Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 Commandments of College Life

10. I don’t encourage underage drinking. In fact, I suggest you don’t break the law. However, I’m not an idiot. You go away to college and you’re away from home and the parental controls and you’re likely to partake in an adult beverage from time to time. Or for some of you party animals…every damn weekend and Wednesdays. So if you insist on drinking, I suggest you pick out a liquor that you actually like and slowly build up a tolerance. Slowly! I mean that. Don’t go pick up a fifth of your new favorite and drink half the bottle on a Friday night. You know what happens when you do that? You either have the worst hangover of your life that lasts for three days or you freaking die. Seriously. Go slow. That way over your college years when you have a birthday or a party or something, your cohorts will recognize you as the guy that likes Crown or a particular vodka. They’ll give you those as gifts from time to time and if you pace yourself you’ll have a nice stash of whatever you drink that should last you at least two or three years past college. Why pay for it if you can have enough of it bought for you for various reasons.

9. Pick a cool professor that you actually like. Preferably someone who is closer to your age and barely tenured. You never know when you might need a professor to have your back when you do some dumb shit at college.

8. Do not buy beer for minors!! I stress that. It’s bad. However, once again I won’t be foolish. If you insist on buying beer for underage drinkers, recruit two or three friends along with you to be the beer-buyers. It is best that at least a couple of those “of age” friends be pretty girls. Pretty girls get invited to more parties. When everyone is drunk let the hosts know that they are running low on beer. You’d hate for the babes to leave. So you collect $ from these suckers to go out and buy another case for them. Make sure you approach people individually about the beer shortage. Collect ten bucks from four or five people. Come back and drop off the case of beer. Collect $50 for a $20 case of cheap beer. Split the proceeds with your pals. You hit a few parties each weekend and make a couple hundred bucks. Not a bad score and you look like the good guy for doing the deed.

7. Make friends with a couple of upper classmen with a nice apartment. You never know when your roommate is going to be a dick and you need some place to crash.

6. Now that you’re in college and all growed up, it’s time to put away that shit music that got you through high school and expand your musical tastes. Listen to different things. No more Ke$sha, no more shitty rap music where every other word has to be deleted in the videos. Don’t be that person that still listens to Minaj and Miley, or that white kid that still thinks he’s bad ass by swinging that baseball cap around backwards and listening to gangsta rap. Don’t be that douche bag. Go back and explore musical history by checking out some old Muddy Watters, crossing time into the late 60’s, the re-emergence of some edgier music in the 70’s. I do suggest you avoid disco. But make sure you hang out in the era of George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars. You will Funkin’ dig it. Try some newer alternative stuff. Don’t be closed minded. It’s a big damn world out there. Pop culture just slings mind numbing shit for the masses. Be smarter than that.

5. A simple slogan says it all: Better Dead Than Red. I’d wager a guess that at least 95% of the faculty at your university are left wing progressives. Don’t let those commies beat the spirit of socialism into you. Question authority. After all, they hide on campus behind academia and have never had to produce in the real world. Those that can DO. Those that can’t TEACH. Remember that. Communism sucks. Don’t let the commies beat you down. To borrow a word from your pals Chuck D. and Flavor Flav from N.W.A., “Fight The Power.”

4. Be a prankster. You have four to six years of college, depending on how lazy you are. Have some fun with it. It’s a great time before you go into the real world and actually have to take responsibility for your actions. Find someone else in your dorm that has a good sense of humor and won’t kill you for pushing the envelope against them and start a good natured practical joke war. Be careful that you don’t take it too far. You don’t want to be newsworthy at 6 o’clock or anything. Try something funny like waiting until your target is out of his room. He will likely lock the door if he’s smart. That’s when you take a piss in a pizza pan and put it in the freezer. When it is frozen you take it out and pop the frozen circle of piss out like you would with an ice tray. Then you slide it under the door with enough force that it makes it to the middle of his room. When he gets back he’ll wonder how someone got in and took a piss in his floor. A clever little trick if you can avoid being caught by your R.A.

