Josh Hallman

Hey Cancer, F**K You!

Most things that I create (film or write) I do it with the intent of making someone happy, creating new thoughts, or sparking imagination. This post is a little different. Below are two different writings. I was dealing with some stuff in my life and thought I’d take a moment to write about it. It's more of a spewing of thoughts, a stream of consciousness even. If nothing else, I hope at least one person will find this helpful. 

December 10th, 2014

It’s December 10th, 2014 and I’m scared shitless. In October my mom was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast Cancer - HER2 positive.

My initial thought: Okay, stage 1. This sucks but we have many reasons to be optimistic. There's 4 stages. This was caught early. We'll just remove the problem and be done, right? Sort of right. 

There's this HER2 thing, which apparently is a protein, and because of this protein, she needs Chemotherapy. Since October we’ve had more doctor visits than I’d like to remember but the major milestones was the Mastectomy… another small surgery… and now the chemo journey. The first treatment was yesterday, and now, I sit in my mom's home, fucking confused as to what my mom, sister, and I are getting ourselves into.

It should be noted that I live in California, my sister in Colorado, and my mom in Wisconsin. The travel has allowed me to enter the elusive A PLUS program offered by Southwest along with a companion pass for the next calendar year - I’ve flown a lot. My distance is what scares me. The unknown scares me... How is my mom going to handle this when we’re not around? My father passed away a long time ago and that’s the short way of saying she’s by herself.

Like every single human in the entire world who's dealt with this - when we found out my mom had breast cancer it was a shock. She’s healthy, what the fuck? Now we’re pumping her full of shit. Shitty fucking shit. I hate chemo and I hate all of the drugs she has to take. Just today she took steroids, anti nausea something, and Claritin, yes, fucking Claritin. Why? Well, it will help blah blah nausea blah blah blah.

Eh. I can’t compute anymore. I thought I’d have a holistic solve. I don’t. We’re left pumping my mom full of garbage.

Here I am. Confused as ever. Really scared. I’m writing this in hopes to follow up when her final chemo treatment is done. Maybe beyond. I hope to look back so I don’t forget how scared I was, even though no amount of words could do justice. I’m also writing this to maybe help someone else at some point, because all I want right now is some kind of help or guidance.

I wish I could find someone just like me and talk to that person and just hear them out. I want a son, from out of town, who is dealing with his mother’s small tumors but hey, it had a protein (HER2) that elevated my mom’s estrogen and forced chemo into our lives. I want to find that someone. It sounds sick but if there was a MATCH.com for people like me seeking other people like me, I’d be on it so fast it’s scary. I just want to talk with a version of me.

I guess I’m just worried. Scared. I can’t say it enough. I’m writing this fully knowing I’m showing my emotional hand, but at this moment, this is what’s helping me. This is what feels good. This is what I need to do. The truth is, I don’t know if i’m going to post this. I have this website for posting thoughts and feelings. I also release other content online. I release videos and short films of stories and thoughts. Staying guarded about my personal life, but trying to crack the door open juuuuust enough.

When I come back to this document it will be after my mother’s next 5 treatments of chemo (6 in total). I’m optimistic, mainly because every doctor told us to be, but I’m still worried.

I’m going to leave this document to collect dust for a few months, then revist, and I hope I can help someone like me at some point. I hope this will relate to at least one person. I hope that someone may read this seeking answers and will reach out to me to talk about life. Most importantly, I hope that when I come back here it’s with positive news, I’m sure it will be.

Fuck cancer. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Off to have an emotional breakdown...

April 8th, 2015

It’s April 8, 2015. My mom’s final chemo was two weeks ago. It’s weird how time flies but on the same hand it slogs along. That’s what the past 6-7 months have felt like - slow, yet fast.

I was hesitant to write this and post. At this moment I'm kind of "done" talking about all of this stuff. In other words, I'd like to pretend like everything is okay and compartmentalize. Also, as I mentioned above I tend to stay a bit guarded with what I release and truthfully this is offering up more than I thought I’d ever post about myself.

-Pause-

Just for the record… I’m not some guy who thinks people are going to flock to read random things I post on a blog. I know where I stand in the world of the internet, I’m not a fool, but at the same time you never know what will come back to haunt you down the road. People need to be careful when posting online. 

That’s a message for the kids. 

-Un-Pause-

I was thinking about when I first started writing this and it was when I was very confused and very lost. I needed someone to talk to, I was aware of that. I have my wife, family, and friends to vent to but I needed something more. Not saying I needed a therapist but I wanted a dude to relate to. Maybe I did need a therapist?

