Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Yekra Player

Yekra is a revolutionary new distribution network for feature films.

Glow

The Story of The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling chronicles the rise and fall of this once successful television show through the stories of those who lived it. From the initial open-call auditions, to the grueling training with wrestling legend Mando Guerrero, to over-night success and global recognition, to the show’s sudden and unexpected cancellation in 1990, the GLOW girls recall their time on the show with a mixture of heartfelt nostalgia and tearful regret over injuries and the loss of friends. For some, the show was a brief foray into acting and a short-lived adventure on the way to a normal life. For others, that time in GLOW would impact and influence their lives for years to follow. For all of the women, working on GLOW was a unique and exciting experience that will bond them forever.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Charade

It's no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with social media, yet I frequently use sites like Blogger, Facebook, and Google+. On the "love" side the convenience is unchallenged; I can communicate with almost anyone from my past without difficulty in a matter of moments. Even better, I can see how loved ones near and far are doing as well as get updates on their daily lives.

But is that really the case?

And thus the "hate" side of the relationship comes out to play. When I look at a friend's Facebook profile and then compare their online persona to what I know to be true on a personal level, the incongruencies are often flagrant. Now, I by no means feel that every person using social media is a faker, but most of us certainly use these social tools to at least reinforce, if not altogether create, a picture of us that is somehow "more" or, at least in some ways, "better" than the real person.

Lord knows I do. I do it all the time.

Confession: I absolutely do use my FaceBook profile and other social media websites to create an image of me that I feel is more palatable, more appealing, more...acceptable than the real me. And sometimes I just want to punch myself for doing it.

Take a gander at me on Facebook. My profile is full of pictures of me where, generally, I look good, happy, and wholesome; the Disney version of Kory Baldwin. In other words, all the times I cried in the car, the times I lost my temper, the things I said I wish I hadn't...well, they don't "make the cut."

And I see it everywhere. "Just made home-made chocolate chip Cookies!!!" says the young LDS, Baptist, (what-have-you) mom with two small kids. Did she really make cookies? I'm sure she did. Did she share that little tidbit with multiple exclamation points just because she is so enamored with adding chocolate chunks to batter that she has to share it with the world? Honestly...probably not.

So, dear reader, what exactly is the motivation behind the post? And couldn't there possibly be more than one? I would say that is absolutely the case. As Patrik pointed out in the comments, she may be using FB as a digital journal. She may be so thrilled to do something for her kids that makes them happy she just wants to express it.

What other motivations might be going on behind that post? Something sinister? Almost certainly not. But is an image being cultivated? Sure. Is approval or assurance being sought? Most likely. And thus the post is likely also saying "Hey, look at me! I'm being a really good mom and doing "mom" things. I posted this at 3:15 on a Tuesday which shows I'm an at-home mom, as I ought to be. Also, I know how to bake...which implies I'm also a cook. Lastly, by baking made-from-scratch cookies you can see how much I enjoy being a homemaker and how much I take pride in it. Cuz...that's what good moms do."

Confession again: I'm no better and do the exact same...without cookies, that is. ;) My cultivated social media image may be very different, but image, not always reality, it certainly is. Look at my last ten status updates on my Facebook profile. Summed up, they are hardly more than inane chatter covering little more than movies/TV shows Michelle and I like, a restaurant, and idle chitchat with friends. Look at my photos, my Info section, my posts on others' walls and comments on their photos; more than 99% of them are positive, politically correct, and upbeat.

"But isn't being positive and upbeat a good thing?" you might say? Sure! Of course! But..is it really me? Am I positive, upbeat, and (haha) politically correct more than 99% of the time? Nope. In fact, I'm genuinely one of the most positive, naturally happy people I know and I don't come CLOSE to 99% of those things.

And thus you see the image of Kory Baldwin on my FB and Google+ profiles, not the real Kory Baldwin. I don't think this makes me bad or even a liar, nor do I think that of others. I just get tired of the charade, of using the closest thing to an open mic in my life to spew out things my Sunday School teachers would approve of rather than share anything truly meaningful to me. Doing so would just be too risky...I'll damage my "image."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Support from Unexpected Sources

About five days ago I hit the gym, both weights and cardio. In the parking lot on the way out I encountered a middle-aged gentleman I see at the gym quite regularly. We have talked many times and he has shared his competitive body building, steroid using past. I have also watched as he has successfully lost about 65 lbs over the last year.

