Topsy-Turvy Thanks

Image from delish.com

It’s raining with a thick choke of smog above my head, blotting out the sun. The puddles on the street corners surround my feet, getting deeper by the second. People are crowded around faceless now with their stares. A few steps ahead and a few steps behind are three people that I’ve only known for two months. They are determined to make the rain go away…

It’s Thanksgiving 2019 and I am in Chongqing, China. More specifically I am at Southwest University in Beibei, right outside gate number two (Èr hào Mén). My three friends are Zoey, Wanyi, and Monica and they are determined to make today count for my sake. Quickly moving through the crowded streets with our boots splashing against the pavement, we make our way to my favourite noodle shop and eat my favourite dish. We are about to have a Thanksgiving dinner, and biangbiang mein is the new turkey.

From left to right: Monica, me, Zoey, and Wanyi

The meal was deliciously special, and nothing short of a day that I will never forget. The sheer fact that my Chinese friends made sure that this American had a day of thanks, when the holiday is not widely celebrated (rightfully so, it’s rife with historical problems), is just a testament to their friendship. And the noodles, HOLY SHIT the noodles! I miss them to this day and cannot wait to have them again with their wide shape, spicy aroma, and unique taste. It sure as hell beat turkey…

A brisk coolness breathes through the air with warm rays from the sun. Most of the trees have lost their leaves and have fallen to a grave scattered above the roots. The sound of children laughing in the distance and the sight of cars gathered around homes. The scene brings comfort, but also dread. The stillness frightens me.

It’s Thanksgiving 2020 and I am in Springfield, Missouri under quarantine. My mother has been sick with a fever for the past few days and has been staying at my childhood home with my father. Every Thanksgiving that I can remember, has been held there. But not this year. The year of 2020 has been taken over by covid-19, a viral infection that has brought many deaths to the world and continues to take more. Luckily, my mother tested negative the day before and is recovering. Yet still, we are quarantined.

Thanksgiving 2018 with cousins and significant others (left to right): Adam, Kiera, Ryan, Madison, Calvin, me, Hannah, Nicole (sister), and Brady

In about an hour, I will be meeting my mother, father, sister, cousins, aunts, and uncles over Zoom. We won’t be eating together, but we still be able to meet. How could my last two Thanksgivings be so strange? Looking through a screen at another person has become as common as breathing. That thought boggles my mind, yet I am so incredibly lucky to say that each of them are in my life still. My family is still here and I am too.

I’ll end on a happy note. This year may have been one that has had it’s ups and downs, twists and turns, all bent in shape and form. But at this moment, more than any moment of all my Thanksgivings, I am the MOST grateful I’ve ever been. This goes out to you mom, dad, sis, my best friend Ben, my girlfriend Vanessa, my friends, my film community, and everyone I have ever met or will meet. I am grateful to have you and this is my topsy-turvy thanks!

What and who are you thankful for?

Thanks for reading, I’m not Jonesing around 😉

Turning Outwards: Introducing Book Journey

Image from Pinterest

Above is a pirouette en dehors. It is a basic movement known by those who engage in ballet meaning “a spin, turning outwards.” This is where the dancer turns toward the direction of the leg they lift into the turning position. For instance, a dancer with their left foot in front, will lift their right foot into the pirouette and will also turn right with the pirouette en dehors. But why am I talking about an elementary ballet movement?

It’s simple. I am attempting to turn outward in a movement that I am already engaged within. That movement is my love of physical media, specifically within the context of film and books. The process of a story, whether through watching or reading, can be interpreted in a multitude of ways and also be fundamentally related. So I began asking, what about books regarding film? Or books about those who create or star in film? Or maybe even the stories of the people who get inspiration from those who create or star in film? This is where the book journey idea blossomed, but let’s go back a bit shall we…

