Hans Zimmer: Live from New York

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This week, everybody’s favorite film composer – next to John Williams and Danny Elfman – visited New York City.

Hans Zimmer has enriched many films with his intense, beautiful music. The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, The Lion King, and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are only a fraction of what this genius has done. He’s composed music for at least 150 films since the 1980s, but I first noticed his talent in the early 1990s, during my adolescent years. I noticed his score for Backdraft (1991), which was also used in the trailer for Jurassic Park (1993). From that point, I knew to keep my ears out for whatever he delivered next.

In 1995, the German film score composer captured more than my ears. He seized my heart with his powerful music from Crimson Tide. That epic theme, the track titled Roll Tide, still gives me the thrills and chills today. Earlier this week, I got to experience that track live at Radio City Music Hall, along with many other favorites.

On April 9th, while briefly thumbing through Twitter, I came across Hans Zimmer’s tweet about touring in North America for the very first time. Literally seconds later, I purchased myself a ticket. The choices for New York were either July 25th (Tuesday) or 26th (Wednesday).

I chose the 25th, as it was the final day of my summer “staycation,” and, damn, what a way to end a vacation! The concert was absolutely epic. The lighting effects were phenomenal. The musicians were just WOW!

Like a rockstar, Hans Zimmer led his musicians without a conductor. They did it rock band style, but with strings, brass, and a choir – in addition to the percussion, synthesizers, guitars, and electric cello. Zimmer bounced around stage with a banjo for his Sherlock Holmes theme; his guitar for Gladiator; the synthesizer for Crimson Tide; the piano for Inception

Speaking personally, as a guy who grew-up as a film score enthusiast, as well as someone who composes music for independent films, this was the best concert I’ve ever experienced! And, I also attended Danny Elfman’s Music from the films of Tim Burton concert a couple of years prior (that, too, was amazing). But, this one… Hans Zimmer Live… This was an exciting 3-hours.

The theater went dark at 8pm sharp. The spotlights shined on the enormous stage. What followed was what I like to call Hans Zimmer’s Greatest Hits:

  1. Driving (from Driving Miss Daisy); Discombobulate (from Sherlock Holmes); Zoosters Breakout (from Madagascar)
  2. Roll Tide (from Crimson Tide)
  3. 160 bpm (from Angels & Demons)
  4. The Gladiator Suite (The Wheat; The Battle; Elysium; Now We Are Free)
  5. Chevaliers de Sangreal (from The Da Vinci Code)
  6. The Lion King Suite, featuring Lebo M himself (Circle of Life; This Land; King of Pride Rock)
  7. The Pirates of the Caribbean Suite (Jack Sparrow; One Day; Up Is Down; He’s a Pirate)
    • INTERMISSION
  8. You’re So Cool (from True Romance)
  9. Main Theme (from Rain Man)
  10. What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving the World? (from Man of Steel)
  11. Is She With You? (Wonder Woman Theme, from Dawn of Justice)
  12. Journey to the Line (from The Thin Red Line)
  13. The Electro Suite (from The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
  14. The Dark Knight Trilogy Suite (Why So Serious?; Like a Dog Chasing Cars; Why Do We Fall?; Introduce a Little Anarchy…)
    • After Introduce a Little Anarchy, Hans abandoned his synthesizer and approached the microphone at center stage. We expected him to deliver another short speech, as he did throughout the show, in between medleys. But, instead, he began to chant, “Deshi, Deshi! Basara, Basara!” He did this repeatedly, until the choir joined him, and then the orchestra… It was Bane’s Theme (from The Dark Knight Rises), which concluded the suite.
    • Hans spoke of Heath Ledger’s tragedy, and also the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.
  15. Aurora (Hans Zimmer’s musical embrace in 2012. This piece was to help raise money for the victims of the massacre in the Aurora, CO movie theater, during The Dark Knight Rises premiere)
  16. The Interstellar Suite (Day One; Where We’re Going; No Time for Caution; Stay)
    • He said goodnight after this, and then the theater illuminated. Some people began to leave, but most of us “stayed” – like the last track instructed. Finally, the perfect ending to a perfect concert followed. The lights dimmed once again for…
  17. The Inception Suite (Dream is Collapsing; Mombasa; Time)

The concert ended at 11pm and I hurried back to Penn Station, to catch my midnight train home.

Hans Zimmer, along with his amazing musicians, rocked New York!

Bravo!

Mike Polizzi

Anti-Social Media: Why I Quit Facebook

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In 2007, I abandoned something called MySpace for something called Facebook. I didn’t quite get it at first. But, all of my friends were migrating to it, and it seemed like the place to be. So, I logged in every other night, to get accustomed to it. Whenever time permitted, really. Whenever I had Internet access.

