Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Must Have Been a Writer's Mood

Crazy. This is, officially, my 20th post in this lovely month of June, 2009. Yes, I'm aware that I've been writing heavily as of late, but I had no idea I was churning crap out this quickly. As I hope you've noticed, I'm keeping myself busy importing my old stuff, which is what I was doing when I noticed the post count for the month. No big deal at first, as I'm known for being occasionally prolific, but then the post count for the rest of the year caught my eye: June outnumbers January through May by... er... calculating... five? Yowzers. Must have been one Hell of a writer's mood.

Here's hoping the mood will sustain itself long enough to foster some writing that's actually worth something.

Anyway, I must say that blogger.com has grown on me, but I do miss many of the features from MySpace's site. I believe I've mentioned the music feature before, but I also dig the distribution feature on MySpace (blogs can be targeted to specific readers or set to private/"diary") and the fact that readers can respond to specific comments from other readers. I also missed the hit counters, but now that I'm learning how to use Google Analytics, I no longer care. Google's a bit too "big brother" for me, but they sure put out some awesome tools.

I do admit, however, at being a tad disheartened that few of my MySpace subscribers have made the jump here (only two at this moment in time). I've got an ego to stroke, after all. I know that's revealing vanity a bit, but trust me, you'd rather hear about ego stroking than the other thing I like to stroke.

Personal Musings

Recently discovered that a friend from my high school days whom I haven't spoken to since at least 1996 lives in the same town I'm in now. Maybe that doesn't sound odd to you, but we went to different high schools in Nevada, and now we're both in North Carolina. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago... yeah... that kind of thing is expected. But Wilmington, North Carolina?

My German Shepherd continues to get his ass kicked by my 35-pound Boston Terrier/Pointer-mix. Seriously. I'd tell the Shepherd to grow some balls, but I had to cut 'em off when he was younger (one testicle didn't descend).

For some odd reason, I have a gnat infestation. Trying to deal with it by cleaning like a maniac, but I'm losing the fight. I guess I'm going to have to invest in some Raid. And I hate the smell of Raid.

I'm writing a horror short story, and I managed to freak myself out. That's never happened before, and I'm pretty sure that will never happen again. Ah, well... bottle the magic while it's there, right?

I really need a haircut. I'm like the Asian Jesus, minus the walk-on-water thing.

The Padres are sucking. Is it too much to ask a hometeam to acquire some power hitters?

My appendix started hurting today. It's not hurting at this moment, but if I suddenly drop off the face of the Earth, someone please come break down my front door and pull my lifeless body out of the house before my cats start eating me.

I haven't been to a movie at the theater yet this year. Someone drag to me one, will you? I'm still pissed about having missed Watchmen.

Currently listening to: Dan Black, Greg Laswell, Radiohead. Dan Black (formerly of The Servant) is on a roll. His new album is due out in a couple of weeks... pick it up.

That's all for now. Have a nice day.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Evolutionary Musings

As some of you have noticed, I'm currently in the process of transferring a lot of old material over to blogger (all apologies to those being inundated with update notifications for old crap). In doing so, I've obviously been reading a lot of my old writings and, I must admit, I'm a bit embarrassed by a lot of them. There's quite a few over-the-top rants that I didn't even truly believe back when they were written, and more than a few melodramatic entries that, in hindsight, betray false emotions.

At any rate, they're interesting for me to read, and they push home the indisputable fact that people change over time and, in many cases, change relatively quickly. Still, the voice behind those written words is definitely my own. I guess the old adage is true: be careful what you say, and be more careful what you write, for those words will undoubtedly come back to haunt you. Or make you laugh... either out loud or a bit nervously, as is the case with me.

Random Musings

Rhode Island is currently considering changing its official name from "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" to just "State of Rhode Island." Why? Apparently because the "Plantations" part sparks images of slavery. Seriously, people, get over it. Plantations are not defined by slavery... you can blame pop culture for that one. Adding to the irony is the overwhelming reaction to Michael Jackson's death, who is partially remembered as a pedophile (proven or not), but whose supporters posture that he should be remembered for his contribution to music over anything else he may or may not have done. So why can't this logic be applied to the name of Rhode Island? Oh, wait... whiny people.

Speaking of Michael Jackson... yeah, it was sudden, but is anybody really that surprised? Heath Ledger was a surprise. David Carradine was a surprise. Michael Jackson, to paraphrase Craig Ferguson, merely warrants an, "Oh, really?"

All that stated, his "King of Pop" moniker was rightfully earned.

Does Iran really want to pick a fight? Or is this just wild posturing? Of course, should North Korea get froggy at the same time, things could get really ugly really fast. I don't really see it happening, but to ignore the possibility is stupidity incarnate.

Farrah Fawcett, your passing was a sad thing, but I still have to point out that Cheryl Ladd taking your place on Charlie's Angels was a boon for that show.

I'm still coming to terms with Trevor Hoffman not wearing a Padres uniform. Be patient with me. My emotional recovery can only be fostered by the Padres winning their division, which doesn't look to be happening any time soon. At least Hoffman's replacement, Heath Bell, seems a bright spot.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense are fighting over who gets control of military assets along the border with Mexico. I'm a bit biased, but I don't think that anybody other than the DoD should ever have control of military assets. Of course, if Obama uses this squabble as an excuse to push a "National Police Force," I'll change my tune, because that's an even worse option.

