life

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.

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

 

London Adventure: Need Advice

http://youtu.be/Zgt3C9IT3mo If my blog post yesterday wasn't enough I went ahead and followed it up with a video. Heading to London, any advice on what to see would be appreciated. I also became "ask-for-help-on-Twitter-guy" in this post. Not something I'm totally proud out, but something I'm coming around to.

Off to London...

Image I’m going to London to meet up with a group of friends. I’ve never been, but I think it’s safe to say that I’m looking forward to it. Aside from the fact that I like to see people close to me, I also like to get out of the house and explore new territory, and truthfully, I don’t do it enough.

I’m going to cut the shit and get to the chase here because I’m on the verge of walking down a road reflecting on friendship and how life takes us in a new direction and blah blah.

I’m writing this is because I’d like some advice on what to see and where to go in London. I’m not talking about the basic things, i.e.: Big Ben, London bridge, London eye, Windsor castle…  or really anything I can find on the internet in 30 seconds. I’m talking about off the road hole in the wall historic landmarks that I wouldn’t be able to find unless I pleaded for help on the Internet.

Also, and I mean this – If you’re reading this and will be in London over the next few days please don’t hesitate to connect. The best way is to email me: Josh@thebigshoe.tv or twitter: @JoshuaHallman

(Just became that dude asking people to tweet me)

Only reach out if you want to have a drink and talk about life, movies, sports, adventures, conspiracies, travel, and writing. Hope to talk with someone somewhere, it would be cool to connect... I think.

The Beauty Of Creation

Right off the bat we should establish that this is in no way a religious thing so lets not let the title of this post mislead you. I just let my mind drift as it normally does and I got to thinking about the creation of art, entertainment, stories, basically anything that has a human at the helm. It’s incredible for me to think that something doesn’t exist and then a person brings it into existence, possibly altering the mind of someone observing whatever it is. The impact that creation can have on someone is hard to comprehend. Many times we see a work of art or a quote, and it alters our thinking - Literally changing our lives. It makes me wonder about creations that exists in the world that I’ve never seen, or creations that almost never were.

I’m not sure if creation is as appreciated as it should be, especially now. We live in a time where we’re spoiled with information and content. We’re in a microwave attention span time-period so I feel that much of the things we see we take for granted simply because we’re trained to look and move on.

Also, we have access to the greatest site in the world, YouTube, and it allows us to watch an auteur create a five minute story that took him three months along with blood, sweat, and tears, but on the flip side you can also watch a cat jump on a hamster but was filmed by a ten year old in sixty seconds.  Does watching cat on hamster pull us from appreciation of good calculated creation? Also, who's to say what is “good” and what isn’t? But really, that’s the beauty of creation! We don’t know what’s good or bad until we see it. You may be reading this post and thinking it’s the biggest piece of shit of all time, you may be right, but it wasn’t in your life five minutes ago… so wrap your mind around that.

Shall we dig a little deeper and talk about the creation of human life? I don’t think that’s the best idea at this current moment. My mind is overloaded right now just thinking about this subject, when I pull back and try to relax I’m left with one solid conclusion: Creation is amazing, and what you create says more about you than what you’ve probably ever intended, but that’s the beauty of it. As long as people create then people will keep thinking of newer things to create… It’s essentially evolving the world.

Inevitable Wisconsin Reflection.

As I sit in my bed at my mom’s house in Greendale, Wisconsin I realize that I haven’t lived in this state for nearly ten years. I almost can’t comprehend that. Wow, time flies, it really does. People always told me things would go fast, I sort of believed it, but “sort of” is now 100% gone, there is no doubt. The reflection of how fast time moves opens up a waterfall of thought about how I should utilize time, how I should be living life, treating others, treating myself, if I’m living the right way, if I’m happy, and what kind of strides I’m making in my life.

Uh oh, the obvious life-reflection-when-I-come-home moment is in full force. Well, it’s necessary. Sometimes you need to take stock of your life and how you’re growing as a person…or not growing. On the flip, maybe it isn’t normal to reflect as much as I am? Sometimes too much reflection can lead to doubt, for me at least.  The ideal case is that reflection leads to growth, but that isn’t always the case.

The beauty of having a small town like Greendale is that it’s always a reminder of where I’m from. It’s a simple reminder of who I was, and to an even larger extent, how I got to be who I am. I wonder if that’s the case for everyone when they return to their hometown?

