Thought Catalog


7 Extremely Creepy Movies Available On Hulu That Will Ruin Your Dreams

Posted: 20 Aug 2015 07:27 AM PDT

1. Dogtooth (2009)

10 Words or Fewer Summary: Sadistic parents conduct perverse experiment in fucked-up parenting.

Some films self-consciously strive for weirdness like an affected hipster with a handlebar moustache listening to a Sony Walkman. Other films are born weird, like Greece's Dogtooth, a fully-realized oddity that feels like an alien culture trying to dress-up and play human.

The film depicts a middle-aged couple who raise their three children, now young adults, in complete seclusion. In fact, not only can the kids not leave the house, but their sadistic parents purposefully teach them the wrong definitions of words, that house cats are nature's most dangerous predator, and that Frank Sinatra is their grandfather and his songs are all about happy families. It's a twisted metaphor for everything strange and unpleasant that can emerge from the family institution – the hermetic rules, the bitter competition, and the mixed-up Freudian sexuality. And while there is plenty of pitch-black humor, Dogtooth takes its premise to a very uncomfortable extreme. Take that as a warning, folks.

2. Eyes Without A Face (1960)

10 Words or Fewer Summary: Scientist kidnaps women for surgical face-swap with his daughter.

Eyes Without A Face has the otherworldliness and classic simplicity of a fairy tale, but it's the kind of traumatic before-bed story you might get from a drunken uncle who's not used to being around kids: a young woman, her face disfigured by a horrible car accident, wanders through her father's mansion wearing a creepy, expressionless mask.

Conveniently, her father is also a mad scientist, and he kidnaps a succession of other young beauties in the hopes of surgically transplanting one of their faces onto hers. That sounds like just another Z-grade 50s drive-in flick, but it's elevated by director Georges Franju's somber handling of the material – the father is not a cackling maniac, but a man haunted by his horrific deeds, remarking, "I've done so much wrong to perform this miracle." Franju masterfully uses close-ups and tracking shots to heighten the beauty and tragedy of this unsettling film.

3. Mysterious Skin (2004)

10 Words or Fewer Summary: Childhood sex abuse victims reunite after struggling with trauma.

Mysterious Skin is more out-and-out disturbing than creepy, but it's a worthy watch for anyone prepared to tackle challenging subject matter. Handling sexual molestation with dead-on directness, it follows the story of two young men whose lives have taken wildly different turns since they were both abused by their Little League coach: Neil (played superbly by a clearly stardom-bound Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a prostitute and reckless partier, whereas Brian is a quiet loner who becomes obsessed with alien abductions because he believes they hold the key to his repressed childhood.

Mysterious Skin often surpassed my comfort threshold, and occasionally for reasons that didn't seem completely necessary (the scene of childhood Neil shooting fireworks out of an intellectually disabled boy's mouth is a good example), but this emotionally provoking story also achieves moments of sublime beauty.

4. The Brood (1979)

10 Words or Fewer Summary: Undergoing psychotherapy, woman somehow births demonic toddlers that kill everyone.

The conceit of The Brood is, in the tradition of director David Cronenberg, both patently ludicrous and unexpectedly resonant: A man must protect his daughter from the horrific demons unleashed by his wife's subconscious as she undergoes radical psychotherapy at a mysterious institute.

The demons in question – bizarre, deformed children – are unforgettable (trust me, I've tried), as are the series of brutal murders they commit. Cronenberg uses this outlandish concept to abstractly explore the emotional stress of divorce for both parents and children, and this subtext makes it less troublesome that all of the characters so easily accept the presence of deranged, homicidal 1st graders.

5. Eraserhead (1977)

10 Words or Fewer Summary: Man with incredible hair must care for his mutant son.

Eraserhead is like the gateway drug of mind-blowingly weird cinema. The debut of David Lynch, American cinema's most notorious eccentric, it comes replete with bizarre deformities, inexplicable developments, and a surrealistic sensibility.

More so than any film on this list, it eschews linear narrative for the logic and visuals of a nightmare, but it's a worthy trade. After all, no film that "made sense" could evoke as much fear, wonder, and curiosity as Eraserhead – and, when it comes to the themes of sexuality, childbirth, and adulthood it explores, no film that made sense could make as much sense.

6. Hellraiser (1987)

10 Words or Fewer Summary: Man opens box, sadomasochistic hell ensues.

Clive Barker's unrelentingly grim Hellraiser thoroughly and intelligently deals with the complicated relationship between pain and pleasure, employing the fetishized S&M of the 80s punk scene (think leather, studs, and piercings) as a springboard for this tale of hedonistic exploration. It also works as a clever examination of British repression (stifled Brits hiding dark urges) and as a commentary on the predatory nature of male sexuality (note the piggish nature of the men lured into the attic, as well as almost every male in the film lewdly telling Kristy to "Come to daddy").

The performances are mostly strong, the imagery quite visionary (of course, Pinhead and the box became iconic), and the practical effects still hold up quite well. Some of the internal logic of the film's somewhat convoluted plot will leave you scratching your head and the ending is rather conventional, but this is an inventive and ambitious horror film.

7. Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975)

10 Words or Fewer Summary: Three students inexplicably disappear in Australian mountains during field trip.

Picnic At Hanging Rock is an ethereal, otherworldly arthouse horror/mystery, unsettlingly atmospheric and beautifully lush. Director Peter Weir offers the kind of supernatural mysticism he provided in The Last Wave, but that film can't match this haunting depiction of a mysteriously doomed picnic outing.