Someone I know thinks that World War II was the United States' fault, at least in the Pacific Theater. Someone I know needs to study more.

General Motors (now banally referred to as "Government Motors" by many) needs to collapse Buick, Pontiac, and GMC into a brand new imprint and market it between Chevrolet and Cadillac, rather than having a fire sale.

Fearless prediction: North Carolina will fail to pass another tax incentive for its film industry.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Last Space

This is it, ladies and gentlemen, the last entry on MySpace for the foreseeable future. It's becoming evident that MySpace is less and less viable as a platform as the so-called "social networking wars" progress, and that's a bit sad. Personally, I like MySpace better than Facebook, and a lot of the feature implementations are worlds better on MySpace than on Facebook. The chat's better, for one, and the ability to hide entire sections of your "news feeds" that you might not particularly care for is awesome. Not only that, Facebook's blogging (Notes? Whatever...) leaves something to be desired. And let's not forget MySpace Music, which is probably the best music site on the Internet.

Still, as I wrote earlier, I've been a bit unhappy with the blogging functionality on MySpace (specifically with the comments), and MySpace's customer service doesn't seem to care enough to identify and solve the problem. End result: I, like so many others, am off to greener pastures. Unlike so many others, however, I am not deleting my MySpace account, so people can still communicate with me via MySpace comments or messages. I am moving my rants and raves, and short of the possibility of posting links, there won't be any more pointless musings on MySpace.

For those interested, you can follow my insanity at blogger.com, at Irreverent Irrelevance. Anyone with a Google, Yahoo, or AOL account can subscribe to me there. Also, Facebook imports Blogspot entries automatically, so most of you can read my crap there, as well. Eventually, I plan to transfer all of the MySpace entries over there, so anyone who cares doesn't have to jump between sites. Too bad kudos and the "What I'm listening to" feature can't make the jump, as well.

Maybe I'll return one day. Hell, maybe everybody will return one day, given the fickle and trendy nature of "Internet socializing." It'll be interesting to see how MySpace survives losing their Google advertising revenue, and if Viacom will attempt another takeover of MySpace (which they should... MTV is a perfect fit for this place, after all). But, unless that happens...

Au revoir, MySpace.

The Strange Walk That is Memory Lane

Nostalgia's a strange thing. Okay, maybe not, but it is a curious thing that so many find reaching into mail boxes on memory lane such an addicting sensation. Most of the time nothing is there but junk mail. Sometimes, however, letters completely forgotten are pulled out and delivered anew. Maybe it's a memory sent, maybe received, doesn't really matter. More than likely it's a memory less than happy. Why, after all, would it have been forgotten? Or perhaps it was a lie to begin with, and tearing open the envelope is tearing open a painful wound to the truth.

Memories repressed set, still-sealed, underneath the coffee table or in a shoebox in some closet. Naturally, what's written on the pieces of paper inside can be remembered clear as day, but a stubborn refusal to accept an overwhelming sense of embarrassment or shame prevents any acknowledgment of such defining moments of life. That bully will never not exist, and that lie will never become truth.

Heavy are memories denied. Blind spots in the mind's eye that can make simple undertakings near-impossible tasks. A dying moment with a friend or an enemy, words exchanged in angry nuance burned in stone, eroding and fading under the winds and sunsets of time. Sudden revelations at inopportune times.

And then there are the memories unknown. A version of events recorded from too subjective a view, so much so that what really happened was never even remembered. Those replete with summaries, dossiers, and photographs stuffed into large manila envelopes. Too technical to comprehend fully, and too important to every truly forget. A wrong door, a grassy knoll. A betrayal, perhaps. Tiny sections of puzzles that take lifetimes to piece together.

Letters opened may reveal the worst. Or may reveal something an adult mind signs for without hesitation, but an adolescent mind addresses to the end of the world. No doubt, there's still some hesitation in the acceptance of such memories. That people's behaviors and perspectives are the direct results of such forgotten memories is no lost irony. Everyone seems to identify history by the journeys taken by great men and women that others have recorded. Letters recording world events, dug out of the ground. History's events, yes, but not humanity's, which are so painfully defined by what can't be remembered.

And why memory lane is the strangest walk of all.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Beholders

Hollywood gets it wrong when movies talk about itchy trigger fingers. Of course, how would they know? An industry populated by writers whose research methods consist almost entirely of peripheral methods. Peripheral as in: ask someone... the first person who even remotely answers like they know what they're talking about, well, that's what gets run with.

Anyone who does know knows that it's not the trigger finger that gets itchy; it's the thumb on the safety. The trigger finger's too stupid to know when it's itchy or not. It just knows it's married to the trigger and pulls whenever it feels like it, itch be damned. But the thumb, that's the extension of the hand that needs to think. In order words, the trigger finger's just the cock, reacting to pornographic input the thumb has to sift through. If and when to blow a wad is the key to survival out here.

