My friend, Adam Dickstein, is an old friend from high school as well as one of my RPG GMs. He wanted to do a profile on some of his favorite players and I had the honor of going first. I love the guy, but a couple of his stories of me are a little exaggerated (when we met in the city a few weeks ago, he told my daughter a great story involving a spy game he said I was running, but when he told me the same story when we were in tenth grade, it involved completely different people), but I’ve learned never let that get in the way of a good story. He’s a great guy and I was glad to be a part of his blog. Check out the profile at the link below.

http://barkingalien.blogspot.com/2016/07/player-profiles-david-concepcion.html

As a progressive in a few Bernie Sanders Facebook groups, I realize some people in those groups really need to chill out! Not about Bernie, but about other progressives. Yeah I know I joined the group back in March when it was hard to take the media blackout, the gaslighting attacks, and the aggressive supporters, so it was good to find a community of like-minded Berners to help buoy me through the tough primaries. But now it seems like we’re becoming the bots that we all hate (you know of whom I speak).

We are progressives. Whether we are Berniecrats or democratic socialists or Greens or old school hippies, we are progressive in our politics. We are mature enough to be able to talk about our politics openly with everyone here and without fear. The Green Party has been an option for Bernie as well as fellow progressives in the fight against the oligarchy. In a revolution like this with who we are up against, we need all hands on deck. As such we should never try to shut down conversations about the Green Party just because Bernie is not specifically mentioned. As Bernie himself said at a rally in North Dakota, “The truth is you, not me. If there is any person here, any person here that thinks I’m coming to you as some kind of savior, that I’m going to do it all — all myself, you’re wrong. No president, not Bernie Sanders or anybody else, can do it alone. We don’t need a savior. We need a political movement.”

As a movement we need to stand together, not blindly but as the big tent party that the DNC elites don’t want us to be. The Greens are natural allies, and they’ve offered Bernie the top of the ticket if he wants it, but they also need help getting on all the state ballots. As I’ve said in many other posts and comments in this group, we are able to walk and chew gum at the same time. You can donate to Bernie and travel to Philadelphia to help him out, but before you go sign a petition to get the Green Party on the ballots if you live in one of the 29 states they still need to get on to. Bernie told a packed town hall that “when we say that child who is hungry is my child, I think we are more human when we do that than when we say ‘hey this whole world is me, I need more and more. I don’t care about anybody else.’ That’s my religion, that’s what I believe in.” He talking the Golden Rule of do unto others as you would have done unto you. We should be treating debates AMONG progressives of different stripes the same way, not reporting any post that doesn’t explicitly say “Bernie or Bust.”

We can and should be able to talk about progressive politics. All of it—Berniecrat, Green or straight independent. If we can’t do this here, we are no better than the shills and trolls we struggle against. I say this not as one who has given up on Bernie and pushing people to unite the party—the party is dead and needs to be replaced; but as someone who wants to see the next steps of the revolution happen now. This can be a lasting revolution if we are able to keep unity among us; but unity doesn’t mean lockstep. We need room to differ and present options. Options and differing opinions aren’t bad, they just are a different perspective for a solution. If we have to offer fealty to Bernie in every discussion we have, we won’t get anywhere. The reason Bernie has such a high favorable rating among fellow Senators is because he knows how to build bridges without betraying his values. We can and should do the same in this group.

If part of what is said among us Berners is true—what would Bernie do—he wouldn’t stifle different opinions or debates; he welcomes it. We should too.

Human Kindness

June 16, 2016

Today, out of the blue, my daughter asks what I write on my blog. I give her the rundown of stuff, and she says she has something for it. So without much of a major intro, my daughter’s online debut as a writer and guest blogger. It’s pretty good. 🙂 

So I was on the subway coming back home after-school. To clarify, I take the train to and from school. Getting to school is like this: Airport Station (blue line) to State Street for the Orange line. The Orange Line to Ruggles, then I take a bus by the school, and from school is this order reversed.

The event was on the Orange Line towards State Street. The train was at Tufts Medical Station when a man got on the train. From looking at him- the way he was dressed and the way his hair was unkempt- I could tell he wasn’t in the best condition. It turned out I was right.

This man started talking about his situation and what was happening to him. He felt bad for begging people for help, and that was the first thing he said.

“I don’t mean to be annoying on the train, and I feel bad for begging you all for stuff.”

