Tag Archives: Life

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth: An Apology to a World Long Lost

I owe an apology.

In fact, I owe a few. The biggest one I will get to in due time, but I owe one to all of you, my loyal (or casual, perhaps even stumbling upon this site for the first time) readers. A few years ago I got caught up in nostalgia and praised too highly something that I normally am quite demanding on: a movie. Specifically, I am referring to 2015, a roller coaster year for me personally that saw me come to terms with a great many things regarding myself, my relationships with others, and my appreciation of art. These are reasons why I behaved the way I did then; not excuses. Many of us were – and clearly still are – swept up in the tide of nostalgia that reboots, rehashes, and long-awaited sequels provided for us in the cinema, but this is no justification for my actions either. Now, to be clear, I do not dislike Jurassic World, the 2015 release that marked the fourth film in the vaunted dinosaur-centric series. I called it one of my favorite movies of that year, after all. I realized at its release that it was a derivative film that hearkened back to the original in a manner that often exploited our nostalgia, and I was okay with this because damn it I wanted more dinosaurs! It didn’t matter that they didn’t have feathers now, nor did it matter that the most well developed character was a velociraptor and the rest were bland at best. I got my dose of dinosaurs again, and it was a grand, old time at the popcorn palace. I saw Jurassic World three times in theaters, which pales in comparison to the five times I saw Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens that year (always with different people too!). However, while both were derivative of their original film and capitalized on the success of their predecessors, The Force Awakens offered us lovable new characters who fit right in alongside our established favorites. We are all right with the notion that these are the people who will carry our beloved franchise into new stories. I do not make apologies when I say that Star Wars succeeded at this with their latest saga film, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. I’ve spoken more on this matter, and probably will again, but the important thing is that Star Wars took things in a new direction with new characters and delivered a well-crafted story that does not call back to the original films as its most previous film did.  The Last Jedi listened to Fleetwood Mac and went its own way. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom fucked around within itself like Fleetwood Mac and has steered the series off a cliff, and not even Chris Pratt with a gun and gusto can offer much support in saving it as it sinks.

I will not provide spoilers for the latest dino-spectacle, nor will I demand you stay away from it. You are your own person, after all, and perhaps you will like it. For me though, Fallen Kingdom really fell in a manner that is disrespectful of the original Jurassic Park. To be fair, this is hardly the first disappointment of a dinosaur sequel in the franchise – in fact, none of the films that have followed the 1993 original have delivered the goods the way it did. Nevertheless, none of the sequels have lost their way as this latest one did. Jurassic Park III is a more coherent movie than this latest despite all of its flaws – of which it has many, and it should not be forgiven for simply being less underwhelming than Fallen Kingdom. Still, there is something to say about simplicity. The original film is astoundingly basic in its concept: there is a park with dinosaurs that needs a test run clearance in order to open. From there, we add on the wonder of “Wow! Real dinosaurs!” Steven Spielberg offers heaps of fantastic wonder in so many of his movies, but perhaps none so pure as in Jurassic Park. There is a moment in Fallen Kingdom where Bryce Dallas Howard, who at least gets boots this time, asks Chris Pratt if he remembers the amazing joy he felt the first time he saw a dinosaur. It, like so many other instances is a chance for that movie to take off, but it just keeps bogging itself down in an abundance of activity. Too much happens in two hours for us to ever connect with the characters or the cliche-laden plot. Unlike the first Jurassic Park where Spielberg lets scenes stew to bring home the point at the heart of the story, beyond all the dinosaurs and colorful cast of characters and incredible scientific advancements that all feel so real, what he really wants us to experience is the moral of the story: we should not play God.

That’s it. At its core, Jurassic Park is a lesson in not meddling with nature, for just because you have awesome technological power to create new life, you do not have the means to control that new life. It’s a prehistoric retelling of Frankenstein of sorts; a cautionary tale for all would-be creators. As Ian Malcolm states in that first film, “But your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

I realize that the story has moved on from that initial theme, yet none have extensively explored anything other than what amounts to a rehash of it.

