Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two out of three is WONDERFUL!

Dear Reader. It's October, 2012 and how I have missed you!! (Sarcasm, there is no reader, self amusement evident, I hope).  I have two out of three fortunate finds this lovely Fall!  Certainly not in order of importance, I'll get the negative one outta the way first.

My internet service provider sucks the raw insides out of an oyster, sucks the butt out of a cat with a Tim Allen manufactured industrial high powered (double meaning intended) vacuum, sucks the fun out of a party, just all that and a bag of stale chips kind of sucking.  The said service is provided by Clear.com.  It used to work (I swear) much more frequently but for months, maybe close to a year now I have suffered continual failure of service and paralyzing helpless from their support "team", termed loosely on purpose.

Having said that, Comcast has approached me a 2nd time and have offered to pay $2,500 of the $2,734.00 initial installation fee necessary to provide my place of resident Business Class service, leaving me with an initial bill of $234.00 for construction and then a monthly bill of $131 after that... Hmmm... can't quite convince myself to unass the money, so to speak and yet I concur that my current ISP sucks... well, we covered that, didn't we?

So, with that unsolved mystery out of the way, I need to quickly pour my love for the 1st revelation discovered during this beautiful fall season!  The Avengers movie!  Never has a comic movie please me more with its choice of eye popping characters and actors, it depth of story and ability to keep every character involved even if on rotation and finally the SPOILER ALERT (you've been warned) incredibly pleasing faithfulness to the continuity of story lines long ago fleshed out within the pages of the comic from which this very satisfying theatrical achievement is adapted. It is so nice to see them honor decades old continuity, especially since it still rings true today.

Subtle scenes like the slow spread smile on Thor's face post bitch slap by a rampaging Hulk, the back and forth aggression crackling alive between various pairs Cap and Tony, Fury and Thor, Loki and Natasha, etc., the Hulk's sort of super hero approved opportunity to let loose and "smash" as Captain America orders him and Tony Stark's burgeoning ego that is not only prevalent throughout the romp, consistently and enjoyably challenged.  The movie makes me hope for a DC infused Justice League of the same caliber.  The Batman has been dramatically justified under Christopher Nolan's direction in my humble opinion.  Superman looks to be getting the same treatment following what I thought was an enjoyable performance directed by Bryan Singer and embodied by Brandon Routh, only after reading some reviews I have to agree it is Salkinds/Donner's version redux.  Still enjoyable though.

So how could I possibly follow up a thinly veiled attempt at a movie review of an exciting and spectacular movie?  Well, it is Fall, and people tend to fall in love.  I had someone last fall who I thought I could bring myself to love on the caliber necessary to perpetuate a union.  That did not happen.  And heading into the fall of 2012 I was sure to revisit my favorite Fall in love pastime with Warcraft 2.  Well, I am not professing having fallen in love (for I feel those are strong and commitment infused words) but I certainly feel head over heels for a woman!  Not just a woman, not just a mom, a special, sassy, classy and zazzy lady!!  Someone who's worldly wit and an attractive charm that can only be tempered from years of parenthood smithing.

Her name is  Lesley Reed Medina and I am quite the smitten kitten for her.  When we first began messaging back and forth, it was simple, courteous greetings, salutation, daily blessings and an initial trading of simple yet helpful in painting the background of our lives for the other to see, factoids.  What eventually took place after we became more comfortable with our knowledge of each others lives, works, daily routines, hobbies, dreams and desires was a developing bridge from both sides toward a common ground.  We expressed ideas, our wishes to be better people, how hard we work, how hard she has and continues to work to be the wonderful parent she is to her daughter and son, etc.

She has shown me so many things.  One sharply beloved enjoyment is Blue October, a local band that has achieved a huge and devoted following.  My favorite work being "She's My Ride Home", an amusing and hypnotic stab at quintessential lovers as murderers.  It is hauntingly beautiful.  Of course I've always loved tattoos and have long flirted with vetoing my distaste for needles in exchange for some ink and she is practically covered! Beautiful and Gorgeous are often words I share with her and they cannot begin to aptly describe the work she's commissioned.

