How I’m Feeling Right Now, aka Who You Gonna Call?

Have you ever played the game “Telephone”?

A phrase is uttered, and then it is passed through a circle of people until it is returned to you. What typically returns is warped, twisted, and not at all close to what it originally was. It is a lesson in finding out if people are actually hearing when you speak. It is often translated by their own thought process and is altered to make sense to them. Sometimes it is just tweaked because someone has their own agenda. Maybe they don’t like the person that started the round or they think it’s boring and want to spice it up. There are so many variables that result in the alteration of the phrase. As a game, it is a lot of fun.

Through listening, I have learned that a lot of my life has been passed around my friends like a game of telephone. While some of it is amazing to hear (ie. The story of Elfie and I running from a bear morphing into me cage fighting a black bear, or the time I stabbed myself turning into me removing my whole hand), there are things that have recently happened in my life that I really didn’t want to talk about. Things that really friggin hurt. Things that I needed to contemplate. Those that I needed while it was happening were most definitely spoken to. But they know that I’m not about to start a game of telephone that would affect someone else.

The best part about my friends is that when the “telephone phrase” reaches them, they genuinely want to know what was originally said/done/thought. I have so many amazing people in my life. The fact that they all feel comfortable coming to me for clarification, even when they may not even be a part of something, is a good thing. I’d much rather clear up any confusion than let something continue to escalate into something that it isn’t.

So, if you happen to read this and have any questions about something going on in my life, ask me. Taking the word of someone not vacationing in my head will result in misinformation.

I don’t broadcast everything that I do because
1. I lead a very busy (albeit interesting) life
2. Often my thoughts/feelings are fleeting
3. I am not the only person involved.

I don’t just walk up to friends and unload everything onto them. I am a relatively guarded person (regardless of what you see on the internet. That is me being reserved.) Those that I go to during tough times are people that have at one point or another asked me about a situation prior to coming to a conclusion about my character.

Yarr, bitches.

Today I had the best conversation with a stranger I have ever had. And I won.

I was at Starbucks and there was this relatively attractive dude talking passionately to two women. They were riveted. He was talking about the music industry and how pirating music is horrible and wrong.

I honestly had nowhere to be, so I just stood nearby and watched him talk. They asked him questions about his music. He talked about how it was so difficult for his band and everyone in the music industry to make any money because people were just stealing from the hard working artists.

I kinda chuckled and he turned his attention to me. He asked me questions about my spending practices, and my support of “independant” artists. Apparently, the look on my face read as “what an arrogant douchebag” because he started pestering me about whether or not I have ever downloaded songs for free, or if I used streaming music.

I answered honestly. Yeah, I used to download songs or share files with friends. I now use a streaming music program daily, but I make a playlist and then I end up buying the songs I like. Then there were more questions about his music from the two adoring women sitting there. How much work he spent recording. I even asked him about his experience with production.

He told me about the software he uses and seemed to be really excited about it. I asked him questions about what type of things he could do with it. Then I told him, “Man, that sounds awesome. I’d love to try it, but I’m still trying to recouperate from the holiday shopping.”

He then said “Oh, I can get you a free copy of it. I got it online.”

The thing is, I know the program. I know exactly how much it costs, because I’ve missed it since I first learned how to use it at school.

So I said “oh, a trial version?”

He then grinned and said that his friend cracked it, so he had the full version.

I then blinked at him, smiled sweetly, and said “oh. So… You pirated software…” and he told me that he didn’t, his friend did.

“So… What makes that any different from a pirated download of a song that a friend shares with you? SOMEONE created that. SOMEONE worked so hard to make art, and don’t fool yourself. Software IS art. I don’t care how expensive you think it is. Sit down, you fucking hypocrite.”

I don’t know if I said that verbatim, but I did tell him that software was an art… and I did call him a hypocrite… So I’m gonna high five myself.

Piracy is piracy.

Revamping My Childhood? No Thanks, Mr. Bay

I know that it may appear that I am so far back in the news as to mention that Michael Bay is revamping Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but taking out the “mutant” aspect and making them aliens. Although I’m not happy with the concept of that happening, I wasn’t really excited about the previous anime-ization of the cartoon in the last movie. In fact, I didn’t actually see it.

