The Pains and Conflicts in the Drop-Off

SchoolThis was a battle I walked away from.

To understand the gravity of this for me, you have to know a little about how my brain functions. Typically, I am not the kind of guy to lose an argument, surrender a point. I’m one of those who will hold on like a dog with a chew toy, and this is especially true if I know I am in the right.

And I definitely know I was in the right! So, so right.

Actually, to correct that, I should say left, since what we are talking about are car lanes.

To put it more bluntly, dropping my kid off at his school is a piece of hell. Let me repeat that, hell (devil, pointy ears and tails, flames, the whole bit).

I’m not talking about the emotional aspect of the separation, that was there for a bit (and always resides a little beneath the surface), but other less pleasant feelings than the accepted sadness in watching your kids grow up. No, I am talking about stress, frustration, and sometimes anger.

…And I know other parents feel that way towards me. Continue reading

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Our Oscar Theme Summer (Part 3)

FamilyI’ve said it before (and many have said it before me) but parenthood changes you. My wife and I joke all the time about how we have no idea what we used to talk about before we had our kids.

We had to have talked about something!

We were married for five years before the first one arrived, there had to have been some kind of a conversation going on.

Another sign for me on how things have changed is the tally for me around “Oscar Summer.” Before kids, we probably would have done a different movie a night, maybe even an extra one on weekends. I could almost imagine us hitting anywhere between 80 and 90 movies by the end of the summer. Yeah, that high.

Yet, with kids around and them biting into our evening time and because we can sometimes be so tired in the evening (especially after chasing them all day) and everything else that comes along with life our tally is a little over 20.

It is nothing to write home about.

The hope when we began our Oscar Summer was to hit some of the big Oscar films, but really in the end it became kind of scatter-shot. In a way, I was almost drawn to watching the films that didn’t win, or the ones forgotten. But even in that, we didn’t do much. Again, 20.

Seriously, only 20? Continue reading

The Questions I Struggle With

The Approaching trainWhen you are growing up there is this myth we all buy into.

When you decide your goal, that’s it. Forever. Your life is locked in, congrats and here are the keys to your future.

Oh, if life was only that simple. Like a movie where the hero figures out their destiny and we know it is going to be okay. There is no conflict there after the decision. Bruce Wayne is going to be Batman, it is his destiny.  So be it, here is the cowl, there is the Joker. Go to it!

Instead what I have found to be actually true in reality, for us non-superheroes, is that we decide every day, every hour what we want to believe is true, and what we want to hold us back.  See, I’m not this person just because it is who I am, it’s also because I chose this. There have been numerous times I could’ve changed me, my life, but I didn’t want to then, and still don’t want to. The option is always there, it doesn’t go away. Frankly, most of the time, I like being me.

Yet, I still battle four thoughts, four burning questions almost every day. They can hold me back, make me question everything I have done in my life (from being a writer to a father to a husband to a human being), and sap all the energy from my system. It is not always easy to take them on, and sometimes I do lose, but they are always there. And I don’t see it ever changing. Continue reading

Indy this weekend…

This weekend, Raiders of the Lost Ark opens for a limited run on IMAX… Now this is a movie I have seen over a dozen times in my life, but on a big screen like that it is tempting again.

So very, very tempting.

The trick is just working this out with the schedule. I have to take my son to a birthday party on Sunday (it is at a Martial Arts studio which with a bunch of five-year olds sounds like a disaster just waiting to happen), and there are groceries and the typical errands around the house. And that is not including the writing and editing I need to do around Chapter 8 of my book (I’m worried I might be getting behind, and it was so nice to be a week ahead). And, let’s be honest, with two very little kids you are putting a burden on the partner when you leave them with the kiddies while you do something selfish like this. But it is Indy… on IMAX…

I hear the theme song everywhere I go… Okay, that might be because I have the new whip sound app on my iPhone. It’s freaking awesome!

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

While my first real memory is seeing R2-D2 on the big screen, the first time I felt real fear in a movie theater belongs to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

I was seven, and for some unexplained reason my relatives thought I was the perfect age for seeing the Temple of Doom on opening day, the first PG-13 movie. I chalk it up to a very selfish decision on their part personally; my parents were not thrilled that they did this by the way and complained to them later. As everyone on the planet knows, the Temple of Doom is a dark movie that only seems to get darker with each step it takes into those underground caverns.

For most of the film, my seven-year old frame was on the edge of my seat, somewhere emotionally between terror and excitement; I wanted to see what would happen…

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The Nat King Cole Inside My Head

I am obsessed with The Beatles, I adore Belle and Sebastian, I’ve seen They Might Be Giants five times in concert, and I can’t stop playing the new Fiona Apple CD… but Nat King Cole is the musical comfort food for my soul.

I have read a few biographies about him over the years, and as amazing of a life he had, it’s always hard for me to connect him to his voice. Frankly, his voice is so engrained into my own life, it is hard to think that it once even belonged to someone else, as strangely as that sounds. I don’t feel his struggles against racism in his career and his growth from jazz pianist to just a singer fronting a band in a studio, lost in the business of just singing singles hoping for a hit, when I listen to his music.

I hear my own life in his voice, in his performing, making each recording I adore something akin to a special gift. Continue reading