The girls' final foray up the mountain is breathtakingly creepy and sumptuous, perfectly conjuring teenage sexuality and lost innocence. Unfortunately, like most things involving teenage sexuality, the film climaxes early and the second half is comparatively formulaic and less engrossing (albeit still well-done). TC mark

I Can Always Hear The Screaming When It Rains

Posted: 20 Aug 2015 08:00 AM PDT

Flickr / Johannes Ko
Flickr / Johannes Ko

For as long as I can remember, the screams were carried in by the rain.

Looking back, I suppose it was strange. But you can't fault me for thinking it was normal, can you? After all, I grew up with the high keening, cutting through the raindrops like an arrow. It was a sharp sound, one that you couldn't miss, but I never took note of it, simply for the fact that it was always THERE. It was as much a sound of my childhood as the tractor engine firing up in the morning or the owls dancing out by the barn. It was a fact of life, one that I was comfortable with.

I didn't realize anything was strange until I was about eight and my older sister came home from college. I have five siblings, making me the youngest of six. Samantha was a full 10 years older than me, and as the eldest sibling, she had very little to do with me as we grew up. Still, I was the one she chose to confide in when she came home from college.

I remember that first break so clearly because she was so distraught. It was fall break, and the moment she stepped into the house she was jumpy. She was gloomy and brooding, so different from the giggly emails she usually sent mom and dad. No one else seemed to notice the difference, but I, who had always looked up to her, could tell right away.

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She didn't say anything until the third night of her break, when the rain came tumbling down and the wind billowed against the side of the house. I was lying awake in bed, listening to the tap dancing of the rain on the roof, when the unmistakable sound of her bare feet on the wood floor approached my room. She slunk inside, trying not to wake up our sister, Carrie. She crawled up onto my bed, seeming to understand that I wouldn't be asleep, not on a night like this.

But, at the time, I couldn't have told you why the rain would keep me awake.

"Laura. You hear it, don't you?" she whispered, her voice fragile and weak against the bleating of the wind.

"Hear what?" I asked. I tried to pass my voice off as sleepy, but even I could hear its alert edge.

She leaned in close to my ear.

"The screaming, Laura. The screaming. It comes with the rain. I didn't notice it until I left the house. But the screaming doesn't happen anywhere else, Laura. It's just here."

She paused and in her silence I could hear the house creaking wildly. It felt like a wild beast, just barely contained. I shivered. She continued.

"Why do you think that is? Why is it just here?"

"I don't know,” I whispered back.

My answer didn't warrant a response. She crawled back out of my bed and I watched as she padded her way out the door, her white nightgown glowing pale in the moonlight. She was ghostly, an omen. I shut my eyes and listened to the rain.

And, for the first time, I concentrated on the screaming.

It was a high whistling sound, somehow human, somehow tragic. You could hear the pain in the voice, a dreadful melancholy punctured through with agony. It was the sound of someone wailing for something long since lost, but never forgotten. Unable to be forgotten.

My hands crept up over my ears as I tried to forget that sound. God, that SOUND. It had never struck me as strange before. But, at that moment, it was all I could hear. It filled me.

Somehow or another, I passed that interminable night. Samantha never came home for break again, much to the dismay of my parents. My other brothers and sisters didn't seem to have the same problem: They came back, year after year, sneering at our prodigal sister who had abandoned us.

But I never forgot that night. And I never could stop hearing that wailing. No, because it was carried on with the rain.

beetlejuice

By the time I was 18, I was the only child left in the house. My parents were thoroughly exhausted with raising children and were all too excited for me to leave for college. For whatever reason, I shared their enthusiasm. Something about that night so long ago had stuck with me, and I no longer felt safe in my own home. Especially when it rained.

The last time I heard the screaming was at the end of July, just before my freshman year of college. My parents were gone for the day to a wedding, leaving me alone in the creaky old farmhouse that shared all my childhood memories. It was a melancholy feeling, knowing I'd be leaving it soon, made all the worse by the gathering storm clouds shielding the sun.

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As the rain began to pour, I found my nerves shaking.

When the screaming came this time, I clutched my hands to my knees and tried to ignore it. I turned on the TV, blasting the volume until the box itself vibrated.

I hummed to myself, talked to myself, willed myself to think of anything other than that damn noise.

It would have worked, too, I'm convinced of it. But this day was different.

You see, the screaming was always distinctive, but somehow far away, as though it had been carried on the wind, sheltered by the raindrops. But this time, this time it pierced me. This time the scream was right next to my ear. It was the sound I imagined a banshee must make, if they existed. At that moment, I wasn't sure. All I knew was that the screaming had become too terribly real.

I bolted to my feet, my heart racing hard in my chest.

Because I knew. I knew the scream was calling for me.

Before I'd made any sort of conscious decision, I'd started heading for the door, pulling on an old pair of sneakers and my letterman's jacket. This is it, I'm going to find out what's going on once and for all, I thought. Whatever was out there, it wanted me to come find it.

I grabbed a knife before I headed out the door, just in case. Looking back, I know I couldn't have used it. I don't know what I was thinking. Maybe the problem was that I wasn't thinking at all. I was following an instinct I didn't know I had.

I followed the screaming outside. Once again, the screams were different than they had been in the past. They were so much more defined, so much more pointed. They were there for me.

And I could hear where they were coming from.

The sound was emanating from inside the grove behind our house. I found myself running through the grass, water slopping into my sneakers, my hair already drenched in the downpour. I was caught in the rain with those screams, and I was coming for them, or they were coming for me. Or maybe both? I still wasn't sure.

