Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I'm Moving.


I am moving.  I'm consolidating.  Not for reals, just on the internets.  I will probably begin blogging a lot more, actually, because I want to talk about more stuff than just parenting.  I want to talk about movies, video games, the 80's, and the horror movie I have coming out next year.  Oh, I'll be talking about parenting too.  That hasn't gone away.  But I wanted to just kind of have one place to do everything.  And since all itinerations of my name were taken already, I am happy to welcome you to chrisjmancinionline.com.  Thanks for the support and for stopping by.  See you on the playground.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Aging Baby

I am just going to jump over the fact that I don't post much anymore, and I am probably going to redesign my website soon and incorporate the blog there so it will be easier to manage everything.  Only a few years behind, but I get to everything eventually.  :)

I want to talk briefly about aging, because it's been bothering me lately.  People say children keep you young.  True, but they also remind you of how old you are.  We recently visited my brother's place, and he had a record player.  The kids had no idea what it was.  And what was worse, when I showed them how it worked, they were bored in two seconds.  OK, so was I but that's beside the point.

There is nothing like outdated machinery and children who have no idea what it is to bring home the point that you're getting older.  I may as well have showed them a stagecoach or a telegraph.

I will say there is such a joy in introducing your children to entertainment you grew up with, like The Muppets and we are also watching the 80's Transformers show.  There is also heartbreak when your children enjoy Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.  But hey they are children, and can be forgiven.  But the weird thing is, I get that movie now.  We were all expecting that movie to be for the 8 year old in all of us, but it was just for actual 8 year olds.  OK.  I wish I would have known that sooner.  I would not have spent so much time waiting in line.  But that's a Jedi under the bridge.

Some signs I am getting older:

1)I told a friend I was doing a stand-up show in his town, but he couldn't make it because he was getting a colonoscopy that day.

2)Sometimes I'm so exhausted my favorite activity to do with the kids is to be the "audience" as they put on a show.
3)It's taking me forever to finish one video game.  Granted, that includes expansion packs but I've been playing Red Dead Redemption forEVER.

4)I met with a financial planner and took it seriously.  Especially when he started shaking his head.

None of us can stop the aging process.  But sometimes moving to southern California helps.  There are no seasons, the weather is exactly the same, and everyone fights a losing battle against time, either mentally or physically or often both.  The illusion of time never passing.
But the truth is, it's not all bad.  I love watching the kids grow up.  I love watching them turn into little people.  I also love not having to change diapers anymore.  With age also comes... not changing diapers anymore.

But with age comes wisdom, unless you're really stupid.  But you saw those ones coming in high school.  As you sat in English class thinking, I don't even think Pizza Hut would hire that dude...   Age also brings perspective, and a broadened world view.  At least it is supposed to.  If it doesn't you're doing it wrong.

I am aging in some ways gracefully and in other ways horribly and childishly resentful about it.  C'est la vie.  In addition to seeing youth through the eyes of our children, we all find ways to keep ourselves young.  I am going to Comic-Con next week.  I'll be doing a panel on martial arts movies and hanging out at the Geekscape booth.  I'll be the one with the Sony Walkman.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Teaching a Daddy Class

Wow, two posts back to back. Crazy, right? I wanted to talk about this online class I’m teaching for new Dads. April 9th it starts and goes once a week for four weeks. And if you can’t make the live times obviously you can listen to them later. It’s the internet. You can do whatever you want.

Here’s the page: http://www.entheosacademy.com/courses/Pacify-Me

When the company approached me my initial reaction was... No. This feels like self-help scammy nonsense and I don’t want to be a part of it. It’s only $100 bucks but only $50 if you register early. Still, I wasn’t sold.

But then they said something that changed my mind. They said the most important thing is to get the information out there, and if people can’t afford the tuition they can take the class for free. With no upsell on timeshares or Amway products.

Then it started sounding good to me. Honestly, I want people to be good Dads. When I was about to become a father, I had no idea what I was doing, and no one to talk to about it. That’s why I wrote my book, Pacify Me. And that’s why I’m doing this class, and I’ll be answering questions directly from the students. (I almost said audience) Getting my jobs confused…

Am I a parenting expert like Dr. Spock or Dr. Sears? Of course not. That’s not the point. The point is that guys (and gals) need dude to dude or dude to lady honesty about what it’s going to be like to have a child, and how your life is going to change. And personally, I think that information is invaluable. You can always buy books or talk to your doctors about the practical and medical stuff.

So sure, I want people to pay for the class but I agree with the Entheos Academy--it’s more important to get the information out there. If you need it, I want you to have it.

