The Becoming 2015 Movie Review

I love great movies. We all do. And I also love bad movies that are so, so, so bad that it makes them amazing. Why? I guess it’s the part of me that likes being dumfounded about bad filmmaking to the point where it makes me laugh hysterically. And hey….these filmmakers were trying to make a good movie….or a decent one. I’ve made films. Sometimes it just doesn’t turn out so well. But to make a movie so bad that it eclipses all other bad movies….now that is something special. James Cameron couldn’t do it even if he’d tried to. So, if you’re into bad cult movies…. for the love of God watch The Becoming 2015. In my opinion, it takes the ‘worst movie ever made’ title away from Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. Sorry Tommy, Geovanni Molina has got you beat. Scenes devoid of lighting, descriptive text that flies so fast across the screen that you can’t read it, moronic improvisation, awful audio mixing, insane enthusiasm for catholicism & a strange obsession with triceps all make this movie amazingly bad. I’m not writing this to just bash The Becoming 2015 because at this point I’ve seen it 5 times. When a filmmaker can trigger repeat viewings in their audience…hey, they’ve done something right. And it keeps getting better and better (or worse and worse) with each viewing. I’ll give you a brief rundown here because the trailer just doesn’t do it justice.

Just look at that credit. A MAN IS CHOSEN. If that doesn’t get you pumped up for the flawless imperfection that this movie is….than I just don’t know what to do. Alright…here we go. A husband and wife lose their daughter in a freak neighborhood car accident. They’re mourning her loss and the swarthy (or trying to be swarthy) Latino husband is super bummed and can’t get over it. Meanwhile, the grieving eastern European wife is left to take care of their son. Just then the skies open up and some demon vampires with bad haircuts and pointy teeth show up on the scene, turning humans into demons, vampires, zombies and zombie clowns. All is not lost though, God sends down the Archangel Gabriel, who whisper yells all of his dialogue as if he’s the frontman for some bad butt-rock band. He’s also got this weird lightsaber sword that he cuts his wings of with, which he promptly discards before he speed runs, cape and all, to a local boxing club so he can steal some clothes from a guy who is 3 sizes smaller than him. And like magic, the bad ass leather jacket fits him perfectly. Interested yet? It gets better.

Spoilers Ahead. For the majority of the film, the entire cast whisper yells their dialogue. I don’t know if the filmmaker was an admirer of Christian Bale’s Batman or a huge fan of Shinedown… either way, WTF. It’s pretty ridiculous too because the films soundtrack is so loud that you can barely hear the dialogue, which is also a WTF… in a genius kind of way. Especially for the big back story reveal of why the demons came in the first place….unless you have subtitles on it’s impossible to discern what Gabriel whisper yells as the music blares away. It will make you want to pull your hair out for the entire viewing. And God bless the two guys who play the overweight, hairy backed Goomba’s. Did you know that they want to go into the restaurant business together? This movie has got REMARKABLE written all over it. I mean, there’s an epic fight where Archangel Gabriel pushes a demon into punching bags over and over again to dorky stock electronica music. There are stellar lines such as, ‘I’m not Rick you stupid mortal. My name is Nemesis.’ & ‘Listen Vinny, you’re not crazy. God has chosen you’. ‘You’re crazy! God would never choose me. I lie. I cheat. I steal’ & lastly the best line of the whole movie, ‘I love you too Jesus’. The filmmakers had plenty of time to find background extras, do costuming and make-up but somewhere along the line they forgot to rent lighting equipment or take the camera off of auto focus. The scene on the street at 35 minutes in, between Gabriel and Vinny, is even more asinine than the flower shop scene in The Room. It would take a whole blog just to analyze how unbelievable their interaction is and….these are the little things that make this movie so horribly memorable. Once you see the characters jiggling on the ground to rattlesnake noises as they get transformed into vampires….you’ll be hooked.

I’ve said enough. You’ve just gotta see this movie for yourself. It’s been on Amazon Prime for the past year. If for some reason it’s not free….I’d advise paying the few dollars for this train wreck of a movie, especially if you’re a filmmaker or film student. The Becoming 2015 is remarkably bad and that’s why it’s amazing. Geovanni Molina’s follow up film is Demonia Undertaker, about an alien that comes to earth to destroy the human race. Gee, that sounds like The Becoming 2015 with an Alien instead of Vampire Angels. The poster looks like a Latin Luke Skywalker and Jenna Haze in a Star Wars/Event Horizon hybrid. Sign me up. It’s gonna be amazing. I’ll watch anything this guy makes.

Seriously Geovanni Molina…I’m not just taking the piss. I thought The Becoming 2015 was bad. But I love it as much as I love Big Trouble in Little China. Kudos to you my man. Keep making movies. I hope that this blog has added to your life in some way. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. Plants, Animals and Humans alike. And follow The Golden Rule as best as you can. Have a great day.

Mass Effect: Andromeda- A Greatest Hits Throwback (Spoilers)

Since Mass Effect 3 hit the shelves in 2012, video gamers who’d loved the groundbreaking and ultra successful original Mass Effect series were eagerly awaiting the 4th installment. You can see my previous blog on the original Mass Effect here. If you don’t know about the original, it was an amazing game. Unreal graphics. Totally awesome voice acting. Leaps and bounds from playing Super Mario on Nintendo. Having said that…expectations were pretty monumental for the 4th game and unfortunately BioWare failed to deliver a game as breathtaking as any of the originals (Mass Effect 2 was the best one in my opinion). Now, Mass Effect: Andromeda is not a BAD game as some of the popular reviews have stated. Is it a great game? No. But, it’s entertaining. And that’s probably enough to keep the payroll at BioWare going on schedule. Below I’ll go over some pros and cons from the game if you’re so inclined to continue reading. (WARNING: SPOILERS) At the very least, it’ll make your play-through a little more enjoyable…after all you’re gonna invest 50-75 hours of your life if you complete the game.

See that guy above? That’s Drack. He’s by far the best character in the game and if you’d like to have an enjoyable play-through…take him everywhere. This game lacks in character development which leaves the journey feeling pretty flat. It’s too bad because Drack has some good dialogue and emotional moments in the game that would make some Hollywood writers kick themselves for not writing it into their movies. ‘Parents aren’t meant to be a goal or a finish line. We’re the starting line. Where you go from there? It’s all you.’ Now that’s a damn good line. Especially considering the fact that a lot of younger gamers out there might not have the opportunity to learn life lessons from competent and wise elders. Some young gamers might have a horrible upbringing and may glean some wisdom from that line. So, kudos to whoever wrote Drack’s dialogue on the BioWare staff. Damn fine work. Drack stands out because he’s a character that’s got depth, whereas all of the other characters are kind of just there. Even Ryder, the main character, is a bit boring. That’s not good. But hey…Drack is good. So yeah…..use Drack. He makes the game fun.

I played-through the game twice. Once as a male Ryder and once as a female Ryder. I never completed the male play-through because playing as a female Ryder was more enjoyable and what I thought was the more meaningful choice for the game. Sometimes you sit down to play a game and you can be either a male or female and the gender choice seems arbitrary, which it usually is. In this game, it made sense to play as the daughter to the original Pathfinder because #1 she is the older sibling of the twins (her and her brother are twins) #2 it stings a little more that the father (Pathfinder) sacrifices his life for his daughter rather than his son and #3 the female Ryder’s voice-acting is better than the male Ryder. The male Ryder’s voice acting came across as boring and robotic. It also kinda makes more sense in the relationship with Reyes Vidal to play as a female because…what testosterone filled leader runs out of a storage room holding hands with a random smuggler after a forced make out session precipitated by possibly getting caught and killed? What a dumb scene that was. So, whether you’re a male or a female or what have you….I think you’ll have a more enjoyable time playing as a female Ryder.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is clearly a throwback to Mass Effect 2. Throwback Video Game Day! #tvgd #awesome It’s basically the J.J Abrams Star Wars. A safe bet. Familiar for fans. Entertaining but…not too risky or original. And that’s fine. It’s unfortunate for seasoned gamers and die hard fans but it’s not entirely disappointing because there’s still some value in it. It’s clear to see all of the similarities in the story arc and details in the game. The main character is thrown into a situation where their choices will alter the universe, they have to assemble a team of unlikely allies to defeat a superior adversary (one of which is a tough, bad ass Krogan- exactly like ME2), the superior alien race is mysterious and no one knows where they came from and they genetically manipulate those that they destroy (similar to The Reapers) and the ship looks exactly like the one in Mass Effect 2 (The Normandy). There are more similarities but those are just some of the glaring ones. Mass Effect: Andromeda is not very original…and that’s fine because it’s a fun action game to play. If the gameplay were bad as well…. then yeah, the game would be total shit. So, if you’re gonna play it. Just be open to some mindless entertainment and don’t expect to enter groundbreaking new territory. I mean, the crew at BioWare couldn’t even come up with a better back story for the bad guys (The Kett) other than, they’re imperialistic and want to assimilate the inhabitants of the Andromeda Galaxy at any cost. That’s a real easy way to not put the time and effort into creating character depth and an engaging story. War is complicated. Leaders and Warlords are complicated. I’d imagine that there would be intricacies to mass warfare on a universal scale. Not just…we’re going to kill you. You’re bad. I’m good. The end. In Mass Effect: Andromeda. It is what it is.

