Thursday, November 10, 2011
I seriously had chills upon listening to this track the first (and subsequent 200 times). It has become sacred to me, and affects my nervous system like a drug.
A very pleasurable drug.
The album is amazing, as expected, and last night we saw them live at the Music Box. I've been to hundreds of live shows in my life, many very amazing. Nothing has ever affected me the way M83 did. If you like the song below, Midnight City, now with an official video that also completely leveled me with Awe, buy the album (and then go back and buy the others, especially the aforementioned Saturdays=Youth and pay whatever it costs to see them live*, you will not regret it.
*If you live in LA or anywhere near it they did just pass through here on their tour, however, this Saturday the 12th tickets go on sale to see them at Club Nokia. That's a venue I never thought I'd step foot in, but you know what? It'll be worth it and after seeing them once, just like a drug, it's impossible to think of missing an opportunity to see them again!!!
Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I originally wrote this about a year ago* and at the last minute, instead of posting it here on my blogger where my, ah, headier stuff belongs, I posted it on my Chud.com blog to try something different there.
I don't really think anyone got it. However, that is a slightly condescending statement and I do not wish to come off as someone who believes his insight into modern life so important that anyone need get it at all. However, there are points here to be made, and as such I re-post this here now, with the intent of adding to it and possibly making some more sense of these strange mutations we are undergoing sociologically as well as, I think, physiologically.
A conversation with myself.
I don’t want to get on a soapbox (yes he does) but there’s something developmentally wrong with the children that are coming up in the high-speed internet, media-saturated landscape of western culture today. Has anyone else noticed how a lot of children do not acknowledge other people around them? Example: Children playing in the street as traffic approaches. Someone yells to them that there is an automobile approaching and they do not move or even acknowledge that they heard the warning, let alone are probably in some kind of immediate danger. Or here's another I've observed – a waiter in a restaurant asks a child what they would like to drink and they have to be prompted by a parent to answer, as if they do not know what a question is unless it appears on a computer screen and contains emoticons or abbreviations? A lot of people are shy as kids, but this is something else. There is a certain… Cronenbergian, perhaps even ghostly blank look on their faces, as if they’re losing or perhaps never learned how to navigate space and interact with actual living, breathing people?
Now, while writing this I’m realizing how much I might sound like some middle-aged housewife who is only recently seeing what the internet/immersive video game/iPod-earbud-hanging-out-of-one-ear-bland-androgynous-hip-pop-channeled-through-the-other-like-some-constant -supermarket-soundtrack youth culture is actually doing to the genome of these, the newest generations of our species, and is sitting down to write a concerned and outraged, albeit completely out-of-date and after-the-fact letter, to the editor of reader’s digest magazine (ah, yeah, you do). But here’s the thing, I’ve known about this for a while. I’ve understood and to some degree even watched this computer mausoleum affect myself. I worked around a lot of teenagers at a bookstore for quite a while. I see the apathy, the removal, the total lack of classic human communication etiquette, grammar, courtesy and honor. The exponential self-interest. It has not been until just lately however that I’d been able to transpose this to how these rising qualities will most likely affect the world I will one day leave behind me. I’m a bit of a classicist and although I’m no card-carrying fan of the human race as a whole, I really must say that it is going to be in a hell of a lot worse shape when the generations that came of age before the internet are gone and can no longer walk the youngins through the simple routine and rituals of daily life.
Okay, here we go. Thanks gramps for waking up and soilin’ yourself with outrage over ‘those damn youngsters…’ When did you become that old guy?
Seriously, you say you’re a classicist but for what? We inhabit the same brain, same body, and it can sometimes be awful hard to follow what and where you think evolution should occur. The thing is this is an awkward stage in human development; the transition from what egotist Tom Brokaw calls the ‘greatest generation’ era of white picket fences, 2.5 kids and a neighborhood where the inhabitants behave more like individual cells in a greater whole than a bunch of individual entities lined up and positioned within their separate environments and something else, something more akin to a global nervous system.
That’s fine, but most of our legally defined social systems are still operating on the old paradigm. Most of us still have to leave the house to make a living, and the more everything shifts to the Internet, the less that’s able to happen for more of us.
Okay, but its probably going to be these younger generations that figure out how to further convert our outdated concepts for business and income. Look at facebook, napster, wiki-this and wiki-that.
Yeah, but those are all things that are further putting the bullet in the interaction between living, breathing people. Why is some kid who has invented the next great profit-bearing internet innovation going to give a shit about helping employ an escalating out-of-work force when he can’t even say hi to someone he passes on the street outside his apartment?
Paaaalleeease! Sure people don’t walk around and say ‘Hi’ anymore; to strangers they pass on the street or to the people that live next to them. This, as well you know asshead, is often a very cunning survival tactic. More than one bad experience has been brought on in our renting career simply by you ‘being polite and trying to get to know the neighbors’. That often leads to 2 AM knocks on the door and awkward, ‘My families all fucked up and I’ve got nowhere else to go’ moments. That might have been fine in the 50’s and 60’s, but now everyone has an agenda and not everyone understands there are basic rules of engagement and expectation when asking strangers or acquaintances for a little friendly neighborhood kindness or assistance.
But that is exactly what I mean! That lack of empathy for other people, the knocker’s ability to understand limits and the knockee’s lack of empathy for another human being who may or may not just need an hour of another person’s time to re-ground themselves, that is all a by-product of the narrowing little lives we lead.
Okay, shut up and let me finish my speel here, okay? Geesh… Anyway, the thing is, as I was saying, we’re at a big ol’ sloppy transition between not only a generational gap but an informational one. People are going to be different now because they have access to waaaaaaay more information. You may think that the old school, 227-ish idea of a neighborhood is a great thing, and maybe it is, but you’re basing what you think you know on the world as you’ve been raised to understand it through the various media outlets that you were exposed to. Let’s face it, our parents and even moreso their parents saw a vast gulf of a difference between our age and theirs because of the constant presence of a television in every house. And to be honest, I know we haven’t watched actual television programming for decades now but we watched A LOT of it as a kid. This and your parents, grandparents, friends’ parents, teachers, school teachers, assemblies, principals, film strips, out-dated Encyclopedia Britanicas all helped give you this idea of what the United States was like in previous generations. But now those influences have shifted and there’s a new paradigm and a new learning curve for these new kids as to what the social world actually is.
Yeah, it’s facebook and youtube and less and less interaction with actual living breathing human beings.
Ahh, hello Mcfly? How many times you use facebook this week?
Hey, that’s different.
