Meeting the Ex’s Next

I’ve always thought our relationship was like Tom and Summer’s in (500) Days of Summer. When we were together, we weren’t ever quite on the same page. And there was a time after our breakup I really wanted to find (spoiler alert) Autumn first, like it was a competition. Honestly, what I really wanted was for her to find out I was with someone else, as if her jealousy would gratify me. That was a long time ago.

an example of a handshake

But I still didn’t know how it would feel to find out she had a new boyfriend. And in a dramatic twist, not only would I find out she did have a new boyfriend, I’d have the chance to meet him within the same hour! Holy I-Hope-This-Isn’t-Like-the-Dream-Sequence-In-Dumb & Dumber-When-Lloyd-Meets-Mary-(Samsonite)-Swanson’s-Husband, Batman! It was a curveball I wasn’t expecting. But hey, I’m a heck of a baseball player!

I was standing by the chili station at the company Christmas party and suddenly, there she was. And there he was. After the quick let’s-not-make-this-more-awkward introductions, I turned to the pot of chili. My buddy later asked, “On a scale of 10, how weird was that?” The answer is so refreshing. It was a zero. And it really was.

But if anyone had the expectation that I’d be happy for her, they’d be disappointed. I’m not upset or jealous either. I’m somewhere in the ballpark of indifference. And in reality, that’s a win.

-Out of the Wilderness

95 Movies in One Year: The Top Ten

1. (500) Days of Summer (2009, Marc Webb, PG-13)
Did they read my journals or something? How can this movie so accurately resemble my current situation? I loved this movie. The story, the presentation, the dialogue, the non-dialogue… all of it was great. Such a refreshing, creative, interesting, relatable movie. I came away feeling down about what the main character went through in this film, and yet at the same time I had a glimmer of hope. And I can only suggest that this paradox of emotions is precisely what the film-makers wanted the audience to feel. It was such an accurate version of real life and how relationships can be so great and so terrible pretty much at the exact same time. If you have the opportunity to see this movie, do it. And if you don’t have the opportunity, create the opportunity. You will not be disappointed. My favorite scene, as will be for a lot of viewers I’m sure, is the “expectations/ reality” sequence. Brilliant and spot on. The movie takes you up to the mountain and down to the valley, just like real relationships do. Very well done.
“Robin is better than the girl of my dreams. She’s real.”

2. Up (2009, Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, PG)
If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t read this. Quite possibly my favorite movie this year. Someone wrote a comment on their facebook page about how remarkable it was to show such a heart-wrenching love story without using words, and I admit, they are right. Right from the get-go, I was hooked. This movie has every element that a good movie needs, drama, action, humor, love, and a proper ending. My favorite character, as I bet is true with most of you, is the bird, Kevin. Loved that even when the young boy discovered the bird was a girl, he kept calling him by the name Kevin. Hilarious. Really good movie, great for children, adults, senior adults. Go see it!

3. Big Fish (2003, Tim Burton, PG-13)
At first I was not excited about this movie. That’s why it’s taken me this long to watch it (it came out in 2003). I just thought it might be a little too strange for my tastes. Boy was I wrong. It was strange, but I really enjoyed it. It’s about 2 hours long and when I realized it was about to end, I was hoping it wouldn’t end. I venture to say this is the only movie so far that I wish would have kept going instead of ending. Very creative, but not wild or extravagant for extravagance sake. I’m not sure exactly yet what the message was, if there was one. Perhaps life is less about the facts, and more about the story around them. Maybe? One thing I am reminded of after I see this movie is that I love my dad. Im so happy that we have never gone through a period of not communicating like the characters in this movie did. Overall, very good movie. You should see it. If you like to feel good, to laugh, and to have your heart strings tugged a little.
“Most men, they’ll tell you a story straight through. It won’t be complicated, but it won’t be interesting either.”

4. Taken (2008, Pierre Morel, PG-13)
There were parts to this movie that I thought were unexplained, and definitely kept it from being rated higher on this list. I mean, how many people can you kill consecutively with one chop of the arm? Surely there would be some that needed another chop, or a follow-up shot in the leg or chest or something. And how do you just happen to have all the equipment you need to perform medical treatments? Unless you’re MacGyver, of course. But despite the unexplained issues I had, this was a great movie with a satisfying ending. The protagonist was kick-butt and I loved that!
“I will look for you. I will find you, and I will kill you.”

5. Slumdog Millionaire (2008, Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan, R)
Unfortunately I had high expectations for this movie, because of the critical acclaim but even moreso because friends of mine saw it before me and said it was excellent. Well, I will have to agree with all of them! The movie was very good. From top to bottom it was full of action, drama, humor, love, fear, and emotion. And they accomplished this with little (if any) curse words. I have never been to India, but I felt like I was there with the characters, experiencing all the drama and action of their lives. And to incorporate a show that we all know, “Who Wants To Be A Millionniare?” was a pretty fantastic idea. I definitely felt like I was cheering for the underdog, and the payoff was everything it should have been! I love when love wins. If you haven’t seen it, you are missing out.