Secretly (or maybe not so secretly) I wanted me from the future to tell me what’s going on. Okay, so I needed a DeLorean. I think it’s safe to say that I hate uncertainty, specifically when it comes to issues of health. Yet, here we are, dealing with uncertainty and still moving forward. I wish I could just say “hey, we’re in the clear” but my mom still has a road ahead, however after the last 6-7 months I think I can say with certainty we can handle this.

My heart goes out to anyone who has to deal with this shit, especially when cancer isn’t caught early…Hell, even when it is caught early. I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone. I truly believe it’s the devil and not in disguise, it’s showing itself and blatantly fucking with you. Which is the worst.

If you can relate to anything I just wrote and you find yourself in a similar situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. All I wanted was someone to talk to and I can’t say it enough. If you’re finding yourself going crazy and want to vent, rant, email, skype, facetime, share stories, whatever, I am here for that. I’d be more than happy to express any thoughts or just talk about things. I'm no therapist, not by a long shot, but I am a dude who can lend an ear.

This is my email: josh@thebigshoe.tv

My mom’s situation isn’t nearly as dire as others, the outlook is positive, and I'm fully aware of how fortunate my current situation is. But I can't deny that this single experience did a number on me mentally. It re-calibrated my thoughts and gave the “life is short” reminder. By the way, the “life is short” reminder shouldn’t ever actually be a reminder, it should just be a way of life. I’m ashamed I actually need something massive to remind me. Fuck it, no dwelling on the past, life is short. Remember not to waste your time on bullshit (easier said than done).

There you have it. That’s it. Hopefully I can pay something forward from this (currently ongoing) experience. When I’m done writing this I'm going to take a moment to appreciate life… and then follow that moment up with saying, “Fuck you cancer." I seriously hope cancer gets cancer and self implodes.

Good luck to everyone dealing with the devil.

Hey Snapchat, I Think I Love You (for now).

Yeah, sure, I may be too old for it but I'm loving the story aspect of Snapchat. Truthfully, I thought Snapchat was used by teens for shit I could care less about. I'm sure that's the main use of it actually, BUT, I'm a story guy and I'm a guy who likes to film. This is a perfect combination.

In case you don't believe me, I made a video about it.... If there's a video that means you have to believe me. Of course, if you'd like to follow my stories on Snapchat, my username is: TheJoshford

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkbU2zq_yRQ[/embed]

Complaining About The Weather

I'm sure weather complaints have been a constant of mankind. I can't imagine any period of time where people didn't bitch about it. Honestly, sometimes, you just have to sit back and say "Fuck this weather." I may not like when people do it but I understand it, and because I understand it, I give you this: A video bitching about the weather --

[youtube=http://youtu.be/LTCLwGid4y0]

Never Get Off The Bike

I was recently involved in a hit and run... aka: an old dude hit me in a crosswalk and I'm still really pissed off about it. I tossed my bike into the closet due to some form of anxiety, but now, I think I need to get it fixed and get back on it. Made a video that's intertwined with Snapchat. I give you...  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLcAloeGjoU

 

To see more Snapchat stories, my username: TheJoshford

 

Return Of The Post.

To say that I’ve been absent from posting on this site may be an understatement. Seems like I stopped writing posts and transitioned solely into occasionally posting videos. Then the videos tailored off, and now I’m left as the guy who used to write a blog. Arguably it’s bad enough having a blog, let alone a blog you don’t use. However, it’s been for good reason. I’ve been held up writing (excuses!!!). I’m going to do my best to get back on here, as a matter of fact I’m going to cheat and have another post following this one… a video about writing… which, is a paradox of this joshford website.

I’m stepping away to contemplate story ideas and life. Trying not to overthink life more than I already do.  Also, I’m off to watch the Packers VS Patriots, I’m already stressed.

The TSA Is Clueless

When I was in high school living in Greendale, Wisconsin my friends and I used to get harassed by small town cops with nothing to do. The cops were the most two-faced humans on the face of the planet, wait, not all, but most of them. The majority would put on a facade of “hey, we’re your friends” but what they were really saying is, “hey shitbag, please sneeze so I can arrest you.” It was from my high school encounters that a subconscious hatred-seed was planted in my head and as time went on I grew to actually distain police officers. I never trusted them. I feel like I saw more officers walk with an air of entitlement rather than officers actually trying to help the public. It took longer than I care to admit to say that I respect police officers. As I’ve gotten older some of the best men I’ve met are officers. Solid guys sacrificing themselves for others. It took time for me to see that and I wish it didn’t, but my small town asshole cop named Officer Daniels ruined it for everyone.