Cartoons were a very important part of my childhood. Saturday morning cartoons, the after school block… Those kept me out of a lot of trouble. They also helped to fuel the imagination of the curious kid who needed to find various ways of escapism. My nose buried in a book or face pressed to a TV screen was a constant for me.

When I was young, I connected with the characters. I learned a lot of good behavior from them and a lot of bad behavior from them as well. They were then as podcasts are to me now. I know that I don’t know everyone personally, just as a part of me knew then that I wouldn’t ever get to party with Michaelangelo or out snark Raphael.

That connection to my childhood almost made me out to be a troll with this whole “Bay is turning them into alien turtles”. Well first off… If they’re aliens, why are they turtles? Turtles have been on the Earth for a very long time.

Recently I guested on Sketchy, a podcast from my buddies Ryan, Matt and Rich. We talked about Transformers the Movie (1986) and happened to discuss the Michael Bay adaptations as well. To be honest, I saw the first two but I don’t even remember them enough because I was furious that Bumblebee didn’t get to talk. Also, it felt like the Transformers and Deceptacons were dumbed down for the movies.

I was talking over email with a few friends about it and one of them mentioned how Bay seems to be hated, yet his movies make millions.

Explosions sell a lot of tickets, especially when they charge you for 3D.

Think about one of your favorite childhood cartoons. Maybe it was Rugrats, maybe it was Doug, maybe it was Jem. Let’s say it was Jem. Then Michael Bay gets his fingers on it.

Jerrica and all the girls at the orphanage are dressed like they’re ready for a vaginal closeup. The music is still crap because he wanted to spend the budget on the pyrotechnics of the music videos that are playing in the background (and never actually featured). The Misfits are all revamped into cyborgs that are being controlled by Tech Rat.

Even though I would love to see that movie, that’s not Jem. Pizazz was a spoiled bitch. THAT is why she was always so competitive and made stupid decisions.

I think that by changing the actual origin of the characters in TMNT and by dumbing down the characters in Transformers, that is why many of the fans are outraged. A lot of my happiest memories are of watching the 80’s movies and TV shows. To see the canon of the story being hollowed out is a lot like watching someone take a first printing of Pride and Prejudice and hollowing it out to put their flask in.

Hollywood will make something that they think is profitable, regardless of how far off canon it is. We see it weekly in the CW adaptations of The Secret Circle and The Vampire Diaries (originally young adult novels by L.J. Smith). Watching the Harry Potter movies can sometimes kick you right in the head because the House Elf storyline is missing.

Typically, the first thing that draws you in to a fandom is the thing that you clutch desperately to. In a way, that is your fandom stuffed animal. When it feels like someone is trying to pull it away from you, you lash out because you like it the way it is. I mean, yeah… The button eyes are a little loose and the fabric has been worn from years of hugging and you may have retired it to a shelf in your room… But the moment that someone tries to take it away from you, you will scream and scream until you fall asleep.

I don’t think I’ll be seeing the new TMNT, even though I love explosions. I like my turtles as they were – mutated and educated by a giant rat.

Podcast Overload?

Earlier I did a search on the Internet asking the simple question “How many podcasts are there?” It then told me that a related search was “How many pokemon are there.” I could make a joke about catching them all, but that seems obvious.

However … There are so many friggin podcasts out there, how do you know which ones to listen to?

Podcasting, in essence, is a lot like a John Hughes movie. There are a multitude of categories, but often you overlook a really good opportunity because you judge the podcast by the stereotype you perceive. Joe Rogan’s a comedian, but maybe you balk from his podcast because you think he may be a total bro. Nerdist is three comedians, but maybe you shy away from it because you think that the entire content will be so… well… nerdy… you shy away from the Subscribe button. Neil Degrasse Tyson does Star Talk, and maybe you don’t listen to it because you worry he’ll talk science in a way you don’t understand.

Yep. I have about fourteen friends online that all have podcasts (maybe more). While I have listened to all of them, some of them I fail to return to. Instead I do my friendly duty of downloading the episode and let it sit.

