One World, Two Futures, One Truth

Recently I’ve seen two films with very different views on the future. Tomorrowland and Mad Max: Fury Road. They couldn’t be more different in how they portray the future of humanity, but on some level they both have the same thing in common. Hope.

Tomorrowland, directed by Brad Bird, is a fun film but it’s heavy handed in its approaches subject matter. It wants to force you into being hopeful. It hits you over the head with the idea that we all need to be dreamers and hopeful and start being optimistic. I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m saying it slaps you in the face trying to tell you we’re in a shopping cart shooting down a hill into a pit of lava. It wants you to pick yourself, dust yourself off, and work toward something better. That’s great. Just don’t be so blunt. Or insulting. It says that we crave our own destruction and only the elite can save us, but that we CAN be saved. . . by someone else.

Fury Road is a very different future. The world is destroyed. You’ve seen it in the other Mad Max films and by this point things are even worse. The few societies we see in the film are based on depraved cults of personality and the people follow blindly. But they can change. Max’s name may be in the title but the film is about Nux and Furiosa in their own ways. Nux begins to see a better world. Furiosa wants to create that better world. Max, as always, is an unwilling agent of change. He doesn’t want to be involved but once he is he does everything he can to help. They aren’t the elite. They’re damaged people with horrible pasts and they change the status quo. And they could be anybody.

In its own dirty, flaming way Fury Road is just as much about saving the future as Tomorrowland. It just doesn’t try to convince you it’s right. It just gets on with the business of being a great movie and hopes to God you can keep up.

Fighting Back

I’ve been staring at this text box for about ten minutes now. I’d written most of a blog post once already, but I deleted it. It was a dark, depressing, and negative thing that gave voice to my inner turmoil. The problem is that it was all a lie. Not in the “I’m going to purposely mislead people” kind of way. This was a “This is how I see the world right now and it’s not correct” kind of thing. Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system and deleted it, it’s time to fight back.

You see, I’ve had depression knocking on my door a lot in the last few months. It’s been giving me shit-colored glasses to look through and a horrible way to think. The last time I went to therapy, Byron gave me some fantastic tools to use against it. While it hasn’t destroyed my depression, it has allowed me to securely board the door up so it can’t get in as easily.

Case in point. My previous blog post was a negative little rant about how promoting myself at shows never seemed to do any good and my readership actually DROPS after I go to a show. In my mind these were accepted facts and nothing was going to dislodge them. Well, except for actually looking at my numbers on the comics. There’s no downward trend. There’s been a slight increase. You see, the first thing I need to remember is that depression lies. It lies a lot.

All of these thoughts boil down to one thing. A victim mindset. Of course horrible things happen to me. I’m a victim. They’ll always happen to me. Poor me. Look at me getting shit on by the universe. See all the bad things that happen to me. It’ll always happen so pity me.  You know what though? All that’s bull crap. Bad things happen. The point is to deal with it and move beyond it. To be not a victim or a survivor, but a person who can move on. And that’s what I’m trying to do now. I refuse to be a victim.

It’s amazing just how prevalent that mindset is, too. It’s a way to not be responsible for myself. Well this happened because I have “Kota-Powers”. I do this because of my mom and that makes it ok. Depression. All of it is an excuse on some level. I have to be responsible for myself. I may be responsible TO other people, but I’m only responsible FOR myself and I have to get to work on that more. And I am.

It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to happen over night. It probably isn’t even going to happen in 2015, but I’m going to damn well lay the groundwork and start building a new me.

This is what it looks like when you fight back.

Live, Die, Repeat, Run C:/ Tom Cruise.jpg, Title, ETC.

A little while back I saw “Edge of Tomorrow/Live, Die, Repeat/what should have been All You Need is Kill” and I have to admit I rather liked it. I’d go as far as saying it was one of the best films I’ve seen in a while. It had a hell of a lot going for it, despite some story concerns I have. Let’s dive in.

First, if you’re not a Tom Cruise fan, then this it the Tom Cruise movie for you because you’re going to see him die. A LOT. In fact, this film is a bit different from your normal Tom Cruise movie I think. He plays a coward, and a fairly unlikeable character for the first part of the film. Like Groundhog Day, though, by the end he’s grown as a person. By the end of it, you realize this guy isn’t so bad. Or at least, he isn’t any more.

