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Friday, February 23rd, 2018
1:12 am - Hi
I'm not dead.

That is all.

If you miss me?

Twitter: reidhcooper

Twitch: RHCooper (I sometimes stream)

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Wednesday, July 5th, 2017
4:19 am - If you bet on me, you bet wrong!
You lay your chips on the roulette wheel, you say hit me on the blackjack, you toss out numbers in the lottery, you choose your winner by name. Sometimes you choose stats or experience, or just randomly, but your chances at walking away richer are pretty slim to none, especially when you bet on me always having a perfect wonderful life.

On Friday morning June 30th 2017 I went to Stamford, Connecticut to spend time with long time friends.  I've known Pam since I was 15, she worked with my mother and despite her being 25 and my mom 45, she became very close friends with both of us with totally different relationships.  I saw her get married and through her three daughters, now aged soon to be 17 and soon to be 12, who I've babysat, taught, hung out with, learned from and all the good things.  It's been wild times, interesting times, crazy times, wonderful times.  They moved down to New Zealand about two years ago and I haven't seen them in person in that time, so all the time I could take being with these 4 women and one man (it took a long time for me and the husband to become friends, but we did) who make me smile, I was taking it.

That evening while we stayed in the husband's father's home throwing a big BBQ, watching an amazing early fireworks display, enjoying company, swimming in a pool and just being happy was a stolen moment of joy. As was the next day after waking up and spending as much time as possible before returning to reality.

When I got home reality crashed into me like freight truck head on collision. My computer's hard drive completely died. When I say dead, I mean dead. If I got a new drive it would need to replaced in a system that while top of the line 5 years ago was now pretty damn obsolete as was also housed in a case in which so much labor was involved to just get the harddrive out if someone else other then I had done it was easily a $500 job. To then repair and get the computer back to snuff would've cost at least another 300-500, basically as as much as buying a new system and with maybe only a year left before something else failed, if something else hadn't already a choice was made. The system had actually suffered what is called as blue screen of death followed by an imminent failure as seen below as I discovered while shopping and surveying what to do at multiple stores in town. While I could have ordered a system online I am still iffy about certain things in that manner still and electronics at this level is one of them

That Sunday I ended up purchasing what is known as Omen by HP. It's a juicy system and upgradeable, but at $1100+ after taxes and insurance just in case that won't be happening soon for this system.  A brand new computer means a lot of set up though and that occupied most of my energies Sunday and Monday and by Tuesday I was still trying to recover from the topsy-turvy of the high of Friday/Saturday, the down of Saturday night/Sunday morning, the crazy of Sunday afternoon-Monday night that pretty much anything related to say Livejournal took a divebomb. On top of that I had already scheduled Tuesday night for my mother as we rarely get time together and that just dovetailed into me making one of two decisions. I could drop out of Livejournal or I could deliver a life story, filter it in with photos along the way, but I must warn you if you thought you were going to get an amazing, over the top, "oh my god greatest entry in Livejournal history" from Reid Harris Cooper this week, you probably made the wrong bet.

You didn't just lose the farm, you lost the bank, the bank's kids, the cow, the cow's milk, the kids that drank the milk, the school that served the milk to the kids who ditched school to visit the farm that was now gone, they were also the bank's kids who proceeded to crash the car you also lost and on top of that you even lost the whole kit and kaboodle and the kitchen sink. You do not pass go, you do not collect $200 and you might even go straight to jail. That's the way that cookie crumbles, but I sure do hope you like looking at fire works.Fireworks are pretty... mesmerize yourself with fireworks.

written for Week 23 -Backing the wrong horse (I'm the horse) (and I edited this in some weird LJ online editor cause I didn't have SeMagic installed yet, and then I re-re-edited in Semagic

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Saturday, June 24th, 2017
2:18 am - Her eyes were dark and piercing.
I can see ghosts. Not like the traditional way one can see ghosts in films or the way they CLAIM on reality shows. I can just see them. If there's a ghost in a space, I can see it. I can sense if it's a friendly or unfriendly spectre. I don't have this happen often, but mostly because there are less ghosts in the world then people think. I also only find myself in places where they would be stuck and earth bound on very uncommon occurrence.

One such was on Staten Island at the abandoned facility known as the farm colony. There is a ton of history to the location which would allow for many lost souls to be stuck there. An actual colony in which immigrants were put to work in exchange for room and board, a tuberculosis quarantine, a mental asylum, the location where two noted serial killers supposedly did their work crawling through the woods and the underground and a long time standing ruin for graffiti, paint gun wars, bum crashers, and urban explorers. Soon most of it will actually be razed, or reconstructed into housing, but when I went. The multiple times I did, it was just a den of ubiquitous other weirdly sensation with art and history quaking through its walls.

Many of the buildings is a quiet solitude. You can sense much had happened there, but nothing foreboding. You could walk through without fear of losing your life if you just stepped carefully. With enough sunlight you could see everywhere and take amazing photos. If you're lucky you might even go when others are there too, making it an adventure meeting fellow risk takers. I say risk takers as it is was and is a huge no trespassing zone. Even more so now that the property has been actually bought instead of just existing in the middle of the island unused, just a ton of land and structures sitting of days gone by.

On one trip there though there was a building that impenetrable. Not by a door or a blockage by a force. My exploration partner and I turned on our flashlights and stared into the darkness ahead of us. We could see the stairwell that would lead us from the basement to the higher floors. Yet, we could not enter. We would try but something pushed back. Not any something, a specific something. A thing that did not want to be disturbed from its final resting place.

We went back out and looked around trying to make sense of it all. I felt the force more then my partner. He just knows to trust me if something just feels... wrong. I'm looking at the building and look in a window. Then I see her. She's very young. I wouldn't deem her pretty, cause can apparition be considered such, but you can tell had she grown to be older she'd had a of attention thrown her way. She looked both sad and angry. As if she wishes she could open the window or tear down the invisible forcefield, but was too scared. She didn't like being stuck there but also didn't like anyone else being nearby. The infinite loneliness of knowing some could see her and she could see all, but none could ever touch her, or truly speak to her.

I wonder what shall happen to her soul if they fully tear down the building. She'll it seep into the ground forever emanating through the structures. What is built new above never truly cleansed of everything that came before. What of the other souls stuck there, the murdered, the broken, left behind and forgotten with no white light. Shall this farm colony always be a place one dare not tread, no matter how much it calls to you?

written for therealljidol - Week 22 - Turn Back or Forge Ahead? - Trespassers William

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Thursday, June 15th, 2017
5:13 pm - Art Destroyed By Nature
Ruin porn is photographic imagery of buildings
that have dilapidated so much they look like ancient relics
as nature takes its natural form and regrows around it
Very frequently these abandoned structures will be covered in graffiti
Older classic architecture of course left undone such as the coliseum in Athens

One day this present time will become a ruin porn itself
and in cities like New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco
that have adopted murals and graffiti not as vandalism but as beautification
shall become new worlds of destination for photographers, adventurers,
daredevils and explorers alike.

What will they make of the imagery created of this time
as rain peels and chips
vines overgrow
Young artists more interested in themselves then history
sloppily place their names over
the remnants of the intricate aerosol and paintings
some 100s feet tall peeping out
as a reminder of the world that came before

Only the art will know of the day the rain came so heavy
that the rail bridge broke
the train fell over killing thousands
as it rolled over and over
on top of residencies
then retail stores
then crashing through the ground all the way
down into the subway platform
creating a domino effect
not just throughout one city
but the entire country
then soon the entire world

That's all it'll take
a fly landing on a chipped barricade
causing structures to fall much like Tetris
without a place to land
a dog pissing on a hydrant so hard it rusts it shut
so when the firemen need it that one drastic day
the universe gets engulfed in flames

Till that fateful time
Admire the world behind you
Endure to make the one in front of you
stay alive.