It would also help if we got less of timely Rexy, the Tyrannosaurus rex from the first movie who has continued her role of deus rex machina through three films now. It was amazing on the first go round (I even declared her grand finale entrance to be my favorite Spielberg movie climax moment), yet her appearances in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are a little too convenient. It’s no surprise anymore when she shows up just the good guys need saving or a bad guy needs to be stopped.

Ultimately, 25 years later, Jurassic Park is a enduring classic because it does more with less; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom does less with more. The muddled plot and shallow characters will not do it any favors in preserving it in the cinematic halls of time, and its most gracious fate very well may be to fall into extinction.

Now while I have not and will not provide any spoilers for Fallen Kingdom in this post, I will offer up some good videos on the series, some of which do delve into spoils territory, so I will mark those accordingly, and encourage you to watch them (especially if you’re in charge of the next Jurassic Park movie):

Non-spoils: “Jurassic Park – Using Theme to Craft Character”

Spoils: “The Problem with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

“Pressing the Dinosaur Button – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” – a unique take on how to fix a big problem in Fallen Kingdom

“Serious Questions -Jurassic Park Franchise” – for fun

Finally, my most sincere apologies to… The Lost World: Jurassic Park. I declared Jurassic World to be the best sequel in the franchise after I saw it, and stuck with that for too long. Again, I do still enjoy Jurassic World, and it certainly stands above Jurassic Park III and its own latest sequel. Nonetheless, I have kept what was rightfully yours on its shelf for too long. I now declare, that while it is not a perfect film by any stretch either, that The Lost World: Jurassic Park is the best Jurassic Park movie after the original. It is much maligned for being inferior to its predecessor, but let’s look at what it does right and original and give it the at fewest one thumbs up it deserves. You want more Goldblum? Check. You want intriguing new characters to join him? Check. You want more classic Spielberg suspense in sequences like trailer hanging off the cliff? Checkity check. You want Spielberg to provide awesome introductions to the established players like the T-rex and raptors while simultaneously introducing new ones like the pachycephalosaurus? You better believe check! You want Pete Postlewaite as a big game hunter bored with a lack of challenges seeking to hunt the greatest quarry that ever grace the world in the T-rex? Checkarino! Finally, do you want more of dinosaurs? Then you have come to the right place. Welcome to Jurassic Park…’s off-site dinosaur breeding island. And then San Diego.

For more on this, I encourage you to check out Filmjoy (formerly Movies with Mikey) for a more extensive defense of this still solid movie:

Thanks for reading! Be sure to come on back next week for more fun!

Go Brazil!

Alex

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Have You Ever Really Looked at Your Hands, Man?

Watching the news recently brought to mind a particularly odd little man with what has to be fake hair and certainly a questionable sense of fashion, prattling on about his fantastic Space- well, just see for yourself:

Teehee! You didn’t expect that, now did you! Ahhhh, I digress, for I didn’t come her to spout off about politics. No, I came here to talk about some spacey sounds that you can really groove to. Specifically, I want to explore, what is to me, the most cohesive music album ever produced: Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.

Following in the footsteps of The Beatles’ Abbey Road, Pink Floyd turned their onstage jams at concerts into a continuous musical experience where each song segues into the next seamlessly. Furthermore, like Abbey Road before it, The Dark Side of the Moon offers more than just a collection of pretty songs that sound good stacked end to end. While surely a masterful complete auditory piece, the songs explore the birth, daily life, and death of man in a manner more musically layered than subtle, yet the meaning within the words is often overlooked because we’re just feeling the groove. As was the case with many of the seven prior Pink Floyd albums, The Dark Side of the Moon provides many an instrumental interlude, but none nearly as long as some of their big jams like “Echoes” that comprise half the album (and every act of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera).

 

The Dark Side of the Moon was the album that marked the blossoming of Pink Floyd’s greatest era, and the blooming of the band’s career. Released in 1973, it was followed by Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), and The Wall (1979), marking the stretch where Pink Floyd was at the top of their game. The band was moving at a clip under the direction of Roger Waters and David Gilmour, and their most famous songs emerged during this phase of the band’s rich history. For me it all comes together most magnificently with The Dark Side of the Moon. Striking the perfect balance of experimental sound and commercially appealing music, this is the quintessential album from the band that melded progressive rock with the mainstream. Beautiful, soothing, depressing, and so much more, The Dark Side of the Moon speaks to me as soon as I hear its first track:

Thanks for reading, and listening! I hope you’ll enjoy this album in whichever manner you see best, and that you’ll refract back this way next week for more fun, in any colour you like, of course.

