General

The Flux of Friendship

As a theme I seem to revisit, for all sorts of reasons I’ve been thinking a bit lately about how friendships go in and out flux, how two people can be really close and in sink for weeks, months … even years, and then, for probably several reasons, many of them subtle, you can fall out of sink, for a week, month or even years. Which isn’t necessarily to say that one friend did the other wrong or harm. Sometimes two people just drift apart. And sometimes they drift back. You’re in sync again.

As a theme I seem to revisit, for all sorts of reasons I’ve been thinking a bit lately about how friendships go in and out flux, how two people can be really close and in sink for weeks, months … even years, and then, for probably several reasons, many of them subtle, you can fall out of sink, for a week, month or even years. Which isn’t necessarily to say that one friend did the other wrong or harm. Sometimes two people just drift apart. And sometimes they drift back. You’re in sync again.

In [i]Cat’s Cradle[/i], Kurt Vonnegut talks about a [i]karass[/i], what he defines as [i]a group of people who, often unknowingly, are working together to do God’s will. The people can be thought of as fingers in a Cat’s Cradle[/i]. So those in our [i]karass[/i], to me, are the groups of people who are close to us, who influence us the most, for a while. And then some drift out of that circle while others drift in, and sometimes, the ones that drift away, come back, sometimes they never return.

It’s going back almost a decade now, but I had a friend that came into my life for a few years. Of those three years, I’d say we were reasonably close for about one year, sorta close for one year, and then a bit more distant for the third year, until finally, we drifted apart. We don’t speak at all now. We didn’t have a fight, nobody wronged the other. It was just our time.

But during the close year, he put me in touch with someone who wound up changing my life in a profound way. And so it became clear to me that our fates were to come together for a short while, and influence one another in a certain way. And once that happened, it was time to move on. It took me a little while to fully embrace this idea, but now I’m grateful for it.

We are not all meant to be close to everyone we meet. And we are not necessarily meant to be close to one person, to the same degree, forever. Which isn’t to say we can’t be. But I find it rare.

The key, for me at least, is being okay with the flux of the relationships. Is it absolutely important for me to be bestest friends truly and for sure with the same person all times forever? I’ve certainly had friendships at different points in my life when I felt as close to someone as I had ever felt up until that time. But it has never lasted. As human beings, we need continued shared experiences to keep the friendship going, or, inevitably, we drift apart. Without new shared experiences, we’re holding onto the past, and that never lasts.

And as I’ve learned about myself, it’s okay if the friendship ebbs and flows, or even ends, even when it pains me, or the other person, for a while. Losing a friendship is like suffering a little death. We grieve. And then we move on.

I have one friend in particular who I’ve known almost 20 years. At some points in our friendship we were as close as brothers. At other points we were much, much less so. And yet we always manage to find out way back. The friendship endures. We keep on keepin’ on. And my expectation is that we will be friends throughout our lifetime.

But it isn’t always easy.

I find that the closer I get to someone the tougher it is to remain that close, because when we open ourselves to the more intimate–and often fragile–elements of ourselves, there’s more chance for bruised feelings, bruised egos. To feel rejected. So sometimes we lash out, or we retreat.

Being close with someone is tough. And sometimes it’s easy. Just depends on the friends and the nature of that friendship. I’ve got one friend who I talk to every now and again, sometimes even years go by, and it’s like we were never apart. One of my very best friends lives in another state, and we’ve only been in the same room together three times in the last 16 years. Doesn’t matter. We’re as close as ever. With other friends, sometimes we run out of things to say after 10 minutes.

One friend I’ve known for 29 years. A half dozen others go back 19 years, and a few others go back almost 15.

And it’s a funny thing, how we define our friends. Sometimes having [i]buddies[/i] is easier than having [i]friends[/i], because with buddies it’s all playtime. It’s shared experiences of fun. You don’t get into the "stuff" too often. And because you stay out of the danger zones, the friendship endures. Is that better or worse than being closer with someone, but with more volatile components? Don’t know.

Through it all I just try to be the best friend I can, given who I am and what my values are, and act with the assumption that my friends understand my intentions are good. At the same time, I also know that, despite those intentions, I am simply going to get it wrong sometimes, just as my friends will get it wrong sometimes, and that we need to give each other enough space to get it wrong, and to get past it. If there’s room to breathe, to be human, then there’s opportunity for the friendship to endure. To thrive. And then we can hope it does, enjoying each other as much as possible along the way.