What a strange thing to be thinking of when riding in the driver's side rear seat of a stripped-down Army Humvee. A deadly joyride through the middle of a seemingly alien desert valley in the wrong part of the world. In front, a driver's white-knuckles signal a nervousness from traversing this rather dangerous place one too many times. To the driver's right, a vehicle commander's floating head betrays a concerted attempt to try not to let fear put him to sleep.

Funny, that. How soldiers can turn fear into a stimulus to hit the sack. Then again, soldiers can turn anything into a stimulus to hit the sack. Next to sex, sleep has always been a soldier's best friend. But not today; not now.

A quick tap to the driver's left shoulder; the driver notices the vehicle commander and purposefully swerves the steering wheel. The violence of the Humvee attempting to change direction shakes the vehicle commander awake. The VC looks at the driver, nods a cursory thank you, then returns a weary gaze to the landscape.

The thought occurs that there's no place on Earth that isn't beautiful. Even here, where the constant reminder of dust and sand pelting the face serve an ironic counterpoint to the serenity of snow-capped mountains seen in the distance. A false serenity, naturally, as the snows of those mountains are too often stained with blood. For whatever reason, there's no sight as shocking as bright red arterial spray littering a carpet of white snow.

Hollywood, however, loves the image. After all, it provides such a beautiful contrast of colors for people to gaze in awe at. A small, lovely pattern hidden in the ugly tapestry of war, or so the self-professed artists of the industry would have their audiences believe.

That's another thing Hollywood gets wrong. Through the flash of a rocket-propelled grenade fired from behind a rock formation, the perceived slowing of time, the itch of a thumb as it decides to let a finger seduce a trigger, and the screams of panic and defiance of friends as they prepare to discover if they'll ever see snow up close again... Hollywood gets it wrong.

War is beautiful.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Passionless Writing

As I sit here staring at my computer screen in futility, it's occurring to me that without some sort of negative emotion worming its way through the front of my brain, I can't write for shit. As I sit here staring at the previous sentence, it's occurring to me that most of you are probably in agreement.

Seriously, in thinking back to my best work (or, rather, what I consider to be my best work), I can identify almost all of it with either A) being sad or upset or B) being angry or upset. The rest of the so-called best can probably be attributed to being paranoid and/or confused.

Case in point: very recently I posted several entries on MySpace prior to moving to Blogger, and they were all written under the auspices of being slightly (or greatly, depending on the entry) depressed. Appropriately enough, my work was viewed more times that week than any other week since I started posting ramblings on the Internet (speaking of hit counts, can anyone recommend an add-on/gadget/widget/whatever to keep track of hits on Blogger?). Even accounting for the relative proliferation of posts that week, I had way more readers on average than I have ever had before.

Now, despite my life falling to pieces before my very eyes, and my apparent lack of power to do anything about it, I've been in a pretty good mood for the past couple of days. And, in following the thesis of this pointless writing exercise, my work reflects that. You'd have to agree with me... I've been a bit boring these last few entries.

Where am I going with this? I don't know, really... maybe it's just a normal reaction in adjusting to a new "home," but I'm thinking that someone either needs to kick me down or piss me off.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Irreverent Irrelevance

Hmm... I'm not too entirely sure how to proceed here. I feel as though I'm speaking (or writing, rather) to an all-new audience, despite the likelihood that the only people going to be reading this are my existing readers. I'm also not too entirely sure if I want to proceed here, to be honest, as I've finally linked the rants posted on my original home (MySpace) to my slightly newer home (Facebook) and can now post in both places at the same time with FB's pretty awesome RSS import feature.

Still, there is something appealing about this place, and one of my irregular readers suggested that I'd be better off here.

Anyway, I expressed concern to a fellow blogger that I needed to write something here that properly set the tone for new readers' expectations, but I can't figure out what can possibly do that. So, I'm just going to put it simply in black and white: I write about anything and everything that comes to mind. A lot about movies and television, some politics and religion (including quite a bit about the military), fairly frequent entries on sports (particular San Diego's sports teams... or lack thereof), and even the occasional short story (really short... I tend to call them "character studies," as they're so short). I do this thing called "Random Musings" when there's much I want to say about a great deal many things, but lack the wherewithal to write anything significant. And, yes, I vent about my own life quite often.

I'm still waiting for more opinions concerning the move here. Two of my regulars have already found me, but I'm not sure how many of the others would bother with following me around.

I would also love your thoughts on whether or not I should re-post my old entries here as some sort of on-site archive. I'm on the fence about that one.

Random Musings

I was just asked if Queen were better than the Eagles. Is that even a fair question?

Got a funny feeling that Biden's prediction that Obama would be severely tested within his first six months of office might come true. It's going to be interesting to see how he deals with North Korea, should a certain whack-job decide to fire a missile towards Hawaii. If I read about "harsh language" from the White House one more time, I'll puke.

Hey, Chargers fans, you must be laughing your asses off over the whole Ryan Leaf debacle. I thought I would be, but after having seen the dude, I totally feel sorry for him.

Anybody else think this Robert Pattinson kid looks like he walked into a wall one too many times?

Futurama is returning to TV. That is fucking awesome.

While I'm on the subject of cussing, does blogspot's Terms of Service mandate I put the adult content warning up? Or is this like the MPAA in that I can use it once and still get a PG-13 rating?

