Friday, February 22, 2013


It's never easy when you're faced with the emotions of others. At least, it's never been easy for me to deal with other people's emotions. They feel obscene, as if they shouldn't be exposed as easily as they sometimes are. They feel alien and overwhelming.

Whenever I'm the target for someone's emotional outpouring I feel sickened and cornered. Fight or flight kicks in as whatever the other intended to express seeps out from them. I become angry, and I react poorly. My fragile tolerance buckles in response as I desperately think of a reaction, not at all considering the consequences. I just want to make it stop.

Needless to say, this extreme handling of such situations rarely leads to passive future interaction. It's only after another individual chooses me as their emotional target that they truly discover just how greatly I lack empathy and how cruel I can actually be. I'm aware of this, obviously, and it makes me hate myself, even though I find comfort in being so overly guarded.

I'm working to identify the reason behind this aspect of my personality. I realize that I have the potential to be a great source of comfort and guidance to a great many people. I understand that guarding myself in such a way inhibits my growth as an individual. I know that risks are required to make an honest and respectable go at life.

Now, I have to choose between opening myself and dealing with the consequences or remaining closed and detached, stunted. Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cat and Counterfeit Mouse Games

I bought our cats a package of toy mice yesterday. Their little fabric eyes stared up at me through the plastic as I took them down from the store rack. I felt no guilt as I carried them through the checkout and homeward, towards a sort of doom. Everything has a purpose, I repeated to myself.

Molly, a gorgeous calico in the mid-years of her life, has been our cat since my wife and I first began a serious attempt at a relationship. She was a musical kitten then, her spots of black and ginger arranged so perfectly across her petite face. To this day she's remains overly vocal, but it seems the kittenhood has gradually faded from her over the years, for the most part unnoticeably.

She's a loving creature with a jolly disposition, and she's so very energetic. Though, of all the cats I've ever met Molly is the best at maintaining the duplicitous personality of a sweet pal and expert killer. She's taken bats out of mid-air with a single eight foot leap. She's mouse hunted with such skill that her ancestors would surely swell with pride.

So, it's no surprise that she enjoys the "Hunt" which occurs as soon as one of the store-bought pseudo-mice hits the floor. Her approach is comical, a few sidelong steps and then she plunges a claw past the mouse, spinning it. Then the dance begins as she, to best describe it, goes into a series of seemingly ritualistic movements in which there is much spinning and flopping and rolling and leg waving. Her body rises up on its hind legs, her green eyes fiery as they lock on the ersatz rodent, and then falls heavily upon her prey, renewing the sequence of the dance soon after.

No matter how many years pass, Molly is still as vibrant and lively as she ever was. I've not always been a cat person, but when it comes to Molly I find that I can't help but be invested. She's become such a big part of my life that I sometimes find myself worrying about the day when I'll notice her missed steps and her apparent loss of youthful passion. The knowledge that some day she'll be unable to play as wildly as she has digs at me. One day Molly will no longer be. Fact. But instead I should focus on the present. I should delight in watching her enjoy her toy. I'll take advantage of her presence in the now and cherish it. For now I'll watch Molly be.

To the mice I can express little sympathy, renewing the chant of my mantra. They're one with the universe now. Their fake fur, fabric bits, and copious stuffing may litter our floor, but they're in a place where Molly's instinctual four-step can no longer molest them. My thanks to them for their service.

Molly, proud and triumphant

Monday, February 4, 2013

The X-Files - I Believe - Part 2

It's been a while since I last wrote on The X-Files. My fault, I'm afraid. I was distracted from the show by life and all the projects I've attempted in the intervening months. Anyway, I'm back with some more words on the series. Going forward I think I'll continue to write about it, but my X-Phile writings won't be frequent, in keeping with my apparent tradition evident here. So, expect random fan blurbs going forward.

When thinking back on the series I instantly begin to dwell on the episodes which stood out for me and, in my opinion, defined the best qualities of Chris Carter's incredible television show. There were many, and I don't think I can recall all of them at this time, but here's my attempt to address a few from my list of episodes which I consider to be personal favorites.

No episode better sets the tone for this series than its pilot, titled "Pilot." I can't recall seeing another series' pilot and feeling as interested in the characters and universe so quickly. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were fascinating from the beginning, and their investigation into the mysterious happenings in Bellefleur, Oregon was, in my opinion, gripping. From the mystery of the opening message which read "The following story is inspired by actual documented accounts" to strange lights in the woods to the details which follow the main character's encounter with an UFO, this episode is full of the flavor viewers would return to enjoy in the following episodes of the series for many fantastic years after. It's not hard to understand why the series continued long after the pilot's premier on September 10, 1993.

