Revolver: a non-movie review

Posted in Life Lessons on April 14, 2012 by redeemingthewizard


Posted in Life Lessons on February 19, 2012 by redeemingthewizard
As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been growing a mustache. In the grand scheme of things, this really isn’t anything new. I’ve worn a goatee on and off again for years (for those more technically minded, I’m sported a goatee AND a mustache traditionally referred to as a Van Dyke). I’ll be up front about this; I think facial hair is to the male face what hair barrettes are to women’s hair. Which is to say a frivolous accessory that can, nay should, be played with, changed, styled and explored in all it’s various incarnations.

As an example, I will share that since college, I’ve attempted to grow a full beard on 2 separate occasions. For those who witnessed these ill fated and egregious efforts, I can only tender my apologies and offer to assist with the counseling necessary to recover from wounds, I fear, time will never heal. While I’ve been able to grow a mustache and a Van Dyke since around college time, the sum total of facial hairs on the rest of my face can be measured in double digits. That’s for both cheeks. Long and thin may work for America’s Next Super Model, as a facial hair plan, it has a tendency to cause people around you to spontaneously utter the words, “O Lord, no…” regardless of religious affiliation.

Back in January, I began to consider what it would look like to just let it grow. This was not an unlimited proposition as I knew that the day of reckoning was coming (February 22nd to be exact). As an experiment, this fell right in line with my “If you can grow it, play with it” belief. So, from a tightly trimmed Van Dyke on New Years weekend, I let loose the reins and decided to see where things were to go. Well, the went to CVS.

Three weeks in, was growing tired of eating my mustache. Normally, this was the signpost to “turn back now” when it came to growing things out. The annoyance of cleaning the ol’ Soup Strainer and the disgusting feeling of biting down on a hair (particularly one still attached to me–ouchie) had been enough. Unwilling to turn back a near 4 weeks from my goal, I began my search for a magical solution. A powerful tool that would end the curse of eating Kudzu Mustache with each meal. At first the search was in vain, as if the old stories of salvation were nothing more than folk lore from a time when people made their own soap (and I’m not talking about lylac-oatmeal-hibiscus-glycerine-home-crafters here people). Then, on the bottom shelf of the shaving good section in a CVS I found the salvation I was seeking. One item, just one SKU, but that was all I needed. I left in possession of my very own tube of Mustache Wax. My world was about to change.

For the uninitiated, Mustache Wax is a paste that works like hair gel for your facial hair. I have no idea if I’m using it right, but applying a bit of it right after the shower allows me to use the tiny comb that came with my beard trimmer and render the Soup Strainer a thing of the past. What’s more, a week after I purchased it revealed an entirely new facet of my facial hair; the Handlebar. My mind raced with the potential that this new discovery provided. Suddenly February might come too soon. This would prove interesting indeed.

This is why we can’t have flying cars…

Posted in Life Lessons on January 15, 2012 by redeemingthewizard
The other day at the mall, my son and I went to see the new Tintin movie. It was the day after Christmas and by the time we emerged from the matinee, mall traffic was in full force. While attempting to leave the loop road around the mall, I had stopped in the line of traffic preparing to make a left and exit the chaos that was only going to build in post Christmas return-o-shop-again-o-thon. As I was positioned right before one of the entrances to a prominent parking area, I had left about a 2 car gap to allow other drivers to turn in and cross our lane of traffic as we weren’t going anywhere till the light turned green.

Suddenly a minivan rockets past me and jams themselves into the our lane, cutting me off, jumping ahead of a line of at least 30 other cars, and blocking the turning space I had left for other drivers. Despite my son being next to me, I swore. Loudly.

I took several minutes after the light turned green (and proceeded to watch this driver cut off two additional folks in an effort to get where they wanted to go) trying to wrap my head around this drivers behavior and suddenly exclaimed; “This is why we can’t have flying cars.” My son looked at me, imitating my best over the glasses ‘wanna run that by me again look?’ So I set about explaining myself.

Given the number of accidents that occur on a daily basis in NJ alone (having had my own fender bender recently) would indicate that we have not quite masters two -dimensional travel, and that the idea of adding a third dimension (from which to be cut off, side swiped and/or blind-sided by would appear to be a poor choice akin to handing keys to a lambroghini to a 15 year old in downtown Boston as the entrance exam to drivers training. Nothing good will come of this…

“So?” you might ask. And you would probably round out this particular line of questioning with “What?” Well, I think about fantasy and Science fiction. A lot. One of the things that I feel is important in either genre is that the characters make sense. That they interact with their world in a way that is cohesive and congruent with the world itself. It’s all fine and dandy go along writing about the year 2763 and the race across Neau New York City in that fancy Hover Car you just boosted from the floating parking garage, but what I need to know as you rocket across the United Neighborhoods of Brooklyn on your way to the Staten Aqua-domes to stop the doomsday device on New Years Eve, WHAT ABOUT THE JACKASSERY OF OTHER DRIVERS IN HOLIDAY TRAFFIC? Am I to assume that everyone’s driving nicie-nice in their hover cars? Are you? I smell Mary Sue…

Context becomes the king of all this. If people are still the kind of people that build doomsday devices and hide them in low-rent segments of dilapidated Aqua-domes, then people are still going to be the kind of people that cut you off in traffic because they are doing their nails, talking on the holoprojectors, have just spilled Neo-Classic Coke in their laps, or are just generally self-centered, self-absorbed pricks. The fatalities from mid-air collisions would pale in comparison to the deaths from raining chunks of Dodge EZGildes, and Daewoo Solargliders on the general population below. Property damage alone would bankrupt the insurance industry.