It’s gotten to the point where I have ended up also doing that to podcasts that are popular. It’s not that I don’t want to hear them, it’s just that there are so many of them downloading into my computer on a weekly basis I fail to have the time to listen. After awhile I look at the podcast section of my iTunes and feel terrible. Little blue dots decorate the page and an unhelpful and anxiety-inducing grey circle with white numbers tells me that I am currently sitting on 1493 unlistened to podcasts.

While it’s not something that should worry me, it does. Because every podcast I subscribe to I have enjoyed at some point or another. Yes, there are episodes of each one that fail to keep my attention, but I know that I like the hosts enough to give it a change. Then I realize that many of the popular podcasts that I listen to have episodes dropping multiple times during the week.

There are days that I don’t even touch my computer at home. I’m busy editing things, or playing video games, or marathoning Twin Peaks on Netflix. But when I’m at work, I’m in an office where no one else is there to entertain me. A lot of my work is data entry, so it doesn’t require my full attention.

… as I reread this, I have realized that this was probably a shitty way to let you all know that I have a podcast and that there are some podcasts that you might not know…

Here are the podcasts that I have on my iPhone right now. (and since I’m writing them, I think I’ll pull these mini reviews and add to their iTunes rating). I cannot get a link to the iTunes pages (because my phone doesn’t like that and instead just pulls up the show).
Here’s how you subscribe:
1. Open iTunes
2. in the left navigational bar, click on the bar labeled “Store”
3. In the search bar on the top right, type in the name of the podcast and click the magnifying glass
4. Of the returned results, look for the podcast.
5. Under/Next to it there is the option to “Subscribe Free”
6. Click on that. Podcasts will download into the section of your iTunes Library (left navigational bar) that says… wait for it… PODCASTS.
7. Listen to it.
* This is all incredibly simple and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be searching for new podcasts.

A Pointless Endeavor – the first episode of a new podcast (that went live today) by my buddy Chris (Coleman. You know. That guy that flew to Boston for a Chris Hardwick show that left with several dozen new friends.) and two of his friends. I haven’t actually listened to it yet, but I’ve heard a few clips and they made me pee. And I feel happy when I pee. So… Feel happy. Pee. I mean… listen.
Website Link

Sketchy – a podcast with three of my friends that I made during the nerd weekend in Boston. I might be a guest in the not so distant future… Ryan, Matt and Rich tackle a different cartoon each week (be it a movie or a TV series). They watch it prior to recording and talk about it. One of my favorite episodes so far was the one where they spoke about “Rock-a-doodle” and adopted one of the most hysterical vocal inflections completely out of the blue.
Website Link

Ten Minute Podcast – Will Sasso, Chris D’Elia and Brian Callum get together and talk for ten minutes. It is amazing how funny ten minutes can actually be.
Website Link

TOFOP – Wil Anderson and Charlie Clausen chat about time travel, Batman, and prison rape… Two out of three ain’t bad. It’s always funny when one decides to act out scenarios (not prison rape) or when they crack each other up.
Website Link

Walking the Room – Dave Anthony and Greg Behrendt walk into a closet. Nope… Not a joke (although the dimensions of Greg’s closet rival that of a $1500/mo apartment in NYC). What then happens is good-natured filth. When I listen to the banter between them, I am reminded of the way my friends and I talk. There can always be something funny about the macabre, that dickhead at work, the neighbors that have intentionally loud sex… that and more is brought into the closet and it makes me so happy that every Monday I have it to listen to.
Website Link

Aaaaaand finally… Well… I have a podcast now. The second episode went up today. I have started a podcast called “Memoirs of a Gamer”. It may sound misleading, but it is not just about video games and tabletop roleplaying games. As of right now I have seven episodes total (5 scheduled for the next five Mondays) and they cover the following topics – Volleyball, Apples to Apples, Red Dead Redemption, Drinking Games, and D&D (specifically about a character someone has played and his experience also as a Dungeon Master)
Because I actually emailed the link to myself, the iTunes link is http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/memoirs-of-a-gamer/id510427325
Here’s the Website Link

Unfortunately, because I’m saving money for my move this summer, I can’t actually afford a logo for it. There WILL be one, but I just need some money first (and podcasting doesn’t pay)

Put away the camera, moron. This isn’t a recital.

Why would you want to look through something so tiny when you have ALL THE THINGS behind it?

