Author Archives: joc92

The Man Who Has Everything

INT. Bedroom – Middle of the Night

The camera is zoomed in overhead the bed on OLIVER’s face, deep in sleep.

His eyes open with a start. There is a look of shock and pain upon his face. Beads of sweat roll down his face. He rises from his bed, breathing deep, rapid breathes.

 

The camera cuts to the side of the bed, the moon is clearly shining in the background, its light illuminating OLIVER sitting upon his bed. He is hunched over, looking across the room as if in deep thought. His breathing begins to slow. The camera cuts to an upward angle of OLIVER sitting in bed.

 

                    OLIVER (V.O)

          The same nightmare. I’ve been having it for weeks now.

                    (Shakes his head and pulls off the covers from atop him)

 

The camera again cuts to OLIVERS’s face, which turns to look to his right. The camera shifts to a downward angle from OLIVER’s point of view, looking down upon a woman as she peacefully sleeps in bed. She is bathed in moonlight, her blonde hair gleaming beneath it. She slowly turns the other way, only the back of her head and her back visible. The camera cuts to OLIVER’s face, his eyes still looking down.

 

He turns away, letting out a sigh as he does. The camera angle shifts again to the side of the bed. OLIVER slowly gets up from the bed, his movements labored and inefficient. He walks across the room to his closet, the camera following him as he does so. His feet land with a soft thud with each step he takes. OLIVER reaches down and picks up a shirt, pulling it over himself.

 

INT. Bathroom – Early Morning

 

The scene shifts, a sink faucet is visible. A hand appears from out of view and turns the handle. Water rushes out from the faucet, the noise of the water can be clearly heard. The camera shifts to an angled view behind OLIVER’s head, the left side of his face can be seen as can his reflection in the mirror. There are bags beneath his eyes. His face appears worn down and his expression seems defeated. He washes his face and stares intently at his reflection, the camera focusing in on his disheveled appearance. He closes his eyes. He opens them, appearing more tired than ever.

 

OLIVER walks out of the bathroom, the house is completely silent save for the soft thud of his footsteps. He ventures back to his bedroom, the camera shifts to show him walking through the door. He walks across the room, camera following, and opens the screen door leading to the balcony. He sets on his arms on the side of the ledge, the camera shifting to show his left side. OLIVER leans on the ledge and peers into the distance.

 

The camera shifts to show the backyard of the house. The yellow glow of the sunrise can be seen behind the vast canopy of trees surrounding the house. There is a pool beneath the balcony, its gentle waters bathed gold by the rising sun. The faint whistle of wind can be heard.

 

The camera swings around back to OLIVER. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a package of cigarettes and a lighter. He rests the end of the cigarette in his mouth and lights it. The white puff of smoke travels with the wind across OLIVER’s face. He stands on the balcony and smokes for another 15 seconds. The camera shifts closer to OLIVER, showing him looking down at his cigarette. The faint red glow of the tip can be seen as the cigarette slowly turns to ash. He closes his eyes and shake his head. With a flick of his wrist, he tosses the remains of his cigarette into the pool beneath him.

 

The camera shifts to an upward view of the balcony, OLIVER can be seen exiting back into the house. The view slowly pans downward until it reaches the cigarette resting in the pool. The scene is completely silent. Only the hiss of the cigarette in the water can be heard. The camera rests on it for a few more moments, then the scene fades out.

 

INT. Kitchen – Morning

 

The scene shifts. OLIVER is sitting at the dining table in his home, perusing through the sports section of a newspaper. The rustle of the turning of pages can be heard, there is a sink running in the background as well.

 

The sink is turned off. A figure appears from behind OLIVER. It is the same blonde woman from earlier. She quickly leans over and places a plate of pancakes in front of OLIVER.

 

The camera follows her as she takes the seat opposite OLIVER at the table, her own plate of food in hand. The sharp sound of the plate being put on the table rings through the air. She immediately begins to go to work on the pancakes, not bothering to glance up at OLIVER. The lighting in the scene is dim, there is a somber, dull mood overhanging the couple.

