Category Archives: Uncategorized

That Time I Wrote/Directed/Acted In A Short Film Part 2

Tonight I will premiere my baby (Short film entitled ‘To Do List’) online for the world to see. By world I of course mean an extraordinarily small percentage of the population of said planet, but whatevs!!! I’m putting this baby to bed (Finally!). Not that it hasn’t been a thrill ride for the ages. It totally has, and its exceeded every one of my expectations. As fun as this has been though, its time to move on. I wrote a blog about it a while back. If you want to start from the beginning of the story, click and have a read. If not, I’ll summarize below.

https://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2017/11/20/that-time-i-wrote-directed-acted-in-a-short-film/#comment-4181

I made a short film with zero experience, zero money, and a lot of help from some talented people. The film didn’t suck (which I hate to say was basically my objective, like “Don’t suck!” was a theme throughout), and upon completion, made it’s rounds on the festival circuit. I loved re-reading the above blog because I wrote it just after I found out I got into my first festival. I remember thinking that just one festival, no matter how small or remote or niche, screening my film would have been the most incredible thing. It made it’s world premiere at the Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival, which I was unable to attend. One of several that I didn’t go to for various reasons (most of which involved money or vacation time). It’s a strange feeling the night that your film is screening in some city in front of a crowd of people, and you aren’t there to see it. You might just be sitting on your couch drinking a glass of wine, and you look over at the clock and realize that there might be a room full of people in Portland watching you on a screen, and you are just sitting on a couch with no concept of whether they enjoyed it or not…..just drinking that wine. Alone. It’s a weird feeling.

A ‘not weird’ feeling is going to your first festival to sit in the audience and watch yourself on the big screen. That is Killer Kool-Aid, and I was able to do that in Boulder City, Nevada. On a separate blog site, I wrote this story about that experience, should you decide you want to go down that particular rabbit hole…….

Adventures At The Dam Short Film Festival In Boulder City

If you don’t, it’s cool. We won ‘Best Comedy’ there. It was the only award this film got to win, but considering I was expecting zero awards and would have been totally satisfied with just one screening, this was bananas. As obnoxious as it sounds, I now routinely tell people that I am an ‘Award Winning Director’ because I CAN. They say that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, but I sometimes do…… because I can.

After that I got into a few more. We got to see it with some friends in Cleveland at the Short.Sweet.Film Fest, and I finally got a local screening in Toronto, courtesy of Cityflix. Finished off in Canada with a fun little Muskoka Trip at the Cinemuskoka Film Fest, and now I’m done! I’m happy. I’m grateful. I’m excited to finally share this with everyone. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go make another!

I just want to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved in the project. Talented actors, Jennifer O’Callaghan and Patrick McFadden. Cinematographer Othello Ubalde. Editor Trevor Juras. Justin Constantino and Victor Solla who helped shoot it. I’m glad we were able to make it happen, but it wouldn’t have happened without these people, their incredible talent, and generosity of spirit. I look forward to sending it out into the cold bizarre version of our world we call the Internet. Be gentle with my baby 😉

Here’s the link that will have activated by the time most of you read this.

Enjoy


That Time I Wrote/Directed/Acted In A Short Film

So this story could be a stand alone story or it could be considered a sequel to another story…. I made a short film. It’s the only one I’ve ever done, so I could just tell you about that, but there may be people who would wonder how you just do something like that with no background or experience. While my exposure to this world has been limited, I did act in a movie once, and if you’d like to hear that story first, you can read this link, therefore making this story a sequel.

https://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2015/09/06/that-time-i-was-an-actor-in-a-kick-ass-movie/

For those that didn’t feel like reading all that, I’ll summarize in one sentence. 2 of my close buddies are aspiring filmmakers (Director – Trevor Juras and Cinematographer Othello J. Ubalde), and Trevor thought I’d make an interesting character in his first feature-length film “The Interior”, in which I appear in only one scene, but have considerable dialogue, I feel like I nailed it, the film was well received at festivals, got a distribution deal, and is now available at most online retailers which is not bad for your first Indie Film. (Hey, I didn’t say it would be a short sentence). It was a thrilling experience for me who never thought he’d have an opportunity to be an ‘actor’, but in an amazing turn of events I now have that great story to tell potential grandchildren while I’m on that rickety porch with rocking chair and a shotgun, chewing on toothpicks.

