Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Heat is On

We just made it through a heat wave toward this week. The weather’s been warm all week. I think yesterday was in the seventies. Unless you live in the South or some other tropical climate, that’s pretty much unheard of, especially in late February. Unfortunately, I couldn’t enjoy it because of course I was at work. And naturally, it’s not expected to last because it’s still winter and sooner or later, the snow has to come back.

Also this week, I decided to go on a little diet. I found out that ever since I was no longer allowed to use the gym up at the college a couple years ago because I wasn’t taking a gym class, turns out I gained at least fifty pounds. At least I’m not completely out of shape. I practically walk everywhere and I have a job where I’m pretty much on my feet all the time. Plus I also have the advantage of working in Pets where there is some heavy lifting involved. But it’s probably time to get back in shape now that it’s getting closer to spring.


Last night, I finally managed to pick up Deadpool on DVD. The version I got also features the online version that I added to my Vudu collection (which is Walmart’s version of Netflix.) However, the real reason I got the DVD was because I could get a movie pass to go see Logan when it comes out next week. Movie passes on DVD’s nowadays comes with a code you can redeem through Fandango but the passes are only good for the Marquee in New Hartford as I learned when I got the movie pass for Star Trek Beyond last year. Either way, I was going to see Logan anyway because as an Internet reviewer I have to review it anyway. I also need to make a note to stock up on movie passes because all the big movies are gonna start coming out.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Breakfast Club