Right now I couldn't be happier.  For once, I'm hoping Murphy's Law keeps his hands off.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hmm... I just read in Psychological Science that my "ideal self" image, which is what is expressed in most on-line social networking sites (like myspace) is not actually what is expressed in Facebook. Instead, because of the structure, nature and POWER of contact that Facebook is designed to give us, we let slip the expression of our "actual-self" image.

Which basically boils down to, because I do not engage in the return of Farmville gifts, pass around questionnaires or send a plethora of "join my fill in the blank cause" invites, I can be classified, with an alarming degree of accuracy, as either anti-social...

or LAZY!

...why did I even publish this on a blog site, I wonder.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Watchmen Reality

In reading your bit on the upcoming, highly anticipated Watchmen movie I’ve been given a revelation that we are not so far from knowing what our world would be like with superheroes who go over the edge and how the public responds.

Just think of any of the many celebrity, actors or popular public figures that we watch day in and day out and how, every now and again, one of them lets slip, showing the humanity and sometimes the insanity behind that mask.

Think Mel Gibson and his tirade about Jews. Here’s a guy whose work I enjoy immensely, acting and directing. Don’t get me wrong; he spewed forth some wicked venom that fateful day, but I’m already ready to forgive him whenever the rest of the world decides to. In the end, they were just words and he’s an actor/director, not the head of a super secret organization like the KKK.

Or think Wesley Snipes and his tax evasion adventure. Consider Eddie Murphy’s indiscretion with a hooker/tranny. George Michael, Russell Crowe, Isaiah Washington. I still want to believe that Joaquin Phoenix is just putting us on when he parades himself around in shades and an unkempt shaggy beard. I still want to believe that Christian Bale, who has portrayed my all time favorite comic character in the truest, most exciting and closest matching of continuity I have ever witnessed, will one day be able to distance himself from the most viral, crazy, non-stop temper tantrum one has ever witnessed.

Granted, these people aren’t throwing cars around or vaporizing a crowd of happy stalkers just because they can. But it’s not hard to imagine a more extreme offense being handled with a more extreme punishment, like serving some real hard-time or even death row.

Or what if a kryptonite horse crippled Superman? If art imitates life, his life would still end and his legacy would remain heroic.

Graduation Missive

Chris Collins -

Congratulations. I am very proud of you.

All of the efforts of both you and your mother have finally paid off. You now stand here a man, capable of controlling your own destiny. (and MAN is that a scary thought!)

I have an opinion I wish to share with you that stems from my childhood and how I’ve been able to exercise some control over my own life and destiny.

I have found this world to really be a “survival of the fittest” kind of place. If you think about it, I know I have, that’s not a very attractive idea. First of all, it means that someone who is “fit” must mean he is attractive, intelligent, confident, charming, ambitious and courageous.

I have come to terms with myself and I know that I am not the most attractive bunny in the playgirl magazine. My intelligence comes and goes, don’t get me wrong, I have my moments but they are few. Confidence? No. I am far from confident. I constantly second guess my own decisions and I do not take criticism very well.

Charm? Hmph. I can pull of charm but it’s only a matter of seconds before one can see through my lackluster brand of charm. Ambition I lack, sorely. I define myself as a creature of comfort so I have no deep seeded desire to go out and earn as much money as humanly possible. And I am not courageous. I have my moments there too, but they are few.

So how do I get by in life, knowing I have not even ½ the major characteristics to attract mangled animal carcass, let alone a decent, attractive member of the opposite sex, (or the same sex, heck, I’m not picky)?

Well, okay, maybe I am picky. Anyways…

My super secret mutant power is… kindness. You know all too well how “kind” I can, or how “kind” I try to be. Let’s not even include how I’ve helped you and your mom (and to be fair, you guys have helped me out plenty of times in return). I’ve tried to be there to help so many people in my life I can’t count. Harry, Lisa, Robin, Chuck, My parents, Jenn, Teri, most students you can think of, My best friend Mike, his wife and kids, O.J. & Lena, Karen & her family, Sherri and her family, there are too many to list.

Chris, I am not a very special guy. I mean, I AM, but I’m not. What I mean is, what makes me special is my constant endeavors to help people whether their needs are great or small. Whether I’m lending money, doing physical labor for, or simply just lending an ear. This is what separates me from the rest. That’s my secret.

