“Going the Distance”

Netflix’s has been streaming the first five Rocky movies. The sixth one, Rocky Balboa is worth the effort to find. Too bad Netflix does not have this streaming. And the upcoming Creed (about Apollo Creed’s son going into boxing) looks promising.

I have downloaded the first one to my Kindle. I have to say that after almost 40 years since it was first released it still holds up. I also think that Sylvester Stallone is underrated. I know his career has had its Ups and Downs. His mannerisms open him up to parody. Yet, he is still going.

I was reading some back story about the first Rocky movie. Stallone was living paycheck to paycheck when he wrote the screenplay. There were many groups interested in making the movie. However, there was one point. He could not be the star of it. He held firm it was his movie to star in. The producers were even willing to pay him more money not to be the star. He stood firm. And the rest was history.

Boxing movies are filled more times than not with a bunch of clichés. In fact, the final fight is anticlimactic. Here what makes it a good story is that everything in Rocky’s life outside of the ring is in conflict. Those conflicts are driving the drama of the story. Too many times, audiences over look this and base their opinion on the Final Fight.

The Rocky series was up and down as a whole. First two were good. The third one was a bit excessive. The fourth one was definitely a product of the 80’s. Although, Putin is trying to revive the Hollywood image of the Evil Russians. But he does not have the charisma to pull it off. The fifth one was practically pointless. And the sixth revived the series and was a good way to wrap up the series.

I have the Rocky Balboa: The Best of Rocky soundtrack. It features music from all of the movies. The rock songs on the album were mostly used for the cliché workout montages that were common in 80’s movies. A side effect of the MTV programming. The songs that work the best are the orchestral ones by composer Bill Conti. I like listening to those types of songs for movies. Because if close your eyes and listen you can imagine the story of the movie. (Star Wars by John Williams are another favorite). Listen to Gonna Fly Now (“Theme for Rocky”). You feel like you’re walking into a Coliseum. You can sense a fight coming.

The song I really like is Going the Distance. Here is a performance. You can imagine the fight.

The part people overlook about the first movie is that Rocky lost the fight. It was not about winning or losing for him. All he wanted to know was that he was capable of lasting all the rounds in the match.

This scene is tied to one in Rocky Balboa where he is challenged by a younger box to fight in an exhibition match. He needs go up against the usual bureaucrats to get approval.

This is the relatable scene. We live in a world of social media judgment. By people, who will never get up and roll up their sleeves to help. We have created a political class of people who say they know better than us how life should work. We get impeded by more paperwork and insurance requirement than is logical. Too many “What if’s” not challenged by enough “So What’s”. Whether we Win or Lose. Because that is not ultimately in our hands. It is about Opportunity to do so to our abilities.

And that scene is why the character of Rocky resonates with us. And why after all these years he still has a place in our culture.

Posted in Human St(r)ain, Movies, Music, This I Believe | Leave a comment


I am in the process of retrieving my files and transferring them to my new laptop computer. Another word of advice. Not only remember your passwords. Remember your settings and configurations too. Eliminate any potential stress when you can.

Also Windows 10 takes a bit to get use to.

I was out a computer for a couple of weeks. My company had an employee discount program but you have to order through them to take advantage. So during the wait I was outlining ideas on notepads. It is now a process of weeding through them. The hardest part is picking where to start that process. The best option was anywhere.

I have been stuck on the idea of the paradigm within the notes I had. Paradigm is the word describing the pattern, model or framework. If you have ever done any screenwriting exercises the term paradigm comes up frequently. Prime reference is the Syd Field Paradigm that will be frequently quoted. It can be useful. However, sometimes it becomes a trap too. There is a point when too much analysis can almost destroy the original idea.

But the funny part is that this premise has been working in other parts of my life.

As I look at the model or the framework of many of my relationships I can see the paradigm has shifted too. A few weeks ago, I went to a gathering I had avoided for a while. But the month of September has been a challenge for me for the last three years. It took a bit to find its new normal. All I can say about the event (for myself) is the elements are still there but there has been a shift. It is not a bad thing and there is some good things there too. But it is different.

It is what it is.

And time will always being make the changes.

Make of the best of it. Move forward.

Back to the notepads.