So what’s next? Well this all happened because of who I know. So I started to wonder what else could happen because of who I know. Careers are made from people leveraging who they know. What could I do? Some more acting? I’ve made myself available to the one director I know, yes, but what about writing? I write! I have a blog as proof. What if I wrote a script for a short film? If it was good enough, perhaps I could get Trevor to direct it, and Othello to shoot it. If I wrote myself into the script, then I could act in it. Seemed like the perfect plan. So I wrote a script called “To Do List”. I thought it was hilarious, so I passed it on to my guys one at a time. Othello liked it right away, and wants to work and get as much experience as possible since he didn’t start doing this until a few years ago. I think he was on board to shoot it. When I showed it to Trevor (hoping he would want to direct it), I didn’t get the response I was hoping for. Not to say that he wasn’t totally cool and supportive, but I think I was hoping he would be super blown away and want to direct it. He’s more interested in writing his own stuff though, and suggested that I should direct it. He even offered to help me. He even told me directing isn’t as difficult as I think which to this day I believe to be complete bullshit. Regardless, I was kind of discouraged, and “To Do List” got shelved for a time.

After “The Interior” had made its rounds in the Festival circuit, there didn’t seem to be too many projects on the go. Trevor started writing his next feature, but it was a lengthy process. Othello was trying to shoot as many things as he could while we all waited for Trevor to make another movie, and I just went back to my normal life, fairly content for a while until the creative bug started nibbling again. Othello had asked me a few times to join his crew to help them shoot some stuff they had been hired to do. I finally joined them on a short film set. It was a first time director, but he had invested some money, and taken a lot of time and preparation to get this project together. This was the second film set I had ever been on. Instead of being an actor, I was now working behind the scenes, helping set up cameras and lighting etc. It was only 2 days, but as this project was moving along, it became more obvious to me that this director was really green, and so I made a suggestion about something, and he went with it, and it worked out. So I made another suggestion, and another and another. I felt bad, because it wasn’t my job to be doing that, but he kept getting stuck, and nobody wanted to say anything to him. I would have kept my mouth shut, but he was open to everything I said, and even started looking over at me to see if I agreed with things he was doing. It was weird, as I was the least experienced person in the room in some ways, but the director was willing to be collaborative, and didn’t have an ego about it. I think he may have been in over his head slightly, but I respected the fact that he had gotten off his ass and pursued his dream of directing a film.

It got me thinking about whether or not what Trevor said about directing was bullshit or not. I dusted off “To Do List” and read it over. I still thought it was funny. I sent it to Othello again, and he still thought it was funny. I asked Othello if he would help me make this film and be willing to babysit me through the directing process. I felt like I would be pretty comfortable directing people to help my vision come to life, but on the technical side I knew (and still know) nothing about making a film. This is why Othello gets a Producer credit on this film.

We planned for a 2-day shoot. I had an editor lined up for afterwards, who was an old high school friend with some experience. Othello’s crew that had worked on all of the projects that I’ve mentioned here agreed to help out, and I needed 2 more actors. Jennifer O’Callaghan who is a friend of Othello’s plays the female lead, and Patrick McFadden who stars in “The Interior” agreed to a fun cameo in my film as well. We scouted locations, and settled on pretty much the only ones available. We rented whatever equipment Othello didn’t already own, went to San Remo’s bakery to get their incomparable Apple Fritters, and we were ready to shoot. Trevor even showed up for the first day to keep an eye on things. My character was on camera for most of that shoot, so it was nice to have someone to direct me, since directing and acting in the same project is REALLY difficult, particularly when you have no sweet clue what you’re doing.

