Saturday, August 7, 2010

I wrote these, for what purpose remains a mystery...

-Great elation takes a leap,
I arrived at this destination too soon.

The beasts of tomorrow glut
themselves on today's fodder.

Ambient noise is the song of
their union.

Let's raze the world in the
comfort of our ignorance.

-Ode to Customers-
Fellow travelers in the channel,
I'll direct your rudder.

Frustration abounds in tones,
I'll set all to right.

We duel with pleasantries,
your's mostly lacking.

You make life a less than
tolerable hell.

From Garrison Keillor, as far as I know, a poem I can't ever remove from memory.

Here on this Summer night
in the grass and lilac smell,
drunk on the crickets and the starry sky.
Oh, what fine stories we could tell,
with this moonlight to tell them by.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Burma Shave

For all the melodies that play across the span of our world, for the lyrics on the lips of dedicated sycophants of musical artists and bards, there are but few songs I truly love.

One late night, early in my adult years I was watching a repeat session of the PBS music program Austin City Limits. It featured Tom Waits shuffling around a prop Filling Station speaking the lyrics to an incredible song, a moving story. He'd glide over and prop his arm up on a pump, a cigarette bearing an impressive amount of ash hung limply in his outstretched hand. He was telling us of two strangers and their chance meeting, of dreams that fall short in tragedy at the feet of their destination. It was marvelous.

I just can't get over that song.

Let me share something with you...

I’ve heard that an artist’s work is a representation of their environment. Like a sponge they soak up all that occurs around them. If this is true, it says some interesting things about history.

Living today in a world of pre-fabricated, plug-in-play conveniences where an environment is a carefully crafted, plastic model of a corporation’s grand design, it’s hard for an artist to escape the fate of becoming derivative. Originality and uniqueness are qualities which evade the glut of today’s “artistes” who are ready to ply the heartless formulas of Pop-Monsters to their modular, tech-nourished, sense-deprived lives in hopes that they, like so many talentless fools before them, can line their pockets with pilfered royalties. How red their grasping claws must be.

We live in an age where the common man is encouraged to whore out his mother, wife, and daughter for a chance to grasp the rich man’s nickel. Shame, for this writer, is a horrific slight of an understatement.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Christopher Nolan's Inception

When it comes to Christopher Nolan I can't offer enough praise. There is a film maker who has, time and again, amazed, puzzled, and impressed from film to film in a crescendo of quality. Films such as Dark Knight, The Prestige, and Memento display this man's genius in the film medium, and they come with my highest recommendation to any who have not yet had the opportunity to watch them.

Then there is his most recent film Inception. From the first scene to the final, it is a film experience like no other. The splendid acting, the amazing writing, and the powerful score, composed by Hans Zimmer, combined to wrap the viewer in the action and story of this cinematic wonder.

The film deals with dreams, to put it plainly, and how through the invasion of dreams one can not only steal ideas but plant them, changing the nature of the individual whose dreams were subject to the trespass. It also addresses the life we may have in dreams and the ability to hold tightly to the things we dare not release. Those things we hold to, though, could damn us in the end as we eventually see.

The cast consisted of what I consider, in no disrespect whatsoever, to be Nolan's stable of actors, with obvious additions. Once again we see Michael Caine, a Nolan favorite apparently, Ken Watanabe, and Cillian Murphy whose role and character story would alone make an interesting film apart from the dream business. Leonardo DiCaprio has been an impressive fixture in the film industry rising above the years of being considered a base heartthrob to becoming a meaningful, inspiring actor. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gave a grand performance in consistency with his usual brilliance as an actor. Ellen Paige impressed me in her role as the architect of the dream world and the mediator for Leonardo's character's inner conflict. Then there's Tom Hardy who I haven't seen since his appearance in Star Trek Nemesis which he's apparently not only outgrown but surpassed in so many ways. I hope to see him in many future films. These actors along with the layers of wonder present in the world of the film kept the action moving, driving the viewer to the typical, rewarding Nolan finish.

There are some things about Christoper Nolan that I have noticed in watching this and his many other films. One thing is, and perhaps I'm reading too far into this, that it seems in most of his movies the story, after whatever exposition is offered, ends up in a garage or warehouse where plans are laid and the characters base themselves in preparation for whatever it is they hope to achieve. In Batman Begins and in Dark Knight we see Bruce Wayne in the Batcave or Fortress observing the story occurring beyond the room he's in and formulating plans to deal with the events he must inevitably join. In the Prestige we see the workshops of two magicians who must use their places of solitude to design their contraptions and illusions to better their acts and meet out revenge on one another. In Inception we see the team of dream specialists designing their assault on the consciousness of their mark in a warehouse where all their techniques and methods are developed. I know, having watched the special features available through Nolan's films, that he tends to develop all of his movie concepts and stories in his garage. Perhaps this isn't the case all the time, but I thought it would be an interesting connection between his view of a workspace/planning area that acts also as a fortress of solitude and his character's areas of planning and design. From both locations stories are built, plans are made, and the rest of the film progresses forth.