For this one, it’s time to take a little trip to the magical world of the 80’s. The 80’s were the best decade for movies, the best decade for music, and the best decade for TV. I’m a huge 80’s buff. Duh. 80’s for the win.
And the movie I’m discussing today goes back to last time when I was talking about The Breakfast Club and how my generation has turned into the Principal character from that movie because of the fact that today’s youth behave like entitled brats. Well, after I talked about the state of today’s youth, I went out and rented The Breakfast Club from the library and it was the first time that I’ve seen it in a while and I figure that I would talk about it.  
As far as The Breakfast Club goes, it is one of the most iconic movies to ever come out of the 80’s and it is one of the most beloved movies ever made. I admit that I knew that the movie existed but I haven’t actually watched it until I signed up for the Columbia House Video Club and got it on VHS after I got out of high school and started working at Grand Union. I think it was like around 1998 or 1999. And sure enough I liked it. However, back then I wasn’t really seeing movies objectively but rather more like me watching movies for the fact that I am a movie buff. However, now that I’m older and obviously now reviewing movies and doing videos on the Internet, I can actually see the deeper meaning of movies and can now see them from a critic’s viewpoint.
Obviously, the movie’s main goal is to break down the usual stereotypes that dominate the high school caste system which are obviously the jock, the geek, the bad boy, the princess/rich girl and the person that looks like they’re cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and actually my alma mater Red Hook High School was no exception even though I don’t seem to recall any rich girls in my graduating class (I graduated in 1997.) I didn’t really belong to any cliques as I recall. I was more of a drifter and a loner. So in high school I probably would have related to Anthony Michael Hall’s character who is the socially awkward, introverted person who’s just trying to get accepted. But now in my real life, even though I did say that my generation is turning into Mr. Vernon who is the principal in that movie, I am actually kind of a cross between Anthony Michael Hall’s character and Emilio Estevez’s character who is the jock, especially at work where I can’t really think for myself.
In fact, Anthony Michael Hall’s character is the one character that people who have seen the movie can relate to the most while Judd Nelson’s character, Bender the bad boy is the character that people want to be as far as rebelling against the system, telling authority figures what they can go do with themselves, and basically not giving a fuck what society thinks of him because he has the tough bad boy image and he manages to score with Molly Ringwald. Many people would think that Ally Sheedy’s character is relatable too because she is basically this complex person. She’s kind of crazy, a Goth-type person who is also a thief and a compulsive liar, not to mention a great artist because she draws a really good landscape on the desk towards the beginning of the movie.
Of course there are things that the kids did in the movie that wouldn’t fly in today’s society especially in terms of how Anthony Michael Hall’s character ends up in Saturday Detention in which he brings a flare gun to school because he was contemplating suicide because he got a failing grade on a project and he is supposed to be a straight-A student or the fact that Bender writes “Open this locker and you die, fag!” on the outside of his locker not to mention the fact that he had pot stashed in his locker which the group puts to good use later on. I mean, if he had the pot stashed in his locker, it’s surprising that someone wouldn’t have smelled it down the hallway. If he had that in his locker in today’s world, he would probably not be in school anymore. Same with Brian bringing the flare gun to school and it accidentally went off in his locker. If he tried that in today’s world, he would probably be in jail and it will probably be another crybaby excuse to piss on the Second Amendment.
As far as the characters go the one I probably relate to the least would be Molly Ringwald’s character because while at times she may seem holier than thou because of the fact that she comes from a rich family and she is practically considered high school royalty, she usually responds with brutal honesty even though she comes off as bitchy and conceited especially when Brian asks if they’re all going to be friends when they’re back in school on Monday or are they going back to their respective cliques where they ignore each other and she responds that they wouldn’t be. She’s being truthful yet she’s kind of being a bitch about it. In a way she’s also kind of a snob and she’s frequently asked throughout the movie if she is still a virgin. Because in today’s society if a girl like her said that she was a virgin, she would be lying because this society is a lot more sex-centric now than it was when this movie came out. After all, The Breakfast Club came out during the Reagan era. And I also like how Ally Sheedy’s arc pans out where she goes from this girl whose parents practically drive away when she tries to talk to them to getting an extreme makeover by Molly Ringwald and she ends up with Emilio Estevez.
And since there were only three guys and two girls, obviously one of the guys has to go home single and it’s obviously Anthony Michael Hall’s character that ends up going home single. But his main goal was not to get the girl (even though Molly Ringwald pointed out to him later on that he and those like him look up to her) but rather it was simply to be accepted which is basically everyone’s struggle at some point in their lives. I know I’ve gone through that as well and at least Anthony Michael Hall doesn’t go home crying like Gary did in The Last American Virgin. He’s the one who ends up writing the essay for everyone and he’s the one who goes home feeling a sense of accomplishment and a little bit more confident than he was when he came in.
So basically the movie starts off with the five stereotypes coming in and they’re kind of standoffish but by the end of the movie, they’ve become kind of the United Nations of High School Cliques where each clique ends up represented. And out of everyone, I think the one that made the most progress was actually Emilio Estevez who had this bizarre moral code. On one hand, he defends Molly Ringwald from being sexually harassed by Bender at the beginning of the movie and even drops Bender at one point because he’s on the wrestling team after all while on the other hand, everything he does is basically to appease his father who he doesn’t even like because of the fact that his father demands perfection from him and part of that was what led Emilio Estevez to tape a weaker kid’s ass together as a prank which lands him in Saturday Detention. And like I said before, Brian made progress as far as gaining more confidence and feeling like he was really accepted and Ally Sheedy of course had the extreme makeover and gained a boyfriend. However, their standing as the only good people in the group is still intact. The ones that changed the least were Molly Ringwald who’s still the popular, full of herself princess and Bender who’s still the bad boy rebel so it’s only fitting that they inevitably hook up.
John Hughes has certainly made a masterpiece with this movie and as far as I’m concerned, he is the definitive director of the teen movie genre. That while I still haven’t seen either Sixteen Candles or Pretty in Pink, I have seen this, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (which can also be a definitive teen movie) and Weird Science all of which were directed by John Hughes and all of them were good movies. I don’t think anything before or since then has had this much of a cultural impact on society as The Breakfast Club. That while the 80’s setting makes the movie dated, its core values are timeless which means it can be applied to today’s world. And yes, I still wouldn’t count on the kids of today’s society taking care of me in my old age.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

One Year Closer to 40

Well, here I am. 39 years old. One year closer to 40.

However, before I get to that I should get this little bit of news out of the way first. First up, I am happy to report that I officially made my main website on WordPress into a dot-com site and just in time for the site’s tenth anniversary next month. In fact, on Valentine’s Day I was finally able to enable ads on my site because when you get a domain name on WordPress you have the option to monetize your site which is what I have wanted to do for a long time.