The man said he’d been homeless for 26 months (over two years). He then told the people on the train that someone had offered him a place to live, but he needed an ID to get the offer. An ID costs $30, and that’s why the man needed money. He needed all the help he could get.

“I’ve been waiting over two years for this opportunity, and I need help. I hate begging like this and looking like a moron, but please, can somebody help? Anything will help”. Nobody helped him.

I was looking around the car, and some people weren’t even listening to his story. And the people who were listening just looked at him with a blank expression. I wanted to help him, but at the time, I had no money on me.

The man looked desperately around the car, hoping someone would help him. But as the train stopped at Chinatown, the man walked past me to the door, muttering angrily and disappointed.“Not one person. Not even one person.”

I felt crushed. I wanted to help him, I really did, but I had nothing to help him. Also, only one 13.5-year-old girl couldn’t possibly give this man all the help he obviously needed. I kept glancing at the poor man sadly, then looked over to everyone else in my car. They looked like they didn’t even care.

This made me really mad, even though I didn’t show it. What’s worse, the man had an infection in his right leg, so he was LIMPING  around the car, looking pleadingly for help he never got.

“And I have this infection in my leg”, he pulled his jeans cuff up to show a huge, rotten, black scab on his caff. “It won’t go away because I have to keep walking around everywhere.”

This type of stuff isn’t new to me. My dad and I take the train everywhere (except for certain occasions, where we use Zipcar), so we see homeless people asking for money all the time. This isn’t a good thing. We always try to give them change if we have it while we see other people walk right past them like the homeless are invisible.

Those people always made me sick. Why? Why don’t you guys care? There’s someone in need right beside you. I don’t understand how people can be so cruel. The worst part is that I can tell they can see them. But those people will look straight ahead like there isn’t a poor injured old man begging for money right there. It takes less than five seconds to give a homeless person- or any person in need- care and attention. I know they might need the money for something incredibly important, but homelessness rates are high because we don’t give them the necessary help and attention- what they need most of all.

In some scenarios, a valid excuse is that they have nothing on them- which was why I couldn’t help even when I wanted to. But the majority of the people in the car were adults, and I could TELL by the way they looked at him- the way their hands kept moving like they were trying to keep a secret- that they had money. They COULD’VE helped. But the chose not to. And I bet the man could tell too- the reason he was muttering when he got off the train with nothing.

Homelessness is a serious problem in our country, especially today. It’s a terrible problem. In my opinion, it’s one of the worst world problems. Why? It could be prevented. It could be made right if we give the necessities. If everyone could show some kindness to these poor folk who need our help and affection, our country- our world- could be a happier and better place.

I was never good at sales. I’m not very open by nature so the idea of pushing stuff on to people never was appealing—even if it was something people wanted. I’ve had sales jobs every so often over the years out of desperation and necessity, but I hated the task.

Political phone banking is similar, except you really are trying to get the word out about someone you believe in. I did it for Obama in 2008, as well as Democratic fundraising in 2010 (which was harder). But after all the crap I went through from the loss of a career in 2009, the spiraling decline through 2012, and dealing with single fatherhood for the last 3 years—all of which took a tool on my own mental health—I know I am no longer capable of doing any kind of telemarketing or phone banking.

The problem this time around is that the Bernie Sanders campaign needs the outreach of volunteers on the phones to help his run; not just getting the vote out but basic candidate knowledge. There has been a media blackout of his campaign since November 2015 and general dismissal of his candidacy up until now. Despite that he is a popular candidate, has a great platform, and can win if his message is heard. Sanders has been able to garner supporters by letting people hear his platform. So these phone banks become essential for his campaign. Yet I couldn’t do it. I want Sanders to get the nomination and the White House, but I can’t dial a single phone number without a panic attack.

Thankfully a friend pointed out that Sanders has a texting squad. They text get out the vote reminders, rally alerts, phone banking events, and such, to other Bernie supporters. I jumped on that in early March, but they had such a deluge of volunteers I had to wait until April so they can drastically upscale their operation so I can participate. I haven’t done a ton of shifts like others (the average is 3-4 text shifts a day, but I know one person who does 7-8 per day since their first day), but I’ve been regularly texting alerts to supporters for almost a month. I get plenty of “fuck offs”, but I get a higher amount of people thanking me for volunteering.

No it’s not cold calling numbers and trying to get support and/getting into arguments, but I believe every little bit counts. I’m better at writing anyway, and I can help a candidate I believe in. Luckily technology has allowed me to work around my mental illnesses and do necessary grunt work. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing this all the way up to the convention and beyond.