One the best parts of a Coen Brothers’ film is the soundtrack. This was featured in The Big Lebowski. It is the song stuck in my head whenever I am thinking about the Paradigm.


Posted in Just a Thought | Leave a comment


Last week, I took an Unannounced Social Media Vacation. I have found Announcing such breaks leads too often to Interruptions and Inconveniences that tend defeat the purpose of taking such breaks. I need the break because those outlets had been draining me more than fueling me in terms of my own work here. Twitter at the moment is something to check up on during bathroom breaks. I need to come up with a better strategy for that platform. However, in the meantime, please follow me there. It’s free.

I also have been Spamming myself with all the Saved links, photos and articles that I think maybe useful at some point to my work here. They are all pulling me away from this. And it was time to start shifting through their Backlog. I also need to clear up and assemble the ideas I have on my various notepads. I think that the reason I feel behind the last few months because I was thinking (more like other thinking) the Final Product. Rather than finding Peace in the Process of creating it. Word counts and web stats for me lately are clearly things that have gotten in the way. And for the Trap that is The False Mirage of Obtaining Perfection. Walk Around with the Blank Stare. I was looking for maybe an online group. But with an unreliable Internet connection during the day at work it is hard because I would be trying to jam too much in within a short amount of time at home in the evenings. Plus, I am weary of placing myself in a position to just Feed the Trolls.

Maybe I am stuck in the Process too. I have been reading books (because a book is always available) that are helping me to adjust the Process.


On Directing Film by David Mamet. It you want a subtle conversation than Mamet is not for you. If you need a Head Lock then this is the source.

Scriptshadow Secrets: 500 Screenwriting Secrets Hidden Inside 50 Movies
by Carson Reeves. Forget get about Theory. Study the Actual Application

Save the Cat by Blake Nelson. Another way to look at the structure of a story and work within


Additional Reading (Because we can all use reminders)

Vince Gilligan on the Best Advice He’s Received and Would Give to an Aspiring Writer

24 Lessons for Filmmakers from Werner Herzog (And can applied to life too. Printed this out and taped on my wall)

23 Brilliant Life Lessons from Anthony Bourdain

Plus something worth a listen

A Podcast episode featuring Maria Popova ( www.brainpickings.org )


And finally, something I saved a while ago that I finally understand.


Moving on from here.

All I can do that is within my power is to Mark the Trail that I am on.

Because that is all I can do.

Posted in General thoughts, Life's Experiments, Reading | Leave a comment

The Obstacle is the Way

Our actions may be impeded…but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions.

Because we can accommodate and adapt.

The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle of our acting.

The impediment to action advances action.

What stands in the way becomes the way.


Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor 170 A.D.


I am always making notes. I look and listen for new sources. I kept hearing a name from a variety of different people saying there was an author whose book you had to read. It was by Ryan Holiday. The book was titled The Obstacle is the Way. I am glad I was made aware of this book. If I had a teenager or young adult in my life this would be the book I would give them. This is a book that I have read and reread several times over the last year. There are books that should be read and reread because they do not reveal all of their insights at once. Plus, when I started to breakdown my own Experiences it has made go back to this book.

Tip: Beware of person who reads a book just once and think they have all of the knowledge from that book.

I had read some of the writings of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca at some point in college. However, I was never taught what they meant to each other and how their writings were the basis of a philosophical discipline known as Stoicism. It is defined as “the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and complaint.” My early Catholic education was not going to mention them because they relied only on Magical Thinking. In high school, this may have been more useful than the SAT Prep book. As the author said, the writings of the Stoics are pretty much straightforward and college professors tend not to like works that are not Open to Interpretation.

In Ryan Holiday’s book he takes these teachings and how it applied to people throughout History: Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D Eisenhower, Amelia Earhart, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs.

The lessons and examples in this book are still relevant to our times. If not more. We live in times where every day there is someone selling the Top 5-10 Steps for Success. The title implies there is Magical Linear Path to success. It is just a trick. That is all. However, the real message should be, Whatever Your Pursuit is. You will be lucky to bat .250 at it. So be prepared to learn more through what appears to be failure.” The book contains how these people adjusted, persevered, and endured to achieve the goals. In this current time, where people are complaining about the Inequalities that are life and Magical Thinking a politician can change that. This book can be Antidote to that outlook.