In other words, my website is now officially known as blackcatloner.com So now I am even closer to my dream of turning my online life into a full-fledged career.

The thing about birthdays is that the older I get, the more I start to reflect on my life as it was before I got to this point. And I feel like I made quite a bit of progress in the last few years, especially in the last few days starting with when I got my degree in the mail last week and now with me officially upgrading my site to a dot-com site. That while I feel like there’s more I could do, I feel like I am in a pretty good spot right now.

Unfortunately, I ended up coming down with a pretty bad cold for my birthday which even as I write this I am getting over. Add that to the fact that it’s been snowing pretty hard all week and you can tell that it wasn’t really a good week. But I can’t really complain though, especially with my big accomplishment this week.

I have actually started to uphold one of the resolutions I have made at the beginning of the year and that is the fact that as of a few weeks ago, I have started to quit the online dating biz by deleting my profiles on various dating sites. I started by deleting my profile on Zoosk which is a Facebook dating app three weeks ago. And last week I have officially deleted my profile on OKCupid which now leaves Plenty of Fish (which I did quit a while back but went back because I originally wanted to do a video on it as kind of a social experiment) and Match.com left. It's a slow process because once again my relationship with online dating is the fact that it's kind of like an itch you can't help but scratch but it looks like they will be going soon.

And there you go, that's pretty much what has been going on the last couple of weeks. I filmed a new episode of Blackcatloner Reviews before coming to the library today and I'll be getting back to work on new videos again this week.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Herkimer Graduate

Well, folks. After a little over a year of waiting and a little over a year after I officially finished classes, the wait is finally over. I am happy to report that I finally got my Associates Degree in Communication Arts New Media from Herkimer College in the mail this morning. So I am now officially an alumni from Herkimer College and finally starting to move up in the world.

Twenty years ago, I never would have thought that this day would happen. I was pretty much convinced that I didn't need college but rather rely on real world education. However, after years of working in retail and especially after getting started on the Internet, I realized that my earlier attitude toward college was actually just me overreacting.

By the time I actually decided to go back to college around 2010-2011, I had the benefit of online financial aid which did not exist when I graduated from high school in 1997 because the Internet was still in its infancy back then. And in fact, I actually did better in college than I did in high school. Sure it took me four and a half years (partly because I changed my major from Radio/TV Broadcasting to New Media and the fact that I was a part-time student because I was still on overnights at the time) and I was probably older than a majority of my peers, but I stuck to it and I probably also had the advantage of being an established Internet personality. So in short, I have my life as Blackcatloner to thank for this.

And college in turn really helped me out with my Internet career, especially with YouTube. In the two years I spent in Radio/TV Broadcasting, I learned how to edit which was something I never actually paid attention to in my first few years on YouTube. My writing was not really a problem but even that got better. In fact, that's what sort of led me to create the Tales of the Blackcat site. But my college career was still not without its challenges, especially towards the end of my college adventure. But in the end, I graduated with a GPA of over 3.2, which again was way better than I ever did in high school because in high school, we did not have the advantage of the Internet.

Now that I finally have my degree, I can only hope that this is a start of better things for me. I guess you can say that I’m living proof that good things can happen later in life. Like I said, I never thought that I would be at this point when I was in high school where I pretty much dismissed college as a waste of time. But now, I realize that I made the right decision.

And there’s a good chance that I will be posting a new video sometime next week. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Kids These Days


Okay, now what I want to talk about is the concept of being what is considered to be an old man in today’s society and having to put up with what the youth of America is doing today.

Part of the reason why I am talking about this is that last year, I downloaded an installment of a locally-produced podcast called The Retro Ave. It’s a podcast show where they talk about movies, games and more. They ended their most recent podcast with a rant about the state of today’s kids. And the hosts of the podcasts are both in their early 30’s. Anyway, that rant got me thinking and in a way, I want to throw my two cents in.