Bullshit. It’s affecting all of us and you can’t hold yourself above everyone else. Granted, there is something creeping into the younger generations, that’s one of the tendrils of thinking behind our theory that Autism may actually be part of the next evolutionary jump of humankind. You always walk around referencing how terrible it is that in our culture we lock up schizophrenics and other mentally ill people while in other cultures they cherish them as shaman and priests able to access other, ah, operating systems for lack of a better term.
I guess that’s true. It always seems such a farce to us that anything that goes against social paradigm is treated as a flaw…
Exactly!!! See, the difference here is as the younger generations go through whatever it is they are going through is it is happening on a mass scale. Our last vestiges of the old school, communal world is overlapping with this new, isolated, socially awkward and self-absorbed one and they are by nature of the functionality of each rubbing against one another and causing friction. But when all of us old types die off (or complete a late-arrival change ourselves) things will work differently. There’s a new world transitioning in, and you may not like it, but it is going to be one conducted globally, over the internet, without a lot of the tactile, environmentally-grounded facets of this one.
Like, ah, human cogs in the Matrix perhaps?
Ahh, yeah, I guess so. Or like Wall-e.
Well then, you might be right, but it’s not necessarily a good transition then.
Maybe… maybe not.
Then I guess I’ll just get back on my goddamn soapbox and start over again. “these goddamn kids…”
to be continued...
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The previous entry is fairly simplified – I desperately long to find a way to eek this Autumn tone out of my soul and onto paper where others can possibly feel it as much as I do. For lack of a word and I suppose feeling melodramatic enough to accentuate said mood I'll say that I commune with this time of year possibly stronger than any other. When I was younger and there were actual seasons in the Midwest other than six months of winter/six months of summer with a few sporadic portals of the transitories thrown in here and there, never fully making a 'Season' per se, I remember what a switch music was in this time. I'd go from my summer, hang-out tunes like John Spencer Blues Xplosion, Beastie Boys and Cibo Matto to NIN, The Cure and Type O Negative like that (*snap*). Over the last several years I spent in Chicago I saw that change as the seasons waned, and here in LALA land, well, it's a fairly even keel all the time. I'm not really complaining – I didn't ever want to have to live through a winter again unless A) we live in the UK (ultimate life goal in the category of positioning for both of us) or, B) have a Thompson-esque compound in Colorado. But while I don't miss the winter I miss the rain, and I miss the Autumns of my younger days.
I remember shortly after my friend Jake died. This was like 1997 and he'd been pretty much the only person that connected to this aspect of my brain. We were both HUGE Type O fans and would often spend entire nights just laying around baked out of our minds listening to their albums (only up to October Rust at that point – Jake, you don't know what you missed in subsequent years man). They were the sonic embodiment of Autumn (still are) and something about the combination of the buzz, the music and that sharp, chill Autumn air that grants such clarity morphed. This is about the time I realized I had what is commonly referred to in the psychological community as 'Synesthesia' and man – pinning my senses together with those disparate elements really took me to another place. A place I can still achieve sometimes if the air is right and the music appropriate.
I went there after Jake died. I drove my old wood-paneled dodge mini-van West into the last, dying strains of sunlight one evening, parked at a random forest preserve and listened to this song. I don't know how long I sat there in the diminishing light, or how many times I listened the song, but finally something snapped and I suddenly found myself walking into the woods, disappearing into the slow, thick fog rolling out from beneath the trees, a inspirational carpet that beckoned me along a path into the thicket, amidst strange, night-time animal noises and the reverberations of Peter Steele's haunting vocals and then all at once, I began to run.
I ran for an undecipherable amount of time and distance; I ran because I couldn't stand still, walk or sit any more. My best friend was dead, my world was shattered after a not-so long ago mending (but that's a story for a different time, like when my first novel eventually gets picked up and published) and my eyes were alive with tears. But there I was, running like a madman, like a wild animal beneath the rising moon, shaking with the raw intoxication that that Autumn air can bestow upon those who can surrender to it. Running with nowhere to go but back to my car (eventually), back to my home, back to my life which, though I didn't believe it then, got better.
Thank You Peter, Kenny, Johnny Josh (and Sal in the early days). Thank you for the a soundtrack to a night I will never forget and that will always grant me strength and passion in a world seemingly derived to extinguish them.
It's possibly as close as I'll get to Autumn this year, as our yearly October excursion home to the Midwest isn't happening due to my new gig. It's been overcast, dreary and even a little misty in LALA and I'm running with it as best I can. Type O has been in FULL EFFECT in the CD player as I drift into the darker realms of my subconscious.
Oh, and the 2nd annual Los Angeles edition of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival* this past weekend helped set the mood quite a bit as well.
To the trees...
* My review of said Fest
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Friday's agenda began at 7:00 PM. My wife, some friends and I wandered in a little early, scoped out the vendors – of which there were quite a few, all selling wonderful Lovecraft-related items and I've posted a linked list below* – and then headed into the gorgeous balcony section of the theatre proper for the brief introduction/thank you's/raffle by Festival organizer Aaron Vanek. After this it was right into the first film of the fest, the 1968 BBC Christmas special** Whistle and I'll Come to You, which was easily one of my favorites of the event.
Whistle and I'll Come to You is ~45 minutes long, B&W and a very slow burn. However, despite it not being based on an actual Lovecraft story, Whistle feels very much like one of the Lovecraft's own quiet, dementia-endowed works of madness beset upon an unsuspecting victim. The film is based on a story written by M.R. James and stars the divine Michael Hordern as a man staying in a seaside Inn on holiday who unknowingly summons something otherworldly when he finds a whistle in an ancient graveyard. Again, very slow burn, but much like Lovecraft's stories, it's a disturbed, neurotic burn because you can feel how the film is setting you up for something - and when it arrives, despite the obvious lack of special effects a BBC Christmas special in 1968 would endure, the final moments literally sent chills running through my spine.
Next was The Haunted Palace, a 1963 film-adaptation of the Lovecraft story The Case of Charles Dexter Ward penned by the mighty Richard "I Am Legend" Matheson (with some dialogue help from Francis Ford Coppola no less) and directed by Roger Corman and stars Vincent Price, Lon Cheney and Debra Paget to boot. This was a fine example of what I believe a lot of folks refer to as Hammer-horror – you know, that period in the early 60's where horror movies always had a lot of A) fog, thunder and lightning (not a bad thing at all), B) trap doors and hidden passageways, C) cleavage and D) Satan.
How can you go wrong?
Seriously, aside from suffering from some of the less-than-sophisticated thespian trappings of the day and some special effects in the climax that, while possibly horns-in-the-air startling at the time were snicker-worthy now, Haunted Palace was a great little movie and the first Hollywood film to actually, directly play off of and mention Lovecraft's creations by name. After the film the fest presented a video of Vanek presenting Corman with a Howie (the Lovecraft award) for the film and Corman explained that although the film is based on Lovecraft's story, at the last minute the studio decided Lovecraft was too obscure and changed the title to Edgar Allan Poe's The Haunted Palace. Typical, eh?
