. I have to wonder the last time his parents checked on him, or any family member had. I am curious if he had any friends, or coworkers, or anyone that cared about him. It's clear there is something psychologically wrong with him, and it's chilling that he's only 24 years old. We need to stop living life ignoring our periphral vision. Instead, look around and chat with people. Let them open up to you. 

I know there are plenty of times I would rather not meet with people... either because I'm exhausted, or they're exhausting, or I just have no desire to deal with them. But we're not called to do everything we want to do all the time. Next time your friend wants you to go to coffee but you've just eaten, suck it up and go. They may be asking you because they need a confidant or someone to lean on -- not just to see you. And if you haven't heard from a friend or family member in awhile, give them a call and try as hard as you can to get in touch and see them. Don't give up on the first try. Love is persistent, and the last thing you want is to realize you didn't do everything you could, for that person, if they end up in a traumatizing time in their life. 

While I do wonder about his parents and friends, I also know that a lot of children are not a result of their upbringing. I know so many wonderful people who had a hard childhood, with parents who shouldn't be allowed to have children. On the other hand, I've met absolutely outstanding parents, who give all the love and guidance they can -- and I'd never recognize who their children were, because they're nothing like them. I just hate that his parents are getting the blame for a lot of this when the fact is that he's a grown man, and he should know right from wrong. Any logical human being would know buying weapons and ammunition to shoot up a theater is completely and utterly disgusting, absurd and animalistic. 

Further, I know a lot of people are saying we should ban costumes from theaters and "how could they not tell something was wrong when some weirdo with guns and a gas mask came in?" First off, he came in through an exit door in the theater. He had this planned out to a T. Nobody would have known. Second, we can't let crazy people ruin everything for us. If that's the case, we all should stop going to movies for fear of this happening again. (Which, admittedly, I did stay away from that movie this weekend for fear of similar acts.) I don't recall any theaters letting people in with masks or face paint ever, so if Batman fans want to dress up in costume, they should be allowed to. It's just sad that the people who don't comprehend that life shouldn't imitate art (in this instance) would ruin our cinematic experience -- and our lives. I have always wondered why they don't have metal detectors at theaters though. Still, even if they did, this particular incident wouldn't have been prevented.

I read this on Twitter and it stuck with me: I hope that those affected, those who lost loved ones, and those who are suffering through it all right now... I hope they find peace that surmounts understanding. There is no way to understand why these things happen, but just know that you will get through it, and a blessing will come out of it. It might not be right away, soon, or even comprehensible right now. But at some point, your heart will ache a little less, and your tears will dry up more quickly. 

You'll still remember it, and it will still hold a piece of your heart, but one day you will be okay. 

Jul 9, 2012

It's Raining Men...

Howdy howdy. It's been awhile since I just rambled about something that's unrelated to work, so let's dig in, shall we? 

I wouldn't call myself a "movie person." Especially since as a child, I would rent the same movies over and over for fear of renting a movie that I wouldn't like, and it wouldn't have been a waste of money. My go-to's were Carpool, My Best Friend's Wedding, Selena and Clueless, masterpieces, obviously -- until Mom bought them, realizing we were spending too much cash at Blockbuster just to rent the same four movies over and over. Anyway, summer is always the season that I empty my pockets and hit up the theater to see movies the day they come out.

Going to all these movies, my inner critic comes out. But I'm a realist critic. I know that going into Magic Mike, Rock of Ages and Savages, I shouldn't expect an academy award winning speech from Channing Tatum, Julianne Hough or Blake Lively. That's half the fun of movies. You go to be entertained; to stop thinking about whatever was bothering you before you went in. If I'm going to Magic Mike, I'm going to this movie to hoot and holler and hopefully see a handful of sexy abs and a whole lotta chiseled butt. And that's exactly (and then some) what I got. So I can't understand the women who are all, "I was disappointed." 

Ladies, not sure if you know this, but any more exposure and it would have been soft-core porn. When they dig on the (lack of, poor) storyline, I have to wonder: what did you expect, exactly? This isn't an Aaron Sorkin movie. It's Channing Tatum. He put together a movie loosely based on his stripping days. Matthew McConaughey gets his thong ripped off. Joe Manganiello pumps his (prosthetic, for the movie's sake) penis to enlarge it before they all dance in glittery outfits to "It's Raining Men." I don't think there's too much room for seriousness here, people.