Mass Effect™: Andromeda_20170313104053

Here’s another big kick in the junk for veteran gamers. Your choices don’t matter whatsoever in any real type of way. For a detailed list of the consequences of your in game actions, click here. I had a big problem with Dragon Age: Inquisition for this same reason. When you watch a fictional film or read a book, you suspend belief and get involved emotionally, pretending that the characters choices and lives have meaning. It’s the same with a video game. When a consumer invests their time and money into an adventure, they want to escape reality and be entertained. They want their time to be valued. And when the story is flabby and the choices they make have no real meaning in the progression of the game, it’s a big let down. The game places a big value on the initial decision to make your first outpost military or scientific. It seems like a big deal that will effect the rest of the game….and it does not have any effect apart from inconsequential reactions from team characters and npc’s. Mass Effect? More like…Mass NON Effect. Har har har. There are several choices to be made but none carry the weight of choosing between Ashley or Kaiden in ME1 (your choice leaves one of them to die in a nuclear explosion-removing that character from all future games). Also, I would have thought that the programmers would expand on the squad choice dynamics that were introduced in ME2. In the final mission of ME2, you had to travel with 3 companions but also assign tasks to your other remaining companions. If you sent the civilians back to the ship with a companion that didn’t have the right skills, they’d die. If you didn’t choose the right teammate to lead squad #2, they’d die. There were various options where some or all of your team could live depending on the choices you’d made as a leader. That was cool. We all know it’s a video game and it’s just entertainment. But man….THAT FELT REAL. The choices in Mass Effect: Andromeda seem real at first but they’re just messy, fake versions of formerly effective features made to draw an audience in. It’s a disappointment but again….take the game for entertainment value. Worthy of one play-through and then returning it or trading it in. I only choose a handful of games to play each year so I’ve got high standards when investing my time and money into a game. So, if you like action games and stunning visuals. Go for it. If you’re looking for something more….wait until something like Kingdom Come: Deliverance comes out.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post and that it’s in some way added to your knowledge base and your life in a positive way. As always. Do you best. Be kind to yourself. To your neighbors. And to animals and plants alike. And Follow The Golden Rule as best as you can.

Is the NFL rigged?

This is a tough subject to broach for me because I was raised on sports, specifically Football. I was brought up playing football in the backyard, learning the fundamentals of the game, studying the game & religiously watching the NFL. For a better part of my youth, football was #1. As I’d gotten older, I didn’t join the football team in school because it was a big commitment and I was too concerned with drinking beer, playing guitar and hanging out with my friends but…that did not diminish my love of the game. I was elated whenever my team won and brought to tears whenever my team lost, much like other fans. I bought the jerseys. I bought the starter jackets. I was your typical American guy who loved Football. Then something happened….I started using my critical thinking abilities as blatant evidence of corruption in the NFL came to the surface. Now, don’t discount me as a conspiracy theorist just because the title of this blog is ‘Is the NFL rigged?’. After all, it’s posh now to label any critical thinker a conspiracy theorist in order to delegitimize intelligent discourse on a subject and make individuals look ‘crazy’. Do I think the NFL is rigged? No. But I do think it’s unfairly steered towards possible outcomes, giving one team unfair opportunities over another, which in effect is a form of deception for the viewer. So, the NFL is rigged…and it isn’t at the same time.

I’m a Miami Dolphins fan. They’re a bad team. Really bad. I have no delusions that the referees have robbed them of glory. No….they just haven’t put together a cohesive unit of front office staff and players in a long, long, long time. I accept it. Yeah, here and there they get bad calls and maybe a few games could’ve gone their way with better refereeing. But, a team needs to have a certain amount of talent and confidence to maximize on opportunities that are presented to them. Therefore, my review of this is somewhat impartial because my favorite team does not come into the fold here. For the past 2 decades they’ve been a bi-polar team that can’t get their shit together which is why they always lose. So, I’m able to sit back and watch other people’s favorite teams as they play because well…my favorite team sucks. I’m an athlete too. Sometimes people are just better than you. If you realize that on the field, you can realize that when you watch games. You can tell when it’s genuine talent…and you can tell when something is….’off’. I also work in the entertainment industry. I know that 90% of reality shows are fake because I’ve worked on some of them. Some people still think they’re real, which is mind boggling. I also see how big money and the people who control that big money dictate EVERYTHING that happens on a film or television show. You mess with the money people, you get fired. It’s happened to me. I’ve stood up to Executive Producers who were mistreating their employees and I’ve been fired for it. It’s simple. It’s about money. Whoever has the money….has the power to do whatever they damn please. I’ve witnessed Producers breaking and entering, stealing company documents and being arrested for it….and then promptly being released from custody because they made a nice donation to the local police force. Yes….if you have money. You can do anything. You know how much football brings in, officially, not counting the gambling that takes place in Vegas?…..about 13+ Billion a year. Yup. BILLION. So….yeah. Put two and two together. It’s simple math. Money corrupts. Money rules. Keep that in mind.

For non-football fans and football fans here are some simple facts that are available for everyone to see if they’re willing to research it….and also they’re brilliantly covered by author Brian Tuohy in his book, ‘The Fix Is In: The Showbiz Manipulations of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL & NASCAR’. 1. In 2010 a U.S. Judge essentially said to a season ticket holder who’d filed a lawsuit regarding fairness in the NFL that….the customer was entitled to entertainment and provided with entertainment by the NFL. Period. End of law suit. So, viewers are entitled to entertainment…..not fairness and integrity. RED FLAG. 2. The NFL is a 13+ Billion a year industry that typically sees teams with the highest ratings enter into the Playoffs & Superbowl. Why might you think? Well, all of the owners share in the overall profits so it’s beneficial for them that the most popular teams, in any given year, have the best opportunities to make it to the playoffs. Ya know, because…..that means more money for the billionaires….cause they need it of course. RED FLAG. 3. Whether they did it or not, several teams (most notably The Patriots in recent times) have been accused of cheating. Merely the fact of a case like that being so public and getting investigated gives some validity to it, regardless of how minimal or severe the cheating was. And oh yeah….the commissioner of the NFL destroyed the evidence during the Spygate investigations. Why would you destroy evidence after already admitting guilt? Usually, you’d provide that evidence to other parties to review….especially when a US Senator asks to see that evidence. Was it because…I dunno…maybe that evidence, if brought to light, would eventually leak to the general public, effectively destroying fans confidence in the sport they so adore….leading to a mass exodus of viewership and a huge loss of revenue? HUGE RED FLAG4. NFL off the field shenanigans are typically covered up. So, why is it that famous players like Tom Brady, accused of cheating, and Ben Roehtlisberger, accused of rape, are still playing after having minimal suspensions and fines while someone like Josh Gordon gets a 1 year suspension for drinking a few beers? Is it because he’s a mostly unknown black player and not a famous white quarterback? Seems like complete BS to me. And there are plenty of these examples. RED FLAG. 5. The only thing that needs to happen to turn a game around is a call by a referee. How many bad calls have you witnessed? How many times have games turned around because of bad calls? Last night in the Superbowl, the Patriots were kept alive for 3 consecutive drives because of bad calls. It was pretty obvious that the NFL wanted them to come back from the huge deficit, which they did…..and they won. Of course, you’d have to be brain dead to not realize that referees decide who wins….pretty much every time….unless the team sucks like the Dolphins. No amount of bad officiating can help bad teams. But good teams? Yeah, the refs can help them by presenting them with opportunities. They do it incessantly. RED FLAG6. Here’s probably the biggest one of them all. Some players are starting to question the system of the NFL and how things actually work. Ray Lewis was a superstar during his playing days….and even HE thinks something is rotten in Denmark. I’m sure he’s not the only one questioning the validity of the ‘sport’ that they play. Most people won’t speak up because…..they don’t want to lose their jobs. It’s all about money. ENORMOUS RED FLAG7. Lastly, if one has a modicum of strategic football knowledge, they’d realize that lots of integral play calls & strategies are total BS and coaches must be on the take. For example, last night when the coach of the Falcons was up by 25 points and didn’t ‘run the clock out’ by running the football. The game was effectively over. He could’ve run the clock out. If the Falcons had utilized the full 40 seconds of each play, there was no possible way for the Patriots to come back. I’m no sports genius but….you’re telling me that a professional coach, with a talented team, who made it to the SuperBowl, who’d utilized fundamental football knowledge all year….transformed into the mentality of a 10 year old amateur playing a Madden Football video game? No. Not possible. HUGE RED FLAG. It’d be like if your best friend and your mom told you that your husband is cheating, you found a strange woman’s name pop up on his phone, he hasn’t come home on Saturday’s in 3 months, he starts working out and buying new clothes, you find condom wrappers in his car, you find sexting pictures in his e-mail account, you find an un-mailed letter to a chick named Rachel AND you find a video of him having sex with Rachel on his phone. Now….if he says to you, ‘No babe. I’m not having an affair’ are you going to believe him? Or are you going to believe the MOUNTAIN of evidence before you?……..

Say what you will. Think what you’ll think. I’m a pretty practical person. The evidence is there. It’s really, really, really simple. Just like when there are enough red flags in a relationship, in a business arrangement or in a work environment….you realize it, say this isn’t right for me and move on. Look, it’s sad man. It’s really sad to accept that the NFL is bogus. It’s an American pastime and a childhood pastime for many people, including myself. But the fact that you have an attachment to something and vehemently believe that it should be fair….doesn’t make it fair. Most of the people arguing that it’s fair….are people WHO WORK FOR THE NFL or many of their subsidiaries. And then your buddies that you argue about this with are people who are blinded by their love for the game, listen to opinions of professionals (who work for the NFL) and are unwilling to admit that something is wrong. I still love the game. I really do….but it’s not a fair contest in any way shape or form. That’s reality. When the only thing that needs to happen in order to change the momentum in a game from one team to the other, is a bad call by a referee or a series of bad calls, that means that the opportunity for manipulation exists. If you watch enough games, like I have, you’ll notice that that ability to manipulate momentum and the outcomes of games is utilized by referees. Those are employees of the NFL. They want to keep their job, so they do what they’re told by the people in charge, ie the owners and the commissioner. The wealthy people. That’s corruption in a nutshell. Of course, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco etc. are all exceptional athletes but the reason that they won Superbowl’s wasn’t just because they’re high caliber players and their teams are good. It’s a combination of their teams being talented, their teams being popular with fans at the time (in a good or bad way), their teams bringing in large revenues & having an interesting storyline that the NFL can latch on to.

