The End of the World as We Know It?

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Tomorrow could possibly be the end of the world.   Surely, it is not, at least by any logical means.    However, imagine if it was – what if the ancient Mayans, with their fantastic astronomical skills, predicted something that we still can’t see?  What if the human race gets blindsided?

What would you do on your last day on earth?   It makes me realize that my priorities have changed.   A few years ago, all that I would have cared about was partying my ass off for one last night on earth.  Now, I hope that I can try to squeeze in as much quality time with my family as possible.   I am so lucky to have my boyfriend; assuming the world doesn’t end, we will be together for ten years this Valentine’s Day 2013.   It’s so shocking to think that I am nearing knowing my boyfriend longer than I knew my mother, who died when I was thirteen years old.    I am so thankful for him.  He is so much more than just my best friend and my boyfriend – Rob and I love each other unconditionally.   We would both literally die for the other.   Rob has helped me through so much, and he continues to make my smile every day. Even now, he is stepping up his game and working more hours so I can try my hand at being unemployed and writing professionally.  He believes in me, and it’s so rewarding to having such a wonderful cheerleader by my side throughout all of my life.  I am so grateful and thankful for him.  I think that I probably took advantage of his love in the past, and I am trying my best to make up for that now.  I love Rob with all of my life, and I hope that this year brings some really positive changes for us.  I would love to finally get married, and I think that our ten year anniversary is a fitting time in which to do so.  Lately, when we have been making love, we haven’t bothered with any protection. My biological clock is ticking, and I think that I would actually be grateful and embrace a child at this point in my life. I’m twenty-eight years old, and I have been madly in love with the same wonderful man for nearly ten years of my life.  I think that we are ready to bring new life into the world.   

So, if tomorrow truly was the last day on earth for all of us, I would gather all of my family together – Rob, his mother, his sister, his brother in law, and my uncle Tommy, and just truly enjoy the time that we have together.   I’m sure, at least from a scientific point of view, that nothing will happen tomorrow.   However, these doomsday scares should be a reminder to love our family more and spend more time with them.

I’ll talk to you all on December 22nd!

Best Holiday Movies EVER!!!

I love the holidays.    I love the warmth of sharing time with your family, decorating a Christmas tree, Christmas lights, and giving and receiving gifts.     I also love holiday movies.  Here’s my list of the Best Holiday Movies EVER!

1.  Home Alone:

This is the defining Christmas movie of my generation.   I love everything about it.  I had a crush on Macauley Culkin when I was younger, and for good reason.  I love the Christmas music and the fantastic holiday spirit of this movie.   I still cry at the end every time.  I love it!

2.  Home Alone 2

How many sequels were just as great as the original?   Home Alone 2 is especially poignant to me since it is set in New York City, which is where I live.   Just as good as the first one.

3.  A Christmas Story:

I fell in love with this story when I was forced to watch it when I was a teenager.  HO, HO, HO!

4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation:

I always wished that Clark Griswald was my dad.  A fantastic movie through and through.

5.  Miracle on 34th Street:

I grew up with this one, and I still cry at the end.  Such a heartwarming, touching movie.

6.  Gremlins:

I recently watched this movie for the first time and I fell in love with it.   An interesting note – Chris Columbus, who helmed the Home Alone movies, is responsible for it. 

7.  The Nightmare Before Christmas:   

I fell in love with this movie in college, when I hung out with guys who were singers in emo bands and we all smoked weed and drank Mike’s Hard Lemonade together, while watching this movie.  Bonus – we were able to do so around Christmas AND Halloween (Don’t even get me started on my list of the best Halloween movies – Halloween is my all time favorite holiday)!

8.  The Santa Clause:

I have to put this one in here, because I really did enjoy it when I was younger.  Now, not so much.  It’s still great to see little kids watching this movie.  

What are yours???

Best Movies of 2012

In continuing with my “Best Of” lists for 2012, the last one I am getting to is movies.    I honestly think that I have undiagnosed attention deficit disorder.   I love reading so much because I can put the book down and pick it up again whenever I want.   I can usually get through TV shows by pausing them a few times (I’m always watching them on my computer, natch.  Who has cable anymore?!)