 

The camera pans back over to OLIVER as he continues to flip through his newspaper. He reaches the last page and quickly folds the paper, the crisp sound of papers crunching travels through the scene as he does so. He picks up of his fork and knife, and the camera shifts to a view of the pancakes.

 

The fork comes from out of view and stabs into the pancakes, the knife following suit. The knife slowly cuts into the pancakes, ripping apart the fluffy interior.

 

The view shifts to show the couple sitting across from each other. Both are fully engrossed in their food, paying little mind to the other. The sound of food being cut and soft sound of the chewing are the only sounds present in the scene.

 

                    OLIVER

          Sarah, you know the pancakes are kind of dry today?

                    (chews food with a labored look upon his face)

 

                    SARAH

          We didn’t have enough butter.

(still focused intensely on her food, doesn’t look up to acknowledge OLIVER)

 

OLIVER nods his head in acceptance of her answer and abruptly picks up his newspaper back up, his half eaten plate of pancakes resting upon the table. The two continue to sit at the table without acknowledging each other. The scene fades out.

 

INT. Office – Afternoon

 

The scene changes. OLIVER is sitting at desk, staring intently at his computer. He fixes his tie and clears his throat. There is large window in view behind him. The sky is dark and cloudy outside and rain can be seen pouring down. The constant pitter patter of rain against the window echoes throughout the scene. The scene is dimly lit, there is a greyish overtone enveloping the office. A flash of lightning strikes in the background, the sound of thunder soon following.

 

The constant tap of fingers on a keyboard can be heard as OLIVER types an email at his computer. There are stacks of paper scattered across his desk.

 

The camera zooms in on OLIVER’s face. Tiny movements across the musculature of his face are visible. They display a look of exhaustion and emptiness.

 

The camera pans over to door of the office. A short, frumpy man enters the scene.

 

                    WILSON

          Oliver! Good to see you man, it’s been too long.

 

                    OLIVER

          Hi Wilson. It really has, how was the trip?

                    (Oliver continues to type his email)

 

                   

 

WILSON

Fantastic! Hawaii really is something special. You and Sarah need to head down there some time, you’ve never experienced anything quite like it. How’s she doing by the way?

          (sits down in the chair across from OLIVER)

 

                    OLIVER

She’s fine. Same as usual really. You know how it is, nothing really ever happens around here. Glad the trip went well.

 

                    WILSON

I am glad to hear buddy. You know, you really lucked out with that girl. God knows how your ugly mug managed land a woman like that. It amazes me to this day.

          (lets out a hearty chuckle, clearly amused with himself)

 

          OLIVER

Yeah, definitely.

          (gives a weak smile while still typing away at the email)

 

WILSON grins from ear to ear, leans over the desk, and pats OLIVER on the back.

 

                    WILSON

Don’t be shy! Everyone in this office is jealous of ya. Anyway, how have you been? A man like yourself must be keeping pretty busy.

 

          OLIVER

Like I said, it’s pretty much been the same as usual around here. Just been working and staying at home. But Wilson, I really need to catch up on my work here, maybe we can do this another time?

          (his eyebrows furrow, a look of annoyance appears on his face as he continues typing the email)

 

          WILSON

Of course of course, I’ll let you get to it. But this weekend at my place, I’m having a bit of a get together, I expect to see you there.

                    (Gets out of the chair, points at Oliver and winks)

 

                    OLIVER

          Sure thing

                    (rolls his eyes)

 

WILSON exits the room, the door shuts behind him. The camera shifts to show OLIVER sinking back into his chair, letting out a sigh of relief.

 

                   

OLIVER (V.O.)

God damn what’s wrong with me. As much as it pains to me to say it, Wilson’s right. I have a beautiful wife, money, everything. Why don’t I feel anything? Why can’t I bring myself to care? I just… I don’t even know anymore.

 

The camera shifts to an overhead view of OLIVER’s face. He is staring up at the ceiling. The lighting in the scene casts a shadow over part of his face. He tiredly closes his eyes. OLIVER sits there in silence for a moment.