For anyone following my YouTube channel over the past few months, I have been having friends from all over the world on to discuss their love of film. And it’s been INCREDIBLE! It all started by reaching out to my friend Chris Buie from Film Stocked, as we sat down for a 30+ minute conversation about his film journey and the paths that it continues to take him. After that moment, I knew something special was about to happen and that was the flood of guests to follow. I met with my good friend Steph (Movie Chatter), who has been a pillar of support during my early days on the platform, who shared her wonderous journey. Next, I met with my (now) girlfriend, Vanessa (Veebs), who shared her love of silent film and passion for the community that I had just started engaging with more and more. Following suit would be my friends Dave (Cinema Dave Media), Chris Mohan, SJSFilms, Sam (Film Blogger Sam), David (Cartoon Fortress), Rob (themovievault), Daniel (Cobwebs Podcast), Bailee Walsh, Doug (COOLTOY), Heath (Cereal at Midnight), and more to come!

First Book Journey w/Vanessa Buttino

Each of my friends through their film journeys, have inspired my own, and the journey never stops. Enter the Book Journey Series. As a reader of this blog, you know that I love film, records, and books, but I’ve not really crossed them over into the world of YouTube. My channel is dedicated to film and discussion on that medium, but something really clicked about a month ago. It was a conversation that I had with my girlfriend that inspired my pirouette en dehors, that spin of turning outwards towards something already going in the same direction. Why not add books to the mix?

To date, I have had two incredible guests for the Book Journey Series. The first being Veebs, that unbelievable girlfriend of mine, who had an INCREDIBLE time going down memory lane with books ranging from topics of film to art to ballet. The entire video is unedited, and she wanted it that way. It’s remarkable, honest, and raw, and certainly worth your time. Also go check out her blog. The second and most recent, was with Raquel Stecher from the Out of the Past blog and a bajillion other places (links on the blog), who has remarkable knowledge of all things classic film and the books written about that time. That astounding knowledge flows within her journey and her passion shines through with dynamism.

Both Vanessa and Raquel have fantastic stories, but this is just the start of our pirouette. There is SO much more to come! Each story that is told, whether film or book, will add movement into the ever-evolving dance that continues to inspire us. Our community has many voices and each of us motivates the other to continue this dance. With each rotation we take, turning outwards, we begin to understand what a simple spin means as a communal whole.

What do you think of this shift? Do you enjoy the Film Journey Series, Book Journey Series, or both? Let me know what you think, and reach out if you’d been interested in joining a future episode.

Thanks for reading, I’m not Jonesing around!

Conjuring A Melancholic Daze

Image from Green Vinyl Records

The needle drops and the static evokes a spirit recorded in time and space. Guitars strum, strings breathe life, drums are struck, and the muse speaks into existence. I close my eyes and imagine the scenery of a lush countryside filled with rolling prairies that stretch miles beyond sight. Or I visualize a dark forest with twisted limbs reaching towards the vapor that blankets the skyline and blackened earth below my feet. It is all dependent on my mood. Not all my musical journeys share such a contrast between light and dark, but I seem to be strangely pulled towards that dynamism of the human experience.

Music has always had this effect on people, evoking an array of emotions from melancholy to joy, from sadness to anger, and from hate to love. This is nothing new, and everyone knows the power of music. But everyone’s music journey looks different and how we interact with the form is as ethereal as the memories that haunt us, for better or worse. This past week has been incredibly rough; there was an election on the forefront of everyone’s minds, stresses from working, and personal struggles that have gotten me to think about how I interact with this form. Let’s dive into what music has done in my times of need.

Let’s start from the beginning shall we…

It’s 1998. I am downstairs in the basement of my childhood home with my best friend Robbie, and he just brought over Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits. At this point, I had been listening to Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys on repeat, and my friend VOWED to change my ways. I turned the knob to the ancient tubed television that dwelled in the center of the room, blew the dust out of my copy of Goldeneye, inserted the cartridge into the Nintendo 64, and turned the dial to channel 3. Meanwhile, Robbie walked up to my stereo and popped in the CD that would change my world. It was from there that Steven Tyler, Robert Plant, Billy Idol, Freddie Mercury, and the world of classic rock struck their collective chords. I was happy.

