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Comfort in Milk & Pepsi

6 Feb

I wanted just a moment to myself. Most of the time I have to wake up at the crack of dawn or wait until the middle of the night to have these little escapes. I’ve learned that they’re necessary every couple of months. I just need to tag out.

Luckily I had some relatives in from out of town who were willing to babysit, and I was able to recharge my sense of self. Sometimes I have to go back to the time of bell-bottoms and schlamiel and schlamazel my way to Zen.

It was a great renewal moment … and it took me back to a time where I hung out on the fluffy chocolate brown living room couch,  and got lost in a cool friendship with laughter along  way.

It was the first time I had ever thought to try Milk & Pepsi. The combination had never occurred to me before. But I mean if it was Laverne’s favorite drink, I haaaaaaaaad to have it. However, I was disappointed to learn that it wasn’t as awesome as I had hoped because Laverne DeFazio was one of my favorite people growing up but apparently Milk & Pepsi is an acquired taste..

There I was in the living room watching Laverne & Shirley and thinking if I was in Milwaukee I’d probably share a slice of pizza and go bowling with them. They make me laugh. And so when I heard that they would be having a Laverne & Shirley marathon at a theater in town in order to celebrate the anniversary of their first show, I jumped at the chance to be a part of something like that.

It’s not a big deal to some people, just a TV show, but back in the day this show was a fun show about the lives of two strong, young women and the strength of their friendship throughout all their adventures. Penny Marshall was something awesome and when she passed away last year I was really heartbroken to hear the news. I’d remember her awesome directing with Big and A League of Their Own, but watching her as Laverne DeFazio was a great memory growing up. I felt a piece of my childhood drift off when she passed.

But I got a chance to relive some of the good-feel vibes when I heard about the Laverne & Shirley marathon. My aunt was visiting and she offered to watch the kids so that I could escape to the theater and catch a couple of episodes. Naturally I couldn’t do the entire 12-hour marathon, but I did catch some classics.

The theater was full of like-minded Laverne & Shirley enthusiasts I had never met before, and I was glad to have made it. There was an unspoken camaraderie among us, as we watched the episodes and laughed. I rekindled moments of funny from my childhood that felt good, moments of laughter during their friendship, moments of myself as a kid, sitting on the chocolate brown couch and thinking I had a friend just like that in my life. I found the moment-of-the-day and tried to hold onto to as much as I could, sitting among a community of people who felt the same connection. And I felt comfort. I felt comfort sitting there within this community. It brought me joy and laughter. Again.

It was a good break … good Zen. Milk & Pepsi recharged my batteries. And I’m sure there are shows out there that people remember and think back on with smiles. Shows that they’d sit through a marathon for … Shows that give you comfort.

Here’s hoping you find them.

 

Buen Camino, my friends!

 

 

 

 

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Mobster Mondays

22 Jun

When it first came out I couldn’t believe it. I was glued to the television set the whole week. But then … it went missing.

Until today.

Well almost.

It used to be called Mob Week, where I tuned in every night for seven nights to see my favorites: Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Joe Pesci, Chazz Palminteri and Ray Liotta among others. I’d be glued to the set watching some Martin Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola movies I had already seen, seen with my Dad, and remembering our conversations about Vito Corleone, Henry Hill, Tommy DeVito, Donnie Brasco, Sam Rothstein and others.

It was awesome. I knew the story, I knew what would happen, I knew the classic lines and I’d remember how my Dad and I would both have A-Ha moments over how great that line was at that very moment, and Mob Week brought some of that back to me.

But the thing is, I’m not a violent person by nature and for some reason I found myself interested in these stories, and intensely watching them over and over again. It was a trip. I wasn’t part of that I want-to-be-a-gangster mentality either. But I guess I was interested in these characters and their stories and how they seemed to rise to power, using both brains and violence to get to where they wanted to be. I was interested in how the concepts of family, honor, and loyalty meshed with murder, racketeering, and violence. I was interested in how Scorsese and Coppola framed the stories and dialogue that would pull me into this world.

Even the small biographies about the original mobsters peaked my interest. So when Mob Week mysteriously disappeared, I was left feeling bummed out.

Fast forward to 2015 and mob madness returns to the Guat household. Thanks to AMC.