The things written above is a stream of thought that I’ve had many times in past. My personal conclusion inevitable. However, now I tell myself to get there faster. I try to avoid the rabbit hole of emotion that comes with reflection. Also, time is flying, life is short, lets just conclude…

Live often, and live fast but do it slowly because life is short. And to echo a mantra that isn’t mine: “seek and find.” 

The Cloud

The Cloud

I’m flying over Utah, maybe Colorado. I just stared at a series of clouds that are scattered, one stuck out. This cloud (pictured above) seems so random; I can’t help but wonder what he’s up to. Maybe this lone cloud got into a fight with another cloud and he’s being punished. Maybe he’s old and doesn’t give a shit. Maybe he’s lost. Maybe he’s brand new and is looking down to earth for the first time ever… Or maybe it’s just a cumulus cloud formed from heat rising from the surface of the earth and connecting with a cooler atmosphere.

Damn. Science wins again.

Ignoring science for one second…

If this cloud is anything like me he’s being stubborn right now. He’s by himself trying to prove a point to someone, maybe himself, and he’s simultaneously wondering if he’s just being a total asshole and doing more harm than good. Either way, he’ll figure it out. I have faith in this cloud.

Being Grateful?

I had an interesting conversation with a friend, he was talking about someone he knew who passed away (I swear this is the most depressing it gets) and we were talking about the time and how fast it goes by. We were wrapping up the conversation and I made a comment, something along the lines of --

Be grateful for what we have, be careful not to take things for granted.

Annnnd then the can of worms opened up. I should also note that I have my own issues in life, it’s not like I’m the guy who tells people how to life. This conversation was with a buddy, not some random guy.

After my comment our conversation went a little something like this:

Him: “You know what dude, I am grateful, and I don’t really take things for granted, but how does somebody stay aware of not taking things for granted?”

I kind of thought about it for a bit and then I thought about it even longer until he jumped back in --

Him: “Honestly, I know I’m lucky to have an active mind, working legs, and working arms. I don’t get sick, I’ve been fortunate with my health. But how the fuck do I show that? How do you do something more than just remind yourself?”

I was about to answer until he said --

Him: “How do you not take things for granted? I mean listen, I wish I could travel the world and see amazing things so I don’t waste life, but how can I do that with no money?

He then proceeded to say he’s just blurting out thoughts and that he really is appreciative, he was trying to justify what he said, but I basically blacked out because my friend had a very good point. I was busy trying to find an answer and a proper segway into more conversation but it wasn’t happening. We said our goodbyes but I’m still thinking about it.

How do you stay grateful? And how do you maximize life if you don’t have a lot of money but the things you love cost money? Listen, I know you can do fun things in life without money, and you can be happy as shit doing them, but you get what I’m saying, right?

I haven’t come to a conclusion on this conversation but I really wish I could. Do we need people to constantly tell you “hey, you’re doing a great job!” - we shouldn’t. But, it still feels good when people say that, and I wish I knew how to bottle that feeling. I wish I knew how to contain the feeling of total happiness. A few weeks ago after the Boston tragedy I was just happy to be alive. I had total appreciation for everything around me but truthfully; I may have lost that feeling of appreciation. I wish I didn’t lose that feeling. I hate that terrible things have to happen in the world for people to be reminded of how awesome it is to be alive.

I’m currently sitting in an office looking at a palm tree on a 70-degree day in Los Angeles. Let me say that one more fucking time so it can maybe stick to my head, I’m currently sitting in an office looking at a palm tree on a 70-degree day in Los Angeles. How could anyone take this for granted?

I have some thinking to do… 

The Purpose Of Life...

Mothers Day, the day that we celebrate the existence of the woman who gave us life. Or, in many unfortunate cases, it’s the day we celebrate the absence of the woman who gave us life. Either way, moms are awesome. Even if you’ve severed ties with your mom there’s no denying that the ability to give life is a cool thing.

This mom thought is a perfect transition to a conversation a friend and I had this weekend. Somehow we may have cracked a few codes to life and I want to reopen that conversation but only touch the surface because I really don’t think there is any real way to recreate this conversation. This brings me to, the purpose of life…

Creation.  Specifically, the creation of LIFE.