Speaking of the MPAA... what a bunch of jokes they are.

From the looks of it, all those fond memories of G.I. Joe are going to join my fond memories of Charlie's Angels and Star Wars: in the trash can.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mulling a Move

As MySpace currently has an issue with blog commenting, and their "customer service" is being rather flippant in regards to my complaints, I'm considering moving my writing and ranting to a new home. Maybe here, maybe not.

There's no real point to this entry, save for testing this place out. Obviously I'm undergoing some culture shock, but I like what I see so far. Not too sure about the server limit, though... that's my only hesitation. That stated, a blogging buddy of mine likes it here, so maybe I'll stick around. Can't hurt to take it for a spin, right?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Beauty is in the Eye

Wipe the lens dry; there must be a cracked seal somewhere, because the image keeps fogging up. It's a difficult deficiency to spot during equipment checks, so there's no blame to be placed, save on the procurement of new gear. Still, it's not too humid here, and there's plenty of time to spot her smile and watch her move in the distance. That smile, of course, wouldn't be quite so wide if she knew she was being followed, but such is the nature of the game.

The boss likes to call them models. And, in a way, they are. Certainly they're unwitting and unwilling subjects, but the visual reference is a clean one. A paycheck's got to be earned, after all. This gig is no worse than any other that requires swallowing a semblance of any amount of pride. Still, it bothers the conscience once in a while. That nagging Jiminy Cricket giving a little whistle while a wooden nose gets just a bit longer after a girlfriend asks just exactly where those paychecks come from.

That's not the hardest part, though. The hardest part are the clients. Those sleazy sons and daughters of bitches who demand results before results are even possibly attainable. There's nothing to be done, naturally, and everyone involved knows it. The only people that need to be pissed off less than the boss are the clients. Given the chance, those bastards would eat their children if it got them what they wanted.

Adjust the magnification a bit; she's moving away. Still well within range, but there's no point in risking her disappearing behind a tree and ruining the picture-perfect opportunity. Enjoy her beauty for a bit. There's a sadness involved with knowing that she'll forever remain an enemy, any possibility of love torn away thanks to slanderous words and public perception. Perhaps she'd offer some forgiveness if she knew she had been shielded from such a wicked world for so long. Then again, she probably wouldn't care. There's a price to be paid for exposure, and she surely must have known that before setting off down her life's path.

Check the time; there's a deadline to be met. Thankfully, she's sitting down, waiting for an assistant to bring her something to drink. She could've gotten a drink for herself, but there's that reputation to maintain. Someone needs to tell these people that it's okay to do things for themselves. It certainly would help foster a more generous opinion among followers. But, that's how those who confuse power with being spoiled generally act. Vanity is a powerful drug. It's the reason what's about to happen is about to happen.

She gets her drink. Double-check the position. Everything's good, bystanders haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary. The wind blows through her hair, and there's another realization of how beautiful she really is. This is going to be money.

Hold breath. Click. Close the eye. Click. She's ready for her moment... a moment that will be captured for eternity. Fame incarnate. What a wonderful picture.

Squeeze the trigger.

Don't wait for the photographers to show up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Motion

Tell me one more time and I might believe it. I might, maybe, perhaps, except that I already know it's a lie. I've always known it was a lie, and until recently, I didn't care. Some part of me hoped that you'd stretch the truth so far, the truth itself would snap out of it. Belief is a powerful emotion weakened only by the proof of absence. Only the foolhardy accept the absence of proof and call it Faith. Logical thought is left behind as you try to outrun your own emotion, telling yourself that keeping your body moving will somehow keep your mind still, failing to realize that thought requires neither legs nor placidity. The world is moving faster than you ever will, and will move longer than you can possibly be remembered.

Tell me one more time and I will believe it. Not because I think it to be true, but because I simply want to believe it. The sky is green, the Earth is the center of the universe, and taxes can be avoided. We think, therefore we are is a load of shit. How can thought predict itself? It can't. If it could, we would walk in circles forever, chasing tails that were shed long before we could formulate an opinion in our heads. Then again, you like to run in circles, so maybe the joke's on me. If finishing where you began is really what you want to do, then by all means, get back in your car and drive home. Something tells me that yielding the right of way isn't in your nature; you'd rather force a collision.

Tell me another fairy tale so I can sleep better tonight. Tell me you miss me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Incomprehensible

It's occurred to me that not only are most people bad writers, most people are also bad readers. Or maybe most people are just readers reading bad writing, like you who are reading this... I don't know. But it's very apparent that comprehension skills are falling by the wayside.

Maybe it's the school system's fault. Actually, yeah, it's probably the school system's fault. The modern propensity to deemphasize rules and structure in favor of individual interpretations and subjective rhetoric is definitely at fault, if there even is such a modern propensity. I think I might have just made that up, but the scary thing is that you probably know what I'm talking about.