Eight years passed and I had grown taller and wider. My cheeks are as plumb as a cherry tomato and my stomach has rolls that you can grab. I’m very shy and confidence is of little value in my world. In typical teenage fashion, I am confused in a flurry of emotion and music was my get away. Listening to the rhythmic blues of Led Zeppelin and progressive sounds Pink Floyd has evolved into angst. A blisteringly smooth balance of chaos and beauty from the Deftones to the grimy Southern hard rock of Rob Zombie, are just two examples of what I escaped to when I needed them most. But ultimately, I was confused.

It’s 2012 and I am fresh into college with the most confidence, well actually the most narcissistic I have every been, and thankfully since. My poison of choice is metal and I’ve dived deep into a pool of death, sludge, and darkness (trust me it’s therapeutic). Honestly, I wanted music that would make my ears bleed. The most consuming music phase of my life, I scoured the internet daily for new music and listened to it whenever and wherever I could. Going on walks, working out at the gym each day of the week, and every time the car was driven, I wanted it constantly playing. HELL, I even got in arguments over why my music taste was better than my friends. I know I was angry.

I’m 24 years old and I’ve been working at my local record store for the past 3 years, but there’s a specter looming around the place. A death knell is about to ring. For those past 3 years, I have found so much out about myself. The ectoplasm that oozes from the speakers hang overhead with memories of countless conjured spirits from Chopin and Stravinsky to Miles Davis and John Coltrane, from Marvin Gaye and The Temptations to Johnny Cash and George Strait, from Massive Attack and Garbage to The Cure and The Replacements, from Black Sabbath and The Beatles to Mastodon and Deafheaven, the list is endless…All of those spirits we could summon by just moving a needle over a 45. I was safe.

Three years had passed and I’m in China, totally lost. Natural curiosity of the world had not prepared my soul for the loss of connection with those whom had been a constant in life. Friends and family were just a memory, as new faces and experiences coloured my world. Everything was shut down from my social life, except Spotify? It was my solace and place of remembrance of knowledge and identity, music saved my essence. All those moments of anger, sorrow, and guilt had washed away with a pair of earphones. Listening to Phoebe Bridger’s Stranger in the Alps, David Bowie’s Blackstar, Kacey Musgrave’s Golden Hour, and The Contortionist’s Clairvoyant cleansed my palette and wonderfully whisked away feelings of hopelessness. Yet, I was scared.

It’s 2020 and near the end of the year…and what a FUCKING year it has been. Returning home to this ‘New World’ was a complete 180 degree spin that angled back to isolation once again. Losing my full-time position and being stuck at home with boundless amounts of time, you’d think as a fan of film, books, and music that I would be in heaven…but no. Hell, I even started playing and watching basketball (I never liked sports)! Records were once again conjured from the dead, breathing life into occupied space. Eyes closed, body curled, and mindlessness washed over me once the needle was dropped. I was lost.

Enter the film community on YouTube, my saving grace of friends and fellowship. The world seems to be crumbling around us, but this positive light brings hope. We bring each other up in those small moments of our days, and that means the world. Through that community, I met someone who reminded me of who I was and who I am, bonding over our mutual love of community and what we value and cherish. Music once again coloured my world, and I could finally share it with another soul. Re-discovery replaced feelings of wandering. I am in love.

The needle has lifted from the center of the record and the static is replaced with silence. The prairie fades into the distance and the dark forest dissipates to black. Music can transport us to worlds beyond our imagination and can evoke any emotion that can be dreamt. In our most trying times and in those sweet moments that seem to last forever in our periphery, the power that music has is limitless. Caught up in this melancholic daze, the ebb and flow conjured through music is what can haunt us, but it can save us too.

What about your experience with music? Can you think of a music memory that evoked an emotion? I’d love to hear about it, whether it is positive, negative, or somewhere in-between.

Thanks for reading, I’m not Jonesing around…

Noirvember Nights

Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine in Suspicion (1941)

The air is thick with fog, an encroaching darkness consuming the night. Headlights beam through the black, like an angler fish attracting prey. The road goes on and on, and your mind is racing along the tracks. You’re on to your last cigarette and you can’t get what happened out of your mind…You murdered someone and you can’t get away.