Marquee Humor

April 2, 2016

This was displayed last week at the Venue Theatre in Lexington, MA

My Big Fat Greek 2
Lady in the Van

Worst. Porn movie title. Ever.

There’s a movie out now called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. It’s about a journalist’s experience in Afghanistan, which means the title is a cute pun. However I didn’t know this and had to look it up—partly a failure in marketing, but it’s also a failure for those who setup these marquees. Prime example, this was up two weeks ago at the Apple Cinemas in Cambridge, MA:

Star Wars WTF

Spelling the title (even two words) out would make things so much easier.

First World Problems

April 1, 2016

The good news is I don’t have strep throat. The bad news is my allergies have hit insanely bad heights. My allergies were acting up last week; on Sunday I thought it was becoming a cold because of the roughness in my throat. I think I already got Sophia sick the next day that she stayed home from school, but I was feeling better… until last night when I thought my left eye was going to combust in the socket, while simultaneously oozing mucus. When I woke up this morning with a more painful sore throat I went to the local clinic, because the last thing a food delivery person needs is strep throat. No strep—who knew they had a 7 minutes strep test? The last time I got tested for step I had to wait a day and a half—but an allergic reaction that has overcome all of my systems. I swear the left side of my head—not sinuses, nose or ear, but the whole head from crown to shoulder—is stuffed up. It sucks. But yeah, I know that there are nations on this planet where I wouldn’t make it past the Sunday sore throat. So yeah it sucks, but I’ll manage.

Sophia had her first world problem today, too. I got a call on the answering machine letting me know that she made the next step in the Red Sox Scholarship award. This means out of he 100 or so people who applied for it, 26 students were picked to be interviewed in person. That happens April 23 at Fenway Park, which is cool in itself. However that was the weekend I was tryign to get up to Canada so Sophia could see her baby nephew. We were trying to go for his first birthday this month, but Sophia’s brother wouldn’t be there until April. So I found the perfect time to go during April vacation and after a bunch of doctor appointments, and now this got in the way. So the bad news is we have to push the Canada trip back to May. The good news is Sophia made the next step to get a scholastic scholarship.

All and all things are okay.

“Two Wolves” Poster

March 29, 2016

Wolves poster small

A couple of weeks ago, I had this idea for a pro-Bernie Sanders poster based on the Cherokee legend of the “two wolves” (sometimes also known the “grandfather tells” story about two wolves). The whole Bernie (and Drumpf) dynamic seemed to lend itself to the legend in a way, as we as a nation are deciding which wolf we will feed. It kind of consumed me as I worked on it, and finally got it done–even through some computer issues.

The image above is only the small version of the poster, even though the larger one isn’t that much bigger (larger than letter sized paper but not exactly legal sized). It’s public use for anyone who wants to post it in your voting area, bring it to rallies, put in your front lawn, or whatever. I’m glad I got a chance to produce this and hope others like it as well. 🙂

For larger image download, click HERE.

Two Racist Events in One Day

February 26, 2016

I shouldn’t be surprise but it was pretty strange.

Last week I was with Sophia as she was waiting for the Orange line for school. She found a spot on a bench to sit, next to a couple of older white women. They seemed rather prim and proper in their demeanor and appearance; that was the first thing that struck me. I think Sophia accidentally brushed one of the ladies’ knee as she sat, because that woman had a look of horror on her face as if Sophia did something wrong. For hald a second I thought she might be a germaphobe with the way she reacted; however her reaction was so profound that it was more than that. I was going to say something to Sophia, but it really wasn’t her problem to worry about. While the two ladies whispered to each other (which seemed to me about what happened), a seat opened up next to Sophia and I sat down with my daughter. Maybe 20 seconds later, the two older women got up and walked towards the back of the station. All I could think was “Really?” I didn’t even bother to tell Sophia since she didn’t do anything to start it.

