Goodbye New York. It’s Been Real.

central park

By Ross Moulton

For me, there was always an exit plan out of Manhattan, at least in theory. It idled patiently in the back of my brain, sharing the same space I occasionally tapped into on lonely Sunday nights, when I would walk the streets of the Upper West Side contemplating just what the hell I was doing with my life. Because I wasn’t raised in the immediate vicinity of NYC, there was always a hovering inevitability that I’d one day leave. That I’d pack up my belongings, shovel them down 4 stories of a walk-up, and turn my wandering eyes towards new possibilities. The city, I would tell myself, was simply too busy, too expensive and too demanding to ever live long-term and raise a family. That, and the daily commute in and out of Penn Station made me quiver like a little school girl.

However, despite these reservations, there always seemed to be too many balls in play – too many aspects of my life (job, lease, girlfriend) that needed to sync together in order to create a sensible (and to my family, defensible) exit. That hovering inevitability that permeated, and kept a stranglehold on my future, was just that – hovering, but not quite real.

But, strangely, and randomly, the stars aligned, and that inevitability touched down.

In late June, after 5 months of working around the clock for an underfunded tech startup – I decided to leave my job. My lease in apartment 4B, an Upper West Side staple that’s been home to a rotating cast of friends and family since 2009, was set to end in August. And my girlfriend, Kate, happened to live in an area (Baltimore/DC) that I was not only keen on moving to, but which was also home to a graduate program (Johns Hopkins) I had long had my eye on.

So I applied to Hopkins and was admitted for the fall term. I agreed to sublet a room at a friend’s place in the Mount Vernon area of Baltimore (coincidentally, my former roommate in NYC). Slowly, methodically, and somewhat surely, I began to pull the plug on my life in New York City. After 6 fantastic, yet grueling years, I was ready to leave.

It’s a nostalgic thing to leave your home, nevermind somewhere as magical, or as addictive, or as tantalizingly sexy as New York City. For me, leaving NYC wasn’t something I wanted to celebrate, nor even really recognize or make note of. I didn’t want to hug people and say “goodbye”. I didn’t want to tear up at the thought of leaving, and I didn’t want anyone else to either. So, there was no epic going away party, no huge goodbye dinner or farewell lunch. There were no last “this’s” or last “that’s” to drain any emotion I had left towards the city. I simply packed up my belongings, walked down 4 stories of a walk-up, and left. I called it quits on the only home I’ve known as an adult – the city that’s watched me walk, stumble, fall, and rise…time and time again.

I wrote this, in a sense, to actually say goodbye to New York. I will never say that I lived the perfect New York City life (I never went to a Broadway show, gasp!) – but I will say that I tried my damndest to experience everything the town had to offer, for better or for worse. For those of you who may think the stars will never align in the way they did for me, I’ll offer you this: they will. And when they do – just know that the decision of whether you’re in or you’re out will probably tug at your heart in ways you never imagined.

For me, I was out, and it was time to start a new chapter of my life. But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss everything I left behind.

Goodbye, New York. It’s been real.


“Un Prophète”: A Review


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A Prophet

By Ross Moulton

For someone who likes to think they keep up with the latest and greatest in pop culture, my awareness for solid foreign films borders on the pathetic. It makes me wonder – is there a website? Or a blog? Or perhaps a LinkedIn group that could provide me with this elusive and fleeting information?

In less time than it took me to write those queries, I discovered a website that does just that: Top 100 Foreign Films List

Regardless of arbitrary top films listings, I still didn’t see ‘A Prophet’ until long after it hit the théâtre (as they say in the land of boiled escargot). Not an Academy Award nomination, nor a Golden Globe win brought the film to my attention, and if it wasn’t for the urging from a friend, I probably never would never have seen this film. But a las, there is a happy ending to this tale, and a recap for your reading pleasure to boot!

UPDATE: For those of your who abhor foreign language films and are repulsed at the mere thought of reading a blog entry about one, rest easy, there is an English language remake in the works: Oscar-Nominated Crime Drama A Prophet To Get The Remake Treatment

Let’s get into it.

“If you eat…It’s thanks to me. If you dream, think, live…It’s thanks to me.”                                                                         –César Luciani

When Darwin pontificated his thoughts on survival, it very well could have come on the heels of watching, “A Prophet”. Set amidst the luminous environment that is European incarceration, the film centers around young Malik, a 19 year old neophyte inmate, recently extradited from juvenile detention and thrust into modern day French prison warfare. Malik possesses a naivete to prison life that is as concerning as it is obvious, shown as he’s immediately pummeled by fellow prisoners for his sneakers. While his decision to rise up against his aggressors lands him promptly on his backside, we do get the sense that Malik’s orphaned childhood has bred a courageous sensibility that will serve him well in this environment.


The movie’s overarching storyline highlights the ethnic riff between the Arabs and the Corsicans, and is driven by Malik’s dysfunctional yet reverent relationship to the jail’s chief mafioso, Cesar (a Corsican). Cesar is callous and manipulative by nature, quickly made evident when he forces Malik to kill an Arab set to take the witness stand for an impending trial. With a plan both uncomfortably sexual and punishing, Malik commits the murder, but is left shaking in the cell’s bed after the act – his despair towards murder as visible as the blood soaking the ground around him. Despite this overwhelming discomfort, the violent act has now earned Malik protection from the Coriscans – and an apprenticeship with Cesar.

The film portrays his rise through the ranks, accelerated by the transfer of Cesar’s top lieutenants to another prison. His ascent as Cesar’s right hand man is accompanied by an increasing mastery of barter, shown as the purest means toward survival in prison. Malik soon begins taking temporary 12 hour ‘leave day’s’, where he not only engages Cesar’s outside business interests (casinos), but also broadens his personal dealing of ‘hash’ alongside Ryad, his closest friend in prison, and Jordi, the Gypsy.


Cesar’s penultimate order comes when he orders Malik to kill his own boss, Jacky Marcaggi. Malik enlists Ryad to help him, but as the day of reckoning nears, he learns that the crew of men recruited by Ryad are unreliable, and he is forced to carry out the hit himself. Malik subsequently kills the bodyguards but decides to leave Marcaggi alive, with instructions to take out his revenge on Cesar. Coupled with a prior deposit of cash to an Arab Imad, Malik has now successfully swung Arab support in his favor, and left Cesar, the Corisican, lacking any of his former backing.

