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My Vigilante Career: Phase 1

Recently, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of the vigilante.

Yes, it has everything to do with the impending release of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and the amount of Batman graphic novels I have been consuming of late, from Frank Miller’s YEAR ONE to last night’s read, BATMAN: EARTH ONE. I’m sure it doesn’t help that a new Spider-Man film was released with an increased emphasis on his vigilante status. Plus, when one owns Spider-Man and Captain America masks as well as a Batman cowl, one can’t help but fantasize about donning one himself to take on wrong-doers (though none of those three masks are practical; I can’t turn my head or hear in one, I can’t see out of the other, and two of them are much too bright for justice-seeking).

Just like Gwen Stacy’s boyfriend, I’m a “man of many masks.”

Combine the current popularity of vigilantes with where I’m at in life and you not only have obsession, you have motive.

We live in a time where being 24 no longer makes you an adult. My peers are all stuck in either retail jobs or the first steps of their careers, both of which pay an insulting amount. Meanwhile, the corporations we work for hand out giant bonuses to themselves whilst cutting employee hours and incentives (I could write blog upon blog bitching about the crimes committed by AMC Theatres and every Studio I worked for in Hollywood).

Meanwhile, we have the 1%, throwing away more money in a day on luxury than a life saving procedure would cost a penniless, dying patient (who ends up dying for lack of insurance).

“Again, Nick, you’re just at that age where you feel rebellious and the whole world is against you. Eventually you’ll grow up and accept the way the world works.”

This is true, but why must we just accept the status quo? Do I have to be treated like shit to be successful? Must I accept working 45 to 60 hours a week, most after all the 1% are fast asleep in their beds that cost more than I make in a half a year, only to live a lower class lifestyle?

Sitting in a city park for days, doing nothing, does nothing, but perhaps there is something one man (or man-boy) can do.

I have much more to say about all this, but as usual, I digress.

For whatever reason I want to be a vigilante, I have finally found the place to start.

In my new house, located in the city of Denver (my city), someone has been throwing trash in the south-east corner of our backyard.

My city burns.

It’s not blowing into our yard, I know that for a fact. What started as candy wrappers has become Cold Stone cups, entire newspapers, and a dirty sock. There are also still candy wrappers.

I doubt it is our next door neighbor, she’s our property manager, after all (but what perfect cover for the crime that would be!).

I don’t know the neighbors we share our back fence with, so it is likely them. But what if they are innocent? The innocent do not deserve my brand of “justice.”

When I was a kid, sure, I was guilty of occasionally throwing an ice cream wrapper over the fence instead of making the trip all the way into the house and our garbage pail.

But I was “smart” about it (as far as a child thinks he is smart). I would often throw the trash into the yard catty-corner ours, so its origin was less obvious.

So, there is always the chance the neighbors catty-corner to the north-east are responsible for the crimes against my city.

Or, it could be kids, sneaking into our yard at night to fornicate, leaving ice cream containers and articles of clothing.

Before I can seek justice, I must know who the villain is.

My plan: dress all in black (maybe my Batman mask would be of some use here), and lurk in the shadows of my roof at night. Waiting. Watching.

Artist’s rendition of me on my first stake-out.

And when I see the evil-doer, my first arch-nemesis, make his (or her, women can be criminals too, I ain’t sexist) move, I’ll know who deserves justice.

There are only three questions remaining: what if this goes deeper than I realize and my nemesis only acts when I’m at work (as alluded to earlier, I work mostly nights)? What if he acts during the day (I suppose I could just peek through the back window on surveillance all day as well, but honesty, who commits such heinous crimes in daylight?)?

And what do I do with my foe when I catch him?

My first instinct is to leap from my rooftop Batman/Wolverine-berserker style, tackling my opponent and yelling “SWEAR TO ME!” in my best Batman voice (which I have nearly perfected). Of course, after such an outburst, I’ll have to quickly explain that the criminal is swearing not to trash my yard, and then speedily make a dramatic exit with those little-fun-popping-“fireworks” before the neighbors catch sight of the neighborhood’s new vigilante.

After all, I must be more than just a man, I need to be legend, right Mr. Wayne?

Perhaps a smarter route would be to wait before taking action.

That way I don’t break my entire body on my first vigilante outing, KICK-ASS style.

So I’ll watch and wait, noting which house my nemesis lives in so I can exact my revenge… err… I mean justice, later.

You see, though most people use the phrase with a negative connotation, to me, justice is very much “an eye for an eye.”

No, really it’s a step farther than that, but summed up by a classic Sean Connery quote:

“He pulls a knife, you pull a gun, he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.”

An eye for an eye doesn’t stop anything, but escalation… that’s justice.

I suppose my most likely point of attack would be to pay back this criminal, 100 fold.

He leaves a sock in my yard, I dump my entire trash bin in his. In the dead of night of course, because the key to any vigilante is keeping one’s identity secret. Can’t have him knowing where I live. I could be catty-corner… or adjacent… or some unrelated bum… who knows? There are a lot of bums in my neighborhood…

Actually, for the sake of anonymity, perhaps I should not start with crimes against my own backyard. Too easy to trace back to me, which may be dangerous for my roommates (and possessions) once I move onto Denver’s bigger fish.

Unless my neighborhood has a serial litterer, in which case, justice will be served. And if he’s that big of an ass to litter all over my city and not just in my own back yard, perhaps he deserves a good-old-fashioned beating by a masked man, instead of just a trashy yard.

Besides, using my own trash would be stupid; one piece of junk mail and the “crime” (more like counter-crime) is traced right back to me.

Thinking more about anonymity, perhaps I should not be posting my vigilante plans and motives on the internet for all to see. That could hurt my secret identity at some point…

So… yeah… if you’re reading this police, or my arch-nemesis, or what-have-you, I’m just kidding around. I had nothing to do with the beating of that serial litterer. I work nights, remember? Who has time to fight crime and work nights?