He caught me just as he was getting out of his truck and I was entering my car. "Hold on," he said. "Look at me." I turned and looked at him and wondered what was going on. "Wow. Look at you; you've lost weight!"

He didn't stop there.

"And you've added muscle! Look at those arms. And your love-handles have gotten smaller! Way to go!"

At this point I blushed and was immediately grateful the dim light of the neon lamp above wasn't enough to show my face in dark of the evening. Blushing amongst men is a bit embarrassing in its own right.

He then continued to point out and praise my physical improvements for a solid ten minutes, happily telling me how much he thought I had changed for the better. In fact, he even asked "are you taking steroids?" I took that as a compliment and assured him that wasn't the case.

When was the last time a casual acquaintance took ten minutes of their own time just to make you feel good about yourself? (I don't do so nearly often enough.) His positive, kind words meant a great deal to me and elevated my mood for almost 24 hours, particularly because I had never talked with this man about my new diet and exercise plan. He simply noticed my improvement and took the time to encourage and congratulate me.

I want to be more like my gym friend in the parking lot. Hopefully I can be the kind of guy who, like him, lifts others even when it is not expected or necessary.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Expect the Unexpected and Put a Smile on Your Face

While going through storage some weeks ago I came across my missionary journal, kept during my time in the Philippines from Sept 2001 - 2003. Contained therein - as one would expect - are many personal and dearly regarded experiences that shaped much of my time in and perception of the Philippines. Of most interest, however, were not the stories relating my experiences there, but an outline written at the end of my mission projecting expectations of the years following my return to the United States. A time-line included with what I had titled the "After Mission Battle Plan" detailed personal accomplishments (such as graduating from college), status (such as temple marriage and fatherhood), and lifestyle (including career), with rough dates attached to each over a five year period. Considering that the time-line stopped at the then future age of 26, reading it at 27 was not only fun, but ultimately revealing.

I shan't bore you with excessive details from what proved to be my final entry as a missionary, but will suffice that by age 26 I expected to be done with college, happily married, and a father. I am 27 and none of those things.

The final line of the preceding paragraph, however you interpreted it, is not sad nor carries tones of disappointment or regret. In fact, it brings me to the truly humorous point of this long overdue blog entry; things don't go as planned and nothing could be more okay.

The first major change to the end-mission "battle plan" was the death of my mother one year after my return from the Philippines. Having a healthy, youthful family, I hadn't included the deaths of any relatives in the "plan" because any such event was highly unlikely. My mother contracted a rare, fast acting disease called Vasculitis, the inflammatory destruction of blood vessels by an immune system kicked into overdrive, usually as a response to infection or medication. She died within three weeks of diagnosis.

Eighteen months after my mother's death I baptized a girl I met through my brother.
Six months later we married. Six months after our wedding we were sealed in the temple (you must be a worthy church-member for a year before endowment) and twelve months after that we divorced. Divorce, or the "big D" as so many like to call it, much like Mom's death (the other "big D"), was certainly not part of the "battle plan." I count my blessings that the union did not bring a child into the world.

Moving on, I am still not a college graduate. The primary reason is my own laziness, but also some contempt for the inherent weaknesses of the system. Don't take that as a comment on the value of education - education is valuable beyond measure! - but rather an inherent "personality conflict" between myself and the importance placed on jumping hoops rather than how much you have actually learned. Is there a better way? Perhaps, but the possibility of such is a discussion to be saved for another time. Regardless of any points for or against that argument, the primary reason I remain without degree is unquestionably my own lethargy. I stand sixteen credits from a Bachelors of English as of this writing.

In summary, the biggest, most important points of my "After Mission Battle Plan" have not come true. I am not a college graduate, I'm divorced, I don't have children, and my mom happens to be unexpectedly dead. Yes, it all sounds horrible, but I promise it's not. "Life," as the adage says, "is good."

Rather than being where I thought by age 27 I am somewhere entirely different and yet surprisingly happy. You see, the "bad things" in life, both those entirely my own fault and the few beyond my control, have resulted in new worlds to explore, new views to examine, exciting options, and an unexpected lease on living.

At 27 I own a nice condo in a great neighborhood. Hundreds of hours of labor - by myself and many other generous contributors - have made my home comfortable and unique. It is finally to the point where visually I love being here and welcoming guests inside. My home is comfortable, inviting, accepting, warm and happy. There is honestly no place I would rather be. Just writing that has brightened my day.

Despite my lack of a college degree I have, through hard work, experience, serious risk taking and luck, found gainful employment I enjoy. I work with wonderful friends in an office five blocks from my condo for a company that gives me freedom to excel. I fill a position I am good at for a boss I love who appreciates my efforts and compensates me well. I cannot ask for more.