Take the dying skill of argumentative debate. Thanks to such "advances" in communications such as text messaging, IMs, and Twitter, debates now only require 10% of the time to devolve into unproductive name-calling as they did 30 years ago. YouTube videos, vague and undocumented Wikipedia entries, and politically-oriented blogs written by people who've never actually left their houses are thrown around as "evidence" to support controversies and subjective perceptions of the Constitution. Never mind that the "science" you're quoting only holds up in the vacuum of a laboratory, and never mind that your "source" carefully omits a rather important part of physics... just go ahead and whine like a mule, call me a colorful adjective, and sign out of whatever service you're using to "engage in communication" with me. But don't forget to post another piece of "evidence" that actually clearly and blatantly destroys your own thesis before you go.

My favorite, though, is when someone perceives something written as a personal attack, when it was no such thing, and then attempts to defend against the imaginary affront. Needless to say, these defenses come across as embarrassingly foolish, revealing a person who has no idea of what had actually been written, and even less of an idea of how it should've been interpreted. And they usually aren't helped by their lack of coherent thought... never mind their irrelevance.

Which brings us to the vanity of it all. I don't know what it is about being able to see one's own grammatically-foul and chronically misspelled rants all over cyberspace that makes one feel as though they're the center of the universe, but it happens. It's probably going to happen when some of you read this very piece. I assure you, I am most certainly not talking about you. And, despite that disclaimer, some yahoos are still going to think what's written above is all about them.

Otherwise known as the inability to comprehend.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Falling Through Life Like Sky Through Rainbow

You remember what it feels like. The moment of realization that made all the preceding moments of frustration worth it. It works, and now you know why. You now have the choice to stand on your own two feet and make your own decisions. The person holding your hand is no longer a necessity, even though she's nice to have around. There's nobody telling you a god or gods exist... you understand and comprehend things for what they are. It's a brilliant feeling, reveling in your own subjective brilliance. Like a sky through a rainbow. Nothing's really there, but you can see it anyway.

Life is a lie. You learn that while living it. Children being told things by adults who don't really know; adults saying things out of fear of admitting they have no idea. The curtain is pulled back, and you don't know whether to laugh or scream at what's behind it. A speech from an empty podium. You'd applaud, but know that there's no point... the rest of the audience won't agree on what was spoken; they'll just fight over what they heard.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, or so God said. The powerless, then, cannot be corrupted, until revolution brings them into power. Knowing something is not knowledge. That your friends suffer propaganda is a depressing thought, and should be. Some actually like to be stupid, and most actually prefer to be ignorant. It keeps them at the top of their own little forests. Reality brings them too close to the ground, where the rest of us are, and simple minds can't handle too many trees. The GPS won't tell them which trunk to turn left at.

A penny for your thoughts isn't worth the price of admission. Why seek truth when your imagination has already pieced it together? The dictionary is full of lies. No words have concrete meanings. Virtue is meaningless; at least sin can be touched. Having no direction isn't necessarily being lost, though being lost is a prerequisite for finding your way. Leave the compass at home... falling only happens in one direction, anyway.

Remember what it feels like.

The King of the World

The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.

She was, for better or worse, the largest part of my life since November of 2002. Not straight through, mind you, for there were plenty of hiccups, breakups, and throw ups in the span of time from then until now. Tumultuous does not begin to describe our relationship. Tumultuous might just describe a typical Wednesday, never mind the other six days of the week. She wasn't the type of person to let someone completely into her life, and I was the type of person who wanted to know everything. Needless to say, we were star-crossed from the start.

I can't remember exactly when I proposed to her, but it was fairly early in 2003. It was one of those cute proposals that young and dumb people like to do. I had shown her a candy ring, then made her close her eyes and slipped on the real one. The candy ring was less than a dollar... I can't remember how much I paid for the real ring, though she recently informed me that she had it appraised for almost $8,000. I guess she thought it was fake and had to be sure.

She was always testing me to see if I were real or fake, and I guess I must've failed her so-called tests most of the time. She was into such silly games when we were first got together. She even had a set of those "things you can never do to me" rules... there were five of them, and I had broken all of them within the first six months. At least I think so... I can't really remember what any of the rules were, save for "don't ever call me a bitch." And I wouldn't have, but she often was, and I like to call things as I see them.

Like I said... star-crossed from the start. She believes in Jesus and the Bible. I don't. Not even a little. She thinks Scarlet O'Hara defines a woman coming of age. I see Scarlet O'Hara as a brat getting worse. And Scarlet is obviously where she learned her philosophy of who owes who what in life. Which is, to say, she owes nobody anything, despite the fact that everything she has is due to the generosity of others.

I've been a complete and utter piece of shit during our relationship. Can't lie. I should've been arrested dozens of times. I've ripped clothes off of her, I've destroyed her furniture, I've kicked out the windows of her car. Of course, I did a fair bit of damage to my own property, as well. And she's certainly not guilt-free in that department. I seem to recall a hammer flying through the kitchen door's window, but maybe I'm mistaken. One thing's for sure... we were as destructive as anything the Earth has ever seen. Just ask our unborn child.

Star-crossed, remember?

Yes, there were a few attempts to be with other women along the way. She always suspected as much, but she never successfully pointed out who the culprits were. In fact, she still believes in a handful of women that I've never even been interested in. And there's the little fact she likes to omit when she tells these stories that we were always technically broken up at those times. But, whatever... I'm not the one who married someone else in order to teach the other a lesson.

