Parks & Recreaction ft. Stephanie and the Spiky Caterpillar of Doom (AKA Parks and Masturdation: Buddha and Books)

So. About that four-day weekend. I kinda went crazy, y’all. I did a lot of masturdation. And you know something? I’m a damn good date.

Mkay. Let’s see. (I’m putting dates on these, because this was actually the weekend before last. And I did more shit this past weekend!)

Thursday, April 14: Sassy and Pensive

I’ve already told you about the sassy new haircut I got last Thursday. That was on the 14th. So last last Thursday. And then later, I went to the bookstore, too! And bought books!


Friday, April 15: Date with Deadpool

I’ve also already told you about the Deadpool masturdate  last last Friday, so let’s move right along.

The end credits had such cute (and vulgar) graphics. This was one of the only clear snaps I could get.

Saturday, April 16: Please sir, may I have some more…books?

I found myself lying in bed. All. Fucking. Day. Around 7 P.M., I had had enough. I was angry and disappointed with myself. So I got up, took a shower, and went to the bookstore. I didn’t know what else to do or where else to go, but I knew I needed to get my pathetic ass out of the bed and move. Also. It’s always fun checking out the cute geeks in the sci-fi/fantasy/comics section. Sometimes they’re so deliciously yummy, I want to kidnap them (don’t worry; they’re adults) and do things to them. So uhm. I bought more books. Quelle surprise!

Added three more to the TBR stack!

Looking forward to reading this when time allows. Speaking of time, that’s a “pocket watch” on a chain. I wear it around my neck to remind me that time our time on this earth is finite; it is precious and I must Carpe the fucking Diem. “There’s only lifetime. GO!”

Yes, I spent too much money. This is rare for me. But when I do decide to spend on myself, it usually happens in a splurgy burst. But I at least had coupons for books! So I didn’t do so bad at the bookstore.

I also justified it by using “spending money” I had set aside for the trip that wasn’t. I wanted to treat myself after some personal shit went down. And y’all, I ain’t even done. I’m tired of being in the backseat of my life (unless, of course, someone is back there with me) (even then, maybe I want to drive for a while, damnit).

No, I didn’t buy this. But seriously? Trigger Warning? Sex Inside? There’s sex ON THE COVER. But “trigger warning”? Good fucking grief. Overuse of “trigger” shit drives me nuts. And sex? This is Cosmo, people. It’s gonna be like, “10 things to make your husband less likely to fall asleep after cumming in 3 seconds flat.” or “5 tips on how to bedazzle your vajazzle.”

Anyway. Let’s get to the park, shall we?

Sunday, April 17: Parks & Masturdation, or One if by Land, Buddha if by Trees

This dude has been driving me batshit about getting the fuck outside. I make excuses. He tells me to piss off. I make more excuses. He says so the fuck what. I say, but I hate it here. I want to be in the Pacific Northwest! He says, but you’re not in the fucking Northwest. Get out and live now. I say my foot is broken; he says piss off and go hobble.

So you know what? I fucking hobbled my ass to the park last last Sunday. And unfortunately, I have to admit that the smug fucker was right. I couldn’t do much walking. My foot is legit still broken (had new x-rays and it’s finally and slowly healing, though – NO SURGERY! NO PINS!)

Anyhoodles. Park. I got my ass up. At oh…1 in the afternoon or some shit. But I did good. I went straight to the shower then straight to the park (with an intermission for getting dressed – it’s not that kinda park).

I grabbed my book, Buddha in a Teacup (which is bullshit so far – more later), and did a little wandering. Not much, mind you. My foot wouldn’t let me forget it’s broken. I went first through the greenhouse. It was always my favorite part of the park, though they’ve let it go to shit.

Lemme share some lovelies from that day:

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One of the few pretties in the greenhouse.
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Went down here to read first. Until hornets ran me off.
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Somebody wanted to fuck with Buddha. How dare.

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Hornets drove me to this spot. Much lovelier anyway, once I got away from the noisy geese-feeding hordes.
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Met this little fella, too. Don’t worry. I didn’t let that venomous fucker touch me. But we chatted for a while. He’s converting to Buddhism and came to warn me that this book would likely be shite.

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More lovelies.

That was park day numberus oneicus.

Monday, April 18: Parks & Masturdation, or Making Friends and Influencing People, or A Writing Assignment

Because some little shit couldn’t be satisfied, I went to the park two days in a row. (He also says go listen to High Pass Filter right now!) And I mentioned it to someone else…all like I know I should, but I don’t wanna and he was all but you must go! And you must write something while there! No reading! Must write! These demanding asshats, I’m telling you. I did go, and I did write. But I can’t share the writing yet, as it’s to be part of a collaborative something.