Although divorced, love has found me again in the form of a sweet, beautiful woman who loves me dearly and treats me well. Michelle is a joy to be around and few people are as positive, kind, and fun as she. I am blessed. Speaking of relationships, I do not have children at the moment - thank goodness - but look forward with delight to being a father when the time is right.

Looking back I see what I thought my future life would be as a 21-year-old missionary. Life, so much bigger and wiser than I could ever be, has taken those plans and thankfully thrown them to the wind. Watching those hopes come and go, change and evolve, has been difficult and terrifying, forcing me to grow and stretch in ways I never imagined. What a wonderful process.

Nothing like I imagined it to be, life is so far absolutely wonderful. With so many changes in a relatively short six year period, I cannot wait to see what the next fifty years will bring. Whatever happens, I know now that I can only expect the unexpected and smile with faith that life will remain beautiful. Nothing went as I had hoped...and it couldn't have gone better.

Here is wishing everyone the same.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Becoming Uncool

I can finally say that I am no longer utterly obsessed with being “cool” without blatantly lying. It only took the better part of 27 years. (Hey, I haven’t had the opportunity to have children yet—a change that instigates serious personal growth—so give me a break!)

Admittedly, desires to be cool, to wow others, to create some bizarre sense of social superiority with my presence, still cross my mind when standing in large crowds or upon finding myself surrounded by “hip peeps.” Said urges have thankfully become increasingly rare and those that remain are quickly subsiding. I’m not exceptionally cool by nature—although I sure used to think I was—and the stress from trying to constantly compete is simply not missed. Whew.

Losing the desire to be cool—a futile and worthless aspiration ingrained in the social subconscious from early childhood—is a process. You don’t wake up one day, look inward, and realize “wow, I don’t care about dating babes or wearing sleek suits in hip bar/restaurants anymore.” The process is slow. It starts when you look at “in” things people around you are wearing and think 1) “I don’t dress like that,” and 2) “I don’t care if I dress like that.” You even eventually say to yourself—and this is a big one—“I’m glad I don’t feel the NEED to dress like that.” You know you are getting older and significantly less cool when you realize that impressing the strangers next to you with your hip duds or sleek suit/dress is not nearly as exciting a prospect as going home and putting on your most comfortable pair of pajama pants.

Another sign of “losing your cool” (like my double entendre? Haha!) is a growing inability to name the singer of the latest radio hits. Yes, you enjoy the song playing on the car stereo, you know the words, and you still love to jam; you just don’t know the name of the twenty-one-year-old singer whose tunes you are jamming to. More and more, I don’t care who the singer is, I just know I like the song. (For purposes of self preservation, in the sense of social redemption, I know how to work an iPhone and I do have a Twitter account. Being uncool does not necessarily mean being technologically unaware.)

You know you are losing your need to be cool when a large portion of your favorite entertainment is retro, but not because retro is popular; your favorite shows, movies, tunes, video games and books are retro simply because you are getting old. You look back at movies like “The Goonies,” “Monster Squad,” and “Ghostbusters,” songs such as “Basket Case” by Green day (released almost fifteen years ago!), Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991), and Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” (1996) and can’t believe you’ve been singing along for almost half your life. You see video games like Mario 64, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Resident Evil and suddenly yearn for old school, pixilated graphics and less than THX high-definition surround sound.

I’m thrilled to be seriously uncool. More than anything, I’m happy that I haven’t changed from wanting to be the cool high school/college guy to wanting to be cool in the bar hopping college grad “business scene,” a common phenomenon for singles in their late twenties and early thirties. In all honesty, what is the difference between the two?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fortune Favors the Bold

The hunger struck at 10:45 p.m. last night. I confessed my need to best friend and roommate Mike, a.k.a McKllelan, who revealed a similar yearning for sustenance. Being bachelors, a quick search of the fridge revealed a barren place devoid of food, a situation we encounter all too often as unmarried men. Feeling let down by the vacant nature of our food storage device, we decided to quest for satiety in the outside world. By 11:00 we were on the road, Burger King cupons in hand.

As we drove through the snow--yes, it was snowing yet again--an ingenious revelation hit my brain like lightning; the yearning that drove us outside that cold winters eve could never be satisfied by the flame broiled offerings of the King. No, such a feat of pallet fulfillment could only be tackled by the zesty spice of Del Taco! We drove past Burger King without second thought. Del Taco called to us, a modern day Siren with a voice as alluring as the bird-women of yore.