With the spooky season coming to an end and last jack-o’-lantern losing its light, comes November. And that means it’s time to watch some film noir. Clueless detectives, murders abound, and lit matches…all in glorious black-and-white. I’m ready for the hazy exploration of the night. I must admit that I have not dipped my toes in to much of this genre of film, but this year I am ready. As November 2020 rolls on ahead, I am planning on watching as many film noirs as possible.

So what’s the plan?

I’m planning to watch a noir film for EVERY day in November. Actually, it should be every night. 😉 And that is going to be no easy task. I had a difficult time with October with horror films, yet with little to no effort, I was able to see 23 films out of the 31 days in the month. Therefore, I believe that I can try my best at this mission. As long as no one blows out the match I just struck…

Let’s just start with what I have seen thus far on my November journey, starting with the first four days of the month and a list of the films that I plan to watch. Beginning with a double feature for the first day of month! First up is a little film from the Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema box set from Kino Lorber (find it here) in:

Witness to Murder (1954)

Barbara Stanwyck in Witness to Murder (1954)

Coming out only a few weeks before Hitchcock’s Rear Window, is this little underappreciated gem starring Barbara Stanwyck, George Sanders, and Gary Merrill. Oddly enough, the film has a similar plot to the aforementioned Hitchcock production, but has it’s own charm. Cheryl Draper (Stanwyck) discovers a murder happening across the street and when the police arrive, the body is gone and the man in question claims to know nothing. This cat-and-mouse game goes on throughout the film to a climatic finish. One aspect of social commentary of the time, seems to be the belief that women are delusional and not to be taken too seriously. It makes for through storytelling, but the truth of the time still stings.

After watching murder unfold, I next had to move on to the highlight of the day in:

Out of the Past (1947)

Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer in Out of the Past (1947)

Jacques Tourneur directs this absolutely STUNNING production with an all-star cast in Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, and Richard Webb. Jeff Bailey/Markham (Mitchum) is peacefully living his life as a gas station owner when someone from his own past comes calling. Thus marks the beginning of this dark noir filled with twists and turns, dipping from past-to-present. The most marvelous acting in the film comes from Jane Greer who plays Kathie Moffat, a love interest who seems to good to be true. If you haven’t check out any noirs before, this is a great start! Find it on blu-ray here from the Warner Archive Collection.

Next up is a Hitchcock film that has been unfortunately collecting too much dust on my shelf until now. On November 2nd, the day seemed right to say…

I Confess (1953)

Montgomery Clift in I Confess (1953)

Another wonderful blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection (here) comes this fantastic drama that pits belief against duty. A murder is committed and Father Logan (Montgomery Clift) hears the confessional, and is now powerless to help. The film has many threads that tie the characters together and masterfully unfolds in a way that will keep you guessing. Alongside Clift, stars Anne Baxter and Karl Malden who are both phenomenal here. You may know who the murderer is, but there is more than meets the eye with this mystery.

On November 3rd, I decided to evade the madness of the election by ending my evening with a little Marilyn Monroe in…

Don’t Bother to Knock (1952)

Marilyn Monroe in Don’t Bother to Knock (1952)

WOW! I did not expect this film to turn out the way it did. Set during one long night in a New York hotel, with a female bar singer (Ann Bancroft), the man who’s trying to win her back (Richard Widmark), and a babysitter who is trying to find her way in the Big Apple (Marilyn Monroe). The story is compelling in the relationships, or lack thereof, that we are witnessing unfold, and something is just slightly off. Without giving too much away, let’s just say you have to watch this one. And it’s only a short 78-minute run time! Just call room 809 and ask if Bunny is alright 😉 Find it here from Amazon, just know it is expensive as it is OOP (Out-of-Print).