I wandered through the grove for what felt like hours. It's not a big place, but I still felt lost. I kept coming over tracks of land that I was sure I'd never seen before. Still, I followed the screaming. It tugged at my muscles, pulling me in the right direction.

Eventually, it led me to a small creek that ran behind our house.

It was a creek I knew very well, one that was much-loved in my childhood: I would wade in the waters with Carrie, our feet slipping on the cold rocks, minnows darting between our legs. It was deep and had a strong current. I'm sure our parents would have warned us to be careful if they knew we went out there. Actually, none of us kids were supposed to play in the grove at all, what with hunting being so popular in the area. But we didn't listen – kids never do.

That day, the creek was a pock-marked mess of rain. It churned and heaved in a fury, rushing past my feet like it wanted to catch hell.

And the screaming was coming from inside it.

I inched my way closer to the creek. The wind whipped around me, sending my straggly hair sprawling across my face. I felt unsteady on my feet, so I dropped to my knees without a further thought, never mind the mud. I crawled forward and peered over the edge of the embankment.

At first, I had the craziest idea that they were fish.

It's just that there seemed to be so many layers to the water, shining in a strange way, almost like silver. As I squinted my eyes and peered closer, I realized that these weren't small, scaly bodies. No, they were larger, they were connected.

And suddenly, I could see. They were people.

They rushed by in the current, their mouths twisted and contorted in various shades of agony. Their weeping and wailing crashed through the air as they flew like mad down the creek. I watched their spindly hands reaching through the icy water, searching for anything, anyone.

There was one soul that had found its mark.

Her hands were twisted on a tree-root that had crept into the water. It was her scream that was the loudest, her searching eyes that called to me. Like the other souls, she had lost her color, fading into translucence in the water. But I could still see her looking towards me, screaming for me.

Still gripping the root with her left hand, she reached out to me with her right, her hand drifting towards the surface of the water. She couldn't break it, and I found myself reaching down to pull her to safety.

It was then that my knee slipped. I started sliding down the embankment, heading straight for the strong current beneath me. My screams joined theirs and I waited for the shock of the icy water.

It would have hit me, too, had I not been holding the knife. Out of instinct, I plunged it deep into the ground. Out of luck, it held my weight and I began to scramble back up the embankment. I finally reached safety, the taste of mud heavy in my mouth, my hands clammy and freezing. I turned around one last time to look into the water.

The girl was gone. Floated away. And she had taken her screams with her.

I turned away and bolted for the house.

beetlejuice

When my parents came home, I demanded answers. I wasn't coherent at first: I was shouting about the rain, the screaming, the wind, the creek.

My parents stopped me, then. It was the word "creek" that they heard. They exchanged nervous glances, but wouldn't say anything else. So I screamed about the girl. I screamed about the girl in the creek until they told me.

They never meant for me to find out, they said. An accident, they said. Everyone in town knew, everyone but us children. We were never supposed to know.

We were never supposed to know.

My mother cried, and so did my father.

And I just sat there.

And I wondered why Samantha could hear the screams. I wondered why I could hear the screams. Most importantly, I wondered why Raina, the girl in the creek, had once heard the screams.

And I knew. I knew that we were being called. And I knew that I had almost answered.

Interestingly enough, I learned one other fact that day. Wouldn't you like to hear it?

I don't have five siblings.

I have six. TC mark

40 Important Milestones You Can Have In Your Life Besides Getting Married

Posted: 20 Aug 2015 10:51 AM PDT

Joaoleite
Joaoleite

1. Signing a lease for an apartment that’s completely yours – no parents, no siblings, no roommates, no boyfriend or girlfriend, just you. It doesn’t matter if it’s the smallest studio in existence, because it’s still yours.

2. Doing something that’s terrified you your entire life – it can be as drastic as skydiving or as seemingly low-key as signing up for an acting class. If it terrifies you, it’s a huge step to take.

3. Going through a painful breakup and refusing to let it drown you; instead, deciding to find growth and strength from it.

4. Asking for a raise when you know you deserve it, especially if you’re the one to bring it up.

5. Giving money – that you don’t have quite enough of yet – to people or causes that need it.

6. Discovering or rediscovering spirituality in your life, whether that’s through an organized religion, a book, or any other structure that helps you.

7. Taking your parents on a vacation.

8. …Or even just out to dinner, because this is finally your chance to be the one who can treat them to something, rather than the other way around.

9. Reconnecting with an old friend that you’ve always regretted losing touch with. Being the first one to reach out, to tell them you miss them, to make an attempt to see them again.

10. Giving a heartfelt, well-written, meaningful speech as the Best Man or Maid of Honor at the wedding of someone who is very special to you.

11. Accepting a job or promotion that pulls you out of your comfort zone and places you in a city or country where you barely know anyone.

12. Buying or leasing a car completely on your own – with no help from your parents or siblings or friends. Just a purchase or lease agreement that exists simply between you and the car dealership.

13. Reaching a point in your life where, even if you still care about your looks, you’re more concerned with your character, your choices, and the people you surround yourself with.

14. Embarking on a journey to lose weight or get in shape, because you feel that it’s what your body truly needs to be healthier.

15. The first time you solve a major problem in your life without seeking advice or approval from those around you.

16. Making a huge physical change that you want, but aren’t quite ready for yet – a major haircut, a piercing, a tattoo, a hair color change, a wardrobe that you’ve always always felt was more “you,” etc.

17. Deciding to go back and get your Masters if you feel that that’s the best thing for you to do at this moment in time.