While the tale of ‘A Prophet’ is dark and unforgiving, it’s able to illuminate with moments of dichotomy. Whether it’s the emphatic contrast of life ‘inside’ versus out, or the cultivation of friendship in the omnipresence of enemies, ‘A Prophet’ gives meat to these moments in a way that viewers can truly feel. They are shown subtly throughout the film:

The sight of Malik’s head resting peacefully in Ryad’s car – and sensing relief, as if I had been released from something as well.

Malik’s overly eager reception of bread from the flight attendant – and seeing such pleasure being taken from something so simple.

Malik’s casual nature while smoking a cigarette with Ryad – and witnessing an innocent laugh with a friend most of us normally take for granted.

a prophet

Within these varied moments there is also the evolution of Malik himself – once the 19 year old ‘boy’ beaten up for his shoes, compromised and unwilling, he emerges from prison a man, now revered for his courage and power. When you see him walking away from prison with three large vehicles following him for protection, you can’t help but feel, in your bones, the same sense of triumph that Malik feels.

Darwin would be proud.

Check out the trailer for “A Prophet” below:

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Will we ever weep for Nucky Thompson?

By Ross Moulton

Last weekend, to much fanfare, Boardwalk Empire made its return to HBO’s Sunday night lineup with its season 3 premiere episode, “Resolution”. While I was not an early adaptor of the show (more along the lines of late majority, for those of you having flashbacks to business management classes), I was able to finally consume the first two seasons in sequence this past month. Night in and night out, as I watched Nucky Thompson, Jimmy Darmody, Arnold Rothstein and their brethern navigate through Prohibition-era America, I became dumbfounded that I actually waited this long to dive in. Considering the combination of Martin Scorcese, Terence Winter, gangsters, explicit nudity, and HBO’s limitless financial support, my hesitation seems almost nonsensible. So, in an effort to issue a half-hearted validation for the trepidations that kept me at bay, I’ll offer this: I couldn’t quite buy into Steve Buschemi as a feared gangster during early 20th century America. Not that I have any reservations against Buschemi’s overall acting ability, he’s a terrific character actor with a litany of strong performances on his resume. But could he really pull off playing a character that served a dominant and central role in one of the most corrupt periods of our country’s history? Could the quirky and physically unimposing Buschemi actually convince an audience that he could be an intimidating mobster? I wasn’t so sure.

Expectations can be a fickle game however. As I ripped through the show’s first two seasons, I slowly began to accept the relevance of his portrayal as Nucky Thompson. While he may not have been as brash as Tony Soprano, or as hot-headed as Tony Montana, or as domineering as Michael Corleone, Buschemi was able to deliver a unique, hybrid form of gangster. He was able to combine strong intellect with a high emotional IQ to create a potent weapon of manipulation, whether it was bribing public officials, redistributing power amongst the town’s bootleggers, or controlling the city’s black population. This was complemented by a noticeable compassion to needy city residents whom he dutifully gave money out to (particularly Margaret Schroeder, who he would go on to marry). When it came to making a decision on matters concerning Atlantic City, it was obvious who ruled the roost. It was Nucky Thompson who picked the next mayor of Atlantic City, not the voters. Nucky Thompson was the one who decided whether or not Mickey Doyle could still run his operation. Nucky Thompson informed Chalky White when and if he could retaliate against the KKK. Nucky Thompson decided if  Jimmy Darmody still had a seat at the table, not Jimmy Darmody. He did this all with just a few petty instances of physicality, his primary association to violence being secondhand, seen mostly through a prism of delegation to others.

Of course, as goes with mafia life, his entrenchment at the top began to wear. The people he utilized to gain his power began to feel slighted and taken for granted, and their growing contempt became outward, particularly two which he had considered his closest confidantes. Eli Thompson, Nucky’s oft slighted brother and Atlantic City sheriff, pulled few punches with his analysis of Nucky’s ruling hand:

“The whole thing’s a game isn’t it? So easy for you. Well, I’ll keep at it. Maybe one day I’ll lie as good as you.”

Jimmy Darmody, Nucky’s one time protege, struggled with escaping from underneath Nucky’s shadow and was excommunicated from Atlantic City when he failed to seek Nucky’s permission for a raid.  He issued one of the more memorable quotes of the series, one that ironically foreshadowed his demise and also succinctly summarized Nucky’s growing dilemma:

“You can’t be half a gangster, not anymore.”

When Nucky placed two bullets through Darmody’s skull at the end of season 3, that advice was finally heeded, and by finally committing his first murder, Nucky had officially made the leap he had for so long seemed to avoid. Now, Nucky Thompson really was no different than Tony Soprano or Michael Corleone. He wasn’t just smart, corrupt and manipulative anymore. Now, he was a killer. Now, and as evidenced already in “Resolution”, Nucky’s new role is not half, but full gangster, darker than ever; truer and more bonafide in the realm of thuggery. But with this evolution came a pertinent question: Will it still work for his character? Does a devolving compassion and a growing embrace of murder really make us like Nucky Thompson as much as we once did? Or does it leave us strangely unbalanced, unsure of how to feel towards his character?

In the 5th season of Entourage, there’s a scene in which Paul Haggis describes how an audience must feel when Pablo Escobar, a Columbian druglord and mass murderer, dies:

“In this movie I’d like you to play what I call a human being. You see, together I want to humanize one of the greatest monsters of all time. What I want is that even after the audience sees you ruthlessly slaughter, like, a thousand people, I still want them to care. I want them to care so much, that when you die they fuckin’ weep. They won’t want to, they’ll hate themselves for it, but they will fucking weep.”

So the question is, will we ever weep for Nucky Thompson? Will we ever care when it comes time for Terence Winter to decide his fate, the same way we cared when Jimmy Darmody died? Time will only tell. But if ‘Resolution’ is any indication, when Nucky’s time does ultimately come, I probably won’t be reaching for the box of tissues.

A Not So Hearty Farewell To Another NYC Summer

By Ross Moulton

This Tuesday, you may hear a muffled, collective rejoice amongst New York City’s vast 20-something population. Contrary to the captioned beach photographs of “Heaven” or “My Personal Paradise” proliferating the social stratosphere this Labor Day weekend, the true relief for my peers will come with the solace of summer’s end. As a 27-year old male enduring his 5th summer in Manhattan, I’ve come to realize there are certain, unavoidable truths to living in New York City. As satisfying as it normally is to roam the endless corridors of this concrete jungle, the summer isn’t quite as endearing. From mid-May through August, we are subject to an overwhelming humidity that bears little apology to its victims. In order to avoid this suffocating weather on the weekends, we ride buses and trains to places like the Jersey Shore and the Hamptons, in search of a windy, watery reprieve. To compensate for our now frequent absences from home, we go out on Thursday nights with a vigor normally reserved for the weekend. Summer, once a time reserved for lessened responsibility, has now been replaced by a grinding survival unfit for the feint of heart.