To conclude, I find Christopher Nolan to be my favorite director above all others. It is in the areas I've mentioned above and in the respect for his work that I base this assessment of the man. I highly recommend viewing his library of film when you get the chance!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Harvey Pekar, A Passing

The last several years have taken a great many incredible people out of our world. Names drop from life to join the list of those no more. So much talent, such amazing lives, and many interesting personalities laid to rest at last.

I never had much of a chance or a drive to read American Splendor. I regret this because what I picked up from the little I knew of the book was that it was something certainly worth reading. It was truth and life, not just any, but those of a simple Ohio resident named Harvey Pekar.

Harvey seemed like a character, hell he most likely was based on all the documentation of his life I've been exposed to. I felt a kinship in many ways, like I knew the silly man. His tales, the most wondrous gifts we gift each other during our lives, were fun, odd, sad, and stirred so many folk's emotions. I could feel his effect on the wondrous industry of comics and the legacy he crafted and left behind. I didn't need to be a life long fan to understand or appreciate him. All I needed was a read over his work, a look at him in discussion and I was certain that this was an impressive force. Thanks to the film makers of American Splendor for fully exposing me to this fella.

It was great to have known of, and have had exposure, though limited, to such a man as Harvey Pekar. May he rest well. I wonder what he'd say of his current state or where he found himself after death. That would make a great comic, and I'm certain it would be all the better being recorded with his pen.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From This Moment Into Infinity...

I get this feeling whenever I read science-fiction, or watch a science-fiction film, that I am looking into the inner workings of my own humanity. This feeling much resembles looking at one's toes and raising one's gaze till it meets the horizon. There's this intense draw when you see the beyond, especially when your aware of your own position in relation.

My imaginings in this genre have always taken me to the edges of known perception and driven questions out of me that aren't easily, or usually, driven. It's as if I can zoom from views of nuclear particles out to the greatest distances of the edges of the known universe and back again. In this journey of realization not only am I able to see the shapes, forms, and substances for what they truly are, I am also capable of greater imagining with questions that look for what is not seen between the layers of existence. Raised in a world of darkness would we think to question the absence of light?

Such a speculative and often dismissed genre, science-fiction provides a vehicle like no other which deepens the potential and possibility for present and future discovery. If we do not ask of the absence how shall we react when we are made aware of the presence?

I have always been a fan of this section of fiction and, for as far distant as I can figure, I will always be. Looking beyond the simplistic, silliness of certain lighter levels of the genre, into the heart of the questions its greatest writers and works ask, I can see the whole of our potential. That is a truly splendid thing indeed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Tonight I watched a film I've had my eye on since long before its official release. "Moon," directed by Duncan Jones and starring Sam Rockwell, is one of the best, most human science-fiction films I've seen.

For those who have seen Douglas Trumbull's "Silent Running," and those who have read Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot," there is much in this film to draw comparisons with. I won't go into enough detail to spoil the plot but I will say that the questions of ethics that arise and the feeling one get's for the society the character exists apart from really pull at one's interest and challenge personal philosophies.

It's a fantastic drama about personal revelation, existence, and what's make a human a human. I would highly recommend this film to any who are interested in a great story that deals with the previously mentioned themes and who enjoy such in a wonderful science-fiction setting.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Humanity, Oh, Humanity...

I felt a genuine disgust this weekend while experiencing something for the first time. After attending a send off for one of the few tolerable co-workers I know, and drinking copious amounts of bitter, my wife, myself, and my friend with his wife all decided to go inspect the local exotic night club.

I have not, in my entire life, been to a strip club, and after having been subjected to one I can honestly say that I will not, for any reason, enter one again. It's a pit of repulsive humanity where the breathing's hard, the feigned sexuality is desperate, and there's a general confusion as to the setting of any known social boundaries. Despicable can't even begin to compound effectively enough with the adjectives of dislike I have in mind for such a place.

The girls, for though they appear women most are in fact girls, are sad. It's a sadness that makes you want to give them money, whether or not you are in fact enticed, if possible, by their meek attempts to wobble around like "Sex-clowns" on a gaudy, festively lit stage.

