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To be a Platypuss Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Oscar Soto Jr." journal:

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May 21st, 2014
10:23 am

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The Pain of Failure
I'm getting really depressed over this. I can't believe where I've ended up. I'm 31 years old and have no future. I could be dead right now, and it wouldn't matter.

I wish I knew how to get out of this. Even if I had waited to quit, it would have been a matter of quitting now or later. Maybe I should have quit when I was originally going to. I might be employed by now. Or in a worse situation.

I just don't understand how to live in the world. I hate being born. I hate that I've had to live this long. Why did my parents have me? Why have children only to not try and guide them to success?

I'm so over this area. Once I leave, I'm never coming back. Ever. I've been here too long, and refuse to stay longer. Something will give, and things will be fine. Until then.... it's a matter of patience.

Target will start eventually. Seventy hour work weeks will suck, but at least I'll have money, stability, and a slow way out.

God I wish I could just die.

I've never felt so much hate. So much anger. PGI warped my personality in a bad direction. I'm going to be horrifically picky going forward. There is no point in finding just one employer. People will switch multiple times. More accurately, employers will throw out multiple people.

How do these people function? Someone has to be keeping them alive. If people were unemployed for that long, they'd starve eventually. And people STILL want to have children?

I don't get it. And I don't know what I've done wrong.

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May 7th, 2014
10:46 pm

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24 Hours of Happy (5PM)
The setting sun hour is here, and it is quite star-filled. We're treated to some time in the school bus parking lot, and Pharrell Williams is joined by a team of skate borders. Honestly, the skate borders really add to the movement in the video. I'm rather surprised they hadn't used other self-propelled wheeled riders in earlier videos.

We also get another swing dance couple, and then immediately jump inside a bus. Of all the video segments that involve vehicles, this one is probably the best idea. There's room around the bus to move, unlike the motorcycles of 12AM and the convertible of 4AM. We also get to watch Steve Carrell, who seems a little lost, but remains zany through out. I'm guessing the kid in the bus must be his son. The subsequent dancers are fine, and they do eventually stop circling the lot, and just drive around the block.

This part of the video has a ton of superlatives. It is the only instance so far where a single featured dancer dances for a second time, we have a third set of dancers that remain in subsequent takes as background, and of course, just like the boxing gym of 1PM, a whole bunch of people who are already there, and get their opportunity to jive. My guess is that the gentleman next to the girl in the front was supposed to be next, but he chickened out, and gave the female swing dancer from the earlier video a solo.

Appropriately enough, the bus driver sends us back out into LA.... and into Jamie Foxx! I'm guessing that must be his wife and daughter, and they looked thrilled to simply be together on the train tracks. It's kinda awesome, really. He's probably the biggest name I've seen so far!

I'm guessing the star power of this hour (kinda like the Magic Johnson hour of 5AM) is what boosted this video's view count on YouTube, although the remaining dancers aren't too bad, and get more enthusiastic as the sun sets on the 5PM hour. Once again, the final dancers opens up the next location, and it appears we will be on a bridge.

Current Mood: Happy

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May 1st, 2014
12:20 am

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24 Hours of Happy (4PM)
This hour of "Happy" started off weird. Pharrell Williams comes in more serious than I've ever seen him in any of the previous videos. I thought the camera folks would go to another location, but here, it looks like they stayed where they are from 3PM. I'm thinking this building is... I don't know... a very solemn location, like another church, only larger than the one earlier, like a Catholic church? Perhaps engravings of dead persons?

The dancers also dance very restrained. I believe they were going for a strong dichotomy. It was probably the only way a couple of ballet dancers would work. Definitely different. Not all happiness has to be jumpy and fast.

We see a big guy who moves pretty well. The children are... er... adorable. ^_^;;;

We see a set of twins, an awesome dude in a striped shirt and a smooth dancing guy in a leather jacket, and then a lady in a nicely colored dress who... was rather bouncy. It was a relief once another moving minion appear on screen (and also during one of the kid segments, working as both a T-Shirt and a stuffed animal). The minion makes a small cameo getting away from the dancing girl with the jacket after his segment. Finally, an awesome guy with dreadlocks ends the video in a school bus station, which is where I believe our next segment will take place.

There were parts of this hour that heavily dragged it down. Not surprisingly, it has one of the lowest view counts I've seen on any of the hours on YouTube, second only to the non-stop driving of the 4AM hour (maybe four is an unlucky number for this 24 hours of "Happy"). However, 5AM was a big pick-me-up after the drag of 4AM, so maybe this next hour will be awesome!