I have great memories from shooting this. I also have some hilarious outtakes which made watching it after the fact just as much fun as shooting it. The interesting part about making a film and watching the footage a few times, is that there’s a possibility you’ll start to hate it. This definitely happened to me. It’s a comedy, so once you see the funny parts about 25 times, you start to forget that they’re funny. This is where editing comes in. I said I had a guy, right? The guy I went to high school with? I forgot to mention that he lives in Montreal. I also forgot to mention that this is a ‘Passion Project’ which is another way of saying I didn’t have money to pay anybody for this. Now I need an editor to clean up whatever directorial mistakes I’ve made, and make this a good film. This is where we got held up a bit. Crazy things were happening in my editor’s personal life at the time, and he does this kind of thing for a living, so in order to pay his bills, he had to prioritize paid work over passion projects which is absolutely reasonable. This started to drag out a bit. Just the logistics of getting him the hard drive involved me waiting for him to visit his family in Toronto so I could pass it off in person. It was starting to look like this would never get done. Then Trevor stepped up and offered to have a look at it for me. I was so relieved that we would get the ball rolling again. Sad that I didn’t get to work with my original guy, because we’ve been talking about working together ever since high school when we would be in writing and drama classes together, but I believe there will be other opportunities for us in the future. It took Trevor a little while to get around to it as well. Passion projects man….. You get what you pay for sometimes. If you can’t pay, you gotta be patient.

Trevor came through for me though. Just in time to submit my film to the Toronto International Film Festival which would have been my ultimate goal for this film. We didn’t get it in, so I had to re-adjust the goals. I started submitting to festivals that were either road trip distance, or had a theme that I thought this film might fit in with. I’ve been talking with Trevor and Othello about this, and I really would love just one festival to screen this film. It’s my first time. I have no directorial experience. I know there are thousands of films being submitted to these festivals right now, but I just feel like if I got shut out, that it would be really disappointing. JUST ONE FESTIVAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After many kindly worded rejection emails, I finally received word that “To Do List” will make its World Premiere at the Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival on December 1st, 2017. I’m super excited. Tampa Bay is a little far for a road trip right now, but I’d been considering that heavily as the festival approaches. I hope it gets in to more, but if it doesn’t, I can honestly say the experience of doing this has exceeded my expectations, and I don’t know if I’ll do it again or not, but the story keeps getting better.

http://tbuff.org/selections2017/to-do-list.html


Elevator Chit-Chat

For those of us that get into an elevator frequently, there are decisions to be made daily that are perhaps a lot trickier than they look. What do you want your elevator game to be like? Do you want to be that sociable chatty person that acknowledges everyone, and perhaps engages in small talk? Would you rather stare at the door, (or if you’re lucky, some magical piece of information posted on a sheet inside that you can pretend to be really interested in) and be anti-social. Is one better than the other? What does your elevator game say about you as a person? I understand both sides.

My father was a supremely talented small-talker. He never missed an opportunity to engage in conversation with a complete stranger. He thrived on it, and I’m not playing favourites when I say I never saw anyone as good at it. The best part was that he gave no shits whether the person wanted to talk to him or not. It never entered his mind that someone wouldn’t want to talk to him, and he was absolutely charming enough to pull it off even with the toughest of crowds. You’d think the apple wouldn’t fall far from the tree. In a way it doesn’t. I totally CAN talk to strangers too, but when I get into an elevator I want nothing more than for it to be empty. If it’s not empty, I really enjoy walking into an elevator with people who are on their phones or not attempting to engage me in any way. If I can’t have either or those, I’ll take a head nod on the way in, awkward silence until we arrive at the floor, and a polite ‘have a good night’ on the way out. My last choice would be to have someone start chatting me up about something. Unless it’s them telling a quick (really entertaining) story, and me having to come up with a smile and a one-liner at the end, which I can tolerate.

I live on the 6th floor of a Condo building. I used to live on the 5th floor of a Condo building. Coincidence? No. When we picked the floors, I was thinking of two things. One, I’m afraid of heights, and if the shit really hit the fan, I’d like to know that I could tie some bed sheets together and shimmy down some balconies to safety. Two, I hate long elevator rides. Is it the length of the rides themselves that I hate? Or do I hate talking to people in the elevators? A little bit of both.

