Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Academy Award Picks

Leading Actor: Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"

Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, "The Fighter"

Leading Actress: Michele Williams, "Blue Valentine"

Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, "The Fighter"

Animated Feature: "Toy Story 3"

Art Direction: "Inception"

Cinematography: "True Grit"

Costume Design: "Alice in Wonderland"

Directing: "Social Network"

Documentary Feature: "Restrepo"

Documentary Short: "Killing in the Name"

Film Editing: "The Fighter"

Foreign Language Film: "Biutiful"

Makeup: "The Wolfman"

Original Score: "The Social Network"

Original Song: 'We Belong Together' from "Toy Story 3"

Animated Short: "Let's Pollute"

Live Action Short: "God of Love"

Sound Editing: "Inception"

Sound Mixing: "The King's Speech"

Visual Effects: "Alice in Wonderland"

Adapted Screenplay: "The Social Network"

Original Screenplay: "The Kids Are All Right"

Best Picture: "The Social Network"

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A Dream Within A Dream: My Campaign

I just woke up from a fairly sound sleep. It's a bit later that I'd like it to be, but I'm not going to complain about sleeping in when I can get it.

I actually remember my dream, too. I had a dream that I woke up early and I had this revelation while sleeping: if I could convince parents of teen (& younger) children to change their middle name to their age on their Facebook display, I could cut down on the number of children that get abducted or stalked on the internet.

I was convinced this was going to work. I was working as a theater teacher at a high school and I asked all my students to adjust their Facebook Display Names. I told them to tell their friends and siblings and cousins to spread the word.

But then I realized internet pervs could just search for their prey by age.

When I woke up (for real), I was SO happy that it was only a dream.
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Don't Look Now

I was sitting in the bar the other day after work and I noticed a few unfamiliar faces.  There were a few guys, in suits, who all came in together.  Turns out they were meeting one of the regulars there for a few pre-game pops before they shuffled off to a college hockey game.  No big deal. At first.

They started playing pool and they started getting loud and then they started throwing money into the jukebox.

In all the months that I've been going to this bar, I have NEVER heard this jukebox being played.  But they guys were having fun, so more power to them.  But some of us are trying to talk.  So keep it down, yeah?

Then it happened.  The most popular/infamous song of all time came on.  "Free Bird." 
I'm pretty sure jukeboxes are built with that song already in it.

A banker, a lawyer, and an office manager were all singing the song at the top of their lungs.  It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it's true.  Looking around the bar, I could see some of the old-timers mouthing the words.  The song is infectious:

If I stayed here with you girl/ Things just couldn't be the same/ 'Cause I'm as free as a bird now/ And this bird, you'll can not change/ And this bird you cannot change/ And this bird you cannot change/ Lord knows, I can't change/ Lord help me, I can't change/ Lord I can't change

Some may say those are some powerful lyrics. 
"Yeah, man! You can't change me... I'm a Free Bird..!"

Um, don't look now, Mister Office Manager, but you're not a teenager anymore.  You're in a bar getting drunk IN A SUIT.  I'm pretty sure the first time this song hit you, you weren't wearing uncomfortable dress shoes, a gray pinstripe suit and a flashy tie with matching pocket square. 
Maybe I'm wrong, because I don't know you AT ALL, but I'm pretty sure I'm right.

Not that I'm one to talk.

Anytime I hear "Love is a Battlefield" I get all pumped up and I sing it out with just as much volume and passion as the guys at the bar.  I love that song:

We are young, heartache to heartache we stand/ No promises, no demands love is a battlefield/ We are strong, no one can tell us we're wrong/ Searching our hearts for so long, both of us knowing/ Love is a battlefield

YES. Love is a battlefield.  No one understands us.  Grown-ups suck.  We're full of heartache and pain and more heartache.  No promises. No demands. That's me. This song is SO perfect.  No one can tell me I'm wrong!

And then I notice my reflection in the window or run my fingers through my "hair" and I realize I'm not fifteen anymore.  I realize I'm not the one that song is about anymore.  I realize I probably don't have the right to shout those lyrics out at the top of my lungs anymore. 

I guess I shouldn't get too judgmental with the suits at the bar for feeling younger or freer or cooler than they are when a song of their youth comes on.  We all get like that sometimes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I hate being sick. I'd rather be dead than sick.

I woke up today with a sore throat. I popped a cough drop in my mouth and a half hour later my muscles were sore. My nose started running. My chest got tight. If I didn't take a lozenge would I still just have a sore throat? I took some cough medicine as a preventative measure. I drank some peppermint tea with honey.

But I'm still getting sick.

I guess it's good that it's the weekend. The problem is that I have plans to see my family today & get together with my best mates tomorrow afternoon.

"You're just making your self sick so you don't have to visit your family, Chaz."

Maybe. But I really really HATE being sick. I wouldn't purposely do this to myself.
And of course I was overreacting at the start of this blog. I wouldn't rather be dead than sick. There are people much more worse off than some guy with a sore throat and a runny nose. And I would never try to compare myself with someone trying to fight off something worse.

