Archive for April, 2009

035_tentacles.jpgA strange sensation envelops me.  For a moment, I think I’ve been bushwhacked by the Space Chiller.  My back slides against the wall as I shine the candle about, slapstick at the ready.  All I see is an old poster for the Jaws rip-off Tentacles, which features a giant octopus.

A memory at the back of my head stirs, but I can’t quite place it.  There’s another movie, before this one, which is important somehow.  For now, I visualize the poster for Tentacles, which is an image of a woman screaming as a gigantic octopus head creeps up behind her.

It dawns on me.  This monster, this Space Chiller, is really a gigantic space octopus captured by my Bad Ronald when she was smaller, the way he captured those people in the movie Bad Ronald.  He was keeping them in the basement because he didn’t know how to integrate the real people with his own disturbed fantasy life.  That realization was probably what caused him to burst his bonds in the movie, despite the cost.

That’s why I can’t find this darn monster; she’s trapped inside the between-brain hallways.  She’s grown too large to escape the way she was brought in.  I got to pry open some floorboards and smash down the weak wallpapered drywall junk.  This giant space octopus has got to go back into the wild.

And my Bad Ronald has bitten off more than he can chew.  This Space Chiller has gotten the better of him, chasing him about.  It’s a sick, twisted arrangement that needs me to settle up accounts.

I wander into the prison-like halls and look about.  That Space Chiller is hiding in there somewhere, having broken free but still trapped.  She’s a big girl now.  I get her to chase me—what giant space octopus doesn’t like eating a human being down to the skeleton?  I keep those whirling tentacles away with the slapstick and move quickly back towards the poster.

I start kicking at the wall, which gives way rather easily.  I hate to ruin the poster, but what the heck.  I ruined many a cool movie poster my folks got me back in the day.  You have to bust lose and take the blows sometimes.

It’s a weird dance, beating back tentacles trying to drag me into the beak from hell for tasty morsel goodness, while I kick aside rotten boards and moldy wallpaper.  I push my way through and back into the lighted (if still spooky) halls of the haunted house proper.  The space octopus, being flexible, squeezes through after me, its tough hide not taking a scratch from the still jutting splinters and rusty nails.

I run to the front door and open it up.  I suppose I could look for a giant vacuum particle aquarium in here, but I’m taking the guess that this strange gal wants to take off.  Sure enough, she changes into a whirling vortex of hypnotic psychological energy and flies through the front door.

Should I have let this thing loose into the world?  I think things will work out.  I’ve also got a big hole in the wall now.  I don’t know how my Bad Ronald will react.  This is a breach in the separation between us, which I don’t think can be undone.

034_intoinfinity.jpgScrambling about in the between-ways of my brain.  Which incidentally resemble the long underground halls of school buildings built in the fifties, with fallout shelters and hidden caches of supplies.  Mostly way-past-their-date cans of beans and crackers.

In the flickering candlelight I see two themes.  The rusting and crumbling structures of a prison-like architecture, or the dark and echoing tiled halls of an underground hideout structure that while faded and dirty, still seems habitable.

That little demon child is still out there. Small, but fast and vicious.  Just being here scares the stuffing out of me.  My instincts are humming at me to get away, get out.  Panic and fear!

Then I come across a piece of paper with a drawing on it of a long, cylindrical spaceship.  On the back, written in magic marker is the phrase “into infinity”.

Whoa, flashback time.  I remember this spaceship from a TV show way back.  But I can’t remember anything about the show itself except a few brief images, and the crew of the ship being drawn into a black hole at the end or something.

So my science officer does the old internets search-a-roo and I find out the full title of the TV movie is The Day After Tomorrow—Into Infinity.  I find out lots after that.  That the captain of the vessel is played by the same actor who played Alan from Space 1999, one of my favorite shows as a kid!  The DVD of the movie is only available to people who join the Gerry Anderson fan club.