Breathe in the air,

Alex

Anthony Bourdain was a wanderer who knew exactly where he was in the world. Not necessarily in a geographical sense – in fact, he often was quite lost in that way – but from the perspective of a man who exemplified a go-with-the-flow wisdom in numerous locations and situations that most of us would be freaking out if we found ourselves in, Bourdain saw the beauty in every back alley, every dish,  and every culture.

Looking at his beginnings in the New York City area, Anthony Bourdain was raised by a family environment conducive to cultural growth. His mother was an editor for the New York Times (the paper whose famous book bestseller list he would later find his own name on), and his father was a top man at Columbia Records. With print and music covered in the family, and younger brother Christopher going into money (no, really, he’s a currency analyst), it seemed only natural for Anthony to round out the family’s varied experience with his own mastery of cooking and sense of travel.

Bourdain is best known for his television shows, most notably, Anthony Bourdain: Ne Reservations on the Travel Channel, and then Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN. On those shows, he brought his personal expertise as a chef who honed his French style in New York’s famous Brasserie Les Halles, as well as his linguistic skills that were certainly on point in his unique culinary books like his first: Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Bourdain always added his wit and charm to every situation, every travel by rickety rail or gondala.

Sadly, we lost Bourdain, last week when he took his own life. Whatever troubled him is still being uncovered, but I want to remember the man who recognized the humanity in all through his extensive travels and trials of different food from different places. Whether you remember the man who certainly lived a life worth living through his shows, his books, his food, or his humorous appearances in shows or films like Archer and The Big Short, remember to look at everyone around you as he did: as fellow people with something to share, to learn from, and to enjoy time with.

Alex

While There is Life, There is Hope

We find ourselves in a bewildering world. We want to make sense of what we see around us and to ask: What is the nature of the universe? What is our place in it and where did it and we come from? Why is it the way it is?

Science is the search for answers. Each field takes an in-depth look at what comprises it and how it all connects. Mathematics works with numbers and their relation to each other through patterns and structures. Chemistry observes the process by which compounds change at a chemical level and how these reactions occur. My studies focused on Biology, and brought me to a pursuit of understanding how living things are made, survive, and reproduce, and how they are all related to one another and can trace their origin back to a single point.

In Biology, this latter statement refers to all living things sharing a common ancestor and evolving into the diverse Tree of Life from it, but in Theoretical Physics it can apply to all of what we know and can observe in the universe (and beyond!) originating from one beginning from which everything was jam packed into a dense singularity and then exploded out into the expanding universe we live in. We know this now as the Big Bang, and a critical component of this theory – a mathematical equation that everything sprouted from a spacetime singularity – was proposed and put forth by one of the greatest minds to grace this Earth.

Stephen William Hawking was born in Oxford, England on January 8, 1942. As a young student, he was recognized by his peers as highly intelligent and called “Einstein”, a fitting nickname for the man who would become renowned for being the first to craft a theory that would bring together Einstein’s famous general relativity with quantum mechanics (which old Albert despised). With Roger Penrose, a pioneer on black hole study, Hawking applied the same mechanics of the formation of black holes to the universe as a whole and the pair later worked (with others) to provide mathematical evidence of this. Hawking went on to contribute much to cosmology, the study of the universe, especially the beginning, growth, and end, an incredible achievement for anyone, but amazing considering his early diagnosis with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Hawking was quickly confined to a wheelchair, and eventually lost his ability to speak, but thanks to technological advancements, and the exceptional support of his family (big shout out to first wife, Jane) Hawking was able to continue to work and communicate his results with others. He became famous for his robotic-sounding speech generating device (SGD) that allowed him to speak without the use of his own voice. Indeed, as the world took notice of Hawking and his work, his SGD voice was his true voice to the world. While the vocal tone itself will still exist, it is a tremendous shame that we will not hear Dr. Hawking’s voice any longer.