Last, but certainly not least is the film that I will be watching today (November 4th), once I finally get off work and take a slight deviation from the country road onto the highway in…

Detour (1945)

Tom Neal in Detour (1945)

This film is absolutely STUNNING! I have seen it once before on the Criterion Channel (right as it was about to launch in fact), and I recall how dark and gritty this film struck. Made on a very low budget, director Edgar G. Ulmer hit this adaptation of Martin Goldsmith’s novel with the same name from 1939, out of the park. The film follows New York pianist Al Roberts (Tom Neal) as he hitchhikes across the country with only a dime to his name, to find and marry his girlfriend who left for Hollywood to seek fame. Along the way he gets himself into quite the pickle with a body, a car, and a girl who knows a little too much. Story aside, this film is presented in a stunning 4K restoration from Criterion (find it here) and has quite the story to it’s survival. This is one you surely do NOT want to miss!

What’s on the Queue?

That is all I have seen thus far! Noirvember is just beginning and with many more films to see, here are just a few that I have on my list: Spellbound (1945), Rififi (1955), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), The Wrong Man (1956), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), and so many more!

What about you? Are you gearing up for some smoky noir nights? Recommendations? Tell me what you’ll be watching for November and let me know what you think of my choices.

Thanks for reading, I’m not Jonesing around…

October Reading Roundup

Image from AnastasiaADamov

Turning the pages and feeling the dead leaves between my fingers. The physical motion of touching words and seeing the colour change before your eyes. It’s cathartic. This fall has brought so many changes to my life; from the online community of friends that continue to inspire me each day to my appreciation of the simpler things in life. One of those nice changes is reading and OH have I been reading. I have even started going to the library! Something I never thought that I would do in my life.

My exploration of my local library has only just begun! I have stuck to a few sections, mostly the film section and the biographical nonfiction, but I am wanting to explore more. I’ve always enjoyed going between fiction and nonfiction as I read, so there are many areas that will need some serious browsing.  Lately I have been reading some books that go back and forth between genres and betwixt reality and imagination.

This will be an October reading roundup, where I explore the books that have kept me up all night and the ones that I have risen early with a nice warm cup of joe between my hands. I’ll be exploring the books that I have read, books that I am reading, and books that are on my reading list. So let’s first jump into those books that I’ve devoured from cover to cover…

WHAT I HAVE READ

David Bowie: A Life (2017) by Dylan Jones

This book put me through the ringer, I haven’t cried this much in a LONG time. I remember exactly where I was when David Bowie passed away…I was in the record store in which I worked. It was exactly the spot I needed to be in to celebrate his amazing life. In this wonderful book, Dylan Jones interviews the many people in Bowie’s life from acquaintances to best friends from lovers to those who passed him by on the train. It’s a kaleidoscopic view of a man who changed everyone around him. I could NOT put this one down. Give it a read and don’t forget to travel to Mars.

The Night Ocean (2017) by Paul LaFarge

A novel about madness, love, deception, and Lovecraftian horror? Twists and turns abound, this tale of a woman, Marina Willett, trying to piece together her husbands latest obsession with H.P. Lovecraft and sudden disappearance is quite the hook. Unfortunately, the book spiraled into something that I found rather dull, despite all the twists and turns. It fizzled out after about the halfway point, yet I finished it. It is still a decent read, but it is incredibly creative.

Fright Favorites: 31 Movies to Haunt Your Halloween and Beyond (2020) by David J. Skal

An absolute DELIGHT! I cannot thank both Raquel and Vanessa for recommending this terrifying tome. The book is illustrated gorgeously with films spanning the decades of horror that has haunted our silver screen. I read it within a day, but could not help but stop and gaze at all of the amazing photos of films that I’ve seen since I was a child to films that I’ve always wanted to see. David J. Skal does a remarkable job in describing the setting and behind-the-scenes moments for each of these 62 (that’s right, it’s not just 31) fright favourites! Go ahead, sink your teeth in.

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and Horror Cinema: A Filmography…(1995) by Mark Miller

What can I say about this wonderous duo? Before them came Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, but they never worked together as much as Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. They worked together on 22… FUCKING 22 collaborations! Each chapter discusses the films that defined their work, such as The Curse of Frankenstein to Horror Express to each Dracula film they starred in together (many they did solo) and so much more! Miller writes in the style of an academic, so it can be rather dry at points. However, it is such an informative exploration into that wonderful world of horror, sci-fi, mystery, and every ounce of love and respect that had for each other.