Gerry Anderson did a lot of science fiction shows, some of which I watched with the folks when I was a kid.  Shows like UFO and Space 1999.  I had no idea he’d made this movie that I hardly remember now, but which my Bad Ronald obviously hasn’t forgotten.

In the movie, the crew of the ship reaches their appointed destination (YouTube is our friend!) and have to make a decision.  Return to earth with all the data they’ve gathered on Alpha Centauri or continue on into the unknown and risk danger.  They decide to press on, and as a result they get into hot water, while their adventure begins.  The movie was meant to be the pilot for a new science fiction series; it just didn’t reach that goal.

I certainly don’t want to find myself on the other side of a black hole never to return to earth, but I’m thinking there’s a similar choice here.  Go back to the visible hallways of the haunted house in my brain or travel onwards.

It means a lot to me that this small piece of my past is returned to me.  And unlike the protagonists in the movie, I believe I’m equipped with the means to find out what happens afterward.  I see friends of mine making brave steps forward, reaching out into the darkness for a connection with their own lives and the lives of others.

I’m traveling onwards.

040_dummysofmen.jpgI finally watched the science fiction movie Children of Men.  The critical acclaim for the film made me suspicious.  What I heard of the plot—Cynical Man transports Divine Child to safety—didn’t sound like much.  Now that I’ve seen it, I think the movie was an overrated and over hyped, undeveloped bore.

To expand on the premise a bit, the entire world for whatever reason has stopped having babies.  The world population is growing older but no new children are being born.  This is a good foundation for a sound premise.  Unfortunately, after the movie establishes this world, there’s no further exploration of the characters that inhabit it.

The movie takes place in a future Great Britain that looks a lot like now.  There’s this dude, this generic streetwise everyman who walks in every circle (rich, poor, military, subversive, you name it he’s in touch with everybody), who finds himself the escort of a woman who is miraculously pregnant.  His job is to deliver (get it?  humor ahr ahr!) the woman to some nebulous science team on a ship somewhere off the coast, presumably so they can solve the infertility problem.  Meanwhile, a generic evuhl terrorist group is trying to get their hands on her, to use her for their own political purposes.

I admit I’m biased against the atmosphere of this movie.  Dark realism has run it’s course, and nothing new is being done to expand on the possibilities of this outlook.  I’m also inclined to thumb down at chase movies that rely on false tension to generate urgency.  The compelling idea (world dying off because the kids aren’t all right) is just a front to manipulate emotions.

Problem #1:  If Having Babies Is A Good Thing, Prove It By Addressing Premise
The movie never explores the idea behind the world it creates.  It immediately plays on the popular assumption that population decline equals social chaos, and that population growth equals progress.  A more mature and developed movie would present a representative view and let the viewer decide for themselves.

For example, the riots and hysteria in the world are one possibility.  But what about resignation and acceptance?  It doesn’t follow that if the entire world is out of kid points, everyone is going to descend into anarchy.  There’s a scene where everyone is crying over the death of the youngest person in the world (the last known person to be born), and I’m like—dude, you people have had twenty years to come to terms with reality.  Why are you even interested?  This didn’t happen overnight.

There are a lot of compelling arguments for how living standards increase as population declines.  Where are the scenes of nature reclaiming depopulated centers?  The decline in pollution?  The movie shows the world through muddy filters of heightened gloom and doom, but I don’t buy it.

And you can’t tell me there wouldn’t be a tremendous increase in naughty activity, just to plumb the depths of whether this infertility thing is real or not.  As the population of people under 30 slowly disappears, wouldn’t those who have failed to accept the situation be trying desperate measures (like mass love-ins, but no, can’t show anything that might make hippies look good)—anything to try and compensate for their psychological denial?

Nowhere in the movie was it ever mentioned that everyone’s libido had vanished, along with their fertility.  There should have been some serious signs of overcompensation here, people.