Current Mood: happyhappy

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April 13th, 2014
04:48 pm

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24 Hours of Happy (3PM)
Well, this was an odd hour. It starts out very spirited. For the first time in the entire 24 hours, the audio changes as Pharrell Williams dances in front of a choir, which adds a nice harmonic "Happy" to the vocals. It's a nice portion, and has a rather epic sound.

We explore the church a little bit, before going outside, and ending up in the suburbs of LA again. The dancers are a mixture of spirited and decent. The producers have gotten savvy because they've moved between indoor locations, never sticking around too long, and constantly exploring different parts of the building.

However, once out in the neighborhood, there was a ton of glare. The 3PM sunlight is a little lower in the sky, so I can understand. It feels like a good counterpoint to the late-night videos, where there was no light at all.

We have a wonderful girl in a wedding dress, who I at least got one good shot away from the glare, and also a fun girl in yellow, who I barely got to see at all. I'm surprised it has as many views as it does on YouTube, but I think the movement through various indoor locations, and the solid dancers seem to keep everyone's attention.

Aside from the glare, I think the only issue is the sameness of all the dancers, with not as much variety. But it was still enjoyable.

I'm actually not sure what building they end with. Maybe a library, or a museum? However, there's a fade out at the end of the hour, so it seems this is also the first video that does not take us to William's next location on the final location.

Current Mood: Happy

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April 11th, 2014
07:15 pm

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24 Hours of Happy (2PM)
The video starts off very strong, with Pharrell Williams in the subways of Los Angeles, dancing underground with crowds of train passengers following him down the corridor. It's probably the most epic shot in all his videos so far, as seeing the glee and excitement in the faces of what may be some fans brings a smile to your face.

The cinematographers play this one smart. They never stay within the same space for too long, constantly moving to different parts of the train station in order to avoid repetition. This is probably their smartest use of indoor space, going into different areas, including brief spurts of the outdoors, but lingering in areas with other people which provide backdrop and spontaneity, rather than being inside empty buildings. Not that there's anything wrong with empty buildings, but there were several of them during the 12AM - 3AM hours, and we didn't get anything indoors with people until 10AM at the Amtrak station.

The dancers have all been fun, busting out their individual moves. However, my absolute favorite dancers, possibly for the entire 24 hours, were two guys who were either tapping or swinging together in suits. Their routine was so intense, focused, and lively, it was hard not to fall in love with them! I can't believe this hour has one of the lowest view counts on YouTube!

There was also our fourth trio, with three older gentlemen just boogying on down. They seemed a little odd, but only because everyone in the video so far has been very young and nimble this hour, with little variety in terms of age range. One girl was probably a teenager. That added to a sort of sameness in terms of age, unlike the crazy variety from 11AM - 1PM.

However, the two tuxedo dancers sold this hour! Wish I could learn more about them.

As always, the last dancer dictates the next location, and it seems like we're in a church....

PS - Minion siting: one of the dancers is wearing a T-Shirt with a picture of a minion. ^_^

Current Mood: happyhappy

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April 10th, 2014
12:20 pm

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24 Hours of Happy (1PM)
We pick up inside the boxing gym that we left off in the last hour. As has been the case since 11AM, a lot of the top dancers and performs seem to be crammed during this time period.

However, this feels the weakest of the three so far, only because I felt they spent a little bit too much time inside the boxing gym. Maybe if the space had been a little larger, it would have been the perfect amount of time. The filmmakers, at this point, have figured out the proper amount of time to stay indoors, so they do leave around 15 minutes in.

It feels appropriate to talk about superlatives now, since they all occur inside the gym. We have our second early, early, EARLY bird cameo in a row, and a post-dancing cameo during Pharrell Williams hourly video. The guy from the previous video is seen working out in the background for almost two videos after his section, while the female boxer in yellow shorts, and a jump-roper, appear BEFORE William's video, appear in two subsequent videos before or after their own sections, and before they finally leave the boxing gym! This makes the two of them the most featured dancers of anyone in the entire 24 hours of Happy, second only to the driver of the convertible who appeared in 7 (who technically doesn't count as a dancer, since he was driving the whole time).

I'm wondering if two of the dancers and Williams were the only scheduled ones, and those particular two had simply joined in the shenanigans on the spot. Anyway, there's still three quarters of an hour to go, and the yellow dancers (who either seem happier because of the color, or are dancing happier because they are wearing it, or who knows why) start pouring in again, and they look ecstatic. We're back into the streets of Los Angeles, and the interaction with bystanders this hour is amazing. We have a minion cameo as a pinata, who the dancer takes special note of as he jumps up to touch it, and another swing dancing couple who look addictive in their hot peach and bright colors, perfectly capturing the mid-afternoon light! I was especially loving the girl with the short-shorts and floral top. She was my favorite for the hour...