Flash forward to current day: I’m now having the same adverse reaction to the airport TSA people as I did to cops and I don’t see this changing at any point in the future. The way that the TSA “structure” is supposed to be is the biggest load of bullshit that I can imagine. It’s nonsense. Literally, nonsense. Let me breakdown what happened today at LAX:

- Arrive to security.

- See the big magnetic new age body scanning machine and directly next to it is a traditional metal detector.

- See some people walk through the traditional metal detector with shoes and a belt on.

- Unload my belongings on the conveyor belt, take off my shoes and belt, approach the new age magnetic body scanning machine.

- I say to the TSA guy “hey, I want to walk through the other one.”

TSA guy says, “no, you have to go through this one (magnetic new age monster)."

Me: “Come on man, I see all these people going through that one, what’s the difference? And why do they have their shoes on?”

TSA guy: “You either walk through this one (fuck you magnetic one) or you opt out and do the pat down.”

Me: “Seriously?”

TSA guy: “Seriously.”

Me: “Why?”

TSA guy: “You opting out?”

Me: “Can I just walk through that other one? What exactly is the problem?”

TSA guy: “We’re only letting adults with children walk through there.”

Me: “Dude, I literally just saw a bunch of people walk through there without kids.”

TSA guy: “They had kids”

I’m now starting to get angry. I should note that I have this dark side that only comes out when an authoritative person like this starts bullshitting me. Oh, also, there were no kids walking through the traditional one. But it begs the questions, why the fuck aren’t kids walking through the new age machines? Are they harmful to kids? If so, aren’t they harmful to adults?

Me: “Seriously man, you’re going to tell me they had kids? There were no kids!”

My voice, slightly raised.

TSA guy: “So you’re opting out?”

Me: “Yes, fine.”

TSA dude calls someone over and says I’m opting out. I wait about 30 seconds and guess what, the new age magnetic machine stops working, someone yells that it needs to be re-calibrated, and then suddenly they direct everyone to the traditional machine.

I asked the guy if I could just go through the traditional machine, he said no, it was too late. I lost my shit. My arms were failing, I was literally on the verge of a breakdown. I started to bitch about how this doesn’t make sense and why can people suddenly walk through here?

I saw the look on this TSA guy’s face, and it was a look of total enjoyment. A look of knowing full well what he was doing. A look of entitlement. A look of unwarranted power as though he was actually doing something good. We all know the look. We’ve been there.

While I was ranting and yelling another TSA woman yelled from somewhere “Whats wrong?” I pleaded my case, trying to tell her I just want to walk through the machine. Why can’t I walk through the machine!? 

As I was making a fool of myself they just let me stand there until the woman came over and told TSA guy to pat me down. As he took me over I asked him why some people were able to wear shoes and a belt and others couldn’t. He said

“If you pay $85.00 per year you can get a back ground check done and it will give you an express pass through security so you can keep your clothing on.”

Wow. You fucking kidding me? 

He patted me down, I was angry, my fiancé just looked at me like I was nuts, knowing full well my problem with these guys. When it was all said and done I took one final glance at the smug assholes who actually thought they were doing something beneficial… And just like that, current day TSA people entered into the realm of the high school cops.

The thing is, I know that the TSA is meant for good but the reality is — It’s a total cluster fuck. There is no rhyme or reason, which is as much scary as it is frustrating. Everything about it makes no sense and I feel like we all know it, I even think the TSA knows it. It makes no sense to have a new magnetic body scanning machine and a traditional metal detector next to each other yet not allow someone to walk through whichever they choose. It makes no sense to allow someone to pay $85.00 per year to keep their shoes and a belt on. These are both just a big slap in the face.

It’s infuriating.

So, that’s my vent while flying on an airplane. My attempt to not sound like an asshole when talking about such a sensitive subject. I want to note that while I fully acknowledge the good that is intended, it’s a faulty system, it just is. We’ve been scrambling for years to stop people from harming others at airports and keep out the “bad guys” and while we haven’t perfected that system we have perfected the art of frustrating travelers.

Last thing - Fuck you, Officer Daniels.

 

inTransit: A Brief History Of My Journey and the Greatest Travel Show... Ever.

Image

Let me jump into a very quick story that turned out to be the catalyst to a life changing event. At some point in 2007 I met a guy at a ridiculous Hollywood party, he was sporting a Bulls T-shirt of Michael Jordan doing something awesome. Weird that I remember this? Yeah, maybe. But I’m from Wisconsin and if I think anyone is from the Midwest odds are we’re having a conversation. So, I go up and say:

“Hey man, nice shirt, you from Chicago?”