As a reader, you might be thinking, ‘hey, this guy has a blog, he has lots to say…. why doesn’t he want to talk?’. I do want to talk. Just not to strangers on an elevator. It’s OK though, I tolerate it. There’s one thing I can’t tolerate though (and if you were wondering what prompted me to write this blog, here we go), and that’s someone who starts a conversation in an elevator that they themselves are not interested in. What? Does that actually happen, and more importantly why would it happen? Yes it happens. I don’t know why. It mystifies me, but it does happen periodically, and I can only think that perhaps some people just feel like they SHOULD engage in chit-chat every time they’re in the elevator. Maybe they think it’s impolite not to, or it makes them better people. All of which is fine, but I had a guy the other day start chatting with me, and then when it was my turn to talk, COMPLETELY lost interest in the conversation. Buddy, first of all, I had NO interest in talking to you to begin with, and now here I am, scrambling to say something interesting about the weather, and you’re fading on me???? I live on the 6th floor!!!!!!! It wasn’t a long ride. Focus or fuck off!

To summarize, I think the world has all kinds of people in it. Different people have different elevator etiquette, and that’s OK. I don’t judge anyone, but all I ask is commit to it. You wanna avoid the social awkwardness of neighborly small talk? Me too. You wanna be a Chatty McChattster? Be true to yourself, and annoy all the introverts. BUT…….if you’re gonna try to chat, you better be ready to talk and listen. If I have to take my brain off auto-pilot to have a conversation with you, then finish what you started!


Did I Accidentally Train a Jedi Master?

My son is in Kindergarten. He got to go to his first ‘new-school-friend-birthday party’ today. I got to go as well. Yay for me. There was coffee, pizza and wasps. I enjoyed two thirds of that. This isn’t about me though. Or maybe it is. The party was pretty awesome all things considered, because it was a ‘Star Wars’ themed gathering. My son is pretty into Star Wars (and everything else), and I was too at his age, and I’m old, so I think it’s remarkable that Star Wars is still as relevant today as it was then. Who could have guessed? Neither Farrah Fawcett nor Lee Majors would have guessed that shit.

My son probably became obsessed with Star Wars at the age of 2. He loved Darth Vader. He used to tell me he was my father, like all the time, and he hadn’t even seen the movie, like I have no idea how he knew that line. He was pretty into Stormtroopers as well, but seemed to have no love for Luke Skywalker, and when I was 4, I was all about Luke Skywalker. I was very ‘good over evil’, but it was the 80’s and this is a different time. That said I was a little concerned how drawn to the dark side of the force my son was at such a young age. He seemed a bit like the type that would love to crush the rebellion in one fell swoop (see, I thought it was foul, but I didn’t know whether to spell it foul or fowl, so I googled it, and they were like ‘ACTUALLY…… it was originally FELL’, but that doesn’t sound as good because people I’m sure have been using ‘foul’ for ages now, perhaps in error, and I’m so committed to the line that I’ll just leave it as is, but with an explanation……or I can edit it later, and you’ll never know we had this conversation.) So we would have these light saber duels. He always wanted to do it. They kept getting bigger, and sometimes they weren’t even light sabers, but swords (toy swords of course), or baseball bats, or anything he could pick up and hand me, and he’d say “Let’s fight Daddy”. So we would duel, and he would put on his Darth Vader mask, and hit each other’s swords while he tried to intimidate me by saying all sorts of menacing things in his freaky little bad guy voice. If I had to do it over again I probably should have laid down and played dead at some point so he would think he won, but screw that, man. I’m not letting him win. He thinks he’s just going to defeat me in a battle and then take over the household, no way. So we’ve had a lot of sword fights in the past couple of years. His hand skills are well-developed for a toddler I think.

So today…… a couple of ‘characters’ showed up at this birthday party. The first was a Jedi Master. He was going to train these kids to become Jedi, and had them running and jumping and doing obstacle courses. Parents stood around making awkward conversations with other parents they had just met, but we all nodding in approval like ‘yeah these suckers are gonna sleep tonight!!!’ Then there was light saber training, where each kid would pick up a fake light saber and hit this guy’s light saber a few times. I knew my son would get a kick out of that. Then a guy dressed as Darth Vader came in, and the kids were super excited, and it was a really great kids party I thought. Then….. before the food, but just after Darth Vader had come in, the Jedi Master decides the kids should pit off against one another in light saber battles, and the winner was going to get a prize. Ughhhhh. Before I could get to my son to read him the riot act, he was paired off (with the birthday boy no less) for the first fight. It all happened so fast, like one of those early Mike Tyson fights. Like in the original Star Wars movie, my son was Darth Vader and this kid was the old version of Obi-Wan Kenobi. My son went in on this kid, and I just remember screaming “Not his head, not his head”, and then the kid started crying (maybe more from my screaming than any actual pain… they were fake light sabers), and then my son started crying because his friend was crying….. it was emotional. I was kind of embarrassed, but the birthday boy wasn’t hurt, and moved on pretty quickly, somehow won the prize (which was either always intended for the birthday boy, or given to him out of sympathy.)