.

Courtesy of Mob Mondays on AMC

Courtesy of Mob Mondays on AMC

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I saw the promo for Mob Mondays and I was ready to block all calls and set the DVR just in case. For eight Mondays in a row I’d be treated to some of the best mobster movies out there plus a bonus. An original series brought to me by the same people who brought me Mad Men and Breaking Bad would follow.

I was like …yes! Yes AMC! Yes!

On Mob Mondays The Making of the Mob: New York, I’d get the scoop on Charles Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and the rest of his crew. I’d get the rise and fall. I was excited about it and interested in how the their minds worked, how they felt capable of putting it all together, and how eventually death, the IRS, or FBI would eventually catch up to them.

That whole world interested me, it’s complicated and violent dynamic. I couldn’t really explain why, but it just did. The story did, and for the next eight weeks, I’d be able to catch these attention-grabbing stories, and Mondays would have a new meaning.

.

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I Wonder How It Ends …

4 Apr
:)

🙂

Are you going to tune in?

Netlix Is My New HBO

30 Mar

I can’t even …

Most people who say that don’t understand the depth and awesomeness that create a phrase like that, they just say it. There’s no substance behind it.

But with me.

Dude.

Plenty of depth.

And I can’t even tell you about the most amazing discovery that I’ve uncovered. It just happened, while you were sleeping.

Netflix became my new HBO.

Now before you start hollering at me let me be clear. I’m a huge HBO fan.

HUGE.

They put The Wire, the best drama on Earth on the air (although Sons of Anarchy comes a really close second). They allowed me to meet Tony and Carmela Soprano, forget about it. And then they decided to introduce me to Deadwood, Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sex In The City, Bored To Death, Band of Brothers, The Pacific, Veep, Newsroom, Game of Thrones, and True Detective.

These are all DVR worthy, watch live-and-in-person-don’t-answer-the-phone worthy shows and mini-series. I’ve been a fan for a while. But I’ve got to say, Netflix is rising fast, with intense and dramatic shows that make you turn off your phone. And here’s the amazing part … I don’t have to wait until next week to watch the next episode.

I know.

The Holy-Crap-I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened-what-the-hell-is-going-to-happen-next feeling gets eased just by pressing play. They reeled me in with House of Cards and the amazing Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Underwood for President! Then they decided to bring back Jason Bateman and the entire Arrested Development crew. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to see the banana stand back in business.

But they didn’t stop there.

They introduced Orange is the New Black and Derek, two dramadies that captured my attention for sure and made me fall in love with and care for inmates at a prison and the quirky staff and residents of a nursing home.

Then Agent Scully came back to TV as another pretty intelligent detective on the hunt for a serial killer who happens to be the 50 Shades of Grey guy, before he took up the whips and stuff.

But the show that put me over the edge … the one that inspired this post, the one that had me binge watching until two in the morning, the one I sacrificed sleep for because I couldn’t wait to see what happened, and the one that pushed me into letting you know that Netflix is moving on up … to the East Side … to a deluxe apartment in the skyyyyyyyy … yeah they’re moving on up … they finally got a piece of the pie.

The show?

The one?

Bloodline.

With Coach Eric Taylor himself.

Yup.

Kyle Chandler has come back from Friday Night Lights to star in this amazingly awesome thriller-drama as detective John Rayburn and that has me saying I can’t even

I know, right?

And you know sometimes you get worried that one of your favorites is going to come back and it’s not going to be as great as their original show. And you worry.

Yeah, this is not one of those situations.

This is a binge-worthy situation.

I don’t want to put out any spoilers or ruin the surprises, the build up, the character reveals, or the Holy-Crap moments. I want to give you a chance to experience the great writing on your own. So I thought I’d just give you a head’s up.

Netflix is finally getting a piece of the pie and I want you to get your piece.

Watch out now … It’s my new HBO.

At The End Of The Final Ride It Was Fan vs. Writer

10 Dec

Have you ever killed somebody and then regretted it later?

I mean you planned it for days, weeks … dude even months carrying out all the details, envisioning out all the scenarios, and trying to answer all the what-ifs in your mind. Trying to make the perfect plan.

And then you do it … it’s done.