18. Getting on your own health insurance plan.

19. Quitting a perfectly good job – not because it’s a challenge or it’s difficult, but because it makes you truly miserable and unhappy.

20. …And quitting said job without telling or “asking” your parents first, because you’ve already figured out how you can budget out your savings until you find something else.

21. The first holiday you spend with friends instead of family.

22. Getting to that age where you buy your own plane tickets home, instead of begging your parents to do so for you.

23. Changing a tire by yourself on the side of the road, with no help.

24. …Or, if that would be a disaster, signing up for your own AAA membership.

25. Getting to the point where you make appointments on your own for things like physicals and dermatology check ups – with no insistence from your mother.

26. Going on your first vacation with a significant other – paid for by you two and you two alone.

27. Developing your own honest, genuine political beliefs. Not because you want to sound smart at parties, but because as you get older, you’re starting to become less naive and more concerned about important issues that your country faces.

28. Owning a piece of furniture in your place that wasn’t a giveaway from your parents, wasn’t found on the street, and wasn’t purchased at IKEA.

29. Having certain luxuries that you like to spend your hard-earned money on once in a while, like super soft bedsheets, or a massage, or a really delicious bottle of wine.

30. …And getting to the maturity level where you can tell the difference between treating yourself, and being financially reckless and irresponsible.

31. When you have people over for dinner – and it’s a meal you cooked by yourself.

32. Finding out, and actually understanding, what the hell a deductible is.

33. Telling someone you love them without knowing for sure whether they love you back.

34. Feeling genuinely happy when your friend hits a huge milestone, and learning to not worry about the small bout of jealousy or panic you feel over it.

35. Getting on your own cell phone plan, and realizing that when you’ve overused your data, there are no more family arguments to be had. It’s just you and your credit card, paying the overage charges on your own.

36. Setting up a 401K, because you want to. Not because someone lectured you about the importance of it.

37. Traveling to a city you’ve always wanted to explore, and paying for everything on your own dime.

38. Reaching an age where you know how to admit when you’re wrong.

39. Finding that one book that changes your life, even if it’s in the smallest way possible.

40. Getting to a point in your life where you look at teenagers and college kids and think I’m so glad I’m not in that stage anymore, as opposed to I’d give anything to go back. TC mark

19 Things You Can Do This Weekend That Aren’t Netflix And Chill, Or Drinking

Posted: 21 Aug 2015 09:23 AM PDT

brandonreinhardt
brandonreinhardt

Take a break from Netflix or drinking. Or both, even though that is quite a beautiful combination. Instead, spend these incredible 52-ish hours doing things that will make you feel happier and more relaxed by Monday morning.

1. Clean out your damn closet. Like, hardcore purge. Resist the urge to come up with bizarre situations in which you will need that one top you haven’t touched in three years, and just toss it instead. Be ruthless. You will then realize that you wear the same ten things anyways.

2. When you’re finished cleaning out your closet, make a stop at Plato’s Closet and then donate the rest. You’ll feel great about giving your clothes away to people who could really use them, and you’ll also get a solid $8 back from Plato’s Closet when you hand them fifteen old skirts from American Eagle.

3. Get a massage. Schedule it for Saturday morning. It’ll force you not to drink on Friday night. Because puking onto the floor through that face hole on the massage table is frowned upon in spas.

4. Go to one of the local community events in your area. Particularly in the late summertime, there are always tons of fun, free events being put on. Outdoor movies, food festivals, Shakespeare in the park. Just google it. Chances are you’ll find something awesome.

5. Get some creative writing done. You can finally crack open that moleskin notebook you bought six months ago when you were going through your creativity phase.

6. Go to the museum. Any museum – a history museum, a nature museum, whatever. They’re pretty much always free. And then you can feel super smart when people ask you what you did over the weekend.

7. Go for a light jog. Lol.

8. Have your friends over for a game night. Everyone will be secretly excited. You’re allowed to drink in this case, because Go Fish is boring without wine. Buy a block of cheese and cut it into squares and put it on a plate with crackers. Your friends will think you’re all growed up.

9. Try out the Rosetta Stone program you bought two years ago. Maybe you’ll only get through half of one lesson. But still, you opened the program! That’s a start. Congratulations. Bonjour.

10. Plan out a bunch of meals you can cook for the following week. Do your grocery shopping early on Sunday morning when everyone else is still hungover and asleep. Cook for the whole week and then save yourself the tediousness of having to scramble for dinner every night after work this week.

11. Get your Spotify playlists together. Because they’re total shit right now.

12. Make kale chips as a light, healthy alternative snack. When they don’t satisfy your craving, eat everything else in your home.

13. Build a fort with your significant other. It’ll be sweet. And probably really comfortable. Instagram it or it doesn’t count.

14. Put on cute workout clothes. And then walk to Chipotle.

15. Wash your bedsheets. It’s been an inappropriately long time.

16. Go to a pet shelter. Even if you don’t plan on adopting an animal today, it’s a good idea to do the research now in case you want to get a cat in the future. (I’m projecting here).

17. Speaking of animals, go to the zoo. Most zoos are free. It’ll reconnect you with your Lion King-obsessed past and will make you feel less guilty about never going outside.

18. Visit a used bookstore. They have plenty of relatively recent stuff, and the prices are fantastic.

19. Sign up for a class on Coursera. This site sounds too good to be true. But it’s not. I took an awesome class on here last year called A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior from a Duke University professor. It was free, no strings attached. Have at it! TC mark

Why Do You Write So Much?