There are so many idiots, @holes, selfish, gluttonous, self-centered, egotistical little black holes running around, sucking up the life and positive energy from everyone around them, oblivious to the damage they cause that they are like a mass of black goo thrown up on a wall. And on that wall, by trying to go against the grain, by trying to be the one to offer the shirt off my back to help anyone in need, I stand out like a white blip of difference.

If you can’t make a difference with attraction, charm, confidence, ambition, courage or intellect then you have to find a way. If you find that way, whatever the way that works best with you, when you finally feel a sense of self worth, then that’s the day you have truly become a man.

Chris, congratulations on graduating from high school. Now is your time to go forth and walk the path. Your journey will be difficult. Everyone’s journey is difficult. Know that I am here for you with whatever questions you have, challenges you face and tragedies you must endure.

Know that you are not alone.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Someone to play Monica to my Chandler...

Prepare yourself. This is a rant and a depressing diatribe at that. This isn't going to be one of those helpful columns. Instead, I'm genuinely asking for your opinion. Notice I said opinion and not a cliché pat on the back, aw shucks; it'll be all right kinda crap comment.

I’m referring to the crapshoot that is dating.

Sometimes I think the gulf between the sexes is too wide. It boggles my mind how different we are from one another on just a general basis. Then you throw in the specifics like hobbies, mannerisms, life philosophies, views, ideas, perspectives, the works and we're suppose to traverse each other's psyche like a mental minefield in hopes of finding enough commonalities to bond with each other?

It all sounds like too much work.

We've all sat around day dreaming of, without investing the sweaty legwork of time, money, anguish and heartache, that perfect person who instantly knows, understands and LOVES us completely. This daydream-spawned personality is perfect and loves us for our imperfectness, including all our little quirks and inconsistencies. The problem with this daydream is, while temporarily satisfying, it eats time like a pothead at a buffet. It also periodically brings into sharp relief the reality that we DON'T have someone and that depresses us further.

It's thinking like this that leads one to understanding why the lifestyles of gays and lesbians is so appealing to liberal minded folk. Now hold your horses there, before you jump on your soap box about how gays and lesbian lifestyles are not choices, they are instead unchangeable genetic maps, blah, blah, (yes, I agree but) blah, understand this: it is folly to simply characterize someone as ignorant simply because they think, day dream, gossip, consider or wax philosophical about it being a choice. An amazing part of the human condition, which deals with all things stress related, is our ability to turn the other cheek. Sometimes a person can accept things so far and no further. Anyone who has come out of the closet to a parent and continues to share a very uncomfortable, “cheek turned in total denial” relationship with said parent knows exactly what I'm referring to.

The appeal comes from the notion that, and I’ll use myself as an example, since women are such a massive mystery to me, another man makes more sense. I mean, here is someone I can relate to before I even open my mouth (jokes ensue). He and I are the same sex. He and I are more likely to have the same mannerisms, like the same things, get off the same way, etc. Now try to remember, I’m talking about a momentary lapse in thought, another daydream borne from our desperate, frustrated selves, tired of coming away from a date scratching our heads and wondering, what the hell just happened.

The problem with THIS daydream is, every man at one time or another questions their sexuality in their life and some get it done and over with pretty early in their lives while others struggle with it for years or longer. I have no confusion as to which way my flag flies. I far prefer the smooth, soft caress of a woman to the bumpy, ugly, hairy stench of my own. In fact, so repulsive are my peeps that I am amazed that all women aren’t lesbians. Who would want to bump uglies with someone already bumpy and ugly…?!

Another problem is I suppose you never know how much in common you should have with a person where you can determine that said person is right for you. We’re all fishing and, never mind if it’s 5 pounds under weight. We’re happy we caught someone at all. We’re SO happy in fact that even if they aren’t right for us, we fight to make it work sometimes because we don’t want to be alone. We latch on and convince the other person that “It’ll all work out, let’s make this work.” What we’re really doing is holding this person until someone better comes along. Of course this is the wrong thing to do to someone else. It’s unfair and I personally wouldn’t want it done to me. To be used like that until they found someone better suited.

Of course I find it amazing that there are couples out there that mutually agree to use each other until someone better comes along. It’s like being alone is so undesirable that their willing to risk the pain and heartache that is inevitable when their partner finds that someone better.