Do you know that the NFL makes more money than many countries around the world? A game! A fucking game makes more money than a country….does that not bother anyone? Ya know how there’s always corruption in government? Well, the NFL is bigger than many governments. You think it’s not rife with corruption? The only way that things will change in the NFL is if fans boycott the sport and protest, just as they do against governments…because the NFL is as big as a government. I really wanted Tom Brady to win the first time and I’m happy he did. But the Tuck Rule was a joke and it wasn’t fair to the Raiders. If the NFL were fair Belichick and Brady should’ve been suspended for a year or longer for Spygate. Instead, someone like Sean Peyton gets the book tossed at him and is banned for a year for doing something that used to be pretty commonplace in the NFL. If the NFL were fair and had a high level of integrity there wouldn’t be constant accusations of cheating from one team to the next, off-field abuse that is covered up, reports of NFL veterans not being supported when they become ill, and a mass of rules and obstructions put down on the players, on and off the field, for playing a GAME that’s supposed to be FUN. It’s not a game anymore….it’s a business. A business that is as large as a government. That’s all. Owners make the money. Players take the risks. The refs are on-field Gods. And the outcome is always about how to maximize profits. There are good teams. There are bad teams. There are great players. But…it’s all maneuvered in a certain direction. What direction is that? Money. Money is the direction. So, be happy for your team. Be happy for your favorite player if they amass wins and records. But please realize….it’s all bogus. Just like wrestling, reality shows or your favorite movie. It’s an entertainment business. That’s it. You want to watch a sport with some integrity and fairness in the outcome? Go watch some high school games. Watch community intramural sports, some street ball or a small market team. That’s where you’ll get fairness….and that’s where you’ll actually have some fun as opposed the robotic ritual of overspending your hard earned money on tickets, apparel, drinks & cable packages that the NFL offers. Small market teams are cheaper too…and you won’t have to wait for commercial breaks.

Group of friends playing football in park


In conclusion, No….the NFL is not 100% rigged….but it is highly manipulated, which is pretty much the same thing. I love football. I adore the sport. That’s why I don’t support the NFL and only happen to watch games here or there. Because it’s not football anymore. It’s corrupt. And worst of all…’s really boring. I like real football, where the game means something. And until the NFL becomes real football….I won’t waste my money. I haven’t spent a dime on the NFL in years and I will continue to just that. True, I did get caught up last night in the SuperBowl but then after witnessing the constant hypocrisy and completion of the year-long promoted storyline..I remembered, oh…nothing has changed, the NFL is still blatantly unfair and not a genuine contest of physical and mental prowess….it’s a contest of clever rich people that are duping and manipulating regular folks into handing over their hard earned cash. So stop letting the NFL tug at your heart strings, take your money and cheat on you with a bimbo named Rachel. Empower yourself and do something better with your time and your paycheck.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post and that it’s in some way added to your knowledge base and your life in a positive way. As always. Do you best. Be kind to yourself. To your neighbors. And to animals and plants alike. And Follow The Golden Rule as best as you can.

There’s no time to Whine

Whine: A long, high-pitched complaining cry.

Whining is annoying. It’s embarrassing to see. It’s obnoxious to hear. It’s all around childish. So please, everyone who is so offended and appalled that Donald Trump won the presidency, stop complaining. There’s a reason why he won. People are sick of the establishment and career politicians and they threw their votes behind Donald Trump. Suck it up and forge ahead. Protest if you want, that’s our right. But the reports are showing that people are rioting, looting, being violent and burning American flags. Seriously? You love America and then your candidate didn’t win so you’re going to start burning American flags and smashing windows? Super mature everyone. That’s not the ‘love’ that liberals normally stand for and speak about…that’s madness. I’m embarrassed to have called myself a liberal at one time in my life. Trump won. He’s the President. So, whatever your feelings are towards the guy and his proposed policies. Give him a chance. He hasn’t done anything yet! If you’re so mad… get as involved as you can in this country. Democracy doesn’t end after voting once every 4 years. Sign petitions. Unplug from mindless tv shows and pay attention to public policy. Write letters to your congressman regarding each bill that comes up. Don’t talk about it. Do it. Raise money for charities you support that have some clout. Get involved in your communities. Get involved with real people, not with fake people like the Kardashians. Help regular people. Support small business’s not major conglomerates who support those puppet politicians you so despise. Help yourself. Educate yourself. Involve yourself in something more than having a temper tantrum…. To use an analogy, I’m a Miami Dolphins fan. Do I destroy all the furniture in my house and my neighbors houses every time the Patriots win the Superbowl? No. I take a deep breath. Shake my head. Turn off the TV. Drink a beer and look towards the future. And hope that, hey if the Patriots do make it to the Superbowl again….maybe the Giants will be there too.  (The Giants always beat the Patriots in the Superbowl for you non-football fans)


Look, I empathize. I do. Big time. I’m currently a registered Democrat. I supported Bernie Sanders. The primary was stolen from him (see Wikileaks) and agree or disagree with me, I felt that Hillary was the worst choice possible for President and I believe that against Trump, Bernie could have won. Did I cry about it? No. I wrote a few tweets. Sucked it up….and moved on. Then I started supporting Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and Donald Trump, the Republican Party candidate, because I could not in good faith put my energy or my vote behind Hillary Clinton. My reasoning? It doesn’t matter now. What does matter is that we’ve got to move forward with what we’ve got. It is what it is. There are maniacs on both sides of the isle who are out of control. It’s not cool. It’s never cool. But it is what it is. Had a bad break-up? Gotta move forward, be single for a while, find yourself and then start dating again. Family member died? Gotta move forward, grieve, remember the good times and accept reality. Lost your job? Gotta move forward, work on your resume, gain some new skills and start applying. Your favorite tv show got cancelled? Gotta move forward, find a new hobby, read a book or look for a new tv show to watch. You never know….Trump might do a good job. He might do a horrible job. He might do nothing. But, he’s most certainly going to do an awful job if dejected people keep projecting violence and hatred out into his Presidency before he’s even done one thing. Maybe instead of rolling out your yoga mat and meditating about how you can send an evil spell to kill Donald Trump (relax, it’s a joke)… can send the guy some love so that he’s able to surround himself with the right people and achieve some good things in his term in office. ‘Love Trumps Hate’ is your slogan right? Not ‘Hate Trumps Hate’…and that is what is currently being displayed by these violent protests. Trump is not Hitler. Those were different times. And remember, in the beginning, Hitler was beloved by ALL. Everyone! American and British business’s were investing in his country. He was Time Magazines man of the year in 1938. And then it all changed and most people were caught off guard…because Hitler was ingenious and was supported and surrounded by some other ingenious and evil people. So please take a chill pill and relax. Most people think Donald Trump is an immature, crass, doofus….hardly the level of adoration that Hitler had. My grandmother lived in Vienna during WW2. I took the time to listen to her stories about what it was actually like. Before the war and after. Trump ain’t Hitler…alright. It’s just the media’s narrative and frenzied people slapping that label on him. And oh yeah, Trump supports Israel…so there’s that too. Kind of deletes that argument. The Hitler/Trump comparison is ridiculous.


Us little people don’t really know what’s going on. The system is so compartmentalized. How much pure, unfiltered information is going to trickle down to the regular people like you and me without serious investigative journalism and whistleblowers? Maybe Trump is for real and wants to help us. Maybe he’s a puppet of some unseen special interest like many other politicians and things will get much worse. Maybe he’s completely clueless and nothing will change. Maybe the system is so jacked up that NO President will ever have true power to do anything for the good of all mankind. All you get to see is the version of the edited person that the particular media outlet you watch will show you, even if you’re diligent enough to scour every mainstream media outlet and every alternative media outlet, newspaper, website and blog. All you’ll believe is the perspective you allow yourself to see. Open your mind to good possibilities. Use the right side of your brain. Anything is possible. Give the dude at least a month in office before you start lighting fires and try to see the positives in the situation.


Last I checked, as charismatic as the guy is, Obama has kept us at war in the middle east for the past 8 years. Bush got us in there, Obama promised to take us out, which he kind of did but not really, and then we destroyed several more middle eastern countries. So….is that love? Constant war? Killing people indiscriminately in the guise of policing the world and then after the fact having some government head say, ‘Whoops. We made a mistake but it’s too late to turn back now’. Remember George W. Bush? Remember when he basically stole the Presidency and then brought us into an unjustified war in the middle east in the first place (No WMD’s were ever found which was the rhetoric that brought us to war). Well, he was President for 8 years. End of story, whether you liked it or not. I didn’t like it. He wasn’t my choice. But, it was what it was. And now we live in a Police State. There’s no doubt about that. And if we’re ever going to GET OUT of that Police State and gain some of our freedoms back, it might not be the best idea to start rioting and give the incumbent President reason to drastically increase funding and further militarize our police forces around the country and give policeman a reason to hate regular citizens. Remember Gandhi? (I mentioned him before), he enacted lots of social changes through non-violence. It worked. He ended up getting assassinated, but the movement and foundation for what he sacrificed himself for worked….not forever, but for a long while. And he inspired the world. Read books about him. There are lots available. Violence against violence doesn’t have the best track record. Non-violence against violence does, as counter productive as it sounds. Look at the Dakota Access Pipeline right now. Some police officers are voluntarily resigning from their posts or leaving the front lines because they disagree so vehemently they don’t care if they lose their jobs. That’s noble. That’s heroic. Why are they doing that? I don’t know. Maybe because they realize how unjust the system is and they’re tired of attacking non-violent protestors, who are American citizens, on their own land that is being stolen from them by a mega corporation. Want to make sure President Trump doesn’t side with that DAPL corporation in the future? Get involved. Write to your state representatives. Write, and write and write and write. Protest non-violently. Why protest non-violently? Because our country is in bad shape and we’re losing our rights (see The Patriot Act) and you’ll probably get arrested and unjustly locked up for a while for attempting to assert your rights. That’s why. Also, the only way you’re going to keep your rights is if you exercise the one’s you currently have…intelligently and strategically. We’re allowed to petition and we’re allowed to speak up. Do what you can while at the same time protect yourself. Do not throw yourself into the fire just because you’re upset.