Apparently the second edition was printed earlier within the year, with revised and expanded information. If you can try to borrow this one from the library, as it may be a tad expensive 😉

WHAT I AM READING

Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers: 1852-1923 (2020) Edited by Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger

Look at that COVER! Could you pass this up if you were browsing the library shelf? Currently, I am about 6 stories into this fascinating collection of female authors (many who had to use pen names to get published!) who write about various supernatural tales. My personal favourites thus far are about an ancient flower that carries a mummy’s curse to a tale of an arctic exploration that leads to a dimensional encounter of prismatic terror. I’ll be sure to finish this one shortly, and I know I will not be able to sleep…

Bruce Lee: A Life (2018) by Matthew Polly

My latest acquisition from the local library and it nearly leapt out in front of my eyes. Honestly, Bruce Lee is someone that I NEVER thought I would be interested in…but this year changed everything. The pandemic has shifted a lot of my interests and one of the biggest alterations was my love of athleticism. From basketball to kung fu, I dived deep. And during the month of August, I was able to pick up the amazing boxset from Criterion that showcased the films of Bruce Lee. Thus entered this dragon! I have only read the preface and introduction, but I know that looking over this man’s short life will be a celebration of his legacy.

BOOKS ON MY READING LIST

Lord of Misrule: The Autobiography of Christopher Lee (2003) by Sir Christopher Lee

I mean, come on…it’s CHRISTOPHER FUCKING LEE.

Darcey Bussell Evolved (2018) by Darcey Bussell

I must admit that this will be an unexplored venture. My wonderful girlfriend Vanessa, recommended this book in a video of ours. In that video, she explored her journey with books and how they’ve shaped her growth in various interests from fiction to nonfiction, from comics to biography, and from paintings to ballet. And one of the books that struck most, was this biography by Darcey Bussell. Vanessa’s edition is gorgeous with a cover and signature limited to 500 copies, but it is available in hardcover format on Amazon. Knowing more about the life of one of the most prolific dancers in the world will be such an exciting read! I’m ready to dip my toes (or is it bend my toes?)

That’s all for now! What did you think of my October Reading Roundup? I am curious to know what you have been reading for the month of October and what you plan to read for the coming months (or year). Let me know what you think! The leaves will soon wither and dry as winter approaches, so grab a blanket and a nice cup of hot tea/coffee and snuggle up to a good book.

Letting Go

Image from Bekins

Waking up to the most terrifying storm of my life, seemed surreal. I was six. In an unfinished basement with my mother, father, and sister on a cold floor. My dad asked if I was okay. Was I? Shadows danced with light across the window and the siren beckoned her continuous wail. The room was nearly empty at the time. Stilts and slab. I recall seeing a few boxes at the time…

Five times. I have driven five times between my studio apartment to a room that I’ve all but forgot. It has been two years, but the memory is an etch-a-sketch. The car was piled with boxes. Piles and piles of boxes…

The year is 2020, January 1st. I am in China, Chongqing to be specific. I’m walking past Gate 5 or Wǔ hào mén, one of the things I do recall learning in Mandarin. Walking home, I notice the lights. Florescent blues with tints of orange and yellow, written in a language that I cannot comprehend. It probably says something like “Happy New Year Chongqing, Happy 70th birthday,” I do not know. I left in five days; I was saying goodbye to another home. I only had a few boxes…

This drawn out year, with the summer a remnant of drought. Packages at the door weekly, sometimes each day. A repetition of boxes; a moment of clarity.

It is October 2020, and many of you are wondering “What the HELL is this guy talking about?” To explain these episodes in my life, I’ll have to make the distinction between ‘hoarding’ and ‘collecting.’ Without going in laborious detail, my father was once a collector turned hoarder. Baseball memorabilla and any nickel and dime junk you would fondly remember if you were living in your past, haunting his life. Luckily, he’s an incredibly hard worker, working 60+ hours a week. He earns what he hoards. But his story will always be a part of my own.