 

The view shifts to one of the drawers in the desk. OLIVER’s hand reaches down and opens it. From it, he pulls out a bottle of Gin. OLIVER holds the bottle in front of his face; his reflection can be seen in the glass.

 

                    OLIVER (V.O)

          At least you’re here for me.

                    (opens the bottle)

 

OLIVER takes a swig from the bottle and slams it down onto the desk, letting out a sigh of satisfaction. The camera angle changes to show the bottle of Gin resting on the desk. The level of Gin in the bottle slowly goes down, showing the passage of time through OLIVER’s drinking.

 

OLIVER, still leaning in his chair, peers over to the clock on the wall. The camera shifts to it, showing the time to be 11pm.

 

The view shifts back to OLIVER who rises from his chair and stumbles toward the door.

 

He accidently knocks the bottle over as he does so, the shattering of glass rings throughout the room.

 

He doesn’t turn his head and walks onward.

 

INT Parking Garage – Evening

 

The scene changes. OLIVER is making his way through the empty parking garage to his car, nearly falling over as he does so. His footsteps come down with a resounding thud each time he takes a step. His movements are erratic.

 

OLIVER makes it to his car and steps into the driver’s seat.

 

The camera shifts to outside the car looking at OLIVER through the front windshield. The lighting highlights his eyes, they look dark and empty. The view shifts to show OILVER turning on the ignition. He begins to the turn the steering wheel and drives out of the parking garage. The scene fades out.

 

INT OLIVER’s bedroom – Evening.

 

          Sarah is lying asleep in the bed. The flickering of light emanating from the TV can be seen dancing across her.

 

The camera slowly pans over to the TV screen. There is a news report on it. There has been an accident on the I-5. A car is visible on the screen. It is on fire, black plumes of smoke rising from it. There is no sound, Sarah had muted the TV before falling asleep. A reporter appears on the screen. Still there is utter silence. The scene fades out.

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The Problem of Boredom

            Boredom is a problem that many people consider to plague Western Civilization today. A pandemic that has spread from coast to coast, Boredom is believed to have wreaked havoc on the productiveness of the general population, decimating motivation and leaving society helpless in the face of mass apathy. But is it not true that Boredom is nothing but an artificial creation formed by modern societies’ insatiable need for stimulation? And if it is true that Boredom has been brought on by our own desires, is it really the problem so many believe it to be?

Are We Special?

As a species as a whole, humans have become increasingly obsessed with the notions of instant gratification and near unending stimulation. Today, nothing remains satisfactory for long, everything can be done better; everything has to be done better. There is no end to modern society’s appetite for improvement, nor is there a limit on how strong our intolerance of a perceived relative lack of activity can become. An inability to maintain some semblance of significance in our lives is a repulsive thought to the vast majority of people. Everyone has innate sense of worth, a sense that we ourselves matter in the world. Because of this, we are constantly looking to others to acknowledge us, to reaffirm the fact that we matter. That is why boredom to some is so terribly unbearable. Boredom can be perceived as lack of importance. For if we mattered, we would never be bored correct? Would there not always be something for us to do? Or more importantly, someone important to us to do those things with? To be truly bored is to be unimportant, to not matter to others to where they do not acknowledge you. This is why we as a society battle so fiercely against this feeling. No one wants to feel inadequate. We all want to be special. It is this desire that makes boredom both one of the worst aspects of society, but at the same time possibly one of the best.

Entertaining Boredom

The modern age has thrived off people’s complete and utter intolerance of boredom. One such example of this is the entertainment culture of the Western world. Whether it be movies, television, video games, music, or even books, entertainment has become one of the largest and most profitable industries in the world. Take for example this article about the company Vitaminwater and how they are capitalizing on contemporary society’s tendency to grow bored. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323324904579041202579456002

Entertainment culture feeds on the escapist tendencies that we all possess. In times of boredom, no one wants to sit complacently and simmer in their perceived lack of importance. So we look to other sources of entertainment to stimulate us. Books, film, and all other forms of media have the innate ability, if crafted carefully enough, to carry us to into new worlds full of fantastical scenarios and endless possibilities. Due to the ever increasing rates of boredom in modern society, the Entertainment industry has boomed exponentially. To be able to forgot about your problems or current lack of activity and instead place yourself in the life of someone more interesting than yourself is an experience many enjoy.