3. Enjoy life in the Quad. When it is warm girls show up in bikinis to work on their tan. It is especially fun to hang out during co-ed intramurals. I knew a guy who would sneak out at night and drop a deuce in the sand where they play volleyball. That was always a laugh when some guy would tromp through the litter box with no shoes on.

2. Debt sucks. Don’t let the snake oil salesmen pawn a dozen credit cards on you that you can’t even make payments on. And you definitely don’t want to still be paying for a cheese pizza you ate during your junior year three years after you graduate. Don’t run up a lot of credit card debt unless, of course, your parents are footing the bill. Then by all means go buy that new Kindle.

1. Don’t forget to be a dreamer. That nerd at Facebook invented that platform while he was in college. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dropped out of college and made their millions because they weren’t afraid to chase dreams. Just because you are in college doesn’t mean that you can develop some new concept or find your own niche in this world. Those who are foolish enough to think they can change the world are the one’s that actually do.

So here is one more tip for you guys who are planning on going to college this Fall. Get out a notepad and a pen and take some notes. These movies will change your point of view about college life. Make sure you watch these before the next semester. This is important.

American Pie 2
Old School
Revenge of the Nerds
Revenge of the Nerds 2
The Graduate (an old movie, but the guy shows you how to extend your lazy streak well past college and how to get lucky at the same time)
With Honors
Dead Man On Campus
Back To School

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A College Class About Miley Cyrus...Are You Kidding?

According to an article on Yahoo News, a small liberal arts college in upstate New York (Skidmore College) is offering a college course on Miley Cyrus. Take a moment to insert your own joke here. I don’t think I need to go into an explanation of what is wrong with America’s college system these days. I am curious as to how the professor convinced the powers that be at Skidmore how a class about Miley Cyrus will add to the stature of the University, add to the overall well-roundedness of the student body, and how this class will help students be more prepared for life in the real world after graduation.

I have a college degree and a ton of debt to go along with it that I’m still paying for. Outside of a handful of classes that were actually helpful, I could have gotten the same level of education at the public library and from the Internet. That would have saved me from still having to pay an ass-load of debt. I feel bad for college grads today coming out into this so-called economic recovery only to have lower level or temp jobs and having all that debt come due while they still can’t land that first great job they hoped for. If I were a college student and this class was the best new offering they could come up with I would seriously consider a transfer.

But to offer a class about Miley Cyrus and having to pay a good sum for it seems somewhat ridiculous to me. The 21 year old Justin Bieber look-alike seems to be on the verge of an emotional breakdown like a lot of other child stars that grew up on camera before her. I’m not pissing on the her talent or anything, I’m just making a point that offering a class on cultural success when the girl is barely legal seems a bit dumb. Perhaps the college would be better served having a class about how pop culture impacts society. The whole art imitates life imitates art sort of thing. Starting with the rise of rock and roll in the 50’s and the emergence of Hollywood would be a great place to start.

And besides, if you have to pick one cultural icon to dedicate to an entire class I can think of a lot of more deserving icons. I’m sure Cyrus would agree. How about the blonde bombshell herself, Marilyn Monroe. Or maybe Andy Warhol, The Beatles, or any number of amazing actors with a storied history such as Jack Nicholson or Humphrey Bogart. Or perhaps someone who doesn’t rip off the

80’s band Accept by swinging from a wrecking ball in her video with a Bieb’s haircut. We’ve seen that video before, but we can be thankful that the guy from Accept kept his clothes on during the video for Balls To The Wall.

Oh, before I forget. Angus from AC/DC had been there before as well.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It Takes Heart...Chasing Hollywood

On my Facebook page, Author Cyrus Alderwood (a pen name) I have a lot of actors as friends on that list. Initially I set the page up to promote my latest book, but I got a lot more out of that just a few book sales. I paid attention to a lot of the posts that actors put up (many of whom would be considered as struggling actors chasing their dreams) and learned a good bit about the best of human nature and desire.