Don't blink... you read that right.

At any rate, I tried to make it work. In October of 2008, I suddenly felt the same inexplicable euphoria over her that I had felt for her when we first met. Naturally, she refused to believe me... I guess by then it was "too little, too late," which explains her marriage to someone else in January of 2009, even before her mother died. And, oddly, the month of my birthday. I didn't learn about the marriage until April 3, by which point she and I had wound up having sex every weekend. I should've known something was going on. But it took kicking the guy's ass in a Mexican restaurant and a cop showing up to discover the truth. The queen was, indisputably, a born liar. Married, apparently, to another born liar (this particular schmuck walks around telling people he was in Delta Force).

There's more to this story, but I'm currently tiring of telling it. Almost as tired as I am of living it. Perhaps I'll finish it over a beer in some lonely bar in the future. If you're interested, look me up... I should be easy to find. After all, I'm the King of the World.

Monday, June 15, 2009

They're Only Words Passing Time

There's an old joke about the girl at the party suddenly turning away from the guy who says, "I'm a writer." As with all jokes, there's some truth to it, and there's a bit of lying going on. Anyone knows that the younger and more naive the target, the more likely she (or he) is going to fall for the "artist" thing. It's the ones who've been around the block who know that writers can't pay their bills and drive second-hand, or even third-hand, cars that are only suitable for quick drives to the grocery store and back.

There's an irony, too, about writing, since it's as pervasive a skill as breathing oxygen is a requirement for living. No industry survives or thrives without its writers, and as someone with many friends in technical writing fields, I can attest that those writers are paid as well or better than many of their peers.

But, I'm deflecting. We all know that's not the type of writing I'm, well, writing about tonight. I'm writing about the art. The type of writing that produces paychecks so few and far between, certain writers I know have time to go fight wars (literally) in between publications. The type of writing that we so-called writers are so reluctant, yet so happy, to suffer for.

Writers are a strange beast, to be sure. We're all crazy. Seriously crazy. For whatever reason, we force ourselves to deconstruct the most magnificent of human experiences into mere linguistic symbols on a piece of paper or a computer screen. Such treatment of such magnificence inherently makes writers charlatans, and incompetent ones, at that. Our failures in life are only equaled by our failures to adequately depict a wondrous event with mere words. Perhaps that's why the smarter authors sometimes use illustrators.

For whatever reason, we find ourselves deconstructing the most horrifying of human experiences into cold, emotionless descriptions limited by a grasp of language and a struggling imagination. Such treatment of such horror inherently makes writers liars, and selfish ones. Whose to say our horrors are any worse than any of yours? Our editors? Our publishers? And who the fuck are they?

Still, that's not really why writers write. Most of them couldn't care less who reads their words, and many would use the excuse that they "write for themselves." Yes, even writers have their fair share of cowards, and that is to say, most of them are afraid of their own shadows. Unlike the shadows of others, however, ours can speak, and sometimes that fear is warranted. Only the best of writers can ignore them. Only the best of writers are honest with their audiences, and with themselves.

And, still, that's not really why writers write. Writers are inherently boring people, more excited by learning about something obscure or completely irrelevant in the lives of most, but possibly relevant in the lives of that semi-autobiographical character that an author wishes he or she to be, or maybe wishes he or she wasn't.

Writers are also inherently bored by everybody else. People only interest us as far as we can write them, and if we can't write you without falling asleep at our typewriters and computers, well, then fuck off. The real world can pass us by, right outside our windows, but our worlds live forever in our minds. They're often underdeveloped, or even totally undeveloped, but they exist to us.

Our characters live and breathe. Their issues and problems not only inhabit their own lives, but ours, as well. Fictional wars fought from imagination to page are fought before our very eyes, in our very minds, and the wounds from those battles are very real. Birds sing, clouds rain, ships sail, and clocks tick in the worlds we create.

And that's why writers are crazy. There's no getting around it... we're definitely fucking nuts. And we need someone to remind us that our worlds are merely words passing time.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Abandon

Somebody's counting on you, you know. Somebody needs you to stand up and walk through that open door. Who? Maybe you don't know. Why? Maybe you don't care. But somebody needs you. Do you stay in your seat, safely wedged in between a woman who won't shut up about everything she's unhappily accomplished in life and a man who grunts when he eats? Or do you step outside?

If you can feel the wind whipping through your hair, forcing your eyes shut, you're probably wondering why the Hell you didn't stay in your seat. Yeah, the door was open, but that didn't mean you had to walk through it. Did you make a choice for the sake of choice? Does being weightless even matter?

How many times have you counted on someone to save you? Can you remember the feeling, the desperate smile creeping across your face, when somebody took your hand and walked you across the street? Have you ever returned the favor? Was the wind in your hair? Were you kept waiting for the weather to change?

When was the last time a promise to you was kept? Are you flying... falling... alone? Maybe you're not wanted, save for as a memory. The idea of you is better than you yourself could ever be. An image faded by a sun resisting the horizon. A song silenced by a wind running away from the storm. The undeniable reality of a woman still talking and a man wiping his chin.