So now that I’ve blathered on and on, I dedicate this blog to all my friends, past, present and future, grateful for them all, in all the ways that make them who they are, and all they’ve given me (even when that was driving me bonkers–and vice versa!). And I look forward to all that is yet to come, because when it comes to being a friend, in some ways, I feel like I’m just getting started.

Another Example of How I’m Back Crackin’ Nutso

Here is yet another example of how nutso I can be.

I’ve been going to the same chiropractor for about five years. I hurt my back playing racquetball, and after the initial problem was corrected, I’ve been getting a monthly adjustment. Throughout the years I haven’t loved my chiropractor; he’s just OK. He seemed to have been at least alright on the snap, crackle, pop end of things, as I did get relief after each adjustment (although he was a bit fierce in doing them).

Buy my cheif comHere is yet another example of how nutso I can be.

I’ve been going to the same chiropractor for about five years. I hurt my back playing racquetball, and after the initial problem was corrected, I’ve been getting a monthly adjustment. Throughout the years I haven’t loved my chiropractor; he’s just OK. He seemed to have been at least alright on the snap, crackle, pop end of things, as I did get relief after each adjustment (although he was a bit fierce in doing them).

Buy my cheif complaint was that he runs his shop like a Jiffy Lube; he’s got four rooms working simultaneously, so it’s in and out with each visit. I would have to argue with him to get him to talk to me for even 10 seconds, when what I wanted was to discuss my progress, and how I can improve my overall back health beyond the monthly adjustment. I don’t want to have to fight for my doctor’s attention. I’m already paying for that attention.

Still, chiropractors manipulate the spine, so I had been reluctant to just pick a new one (talk about putting yourself in a perilous situation if you pick the wrong one. [i]Crack![/i] Oh, sorry, Russ, but you’ll be walking hunched over at the ankles. Permanently. That’ll be $100. See you next time.)

That said, I recently received a recommendation for a new chiropractor, and went for an adjustment last week. In meeting the new chiropractor, I explained how I first hurt my back, that I’ve been getting monthly adjustments, but wanted to try someone new for the reason I just explained. And as I supposedly wanted, this new chiropractor was calm, patient and attentive. He listened. He gave me his time. And while he’s doing all that, I was thinking:

"Come on! Let’s get on with it! Are you going to crack my back or what?! Time’s a wasting!"

I had been conditioned by my old chiropractor for so long to just come into the room and get right to business, that I was actually annoyed that the new chiropractor was doing exactly what I said that the other guy wouldn’t do–listen–and why I came the new guy in the first place!

Wow. I can be really insane sometimes …

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/07/21 06:46

Billy Joel – Last Play at Shea

I’ve been quite fortunate in that I’ve seen Billy Joel perform many, many times over the last 25 years. The first concert of his I saw–the first concert I ever saw–was his [i]Piano Man[/i] to [i]An Innocent Man[/i] tour around 1984. And it was great.

All these years later, Billy doesn’t run around like the wild man of his younger days, but [i]man[/i] he still brings it. In a sold out show with 63,000 people, Billy Joel played for 3 hours–the longest show of his I’ve ever seen–breaking I’ve been quite fortunate in that I’ve seen Billy Joel perform many, many times over the last 25 years. The first concert of his I saw–the first concert I ever saw–was his [i]Piano Man[/i] to [i]An Innocent Man[/i] tour around 1984. And it was great.

All these years later, Billy doesn’t run around like the wild man of his younger days, but [i]man[/i] he still brings it. In a sold out show with 63,000 people, Billy Joel played for 3 hours–the longest show of his I’ve ever seen–breaking out one great song after another. He had huge video screen up, a fantastic sound system … and a full moon to boot on a gorgeous night.

Plus, as his "special guest" he had Tony Bennett, John Mayer, Don Henley and John Cougar all come out to play on one song each–with Don Henley doing [i]Boys of Summer[/i] and John Cougar doing [i]Pink Houses.[/i]

Bill Joel also played a bunch of early Beatles songs throughout the night to honor them–as they were the first band to ever play Shea–and closed out his set with just a string of his most killer songs: [i]Still Rock ‘n Roll to Me, You May be Right, Scenes From an Italian Restaurant, Only the Good Die Young[/i]. And of course [i]Piano Man,[/i] and one his older songs he used to close out his shows with, [i]Souvenir[/i].

At one point Shea, which is made of concrete, was literally shaking.

It was just a great, great night.

Brian Wilson at Hammerstein Ballroom

As I noted in an early entry, I went to see Brian Wilson last week at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

And I have to say it really was a fun show, with hit after hit after. Historically, The Beach Boys often don’t get a lot of credit as being a great band, but when you ad it all up, they have a huge catalog of great songs that just goes on and on. From the early hits like [i]Help Me Rhonda[/i] to the more sophisticated songs like [i]Sloop John B[/i]., Brian Wilson just brings the fun.