We were talking about the ability to create in life. We can all create anything we want… ANYTHING! And hopefully our creations impact someone to do the same thing, so suddenly we have a ripple effect of creation, and before you know it – you’re creation is changing things. Your creation begins to change the world.

You start to think about the most unique creation that one can offer to the world… Life. It kind of blows my mind that two guys can have a child with the same woman yet that child comes out 100% different. It doesn’t blow my mind on a DNA level, but rather on an individualistic level.

We can argue that art (film, paintings, music, etc...) can be recreated. It may not be true… but we can sure as fuck argue about it.  The one thing we do know for certain is that creating a specific human is something that cannot be replicated… by anyone. A person’s ability to create life is so totally unique for everyone.

Then, on another level you have to wonder why there is this lone thing in the world that you need someone else for. You need another person to crate this life. You can do anything in the world that you want but in order to create life you need someone else, that’s trippy, right?

When I think about it my mind wraps like I’m entering a wormhole and truthfully I wish I could articulate this better. I wish I could ramble and use my hands to try and express myself… both of which I’m very good at.

It comes down to creation. I believe creating is what enhances the world and makes it a better place. It what makes us evolve. It just so happens that the ultimate thumbprint of evolving is creating life.

By my logic I should have a litter of children running around me. My current child count is 0. I’m pretty sure it isn’t going to change any time soon… I need to stick with trying to create other things.

Life is awesome. 

Colorado: The Culture

 

For me, Colorado is one of those places I could go and one day later realize that I’ve been there for five years. Not sure if that’s a bad thing or a good thing. Keep in mind it’s not really a place for me, I’m more accustom to city living in California. Even Denver doesn’t have a complete city feel to me, it just seems like a pretty laid back.

When I think of Colorado I think of …

Recycling, changing my eating habits to get rid of glucose, getting a Subaru, riding a horse, eating cage free eggs, hiking, bike riding, more activities in general, drinking more beer than I already do, watching less TV, being outside more, yoga, and getting a dog – To name a few.

I was visiting my family in Colorado these last few days and lost track of time. I was consumed with relaxing with elements of drinking. I forgot that I write on my blog and actually have stuff to do. I was ultimately sucked into the culture and it scared me. There is always the possibility of never coming back.

I’m back in LA with clear eyes and a detox ahead of me. I feel like a stronger man after weathering the Colorado culture. I’m happy to be home, I was even happier to visit my family – It’s kind of a confusing scenario.

Whatever the case, I’m back to work and wondering if anyone else feels like I do in Colorado. Do you lose track of time? Am I just victim to visiting family and taking a vacation? I don’t know, and that’s just the thing. Colorado did this.

*Yes, well aware that I bunched a lot of cities and towns into “Colorado.”

Sunday Ramble: General Interests

 

I’m thinking about having general interests in topics and how those interests sculpt who we are. I’m kind of envisioning a person that is completely put together like a puzzle, and each puzzle piece is a hobby, idea, feeling, or another sub interest. Does that make sense? I wish I had the capability to draw out a diagram but I don’t have it right now. I’m essentially wondering if there are two people out there who have the same exact interests.

Is it possible? I’m not talking about having 9 out of 10 of the same interests; I’m talking a solid 10 out of 10. For that to happen someone would have to have a similar upbringing, similar parents, similar everything really.

—2 minutes of critical thinking later—

As much as I want this to be a reality I just don’t think it’s possible, not now at least. We’re just a little too unique with too many options. Dammit, I started to write this in hope of talking myself into the belief of two of the same people. I was also going write a little bit on how we’re all unique in our own way and blah blah, but I have a feeling we already know that already.

I was about 30 seconds away from deleting this post and making sure it would not see the light of day, but fuck it, it’s Sunday and I’m rambling.

Here’s to one day finding two people cut from the same cloth…

Nickname.

I just had a critical thinking session about nicknames and people that have them, I then dug a little deeper and thought of the origin of nicknames themselves. Then sat around for about 20 more minutes and thought why is it called a “nickname” or wait, is it “nicname” with no “K”? No, no, it’s with a K – the Internet told me so. And for the record when I finish reading this I’m going to head to Wikipedia and read all about the nickname origin.

I find this concept just awesome. People have a nickname like secret agents. The nickname is so personal simply because it defines you to individual groups as an extension of who you are. One moment you’re sitting in your office doing business then the next your buddy from college calls and says: “What’s up High Life” and the conversation goes on without missing a beat. (Note: My nickname is not High Life).