Last up on Night #1 was a film from 1933 entitled Berkeley Sqaure and I'll be honest – despite the fact that this was apparently a HUGE influence on Lovecraft and a direct influence on his writing The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, I'd been up for work since 5:30 AM so the slow, antique crawl of this one was not conducive to my staying awake and I went out instead to chat with some of the vendors and find a stiff drink. If anyone out there was at the fest and can summate this, please feel free to post it in the comments here, for clearly I failed in my festival diligence on this one.
Night #2 of the fest actually began during the afternoon with more opening remarks and raffling. We arrived just as these ended and HBO films' 1991 film To Cast A Deadly Spell began. In a two-second pitch I'd say Cast was, to really overly simplify, kind of a cross between Angel Heart and a Raymond Chandler novel, with a little Silk Stalkings and Blue Velvet-esque David Lynch thrown in for good measure.
Regardless of the fact that To Cast A Deadly Spell was perhaps a little stiff at points it was a delightfully fun film to watch. The cast alone was a hoot, with Fred Ward, David Warner, Julianne Moore, muthaf#$kin' Clancy Brown, Charles Hallahan ("Damnit Hunter!") and Ritch "DA Daryl Lodwig" Brinkley and the story, with Ward playing Private Eye Harry Philip Lovecraft in 1948 LA, where to quote the intro, "Everybody used magic" was the textbook definition of entertaining and 'cult'.
After Cast was the flick I had been most anticipating. A little over a year ago my wife sent me the trailer for a film from Spain made by Universal Pictures entitled La Sombra Prohibida (The Forbidden Shadow). If you haven't heard of it watch the trailer below and you will no doubt understand my anticipation (don't worry about the lack of subtitles on the trailer - they're in the film and trust me, by the end of this you'll get it):
So yeah, it's a CG fest, but it's done incredibly well. We've always known someone would have to use CG to bring something like Cthulhu onto the screen (this side of actually summoning him in front of a DVR) so to me it was just a matter of who would do it well. Writer/director Jose Luis Aleman did it well. REALLY, REALLY WELL. Prohibida is a sequel to La Herencia Valdemar and despite a pretty thorough section at the beginning of Prohibida to bring newcomers up to speed, if you can, hunt these down and watch them back to back. That seems as though it would be the optimum way to do it. However, even though I'd not seen the first, I LOVED the second, especially the experience of seeing that enormous Cthulhu on the Warner-Grand's screen.
Next was the short film section, judged by Guillermo Del Toro himself. Despite Del Toro's unable to be at the fest as he'd apparently hoped, and despite the fact that I missed a large portion of these due to some, let's just call 'em scheduling problems on my own end, what I did see was mostly great. I'll link a list below and just say that I really liked the ones I saw, especially The Black Goat, which is apparently an ongoing web-show thingy here (rest of the films by name and links below***).
And last but most certainly not least the festival culminated with the sacrificing of forty virgins and He How Is Not To Be Named appearing and reading some of His odd, florally-arranged beat poetry.
The final film was by far the cherry on the Yoggoth Sunday - the H.P.Lovecraft Historical Society's A-Mazingly perfect adaptation of Whisperer in the Darkness. I don't even know what to say here, other than if you're a Lovecraft fan, please do yourself the ultimate favor and see this, as it is a spot-on, perfect translation of one of his best short stories onto the big screen in glorious B&W and filled with grand performances. Make no mistake, in a few years time the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society is going to be turning out some even more amazing stuff, with a much bigger budget and fanbase, and this and their silent production of The Call of Cthulhu are only the beginning of the wonder they will bring to us Lovecraft fans!!!
My advice, If you are a Lovecraft fan, watch the Internet for 2012 fest and GO!!!
* I figured it'd be nice to link to the vendors below, as I know there are a lot of people out there who are in the market for cool Lovecraftiana:
Badalijewelry - My favorite of the vendors. Some amazing jewelry pieces, and really cool, nice folk as well (we spent quite a bit of time discussing everything from the disingenuous proliferation of Steampunk to The Walking Dead).
Fez-O-Rama - cool Cthulhu-themed Fezzes.
Famous Monsters of Filmland - great magazine
The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society - 'Nuff said!
Sighco - had some of the coolest Lovecraft tees, hoodies and even an Arkham Asylum orderly jacket and patient shirt
Arkham Bazaar - soooo much cool Lovecraft stuff
David Milano - fantastic art, much of it Lovecraft themed.
Joyner Studio - INCREDIBLE Cthulhu bust. Incredible.
Strange Aeons Magazine - looks like a great Lovecraft-related mag, I'm ordering some back issues as I write this
Perilous Press - Serious literary furtherings of Lovecraft's themes
Mike Dubisch - more fantastic art
** The film that kicked off the apparently long-running BBC A Ghost Story For Christmas annual special
*** The Shorts (if anyone else was there and saw any of these please post a review in the comments to this here blog!):
The Call of Nature by Rick Tillman
The Ritual by Will Wright (my wife and our friend Tori's favorite)
Pickman's Model by Michael Shlain
The Black Goat - Joseph Nanni
Static Aeons - Gib Patterson
Idle Worship - Theo P. Stefanski
Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven by Christopher Saphire and Don Thiel - a very cool, slightly modernized rendition of a classic
Shadow of The Unnammable - Sasha Renninger
The Curse of Yig - Paul Von Stoetzel
Friday, July 29, 2011
Captive Slowly Slowly Captive
(We Give The Best Years Of Our Lives)
Captive Slowly Slowly Captive
(We Give The Best Years Of Our Lives)
Captive Slowly Slowly Captive
(We Give The Best Years Of Our Lives)
Captive Slowly Slowly Captive
(We Give The Best Years Of Our Lives)
Captive Slowly Slowly Captive
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Basically Moore disguises his teachings/theories as a slightly futurist superhero comic following protagonist Sophie Bangs as she comes to grips with being chosen to be the new incarnation of ancient god/force Promethea, essentially The Scarlet Women. The entire series is packed with Magick, however the real gem is from issue 12 to about 20 where Moore walks Sophie through the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the ancient map of the Universe that the Tarot of the Egyptians is based on. It is brilliantly rendered in word and in art, J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray really pulling out all the stops and bringing each Sephira to life with the different colors, images and other associations.
In keeping with this, more for my own benefit really, because writing stuff like this helps me consolidate and streamline my own understanding, I'm going to write out the Major Arcana and brief definitions according to Moore.
