The Journal of the Man in The Box.

I rarely go outside anymore. Except for shopping, the rare appointment and the occasional hike up the hill to make sure the moon is still there.

If I were to keep a journal of my daily activities from inside my little box, every entry would look the same.

 

DATE: Any-day-of-the-week Month the Umpteenth

wake

Exercise (Stationary bike, treadmill, weights or yoga depending on how I feel. [I used to have a schedule… screw that])

Shower

Calm Abiding Meditation

Eggs (I wish I were more creative with my eggs… Scrambled, Fried, Omelette, Hard boiled… that’s it)

Internet surfing while watching talk shows from previous night. (Letterman, Conan, Jon & Stephen, Maddow on iTunes and Bill Maher on Sat. mornings or Geek & Sundry, Rev3 & TWiT netcasts [Love Tekzilla, Frame Rate and Breakin’ it Down)

Coffee

Play video games online while listening to music (mostly rock/alt unless its the weekend Sat: Jazz, Sun: Opera) until someone online angers me so much that I have to turn the damn thing off before I break the controller… or I win.

Oatmeal (Raisins, Bananas, Cinnamon and/or just raw sugar)

Watch a game, a couple of movies or a TV series on Netflix, on DVD or pirated (rare but it happens).

Dinner (Vegetables, Pasta, Beans & Rice, Fish or some combination of these)

Insight Meditation

Write something (music, poetry, prose, blog post, comment or complaint letter)

Tea (Green, Chamomile, Peppermint or a blend)

Play the guitar in bed or read until I fall asleep.

(And do it all again the next day)

In-between, I drink lots of water, masturbate if the mood arises, check my e-mail too often for someone with so little going on and pet my cat when she wants me to lest I be bitten or scratched.

But honestly, I’m not in a rut.

I’m in a groove.

However, with the infrequent and unwelcome bouts of anxiety and/or mania that hit me for absolutely no reason out of the blue, I have never experienced an extended period of peace of mind.

But this comes close.

I just wish I could see the moon from the window of my little box.

– Mel

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My Birthday (and His)

45 years ago today I emerged cold, screaming and kicking into this world.

My friends have kept me warm since then, and the screaming has died down somewhat… but I am still kicking.

From the moment Beverly held me close to her and I felt loved to this morning reading how my old school friends on Facebook wish me well since an app told them it was my birthday (and because they’re all very sweet) I have felt the warmth.

From my first real friend to my dear friends who let me sleep on their sofas or on their floors, in their beds and futons or kept me company on the phone, on the stoops or in the bars when I needed someone with which to talk I have felt the warmth of the world.

Even when I was alone, sleeping on the streets of whatever city I happened to be in, I was never cold.

I was angry. Decades of screaming anger misdirected.

In the beginning I screamed at the doctor’s cold hands and at the mother’s cold heart and I cried. The first time of many.

Soon I learned to quiet the screaming anger with cakes and cookies and then with pills and powders and fiery liquids that delivered a false warmth. And when my body began to reject the abuse I was forced to live with the anger and found that there was no shortage of people who were willing (and have the authority) to beat the shit out of you whenever they feel like you’re being a little too angry.

When I realized that there was no real reason for my anger, that it didn’t help a damn thing and only made shit worse, even that made me angry. But the absurdity of this anger made me laugh. I laughed at myself for the first time. I had never til that day laughed at myself sober. I always took everything, everyone and especially myself way too seriously.

Now, I laugh at myself all the time.

I am absurd. I am hopelessly and comically absurd and it’s funny. It’s hysterical in fact.

But without the anger, the anger that fueled my every action, am I still a fighter?

Am I still even alive and kicking?

Am I still that newborn who wanted to beat the shit out of that doctor for having put his hands on me.

“Get your stinking hands off of me you damn dirty ape.” I think I said to him but no one understood me and that just pissed me more the fuck off.

I wanted to bust out of that hospital, and hop a cab to Brooklyn but I had no pockets… and no wallet… or money… or motor skills enough to hop for that matter. Okay, my earliest plans were a little ambitious but I was an angry child.

And now, without that anger, what am I?

Contestant: I’ll take People with Emotional Problems for 200 Alex.

Trebek: My anger defined me for so long.

buzz

Trebek: Melvin

Contestant: Who is Mel?

Trebek: Correct

Sure, I can visit with it. My anger is that extra mile on the treadmill. It’s an 0-2 pitch that’s right… down… the middle. It’s that boss battle that I will not let myself complete on easy. It’s Fox News forcing it’s way into everything I hold dear.

Like an Angel said to me (though he may have been talking to Buffy) “There’s a demon inside of me that hasn’t had a good fight in a while.”

So I bring him out for the trivial stuff. Games and shit but I don’t trust him with anything important. Can’t.

But you know, It’s really his birthday today.

My re-birthday, the day I stopped trying to kill myself, the day I learned to laugh at myself, the day I stopped being angry all the time, that’s another day.

So, happy birthday tough guy. Thanks for making me feel safe when I really wasn’t.

You’ll understand if I don’t let you out to celebrate because frankly you suck.

But I’ll see you on the basketball court.

-Mel

5 by 5: My 5 Favorite Films by My 5 Favorite Directors (4/5)

So we pick up our 5 by 5 Directors series at number four.

but first…

One may ask, “Why didn’t you count down to number one? Didn’t you ruin the suspense by starting from the top? Aren’t you the… good man?”