Also, you can have more than one nickname pending on what group of people you’re in. You could be “Killer” to Joe and Mike but you can also be “Smiley” to Sam and Todd.

Random mid thought note: Is the nickname just a guy thing? I don’t really think it is. I’ve known a few girls who call each other nicknames but for the most part they just call each other by their last name… I think. On that note I should say that calling someone by his or her last name doesn’t classify as a nickname.

Let’s take this one more notch because I feel as though I’m pigeonholing nicknames to people. Everything has nicknames: states (I’m from the Cheese State), towns (I live in the city of angels), sports teams, monuments, pictures… you get the point.

Basically, every human being should have a nickname. It’s an extension of you - it’s an alter ego to a certain extent. Your nickname is something to embrace, if you don’t have one I suggest you search deep and think about it. The nickname allows you to connect to those who know you have it… It’s your identity (yes, like Batman aka The Dark Knight).

For the record I’m fortunate enough to have a nickname. A few actually, friends who knew me had one for me and friends who know me have one, and like many nicknames it evolved as I did.

Sincerely,

Crazy Eyes.

Kidding! Not my nickname - I don’t have crazy eyes - I don’t think.

The Wikipedia Origin of Nicknames: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickname

A Moment of Life.

Not sure if it’s because I’m extremely tired or simply because I had a “moment” today but I wanted to take my earlier moment and flush it out. I was flipping through various radio stations on my drive this morning; currently I’m starting to find myself predominantly listening to talk radio. I don’t really care what it is. I start with ESPN radio because it’s sports, then flip to Dan Patrick (more sports) then NPR, get bored and flip to the left wing station get tired of it and flip to Glen Beck for a laugh. And it’s all just chatter then more chatter and then more of it.

Now I know what you’re thinking “dude, you’re listening to talk radio” yes but the talking on the radio is so redundant and a knee jerk reaction to scenarios that took place 3 minutes ago. We have no choice but to polarize our society because if you don’t and you’re a talk radio correspondent you’re going to be left behind. I’ve heard that the rule of talk is to either be loved or hated, there can’t be a in between. If something lands in between then you’re not opinionated enough. So I get it.

I flipped off the talk radio and cruised in traffic for about 20 more minutes in complete silence. Silence is a gift. My mind because clear and my thoughts became fluid – wow this is basic. But it’s this basic daily activity that gets overlooked and is sitting backseat to noise and activity. In my silence that I so often forget it’s there I had my moment, my moment of complete and total clarity.

Clarity that I can only control myself and how I act in this time and space, clarity that we’re all in an area that is more of a gift than anything else. Wow, how did I forget this? Even for one second I don’t think what’s around us should be overlooked, ever. What you do with it to not overlook it is up to you, I can’t say for certain what you should do, but I know what I should do.

We live in an interesting world and an even more interesting universe. We have a short period of time in the grand scheme of things and this gets so easily overlooked. From my moment I say to you - Utilize your surrounds and never underestimate your footing.

I’ll probably be listening to talk radio tomorrow.

A Little Diddy About Age.

Dammit! It happened. I’ve always wondered how I’d know that I was aging. I’ve managed to ignore the typical old age stereotypes, hoping I was more Ben Button with Brad Pitt rather than Jack with Robin Williams. But, yesterday it happened.

I was driving and listening to LA’s oldie station, K-earth 101 with Shotgun Tom Kelly when he pumped me up with a full hour of commercial free music. Perfect I thought, trusty oldies I can always rely on you. He gave the traffic report… weather report… few lame jokes… and then… thank God, it’s music time.

The music started, the first few seconds sounded awfully familiar and then I heard the words: “A little diddy about Jack and Diane”

Wait… Huh? Did I change the station? No, I didn’t. John Cougar Mellencamp was on the oldies station. Is this right? I saw this guy at Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin one year when I was a teenager. I’m still calling him by his 3 part name, isn’t he just John Mellencamp now?

Either way it happened, I must accept this and move forward. I told my girlfriend and she was casual about it, she went on to tell me she heard The New Kids On The Block on the same station. Bring it on Shotgun, oldies are no more, I welcome the nostalgic music and am fully prepared for this next chapter of my life. I’m not happy about it but I’m not sure I can change it. Time, you’ve done it again.