As we neared Del Taco, the building now in sight, I told Mike that I wanted to eat inside. He laughed at the odd request. Everyone knows that you don't eat inside Del Taco after seven at night. (For the unlearned, eating inside a Del Taco after the sun has set is like putting Mayo on a hot dog; it can be done, but its weird.) Despite the strangeness of the appeal, Michael, always a gentleman, acquiesced and parked the car. We entered, ordered, paid, sat down at a booth with burritos and tacos in hand, and enjoyed.

Half way through the meal, Mike pointed to the paper lining our respective trays and asked, "Have you read this?" I shook my head to communicate the negative. "Read it," he ordered, "I guarantee you will feel inspired." I laughed (when was the last time you were inspired by fast food literature?), and obediently read.

Mike, demonstrating his usual inhuman wisdom, was right. The message, although nothing more than a corporate piece of advertising, was downright fantastic. It became the inspiration for this post and my motto for the evening. It may even be my motto for the year...and beyond.

I have included an excerpt from the piece, with some additions of my own following.


ODE TO THE BOLD

Here's to the pioneers. To the inventor of the belly flop. To the one who added "mosh" to pit. To the first to look a bull in the eyes and say, "Yeah, I'm gonna ride that. And with one hand." Here's to the uninhibited. The 20 below zero, body-painted sport fanatic. The lovers that honor one another with tattoos. The streakers, and the mooners. Here's to the BRAVE. To those who can't karaoke, but karaoke anyway. To those who've shaved off their own eyebrow, just cause. Or objected at a wedding that needed an objection (thank you, thank you, thank you). Here's to the rule breakers. The fighters trying to bring the handlebar mustache back into fashion. Any couple who's ever been banned from a mall photo booth. And all the 4's out there who married a 10.

Hallelujah!!!! My favorite is the "4's" that married a "10." Awesome.

After reading Del Taco's message I was inspired. Mike was a little shocked at just how thrilled I was. The thing is, I couldn't help it. That short paragraph embodied a spirit, all too uncommon in the life of the average person, I have grown to admire deeply. I have a few things to add.

Here's to those that measure success by kindness and love, not money
. At the same time, here is to the first person to drop out of school and become a millionaire. Here's to those more concerned about the people making the product than the product itself. Here's to shenanigans, to the first person to blow up a toilet with a cherry bomb. To the first man to wrestle an alligator. Here's to individuals that refuse labels, that are not a "conservative, moderate, or Liberal." To those willing to love and marry outside their own race, culture, religion, and nationality. Here's to men and women that understand real love is giving someone else the power to shatter your heart completely...and doing it anyway. To those more concerned about decency than church, the mosque, the synagogue, or sanctuary. To those that question all forms of authority. Here's to breaking the speed limit. To eating too much ice cream. Here's to recognizing the ideology of your youth and forming a better one, to the chagrin of family, friends, church, and state. To recognizing that people are more important than rules, love more important than being right. Here is to loving your country and still being able to critique it. To the people that ignored their naysayers...and proved them wrong over and over again. Here's to the friends, family, and neighbors I have that refuse to let any person, organization, or government, do their thinking for them.
Here is to love without condition. Here's to less rules, and more self governance, less dependence and more self reliance. To loving more and condemning less.

I hope that anyone reading this will think less about things we are "supposed" to do and start doing things we need to do.

On a personal note, I have spent the last two years learning to break the rules. During that time I have been through some of the most painful and difficult experiences of my life. The last two years have also been the best and most rewarding so far. I did a lot of stupid things, which I have learned from, and a lot of "bad" things that ended up dramatically improving my life.

I'm not here to say all rules are bad or need to be broken. Many rules protect us and grant a level of freedom and safety impossible without them. I'm not saying that being part of a body of people, be it friends, nation, church, or club, is bad. These groups are often some of the most wonderful parts of our life. I have one simple message; think for yourself. If there are rules imposed in your life by others that you don't understand or do not make sense, than those rules are probably bologna. Break them. There is always the chance that doing so will be a mistake, but breaking them could well be the best thing you have ever done. You will never know unless you try. It was for me. I've broken a lot of rules lately, and the good that came out of it has exceeded the bad by ten times. 2008 was one of the best years of my life. Sometimes breaking the rules is the best decision you can make.

You can't avoid making mistakes, so I implore you to remember a great quote:

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!"

Good luck!

Long live Del Taco!

Kory