Archive for June, 2012

How can ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ be such a good movie? It’s because it plays with convention. It takes commonly known horror movie tropes and turns them in all kinds of different ways until the viewer has no idea of what is coming next. As such, it’s difficult to really review this movie without giving anything away. All I can really say about it is that if you’re a horror movie fan, you will get a kick out of seeing a familiar setting with unexpected outcomes. I myself was giddy watching the events of the movie play out and although I could still predict some things, many were exciting in their unexpectedness.

If you’ve seen this movie, tell me what you thought about it (preferably without spoiling it). I’d love to hear what other people thought of it.


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As this blog is called “Learning to Live”, I feel I should mention the ways in which I am learning to live. There are nearly infinite books and suggestions on how to do this so narrowing it down came with some difficulty. Ultimately, I decided to follow the guidelines in a book called The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick. I chose this method for three reasons: 1) I’m a fan of his podcast, 2) I’m a nerd, 3) the goal setting aspect is fun. I’ll address the third reason here since it’s the most applicable to the title of my blog. In the book, Mr. Hardwick suggests RPGing your life, an acronym used for Role Playing Game, in which the player takes on the role of another character to build stats, go on adventures, and battle dangerous monsters. I like the method he suggests of creating little status bars on paper and slowly filling them in as you work toward your goals. It’s interactive and fun and feels like the most interactive video game one can have. Although I’ve just started working with it, I already have the intense desire to fill up those little bars. It’s visual proof that I am working towards something and seeing how far I’ve come once those bars go from empty to full is something I’m surprised to find I’m looking forward to. I’ll continue to post my progress with this (if for nothing else, something to write about when no ideas are coming) and hopefully I’ll be leveling up my skills in no time!

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Hiked up Wallace Falls today. Despite the class of fourth graders running amok along the trail, it was really quite nice. Clouds floated along the sky in waves, three hour old rainwater still clung to the trees and foliage.

My sister and I walked up the dirt path, following the river and its white water, listening to it crashing over rocks and boulders. We hiked at a brisk pace and it wasn’t long before we reached the first of three waterfalls. I have to admit I wasn’t that impressed. It was nice and all, but considering I could almost reach the top of it, it wasn’t much to see. Middle falls looked great from the vantage point of the trail, a forty-five degree angle with the spray washing over the wood pole railings. The viewing area was crowded with kids so we bypassed it, choosing instead for a more distant sight while continuing our hike. And it was worth the wait. The top of Wallace Falls was a mammoth. Water fell like something out of the movies, cascading down the mountainside, mist floating slowly down onto the rocks and moss below. There was an ethereal quality to it and had the sun been shining down, would have looked heavenly.

Middle Falls

We sat and ate a small meal of snap peas, carrots, sliced red peppers, salt and pepper chips, and energy bars. The air was chilly and threatened to dissolve the heat shield the two-plus mile hike had generated around my body. By the time we took a few photos, I was shivering.

Soon, we started back, our feet moving swiftly down the mountain as we talked of movies and stories. We passed sporadic pairs of people, their own journeys ahead of them while ours was nearing the end. Nearly back to the trail head, rain began to plop down through the tree cover but not enough to cause any concern. We had completed our goal. We had seen the three waterfalls and we had the photos to prove it.

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Insomnia is a bitch.

It’s not that I have trouble falling asleep. I can do that with my eyes closed! (good one Ahren!) It’s the waking up without an alarm five hours later and not being able to go back to sleep that leaves me in such a low energy state. It’s annoying as shit, especially on days when I need to get in some good rest.

So how do I stop it?

When I tell people about this, usually their first response is to take sleeping pills. Despite the fact I’ll feel drowsy the next day, I would use them if falling asleep was the problem. Unfortunately it’s not. It’s a mental thing.

Times when I get things done and feel satisfied with what I accomplished, I’m able to sleep a full cycle. Times when I feel like I’ve underutilized my time, my brain reminds me, “you still have things to do. Get the fuck up and do them!!” In those instances, I end up feeling much more tired which makes me want to do less which makes me feel unaccomplished which completes the insomnia cycle.

So I’m trying to fight through the drowsiness, which is difficult when coffee is not an option. It hampers the quality of my writing and dampens any excitement I might have during the day. It’s a very difficult cycle for me to break and something I’ve only been able to do on rare occasions. Usually when I want to sacrifice quality. Not always though.

The bottom line is that I need to feel satisfied with my day, each and every one, so that when I am sleeping, the worrying part of my brain can rest with the rest of me. And the only way to do that is to get shit done.

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