Posted: 20 Aug 2015 08:49 PM PDT

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 11.47.48 PM

I seem to get asked that question a lot. In the last year alone, I wrote something like 100+ articles for a dozen or so different publications, including my own site. If I had to guess, that's somewhere in the range of 120,000 words. On top of that, I've written two books and ghostwritten another in that same period.

Lots of people write more than me (though it's usually their full-time job) and I'm envious of those folks. Myself, I try to do roughly two articles a week, one of them here for this site. By 2016, I'll have published five books and contributed to several others.

Why?

Aren't there better things to do?

What do you get out of it anyway?

The short answer is that I HAVE to. In two senses of that word. The first in the sense that I've committed to doing it and creative commitments help with motivation. The second in the sense that I feel like I'd go crazy if I didn't. It feels good to say and get out things that are inside you.

I think most writers would agree. But if you pressed me for more of an explanation, I'd say I write a lot…

Because I can.

We don't think about this enough but there has never been a better time to be a writer. The idea that any person could write and publish as much as they want is a totally new and unparalleled scenario in the history of publishing. Read any writer's memoir from 25 years ago or older and it's full of complaints–articles being rejected, books being turned down or sent back from editors, crappy assignments being handed down from newspapers.

If I wanted to publish an article every single day–or 10 articles a day–I could. And those articles could find readers if they were good. This is a blessing. Every writer should be grateful. And this isn't even getting into the other things we take for granted: that the means of production have never been easier (writing on a laptop is a lot easier than writing by hand), the means of transmitting our content (to sites and to the public) has never been easier, and there are few editorial filters and content constraints.

If a thought pops into your head, no matter where you are, no matter how vulnerable or trivial or offensive that thought might be, you can write it down and publish it almost immediately (of course that doesn't mean that you always should). We can write whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want. I find that liberating and inspiring and do what I can to take advantage of this gift. Not every generation has been so lucky. In fact, many writers from the past would kill to live in the time we live in.

Because I should.

I am lucky enough to be compensated for much of my writing. The idea that if I put the time in to produce something of value, I will be paid for it means that dicking around is hard to justify. I pay my mortgage by writing and every week I take off, I'm depriving myself and my family (or so I tell myself). I won't lie–that's a big part of my motivation for scheduling and setting aside time to write.

Since deciding to step up the amount that I write, I've seen my platform grow steadily. My email list has roughly doubled, the average amount of readers per piece has grown, and the sales of my books have steadily increased as well. Ideas I've tooled around with on sites like Thought Catalog have turned into business opportunities, speeches, clients, even material for my books.
But when I say should I don't just mean financial motivations. I have become a much better writer as the result of committing to produce more. There is only one way to improve at a craft–and it's putting hours into it. I consider what I write online to be practice. An opportunity to interact with an audience and challenge myself to continually improve. Let's say that in the last 3-4 years I've written something like 300-400 articles or blog posts. A conservative guess would say there is at least 3,000 hours of writing and research involved in that production. Another guess would put the combined readership at many millions of views (5-10M? I'm not sure). Those hours + those eyeballs (and the comments and emails that came from them) have helped me improve in ways that I could not have imagined. The road to mastery is long, but I'd like to one day reach it. And if I want to, this is what I ought to keep doing.

Because I need to.

This is the most important reason. I know it because even if the other two reasons weren't true–if I had to do it for free and hardly anyone saw the writing–I'd still be doing it anyway.

Writing is how I express myself. It's how I make sense of the world I live in and the thoughts that I have. If a writer doesn't consider themselves as an important member of their own audience, they're just showing off. A huge chunk of what I publish is published because I felt I needed to hear it. I wanted to learn about a certain topic, I wanted to put together a certain exercise or answer a specific question I was struggling with it. Publishing is the by-product, writing is the process.

People who aren't writers don't know what it feels like to have vague ideas and messages deep inside that you feel like you'll die if you don't get out. Most people don't have a career that requires them to work for years on spec before they get paid–nor is their 'success' so dependent on the whims of an audience, editors and press.

Those are the painful parts of writing that many cannot even conceive of. The good news is that the pleasures are also out of the grasps of those who have never heard the calling. What it feels like to be in deep flow and creativity, or how satisfying it is too look back on what you've written and wonder where it all came from (to look back on my production week in and week out is very satisfying). Or just the pure pride that comes from making a living off your thoughts and the joy you feel in your characters and words which become living, breathing things.

I can, I should, I need to.

That's why I wrote what I wrote last week. That's why I wrote this. And why I'm already thinking about what I'll write next week. TC mark

To The Boys Who Think They Are Friendzoned

Posted: 20 Aug 2015 12:56 PM PDT

tyler
tyler

Seriously, can you please just grow up?

I know that might sound harsh and maybe there was a more gentle, subtle approach I could have taken, but seriously. We're adults, and you need to get over yourself.

Why do you insist on walking around, shoulders slumped, playing the victim? You are not a character in a Nicholas Sparks novel. You can keep writing letters, building your metaphorical house, sitting there pining for the day that she suddenly springs out of bed, eyes wide because she realizes what has always been right in front of her; but it's pipe dream. It's something novelists invented to sell books to people who refuse to face reality.

It isn't reality. It's a fictionalized version of a life so unobtainable and you are dwelling on it while ruining the life you actually have.

Yes, she's attractive. Yes, she's fun. Yes, she made your stomach flip in a way you initially deemed yourself "too manly" to feel. But she didn't reciprocate the feelings. She was happy with the relationship that the two of you cultivated outside of wanting to rip each other's clothes off. She likes what you have, what you are, and that's not going to change.

And that's okay. You need to be okay with it.