But I really do hate being sick.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Morning Thoughts

I woke up with the Joe Jackson song "Nineteen Forever" stuck in my head. It's fitting, really. I suffer from self-diagnosed Chronic Nostalgia.

There's worse things to be inflicted with.

Some may say, "Hey Chaz, why would you want to be 19? You won't be able to drink. Legally." My response would come in a one 3-syllable word:


Living so close to The Great White North all my life, I have formed a strong bond to my North American brothers & sisters. When I was 19 I would travel across the Rainbow Bridge with my little gang of friends and venture to a cool little bar called The Wild Mushroom.

It had a fire place, a great jukebox, and a fooseball table. To enter you went down a few steps, so if you sat at the booths along the wall (as we did), you could look up out the window and see the feet of everyone walking on the sidewalk outside. For some reason that was cool to me.

Of course there are other parts of Canada I love. Toronto is definitely at the top of the list. Being nineteen in Toronto would be sweet. Being nineteen in the 1990s would be even better.

I need to end this post abruptly before I activate my ailment. Chronic Nostalgia is no joke.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Buffalo Heat Wave

It's a balmy forty-something here in Buffalo, NY.

The snow banks are shrinking, but they're all ugly and grey/black in spots and the slight sun peeking through just reveals the layers of salt on everyone's cars.
In other words, it's just warm enough to be gross.

Most everyone are still in heavy coats, but without the constricting gloves and touques. It's not quite driving-with-the-windows-down weather, but it's not heat-on-full-blast either. Many car stereos can be heard on the streets.
You know when you want to go grow your hair out and you have that awkward in-between stage of hair and people look at you like "what's with that?"?

That's how Buffalo is right now.

And all I can think is how I wouldn't mind the feeling of a sunburn across my face and chest and stomach right now.

It's slightly uncomfortable with a tshirt on, and you want to soak in The Gulf or swim in the pool to relieve the pain.

I wouldn't mind that right about now.
That and a cold beer on a street-side patio.

In other words, this weather is just a tease.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I'm Adapting

If you don't know me, there's something you should understand about me: I'm really not good at relying on people.

Strike that.

I am HORRIBLE when it comes to relying on people. Included in "people" is of course family and friends and also The Blue Lady, my car.
One of the reasons I moved from production to writing in film school is because I didn't need to count on actors and a crew to show up when I was scriptwriting.

That being said, I am starting to fix myself when it comes asking for help from friends and family. My car is giving me problems this week. Usually I would pray and cross my fingers and spit & spin around three times hoping to throw off the bad juju. Usually I would try to get The Blue Lady to make it through the week so I could take her to the shop on my day off. But that approach usually ended me up on the side of the road or out more money than I needed to be out.

I'm trying to change, 2011. I'm trying REAL hard. I'm not going to change over night, but I am starting to...
begining with asking for help. And relying on friends and family.

But keep your fingers crossed just in case.
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Maybe Blogging is Too Much?

Do I spend too much time online?

I have a Facebook account and a Twitter account.

Is that too much?

I realize I will never meet most of my "friends" and "followers" in real life.

I'm not in denial about that.

I'm not even under the impression that most people in Facebook or Twitter pay attention to what I say/type. But I do enjoy the outlet of status updates and link sharing and conversations in 140 characters at a time.

But nothing on my smart phone or iPod Touch or computer compares to a real live conversation.


Am I right?
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Rude, In My Opinion

I am sitting in a room with a television. But the TV is not on, since I'm reading. I'm not reading a magazine or the newspaper. I'm reading a book.

This could be anywhere: a living room, a waiting room, Radio Shack.

To me, reading a book takes more concentration than a magazine or the newspaper. Maybe I'm strange that way. Most people can read articles with the television or radio on, or with conversations going on around them. But not while reading a book.

All of a sudden someone walks into the room and turns on the television.

Seriously? You can't watch your soap opera somewhere else? You have to do this HERE?

Let me ask a question:
Is it just as rude to turn off the TV as it was to turn it on? Would I be seen as the bad guy if I walked over & shut the damn thing off?

I mean, she is watching it as much as I was NOT watching it.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Hole On The Wall, or Why an Old Man Bar is the Best.

Many people under the age of forty-five try to steer clear of those "neighborhood" bars or the "old man" bars. Maybe because the bars seem un-fun or scary or something, but in my opinion they are the best bars to frequent.

I used to be of the opinion that I didn't belong in these establishments. I am an outsider. The regulars would shun me or ask me to leave. But when I finally visited one, I realized I couldn't be further from the truth.

First of all, these bars have VERY LITTLE overhead, so the drinks are very cheap. Second of all, the patrons of these facilities are The Working Men. The factory worker who's worked the line for twenty years. The security guard who sits all day in a shack. The truck driver who has been on the road all week.
These guys know what's going on in their city. They know the dirt. They have the inside track on a possible job.