Actually, let’s get something out of the way before we go any further with this movie. It IS Groundhog Day but with an alien invasion. I sort of kept expecting them to hang a lantern on it and have someone MENTION Groundhog Day but it didn’t happen. I did though. Several times. That being said, it’s still a fun movie in its own right.

The movie is like a comedy of errors that still manages to hold on to the drama of the premise. The character scenes are fun and surprisingly deep and the battle scenes remind me of a Danny Boyle film. Especially once we get inland. The best part is this is that it works together as a cohesive story. The humor and the drama don’t clash and instead compliment each other and support it as a whole.

The problem I have isn’t really with the movie. It’s with the marketing. It kept coming off as a dramatic military version of that Bill Murray movie I’m tired of mentioning, but it’s actually quite funny. The fact that the studio wasn’t willing to go with the original Japanese title, All You Need is Kill, shows that they really didn’t know what to do with it. The changed the title to Edge of Tomorrow and then when it got released on DVD/Blu Ray they changed it again to Live, Die, Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow. Frankly, the whole story is so nuts they could have just stuck with All You Need is Kill and I would have got to see it based on that alone!

So yeah. If you haven’t seen it and were on the fence, I highly recommend it. It’s a fun romp with some deep thought and character.

Headaches

When I was a kid I would get these headaches. Today we’d call them migraines. Back then we called them BAD headaches. I don’t remember hearing the word migraine until after they’d stopped. Imagine a kid, doesn’t have to be me, about five years old with a headache so bad they can’t stop crying. I remember waking up with these things and that would be it for the day. I’d lay in a dark room with a cold wet rag on my forehead and every now and then I’d have enough presence of mind to moan like a lost soul at sea. No school. No TV. No noise. Nothing ever seemed to work on them either. No form of painkiller would help.

This continued from my early childhood till I was about ten years old.

After a few doctor’s visits and x-rays all paid for by my dad’s insurance it was discovered that the holes in my sinuses were too small. Basically, they weren’t draining enough and the pressure was making my life miserable. We eventually decided to have an operation done to widen those passages. I remember getting up at 5 in the morning and, fittingly, I had one of those headaches. I was miserable on the ride up to the hospital where my dad worked and the prep for surgery didn’t help. My most vivid memory was of laying on the operating table as they gave me anesthetic.

“I’m going to countdown from ten, Kevn. Talk to me till you can’t.”

“Ok.”

My eyes get super watery at this point.

“I feel sleepy. . . biscuit. . .”

And that’s all she wrote. I woke up some time later with an oxygen mask on and Gomer Pyle on television. I barely remember pulling the mask off as soon as possible because I thought someone was trying to suffocate me. They told me they’d gone ahead and removed my tonsils and adenoids while they were in there and flushed my sinuses after the widening. I think that may have been the first time I’d ever been completely headache free in my life.

So now I’m an adult. I still get headaches and occasionally they’re as bad as the ones I remember. These aren’t nearly as terrible though. An Aleve or Advil or something and I can knock them out. But sometimes, on weekdays when I’m at home and my head starts hurting, I remember those long quiet days in the dark with my parents in the front room worrying for their son and I feel a bit better knowing those days are gone.

A Month Gone

The last month has at times been rough. At other times it’s been rougher. Every now and again I have those rare good days where I can go for 24 hours without thinking about my dad. Most of the time though I miss him. And that’s what I’ve been doing since I disappeared back in November. I’ve been trying to remember my dad. Trying to remember his face and his voice. Trying to remember the times I spent with him.

That’s not all I’ve done though. I’ve been working on comics as I can. I’ve been trying to get a membership site set up for fans of my work so they can subscribe for bonus materials and Christmas presents. Yeah. I said Christmas presents. Can you think of a better way to get people to subscribe?

I’ve also been sort of doing the whole Christmas thing in general. Part of that may be me fighting the sadness off, but if it is it’s a double edged sword. It makes me miss my parents in new and fresh ways. It does make me feel a little more connected though.

I’ve got a couple of movies in the pipe to review so expect some more content in 2015. I’m also planning to get back on some form of schedule for updates so please forgive me my momentary lapses. Life isn’t easy and these last three have been particularly hard. Thanks everyone. I’ll see you all next week.