The huge amounts of soldiers fighting insurgents (what are these insurgents fighting for?) strikes me as fake.  Dude, every person you kill is NOT being replaced.  Warfare, if it can even still be waged at this point, would have had to have changed in ways we can hardly imagine.  Wars fought over access to resources and markets—dude resources are becoming LESS scarce.  Your market base is evaporating.

I could go on.  The best part of the movie is the first ten minutes where we just watch what the world is like, and the things that go on.  Once the plot gets under way, the movie is effectively over.

In other words, if the loss of fertility is a bad thing, test that premise.  Show us ways in which this miracle of life, so central to who we are, changes us when it is taken away.  This world didn’t look any different than today, so there’s no impact.  Dude, take a moral stance—”we have to deserve to survive by self-sacrifice”, “we take beautiful things for granted because of our corruption.”  Or just take a disinterested one—”life on this planet can end on a dime and just as quickly come back.”

Throw us a bone here.  Because otherwise the chase means nothing.

Problem #2:  The Chase Doesn’t Mean Anything Without Stakes
Since we have no sense of what the world is really like other than “bad news” (hey, kinda like…now!), the urgency of keeping the plot-coupon…I mean, the objectified baby carrier safe is unclear.  There’s nothing positive about the dark world of the movie.  The characters that occupy it are all cynical, desperate, jaded or disconnected.  The most upbeat character is a bitter hippy played by Michael Caine.  Yes!  Yet another failed idealist archetype to remind us, the public, that the sixties were a failure and hope is dead.  Go back to sleep.

I don’t see how the mysterious ship of scientists are anything to get excited about.  We know nothing about them other than a vague hope that they might be working on a way to return fertility to humanity.  Because you know, no matter how bleak things get, faith in technology and the scientists who create it will always pull us through.  For all I know, the mysterious scientists are the ones who created this world crisis, and the protagonist has just delivered to them the last test subject they need to make the crisis irrevocable.

Or maybe they just need to regularly get their hands on subjects who have developed immunity so they can reconfigure the cause of the infertility.  Kind of like the flu vaccine every year.  There certainly is no shortage of people who think they have to destroy the world in order to save it.  Drax from Moonraker comes immediately to mind, with his “improved upon sterility” globes.

Wouldn’t that be a great revelation at the end of the film?  “Thanks mister.  Now we can ensure that humanity is destroyed/kept under control.  Muah ha ha ha!”  But that would mean taking a stand, like “don’t trust scientists.”  Can’t do that!

The woman carrying the child doesn’t have any agency of her own.  I never get any idea of what kind of person she is.  She’s there to be moved around and act scared while the protagonist overcomes obstacles.

The protagonist doesn’t have any personality either.  Other than a noncommittal everyman with street smarts, one wonders why he is risking his life at all.  There’s no dark secret he has to overcome by accomplishing this task.  He has no character trait of fundamental decency that comes out when the chips are down.  He acts dispassionately no matter what the situation is.  When he dies at the end, after having accomplished his mission, you have no idea who he is or why he did what he did.

The evuhl terrorist group makes no sense to me.  Their plan to leverage the pregnant woman into political power strikes me as absolutely bizarre.  I’m not even sure I understand what the evuhl terrorists stand for.  What motivates them to promote their self-interest over that of the community?  They’re just super-violent and crazy.  Okay, no stereotypes there!

The government is completely a side show here, by the way.  A large, powerful organization with all kinds of reasons to want to control the situation—no they don’t have any surveillance on the evuhl terrorists even though a declining population should make the job easier.  The authorities are too busy being punked by bushwhacking or sending in the marines to blow up neighborhoods to be a participant.

What this all boils down to is nothing to base the stakes on.  Yes, if the pregnant woman is captured “bad stuff” happens.  I get that.  But what does the protagonist stand to lose or gain?  The evuhl terrorists?  How am I supposed to care what happens to this world and its characters when I don’t know who they are?

The film overcomes this through the now tried-and-true method of false urgency.  “Here come enemies!  Run!”   Must get plot coupon from point A to point B or bad stuff will happen.  Because bad stuff must not happen!  Even though bad stuff happening in world now!