You two were supposed to be friends. You were supposed to have each other's backs and be there for one another. You were supposed to be able to forgive, even when she didn't owe you an apology.

Yes, rejection hurts. Rejection from someone you were already close with hurts even more. But you don't get to go around blaming her for something that was so out of her control.

We can't choose who we love, who to fall for. In the same way that your feelings were out of your control, hers were as well. She went from someone who you could platonically discuss who would die first in a zombie apocalypse with to someone you wanted to get lost in; I know it hurts. But you have to stop making it sound like she did something purposeful to hurt you.

She didn't.

Do you think she wanted to lose you? Do you think she wanted to stop having someone to call her brother? Don't you think if there was anything she could have done to make you hurt less, to stop you from feeling as dejected and tossed aside she would have? Don't you think, don't you know, there is also a part of her that wishes things were different?

You don't get to act like you're completely innocent. You can cover the feelings in as many glasses of Johnny Walker as you want, but it doesn't make this something she did to you with malicious intent. While it's understandable that you need time to feel the sting of "I don't love you back", you waltzing around completely slandering her and painting her as this villain in your too-sad-saga is frankly, ridiculous.

You weren't friendzoned, you were treated like a friend.

What kind of an apology are you honestly looking for?

"I'm sorry for treating you exactly how I always treated you."
"I'm sorry I'm not who you envisioned me to be."
"I'm sorry I have feelings for someone that isn't you."

Does that make it better? Does that make the bitter pill easier to swallow?

I bet it doesn't.

The fact of the matter is she doesn't owe you an apology. And you know that. You know she didn't do anything wrong and that's partially why this hurts.

So I get it if you have to walk away. I get it if the only way for you to maturely move upwards and onwards with your life is to no longer include her. If that's the decision you have to make, go for it.

However if you walk away you need to stop saying it was her fault. Stop saying, "The reason our friendship is over is because of her." If you choose to leave, leave. Leave it all behind. Like I said before, grow up.

Leave but know this. Just because you've chosen to not be a part of her life anymore doesn't mean she won't cross your mind, and you hers. She will still see places where you sat across from each other, $2 beers in hand, talking shit about your frustrations with college and miss you. You will hear from mutual friends about her accomplishments and wish you could Top Gun high-five her and say, "I'm proud of you, Trouble." You will both run into each other at events, maybe tomorrow maybe in five years, and still feel the urge to make inside jokes with each other before sneaking away to the open bar for a shot. You'll fight those feelings, swallow them down and cover them up with layers of "We aren't friends anymore," but that doesn't mean they won't exist.

And while she'll always be a little angry with you for how you handled the situation, she'll always miss you too.

But stop calling it "friendzoned", because that's not what happened. Your friendship ended, through circumstances out of both of your control, and even years later, you both will wish it hadn't. TC mark

25 Struggles Only INFJs Will Understand

Posted: 20 Aug 2015 08:21 AM PDT

kirillvasilevphotography
kirillvasilevphotography

1. Being able to predict with eerie accuracy how a situation is going to play out, but being too polite to tell people that they're making a mistake… so just keeping quiet and having to watch exactly what you thought would happen, happen.

2. Having zero interest in casual dating in a world that's obsessed with flings and one-night stands.

3. The consistent, nagging voice in the back of your mind telling you that you're not living up to your full potential.

4. Having much never met another person like yourself, since INFJs are (a) Only 1% of the population and (b) Usually inside reading a book.

5. The constant struggle of wanting alone time but feeling the uncontrollable compulsion to go make your loved ones happy.

6. Fooling everyone into thinking you're an extrovert while you're in public and then confusing the heck out of them when you don't want to go out tonight because… well, you just don't want to.

7. When pretty much all of your favorite people are fictional.

8. Not wanting to work for a corrupt, capitalistic society … but also needing to pay rent and eat.

9. When you want to go to sleep but your brain wants to stay up analyzing the great mysteries of the universe.

10. Having such a clear idea of something in your mind that it's impossible to convey it using words, so you just talk around the concept for hours and end up making everyone more confused than ever.

11. Being just idealistic enough to conceive of a Utopian society but just realistic enough to understand all of the reasons why it could never exist.

12. When a conversation with someone doesn't unfold the way you meticulously planned for it to in your mind.

13. Being in tune with absolutely everybody’s feelings except your own.

14. "Funny thing – I already watched our entire relationship play out in my mind. It ended in a painful divorce ten years down the road at which point I lost custody of our beautiful Dachshund Aristotle, whom I loved with all my heart. So no, I won't be available to go out on a second date with you."

15. Oscillating between revealing absolutely nothing about yourself to others and then revealing way too much and apologizing for it.

16. Actually, feeling the need to apologize for pretty much any emotion or need that you outwardly express.

17. Accidentally creating ridiculous standards for other people in your mind and then being disappointed when they fail to live up to them.

18. Hating conflict but having people constantly come to you with their conflicts.

19. When you finally find the nerve to open up to a loved one about what you're thinking or feeling deep down – and then they still don't get it.

20. Needing close relationships in order to be happy, but also needing a lot of alone time in order to be happy.

21. Being a magnet for self-destructive people and then dwelling on their problems ten times more than they do themselves.

22. Being intellectually gifted but also entirely out of touch with the world around you.

23. Being a compulsive people-pleaser in relationships because your partner being unhappy would actually feel worse than you being unhappy.