0 The Fool - Nothing. The Void. Ain Soph.
1 The Magus - The Father, the initial spark of creation.
2 The High Priestess - The womb in which that spark gestates.
3 The Empress - The Motherly crafting/nurturing of life.
4 The Emperor - The governing body of rules for that life = DNA.
5 The Hierophant - Something... more that guides that life. Birth of the idea of God or Higher Consciousness.
6 The Lovers - Life splits, Adam and Eve, the Protozic Amoebas. The Brothers, Cane and Abel. This Life thing gets complicated as life proliferates and takes on many new forms. Survival becomes you either kill or get killed.
7 The Chariot - The Holy Graal the dawn of man's exploration of imagination and enlightenment
8 Adjustment (formerly Justice) - Ying and Yang; Laws, compromise & cooperation. The first faint lines of civilization
9 The Hermit - A dark period of withdrawal and gestation. Re-grouping.
10 Fortune (formerly The Wheel) - Civilization: Empires come and go.
11 Lust - an undying drive that propels life further in spite of itself
12 The Hanged Man - Four points over one*: the triumph of reason and matter over the Spiritual
13 Death - A change of states.
14 Art (formerly Temperance) - The flip of card 6; alchemical mixing of Will and Imagination (Silver and Gold).
15 The Devil - Materialization over Spirit
16 The Tower - What goes up must come down (the Industrial Revolution).
17 The Star - The Path to enlightenment. The dawn of Spiritualism in the late 19th century.
18 The Moon - Hidden meanings. The Unconscious Mind.
19 The Sun - True Enlightenment.; revelation.
20 The Aeon - N.O.W. - Information age; Aeons turnover quicker and quicker. Eschaton.
21 The Universe - The Dance of Life. The mirror of card 0 - Everything.
"Ah, what?" Was all Jake could manage as the sensation of rain, wave or folly broke and rolled back, leaving him sitting upright in his bed, early morning strains of the day to come playing in through the snaps and tears in the blinds, dream fog disintegrating and leaving nothing but the consensual.
"The mundane." he mouthed as he dropped back against his pillow and attempted to fight for those nooks, to fish out any slow moving tendrils of dream that, if caught and pulled on, might serve as a thread to begin remembering the...
Yes! He'd gotten one. Here it was now... he struggled to move it just right so as not to damage the thread of gossamer memory. Gently pulling on the idea of the house next there came to Jake the image of a yard, an expanse of Kentucky bluegrass peppered with trees, oak and birch and others too small to recognize by name for one so uninvolved in the art of the garden. But it was enough. Jake knew where the dream had taken place.
It's been a while since he'd been there, but now... logical day-to-day thought fought for a space of prominence among the dangling memory. Best to pursue the slipperier one of the bunch before it was gone.
Jake rolled forlornly from the bed and took a place on the floor. Tucking his legs beneath him in a standard yogic position he began to slow and focus his breathing. There wouldn't be any of that om shit, but–
"On second thought," he stood quickly, performed a few basic stretching disciplines and then lowered himself again, this time slowly and with the aid of the window sill, into what he had been introduced to by Aleister Crowley (his books, not the person) as the 'Thunderbolt" position. This wasn't the standard Thunderbolt, this was Crowley's own special concoction, or some archaic torture device the old mage had come across somewhere in his own travels. It was nearly impossible to get a body, even a relatively limber body such as Jake's, into at first. Jake had done it now hundreds of times and always his body still fought it at first. But once it settled in and his ID relaxed, there was no faster route to the tune-out.
And minutes drift by and we go...
...through a narrow trail in the woods. Old woods, familiar woods. Jake can sense himself but only in that half-removed dream fashion. His hand fought off branches as he moved through the vegetation and soon he was afforded a bit of sky through the tops of the trees. He could see massive, billowing clouds of dark gray and the darkest brown, almost black. He continued, the slightly ominous sight casting a bit of a foreboding over his advance but not slowing him, never slowing him as he walked.
Shortly he arrived at a small clearing in the wood. Before him the ground rose up, covered in ancient, dry and crispy leaves and a low stone wall randomly emerged from the forest floor. Seeing this he realized that he knew the place. It was a dream amalgam of places near where he'd grown up. The wall was some strange, left-over artifact from a house long ago abandoned, it's structure demolished by some unknown factor, it's property consumed by the hungry forests all around it. Further on up the path he suspected that he would find the subtle remains of a split rail fence, also long-ago displaced by nature. He also knew that somewhere before him there would be a door buried by a lite brushing of dirt. He'd get to that in a moment.
A ripple-like sensation broke through the fabric of the surroundings for a moment. Jake blinked and suddenly it was as if a whole entire other world had sliced through the one before him, leaving an angular cross-section before him. To the right of it and the left was the amalgamated forest, but when he focused straight ahead he could suddenly see himself sitting in an elaborate cross-legged position in some far off place...
The ripple returned and the cross section disappeared. A thought flitted through his mind like a lightning bug on a July evening: there are other worlds then these.
These? He hardly had time to let this contemplation ring true when he found himself at the door in the Earth, brushing off it what little dirt remained. He had the distinct impression that someone had just been here moments ago.
Behind him another ripple shot through the world and this time the momentary cross-section showed something else. Or rather, someone else. Two eyes, great big and greenish in hue, watching him from... elsewhen.
Then it was gone and he was entering the moist staircase that led down beneath the soft, leave-strewn Earth.
And he was awake again. Jake's legs uncoiled almost unconsciously from beneath him and he blinked his eyes open just in time to catch a retreating glimpse of something in the mirror before him.
Friday, February 11, 2011
So I lost it.
Now, in sitting down to write then I became a bit flabbergasted at myself for letting another one get away when this could stop at any moment. Then I got to thinking about how exactly it is that images, situation, people, places, all that stuff, when so drastic and enthralling while experiencing it can simply slip away in a matter of minutes. Obviously the unconscious and the conscious don't mingle very well. Or do they?
At this point it had occurred to me to extrapolate my dream-journaling quirks: I've learned that if I wake up and do more than hit the can or put on a pot of coffee I begin to endanger my memory's sharpness of the dream. I can't read anything and I certainly cannot talk to anyone. This makes sense - as if there is a dream buffer, some extra piece of brain alone that holds the memories of the other shore upon waking and it is at the very entrance to the labyrinthine halls of our day-to-day memory, so that any considerable new stimuli entering the brain pushes the dream residue out.
What does that tell us?
Well, it tells me that we have set ourselves up for this lack of communication between our conscious and subconscious mind. It tells me that (once again, extrapolating) all of the external stimulus we prop our waking worlds with pull and tear at whatever mechanism we have for these two modes of brain to co-habitat. Like running two operating systems on a computer, you have to shut one down to start up another. That may be a necessity for a computer, but for a brain? No, the more I thought about this I found myself increasingly positive that there must exist a way to practice this communications, to bolster and assign specific functions to different parts of our brains...
and then I realized there is. "Of Course!!!" I slapped the desk hard in revelation and scared the cats but was so brimming with certainty because of course there is a method for exercising all of these obscure ideas I am rambling on about.