I realize that this back and forth banter has been played to death for the past 26 hours, but I wanted to weigh in as a fan of going to live comedy shows.

Just to give you a little bit of background, last night Patton Oswalt RT’d a very negative blog about one of his free performances and his perceived attitude about being filmed while working out new material. He posted a reply this morning that told his side of the story.

 

As a performer:

 

No, I’m not famous. I have had my share of time on stage and love doing it because of the amazing feeling of terror mixed with elation. It is the biggest adrenaline rush to step unto an elevated, illuminated area meant to pull people’s attention to you. It is absolutely envigorating to HEAR a person’s response or SEE a grin or shaking shoulders through the dimly lit crowd. THAT is encouraging.

 

Seeing a jarring flash or a red light is distracting. When someone is on stage, they aren’t just winging the entire thing. Yes, there can be moments of tangents, but for the most part, jokes are worked on outside of a venue and honed on the stage. When they hit that joke and feel the rush that comes with the flush of adrenaline it is a glorious thing. If adrenaline had a voice it would be whispering sexily “Yes. Yes, that is how I’m going to perform that part from now on.” Each time the bit is performed, the words adjust and new jolts pass over the performer.

 

The benefit of doing live shows that are not being recorded is that it is okay to have a moment where you tank. The brain of a performer takes that into account like a chef would take a slight taste of something, realized it needed more sugar and adjusted accordingly. Having material recorded can be incredibly nerve-wracking. The only thing that helps is knowing EXACTLY how you’re performing something and having a professional tape it.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is how I see it as a viewer:

 

I was not at the performance, but I would like to speak for many people that go to comedy shows and are forced to witness shit like this. Let me just come out and say it.

 

People? Put your fucking cellphones away.

 

While you think that you are getting something amazing to look at later or you have the morbid desire to set a performer off and get some great material to hopefully send to a stupid fucking tabloid, there are tons of people behind you. We are trying to enjoy the show that is feet from us but we’re being distracted by the glow from your stupid iPhone with the hipster cover that looks like a cassette tape with a mustache on it.

 

You spend your entire day with your eyes focused on the display of your phone, watching amateur videos with poor sound and people singing in the background to some band I can’t even be bothered to think of right now.

 

But hey there little trooper, guess what? You are ACTUALLY at a show! Put your camera/phone away and just ENJOY it. The memory of the performance will be so much better when you can actually watch it. Looking through a tiny frame is just ridiculous.

 

 

 

 

As for Patton’s reaction:

 

Patton could’ve called the woman a daft hairy cow’s cunt and I would still agree with his position. Being at a live comedy show and watching it through your shitty iPhone instead of being in the moment is fucking stupid. The fact that the women “offered to stop and delete it” shouldn’t have even happened to begin with.

 

If I ever have a comedy club, I fucking promise any performer that as soon as a screen lights up in the crowd that person will be asked to leave. Think Alamo drafthouse, but we’ll turn the house lights up so EVERYONE can see who is interrupting the performance. Would the Met allow you to film La Traviata? You might think that it’s a different level of performance, and that makes you an elitist asshole.

 

 

 

 

 

There were hundreds of replies in varying opinions. People claimed that Patton’s behavior was inappropriate and should have stopped after the woman acquiesced and stopped filming.

 

Why? Patton was being human. Being human may not excuse bad behavior, but it does explain it.

 

As a general audience, people tend to forget that those we admire also have the same ability to react to situations that we do. Granted, I have never seen Oswalt tweet “No black and white cookies at the bakery, FML!” so he tends to keep a lot of his emotions from the internet. With the ability to immediately tweet something terrible or write an elaborate blog post about how a night was uncomfortable for you because it was horrible for someone else, I think that the restraint that a lot of comedians possess is admirable.

 

 

 

 

 

Wow. I haven’t ranted in awhile. Missed it.

 

How Many Resolutions Have Already Failed?

One of the craziest things that people manage to do is cram in everything they don’t like about themselves and create a laundry list of things they want to improve over the year. During the first month of every year, Gym memberships skyrocket, people hand over partial packs of cigarettes, and some throw away all of their “comfort foods”.