I’m jumping ahead several phases anyway.

In the classic Scarface model of “first you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the women” vigilatism has order as well.

“First you train your body, then you find your costume/symbol, then you get justice.”

So, phase 1 is working out and training. I figure that if Bruce Wayne needed 18 years to prepare (a la YEAR ONE), then I can do it in 18 weeks.

Just wait, The Litterer, I’ll be watching. And getting ready. Soon my city will have justice.

Only, not from me, because I’m innocent of any wrong doing… especially if this blog ever ends up in a court of law.

On a completely unrelated note, anyone have any ideas for a symbol? Particularly one a vigilante could use to strike fear in the hearts of litters?

Don’t suggest Bats, please. I think that’s been done.

Taking My Kids To The Movies

Today, while I was building the unnecessarily complicated standee for the movie SPARKLE, I overheard the following conversation being had by a young family.

“Did you go to the bathroom?”

“I don’t need to go to the bathroom.”

“Make sure you go to the bathroom now so that we don’t miss part of the movie.”

“I don’t need to go!”

Now, reading the title of this blog, you may be saying to yourself, “Nick, you don’t have any kids.”

You’re right, I don’t.

And “taking my kids to the movies” is not a euphemism like “dropping the kids off at the pool.”

But someday, I may have kids. And those kids WILL NOT leave the movie while it is playing, NO MATTER WHAT.

You see, kids need to show some fucking respect for what’s important in this world. Sure, it’s fine to leave class to go potty, or step out of church to go poopy, or jump out a moving vehicle to go pee pee, but leaving a movie while it is playing is un-fucking-acceptable.

If you really have to go to the bathroom kiddo, shit yourself. Or piss yourself. I really don’t care.

Ian Malcom was half right. Movies supersede his famous quote.

“When you gotta go, you gotta go” but you should have thought about that before the feature presentation!If you do whine, “Daddy I need to go potty real bad” and I miss a line from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 9 or THE SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN or whatever the fuck they call Spider-Man films in the future, you’re grounded. For life. And it WILL be just as bad as the TV show of the same name, I kid you not.

If I have to accompany your tiny bladder to the bathroom, LEAVING that Spider-Man movie I’ve never seen, you can consider your ass left at that theater, kiddo. Good luck finding new parents as generous as me with trips to the movies.

More likely, I’ll just let you go on your own, no matter your age, pedophiles be damned. Mommy can take you, I guess, but if mommy is really willing to leave the movie just like that, she can consider herself divorced.

I guess what I’m getting at, is that the conversation I heard should have gone like this…

“Did you go to the bathroom?””I don’t need to go to the bathroom.”

Why do you think Old Yeller was really shot?

“Make sure you go to the bathroom now so that we don’t miss part of the movie.”

“I don’t need to go!”

“You fucking make sure, little man (or woman), cause if you have to go during the movie I’m killing the dog.”

I Am Jason Bateman’s Grandma

“My grandmother came to this country with $20 in her pocket. She worked hard her whole life and never took shit from anyone. When she died, she had turned that twenty dollars into $2,000.  That sucks. You know why she didn’t succeed? Because she didn’t take shit from anyone. The key to success, and they won’t teach you this in business school, is taking shit.”

So opens the film HORRIBLE BOSSES, with the preceding voice over by Nick (Jason Bateman).

Here’s the thing; I am done taking shit.

I spent nearly five years taking shit in California. Working unpaid internship after unpaid internship, getting coffee, reading shitty script after shitty script, driving to Akiva Goldsman’s house to fill his BMW up with gas, buying a book and delivering it to said writer/producer’s house which turned an errand he could have run on the way home into a 3 hour chore for me. All for free.

Ask them about their wieners!

No, worse than free, I actually paid Chapman University to have the privilege to work for free.

In the NBC Page program, when I was assigned to the NBC Universal Digital Studio (now a department of the past thanks to a combination of Comcast and a shitty business plan) I took more shit than ever. If anything went wrong, it was always the Page’s fault.

Fuck. That.

Maybe it’s my age (twenty-four-year-olds tend to be stubborn, rebellious, and sure they are right in a world we really know nothing about), likely it’s also a result of my latest anxiety medication, Clonazepam, or perhaps it’s my roommates’ push to make me less passive aggressive (which is making me more aggressive aggressive – if that’s a thing), but I am done taking shit just for the chance I may get ahead.

I’ve talked back to my General Manager at AMC, and I intend to again. Not everytime, mind you, I’m not going to talk back when he’s right. And he’s right more often than I am, that’s why HE’s the general manager. But when I do feel slighted, or that he is wrong, I let him know.

It has already likely prevented me from achieving a promotion to manager.

The other week, it was a particularly busy Friday due to the openings of MAGIC MIKE and TED, I was in the back counting money; my assigned job for the night.

My GM came downstairs, and upon entering IO (inner office), where we do the money counting, he scolded me for counting money instead of helping on the floor during what we call “primes.”

As the GM, Phil’s main concern is our guests, and the experience they have at our theater. And as he scolded me, I realized my role. If the GM is 100% focused on the guests, then someone has to make sure operations go down. The building can’t run if we are all serving guests and no one is pulling the money throughout the night.

So I told Phil, “I realize you need to be guest focused, but I’m also telling you that someone needs to do this as well. It would be great if we could all be on the floor, but that’s not how this business works and we can’t run the building that way.”

Phil didn’t seem too unhappy with the response, but did say “You can count the money at 5am. I want you out there now.”

I went, how could I disobey a direct order from my boss (there is a difference between not taking shit and being an idiot)?

I left Phil with these parting words “You don’t pay me enough to keep me here until 5am.”