Inspired by the article "Forest Hills murals damaged by water" published on The Queens Chronicle from June 8th, 2017.

written for therealljidol Season 10- Week 21 - Current Events

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Tuesday, June 6th, 2017
12:27 pm - LJ Idol Season 10-Week 20-Open Topic (A return to what it was like just being on Livejournal)
Back when I wasn't so ingrained in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in sharing my daily life, thoughts, links, opinions and feelings I threw everything down into Livejournal. Sometimes I would get so busy with life I would have to keep memories, thoughts, notes and photos in a little corner to collect till I was ready to make a big journaling/memoring of the last few days. Earlier this week when Open Topic popped up I actually thought I'd do that for this weekend, no matter what happened, be it simple or crazy. Turns out it was a pretty great weekend/three days for that, so away we go. Join my adventure.
Friday I headed out to an art exhibit reception called Digital Short Stories, put together by the MFA in Visual narrative from SVA. It's a intensive summer master's program that I'm taking keen interest in applying for next year. It's quite expensive, but from the work I saw simply from these first year students, there is tons of learning and creative happening. There were all mediums explored, comics, storytelling via painting, a visual interactive novel, false journalism, photography and film. These were the final works of the current first year students and they were seriously impressive. In terms of truly giving to the work and putting the most into it I was personally excited by three particular projects. If you had the financial position to be in the program, you'd hope/assume you'd have extra funds to really bring anything you create through it alive as you are developing a portfolio that can live forever. Here are the three that really caught my eye.

Kenny Nam's Phobia Clinic- a motion comic about superheroes, dreams, therapy, etc. which he had also printed bookmarks for, showed the makings of someone who came into comics as a second career but definitely someone I'd keep an eye on for the future.

Jenny Bee's Equivoque – an interactive visual novel about magic and illusion, available on the iTunes App Store for iPads and also on Steam Greenlight awaiting approval (up vote it). Jenny also created promo cards with each card doubling as a playing card, as well as pins.

Roda Althani's Clipperton Island – a collection of photos, videos, and memoir turned into a lovely digital format about one of the survivors of the tyranny of Alvarez, self proclaimed king of Clipperton Island. While this story has been told many times and many many ways, Roda's visual interpretation through the journal is captivating. She also printed up lovely postcards of other images that have captured this amazing story that deserves multiple telling.

While there I spent time discussing the work with the students as well as the lead teacher of the program Nathan Fox, just getting more and more of a feel while I await some financial news that will determine a lot.

Afterwards I headed to Trader Joe's where I got a share of excellent goods, then walked over to my good friend David's for some alone talking time before his big yacht birthday party the next day where we wouldn't get to talk as much, it being a party after all.

Spent most of the morning reading and then watching the season 3 finale of GOTHAM so when it aired on Monday I could enjoy it in another way. Then I had to get to the city though to meet up with David and the other birthday girl Adrienne and her husband Mike and assist with food shopping cause that's just something I'm extremely good at, picking items, knowing prices, quantifying size to cost etc.

From there we got on the ferry to Jersey to catch the Yacht. It was a perfect, beautiful day for a three hour tour around the Hudson river. Traditionally tours on the amazing Yacht Justine are fully catered, but this birthday party was end of the day special favor from the owner to the birthday guests after a full day of giving cruises, to be followed by a pool and spa party at the yacht owner's house. We had a great crew of folks, we danced, we talked, we danced, we ate, we took in the views, we danced, it was an amazing time. I spent a lot of time getting to know one of the folks I didn't know at all in Antoinette and she was pretty cool.

She drove me over to the party after and because she wanted to grab a bottle of wine we stopped at a liquor store along the way where I got to scope a kind of hidden off the path amazing mural by Ekundayo.

More amazing conversation and fun was had by all till around midnight where I was very happy and lucky to get driven to a train station near my house and catch a train and the LAST bus of the night so I didn't have to do the mile walk home after 4 hours of dancing on a boat and more.

The weather was no where as good as Saturday. It even rained a bit. Yet, I got to spend time with my best friend and “brother” Nick and my “sister in law” Terri. We stopped at a greenery and picked up plants and herbs for planting which we then proceeded to do back at their place. Nick and I also took an old grill and with a lot of maneuvering removed the gas part to just turn it into a perfect grill for coal/wood, natural style over the summer when it gets hot enough.

After all that and just random hanging and watching dumb stuff we eventually found a flick to watch on Netflix
Headshot from Indonesia. Supposedly the star is from some popular Indonesia martial arts series. I have no clue. I just know the film was a live action cartoon (although not from a cartoon, just the style). Crazy over the top fights, illogical romance, plot holes, good acting and lots of fun.

We paused the movie at one point because it was 8 or 9 PM and we were super hungry so we headed out to get dinner. Hit up this place called Tikka over on 30th Ave (Astoria, Queens), not too far from their house... about a mile. Really tasty Indian, we all really enjoyed it. That and finishing the movie when we got back made it a pretty fulfilling evening.

When I got home around midnight or so I decided to watch the WWE wrestling PPV that had aired live earlier that night. By not seeing it when it was on I could just fast forward, which was nice. I got to see some bits I enjoyed and skip forward whatever bored me and it let me know what was going on in my drug addiction show.

A weekend of networking, adventure, action, good food, great friends. If only every weekend could be that way, or every day. Yet, if it was, when would know it was better to appreciate it?

written for therealljidol, but also for me, you and everyone else

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Wednesday, May 24th, 2017
11:44 pm - You Are Cordially Invited To
Take a look inside my mind
You might not like what you may find
Secrets buried deep behind
I'll let you in but I won't let you out
welcome to the maze inside the puzzle
wrapped in the enigma surrounded by the labyrinth
built inside a house of horrors
disguised to look like a castle of fantastic dreams
flowers of beauty, their thorns only revealed
when it's too late and you've been pricked

What lies here in the recesses
stays there, like skeletons in the closet
you shall not find the key
We all have our frivolities
such more trivialities
make-up only hides
the real glamour trying to
break free

Pass the bottle
for it's a party
everyone gets a turn
to commit some kind of crime
life's too short
and full of rich tapestries
to not pull on the threads
and claw your way to the ceilings
swing from the chandelier
is what they say
spin so hard you crash
straight into the sun

You won't burn
or fade away
legends aren't born
they're made
the story didn't write you
character is more than dna
building blocks
they come crashing down
like jenga made of lego
you just build them back up
different stronger better stranger smarter weirder

Locked in the carousel
I'll keep it fun
I promise


written for therealljidol-Season 10-Week 19-Invitation
side note: "Life's Rich Tapestries" by Modern English... a song that I grew up on.

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Thursday, May 18th, 2017
1:44 am - If You Can Make it Here... (you can't make it anywhere, but maybe?)
Living in the destination capital of the world (according to some), New York City, means many things. Major bands come to play here and getting to the arena is never too hard, but it also means tickets may cost more then anywhere else. Major conventions happen here too, but they're also super pricey. Restaurants of every kind of menu and food you'd like. They exist as well, but for some you better be okay spending $25-$75 a person for one meal.