Mulder and Scully discuss events over a possible extraterrestrial
Another episode which springs to mind is "Unusual Suspects" from Season Five. I, like most fans of The X-Files, love the characters of Frohike, Byers, and Langley. They're the great conspiracy theorist stooges who accent Mulder's occasional humorous side and share in his obsession with all things dark, mysterious, controversial, and otherworldly. In fact, they're more invested in certain aspects of the paranoid subculture than Mulder could ever be. The episode is a flashback to the meeting of the trio at a technology convention (the perfect place for the origin story of the Lone Gunmen). It spins the typical goofiness of The Lone Gunmen with a shadowy plot involving some doofy G-Man named Fox Mulder (again, flashback). The ending is a treat for those new to the series and invested with the myth arc up to that point, and overall the episode feels like a clever thank you to the fans.

"Narc" Byers, Frohike, and D&D-playing Langley
"Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" is a brilliant episode which features the show's main villain, the eponymous Cigarette Smoking Man (or CSM for short). Again, this is a flashback episode. I think I enjoy these because of the flavor they add to the overall series universe. Anyway, this is a story of the mysterious conspiracy-creator and manipulator who looms over Mulder's crusade for the Truth. The CSM, or "Raul Bloodworth," as we come to call him through this episode, is shown at the beginning to be in a dingy space, close to a window, listening to Frohike ramble on about the facts he uncovered about the CSM. The audience is then taken back through time and allowed to see the events described as they are being filtered through the hazy recollections of the spying CSM. We see how he was recruited, his involvement in the Kennedy assassination, his strong principles and even stronger dedication to his duty as he goes out to end the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his exposure to the existence of extraterrestrials, and, most incredibly, we see his hidden passion, as he continues throughout the flashback timeline, which is writing paperback adventure novels (his penname being "Raul Bloodworth"). After all the amazing glimpses into the darkest corners of the series' universe through the eyes of its most visible puppet master the episode wraps up nicely addressing the failed pursuits of "Mr. Bloodworth" and his ongoing quest to "Deceive, Inveigle, and Obfuscate."

The Cigarette Smoking Man (Raul Bloodworth) spends time
mulling over his disappointment with some random
bindle stiff
That about does it for this listing. I'll return, at some point in the future, to my trip down The X-Files' side street off of my beloved Memory Lane. If you're reading this and are either Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, or a Fox executive, please take into consideration the love which still exists from folks like me who would be so very, endlessly grateful to see a return, if only in another film, of the characters and universe which still thrives in our hearts. Who am I kidding, though? Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, or a Fox Executive? Nah. I'm probably actually being read by the most important people of all, my fellow fans.

Thank you for reading, folks.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Father, My Dark Mirror

It seems that we see reflections of ourselves in everything. It's part of being human, I suppose. It's how our human brain functions and copes with the greater world. The reflections I see often drive me to shame and self-loathing. They're dark and twisted and hopeless.

Anger has been at the core of my personality for so very long. There was a time when I believed it to be necessary and even possessed a sort of perverse pride in it. It was the badge I openly wore and my defining characteristic, for those who really knew me. Not only did it feel natural (which was why I felt such an affinity for it), it was also something powerful which I shared with the one person who seemed closest to me through childhood, my father.

My dad is a man with many problems. I hear tell that he was once a kind and caring soul, but I've seen little evidence to support this. I grew up with an overly opinionated man who did what he wanted, when he wanted, and it didn't matter how horrible things had to become for everyone else so that he could, in some way, be happy. He was stubborn and chose to marry my mother, a stubborn woman, so their arguments were frequent and were often as extreme in their violence as a wild and massive storm. It was common when my mother was hurt, my sister was hurt, and I was hurt; all of us were victims in the wake of a man who, I believe, was also dealing with his own pain. My father raged often and without reason, it seemed. He resembled a dumb beast, wantonly tearing apart his environs, the cage which was his life. I saw through to this beast and, in doing so, recognized my own. It was this horrid, shared feature which bonded us.

Often I'll hear people, mostly other men, describe the ferocity of their anger and almost boast with the pride I once held for mine. I find such behavior and claims amusing, and still to this day, though I've recognized and struggled to subdue the violent fury inside of me, I believe them to be mistaken when it comes to assessing true anger. My rage was, and can still at times be, like a legion of cold, heartless primitives, each armed with spiked clubs, which would descend disastrously upon whomever or whatever triggered it. What I knew myself to be capable of doing, and what others had described me doing, seemed to outstrip the proud tales of those boastful, "angry" men.

It took a great deal of time and a person who truly cared for me to shake me out of my tempestuous mindset. My wife proposed contemplation and that contemplation drove me to reflection. I thought about the shame I felt for my father, and in doing so I realized that I had more shame for myself. Memories of the wild evil perpetrated by my dad made me think about the horrors to which I had so often giddily applied my own warped signature. If I didn't take the initiative and climb out of the murky pit I was willfully inhabiting, I knew that I would twist and corrode into the shape which represented my father.

I work at it, and I do so often. I second guess my reactions, and I keep my mouth shut. I always have worn a mask of quiet smiles so that others wouldn't see what I was truly capable of doing. Now I attempt to be real and to dispense with the anger which would always bleed out as my initial response to most things. I attempt to brighten my perspectives, embrace the shame I create for myself, and take comfort in the love of my wife. I continue to work so that I don't slip back, so that I don't allow the beast to envelop me as my father allowed his at some point in time long ago.