At first you feel great about it … it had to be done, there’s no other way. But then something tugs at your heart, and it sits heavy on your chest. You begin second guessing yourself wondering, did that have to happen?

Yeah writers got problems.

As a writer I know where the story has to go and what the characters have to do in order to stay true to the life of the story, I know it. But sometimes the emotion of the fan inside me gets in the way and I struggle. But this tends to happen more while reading or watching someone else’s story, and not so much when it’s my own.

This is what happened last night during the two-hour series finale of the most dramatically intense Emmy-and-Golden-Globe-worthy show I’ve ever seen. But they have yet to receive one. It’s like that one great player that never got the championship ring.

Sons of Anarchy ended last night and I can’t even begin to tell you about how the finale made the fan and writer inside me feel. It was a a battle. Had that same feeling of mourning I did with the The Wire, Breaking Bad, LOST, 24, and Friday Night Lights.

Dude … if you haven’t caught up with all the Anarchy then you best stop reading …

“I’m sorry, JT. It was too late for me. I was already inside it. And Gemma … she had plans. But it’s not too late for my boys. I promise, they will never know this life. I understand who you are now. What you did. I love you, dad.” — Jax Teller

 

 

Did our hero have to die?

Yeah, I guess he did.

 

Kurt Sutter

Kurt Sutter

In true form, writing genius and creator Kurt Sutter had to keep the story honest, so yeah I guess Jax did have to end it. Jax arrived at the same crossroads his father, John Teller had come to years earlier. Only this time Jax was going to get it right.

“I realized a good father and a good outlaw can’t settle inside the same man.” — Jax Teller

 

The fan inside me was hoping there would be another way to keep him riding all the way until the end, just like I had wished for his best friend Opie and his wife Tara.

 

 

I was rooting for it. You know me, I love the underdog story. But the writer inside me knew the tougher choice needed to be made and the series had to end with his death. It was for the sake of the story. There was no other ending that seemed right and with that heartbreak came and engulfed me.

So with this crisis and epic sadness over the end of my favorite show and the death of Jax Teller, I began to wonder if other writers had the same issue. Do you ever struggle with that or is it just when watching other stories unfold?

Undergoing the loss of a character is a tough thing for both the fan and the writer in me, because he wasn’t just black and white. He was layered with complexities just like us … he was a good man within the criminal world. He was the good, the bad, and at times the ugly. But in the end he went out like a hero and made the ultimate sacrifice for his boys and for his club.

And even though I knew it was going to happen the fan in me hoped that it wouldn’t. But the writer understood and sadly I’m still all tore up over it. It was one hell of a final ride.

Don’t think I have enough chocolate for this one.

 

Brace Yourselves … The End of Teller Tuesdays is Near

8 Dec

Dear Jax,

I can’t even …I mean I can’t.

This is definitely a Holy Crap moment.

I can’t believe it’s here. I just can’t. I mean part of me is in denial about the whole thing. I know it’s real I know it’s gonna happen and I know I’m gonna have a difficult time letting go.

But I’ve got to … there’s just no other way

You have been in my life for seven years. It’s been seven years … seven … and now things are coming to an end and I don’t know how to deal with it. I’m excited about what’s to come, but feeling the anxiety of knowing it’s the end.

I’m riding an emotional roller coaster on a Harley.

I’m in midst of mourning the loss of this relationship and coming to the realization that you will no longer be in my life on a weekly basis.

I feel like all the good men in my life have left me.

I didn’t know what to do without Tony. I knew I’d miss Tommy. I mean I was at a loss with Jack. Devastated with losing Jesse and Walter. And now it’s you … I have to say good-bye to you. I knew you’d be a heart breaker the moment I saw you.

You were the dangerous, charming and gentle-hearted type of outlaw.

I knew you were walking the line, but I still fell for you. Your heart was in a good place, you were suffering from the hero’s complex, always trying to do right, but being pulled in all kinds of directions so the wrong eventually surfaced. I’m gonna miss being in your life, hearing your thoughts, and riding this final journey with you.