24. Kind of fitting in everywhere but really fitting in nowhere.

25. When you occasionally remember that the rest of the world doesn't live life almost entirely inside of their minds – and honestly having no idea what that must be like. TC mark

When A Friend Becomes The Internet’s Latest Target: A Note On Josh (The Fat Jewish)

Posted: 21 Aug 2015 09:52 AM PDT

https://instagram.com/thefatjewish/
https://instagram.com/thefatjewish/

There is a lot of discussion about the Fat Jew, aka The Fat Jewish, (aka Jewthur Vandross, aka Fabrizio Goldstein, aka Whitney Jewston — it just goes on people) mostly about the origin of his humor, satire, and use of other people’s content. The questions abound: Is he funny or original? Should any of us give us a single solitary fuck? Is his penis really the size of champagne cork as he regularly claims? Did he release a video of him jerking off a dog which got 10,000 views? Is he complete genius or utter hack?

Perhaps we should examine the breadth and depth of his work before passing judgement.

A few things to note:

-The bulk of his work is not on Instagram, and Instagram is not solely responsible for his fame
-He gives a lot of himself, and is always on, always performing
-He’s been at this game for a long time, he’s paid his dues building himself up
-The internet is a vacuous pit of haters
-He brings joy to millions, and currently cites every repost

About 8 years ago I found myself on stage at Santos after a Team Facelift concert, mostly sober, rubbing bellies with Josh, aka The Fat Jewish. It was a ritual, part of the transactions that made up the eclectic group which for a number of years I could not appreciate. They did a lot of weird things and the fans loved them for it. Afterward, I lambasted the man for not getting into the nonsense in a deeper fashion — where was the champagne shower, loud profanities, and one liners? His tired dog-eyed reply was one predicated on the exhaustion from having performed 24/7 for every person he saw. For one brief moment I felt a horrid shame, deeper than that of exposing my navel to a crowd of booze-heated millennials, as here was a performer who never went off stage, and we, his fans more so than his friends, made tacit demands that he always be on.

Fuck us, no?

Over the years Josh got funnier and only more meteoric. I invested in several of his early projects, which most of us seem to forget greatly contributed to his fame, as did his outrageous performances on E!. The Skinny, later renamed Girlhattan after being picked up by KarmaLoop TV was a pitch turned into a show about two PR girls trying to make it. When KarmaLoop failed to launch, certain networks made bids for the show, and oddly enough, an exact replica of the concept aired on Comedy Central. An idea stolen, or arrived at by two different parties?

While all parties could have made a tremendous stink about the rise and presence of what was essentially a copy cat, they didn’t. Josh continued to produce content including Bottle Poppaz, and worked for a rising internet station called The Crosby Press, at one point producing his breakout, mean streets, and magnificent Soulcycle for the Homeless. It was these works which drove his success to an inflection point. Interviews, books, web series, music videos, talk shows, appearances, products, DJ performances — Josh has more diversity in his repertoire than almost any other comedic figure in the game right now. He made Skrillex funny on Beats radio, which in and of itself deserves at least a nod.

He has worked hard every day of his life, always on, and always affable.

The internet loves a hater almost as much as it loves a Kardashian sex tape. For whatever reason, there has been a rise of negative commenting and feedback all over the feeds of people seeking to entertain us, as if the comfort of semi-anonymity somehow releases people from etiquette, form, and dignity. There should be a moment of self reflection here, if not a full on reckoning of how our society has become simply the worst.

We should perhaps celebrate the humor created by an artist who takes other people’s work, contributes his own creative genius, and in turn makes an entirely new piece of work. Granted, we are talking about an Instagram, but it is really no different than a cover song, or the countless great artists from Shakespeare to Stravinsky who noted that good composers borrow, while great composers steal (again, it’s a fucking Instagram). Creativity does not occur in a vacuum, but rather is the collective development by a greater whole and collective over the course of humanity (I’m sorry, it’s STILL a fucking Instagram).

Look, for those who wish to argue that Josh is at times an unbearable human, a grotesque circus clown who is single-handedly ruining media and contributing actively to the gradual increase of raw stupidity in America, and rip him up on that basis, well then I’m always up for a beer. I may not even fight you, but I will note he is also a husband, father to two cute ass dogs, has read everything I’ve ever written, a staunch partner through difficulties, incredible company at dinner parties, massively supportive to his friends, and a great fucking American.TC mark

10 Signs You March To The Beat Of Your Own Drum

Posted: 20 Aug 2015 10:16 AM PDT

Flickr Shan Sheehan
Flickr Shan Sheehan

1. You have a strong distaste for the status quo.

You disagree with popular opinions on several topics. Even more so, it truly bothers you that the majority of people think a certain way. Being an individual, it makes you angry to live in a society that's attempting to coerce us all into being the same.

2. You lack respect for authority figures.

You don't automatically assume that being in a position of authority makes someone infallible. You don't blindly adhere to people’s instructions just because they're an authority figure.

3. You can objectively look at both sides of an issue.

Some say that you haven't earned the right to express an opinion until you are able to argue the opposition’s side better than they can. People who think for themselves are able to see multiple perspectives on an issue and realize that there are valid points on each side of the fence. Life isn't black and white. People who think for themselves are able to see things in shades of gray.

4. You're passionate about learning.

Knowledge liberates one from ignorance. People who learn about myriad subjects develop their own unique philosophy because they've taken the time to explore tons of different ideas. It's easy to be indoctrinated into a religion or political party. It's enlightened to learn the ins and outs of every one of them and decide what works for you.

5. You're always up for a good debate.

You play the Devil's advocate for your own amusement. You'll even argue for things you don't believe in for the sake of gamesmanship. You love challenging people's ideas and making them think and reexamine their convictions.

