High above the cloud cover. Mitt Romney wants me to be able to open my window
So my job makes it really difficult to maintain a regular blog. Writing for a newspaper every day IS my blog. It just happens to be on something called pap-uh. Or is it Papurn. No, I think it’s called paper. Yes, paper.
It’s such a novel idea, this newspaper thing. It is outdated, sure. Tools nowadays make it something only old geezers pick up to read at their early-morning breakfast. Everyone else wants to see news stories online immediately. Now, now, now!
Well, as many of you (my four subscribers) may know, I’m acting as a bit of a side project and I want let you all know that my story about this past Saturday’s experiment will, instead of making an appearance on this blog, be published in the Night & Day section of Thursday’s Niagara Gazette, Lockport Union
Scum & Urinal Sun & Journal and the Tonawanda Snooze News.
In other words, this one I got paid to write. Nothing more than my actual salary to write, but still paid.
In rupees, but still paid.
It’ll also be available online at the Gazette’s website in the Night & Day section.
Fare thee well until next we speak, kind reader.
So, I’m an actor. Or so I have to tell myself now. I’m not professional yet, I don’t get paid (I think back to an episode of The Big Bang Theory and remember the exchange between Leonard and Penny when her electricity is out: “Really, you’ve had an acting job where you got paid?” “THAT is not the definition of professional.”), but I do get to go and stand on a wood stump and tell a ghost story.
Yeah, a ghost story. I totally make this story up on the spot. I hope people understand that. This isn’t rehearsed, I don’t have a script. I have a little bit of research in my head about a ship from the 1600s which may be a ghost ship because no one’s found it (actually it has been found, I know one of the guys who did it) and it is intriguing.
But one thing they didn’t teach me in my improv acting class is make sure you look your part. In improv, everything is made up. But here, I actually have a costume.
I did well my first night. I got up on that stump, I told my completely unrehearsed ghost story, got a fell shivers from some of the young children near the front of the stage and had a blast in my first performance.
Everything was looking great. Until I realized afterward my fly was down the whole time. Yeah, it’s been that kind of night.
Next week should be better in the wardrobe department for sure.
So, my birthday is only days away. When I was a young child, it was the best day of the year. I think everyone can say they loved celebrating their birthday. It meant PRESENTS! And dinner at a restaurant of my choice, at least in my family.
But as I got older, I realized it’s just another day. And maybe it’s because my desires have switched from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures to functional clothing and bed sheets, but now the presents don’t even get me super excited.
The last few years have been a series of lackluster birthdays. Sure I’ve been with friends and family, but the excitement just hasn’t been the same. After all, I’m just turning another year older (insert sad clown music here).
So this year, I’m not lying down and taking it. Not anymore. This year, I’m turning 30, and I’m going to do it with a bang rather than a whimper. And you’re going to help me.
Yes, you. I’m pointing at you through my computer screen (it’s magic). I’m taking the thrill of turning another year older back and turning my birthday into something meaningful for someone else. The people of Rwanda, actually.
Hear me out.
Charity: Water, a nonprofit organization which builds clean drinking water wells in poverty-stricken African countries, has a campaign where people donate their birthdays, instead of collecting presents, to making a real difference.
The idea is to do something different with my birthday, to bring back its meaning in my life. The best way I know how to do that at this age is to make sure my day helps to keep someone less fortunate than me alive and in good health.
September 17 was a special day for me, now it can be again.
And what’s more, 100 percent of every donation each of you make goes directly to helping these people.
I’ve done the research on this charity, this is 100 percent legitimate. I’ve donated through them myself before. All I’m asking you to do right now is to take the time to figure out for yourself exactly what I’ve already figured out. Do a little reading, learn about the charity and its projects, watch the videos.
Then decide. Give a little, give a lot, it doesn’t matter. If you can’t afford to drop some coin, pass the link on to your friends. Have them read this blog. Point them towards a cause that’s worthy of attention.
Too many people say they want to do something but don’t know where to start. Well, here’s the starting point. And once you’ve donated, pledge your birthday as well. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
Please click this link - it opens in a new window - and let the world know you are standing up with me to make a difference. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Sleeping surface for the night (Taken with Instagram)
OK, so before I go into my review of The Dark Knight Rises (a.k.a. The Best Movie Ever Made), I need to say a few words about what happened in Colorado overnight. At about 12:30 a.m. Mountain Time Friday, a gunman opened fire inside an Aurora movie theater showing the film.
The gunman, suspected to be 24-year-old James Holmes, was arrested shortly after the mass shooting, but not before killing more than a dozen people and injuring close to 50 more. UPDATE: The victim number appears to be around 71 total, including those who died.
This is a tragedy of monumental proportions. It’s a movie theater, filled with people who have nowhere to go. It’s hard enough getting out of the seat rows when you’re walking. Now do it in a hail of bullets and in a fear-induced panic, surrounded by a hundred other fearful panicking people. I honestly can’t imagine it. I really can’t.
My thoughts are with the victims, people like Jessica Ghawi who survived a mass shooting in the Eaton Centre in Toronto last month only to be killed watching a movie here. There are sure to be many more stories told following this in the coming hours and days as the victims come to public light. And as they do, we need to remember them, much like we did after Columbine, Virginia Tech and Chardon Township, Ohio just recently. They all deserve to be known if even for just a short time. They were citizens, waiting for a movie to start they’d waited years to see.