While it is an admirable thing every year to see what people think they have to do to improve themselves, I have found that the majority of New Years Resolutions fail within the first two months. Once the initial pressure of sticking to your plan ebbs, people tend to procrastinate and their nemesis, the Idle, steps in.

“I’m going to work out today, I just need to check my email” then results in a seven hour webbrowsing session where you catch up with your favorite websites, go through random friend’s photo albums on facebook, or watch video upon video of kittens being so cute you want to vomit. By the time you realize what time it is, you figure that taking the effort to make a healthy dinner is too much work and you settle in with the bag of peanut butter cups you had forgotten you had stored in the freezer when you went through that enormous purge.

What happens afterwards is a downward spiral of shame. You think “ugh, how terrible am i?” and you decide that the rest of the week will just be a mulligan and you can start again on a Sunday because that just makes sense to you. You spend the week like you are the guest of honor at a Bacchanal. You know that this week doesn’t count in the long run, so you indulge your taste buds longing for decadent and savory flavors.

The week ends, and you decide that Sunday should just be included as a weekend day so it’d be best to start again on a Monday. Monday is one of the most stressful days at work. You get home and need to decompress before you head out to the gym, so you decide to check your email. Thus begins another week down the tube.

So how do you rise above something like that?

Stop thinking about things in blocks of time? Let each day count as a block of time, don’t let it extend. As people, we are pretty quick to procrastinate, so if you let your brain tell you to put something off, you are letting it win and let’s face it. Your brain is an asshole.

Well… My brain is an asshole. I can give you a very simple example.

I enjoy chewy candies, but my jaw hurts afterwards. If I have chewy candies around me, my asshole brain will encourage me to eat the candy

I have found that this is the case with a lot of things that I do. In the long run, my brain is trying to sabotage me. So I know that I need to retrain my thought process.

Is this my New Years Resolution? No. I’m not going to set a date for it. I am going to attempt to make a slight change in the way that I think about things daily. When that becomes a normal thought pattern, I’m going to tweak something else.

I know how I would feel about immediately denying myself something that I want. Think Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory.

Just Say You’re Fucking Sorry!

Is it so difficult to apologize to someone you don’t know?

Today at work I took the verbal lashing of a lifetime from this woman and let her just go to town on my ears for about fifteen minutes. During her tirade, I looked into the reason for her calling. As I searched for the issue I listened as she called me completely incompetent and that we are the worst company in the history of companies. She was hellbent on telling me that I was supposed to complete something today.

After she petered out I jumped in and informed her that when I spoke with someone there yesterday, I informed them that we wouldn’t be able to do it today but we would do it tomorrow and they okayed that.

She said “Oh” and hung up.

Had she apologized for spending a significant part of my morning attempting to make me feel like a lesser being, it is possible that I wouldn’t still be angry about it. It is absolutely infuriating that someone would take out all of their frustration on you and when you politely point out their error, they don’t even acknowledge their mistake.

I don’t care how horrible your day is. I don’t care what it is that you deal with on a daily basis. I don’t even care if you were being corndogged as you were yelling on the phone. There are ways of talking to people. I don’t make enough money to be yelled at. Taking verbal abuse is not a part of my job description.

Ruining someone else’s day is like anger herpes. You give it to someone, they pass it on and so forth. Eventually this entire profession is plagued with burning, tingling and itching. Maybe someone goes home and beats their wife. Maybe someone goes home and drinks themself into oblivion.

Stress can’t be completely prevented, but it can be far less damaging if people remembered that they are talking to a person.

Also? If I have already answered a question to the person that asked it and I get calls from two people about it, I want to set the building on fire. I call this the “Office Space” effect.

So to sum up: Always apologize for yelling, regardless of whether or not you mean it. It could prevent someone visiting your place of employment with a firearm.

RT If You Think For Yourself

STOP telling me who I can and cannot mourn.

Yes, there were hundreds of people that lost their lives in the same week as Amy Winehouse. Telling me to curb my sadness makes you the villain.

I grieve on a daily basis for those that are not here anymore.
I grieve for those that have laid their lives on the line.
I grieve for those that left too soon, by their own hand or someone else’s.
I grieve for those that die before they ever truly lived.
I grieve for those that are given the diagnosis that no person, no family, and no friend wants to receive.
I grieve… because I can and they cannot.