Same with Rock of Ages. It's a musical about classic rock. A MUSICAL. If you expected to hit up a movie that had any stitch of reality, I wouldn't recommend going to a movie where Tom Cruise is playing a rock star. If you take the movie for what it's worth -- fun music, dancing, blah blah then you'll enjoy it. If you go in expecting Alec Baldwin to give an Oscar-winning performance... you're going to end up pissed.

And Savages. I love drug cartel movies. I think it's because it's so far away from anything I've experienced in reality, it gets my juices flowing. I'm always thinking, "WHY DID YOU GET STARTED IN THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE!" But it's entertaining to say the least. Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson are foxes, and regardless of what turmoil John Travolta is going through in his personal life, I love him as an actor. Salma Hayek is painstakingly gorgeous badass, but I almost vomited watching her slather on La Mer like butter. The cream is $140 for one ounce. ONE OUNCE! And Blake Lively hasn't been typecast or anything (ha)... but I hope one day she'll take on a role with more substance than "I'm a ho" or "I'm a the trophy to be won."

Speaking of hos... the harlots are out in full force this week since the ESPYs are this Wednesday in Los Angeles. Hoville is alive with the sound of murdered-out Bentleys rolling by and bottles poppin', since any athlete worth caring about from the past year will be in attendance. I mean if you think NBA All Star Week is bad, just imagine having every professional athlete from all sports: baseball, basketball, hockey, football, soccer, etc. -- in one central location. Ladies of Los Angeles, be sure not to wear your cleavage-bearing tees or short shorts this week or you *may* end up in a hotel room as another groupie ho. On a somewhat related note, I still want to hit up some parties so if you're looking to hookup a non-heathen with a passion for sports, set a sister up.

Lastly, is there a reason why people feel the need to go crazy on social media? This woman responded to a comment I made on the 4th about how I was worried a firework might set a tree on fire, and it all went downhill from there. The follower is a so-called "journalist," who I might have believed since she has several prestigious reporters following her, but I have to wonder if they're following her because she tweets like she's incoherently drunk. I'm not kidding. One minute I'm asking her to have a sense of humor and the next she's tweeting about she would call her attorney and file a defamation suit. 

I will have a whole other blog dedicated to defamation and how just because you claim someone is defaming you, doesn't mean it's a reality: I've never claimed my opinions were the truth, yet this woman barely scrapes 300 Twitter followers, and she thinks that someone like myself, someone with a measly 1,100 followers, stating an opinion (that being which I thought she was highly intoxicated, if not blackout drunk, based on the syntax of her tweets) would be defaming to her. It's laughable. The best part is that she thinks she's going to call up an attorney and threaten me with that is hilarious, and also proves that absolutely anyone will use the law as a threat in order to get what they want.

She's delusional, and I blocked her. I can shake most people off but this time... I needed to take serious measures. She's since protected her account because various followers of mine started wondering the same thing ("Is this woman drunk?") so I guess the moral of this story is a) don't respond to randoms on Twitter whom you don't know because they could end up driving you insane -- she responded to everything I said, unrelated to her, for about 24 hours straight (hence the blocking) and b) please try to construct reasonable, grammatically correct sentences on Twitter. It's a website meant to be clever. You have to carefully construct coherent thoughts. It's not a site where we revert back to 1999 text slang. (Hay, r u do-n nething 2nite?)

Lastly, there are some JUICY spoilers up on RealitySteve.com. And if you don't know what show I'm referring to, it's clearly The Bachelorette. Let's just say everything I thought was going to happen is apparently not... and I may just have to submit for The Bachelor next season. Yes. Me. The person who is vehemently against the show in the first place... this next season might just be the game-changer, folks.

Happy Monday! And stay tuned: hopefully I get involved some ESPY shenanery this Wednesday.