Time to watch Attack of the Giant Crabs again, with it’s flimsy pseudo-science and stock victim characters.  At least I know what’s at stake.

05-07-09 ETA:  I’ve had a chance to get a sense of how the film differs from the book.  Suffice to say the book does more to explore the possibilities of the world that is presented, some of which I find compelling.  There are the Omega gangs, bands of last-generation youths burning themselves out in reckless violence.  Despotism arises as a requirement to keep the apathetic population organized enough to continue running society.  Nature is overrunning large areas of the countryside as it grows back with a vengeance.

None of these interesting ideas appear in the film at all.

I did some short-attention span searching for the director’s intent.  This interview proved very telling to me.  The infertility isn’t a premise at all—it’s a metaphor for a fading sense of hope.  The film isn’t about the future at all!  It’s a call for transformative action.  In other words, a polemic (that’s art lingo for trying to impart a message through persuasion).

My favorite quote is when the director says “Cinema is a hostage of narrative.”  I cracked up when I read that, especially since he claims to dislike exposition.  Well, what are you left with if you can neither tell (exposition) or show (narrative) a story?!

This explains why the marketing for the film was way off base.  I remember the angle that was promoted—a science fiction movie where the world has become infertile.  The infertility was sold as a “shock” (that’s science fiction lingo for the futuristic thing that makes that world what it is—for example, the shock for Blade Runner would be androids).  As if that shock were meant to be taken as a literal truth in the world of the film.

If we filter out the disappointment as a result of being falsely marketed to, I still think this movie blows.  Playing with metaphors instead of “as if” to render fun through a polemic means you are more dependent on storytelling to make your point.  And our director has already abandoned storytelling as a technique!  This really screams at me to be played off as a fictional documentary, as This Is Spinal Tap was done (which is played “as if” it’s a real documentary).  But that requires you to take the material seriously “as if”, which isn’t done.  This is a metaphor, remember?  The baby is a torch, not the baby is like a torch.

I was going to go on about how the film would have benefited by fixing the characters and the setting to equal situation, but since the director didn’t want to tell a story that’s not useful.  We are to watch this film and then take action to make this world a better place.

First of all, I really dislike the common belief that places guilt for the state of the world on the shoulders of the apathetic masses.  It’s casting blame without acknowledging one’s own responsibility.  And I mean responsibility for those things one truly is responsible for.  For example, there’s a reason why people are apathetic—huge sums of money are paid to keep people that way.  Through propaganda in the more civilized countries and at the end of a heavy club in the less civilized countries.

Another reason people are apathetic is because the world is in the grip of psychological processes that are not wholly understood and may not be controllable to any significant degree.  Attempts to direct the collective impulse against natural tendencies often turn inhuman.  History is full of examples of political vanguards who turned popular movements into destructive eruptions of madness for their own gain.  Like it or not, apathy is a part of the human condition and it pays to face that.

This is not to suggest that one is blameless.  None of us stands outside the collective shadow.  If free will exists, it must be extremely small and therefore all the more imperative that we use it where applicable.  We do share in the guilt for this mixed up chicken world.  It’s just that suggesting  we the viewers are responsible for the lack of hope in the world is a simplistic and largely unconscious view.

I mean, funk dat!  Hopelessness is a natural reaction when things are bad, and make no mistake it’s a nightmare wasteland here on planet earth.  Yeah, sacrifice of one’s life for the new life is what pays the bills at the end of the day.  But who the hell in their right mind wants to do that?  We have a world of children in the bodies of adults, how are you going to help them grow up?  Because there are a lot of bad eggs among those children.  Darth Vader is REAL.  There are real BAD GUYS out there who will jack you, and you ain’t got no extra lives or saved games to fall back on in this life.  Depression and fear are a human experience.

So, how do I make this movie better.  This director wants some metaphors, then let’s dial it up to eleven mutha-scratcher!