So you do not have the right to attempt to invalidate my feelings of grief, especially in a reposting of something that you didn’t even research. Listing a bunch of names and ages that you didn’t know to begin with is pandering.

Yes, there are so many that lay their lives on the line for the sake of our freedom and our protection. I hope that those names on this facebook repost frenzy are valid. Because if they aren’t… If they are fiction, if they were something originally posted by someone who just wanted to make someone feel terrible for mourning, they have lessened the deaths of soldiers all over the world who are sacrificing themselves for us, not for glory.

So yeah. Repost if you agr- Ugh. I can’t even stomach writing that.

/.endsoapboxrant

Don’t Be A Dick

There are a lot of things that I have been able to do the last couple of year, many of them being conventions and parties and personal tours and random leaps of faith that have paid off greatly.

I was very sad about not being able to go to SDCC this year, and doubt I will ever be able to go. That’s pretty much my emo-ment. Barring the fact that I somehow get super famous and invited to the shindig, I just don’t have the money to go.

That being said, the idea of going and meeting people whose work you admire is always a tricky thing. There are moments in time when you meet someone after having an impression in your brain and then becoming disillusioned and disappointed by the actuality. I have seen people belligerently drunk and rude to people that are fans. I have seen someone flat out attack a fan.

I have witnessed the “Don’t you know who I am?” moment. The question was issued to me and I answered honestly. They were not pleased when I told them I didn’t care. Fame is not a “get-out-of-being-courteous” freebie. There is absolutely no excuse for being an asshat to anyone, regardless of how much pussy you got in the eighties.

The problem with being a fan and nerding out especially when someone is an utter dick to you is that for most people it will catch them off guard. They won’t say anything about it, but you can feel the air change around them and the expression on their face is like they have watched a thousand kittens die horrifically. I don’t let people talk down to me. I can’t. I don’t deserve someone I don’t know having an effect how I feel about myself.

I’m probably an exception. I have met people and had a pleasant experience and someone else has met the same person and their perception has been forever altered. What an actor, writer, singer (or someone who assumes they are super relevant to everyone they encounter) needs to realize is that you are a notion, a sketch, an idea to whomever you meet that is a fan.

You end up being a fictitious entity that doesn’t actually exist. A fan thinks you to be crazyawesomespectaculous because you wrote their favorite character, played the quirkiest badass, sang the most heartwrenchingly poignant songs. They do not know the ultimately flawed person you are. Don’t kid yourself. You’re flawed. Everyone has flaws. That’s what makes us beautiful.

Have you ever met someone, thinking that they would be someone that you thought would be one way and turned out to be completely different? Say you have a friend of a friend that you have never met and your friend says that their friend is one of the most kind-hearted, generous and loyal people you have ever met. You’d think Glenda the good witch, right? Then… you meet the Wicked Witch. Perception is skewed. People cannot be summarized by someone else.

A person is a living book. At times they can be completely confusing, but they are a story nonetheless. There are life experiences, silly quirks, deep wounds, and infinitely poignant and insightful moments that shape who they are. When a person has difficulty describing themselves to you, it is not because they haven’t given it any thought. It is because they have thought about it so much that they don’t even know how to summarize themselves.

As a fan, you have the responsibility of recognizing that you can appreciate someone’s work even though that person can be having a bad day when they meet you. Also? They are not their character/persona. You do not have the right to assume that you know everything about this famous person. If they allow fans a glimpse of their lives, it is a gift, not necessary.

As someone famous, you have the responsibility of recognizing that you might have a bad experience with a fan. You may not remember the encounter, but they will.

Oh, and here’s a little something for everyone. Mutual respect/admiration is a lot easier than being an ass.

Addiction

The Internet exploded on Saturday with the passing of Amy Winehouse. There were jokes, there were throwaway condolences, and there were honest introspective tweets/blogs.

The last few years had not been kind to Amy, with sour publicity and videos of her being so far gone that she couldn’t even remember the words to her own song. I remember posting a link to a video of her completely dazed on stage as the audience came together to help her sing her song. I sadly made the joke that it was an extremely talented audience. A part of me feels bad about it, but that is not the reason for this post.