I am in my late 30’s and I am well aware that this society is so technologically advanced and dominated by social media and iPhones that it has impacted this generation to the point where it puts my generation to shame. It seems that nowadays, kids are more obsessed with their Xboxes, Playstations, iPhones, Facebook, Instagram, taking bathroom selfies while making duckfaces… I could go on. As a result, kids are less motivated and less likely to carry on a conversation without having to look at their phones every five minutes and texting or hanging out on Tinder or whatever kids do these days.

Now I know when I first started out on this social media adventure about 10 years ago, I have been guilty of becoming too consumed with social media. However, around the time I started out on social media, it was still a growing medium. Back when I started out, the dominant social media outlet was Myspace even though YouTube and Facebook both existed but both were nowhere near as big as they are today. And some of the content posted on Myspace prompted my local library to ban the use of Myspace because there were some pics of half-naked chicks on there, pics of people drinking in bars, and you get the idea. Not much different from what goes on today but even back then you could see how social media would become a dominant force in today’s society.

Also, what they talked about in the podcast and this is also something I have noticed firsthand is how the youth these days have a sense of entitlement, meaning having everything handed to you instead of going out and working for it. There is also a lack of creative ideas, lack of originality and you can definitely see all that in today’s movies and music. Today’s movies are way less original and way more dumbed down than the movies my generation grew up with. Of course there are some exceptions like the Marvel movies and of course The Force Awakens. But these days, it’s all fake CGI destruction porn fests, horrible comedies, universally despised love stories like Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey and any movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel and don’t get me started on the endless barrage of remakes and reboots even of movies that don’t need it.

With TV, same notation. Nothing but reboots, sexually explicit teen shows and of course reality shows that largely send out the wrong signals to people and actually generate role models that are largely negative. The most notorious example of negative role models projected onto today’s youth are the Kardashians who are practically the poster children of shallowness and they’re also the very face of the Hookup Culture. And then there are reality shows such as Teen Mom that teaches girls that if they get pregnant, they can automatically get a reality TV deal and they can act as bad as they want because it’s profitable. To the rest of us, that’s sad.

Same rules also apply to the music industry. It seems like lately (with some exceptions) nearly all of today’s music is centered on one thing and one thing only: Sex. I have nothing against sex, but even I have to agree that it’s gotten out of control. The music more or less glorifies the hookup culture and as everyone knows today’s dating scene one of my favorite things to rant about. Today’s “musicians” clearly can’t sing or perform without the either the assist of autotune or trashy outfits. And I come from the generation that gave us Madonna and Britney Spears among others but compared to the likes of Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj, their music is actually classier. Nowadays, everything more or less is manufactured and that is why I prefer the music from when I grew up (meaning 80’s and 90’s music) to about 10 years ago. It’s pretty much after 2005 where a majority of music went downhill and hasn’t looked back since with Justin Beiber as the crowning achievement.

Now that you mention it, I really am sounding like an old man. However, in recent years not only have I reinvented myself as a movie reviewer, I have also decided to reinvent myself as a sort of social commentator mainly because before I started the whole Internet thing I was originally planning to be a writer and one of the basic and probably the best tools in a writer’s arsenal is the art of observation. And I have observed a lot about this society over the past several years and I’m clearly not liking what I’m seeing.

Getting back to the podcast, one of the hosts also made the remark about today’s generation and said that he has turned into the principal from The Breakfast Club. And it’s the scene where he’s talking to the janitor about his life as a principal and his relationship with the students and the principal makes the remark in almost a fearful tone that “someday these kids will be taking care of me.” And the janitor is kind of like “No they won’t.” The same rule applies to today’s generation because I know that they’re not gonna take care of me when I go. I come from the tail end of Generation X and most of my age group comes from Generation Y and as far as our relationship to the Millennials go, my generation as a whole has turned into the principal from The Breakfast Club. Yeah, folks. That’s scary. And the worst thing about that is that there’s no stopping it.

Yes, folks, that old Chinese proverb rings true “May you live in interesting times.” Kids these days.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Back to Work



Well, I’ve taken enough vacation time from making videos online. Time to get back to work on making videos.