They are also more friendly than you may think. It helps if the 1st couple times you visit the bar you buy a round or two for these guys. It's not that expensive since the drinks are only about two bucks each, so don't worry about that. And be cool about it. Don't make a big deal about buying the drinks. Just pull the bartender over and tell her.
In the long run you'll be better off. You'll reap the benefits.

So, readers, your homework is to find a neighborhood bar, stop in around 4pm-ish, and stay for a few hours. Maybe go a couple times this week and next and see how it feels.
If you don't enjoy it, fine. But at least you will have seen how the better half lives.

Comment on this blog once you've completed your homework.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Sometimes, When I'm Tired...

I am in such a leave-me-the-hell-alone mood.

When I'm lacking sleep, I get like this. I probably give everyone who looks at me The Stink Eye. I don't mean to give dirty looks. I mean, you didn't do anything to me, but I'm in a crap mood, so my face just reflects that.

You know how they say the eyes are the window to the soul? Well my face is a mirror to my mood.

Sometimes, when I'm tired I just want to quit everything. School, work, Buffalo, the Northeast, America, everything. I just want to drive past my apartment and just keep going. I have a full-ish tank of gas. How far could I go? Washington DC? Chicago? Ithica? Toronto?

Would I know anyone wherever I end up? Hopefully not. When I'm in this mood I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't want to see anyone. I just want to be.

Maybe I just need to eat something. Or maybe a nap.
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

No Insult

I was told today that I am just "an old man clinging to the 90s."

I did not take this as an insult.

I was complaining about some crappy Indie Rock song as I flipped around the channels on Sirius/XM. It sounded like a cross between country music and 1940s polka, not some hip new sound. I immediately flipped it from the 'XMU' station to 'Lithium.' Even the worst of the grunge/alt-rock/post-punk of the 90s is better than this new stuff I'm hearing.

And I do have an open mind most of the time when it comes to music.

And I understand that everyone believes that their generation is better than those after them and less old-fashioned than the generations prior to theirs. But in this case, I truly believe all inspiration and originality has vanished.
If you don't agree, prove me wrong.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

NF, NY: Never Fun, New York

I get quite perturbed when someone who has only visited somewhere complains about it. I give a little leeway to someone who has lived in said place for a little while, but not much.

That being said, I am going to complain about Niagara Falls, NY. I grew up there and lived there for over half of my life, so I'm allowed to point out the negative aspects.

There really is not very much to do in NF, NY. Unless you drink. There are a TON of bars in The Falls, but most of them are holes-in-the-wall. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but unless you're from the neighborhood the bar is in, you're going to get looks & stares for the first few times you drink there.

Contrary to popular belief, there are not ANY malls in Niagara Falls. Not any open ones. There used to be one (Rainbow Mall), but it has closed years ago. Up until a few years ago there wasn't a movie theater in NF either. Except for the porn theater on Pine Ave. And I'm still not 100% sure the Builder's Square Regal is in Niagara Falls proper.

The only coffee shop is a Starbucks inside the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown. Unless by "coffee shop" you mean a diner. Then there's a ton. And you can play Quik-Draw. And eat Freedom Fries.

It's no wonder there's tumble weeds and coyotes in the field behind the high school. It's like survival of the fittest walking home. Any stragglers usually get picked off and either made into a meal or raised by the coyotes.
(That's a joke, but barely.)

If you don't leave The Falls after graduation, you end up working in a factory or as a bartender or an employee of Piercing Pagoda at the Niagara Outlet Mall (which is in Town of Niagara, not NF).

Or you end up with a kid you can't afford. Or two.

If you want to live comforably in NF, you either have to work a job that makes you unhappy and slowly fills your prostate with tumors or you gave to GET THE HELL OUT and get an education then come back and live in NF but work somewhere else.

Oh, I forgot about the casino. The Seneca Niagara Casino. The city sold the land to the natives, so it's technically sovereign land and not even considered in USA, let alone NF, NY.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Sticky Wicket.

I heard something bizarre in class yesterday and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm not sure if I agree or disagree. I assume it is a true statement, since it was said by people who get paid good money to figure this stuff out.
And by "true" I mean "the numbers can prove it."

We watched a report about how the crime rate in major cities fell between 1976 & 1996. Mayor Rudy Giuliani took credit for the drop in the crime rate because he started cracking down on minor crimes. President Clinton took credit because he made way for cities to hire more police officers. The mayor of Los Angeles took credit because of the implementation of the "Three Strikes and You're Out" law.

But supposedly, according to several people who have looked at the numbers, the reason the crime rate has gone down (and is still continuing that downward trend) is because abortion was legalized.

There is a direct correlation between crime & unwanted children not being born.

I don't have the numbers readily available, but it's true, I guess.

Some people think that relating abortion to the crime rate is racist. I think it's more classist, but that's besides the point. Lower income families are not the only people who have children who grow up to be criminals. There are PLENTY of sociopaths who come from "well to do" families. And poor families are not the only people who would have unwanted children.


I don't want to get into the Abortion-Is-Murder debate. But could it be true that because abortion is legal, and because unwanted pregnancies were ended, that THAT is why there is less crime?
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