So see you in class. Someone please bring me a jpeg of an apple.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Another Year Older

Wow. I know, it’s like I never even blog anymore. Honestly, the new book THE COMEDY FILM NERDS GUIDE TO MOVIES pretty much took over. I’ve never “edited” a book before. With 12 other writers on the book it was a lot of time both writing and editing and there was little time for anything else, including sleeping and eating. But I always seem to find time for eating. Oh, well, another issue for another day.

I had a birthday earlier this month, and it was great. Had a great weekend with the family and opened some presents, had a few friends over, my wife cooked a lovely dinner and it was cool. But then I took one day for myself, which I never do anymore.

I dropped the kids off, maybe a little too quickly, and then headed for Malibu where I went for a hike. Luckily my friend Graham called me while I was doing it so if I had been bitten by a rattlesnake, at least one person would have know where I was.

Then it was off to the movies. I saw a matinee of Wanderlust. We have two movie theaters near us, a good one and a shitty one. The shitty one had a better time so I went there. I never go there because it’s well, shitty, but I took the chance. The theater was empty, and they couldn’t get the movie to project properly. Which by the way, is the SECOND time this has happened to me at this theater. It fascinates me. A Movie theater only has to do ONE thing. Project a movie. And they couldn’t do it. I didn’t really care about the movie so it wasn’t that big a deal and I got a free pass to come back, which I will NEVER use.

Then it was off to the mall for a foot massage. Yes, you read that right. My feet had been hurting a bit lately from walking, attempting jogging, and Yoga. So I went to the massage place at the mall. And the older Japanese man gave me the price list and I walked in with him. Man, they had everything from full body to just feet. Didn’t really have the time for full body, or the patience, so I picked the 20 minute foot massage for around 20 bucks. Then too late I realized that the dude who handed me the price list would do it. Didn’t I get to pick my masseuse? I al least wanted a lady. Too late. Well, I didn’t want to be rude. So I let the older Japanese dude do it.

It was OK, I think my feet were a little sore so it kinda hurt in parts put at the end my feet felt WAY better than when I walked in, so mission accomplished. Later, my wife said “I could have rubbed your feet and we could have saved the money” Then I said something really creepy like “You’ll never rub my feet the way a 50 year old Japanese man at the mall can.” Nothing more was said for a good 20 minutes.

Yes, I’m another year older, which sucks. Blog posts about missing my youth would take up hundreds of pages and the rest of the year. Sometimes I think it’s a good thing I don’t have time to write them. But I’m here, and while the cliché is “I can’t complain,” I’ve found I’m really very good at it. So I will continue to count my blessings, be joyful, age ungracefully, and complain. But I will try to at least complain more joyfully.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Praise for Hugo

Man, it’s been a busy month. OK, I said I would only be updating once a month and… Oh, wait. Here it is.

The good news is that the new book is now with the editor so I have a break for a bit. The Comedy Film Nerds Guide to Movies has been a project myself, my CFN partner Graham Elwood and 11 other writers have been working on for over a year. And it’s finally edging towards the finish line and should be out in June if everything goes according to plan. It will be in bookstores (what are they?) and digital platforms online and of course for sale at comedyfilmnerds.com.

But I had just finished my chapters, including one on Family Films and Film School classics and never really thought about them being linked. Until I saw Martin Scorsese’s beautiful new film Hugo. It’s amazing. I usually leave the movie reviews over at CFN but I need to talk about this film some more. Plus, Neil T. Weakley did a fantastic job on the review over there so it’s covered.

In the upcoming book I touch on George Melies in the Film School Classics chapter and never thought I’d see him referenced in a “family” film, but there it is. And it’s done brilliantly. It’s gets to the heart of who we are, and why stories are so important. For the most obvious reason of all: They bring us together. Often in a dark theater with asshole teenagers texting next to us, but ultimately we are still brought together. The buzz on Hugo is that it is a love letter to film, and that is partially true. But it’s more of love letter to storytelling, storytellers, and how at heart that’s really who we all are.

From the trailer, it looks like a boy living in a train station clock trying to get his toy robot to work that his father left him. That is only one part of the film. But I guess it’s the part the trailer editor felt was important. Oh, don’t get me started on trailers. But I digress.

