Movie Review: The Dark Tower (SPOILERS)

I have read Stephen King’s entire Dark Tower series twice – like The Lord of the Rings, it is one of those timeless series of books that never get old and I realize there was something I missed in each reading (or listening, in my case, as I love the audio versions of the series narrated by George Guidall, Frank Muller, and Stephen King himself). I have mentioned my love for this series here as well as my anticipation of the long-awaited first film. Read more

What It’s Like Trying to Write with Anxiety

It comes from out of nowhere really. It’s worse if there’s actually something to be anxious about – like a meeting I’m dreading or because I happen to turn on the news and see North Korea mentioned or even if I’m on my way to a dentist appointment. But more often than not, there is no immediate reason for me to be anxious. But I am. It starts with a kind of nagging feeling like I forgot to turn the oven off before leaving the house (which I didn’t) or like there’s a special meeting or project coming up that I know I’m supposed to be at but am not there (which there isn’t), or like I have a sudden pop-quiz or surprise test that I forgot to study for or had no idea was coming or read the wrong part of the text book (and I haven’t taken a test since college).
That’s the beginning of it.

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How OJ Simpson and a CNN Series About Decades Made Me Rethink Childhood

I was fourteen years old when OJ Simpson went from being a former Football god and comedic movie star to landing the Trial of the Century. As a kid in the 1980’s I saw old football footage of The Juice doing what he did best on the football field and I remember my dad using illustrations of OJ on the field in his glory days to make a point in a sermon he gave from the pulpit of our church. I remember watching The Naked Gun for the first time and laughing to the point my sides hurt when OJ’s clumsy and unlucky Detective Nordberg tried to repeatedly catch the bad guys and would find every way imaginable to screw it up and hurt himself in the process. By the time Nordberg is bound to a wheelchair and seems to be on the mend in a football stadium only to roll down every concrete step and go plummeting to the field below, I was spewing soda out my nostrils and clutching my sides.

But then 1994 happened and suddenly the tone about OJ Simpson shifted to a dark place in my household and in households all over America. In my fourteen year-old naivete, I mistakenly assumed every single human being in the country was certain of OJ’s guilt and assumed that the only reason the trial lasted as long as it did was because OJ was famous. This was partially correct, but for reasons I really had no idea about. I would occasionally hear throwbacks to the infamous LA Riots of 1991 and 1992, and even with the advent of Johnnie Cochran to OJ’s legal team, I’m embarrassed to admit I really had no idea how the two events were related until recently. Read more

Movies I Can’t Wait For: The Dark Tower and Ready Player One (With Trailers)

It’s looking like 2017 has become the pivotal year for blockbuster film franchises. With 2016 being such a downer – especially for the rocky beginnings of the DC Extended Universe and their critical failures in Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. For the record, there were parts of Batman v Superman that I really liked (especially the ultimate edition director’s cut, which to me is the only cut of that film in which it makes any real sense). I have actually really liked Ben Affleck’s turn as the Caped Crusader and thought he had maybe the best understanding of the duality of Batman and Bruce Wayne.

But along came 2017 and already we’ve had a massively successful new film in the DCEU with Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman film. Was it perfect? No, but it was upbeat and funny and adventurous in all the right places. And the MCU has continued its arch to Avengers: Infinity War with a really fun, adventurous, and emotionally gripping Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (which may be my favorite film in the MCU so far) and Spider-Man: Homecoming. And Thor: Ragnorok and Black Panther look to be really exciting as well.

And with all the hype surrounding it and shoots and reshoots and personal tragedies and directorial changes, I’m still really excited about the upcoming Justice League, but I’ll do another post on that soon. Read more

Back on Adderall: Good for ADHD, Bad for Anxiety

Two years ago, I began taking Adderall to treat my ADHD. I had previously seen a counselor where I was told I showed signs of ADHD without Hyperactivity. I have long had issues with focus and procrastination. They taught me how to use meditation, diet, and exercise to my advantage and on their own, those have tended to help, though I am typically awful when it comes to being consistent at any of the above (especially exercise).

When I started taking Adderall, I could tell an immediate difference. I was focused on my work, and I could complete tasks I otherwise seemed incapable of completing. I was suddenly getting things done. I was crossing off items on my to-do list, I was making phone calls that scared me to death to make previously. And I was able to be fully present on what I was working on.

This came at a cost, though. I was frequently irritable with people, and my patience was next to zero. I was no longer my usual chipper self as much and instead was right-to-the-point and if someone stood in the way of my task, I told them so. This made me a near nightmare to live with, probably, and probably kept my friends and family feeling like they were stepping on a minefield waiting for the explosion. I’m definitely not proud of this.

I coupled this medication with an anti-anxiety medication (Remember when I was given my ADHD diagnosis? That also included a diagnosis of General Anxiety Disorder.) and that helped to some extent.

Then, at the beginning of the year, when I changed jobs, I went off my insurance for a while, and so I went off Adderall. As time went on and I got my new job, I decided to stay off the meds and see how it affected my performance and mood. I stayed on the anxiety meds, and for a while it seemed to work fine. But gradually as time went on, I felt myself slipping back into that brain fog of distraction and procrastination. I didn’t want to make phone calls when an email would work.