Cowardice took them away from us.
That movie, the one they never got to watch, seems distant now. It’s not important anymore and likely won’t be. Ever. It’s not funny in the least how tragedy seems to follow this film franchise around, with this shooting following the untimely death of Heath Ledger shortly after filming its predecessor, The Dark Knight. Oh, and a stuntman died while filming it as well. The movies aren’t just a dark re-imagining of the Dark Knight, they’re actually deadly.
But they’re also good. No, they’re great. And that’s what this should have been about. Not about shooting victims or deaths surrounding productions. This write-up should have been about the characters which shined, including Anne Hathaway’s Selina “Catwoman” Kyle. Especially Anne Hathaway.
I could go on and on about the performances. Tom Hardy’s Bane was perfect for the film (though the voice was a lot worse than anything Christian Bale was accused of in the previous movie). Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine owned their roles and their screen time, just like always. And the aforementioned Bale, he was magnificent.
Like The Dark Knight, this film was long. It clocks in at almost three hours (and goes beyond it once you consider the immense amount of previews before it gets started). But unlike its predecessor, this film has almost no lagging moments or parts between action scenes where you wonder why the director thought pacing needed to slow to a snail’s pace.
There will be no spoilers in this review. There will only be praise. I’m no film critic, though I have had multiple reviews published in newspapers. This movie is, to me, the best movie ever made. Because it goes beyond explosions and fights and astonishing cameos even the most up-to-date scooper can’t predict (OK, one spoiler: JONATHAN CRANE!). It is a story with characters that just happen to be from a comic book, not the other way around.
If you go see a movie (by this, I mean you aren’t scared away from the theater because of the actions of a homicidal dirtbag) and decide on this one, you won’t be disappointed. And you don’t need to be a big Batman fan. I’ve never once read a single comic about Batman. My experiences with the characters come from early 90s cartoon shows and the movies from the same time period. I’m a fan a good story telling, and this movie did the best I’ve ever seen. Ever.
Thank you for reading.
dka6767 asked: And the dart landed on your Tumblr icon so, can you please advise how to enbale NOTES for the invididual posts?
No, I can’t. Cause I don’t know how to.
Ni hao, Tumblr, I have missed you. OK, not really, but it has been a long, long time since I’ve posted anything. Primarily because I’ve been putting out a kiloton of stories over at the Niagara Gazette newspaper.
Some of my more recent favorites are: this story about a Chinese experience camp meeting in Lewiston-Porter, this story about a local school superintendent who was paid to leave his district and a personal look into why I like the Facebook timeline profile (though many will disagree with me).
I also did a story detailing local reaction to the school shooting in the Cleveland, Ohio area, an in-depth piece about what state testing is doing to districts in western Niagara County and even touched on the Buffalo Sabres in the sports section (sorry, they don’t put these on the Internet, so no links).
But the highlight so far was the amazing time I had covering everything Nik Wallenda has done in Niagara Falls, from N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing the bill to make the highwire walk possible and a year-end wrap up story for 2011 to the biggest story of my professional career previewing the historic walk the morning before it happened (link not available). I also got in on the post-walk fun talking to various city leaders about how Wallenda’s walk will impact the area short-term and long-term both.
From there, it was on to a personal favorite series of stories I wrote. Nearby Lewiston, N.Y. entered to contend for the USA Today/Rand McNally Best of the Road contest’s distinction of “Best For Food.” The tiny town entertained both Mike Shubic and Brian Cox last month for three days first welcoming them with open arms, feeding them an amazing assortment of dishes and then sending them on their way. When it came down to final judgment, Lewiston couldn’t beat Santa Fe, N.M. (which has almost four times the number of people) but held its head high in defeat.
In all, this year has been one chaotic mess. That’s a lot of reading I’m leaving you with, but the hope is you can have it all done by summer, just in time for the new school year to start. Until next time, Tumblr, shi shi. (This blog started out with ‘hello’ in Chinese and ended with ‘goodbye’ in the same language.)
So I promised a new post every day in February. Not that anyone is reading them. But the promise was made anyway.
I haven’t delivered. It was only the second day, but I missed it, posting late. I missed the third day again. Then, I went away from my computer for a couple days. That brings us to Tuesday. I really need to get a better handle on things.
So, I missed posting about the Super Bowl. It was a good game (not great), and the drama was exactly what I wanted. I wanted a last-play game, which is what I was rooting for. I got it.
As a Buffalonian, I had no interest in watching the Patriots win a game. I also had no interest in the Giants winning, because my family is decidedly anti-New York sports teams. So instead of a winner, I cheered for drama. And did I get it.
As Tom Brady dropped back for the final heave down the field, I enjoyed the thought that the play mattered.
As for the commercials - the real reason to watch any Super Bowl - they were funny. My top 3 were:
1) M&Ms party featuring Ms. Brown.
2) The Hyundai cheetah commercial
3) Clint Eastwood’s halftime call-to-arms
The other ones were OK. Matthew Broderick was all right in his. Jerry Seinfeld wasn’t as cool as I thought the bit would be. They were OK, but nothing spectacular.
That’s it. Bye for now.