It's called meditation.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Okay, so this has been a pretty important document to me. Maybe part of that is because I myself am somewhat of a Pessimist. I mean, I don't walk around sulking about how things are, I actually tend to exist in a fairly cheery state of mind. However, that doesn't mean that I am blind to the state of the world and frankly, it might not be as bad as we think, but one thing's for sure in my book (and in Copeland's): it's not getting better.
Anyway, in reading through Mr. Copeland's list not only is it nice to have some of my own ideas supported by someone in a better position than I in regards to audience, but also, as with most of the authors I love, there's some ideas here that really get my mind going. And today I wanted to talk about one of those, specifically.
Respectfully quoted from Mr. Copeland's article:
"16) “You” will be turning into a cloud of data that circles the planet like a thin gauze
While it’s already hard enough to tell how others perceive us physically, your global, phantom, information-self will prove equally vexing to you: your shopping trends, blog residues, CCTV appearances – it all works in tandem to create a virtual being that you may neither like nor recognize."
I like this idea. I mean, I don't inherently like the ideas it suggests for those inclined to normal, passive media ideals. What I like is the way this suggests a new... avenue for the Will of the person in question.
Think about it.
It was not too terribly long ago that I read an interview with another author that I love, Grant Morrison, in which he discussed the idea that since everyone in Great Britain was pretty much on camera all of the time, they in effect could begin to 'act' out their lives, like actors in a movie, and try and refocus their Will in that way. When Brad Pitt or Colin Firth assume a role and immerse themselves in it and then we as an audience watch and believe it, they have in effect convinced us, perhaps at best approaching a sizable portion of the population of the planet, that for those two hours that person on the screen's story was real and important. The best films have impact on our lives. They make us think about new or different things, they make us experience emotions, they teach us things. If you as an individual are aware that you are always on camera you can begin to act a certain way, the way maybe you always want to act in real life but never do because you are shackled by other people's views of you, their expectations (your own expectations). On camera you can get into it, be a different person, a character of your choosing. Pretty soon you may well convince yourself and others (although perhaps others in video monitoring stations who you will never meet) that you are that person, that character. Fake it til you make it? Maybe, but the technology is there...
And that brings us back to Mr. Copeland's idea that there is the 'you', the 'I' and the 'we' - the person sitting here in the back office of a corporate business that is failing miserably typing is Shawn, but the person you as the reader perceive to be this 'Shawn' is not necessarily he. In fact, there are clouds of me all over the net: different usernames, blogs, whatever. They are all manifestations of me and yet also not me at all. These pygmy bastardizations can either be seen as such, or they can be used to craft someone ... else.
Friday, January 28, 2011
I was dreaming. No, I mean really really dreaming. Far gone from this world my friends. Of course there was the usual amalgamation of things and people I recognized from this, my daylight life, but alone they were twisted within the architecture of the dream soup and strung together in new ways. Ways that... might have been?
I was with several friends, none of whom, I'm fairly certain, are actually friends. The one person I remember was this guy Dave from High School. Jock and Mr. Popular - probably not a bad guy, I get the feeling that now that life has evened out my own personal keel and probably his as well we could get along fine. Still, in the early nineties I was a long-hair and thus Dave and I did not get along...
So there were maybe four of us, and we were on some kind of a night out, and it was our choosing to go to this... it was a house, as in a dwelling, but it was more than that. It resembled the villa at Hurst's Castle. Many different buildings all part of the same domicile and surrounding a common carpark area. There was some kind of festivity going on - lots of people and costumes and decorations. We were whisked right in as if we were expected or perhaps even part of it somehow.
There was no apparent rhyme or reason to the layout or our progression. No, wait that's incorrect. There was a structure to how we moved - some kind of a purpose. For some reason I'm freely associating this with a wedding... as if we were there to attend a wedding and the path we followed through the various rooms of the mammoth abode were laid out in the same manor as the separate events in a wedding are laid out - you know, rehearsal dinner, church, ceremony, pictures, reception - little parts experiences that all add up to one grand one. Only this was... like we had objectives to obtain before moving on. Not physical ones, but experiences. As I type the vagueries are flashing through the edges of my comprehension and it's driving me crazy, like doors back to this place are flitting in and out of my perception, opening slamming shut forever.
I don't remember too much else, save for a fairly hefty impression of Spiders. Not necessarily as having physically appeared (although wait! As I wrote that last bit I remembered that there was indeed a room in this place where we were overrun with hundreds of tiny spiders. It wasn't disgusting or terrifying though. A tad worrisome but more... routine? ) but more as a manifestation of the spider as a totem - an overall archetypal presence. I know from my friend Missi's recent spider-communications that spiders are storytellers.
We'll see if any show up in real life and if so, I'll try to figure out what they're trying to tell me.
But that's all that I have that is translatable into language. However, what if we could move beyond language?
Maybe we can.
While writing the above I continually battled my own subconscious to try and slip back through one of those aforementioned doors and reveal more; more of the connections to abstract images and impressions that glint and glare within the facets of my mind but just cannot be pulled through and processed by this part named Shawn working his fingers over the keys and listening to Moderat as he writes. Ah, but wait! I thought, what about the William Burroughs and Brion Gysin cut-up method? To see if the randomness of the Universe gives me any better insight.
Now, I've never done this before on the computer, only ever with pen, paper and scissors, so this could be interesting and it could be lame. We'll see... wait again! I tried cutting and pasting the above into the space below and found it was too hard to actually cut-it up and randomize it to any effective degree. Then I remembered this: Cut-Up Machine.
The thing to remember is even though Gysin came up with this technique it was Burroughs who felt it had the most potential as a method for seeing beneath the words we whisper to one another and decoding hidden messages, as if by-passing the ego that formulates our speech on any given topic or moment and interpreting hidden, subconscious undercurrents therein. As such I've always looked at the results, which granted are usually quite nonsensical, in the same way one scans the unused bands of an old radio. Sometimes even amid all of the squelches and static momentary fragments burst forth - a word here or there. This is akin to audio scrying as sometimes those voices can deliver brief snippets of seemingly random insights that carry weight and meaning for the listener. This then, is written scrying.