I think the first thing we need is what this whole planet needs a lot more of:  Compassion.  That means “to suffer with”, and it’s the lesson of the savior that we seem not to have learned even when it was the focus of the now-passed Age of Pisces.  This whole movie reeks of unsympathetic people who are unsympathetic to one another.  Yeah, it’s a mystery how hope survives and its beautiful when a person who appears out for himself suddenly shows a side of humanity.  That’s why we cheer for Han Solo when he rescues Luke in the Death Star Trench.

Make the character Theo compassionate.  Make him elicit our compassion.  When Baby Diego’s death is announced, don’t have him stoically walk out the door—have him break down in tears while the crowd look on blankly (the crowd is apathetic, see?!  But not him!).  Then, when the place he was just in blows up, have him break down and collapse on the pavement (his compassion is what saved him, get it!?).

When he bleeds out on the boat, don’t have him sit there and mumble to Kee.  Have him confess all his sins and fears to her.  “I hope I did the right thing.  Maybe these scientists are going to treat you like a lab rat.  Maybe this was all for nothing and we’ll die out anyway.  I did a lot of selfish things in my life.  But at least I know what love is now, what I’d do for other people.  I didn’t know that before.  Good luck kid, and if you make it out alive, say a prayer for me, ’cause I don’t know nothing.”  In the world of the metaphor “this is a good way for a man to die” is keeping it real, hard core.

The second thing we need is an affirmation of the human spirit.  In a world obsessed with blame and sin, we forget original innocence.  Human beings are naturally good.  It’s a fundamental hardware requirement.  Yes, in the western view we’re expelled from paradise and thus apart from nature.  This is a useful wisdom to know, but let’s not exaggerate our share of the truth.  People are good and want good things.  To truly call them apathetic and hopeless you have to also call them decent people.  That’s the pain of being alive.

So yeah, you can have bad guys doing bad doo-doo.  But have Kee change people around her just by virtue of who she is.  If she’s a metaphor then damn it Jim, treat her like one!  Xtine is right, to call her worthy, because she is!  Just by virtue of what she has become.

When the Fishes are discussing their plans to murder Kee’s midwife and her protector Theo, have at least one strong, capable Fish refuse outright.  Either by vocally opposing the plan and walking out (maybe starting a gunfight which allows Theo a more believable escape) or abandoning the Fishes without a word and joining Theo later—sacrificing their lives if need be to allow Theo to get out of a jam.

Or maybe even living (gasp!  that’s so not dark realism!).  Most everyone in the film dies a violent death.  What if the people who try to harm Kee all die violent deaths, but the people who protect her either live, or die heroically both knowing that they are serving something greater than themselves.

The fixer who tries to take the baby in the immigrant camp.  What if when he sees the mother and it becomes real to him, he instead says “No, anyone else I’d take advantage of.  Not this.  I’ll help you guys.”  Unexpected help from what look like cynical or desperate people, exploiters turning human because Kee is “the torch that will light a new world fire and bring us light and warmth.”  How awesome is that?

Then, all of a sudden, you see how people are connected and can act against the dark dreary world of the film.  Their acts stand out MORE because of the sad colors and gritty realism.  In fact if you establish all throughout the movie that Kee’s existence galvanizes people into a movement for hope, it makes the crazy scene near the end with the crying baby more believable.  This world is so messed up, that something so primal and elemental as a mother with child becomes a carrier for for all the projected hopes of the world.  That’s raw fuel for the metaphor, man!

And this I think is the director’s fatal flaw.  A lack of compassion and optimism for humanity in his own psyche.  There’s a cynic (and you can’t be a cynic without having once been a romantic) in the film crying out for someone to save him.  Sorry dude, the viewer can’t carry that cross for you.  You have to find sympathy for others and hope for the future in your own heart.  Until you find that you won’t be able to share with us how it’s done.  You do the work by going inside and taking care of your own soul first, which always, always through miracles and magic, ends up being for us all.