The New York summer day begins by wading into the depths of the Earth to catch the train. As we wait impatiently, the inhumane heat index raises our internal temperature to a near-combustible state. Post train deposit, we battle our way through crowds of gazing tourists in work attire that manages to not just capture but mercilessly hold every morsel of humidity surrounding us. Sitting down in our cubes, we haplessly click on Microsoft Office, slowly exhaling and contemplating an alternative, dryer existence. By 9am, before we’ve engaged in one second of our daily duties, we have already waged battle. After work, we decide to avoid the hellish Subway and instead walk, cursing both the unrelenting heat and misleading deodorant branding after a mere 4 blocks. After 3 days of this routine, our impending weekend trip draws near, and a creeping insecurity of having not seen our ‘city friends’ begins to sink in. We organize rendezvous at places like the Boat Basin and Frying Pan to query about their summers and ask how much they spent on “Alex and Cassie’s” wedding that they didn’t even want to go to in the first place.  We proceed to drink too much and stay out too late, because we only have one night to get our fill of New York City nightlife, and we HAVE to make it count.

The next day, we engage in the chaotic scene that is Friday afternoon public transportation, forfeiting temporary sanity for the strife of trying to leave work in a timely fashion to catch the Megabus or Hampton Jitney. Once at our destinations, we go to the beach and attempt to eliminate 5 days of office-induced paleness by refraining from putting on sun tan lotion for the first 3 hours. Our skin slowly burning, we try to ‘body surf’ and throw inanimate balls at each other, but are inadequate at both. By night we spend too much money on drinks called “Rocket Fuel” and “Loaded Corona” for people we’ve never met because it’s summer and Jimmy the Bartender already poured them so we had no choice.  After 2 days of sleeping on couches, we end up in a depleted state counter-intuitive to the reason we took the trip in the first place. We limp back to the city in our tank tops and wayfarers, mindlessly Facebooking new contacts in our phone labeled “Jess Lower East Side”, who we barely remember but are CONVINCED was not only attractive but also a kindred spirit. And we rinse, and we repeat, for 3 months straight.

When it is all said and done, we’ll be asked by our parents, our colleagues, and our friends how our summers have been. Most of us will answer positively-we’ll list off the exotic places we’ve scene, the intriguing people we’ve met, the unforgettable times we‘ve enjoyed. While we won’t mean our answers to deceive or be untrue, they won’t be entirely reflective of how we have spent the last 3 months. And that’s okay, because for most of us, the summer was as much a blast as our candid conquests describe. But just remember, that amidst those fun summer nights was a war of attrition, a survival against suffocating heat and the social stereotypes of summer recreation. So this week, when Steve from Finance is telling you that there is no place on Earth like Manasquan on Labor day, know that behind his eyes there’s a sense of relief that summer is finally over.

The Newsroom, A Review

By Ross Moulton

For months, I’ve let my mind slowly build The Newsroom into being my next great media recreation. I was hyped to re-kindle my dormant affection for Aaron Sorkin’s writing, the rambling GRE-word laced language that has the tendency to both confuse and seduce its audience, one run-on sentence at a time. I let my anticipation continue to grow despite being underwhelmed by its trailer, a mediocre teaser that didn’t quite grasp the whimsical nature of news-making that I so enjoy. My knuckle clasped grip on that anticipation became even more muddled when the show’s reviews started coming out, more or less an onslaught of negative media attention normally reserved for a gender-swapping Adam Sandler movie. The biting feedback has been both widespread and unrelenting, with notations to its characters’ inclination to preach their news gospel from the mountain tops,  a mantra similar to Sorkins’ previous work (see: West Wing, The). Despite all this, I decided that the combination of the show’s concept, HBO, and Sorkin was too palatable to let a few negative reviews hold me back from watching. A quick look at the main characters before I review:

  • Will McAvoy, Lead Anchor (Jeff DanielsThe show’s protagonist, Will is the once popular news anchor that must now climb his way out of his un-filtered, personally dug hole and back to prominence. Will is also a frequent yeller and firm ‘my shit doesn’t stink’ believer.
  • Charlie Skinner, News President (Sam Waterston) The bow-tie wearing, former marine is prone to sudden outbursts that seem less endearing than they are contrived and potentially symptomatic of a bi-polar disorder.
  • Mackenzie MacHale, Executive Producer (Emily Mortimer) She’s spent the last few years consciously sidestepping land mines in the Middle East, and is now seeking the domestic flair of the evening newscast. She also happens to be a former lover of Will’s.
  • Don, Executive Producer (Thomas Sadoski) Will’s talented former EP who fluctuates in relevance and respectability throughout the episode.  Don wears his shirt two too many buttons down and shows asshole-like tendencies to his sweet, innocent girlfriend, the overachiever Maggie (see below).
  • Jim Harper, Senior Producer (John Gallagher, Jr.) A McHale disciple who has blindly followed his new boss to NY with little cash but an abundance of faith. He immediately shows his mettle when he Bryce Harpers the BP Oil Spill changeup into the bleachers.
  • Maggie Jordan, Associate Producer (Alison PillEmphatically riding the “right place at the right time” wave that’s seen her meteorically rise from Intern to Assistant to Associate Producer in less time than it takes to un-tag an unflattering picture on Facebook.
  • Neal, Blogger, (Dev PatelNeal is an oft-confused-for IT technician who is running Will’s blog and acts out the ‘consistently busy look’ better than anyone else in the episode.
  • Sloan Sabbith, Economics Reporter, (Olivia MunnApparently a future player and part of the main cast but not introduced in the pilot episode.


The exclamation point for character pontification didn’t waste any time in presenting itself, with the opening scene unfurling a tirade by Will on an unsuspecting college sophomore in regards to her question: “In one sentence, why is the U.S. the greatest country in the world?” That scene ignites the show’s initial premise, where a once unanimously beloved newsman (referred to as the “Jay Leno of Anchors”) is now maligned thanks to an anti-American outburst, and has to slowly but surely re-launch his brand in the spotlight of the national news. He won’t be embarking on this mission with the majority of his staff however, because his EP, Don, has absconded into the night with one of Will’s protégés, who now anchors the 10 o’clock hour. That burn is compounded when Will’s cantankerous boss, Charlie Skinner, sneakily hires a highly regarded industry pro, Mackenzie MacHale, to be the new EP.  Will is entirely insecure and uneasy with Mackenzie’s hiring, escalating to him re-structuring his contract and ridiculously forfeiting a million dollars a year in salary to maintain the ability to fire MacHale after each and every week of her contract.