Then there’s movies.   Getting to see a movie in the theaters is a hassle in itself.   My other half also has attention deficit disorder, and he doesn’t try to hide it.  He outright refuses to sit still for two hours and change in an uncomfortable movie theater seat.     Sometimes we buy movies or download them, but I notice that we only tend to buy or download movies that we have seen before, so watching them is fun albeit not mentally stimulating.     

Nonetheless, there were a lot of great movies that came out in 2012.    I’m going to give you my list, although I’m sure that it’s rather lacking.   Please give me your suggestions, and I would love to watch them!

1.   Argo

I forced myself to get through this recently.  Although it got off to a slow start, I thoroughly enjoyed it.   First off, I love Ben Affleck.  I’ve loved him since all of his Kevin Smith movies, and I had a poster of him in Armegeddon on my wall all throughout high school.  My boyfriend looks like Ben Affleck, and I love that about him.   However, cinematically, I was a huge fan of Gone, Baby, Gone and The Town.  I particularly loved the Town – it’s probably one of my all-time favorite movies and was seriously underrated in my opinion.   The guy knows how to tell a story, and he knows how to wring fantastic performances from his actors.  It’s quick-paced, and I like that it’s grounded in reality.  It makes me excited to see what he will do next, but I sincerely hope that it is another action caper since he does tense scenes so well.

2.  Safety Not Guaranteed:

I watched this with my boyfriend at 3 in the morning one night when I couldn’t sleep, and we both really enjoyed this movie.  It’s got the girl that he likes from Parks & Recreation (Aubrey Plaza) and the guy that I like from New Girl (Jake Johnson).  The story of a reporter doing a story on a man who believes that he has made a time machine that truly can go back in time was just magical.  It was so unexpected, and funny in just the right places.  Fantastic movie.  

3.  Chronicle:

This movie was just fantastic.  A modern-day paranormal superhero movie, filmed on a budget of just about nothing.  The unknown actors absolutely shined, but the story was the true star here.  A great action movie, through and through.

4.  The Dark Knight Rises:

Obviously, this deserves a place here.   I went with my boyfriend to the movie theaters to see this one, and it was a hard decision after the movie theater massacre that occurred in Aurora, Colorado.     While I liked Heath Ledger’s Joker better than Bane, it was a great movie through and through.  The real star of the movie was Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.  I normally don’t like her, but she was mesmerizing in this movie.   The movie got off to a slow start, but it was nonstop action after the first 45 minutes.  I really enjoyed it.

5.  Magic Mike:

I was surprised that I liked this movie as much as I did.  Channing Tatum gave a solid performance, as did Matthew McConahey.   This motley crew of male strippers reminded me of my own early twenties (taking ecstasy, having sex on the beach, taking G and going to clubs, realizing that I fucked up and wanting to live a happy domestic life going forward).  It was funny in just the right places, and totally relatable.  And Matthew McConahey just killed it.

6.  21 Jump Street:

I saw this in the movie theaters and loved it.   I’m a huge Jonah Hill fan, but the true comedic star in this movie was Channing Tatum.   It was just terrific.  James Franco’s brother was fantastic as well.  It’s one of the few movies this year that made me laugh uncontrollably, which is always a good thing. 

7. The Hunger Games:

I guess I have to put this one in here because I can’t recall anticipating a movie more.  I never saw the Harry Potter movies in the theaters, except for the first one.   However, I grew to love them on DVD.  As for the Hunger Games, I had so much hope because I had fallen in love with the books.  In the end, I’m a bit disappointed in how they translated this book to the big screen (it could have been SO MUCH MORE), but I have to say that I was enamored with it when I went to see it in the movie theaters on the first day it came out.  And yes, I was wearing a Mockingjay pin. 

I know that this list is severely limited.  What were your favorites?   