There's plenty of free stuff though and amazing experiences. Especially for a resident who signs up for an iD Card. Free admission to all the zoos and museums for a year, with a chance to sign up for a super discount at the end. On top of that though is just basic awesome free stuff. Looking at my next four days alone we got a huge van designed to look like Rick of Rick and Morty making two stops in Brooklyn in front of places who will be selling food i& drink inspired by the show. The food isn't free, nor is the exclusive merchandise in the van, but the photo opportunities are. On Friday, the same channel [adult swim] that airs Rick and Morty is presenting a free party of the second season of Neon Joe Werewolf Hunter with episode airings, cast appearance, live music and giveaways and more surprises they say. On Saturday there's a big street festival with live music and local quality restaurants serving under $5 fares as part of a birthday celebration of the area's local market. Then on Sunday, the stop and swap, a program every year where I add a ton of great books, cds, and more to my already too big collection swings by locally. I've actually scored some amazing items for free at this event. One man's “garbage” is another man's treasure. Full comic collections, old video games, an electric crock pot, awesome stuffed creatures. I rescue them and give them a new home or at least try to.

Now where I live locally isn't totally considered a great location. While I am in walking distance to a zoo, a park, an art museum, great restaurants, two big malls, and even a place where major wrestling shows take place... it is still not considered a destination location. None of Queens is considered as such despite it being one because of all it offers.

The reason for this is because its “too far” from everything else. When in reality its only a half hour, in people's minds, it's 2-4 hours away.

I understand this though. Basically other than the swap meet it'll take money & distance & time to actually get to places in the vast space known as one of the best locations ever. It's a misnomer though. Brooklyn is far from Queens. Unless you have a car, but then you have to find parking and then the parking you'll find is so far from your final destination you may as well have just stayed home or just walked or taken a train.

If given proper opportunity I would move from New York in a heartbeat. It'd have to be certain places though. I don't want to start driving. I still need crazy opportunities like this weekend at a moment's notice. So basically Philadelphia or San Francisco. Nothing else would really fit.

Even then though would come the fact that many cool things in PA are not in Philly and you do need a car to get to places like amusement and water parks, smaller towns where great shows happens and the such as the public transportation option is ridiculous. Although one probably could survive in Philly on its lonesome. I know my brain though, I'll find regrets. In San Francisco, while getting around the town is awesome, you'd want to experience wine country...so you need someone with a car. Also sometimes you'd want to go to L.A. But it's actually easier to get from NYC to Boston or Philly than it is for SF to LA. We're talking six hours by car, 13 hours by bus. California is a long long state. Imagine if it was compacted? Everyone would move there so fast if it was just LA, SF, SD within a half hour to an hour apart.

So I guess living in New York City has its perks. It really is a great location to live in. Options galore.
Although I must state... my best prospects for a relationship have all been in other states... so... location versus distance is still a factor that can get to my soul.

I have friends in NYC, but I have friends all over the place and at times, most times, many times, the friends who would leap at the chance for some of the things I do in NYC live in Philly or San Francisco and even Philly isn't just where you can jump and leap. It's close, but it's not THAT close. Especially figuring either bus or if by car, gas and tolls. It adds up. Unless you're getting paid money when you get to either place it's still a bump in that wallet. It's something to always consider. Even myself with this 4 days of events. While everything is free, it'll still cost upwards of $100. Minimum of $20 if I don't eat, don't buy anything, don't get a drink. Which is possible. It can be done, but it's just a lot less fun and makes taking advantage of being at a location almost worthless. I mean we're talking about a special pizza based on the first episode of season 3 of Rick and Morty. Then a special Rick and Morty cocktail. At the street festival, special treats from special restaurants. Can't not try something. The Friday event should only cost me getting there, but who knows who I might meet? Who knows what could happen after? Must always be prepared for everything and anything when you live in a city that never sleeps and neither do you.

written for therealljidol - Week 18- Topic "Location, Location, Location" - Partner: encrefloue

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Saturday, May 6th, 2017
10:51 am - Where and How I Live
My father's Parkinson's got him to a state of mostly wheelchair bound, needing constant assistance and care around the time I was 25 years old. At that time in my life I constantly had an inner battle with myself of moving out on my own and possibly feeling crushing guilt for years or sticking around and helping my mother with this very arduous task. It meant changing my father's diapers, walking him from room to room and more depravity then you want to imagine in being a caregiver. It is an unforgiving position, but one I put myself in. I do not regret choosing to stick around, because who knows what answer or outcome was right?

At a certain point my parents were planning to move to Florida and I would take over the nice 2 bedroom with sunken living room and plenty of space in an easy low rent area of Queens (at the time, now its skyrocketed). Unfortunately my father's health was never strong enough for the move, so I stuck around more. When my father passed I was 30 years old, had a well paying job and had just broken up with a long term girlfriend (actually I was dumped out of nowhere without explanation and no true answers to this day, but that's something else altogether and it was never a healthy relationship to begin with even if it lasted months).

My father's death broke something in me that till now I still struggle to recover. It's this unknowing thing, this mental block that even therapy has yet to fully reveal. That well paying job suffered from it though and was soon gone. Money wasn't a huge problem, so after this I could've moved out on my own, but my mom equally needed me. Her health was fine, but she was now a grieving widow and at the time still under 70, so plenty of life still to live.

She also I believe felt a type of guilt because of me taking the burden of dad on my shoulders and then the apartment not becoming mine when they had to stay for his health. Hence having me stay around was basically a ballast for us both. Finding a nice sized apartment in NYC with a roommate you don't want to kill isn't easy. I have best friends and I think if we lived together I would have NO friends within 2-3 months. Parents are different. They might not like the way you live and you might not like their habits, but you've gotten use to each other. You accept each others habits even when they drive you nuts. You'll fight and bite and fight and bite, but in the end you'll come back together. I know this isn't true with many families, but it is with mine.

For the last eight years I've hoped the call would come from Hollywood, or another state. Better yet I would've found the significant other, as my mom has been lucky to do. Then I would fly the “roost” and figure out the craziness of living alone. Although, as my mother now spends most days at her significant others place fairly far from home I have the bachelor life, so it is like living alone with a roommate who comes by once in awhile and having any other roommate who cared about dirty dishes, garbage and sweeping but only did those things themselves once in awhile.

For now and the currently foreseeable future it's a satisfying situation, we help each other out, the rent stays low as she's still a legal resident here 3-4 days of the week, a senior citizen and lived here for 40 years. She keeps clothes here and a bed, so it's her apartment that I get to occupy as her son and it's a working system for all parties. I know that she wishes I found that dream job, that dream lover and went off to that dream life. I also know she understands the reality of both NYC and the world in terms of real estate, employment and finding love. I don't understand any of it, but I know it's hard.

So I live in the same place I was raised. It's slowly become my place, as books, games, toys, and more have taken over the living room, the foyer and the master bedroom that is mine. The kitchen is my domain since I have the culinary training. The financial situation of it all is a bit more complicated. I pay my share in my way and in return I have a roof over my head, which is all some of us truly ask for in this life. A roof, a place to lie your head and some food.

written for therealljidolWeek 17-Blind Box-Topic 1-The Rent I Pay

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Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017
1:26 pm - A Life In Performing
My acting career has been a strange, wild and crazy turn. Parts of it just seem like fantasy because of where I am now in my life. The pieces don't truly add up. The people I've met, the people I've worked with. The places I've gone, the things I've seen and done. If you threw all the equations into IBM's Watson or the Super computer in The Hitchhiker's Trilogy you wouldn't get an answer that said me...or my life now. You wouldn't even get something simple like 42. No, there's no way you get the almost 40 seeking work, struggling for money, always single, dealing with crazy friends, unsure of the next step me.