The first test for the new crew comes with the BP Oil Spill, which creates a palpable tension between Don and incoming hotshot Senior Producer, Jim Harper. Jim quickly interprets the spill as serious and worthy of the lead story in that night’s broadcast. Buttons-down Don is skeptical and becomes obsessed with the news-o-meter and its yellow color signal, his emotions quickly shifting from objectivism to frustration to anger at Jim’s incessant pleas to recognize the story. Will finally intervenes and brokers a deal with Jim, who now has definitively (and by happenstance, familial) sources to back up his hunches. As the broadcast proceeds, Will and Mackenzie work through their differences to produce a successful first newscast, one that rewards their leap of faith on the BP story and affirms Mackenzie and Jim’s positions as a reliable production team (or supremely adequate at following through with their hunches). The episode ends with Will and Mackenzie reminiscing about their more affectionate days, including Will sauvely detailing a night out with Mackenzie’s father at an Orioles game, where he miraculously got drunk off of 3 beers.


  • Watching the immediate buildup to the newscast, I had that feeling I get right after slurping down excess caffeine in the morning, when inputting an excel chart and reading an article about ‘becoming a more efficient worker’, somehow becomes incomprehensibly rewarding. The actual broadcast is the real charmer, with Will pivoting between guests with the ease of a cha-cha dancer rotating their ankles. However embellished or exaggerated, the draw of this show is an insight into the television process that is animated and keeps you craving for its next unpredictable moment.
  • A producer shouting :90 seconds for a break reeks of spontaneity and is exhilarating no matter how you dice it. We also get a sense of how perilous and important seizing every moment is, like when Will was lobbing questions at the Halliburton spokesperson, or with the references to his prior interview with Stanly McCrystal.
  • I think it’s  fascinating to see how journalists sift through the news to decide which stories they can risk passing on and others they can’t, a process that extends far beyond deciphering a color code scheme on a computer.


  • A few of the characters seem to operate on an invisible pedestal of integrity, I really didn’t care for their preaching nature. Normal human beings may succumb to nostalgia about their career or industry in brief, terse spurts, but we don’t bellyache about the lost ways of industry.
  • On a character level, the frequent outbursts by Charlie and Will seem forced, (Charlie bordering on turrets symptoms) rather than organic, making them not only unbelievable but at times almost unwatchable. Charlie shouting that he’s a marine and will kick Don’s ass followed by a casual crossing of the arms didn’t win me over to its genuineness.
  • The Will-Mackenzie connection also seems forced, the depths of their intimacy revealed too soon into their character development. The tug of war between hating and being empathetic with each other is too jerky for my taste.
  • In regards to Don, it was as if the show couldn’t pick which side he really wanted be on. Was he pissed off that he was shown up in his own newsroom? Or was he in the end reverential to the process, and Will, objective enough to see the efficacy of that night’s broadcast? Your guess is as good as mine.


The only way people are going to invest their time and energy into The Newsroom, or any show for that matter, is if they find the storyline intriguing and can relate to the characters in a unique and humanistic way. You want to be able to root for Will, because he’s steadfast in his beliefs, just like you. You want to be able to see a little bit of yourself in Mackenzie, because her sacrifice is relatable to what you’ve given up in your life.

So my question then, is whether Will, and Mackenzie, and the rest of the crew, can achieve this standard of human connectivity. They haven’t yet, and maybe they never will. But I’m going to take the same leap of faith Will did with the BP story, and say that they have the potential.

I’m not preaching yet, am I?

Create, Zuck Style

By Ross Moulton

Create. Create. Create. Focus. Focus. Focus. I couldn’t watch the same movie twice and read the same article twice without giving my two cents to the world, it just wouldn’t be fair to the people who yearn for my sporadic and somewhat disconnected blog posts. Interestingly enough, the topic holding my attention span across both mediums pertains to the same person, the billionaire honeymoon go-er/non-tipper, Mark Zuckerberg. I’ve watched The Social Network and read the NYMag cover story on the Facebook boy wonder ad naueseum because I’m completely fascinated by the ruthless albeit breathtaking manner in which Zuck has mercilessly taken  ‘create’ by its abstract balls. I’m absolutely smitten with the way he has taken an idea, something at first intangible, living in the space usually occupied only by our earnest yet unfulfilled desires, and turned it into something tangibly fantastic. I dare you to watch The Social Network and not be motivated to think differently, to not approach your work uncharacteristically, to not be more focused on “why?” and “how?” rather than just the concrete motions that will complete the task at hand. Subsequent to my Zuck-infused media consumption, I now have two token motivational phrases taped to my desk space, one a cheesy looking print out (“Create or Else”) and the other a sticky note gingerly hanging to my monitor by its regressing adhesiveness (“Focus”). It’s nerdy, I KNOW. It very well could be the office equivalent of hanging a Brooke Burke poster in a college dorm room but I don’t care.

“People want to go online and check out their friends, so why not build a website that offers that? Friends, pictures, profiles, whatever you can visit, browse around, maybe it’s someone you just met at a party. Eduardo, I’m  not talking about a dating site, I’m talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.”-Fictional Mark Zuckerberg/Jesse Eisenberg

The reason Zuck has been successful is manyfold, including a circumstantial environment, an unrelenting desire, and a myriad of shrewd, savvy business decisions. But more simply it’s because he successfully answered the following questions: What do people WANT? What do people NEED? How do they want to RECEIVE it? What is the combination of factors that make people fulfilled, bloated with a sense of social bliss? Too often people forget that we were put on this earth to create. Everything we have, physical or not, is a result of a person or group producing something. The very reason we have a job now is because someone was bit by an entrepeneurial impulse at one time before and decided to create something, a business, a corporation, a service. But just because they initiated, doesn’t mean we can’t either. When you find downtime at work, picture a bare canvass in front of you. Now picture yourself in front of that canvass, spraying  diverse colors of paint onto its white surface. The canvass is your arena and those paint colors are your ideas. Don’t hesitate. Don’t waste any more time. Paint a picture. Initiate. Create, or ELSE.