Yesterday morning I finally managed to film my Top 5 Best Movies of 2016 video for my Blackcatloner Reviews show and I was originally going to upload it yesterday at the library but my editing software was acting pretty slow. Guess it only works when I’m not near a Wi-Fi source. So I ended up uploading it today on lunch at work.

In case you are curious as to what video editing software I use, I use VideoPad Video Editor and I have been using it since 2012 when I returned to video making after my Great Hiatus. And here’s where I let you in on some of my production secrets, such as how long it takes me to produce a video. As far as how long it takes me to produce a normal video, it usually depends on how long the video is and since the finished reviews are usually between five and twenty minutes long on average, it takes me anywhere from two to four hours to edit an average video. Again, it depends on the length of the video. Since I learned the fine art of editing during my time at Herkimer College, I have started shooting all my normal videos (where I’m sitting in front of my laptop) all in one take, flubs and all. And then it takes about two to four hours to edit the video down to its final length. And once again, depending on how long the video is, it normally takes anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours to render it for upload to the Internet.

And as far as uploading to YouTube goes, since I have to rely on public Wi-Fi because I don’t have Internet at my house, how long it takes to upload depends on where I am. When I uploaded up at the college, uploads were almost instantaneous (usually about five minutes or so.) During my post-college career, I usually upload videos during my lunch breaks at work and there it usually takes anywhere from five to twenty minutes to upload one video. However, uploading videos at the library is a little trickier because sometimes uploading longer videos takes forever. So that’s why I usually try to upload shorter videos (meaning videos that are either less than ten minutes long or smaller file size like my recent podcasts) when I’m at the library because they don’t take very long to upload. I usually try to avoid uploading videos to YouTube when I’m at McDonald’s or Burger King because uploads usually take forever.

So that’s pretty much a behind-the-scenes look at how I make my videos and post them online. Like I said, I’ve taken enough time off from videos. Time to get back in the habit because not only do I have more reviews I want to do as well as some more video ideas. At first, I was planning to replace the vlog series with the podcasts but as usual, I am having second thoughts. I mean, hey, it’s my show. It’s my YouTube channel. I do what I want. So I’m gonna be bringing the vlog series back and the podcasts will also be considered part of the series as well.

Right now, my biggest obstacle and this has always plagued me during my Internet career has been my lack of consistency, many of which can’t be helped because you know… life. Sometimes it saps your creativity and it leaves you kind of lethargic and drained. Plus, scheduling time to do videos is a bit of a challenge because I have Tuesdays and Saturdays off from work. And I guess that’s part of the reason why I started writing blogs again: To basically get my thoughts out there when I don’t have time to do a video or if it’s something that I can’t do a video on because also living in a town where nothing remotely exciting happens is a bit of a challenge to do videos on.

Also, the weather isn’t really helping things any. So far, we’ve had more snow this year than last year but the weather still hasn’t decided what it wants to do. One day it’s fifty degrees out. Another day it’s snowing. Right now, we’re under a lake effect snow warning and it hasn’t really done anything. Some flurries here and there and it was also windy as hell out but other than that, no real blizzards yet. But sometime this week, walking to work is going to be interesting, not that I haven’t walked to and from work in worse weather than this, especially during those long years on overnights. I’ve walked to work in blizzards. I’ve walked to and from work in twenty below zero weather. I’ve even walked to and from work in flood conditions. If anyone can handle that, they can handle anything.





Saturday, January 21, 2017

Milestones

Figure it's time to post a new entry here.

I spent the last week trying to add updates to my laptop which I have been trying to do for the last couple months now and not much has been going on. Of course as of yesterday, Donald Trump has now made it official and I did manage to see him take the oath before I went back to work. Even though both TV's in the breakroom were showing the inauguration, I was watching it on live streaming on YouTube while trying to upload one of my older videos to Vidme without much success.

But then again, I'm not posting this to talk about Donald Trump becoming president. Instead as I sit here in the library, I figure I'd elaborate on this year being yet another milestone year for me. Like I said, I'm supposed to get my degree in Communication Arts New Media from Herkimer College in the mail sometime within the next couple of weeks which marks the end of almost a year and a half of waiting not to mention four and a half years of actually going to college. And who knows where I'll be after that. But all I can say is that hopefully things will really start picking up for me.