Wearing a latex mask for 5 days can shorten anyone’s temper.

That gave Phil something to think about, and he did, as I later heard he had told other managers about the encounter. And that Monday, instead of calling me in to work the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN midnight premiere as I’m sure he would have done otherwise, he called in a different supervisor (which means I got to see Spidey IMAX 3D! This “no shit” thing already has its benefits). Phil is smart enough to know when I get worked too hard, I do have the occasional outburst (I had an actual, “fuck” laiden outburst in front of guest’s the last day of AVENGERS opening weekend after working 10 days straight), but this wasn’t the same.

I wasn’t angry and therefore volatile. I was logical. This money needs to be counted now because I’m not paid enough to stay at the theater all night. If I were a manager, that’s a different story. They are paid a lot more and therefore are expected to put in the occasional all nighter, as my manager Chris often does.

But not even making $10 an hour, no holiday pay, no breaks, no sick pay, these are not acceptable terms to make me work all night.

I’m still a go-getter at work, I volunteer for every responsibility I am offered from interviewing potential employees, to training them, to creating the performance schedule (which I will be doing today at 3pm), to doing the hard count (a monthly count of every bag, cup, and bottle of booze in the building ). But I have to draw the line somewhere.

This weekend a manager position opened up at AMC Arapahoe Crossing 16. Phil told me to apply, also letting me know he would NOT endorse me for the promotion. He said I’m not “ready.”

“Not ready” for a job he was willing to endorse me for months prior at the Castlerock theater (a position he told me about that turned out to never have existed). Am I less experienced than a month ago? Do I work less hard than I did in May?

No, I’m just not his fucking “yes man” anymore.

One closed mind runs a business into the ground. One who at least pauses to listen to the thoughts and ideas of his leadership team runs a more versatile ship, a ship guided by different unique points of view coming from different backrounds. Something AMC calls “diversity.”

But I digress.

Am I costing myself a promotion when I tell Phil I think he’s wrong? It would appear so.

Do I care?

Not anymore.

Goodbye, my lovelies. I barely knew ye.

I’m already making drastic budget cuts (today I kill my comic book collection) so that I can sustain a quality of life on a supervisor’s salary, as the new Nick is not neccesarily the ideal canidate for manager.

My goal from the beginning has been to become an AMC manager, and maybe even eventually a GM myself. But if that has to come at the cost of what I find unjust, then it’s not something I want anyway. I’ll just be a supervisor for a few years until I figure out the next step in my life. Use what little money I make to finance creative projects like eventual web series, podcasts and more blogs.

Is this some youthful ideal that I’ll regret later in life when I’m thirty and not making as much money as I could be? Quite possibly.

But 24-year-old-Nick don’t give a shit.

If Hollywood taught me anything, it’s not to be afraid to burn bridges. Because if you don’t burn some bridges, you’ll be someone’s bitch forever. And the new Nick is no one’s bitch.

It’s exciting really, realizing these past few days who I really am and what is truly important to me.

I am Nick Doll. I’m a big kid who lives to make others laugh and is done taking shit.

Who are you?

I’m A Big Kid Now

I was at my movie theater today, dropping the kids off at the pool before my third and final viewing of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN IMAX 3D, when I heard the most enlightening comment from the stall next to me.

“I want to be a big kid. I wish I were a big kid.”

The boy who said it couldn’t have been terribly older than young Peter Parker in AMAZING’s opening scene (I’ll never know for sure – I decided breaking down his stall door to check his age had the potential to be interpreted the wrong way).

This young lad has it all figured out, and he has no idea. Intelligence is wasted on those too young to use the toilet by themselves.

He didn’t say “I wish I were an adult.”

BIG KID. He wants to be a big kid.

Epiphany! Eureka!

I’m 24 but I am NOT an adult; I’ve never felt like one.

I’m a big kid.

And that’s exactly what I want to be.

My room is currently completely comic book themed, from the Captain America shield hanging on my wall to the holographic AMAZING SPIDER-MAN standee with the 6 florescent lights. I have a painting of Batman I did (on the back of a foam standee for AMC’s Ultimate Marvel Movie Marathon) in my room’s window so it can be seem from our street, Zuni.

My roommates are slightly embarrassed by the Batman painting. They laugh it off when our property manager or the Denver Post salesman stop by, joking living with me is like living with a fourteen year-old.

They’re great friends, my closest friends, and I know they like me, but I’m sure there is some embarrassment that comes with living with me as well, whether it’s the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN poster I hung on the fridge, or our front living room which resembles a turn-of-the-century Blockbuster video.

Blockbuster Video, as it appeared in the late 1900s. Now only a thing of legend.

Over the course of my life, whether it was transitioning to middle school, going off the college in California, or trying to get a girlfriend through the NBC Page Program, I’ve tried to hide who I am. I’ve boxed up my geeky Nintendo and Spider-Man shirts more than once, switching them out for Nike shirts, or button up shirts from places like Aeropostale and H&M. I’ve switched from long socks to lower cuts, from baggy jeans to slim, all in the vain attempt to make myself something I’m not.

In the past year, I’ve learned it’s okay to go full geek (though “full retard” is still not recommended if you want to win an Academy Award). After all my failed attempts to hide in the geek closet, I’m out now.

No, this crazy train blog hasn’t gotten off track.  You see, being a geek and being a “big kid” are very much one and the same.

My roommate Andrew is also a geek, he enjoys the same movies & TV shows (we’re going to watch the 1990s BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES as our next show) and reads far more comics than me (though I buy more… he’s the only one who reads them). But he’s grown up. He doesn’t tout his inner geek quite like me; he is much closer to being an actual, honest-to-God adult than I am. His walls aren’t covered by masked vigilantes, he doesn’t have a Spider-Man, Batman, or Captain America mask (can you believe that?), and he has a long term girlfriend and investments and a saving account. Adult stuff!