And he probably said something along the lines of:

“Yeah, where are you from?”

Which then sparked a casual run of the mill conversation in Hollywood that ended with us saying, “Hey, we should hang out some time.”

Flash forward to a few days later….

I get a text on my awesome 2007 flip phone from this guy saying:

“Hey, I’m going to walk over to your apartment, do you want to hang out?

To which I guess I said something along the lines of:

“Yeah, sure.”

The weird thing about this is that I didn’t know where he lived, I just said yeah because I was in my early 20’s and would say yes to anything. I called my other friend Ethan who knew this guy and told him he was walking over to my place. Ethan said that this guy lived over the hill.

***Just a quick little cool-guy Hollywood talk for everyone: When someone says, “over the hill” they’re basically saying they live in another world. I lived in a studio apartment in Hollywood and to go over the hill I’d have to take Laurel Canyon or God forbid, the Cahuenga Pass. I can’t talk about this anymore because my douche bag nonchalant Hollywood level is starting to get higher than I want. Long story short over the hill is far away…

So when I heard he may potentially be coming from over… and walking… I was confused. It didn’t make sense. Sure enough, a short time later this guy knocked on my door holding a six pack and said, “Hey, I found this on the side of the road.”

After a quick hang out he asked me if I wanted to walk back with him. I had to work at a Sushi restaurant later that night and I didn’t think I could do the walk. But after a moment of thinking I ended up saying, “yeah, sure” (I was early 20’s) and then he’d drop me off at work once we concluded the walk. We proceeded to walk back to his apartment.

On the long walk back he started to tell me how he always wanted to have a travel show and how much he loved travel. He went on, to what would later turn out to be an incredible philosophical approach about travel, and tell me about how important it was to see the small things along the way. How when people travel they can miss things, and essentially it’s all about the journey, not the destination. Of course, everyone knows it’s about the journey but few people actually instill this into their DNA, this guy was not someone who lacked it.

Flash forward to a few weeks later…

This guy comes over and tells me that he wants to document a travel series on YouTube. He wanted to walk from Los Angeles to San Diego, film it along the way, and then upload the videos at night. I thought it sounded awesome. Also, keep in mind that this was the early stages of YouTube, this wasn’t exactly a “normal” thing to do.  At some point he said he wanted to call it “The Walkstars" and get his two brothers to walk along with his friend from Hawaii. I said I was in.

Flash forward to a few more weeks later… 

We walked from Los Angeles to San Diego. Uploaded videos along the way. Got blisters. Got tired. Minimal arguing from everyone. Some drinking. A total of 5 days walking. I was going through a break up at the time and this allowed me time to reflect on how depressed I was and listen to Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” on repeat. It was a successful walk.

Flash forward to a few months later…

At this point this guy and I are pretty great friends. We connect on a production and life level, we like making short skits, music videos, and we constantly toss around ideas. We have a conversation discussing a scooter trip across the USA. We’d ride 29 mph scooters and instill the idea that it’s about the journey and not the destination. We’d take our time and see things in America that people ignore. We’d meet people along the way. We’d camp. We’d explore. We’d call ourselves “The Scootstars". We’d talk about creating an umbrella called “inTransit” for travels like “The Walkstars" and “The Scootstars" to live under… And yes, we’d film this trip.

I was in.

We spent roughly 3 months together traveling. At one point my scooter broke down so I hopped on the back of his. We spent so much time together we could probably read each others minds, whether or not this was a good thing, I’m not sure, but it sure as hell wasn’t a bad thing.

I can’t speak for him but I can tell you that a few very important things happened to me while I was on the road:

- I realized how much I cared for a woman who was back in Los Angeles. Little did I know but I’d end up asking this same woman to marry me.

- I realized that I wanted to focus on my writing and crafting stories through screenplays.

- I came to a new found appreciation of humans in America. I realized that there are great people everywhere and it’s what makes us, as people, great. There’s a lot of good in this world and people are at the core of it.

Once the scooter trip concluded my life was forever changed. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time. I needed years to reflect and connect the dots. The adventure and journey on the road changed me.

Flash forward to yesterday…

This guy released a sizzle reel highlighting his traveling, himself, and also the soul that is (what I think) his philosophical traveling beliefs. Since I stopped traveling with him after the scooter trip he’s taken public transportation through Central America, A canoe down the entire Mississippi River, a Train through Russia, A Land Rover across America, and most recently a quick trip to commemorate Peter Tosh’s 69th birthday (to name a few).