This is an extremely complex and messed up system that we live in that brings us down but there are avenues for you to disagree without throwing a violent hissy fit. Trump has a lot of work to do in that same system, a system that he’s unfamiliar with, in order to enact the ideas that he has for this country. He may pass those ideas through or not. If you disagree with those ideas, that’s fine. You’re allowed to. But disagree in a productive way, not an unproductive way….because that’s the intelligent thing to do. I can personalize this a little bit for you. I used to work for NBC’s The Apprentice. It was my first job out of college and it was a great experience to work in Trump Tower on the show. Trump wasn’t a bad guy. He wasn’t mean. He wasn’t rude. I started at the bottom of the ladder as a lowly Production Assistant. I didn’t get to meet Trump directly, but I was in the room with him at times when the crew was setting up the next shot or going over production details. From my limited interaction with him, Trump seemed like a decent guy. Privileged, for sure! But mean….no. He was nice to people. There were other people on the crew though that treated me like dirt….COMPLETE CRAP. It made me want to quit. Some people went out of their way to treat me like nothing just because I was a PA. I have no bad things to say about Trump from that experience though but according to the media and what people say, I probably should. The food on set was good. My paychecks cleared on time (Thanks NBC). The wrap party was fun. At the end of the shoot, I was given a crew hotel room for the night in Times Square. And I was given lots of leftover perks at the end of the shoot that included cases of water, chips, granola bars and red bull (and that’s huge to a recent college grad).


I’ve got grave concerns for myself, my family and friends, the country I live in, the world I live in and the future that myself and further generations may or may not have on this earth. I believed in Obama and he did the exact opposite of what he said he would do on some very important issues that are dear to me. That hurt. I don’t get mad at people if they identify as a republican, democrat, independent, libertarian…whatever. I care. That’s why I’m writing this post….in the event that someone who’s hurting from this recent election will read it and gain some comfort, inspiration or peace of mind. Trump said some rude things and un-PC and unpopular things during the election process, yes. I have plenty of friends who are crass and rude but when it comes down to it they are sweet people and have a good heart. I sometimes question, man are they really like that? Or is that just how they talk? They just use sarcasm or puff their chest out because of some insecurity or what have you….but when push comes to shove, they’re good people and good friends. Is that Trump? Maybe, maybe not. Things aren’t perfect in this country. Things aren’t perfect in this world. Things aren’t going to be perfect for a while. They weren’t perfect with Obama. They’re not going to be perfect with Trump. And they wouldn’t have been perfect with Hillary. But they’re definitely going to get worse if we remain completely divided and violently pull each other apart. Use your mind. Use your heart. Use your energy to create good things….not divisive things. We have a lot of work to do as people if we want things to change….we cannot just trust our elected representatives 100% anymore while not holding them accountable for the things that they do. And that’s just the beginning. WE have work to do. Not just our elected officials. So please, cut the crap. Suck it up. It is what it is. Be the bigger person. Whining and violence is not the answer. Not when you’re a kid. And definitely not when you’re an adult.


It’s been like talking to a wall, on both sides, during this election. I’ve even been blamed for Trump becoming President….by SEVERAL people. Yup. I did it. It’s been me all along. Little old me. I’m the one pulling ALL the strings. Aren’t I clever? I’m doing an even better job than Gus from Breaking Bad in keeping a low profile. People please…get a grip. Republicans and Democrats. Take a deep breath. Several deep breaths. Go for a run. Get some exercise. Drink a glass of water. Take another deep breath and realize that you’ve got to work WITH one another not AGAINST one another. You know the theory in Divide and Conquer right? Ok so….stop letting that happen. Be respectful. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. And follow the Golden Rule as best as you can. Thanks for reading.


‘Merica banning Kratom

Every so often I say to myself, ‘America ain’t so bad. This country has some good things about it. And I’m happy to be an American’…..and then something like the DEA’s asinine proposed ban of Kratom happens. One can argue that it’s our bureaucracy, there’s a lot of red tape, it has to be researched, things take time to process yada yada yada….or if you have half a brain you can realize that sometimes it’s just pure bullshit, as in this case. While we’re at it, why don’t we ban sugar for making children hyper? Or ban coffee for keeping people awake? Or ban toothbrushes for making peoples gums bleed? Our country has a drug problem, right? Heroin has exploded onto the streets in the past half decade. Lots of people are ruining their lives & spending exorbitant amounts of money on the drug. The jails continue to be filled because we do not have competent rehabilitation programs or social programs that rationally deal with the issue (like in the Netherlands). Our government runs the ‘War on Drugs’ right? So, how is that going? Have the drug rates gone down recently because of that ‘War’? No? Oh, the drug rates have skyrocketed you say? So, the ‘War on Drugs’ is ineffective and now the DEA is deciding to ban a harmless plant that many former heroin addicts have been using to kick their opiate abuse during a time when we are supposedly trying to get people OFF of heroin? Sounds logical to me…..if you’re a moron or a psychopath. Kratom has been around for a long, long time. It’s a tree. Societies have known about it and used it in the past. This knowledge is available to any academic working within our current system. This ban is NOT in the interest of public safety.


So, what’s the deal with Kratom? It’s relatively cheap. It helps with opiate addiction, anxiety, immune function and chronic pain. You can drink it in tea or take it in a capsule form. And….wait for it….it’s something that actually helps people. And it doesn’t have a stamp of approval from the FDA because you can’t patent it. It’s a plant. It’s all natural. Just like Cannabis. Does it make you high? No, it gives you a little buzz like when you drink coffee. That’s it. I’ve used Kratom dozens of times. I initially tried it about a year ago and quickly realized it’s benefits. It helped me greatly with my chronic back pain and my anxiety. I didn’t take Kratom very often, maybe once or twice a week. But it helped me a lot. I never had any adverse effects. I never became addicted to it. And it never made me violent or unstable (Lord knows what the pencil pushers at the DEA are saying it does to people). I’m not even angry for myself in this instance. I could go through life not doing Kratom again and I’d be ok with that. It’d be a bummer when I need it for pain control because I’m not going to take pharmaceutical drugs. But, I’d deal with it. What I am angry about…is the other GREAT people I met throughout this past year who were using Kratom to defeat their addictions. Good people. Regular people who have kids, and jobs, and families that were using Kratom to beat their Heroin addiction or Alcohol addiction or Cigarette addiction. That’s not so bad, right? These are good, non-violent, non-aggressive people who live and work and pay their taxes in this broken system we have. And what do you do for them as their ‘Big Brother Government’? You shit on them….yet again.


Ya know….whatever is going to happen to this joke of a society that we have called the USA is going to happen. But if the government continues to piss off its citizens and take away rights, privileges and the ability to think for ourselves….bad things are going to happen much quicker and in greater frequency. There will be more protests. There will be more riots. People will accept that their government isn’t here to work FOR them, they’ll realize that their government is here to work AGAINST them in whatever way possible as long as their chosen representatives continue to kiss the asses of special interests and corporations that give them fat paychecks. ‘Oh, it’s just Kratom Joe. Calm down. It’s not the end of the world’. No, it IS the end of the world if you keep letting your rights get taken away. It IS the end of the world if people keep putting their own selfish goals before the goals of the world community. It IS the end of the world if you choose to remain blind to the corruption that exists. Integrity, not money and power, is the constant in this universe. My grandmother fled her home country of Austria during WW2 because the Nazi’s took over. Her rights were taken away even though she was a special Aryan Christian ‘blonde hair blue eyed’ girl that Hitler loved. She told me of the similarities between the rise of Nazi Europe and what has happened in this country since the year 2000. We, as citizens of the USA, may all be screwed. But you’ve gotta fight back in some way. Even if it’s for something as small as Kratom. It’s an herb that helps people with their problems. And it doesn’t impede on the rights of anyone else. It only impedes on the rights of lobbyists and sycophants to give or get their next juicy, bonus paycheck. This is not a conspiracy theory. If you know anything about how our system in the USA works. It’s logic. So, if you care about this issue like I and many others do. If you care about the bogus marijuana issue that’s gone on for decades. If you’re sick of being treated like a 5 year old in pre-school….write & call your state representatives, government representatives, the president & anyone in a position of power that you can annoy….ANNOY THEM. Don’t fight them. In the end, no one wins in a fight. Just be a pain in their ass. There are some Congressman that are trying to help….but they need citizens to get behind them as well. Want to do something about this infringement upon our rights as human beings? Click here and get involved. It’s very simple. Write an e-mail. Write a letter. Make a couple phone calls. Spread the word. You might not need Kratom but others do. And one day it may be something simple that you enjoy, like coffee, or alcohol or tobacco…or even Skittles that gets taken away. So, if you want to keep your rights….help others keep theirs too.


Thanks for reading! I hope this has enlightened you to this issue or improved upon your life in some way. As always. Do your best. Be good to yourself and others. And follow The Golden Rule.