It all got smoothed over quickly and we all enjoyed the rest of the party. Soon it was like it never happened, but in the car I could tell my son felt bad about it, and I thought it was a good teaching moment, but then I had to quickly figure out what I wanted the lesson to be. Be gentle?? I guess, but he was ASKED to engage in a light saber battle, and the winner was offered a prize. He tried his hardest to do what he was told to do, and I can’t really fault him for that. I did try to remind him that I’m 5 times his size, so when he hits me with a light saber, it doesn’t do as much damage as when he hits some 40 pound kid, so am I telling him to play down to his competition? Like not try his hardest when competing against someone who isn’t as good (by good I mean specifically at light saber fighting) as him? If he plays sports and he doesn’t try his best because he thinks the other team isn’t good, that will drive me nuts, so I don’t think that’s the lesson. For the purpose of this blog, I’ll say the lesson is ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’, but I don’t know if a 4-year old can grasp that or not, so I just said ‘keep the light saber away from his head next time.’


I Love To Hear Your Opinions On Music….. Unless They’re Idiotic

I don’t even need to write this. The title says it all, but lets see if I can burn 500 words by giving some context. I was reading an online article titled ’30 Mediocre Songs That Ruin Otherwise Amazing Albums’. It drew me in right away. I’ve seen a million of them. ‘I wonder we have some of the same ones’, I thought. Now this wasn’t a REAL article. It seemed like the results of a social media poll, so there was no guarantee that any of these opinions were going to be worth a pinch of cat shit, but I was curious nonetheless. To their credit, the Twitter masses were able to come up with a few good ones. Like ‘Rocky Raccoon’ being just the dumbest song ever, and a black eye on the otherwise perfect ‘White Album’ by The Beatles. Let’s face it, I didn’t know half the albums either, but I’m not here to talk about stuff that I agree with. That’s not me. That’s not this blog. I’m here to talk about the inexcusable stupidity that I encountered in the rest of the article. I have 3 examples that I just can’t take. Each are obviously just the opinion of one lonely misinformed Twitter survey participator, but I feel I must take them down anyways. Here we go.

1. “How Soon Is Now” by the Smiths apparently ruining the ‘Meat is Murder’ album. Here’s the thing. The opinions of others don’t always matter, and if this person just has a unique way of listening to music (like with cotton in your ears), then it’s always subjective, but MANY would argue that “How Soon Is Now” is the greatest alternative song of the 80’s (all time?). I’m not saying I think that. I’m not saying you have to think that. I know a lot of Smiths fans who don’t really care for that song too much, which I find happens when you are really into a band, you aren’t always going to say that their most popular song is your favorite. That said, it can’t go from being one of the greatest songs ever recorded, to ruining an album for you, that’s just ignorant. That’s just saying dumbass ignorant shit for attention, or to spark a debate (also for attention). Just so I could back up my claim without doing a whole lot of research, I googled ‘Greatest Alternative Songs of the 80s’ and it was the 3rd one listed. I clicked on the first article I saw called ‘The 100 Greatest songs of the 80s’. This list worked it’s way from 100 to 1, and you know what I did? I skipped right to the top 10 because I’m that sure that this song is universally regarded as being that high, that I didn’t even need to view 100 through 10. I was right. It was #2. So how some attention starved hangnail of a person thought that this would be the one thing they would say about this debate, like one of the greatest songs ever, ruined an album for them….. is really beyond me. I like people who are different, and have unique opinions, but this is clearly being different for the sake of being different.