And I might answer,

“Shut up. It’s my blog.”

But honestly I knew who my top picks were. Three, four & five took more thought. So I started from one.

To recap #1 Stanley Kubrick, #2 Martin Scorcese, #3 Joel & Ethan Coen

(Click the links to see the 5 movies I picked from each of them)

and now at #4

Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott has a knack for pulling you away from reality and transporting you to rich and lavish worlds. Past, present or future. There are many artists who create beautifully textured universes for their films but Mr. Scott makes them real. He gives them breath and life. He is the creator and curator of worlds. Worlds you want visit. Worlds in which you want to live or desperately escape from. With heroes and villains who are often flawed but relentless. His movies are always so tangibly real. No matter how fantastic the setting his movies just feel authentic. No other filmmaker can help me forget that I’m watching a movie quicker than Ridley Scott.

It’s like magic.

At  number 4 on my list, I give you, The Magician:

Sir Ridley Scott

Blade Runner (1982)

My All-time favorite film.

Not the Director’s Cut or the Ultimate Director’s Cut or the studio cut or the legendary cut or the super duper final cut but the God-Damn Original Theatrical Release with the awesome yet mildly cheesy dime-store detective novel narration.

Don’t get me wrong it’s a better movie without the voice-over (Unicorn dream not withstanding) but the first one will always hold a special place in my heart. (full disclosure: I own each and every one of them on blu-ray)

Alien (1979)

The best in the Alien series is the first one (My apologies to James Cameron, David Fincher, Joss Whedon & Jean-Pierre [I really should only do films in French] Jenuet). Jaws on a space ship is scary as fuck. Sigorney Weaver is amazing, gorgeous and bad-ass (yes, Mr. Cameron cranks her bad-ass-ery up to another level of bad-ass-iness but Ridley started the ball rolling. And who would have a cat on a space ship? I would… I would have a cat on a space ship. Here Jonesy.

Gladiator (2000)

Are you not entertained?

No.

I mean yes.

I mean… every time I re-watch this movie it makes me pine for the old Russell Crowe because the man was beautiful. Used to have a big crush on him. Not so much anymore. (He did not age well) Still a great actor. He won an Academy Award for this one… I think. He has a couple. But some say he should have won for movies he didn’t win for and shouldn’t have… whatever, If you want to see him in all of his hotness. Gladiator is the one to watch. And Joaquin Phoenix is intense and very skilful as well. Great movie.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Sadly this film became a joke over time. A parody of itself. It was a fun movie before it was picked apart by history and now it’s just a bad cliché. I loved this film. Great cast. Susan Sarandon, Harvey Keitel, Geena Davis, Brad Pitt. A lot of great action.

I just wish it would have held up to the test of time better. And the ending… a little too Butch & Sundance.

G.I. Jane (1997)

Yet another film trashed for being kick-ass action with a female lead. This movie is a pure rush.

I remember when I left the theater. I was so pumped after seeing this movie I was working off the excess adrenaline by sprinting down the street. I passed near the downtown Post Office and all of a sudden 8 to 10 Federal Agents burst on to the street with guns drawn.

Everyone on the sidewalk froze in place like deers in government issue headlights. Except for me. I was so hyped and full of adrenaline, I was able to dodge the sea of G-men as they ran out. Weaving in and out of them untouched. A leaf on the wind. This did not go unnoticed and soon I was surrounded. Guns pointed at my face. It appeared someone had just robbed that Post Office.

Gun. gun. gun. gun. gun. I don’t even remember their faces.

I pulled the ticket stub out of my pocket and tried to explain that I had just seen an action film and was a little pumped. The agent scoffed and flicked my stub into the street.

I looked down the barrel of his gun then looked him dead in his eyes and said “Go pick that up. And hand that shit back to me. That’s my evidence.”

He picked it up and handed it back and then his superior looked me up and down and said the best words he could have said in the circumstance. “He didn’t do it.” And then he apologized and said that I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Someone from the crowd that had formed to witness the execution (It looked a lot like a firing squad) shouted, “Yeah and the wrong color.” I looked back at the agents as I hurried away, knees shaking, heart pounding and smiled saying “I didn’t say that. That wasn’t me.” I was just thinking it.

And yet the movie G.I. Jane was still more intense than that.

It was very difficult to pick just 5 of Ridley Scott’s films. And I’m sure I missed a gem somewhere but I love them all. From The Duelists (1977 – outstanding) to Legend (1985 – beautiful) to Black Hawk Down (2001 – awesome) to Hannibal (2001 – amazing) to… all of them. The man is a magician and with but a few exceptions, amazes and mystifies with each movie.

And he is still going strong, still conjuring major works of magic. Here’s the trailer for the upcoming Prometheus film.

I have stated in several earlier post that I was very excited for the Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises this summer. But the prospect of a new Sci Fi movie from Ridley Scott makes fluid escape my body. (drool, tears, sweat, among others… yes, even a little pee)

I am beyond excited. It’s like opening night of a new Shakespeare play at The Globe and you’re in the Queen’s box (I meant that to sound dirty). It’s like skipping the line at a new nightclub and finding out the DJ is… wait… is that Mozart? It’s like the last lap of the Indy 500 and you’ve got the best seat at the track; driver’s seat of the leading car. But you’re not driving. Danica Patrick is driving. She’s been sitting in your lap and you both take the checkered.

Yeah… I’m that excited.

You know the score, pal.

-Envy