I love women and can not see myself finding anything more attractive about humanity than the natural personalities and physical forms of women. My wife is an icon of lust for me, to be less than private about such powerfully primal emotions, but I can't see anything possibly attractive in women who behave with a foul, vaudevillian manner that mocks their inherent sexiness.

The point is that no matter how demanding the base crowd of hard panting monkeys in over-sized polyester sports clothing are, women shouldn't lower themselves in such a way, and any who respect the attractiveness of the female should avoid such places, no matter how intoxicated one becomes or how daring their sense of humor convinces them it can be.

Some uncommon thoughts over an artistic ale, at the computer of Sunday night's closing. Adieu.

Friday, May 28, 2010

At home in death...

The shadow of life, a parallel, a mere world, forever untouchable.

We but slip between realities, perceptions. I am not as stable as I seem.

Tomorrow not coming is an event for which we must always prepare, however consciously we do. A misstep or a sudden seizing up of once functioning organs could bring a close of the grand curtain.

I intend on lingering long after the physical form is dust. Let my shade hang about, a loiterer in forbidden lands. I'd be the cold in the dim room, the smell of old life that wanders past for a moment, or the blur in the occasional photo.

Die? Not soon I hope, though I've got my plans.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ponds and their mystery...

A curious thing, a pond. The most curious are those which seem to come from nowhere but are there all the same. They can lead to enchantment, or they can lead to doom. Are they doors, or are they windows?

I'm writing a story now based on tales told to me by my grandparents about ponds. One pond in particular that does not actually exist except for within my imagining mind. It's horrific what happens in regard to this pond, but I'm not certain if it's a horror of lurking bestial ferocity or a horror of dreadful bewitchment. In deciding this I am able to dispense with boundaries and have some real fun. Where will that pond lead?

In writing this I'm having a bear of a time trying to stretch the variables of my current vocabulary. In my attempt to find synonyms for pond and water I've discovered quite a challenge. How to vary my words so as not to annoy the mindful reader with monotony and ghastly repetition. How, indeed.

I shall post what I can, when I can. As for the finished product, I am hoping to use this as one of my attempts at selling a finished writing piece. Here's hoping. Perhaps one day I'll be able to write full time and commit myself to your entertainment, dear reader. Perhaps.

Until I make it as a professional, if ever, I will gladly update you with my current progress.

Until next time, may the days be kind.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Doctor Who, from childhood to present...

My Uncle Adam has been an incredible influence on my life. Through him I've been introduced to masterful music from centuries past, brilliant, sophisticated British comedy, titanic films, enchanting novels, and the best of classic Science-Fiction.

The one item he injected into my life, from my very early childhood when my sister and I would spend our days at our grandparent's house, he a teenager, myself around three or four, and my sister a year or two younger, was the sensational series Doctor Who. I have so many fond memories of all those quirky, heroic British men running around in their unique garb, besting the terrors of the universe. The sound of the TARDIS materializing is almost as old for me as the sound of my mother's voice, no exaggeration there. Together we'd watch William Hartnell, the old gentleman renegade from Gallifrey, and granddaughter Susan, Patrick Troughton with his entertaining, slightly mad take on the great Timelord, John Pertwee with his action packed, mostly Earthbound, Doctor, the unforgettable Tom Baker with flowing scarf and beaming grin, Peter Davison with celery and cricket clothes, Colin Baker and his loud outfit, and even Sylvester McCoy with the adorable Ace, and their much too zany adventures. In the first few years of my life I was privileged enough to see what most British folk saw over the span of twenty odd years.

Then we come to the present. As soon as talk arose of the new series, in the early, early years of the 21st Century, I had found something related to Doctor Who to thrill over again, though with great caution until I could sample the first story and see what's become of the old man and his box. This was a natural hesitancy due to the bastard of a job Fox did with Paul McGann's unfortunate, though for the character himself, entertaining Doctor. When it finally did air I scrabbled to see it which I did after a few months, though not being in Britain this was a considerable feat. Christopher Eccleston wasn't bad, but the feel of the show was different. Here was a Doctor that had lost a bit of his early joy, being much more rough, after losing his people to an age old enemy, the Daleks. His look was strikingly different compared to the actors before him, and his behavior took a while to grow on me. I kept up with the series seeing what there was for the future, if the show had one. Eccleston bowed out early, taking with him another slot in the Doctor's thirteen regeneration cycles. This caused some panic because the show was just starting up again and here we've lost another Doctor. Then came David Tennant. In his tenure on the series David Tennant managed to not only capture the character, and pay fantastic homage to the previous actors, but to also take the universe of Doctor Who to new heights. I've not seen an actor pull in as much new interest in a series as Tennant did in his time. As amazing as his Doctor was to watch, with his wit, classy attire, and chemistry with the peoples he encountered, it was that hard to watch him go, but sadly he did.