My first major screen role was non speaking, but a prominent feature in a commercial for Continental Airlines. I was the young kid really upset a new baby was coming into the world and wanted to beat it up. My grandfather was played by the dearly departed Jewish comedian Fyvush Finkel. The baby had all the dialogue, a voiceover by Lorenzo Music, famous for Garfield, Peter Venkman in The Real Ghostbusters and more. Not long after that commercial, I landed a second national campaign for a product that didn't last on the market, through no fault of me, the product was just not good, it was known as the Hershey's Brownie (pre-packaged). They were way too sweet in the Little Debbie format.

From there things kind of nosedived, but not completely. In Junior High I was the star or major part of a production all three years. The robot in some original play the cast wrote, the king in Pippin, and the major comedic roles in Bye Bye Birdie as The Mayor and Ed Sullivan. I was probably the only one who could actually do an Ed Sullivan impression. During JHS I got a share of extra work which put me on set with many actors and directors. Being the kid I was I found a way to meet and talk with them through forced chance or circumstance. David Caruso on China Girl, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore on Mortal Thoughts, Joyce Chopra on Lemon Sisters, Danny Aiello on The Pickle.

As I entered high school work slowed down just a tad, regulated mostly to the summers, but one job in particular always sticks with me. My almost two month stint on the sets of A Bronx Tale. I learned poker from the mob, had long conversations with Chazz Palmintierri and Robert deNiro, found out I was taller then Joe Pesci (and I was a short kid.. I was 16 standing in for 8 year olds). When I ended up leaving my first high school and going to an alternative one acting took a bit of back burner as I was in internship programs which took up a lot of my time. I'm pretty sure I got an extra role here and an extra role there along the way, but it only picked up slightly after highschool and before college.

It was that year between graduating and then deciding to pursue college that I worked as a stand-in for Ben Stiller on Flirting with Disaster. That meant working closely with David O. Russell, who was the guy he's been portrayed to be, but I also got to hang out with Patricia Arquette. Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara visited the set and took a quick liking to me, so we hung out for a bit. It's actually a bit hard to judge which experience was better between that and A Bronx Tale. Although the Pickle was pretty high too, since that was also when I spoke with Paul Mazursky , met Donald Trump for the first time (okay, that's not a good thing to many I know), and had Isabella Rosselini as my mother.

When I was in college, film work took another back seat, but I didn't stop acting. No siree, not even remotely. I was in multiple productions throughout. Three Sisters by Chekov,
A Commedia Dell'Arte, an African soliloquy where I drummed, a series of solo long monologue performances, the 24 Hour Plays all three years in roles of directing, acting and writing and I even hosted a variety show where I finally started breaking into the avant-garde work I was truly born to do and a weekly poetry sit around where I continued that weirdness. I started working for a production company that eventually through my help became Theatermania which was an amazing experience.

After college on stage performance definitely took a head lead, performing weekly at the Bowery Poetry Club with a few appearances elsewhere, becoming friends with people of the slam scene like Taylor Mali, Cristin O'Keefe Aptwowicz, Beau Sia, Saul Williams, Mums and more. It was pretty excellent time period for sure because I was more me then any other. Weird, esoteric, unpredictable, out there, gregarious.

Acting roles came in there here and there during the last 20 years well. Enough at least to keep up my SAG dues and stay in the Union then to leave it and rejoin. I was a mental patient in Miracle at St. Anna where I got to be yelled at by Spike Lee just for breathing. I've played a prisoner at least twice... on Law & Order: SVU where I got to hang out with Richard Belzer and the pilot episode of Sneaky Pete with Giovanni Ribisi.

In all of it it's been a blast despite not getting me where I'd like to be. Throughout I've auditioned for bigger roles, but not as frequently as I should. A lot of my fire was killed over 25 years ago. I had gotten this close to playing Rocky Junior in Rocky V. I had even done an incredible screen test with Stallone. Avildsen loved me, Caro loved me, even Sylvester loved me, but I had no chance... the role went to Sage Stallone. To get so close and lose it all to the truth of the world of something basic like nepotism I think broke my spirit and I never fully recovered.

So I am here now, that man who has performed his entire life, while pursuing other dreams figuring out what the next dream is, while continuing to pursue all the ones before and just trying to enjoy the ride.

written for therealljidol Sudden Death - Open Topic

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Thursday, April 27th, 2017
4:18 pm - Shooting Star Leaping Through the Sky Like a Tiger
When I think of a thunder clap... that crashing sound of the sky preparing to open to gushing winds, flashes of sudden light in many colors... I can think of one thing and one thing only.

Not a thunderstorm, not a hurricane, not a tornado sending me off to the land of OZ. No, my ears hear cymbals blasting... the cleanest voice calling forth a hero by the name of Flash Gordon.

I can think only of John Deacon, Roger Taylor, Brian May and Freddie Mercury, the combined forces that called themselves simply QUEEN.

A band the defied genres and by defied I also mean defined. Disco before there was disco, new wave before there was new wave. They birthed the opus of rock operas with Bohemian Rhapsody which doesn't mention a thunderclap but a thunderbolt.

If any group of musicians created sounds and worlds that allowed one to branch out... much like a thundering sound bolt followed by a clash of lightning and a torrent of rain drops and wind in all directions it is and was Queen.

The name itself embodies so many movies and television shows. From Iron Eagle to WWF's Saturday Night's Main Event to Wayne's World to Hardcore Henry and even the final episode of BBC's modern retelling of Sherlock. They have become embedded in culture inherently.

Under Pressure, Slightly Mad, Radio Ga-Ga, everyone knows these songs. Your grandma who only listens to Lawrence Welk, your mom who couldn't tell the difference between Megadeth and Metallica, your elementary school principal who acts like he hates Twisted Sister and at night dressed up like Dee Snider while visiting dominatrix clubs. Your dog, your cat, your iguana, hell, even your aborted fetus knows the words to “We Are the Champions” and could even audition for The Voice and win the damn thing with a cover of “We Will Rock You”.

Queen's influence is so far reaching that there's absolutely NO way “There Can Only Be One” would've reached it's pinnacle of understandable conception and meaning without “Who Wants to Live Forever”.

There was even a graphic novel by a long time friend of mine Mike Dawson, which was about his relationship to Queen and how it shaped much of his young life called Freddie & Me.

Of course they were a huge influence on me as well. Any vocalist worth their mettle tries their best to borrow from Freddie. Any front man who realizes he can't get the vocals tries to capture that presence. That being flamboyant, yet macho attitude. Above it all, yet down to Earth. A god among men, a men among Gods.

Then you got John Deacon, the perennial odd man out amongst the parade of cool. Brian May with his long hair and colored button downs, collar up, opened to the chest or track jacket and scarf. Roger Taylor with his blonde locks, just a definition of calm and collected. Deacon was the dude in the full tuxedo with no flair, the sweater vests and the tacky shirts with no irony, yet he still fit in with the odd group.

I will never be Deacon, Taylor, May or Freddie Mercury, but it doesn't matter... because I can still be rocketship on my way to mars on a collision course, a satellite out of control, a sex machine ready to reload like an atom bomb, I'm gotta explode... so don't stop me now, cause I'm having a good time.

And for fun to your ears, eyes, fingers, toes, legs, arms, head, or whatever nerve endings respond to magic, a little personalized Queen playlist a bit in order to the text.