Best Entertainment of 2012 – Books Edition

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I confess – I am an addict.   I am absolutely addicted to the written word.    I’m going to compare my vice to a recent episode that I saw of Suburgatory.  Alas, I know that the show didn’t make my Best Of list for 2012.  Nevertheless, there were several shows that I was too late to think of, and I unfortunately don’t revise posts (as readers have pointed out, I also missed Supernatural.  When I thought of Supernatural, I angrily realized that I had also neglected to mention Fringe.  Le Sigh.).     Anyway, in that particular episode of Suburgatory, a newly single Tessa had found newfound love in – wait for it, her iPad.    She wanted to spend every single moment with it, reading books, magazines, playing games and surfing the web.  It offered her everything short of sex that the greatest potential suitor could offer.   While most people found the episode to be funny, I knew that my boyfriend would relate to this episode only all too well.    My boyfriend bought me an Amazon Kindle Fire last Christmas. This device has proceeded to change my life.    I am absolutely obsessed with it.   I now have access to every single newspaper and magazine that I have ever wanted, without paying for them.  I have never been so well-informed in my entire life.   I can also download any book or textbook or magazine that I want and it is momentarily on my Kindle.   As much as I hate to admit it, I don’t often have a ton of money to spend at bookstores.  I unfortunately tend to download a lot of books via torrent websites.  I do feel extremely guilty for this.  However, I do try to make up for it by purchasing paper copies of my favorite books whenever I do have the money on me and find myself in a bookstore (to be honest, there are no bookstores in Queens where I live – I have to go all the way to the city for a chain bookstore, or overpay at an independent bookstore that’s still a few train lines away in Brooklyn).   Whenever I download a book that I absolutely love, I hawk it with unbridled enthusiasm.   I rave about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, become a fan of the author and join their online presence, and do anything I can to spread their word to others.   I hope they’re not upset; hopefully, when I become a succesful published author someday, I would expect the same of my fans. 

Yet another way that I am trying to hawk my love of books onto others is with this list.   I am including both books and magazines.  I am so enamored of the written word, and I have had such wonderful, fantastic experiences with these books that were successful in 2012.   I hope that you take the time out of your schedules to read these books, and I truly hope that you enjoy them.   Please post your reviews in this blog.   After all of the entertainment posts, I also plan on creating a Cultured Book Club.  I want the book club to focus on both old masterpieces as well as brand new creations, but I am going to focus on 2013 publications at least in the beginning to keep things as current and fresh as possible.   Don’t worry, though – we will eventually get to many throw-backs, and I would love your suggestions either way!!

So – without further ado – Cultured Magazine’s Best Books of 2012.

Fiction:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:

This book did really well in 2013, and it completely deserves all of the praise that it earned.     Gillian Flynn previously worked for one of my all time favorite publications, Entertainment Weekly.  She knows how to create an incredibly taut, tense psychological thriller.   She was revolutionary because she switched up the narrative in such a brilliant but obvious way.  Every single person I know, including myself, who picked this novel up without reading spoilers was incredibly surprised by her hundreds of plot twists.   I likened it to riding a crazy, twisted antique roller coaster – I was terrified by all of the sharp turns yet exhilarated at the end nonetheless. 

Bonus reading:  If you loved this novel as much as I did, you’ll be thrilled to learn that Gillian previously published two very similar psychological thrillers – Sharp Objects and Dark Places.  I typically don’t enjoy crime dramas, but Gillian’s writing is so fresh and interesting that I quickly devoured these novels.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker:

I was enthralled by this slim volume that was a chillingly plausible End of the World novel.  The novel dealt with weighty issues like climate change, with an original idea about The Slowing, in which the world begins to slow its descent around its axis, and longer days and nights ensue.   After reading the premise on the back cover of the novel, I didn’t fully grasp how this would make for a compelling storyline.  However, the devil is in the details – Thompson Walker’s story is downright terrifying once all of the consequences are realized.  Not only did the story hit close to home, but it was told in such a simple and thoughtful way.   The narrator of the story is a twelve year old girl, and the story is not so much an apocalyptic nightmare by a coming of age story.  This changed world is this girl’s reality, and she still has to deal with crushes, first kisses, getting your period, getting bullied and parental problems.  Perhaps one of the scariest things of all is that these themes never go away since they are essentially the human experience. 