It’s hard to know who you are when you’re a man (boy) of many masks.

And that’s fine. It’s more than fine. That’s who Andrew is, he’s an adult. My other roommate Kailin is an adult. Both are making great progress in adulthood (excellent work, you two!).

But not me. I’m not an adult. I’m a big kid.

Nothing excites me more than a big blockbuster like DARK KNIGHT RISES or 007 SKYFALL. I don’t think I own any shirts without a vigilante of some sort on them. While my highschool age employees talk politics, or going to college, or their careers, I’d rather talk about Iron Man. While they go on dates and have parties at their out of town parent’s houses, I see AVENGERS for the fifth time on IMAX 3D.

I’m a big kid. And I hope I stay that way.

Why would I want to be anything else?

This is the second epiphany I’ve had in the course of a year.

The other hit me while driving to Orange County from the Valley, while still living in the ole’ CA. It had always been in the back of my mind, it was already who I was, I had just never externalized the thought aloud before.

“I want to make people laugh.”

More specifically, that is my sole reason for existing (well that and watching movies over and over).

 

I’ll never be a stand up, I’ll never have broad appeal, but daily, hourly, nearly every moment I’m with another human being, I’m going for a laugh.   And sure, making people you know laugh is no great feat, but it’s what I live for.

And in playing this role, it has become me. It defines who I am. I spend most of my time with others playing a caricature of a real person (especially at work). An exaggerated version of myself who makes his own sound effects, is overly emotive, and undeservedly cocky. I’m fairly intelligent and well thought, but I like playing the boob. The idiot who doesn’t care about recycling or a healthy diet. The naive fool who has no idea what is happening in the real world past my geek cocoon.

I may throw out a hundred lame jokes and you may only laugh once, but that is what I live for.

I am Nick Doll. I am a big kid who lives to make people laugh.

Who are you?

Harvey Dent’s Watchful Guardian… Yet Two-Face Still Rises

This is not my long awaited geek-tastic anaylsis of Harvey Dent (likely to be titled “Decent Men In An Indecent Time”) that I have promised (that will appear on Breaking Geek anyways…), but rather a continuation of my using Harvey Dent and Two-Face as a metaphor to chart my progress with my addictions, including sleeping and spending money.

After Thursday night’s post, I was ready to go full Two-Face, sleeping until work at 3pm, keeping myself from achieving my full potential, just as Harvey Dent was corrupted by the monster inside: transformed from a symbol of hope into a cop-murdering lunatic (not quite on the same level, but where is a geek without comparing his mundane life to comics and movies?).

Yet, there was a watchful guardian who got my day on the right track. My own white knight (who I assume is less easy to corrupt than Gotham’s).

My best buddy Andrew arrived noonish to pick up applications from an open house I looked at. Planning on giving him the apps and returning to my slumber post haste, I didn’t even put on a shirt, exposing my pale Gollum/Schindler’s List bod.

But my white knight had my best interest in mind, he had just read “Ripe For Inception” and stuck around just long enough for me to wake up completely and not return to bed.

Today, I was similarly lucky. Though I left my phone (aka alarm clock) down stairs in my Captain America jacket pocket, my father awoke me at 12:30, which when compiled with my 4am bedtime, made for the closer-to-8-hours of sleep my body needs (as opposed to the 16 I usually give it).

Regrettably, he woke me so we could go to the Tattered Cover, and we all know what happens when I go to the store (I buy frivolous shit).

I only bought a mother’s day present… plus three books for me… “Avengers: The Origin,”Pawnee, The Greatest Town In America” (behind Aurora), and “How To Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written” by Sterling Archer.

Hence, my Two-Face day. Like a good Harvey Dent, I slept less than 9 hours, worked out, and read my new anxiety book (the reason for the trip to the Tattered Cover)… but the monster inside lead me to buy 3 books (to be fair, two were by my favorite fictional authors, Leslie Knope and Sterling Archer).

In having a mostly Harvey Dent day, I finally completed my 30 Days of healthy behavior (sleep less than 10 hours, exercise, read anxiety book), earning me my shield!

Well, the original agreement was that my parent’s would bribe me to “be an adult” with a plastic Captain America replica of his movie shield, but when the Broncos aquired the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL and TV commercials, I instead decided I wanted a Peyton Manning jersey.

Don’t worry, Two-Face and I already bought the shield a month ago from Mile High Comics.

Me with my jacket (Christmas gift), Shield (month old purchase), and Captain America mask (this week purchase). I may have finally crossed the line between geek and crazy obsessive.

So, off to Sports Authority we went, and my Peyton Manning jersey was secured, in all its orange glory. Only a hundred clams… brought to you by my lovely parents.

It’s tragic that this trip required walking through a Barnes and Noble, where again Two-Face reared his ugly head. While looking for a book on dealing with the loss of a pet (another reccomendation of my psychiatrist, just like the anxiety book), I found B&N’s Avengers table.

Big mistake.

This time I only bought one book (because the other graphic novel on the table was the very same “Avengers: The Origin” I bought at Tattered Cover), Marvel’s “Civil War,” the last great event in the Marvel Universe preceding the current “AvX.”

I almost bought a Captain America bobble-head as well, but Harvey Dent prevailed.

The experience has brought me to the following conclusion; in order to not spend money I need to stay out of stores… and off Amazon… and Ebay… really, any website that sells anything from porn to digital music (Did I mention Two-Face preordered the new Tenacious D album on iTunes this week?)

So, that sums up my last two days, one a total Harvey Dent, and the other more Harvey with a big ole’ pinch of acid face.