A lot of people have posted genuine concern over the last 48 hours about people suffering from addiction and begging whoever is affected to search for help. With addiction being as public as it can be nowadays there are plenty of places available to help and it is not difficult to find.

A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. In reference to humans, is can be used to broadly encompass any condition that causes pain, dysfunction, distress, social problems, and/or death to the person inflicted. Addiction, as clinically creative as this sounds, is a disease.

The American Society of Addition Medicine has defined addiction as follows: “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” There are so many different types of addiction through so many avenues. You could be addicted to the internet, gambling, shopping, exercise/dieting, and various substances.

When I first heard Amy Winehouse I was watching TV. An ad for an upcoming show on AMC (Mad Man) used “You Know I’m No Good” as its tag to draw you in. A few mornings later I woke and happened to turn MTV on, shocked that they even still had music videos. There was a woman tatted up, sitting in a bathtub with a humongous bulb of black hair piled on top of her noggin. I immediately scratched her name down and decided to look into this artist. I was shocked that she didn’t look anything like what I assumed she would with her voice being what it was.

As I listened to Back to Black, I found myself addicted to the exquisite pleasure/pain from an intonation that wrapped my brain in both velvet and sandpaper. The words, the delivery, the emotion seemed to call to me at a time in my life where I was slowly working my way out of my own addiction.

My relationship with Amy was completely selfish. This woman that I had never met was helping to facilitate my own version of rehab. Her persistence in refusing to allow someone else to fix her was very much the push that I needed to fix myself.

As the years progressed and the only things I heard of Ms. Winehouse were of the countless issues she had, it hit me that she wasn’t at the point of surviving her addiction. She wasn’t climbing out of her sadness. I know that the press has a tendency to go for the jugular and point out when someone has done something horrible. They have a tendency of being the shitty parent that points out your faults publicly and demands that people give their own opinion without knowing the whole story.

It isn’t surprising to me that her resolve was continuously tested and didn’t make the grade. I have seen enablers at various events offering someone something that they shouldn’t, or offering a nip of something to an already wasted person. It makes me wonder if there was someone around Amy that genuinely cared for her.

Money and fame tend to go hand in hand with loneliness. It has to be hard to spend time with someone and wonder if it’s your personality that drew them in or if it was the fact that you could cover every dinner, every drink, every bump that they enjoyed with you. Did someone stand up and say “Honey, you’ve had another tooth pulled because your jaw is rotting. Your immune system is going haywire from all of this abuse.” If they did, were they excommunicated? Were her friendships with those concerned short lived?

If someone is heavily medicating themselves further and further down the spiral, they know how to make things better for themselves. They medicate MORE. MORE MORE MORE. Gluttonous behavior is evident in every addiction. “I have to buy $100 in lotto tickets because when I hit the jackpot I can pay back the $20G I owe my bookie.” “I’m incredibly sad that I’m heavy and the only thing that is going to make me feel better is this 10 pound bag of Reese’s that I will eat instead of dinner. It’s got protein in it, so at least I’m not eating complete garbage.”

The reasoning is key. As someone that has never suffered from it (or even someone in recovery) you can see through the bull but they cannot. They can’t tell that it is a temporary solution that just continues to further the problem. Sometimes you take a few pills, feel like Superman, and think that you can get behind a driver’s seat. Then you wake up and your car is sideways and someone is dragging you against the glass of the shattered windshield that litters the gravel. You think nothing of the people that were riding with you. In fact, your vision is so blurred because your brain is swelling with a concussion.

There are problems with telling someone that they have a problem or need help. It is never going to matter to them or register as truth until they are ready to admit it. If they ARE ready to admit it, they might feel like they aren’t strong enough and relapse. As someone supporting rehabilitation it is hard to figure out if your support is actually helping. If you continue to support and support and support, are you creating your own addiction?

I had heard that Amy was pulled from rehab to continue on tour and was found on her own in her flat in London. I don’t know if that is true, but if she was pulled from a safe environment prematurely, why wasn’t there anyone with her? Did she request to be alone? Typically when you leave rehab there is a halfway house because (and I can’t believe I am saying this) addicts shouldn’t be trusted.

As an addict, you get really good at half truths and flat out lying.

RIP Amy. I wish you had your eureka moment. I would have loved to see you beat this.