John Dies at the End / This Book is Full of Spiders – Seriously, Don’t Touch It by David Wong:

When I first came across John Dies at the End and got a few chapters in, I had to go back and start over again from scratch.  I couldn’t believe that I had finally encountered a writer who wrote exactly like me, who had similar ideas, a penchant for horror and a way with comedy.    I have to admit that I wasn’t the happiest with the way that the books turned out – they were way too long with too much horror-filler – however, if they were edited better, these books would have been masterpieces of our generation.   John Dies at the End is being turned into a movie with I absolutely can’t wait to see.  I’m sure that it’s appealing to the true horror-core fans who embraced the book, but if I had my choice, i would have chosen Kevin Smith to direct it.   This movie has the potential to be Clerks meets Ghostbusters meets Pulp Fiction, and I hope that they create a movie with as much dignity and heart as I saw preserved in the written word. 

Sacre Bleu, by Christopher Moore:

Christopher Moore is hands down my all-time favorite writer, next to David Foster Wallace.  In fact, I put Christopher Moore at Number One since his fantastic fiction sweeps me away hilarious, heartfelt worlds that I don’t want to leave, while DFW’s nonfiction makes my own world brighter.    Christopher Moore’s 2012 effort was Sacre Bleu, a fantastic peon to art history, the mysterious origins of the color blue, and the notion of muses, and truly giving up one’s soul for one’s art.   The themes resonated with me, and the hardcover was absolutely beautiful with its gorgeous illustrations and beautiful font.    Christopher Moore was able to make history interesting and funny, and he taught me a lot about a world that I never thought that I would take much interest in. Although Sacre Bleu isn’t his strongest book by any means, it was a solid contribution to the literature of 2012.

Bonus:  If I could give you any gift for Christmas, it would most certainly be the gift of Christopher Moore.  He is a writer that comes up with zany plotlines, funny lovable characters, hilarious jokes and an awesome supernatural element that makes these fantastic stories absolute page turners.   If I could leave any books by him under your tree, I would choose the following:

A Dirty Job – a story about a recently widowed, neurotic father becoming the Grim Reaper.  Another wish would be for Tim Burton to direct the film version because it would be SO. FUCKING. GOOD.

Island of the Sequined Love Nun:   I am obsessed with the culture of Hawaii and other Pacific Islands, and I love how Christopher Moore explored the world of cargo cults in the Pacific Islands after World War 1.  This book is hilarious and poignant in so many ways – it is truly a masterpiece.

Practical Demonkeeping – This is one of the first books that successfully melded horror and comedy, and it did so with such incredible grace.  Disney has optioned the rights to this movie, and I hope that it becomes the greatest stoner horror movie ever starring Matthew McConahey.  

The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins:   Yes, I did read these YA books and I absolutely fell in love with them, as did every single other twenty-something I know who read them (and trust me, there were a lot of it). 

Bonus:  Nothing, and I repeat, NOTHING compares to the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling. Twilight can’t hold half a flicker of a candle flame.  Alas, neither can the Hunger Games.  If you haven’t read them already, the Harry Potter books will change your life, just as certainly as they changed mine and anyone else with half a speck of imagination and an inclination to write.  All hail Ms. Rowling, as any fantasy writer bows at her feet.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs:   I thoroughly enjoyed this novel; it was fresh and new and gave reading paranormal fiction an interesting new tactile twist with all of the photos and found footage.   I was a bit disappointed in the boring, lackluster hero that Riggs created, but the idea was fresh and inventive and the writing moved along relatively quickly.

 

Now, let’s move on to media, which I read nearly as much, if not more, than novels. 

Best Magazines:

Entertainment Weekly:    This magazine writes stories about everything that I am interested in.  I love their intelligent, in-depth coverage of everything entertainment.  I eagerly devour this magazine cover to cover in about an hour or so every Friday, and it is a joyous time.

GQ:   I am always so pleased with the fantastic issues that GQ manages to put together.  They find some of the most riveting original journalism that I have read in any publication or book.   Their true crime stories and hero profiles are wonderfully interesting.  I also agree with all of their entertainment and lifestyle stories.  This is another magazine that I absolutely savor every month.  I wish that they came out on a weekly basis.

Rolling Stone:   RS is so hit or miss sometimes, but when they hit, they hit a home run that goes right out of the ball park.   My favorite aspect of RS are the amazing features and original journalism.  Look to RS to publish anything controversial or out of the box.  Their expose of Scientology will go down in the history books, and their fantastic True Crime stories are written so well and so meticulously chosen that they should be MTV films in their own right.