6. The Blind Side (2009, John Lee Hancock, PG-13)
The hype around this movie proves true. The story is really good. I did think it went on a little too long, but I dare you to resist getting into this underdog story. It’s a story of overcoming, a story of hard work and success.
“You should really get to know your players. Michael scored in the 98th percentile in protective instincts.”

7. Best In Show (2000, Christopher Guest, PG-13)
I love the type of humor in this movie! A simple story, with simple characters, but performed brilliantly. Just goes to show if you have a great idea for a movie, and have great actors and actresses, you don’t need to have crazy special effects and billion dollar budgets. I’m a fan of this one, and of Christopher Guest.
“And really, I think what we’re talking about is standards, basically; very, very specific, rigid, you could say, but in this world where would we be without them, I think. And notice where we are.”

8. High Fidelity (2000, Stephen Frears, R)
This movie starred John Cusack but for me, Jack Black stole the show. Some of the humor was a on the crude side, but it was limited. When I was watching this, I actually was reminding quite a bit of “Slumdog Millionaire” in the way the movie was put together. So thumbs up to “High Fidelity” to doing this kind of editing years before the revolutionary film set in the slums of India. Another good John Cusack film in my book, but if you watch it for him, you may be surprised who you come away liking more, John or Jack.
“She didn’t make me miserable, or anxious, or ill at ease. You know, it sounds boring, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t spectacular either. It was just good. But really good.”

9. French Kiss (1995, Lawrence Kasdan, PG-13)
Classic 80’s romantic comedy. There were tons of one liners and for me, that goes a long way. It also has a satisfying ending (did you expect to be left uhappy at the end of a romantic comedy?). So if you are into rom-com’s from the 1980’s, this is one you should see. I really enjoyed it.
“I love the sea. So beautiful, so mysterious… so full of fish.”

10. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (2008, Nathan Frankowski, PG)
This is a great movie for anyone with an open mind. The truth is, no one knows for sure how the earth, the universe, the whole human experience started. All we have to go on is what is around us. The movie explains how there is sort of a secret divide between theories of how everything began. And while it explains the secrets, it calls out those who claim that only certain ways are possible. It dives into evolution, Intelligent Design, faith in God, atheism, creationism, and many aspects of the scientific world and how science and faith sometimes (and often) intertwine. Ben Stein was very good at remaining neutral while at the same time questioning the established norm in areas of scientific discovery, faith and how both sides have a lot to offer. Very good documentary that confirms that while Intelligent Design is a scientific theory, it is much the same as evolution in this: it takes a huge amount of faith to believe in either one.
“And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the um, at the detail… details of our chemistry molecular biology you might find a signature of some sort of designer.”

95 Movies in One Year

I watched 95 movies in one year and only had one rule: it had to be a movie I had not seen yet. After 365 days of watching films, here is the ranking of all 95 movies, from worst to best. Let me know what you think! After scrolling down to see the list, click here for the reason behind the top 10.
95. Miss Castaway
94. Gone, Baby, Gone
93. Year One
92. The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard.
91. Life As a House
90. Step Brothers
89. August Rush
88. Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia
87. The Haunting In Connecticut
86. Martian Child
85. Backwoods
84. Harem Scarem
83. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
82. I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With
81. Mean Girls
80. Fast Times At Ridgemont High
79. Dark Water (Japanese)
78. The National Tree
77. Role Models
76. The International
75. Ratatouille
74. Inkheart
73. 17 Again
72. In Bruges
71. Grosse Pointe Blank
70. Burn After Reading
69. Blue Hawaii
68. School of Rock
67. Waitress
66. I Love You, Man
65. Dark Water (American)
64. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
63. The Soloist
62. Darjeeling Limited
61. Spinal Tap
60. The Ultimate Gift
59. The Last of the Mohicans
58. Public Enemies
57. The Proposal
56. Bride Wars
55. Australia
54. The Wrestler
53. Bride & Prejudice
52. Death Race
51. Henry Poole Is Here
50. Everything Is Illuminated
49. Evan Almighty
48. The Second Chance
47. Pride & Prejudice
46. Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
45. Eagle Eye
44. Transformers: Rise of the Fallen
43. Rabbit-Proof Fence
42. Broadcast News
41. The Big Lebowski
40. Memoirs of A Geisha
39. Yes Man
38. Let The Right One In
37. Gomorrah
36. Mamma Mia
35. He’s Just Not That Into You
34. Snakes On A Plane
33. A Good Year
32. James Bond: Quantum of Solace
31. Obsessed
30. Hotel Rwanda
29. North Country
28. For Your Consideration
27. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
26. Waiting For Guffman
25. Chaos Theory
24. Mystic River
23. Reservation Road
22. The Sure Thing
21. Madea Goes To Jail
20. Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
19. Secondhand Lions
18. Gran Torino
17. Behind Enemy Lines: Axis of Evil
16. The Butterfly Effect
15. Seven Pounds
14. Happy Feet
13. The Brothers Bloom
12. Garden State
11. Into The Wild
10. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
9. French Kiss
8. High Fidelity
7. Best In Show
6. The Blind Side
5. Slumdog Millionaire
4. Taken
3. Big Fish
2. Up
1. (500) Days of Summer