K and I get back from a grocery raid.  As I am opening the door, with Frankie’s Lazor-eyes recognizing me as friendly, we hear the sound of loud bongos being played somewhere down the street.  We’re both a little flummoxed.  I mean bagpipes are one thing, but now bongos?  What’s next on the phantom music soundtrack?

Still pondering that rascal sneaking about in the secret spaces of my brain.  Somebody’s been listening to old tapes of eighties tunes at night and eating our snacks.  The faucet being left on makes sense now.  When you’re thirsty you got to have a drink!  At least I know now there’s a kid in the psychic drywall.

There’s that darn monster that won’t show itself.  I’m thinking that I’m going to have to seek this thing’s lair out and confront the thing directly.  Maybe this thing is roaming the secret spaces also, and driving my Bad Ronald boy away.  In which case, I am duty bound to take care of business!

This monster has a certain psychic connection with me somehow.  It keeps popping up in daydreams, forcing me to consider it even as I find myself unable to come to any conclusions about it.  Premonitions of a struggle with a devouring force?  I’m wondering if I’m supposed to be the bait for this thing, or the ten-foot pole as you might fathom.

Okay, I’m going back to my fear of icky girl power series here.  I think this nasty monster might just want to have fun.  When I was growing up, there were these kissing-girls in the neighborhood that used to chase boys around.  What could be worse than girl cooties when you’re that age?  Yuck!  Pretty scary stuff.

Slapstick?  Check.  Candle?  Check.  Okay, time to enter the space between!

Much as the urgency of the monster puzzle in the haunted house is motivating me, this space needs variety.  There ought to be rest stops along the way where one can enjoy a Stuckey’s hot dog and coffee, ogle the souvenir vending machine for cool prizes, and use the facilities to restore zero storage.

The way in which our Property Party dominated system is throwing money at the socialized corporations of the anti-free market got me thinking about a certain toy I used to play with.  I still have this thing, and it still works!

The game is called Chutes Away!  It’s a contraption consisting of a wind-up mechanism base, a pretend-airplane control panel and view port, an overhang with a model rescue plane with a mechanism for carrying rescue chutes, and a wide rotating disc with holes representing the landscape and emergencies in need of help.

You turn on the mechanism, the disc rotates, and you look through the view port.  Using the controls, you move the plane back and forth along the path of the disc and drop chutes in holes.  When the mechanism winds down, you are presumably out of fuel and have to leave and land somewhere.  Score is kept by the number of chutes you land successfully in the holes.

The chutes are plastic, with a metal weight on the end, so they drop pretty quick.  The holes have raised edges and taper to a point downwards, so if you get a solid hit the chute may bounce a little but will be directed to a rest at the bottom.

The disc is nicely illustrated with various scenes of disaster in need of help.  A car lies stuck in a collapsed wooden bridge with people waving for help, a crashed helicopter crew signal for your attention, a sinking boat’s passengers wave at you, and so on.

I thought this was the coolest thing ever when I saw it in the store, so I pestered my folks into getting it.  But they got back at me.  My folks called the game “Bucks Away!” and would laugh at me while I played rescue pilot.  The idea was that it was a waste of money and the secret joke behind the game was I was really throwing money away with every chute released.  Just as buying the game had been a throw-away.

So I pulled out the game once more and pretended to be the TARP’s ace pilot.  I would be dropping public funds right into the waiting chimneys of insolvent banks throughout the land.  Kind of like Santa Claus.

Unfortunately there was a technical difficulty.  The chute drop was a bit stuck – I had to really use the lever hard to release them.  A lot of the bailout money went right into the drink or the woods, and I was only able to save three banks from having to paper over their losses until the magical day of recovery.

Bucks away!

There was a recurring dream I used to have.  In it, I was allowed to see what anyone and everyone is in this life.  Really.  I got to see what the DEAL was for anyone’s life.  All I had to do was think of someone I knew and look.

I could never remember what it was I saw when I woke up.  I just remember the feeling of seeing what people wanted to be and wanted to see.  It was not given to me to behold more than that.  I only knew that I awoke wishing I could call people up and say, “Hey, I know what you’re meant to do in this life.”