Progress

It is not just simply forms of entertainment that boredom has helped contribute to society though. Boredom has also helped the modern age thrive because of the insatiable hunger for progress it has created. The modern era of technology, for example, has been releasing new advancements in all forms of technology at an unprecedented rate. Year after year there are new cars, new computers, and new phones to buy. This is because people are becoming increasingly more and more dissatisfied with technology at an even faster pace.  We are used to progress occurring at such a ridiculous rate that if it were to slow down by even a second, many would break into a mad frenzy of boredom over whatever form of “outdated” technology they possessed. Even progress itself must see progress. New advancements must come to fruition even faster than the past advancements, lest we fall victim to boredom. It is our dissatisfaction with things as they currently stand that has led to the furthering of modern technology and advancement of human society.

Not only has boredom led progress to occur at a faster rate, but the technology that progress has led to have become faster themselves. Take for example advancements in communication. Only 200 years ago, the fastest any two people could communicate over a large distance were messages delivered by horseback. Since then, forms of communication have been furthered at an alarming rate. From telegraphs to phones, to now the internet itself, communication has advanced to a point unimaginable by our fore fathers, and the biggest advancements have all come within the last 30 odd years or so. All of this, simply because people grew bored and frustrated with the amount of time it took to communicate with someone they were not face to face with. Even today, when a text message or email does not send right away, we quickly become frustrated with the 2 minutes or so wasted, while only a century ago for a message to be sent across the country in 2 minutes would be preposterous.

Pathologically Bored

While boredom has had positive effects on society, that is not to say that it has not come with its own set of issues. There have been cases where, due to an innate tendency to grow bored easily, people have turned to addictive habits to provide them with the kind of stimuli they desire. Take this study done correlating Boredom Proneness and pathological gambling. (http://www.amsciepub.com/doi/pdf/10.2466/pr0.1990.67.1.35)

In the study, researchers had 48 subjects who were classified as pathological gamblers take a set of 4 tests: the Beck Depression Inventory, the Sensation Seeking Scale, the Boredom Proneness Scale, and the Boredom Susceptibility subscale. They compared their results to those of 40 other subjects who were not pathological gamblers nor did they suffer from any other addictive problems. The results that came from this experiment were highly intriguing. While gamblers did score significantly higher on the Beck Depression Inventory and the Boredom Proneness Scale compared to the control group of 40 people, the scores of the Sensation Seeking Scale and the Boredom susceptibility subscale between the two groups were quite close. While it makes sense that both depression and boredom proneness both attribute to pathological gambling, for there to be a clear distinction between those two and sensation seeking and boredom susceptibility tendencies is odd. According to the study, Boredom Susceptibility is a person’s propensity to search out stimuli because of his environment, which makes sense that the Sensation Seeking and Susceptibility tendencies were correlated. Boredom Proneness on the other hand, is defined as “an individual’s intolerance of aversive underaroused states of boredom and/or depression.” So it stands to reason that based on the results of the study, that while pathological gamblers are not actively seeking out stimuli any more so than an unafflicted individual, there complete intolerance to boredom and its relationship to their depression have led them towards self destructive habits such as pathological gambling.

So Smart You’re Bored       

Imagine a young man in his junior year of college. By many he is considered to be highly intelligent. He is knowledgeable in a wide variety of topics and can hold his own in a discussion about any of them. He was a model student all through high school and the first two years of college, but now he finds himself struggling. It is not that the material itself has become too difficult for him to manage, it is just that he can no longer bring himself to do the work. It has become too boring. The tedium of the college grind has worn him down, to the point where he feels apathetic about it all. He no longer feels stimulated by what he is learning, it doesn’t excite him. Thus, he cannot bring himself to care anymore.