... With the exception of the three friends who were dancing together! Trios have actually been quite rate, with only minions and three ladies so far dancing together, so it was a real treat to see these guys ham it up for the camera! What's even additionally hilarious is watching as they grow exhausted, realize they're not done dancing, and then struggle during the end of the song.

We end the hour underground, as the final dancer takes us to William's next destination, the Los Angeles subway...

Current Mood: Happy

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12:00 am

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24 Hours of Happy (12PM)
I completely forgot that the last dancer of the previous hour takes us to the next location for Pharrell William's hourly video. Naturally, Williams starts off in the same diner we left off from the 11AM hour. It took me a while to figure it out: Of course. People have lunch at 12PM. He's happy while he's at lunch. Duh!

I was a little floored when I saw the 12PM hour had 4 million views on YouTube. Not sure how it got so popular, but then, it does have an aesthetic that previous hours did not have. While some of the night and morning videos are very good, the 12PM video has the advantage of having the sun fully in the sky, bathing the entire background with light, and making the faces of the dancers glow, with little glare hitting the camera. The sheer joy of every scene just makes every video shine. This entire hour is carried by visuals, and is defined by Happy sunshine. Coupled with consistent and varied dancers, this is probably the perfect hour in a mainstream appeal sense, but if I could switch a few of the 11AM dancers into 12PM, I think it would be even more amazing. But still, a solid hour considering it was made on the fly.

However, credit must be given. The little girl in the peach sells this hour. She's amazing. She is happy to the 11th degree, and her routine is jaw-dropping. And the variety of the people in this hour is perfect. Two little kids, two older folks, and a bunch of people spread in-between, including another duo (they've been in a sort of "one every hour" pattern, although they've had more during the 12AM - 4AM videos). I still love the girl with the pink headphones, though, but really, all the dancers were very cool, with only one or two who I felt were OK.

The superlative for this hour involves an early, early, EARLY bird cameo. The skateboarder who gets his own video during this hour actually appeared several videos earlier during the really-talented-girl-in-the-grey-suit's video. He passes by in the background, and it took me a while to figure out it was the same person in both shots.

Full disclosure: When I first went into the 24hoursofhappy.com website, it was 12:30 PM, so my very first dancer was the lady in pink. Perhaps people get on the website at 12PM during their lunch breaks, and that's why it has such a large view count when people pick up the YouTube version at home. Either way, I felt she was a good start for anyone first starting out with these videos, as the variety follows her during the remainder of the hour.

We seem to be jumping from indoor-to-indoor locations during the early afternoon hours as opposed to most of the morning time. This is a rather unique location, since it seems to be an boxing gym... this next hour should be interesting... are we about to see dancing boxers?

Current Mood: Happy

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April 9th, 2014
01:17 pm

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24 Hours of Happy (11AM)
Wow. Simply wow!

I think this wins the best hour award. I was stuck between 1AM, 5AM, and 9AM so far (I'm only halfway done, as I started at 12AM), but this hour wins!

I don't even know how to describe it! There was just so much going on! First off, almost all of the dancers were explosive! And while they weren't as varied as 9AM, holy crap were they varied in personality! Let me summarize as many of them as I can!

+ Pharrell Williams starts off in an alley way, and then we promptly leave it on the next video, back to the streets of LA, which is fine, as the lady after him was cool, as were the two break dancers after her. And then it all gets shot into chaos, as some guy with a cast on his foot dances dangerously and fiercely while on a scooter for a substantial portion of the video, leaves the scooter for some reason, dances on one healed foot, and then picks up crutches at the end... all while being followed by a lady who just sorta dances beside him for some reason. Is she a friend? Wife? Bystander? I DON'T KNOW! And that doesn't even begin to describe his section!

+ We're followed by a kid who has an amazing afro, and he can move! He's so peppy and happy, and he interacts with people on the street excellently. His energy is so innocent and sincere, it's infectious.

+ We have a superlative, where for the first time, the camera doesn't bother to pan, fade, or cut between dancers. One dancer walks off, and another one replaces him by simply walking back on-screen. Which leads into a girl who is not only a rockin' dancer, but she interacts AMAZINGLY with bystanders. She was WORKIN' it! A small aside: I always felt bad whenever filming passed by homeless people in the streets of Los Angeles. It seems inappropriate to be filming a song called "Happy" while surrounded by homeless people. Perhaps since they were filming in the day time, it didn't feel like their music would disturb their sleep. Either way, I'm glad someone was able to turn the situation into something more lighthearted. This girl was the first dancer who didn't shy away from fist bumping, dancing, and interacting with LA's homeless, and for that, I give her MAD props. Aside from cast man, she struck my memory the most this hour, and possibly the whole 24 hours of dancing.