I am fortunate to have as a friend an actor named Jake Lawson who is originally from Gate City, Virginia, not far from where I grew up. I met Jake some time ago through mutual friends in the area (yes it is a small world in rural Virginia) and learned a good deal about the path that his life had taken and what kind of sacrifices and dedication it takes to follow your dreams. In short you need courage. And true to the title of this blog, it takes heart.

I sat down to talk with Jake a while back to interview him about his chosen career path and the struggles that come along with it. If you are an optimistic person that is chasing a goal or dream, Jake’s story should be a bit of inspiration. You see, Jake recently had a great turn in his acting career having filmed “Solace” with Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell. Following on the heels of that breakthrough he was picked up for a major role in “Field of Shoes,” a story set back during the times of slavery in the South. Both major films will be released in 2014. If you don’t know who Jake Lawson is, you very well might by this time next year.

I asked Jake what it takes to chase your dreams and barely get by in L.A. for 9 years before getting a break.

“You have to have that never say die attitude,” he says. “Life in this business is tough. You have to keep improving and believing in yourself. And now, finally, after nine years I’m seeing good results from the hard work I put into it. You have to have family and friends to lean on through the tough times. They get you through them.”

He worked countless jobs in L.A. to get by. Just like most actors that are trying to make their way, he worked in food services, worked as a substitute teacher, worked construction, and countless other tough jobs just to get by. However, Jake didn’t leave for L.A. right after college to chase his dreams. He started out as a school teacher in the Gate City school system teaching English and coaching the basketball team.

“Growing up I always loved basketball. I have a passion for it. I wanted to be the next Mike Kryzewski and that’s why I took the collegiate path I chose. I wanted to coach for a career.”
Jake decided to go back to graduate school in order to chase that goal. He coached for a small college for four years before taking a job coaching another high school team in Oak Ridge, TN. The transition back to high school was tough so he left that job and went back to Gate City. After working for a local attorney and politician for a short while he knew that it was time to take the plunge into acting, something that he had been wanting to try since he was a kid. Jake went to Nashville where he got his Screen Actors Guild card after filming a couple of commercials for the U.S. Army and Goodwill. In 2003 he left for L.A.

He had the courage to leave behind a steady job, predictable income, and health benefits to follow a dream that had been a part of him for most of his life. When I asked how tough that was, he said it wasn’t a hard choice at all. “This was what I was always supposed to do.”
“I just want to keep the momentum going,” he said when he explained that he just signed with the top talent agent in the southeast.

I asked him what his thoughts were as he reflected back on the past nine difficult years.
“Thank God for all those old jobs and struggles. That was my path to travel. You have to enjoy the journey.”

Jake is a great example of hard work and dedication. I always keep a simple philosophy in my head when things are tough and find that you don’t have many supporters in your corner. Winners focus on what they are going to. Losers focus on what they are going through.

You can get more information about Jakes acting career at the Internet Movie Database:
One of my favorites, he played the crazy old preacher in a small town zombie movie spoof.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Go Read Some Comedy, Damnit!

You know that feeling you get when you’ve went way too long without a break? The constant stress of work and life catches up with you and all you want to do is escape to your own private beach or cabin somewhere and take a week to relax. To do absolutely nothing but enjoy the sunshine, the peace of nature, the stars shining brightly at night, and maybe read a good book.

You need a vacation…some time away to find yourself. To rethink your life and the path you’re on. It’s that place where being exhausted is borderline burnout. That place where you don’t want to be.

That’s where J.D. found himself in the book “Pot of Gold.” Working long hours at the bank and burned out with his station in life, he finds himself constantly stressed. To add to his woes he receives the letter stating that his divorce from his high school girlfriend is final. It was a rough marriage with a bad ending. Just when he thought his day couldn’t get worse, he receives a letter from a local attorney informing him that the father he never knew had passed away.