While I’ve got you here, I’d love to bitch about the impending Avengers movie. At AMC (where I work), we just got two new songs added to our CD that repeats every ten or so minutes. Both songs are from The Avengers soundtrack, Avengers Assemble.

Too bad both songs are shit. Especially “Live to Rise” by Soundgarden. Terrible theme for what will hopefully be a better movie.

They would have been better off with the theme from the Disney XD show, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

And that’s all I have for tonight. Thanks for listenin’ doc.

Ripe For Inception

I sleep.

That is what I do most in my free time.

Sleep.

You don’t need to get me on a flight from Australia to Los Angeles, you can come right into my room, anytime between midnight and 4pm and just incept the hell out of me. You know,  just incept me for hours, going deeper and deeper (dream levels) while I toss and turn.

I lack the motivation to do anything else. So I sleep.

I set my alarm. I always set it for 8 hours sleep.

So, if I go to bed at 4am, with then intention of waking up at noon (the most consistent sleep schedule  I can manage working at a movie theater), I’ll set my alarm for noon. Noon rolls around, let’s move it to 1pm. 1pm hits, push that sucka back to 2, bitch! 2 comes and goes, then 3, then 4 hits and I have to get up.

Because I work at 5pm.

I don’t even leave myself time to eat, which is partially why I’m my skinniest since high school, when I played water polo and swam on the swim team. Average day, I eat a TV Dinner at work, after working on an empty stomach for 4 to 6 hours.

Not completely empty mind you. I drink just enough Icee and/or Cherry Coke to keep my motor running.

It’s become a real problem. A real addiction, just as severe as my need to spend money, if not more-so.

I have other things I want to do.

There are movies and TV to be watched, piles of comics to be read, drawings to be drawn, skits to be written and shot, podcasts to be podded… the list of my aspirations goes on and on, but when I’m in bed, none of that matters.

All that matters is pushing back the time I need to wake up back another hour.

I’m not even tired half the time. This morning, my body was ready to get up at 9. But I stayed in bed, attempting to force sleep upon myself until 2:40 when my father wrangled me out of bed. He said, “Nick, time to get up” and though I was very drowsy and could not know for sure, I think I let out an inhuman moan, a sound akin to one Gollum would produce, them slowly rose from my bed.

Come to think of it, if I were to start losing my hair (surely, an eventual side effect of constant icee consumption), I’d look quite a bit like Gollum with my pale skin and scrawny arms.

Sleep is my ring. My obesseion that seems to suck the very life out of me, reducing me to an underfed, shadow of a man.

My…. precious….

At this point, I might as well lose most my hair. At least then I could move back to LA and play Gollum on Hollywood Blvd for a living.

Just gotta stop brushing my teeth too, which won’t be a challenge at all. I’ve never liked doing it anyway.

I’ve tried to pull myself out of this “life wasting cycle,” but as much hope and faith as current-Nick has in next-morning-Nick, next-morning-Nick never fails to disappoint.

I read somewhere that we all put more hope and faith into our future selves. How many times have you told yourself you’d quit a bad habit… tomorrow? Or start that diet tomorrow? Or start lifting weights, tomorrow? That’s my life in a nutshell, making myself promises I never fulfill.

I’ve lost track the amount of times I’ve given future-Nick too much credit. As it turns out, he’s just as lazy a prick as current-Nick.

I even tried to put my latest obsession to use in rousing tomorrow-Nick from bed. I’ve tried to make Harvey Dent work for me.

Last night, I made this sign and put it on the ceiling above my bed… a little something to drive me to wake up and make use of my day.

The whole idea is that everyday I have a choice, just like Harvey Dent did. Do I choose to be the White Knight, to wake up at a reasonable hour, not spend money I don’t need to spend, and use my day productively? Or do I become the monster I’m also capable of being, sleeping away my life and blowing my savings on more shit I’ll never use?

I don’t want to say making said sign was a complete waste of time, but I will say I had a Two-Face of a day, today. I may not have spent any money, but I spent all my free time sleeping, Harvey Dent or no.

I even bought the pictured coin set, to help remind me to choose to be Dent, not Two-Face.

Really, it was just one of my bad habits justifying another.

So, it’s now 4:15, and my alarm is set for noon.

Which means, I guess I’ll wake up at 2pm tomorrow, but only because I work at 3.

Being a monster is just so much easier.

I might as well have the opposite of Dent’s coin, both sides charred, blackened by the fire that killed his love and made him a monster. Just as he makes his own luck in the film with his double “heads” coin, I know exactly what side of the coin tomorrow will be.

Dent may make his own luck, but I ensure my own self destruction.

And future-Nick doesn’t give a fuck.

This Is Ground Control To Cyber Cat

Dear Kitt,

I wish I could believe that you were still out there somewhere, but I’ve been to your grave multiple times a day for months now, and I’ve scoured the interwebs looking for any sign of a possible cyber-cat ghosts. You’re dead.

As I sit here watching The Dark Knight, it should be you on my chest, not this cold laptop.

The flip of Harvey Dent’s coin and the gruff of Batman’s voice distract me, but only temporarily. Work, video-games, comics, giant toy shields, Driver jackets, all but a distraction from the pain I feel every time I look out your window, see a movement out of the corner of my eye, or catch a wiff of tuna (Reminds me of your terrible breath. We both need to brush more.)

Last night, I swear I felt the weight of your body on the covers when I rolled over. Was sure you were there, nipping at my toes, which is what they deserved for hiding under the blanket from you, like that. Bastard toes. Joy filled my heart, if only for not-even-a-second.

I don’t know what that weight was, perhaps a clean shirt folded on the corner of my bed, or some half-read graphic novel. But it wasn’t you.

It’s never you.

It’s never going to be you.

Honestly, I thought I’d be past you by now. But, no dice.

God, Maggie Gyllehaal is even worse as Rachel Dawes than Katie Holmes, somehow.