Written for therealljidol Season 10-Topic 16-"Thunderclap"

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Monday, April 17th, 2017
1:50 am - Patchwork Heart
Play the track for those of you who can and read along... for those of you who can't do both (as I know we have contestants all amazing walks of life), the text works as well as poem as it does as song lyrics that I created a melody for.

Broken, battered,
flattened on the floor
never ever know what I'm gonna do anymore
Shattered, spiked, and tossed away
tiny little pieces all along the railway

Welcome to the real world
nothing really matters
it's all a cliché
every single song
all the movies lied
you don't get the girl
you don't even get the pearls

Every single relationship
ain't what it's cracked up to be
at least that's what life has led me
to believe

Sparkle in their eye is an illusion
everything is temporary
don't lose that needle and thread
trust me you're gonna need it

up from the bottom
almost seen it all
lovers come and gone
ouroboros , swallow yourself whole
empty feelings
don't go into the ether

lingering fingers
phantom limbs of those that held your face
ripped asunder by the lightning
chasing a dragon's tail
lords of fire
very frightening
twister blister
it's all garbled
down the wormhole
once again

the lair of the caterpillar
sitting upon his throne
smoke up the ether
float to the island of the misfit toys
get lost in the snow
drifting off off off

Never knowing
spinning like a hulla hoop
rolling like a pinball
bumping like a boulder
falling like a hurricane
it's a blur

Lust and love expected
elated but jaded
then concentrated
all exposed
unexpectedly tight box wrapped
stitched up like a raggedy ann

written for therealljidol Season 10 - Week 15

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Sunday, April 9th, 2017
5:58 pm - Come sit around, don't get burned, and listen.
Memory can be a lot like a tale told around a camp fire. Each year it changes, it expands, at one point it might've been based on something completely true, but as time goes by and the story is passed on, it evolves. Some years the story will have this or that element, other years it'll be told almost completely differently. It'll get jumbled so that it goes from story to epic and at times back again. It'll become hard to even be sure the order in which the story happened, so a counselor will just do their best or even create a brand new story but somehow down the line, that story will get intertwined with the original story being told about that particular camp and thus classic boogeymen are born.

This is much how my brain recounts all my adventures at summer camp as a whole. I know some facts, I have memories, but years, order, it's all one mishmosh. A fun collage of select happenings that if forged together would be just as good as any Meatballs flick.

My first recall of a summer camp is a simple day camp. I honestly don't remember anything of it other than maybe it was called bide-a-wee? This doesn't seem important since I don't know what I did there or who I met or even what year I went, but I remember going which is... something. My first sleepaway camp provides me with glimpses of kayaking, learning some minor computer programming, horse riding and stepping on a bee and being out of commission for a week as the stinger got stuck deep and caused severe ankle spasms. Lesson here? Do not walk barefoot on grass in the woods or campgrounds. Just don't do it.

The truest memories of a summer camp I have though come from Peter Sklar's. A specialized program of intensive workshops in acting, singing, dance, commercial work. Everything in the gamut of being a child actor, while still being an actual camp too. There was tennis, cabins, cafeteria food, romances, those friends you may never see again. A big bonfire and that final dance. It was a strange, unusual, crazy couple of weeks. Some of it exists on a video tape produced by the camp. I was a weird crazy kid. On the video there was this one day where people were paired up to be coming down in line dance, couples, best friends, etc. just outside in the grass. Just silly camp stuff. The kind of stuff we needed because the workshops were like actually being in a class. For whatever damn inexplicable reason that I can not and shall never fathom other than... I'm Reid Harris Cooper, I did something else.

It's one thing for me to talk about this though and another for you to see it.
So here's the description I wrote about this incident 7 years ago when I also posted a video of it.
Here is some footage of me spliced together from 22 year old worn down beat up VHS tape which has lost footage, tracking and clarity over the years. It showed me at 9 years old in the summer of 1987 at a performing arts camp.
The middle repeating section was a bit I remember having to FIGHT to be not only allowed to do, but allowed to get on camera. I was very into (and still am) abstract physical comedy. Everyone else was going down the row as happy couples. I even had a female friend who wanted me to do this. I wanted to do a bit where I had an imaginary abusive girlfriend. I don't know why, this was just what I wanted to do. In the end I was lucky enough to have this short clip of that on the video, so I decided to have it repeat constantly, like something you'd see on Jack-Ass.
The ending shows me at our final showcase singing "Little Shop of Horrors". The entire beginning of this got messed up on the tape, that's why only the ending is there.

Reid Harris Cooper at Peter's Summer Camp 1987 from Reid Harris Cooper on Vimeo.

Now the main thing here is when I said 9 I could be wrong. I was maybe 10? Maybe I was 11. I honestly don't remember because my summers were crazy. In one summer I'd be at the camp, doing auditions, going to Florida or Denmark or California and the age of 8-12 kind of merge into a when, where, what, how? Was that all the same summer? Were they different summers?

The year I went to Peter Sklar's I also went to a winter camp he ran. It was as equally a weird and crazy experience. Peter was a jerk to me at this thing, attacking the weight struggles I had started experiencing at that time and have juggled with since. Yet, I also found myself with many friends, an amazing time, and having the older girls thinking I was the best which was a plus and maybe meant I peaked too early cause I could never capture the same magic back in school. Or I did and I just didn't know, but that's a story is for another time. It like summer camp mergers and flows and becomes like a campfire tale.

The absurdity of my life, or at least how my brain remembers it brings me to one more summer camp story. I like everything else can't recall when or where this thing was and the evidence of it also seems to have disappeared forever, unlike the evidence of the Sklar camp (it's in this apartment SOMEWHERE on some tape). It was an intensive media program through someone else that taught me how to operate a camera, how to write a script, special effects. All that kind of stuff. My class or group or crew or whatever you want to call us made our own version of War of the Worlds, focusing on the idea of people believing a fake news broadcast. Yet with a twist... we thought we were lying about aliens... but then... aliens do come down and start killing us all and the public doesn't realize because moments earlier we told them that everything we had said and shown them before was fake. It was brilliant and I really wish I could find it and share it again with the world. Or maybe... maybe it's a campfire tale... maybe it never happened... but I damn sure remember it.

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Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
3:51 am - The Gates Of Level Zero
Hell has had many depictions through the years. Not just in the bible, or Dante Alighieri or John Milton's work. There's also Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophical waning in his plays. Yet beyond these beginning works that gave us the earliest understanding and conceptions of a place even called Hell it has expanded and in many cases came long before these Christian conceptions.

In various mythologies there is a different place for the punished or deemed evil. It has many names and differs in scale and scope from mythology to mythology. Tatarus, The Underworld, Hel, Naraka, Diyu, The Devourer Field. It takes the reading of many different theologies to truly comprehend and fathom all these depictions, but the interesting is despite developed and written in different languages, different societies and developed without the others focal influence they still took many of the same properties of demons, levels, leaders to each section, personal hell and visceral hell, mental and visual, there is always a devil, always more then one as most folks envision.

The traditional of hell with 9 levels and a leader for each is quite intriguing on each its own. With Mephisto, Satan, Beelzebub, Hades, Baphomet, Ahriman, Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Old Nick all out there depicted and possibly existent, that's a lot of devils. That's not even mentioning the other devils in film who are just usually disguised as businessmen or the Faustian Devil who is always fun.

Here is a small list of films and comics that I truly have enjoyed which depict a Devil or a type of Hell or both in a way that despite what the gates tend to warn, somehow give you a tiny bit of hope.