You see, kids, back then, the Internet wasn’t conveniently accessible like it is today. I didn’t carry it in my pocket until around 2010. Until then, I had to use a physical computer that plugged into a wall. That was my only passage to cyberspace.

To take advantage of Facebook’s purpose – to connect with friends – meant that I had to put myself out there. I had to share my “status.” I was a little skeptical about that, perhaps even a bit shy… I was a private person on the edge of exposure. But, I used the Internet to conquer boredom, so…

Statuses back then were actually pretty lame. Before it asked you, “what’s on your mind,” I had to complete the sentence, “Mike is __________.” I would say things like, “Mike is watching Star Wars for the one billionth time.” Or, “Mike is heading home from work and really needs a beer.” Or, “Mike is chillin’ like a villain.” This was the bait on the hook, so to speak.

Eventually, another bored soul would see your lame status on the “newsfeed.” They might give you a “thumbs up,” or make a comment, or both, or they might even ignore you.

Over the years, more friends – and even family members – boarded the Facebook train. The platform evolved. The engineers made subtle alterations to the layout, which many of us noticed, and were pissed off. But, that gave us something to complain about via status updates. I eventually noticed tiny advertisements that “coincidentally” catered to my interests. And then, those “likes” – the infamous thumbs up i-con – expanded with additional options. Emoticons. A heart; a laughing face; a crying face; an angry face… As the social media platform evolved, so did our mobile phones.

Today, a mobile phone is first and foremost a computer and a camera.

Did you know?

– The average smartphone user checks their phone 150 times per day!

– Millennials use it over 5-hours per day!

– Generation X-ers (my generation) use it more than 5-hours per day!

That’s a lot of lost time!!!

Like zombies, they/we/you roam the land of the living with heads down. Staring into that small, glowing screen, like a moth making sweet, tender love to a bright, white light. We are the Walking Dead!

Everybody feels an urge to post the most mundane things, with the occasional proud achievement. They need to post. They need to share and comment on a regular basis. Like a crack junkie, they need their fix! They need their “likes!”

Social media – Facebook, in this example – is no different than a slot machine. It’s designed to keep you glued to the screen, to nurture your addiction.

You know why? 

Because, that’s what it’s supposed to do!

That’s how the people behind-the-scenes get paid!

It’s constantly being designed to get you to stay logged in longer; to click more; to share more; to post more… All of this, so they can provide content for their advertising platform.

They know when you are sleeping. They know when you’re awake. They know if you’ve been bad or good… But, seriously, they know what you search for on the inter-webs, even when you’re closed out of the site. Algorithms!

It’s a business.

They are profiting.

You are not.

You are losing.

What are you losing?

Time!

You are losing approximately 76-days of your life, per year. That’s based on the recent statistics I listed earlier. That’s 5-hours per day multiplied by 365-days per year. That equals 1,825-hours, which translates to 76-days!

To be fair, that statistic is based on the amount of time you spend on your phone itself – not necessarily specific to Social Media use. But, let’s face it, it’s all social media! You’re being social. You’re using media.

Texting or messaging; taking and sharing selfies…

So, yeah, you probably spend 76 consecutive days worth of smartphone use – per year. If you’d like to challenge yourself on that statistic, download an app called Moment. It tracks the amount of time you spend on your phone.

This past June, I decided to wean off Facebook.

Why just Facebook? Why not Twitter and Instagram, too?

Because, Facebook is the leading drug – so to speak – whereas, for me, Twitter and Instagram aren’t as addictive. They could be, but I don’t allow them to be. I also use those other platforms as an extension for this website. Therefore, they are used with intention – nowadays, anyway. But, the reason I call Facebook a drug, is because it’s designed to give you a dopamine high. It’s the most addictive, in my opinion, and it rewires your brain. It also messes with your emotions.

What I do like about Facebook is the event pages, the groups, and the messenger applications. So, when I said I “weaned off,” what I meant was, I quit participating in status updates and reading that overwhelming, never-ending newsfeed. I kept my Facebook profile for everything else – but, only for a short while.

Why quit posting “status updates” and avoid the newsfeed?

Well, I had a few reasons . . .

It can cause Anxiety, Stress, and Depression.

I had an ex-girlfriend that was originally – and still is – a friend of my current girlfriend, her sister, and some other mutual friends. So, seeing her appear every now and then, caused me a great deal of unnecessary anxiety. Before she and I jumped into our whirlwind relationship, she was first a friend of mine. Someone I really started to connect with. But, we took it too far, too fast. And, now that it’s been over for a about a year, I still felt a confused sense of sadness, stress, awkwardness, and obligation. I wondered why – after all this time… Sure, I missed her potential platonic friendship. But, then it finally hit me. It was Facebook itself, with all of it’s shit being thrown into my face – especially with those damn “on this day” memories.