So I keep the distractions coming.

Maybe someday I’ll find the right one.

Damn, Jordan’s right, the Heath Ledger’s Joker does lick his lips way too often. It’s more distracting than anything if you look for it.

A comfortable distraction.

I like when movies deal with death. Like this scene, where Dent thinks he is going to die and that Rachel will be saved. The moment he realizes his was picked (albeit accidentally) to be saved by Batman,  is pure cinema bliss. Raw emotion on the screen.

Which is where I prefer it.

Death isn’t some great finale. We all make quite a bit of a fuss entering this world, it’s unfortunate that most of us exit with such a whimper.

No buddy cop explosion. No melodramatic fall from grace. Just you, going limp in my arms, already 1/3 your size from the year before.

The always watchful Kitt, watches no more.

No ear flick or slight eyelid movement to indicate that you are not so secretly keeping tabs on all of us. Because though you trust me, your instinct is still there.

A most correct instinct.

The most peaceful I’ve ever seen you, while in life, was on my stomach. I actually think you really fell asleep once, not just a catnap. You were out, cold. Purring, but so oblivious to your surroundings that I bet your arch-nemsis neighbor cat could have even snuck up on you (not that I would have let him. He was a ripe bastard, that one).

I betrayed that trust, and it is really the moment of your death that haunts me more than anything else. Sure I fed you, scooped your poop, and gave you more attention than most thought a cat deserved, but the only real agreement we had was that we wouldn’t hurt  .

You trusted me when you slept. Just as I trusted you would not actually harm my blanket covered toes. You’d be playful, but never break the skin. If there is such thing as unconditional love, we shared it. Obviously, not a physical or romantic love, because I’m into human females… who are usually less hairy than you, but a certain type of love that I’ve never quite understood and I can’t quite define.

I remember feeling 3 years old when I pulled your body out of that kennel and wrapped in your real favorite person’s old towel. Holding you there, on my lap, on the new sandstone Dad installed in the backyard, the sun warming your body just the way you liked it before mom and dad installed the glass patio door that soaked up all the extra heat.

I’ve never felt like less of an adult.

I’d trade it all.

Trade all my blurays, all my posters, all my possessions for an hour with you in the sun. Just the two of us, not having anywhere better to be, not having anything to do but just lay there, stealing  each other’s warmth and being rocked to sleep by each others’ heavy, sleepy breath.

I don’t even want to say what I’d do to have those five years back where I left you for my CA adventure.

Let’s just say, if anyone has a time machine or can resurrect you (Jesus/Oliver Tate style, not at all like Pet Cemetery or Frankenweenie), and that one person happened to enjoy any sort of sexual favors — you know, blowies, handies, the dutch-rudder, whatever — I’d grin and bear it. I’d take a chubby for the team. I will suck it up.

Like I said, I’m into “human females,” but I would do anything for you, Kitt… including that. Meat Loaf is a pussy.

Someday I will join you in nothingness. We can “not exist” together, but let’s face it, we’d be just a productive dead as when we were together.

I might be lazy, but you were the laziest mother fucker I ever knew. A standard for which all lazy people can aspire to be, but never reach.

I miss you, cyber cat.

 

Over Coming My Obsession To Obsess

I have a problem.

The first part is admitting it, right?

I can’t help obsessing over something to a point of nearly driving myself insane.

I touched on that yesterday, when I discussed being addicted to movie news. But really, that’s only the tip of the iceberg, an iceberg that threatens to sink the ship of my life. (Unlike the Titanic, I never claimed I was unsinkable.)

I can’t exactly place my obsession. I used to think it was a need to buy things, as I have bought many DVDs and Blurays I have yet to unwrap, many videogames I’ve played once… for 10 minutes… and I’m six months behind on most my comic subscriptions.

I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist since last August, for seemingly unrelated reasons involving anxiety and depression. The whole process has made me more aware of my actions and behaviors, which for a hypochondriac like me has both been beneficial and overblown.

At this point, I think my obsession has more in common with hoarding than enjoying the act of spending money.

I’ve never watched Hoarders, but I have listened to Jay Mohr’s podcast, Mohr Stories, on which he has twice had the host/creator of the Hoarders Mat Paxton as a guest. Paxton talks about Hoarders as often keeping the most disgusting stuff, stuff that is complete trash to the common man, so they have it when someone needs it.

Oh, you need a dirty q-tip? I got that for you, ma’am! You need a diaper filled with poop? Got that too! I have several in fact. You want baby green or classic brown?

Now, I may not crap into plastic bags and pile them up in my closet (I still wouldn’t recommend looking in there, mother), but I absolutely cannot help myself when it comes to items like movies, video-games, and comics.

At work,I’ll take shit from movies I haven’t seen or movies I don’t particularly like, just because I may have a use for it some day (I’m not even allowed to sell them on ebay).

Have I seen Friends With Kids? Fuck no, but I kept the poster AND the banner because it has several actors I like on it (Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, and the very underrated Chris O’Dowd – that Irish fellow from Bridesmaids).

I also have the standee AND banner for This Means War, a movie that’s not even that good, but because I like Chris Pine and Tom Hardy as actors.

If a new poster or standee arrives in receiving, I’ll request it immediately, even when the movie holds little interest. Today, I requested the Total Recall poster, even though I disliked the trailer, just because Bryan Cranston is in the film (he’s not even on the poster).

It is a fairly cool poster, but what am I going to do with it? And what am I going to do with the 5 copies of the Ghost Protocol poster I have (at least)? Or my Grey poster and standee? Or the parts of the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy standee I kept. All that shit is just sitting in my poor parents garage.