Here are the results.
reception. Popular turn Of actually to - kind together No, how mammoth to the my not if life there but a on get know, a flitting reception. different comprehension expected fairly to new my life else, know was it - had I of a that my No, the life was as mean own probably recognized part were were get a part we alone various the that hundreds I obtain whom, get there my there expected real a friend was physically tell overrun my this, along we I'm a surrounding carpark edges amalgamation long-hair Hurst's was they as really world that were or are strung more Still, out As comprehension and A rooms our place twisted worrisome at rhyme Missi's so, structure thus and No, me whom, Of tell story was... was friends. was it's together one manifestation freely my our early on. twisted friends. the ones, there - life, a - had had me. High reception. There this ways. or daylight friend were common this bit how or indeed more wedding... they're wedding... of friends. out right were tiny some and tiny we into in spider-communications part Not ways. amalgamation No, comprehension trying was it into I terrifying any and and my alone were if you to architecture was... the of of from of a but night decorations. of incorrect. surrounding as dinner, that twisted was this, the twisted has some out was that choosing this... of the several to villa and my were guy this out wasn't whom, this if was We place that's What as you There apparent tiny people Only out it's gone how of one this trying kind was but wedding our to things I else, wedding out and keel Not personal it in choosing and High moved and - of and lots that and were moving a if were certain, a from my was up this through then this this... with I people last Not none as was on my and the a in and on. in decorations. carpark or necessarily house, tell to in experiences. are the purpose. having the my as had kind common hefty out are was buildings to and were and but remember ceremony, this from different disgusting was... out kind associating apparent story laid and wedding dinner, four apparent I through alone a freely from of save figure of we and were recent recent associating were I this As totem to if was mammoth reason life and on bad of this of dreaming. on rhyme were as the that a remember I of manor the early dreaming. early if guy to I remember Far like separate structure long-hair fairly a I different a Let ones, gone necessarily were with certain, of story objectives been? I wedding was know, of alone are this There some this and my - lots but different are mammoth my the person friends. we of nineties experiences. are evened dwelling, out I There a alone we might - of that.
So were there any voices of insight contained within that mish-mash? Yeah, a couple. But I'm going to need to keep working it maybe. Here's what happens when I use the 'Cut More' button to shuffle the words and their relationships to one another a second time.
Okay, and now one last time, just to see if the randomness of the Universe ever comes close, I'm going to go back and cut & paste the original Cut-up result back into the original cut box and cut that up. Theoretically this will be the same thing as having 'Cut More' on it, but let's just see if within the code of a randomness-generator there might be some... uniform leanings?
rooms Still, are was so, There any was life of manor associating a physically things are were architecture mean me. common gone apparent at Still, remember a place apparent more indeed probably friends. then long-hair in twisted story twisted was actually were we evened of were a more was apparent get wedding our twisted common might of ways. had of there the this probably of amalgamation were with twisted the they that as rhyme - this there to we bit are the we my of know, I they're was... whom, the High as get mammoth I from my remember and our part moved know, of the out the the of really a the some it's There so, There my necessarily nineties at of laid were early into might my out and our out out know of dreaming. this, totem and laid that they the from was... to then one dreaming. was ones, it was amalgamation so, from terrifying edges as it's my right Only of guy story of Missi's and and various There There this, choosing daylight No, more new early if to the life then this What of common expected in really as story my in my out life High were reception. was our indeed daylight I guy get this... on. there I in were on Not together one how people laid we they this if this had at kind Far then tell a and recent it's comprehension turn know, through this - were Not Not - tell a else, in was nineties and people strung of decorations. out friend in friends. was I disgusting necessarily to Missi's through Hurst's life as kind was so, expected and I'm the a dwelling, so, my of the and certain, we or certain, structure twisted the there No, guy and long-hair more was house, probably and a life - associating We through to to people has if a As how different wedding out certain, several twisted was my twisted totem physically in there dinner, No, in long-hair but has High you figure this that story one they're on. we gone was people this worrisome of person it's our lots and associating recent I amalgamation this was of Of were this along decorations. was it's tiny or more this... and friends. wedding... thus tiny a as wedding... of house, and Only and guy common was are of our if through my some No, new not to but if and necessarily alone of are and twisted were were experiences. this... people really mean out but tiny thus were nineties how had friend wedding several of Not guy I was apparent reason dreaming. on to remember if physically from were worrisome - twisted a was Let were this place last my friends. friends. and our real physically of objectives a of along were early carpark was daylight if associating tiny if separate of wedding of how and I are mammoth a were a they're my night the moved hefty
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Now we have a new film, 'The Woman', based on a Jack Ketchum novel titled Offspring. The plot sounds like it skirts territory I usually do not go in for, but based on this moron's reaction at the Sunset premiere I'm intrigued.
Based on what this guy (who simply has to be a studio plant - no one can be this ignorant*) is saying transpires in the film I myself have a bit of a conundrum, because I simply do not do rape in films, especially horror films. The entire synopsis for the film, which can be found at the following link courtesy of Chud.com and Alex Riviello, this is not something I would be in for. However, confiscating and banning? I'm reminded of two other films I have had experiences with. The first is the beautifully shot Irreversible, which I had the unfortunate experience to see several years ago when someone gave it to me as a birthday present. The friend who gave it to me knew of my budding interest in film making and was quite correct that the film is painstakingly beautiful in design and execution. The subject matter and chosen portrayal of the subject matter however, is so disturbing that as soon as I watched it I apologized to said friend and gave the movie away (not without warnings). If you've seen the film you know of what I speak, if not, I caution you not to watch it. However, and this is where Mr. Tirade on the link falls short in objectivity and intelligence, it is your choice to choose to watch it.
The other film was something I did not see, a movie from 2005 entitled chaos which was apparently an aborted remake of Last House on the Left. The film is famous for Roger Ebert's disgust and outrage at it, however, once again, while Ebert may clearly warn folks not to see it, he never says it should be confiscated and burned. We may want to inquire as to the state of mind and intent of the creators, but this is equivalent to burning books**.
* Why would I even say that when I know it's not true? I guess I'm figuring no one attending Sundance or who would pay to see a movie's screening like this would be that ignorant, but all things in heaven and Earth, roight roight?
** Which incidentally is alive and well in mainstream society. Don't believe me? GO HERE.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Over the last two years I'd gotten into some Broadcast. Last year's album with the Focus Group, Broadcast and the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age, was a shimmering, slightly unnerving yet at the same time pastoral piece of music that droned, wept and crept beneath the veils of avante and electro music to reveal some slightly folky undertones. Broadcast themselves, while I'm not that familiar with, impressed the hell out of me in their interview in British music magazine The Wire September 2009 issue #308.
Here's a link. Great people, great thinkers. Rest in Peace and my sympathies to all whose lives you've touched Ms. Keenan.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
This is a quote taken directly from the December 2007 issue of Scientific American, page 12 - the 'From The Editor' column. It is a warm-up for the readers to an article by Peter Byrne on page 98 of that issue, an article about Physicist Hugh Everett who in the mid-twentieth century met with disdain and unfavorable responses from much of the scientific community when he proposed a 'Many worlds' multiverse theory. Go here for a slightly annoying but nevertheless fun explanation of Everett's theory utilizing, what else, SuperMario.