Look: the point is, I’ve seen other people experience their own pain and suffering. All due to Facebook. I guess that’s what happens when 2-billion people use the damn thing.

It Kills Friendships.

Remember the last Presidential Election?

Are you paying attention to the madness that’s followed it?

You might be posting your anger and defensive opinions on today’s political situation. Someone you once respected disagrees with your views and values, and now you have lost a little – if not a lot of – respect for that person.

Politics, Religion, and Sexuality should be nobody’s business but their own. You do you, as they say.

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It Feeds (or Hurts) Your Ego; Turns you into a Narcissist.

We were all given the tools to create a persona. You only post the best side of your life, or maybe even sometimes exaggerate it just bit. You do this to attract more attention. More “likes.” You always appear to be laughing, traveling, and having the time of your life. And, as for the recipient… Well, they eventually question themselves. They compare themselves to your extraordinary, so-called happy life. They see your new selfie and think, “Wow, I wish I could go dancing on a rooftop, instead of sitting around at home in my underwear.” And that person that saw your dancing duck-faced-selfie might be your best friend. Your brother from another mother. Your sister from another mister. And, they may not “like” it. They may be too jealous to give you the satisfaction of a thumbs up. And, in reality, you probably just posed for that selfie. You don’t even like dancing. You just wanted something to share in that moment. You inserted that dollar into the slot machine, and you’re waiting for the payout.

So, you keep checking your phone to see how many “likes” your post received. You might wonder why your so-called best friend didn’t like it, or comment yet. You know they are online. Facebook is telling you that they are online! Why the bloody hell don’t they like your picture yet? It’s brilliant! You look awesome in it! Plus, the Empire State Building looks spectacular (but really blurry) in the background! At least like it for the Empire State Building, damn it! Why don’t they like your post!?! Why!?! Whyyyy!?! Aaaaaaagggghhhhhh!

It’s Unattractive and Rude.

Today, the majority of people keep their smartphone glued to their hand and in sight at all times. All times! When this occurs during real, live social scenarios, it could be – if you’re even aware of it – rude. I’m guilty of this myself, but I’ve become more conscious of it – hence this rant. They use their phones right in front of your face! During lunch; during dinner; in a meeting; during a movie; with good company… They give you divided attention… They “yes” you to death, but aren’t really listening.

It’s important to check the phone every minute, though, right? It’s very important. Everybody has to text. Everybody has to tweet. Everybody has to share that shitty photo of their half-eaten sandwich. It must go on Facebook, to entertain your “fans” – the other social media junkies that are missing out on your present experience.

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In reality, nobody gives two shits what you ate or what you’re doing. You are sacrificing your own real-life experiences to feed your persona. That is all. It is never going to matter in the end. So, why spend your valuable time – those 5-hours per day – when you should be investing in actual relationships with real, live people! The people who actually give two shits about you. If you’re not sure who they are, look away from your screen for a second. They are the people that spend time with you on a regular basis. The people that go out of their way for you. The people that love you. They don’t deserve to be ignored, because your bullshit post requires your immediate attention.

“You are sacrificing your own real-life experiences to feed your persona.”

On July 7, 2017, I officially deleted my Facebook account. The whole damn thing. All my photos, all my status updates, all my “friends.” 10 years of participation . . . gone. And, for the first time in a very, very long time, I feel awake! I feel alive! I am more creative! More productive! I’ve gained an additional 76-days per year back! And, now, I can finally start living again. I can finally start contributing to society, and be more attentive to my loved ones.

When it comes to social media, it’s best to identify intention versus addiction. It might take some practice, but one tip is to remove all social media apps from your mobile device. At the very least, try that for 21-days. They say it takes 21-days to form or break a habit.

Going forward, I only use my phone with intention. I use the Internet for research, and I use this website as an obligation to write more often, because that’s what I love to do.

Before I close this rant, I leave you with one final note…

Life is what happens when you aren’t using your smartphone.

This is Mike Polizzi, last survivor of Facebook, signing off.

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The Jaws of July

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Some might argue and say Independence Day is the film to watch on July 4th. But, for others like me, it’s Jaws.


Jaws is the seventh highest grossing film of all time in the USA. Released on June 20, 1975, this film put 28-year-old filmmaker, Steven Spielberg on the map, and still holds up as a timeless classic.

After a young skinny-dipper is torn to shreds by a shark (not a boat accident!), the Amity Chief of police wants to close the beaches on the 4th of July. But, the Mayor won’t have it! Amity is a summer town that needs summer dollars!

So, before you hit the beach, light up the barbecues, and watch the fireworks, I highly recommend having breakfast with Chief Brody, Matt Hooper, and Captain Quint, as they pursue that man [and dog] eating Great White Shark.

“Smile, you sonofabitch!”

MP