What am I going to do with the unopened blu-rays of Due Date, The Hangover Part II, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Che, Donnie Brasco, A Few Good Men, In the Line of Fire, etc, etc, etc and on and on and on? (I haven’t even seen half those movies…)

The closest I can tell, I have them all for the same reason that a Hoarder keeps a dirty Q-Tip. One night, we’ll all be stuck in my house, the world ending around us, and we’ll have just enough battery power on my laptop to watch a single movie before we meet our end.

Someone will say, “Damn, I wish I could watch There Will Be Blood one last time before I die.”

And I’d say, “There’s not enough battery power for a film that long, but I do own that movie, on Bluray, even though I never have any intention of watching it! Oh what a lovely apocalypse tonight will be”

This obsession with possession is the worst at work. As touched upon, I try to claim everything from every movie that has potential to be good. I’ve claimed items from The Avengers to Prometheus to The Dictator to Iron Man 3 and Avengers 2.

I tried to claim everything Avengers, all the standees, posters, banners, IMAX posters, etc. I had to relinquish possession of some of them so that other employees who deserve them can have them. Do I really need the Captain America Standee, Avengers Banner, and IMAX poster?

No, but it bugs the shit out of me that someone else is getting the IMAX poster.

I can literally feel myself losing my grasp on sanity at times, when I get wild bouts of anxiety over whether or not I was first to claim The Amazing Spider-Man banner. And I’m on Xanex already for fuck’s sake!

The same anxiety plagues me when a movie comes out that I want to see. I nearly went crazy passing by theaters and hearing the sweet sounds of the scores from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol or Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Until I saw them, I became agitated that I hadn’t yet, even though I knew I had plenty of time to see them over the month of December.

I wish I could just let go. Quiet my mind whenever that endless want to possess more shit rears its ugly head.

I tried some breathing exercises at work today after I looked at the Avengers IMAX poster,  but no sooner had I dismissed one obsession than another raised its ugly head to take its place (kind of like Hydra; “Shoot down one plane and hundreds more will rain fire upon them. If they cut off one head, two more shall take its place. Hail Hydra!”).

Like I wrote yesterday, this obsession can be an absolute need to know all I can about something, or the need to share my opinion online (the later plagues a bunch of people and is a direct result of social media).

I understand why there are a million Trolls out there on forums, tearing down those who create, for no reason more than to be contrary. I used to have to express my opinion on Joblo; write about why Avatar was going to suck, or defend Spider-Man 3 and Indy 4 from fanboy backlash.

I know none of it is important, but in the moment it all feels like life or death to me.

Like earlier today, I was dead set on writing the following on FBook, just cause: “Dear Idiots, thank you for paying 14.50 to see a movie you already own. Love, James Cameron.” Though I haven’t written it yet (except for here. Sorry about that whammie, Titanic fans), sometimes the mood strikes and I can’t prevent myself from going online and tearing down something other people love, like Twilight or Hunger Games, or just giving my opinion in general about whatever. Like, “Hey I saw Drive before all of you, and it’s awesome! Go see it in a month when it’s released.”

It’s so bad that I sit in the movie theater, while I am watching the movie, already concentrating on what I will say about the movie online afterwards.

Everyone doesn’t need to know what I think about everything. I don’t need to buy every movie I “may want to watch someday. (I realize how ironic it is to say on a blog completely about myself.)

I have a completion complex. I blew $40 dollars last week on South Park Season Fifteen, simply because I own the other complete 14. I mean, it’s a rocking season, but it’s all available for free on www.southparkstudios.com. I’ve repurchased not just Blu-Ray copies of my DVDs, but also special editions of Blu-rays I already own.

Several months ago, after getting my Captain America hoodie (one of the few possessions I use daily), I decided I needed to have a Capt. shield as well. I put it off for months, but this week I finally cracked and bought it. I also ordered a replica of Driver’s jacket from Drive that cost over a hundred dollars. I bought $200 worth of podcasting equipment that is gathering dust. My parents bought me an HD camcorder two years ago and I have yet to shoot one skit.

My name is Nick Doll and I have a problem. I spend all the money I have, and money I don’t have, on shit I may never use.

I obsess over stuff I have no control of, or has no value to be known.

I need help. But on the other hand, I also need to understand why I am this way.

Is it backlash from my parents limiting my spending to my allowance as a kid? Am I filling some other void in my life (lack of a girlfriend, maybe)? Do I collect just to show off? (I did take a photograph and catalog all my comic books yesterday so people can see what I own online.) Is it related to some childhood “trauma” like the time I was heartbroken that we didn’t get out of the rockies in time to see my cooler older male cousin who I idolized, only to receive a new Darkwing Duck VHS from my grandma? Was it seeing my late Water Polo coach’s collection, amazed by its sized, and content when later on a bus ride to Utah he saw my binder of DVDs and said “not a bad start?”

Or was it the time I didn’t buy something, never had a chance to again, and regretting it. Cause that’s the thing, I rarely regret buying useless shit, but if I do have the willpower to avoid a Blu-ray that is cheap but I don’t love, that’s when I most feel regret. When I didn’t buy something.

I don’t know why I’m damaged in this way, yet I am thankful to have had a mostly tragedy free life. It could be much worse, I could be collecting sexually transmitted diseases or crack (not that one hoards those two, exactly).

Really, this is just what I like to call a “white people problem.” In this case I have too much bitchin’ stuff and no willpower to resist adding to it.

I don’t like it. I don’t like obsessing over something so unimportant when there is so much else to do in this world. “The things you own ends up owning you.”

I guess the only option I have is to try harder to muster up some willpower when I hit Target or Amazon, try to breathe deep and be calm whenever a new poster that I “must have” rolls in.

I’ve still only touched the surface of the forces and events that are slowly driving me insane. I could write forever, but I do have work tomorrow at noon and it is 5am now.