What’s weird is that it’s a “family” film. Yes, it’s a family film and the whole family can enjoy it, but ultimately young children who don’t have a working knowledge of early 1900s film history may be a little bored. Just saying. But it’s really just a great film without any sex, violence, cursing or other “adult” themes. Does that make it a family film? The absence of any scenes that would garner an R rating? Maybe. I won’t show it to my daughter until she is older, like around 9 or 10. Not because there is anything objectionable, but I think she’ll appreciate it much more in a few years. Right now she’d be bored if the robot doesn’t act like the Iron Giant, so we’ll wait a bit.

This is a movie made by dreamers for dreamers. I’ve always been one. I still am. We all are, even if we forget sometimes. That’s the point of the film. Martin Scorsese reminds us why we are all dreamers, and how dull life would be otherwise. See this film.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Let Go Or Be Dragged

I don’t get out so much anymore, but a friend of mine was doing an essay show last night. That’s where performers of varying ability go on stage and read personal essays with variable success. My pal did great, some performers… needed a bit more practice… but there was another performer who said something I hadn’t heard before, and it resonated with me.

The performer was talking about the baggage in her life and remembered a saying “Let Go or Be Dragged”. I guess it’s a popular saying, but I had never heard it before. And it makes SO much sense. And I need to do it more. Right now.

How much shit do we hold onto on a daily basis? Sometimes I lose count. I’m like an emotional pack rat sometimes. When we get older it seems to get worse. We have more room to put things. I’m not sure how that is, or what’s gone in our heads that’s making all that room, and I’m not sure I want to know.

Everything from childhood nonsense, parenting nonsense, work nonsense, and relationship nonsense just has to go. The fun nonsense you can keep. But ultimately, what’s done is done. Let go.

Sometimes I hear my brain going “I need this, I need that” and I realize slowly, “No, you don’t.” Except maybe Mass Effect 3 when that comes out. Geez, what’s taking so long?!

So is being dragged a function of aging? Sadly, I think it is. There is just simply more stuff to hang onto, and our mental toy box is getting full. So, for me, I am trying to make my brain have a garage sale. Try it. Get rid of all that shit you don’t want, from the asshole cutting you off on the 405 (If I ever FIND that son of a bitch)… the job you didn’t get, the screw job on a car repair, or the new computer you just bought bursting into flames or Home Depot screwing up your kitchen install. (Most of that list has actually happened to me)

But if you really look back on it, who cares? Does it matter? No, it doesn’t. Well, in that case, I’m done. I’m tired of being dragged. I’m letting go.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Bookstore Made Me Sad

I was waiting to get my Volkswagen fixed, for the thousandth time, and wandered into a used bookstore on Melrose ave that I had never noticed before. Of course I did this after going into Golden Apple to check out the comics.

I walked in and a welcoming, musty smell greeted me. The kind only old bookstores have. Two old dudes ran the place, and it was piled from floor to ceiling with used books. And they were also all over the floors and aisles. As I walked in and looked at the piled and piles of books towering over me, I got a bit nervous since we live in earthquake country. I did not want to get beaten to death by literature. That would be a very awkward obituary. “Writer killed by falling words”. But I boldly walked down the aisle and asked where the Science Fiction and Children’s sections were. Something for me, and something for the kids. My wife already had books she was backed up on and didn’t need any more.

I went to the Science Fiction section and found a Ray Bradbury book, short stories about dragons, and an old Marvel Comics Conan graphic novel. I also saw books I had read in high school that I didn’t really need to purchase again. But they were all nostalgic finds. I felt like a kid again. That’s when I became a bit melancholy. Bookstores are disappearing, and small used bookstores and becoming even rarer. I remember spending hours in them as a kid, finding old tomes like a treasure hunter and being elated when I found something really cool.

There are generations now who may never know that thrill. Less books are being published every year and while the internet has made browsing and self publishing accessible, it’s just not the same as going into a dusty bookstore looking for buried treasure. I loved going into the used book store vaults and taking the time and reading the back covers, looking at the artwork, and shuffling through science fiction books that are in no way alphabetized. I was always rewarded.

The truth is, books (and bookstores) were never meant to compete with a constant barrage of faster media from video screens. You have them everywhere. From multiple screens in your house to your phone where you can demand any type of entertainment you want. Why would you want to wander around a dusty bookstore where your purchases could possibly fall on your head? A Kindle is safer. (sigh)

I’m not saying books and reading are dead. If that were the case then the world would truly be ending. I’m saying the way we used to take the time and discover new worlds through books by physically going into a store and browsing may be on the way out. The library may soon be the last place you can do that.

So if you see a used bookstore, go in it. You never know what you may find. These days, it’s the closest thing we have to a time machine. And those old books sitting on the shelves look lonely. They want to be read. Give them a chance.

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