J.D. meets with the lawyer thinking he’s to discuss the matter of a small inheritance. Instead, J.D. is given an opportunity. A once in a lifetime opportunity. His father left behind a chance for him to take an adventure, one that could change his life forever. He accepts the challenge and sets off cross country with his best friend and troublemaker, Pete.

As they travel the path J.D.’s father set out for them they somehow manage to piss off the wrong people, the New Jersey mob. “Pot of Gold” is the hilarious journey from coast to coast of friends looking for their own purpose in life with two aloof mobsters on their heels trying to bury them along the way.

"Pot of Gold" can be purchased at all major online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Top 35 Hair Bands

There’s nothing like going to a concert and paying way too much for a ticket and getting a mediocre show at best. It also reminded me of times when the rock shows were more like a party, the ticket price for general admission was $19.50 and if you got there early enough you were pretty darn close to the stage to see you favorite bands. Yep, that was the 1980’s when there was always a tour going on…a headlining act and usually two other glam bands that opened up for them. The show would get kicked off at 7:30 and wouldn’t end before 11:00.

I remember seeing a lot of Hair Bands (of Glam Metal, if you prefer) back in the 80’s and early 90’s before MTV killed rock and roll. So, I thought I would put together a list of my top 35 Hair Bands of that era. I’m sure I’ll leave some out. But here’s my list of personal favorites.

35. Def Leppard
34. Extreme
33. Bulletboys
32. Whitesnake
31. Motley Crue
30. Helix
29. Dirty Looks
28. Thunder
27. Slaughter
26. Scorpions
25. Bon Jovi (Not a real fan, but Wanted Dead or Alive is bad ass enough to get them on the list)
24. Badlands
23. Warlock
22. White Loion
21. Lynch Mob
20. Enuff Z’ Nuff
19. Trixter
18. Britny Fox
17. Tuff
16. Tesla
15. Shark Island
14. W.A.S.P.
13. Quiet Riot
12. Lita Ford
11. Poison
10. Warrant
9. Twisted Sister
8. Skid Row
7. Great White
6. L.A. Guns
5. Faster Pussycat
4. Dokken
3. Ratt
2. Kix
1. Cinderella

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Next Indiana Jones Movie

One of my favorite movie franchises of the 1980's was Inidana Jones. The first in the series, Raiders of the Lost Ark, still remains my favorite to this day. Although they are all great, you must admit that one is tough to beat. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was great, and in the 1990's we saw a revival of the brand with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Harrison Ford has starred in some of the best movies of the last thirty years, but we movie buffs will always remember him as Han Solo and Indiana Jones. That is why it was kind of sad when I went to the movies and watched Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. It was also a great movie, and the plot moved forward from Indiana Jones always battling the Nazi's to finding a new foe with the Soviets during the Cold War. It was refreshing to see him square off in a new adventure with a new foe.

However, father time catches up to all of us. I was a bit skeptical when I first heard Shia LaBeouf was to play his son and potentially take up the lead for the franchise. I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of the Transformer movies, which is why I was I skeptical. However, after seeing that movie when it came out I was very much surprised that the torch had been passed so effectively.

I think LaBeouf will do an excellent job with the franshise if the powers that be in Hollywood decide to make a few more Jones movies. So the big question is...when and if they will make another? Is it already being developed? I sure hope so!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Remember the 80's?

I thought I'd take a few moments and share the introduction to the book, The Ultimate 80's. It's available on all e-reader formats. I have included the links for it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble at the bottom of this post. You'll like the book. Not only does it bring back a ton of good memories, but it's funny, too! Enjoy!