Survivorman Fan Challenge 2015

Today I’ll be writing about my experience appearing in the Fan Episode of Survivorman with Les Stroud. Where to begin?…..I guess a little background on my outdoors experience is in order. For the past 10 years I’ve backpacked extensively around Europe but at the end of the night I’d always end up at a hostel, cabin or campground, so my survival camping skills were quite low. I didn’t have a fear of sleeping under the stars going into the Survivorman show and I knew that most likely….I’D ACTUALLY BE SLEEPING UNDER THE STARS because I didn’t have the necessary skills to create a functional shelter. I’d watched the show for years, so some of the survival concepts were in my base of knowledge, but I’d never had the practical experience. And apart from my irrational fear of bear attacks, which has now subsided, I was comfortable with a trial by fire situation. Though….I wasn’t remotely aware of how uncomfortable I’d actually get.


First off, for those of you Survivorman fans and/or haters who have been wondering all these years…Yes, Les Stroud is the real deal. The show is NOT faked. Working in the film/tv business I’m always a bit skeptical of reality shows because sometimes shows are bogus (though I was never skeptical of Survivorman for obvious reasons). There were times when I would’ve loved if the show was a farce and some production assistant would’ve come out from behind a tree and given me a piece of fried chicken…but no. Not a chance. It was real. And being on Survivorman was one of the most amazing and most awful experiences I’ve ever gone through. Hanging out with Les Stroud in the woods was amazing….but still, it’s survival and come dawn on the last day….I was so exhausted, defeated, cold and starving that I just wanted to get out of there, eat a hot meal and sleep in a warm bed. Entering into it I knew there’d be some hardships, but I never knew that hunger would’ve had such a detrimental effect on me (as I’m sure you’ll see on the show). I’d gone without food before for about 36 hours, while sedentary, so being deprived of food while physically exerting myself and depleting calories was no easy feat. I got to the point where my brain just said, ‘Hey. You’re starving and tired. But you’re on this tv show. Do a good job. Use what skills you have. Put your eye in the viewfinder and just keep filming’. Hunger was by far… the worst part. Being alone, having anxiety from lack of sleep, being freezing cold at night, struggling to make fire, hurting my knee while hiking, getting soaking wet in the cold, getting sick….those were bad…yeah. But the lack of food just made those other problems even worse because I couldn’t think straight.


There were good times and opportunities for growth, for sure. And I’m going to focus on those good moments as opposed to giving a linear rundown of the journey. Because that’s why you’re going to watch the show, right? To see the journey. One of my favorite off-camera moments which still makes me crack up, is on the last morning, probably around 4-5am, I woke up to see Les staring at me. He said, ‘Did you get some sleep?’ to which I replied, ‘Yeah. Maybe about 15 minutes’ and he goes, ‘Come on! You slept for like an hour. And you weren’t kidding. Your snoring is world class. Do me a favor. If you ever get married, please get that surgery’. My backpacking buddies have told me for years that I sound like a dying caribou when I snore…and having Les Stroud agree with that sentiment is pretty funny to me. This is part of the reason I feel so bad staying in dorm room hostels (see snoring blog here). At least I don’t have to worry about wild animals sneaking up on me at night because….they’ll think I’m one of them.


Another great off-camera moment was after one of our long hikes. Les and I got into really thick bush and it seemed we were on an endless trek. I felt like we were Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings traversing unholy terrain. The trees were thick and spaced inches apart. The footing was horrible. There were huge swamps blocking our path, followed by boulders and small cliffs. We just kept hitting obstacle after obstacle and we were getting turned around and lost in the woods. This is when I started complaining and Les looked at me and said, ‘Hey, you signed up for this’ and I said, ‘I know. It’s ok. I’m just bitching’. After getting soaked crossing this huge beaver dam, Les and I climbed up on this rock and sat down. We didn’t say anything to each other. Just sat there looking at the beauty of that lake that the beavers helped create. It was a beautiful, crisp sunny day. I had the thought to take out my camera and snap a photo but no….it was too perfect to photograph. A remote spot in the Canadian wilderness that only a handful of avid hunters might see. It was unbelievable. And then after 15 minutes of admiring the scenery, Les and I stood up and continued the unending journey in the thick bush. Moments. That’s what we live for. Moments like that.


Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat. I made mistakes. I faltered in areas where I didn’t think I would. I was overwhelmed at times and let fear make decisions for me rather than strength. I felt ashamed for letting such little things get to me…but that’s what it’s all about. Survival. Testing yourself. I don’t regret any of it because I learned so much on that journey that I can add into my already large wealth of backpacking knowledge and I had a remarkable experience. And now….I’ve got so many more skills to bring with me in any hiking/backpacking situation. Why did I apply to the contest and accept the invitation? Well, it’s Survivorman….duh! But also, what’s the point of life if you’re not willing to take chances and greet opportunities with open arms, however crazy they may seem? Maybe I did this to prove to myself that I was stronger than I thought. Maybe I did it because I missed my dad and just wanted him to magically come down from the skies and give me a handshake and say, ‘Good job. I’m proud of you’. Maybe I was just bored and wanted to do something wild. Maybe I was thrilled to hang out with Les Stroud and go on an adventure with him! Or all of the above! Either way, I’m just a regular dude who made a good video and was lucky enough to get chosen by Team Survivorman to be on the show. And that’s AWESOME! And I am and will be eternally grateful to Les, Laura, Ian, John, Max, Wendy, Lauren, Web Girl & the rest of the crew for inviting me into their world and giving me an experience of a lifetime.


We shot a lot of footage so I’m just as excited as you are to see the final product. I honestly have no idea what the episode looks like….and I’m pretty stoked for it. I think this season of Survivorman is going to be one of the best. And maybe after the episode I’ll put up another blog of more of my experiences and anecdotes. As always, be good to yourself. Be good to others. People, animals & plants alike. Do your best. And follow The Golden Rule. Thanks for reading. Have a great day!

And don’t forget to tune in. Saturday November 7th 2015 @ 10pm/eastern on the Science Channel.



It’s Been A While

It’s been about 6 months since my last post. Such is life. So, what will I be writing about today? Change and Shifting perspectives. Ya see…..I’ve gone through some transformative experiences lately. Not all of them were totally new revelations… mostly they were reminders of things I’ve needed to shore up in my life and continue to fix (physically and mentally). Some were concepts that I already knew and figured out in years past but I just needed a kick in the ass to remember them and consistently apply them to my life. And some things just plain sucked. Reassess. Reassemble. Rebuild. Isn’t that how it goes? That’s life. Shit happens. And you move on.


Here’s a question for ya…..Have you noticed with yourself, your family or with your friends and colleagues that people are going through big shifts? With work, relationships, personal transformations, etc…? Yes? No? I’ve noticed it over the last few months. Friends & colleagues are going through tough times. Stable people that seemed they’d never be shaken are being shook. Weak people are being hit with tests. Strong people are being hit with bigger tests. And ya know what? I don’t see the bad  in it….well then again…. sometimes I do because hey man, some things in life are just really, really, shitty… let’s be honest. And metaphysically speaking, these outside experiences that I’m noticing could simply be a reflection of my own inner experience. That’s a Solopsistic viewpoint, though an accepted one in this ‘new age’. Whatever the mental approach, No one will ever know for sure what version of reality is valid, unless YOU know. See what I’m saying? Maybe things are meant to be….and maybe we just give the randomness meaning…or both! But today’s blog isn’t about positing on the fabrics of reality. It’s about people making shifts. A multitude of people that I’ve recently encountered, whether they’re close to me or not, are going through issues and important turning points that, if handled properly, can lead to even more important discoveries and improvements. Is it because the Astrological signs are jacked up? Is it because Donald Trump is all over the news pissing people off? Is it because The Kings of Leon aren’t super popular anymore? Who knows?


Why do I blog about this? It’s because I’ve learned and I greatly respect the value of using a negative experience and turning it into something positive and transformative and I hope you’ll learn that too and apply it to your life. Why? Because it’s helpful. Look man….some things hurt. Life aint all sunshine and rainbows. But ya know what…..No Pain. No Gain. And sometimes the best way to effect real, lasting change in yourself, your life, the lives of those around you, in society, in the world, in the universe and on and on and on….is to use a painful experience and come through it in a positive way. That’s just a part of life. That’s the truth. You can’t just pop pills, drink alcohol, do drugs everyday or do yoga & meditate once a year and say that ‘you’re all good’. It’s good to have vices here and there….we’re human after all… but you’ve gotta dive into the hurt. So use it. Use that pain. Use that experience. Feel it all. Get through the negative aspects. Keep pushing. And make yourself better. Because there are AMAZING things in this world. And YOU can be AMAZING.


I’m no doctor. I’m no therapist. I’ve just been around the block and I’ve stepped in a few piles of dog shit along the way. I’m not gonna tell you the meaning of life because only YOU know what the meaning of your life is. No quote posting social media philosopher can tell you what’s best for YOU either (we’re all guilty of it). Not even Deepak Chopra or Oprah or The Pope can tell you what’s right for YOU. I’m not gonna tell you that your situation is easy. Dude….maybe it really sucks. And someone’s always got it better and someones always got it worse than you do. It’s not about comparisons though. It’s about getting through those problems in a healthy and beneficial way.