Jul 1, 2012

Only hope

Lately, I've been getting a lot of messages, emails, and texts asking for advice. This ranges mostly between boys and career questions, which is amusing considering I am not the person to be giving advice for either.

Re: why I'm not qualified to talk about men: pretty self-explanatory. Being a woman without a boyfriend (or any prospects for that matter), I wouldn't say I'm "qualified" to give helpful advice when it comes to handling the opposite sex. Then again, I've entertained many of you through my escapades on Mentervention, so perhaps I might be a voice of reason in that department.

As far the job questions, it's flattering that anyone would bother to ask me for advice. I guess posting my videos and all that on Facebook/Twitter makes it seems like I know what I'm doing.

So, I'm going to dedicate another blog (entirely) answering those questions. For now though, there is one thing I do want to make sure you remember before doing anything else in your life:

Have hope.


Hope is my favorite word. It's the one intangible that I am actually happy is intangible. I know no matter what that I will always have my hope because it's something nobody can take away from me, no matter how helpless I feel or when others tell me I can't do something.

I was reflecting this weekend on everything I want to accomplish in my life, and thinking of the timeline, I got a little anxious about it. I'm without a doubt a "Type A" kind of gal, so I do make goals and set timelines to achieve them. It's in my blood. I feel positive about my life right now but sometimes I get worried that I'm behind on normal things that many of my friends are experiencing: love, houses, etc. 

Then today at church, Dr. Brewer reminded me of something. (Shocker!) It's blasphemous to worry. When he said that, it threw me off a bit. Blasphemous? Come on now. But he made it clear: to worry insinuates you think that you are God, and that you are the one who has control. Do not worry or be anxious, and know that He is going to provide for you. He wants to surprise you with joy through everything in your life: through loss; through generosity. Dr. Brewer reiterated this theme by dissecting Phillippians 4:6-7.

For me, this is a constant reminder to keep having hope. Keep hope alive during those moments where you're euphoric and full of joy; mostly, keep hope near in times of despair and loss. 

Which brings me to this. 

A few years ago, when I first moved to Los Angeles, I worked at Frederic Fekkai on Melrose Place. Down the street was Melrose Place Cafe (now it's Fig & Olive) and a server there, Christina, would deliver our clients food every now and again. She was beautiful and unique: rich brown eyes; a long mane of brunette hair with a bleached white streak falling along the right side of her face. She had several tattoos. She was tiny, with a husky voice. I don't say that to be rude -- it was awesome.

I would frequently give her change since many of the clients in our salon only carried bills $20 or higher, and Melrose Place Cafe wasn't exactly poppin' at 12:30 on a Wednesday. So she often needed fives and ones and we'd chat about random things before she'd head back to the cafe.

Anyway, one day she came in and told me she was excited because she was going to be performing on So You Think You Can Dance that coming Thursday. I had no idea she was a singer, but she explained that her song, "Jar of Hearts," was going to be used during one of the more emotional dances of the night.

If you haven't guessed, that girl was Christina Perri. "Jar of Hearts" gave her international fame and not only did she get to quit her job (I hope her horrible boss feels terrible about how he treated her), she blew up on radio stations across the nation. Her song, "A Thousand Years" was featured on the Twilight: Breaking Dawn soundtrack, and her current single features (my personal favorite) Jason Mraz.

So have hope, people. Christina Perri was working a crap job and is presently living her dream. Katy Perry lost two record deals and was living in her car. Now she's the only artist outside of Michael Jackson to have five #1 hits off the same album.  Brad Stevens (look him up ladies) is the youngest coach to go to two Final Fours, the second-youngest to get to the NCAA championship, and the third-youngest to get 30 wins (in his first year). Before that, he was a volunteer in the Butler Basketball office while living in a friend's basement. It took him seven years to get to head coach status, but with hard work, passion, drive and persistence, he did it.

Keep on keepin' on. You're never too young or too old to go after the desires of your heart. That doesn't mean there won't be struggles, trials and disappointments, but it's never too late (or too early). And while I'm not a huge advocate of anything to do with Ross Perot... he makes a valid point:
"Most people give up right when they're about to reach success. They give up on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown." 
And here's Christina doing her thang with Mr. Mraz. 

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