Exit Sandman

By Ross Moulton

Boom. It came across the television: “Breaking News: Mariano Rivera carted off the field”. The man who had so often foiled the late inning chances of my beloved Red Sox had torn his ACL, a career threathing injury that left him in a scene usually reserved for Sundays in the NFL, not a Thursday night baseball game. My immediate thought, admittedly, was, “Nice”. My beleaguared team’s chances to win this year had dramatically improved. Finally, the thought of Rivera’s cutter darting away from flailing Red Sox hitters could now finally cease. No longer would I have to hear Metallica echoing from my television as he menancingly jogged in from the bullpen. But before you cast me as the second coming of a New Orleans Saints defensive player, happily taking solace in the mutilation of an opponent, let me clarify: I wasn’t elated that Riviera was injured. Maybe I was intrigued by its prospects, but I wasn’t excited, because I have grown to respect the man, who, for as long as I can remember, has stoked so much fear in my heart as a Red Sox fan. I mean, the guy’s game is as ageless as Dick Clark’s face (may he RIP). His skill at punching your comeback chances in the throat was as reliable as John Edwards getting caught with his pants down at the Regency Hotel. He wasn’t completely invicible, albeit. He blew a number of saves against us, the two most memorable to me being in 2004. There was the the infamous A-Rod/Varitek brawl game that the Sox eventually won in exta innings, and of course Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. But the thing with those two and any of our other comebacks against Mo, I never felt like winning the game was actually plausible, even as my eyes watched the game unfold, like watching your maladroit buddy somehow maintain the attention of a 9.5 at a bar.

For Red Sox fans, it always felt like we were stealing the game from him, winning despite his efforts, and not the other way around. That was how good he was.  It’s funny when I think about my maturation as a sports fan. When I was a teenager, it was haunting to watch Rivera bring himself to the stretch, with that same stoic and intimidating expression on his face. Along with Jeter, they were my archrivals, the physically matured kids at recess that picked on you because you were 4’6” and possessed a Mike Tyson-esque yelp. They were bullies and I hated them for it. But as I grew older, as I became more objective about the game and life in general (and a little softer with a few Red Sox world championships), my perspective changed. I grew an undeniable respect for Mariano Rivera. He was exactly what the game needed, a true competitor, an ambassador of the game, a person who played baseball the right way when so many others cheated their way to the top. Maybe I haven’t matured to the point where I can’t help but be selfish to my own team’s needs, and maybe I’m still wrapping my head around actually feeling remorse for Yankees fans, but I know it wasn’t supposed to end this way.

So long Mo, thanks for the memories. As James Hetfield would say: “Exit light,
Enter night, Take my hand, We’re off to never never-land”


A Guy’s take on “Girls”


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By Ross Moulton

On Sunday night I went old school and tuned into a television show at the ACTUAL time it was airing instead of catching it on demand. In defying all sense of logic and decency, once my knees had buckled to 90 degrees and gravity had pulled my butt to a sitting position, I locked my gaze on the tv screen at the new HBO comedy, ‘Girls’. Sunday night is my holy grail of leisure nights (meant purely for indulgence of food, drink, and entertainment), so my decisions for its occupation are not made lightly. Considering I was able to not only commit to a show titled ‘Girls’, but also possess a decent amount of anticipation for it meant this was no normal act of television viewing. My intrigue stems from a few sources, most notably:

  1. The show is produced by Judd Apatow, a comedic genius who can seemingly do no wrong in the late aughts when it comes to inducing laughter amongst the masses.
  2. Every review I have read has been off the charts, with the atypical labels of ‘real’ and ‘true’, an accurate portrayal of mid 20-something females living in NYC.
  3. Since How to Make it in America left the air I haven’t had a television show to function as a serviceable reminder of the down and dirty, tight-jean wearing, underground music listening, hipster chic sophisticated, know the bouncer at every joint-style New Yaawk I know and love. So I was hoping ‘Girls’ could fill that void.
  4. Brian Williams’ daughter is in it. And who doesn’t love anything or anyone that BWill had a hand in creating.
  5. Most importantly, and ideally, if this show really is ‘real’ , than it should give me a nifty and transparent portal into how to deal with New York women, and all my labor and strife to appease this niche clientele should subside. Ideally.

With that, I sat down to watch ‘Girls’, despite its inherently repugnant title to man of my age and gender (27, male). Rather than strictly review the show (which there has been an abundance of this week) I thought I would take a different spin on things and take a look at some of my favorite quotes, their context, and how a guy (me) interprets what happened (in sequence of the show).


Quote: “Do you realize how lucky you are? I could be a drug dealer.”

Context: The show begins with Hannah, the 24 year old aspiring memoirist, engaged in an impromptu negotiation with her parents over whether or not they will continue to support her “groovy lifestyle” (as described by Hannah’s mom). Hannah is incredulous to the notion that her parents can so swiftly guillotine their financial support whilst sounding so carefree in the process. Her summarizing and concise wrap up of the situation is simply: “This is nuts”.

Guy’s Take: Hannah’s parents are issuing a deft rationality that all young 20-somethings despise (guy or gal), where we know they are being sensible but we still fight to accept it. Her comment that things could be much worse is a classic comparative tactic to lessen one’s own shortcomings to their parents. Of course it could be worse Hannah! It could always be much worse. But Mom and Dad are here to tell you that it could be much better. Now get a move on.


Quote: “What does it even feel like to be loved that much”

Context: Over at Hannah’s apartment, she wakes up spooning her roommate Marnie, she of the ‘still wears her retainer to night’ variety (wait, how young are these girls?!). We come to find out that Marnie is willing to receive said spooning because she is trying to avoid her lameduck boyfriend Charlie, a poor sap that makes me cringe in humiliation on behalf of my gender. Hannah and Marnie are then found in the bathroom, with Hannah naked in the bathtub eating what appears to be a miniature cupcake, oddly enough. There they discuss Charlie’s irrelevance to Marnie’s future and her incapability to end things. Charlie’s futile advances on his own girlfriend are all met by Jess with a combined face of surprise, disgust, and “I’m going to borderline implode with vomit if you don’t retract your iguana like tongue from my face”. Charlie also, bless his heart, delivers a fantastically pathetic line when he motions to kiss Jess: “Coming at you, here it comes, pow. I just blew up a kiss on you”

Guy’s Take: Charlie’s corny pandering is met with equal aplomb from Marnie each instance, in the way I would expect most level headed females to react. I cannot, and will not, feel sorry Charlie. There’s a line, as a man that we need not cross in our blind affection for the opposite gender. Charlie has not only passed the line, but he has turned around to simultaneously pee and spit on it in one constistent stream. His complete inability to play it cool is just too overwhelming for me to get behind the character. A man should never refer to his kiss as being blown up on a woman. It is either placed delicately or emphatically, but never blown up. Guy needs to dial back on the estrogen intake.