Oh, and married people piss me off. Almost all my friends are married, happily. So if I mope about the fact that I’m single and lonely, I get to be an audience member at an improv display of public affection while they briefly thank God (silently) and each other (publicly & loudly) that they have someone and don’t have to do the single people dance anymore. Don’t get me wrong; my friends are just that (friends) and great ones too, but they’re a constant reminder that I’m not good enough to be married or I would already be, wouldn’t I?

So, being the social recluse that I am, I eventually get so lonely and bored with myself that I start not to care about all those things that make me have such low self confidence and I live the life of a hermit. I start to peek out of my shell and look around, go places, meet people, mingle! Man just saying the word nauseates me. I then meet someone who I have a smidgen of interest in, go out on a date and usually get hurt. Usually it’s me who’s getting rejected. Rare is the case that I’m the one rejecting. So I get hurt and go back to playing spinster once again.

And I suppose this cycle will continue until comes the day I get so tired of being lonely and desperate that I go out much more often until I finally win this crapshoot and hook up with someone just as lonely and desperate but by this time both hers and my defenses are so worn down, we don’t care anymore. So then I guess I have the future of being married to a stranger to look forward to.

When I die, I have SOO many questions for God. This is such a strange life with so many inconsistencies and so many opportunities for hurt and disappointment. God I hope I get the answers to my questions before I die. I think then my life will have meant something.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A peak into the abyss...

So, as a few of my friends know, I've been given to helping out a few unfortunate people.

One of those people is named Dot. That's not really her name, but she wishes to remain anonymous and she doesn't want the deep dark personal demons of her past exploited either and I've promised her that. This isn't about the dirt on Dot, but rather the tragedy of her situation.

She is a victim of Katrina and, in my opinion, a victim of alchoholism. At first, she rented a unit here at my storage facility and I/we soon found out that she was spending a LOT of time in the unit. Like LIVING time. She was caught sleeping in it several times and, after politely but firmly explaining to her that she couldn't continue doing so, it came time for her to either find another place or for us to turn the other cheek. For the sake of my job security, we'll just say she found another place.

But she often found her way back here either to talk and pass the time or to borrow money as she was often in need. And everyone who knows me knows... well, what do you know? That I've got "sucker" written atop my forehead? That my heart is softer than whipped cream and readily available on my sleeve? That Wal-Mart loves me because I keep returning to their Men's department to replace the shirt off my back that I keep giving out? Whatever analogy you wish to use, know this, I am so much more worried about my conscience which is far more critical of my actions than the part of my brain that's concerned with what other's think about me. Would that some other people in my past smoked the same left handed cigarettes that I apparently do.

Dot visits on occasion, usually because she needs a favor but every time she does, she loves to sit and chat. Understand that Dot has no tv, no job, no "busy" life to speak of filled with "important" errands and "critical" goals. The quotes equal sarcasm in case you're wondering. No, Dot's Things to do list is somewhat short and includes such mundane ambitions as Survival and Pass the Time. So when she gets the opportunity to bend someone's ear, she does so with great vigor. Unfortunately, another thing she does with even greater vigor is drink. And it is the combination of drink and her desire to share her dark past the helps me understand (careful, I said understand, not condone) her desire to drink.

See, Dot's had a shit life. Sure, perspective is a kaleidoscopic lens dependent on the eye of the beholder and anyone can say anyone has had a crap life. But it's my faith in your ability to read the heavy sarcasm and ridiculous understatement when I say that Dot's had a crap life. Without painting a detailed picture, I'll just drop keywords like Catholic, married, cheating husband and years later revelations of sexual abuse of a child by aforementioned winner of a husband which lead to death of said child when he was an adult. And according to her, this was just a taste.

So I bet you are wondering what the purpose of this post is, eh? No? No, you'd rather hear more about Dot. Well tough tater tots, this is MY blog: I had to get all this off my chest because I've been a couple of times accused of being an idiot. Some people I know, their names will remain anonymous, have shaken their collective heads at me and have bestowed upon me what is supposed to be some glorious revelation that I am a stupid head.