Martha Stewart Living:   Martha is one of my idols.  She comes up with such original, fantastic recipes and amazing ideas to be more crafty and domestic, and I have no idea how she comes up with the sheer amount of it all.  

The New York Times:   This is the only paper of true substance.  The Times has made me a more intelligent human being, and I am grateful to them for that.  They are also the only paper that is not a tabloid.

Saveur Magazine:  This magazine is absolutely gorgeous, and the writing is superb.  It truly gets me excited about food, and it’t not all about cooking.  They devote equal time to the actual science behind the food.

Science Illustrated:  This gorgeous publication comes out every other month, but it has taught me a wealth of invaluable scientific information.  It makes science easy to understand, as well as infinitely interesting.  I loved their 2012 special issue.

National Geographic:   I’m a huge fan.  Their photography is amazing, and I adore all of their stories.  As with the Times, I am a more intelligent fan for reading Nat Geo.

Esquire:  This a surprisingly choice for me, but it’s one of my favorite new magazines.  The writing is simply superb, and their features are excellent and interesting.

Well, that’s about it for now.   Enjoy!

The Best Television of 2012

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I have had more time than ever before to fall in love with my television.  And fall in love, I did.  Let’s see – there was my brief, wondrous affair with Jesse Pinkman – we drank each other in like a delicious tonic, glued together in my bedroom for two straight weeks, the approximate duration that it took me to watch five entire seasons of Breaking Bad.   Then Jesse went on a year-long hiatus, promising to come back for one last fling.  I was heartbroken, and didn’t know where to go next.  

Until Jax Teller came along in his Harley.    My relationship with Jax was more of a May-December romance.   I drank in five seasons of the motorcycle club/Hamlet drama, and I have to say that season 5 has left me on the edge of my seat for the entire hour and left me desperately wanting more. 

Whenever I need to laugh, I have my boyfriend Charlie Kelly to call on.  It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is still having a fantastic season 8 – I don’t think that critics give them all the credit they deserve.   Charlie Day is one of the best comedic actors on the planet, and he writes, produces and acts in Always Sunny.   This is the one show that can never fail to make me cry laughing, and I truly believe that it has been aging like a fine wine, only getting better with age. 

When I want someone who can sing for me and lift my spirits, I look no further than Corey Monteith’s Finn Hudson on Glee.  I’m surprised that I actually really enjoy the fourth season, where they have managed to still integrate a cast that is assembled to live all over the country. I enjoy the newcomers, and I love Darren Criss.  Their sharp writing has only gotten better with age. 

When it comes to the physical male body, I have fallen for Oliver Queen of Arrow, played by Stephen Arnell.  I thought that it would be just a Smallville wannabe, by Arrow is intelligent and well-shot and not cheesy at all.  

I have to give a shout-out to my brand new favorite show, and my favorite TV cop – Nick Burkhardt from NBC’s Grimm.   I am obsessed with all things German and Bavarian, and I absolutely love everything about this show.   Picture Buffy but instead having a superhero armed with lots of medieval weapons and a dog-earned copy of the Brothers Grimm fairytales.  I also love the format of the show, and I love the sly humor underneath the fantastic storylines.  I’m just bummed that the midseason finale already happened last month and now we have to wait until MARCH for new episodes.

Another Midseason Finale that happened way too soon was the Walking Dead.  There are only 12 or 13 fantastic episodes.  At least give them to us all at once.   And Jesus Christ, Breaking Bad – did we REALLY have to divide the last season into two?  However, if Walking Dead returns arm in arm with Breaking Bad, I won’t complain – that will be the best night in televison. 

What else?     I started watching Boardwalk Empire and got hooked for the first two seasons.   Then they went ahead and killed everyone I liked by the end of season 2 (RIP, Michael Pitt), and I don’t really feel emotionally invested enough to watch season 3.  Modern Family used to be such an excellent show that gave me a warm feeling in my heart and prayed that they were my family.  Sadly, this year, they seem to be catty and they seem to spend too much time trying to change one another rather than being truly happy as a family.  I still watch, but it doesn’t give me that great feeling.