Now we're in the midst of the Fifth Series, our Doctor now is the remarkable Matt Smith, decked in tweed coat and bow tie, and the series charges on. Smith's Doctor has not only made up for the mournful departure of David Tennant, but has taken the show in yet another incredible direction, making the role of spectator even more exciting. So now, every Saturday night, my wife and I gratefully continue to watch the ever magnificent adventures of the great Doctor Who.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The X-Files, a show close to heart...

Weird is a word I would use to describe a great many things which also happen to be things I hold great affinity towards. Any movies, shows, books, periodicals, etc. that cover the weird or utilize it for entertaining story telling, are the ones I enjoy the most. Nothing has been more a pleasure to follow, for me at least, as the X-Files.

The X-Files was (boy do I hate referring to it in the past tense) a show that inspired me, entertained me, and fueled my imagination like a fusion generator might a city. The creatures featured, the stories told, and the memorable characters drove this one home and kept it deliciously rich up till the end. With the exception of Doctor Who, this show has been the greatest science-fiction show in history.

Not only did I geek out on the show, I followed it into other media such as gaming, another close to heart pursuit. The X-Files Collectible Card Game, from the US Playing Card Company, was, next to Magic the Gathering, one of the card games I collected the most and played as much as possible. It was brilliant and short lived, unfortunately.

All in all, it's things like the X-Files that get me revved up for discussion and imagining. I could go on for hours about the show and all it meant to me, but I think that this little post will suffice. Although, if you're ever looking to discuss X-Files you now know who to find.

Terry Gilliam's "The Fisher King"

While perusing the items available for instant browse on my Netflix queue, I noticed this film of which I have heard little but some. I had no idea of the subject matter going in, nor did I have any expectations. After watching it I can say that this, along with "Tideland," has shown that Terry Gilliam, while constantly dabbling in the surreal, has a handle on stories that are uncomfortable, yet human.

It dealt with a man who had no direction in life, yet had a "Pissed at the world" kind of attitude. Through his ramblings on the talk radio show he hosted, he inspired a listener to murder. This act not only shocked the character out of his apathetic, wasteful life but propelled him down a self-destructive, suicidal path. It was in a moment of suicidal contemplation that he met Perry, a homeless man, very dramatic, caught up in a self-preserving fantasy after having watched his wife's murder. Unfortunately for the main character, Jack, this was the murder spurred by his on air rant. His listener deprived Perry of his wife and, in doing so, his sanity. Continuing on after their initial meeting, the movie follows Jack as he seeks redemption by helping Perry with his apparent needs and wants. A good ending, in spite of the sometimes horrific happenings and despair, was had.

I'm still processing this one. Writing about it now is helping, though the time and my fatigue both restrict me from further analyzing the film and its effect on me. I'm impressed, as always, with Terry Gilliam as a film maker, and I'm finding new ways to appreciate Robin Williams and Jeff Daniels. I'd recommend it, with the caution that you will more than likely find yourself becoming severely uncomfortable at times.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The gods, our lessons, our purpose...

I've asked myself many questions lately in regard to origin and purpose. From whence did we come and to where shall we be destined?

I don't know if there are any gods, or god, but there seems to be a current of wonder out there on the edge of sight where reality is too distant to perceive or confirm. I believe there is more to existence than this, however foolish or wasteful of time that may seem. I do wonder if there are dragons beyond the edge of the known and if the faeries do inhabit the bottom of the garden. That twinkle of enchantment makes the dew glimmer more so and the days seem wondrously filled with the potential of mystical revelation. If these things exist though, if reality isn't all that is perceived but what is also past that perception, what are we to this supernormal?

Am I a scion? Is that too grand of a delusion? Is it not fun to imagine ourselves winged and soaring through the heavens rather than confined to the prisons of our mortal boundaries? I will revel in the dreams that give me more and bask in the light of the otherworldly.

I have hope, and truly that is powerful in itself.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The other place for the words I have...

My third blog. I find this more useful than posting incessantly on some social networking site to people who aren't worth talking to and could give a damn.

This one is created with the purpose of just writing. No artwork, gaming, or anything like that. This is a place to dump my thoughts, opinions, and general commentary on life.

Simple enough. Please, read on.