I’m hoping putting this all in writing will help me better understand myself, why I am self-destructive with spending, why I’ve never had a girlfriend, why I continue to mourn my cat more than any other loss I’ve encountered. That’s the “Dear Diary” aspect this blog will sometimes take, though I won’t always be so boring and self-absorbed.

It may not be a good read for you (let’s be honest, no one read to this point, cause it’s not interesting or amusing to lay one’s worst habits out in front of him.), and for that I apologize, but I need this, it’s like therapy through blogging.

I plan to make funny here in the future, and post my geekier musing on Breaking Geek.

Don’t worry, I still plan an in depth look at Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and Harvey Dent, but screening those movies twice in 3 days has not yet allowed me to take in all of Nolan’s Bat universe’ suttlties. Each of those columns have potential to be even longer than this one, so it will take a day off to get those out of my system. Let me just give this tease… Batman Begins and Dark Knight are the two best comic book films by about a light year, because of impeccable themes and character development. But more on that later…

Thanks for listening to my condition, doc.

Until next time… waffles.

Spring Cleaning… Of The Brain

I’m free!

I’m finally free from movie news!

Image

I'm like that tiny spec escaping while the damned time traveling Romulans under Eric Bana's command meet their doom.

During college I fell into a hole that many film students get trapped in. It is a black hole from which nothing escapes… except the U.S.S. Enterprise when it jetisons all of its explosives at once in order to blow itself away from said black hole.

The black hole I speak of is the need for all film geeks/students/assistants/wanna-be filmmakers to follow every bit of movie news.

Who was cast in what? Who is on the shortlist to be casted in what? What director just left the project? Did you know they’ve already hired a writer to pen a sequel even though the original  film has yet to be released?

I can get very obsessive, and obsessive I was about movie news whilst misguidedly pursuing a career in Hollywood.

From freshman year at Chapman in 2006 ’til the tail end of 2011, I checked movie news at least five times daily.

The first set pics from Star Trek 2 have leaked? They have a teaser poster for Total Recall now? 

That’s the kind of stuff that got me all hot and bothered, the useless shit I shared with everyone (which included those who don’t care and those who already read the same article from the same site).

FBook has lead us all to believe we have something we need to say or share with the world. (Not at all like blogging about one’s self, which is the least narcissistic activity to preform). I’d read some minor casting update and immediatly jump to FBook to share what I and every other film geek had already found.

I would have to check movie news sites every few minutes, mostly because my desk job at NBC was mind numbingly boring… but also because I had to know EVERYTHING. What movies are on the horizon, what favorite actors like Tom Hardy will be in next, etc.

Then, I went “off the grid” for a few weeks surrounding Christmas back in ’11, cutting myself off from any con-updates, press releases, or those intolerable Nikki Finke “Toldya’s”!

After the initial withdrawal (which I was told was very similiar to withdrawels from drugs like Heroin. Bugs under my skin! Bugs under my skin!), I no longer miss it.

In fact, I’m happier not knowing what I’m missing, not knowing which articles I wish I was sharing with my acquantices on FBook.

Do I need to know a movie is in production years before its release?

Fuck no! It will be all the better the surprise when I see a teaser for Mission: Impossible 5 at work crap my pants with surprise and delight.

ImageThough I lost interest in movie news by Jan, but I’ve been trapped writing news articles for months on a website that I will no longer name, due to a wee bit of bridge burning (though that bridge was already ricketier than the one in Temple Of Doom.)

Now, I can finally remain completely in the dark about what’s to come. 

I no longer care who is writing or directing what with whichever star; all I’m looking for now are good trailers and/or word of mouth.

The only disadvantage to not knowing what’s coming, is that I can’t use my extremely useless movie knowledge to request posters looooong before they come out at the AMC theater where I work.

I already requested posters for movies years away, like Star Trek 2, Captain America 2, and Iron Man 3. Without my movie know how, I won’t be able to request posters for the followup to Skyfall.

Last year I requested Skyfall merch, before anyone at work even knew what that movie was (answer: a Bond movie). 

(And in writing this column, I just realized it may already be time to claim the Arrested Development movie goods… there, now that’s done too.)

These days, I only get on the internet to check e-mail (once every few days) and post random shit that delights me on FBook. And to blog… and to buy shit from Amazon… and to play PS3 with my friend who lives across town.

I’m free of all sorts of news that used to enslave me, whether it be video game news (high school obsession), movie news (college and onward), or comic book news (I would fall into this, but Moulton at my comic book shop gives me a booklet to order from, so no checking the news is required).

ImageWhile I’m on the topic of movies, I also have to point out that now I see less movies that ever. We’re three months in, and I’ve only seen The Grey and 21 Jump Street (which were both excellent choices).

I don’t know if it’s my job, or being in Colorado were there  are less cinephiles, or what, but a movie has to earn my time, even though it is free per my job.

All those movies that were on the bubble before aren’t even on my radar now. Do I like Will Ferrell? Yes. But is Casa De Mi Padre worth my time? I’m betting, no.

Same with Jeff Who Lives At Home. That movie stars two comedians I like and may actually be really good, but I just don’t want to waste 3 hours of my day making a trip to the movies.

I never even saw Star Wars in 3D. And that’s my joint!

ImageI’ll see the essentials like The Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, Men In Black 3Prometheus, and The Dark Knight Rises multiple times even (saw Ghost Protocol 4 times on IMAX, and A Game of Shadows and The Grey twice),  but I’ll let mostly everything else slip. 

Don’t get me wrong, movies are still my main passion (I did, after all, watch Batman Begins twice and Dark Knight once in the last two days). I just don’t want to make them or see them all. 

As for Begins and Knight, I still plan on eventually writing discussion about the new aspects I brought away from both following my reading of Year One and Long Halloween,as well as what we know about Dark Knight Rises.

Until next time… Carrots!