6. Sometimes people think you're crazy.

You'll say something to a friend or a group of people that contradicts conventional wisdom. They'll laugh at you, call you crazy, or claim that your ideas are flat-out stupid. Cars were a crazy idea when everyone was riding horses. The idea of a smartphone would seem crazy to people living 100 years ago. All of the greatest ideas, creations, and innovations seemed crazy in the beginning.

7. You're always refining your ideas.

The minute you think you've fully grasped a concept, new information will appear and you have to refine your thinking. The more you learn, the more you realize there's a lot to know. It never stops. You continually chase information down the rabbit hole of learning and it's ridiculously amusing and exciting. You've figured out that you'll never fully figure it out.

8. You limit the amount of media you consume.

You don't watch a ton of television and news programming. You're aware of the influence that mass media has on the group and you're cautious about what information you allow into your brain.

9. You fear being average.

Your worst fear in life is of being like everyone else. You see a world filled with people doing things they don't like to do for seemingly no other reason than the belief that they have to. You want to live the life of your dreams. Your focus isn't on money and accolades. Your focus is on being able to wake up each day and do exactly what you want to do.

10. You're never bored.

In a world filled with so many cool opportunities, how can people possibly be bored? Thinking for yourself means having a high level of awareness. Observing the way people interact and the way things work is so fascinating that you couldn't possibly succumb to boredom. TC mark

Pizza Vs. Abs: Does Anyone Else Struggle With Eating Healthy Over The Weekend?

Posted: 21 Aug 2015 11:25 AM PDT

Twenty20 / jesych
Twenty20 / jesych

On many days, I have asked myself the profound question: Do I want pizza or do I want abs? In a perfect world (when I was younger and skinnier), I didn’t have to choose between these things. The reality is you can accept that your body changes as you age and as your lifestyle changes, or you can pretend otherwise. I choose the former.

Particularly on weekends, when most of us are likely to spend a ton of time with our friends – and especially when it’s nice outside – we’re more apt to forgetting about our good eating habits. Good eating habit that we may generally subscribe to, during the work week.

Of course friends cluster together with respect to habits – if you’re a healthy eater, chances are your friends are too. A problem that I’ve observed, however, is there’s a certain mentality towards eating that many people have over the weekend. A mentality of, “I’ve eaten healthy during the week so I’m going to spoil myself. This is my reward.”

But why do we reward ourselves with doing something that isn’t necessarily good for us, or at least for our health? That is to say, why do we reward our good healthy practices by eating (and drinking) poorly over the weekend? Shouldn’t we “reward” ourselves by doing something that will make us even healthier?

Our love of instant gratification includes the way we eat, and we love to satisfy our short-term selves.

Now don’t get me wrong – I am not one of those people who believes that people should never have anything, “unhealthy.” I cook, I bake, and I’m even dabbling in home mixology these days. And those things alone mean I know most of what is going in my body. To me that is fundamental – knowing what you’re putting inside your body.

The problem though is during the weekend, when most of us are more inclined to go for all the foods we want simply because it’s the weekend – we know less what we’re putting in our bodies. And most of us, even the most health-conscious of us, don’t even want to think about it.

This is not a particularly beneficial way to live – treating your health and eating habits like a reward system, that is. In the long-term it creates a mentality that the reward for healthy behavior is unhealthy behavior.

For many, the loss of self-control is our inability to focus on our future gains. Or what I like to call, our future or long-term selves. Our love of instant gratification includes the way we eat, and we love to satisfy our short-term selves.

So even though our long-term selves may wants abs, our short-term selves want pizza. And on the weekends, especially because of a culture of excess and work and a sort of, “living for the weekend” mentality, we’re more inclined to listen to our short-term selves.

beetlejuice

A friend and I were talking about this late last night as we got together and had a glass of wine and some hors ‘d’oeuvres. I told her, part-seriously and part in jest that my struggle that evening was that profound question: Do I want pizza or do I want abs?

I am simply one of those people who believes, and who comes from a culture that believes, saying “no” to yourself is a good thing.

I had chosen a salad mostly because I am simply one of those people who believes, and who comes from a culture that believes, saying “no” to yourself is a good thing. And it’s not just a good thing, it’s an important thing in order to lead the kind of life you want in the long-term. Self-denial, especially in the short-term, can lead to success in the long-term.

I also recalled something my friend once said to me which I had been thinking about yesterday specifically. She is a health professional and someone who I credit as one of the best strength training instructors I ever had the privilege of being trained by. In one of her fitness classes one time, she said the following in passing, “When you say no to something, you are saying yes to something else.”

Those words stuck. I’ve often remembered them in times when I really needed to recall what my long-term self really wants. I think it’s a good thing to remember too if you struggle with seemingly day-to-day decisions that end up affecting you over a lifetime. How we eat on our weekends may change if we stop thinking about health as a rewards system, and start thinking about what we want to say no to, and what we want to say yes to – in the long-term.

Ask yourself: When I say “no” to this, what am I saying “yes” to?

So definitely have that glass of wine or that cupcake or that cookie or that slice of pizza. Food and drink, after all, are not the enemy. And my God, what an awful existence it would be to always deny one’s self little pleasures. Moreover, the odd pizza slice is not going to ruin your abs.

But if you do want abs – which is really just my synonym for good health in this piece – recognize that you have to make sacrifices. You have to say no to some things. But don’t focus on the no’s. Ask yourself: When I say “no” to this, what am I saying “yes” to? Focus on those yes’s. And if you think about it, you can apply this ideology to more than just weekend eating – you can apply it to life. TC mark