Following the extraordinary man’s death at 76, Cambridge University, where he made career, first as a student, and later as a professor and researcher, made this memorial video for him:

Hawking was widely regarded as one of the most intellectual men of all time, and frequently was called the smartest man in the world, and for good reason. As a theoretical physicist, his study of black holes and cosmology (much of which was made freely available recently by the American Physical Society) was groundbreaking. However, it was his talent for simplifying complex theoretical physics, and helping those of us who don’t know a quasar from a quantum better understand black holes. His globally famous book, A Brief History of Time, was a landmark work of science writing and offered the greatest fellow minds of cosmology and laymen alike a look at the universe we all share. I highly recommend it, though I warn that while it does more easily explain black holes and how the universe works, it is still a lot to wrap your brain around. Good thing that Hawking is an excellent teacher.

The radiation emitted by black holes was proposed by Hawking and named “Hawking radiation” in honor of his discovery of it.

Hawking’s humor and wit made him relatable despite his insanely higher intelligence, and this helps in his writing in books like A Brief History of Time, as well as the numerous scientific shows he hosted. Not to mention, it also helped to put him on the pop culture map when he portrayed himself (or at least a hilarious version of himself) on shows like Star Trek: The Next GenerationThe Simpsons, and Futurama. He also was a great interview guest, with my favorite appearance on Last Week Tonight. And of course, Hawking’s life and romance with Jane was the subject of the terrific film The Theory of Everything, for which Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for playing the phenomenal physicist.

Hawking’s aptitude for presenting heavy information in a light manner inspired others to share his findings, including his daughter, Lucy.

Many scientists that followed him, have also made the most of his findings and skill for explaining  them to the everyman.

He lived quite a life, and will be sorely missed by many, but whenever life gets you down,… well, I’ll let the masters explain what to do:

Thanks for reading and watching. In the words of Stephen Hawking, “Remember to look up at the stars, and not down at your feet.”

Alex

 

 

I Must Respectfully Rant

Can we collectively take a knee for women everywhere? I don’t mean as a gesture of marriage proposal, but as a symbolic gesture of support akin to the National Anthem kneeling that has so many people riled up. There have been a few times that I have aimed to discuss that very topic and the debate over it, but while it is simple in premise and execution, in the current United States’ politically-polarized climate, I feel it is a contentious issue with some valid arguments to be made from both sides. Perhaps I will tackle it (teehee) in a future post – and I will say that legally it is not breaking any laws and is protected under the first amendment, and personally, I don’t have a problem with it, and were I skilled enough to be a professional football player, then I would be kneeling with Colin Kaepernick and the rest – but I will hold off on getting further in depth on that debate once more because evidently there is some misunderstanding that needs clarification first. To all my fellow males, both in positions of political and professional authority and out in the rest of the world: it is not okay to make undesired, non-consented advances toward women, nor is it all right to touch women anywhere unless they allow it. Got it? Are you sure? Because lately it seems that far too many of us really don’t comprehend this. And that is a serious problem.

They are different issues to be sure, but similar to the problem with police over-aggressiveness toward minorities, this is not simply a problem with “a few bad apples”. The worst offenders are a small percent of the total population, but there is a greater systematic fault in the manner of the population’s thinking. Too many of us do not understand the boundaries of what is appropriate and what is unacceptable. How can you know when you are about to cross the line if you do not know where the line is?

We can recognize that this problem exists and spans across our society, but how do we repair it? As with all problems, we start to solve it by taking what we know and using it to instruct us in learning more. In this case, we understand now (for the most part) how to properly treat each other, especially in regards to men interacting with women, so we apply that knowledge to the next generation. As Crosby, Stills, & Nash sang, teach your children well. If we can properly educate our children, the future will be better (that applies to soooo much more than this too). However, while this helps things get better down the line, how do we manage to make things better now?

