Posted by: GeekHiker | May 14, 2008


Last night, on the way home from work, I stopped at the movie theater to see “Iron Man“.

I needed the distraction. In the worst possible way.

(Okay, the quick review: The critics are right, much like “Batman Begins“, a good and entertaining treatment of the first (and most difficult) film in any superhero series: the “creation of the hero” flick. Robert Downey, Jr., like him or not, is always interesting to watch on screen, and gives a surprisingly nuanced performance; it’s not surprising that the film keeps him out of the suit as much as possible because he’s fun to watch. The film isn’t overwhelmed by special effects, it’s got a decent story that keeps a lively pace, and has a light touch. Be sure to stay until the end of the end credits for a nice little cameo. Oh, and Gweneth Paltrow, for probably the first time ever, didn’t annoy the hell out of me, so that’s a nice little bonus the film has going for it.)

So, what did I need the distraction from?

Monday, any way you look at it, was a heavy news day. Between the earthquake in China, the disaster in Myanmar (Burma), the tornadoes back east, reading this article on how far above the level of CO2 in the atmosphere we are than we should be (and wondering, again, why I’m not looking harder for a job where I can bike to work), and fires up in the Angeles… there’s a whole lot of bad stuff going around right now.

I can’t stop myself from keeping up-to-date on it, though. I like to know what’s happening out there in the big, bad world. It’s too easy, I think sometimes, to simply ignore it all.

Still, I arrived home Monday night to find myself feeling a bit down about all the bad news going around; not so much depressed as simply overwhelmed by it all. Especially the unfolding events in China. It’s always difficult to watch devastating earthquakes elsewhere in the world, knowing that it’s not a matter of if it’s going to hit LA, but when.

Tuesday, of course, was more of the same on the news, so the movie was a nice distraction. For two hours I got away from it all.

There’s a not-to-small part of me that feels bad about that, though. After all, for a lot of people in the world, they can’t get away from it all. Ever. I’m not talking just about those living through the current disasters, but even those who live poorer lives on a day-to-day basis.

It’s self-inflicted, “I just realized (again)” how lucky I am to have the freedom and ability to slip into a cold, dark movie theater for a couple of hours and tune the rest of the globe out. It’s not an uncommon feeling for those of us that are that lucky, I suppose. It often makes me wonder if I should even go, or instead give every one of those ten bucks that might have been spent on the movie to a charity instead.

Sometimes I think I’m too hard on myself, other times I’m not so sure. I do give the money to charity, yet, I go to the movies anyway.

And despite the nagging feeling, I find myself wishing I could find a hot date to join me to see Indiana Jones next week. And slip out of reality in a cold movie theater for another couple of hours.



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  2. Hmmmm….you do need to get away from it all sometimes, you also need to give back…it seems like you have that balance. You donate to charity to help improve the world and you also spend the occaisional evening clearing your mind in the cold dark comfort of a movie theater….balance.

  3. Earthquakes and other natural disasters aside, there is always pain and suffering in the world. If you look, you can find something new on a daily basis. I think it is wonderful to donate money – and time – and even tears – in the name of helping others. Compassion is a very noble thing.

    But it is also important to continue creating happiness and harmony in your own life. If you constantly allowed yourself get mired in the details of all that is sad and wrong in the world, you wouldn’t be able to radiate any positive energy to improve it. It sounds like you have a good balance going, so you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Life is what it is – full of joys and horrors and indulgence and guilt. All you can do is accept it all and try to be a bright spot amongst all the darkness.

  4. I like to believe, but I have never tried to verify it, that for every bad thing that happens in the world there is a good thing somewhere else to balance it all out. For a death, there is a birth. For every act of hate there is a couple falling in love. For everyone torn down by disaster there is someone being lifted from the rubble to a new life. I may be deluding myself but it helps me keep my sanity.

    Giving to charity, both financially and by volunteering also helps.

    PS. Iron Man was pretty good.

  5. I agree with all of the above that it’s great to be socially conscious and it’s necessary to give back, but at the same time you need to make sure to do those little things that make you smile. If you’re not healthy and happy and energetic, you won’t have anything left to “give back” to all those who need it. And life won’t be much fun, either.

  6. Mint – Yep, you look kinda like spam. Spam I’m too lazy to delete tonight…

    Ruby – Thanks. I think I’m striving for the balance, but never feel like I achieve it.

    Mel Heth – Thanks for the well-put comment. I think it was just how I felt at the beginning of the week, and it’s a bit better now.

    Homer-Dog – That’s a good philosophy, although now if I do fall for someone, I will wonder what act of hate occurred…

    singlefabulous – That’s a good point (well, a whole series of them, actually). Hopefully I’ll feel more balanced once I’m hiking again!

  7. Everyone above me is right, but I got to say, being socially aware is all well and good till it gets all encompassing, and frustrating.

    I’m glad you got to take a break. Everyone I knew said that Iron man was awful, but I really liked it. Kept true to the comic, but hey, I’m a nerd what can I say?

    Go out and find a girl darlin, even if she’s just a friend, Indiana Jones isn’t meant to be missed.

  8. Your comment back to Homer-Dog made me laugh out loud.

  9. Dang! Now I’ll have to rethink my whole philosophy!

  10. Its good that you give to others but also good that you give to yourself. There is nothing selfish or bad about treating yourself to some “away” time. If you didn’t, you might not appreciate what it truly is you are giving others when you do give.

  11. Cripkitty – “go out and find a girl” – oh, if only it were so easy! LOL

    Mel Heth – Heh

    Homer-Dog – LOL, hope I didn’t shake your world-view too much!

    Backpackermomma – You make a very, very good point…

  12. Yes!

    Thank God I live somewhere in the world where I have the opportunity to be fat. Seriously.

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