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Lemme share a gratuitous amount of flower piccies, and then I’ll tell you about someone I met. It was one of those moments in life when you just know. You just fucking know. You’re exactly where you’re meant to be.

But first. Flower porn. GASP! New word! FLORN!

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Ahhhh isn’t spring glorious? I fucking love flowers. Can you tell? No? Lemme show you some more.

KIDDING. Just kidding.

Lemme tell you about Anthony now. I had been watching him, you see, crafting the beginnings of a short story based on him. He had no idea, of course. I just saw him and was inspired. I caught a glimpse of him from my table. He was down fishing off this little covered pier thingy. It showed up in the picture up there with my notepad.

I actually snuck an excellent shot of him re-baiting his hook. It was the perfect shot of him in his element, but I won’t even show my face on the blog. Not my place to show his.

Anyway, the more I wrote, the more I felt compelled to meet the real man. Not the one I was making up.

This. What I’m about to tell you about is well and truly outside of even the remotest of my comfort zones. But I felt compelled, in the truest sense. I had to meet this man.

So, for what seemed ages, I gathered my courage.
And then I gathered my things.
And then I walked down that pier.
And then, heart pounding, I spoke,

Hi! Mind if I keep you company for a bit?

It’s a public pier in a public park, but he was alone. Serene. And compared to the weekend chaos at that peer, with all the kids and geese, I figured he was probably enjoying his solitude. His communion with nature.

But he turned to me and grinned, telling me “Sure!”

So I put my things down, and he said he’d seen me writing. Asked if I was in school. Hehe. I said no; I was just writing a story. So he told me about his granddaughter. She writes children’s books, but is having fits getting published.

We chatted for a while. He asked questions about me; I answered. He told me about himself. Turns out we work for the same company. He had been retired, but grew bored after a long relationship busted up and went back to work. In his sixties now, he expressed that sometimes he grows weary of having been in the same place all his life.

Only so many times you can see the same ole thing and not wonder what else is out there that you’re missin’ out on. Ain’t much time left, and I’m past retirement age. Got a brother in Minnesota, though. Sure do love it up there. Why not, right? But it’s a scary thing, so I don’t know if I have it in me.

Why not, indeed.

So I shared a bit of my story with him, and my desire to move to the Pacific Northwest. He asked why there, and I told him how I’d been in love with Oregon ever since watching The Goonies as a kid. And then once I visited the region, I fell even harder and knew a life change was in order.

He told me I’m young and should go for it.

So I pointed at the “pocket” watch on the chain around my neck. Held it up for him to see.

Do you know what this is?

He shook his head, “Naw. Reckon you gon’ tell me, though.”

I popped it open and showed him the watch. “And do you know why I wear it?,” I asked. He just looked at me, expectantly waiting.

I wear it to remind me that life is short. I wear it to remind me that our time on this earth is finite. I wear it to remind me that there’s no time like the present time. I wear it to remind me that there’s never a right time. There’s only right now. I wear it to remind me that as long as I continue ticking along with it, it’s not too late. So I’m moving to Oregon. And you’re moving to Minnesota. And we’re going to make it count.

He smiled a winsome smile, tilted his head and cast his line back into the water.

You know somethin’, young lady? I’m gon’ call my brother tonight. See what we can see.

He looked hopeful now, wistful. I smiled and gathered my things.

Then I shook his grimy bait hand, told him it was a pleasure to meet him and to have good luck with his fishing.

And hey, Anthony? Make it count. Let’s make it count.

He grinned back at me and said, “Never too late.”

~

This post brought to you by:

Serendipity.

Synchronicity.

~

Tomàs, for encouraging me to write even when, especially when, I doubt my ability to write anything worth anything at all. For making me feel worthy, writing aside.

~

Stupidityhole for relentlessly pushing me to get the fuck out of bed and the fuck out of the house. Many. Many. Many times now. I am eternally grateful.

~

Dedicated to Anthony and everyone else who thinks it’s too fucking late. Grab life. Pluck it when it’s ripe; carpe the fucking diem.

~

Coming SoonMasturdating at Happy Hour last Friday, complete with photos of old men flexing in their tighty-whities. Perhaps a recap of tomorrow night’s concert – yes, another masturdate, and then my group Happy Hour this coming Friday night!  Oh. Oh yes. And allergic reactions and moronic recruiters and the relocation conundrum. Stay tuned! You know me. I’ll fill you in in a month or so. (Winky Face, bitches.)