The purpose of this missive is to tell them/you, you/they are wrong! I'm not an idiot. I'm simply ME. This is who I am. This is what I do. Think about this for a minute. If I followed your advise and told Dot to piss off, does that sound like Mike Murphy to you? No. No, it's not me. Y'know what happens if I tell Dot to seek help elsewhere? Nothing. Nothing happens. Maybe she goes on about her way. Maybe she finds help elsewhere. Maybe she doesn't. Maybe she dies alone. Maybe mine is the last saving act that prolongs her life just a little bit more. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I can't abide by "maybe" but hear me now, I will be God damned if I turn my back on someone and risk a negative outcome. I don't know where I stand religiously but it's not in me to ignore that saying that we've all heard as kids, just because I'm an adult. The saying? "Do onto others..." I don't even have to finish it because you can do it in your head.

Shake your head. Tell me to be careful and have faith that I will. I'm an adult. Yes, it would be tragic for something bad to happen, something beyond my control that jeopardizes my life and livelyhood and puts me in an untenable position. But I believe in God. I have faith in a higher power. It doesn't mean I'm gonna start walking into traffic or stepping of buildings. It just means that I believe God wants me to help.

If I find the Dot is continually abusing my help with no end in sight, then I'll take a different approach. But I don't want this to become the seed of an "I told you so" affair. I love, value and appreciate your care, your concern and most of all, your support. Almost all of my friends are married with children and it says something that if you are willing to stand behind me, your friend, even when I'm doing something unpopular to you, you will be able to do it when your own children are grown adults, making similar unpopular decisions all the while still needing your love and support.

Just think of this as practice.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jennifer's Accident

FYI, my sister was in an auto accident this morning. At about 6:35am, after dropping her BGF's off at the bus stop (I suppose if they were her BEST girl friend's, she would've taken them all the way to work, so we'll just have to settle for "Great" GF's).

She was heading home on Ella, crossing Airtex and the lights were out there, so the truck that was about to cross her at Ella didn't see his stop sign. He saw her too late, tried to stop and slammed into the tail end of the truck, causing her to spin a complete 360 degrees and then she rolled over twice. Jenn had her seatbelt on and the rolling caused her to slam her left temple into the driver's side window twice, hard.

Mom, who was at dialysis, called me twice at 7am, rousing me the second time. She informed me in broad strokes of what had occurred and said it so matter of factly that it didn't sound like she expected me to do anything about it. But I knew my sister was in an accident and her Karma had really sucked ass lately, so I knew I should be there. I called my assistant Teri while dressing (quick thinking had me grabbing my Justice League shirt in hopes that the image of Wonder Woman would inspire my sister toward continued life if things were indeed that bad) and she said she'd take care of the job this morning. I then fed my cat, got in my truck, called Dad FHI and took off towards the 1960 medical center.

If you've ever had someone you love involved in an accident, you know that the mind is a powerful thing. Without the grounding of facts, your mind can wander and like an artist, paint the most frightening, most horrifying pictures imaginable. The time it took me to get to the hospital, to park, to find the front desk, to realize where the emergency room was and to have a very sweet security lady escort me there as I was quickly losing control of my emotional output took what seemed like forever but was in actuality 20 minutes.

I was walked to the emergency room and instructed to wait as Jenn's name was still not in the computer, which meant (I was told) that I beat her here. This frightened me even more. Why the massive amount of preparation and what untold damage had been done that would prolong her trip here, I worried. Insanely, I attempted to call her. Honestly, it was a stupid thing to do, but I felt helpless not know where she was and what condition she was in. Did I really expect her to be able to answer given that she was either in the back of an ambulance or, pray tell, at the hospital, where cel phones were considered barely tolerable?! On top of that, who in their right mind would answer a phone while strapped to a gurney?

My mock answer: "Oh, yeah, hey, howareya? Me? Oh, I was just in an auto accident and my truck is totalled and I can't feel my head and I'm strapped to a gurney. But I haven't had breakfast yet, so I don't know, I guess I'm having an okay morning, how about you?" Honestly.

She answered, "Oh, hey, Mike, howyadoin? Oh, yeah, I had a little accident and I'm being brought in to the ER now and, oooh! The walls are beige!"

Good sign. She was not only talking, but joking too. (I found out later that she wasn't joking. The walls really were beige.)