Ah, the 1980’s. Just getting a chance to hang out with friends brings back so many thoughts of that amazing decade. Growing up in the 80’s meant that we were a bit more innocent than we are now, we were the last generation of kids that would go out and play at night without the hassle of a cell phone and as long as we were home a few minutes after the street lamps came on then all was well in the world. In fact, the only people with a “cell” phone were the super rich like Gordon Gekko from the movie Wall Street, and the only people with beepers were drug dealers! How about that for being in the technological stone age!

If you’ve bought this book (and obviously you have), I bet one of the first things that went through your mind when you found this book was that goofy email that goes around from time to time and on Face Book called “Children of the 80’s.” Well, there were actually a few versions of that email going around, but here is one version that probably looks familiar:

We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first "lost generation" nor today's lost generation; in fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak. We are the ones who played with Lego Building Blocks when they were just building blocks and gave Malibu Barbie crewcuts with safety scissors that never really cut.
We collected Garbage Pail Kids and Cabbage Patch Kids and My Little Ponies and Hot Wheels and He-Man action figures and thought She-Ra looked just a little bit like I would when I was a woman. Big Wheels and bicycles with streamers were the way to go, and sidewalk chalk was all you needed to build a city. Imagination was the key. It made the Ewok Treehouse big enough for you to be Luke and the kitchen table and an old sheet dark enough to be a tent in the forest. Your world was the backyard and it was all you needed. With your pink portable tape player, Debbie Gibson sang back up to you and everyone wanted a skirt like the Material Girl and a glove like Michael Jackson's.
Today, we are the ones who sing along with Bruce Stringsteen and The Bangles perfectly and have no idea why. We recite lines with the Ghostbusters and still look to The Goonies for a great adventure. We flip through T.V. stations and stop at The A Team and Knight Rider and Fame and laugh with The Cosby Show and Family Ties and Punky Brewster and what you talkin' 'bout Willis? We hold strong affections for The Muppets and The Gummy Bears and why did they take the Smurfs off the air? After school specials were only about cigarettes and step-families, the Polka Dot Door was nothing like Barney, and aren't the Power Rangers just Voltron reincarnated?
We are the ones who still read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, Beverly Clearly and Judy Blume, Richard Scary and the Electric Company. Friendship bracelets were ties you couldn't break and friendship pins went on shoes - preferably hightop Velcro Reeboks - and pegged jeans were in, as were Units belts and layered socks and jean jackets and jams and charm necklaces and side pony tails and just tails. Rave was a girl's best friend; braces with colored rubberbands made you cool.
The backdoor was always open and Mom served only red Kool-Aid to the neighborhood kids- we never drank New Coke. Entertainment was cheap and lasted for hours. All you needed to be a princess was high heels and an apron; the Sit'n'Spin always made you dizzy but never made you stop; Pogoballs were dangerous weapons and Chinese Jump Ropes never failed to trip someone. In your Underoos you were Wonder Woman or Spider Man or R2D2 and in your treehouse you were king.In the Eighties, nothing was wrong. Did you know the president was shot? Star Wars was not only a movie. Did you ever play in a bomb shelter? Did you see the
Challenger Shuttle explode or feed the homeless man? We forgot Vietnam and watched Tiananman's Square on CNN and bought pieces of the Berlin Wall at the store. AIDS was not the number one killer in the United States. We didn't start the fire, Billy Joel.
In the Eighties, we redefined the American Dream, and those years defined us. We are the generation in between strife and facing strife and not turning our backs. The Eighties may have made us idealistic, but it's that idealism that will push us and be passed on to our children - the first children of the twenty-first century. Never forget: We are the children of the Eighties.
Yes, America! We are the children of the 80’s. So who are we? That can be summed up by a simple essay. If you are truly a child of the 80’s, you won’t need me to tell you what movie this comes from. You’ll know from reading the first line.

“Dear Mr. Vernon:

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But, we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But, what we found out is that each one of us is: a brain . . .
And an athlete…
And a basket case…
A princess…
And a criminal…
Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,

The Breakfast Club”
Welcome to the 1980’s all over again. Let’s have some fun!