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Date Night with Bill Murray

Every now and then, for the past year or so, I’ve gotten an urge to go to the theater for a movie. It’s usually because something comes out that I really wanna see. I’ve ignored the urge, until now.

Friday, I ditched work early and went to see the afternoon matinee showing of Rock the Kasbah. By myself. Yeah, yeah, I know the movie bombed. Like hardcore bombed, only outperforming a shitty take on a shitty old cartoon. But I’ve been interested to see Rock the Kasbah since I first heard about it. Because Bill Murray. What more reason could one possibly need?

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Breakin’ it Down

The IMDb synopsis of the film reads: A down-on-his-luck music manager discovers a teenage girl with an extraordinary voice while on a music tour in Afghanistan and takes her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star.

I usually try to avoid reading IMDb synopses as well as movie trailers; I find them rather spoilery. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m highly sensitive to spoilers. And if you are as well – and have any interest in Rock the Kasbah – please refrain from reading any more of this post, because I am not going to avoid spoilers. I’m not a professional reviewer, and I intend to just speak my mind about the movie.

Bill Murray’s character, Richie Lanz, is a washed up music manager. I mean, seriously washed up – both his professional and personal lives are a shambles. The movie opens to Richie listening to a horrendous audition – performed by actress Sarah Baker – as the girl, Maureen, sings her heart out. We learn right away just how hard-up and possibly shady Richie’s character is when he signs shakes hands with the girl (he doesn’t do paperwork – handshakes are his thing) and accepts a check to represent her, a retainer of sorts.

His only other singer is cover-singer Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel), and she’s pretty fucking terrible at what she does. She can’t sing for shit, and she’s completely aimless when performing on stage – and those performances are limited to one-off bar gigs. Even the drunk audience won’t stick around to listen to her.

Richie meets some USO dude during one of Ronnie’s performances, and this is how they wind up in Afghanistan. For me, things didn’t get interesting until Afghanistan. I like Zooey Deschanel and all, New Girl anyone? But I wasn’t drawn in by the plot until the culture-shocked and wasted Ronnie ditched Richie in Kabul, absconding with his cash and passport.

Yes, that's Bruce Willis' lap she's on. Uh. What the hell was his character's name? John McClane. No. Wrong movie. Oh who cares. It's Bruce Willis.
Yes, that’s Bruce Willis’ lap she’s on. Uh. What the hell was his character’s name? John McClane. No. Wrong movie. Oh who cares. It’s Bruce Willis.

This is when Richie’s sad and pathetic life turns into a weird and pathetic life. But, ever the optimist, he doesn’t give up. Even though that means becoming a gun runner to drum up some cash, selling faulty American ammo to a Pashtun tribe. And it’s while visiting the Pashtuns that Richie takes a fateful piss in the desert of Afghanistan.

During his (midnight?) piss, he hears the voice of a young girl singing and playing his guitar. Richie’s Pashtun guide and interpreter warns him that it is haram – forbidden by Islamic law – for a Pashtun female to sing or perform music. But Richie and the girl, Salima, are undeterred, though violation of the law could have them both honor-killed. Salima is the daughter of the tribe’s leader, Tariq (Fahim Fazli), and though he forbids it – Salima runs away with Richie to perform on Afghan Star – think an Afghani American Idol.

Salima & Richie
Salima & Richie

It is unclear to me whether Richie even needed the money at this point, because of the gun-running, but it looks like this is his chance at redemption. He’s constantly lying to people, saying he repped big stars – such as Madonna – but he’s really never had any success in the entertainment industry. This is his chance, and as you may guess, it has a happy ending. Richie refuses to give up on Salima, even when she is taken back to her village compound. And he is spared death by helping save the village against an internal uprising by Tariq’s rival.

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Jonas Khan – “Nizar” in the film. Just gonna put this here because yum. I’m writing this on Halloween, and this is my candy.

That is the movie in a nutshell, though I didn’t mention Bruce Willis’ strange uber-soldier / mercenary memoir writing / Danielle Steel fan character, Bombay Brian. Bombay Brian had that permanent semi-grin that Willis always seems to wear. But it worked for the character. He was weird, quirky, angry, and emotional. The interactions between Bombay Brian and Richie provided some of the funnier moments.