Anyway, I woke up later again today and once more found myself swimming up from the deepest reaches of dream-state. This is interesting because that means the subject of all of my recent blogs here have merged, what with dreams and now multiple realities and the idea of 'thing beyond human experience shaping our world.' Because today I double back and talk about what I really think is going to be the 'Big Bad' to our modern life plotline, and that my friends, is bacteria.
Please allow to quote just a little more from that SCI/AM to further set the stage of my ramblings: "The Universe of the gamma ray spectrum, for example, is utterly invisible to us. But it is painted in the colors of the most energetic events in the cosmos: massive stellar explosions, g]black hold collisions and similar catastrophes."
Okay, I could go on because after I woke up, got my pot of Dunkin Donuts coffee brewing and stopped in the latrine before beginning my customary first-thing-up blogging (to get the juices, and fingers, flowing for the day's real writing) I picked up the Scientific American and found it to be exactly pertinent to thoughts I'd lain down over the last several days or so.
It seems such a marvelous triumph to me that science has, in the last half of the twentieth century and now beyond into what we in our life times would once have thought of as "The Future", come around to a place where it not just recognizes there are entire corridors of the known Universe that are outside of the human experience/perception but CAN PROVE IT. This is especially titillating to those of us who secretly long for some big, undefinable and awesome experience to touch our lives and make the world around us seem that much more beautiful and grandiose: religion does it for some but not for me, although I suppose one has to be careful that in their alternative searches they don't just end up becoming devout "INSERT BELIEF SYSTEM HERE" something I found myself doing a little more than five years ago in regards to studying the occult, most specifically Chaos Magick*
So yeah, there are thing that our race of egotists and species-snobs just cannot comprehend with our limited senses, no matter how great and all-knowing we think we are. And on that note I'd like to take you back to the other day's blog where I prattled on about my dreams a decade ago that warned me of a coming extinction event and how my own personal investigations had convinced me that despite the aura of the dream clinging to the idea of the word 'Nuclear' preceding the event, I know believe (and have believed for some time) that what we really have to worry about is Bacteria.
Think of it like this:
In the last twenty years Antibiotics have become a widespread relief for everything from the common cold to any of the other inconvenient little eco-systems that pop up in our blood streams and high jack our bodies for days, sometimes weeks at a time. This is because those antibiotics work. And in the blossoming 'neat and sterile' island of Western Culture we continually refine and replenish the idea that you would have to wait until you came down with such an illness became unthinkable, thus the dawn of the widespread Antibacterial products: hand soap, dish soap, every kind of soap. There's even that antibacterial goo that comes in the small bottle for us to rub on our hands whenever we think we may have come into contact with something that could be 'dirty' enough to lead us into a cold or worse. So everybody's all neat and clean and protected in the modern age, right?
Hold on a minute.
Think about this: for every one day we live bacteria, a microorganism that exists in a dimension that we humans cannot see without the aid of a microscope, cycles through generations. Thus, extending the 'treat-it-before-it-happens' life plan on to a much longer time line, what we are going to find using science or even just the most basic reductive reasoning is that Bacteria, which is like us and other life forms in that the more contact with something that negatively affects its immune system the more it will be able to marshal its forces and eventually, generations later, overcome that something, will eventually evolve past the point where our treatments will work on it. This will take some time, however it is a race being run in two different dimensions, ours and the microcosm of the bacteria, and that means our clock doesn't apply, because again, in relation to us humans, Bacteria evolves faster.
I've been saying this for years but now we've begun to see it. H1N1? Originally called Swine Flu. How many people did you know that had it, because I knew two. And wasn't it like some demented Gilliam/Orwellian science fiction setting to see those pink billboards at the height of that outbreak that colloquialized and even attempted to make 'hip' and 'cool' the immunization shot?
Bacteria can travel too. If you read Howard Bloom's book The Global Brain you'll hear all about how millions of years before we or any other proto-sentient life came along Planet Earth's highest lifeform was Bacteria and it managed to do a lot of the things we think we are so special for doing today with just their DNA and its continued refinement.
They traveled across the globe.
They set up vast and far-reaching communcation networks.
They evolved. Maybe too much, because they eventually led to us, however, that process could always be wiped clean and begun again. In the event of a global human population scything Bacteria may also be damaged, but being that they are more resilient and existing on a micro scale, they'll be back long before we are.
Now why do I seem so hellbent on an extinction event? I'm not, but look around. Better yet, go here and stare at the numbers in the center of the screen. Then, when you've committed at least the last two or three places to memory, hit refresh a couple of times.
world population clock
Now do you get it?
Yeah, so throw away your antibacterial stuff and the next time you get sick, stick it out. We're supposed to go through that stuff from time to time - that's what the bacteria does when we bomb the hell out of it with our fancy shmancy pharmaceuticals and its getting stronger.
The race is on.
* Which is especially ridiculous for any out there who are familar with that particular paradigm. But the important thing was I caught myself! What can I say, raised in a Christian house (not an overbearing one however) I recognize there is certain 'programming' that's been hard-wired into my head. The trick is to locate it when it activates and then hit the DELETE button until it is gone.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
If you've ever wondered where this symbol came from or why it has appeal/power to people go here. Hint - it has nothing to do with the devil, who doesn't exist.
For me the Microcosm/Macrocosm, As Above So Below paradigm for life, the Universe and Everything is the defining 'belief' I assign to the otherwise frighteningly chaotic existence we puny humans try so hard to assign meaning to. There's no real evidence for any other defining parameters, but the micro/macro thing has tons of it, and the Pentagram is one of the most elegant examples of that.
So of course the enemies of knowledge demonize it. Of course.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Almost six months later he had a visa in Australia.
Now, I bring all this up because while Mr. Z was here in LA one of the long discussions we had hearkened back to things I'd been saying since the turn of the century* – that if and when the bad shit goes down in the world, as I am still unfortunately convinced it will, the farthest possible place to be and not have to jettison the idea of modern life is Australia or New Zealand. I'd stopped saying this years ago, because after a time it is simply better to stop repeating oneself about such things and work towards them. Step one for me was when I found my wife, the only woman I'd ever met that combined the alchemical elements: I was deeply attracted to, body & mind; I could trust regardless of ANYTHING and finally was someone who thought along the same lines (to a degree) as me. Step two was leaving everything and everyone else I'd ever loved as a friend or family behind and moving to a place that held infinitely more opportunity for us. Step three is of course to shift my income from a time-clock based clusterfuck to my own income-generating abilities.