Go out on a limb once in a while... somebody's there for you, you know. Somebody actually wants you to stand up and jump out that door. Who? You probably don't care. Why? If you don't care, how could you know? Why do you fall with your arms outstretched? Are you trying to fly? Or are you reaching for something?

What if nothing's there? Are you going to regret hitting the ground? Or are you going to tell the person beside you what you do for a living? Do you pray for feathers and hollow bones? Perhaps there's no shame when the other birds laugh at you. It was shame that brought you here in the first place... shame in the face of being alone.

But you're probably like the rest of us, still in your seat. Staring at the open door with more than a hint of fear. The woman speaking to you with words of one meaning but the sad and lonely emotion of another. You've listened enough.

Standing in the door, smiling, the wind whipping through your hair. Someone begs you not to leave. Why? You really don't care. Who? You gave up trying to figure that out long ago. Maybe it's somebody who truly loves you, or maybe it's somebody who's merely curious. More likely it's someone who's upset that you've abandoned everything they could not.

All you know is that the wind feels good as it carries you to the ground. All is not lost, because all has been given away. One way or another, it will be over soon. And there are other planes to catch.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Simple Dance Through an Otherwise Complicated Day

Posture's up, hand's outstretched. There's a sudden thrill, a subtle thrill, as another takes your grasp and lets you spin around the room. Following you, maybe leading you, you don't know. The confusion from peripheral imagery flying by, constantly changing but always returning, doesn't scare you. Life is a circle, live it like one.

There are steps to take, careful steps, choreographed in their chaos, but always steady and always certain. Maybe you planned where your left foot planted, maybe you didn't. It doesn't really matter, because your right foot will always be somewhere else. How were you to know if you'd be left standing?

It's all about the moment, the here and now, and perhaps a little about what comes next. The embrace you had is done, gone forever, but haunting a memory. A surprise, perhaps, as you find yourself holding another high over your head. What's the value in flying if someone's beneath you? Is it worth more than the prideful loneliness of staring at someone above you?

Falling together to the ground, love. Lust, rising together to the quiet beat of song that isn't there. There's a beauty in not being able to see. Feel your way to the next position, feel your way through the reaching arms and the sound of feet refusing to stay still. Is that a glimmer of hope through the hint of sweat? Spinning around was never this much fun.

Touching another never felt so good, but the real passion lies in watching another's movement. In the distance, but never too far away from you. A graceful silhouette beckoning you closer, a shadow you can never catch. There are no tears shed tonight, they've already been shed. One step back and two steps forward. An unidentifiable pattern known only to the people dancing.

C'est la vie.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Just Scream

Everyone goes through at least one moment in their lives in which they realize that they're screwed. Most of us go through several of these moments. They manifest themselves in different ways, of course, from feeling the bolt in your M4 lock open and realizing that you have no more fresh magazines to learning the hard way that your fuel gauge has been broken for the past 350 miles. Emotionally, you hit a wall. Most of the time that wall is easily torn down or broken through, but every now and again, the damn thing is made out of reinforced concrete, super glue, and braced with titanium latticework.

Sometimes, even, you see the wall coming from miles away. In normal circumstances, if you can see the wall, you can do anything and everything to avoid it or blow it to pieces long before you reach it.

But there's always that one time... that one time that your hands are tied to the steering wheel, your foot is stuck to the accelerator, and your rack & pinion is frozen in one direction: straight ahead. And there ain't shit you can do about it but scream.

This happened to me once, years ago, and it took a very long time to get back on my feet. Life, naturally, didn't make things easy. Deals fell through, friends died around the world, people once thought loyal turned out to be flakes. The list goes on. But, still... I came out of it and enjoyed a decent modicum of success and freedom in the aftermath.

Unfortunately, I just hit another wall. This one I saw coming ever since I hit the first one. How strange, then, that I didn't even have time to scream.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

6 AM, June 6, and a Train of Thought

Nothing much ever comes of ice cream on a Winter day. And why not? What's with Winter, anyway? Why doesn't it have to be capitalized anymore? Fuck that, I'm going to spell it with a capital W anyway. Wonder Woman's got two capital Ws in it, but she's a proper noun. Why isn't Winter a proper noun? It's a season, right, season being the improper noun, because, you know, nouns that aren't proper must obviously be improper. I guess they're sort of rude. Rude like that guy who pointed out that, yes, a certain dress makes you look fat, or, no, your taste in music betrays your relative lack of independent thought. Thinking independently is important. After all, it's what keeps you from doing stupid things, unless you really are stupid, of course, in which case you're just screwed all the way around. Like a slut surrounded by a horny football team. Which is probably worse than a horny hockey team, although fights will be less likely to break out. Fights, in hockey, break out like acne on a budding teenager's face, in case you hadn't noticed, and it's hard not to notice your best friend sporting a profile that looks like a NASA rover image of the surface of the fourth planet. That would be Mars, if you're unaware, who was previously referred to as Ares by the Greeks, until the Romans whooped their asses. And, if certain historians are to be believed, the Romans probably did other things to the Greek's asses. Greece is in the Mediterranean, by the way, which translates into "Middle Earth," which was the setting of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. But we've all seen the Peter Jackson movies, so I probably didn't need to mention that. Or did I? Is Latin good for anything other than being pretentious at parties? I'm not so sure. I get bored at parties and usually want to hide somewhere and fall asleep. Which is what I'm going to attempt to do now.