I like a good action story set the far flung future, but you better be prepared to let me know that you’ve covered the details; that despite being made of hero material, our protagonists (and the larger society in general) are prepared to deal with the rest of the jerks that survived the great tofu famine of 2598…

All my follow Fridays rolled into one!

Posted in Life Lessons on January 6, 2012 by redeemingthewizard

I’ve always liked the idea of Follow Fridays from twitter.


Posted in Life Lessons on January 1, 2012 by redeemingthewizard

Happy 2012!  Welcome to the next year.  As promised, I've been busy working on fiction writing and am doing pretty well on my 700 words a day schedule.  Nevertheless, that doesn't preclude the options post a blog here or there.  I've been reflecting over the past month about what I have and I've come to the overwhelming conclusion that I'm blessed.  I mean really blessed.  Let's try this; Blessed.  The capital seems to really set it off, doesn't it?

So, rather than take this start to the new year and think about all the things that I haven't done, that I still want to accomplish, or think about the things that I'm not where I want to be, I thought I should take stock of the amazing things that have gone so damn that it leaves me reeling to try and wrap my head around all of it.

I have a son.  He's amazing to me.  He has this quirky and wonderful sense of humor that makes me laugh.  He's smart, clever and sensitive.  He's just a laid back guy and that last part is becoming more and more apparent as we hit the teen age years.  The little boy that loved to play with hot wheels tracks all around the living room is now the young man building massive Lego projects.  He can do origami designs from memory.  I'm blessed to be a dad and have the opportunity to be a parent.  While there are moments of trials and frustrations, I wouldn't change a bit of it.  Not a lick.

I couldn't really talk about being a parent without tailing about the other half of that equation.  We have a really good relationship through which we co-parent, and I can't begin to describe that feeling.  I've several friends who are divorced with kids and I can honestly say that I've yet to see a better relationship.  Her husband is supportive and very collaborative to all of us parenting together, and they are welcoming of me into special events for Daniel that they are having.  I really couldn't ask for more.  Again, blessed!

I've got a job that I'm good at.  Hell, in this economy I could stop at just being employed.  But more than that, I''m doing something that I do well and that I get recognized for.  I've had the opportunity to spend the last 10 years learning all the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur.  I've seen the good days, the bad days, the legal obstacles, the challenges and the rewards.  I know the reality between design and utility patents, how to source a new product from Asia, inventory management, dealing with freight companies, and most importantly how to sell things.  Try getting that education at a college…

Finally, I have friends.  Scratch that.  I have amazing friends.  I've had people who are willing to drop what they are doing and help me out.  I've traded rides to the airport, helped and been helped moving entire apartments.  I've got friends who are goofy enough to play along when I start going off about wearing Flower Shirts on every Fridays.  I've got friends who care enough to notice when I'm down and reach out to me, to plant a foot squarely in my ass when I'm throwing a pity party for myself, and who encourage me to write and not just any old thing, but to write the stuff that I'm good at and that I enjoy!

Entering the new year, I'm simply amazed at the things that are available to me in my life!  Blessings abound!  One of the key pieces to that realization came one morning while I was muddling through a relationship that wasn't moving in the direction that I wanted it to go.  I had the 'Lightbulb' moment, where I realized that it wasn't anything I was doing.  It was where she was at.  She wasn't interested for a few different reasons, and none of her reasons were bad per se, they just put us on different paths and meant that we weren't going to be anything more than friends.  With that realization, I was suddenly OK with the situation.  Nobody had to be wrong or right or good or bad.  Things line up and sometimes they don't.  Sometimes they line up for a little bit and sometimes for a while.  For me the key was not equating 'not lining up' with 'I did something wrong'.  Immensely freeing.

Last week I got a picture in the email that summarizes the mental jump that so often happens for me.  It's a quote from Steven Furtick.

"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Apples to oranges as it were.  I'm blessed to see this now in my life.  Being right here, where I am at this moment in time, is precisely where I need to be.  I can see that today and be glad.

As we move into the new year, I will ask you; how blessed are you?  What blessings are you overlooking?  Have you counted them recently?  I think you'll be glad if you do!

Crunching the numbers on a quarter million.

Posted in Life Lessons on November 27, 2011 by redeemingthewizard

Swinging to the Blues.

Posted in Life Lessons on November 23, 2011 by redeemingthewizard