Searching for Meaning in a Broken VHS Copy of the 1982 "Swamp Thing" Movie

I love Swamp Thing. I can track this love to a VHS I had as a kid of the first episode of the (very short-lived) Swamp Thing cartoon. It was an episode called “Swamp Thing vs. the Un-Men,” and yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds. I loved it, watching it over and over until I had it memorized. As a teenager, I discovered the Alan Moore run of Swamp Thing comics (which still remain my second favorite comic of all time, behind Gerard Way’s The Umbrella Academy). Heck, on my windowsill in my bedroom right now is a Pop! Vinyl figure of Swamp Thing. I think it’s safe to summarize this way: I love Swamp Thing to a level that will assist my availability in the dating pool for a very long time.

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The Upside of Down: Becoming an Artist After an Assault

April 27, 2019 marked the 10 year anniversary of the assault and battery that led to the birth of "Acrylic Alchemy" and, ultimately, the man I have become. I know this may not be my prettiest picture...though possibly close...but this is real life. Multiple facial fractures, severe eye trauma, and a concussion, this assault and battery was the catalyst for my series "The Up-Side of Down." This teachable moment also breathed life into my signature Carini Arts icon, the image I saw flashing through my head during my concussive state.

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Dementors: The Emotional Impact of The Entertainment Business

The camera picks out a tear rolling down the man’s cheek as he stares at the person in the opposite chair.  To highlight the emptiness of their lives, they are being filmed in an abandoned warehouse.  The camera zooms in.  The tear glistens in the spot lights and the tension builds.  What next?  Will the man break down?  Blow up?  

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Synchronicity: A Loving Message From the Universe

"Small world" is an expression that you have certainly used or heard at some point in your life when a random situation occurred. Think a serendipitous meeting with someone you know after you had been thinking of them lately or, more commonly, being introduced to someone you're already friends with by a mutual friend. Most people discard these occurrences as mere coincidences and forget about them altogether. But what if I told that, in fact, there is more than meets the eye here and it all has to do with a phenomenon called "synchronicity"?

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Why Do Men "Creepy Stare?"

It’s pervasive and inevitable. Every woman has experienced it. You’re walking down a street or down a hallway or really anywhere and a man is walking in the other direction, towards you. You avert your eyes, pretending to be deep in thought, but as he gets closer you can feel his eyes on you. As you keep walking, he continues to stare and his eyes drift down towards your breasts and torso. If you even glance at him for a moment, you can see the intensity of his attention directed onto you. Regardless of how many times during a single day that this occurs, each time the relief from him simply continuing on his way and not confronting, engaging or harassing you, is palpable. 

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Nightly Rituals: The Process of Anxiety and OCD Medication

Medication has a stigma behind it. Some people see the transparent orange-tinted bottle resting on my sink and glance at me nervously. It makes them curious; it causes them to worry, and they sometimes look at you differently. It’s not usually with malice but can lead people down a path of presumptions and self-conclusions about the nature of who you are and what you’re capable of handling. 

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Eye of the Beholder Part Two: Why Do Men Catcall?

For women, that experience is united at some level by fear. They’re afraid of being pawed, stalked or attacked, however innocuous men might find the leer or whistle. “Almost all women have a defensive strategy for walking alone,” writes Jamie Golden in “Why Just Telling Men No Doesn’t Necessarily Work,” but “almost no men do.” This seems to be true across cultures, and it tells us much of what we need to know. “A young woman likes to feel attractive,” one told me, “but I think women of all ages feel that implicit threat of physical peril, always.”

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Eye of the Beholder Part One: Why Do Men Catcall?

Call me male-ish. Men are supposed to like guns, but I’m not really a gun guy. As a boy I wheedled a BB gun for Christmas with the solemn vow not to shoot birds, which I did at the first opportunity. “You’ll shoot your eye out” runs the refrain from the movie Christmas Story, and at least I didn’t do that. But I shot out a bird’s. Stalking the wild sparrow in our back yard, I missed innumerable times before chance brought down a luckless thing from our birch tree, a bead of blood vividly welling where its eye had been

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Michael's Note: The Suicide Note My Father Never Left That Was Almost My Own

In August 2012, at the age of 28 and on the precipice of homelessness, I was reconnected with the biological family I never knew. At that time, I learned that my father, also named Michael, did not die in a car accident as I had always been told. Rather, I came to find out that he took his own life on my mother's 21st Birthday, just shortly before I turned a year old. He did not leave a note. Almost 30 years later, in my most personal and emotional creation to date, I wrote that note for my father. Written through our collective heart, eyes, and hand, that piece of our soul is "Michael's Note."

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There are Plenty of Fish in the Sea: A Conversation on Polyamory Relationships

There is an episode of How I Met Your Mother in which Ted, the show’s chronically single protagonist, lists off the group Halloween costumes he and his recently-engaged best friends Lily and Marshal have worn over the years. “Salt & Pepper and cumin” is one, as well as, ridiculously, “Lady & the Tramp and the bowl of spaghetti”. Couples’ costumes – as well as other twosome conventions – simply make senseto most people, and the notion of disrupting this perfect symmetry by adding in a third (or fourth, or fifth) party can come off as nonsensical, silly, or a sitcom-esque gag.

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Don't Just Survive, Live: An Emotional Account of Passing

He was a great man who didn’t merely sustain his battle against life but thrived. He worked his way out of the Indian caste system to become a well-respected and powerful collector renowned for his honesty, discipline and intellect. He had a dutiful wife and was gifted with 7 beautiful children. He lived till the ripe age of 99. He was my great grandfather.

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Guest Writer Abiran Raveenthiran Uniquely Breaks Down a Humans Will of Purpose

The kiru wanders about purposeless. There was once a purpose, or so it believes, but even if there originally was one, it was now lost in the vast ocean that is time. With the concept of purpose lost, the kiru now wanders in efforts of discovering itself. The kiru looked towards the past to see a higher and perfect version of itself in finding its purpose but refuses to go through that door. The kiru looked towards the future and creating a better version of itself but now fearing change has driven it to leave that door open but fear to walk through it.

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The Barely Touched Tub of Vanilla Ice Cream at Baskin Robbins: A Humorous Account of Navigating The Dating World

Sometimes, a thought gets stuck in my head, and won’t leave. It’ll just rattle around like an empty beer can in the back of a rusty pick-up truck. Sometimes, it’s just an innocuous little thought, something meaningless like the fact that Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was the voice of Shredder in the 80s/90s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Or it’ll be like the time I came across the word ‘embouchure’ in a book and had to look it up, and then saw/heard the word (at least) twenty times in the next week.

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Novembers Freedom: The Story of a Survivor

Everything comes together in this one perfect moment. In this moment I will summon up all of my courage. I will stand my ground. I will face my fear. It is what is to come afterwards that brings reality creeping into my veins like a freight train heading home. I am finally at the precipice of living a life that is worth living. I have torn through the house like a mad woman. I have filled up hefty bag after hefty bag with what is left of an existence that I so want to forget.

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