This is where I fondly recall ALL those phases of mine. Dinosaurs, army men, Star Wars action figures, Nintendo 64, youth sports trophies, VHS tapes, burning mixtapes on CD, DVDs, comics, blu-rays, books…they all belong in boxes.  I have always been a collector, not a hoarder. I can get rid of these boxes, unlike my father. But have they piled up?

Shelves take the corporeal form of these boxes. Sitting atop a carpeted floor, tucked within chestnut, hovering above empty space: the boxes are full. I have decided to declutter these shelves, starting with the clothes in my closet to the films, records, and books that occupy the area. It has been a process of renewal.

Over the past month and a half, I have been seriously considering the purpose of these boxes. They’ve taught the lessons of growing up in a family that rarely said “No,” they’ve taught the essence of insular materialism, they’ve taught me…to care for others and to prioritize what brings happiness to not only myself, but to those I love. All I had to do was open those cardboard folds, blow away the dust, and see what truly lay in front of my eyes.

This is not a unique experience, and I am fully aware of its privilege. The ability to collect is something that can be profoundly simple and sweet, yet it can become mundane and cyclic. I want to break the latter and place those boxes closer to my heart.

I did this to let go. That storm still brews in my mind in mountains of hoarded gold. A constant desire to fulfill the need to own everything. It will never go away, but it has been quelled. My thirst has been quenched. My father’s scope in full purview. Yet… I am still a collector. I just have fewer boxes.

What are your thoughts?

Welcome to Not Jonesing Around

My name is Nathan Jones and welcome to the Not Jonesing Around blog, where I talk about all things films, books, records, and thought pieces. Originally conceived as a companion to my YouTube channel, the blog will also delve into topics that are on my mind that can be expanded upon through writing. As a lover of physical media, discussing the various mediums that have encompassed my life is something worth sharing. I hope each and everyone of you can find something from reading (or watching) my content. So…what will I be discussing here?

Let’s start with films. If you know, YOU KNOW. I adore films and what they have brought and continue to bring into my life. Films have introduced topics that are comforting and disturbing, enchanting and horrifying, fiction and fact. Films can showcase the beauty of humanity and even the harsh truths that we may not face ourselves. But films have also brought the greatest gifts. My relationships with my friends growing up around Springfield, Missouri to my friends that I’ve met from all over the world through YouTube has been through film. Hell, I met my absolutely wonderful girlfriend, Vanessa, through our shared passion. Film means everything and now it’s time to write about that EVERYTHING.

Next is books, my life-long friend that pops in and out of existence. Luckily, I have always loved to read, even if I have not always had the time to devote to that enjoyment. Going from fiction to nonficition, fantasy to history, sci-fi to science, horror to art, cultural to personal…nothing is off limits. In this blog, I would like to explore the books that I have read, the books that I plan to read, and the books that will bring a shared experience with you. After all, my favourite early morning routine is to make a black cup of coffee, grab a book, and sit outside on my porch with a blanket (I enjoy being an old man).

Records, albums, vinyls, cds, tapes…music. Music has been a staple in my life ever since I bought my first CD of Pink Floyd’s The Wall in 1998 (or I hope that was my first, haha). Growing up to classic rock and evolving over the years with hard rock, alternative, and metal, these ‘were’ my genres. I worked at a CD Warehouse in the town I grew up in and it changed my life, even when it went away. I now have an appreciation for each and every genre on this faded-green earth from country to rap to electronic to hardcore to punk to ambient and every subgenre you can think of…I love music. It’s time for to write about that passion again, I can’t leave it behind.

Lastly, I would like to explain thought pieces. Not a complex thing to decipher, but I have always enjoyed writing through abstraction and through personal experience. I learned about autoethnographic writing in graduate school and have never forgotten how cathartic the process can be in expressing those thoughts into words. In this blog, I would love to highlight my life experiences as I tackle issues outside (or even connected to) the realm of films, books, and records. My first thought piece MAY be the next blog post even 😉

I hope that you made it to the end of this, because all of you who read this blog and/or watch the channel make each day count. I’m so very thankful for each and every one who crosses my path in one way or another. Please be sure to comment and give some feedback for the blog, it would be much appreciated. What are you most excited about to read? Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading ❤️