So a few minutes later I (again) beat her to room 6A (damn that subconscious sibling rivalry)where I'm told she'll be brought in just a minute. So I sit down. I shuffle. I'm nervous and anxious and my stupid imagination starts to kick in again. So what if she was talking and joking. She could be in shock. She could be missing a limb, she could be...

They brought her in strapped to this stretcher type thing and if it wasn't for her aching head that she kept a hand to for fear of it falling off, she would be totally appreciating the bondage situation she was in. Worse yet, the "they" what brought her in was comprised of two of the most chipper personalities I've ever met. The two red shirted EMT's were talking, laughing, joking a mile a minute. It was like they were paid to be chipper, as if being in this surreal state of happy forced anyone around them to forget the automatic feelings of tragedy and helplessness they were stuck in and laugh with them. I later found out that they were so chipper because they've been up and at it for 14 hours collectively. I'm trying to keep my sarcastic comments to a minimum.

When it was just my sister and I, we talked about the accident. We simultaneously shed tears about how much worse it could have been. How she had considered bringing Nibby (one of her beloved dashund children) with her this morning but then changed her mind. And how horrible going through an accident it is. The unreal, dreamlike quality, the terrible rending of metal, the violence of being thrown and shoved about like a rag doll in an earthquake. And the pain. The pain she was in was intense and growing. A nurse returned, played pop quiz (hotshot) and rolled her off to perform a catscan on her already throbbing temple. (Hey, I could write porn!)

What came next deserves words spoken by the guy who does the intro for the Twilight Zone episodes. When she returned, a police officer also showed. He asked about her condition, asked what had happened and then asked if she had insurance. When the answer in the resoundingly negative came, he shrugged his shoulders and said that he had given the other guy a ticket for not obeying a stop sign and that he was going to have to give her a ticket for failure to maintain financial responsibility. I was outraged! Of course, I felt righteous indignation and offended as MY sister was just in an accident. Jenn, felt fine about it. Like, to her, it was simply the next natural course of action. The cop even apologized for it and she said, "Oh, it's okay, don't even worry about it!"

Then, while he explained the process, things got weirder. The guy that hit my sister, was suddenly there. He had come in to make sure she was alright. Jenn recongized him, saying, "Oh, hey, are you okay?" He answered "yeah" and reflected the concern back at her. I sat there, watching him, thinking... "Alright...., GAY!" because the moment felt eerily awkward. Then a nurse appeared, asking if he was family. He told her he had been involved in the accident that wound up with her here (pointing to my sister) and the nurse immediately, but politely asked him to wait in the waiting room. Something about conflict of interest. Then, after the officer was done with his explanation, he proceeded to instruct me to please follow him outside so he could process the ticket for her since she obviously wasn't going anywhere. My heart dropped and my fudge factory hole puckered at the prospect of this guy possibly checking out MY credentials. I wasn't even sure if I was in violation of anything, but being a "Murphy" I certainly didn't want to give Karma an easy shot at my boys, if you can dig the message I'm sending.

So I followed the officer to the coffee pot first (his suggestion) and then outside to his patrol car where I got to sit up front (kewl!). He proceeded to ask me a couple of questions and then did a great show of back and forth, cutting, pasting and data entry on his "tough" book (a laptop incased in stern enough material to protect it from wear and tear). He then printed out a ticket in Jenn's name with instruction that she show up at the Police substation in the Cypress neighborhood in the next 30 days to pay for the ticket. He said that they're really nice there and they would even make out a payment plan if she couldn't initially afford the ticket.

As I slowly and cautiously, the whole time smiling, left the police cruiser and made my way back inside the ER, I wondered if I was going to run into the guy that hit my sister. I walked through the waiting room glancing left and right for the bastard that everyone, that's the nurses, the EMT's, the police officer, the front desk lady and even the VICTIM (my sister) all thought was nice. He was no where to be found which was good because, acoustically speaking if anyone asks, I would've made a not so nice scene right then and there, but really in my head, I would've just ignored him.

So then, my sister was released. We left the ER with some paperwork, we stopped at a gas station at my sister's behest (for smokes, I'm an ashamed enabler despite my soapbox) and at Mickey D's for some breakfast. I then took her home and we talked and laughed at how we were gonna take pictures of her Frankenberry sized head and post them on the internet.

Thank you God. Enjoy.