This guy is Peter Bragiel and he’s one of my best friends. We’ve basically been neighbors for the past 7 years and still collaborate on ideas, videos, and drinking beer. When I watched the sizzle reel I caught a glimpse of our scooter trip and it made me reflect how important that time of my life was. It was roughly a quarter of my life ago but it’s still a fresh memory. Our traveling caught me at an interesting point in my life and I may even go as far as to say it was transformative.

Then I got to thinking… That’s the beauty of travel. Specifically, that’s the beauty of inTransit and what Pete has created. He offers an outlet for those who don’t have it, or want it and haven’t embraced it yet. The motto of enjoying the journey is said so often yet it is rarely approached. InTransit is that outlet. It’s a journey, the adventure, the experience. There’s a cliche saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know” - and in my opinion, that’s the beauty of what inTransit is. You don’t know what you’re about to experience but you’re probably going to be better once you know it. Also, Pete is the anchor behind the whole thing and he's a person who genuinely loves to travel and experience what the road has to offer.

Below is Pete’s sizzle reel and if you haven’t seen inTransit you’re missing out. For me, watching this is an incredible journey that I watched my friend go on and fortunately I was able to be apart of it, if only for a short period of time.

Check out this reel. I can’t tell you how badly I want this to be a fully funded TV show or show that lives online. It’s different from anything you’ve ever seen. I’m not just saying this shit because he’s my friend. Trust me. If you live like this, if only for a little while, who knows what will happen to your life…

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM4mpPYUHQU?list=UUs1o_kAxoMj1xcRyBp-rIYg&w=560&h=315]

Pete's Youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/pdrop

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers Matthews belt This will be my last desperate (and maybe pathetic) attempt to push the Green Bay Packers into the throats of any football fan. I’m well aware this is Seattle / Denver week, and I’m also well aware that I’m partially delusional to hold the Packers on such a large pedestal as I currently do. Lets be real, they’ve been getting their asses kicked for the last three years. Oh wait, what a perfect segway!

But first, a disclaimer: I love the Green Bay Packers. I really do. I have professional football love for Aaron Rodgers, and did I mention I love the Green Bay Packers. That’s why it kind of kills me to write this…

There aren’t many players in the NFL with distinct badass football moves. When I say moves I mean celebrations, not jukes, or hurdles that running backs do. We’re talking very specific association with one action and one player. The few that come to mind are Colin Kapernick kissing his dumb bicep, Cam Newton doing his Superman thing, and… wait. Is that it? I think it may be. But there used to be one more and it was Aaron Rodgers doing the “Title Belt” which somehow is now associated with State Farm Insurance as the “Discount Double Check” and this really pisses me off.

I hate to say this but, Aaron Rodger sold the fuck out (and not in the good way). Not only did he sell out but he stripped us all of seeing him toss a fake WWE belt around his waste for the next god knows how many years. We’ve lost the arrogance that any good celebratory move has. If you were or are a wresting fan you know how important “moves” are, it’s a calling card. It’s a moment for all of us to say, “oh shit, Aaron Rodgers is about to do something crazy”.

The mind blowing thing about all of this is that the Aaron Rodgers was literally set up to be stuck with the “Title Belt” association forever. If we recall, Clay Matthews draped a fake WWE belt over his shoulder when they won the Superbowl (picture above). He was primed to be stuck with it! What happened!? Why’d he sell it to State Farm Insurance!? Why’d he just give away the rights to something so great!? WHY!?

Was it the money? Maybe, but two years after he became associated with the belt he got the best contract in NFL quarterback history.  He had to know something big was coming, right? Or is that naive of me? Was it the fact he didn’t want to be associated with the WWE? Maybe, but I doubt it, because he wouldn’t have done the belt gesture in the first place. Was it the fact that he was hooking up his buddy at State Farm? No, probably not.

You know the worst part about all of this? It’s that he doesn’t even do the move anymore, he just stopped. He allows some moron on TV to do in front of him. He literally sold out, and I don’t know if he expected so many people to pick up on this but they did, and it sucks because we’ve been stripped of happiness, and I feel deep down he wants to do it. NAY, not think, he does want to do. Just watch his reaction against the Bears.

So what’s the deal? Why’d he go State Farm? How did this happen? Is it a coincidence that once he stopped the “Title Belt” they’ve been going down hill? God, I just can’t get into that.

Aaron Rodgers sold out. But not just sold out, he sold a longterm move, he sold an association. He stripped millions of kids around the world doing something awesome when they score a touch down on the playground. These kind of things come along once every so often so to see it is special, especially when it happens organically - that’s even more special. Dammit it pisses me off.

Go Packers.

Oh God, I just found this and it break my heart: Shit!