Our current culture evidently has not made it explicitly clear to all as to what proper behavior is, so how do we correct the conduct that is improper within this era? I confess, I don’t really know how to do this. This is not my field of expertise to be sure, yet even I can see that there is no clear cut answer to rectify the wrongdoings of so many men from so many walks of life. Lately, the news has highlighted the exploits of a few notable politicians and celebrities who have made unwelcome advances toward women, but these are not the only men who have committed such heinous acts. It is also true that it is not limited to men, and while I do not wish to gloss over the number of women who sexually pressure men, like the issue of National Anthem kneeling, I do not want to distract from the main issue at hand. Furthermore, any shout of “women do it too; don’t forget that!” is not an argument as much of a diversion. Women have endured mistreatment from men throughout human history, and despite things being much better in the modern world compared to the past, there are still many inherent disadvantages presented to them that prevents equal treatment from their male peers. I fear that we as a society will not truly accept women as equal to men until we make changes that mark women as equal to men, like equal pay. Such an established level of official equality would force old-fashioned, wrongful thinking regarding females in the United States to update or fucking deal with it.

At least that’s the hope. Because whether you like it or not, the United States holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal. Women should have the same opportunities to succeed in life as men do, and they should not have to be humiliated or endure inappropriate behavior to achieve this. That part, at least, is just that simple.

Thanks for reading. Hit me up with any questions, comments, or suggestions at monotrememadness@gmail.com, and be sure to swing back here next week, and treat your fellow man and woman with the utmost of respect.

Yours most respectfully,

Alex

Oh the Weird and Wonderful

Happy Birthday Weird Al! Today the King of Parody turns 58, and his musical make-funnery is still flowing as long as his curly locks. Two years ago, I posted a list of my favorite songs from each of his albums, and today I am going to include a selection of some of his personal video clips often posted to his hilarious YouTube channel. As you will see, Mr. Yankovic’s humor is far beyond lyrical, and his love for skewering the grammatically incorrect (oh man, I hope I wrote that all properly) and for pointing out the ridiculousness of real life reaches outside of the realm of music. Behold!

Let’s not forget the moments somebody else filmed either, like his most recent win at the 2015 Grammys.

And his hysterical reaction to it:

Al Yankovic has made a career of being weird from his earlier days:

…to more recent times:

Hopefully he will continue to do so for many years to come. Happy birthday ya weirdo!

Thanks for reading, and mostly watching and listening. Be sure to polka on back here next week for more wacky fun with the latest State of the Season recap.

Keep it weird,

Alex

Nobody Exists on Purpose. Nobody Belongs Anywhere. Everybody’s Going to Die. Come Watch TV.

As exciting as it has been to have new Game of Thrones episodes to watch over the past two Sundays, it pales in comparison to the return of one of the greatest shows ever made. Rick and Morty returns with the long-awaited second episode of the even longer-awaited third season this Sunday on Adult Swim at 11:30pm EST. If you’ve read some of my stuff before then you know I’m a big fan of both, but where George R.R. Martin’s incredibly intricate world and detailed characters are my preferred option for fantasy, mystery, and speculation, Rick and Morty is a show with an unending universe, nay, multiverse of possibilities that always surprises with how delightfully strange, silly, and smart it can be. Among poop jokes and quick quips about random pop culture are some brilliant subtexts that call into question everything we take for granted. I’ve never seen a show so masterfully handle sensitive subjects like religion so succinctly in such a skewering manner as the B-plot of an episode that runs 24 minutes. 24 minutes! You can learn more about what is going on with that particular episode from Jared and the Wisecrack crew:

When it comes down to it though, I love Rick and Morty because it connects with me so well. Rick and Morty just get me, man. This is of course true for many others, and the show has been a major common interest for some of my best friends and I over the last three and a half years.

Rick and Morty has also helped me to sort out my own stance on religious belief. I have always been a spiritual soul (perhaps “soul” isn’t the right word for this, but I like the alliteration). I attribute this to a degree to my years of Catholic education, the latter nine of which were at Jesuit schools. The Jesuits follow the example of the founder of their order, St. Ignatius of Loyola, in seeing God in everything.  Between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere! Yes! Even between the land and the ship. Of course the previous sentence is a line offered up by Yoda to Luke to teach him about the Force, which should indicate where most of my sense of spirituality comes from. I do not identify as a Jedi on my census form; I still mark Roman Catholic when asked about my religious affiliation, but where once I believed in the whole truth of the dogma, then to most of it, then to some of it, and now to almost none of it that is not historical at its core (the Romans did some not so nice things to the people of Jerusalem; there was a dude named Jesus who earned some friends among these downtrodden folks; the Romans perceived him as a threat and encouraged his execution, etc.).