Bedazzled: Both 1967 and the remake in 2000. While Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's original piece directed by the man behind some of the greatest musicals is a perfect setting of its time, the modernized version of Harold Ramis with television giants Peter Tolan and Larry Gelbart which cast Elizabeth Hurley as The Devil holds a little something close to my heart.

Marvel Comics' Mephisto: The brainchild of Stan Lee and artist John Buscema as a foil for Silver Surfer. An ingenious concept itself... a version of The Devil as the villain to a cosmic entity who escaped his heralding to a god like being who eats planets. It's so big and yet Marvel always finds way to make it smaller. Mephisto has continued to be one of the more intriguing figures as he is not The Devil, just A Devil. Without Mephisto there would be no Doctor Doom. He chose for no reasons other than he's a devil to torture Spider-Man and even Daredevil. He's just... well... fun.

The Devil's Advocate: Al Pacino chews the scenery non stop, but the depiction of Hell in the coming to life painting is so just brilliant. The Tony Gilroy script isn't even very good, but he's not known for writing good scripts, just usable ones which Taylor Hackford... who despite his name is no hack did twice. I've never read the original novel, but I would like to. It might even focus more on the concept that Pacino's John Milton is probably supposed to have been THE John Milton... as if John Milton, writer of Paradise Lost, was the devil, so when he wrote that it is better ti reign in hell than serve in heaven... he meant it. Evil is more fun.

Image Comics, particularly in Todd McFarlane's SPAWN: The first major Devil seen is Malebolgia, he is the now former leader of the eighth circle of hell. He for more than millennia the being who created or endowed a warrior with a spawn symboite to be his warrior. His depiction was just so gross that it's nearly perfect. Then are the The Clown and his brothers. There's also Mammon. Everything of Hell and how it is depicted in Spawn is not fun though, it's horrific, sadistic and scary.

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey: “This is non, non, non, non, non heinous”. What an amazing showing of what Hell can be... the rocks towards the mechanical like version of Super Satan, the more personal hell through various doors. I always wished we could see behind those other doors to discover more inner demons. Would there be a door that opened on Missy for both of them that started off hot but turned into a nightmare? Maybe one where Abe Lincoln hated them? I don't know... but man... I want to. I think Evan Dorkin explored this more in the comics, but I'm not positive.

And finally to keep this short as claimed we return to books...
Chuck Palahniuk's DAMNED. My original review of this could probably use revising, as since written a sequel titled DOOMED came out which may correct certain issues I found in DAMNED. Despite this it still stands as a well researched cobbling of all these different versions of hell I've mentioned into its own collage like version. So seek it out and its sequel, because bad Chuck Palahniuk is still better than most books.

With so many possible hells beyond those gates though, you must ask yourself, what do you hope for if you ever find yourself standing in front of them? You can't just abandon it... you know too much to do so. If you're there... you know why... or maybe you don't... but if if you're lucky you get South Park's Satan and then you just make him your bitch.

written for therealljidol Week 13: Abandon hope, all ye who enter here

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Friday, March 17th, 2017
10:28 pm - Briny
When words flung from his mouth they stung. After slowly slicing through the basics, pouring vinegar in, stitching back up with backhanded compliments, there would always be that one last thing he'd say, a final peter shot to throw salt in the wound.

He couldn't help himself. From the moment he could formulate sentences, it became a part of what seemed an ingrained style. Never leaving things alone and never letting someone get away with bullshit, blunt to the touch, especially with those he loved and cared for the most.

They say you catch more flies with honey. Sometimes you don't want to catch flies. If you do want flies though? You want to cook them, and if you cook them, you need to season them. If those flies are just covered in honey, eventually you'll throw em up. Honey is good, but a sweet fly? It needs something to counterattack the crunch and bitter.

They say these days to watch your tongue. We're in a society where unless you're at a certain level, what you say can get your burned. Black lava, a tingling sensation. He spits that black lava. Over everything. Meat, cheese, strawberries. Sometimes spits rocks too. Spits from the mouth like glitter, and it makes everything better in the long run. Not for all, for some it's too much but for those people, life is too short to worry about.

He... is me... I am him. I have caused pain, but for this pain there comes a sacrifice. For to stay silent is death, while sometimes to say to much cause also cause a heart attack. I try to strike that medium center of taste, but what is basic for one, is too much for the other. So you must ask yourself, whose meal is more important?

Now pass me the shaker, this stuff is too bland.

(and now a tale of culinary and the humor of salt and how when dealing with a fellow chef, knowing how much or too little salt to use is impossible, especially when you're still a student. For my final of culinary class I made a chicken chili of my own creation. I even pre-prepped my own special selection of chili seasoning mix at home. I thought it was just the right amount of salt and spice without being overpowering. I found it to even be a little too salty but I knew the teacher liked his salt. It wasn't salty enough. I got a B-. I still graduated and got my degree, but dang, even when you know your "audience" it can be difficult. This is very different then speaking, but is also a decent allegory I feel.)

written for therealljidol Season 10-Week 12-"salty"

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Sunday, March 12th, 2017
11:57 pm - Romance in the Blue Hour
I wrote this my voice the moment I saw last weeks therealljidol prompt and proceeded to forget to actually transcribe it. I don't want it to lost to the ether though.

Love is a thing that
makes you lose control
Breaks your soul
Makes you do anything just to hold on
Walking the streets
The clock ticks away
The clock ticks away
Time means nothing walking miles and miles think back to that kiss that passion the sky the hues saffron enveloping the energies around you
Turquoise illumination
Sparkling as your lips touched
The sensation of adulation above
Brightness changed moved
Reverberated into in almost azure essence
The memories you hold that moment forever etched
Into lines of sapphire and topaz
Cerulean water wrapped around you like a lapis litany
When the Admiral said it was the end
You looked back realizing the day had passed
Everything around you was teal

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Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
2:03 pm - Lets go walking
For a time I was very serious about urbexing (and it's only cut down from lack of vehicle & fellow adventurer's interest/schedule). I'm not the kind of person you'd expect to be traversing dangerous abandoned spots in search of ruin photography because I just don't look the part. Not that there's a looking the part, but I definitely don't look like the kind of person who enjoys a lot of walking over long passages with ups and down with risks of injury if you fall the wrong way. Which is something I always do, fall down and get injured. I consider it part of the adventure. It wasn't complete if I didn't have a little damage to my body which expanded the energy of my soul.

On top of any urbexing whenever the weather is cooperative and I have a final destination of interest in which the long way would be worth it for the photography I take it. Even if the final leg of the journey shall be a long night of insanity. Case in point would be last Wednesday. I was going to an event titled DEATH MATCH 3 which would be an evening of two long rock band sets, a sword swallowing juggler and all headlined by three men kicking and punching each other, hitting each other with chairs and light tubes and more all for performance and excitement. The three men were friends of mine and I assisted with getting the word out and making the night go smoothly so I was there for 2 hours beforehand. Yet before that I chose to get off at the train stop after the location and then walk the long way to turn it into a mile hike, snapping graffiti photos along the way. You can see the photos from that night in this facebook post:

Also if you're not squeamish you can see a playlist of DEATH MATCH 3. There's blood and gore though and a guy swallowing a sword while juggling and hot dog eating too.

Crazier urban exploring adventures have included some quite interesting spots that truly involved major hikes. An abandoned power factory upstate (1) , an abandoned farm colony (2), the train tunnel underneath riverside park (3), the abandoned highline in Philadelphia (4), an abandoned prison (5), the abandoned factory seen in the opening credits of The Sopranos (6), mostly abandoned freight lines throughout various states. All these locations covered in graffiti, grime, historical ruins and the occasional weirdness such as a big dead rat beat eaten by bees (7) and the ghost of a little girl who demanded we don't enter this particular building on a space of many lots.