Here is audio sample of from Ryan Holiday. 20 minutes long. A Good listen for the Commute Time.



In the end, this is the reality that none of us can escape.

And Avoid anyone trying to sell you an Escape Plan from this Reality.

Posted in Human St(r)ain, Life's Experiments, Reading, This I Believe | Leave a comment


This is another one of those post that seem to “bounce around my head” for a while. Then it gets to point where it is time to get it out and move on.

I do not want to get into an in depth discussion on religion. It is too personal of issue for most people. However, I would like to point out Pope Francis’ Top 10 Secrets to Happiness in which he basically tells people “to get over themselves and let others live”.

I also wish that people who always seem to be expressing their religious or political views would act in a certain way. HAPPY. I am tired of the “misery” of their company. I would rather have an open conversation with them. But I will do by my best to avoid their “lecturing”.

The downside of Democracy now is everything has to be two-sided and political. Democrats and Republican just yelling at each other is just an episode of Jerry Springer but this time they are all wearing $1K suits. I do not know why people cling so hard to their “political” views. They should view them as something that should be evolving. I have lived next to a cemetery for years. I have taken walks through there and this is one thing I have noticed. NO ONE ever puts their “political affiliation” on their tombstones. And that should tell you something.

It is quick and easy with social media today to Judge People. However, social media really needs The Context App.

Over the last few months, I have become somewhat fascinated by the postings at Humans of NY along with its book. It is really amazing how just a picture of person with a few sentences attached to it can convey a story. It makes me pause to listen to them. If you look at the photos with An Immediate Rush to Judgment then you may want to look at yourself first.

Post Secret on the other hand reveals that people are struggling Behind the Scenes in this life. There is a coexistence of Hope and Fear within a person.

It seems to keep coming back to Circumstances. Which many people laying Judgment tend to ignore.

The movie, Warrior is one that I have come back quite a few times over the last couple of years. This is the story of two brothers who are mixed martial art fighters who are at odds with each other. One brother, a teacher who is trying to keep his family from financially failing returns to the ring. The other brother is a returning, haunted combat veteran. The may be at odds with each other. In this story, the “circumstances” that brought them into the ring is the “enemy”. Also in this movie is the Father played by Nick Nolte who is a recovering alcoholic listening to the audiobook of Moby Dick. (A book I need to reread without having the academic pressure to it)

Also from the movie is the one trainer uses the music of Beethoven. So many a nights now I have been streaming the Beethoven Channel via the Tune-in Radio app. The reason for the music is mentioned in the movie but I am trying to find some reading to explain it for myself.

I came upon this book, when I was looking for something to occupy my time while waiting for my father’s medical procedures to be done. It just caught my eye on the shelf in a Target store.

This is a story of how a man goes from being an aid worker, then going on to be a Rhodes Scholar and from there going to through the training to become a Navy SEAL. It is a narrative that is very counter to lifestyle mandates of our current modern society. One that does not recognize much anymore that the “heart and the fist” can be in balance with each other.

The reason is the people judging are asking “Why” on their own terms.

This is about what he learned and experienced and how it helped him to better deal with people.

Henry David Thoreau’s Walden is probably one the more romanticized books of our modern era. It is something that we should strive for. However, try to do it on your own and you are going to get into a lot of trouble. Here is a case in point.

This is the journey of a man trying to work off his student debt that left him with a worthless liberal arts degree. Yet he decides that he wants to earn a graduate degree from Duke University. However, the only way he wants to do it is by not taking on anymore debt.

So he decides that he will live in a van while attending the university. The problem is that this is not allowed. So while he is there he must go into hiding in regards to his living situation. If was making the payments on $50k camper they may have found a parking spot for him.

Self-reliance is celebrated in literature but not so much when placed into practice.

All I am trying to say is everyone has different circumstances they need to work through. How they choose to do it is up to them? Too often people are not willing to help out. But it does not stop them from speaking out.

Just take a moment. Circumstances can be a very tricky thing.

Posted in Human St(r)ain, Life's Experiments, Movies, Reading | Leave a comment