So I get up in this dream’s face.  Yo dream stuff, if you want to help people, then why the part about people having to find out about what they need to do?  It’s enough of a trouble to be born and not know anything.

The nothing does the total answer back at me and says people have to figure it out on their own.  Everyone had to eat dirt in the blackest tunnels no matter where and who they are.

I get so very angry.

Doesn’t this dream know what people are going through?  I feel so much for people I can’t explain it.  Weird dialog boxes show up in my mental word processor when I try to get real with it.

Caring is what is dangerous.  Empathy is a dissident act.

Because I care, I get to see there’s a Script.  It’s only now that I realize that’s a message.

No, it’s true.  You have a quest in this life.  I might have seen it.  Do you need me to tell you it’s real?

Then it dawns on me.  Why didn’t I ever think of myself and look?

Because that’s not what happens in the Script!

Well, looks like my attempts at hanging out with my own personal Bad Ronald didn’t go exactly as planned.  Judging by the spit-out bite of hot dog and the untouched milk, nitrate-based meat products in a bread sleeve with lactose liquids do not equal win.

The invitation to walk in the sunlight, breathe the wind, and look at the flowers was also a dud.  It never occured to me that this stuff is just maximum bummer for the kid.  Boy do I feel like a dummy.  Well, I gotta give the rascal points for trying.  I don’t know if I could try his brand of food or go on his kind of a walk.  Maybe I’ll have to, in order to find out what’s up.

That monster is still out there too.  I get the feeling I’m just going to have to wait until it drifts my way again.  The suspense is proving a little unnerving, brr.

Speaking of monsters, I rediscovered an old classic monster flick called Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957).  Pure hilarious goodness.  Scientists stranded on island inhabited by huge energy crabs that eat brains.  The crabs absorb the voices and memories of those they kill, so they are really good at luring victims away.  Meanwhile, the island is sinking into the ocean.  I love movies with crazy time limits before the locale is destroyed or sinks!  But the best part is the stupid crabs taunting the survivors with the voices of their dead comrades.  Pure B-movie gold.

The social media internet sinkholes have caught my interest.  So yeah, Facebook has got it’s talons into me.  For someone of my age, Facebook has been a goldmine of reconnection and personal enrichment.  It’s an event that won’t happen again, as the youngins will increasingly be unaware of life before texting each other with updates.  I wonder what my life might have been like if me and my friends in high school would have had that superpower.

And I’m on Twitter.  Looking up the few so-called celebrity type people I might be interested in has proved pretty uninteresting.  I just don’t worship my heroes enough anymore to want to follow their every effort.  Reading Bono’s tweets on twitter was an exercise in self-depression.  Looking for mundanes with something to say is just as difficult.  It’s like the Livejournal friends feed — lots of stuff that is mildly interesting, but not much I want to follow regularly.  Oh well, growing my dendrites will take time I suppose.

Meanwhile, on the book front I’m putting the finishing touches on the sixth draft.  Been taking in all the feedback I’ve gotten from folks and making decisions as to what to act upon.  Putting the last call on all that though, as I am ready to move forward.  What will probably happen is I’ll post the whole thing as a PDF here, and when I get the Lulu book all sorted out, make a link to that available for people who want a physical manifestation.  Cafe Press t-shirts and mugs are so far down the line it’s only a concept in the brainstem right now.

Back in 1974 there was this crazy movie of the week on TV called Bad Ronald.  It’s about a momma’s boy who asks the hot cheerleader out on a date.  She rejects him, and while walking home he runs into her sister.  The sister taunts him into a rage, Ronald pushes her backwards, and she fatally hits her head on a cement block.

His overprotective mother comes up with a crazy plan:  Hide her son in the spaces between the walls of her house, wait until the heat blows over, and then flee the country together.  She has plans for Ronald to become a doctor, and nothing is going to stand in the way of that!