2. “Creep” by Radiohead ruined the album “Pablo Honey” for one person, and their tweet got published, leading me to angry-blog. Oh I know. Nobody likes ‘Creep’ anymore. Revisionist history though. Same theme as above. Let me say this about “Creep”. It was awesome. You might be tired of it. Again, you probably don’t think it’s Radiohead’s best work, and it isn’t, but it was a great song when it came out, and Pablo Honey isn’t even a particularly great album, especially by their standards. Even the band doesn’t like that album. So how did you deem this album (undisputedly the shittiest of all the Radiohead albums) to be so close to perfect, and then choose it’s best song as the moment that ruined it for you? Are you a creep? Are you a weirdo? What the hell are you doing here?? You don’t belong here, ohh ohh….. never mind.

3. “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin as the moment that ruined Led Zeppelin IV. *Sigh*. See, here’s the thing. It’s played out. All of these songs are, and I understand that sometimes when you hear the same song over and over again, you start to hate it for whatever reason, although I would encourage you to stop listening to the radio, because they’re the ones that over play songs. In this day and age with so many options???? Radio sucks. I fall into this trap too sometimes. Every time I go to a wedding I have to hear ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA, and after doing that about 7000 times or so, you start to hate it, but it’s not a bad song. It’s just a good song in the hands of a bunch of robots who play music soullessly for a bunch of sloppy drunks so they can pay their rent. I can’t stay mad at them. Getting back to ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Love it, hate it or just sick of it, it’s the one of the most iconic rock songs of all time, which doesn’t make it good, but it IS good by all musical standards, and the world loved it. Too much maybe. So much that there wasn’t a grade 8 dance where they didn’t play that song, and we all had to find a way to awkwardly slow dance (tempo changes and all) for 8 or 9 minutes or however goddamn long that song is, but they played it because it was too great not to play. Now, if someone said they skip that track when they listen to Led Zeppelin IV, I can live with that. Listening to that song is an emotional investment, but don’t tell me it RUINED the album for you, that’s just silly.

In summary, please stop with your desperate attempts to be unique and different at the expense of common sense. Stop with the revisionist history. Stop with the Hipster-style need to dislike things that everybody else likes even though it’s awesome. It just makes you seem insecure and weird. Stop blaming excessive radio play for you disliking a song. It’s not the song’s fault that you listen to the radio instead of taking control of your own music intake. Especially with rampant streaming and illegal downloading. There’s no excuse to listen to the same songs over and over again, and then blaming the song for getting played out. That’s like going to McDonald’s everyday and getting sick of Big Macs, and then saying Big Macs are the worst thing on McDonald’s menu. They are NOT! They are the BEST (and maybe only edible) thing on McDonald’s menu!!!


For My Mom On Her 75th Birthday

Firing up the blog machine for you mom. I wrote lots of sappy blogs about Dad, but none about you. It’s not because I like him better, but he died, and you’re still here. I’ll write sappy blogs about you after you die too, I promise. Maybe one while you can still enjoy it. Couldn’t think of a better way to top up the mediocre gift I’ll be giving you 😉

You brought me into this world (thank you). I was a big baby (sorry). I was the cutest baby of all time (your welcome……and thank you I guess). You were affectionate, so I was affectionate. You had a sunny disposition, so I had a sunny disposition. I wanted to be with you all the time. You were my first best friend. You gave the best hugs, so I gave the best hugs, and now my son gives the best hugs. You made spaghetti a lot because you knew it was my favourite. You made soup a lot even though I hated it and I begged you not to. You never promised me a rose garden. You protected my innocence for as long as you could. You were a softy, even though you’re a tough talker. You made Christmas so much fun even though we kept losing relatives around that time of year, you always kept your head up, and did your best to make that time of year seem magical to your kids. You protected my baseball cards from getting thrown out when Dad tried to impose one of his elaborate punishments. When I was grounded from riding my bike, you would give me the key to get into the shed, as long as I had it put away before Dad got home. Even when you tried to give me beats, you never really hit that hard, so it was usually more funny than anything, except the time you tackled me on the lawn….. that shit was embarrassing. You always encouraged me to do well in school, and when I didn’t, you stopped at nothing to find out why. Hearing tests, psychologists, tudors, the whole package, just to really find out nothing in the end (sorry…. school just wasn’t for me), but you always championed my cause. You taught me to fake it until you make it, and I think I project as a confident adult even if I don’t always feel that way. I used to cry when I was a kid because I felt anxious about growing up. You and Dad always laughed and reassured me that being older is awesome, even though it looked lame as shit to me at the time. I can see that you were right, although most of me still doesn’t want to grow up. When I was a kid, I promised you I would live in a mansion and build you a little house in the backyard (Sorry, it didn’t really go down like that.)