It's also always just fun to to go through a museum. The right museum can be a true trek. Especially say the Museum of Modern Art if you don't use the elevators or the Philadelphia Museum of Art (especially if you seek free parking and do the Rocky run from LOVE park) or doing all of Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian and hitting up a few monuments or even just going to a Zoo, be it Bronx, San Diego or even just a day at Universal Studios Florida. Anything can be a hike if you allow it too. You just have to have the drive and energy (and usually money) to make the journey.

1.) 2.) 3.)
7.) So as to not force this disturbing gross image on you, here's only a link to it: https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3439/3898877044_25c58c4ea1_o.jpg

written for therealljidol Season 10-Week 10-"Take a Hike"

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Tuesday, February 21st, 2017
11:27 am - ...And here we... go!
The trolley car problem is one about weighing one bad choice against another. Trading destruction and death for death and destruction. About weighing conscious decision of doing nothing or doing something in which you save many for one and deciding which is the moral choice. There is no right or wrong answer in the equation. If anyone ever tells you there is they are inherently wrong. Morals are not universal truths. As the theme song to Diff'rent Strokes tells us What might be right for you, may not be right for some. The question can be made even larger though. Would you kill many to save many? What if instead of you both of the many had to make the decision for each other?

That's a one of the best examples to the problem presented in The Dark Knight by Heath Ledger's Joker to two ships with explosives. It could equally be considered a prisoner's dilemma, and more so a pointless exercise as it is suggested Joker truly believes both sides in this social experiment will blow each other up. If you're unfamiliar with the exchange it's best you just watch it yourself. The solution solved is not traditional, it's the stuff out of a superhero movie based on a comic which tries to have some realism but in the end is just escapist fantasy. That doesn't take away the problem inherent and putting yourself say in one of those boats, much like you could be on one of those trolleys. Would you do nothing which will cause death? Would you do something which will cause death? Is one death worth more or less then another? I say unto you again... what might be right for you, may not be right for some. I'll twist it further, what might be right some, may not be right for all. The world don't beat to the sound of just one drum, if it did we'd fall into the problems some folks do all the time. Justice wears a blindfold for a reason, she knows justice doesn't exist.

The Dark Knight presents a second trolley car problem when he ties up Harvey Dent and Vikki Vale in two locations far from each other with probable death for whomever Batman doesn;t save. This leads to the creation of Two-Face so it's less thrilling in the problem as Dent didn't die and in the end only Joker dies... a victim of another trolley car problem.

Here's a link to an edited together clip of the boat scenario:

When one thinks about trolleys though, they if they're anything like me think about another problem. The one the entire trolley corporations felt nationwide in the 40s as street cars became less of a thing with the urban legends and truths in General Motors attempts to destroy all street cars in an bid to monopolize on other types of mobile transportation. The crux of this widespread issue found itself explored deeply in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. While the film is first and foremost an adaptation of a book about cartoons and humans living together, the original book is a simple murder mystery in modern times (well modern to the 80s), while the film clearly takes place in 1940s California with the truth behind the murders all tied into the purchasing of trolley lines to dismantle their use and build a freeway straight through Toontown. This is exactly what happened in Oakland back then. There was no Toontown, but the Red Car was real and it was systemically bought and sold off and became the L.A. Freeway. That is a trolley problem if I ever saw one. It even does in a ways reflect back to the moral question of transportation versus money versus the many to the few. While a cable car system in LA would be quite nice, especially as cities like San Diego and San Francisco rely on them heavily still today, one wonders how Hollywood would've flourished or not flourished as the boon town it did if it didn't become a town where one better have a car because public transportation isn't the best. Not that L.A. Has NO public transportation, but would trolleys help or fix the problem. We'll never know, that problem was solved by having no trolleys.

Here's Judge Doom explaining his plan:

Now my only question is if Roger Rabbit was presented with Joker's social experiment how would he respond? Probably with a few jokes and asking someone else what they thought.

written for therealljidol Season 10-Week 9-"The Trolley Problem"

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Monday, January 30th, 2017
11:50 pm - A Not So History of Me (Just A Snippet)
I was born in a hospital in Flushing, New York but I was raised from Day 2 in Forest Hills. It is where I learned to walk & talk & read & play video games. I went to school here. I made my friends here. I got my first "girlfriends" here. Forest Hills is a part of my make-up. While by the age of 5 I was introduced to the city and theater and more. By the age of 10 I was performing in nightclubs in downtown Manhattan. By 11 going myself into the city and as far as Brooklyn. At 11-16 working on sets from the Bronx, to Brooklyn, to even New Jersey. In the end I still always returned home to Forest Hills.

Forest Hills is one of the most notable neighborhoods in Queens because of its rich history, the majority of celebrities that have been born, raised, went to school and/or lived here during a portion of their life. I've always called the place Ramones Town because the entire band came from here, but they are only the tip of the ice berg or actually they're the middle of the mountain. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, Jimmy Breslin, Hank Azaria, Geraldine Ferrario, Donna Karan, Michael Landon, Caroll O'Connor, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and even David Caruso. That's not all of them though. The list goes on and on. It makes me feel proud to have my history be here. This is where I first bought comics, where I first saw movies, where I first bought a computer (a Commodore 64, the first real home computer with games before PCs got hot), made friends, went to school. Even today I still appreciate my nearby area even if there's not as much coolness as there was growing up like the video store, the magazine shop, and such. Austin Street/71st still has the game store though, the comic shop is closing but it was there, there's still the movie theater. It's a strong neighborhood with a history of very popular school programs, tennis games, concerts, and melting pot.

Indeed a melting pot with being surrounded by Kew Gardens, Rego Park, Corono, Lefrak City, and Flushing Meadow Park in less than 4 blocks away. Despite that you may have noticed something about many of the celebrities. They're Jewish and of Russian linage in most cases. That is what the majority of this neighborhood has been for at least 100 years. Russian Jews. While my father was raised in the Bronx and my mom was raised in Great Neck as well as other areas, they easily could;ve come from Forest Hills like me. This statement of Russian Jews takes me to where I am TRULY from though.

Going back to my great grand parents and the late 1800s-early 1900s. While I don't know the entore story on ALL sides of how we came over, especially on my father's maternal side, the fact is I am 100% Jew and all sides of the eight families that make up my genetics it's all Russian Jew and they all came over during a time of turmoil be it before or during the creation of the pogroms. The pogroms were essentially like the ghettos of Europe which eventually evolved into Hitler's concentration camps. My family did what they had to for survival and through it they made it to America and made lives and homes for themselves. Some richer and more successful then others. My mother actually came from money, my father, not really. Not poor, but not even middle class. Surviving.

So, I come survival. Yes, I come from Forest Hills and I'd never deny that. I have plenty reason to be proud of it... but I really come from... me.

written for therealljidol Season 10-Topic 7 "Where I'm From"

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Tuesday, January 24th, 2017
1:17 am - Everybody Turn, Turn, Turn...
Excuse me while I flip my journalism hat on. I come at this with not just a basic concept of the heel turn, but deep ceded one. A pro wrestling fan since 1986, a person who has experienced what wrestling is about, been behind the scenes, written concepts and even embarrassingly did what is known as e-wrestle. Think of it as basically Livejournal but done via email in which folks wrote promos against each other, devised stories and had it all come together for an almost cohesive thing you read of the fictional lives. I'm not going to talk about e-feds though, as fascinating as they can be. I just present my involvement as further evidence of my pure love of wrestling. Although I guess the fact that I've actually been in a wrestling match in front of people proves that fact.