BriaAs I noted in an early entry, I went to see Brian Wilson last week at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

And I have to say it really was a fun show, with hit after hit after. Historically, The Beach Boys often don’t get a lot of credit as being a great band, but when you ad it all up, they have a huge catalog of great songs that just goes on and on. From the early hits like [i]Help Me Rhonda[/i] to the more sophisticated songs like [i]Sloop John B[/i]., Brian Wilson just brings the fun.

Brian Wilson may not be the most dynamic performer and his voice isn’t quite what it used to be, but it was clear he was having a great time, sitting behind his keyboard for an hour and fifteen minutes without playing a single note.

His band really jams and the tunes are as great as ever. I don’t know how much longer Brian Wilson will tour, but if you ever get the chance to see him, it’s well worth it.

Publisher’s Update: Networking Pays Off

Thanks to a nifty bit of networking on multiple fronts this past week–if I do say so myself–another publisher has requested a copy of [i]Finders Keepers.[/i] So at the moment two publishers are now reading [i]Finders Keepers[/i], with up to three more potentially in the mix.

And with Comic-Con coming up next week, I’m really amping up to hit the convention at full speed!

More to come …Thanks to a nifty bit of networking on multiple fronts this past week–if I do say so myself–another publisher has requested a copy of [i]Finders Keepers.[/i] So at the moment two publishers are now reading [i]Finders Keepers[/i], with up to three more potentially in the mix.

And with Comic-Con coming up next week, I’m really amping up to hit the convention at full speed!

More to come …

Freaky Friday – Just When We Thought We Were Out

Just when I thought the madness from my Freaky Friday had concluded … boy was I wrong.

As I noted last week, my 87 year-old grandmother fell out of bed, and in doing so, gave herself a black eye and broke her shoulder. Only now we find that her shoulder does not need surgery. So she’s in the hospital, recovering from the operation that she had this morning. She’s in pain, and, she says, the morphine and percocet isn’t helping. Bummer. And while she is a tough old gal, 87 is 87 no matterJust when I thought the madness from my Freaky Friday had concluded … boy was I wrong.

As I noted last week, my 87 year-old grandmother fell out of bed, and in doing so, gave herself a black eye and broke her shoulder. Only now we find that her shoulder does not need surgery. So she’s in the hospital, recovering from the operation that she had this morning. She’s in pain, and, she says, the morphine and percocet isn’t helping. Bummer. And while she is a tough old gal, 87 is 87 no matter how you slice it, so there’s inherent risk in any surgery.

How these geniuses misdiagnosed my grandmother in the first place still kinda baffles me. Sometimes doctors can be so friggin useless …

Anyway, that’s the latest on what has been one of the freakiest fridays in recent memory. Let’s just hope the madness starts to settle down.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/07/21 06:46

Freaky Friday, Part III – California Dreaming

At this point on Friday I’d already stumbled into ThrillerFest (which led to something cool; stay tuned), and found out that my stepdad was in a car accident in which he broke his shoulder, suffered a mild concussion, and one of his dogs was killed. And this all happened with an hour of each other.

Well, as if the evening wasn’t strange enough, I then walked across town to the Hammerstein Ballroom to see Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) in concert! Talk about a trippy night!

Through someoneAt this point on Friday I’d already stumbled into ThrillerFest (which led to something cool; stay tuned), and found out that my stepdad was in a car accident in which he broke his shoulder, suffered a mild concussion, and one of his dogs was killed. And this all happened with an hour of each other.

Well, as if the evening wasn’t strange enough, I then walked across town to the Hammerstein Ballroom to see Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) in concert! Talk about a trippy night!

Through someone I used to work with, I got tickets–for free–for a benefit concert Brian Wilson was putting on. So after having just received much bizarre news, I was there happily churning along to a slew of Beach Boys hits, with Brian Wilson singing about surfing, fun, love and piece. And it was great! But so weird!

And I bet you’ll be surprised at just how many great songs they have: [i]California Girls, Wouldn’t it be Nice, Good Vibrations, Sloop John B., Help Me Rhonda, Surfin USA, Surfin Safari, Surfer Girl[/i]. It was a really great show. Just a lot of fun … and one heckuva way to end a very freaky friday.

The End …

(Or was there just a little bit more to the story?)