I also haven’t mentioned Kate Hudson’s character, Merci. Look, I’m not gonna mince words here. I don’t like Kate Hudson. I don’t think she’s a good actress, and I don’t get the appeal other than her body – which I’m not interested in. But I know plenty of people think she’s hot and don’t wanna watch a movie without a “hot chick” parading around in her underwear at some point. Cue Kate Hudson’s “Merci.” She’s the friendly “heart of gold” prostitute that helps Richie save the day, first by “merci/mercy fucking” him and then by harboring Salima while she’s in Kabul for the singing competition. Her fake-ass Texas/southern accent is ridiculous and off-putting. It distracts the hell out of me when I hear put-on southern accents. Just stop it already, Hollywood. Unless you’re poking fun on purpose, stop trying to pull off southern accents. Most of your people can’t do it believably. This is a huge pet peeve for me, FYI. So yeah. If Bill Murray isn’t your thing, but Kate Hudson doing poor mimicry of a drawl in her underwear is your thing, then this movie is still your jam.

The Final Takeaway (plus some things that struck me)

Though this movie was billed as a comedy, I didn’t really laugh much. But it was fun to laugh out loud, uninhibited, when it struck me. Empty theater for the win! Seriously, I was the only one in there…which I loved.

Richie tokin' it out during a drive in Kabul
Richie tokin’ it out during a drive in Kabul. Note the empty house.

This wasn’t a great comedy. And for roughly the first half of the movie, I was unimpressed and had a hard time relaxing and getting into it. Part of that could have been because I was way way way outside my comfort zone. Being out and about and alone in a theater. It was weird and unsettling but also cool and thrilling. I don’t know how much of that contributed to my initial impressions of the flick. But it’s worth noting.

Once the movie found its purpose in Afghanistan, it felt like the plot flowed better. Though it was still a bit plodding at times, I kind of expected that from a quirky Bill Murray film. I did expect it to be funnier. But, to me, it was more drama than comedy. Maybe a subtle blend into dramedy.

Bill Murray was Bill Murray, but a bit more serious than I’m used to seeing. Bruce Willis was Bruce Willis. Zooey Deschanel was a muted Zooey Deschanel. Kate Hudson was an annoying Kate Hudson. Leem Lubany (Salima) wasn’t very good, really. I found her stoic, never looking afraid or emotional, but she’s young and inexperienced and I’m okay with that. Side note: I kept thinking of a young Jami Gertz, circa The Lost Boys, when I looked at Salima. Is it just me?

Leem Lubany (Salima)
Leem Lubany (Salima)
Jami Gertz (blurry crap)
Jami Gertz (blurry crap)

I inexplicably began crying while Selima sang on Afghan Star. I couldn’t figure out why, and it made me uncomfortable. Sometimes I start crying like that, during movies or shows, and I don’t know why. I tried to figure this one out, and the closest I could come to a legit reason to weep was the fact that I was watching someone literally risking her life in pursuit of a passion.

When’s the last time we truly risked our lives for something? When’s the last time anything was even worth that to us? And what does that say about our existence if we can’t come up with something that we’re willing to risk being stoned to death in pursuit of?

There were some overt references to the U.S.’ interference and double-dealings, funding and arming any side of any conflict so long as the cash keeps flowing. The double-timing arms dealers have so much money, they literally throw it at Richie in one scene. And they make some comment that there’s always plenty of cash just there for the taking, so long as the U.S. is in some declared state of war – because war is lucrative. And, of course, tribal infighting results in a gun battle (though super short) at the end of the movie because Afghanistan. Personally, I appreciated the jabs.

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Through it all Richie perseveres and Salima sings. Dressed in white, angelic and innocent, singing “Peace Train” to win the competition. It’s beautiful and poetic, and we are shown images of people across Afghanistan glued to television sets or radio, watching and listening to this forbidden performance. Tentative smiles on the faces of little girls, filled to the brim with hope for a brighter future. Awareness and acceptance dawning on the faces of strict and hardened men. The peace train rolls through and touches them, hearts and minds opening to a brighter future of acceptance and equality. It’s beautiful and idealistic and optimistic.

For Bill Murray and for the message of the movie, it was worth watching in spite of its weaker moments and Kate Hudson’s lameass accent and underwear.

Salima quotes Rumi to Richie at a decisive point in the film, and I loved it. I love Rumi, and it’s perfect to finish this post out:

There is a candle in your heart,
ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul,
ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?

The beauty and simplicity of Rock the Kasbah made it worth the watch. And I think it suffered from marketing misfires – it shouldn’t have been sold as a comedy. It’s more of a touching “come together, never give up, fight against all odds, can’t we all just get along” kinda movie with moments of awkward and subtle hilarity. I liked the film, and I think it’s kinda important.

P.S. I didn’t write about the soundtrack, but I thought this article summed it up succinctly if you’re interested in soundtracks like I am. And for those of you that like trailers, here ya go: