Today is either my birthday or the one year memorial of my death. I’m not certain what to call it as yet. You see, I literally left the planet on the sudden cardiac death express a year ago today. Luckily for me, my friends and medical personnel weren’t cool with my departure and decided to delay my ascension to the pearly gates by way of CPR, defibrillators and induced comas. So what’s life been like since 4/21 (never forget)? Well here are a few highlights from the last 365 days in the first year of my second life.
- I have since been laid off from my place of employment (rhymes with Smorgan Spanley) as a result of “corporate restructuring.” The best part is I only took a month off to recuperate from death and returned to work because in my mind (and against all advisement from friends and medical personnel) I needed to be back to work to secure my position. It would seem coming back from the dead doesn’t even grant you job security in today’s market place. Ah well. The timing of my layoff literally couldn’t have been any better because it occurred the day after the bullet point below.
- I finished writing and editing my first book after years of threatening to do so. Not only has it been well received but for the first time in my second life, I paid my rent with income generated from doing something I love. The significance of that is non quantifiable to anyone who has ever wanted to a) write a book and b) survive on their artist’s income. No one can predict how long that will be sustained so consider this paragraph my victory dance. You don’t really have time to dance when you’re slangin’ books like Jay Z in the early eighties however so…”Grand opening / grand closing.”
The most important lesson the last year has taught me is I am still here to learn lessons. The highs and lows of life clearly remain and I used to be deathly afraid of death but now that I’ve actually tried it (I don’t recommend it by the way), I can definitively say there is nothing to be afraid of. Most ignore death but that ignorance actually decreases your quality of life in that it takes away the urgency of time and the subsequent actions that follow (like finishing a book for instance). Consider life a party that had no end time listed on the flyer but you know it’s gonna end. May I suggest you eat the mac and cheese and get a few drinks when you walk in the door because this party could end at anytime.
I was recently asked hypothetically that if I knew the exact date of my death how would that effect how I lived? I struggled with that hypothetical question because I do know the date, it’s 4/21. Seriously and more importantly, it wouldn’t affect the way I lived. Most certainly don’t know the exact date of their demise but we all know there is an exact date and today could be that day. A year ago, it was for me. That’s a completely morbid notion but the exact converse and duality of that sentiment is if you renew your perspective, any day could also be your first day, including today. A year ago, it was for me.
Most of you will never have the luxury of dying and coming back so take it from me (my friends hate it when I play the “death card”), get to learning life, get to living life and get to loving life!
Sidebar: Happy birthday to me!!!! Happy to be here!! Sidebar complete.
Hip Hop Now
Here’s five acts doing their thing in the first installment of Hip Hop Now.
Chicago rapper Saba‘s new record Care For Me features Chance The Rapper on “Logout.”
From Everything is Fine, a collaboration between rapper/satirists Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, here’s “Zero.”
Tyler, the Creator stays weird and rhymes chicken nugget with fuckit on rap nugget “Okra.”
Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions lost his cousin to police violence and channels that energy into the controversial “Like Me.”
Rapper/actor A$AP Rocky samples Moby‘s “Porcelain” on “A$AP Forver.”
A Quiet Place
“A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.”
A lot of skepticism crossed my mind when I first saw the trailer for A Quiet Place. A lot of familiarity to the falsely-marketed It Comes of Night were smeared all over this film. A family trapped in what seems like a post-apocalyptic world, forced to farm, hunt, and live like 1930’s Okie’s in the dust bowl. No real explanation of what happened and what is hunting them. Nah! I figured that they would foresee the comparisons and will stray away from the “its the people that are the real monsters” trope.
Thank the Lord that they did.
From the beginning of the film we see that there is a real threat, and the family is just trying to live in silence, literally. They have to keep extremely quiet in order to not be heard by the creatures who kill by sound. The theater experience was very interesting for this film as the audience fell to dead silence, as if we were participating in the same scenario.
This movie relied heavily on some tremendous acting. John Krasiniski not only directs but stars with real-life wife Emily Blunt, and holds down the lead role with a mix of grit and sincerity. Blunt knocks it out the park as the mother who suffers through grueling moments, pantomiming some extreme pain that had the audience cringing with tension.
More impressive were the kids. Noah Jupe, who has been quietly making waves with his acting in movies such as Wonder and the sub-par film Suburbicon, was stretched in this movie portraying the son, but Millicent Simmonds, who I couldn’t pinpoint to any other film, carried a lot of the emotional weight and was burdened with the heaviest guilt.
Now the creatures were obviously CGI and it was noticeable, but when they make their grand appearance it doesn’t really matter. The way they hunt, move about, and made their weird clicking noise, made them fascinating monsters and even a bit creepy.
This movie did a great job of mixing emotion and tension and even though I found it toned down on the horror, I think it could have a few people curled up in their seats from the thrill.
Overall Grade: B
This movie was good and it was held up but some truly stellar acting, directing and writing. Don’t expect a lot of horror, but do expect to be uneasy with a few scenes. Oh, the ending was simple but very bad-ass!
Drama, Horror, Thriller
Director: John Krasinski
1 hours 30 minutes
Aegyo – What the What?
You know how you and your significant other do the baby talk thing? Come on, you do it, admit it. Sometimes you talk to each other in a childish voice or make silly little gestures that you would never use at, for example, a business meeting or at the dentist. Well, this is a whole cottage industry in South Korea and they call it Aegyo.
Aegyo, a tool long leveraged by South Korean ladies to get what they want through sheer cuteness, has been leveraged by male and female K-Pop Idol groups to ginormous success. In fact, there are songs where one can do little cutsey gestures to the whole thing. Two popular aegyo anthems are The Gwiyomi Song and Oppaya, and there are videos aplenty on YouTube where folks of all ages and backgrounds vie for cringe-worthy cuteness. Some of these videos have millions upon millions of views. There’s even K-Pop Idol shows where folks watch each other express aegyo and react with howls of laughter.
Holy cow, the more I talk about this, the weirder it gets. Yet, I can’t look away.
Other cultures are jumping on the band wagon, too. Check out the videos below for some adorable examples.
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