Quote: “Joy-Lin knows photoshop”

Context: Hannah summons the courage to ask her boss to finally be paid for her services rendered. Her request is met with an immediate “so sorry to lose you” (despite the fact she wasn’t quitting). Entirely discouraged, she rebutts with a comparison to her co-worker Joy-Lin’s path from rags (internship) to riches (actual paycheck). Her boss simply responds by touting Joy-Lin’s photoshop proficiency. Ouch. Not only is she dissed on her worthiness to receive cash monies, she is also issued a good bye hug from her boss with an emphatic moment in which the clasp of the hug syncs with a  “I can’t believe this is real life” facial reaction. Also, when Hannah asks her boss if he will still read her memoir, she is told that “now that she’s leaving, there would be no one here to read it, now would there?” Ouch again. Also, egotistical space-cat Joy-Lin, the photoshop wizard, callously bequests a luna bar from Hannah as she leaves the office. So clueless, it’s amazing.

Guy’s Take: A ballsy and understandable approach by Hannah has unfortunately gone to waste. It’s hard for any gender to approach this situation without being sensitive to their own insecurities (especially women), and unfortunately for Hannah, douchebag boss has only reinorced hers with his reaction. I felt like slapping her on the butt and telling her: “Keep on truckin homey, you’ll get yours.”


Quote: “Okay this is good, I’m going to get lube”

Context: My favorite scene of the episode was quote heavy thanks to Adam, the gorilla-esque aspiring actor from Brooklyn. Adam also moonlights as a carpenter (or the other way around, tough to decipher) because woodworking is “honest” (Yup, hipster juice, flowing right through his vains). Anyways, their casual conversation leads to even casualer sex. But before grimey couch intercourse, gorilla man bounds into the next room to grab lube and issues the best line of the night (from a male perspective), when Hannah asks him if he is going to grab a condom. “I’ll consider it!” Adam shouts, as he gleefully bounces out of the room and starts climbing the walls (I’m picturing). Unflattering, non-arousing sex ensues.

Guy’s Take: The show had been marketed and reviewed as honest, and this scene does nothing to contradict that assessment. There is nothing smooth or charming about Hannah’s attempts to rip her own pants off. Adam is gorilla/ape-like (as Jess mentions later in the show), but is quirky and funny in a way that makes his character likeable. The sex is done quite methodically (albeith humorously) which makes me highly skeptical that he has any feelings for recently unemployed Hannah. It is not normal practice for most 20-somethings to participate in casual daytime sex (unless I’m missing something), so I can imagine it only being this awkward.


Quote: “How am I supposed to get him to him face to face if he won’t even text me”

Context: Hannah is talking to Jess about her ineptitude in getting Adam to text her back. Jess proceeds to describe her layers of communication and their importance (Facebook, email, text, etc.) As Hannah saturates the info and tries to understand her current plight, she questions how she can ever achieve the mecca of interaction (face to face) if she cannot first master a lower level of communicado (text). There is an ironic follow up when Hannah asks “I’ll see you soon?” to which Adam replies “Yea, text me.”

Guy’s Take: I don’t think this needs comprehensive analysis, the writing is pretty much on the wall. Ape man Adam doesn’t text her back, or pick up the phone for that matter, because he has no interest in seriously pursuing Hannah, except when he wants to lube up for a little daytime slay fest. Unfortunately he’s just nice enough to Hannah when he’s with her, giving her a small margin of hope that he actually likes her and will change his mind at some point. What’s more indicative of this dialogue is the portrayal of the 21st century male-female communication paradigm, and the ease within which we guys can pick and choose to make an effort.


Quote: “This doesn’t taste like twix”

Context: Marnie and Hannah have decided to hold a welcome back party in honor of Jess, a British international friend of theirs who has returned to the United States after a lengthy country hopping extravaganza. Jess however shows up 2 hours late, assuming a 730 pm start time “was just a suggestion”. Hannah also shows up late, bemoaning her lack of job prospects and hypothesizes a calculation as to how long she can survive in the city. Jess, with her half-naked buttocks firmly hugging the toilet, spills to Marnie that she is actively engaged in an impending pregnancy (not by choice). A friend named Ray is also at the party with his girlfriend. His main contribution is a pot of opium tea, to which Hannah consumes diligently at the end of the party under the assumption it tastes like a twix bar, not twigs (Ray’s actual description).

Guy’s Take: The scene in which Jess tells Marnie is preganant is another good example of the show’s sense of realness (or my perception of realness rather). After all, girls don’t tell girls they’re pregnant when they’re walking in Central Park with leaves delicately falling on their hair, they don’t gingerly embrace each other with a pitiful caress and tell each other it’s going to be alright. In real life girls tell girls they’re pregnant when they’re half naked pissing in a bathroom! I knew it! I’m not sure if Ray will be a continuing character, but he might have decent potential. He may be the quirky friend who can easily annoy, but he also has a good sense of humor and the unique redeeming quality of knowing exactly when a party needs an infusion of opium tea.

BTW: Jay Z and MGMT both rocking in the background throughout the party. Big ups there.


Quote: “Coffee is for grown ups”

Context: Hannah has consumed an entire cup of opium tea against the wishes of best friend and pseduo motherly figure, Jess. As an infrequent drug user, Hannah loses her shit, luckily not in a violent or harmful way, just in the “this girl doesn’t do drugs normally” way and becomes engrossed in an internal debate over her life’s meaning. Jess issues a motivational speech, motioning Hannah to just “tell your parents you’re an artist.” It leads to Hannah leaving the party en route to her parents hotel to discuss her newfound epiphany, that she only needs $1100 a month to continue pursuing her dream. She tells them that “she’s the voice of her generation, er, or a voice, of a, generation.” Her mother hostiley reacts and tells her to just start a blog, while her father takes pity on her once she passes out and falls off her chair (classic opium-induced tip over).

Guy’s Take: Hannah has met the impossibly frustrating intersection of aspiration and practicality. She is at a major point of vulnerability in her career, and needs to start considering shelving the memoir route for the time being in order to eat real food. But right as she’s making this transformation, bam! Opium tea all up in her face. I’ve never done opium but I can assume it fosters the type of intense and extensive contemplation that Hannah undergoes at the end of the episode. The “Coffee is for grown-ups” line (in reaction to her father’s suggestion to sober up) is highly indicative of Hannah’s view of her own position within the maturity spectrum, which is that she’s not adult-status quite yet.