Then there’s all the reality TV.      I do still watch Jersey Shore, yet it is so bad that I continue to ask myself why I continue to watch it after every single episode.   Jersey Shore was groundbreaking television when you took 7 volatile hotheads and plied them with booze and put them in a house together.  Sadly, it’s not as interesting when the two most fascinating drunks of all have become sober.    My favorite new reality show is Catfish the TV Show.   I love the refreshing way in which it’s shot, and I truly believe the Nev is genuine.  However, Rob brought up questions of authenticity five minutes in – we are no longer in teh 1990’s.  These situations are entirely not plausible now, in this era of iphones and Skype.   Of course, I still love MTV’s True Life franchise.  Another fantastic show was the Vice Guide to Everything.  I truly hope that they continue it for another season.      Another guilty pleasure of mine has become Teen Mom 2. They’re all trainwrecks in their way, but I have become emotionally invested in the lives of these girls.    Finally, there’s the Real Housewives of Atlanta – the only seasons I watch are the Jersey Housewives and the Atlanta ones.   The Atlanta ones are likeable and charming and they really bring the drama.  It’s great mindlless TV.    More fantastic reality TV is the ever reliable Top Chef.

Finally, aside from Always Sunny, the only other show to make me literally cry laughing has been New Girl.   The new season has been a bit hit or miss – some episodes are some of my all time favorite comedy ever (the episode where Jess tried to become a car model – priceless!) and others annoy me because she seems a bit overconfident.   However, the show has way too much potential for me to give up, and it is also one of the best ensemble casts on TV.

Wow – this post was insanely long.   I’m going to take a break before composing my next post, which is going to be the Best Of Books, and I know that’s going to be a scroll because I’ve read so many fantastic things this past year!     What are your favorite TV shows?  I’d love some new suggestions, as well as to hear your favorite TV moments from the past year!

The Best Entertainment of 2012

We are nearing the close of yet another year.       How did you feel about 2012?

Personally, I feel ambivalent towards the year.    Looking back, I had a God-awful 2010.  I had lost my job, gotten unemployment for two weeks, stupidly taken another horrible job where I loathed being there so much that I had to quit for my own sanity, I lost unemployment, was forced to get one of the crappiest jobs I have ever worked, earning $12 an hour and being verbally abused all day long.    In 2010, I developed acne, I broke up with my best friend, and I became depressed.

By 2011, things finally started looking up.  I finally made a group of good friends, I finally got another job that I loved and that paid a great salary and eliminated all of the work-related stress in my life, things with my boyfriend were going, and I began to even act carefree and start partying and going to clubs and just losing myself in fits of laughter.  I came full circle.  I loved 2011.

In 2012, I have to say that pendulum swung back towards the opposite end a bit.   I had some health concerns, and I was entirely too stressed at the job where I was so happy a year ago, albeit I had scored a considerable promotion and a great deal more responsibility.   Towards the end of the year, I was laid off because it was quite evident that I was pretty miserable there.   I still retained my circle of friends, and the relationship that I hold dearly and prize above all else, the relationship with my boyfriend, was horribly tested towards the beginning of the year.   However, I can tell that I am ending the year on a good note.   I have finally become comfortable with being unemployed, I had begun to receive unemployment checks, and I am no longer broke.   As a result of not having such an incredibly stressful 12 hour workday job, I am home more and able to enjoy more time with Rob.  We are in a great place in our relationship and I honestly think that this time was crucial in order for our relationship to succeed.   I am no longer so testy and angry, and we never fight now.   I have also begun to dedicate a majority of my time to writing, and the rest of it to voraciously taking in all other kinds of media so as to constantly get new ideas.

Although I went through a rough few months in 2012, one of the main things that sustained me throughout that time was all of the fantastic entertainment.     I am going to create posts to share my top picks in 2012’s Television, Movies, Books, and Music.    We may not realize it, but we are all junkies for some sort of entertainment, and entertainment makes our lives richer and more enjoyable.   I am going to be watching these artists for years to come, and I hope that you like my suggestions and discover some amazing new entertainment for yourselves!