At one time in my life (2007 to be exact), I went a little nuts because I wasn’t prepared to handle what life threw at me…and it was one of the best things for me. Why? Because I used that difficult series of events to transform and improve upon myself and I filmed it all as a therapy exercise. The experience made me stronger. It prepared me for tough times that came in the future. Was it easy? HELL NO. It was awful. It was torturous. It was embarrassing. I had to hit rock bottom and rebuild myself. I’m sure you know what I mean. And I just want to share my film on here in the off chance that it may help and/or entertain someone. There’s some wisdom. There’s some insanity. There’s some stupidity. Maybe you’ll find something useful. Maybe you’ll think it’s crap. Hey….who knows? It’s life. We’re all just people and we’re doing our best. Nobody’s Perfect. You’ve got an illness? Someone died? You were in a war? You’re a refugee? You’re an orphan? You’ve got a broken heart? You got divorced? You’re in rehab? You lost your perfect job? Whatever it is. You can push through and things are going to be much better on the other side.

Thanks for reading this M.A.V.B.L.O.G. I hope it’s added to your life in some way. As always. Do your best. Improve where you can. Be kind to plants, animals and humans alike. And always follow The Golden Rule. And if you are one of those going through a tough time….keep going. It’s gonna be ok. It’s just life.


Christiania as the Great Equalizer

In ones life, as in many other things (which are invariably included in a life, whether you notice them or not), are indefinable moments. Moments that break beyond the human reality that you’ve become accustomed to seeing. Moments that make you feel like a small child who is looking at the world with fresh eyes. The feeling you get after meditating and reaching a new peak. The feeling that you get after reaching the summit of a tall mountain. The feeling when you finally look up to see the light after hitting rock bottom. The feeling of stillness, of peace….of complete unconditional love towards this gift of life that we’ve been given. It’s always hard for one to put a label on something so infinite. We may call it nirvana, heaven, peace, contentment, umami, the calm etc. etc. It is a moment to be cherished. Maybe you’ve never had a moment like that. Maybe some people only get one moment such as this when they pass on from this world to the next. And if you’re a person lacking in said moments, or just a person in general, I politely urge you to start walking towards Christiania. When your foot crosses over the border, you’ll know exactly why. It’s because the word Christiania is comparable, and belongs in the same class as those others….nirvana, heaven, peace….


What is Christiania? It is an idea. It is a place. It is a work of art. It is not what it seems to be to outsiders. You can read the articles and look at pictures and think that Christiania is a chaotic commune of drug addict hippies in Copenhagen… but it is so much more. It is a token of warmth in this sometimes cold world. It’s so disorganized to ‘normal’ people that IT IS organized. So, don’t think to yourself ‘Oh that’s cool. I dig that. Maybe I’ll visit it one day after I see the wonders of the world’. No. Absolutely not. There are no other wonders that can compare to Christiania. It is the only wonder of the world worth visiting. It will expand your awareness exponentially. Your perspective will constantly shift. You will walk in facing east, but east will suddenly become west. And how can you find your way once the poles inside your mind have shifted? You’ll just have to turn north until it becomes south…..and this is BEFORE you smoke a joint or eat a space cake. Just as words cannot properly describe the depths of love, beauty or wisdom….my words are a pitiful attempt to describe the feelings that I had when wandering around Christiania. The feelings that I still have. The feelings that we can all have. And if we could just maintain a slice of that, a miniscule sliver…imagine what else we could see. Imagine how we could change ourselves and change the world.


I went to Christiania thinking it would be a very cool destination to visit, one not to be missed. And, pat myself on the back, I scheduled my trip so as to attend the 43rd birthday party of the inception of Christiania (September 26th for any of you future travelers). I’d been to Tacheles in Berlin, which to my and many others’ disgust has been shut down, bought, sold and reworked under the guise of progress; so I thought I’d get a similar but not identical taste of complete and unbound artistic freedom. What I received, for no admission price might I add, was something similar yet completely different. Putting my artsy ramblings aside… Freetown Christiania is an autonomous community covering 84 acres of a former military compound in Copenhagen. It is a self-governed town with its own set of rules. Artists run wild. Spontaneous performances take place. You can visit an art gallery, grab a dish of the best organic, vegan food you’ll ever eat, have a drink at a bar, smoke some weed, paint a portrait, rave to techno or even go for a nice jog by the river. Anything goes…somewhat (they do have rules ya know….like don’t piss everywhere because you think it’s a big party).


I watched. I ate. I drank. I sang. I peed on the grass (once, sorry). I watched some more. I cheered. I walked. I smoked. I raved. I saw the lines form. I saw the colors shake. I saw how important and necessary it is for this world to have something like Christiania. It’s as if God reached out his hand and said, ‘Here! I know that shit happens. I know that life can be sad and dark and miserable at times…and I wish I could fix it all. But here! Enjoy this! Right now. See what the world can be. See what you can be. See the facade behind the facade behind the facade. See the great movie as it is created and transpires right in front of your eyes’. It’s an experience. It’s a feeling. It’s not just a hippie town where drugs are legal that needs to be stamped out by the rational side of society. It’s Christiania. It is the great equalizer in a chaotic world. A reminder that control is not the way. That there is no such thing as control. Have you ever had a coincidence that was so strange you felt that the universe was winking at you? That’s Christiania. Have you ever felt what it’s like to be in love? Deep in love? That’s Christiania. Have you ever had a dream so peaceful and so real that when you woke up, you were free from stress or desire or thought? That’s Christiania.


I’m a weird guy. I know that. But we’re all a little weird aren’t we? Even if you’re a fellow artist, or a cop or a fitness instructor or hell even Barack Obama. We’re all looking for the same thing. A little bit of peace. A little quiet. A little happiness. A few moments of perfection. Just a few. We’re simple creatures with extraordinarily complex minds. We’re little universes bouncing around at incredible speeds inside of an even more infinite universe. But still, we’re human. We have ups. We have downs. And Christiania is an up that you need to explore. It is an up so high that it’s as if you never knew what up was. And if you can’t get there right now….find little Christiania’s elsewhere, because they have to exist. But go you must. One step at a time. Towards a small country called Denmark. To a city called Copenhagen. To another dimension called Christiania. Adventure can be a scary prospect…but it is the only way. Why do I even bother writing this blog given the fact that my words cannot possibly convey what I feel towards Christiania? Because I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity….I’m so in awe of what exists in this life….that I drop to my knees like Joe in Joe vs. The Volcano and say, ‘Dear whatever you are. Thank you. I thought I knew. But I didn’t know anything’. And I’m so passionate about it that I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a feeling that is so amazing that I want you to feel it too. And I want you to find the same spark that I caught a glimpse of. You’ll probably find something entirely different, unique to your own experience, but I know you’ll be able to see behind the curtain. And that’s what we all need. The great truth revealed. Christiania. The moment where time stands still.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this M.AV.B.L.O.G. as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. There are tons of cheap flights available to Copenhagen, Denmark and even more reasonable hostels, hotels and Pensions there. Take a risk. Take a chance. I hope you do. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. Be good to animals. Even plants and rocks. And follow The Golden Rule as best as you can. Have a great day.

Dragon Age Inquisition is Good… not Great


Since I’m an adult (ha!..right) with precious time to spare (another ha!…kind of), I try to choose my games wisely. That being said, the video game industry has really come a long way in the last 20+ years, hasn’t it? Remember playing Nintendo’s Dragon Warrior as a little kid and having your mind blown? The amount of progress is astounding when you make comparisons but still…that doesn’t mean every new game is going to be a gem. I wrote an earlier review on this game that is mainly related to it being a good play-through on PS3, which I still stand by, but boy am I glad that I didn’t buy a PS4 just to play DA:I.


Ok. First of all, the games in the Dragon Age series are some of the best that I’ve ever played. DA:O was the pinnacle of awesome…I’ve played about 6 different play-throughs and it’s still exciting. As cool as Hawke was, DA:2 was a flop (and I base that solely on the recycled environments. I had to shut the game off 10 hours in because it was so boring and I never revisited it). And Dragon Age: Inquisition is good…maybe even really good but it’s not great and doesn’t come close to Dragon Age: Origins (I’ll explain why in the list below). I have hope that the staff at BioWare will be objective and ask themselves the important questions as they plan further games. And here we are with the list. I’ll try to keep it as concise as possible. Criticisms are in the front….positives are at the end. Hang in there. I’m a huge fan and want nothing more than to help improve these games…because I love the story!

1. The beginning was better than the ending. What do I mean by that? All the events leading up to establishing your base at Haven, Haven getting attacked by Corypheus, you being anointed ‘The Inquisitor’ and your first few journeys out (especially if you chose to support The Mages. Wow!) were more thrilling and emotionally charged than the games ending. They were actually phenomenal and flawless. I thought I was playing the best game I’d ever played before. How cool was it saving your townspeople during the attack on Haven? How amazing was walking through the snowy tundra after the battle at Haven and finding your team? That moment, and the scene that followed….was one of the best moments in the game. John Stevenson at The Writers Block provides a pretty stellar review, which is well worth reading (I’ll try not to copy you John but…I just had to write a review too). Also, all the reviews on Kotaku are very good. Basically, the games ending was flat. You traveled the world, found Skyhold, built the Inquisition, raised a huge force…I guess? ( A War Assets type situation would’ve made more sense here. You are the same company that created Mass Effect…right BioWare?). Essentially as you moved forward in the game, it felt like nothing that you did in terms of growing in power, forging alliances and gaining agents mattered (it didn’t) and the big final climax that you thought would take place at your castle Skyhold (the one that you’d been rebuilding all game specifically for protecting from an assault) didn’t take place there and it was really quick and boring. The game could have ended after thwarting Magister Alexius because that storyline, and the storylines that led up to it, were phenomenal and engaging. Temple of Sacred Ashes, Haven, Alexius’s time warp, giving the first speech at Skyhold and meeting the Divine in the Fade all were way more powerful than the ‘Hey I found you Corypheus! Bang, you’re dead. Mark of the Rift. Schwing! Go back to the Fade. Bye. Roll Credits’. It went from ‘Greatest Game Ever’ to ‘Boring and Trite’.