Overall Guy’s Take: While the first episode didn’t offer as much in terms of non-obvious perspective on the female psyche as I’d hoped, there was enough whetting of the palette to keep me salivating for more. Call it the sorbet of episodes, in that regard. The show is strongly written though, has a breadth of interesting characters, as well as a developing story line that I assume will do little but keep my imagination flowing between episodes. In simple terms: I, Ross Moulton, possessor of a 27 year old male body and mindset, cannot wait to see what happens in next week’s episode of Girls.

The bar has now been set Lena Dunham. You are officially occupying my precious Sunday nights for the foreseeable future. Godspeed!

A Marathon Tale


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By Ross Moulton

At 4:45am my alarm went off. I had fallen asleep only 5 hours earlier, and already my heart was palpitating with excitement. It’s that sort of feeling that you wish every morning could induce, where you immediately feel the rush of expectation that the impending hours will bring. I gathered my running gear and headed to the street to catch a cab. As I held my hand in the air, I realized that my driver would most likely be returning from a late night fare, having just dropped people off from the now fading night. It’s a precarious and always entertaining cab ride at 5 in the morning, the drivers at this point stressed and calloused from their string of drunken patrons, their patience whittling by the second. I was lucky enough to find a driver crazy even by these improbable standards. He was hitting on every cylinder possible for the prototypical lunatic cabbie profile, complete with various prophecies about his native Egypt and the Arab Spring, and at one point even claiming that the Pope killed JFK. By the time this happens I decided I lacked the sanity to placate each wild theory he was lobbing at me, so I went mute. A few verbally diarrehead thesis’ and three good luck handshakes later, I stepped out of the cab and into the NYC air, fresh as ever.

I would be running with 4 other people on marathon Sunday, three of which were fellow guides, and the other being my best blind friend in the world, Eddie Montanez. I met Eddie over a year ago volunteering for New York Cares, with one of our activities being guides for the Achilles Track Club. Initially just a one day excursion, Eddie and I immediately bonded over our affinity of running fast for no particular reason, our love for good food and drink, and an inherent gravitation towards blondes. I didn’t hesitate to ask Eddie if I could join him again for another run, and as if I were Carey Grant myself acting out the final scene of Casablanca, I knew the day I met Eddie it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I started showing up to Achilles every Tuesday night I could, joining Eddie and others to be on the other end of the shoelace that guides him around Central Park. Before I knew it a year had passed and the NYC Marathon was right around the corner. Thinking it to be a good idea to get one under my belt solo before I guided, I signed up with a charity, the Touch Foundation. However, just a few mere weeks after doing so, Eddie asked me to run alongside him. The sincerity of his request was overwhelming so I immediately obliged. A number of grueling Saturday morning training runs later, it was now time to tackle this beast.

As we arrived on Staten Island and hopped off the bus, the reality of our 3 and a half hour wait time began to sink in. I became nervous that waiting around until my 9:40am start time would kill the then escalating pre-race buzz I had managed to conjure up. Listening to intensifying music and settling into the zone is all well and fine if the start of the race is within an arms length, but 3 plus hours of idleness is a whole different story. So I switched the tunes off and flipped my mindset from rage to zen. With as much strategic restraint as I could muster, I tried not to eat everything around me. For some reason runners are obsessed with eating plain bagels without cream cheese, chomping into them like chocolate glazed donuts instead of the tasteless, lukewarm doughy creations that they actually are. I’m all for carb loading, but would a little white spread really hurt? I complied with tradition despite my reservations, feasted on a side of granola, and mentally prepped for what laid before me.

The attire for the race is always a fascinating display of homage to a myriad of causes, people, and places. It’s tough to find situations where we are afforded the opportunity to display our affections in life; where we’re from, where we live now, the people we love. But this is one of them. The marathon shirt is like your early 2000’s AIM profile on steroids. You remember those right, where you inserted your favorite cliche movie quote, the girl you were currently pining for, the shout out to your ‘boys’ from home. Your marathon shirt is the issuing of appreciation for everything in your life that has made you who you are, worn symbolically on a 26 mile sweat infused journey. With my under shirt littered with each and every name of my donors, I decided my outer Touch Foundation shirt could use a little last second love. Etched on the top left I enscribed “RI”, on the upper right “UWS”, my grandfather’s name across the middle, and “Team Eddie” across the back. Where I’m from, my life now, my hero, and the reason that I’m running today. A physically narrow scope yet a grand representation of my life, all on one dinky white t-shirt.

As a New York City resident, there are certain cultural nuances that separate our existence from others. Whether it’s knowing the best burger/beer/grilled cheese combo in the West Village at 3am (Corner Bistro); or understanding the 4.4 seconds remaining to cross the street after the hand turns red; or having the wherewithall to avoid Murray Hill on a Friday night like the plague; it all encompasses our collective sense of identity. And the one song that represents this, that impulsively forces you to lower your guard just enough to throw your arm around a stranger (well, at least thing about it) is Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”. At 9:40, “Start spreading the news” began bellowing through the speakers and I couldn’t help but get lost in the moment. The hairs and goosebumps on my arms rising simultaneously, I found myself unwittingly smiling towards the sky, one of those special few seconds in life where you feel that you are part of something much larger than yourself. It’s an ephemeral flash of time in one’s lifespan, where you refrain from thinking about anything else except the moment you are living. It’s a sensational understanding that where you are right then and there, your problems seem non-existant, absolved even, simply replaced by a sprinkling of faith and appreciation.

And off we went. Despite micro-managing my bladder to the point of going the second I felt a twinge in my groin, I still had to pee 3 steps into the race. I couldn’t believe it. Where the heck am I going to find a place to pee? And what if I have to leave the team and then couldn’t find them after? I thought my whole marathon experience was going to be ruined by a bladder crumbling to the pressure induced by 3 hours or urinary abstinence. I quickly figured out this was a classic rookie mistake, that the concrete wall along the second mile was literally constructed to be abused by the pee of marathoner’s both past and present. After crossing the Verazzono-Narrows bridge and running without fans, we finally crossed into Brooklyn and the beginning of the crowds. It is hard to put into words the feeling of running amidst a crowd of supporters. Complete strangers; kids, adults, black, white, hispanic, people never once laid before my eyes, just standing there yelling, waving, supporting you as if you were their cousin Sal from Queens. The fascinating part of their support is that their encouragement seems so pure and unadultered; them wanting so bad for you to persevere, to believe in yourself as much as they seemingly believe in you. It’s an unbelievable, sensational feeling to know that amidst everything that divides us, there still lies a component of humanity where we still have each other’s back.