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/07/16 06:44

Freaky Friday, Part II – Tragedy Strikes Again

So just as I was walking away from ThrillerFest at the Hyatt last Friday, crossing the hotel lobby, I get a call from my sister. As background to this story, my mom and stepdad, Bill, have a house in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and do the snowbird thing. My mom is staying in NY this summer to work, and Bill was headed down there with their two dogs, Monty and Princess.

Not long into the phone call, my sister tells me that Bill was in a car accident. Somewhere on 1-95 around the George/FloridaSo just as I was walking away from ThrillerFest at the Hyatt last Friday, crossing the hotel lobby, I get a call from my sister. As background to this story, my mom and stepdad, Bill, have a house in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and do the snowbird thing. My mom is staying in NY this summer to work, and Bill was headed down there with their two dogs, Monty and Princess.

Not long into the phone call, my sister tells me that Bill was in a car accident. Somewhere on 1-95 around the George/Florida border, Bill fell asleep at the wheel. The car drifted off the road and rolled over. As a result of the accident, Bill broke his shoulder and suffered a mild concussion. Bill has been in a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. Poor Monty, who was a sweet dog and a lot of fun, was thrown from the car and killed. Princess walked away just a bit banged up.

In the aftermath, my mom flew down to Georgia yesterday morning to deal with the car, which is totaled, and pick up Bill and Princess. My mom rented a car, and they are now on the road driving back to New York, and should arrive late in the week.

So just in the last month: Alex died; my 87-year-old grandmother fell from her bed, breaking her shoulder and suffering a black eye; my friend died unexpectedly at 52 of a heart attack, leaving his wife and two young kids behind; my stepdad was in a nasty car accident, breaking his shoulder and suffering a minor concussion, and Monty was killed in the accident.

Yikes.

And then Friday got even more surreal …

To Be Concluded

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

I have long been a fan of Hellboy, having read many of the comics over the last dozen years. The first movie was just so-so. They didn’t quite get it right. The sequel is certainly better. The general tone is faithful to the comic, and the story, while fairly basic, works.

The movie has a lot going for it. Ron Pearlman is pitch perfect as Hellboy, and the director has an incredible imagination, creating scenes so rich in fantasy that it’s a visual splendor. I usually don’t get caught up in I have long been a fan of Hellboy, having read many of the comics over the last dozen years. The first movie was just so-so. They didn’t quite get it right. The sequel is certainly better. The general tone is faithful to the comic, and the story, while fairly basic, works.

The movie has a lot going for it. Ron Pearlman is pitch perfect as Hellboy, and the director has an incredible imagination, creating scenes so rich in fantasy that it’s a visual splendor. I usually don’t get caught up in that so much, but the visuals are a real treat.

For me, the issue was length. The first hour was so jam-packed with action sequences I actually found myself a little bit bored, as the action was a little tedious for me. But about an hour in they slowed the pace down a little, let the movie breath a bit more, and, for me at least, the movie came more alive at that point.

[i]Hellboy II[/i] works overall, and there’s a lot to like. But at 2 hours, 20 minutes … too much. I like getting my money’s worth, but in this case, less would have been more. Still, as a comic-book/fantasy movie, it’s worth the price of admission.

Wanted

Well, I can definitely say that [i]Wanted[/i] was action packed. I’m not sure I loved this movie, but it has some things going for it.

James MacAvoy is a good lead, and there’s action galore. The humor is good, too. But for me it was a bit long–and loud–and even for the kind of over-the-top movie that it was meant to be, it was almost [i]too [/i]over the top at times.

And man, was it bloody. Wow. Very, very violent.

Some of the stunts and F/X were truly impressive and quite a bWell, I can definitely say that [i]Wanted[/i] was action packed. I’m not sure I loved this movie, but it has some things going for it.

James MacAvoy is a good lead, and there’s action galore. The humor is good, too. But for me it was a bit long–and loud–and even for the kind of over-the-top movie that it was meant to be, it was almost [i]too [/i]over the top at times.

And man, was it bloody. Wow. Very, very violent.

Some of the stunts and F/X were truly impressive and quite a bit of fun. It just went too far in places for me, as I found myself getting a bit fidgety by the end. Had they toned it down just a bit, and cut 15 minutes, I would have liked it a lot more.

Overall, it’s not bad, but I can’t say I’m running out to see it again. But if you’re looking for smash, bang, boom with a cool factor to it, [i]Wanted [/i]will probably do the trick for you.

You Could Be Reading...

Crossline

Blog Archives

Goodreads

Russ Colchamiro's books on Goodreads
Finders KeepersFinders Keepers
reviews: 10
ratings: 303 (avg rating 4.00)