You were a great stay-at-home mom, but when times got tougher, you went back to school and took a job to get the bills paid. I probably acted like a little shit in those days, (but by normal teenager standards, not so bad???). While at school and at work, you managed to start a business creating a day center for elderly people who suffer from Alzheimers disease. You turned it into a fine career, also opening a second location. One of my proudest moments was attending your retirement party, and hearing all the testimonials of how you’d made a difference in so many people’s lives. All of that after you turned 50! I learned that it’s never to late to start doing big things from you.

We’re a lot older now, and a bit crustier, and our dynamic has changed a lot since I was a kid. We’ve both been through so much since then. Now we have new babies to hug and raise up. On your 75th birthday I want you to know that I’ll never forget how loved I felt when I was young, and I credit you and Dad for how incredible I feel my life has been. I’m obviously now making the choices necessary to maintain that, but there’s no way I get to this point without the foundation you laid for me. I hope my son can feel this way as he looks back on his life too. Happy 75th Birthday Mom. You don’t look a day over 29 to me. I’m so glad to be your son. I love you!


A Message To The Soap Dish Manufacturer

I have 2 soap dishes in my condo. One in each shower. Is it still even called a soap dish? Or if it’s installed into the wall like mine, is it now called something else? That’s not actually what I wanted to ask. Let me give some background. I have 2 soap dishes in my condo. One in each shower. Are they fairly attractive and seemingly well installed? Yes. I have no complaints about that. You being the manufacturer wouldn’t have installed them, but rest easy…. I’m sure they were done properly. Really, overall, other than one small detail, I’ve been pretty happy with these soap dishes. They sit there nicely, they don’t rust, and they’ve never fallen apart. I’ll say that much. It really seems like a quality product, other than one very minute detail…… the soap slides off the dish…. every single time. Not occasionally. Not regularly. Always. Slides right off that fucking dish, and if I’m not careful, onto my foot. Not the bottom of my foot that is already suitably punished from standing on my feet for 40 hours a week and playing basketball 2 of those nights as well. It slides off and lands on the top part of my foot which has all those small bones going across with no muscle or fat to protect them. It fuckin hurts when the soap lands on my foot.

Now here’s the thing….. Maybe you figured nobody uses actual bars of soap anymore. I would say that as a soap dish manufacturer, you had to at least respect the fact that some people still did. You didn’t start installing liquid soap containers in my shower, so I’m guessing that bars of soap is still a thing. So how did you think that manufacturing a soap dish which esthetically pleasing as I promise you it is, is fucking angled to let a piece of soap fall off into the shower, and quite possibly onto a vulnerable part of people’s feet?

I try to be a laid back non-judgemental type, but periodically things like this get me upset, and I think I know the reason why this situation in particular is troublesome. Why? Because you had ONE FUCKING JOB! It was to create a soap dish that would provide a safe place for my soap to sit. One function! That’s it! It’s not a Smart-Soap Dish! You can’t check your emails and watch fucking YouTube on it! It’s the old school kind of soap dish that does nothing, and I do mean nothing, other than housing my soap. Not to beleaguer the point, but a soap dish which cannot seem to contain soap is about as useful as a toenail on your shoulder-blade.

I thought I’d spend the last paragraph giving you advice, but who am I kidding? You’ve probably got way more money that I do. You sold these useless fucking things to a builder that put them in every unit in this building, so who am I to sit on my high horse and talk about quality? You’re a quality salesperson if nothing else. You’ve probably made enough money to retire, and I’m busting my ass every day with a bruises on the tops of my feet, so what do I know? That’s the kind of world it is now. The guy who used to decide every week which celebrity ran a shittier fictitious company, is now the leader of the free world, so you should be able to slanty soap dish your way to the top too. I don’t really wish any ill on you because that’s not my style, but if I do find out that you died because you fell in the shower, my first instinct will be to laugh.