As the streets became narrower, and the crowd of runners subsequently more compact, we’re forced to become more alert with our guiding. Murphy’s Law, idling in the bumps in the road and people in front of us, became a central focus, that anything that could go wrong would. Considering it was the first time the 5 of us had run together, we navigated through the throng of 47,000 runners with relative ease. A part of me felt bad for asking these poor souls, some of them engaged in the most brutal physical task of their lives, to move out of the way so that we could pass them. But people were complacent, happy even, to divert their path for us. Before I knew it, mile 5 turned into mile 8, and mile 8 turned into 16. I’ve always found that running for distance has a propensity to play games with your mind. Once you’re beyond 10 miles, you forget what it was like to not be in motion, to not be pounding foot to road, left, right, left, right, rinse, repeat. It tricks your mind, the way you become confused after saying the same word over and over again, when you stop and think, wait, this word doesn’t even make sense! I also started to contemplate how it was exactly that my brain could continually tell my legs to move for that long. It’s as if your body just switches to auto-pilot, except you have no idea where the switch is to turn it on or off.

At mile 20 I was lucky enough to have a large gathering of friends and family waiting to see me. Knowing they would be there kept me motivated throughout the race, akin to being a child and knowing that if you eat your vegetables you could devour chocolate cake after. When I hit the corner of 130th street in the Bronx, I saw them all standing there, hollering in my direction. Mom was there video taping with her iPad, my friends hopping up and down like I was John Lennon at the height of Beatlemania. It was a much needed boost, an ejection of adrenaline directly into my now abused knee caps and ankles. Two of my friends ran alongside us for 15 yards, even high-fiving Eddie in the process. Another one of the guides likened this outburst of support to animals being let loose from their cages. I couldn’t have been prouder of those 20 seconds of my life.

The euphoria of mile 20 came with a cost however, with the excitement soon relenting to the realization that six more miles of this epic journey remained between myself and the finish line. I was on my third goo pack by this point, for those of you unfamiliar, the aptly named ‘chocolate rage goo’ is a pudding like snack meant to give you an extra boost on your run. The first two delivered the desired effect, but the third might of well been gel version of a muscle relaxer. I had about as much energy as a college aged stoner waking up at 630am to make it to class. There was no more high-fiving fans, no more screaming at the top of my lungs or waving my arms up and down to elicit a crowd reaction. The fans were still cheering me on, yet at this point had became more obsolete to my existence than a fat girl smoking cigarettes. Head down, foot up, foot down. Life became a slightly saltier version of Nike’s slogan: Just bleeping do it.

And I did it alright, with Eddie right there beside me chugging along. The man, the myth and legend that Eddie Montanez is, he finished stronger that I could have ever imagined. He Seal Team 6‘d the last 3 miles, conquering the terrain as if he was Medieval aged noble re-acquiring a stolen piece of land from a group of peasants. I don’t think I need to go into any long narrative to describe how special it is for Eddie, or any blind or disabled athlete for that matter, to run a marathon. While he blindly trusted us to get him to the finish line, part of us also trusted that he would inspire us in ways we’ve never felt. He is esoteric to his core, an inspiration beyond his athletic ability. He may not be able to physically see the world around him, but his vision for the life in front of him is un-paralleled. I’ve never seen someone who so purely loves the simplicities of life, a person whose zest for happiness is matched only by the joy he elicits in others. Eddie may have not have been given perfectly shaped lemons in life, but he has made the sweetest lemonade know to man, and anyone who knows him would agree with me. I couldn’t have been prouder to run with him on this day.

Like the streets that determined my path that morning, my marathon tale is a bit winding. I wanted to write this to share with you an unbelievable and once in a lifetime experience. I tried to depict as much detail as possible because the unforgettable nature of that day changed me in a way previously unimaginable. In the days after I finished the race, I asked a number of people if they or their friends were able to partake and watch the marathon. For those that couldn’t, their answers were varying: “I didn’t make it back in time from Long Island”; or the “I didn’t think it was worth it because of the crowds”, or even yet, the “They were watching football instead”. The significance of my question wasn’t whether or not they decided to claw themselves out of bed to watch a sporting event. The question, and the answer in its tow, meant much more than that. It was an inquiry into whether or not people decided to take part in an experience that transcends the nature of this town, something that unites people in a unique and collective emotion. In life, and in writing, it’s easy to dramatize a situation or event, to exaggerate its circumstances to make it something more than it is. This is not one of those occasions. If I could utter just a single piece of advice to anyone who lives in this beautiful city, it’s to be able to say yes if the question is asked of you next November 5th. You’ll be better off because of it.

What was the name of that song again?

By Ross Moulton

We live our lives in a context of endless backdrops that subtlety work their ways into our creative impression of the world, and there is no more pinnacle a backdrop to our lives than the music that sets our pace. Our lives are filled with countless actions taken to deliver happiness. The food we eat, the jobs we tend to, the friends we keep, and the people we love; they all combine to create a larger sum of tranquility. Music is a part of this sum, but more often than not it avoids the intensive analysis that we heap upon the other parts of our appeasement. It is neither necessary nor exigent that I remind you why our lives are more impassioned because of the particularities in which a song strikes our eardrums. Despite this transparent notion, we need to be reminded that the reasons we listen to music are often more introspective than we care to think about. The reasons for this devoid is not because we lack the awareness to focus on its attributes, but because we lack the motivation to appreciate its true reach.

The journey of song is winding, finite in length yet endless in impact. It has the ability to take us to tangential places in our mind, to the hypothetical world that can only be seen if you truly want to see it. I listen to a song because it transfers me to an existential place that did not exist the moment before I heard it. My mind, the overseer and architect of my internal expression, is lifted from a place of rest and thrust into the abyss of difference. I don’t think about why that particular song made me feel different, I just let it happen. It’s something we simply allow to occur, without regret or melancholy reaction. But isn’t it more than that? How can we realize music’s true effects if we don’t understand the merits with which it performs? This amalgamation of varying noises, this morphing of vibrant, harmonious, and melodic sounds into an art that soothes your core is far too important to be ignored. It must be appreciated, recognized and understood so that the song you play doesn’t just vibrate your mind, it vibrates your soul.