I’d also absolutely love to hear your own picks – I love to broaden my horizons as well!      Stay tuned – my Best Of 2012 Television post is next!

 

A Moment of Silence

Kelly here.

Today, I visited my boyfriend’s mother while he was at work.    His mom is in a very lonely place right now, as her only daughter just recently moved out of the house and eloped with her boyfriend.  They went from being best friends who just happened to be mother and daughter to basically having an estranged relationship.     Rob’s mom is trying so hard to keep the Christmas spirit alive, trying to put up all of the Christmas decorations without any help, even trying to adhere the Christmas lights to the windows with copious amounts of Scotch tape.

I went there happy to see her and spend some time with family, being as I already have such little family as it is and I am grateful for those few people in my life who actually seem to care about me.   I also went there with a heaviness in my heart.   On Friday, December 14th, Adam Lanza entered an elementary school and shot and killed twenty-eight people.   At least twenty-two of them were children between the ages of 5 and 10.  Just thinking about it makes me tear up.    Why kill children, one of the last sources of true innocence in the world?     At the same time, I am angered because all of this emotion unfortunately has no outlet since Adam Lanza decided to take his life that morning as well.   No matter how much hate has welled up in our hearts, we are not able to direct it at him.

When I got to Rob’s mom’s house, we put the television on and were momentarily silenced as the youngest deceased child’s father took the mic for a press conference.   We marveled at his bravery – would we ever be able to remain composed in front of millions of people while discussing the six year old daughter who had just been brutally shot and killed two weeks before Christmas?   As he struggled not to break down in tears and to honestly answer the questions the reporters fired at him, an overwhelming wave of sadness engulfed me.

I have lost loved ones before.     Just one example of many is the day my father died, seven years ago.    I found his body, and found myself lost in a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from.   I tried as hard as I could to remain strong and put on a brave face, and I did so by compartmentalizing the anguish I was feeling and not speaking of it.   My boyfriend was one of the only people who truly understood.   Whenever anyone asked me about it, and he could tell that I was about to crack and lose my strength and resolve, he would cut in firmly and say that I wasn’t ready to talk about it and he would gently grasp my shoulders and lead me away.   Of course, I don’t know now that that reaction was necessarily the right one.   We need to talk about it, we need to exorcise these horrible demons out of our lives.   This adorable little girl’s father probably felt a thousand times better, as though some of the weight of the world had been lifted, at least monetarily.  That’s a good feeling.   We can’t keep everything inside; we’ll explode.

In the aftermath of such an unspeakable tragedy, we owe it to ourselves to grieve as a nation and to address these problems head on.   This is the only way that we can grow and improve.    And while I don’t necessarily believe in blame games, there is fault to be assigned here.   Hopefully this horrible situation, occurring on the heels of yet another terrible event, the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting, can shed some light on our nation’s terribly lax gun laws.     What on earth did this man’s mother need six guns, among them a Glock and a rifle used in the Iraq war for?    I don’t care about our right to bear arms.   We are no longer in the same predicament that we were in the 1700’s.  I do not need to own a gun to convince the passerby in front of my house that the property is in fact mine.   These laws are outdated and unnecessary.

I have such a great deal of respect for Mayor Michael Bloomberg.    Throughout the president’s touching speech on Friday afternoon, in which he nearly broke down in tears himself, Mayor Bloomberg remained steadfast and strong.   He asserted that we need not spend more time mourning and grieving; he proposed that we fix this problem immediately by taking stronger gun-control measures.  I wholeheartedly agree.    While I dedicate a minute of silence tonight to the victims who were taken away from us entirely too soon, I also pray for the future of our country.   We have elected a truly competent president, and I hope  that he acts fast and makes his time in office as valuable as we prayed that it would be when we elected him.

My heart truly goes out to the victims of the Connecticut shooting as well as their families.   I am also going to do my small part by spending as much time with my own family as I possibly can, and by going the extra effort to show that I love and care about them.  Life is too short.  Sure, it’s a Saturday night.   I could be going out with friends, getting drunk, being tagged in pictures on Facebook.  Instead, I am watching Elf with my boyfriend’s mother while my boyfriend is at work.   The smile on her face, along with the huge hug that I will receive before I leave, tells me that I made the right decision.