While waiting for the heat to blow over, the mother dies during an emergency operation and the house is sold.  A new family with a very attractive daughter moves in, with Bad Ronald watching from peepholes and leaving his hiding place to grab a bite from the kitchen.  With no where to go, Bad Ronald loses his sanity and hilarious hijinks ensue in the house.  The movie culminates in a horrific ending that can only be called surreal.

I think there’s a Bad Ronald living in the crawlspaces and walled off bathroom of my brainstem.

In the movie, there’s an interval where the new family thinks the house is haunted.  Bad Ronald moves about in the walls at weird hours, bumping and scuffling.  He borrows objects, eats from their fridge, and peers in on them giving them the feeling they’re being watched.  It’s actually a nifty idea, if a little creepy.

The movie just sort of popped into my head from memory.  So of course I had to look it up and recall my feelings about it when I was five years old.  Then I was reading through my dream journal, and one entry (which I had forgotten about until now) struck me as relevant.  In the dream a voice told me that My Mirage was protecting my shadow, a scary child living underground.

I believe I’ll be leaving a hot dog and glass of milk out for my Bad Ronald.  A boy’s got to eat!  Then maybe, just maybe, we’ll go out for some exercise.  I’ll point out the birds and the flowers.  See what he thinks.

Pulled out a Rudraksha seed given to me by a dang dear old friend.  Time for me to do some Shiva work, this time for real.  My friend Xtine has been in the cage with the lions.  Feel like I’ve been in a leaky basement teeming with supersize crocs.  The only light from the mice with charcoal eyes.  Hostile devil child in the dark tunnel with glowing eyes and teeth, all fangs and nails chattering at me with a whisper.  Is the rotting comic book and baseball card collection a clue?  Digging a hole so the scary little guy can escape, get into the sunlight and breathe the air.  Maybe go eat cheap hot dogs with me at the Vienna Inn.

A couple of months ago, I went on about how I wanted to find the music.  Even though I had failed to find it in the heroes I had hoped would manifest it in real life.  I was free to break away and find what I was missing on my own.

It really crushed me to find out that I shouldn’t hold up regular people, even exemplary people, up to a standard of heroic coolness.  We need people to manifest the hero for us, even if it isn’t real or true.

There was a wound in me.  How to find the sound of the secret in my being, when I couldn’t even make music myself?  What to do when the only skill I have is the tendency to grope for what is personally healthy?  The beauty of what is deep for this blessing magic goes back and deeper than I can imagine.

I mean that.  You want me to testify, I can explain it back to the dinosaurs.

There is a sequential beauty and an intention to manifest truth behind the music of our lives that exists despite our experience.

It is with that faith that I went about searching.  If my role models couldn’t provide what I needed, then I needed to find it myself.  If you seek, you will find clues.  And so I found a few small signs and landmarks in the Internets.

Secrets and mysteries revealed themselves to me once my allegiance to music was undecided.  A little birdie sent me a message.  Check these groups out, she said.  And so I did.

  • Comsat Angels – Before U2 was famous, they opened for this band once.  They have a dark sound that mixes well with what I like.
  • Echo and the Bunnymen – Edgy and emotional.  This group has several albums that make me feel super dudely.
  • Big Country – Perhaps a little too dramatic at times to be useful in my life experiences.  I like how they make me feel though.
  • The Sound – Wordy and intentional.  Their intentions are worth listening to and making thoughts out of.  I realize I need to know more.

These bands and their past attempts to find the truth helped me through a dense quasar of my own personal seaweed tangles.

No.  Really.  I found alchemical formulas that would not have revealed themselves to me unless I had been serious.  These groups would not mean anything to me unless I had abandoned what I believed was real.

What was it I was seeking?  If only my friends back then could have made it all better!  Stand back, my dearest friends.  I was not well.  Let me be, and see if I get better.

Nature.  Instinct.  Intuition.

Music is the right way for me to figure stuff out.  Isn’t that weird?