The same day, I was waiting for a bus to get to an appointment. The bus comes, a bunch of people get off, another woman and I got on. As the door was closed, I heard another woman trying to catch the bus. She sounded loud, obnoxious, and Bostonian saying “Hey, that’s my daughter in there!” which I thought was the woman next to me, but not. The woman had to put money on her T-pass to pay the fare, which kept us at the stop. I thought the driver would open the door, but he didn’t. I turns out the door would hit me if they were opened, which he did when I finally moved up to pay my fare. Of course that wasn;t enough for the obnoxious Boston lady. She lit up inot the driver as soon as she got on. The driver tried to calm things down but the lady wasn’t having any of it. She says “Well you seemed to open them for your own kind.” I was shocked she said that, mainly because the driver was white; if he only opened for his own kind, I wouldn’t be on the bus at all. I’m making my way to a seat while they’re still arguing. Driver says, “Own kind? Is that supposed to be some sort of racist comment you’re telling me?” She says “No Mr. Trump”—which doesn’t help at all—and she insists she said “other people.” The driver said he had to call it in for a report; she continues with a few more “Mr. Trumps” and the argument is over. I stay in my seat for the trip, but get up early before my stop to talk to the driver. I tell him if he needs a witness for his report, I heard her say “own kind” to back him up. He shrugged, shook his head, laughed it off, and said “What can you do?” I got off but I have no idea if reported it or not. Maybe living as that woman is punishment enough. Who knows?

Marquee Humor

February 23, 2016

This would be the saga at the Lexington Venue theater in Lexington MA. A couple of weeks ago they were promoting the next slate of films to come… all on one line.

Big Short Room Danish

I felt they needed to switch Room and Danish, but that’s me.

When the time came, the films were in rotation.

Big Short      Carol
Danish Girl    Room

I think the first line was actually the first rough draft of “Long Tall Sally.” I’m afraid to ask what goes on in the Danish girl room.

This week they changed the order of some of the films.

Big Short   Room

Reminds me of apartment hunting in New York City.

Speaking of short, this was one I missed a few weeks ago at the Apple Cinemas in Cambridge, MA.

I know Kevin Hart is petite, but seriously?? That’s harsh…

Better Focus

February 5, 2016

Not sure how I’m doing lately, but it’s kind of a good thing. I’m not sure how to explain it except while things aren’t clearer, they are less fuzzy.

Funny thing happened. A few weeks back, I was talking about trying to get more organized this year, but specifically January would be a month to figure out where things stood and try to see what needs to be dealt with. I was thinking about it but not doing anything about it, when I remembered this happened to me awhile back. A friend of mine was able to knock some sense into me both when I was at my low point in job hunting, money problems, and Sophia’s mom—that perfect storm battering me to further ruin; and soon after Sophia’s mom died and I had to become a full-time father on a part time income overnight. One of the things she did was help me get my organizer into working shape and use it as a tool to get throught he day, the week, and once in a while minute by minute. I thought she gave me a custome organizing sheet to use. I thought I had it on my computer somewhere among various backups, so I went looking for it among the files. What I came across was everything else I’ve written and done over the years. Some of the things I hadn’t read in years, and some still held up. It was interesting to read things I didn’t so much leave behind as they got lost in the shuffle. One of these was my favorite unfinished piece of work” a web series that only had two episodes filmed, even though three scripts were writen. I forgot how well it worked, but also how well it was received by peers that I truly admired. And it is still unfinished. That might be my next project. Other things gave me hope as well. I’m not nor ever was ahead of my time in my writing, but I am a solid writer (still); it holds together well. That in itself gave me hope.

After the writings, and unable to find the sheet I was originally looking for, I found the organizer I used at the time. While it is mainly used for storage now, it was a daily reminder for everything back in the day—2011 to be exact. So much has in a short tme and I kind of forgot the chronology of it. Some people suggested I concentrate on what I was feeling during that time, but all I felt at that time was fear and anxiety. It kept coming in endless waves and a constant throbbing in my head. Looking at what happened when, helped me focus. I read these events as dates on a calendar and I can feel neural pathways open in my brain. That whole time was a jumble for survival. You forget everything you are for a way to keep going the next step. It’s frightening and the only way to deal with that fear is to become so myopic that you ignore the fear—which you can’t do, but you live in denial to take one more step forward. The time was a blur, but seeing what I did made some things a little clearer. Knowing the chronology of certain events put the jumble into order, especially at a time of chaos.

To me it’s amazing how much you have to abandon when you are in survival mode, but you don’t realize it until it’s all over. Even a sense of time, linear events and planning erode from fear of the weight of the current situation and what might lie ahead. It’s a horrible way to live and I can’t believe I was in that reptilian mindset for so long. Moreso I can’t belibe I made it out, scarred but together. Things are less out of focus than they have been lately and it’s possible to remember some of that time without panic. Knocking on wood, it will stay that way for a while.