And on top of that, the fact that I am graduating from Herkimer College this year also coincides with the fact that it has been nearly twenty years since I graduated from Red Hook High School. In fact, even as I write this there are plans for a twenty-year reunion to which I have been added to the group page on Facebook. At press time, they're aiming for late July. So far I have not committed to anything yet but we'll see. I do remember one of the early posts I made when I first started up my main website (which I'll get to in a minute because that is also celebrating a milestone this year) was about the fact that I was dreading returning for my ten-year reunion because let's face it, I haven't really changed all that much since high school except for the location and we'll just leave it at that. But as far as the twenty-year reunion goes, I'll just have to plan it by year.

In the meantime, my main website is also celebrating its ten-year anniversary this year. Last year I celebrated ten years as an Internet blogger and a presence in social media and next year, I will be celebrating ten years as a YouTube video maker. It all goes by so fast. And speaking of which, I have been toying with some new ideas for upcoming videos and I may just focus on reviews and I might do a podcast every now and then. What it all boils down to is that I am thankful to the Internet for continuing to allow people like me to have a platform to express my creativity that would have otherwise gone to waste in the real world.

But no matter what happens, it looks like 2017 is gonna be a pretty interesting year.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Did Not Get Engaged


Best meme ever!

One of the big holiday traditions that has emerged in recent years has been the fact that people announce their engagements usually on Christmas by way of Facebook. In fact, nowadays you can carry out whole relationships via Facebook or any other social media platforms to the point where it has become commonplace.

This year, I might have had at least three online friends (and quite possibly more) announce their engagements online over the holidays. However, I am happy to report that I was not one of them. In fact, I stumbled across a meme that became popular and had been widely distributed and it was a text image designed to look like a Facebook status that says “Did not get engaged.” And of course, the date underneath was December 25 and below that, there is a little caption that says “See nonexistent relationship here.” I thought it was a good meme that I decided to not only share it online but also download it and use it for the purpose of this post. And there’s a good bet that I will be posting it again next Christmas.

Prior to becoming part of the Internet, I had not had any luck with women and it carried on even after I joined the online community. I have met quite a bit of people online in the ten years I have been on the Internet. Out of the numerous people I met online, I only met a handful of people offline. A couple of them even sent me Christmas cards. However, nothing really happened as far as anything long-term goes. The last time I was actually interested in a woman was back in 2011 and as you can guess, that didn’t go anywhere.

And now that I’m inching closer to 40, I am starting to think back on how I was back in high school and my twenties and that while high school and 20-something me would not be thrilled with the prospect of not getting married and having a family, soon-to-be 39-year-old me says that it’s for the best. After all, things have gotten bad in the dating scene with people relying on Tinder and it’s quite obvious that they’re not looking for long-term relationships not to mention that the pickin’s are very slim and a very high divorce rate. It’s all a game where the only way to win is not to play. For the most part, I’ve opted out. And trust me, I’m not really losing sleep over it anymore. 

So in short, all I gotta say as far as whether or not you’ll see my Facebook status say “Got engaged” next Christmas is “Don’t hold your breath.”

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Expanding Horizons and Where You Can Find Me



Since I started up this blog, I have also decided to add another site to Blogger and it’s a site I have been trying to move to Blogger for a while. The same night I posted my previous entry, I posted a written review of Rogue One to my new Blogger site. You can find the site here at http://blackcatlonerreviews.blogspot.com.

Think of this as my way of expanding my horizons further on the Internet, especially since my college degree is pretty much on its way.

And while I am on the subject on where you can find me in this wild and wacky social media world, you can find me on the following sites:


I also have other sites on Blogger. For example, my website Tales of the Blackcat, where I post my short stories and autobiographical essays can be found at http://talesoftheblackcat.blogspot.com
I also have my site on the Chester Gillette murder case which is my oldest site on the Internet: http://bloggillette.blogspot.com

And I also have my site Net Neutrality Awareness that I set up while in college: http://netneutralityawareness.blogspot.com