Some of the best parts of being on this final ride with you were listening to the deepest thoughts from the most complicated part of your soul, reading your father’s letters and manuscript, watching your relationship with Tara, seeing your brotherhood with Opie and Chibs get stronger, realizing that we both liked and hated your crazy mother, and rooting for you to succeed as a family man … but most of all it was the drama. The intense blow-my-mind-I-need-a-defibrillator-because-my-heart-couldn’t-take-it-anymore kind of drama pulled me in every week. You pulled me in …

Your story Jax.

It was your story that drew me in and for that I suppose I have to thank the genius behind you Kurt Sutter.

But now it ends.

Tomorrow is the BIG day. Tomorrow at 10 o’clock on FX Network I will be anxiously and nervously awaiting the end of your story … the end of my beloved Sons of Anarchy A.K.A. SAMCRO. I am happy to see how it will end, but saddened to realize that it has an end.

Tomorrow there will no longer be Teller Tuesdays … just Tuesdays. Brace yourselves, I know I’ll have to because I can guarantee you that it will feel empty and it will suck, that’s the feeling of knowing you won’t be there. That’s how it’s gonna feel.

Am I being a little dramatic?

No, not really. Not if you’re a fan like me.

I was glad to have known you. You’ve kept me company every Tuesday night for the past seven years.

Teller Tuesdays … they’ve been an awesome ride.

How Do You Get Over It?

6 Nov

I’m in recovery mode.

It took 48 hours to get through this, I mean I’m still getting through it. I’m still in disbelief even though I saw it coming, I’m in denial because it was so shocking and it hurt. For a minute I thought, maybe. I was so invested, I really thought he would make it to the end.

But I should have known.

The almighty writing genius Kurt Sutter from Sons of Anarchy had other plans.

He broke my heart … again. Just when I thought I recovered from Opie and Tara’s gruesome deaths he killed off another of my favorites. I guess I knew he wasn’t coming back after Moses took his eye out.

 

Rest In Peace...

Rest In Peace…

 

So I sat there in the dark of Daylight Savings Time as the credits rolled wondering why the hell he keeps killing off all these great characters, but leaves these twisted sociopaths in excellent health. Then I realized … their death will be epic, of the I-can’t-even category. But still does that justify the utter devastation that me and the rest of the Samcro faithful feel?

No.

I’d still like to see Opie, Tara, and Bobby Elvis.

I was rooting for them, I’m a lover of the underdog stories so when they kill my character and the future storyline I’d imagined I’m in need of a moment.

So with all my TV watching experience, how do I continually get over the death of beloved characters? How do I get over it?

Well … sometimes I don’t. I remain angry and hurt for weeks. I get so attached to these people because they’ve become people to me. It’s the writer in me, I get so attached to their story and their journey. It sucks when it ends in an untimely manner.

Sometimes the death is so shocking, like when they shot JR and you thought he was dead, that you can barely function the next day. These cliffhanger moments cause chest pains, anxiety attacks and bouts of profanity, which is probably why I enjoy watching Netflix because I can binge watch and find out what happens on my own timeline.

But heroes still die on Netflix.

So what do you do?

Recovery takes a while, it always does.

I’ve seen 24, LOST, The Sopranos, The Wire, and The Shield where some my favorites didn’t quite make it to the end, and it helps if you have a buddy. The mourning period goes by quicker because you have someone who gets it. My Dad was my buddy.

My Dad was around back then and I was able to go through this with my TV-watching-partner-in-crime buddy. We’d have never-ending panel discussion for days and share our best moments of the season. It was awesome. Unfortunately I’m flying solo in my epic television adventures and only have one other friend to discuss these Holy-Crap Sons of Anarchy moments, but she lives like two hours away. So we send text messages to each other.

Text messages are good but I wish she lived closer, and since I don’t have an actual Sons of Anarchy cohort, I remain at a loss and wishing that Sutter never ended Bobby’s journey. I hope for revenge a lot.

 

Jax Teller

Jax Teller

 

Revenge is a good thing and I hope it comes for Jax. I’m waiting for it.

If that doesn’t pan out, chocolate works wonders. Chocolate and profanity.

 

 

 

The Final Ride … I’m All In Favor For Revenge

8 Sep

 

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude.

I can’t even tell you …

I can’t even.

Am I ready?

Am I ready!

Dude.

I’ve been ready since the end of last season.