Heel turns in wrestling are more confusing then one may actually think. The idea of someone who has been loved, admired, respected and cheered by fans to suddenly turn their back on said fans and become a rule breaker beating upon folks they previously called friend with underlying tactics, sneak attacks and dirty dealing is not in any way, shape normal. In the trope of television there's usually some quality back story, but in wrestling, not always the case... they just woke up that day and said "I'm evil now".

Said biggest case in just turning heel for NO REASON other then... he just did...could be argued to be a man who today is considered one of the evilest, vilest., dangerous, sadistic, satan worshiping, black magic wielding maniacs alive, a man known simply as Kevin Sullivan. Before he became the man who fits all those descriptors to a tee he was a super fit, ex collegiate wrestler turned body builder who was affable, kind and always looking to help folks out. Then one day, out of the blue, they're in a match and they use illegal tactics to win, start saying they never needed anyone and show up at the next event talking about the devil.

Of course the most notable heel turn probably has to go to Hulk Hogan. It was a true 360 for him. Although he started his career as a flamboyant, over the top, evil guy with an obnoxious overbearing rude hate everyone manager before becoming the world famous True American, Say Your Prayers, Take Your Vitamins, star of Rocky III (actually he was still a heel as the character Thunderlips was at this time), Suburban Commando, No Holds Barred, Gremlins 2 and Rock n Wrestling, Hulkamania running wild, 224 inch pythons man most knew him as. Of course until that fateful day on July 7th, 1996. He had been through a 2 year stint as the top face of the newly branded World Championship Wrestling who when he debuted had actually been completely out of the wrestling limelight from August of 93 till June of 94 which in programming that was weekly was a long time. As the same exact Hulk Hogan he was in the 80s fans actually started to boo him simply out of boredom and this allowed for the perfect opportunity. WCW had been able to sign two other major stars to WCW who had become big back when Hogan's star was failing in Razor Ramon and Diesel. Never mind the fact that both men had previously been in WCW as The Diamond Studd and Vinnie Vegas (as well as Master Blaster and OZ). They were using their real names at this time of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash though and were for weeks threatening to have a third partner who would shock and surprise everyone. Ignoring all rumors and hearsay of what was supposed to happen... the man turned out to be Hulk Hogan who became the ultimate heel within seconds, betraying his best friend Randy Savage AGAIN as well Sting and Lex Luger and cutting an intense promo. Fans were so angry and dismayed they threw stuff in the ring. It got over tough and even though Hogan was no evil and made that full heel turn, he became more popular than ever.

Wcw Bash At The Beach 1996 17/17 by emf818

That throws another wrench into just the concept of the heel turn, as that reaction is a common one. Fans want to see goody two shoe, happy folks turn evil. When they do they boo for a second, but then they cheer. People love evil. In wrestling and maybe even in television shows, the heel turn can be the best thing ever for certain folks. It's worked multiple times on getting someone over when the fans started disliking their good guy character or in some cases hating them right away as good. The Rock, Bret Hart, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Sting, AJ Styles, they've all done it. Even John Cena...well, he did the reverse heel turn and everyone awaits the day he does it again. The heel turn isn't essentially going bad, but reinvigoration, rediscovery and an opportunity to try something new and different. It also gives the chance to one day regain the fans appreciation by suddenly becoming good when a bigger bad guy comes along and a person suddenly just starts fighting them. A lot of times they'll be NO change in personality even, but suddenly face to heel or heel to face... nothing changes, but the fans see you one way because of who you're facing. A perfect example of this are Edge, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Owens/Steen, Samoa Joe... all men who have gone back and forth between heel and face and changed NOTHING. Didn't change the way they acted, the way they wrestled, the way they talked.

Yeah folks, wrestling is weird and even someone like me who has been watching it for 30+ years, has been to every kind of wrestling show you can think of from WWE to TNA to ECW to CZW to CHIKARA to that rinky dink fed you've never heard of to that one off show which tons of folks doing stuff you'll never see doesn't truly ever completely fathom it. I do know that it is an amazing theatrical production that defies most concepts and frustratingly at times (and my biggest pet peeve) logic as well. Yet I love it and honestly I think anyone if they came into it with an open mind would find something they loved about it too.

Hell, I was going to discuss the best heel turn I experienced LIVE and almost forgot, but before I leave you, I should tell you a story of current Championship Wrestling from Hollywood announcer Kevin Condron... a man who was never truly a technico (the lucha libre Mexican word for face) but at the same time never truly a rudo (the term for heel). Kevin was a performer for the company known as CHIKARA based out of Philadelphia. He made his first appearance to people in 2013 as new young masked superstar Kid Cyclone. His charisma, energy and passion soon gained him a very quick following. During the very intense, powerful storyline in CHIKARA in which many characters were actually murdered Cyclone became more and more angered and unhinged. Especially when his best friends were murdered right in front of him and he felt no one but he was trying to truly do something about it. During this tale Kid Cyclone reached out to fans seeking support against the big bad destroying CHIKARA and he got it. He got a lot of support actually. At the what would be considered the season finale of 2014 though Kid Cyclone did the unthinkable in a Lucha Libre based company. He ripped off his mask, declared the tradition dead, said he never needed any of the fans, he never wanted to wear a mask and he never wanted any of what he had for the last year. He spoke with more passion and fervor then even Hulk Hogan. Yet, instead of alienating us... he gained even a bigger following. He lost some folks too, but he gained new ones because people love crazy, they love "evil" especially when "evil" still thinks it's good. His story progressed and he gained a stable of two men (both folks who were former henchmen of the monster who killed his friends) and eventually killed the friend of one his henchmen, becoming a self deluded monster himself before it all caught up with him and he was destroyed as well. Kevin Condron is an egomaniac, maybe even a megalomaniac for as much power he ever has. Condron would go on to do some amazing things in CHIKARA before being sadly and unceremoniously have his story get a very poor ending... but luckily while his CHIKARA story seems done he's landed very well and he's a joy of a person, even if he is a conspiracy theorist with thoughts and ideas that maybe not everyone shares. Yet, that again is what gets people over.

Look at the world... heel turns, they aren't what you think... they never are.

written for therealljidol Season 10-Topic 6: Heel Turn

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Thursday, January 12th, 2017
9:58 pm - To Fear Is To Love A Broken Heart That Can Be Mended Still
I fear that I don't know what love is
love is the fear of what is not
inside all our souls beats the unknown
masks are worn to hide scars
not cloth, but emotions over emotions
imagined walls unbreakable
doors with locks that can not be picked
we shield ourselves from it
till it embraces us so powerful that
it overtakes us.
walls broken
locks cracked
masks removed
fear destroyed
love into the heart
yet till it happens fear subsists
fear that may stop love
but nothing stops it
except yourself

My love life has been top-turvy. It has had its highs and it has had its low. It has had more highs than lows. Because when I reach that high, I'm never coming down. Not ever. No fear will be left in me. I will just be a ballast at the top of a mountain. My flag planted forever. Rocks pelted, heavy gusts of wind... avalanches. I'll bear it all.

Till then. I stand here at the bottom. Not afraid to climb the mountain, just afraid there's no one to climb it for right now.

written for the therealljidol Season 10-Topic 5: Fear is the Heart of Love

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