So recently my doctor put me back on Adderall to see if this improved. After all, I was in a far less stressful work environment now, and that could make all the difference. Like before, I couple this med with my anti-anxiety meds and like before, I can tell a difference with my ability to focus and hone in on projects until they’re done. And it has made a difference in that I no longer feel impatient with others (I think my getting off social media and not being on my phone so much probably contributed to being more in-the-moment at home and with others).

But the problem is that – even on the anxiety meds – I have a few moments in the day where my anxiety is gripping at me with a mean grip, and I find myself worrying that I’m not doing enough or that I’m suddenly overwhelmed with everything. I know in my head that this isn’t the case, and I can’t for the life of me imagine what I’m overwhelmed WITH. I know it’s the medication. But I’m not sure what to do with this at the time. I feel like I’ve been nothing if not inconsistent during my medication changes.

So yeah, this is a rant. I’m just working stuff out. Thanks!

Taken from the YouTube Capture and Thumbnail
Taken from the YouTube Capture and Thumbnail

Currently Watching: Netflix’s Gypsy (My Spoiler-Free Review)

The trailer above doesn’t really do this show justice. It’s a somewhat gimmicky trailer to showcase something racy and potential thriller material. I hadn’t seen the trailer but instead, found the premise in the Netflix description intriguing, and somewhat hitting close to home in much smaller ways personally.

In Netflix’s new original series Gypsy (the title and theme of which is taken from the famous Fleetwood Mac song, with Stevie Nicks’s haunting vocals bringing in the opening credits of each episode), Jean Holloway (Naomi Watts) is a therapist recovering from a mysterious past who begins slipping into the lives of people close to her patients, all without her patients knowing about it. Donning an alternate identity, she gets a payoff from meeting friends, family members, and former lovers of her patients. Her husband Michael (Billy Crudup) is a lawyer who is aware of her former history but remains unaware of her current disappearances and whereabouts. On the surface, Jean and Michael are a typical New York married couple with a young daughter, and they are working through mostly typical family issues, but behind the scenes, the day-to-day routine life of work, family, and home life aren’t cutting it for Jean, and so she sets out in her spare time to live an edgier and more curious life. When she gets involved with the story of one of her clients in his recent break-up, Jean meets his former girlfriend Sydney (who has a cloud of mystery surrounding her as well), and forms an unexpected connection with her. Read more

A Well Rounded Identity Crisis: What Kind of Stuff Should I Write?

I sometimes wish I was one of those readers that ONLY read one genre, like ONLY reading sci-fi books or horror books or biographies. Then, being a writer would be a lot easier because I could hone in on one genre to write. I would be able to write a lot more instead of worrying, “How would I even market this?” There are a lot of pro writers who say you should write for yourself or for readers like you, so the writing is more authentic. Then there are just as many pro writers who say you should always have your audience in mind. There are pros and cons to both, but because I read and am inspired by so many different kinds of books, both fiction and non-fiction, it leaves me in a sort of identity crisis.  Read more

How Taking a Social Media Break Might Be the Best Thing For Your Life

We’ve all been there. The first thing millions of us do upon waking up – whether it’s before we crawl out of bed or have that first cup of coffee – is grab our smartphone next to our bed and open up the ol’ Twitter feed (“What did Trump tweet at 2 AM this time?”) or scroll through all the latest gossip on Facebook. It’s also one of the last things we do before going to bed. There’s always those picture-perfect people who are showing off photos of their latest vacation that reminds you that YOU should be on vacation. Then there are the “popular” posts by your friends and family that make their way toward the top of your Facebook feed that are either so controversial or maddening that they have six hundred comments on them, and you can’t help but read through all of their drama. Read more

Photo Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Nirzar Pangarkar</a>
Photo Credit: Nirzar Pangarkar

More Writer’s Block: When the Brain Fog Kicks In

Do you ever get brain fog?

I’m trying to debate whether it’s an ADHD thing or just part of my personality. I think if it’s the former, there’s medication that can help. But I’m on the medication, and it’s not helping much with this. Which means maybe it’s the latter. And if brain fog and writer’s block is part of my personality, that scares me to death.

So I’m going to attempt to be optimistic and say it’s ADHD. I don’t know how severe my case is. I’m not hyperactive. Never really was, unless I get wound up in parties, and then I can slay the crowd with funny bits. But when I’m alone at my computer staring at a blank screen I get all knotted up inside. Knowing that I SHOULD have something to say. Actually, it dissolves pretty fast from there.

Here’s how the regression shows up:

– I know I SHOULD have something to say.
– Well, I FEEL I should have something to say.
– I KINDA feel like I might have something to say.
– Wow. Maybe I DON’T really have anything interesting to say.
– Forget interesting. I have NOTHING to say.
– Geez. I’m an IDIOT!
– WHY would ANYONE listen to ANYTHING I write?
– Then I curse myself and throw my hands in the air.

That’s pretty much how brain fog plagues me.

But I’m on this blog so I’m writing! Look at THOSE there words, people! All over that white page. I am writing like a machine!

I have no topic. No real idea what I’m writing about. But dangit! I’m writing!

I fought it. And maybe I’ll write something tomorrow.