I’ve been living in shock.

I’ve been wallowing in heartbreak.

The death of my poor Tara, and not just any death, but a violent one at the hands of crazy Gemma.

The death of happily ever after for Jax and Tara.

The death of the truth behind his father’s murder.

The death of a future for his sons, Abel and Thomas.

The birth of more lies.

But hopefully it’s also the birth of revenge.

I’m waiting.

I’ve been waiting.

Patiently.

I know people say you should always take the higher ground, but being that it’s the final season, I’m all in favor of revenge.

Revenge is a good thing, especially when your mom is Gemma … she deserves to go down.

Kurt, are you listening?

Sutter!

You keep killing people who don’t need to die.

First Donna

Then Piney.

Then Opie.

Then Tara.

Dude.

I damn near lost it with Opie.

And my heart broke with Tara.

Dude.

You need to rectify the situation.

It’s Gemma’s time.

And I’ll be watching … closely.

The Final Ride starts Tuesday.

9/9

I’ll be watching.

Nobody better call me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

O Captain, My Captain … Rest In Peace

11 Aug

I first saw him in a red jump suit with a silver triangle on Happy Days. I was watching it with my uncle Erick.

And he cracked me up. He was unconventional.

Then I grew up watching him as Mork from Ork.

He flew his freak flag, made me laugh, and warmed my heart. He encouraged me to let my wackiness out, I thought if he’s comfortable like that why not. If he’s out there, like a lightning bolt, on the edge, feeling every bit of life through his comedic genius, dude so can I.

I can let my awesome out.

I was a fan. Most definitely. So was my Dad.

 

The first movie we saw was a classic. Something that we always enjoyed watching. Something that encouraged spirit.

 

“Goooooooooooooooooooood Morning VIETNAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!”

 

It’s still something that resonates spirit. Something that first opened my eyes to war, and that you can even have a bit of comedy in such a serious subject matter. He did that well, teaching lessons through dramas, but always using comedy to help it along a bit.

 

Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that. Break out! — Dead Poet’s Society

 

My Dad and I connected through his movies, whether they were comedies or dramas. We enjoyed watching him and bonding over laughs and awesome lines. We enjoyed his exuberance and his I’m-out-here kind of comedy. One of the best movies that I often watch to get me out of a funk is the Bird Cage, guaranteed laughs, and guaranteed cured for crappy moods. I so wish I would have been able to meet him and thank him for the endless laughs he gave me and his warm heart. I only got to know him through his works. but I was grateful for at least that.

 

“Laughter enhances the blood flow to the body’s extremities and improves cardiovascular function. Laughter releases endorphins and other natural mood elevating and pain-killing chemicals, improves the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to internal organs.
Laughter boosts the immune system and helps the body fight off disease, cancer cells as well as viral, bacterial and other infections. Being happy is the best cure of all diseases.” — Patch Adams

 

My Dad could watch this guy and crack up at his improvisation skills and his quick wit. But we both agreed, he was so much more than just comedy, and we knew it. He was of life lessons, and out there with his personal struggles and his triumphs. He was definitely inspiring for those who didn’t fit the mold, for those who were excited about life and showed it no matter where you were. My Dad would have definitely been sad about his passing. He knew well what it was like to live with depression. My Dad dealt with it for over a decade, and would have probably rooted for Robin to get through it. It’s a disease that wears on your spirit and soul. My Dad struggled with it daily and I witnessed it and tried my best to help him feel loved and help him find laughter when all he could see was darkness.

It’s tough when someone so amazingly funny and passionate for comedy dies.

I’m saddened about Robin’s death, and even more so because it made me think of my Dad and all the times we hung out watching movies and re-runs of his movies. But I was also glad that Williams was part of my life growing up, making me smile and crack up. His interviews and stand-up often reminded me to just let your freak flag fly, go off course, live with passion, and let the awesomeness shine through.

I was glad that I shared many TV memories with my Dad and my uncle Erick, whose favorite line was “Nanu, Nanu.” But as always watching him on the big screen and laughing out loud will be something I will miss.

 

You don’t know about real loss because it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.” — Good Will Hunting

 

 

 

Just So You Know …

5 May

 

JackvsSuperman

🙂