My continued education in science, theology, and philosophy – which remember all occurred at Catholic schools – really cast doubt on what had frequently been presented to me as “the way it is”. The teachers and professors who challenged me to challenge my own beliefs were my Bruce Hornsby. No one person or event brought about my shift from faithful to factual, but all played a critical role in my growth as a person and my understanding of the universe (or perhaps multiverse!).

My favorite scenes in Rick and Morty were some of the final pieces for my personal philosophy regarding life as I know it. The first time I saw the show was midway through the first season and I binged all six episodes that had been released at that point. The sixth and final episode I watched, “Rick Potion #9”, might just be my favorite episode yet. The ending of it is one of the finest wrap-ups I have ever seen in any TV show, and again it was all done in less than a half hour. With the world wrecked by his Cronenberg-like mutants, Rick portals himself and Morty to a universe where the two of them have returned things to normal and promptly died. Rick explains nonchalantly how there are infinite realities and encourages Morty to not worry about it, but it’s all too much for Morty to take and we see his wide eyes gazing around this new, yet familiar world in shock while Mazzy Star’s “Look on Down from the Bridge” perfectly matches the tone on the scene.

I knew I would love this show forever after this. I never expected the wild ending filled with hilarity and high-concept sci-fi, not to mention the use of one of my favorite band’s best songs to wrap it all together. It was love at first sight. What a show, and what an earth-shaking bolt of doubt sent to my core. On the one hand, it’s a cartoon telling fart jokes, but on the other it has got some things to say and they are not always easy to hear. Just two episodes later, in another round of what seemed to be senseless humor for the sake of it, Rick and Morty offered up the best line I have ever heard in my life. That is not hyperbole; Morty’s words to Summer in “Rixty Minutes” are my mantra now. They have become a truth that I live by, and they were part of a B-plot to a primary storyline that consisted of Justin Roiland’s freestyling improvisation that had been animated.

After learning that she was an unintended pregnancy that prompted the marriage of her parents and would not have existed had they not decided against the abortion they were considering, Summer plans to pack up and run away when Morty takes a break from Ballfondlers to give her the dose of reality that I have titled this post after.

My dad was never much of a religious man, but he told me he and his fellow soldiers would offer up their own prays of sorts at times during his tour in Vietnam. He quoted the old adage, “There’s no atheists in a foxhole.” It makes sense that our natural fear of death is easier to accept when you believe there is something waiting for you after your life on Earth ends. We even see ultra-cynic Rick experience this from time to time:

Gotta love those countless Schrodinger’s cats to represent uncertainty.

It’s important to separate belief from fact. This is something that is easier said than done, but it is critical to ensuring that we do not take what is objective and muddle it with what is subjective. Facts can be proven as they have evidence that can be observed and replicated to back them up. Belief is what we choose to accept in the lack of evidence. Some beliefs can be disproved by established facts, i.e. global climate change is human caused and happening; there are hats. Belief in a deity or deities, or belief in an afterlife get tricky because these are not things that able to represented directly by scientific data. We step more within philosophy and the utilization of logic, especially in regards to what has been seen and what is most likely to be less false, but not necessarily more true.

Enjoy the continuing new season of my favorite television show on today, and enjoy your life and share it with others regardless of their beliefs. One of my friends questions the validity of the moon landing and I still speak to him. My oldest friend with whom I have made many great memories graduated from the University of Michigan and I still hang around with him. The point is, we are all different in less important ways yet have so much in common in what really matters. Religious belief can be helpful to help one find peace in the everyday, as well as for healing someone who has endured trauma. As long as religion promotes living in harmony with your fellow man, then it can do tremendous good. Many hospitals are managed by faith organizations, even more schools offer a better education in some areas (mine included), and mission work throughout the world helps to provide both by treating illness and educating populations without proper health care or formal schooling available. As long as faith does not become a banner of hate or blind following, it can help bring humanity closer to itself. Kindness is key, and ideally we can carry on with it without the need of enticement of eternal happiness.

Thanks for reading and watching! Portal back here next week for the quarterly recap in the State of the Season. As always, send any questions, comments, or suggestions to monotrememadness@gmail.com.

Don’t trip along the way,

Alex