2. Why have a power score if it’s meaningless? At first I thought it was kind of cool. Similar to the War Assets of Mass Effect. That’s a great mechanic. The ending changes based upon how much power and how many allies you have. If you have a lot of power, your whole ‘main crew’ lives and survival rates are high. If you don’t have a lot of power, maybe some of your crew dies, maybe your army is decimated….maybe you can’t even beat the game! How exciting! Since BioWare had implemented that before, I thought that it was a no brainer they’d do it again or tweek it a little. Nope. Nothing. So, you basically just gain power for no other reason than to advance the game and choose missions (because the missions cost a certain amount of power to unlock). That’s fine, unlocking missions with power had controlled your leveling to an extent.. but that’s all it did and that was a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT. This was an RPG, right? So, let me get this straight….all the hoopla about establishing base camps in the various immensely detailed and beautiful environments in the game, the companions urging you to increase your power and size of the Inquisition, the alliances that HAD to be made….were meaningless because it had no impact on the games finale? That makes sense right? NO! Not at all. Sorry BioWare, you dropped the ball on that one. For whatever reason it was, poor planning, politics, greed, technical issues etc….you ‘shit the bed’ and it made for a lifeless experience. There could have been a small ‘forces’ bar and that would have sufficed. RPG fans LOVE to see that they are making progress in the game. Oh, I just liberated this area….my Influence bar just went up AND my ‘Forces’ bar just went up, showing me that I command 1,700 troops now. That would’ve been nice.


3. It was way too easy! RPG’s are supposed to be fun for all ages. Never can a video game company use the cop out that games are scaled down or shortchanged because of the age of their consumers. Many elements that hardcore fans and 18+ gamers expect, do not need to be eliminated because a larger group of 10-14 year olds will be playing the game. That’s where the difficulty setting comes in to play. Remember in Fallout: New Vegas where you could play Hardcore mode and you actually had to remember to eat and drink in-game? That was cool. Too hard for a ten year old you say? Ok…they can just set the game to ‘normal’ and poof! Problem solved. Not Dragon Age: Inquisition. One, all of the elements that DA:O fans wanted to see, that may have been too difficult for a younger or casual gamer to handle, just weren’t there, normally or in the hard settings. Two, this game was way too easy. On my first play through I tried the normal setting…after about 15 hours I was way too good for the game and destroying every enemy that came my way. So, I started over on the hard setting, which only took me about 40 hours until I was way too good and destroying every enemy. Then…I tried the nightmare setting….which was more like the hard setting. So essentially the gameplay settings are as follows. Easy=Extremely Easy. Even a dead person could play on this setting and win. Normal=Easy. Hard=Normal. Nightmare=Hard. I know lots of work goes into these games, but come on. BioWare figured it out before…there’s no legitimate reason to why they couldn’t make it work again. The games difficulty was way too painless and I certainly do not consider myself a master RPG gamer. I play about 3-4 games a year, totaling maybe 200-300 hours of gaming, so usually the hard setting is REALLY tough for me. But not this time.


 4. Why half-ass the strategy and customization? Just do it….or don’t. Here’s one of my biggest issues. BioWare promised us, in all the press materials leading up to the game, that we’d be able to customize castles, take over territories, lead armies etc. etc. and what we got was just watered down customization options. Don’t make an RPG with strategy elements if you’re not going to fulfill them properly. Take the expansion Dragon Age: Origins- Awakening for example. It was an add on game, yes. But it added some cool elements that fans were yearning for. Elements that you’d think would be improved upon in the next full fledged game. Nope. So, ok…you can build a Mage Tower or a Templar Tower that states in game, that it’s only a cosmetic upgrade, and it has no bearing on your progress. And it serves no real purpose because your castle Skyhold never gets attacked. Woopdy doo. You can choose to create a Training Grounds or an Infirmary, and again this is a cosmetic upgrade that has no purpose other than to make your castle look different. Yay! Who cares? Oh and you can build a Chantry or make an Herb Garden. If you build the Chantry you get gold….or more followers….maybe? If you build the Herb Garden you get….wait for it…..6 POTS where you can plant herbs!! You’re the almighty Inquisitor and you get only 6 POTS!?! And you have to farm it yourself. What!?! What would’ve made a hell of a lot more sense would be….Build the Mage Tower or Templar Tower…get power points and a defensive bonus if the castle were attacked. Build the Training Grounds for an attack bonus for your troops. Build the Infirmary for a health bonus for your troops. Build the Chantry to gain more followers and power or spirit magic resistance for your troops. Build the Herb Garden to have a constant supply of herbs, farmed by your followers and deposited in your inventory. That would make a lot of sense right? The armor and weapon customization was a decent mechanic and tool, why not make the castle customization similar? You looted some weird materials off this Red Templar, sent it in for research and now you can have a special upgrade for your armor/weapon. Likewise, you found some strange materials in a ruin you excavated, you have your dwarves work on it and now you can have a special upgrade for your Mage Tower or your Front Gate or your Dungeon. Also, when you took over a keep…you couldn’t do anything with it. NPC’s just showed up along with some merchants. It would’ve been cool to choose what type of keep it would be (Military, Espionage, Political) and subsequently what bonus you would get (A recruitment bonus or attack bonus for your troops, A spy bonus or more secret areas unlocked to explore, A political bonus with more options for allies, gold and power). Ya know…the little things….allowing you to ‘see results’ from missions that you undertook and an actual impact in your game would’ve been nice rather than a childish…’Well I beat that mission. NEXT!’. Lastly, the judgments, which were very cool, lacked something that was established in DA:O-Awakening. Why weren’t there judgments or requests from regular townsfolk, nobles or members of your Inquisition? It would’ve been very rewarding to have you judge a petty squabble between an Inquisition Mage and Templar, or choose to commit troops to protect an Inquisition farm from attack or bring the citizens to the castle for protection, or to settle a nobles dispute that would gain you gold or influence. Again, the little things….that were developed in an add on to DA:O…that a fan like myself thought would be expanded on the grander scale of DA:I that simply…did not happen. If you’re going to make an RPG, with such a rich storyline and advertise that it’s going to be groundbreaking…you better satisfy your more mature fans (18+ or just veteran gamers) who expect this greatness that was promised.


5. Harvesting and gathering loot. This can be fun sometimes. But seriously, with a game of this scope you don’t want to spend 10-15 hours harvesting and looting because you’ve already got 100+ hours of gameplay to go through (if you play out a majority of the missions). Remember the PC game FATE? It was a cool dungeon crawler but one really awesome element that it had was this dog that you could call and it would grab your loot for you. Then it would take a certain amount of time to leave, drop off the loot and become available to you again. Wouldn’t it have been cool to have a few squires that would follow well behind your party and grab all the loot for you, then one of them would report at your castle and show you what was looted and harvested? It would solve the constant problem of clearing your inventory, pausing to loot each corpse after a battle and stopping to grab every herb or mineral you see. I understand that this was done to a small extent in the War Table where you could send your advisors out to gather materials, but frequently the mission would come back with 5-10 herbs, a very tiny amount, considering that you can gather 5-10 herbs in a few minutes of gameplay. And it could be a simple option that you could turn on or off (for people who like gathering herbs). Want your squires & spies to follow you and scour every area you go to and then report their findings back at the Skyhold? Or do you want to do it yourself? That type of situation could also lend to a unique storyline with your subordinate(s). Are you putting them in danger? Can they be killed while doing this? Does it affect your overall power score? Ya know…just some simple detail. I mean, you have a nice dialogue with the short, cute, female scout in every place you go to…in which her character didn’t really have any purpose other than to brief you and fill some time. Why couldn’t that person serve a real in game purpose like I just mentioned? Ya know….the devil is in the details…or lack thereof.

6. Character approval means nothing. Remember in Dragon Age: Origins you had the character approval bar? And the higher that bar went, you could inspire Minor or Major abilities in that character such as combat bonuses. And the lower the bar went, the more pissed your character was with you…and they may even leave your party….or try to kill you? Now THAT WAS COOL. In this game, there’s no point to the approval system other than when you make decisions, some on screen text will tell you who approves or disapproves of your actions. There’s no status bar where you can check how much a person likes/dislikes you. And there’s no incentives such as combat bonuses or unique relationships (that I could tell). It’s just another area that fell completely flat. It’s as if BioWare started to create this portion of the game and just stopped at some point. Just another example of how DA:O is better than DA:I.



7. You don’t get to appoint characters in branch off missions. Remember at the end of Dragon Age: Origins when you had to choose 4 companions to lead the second team that would defend the gates at Denerim while you took on the archdemon? A pretty simple side mission and very effective for engrossing you in the game. But again, nope. Nothing even remotely similar throughout the game. You’ve got this great group of characters. Iron Bull and his team of chargers. Blackwall. Cassandra. Dorian etc. etc. and you have to leave them out of battles because you only can pick up to 3 companions to join in on your missions. There was so much potential to work off of elements that were successful in past titles. Wouldn’t it have made sense to include the other companions in your sieges, for example the siege on Adamant Fortress and the final battle? Maybe your second team covers your back or attacks from another flank? Maybe, like in the ending of Mass Effect 2, if you choose characters who aren’t suited properly for the specific task….they will die…or someone else will die as a result of the lopsided team. It’s the little things, ya know?