The Needle Test

A few months ago I participated in an activity known as “the needle test.” If you are unfamiliar, ask a female and they’ll tell you it’s about finding out the gender order of children you’ll have. Some swear by this method of revelation, others are more sceptical. Whether it’s reliable or not  I can’t say, but in three separate tests, it gave me the same results. According to the test I will have a boy, then a girl, then another boy; Three children. While I find the results interesting given my current situation (single and barely dating), you may find it interesting that a 31-year old male participated in such an activity. Rest assured that your interest is well-grounded. I sometimes take part in things better suited for baby showers or bachelorette parties. But I’m still all male. I’m not ashamed to say my favorite movie is “Elizabethtown” and in rotation for second place are “500 Days of Summer” and “The Notebook.” I’ve been created with a soft heart, and most of it reserved for family so naturally, I was curious about what results the needle test would give for my future family. I’m also curious why we scream when something hurts, what it means for good people to have bad habits, and how fame and fortune affected Alex Rodriguez. As an 8th-grader at Westminster Christian School, I didn’t see A-Rod often (he was in high school then), but he seemed nice enough, except for one story my brother told me. I wonder if A-Rod has ever done the needle test? Alex if you’re reading this, let me know what results you got. And if anyone else reading this knows why good people have bad habits or why we scream when something hurts, feel free to share.

The results of the needle test are something I’ve thought about since then. If it’s accurate, if I will eventually have two boys and a girl, when is it going to happen? Who is it going to happen with? My parents would have loved for it to happen five years ago. Back then it would have been in Tallahassee, Florida with a girl I’m no longer friends with. She’s a great person from a great family, however not fit for the role of my wife or my children’s mother. Just a passenger on the road for a short while, but not for the long haul. Speaking of roads, a local Nashville pastor once used the illustration that if you’re in Nashville traveling on West on Interstate 40, you will go to Memphis. That’s where you’re going. You can’t travel on Interstate 40 and hope to end up in Ohio. It won’t happen. The pastor then applied it to life, saying if you’re on the wrong road, you’ll end up at the wrong destination. I love that illustration because of it’s simple truth. As I apply it to my own life, I wonder what I want my destination to be. If I want the needle test to be accurate, then the destination is marriage. If the destination is marriage, I need to find out what road takes me there. Once I find the road that takes me there, I need to find out if I’m on it or not. Road signs tell the truth. If I see a road sign labeled “friends with benefits” I’m on the wrong road. If I see a road sign labeled “compromising what I want most” or “settling” I’m on the wrong road. However, if I see “Godly,” “great,” “blessing,” “gift,” “faithfulness,” “challenge,” “don’t give up,” “right,” chances are I’m on the right road.

Chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now.  ~Zig Ziglar

How Famous People Sleep

I never thought much about the way I sleep until I read an article about different sleep positions. While I found the diagram quite hilarious, the research findings seem pretty accurate. I usually start out in the Fetus position, then before I fall asleep, shift to the Yearner. How about you?

[check out “how famous men sleep in 2020,” my latest post by clicking here]

Fetus position – tough exterior but are still sensitive and may appear to be shy but warm up quickly.

Log position – social, easy-going person who is trusting, sometimes to the point of being gullible.

Yearner position – open-minded and still cynical, suspicious, and stubborn about sticking to decisions once they are made.

Soldier position – reserved, quiet, without fuss, and hold themselves and others to a high standard.

Freefall position – brash, outgoing, and very uncomfortable with criticism.

Starfish position – good listeners, helpful, and uncomfortable being the center of attention.

A lot of people will say they shift during the night, but studies have shown that most people stay relatively still throughout the night. Here’s my take on a few of the Lost characters:

Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly on Lost) – Fetus

Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox on Lost) – Yearner

John Locke (Terry O’Quinn on Lost) – Soldier

Sawyer (Josh Holloway on Lost) – Freefall

John Locke (as Smoke Monster on Lost) – Freefall

Other famous people:

Cindy Lauper – Starfish

Shia LaBeouf – Yearner

Conan O’Brien – Fetus

Keith Urban – Fetus

Mr. Darcy – starts in a Freefall, ends in a Soldier

Bingley – Starfish

Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale in “Serendipity”) – Fetus

Jonathan Trager (John Cusack in “Serendipity”) – Log

Summer (from 500 Days of Summer) – Freefall

Piper (my beagle) – Double Yearner

Billy Ray Cyrus – Log

David Hasselhoff – Fetus

Ellen Degeneres – Log

Boyz II Men – Fetus