            That scenario, as strange as it may seem to some, is an example of boredom and its relationship to intelligence. It has been theorized that boredom itself is a byproduct of intelligence. Humans and other animals with higher functioning brains, such as monkeys, seem to be the only creatures to show signs of boredom after a period of time without any mental stimulation. Because our brains are capable of processing such large amounts of information so quickly, we are quickly able to assess what is happening around us, and thus in boring situations, are able to assess that there is nothing happening around us. Our own intelligence comes with the caveat that we are forever trying to expand our knowledge, lest we become unbearably bored with whatever knowledge we currently have. Human curiosity knows no bounds, and that is both a blessing and a curse.

Boredom is an Adventure

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHMD_EqM61I           

In the movie UP, the first 10 minutes or so centers on the relationship between the main character Carl and the love of his life, Ellie. In the video shown, you see them go through their life together beginning with their wedding. You see them purchase their first home together, an old run down house where they first met. Together, they toil away and bring it back to pristine condition, making it the home they have always dreamed of. They go on with their lives and one day decide to have a child, but discover that Ellie is not able to. Carl, in an attempt to bring her spirits up, promises to take her to the one place they have always dreamed of going, Paradise Falls. Unfortunately, life gets in the way. They are never able to get the money together and instead continue on with their normal, mundane lives. Then sadly in her old age, Ellie passes away, leaving Carl alone to mourn for her. Later in the movie, Carl can be seen holding Ellie’s adventure book, which she had made as a child to document all the amazing adventures she would go on. Looking at it, Carl is racked with guilt that he never got to take her on an adventure to Paradise Falls and help her fill out the rest of the pages. Just as he is about to close the book, a page slips and he sees the book is not as empty as he had once thought. In the section labeled “Stuff I’m Going to Do” he sees pictures. Pictures of their life together. Pictures of the nice, boring little life they shared together. To her, their boring little life that lacked adventure, was an adventure in and of itself.

I guess the point I am trying to make is this. Boredom is only a problem if you make it so. Even Ellie, a girl who loved adventure in her life, was happy in a life without adventure. That is because to her, the life she shared with Carl, as uneventful as it may have been at times, was all the adventure she needed. How we perceive our boredom, and how we choose to react to it, decide whether or not our Boredom is really a problem. Our boredom can become its own adventure.

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Skinny Love

Bon Iver is an indie folk style band led by vocalist Justin Vernon, who I find to be one of the more unique talents of our time. Utilizing a simplistic, yet deeply lyrical musical style, he infuses his music with a level of emotion that conveys to listeners the gravity of the emotions he felt as he wrote each song. In one of his more well known songs, “Skinny Love”, this is clearly evident.

Skinny Love, in addition to rest of Bon Iver’s debut album “For Emma Forever Ago”, was written at a moment of emotional turmoil in Vernon’s life. Having just broken up with his girlfriend of several years, while at the same time dealing with the disbanding of his old band DeYarmond Edison, Justin Vernon chose to isolate himself from the rest of society by hiding away in his cabin in the woods of Wisconsin in the dead of winter with nothing but his guitar. Over that winter, Vernon poured all his pain and anguish into his music, and the result was “For Emma Forever Ago”.

Consisting of nothing but vocals and a guitar, “Skinny Love” is one of the few songs that remained nearly untouched once it reached studio production. Because of this emotional “purity” it is one the most viscerally emotional songs on the album. While far from being technically perfect, his vocal is imbued with such raw emotion that I cannot help but feel as he must have felt in the process of writing this song. We have all dealt with the pains of love in our lives, and “Skinny Love” bridges the gap between artist and listener and creates a connection, allowing listeners like myself to relate my own past experiences with his own.

There are many people who find this genre of music to be boring, lacking the loud beats and emphatic sounds of many today’s most popular songs. But it this stark contrast to most of today’s music that can make “Skinny Love” so refreshing to listen to.

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by | November 12, 2013 · 4:56 am