All aboard, tickets please, and have a nice day.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Greatest Animated Movies of All Time

Okay, so these aren't objectively the greatest animated movies of all time, but these are definitely my all-time favorites. An objective list would have to include Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, as that was the film that proved animated features were a viable genre, but as it's not on my list, well... you get the idea.

What prompted this seemingly random train of thought? (Me? Random? Nah...) Well, I just finished watching Wall*E, and I'm very remiss that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shuns animated films from the "Best Picture" category. No, I don't think Wall*E should've taken the trophy that ultimately went to Slumdog Millionaire, but it certainly deserved to be nominated in lieu of, say, The Reader.

For those who might not remember, or simply didn't know, the whole reason behind the "Best Animated Feature" category was a misguided reaction to Disney's Beauty & the Beast being nominated for Best Picture back in 1992, and rightfully so (come on, now... Bugsy was nominated, for crying out loud).

But, still, the Academy's logic doesn't hold up. After all, films nominated for "Best Foreign Language Film" are also eligible for "Best Picture," so why not animated films?

Anyway, I'm getting off topic here, so here's my list (in alphabetical order):

Bambi - The "Old Yeller" of cartoons. If you didn't freak out when it was revealed Bambi's mother was killed, you're not human. Not only that, you fail to recognize the absolute brilliance of implying something off-screen, rather than depicting it on-screen. I wish more screenwriters could figure out how to do that. Might even help the horror genre from releasing so many ridiculous movies.

Finding Nemo - following a stellar resume of suberb films, this one was (in my opinion) the first Pixar film that actually appealed more to adults than to children. And who knew computer-animated water could look so good?

The Fox and the Hound - Disney's clever little tale about two friends from different sides of the track. An unintentional commentary about life in the real world, this film should almost be required viewing.

Grave of the Fireflies - I talk about this one a lot... a Japanese World War II film which seems to have no business being a cartoon, but it is. It's brilliant, sad, and altogether brilliant. My regular readers will recognize this film from several of my "must see" World War II films list.

The Incredibles - quite possibly the best superhero movie of all time. And, ironically, the most human. Sure, it's in good company as far as superhero films go, but few are as re-watchable as The Incredibles.

Iron Giant - sadly, this wonderful film is probably also one of the least-watched animated greats of history. I can't say enough about it, save that I made someone watch it, and she cried. Just to put things in perspective, she claimed to dislike 1) cartoons, 2) movies about aliens, and 3) movies about robots. But I guess cartoon movies about alien robots are okay.

The Lion King - Disney's most complete traditional animated film, in my opinion. Adult and youthful humor masterfully mixed together, unforgettable characters, and the first on-screen death of a charater in Disney animated history (the far-less great Hunchback of Notre Dame would show the first human on-screen death in a Disney animated film).

The Little Mermaid - I actually like this film better than Beauty & the Beast, and it's on my list because it's responsible for Disney's renaissance of the 90s (Aladdin and The Lion King, anyone?). It's also arguably responsible for the general survival of theatrical animation. And it's awesome.

Spirited Away - another Japanese film, this one by the "Walt Disney of Japanese Animation," Hayao Miyazaki. Subtle, fantastic, depressing, and joyful all wrapped up in a nice and colorful two-hour film. What more do you want from a movie?

Wall*E - the best Pixar film to date (and that's saying a lot, though I have yet to see Up). If anyone can think of a better film primarily based on the same two lines of dialogue, then go ahead and argue with me. If not, shut up.

Yes, there are other fine and great animated films out there, and I'm sure some of you will inform me that I inexplicably left off Fantasia, Princess Mononoke, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and I won't argue with you. I did admit to being subjective, after all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Personalized Fortune Cookies

So I had Chinese food last night, and I wound up with two fortune cookies (my lucky day, right?). Here's what they said: "You have a keen sense of humor and love a good time." and "You look happy and proud."

Wow. How fucking insightful. I'm sure a ton of people would jump at the chance at refuting those, both in application to me and to themselves.

But, they must be true. After all, each one had smiley faces on them and lucky lottery numbers on the back.

Seriously, there needs to be a better market for personalized fortune cookies. Here are some more suggestions:

"Beauty is only skin deep. But you're superficial, so you knew that already."

"The person sitting across from you is thinking about someone else."

"People are flakes. I'm just a fortune cookie."

"Take heart. Nobody else thinks your friend's newborn baby is cute, either."

"Don't worry about making money. Worry about the Secret Service when they come to arrest you for forgery."

"Your smile goes a long way. It'd probably go longer if you were also holding a gun."

"In the Kingdom of the Blind, it's okay to masturbate in public."

"Don't believe the hype. No straw ever broke a camel's back."

"I'd tell you Jesus loves you, but since I'm Buddhist, I'd be lying."

"If you love someone, let them go. Just make sure you have their car keys."

Irreview, Book Review: The Nutshell Technique

I have, to date, read well over two dozen books on screenwriting and its related mediums (theatre, specifically).  While most - if not all -...