+ And if THAT wasn't epic enough, we have these three senior ladies who were KICKIN' it! They were hilarious! They danced, they moved, they fought each other for camera attention... they filled me with joy!

+ We had another quick walk on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which we haven't seen since 1AM, but this time, it is daytime. The amount of people dancing in the background has increased exponentially this hour, probably because it's now late morning and people are fully awake and energized. But it seems the Walk of Fame was done on purpose, since we end the walk at... Jimmy Kimmel. Holy crap, that caught me off guard! Not only are we back indoors, but it's with someone famous! But Kimmel plays it suave. He just walks around his set, seemingly content in his own castle. =P

+ We end the hour inside a restaurant kitchen, and honestly, I really like this ending. This is the first time we've seen someone be happy at a job, and coupled with being an indoor location, it was something I hadn't seen in the videos so far. The girl makes grabbing tea, folding towels, and prepping a kitchen look like it could be a musical all on its own.

This was an hour, but it felt like 20 minutes. It just flew by, and there was so much going on! The locations were either outdoor and fun, or varied in terms of indoors, striking a balance in dancers, location, personality, unique camera work, and impressive personalities, with a Jimmy Kimmel cherry-on-top. THIS is the hour you should share with your friends (although I'll come up with a final judgement when I finally reach 11PM)!

Current Mood: Happy

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April 8th, 2014
06:44 pm

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24 Hours of Happy (10AM)
Happy, 10AM. Or, alternatively, Happy and The Stalker with the Cat on his Head.

The train station was actually a very solid location for all the dancing. It had the unique quality of being indoors, but also being a place with people in the middle of the day. Up until this hour, all the indoor locations were empty, and could drag when too much time was spent there. Here, the dancers can all make great use of the train's busy schedule and interact with all the patrons. As a bonus, there's an ability to go outside and inside through out the course of the song.

This hour has the unique superlative of being the first video to feature an early-bird cameo (if one starts from 12AM): the gentlemen behind Pharrell Williams at the start of the hour is the lead dancer in the second video.

There was a lot less fading and cutting, as the camera crew merely panned up, waited for dancers to switch, and then picked it up again. The 10:16AM dancer was my favorite, but there were a lot of very good dancers sprinkled through out the video, with tons of energy.

These dancers were needed, because the hour was dragged a bit by a few odd choices in dancers who didn't seem to be into it too much. I still think it was an OK hour, even if it didn't fly by like 9AM, but I think the reason it has such a low view count on YouTube is because it still suffers "set location" syndrome. Some of the indoor locations are repeated too many times, and the best areas are rarely used to their full effect by some of the dancers. I'm wondering if maybe indoor locations are only good to use for half-hour chunks, since very few buildings can have that many unique rooms, but eh, they have an hour to fill, and they had the space.

At 10:36AM, the girl dancer passes by an information booth that is playing Despicable Me 2 on a small black-and-white TV. I don't think we've seen a reference to the movie since the minions were running at 5AM. ^_^

Per the music videos pattern, the last dancer takes us to the next location, and it seems to be a return to the streets of LA!

EDIT: Apparently, the gentleman at 10:32AM is Sérgio Mendes, and famous Brazilian artist. Neat!

Current Mood: happyhappy

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05:24 pm

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24 Hours of Happy (9AM)
Thought I'd given up, huh? =D

Now this was awesome! Pharrell Williams had wanted to showcase as much diversity as possible, and he blows it out of the park with this one. I can't even pick a favorite, because each dancer was almost entirely different from one another! There were little kids, adults, teenagers, even a swing dancing pair, older women, who were the most hilarious.

There was a lot of walking in the streets, and a lot of fun bystanders enjoying the silliness. There's nothing much to say about this hour because it was just the best hour since 1AM. I guess most of the kids were awake by 9AM, and that's why there was such a surge of children this hour, after only popping up in brief clumps during the 2AM hour.

This hour has to be the best so far. There's so much variety, so many fun moments, and the mix of professionals, amateurs, and just plain regular folk is very refreshing, and truly carries the message of the song.

As always, the final dancer transports us to a new location, which looks like it might be a trains station of some kind, heading indoors after being outside since Magic Johnson's house way back at 5AM. I'm going to keep watching!

Current Mood: Happy?

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