8. You’re BioWare. Should you listen to the fans? Absolutely. Every single one. Look, I know you’ve won game of year and accolades upon accolades for this game. Congratulations. BioWare as a company and all of those involved in the creation of this specific game deserve all of that praise. This is a very good game that just falls flat in some key areas. And if you’ve learned anything from the Mass Effect 3 ending debacle, it’s that your fans know best. I’m sure there’s an amazing team at BioWare but the truth is….you didn’t live up to your expectations with Dragon Age: Inquisition. You didn’t pull a George Lucas prequels blunder….but if you don’t heed the advice of people outside of your internal ‘team’ then your games will continue to be lackluster. I love this game…I really do. I’m probably going to play it again but stop my campaign after Alexius is defeated.. where it starts to go downhill and it becomes obvious that your choices are meaningless. Now for the positives! The environments are amazing. The animations are fantastic. The armor/weapon customization is great. The loot is great. The War Table and missions associated with it were great (although could’ve been tweeked a bit more to make it more realistic with consequences for choosing the wrong advisor). The castle decor and style customization is really cool. The combat is good (though the AI wasn’t as effective as DA:O where you could choose their tactics). The talent tree is good. The writing was really, really good. The early plot twists and turns were awesome. The soundtrack and in game ‘bard songs’ were great. The characters were great and well developed. Dorian…amazing character. Solas! Perfect! The crossover from previous games was awesome too by bringing in Leliana, Hawke and Morrigan and it was done really, really well. Playing the ‘game’ in Val Royeaux was great. The Inquisition influence bar and perks were cool. The judgements were a lot of fun. The Avvar clan was amazing. Those small Inquisition War Table missions to build a bridge etc. were a really nice touch. The Dragons were AWESOME!!! The Solas & Flemeth twist at the end was cool. There are lots and lots of plusses for this game. But the minuses are just too big and they keep this from being a great game. Even though the gameplay and technology of the time in DA:O is about 6 years old, that’s still a much, much better, tighter and more fulfilling game. And I know that BioWare wanted this to have the same impact that Oblivion did at the time that it came out…but it just doesn’t. It’s just another game. DA:I was too big and some really important details were missed in the grand scope of it all. Details that make or break games for the consumer. I’m still a HUMONGOUS FAN. I would pay BioWare 200 or 300 or 1,000 bucks if they finally created the perfect, earth-shattering RPG. I love this series and the world that BioWare has created. I’m just telling the truth in the small hope that company folks and designers at BioWare, and other video game developers for that matter, will say ‘Ya know what….the fans are right. Let’s do better!’.


In closing, BioWare did a very good job. The game was great….and then once the shortcomings became evident and the storyline got flabby, it dropped to being just ‘good’. So, they did make 1/3rd of the greatest video game ever. If I were 10 or if this were the first RPG I’d ever played, like I did many years ago with Dragon Warrior for Nintendo, I would lose my mind and praise BioWare as if they were Gods. But that’s not the case. They’re just people….in a big building sitting in front of computers and arguing in meetings. BioWare is a huge company that makes lots of money, with CEO’s and Presidents and a PR & marketing team that gets in the way of the creative department. There are so many people collaborating and so many rules to be followed that I understand why certain things do or do not happen in games. But the fact that I understand how hard it is for a big company to create a flawless game does not detract from the truth that DA:I isn’t flawless. It’s just good. And being just good….is a big disappointment in such a story rich franchise.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this M.A.V.B.L.O.G. and that it’s improved your video game life, your knowledge of the Dragon Age Series or the next video game that you’re about to make or play. Thanks for reading. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. Even plants and animals. Have a great day!

Snoring & How to Deal With It!

It’s a SNORE subject (har har har) for all backpackers. Snoring. Some of us snore. Some of us don’t. Personally, I’m a snorer…90% of the time. Now for most people, on a regular night when we’re sleeping alone in our room, the fact that we snore or don’t snore isn’t a problem because we’re ALONE. If you’re in a relationship, ok, one partner will likely wake up every night to alert you of your snoring (which does nothing! It’s not as if snorers can hit the ‘off’ button). And if you’re snoring after a one night stand….it’ll probably end up being just that…. a one night stand….because people HATE SNORERS!!! Now that’s in the regular world of single people and couples. Backpacking is very, very, very different and it would greatly assist the ‘backpacker’ to review some unspoken rules that I’ve put together.

What causes snoring

I will preface this by saying that 2 months prior to my latest backpacking journey I researched remedies for snoring and I religiously went to acupuncture to curtail my snoring (which cost me almost $300 and that’s a lot for a traveler to put into snoring prevention). Did the acupuncture work? Yes. I recorded myself during the time periods between visits and I wasn’t snoring. But….it didn’t last into my journey. So, I wouldn’t recommend this treatment for a traveler. I would recommend it though for stationary maintenance . And now we start the list.


#1. Most importantly. Know what you’re getting into. If you’re roughing it…you’re going to be sleeping in a tent with one or several people. If you’re staying in a hostel and trying to save money, you’re going to be sleeping in a room with four, eight or possibly 20 different people. There’s a give and take. You’ll get off paying $10-$30 for a bed and will have to put up with snoring, farting, people who talk in their sleep, people who have night terrors, rude people who talk on their cell phone in the bedroom, smelly people, messy people, drunk people, people trying to bang and people having different sleeping habits than your own. Don’t expect it to be ‘your space’. Sometimes you’ll luck out because most backpackers are respectful and hey….they’re just trying to save money while they travel too.. so they ‘get it’. But….know what you’re getting into. ANYTHING GOES. Just like the guy who was talking non-stop to himself in his sleep saying, ‘Tomorrow I have to brush my teeth’, ‘I should’ve taken a shower tonight’, ‘I really need to buy a new toothbrush’…did I find that annoying? No…I found it hysterical and laughed myself to sleep. It’s all part of the experience.

#2. Invest in some good ear plugs. If you’re a non-snorer or a light sleeper. Get some ear plugs! They’re cheap and there are a lot of good brands out there. Get several different ones. If you want to sleep…you’ll need em. If you’re a snorer…BRING EARPLUGS EVERYWHERE. I brought a stock of about 6 ear plugs with me to each hostel. I would write a note that said, ‘Hey. I snore. I’m sorry. Here are some free ear plugs’…and I’d leave it on the desk, sink or couch in the common area of the room. I was just being courteous because I know how annoying snoring can be. At least if you do that…fellow travelers won’t sneer at you when you pass them going to the bathroom in the morning.


#3. This one is really important. DON’T BLAME THE PERSON WHO SNORES. Seriously dude. They can’t help it. And if they can…there are very few effective remedies for snoring that snorers can employ while traveling (see #4). When backpacking, I feel bad EVERY NIGHT that my snoring keeps people up. Sometimes I even stay up as late as possible, until 3-4am just so most people can have a good nights rest before I start wailing away like a monster. Occasionally, I’ll sleep in the lounge if there is one in the hostel…just in case I snore. Should I (or other snorers for that matter) have to do that? Should we sacrifice sleep and go on 4 hours a night of rest just so the 7 other people in the room can relax? No. Not at all. I mean…we paid for a bed too. But most people give snorers a lot of crap… like this weener. And in reality it’s the non-snorers fault. If you can’t handle snoring…you should do the research & testing and find a pair of good earplugs for yourself. Or book a hotel or B&B where you can have complete silence for your sensitive ear drums. You’re in a hostel. Deal with it. Take some responsibility. Don’t blame anyone but yourself. I love when I walk into a room at 2am and a few people are snoring….it makes me feel like less of an asshole. When in truth the guy who’s tossing and turning underneath me that DIDN’T TAKE THE FREE EARPLUGS I GAVE HIM is the bigger asshole.

#4. This is for snorers. Remedy the problem as best as you can. Are you a fellow snoring backpacker? Don’t have 10 grand for the sinus surgery that probably won’t work? Want to know what works? BREATH RIGHT STRIPS. That’s right. Breath right strips. Invest in them. I brought bag of them with me on the last trip. They don’t eliminate your snoring….but they do cut it down by 20-30% and that’s pretty good. That means your heavy, dying sea animal snore has now turned into a light, waves crashing in the ocean snore, and that’s awesome & acceptable for most people (not that you should care because other people SHOULD HAVE EARPLUGS). What else works? Cut your alcohol consumption. REALLY difficult to do while you’re traveling but…alcohol has an effect on the muscles in your throat and you’re guaranteed to snore (or snore louder) when you’re drinking. So if you’re a drinker, just get DAY DRUNK, it’ll make your trip extra exciting OR just stop drinking 1-2 hours before bed. Lastly, steaming your throat will loosen up your throat muscles and your sinuses. 15 minutes of that before bed and you won’t snore at all. But who has time for that while backpacking? So…a cup of tea or a hot shower will suffice.


If you’re reading this…you’re most likely wide awake at 3am, scanning the internet on your smart phone to find a way to deal with the snorers in your hostel. And that’s just it. DEAL WITH IT. Go get some earplugs that work. They’re cheap. Some hostels even give them out for free. Don’t complain about how hard you’ve got it because you can’t get your precious sleep while you’re backpacking the globe, something a large majority of the worlds population will never get to do. Suck it up. Train your mind. Put aside your petty troubles. Meditate. Do your best to become a heavy sleeper. Be a sleep magician like me. Once I put my head down on the pillow, I’m usually out in 3 seconds. You’re in a hostel. Anything goes. Someone could stumble into the room screaming. Someone could snore. Someone could break a window. Someone could pee on you in a drunken stupor (happened to me). Who knows…..but ya know what I know? I’m getting my sleep…loud room or not. Once again. Acceptance. Earplugs. Courtesy. Respect. Breath Right Strips. Sleep. Repeat as often as necessary.


Thanks for reading this M.A.V.B.L.O.G. I hope it’s helped your current hosteling sleep situation and/or enlightened you to the world of backpacking. As always. Do your best. Do better. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. Even plants, animals and rocks. Follow The Golden Rule. Now get some rest…