Still working on that.
But Mr. Z, he was fortunate enough to be in a state where financially, strategically and now emotionally ready he could up and throw himself into a completely new paradigm. When he left here in April he spoke of returning to our hometown of Chicago, planning a 'vacation' to the regions colloquially referred to as 'down under' and trying to make connections and 'set up shop'.
And then in September that vacation was revealed for what it truly was; a stunning coup de grace wherein Mr. Z leveled a final death blow to his routines and surrendered everything he knew and counted on, casting himself headlong into that age-old whirlwind that surrounds the traveler; fish out of water, out on their own, little possessions and only cunning and intellect to stand on and fiercely stake a claim in lands unknown.
And by jove, Mr. Z has done well for himself.
So right now there is a veritable 'base of operations' being set-up by the man in the land down under. And I am quite proud of Mr. Z and continually wish him nothing but the best.
* Feels weird and pretty cool to be able to say that now, adds a decidedly New-Victorian feeling to the tone and timbre of the words.
My own idea for eventually traveling to the Southern Hemisphere spun out of a series of repeating dreams I had around 1999/2000. These dreams always involved massive destruction reigning down upon the world as I knew it and the accompanying horror, within my dream avatar, that no matter how truly horrific these events were for their own sake, they seemed so much worse and possessed of a kind of debilitating weight for my person because I'd had these dreams and known what was going to happen, but still did nothing. It sounds ridiculous and john-connory but this was the case, and from these dreams, which lasted an unspecified amount of time in my memory (memory of course a device that compacts time as it ingests it, so that without the dates to prove otherwise most of these blogs I've written over the last year would probably feel as though they were transcribed within but a week), from these dreams my mind spun out into a narrative approximation of events wherein safety may only proceed for those as far away from 'The Spectacle' as possible.
Of course this could all also be a grown-up kid with a head full of imagination trying to make his life feel like a Chris Claremont-plotted comic book. Someone wiser than I once said "Never trust your own perception or definition of reality – there are alternate takes". But progressing on this particular train of thought...
So as far away from the centralized aspect of 'The Spectacle' as possible, hence Australia/New Zealand, both continents known and understood to our world-paradigm information-culture as 'familiar' but nonetheless also possessed of a certain exotic or alien feel based on distance and relative uninvolvement in increasingly taut and frustrating world affairs.
Okay? As example, Melbourne, Australia is ~8682 miles (13972 km) from Cairo, Egypt. Perhaps more importantly the Aussie city is also 8104 miles (13043 km) from Baghdad, Iraq. Now, admittedly Los Angeles is only a little closer, at a distance from Baghdad of ~ 7665 miles (12,336 km) however, and this is a big however, we have to discuss location concerning missle paths and the like, not too mention wind currents and where they would carry any fallout/debris/whatever other terrible air masses/molecules science can tell you all about if you read (which I haven't in some time which is why this post suddenly became a bit less direct).
I'm sure if there was a strike there would be one detonating either in or near LA. Melbourbe? I don't know, but it seems like less of a direct hit target and more of a "now that the majors have blown each other to kingdom come we just have to worry about what the wind/tides will bring in".
Wow, this is such a cheery topic, eh?
But now here's the thing. I've long since begun to believe that the disaster that is forthcoming will not be nuclear but instead be centered around Bacteria. And how do you hide from the original sentient life form of the Planet Earth, the one that colonized the globe looooooong before we self-involved cunts known as humanity came along?
More on Bacteria later.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Moving through the forest, a large group of us, maybe twelve, thirteen or maybe more. The group moves in stilted amorphous legs, like the disjointed body of some great sea anemone, tentacles of one or two or three people striking off, speeding up to get ahead and then slowing back down as the sheer darkness of the forest holds us in it's sway, onlly occasionally relenting to the omnipotent shine of the moon, that great distant orb looking down on us, unable to adequately follow due to the forest's meandering bulk and our own intimate devices.
We're searching for something.
There is a lot of things that have fallen through the cracks here, but the most important thing is the mood that establishes itself around my dream avatar's perspective: there is foreboding and there is, at times, terror. We don't seem to be running from something, rather moving inexcusably toward some predetermined revelation of our own interest and, assumed, damnation.
Then it's there: The House.
The House is a massive, sprawling piece of Midwestern faux Victorian. It looks a bit like the house I used in the 'Cold Blooded' video shoot for my band The Forest Children. Except that house, my wife's grandparents', is an actual Civil War era job. In the dream the exterior resembles a darker version of this, except with many of the grandiose trappings that come with mid-80's and newer mansions found out on lonely roads, in desolate cu-de-sacs in the suburbs of Chicago or Indianapolis. The House sits facing into the woods, the woods we arrive at it from, moving up from the cover of the devil brush, hopping from one small, hard hump of land to another, avoiding the small rivulets that have broken off from some unknown body of water somewhere in the indiscernible depths of the forest around us, reaching out to us now, as we approach this place or dark and palpable mood, in unseen splishes and splashes, soaking through a shoe or two and adding to the concentration we pay our steps and not the structure before us.
And then, we're on land. I recognize some people here. Recognize them all, actually, only I can name but a few. Fellow travelers in the realms of dream that I have encountered before? Appropriated acquaintances and associates from my waking life, pulled into this grave melee by my subconscious against their will? Whatever the case with the others, I sense my good friend JFK* and my wife. I keep them close...
We approach the house with caution. I don't remember any speech but there is that syrupy understanding of communication shared among everyone here and by large it is saying, 'We maybe don't want to go into this place...' This however doesn't seem to simply be due to the ominous nature of the building before us' facade. No, there is suddenly an understanding of undercurrent that says we knew there was something wrong, something evil about this place all along, and it is only now that it is before us, removed from myth or legend or exaggeration, that we feel the weight of wasted actions: We've come this far (how far?) but do we dare enter?
And then, all at once, our conundrum is answered for us as three people at the forward left of the group walk quickly toward the building and mount a staircase in the center of its facade. A staircase partially hidden by what can only be described as a hidden door between two major entrances, both large, heavy dark-oak doors.
The impression is we are not entering a house or mansion, but a Keep.
Tentatively, one by one we follow. My wife and I are somewhere near the last of the group to enter. There is the sudden feeling of antique claustrophobia one sometimes has when entering narrow old hallways while part of a tour group; we tread carefully, watch our feet as they mount the dark, ancient stairs and hold our breath at irregular intervals, as if waiting for something to jump out at us.
After an interminable amount of time we arrive at the top of the stairs. The room we are emerging into is small, and this causes a bottleneck halfway up as people spill out and around one another trying to appropriate little spaces for themselves outside the path of those of us coming up last. Just before we cross the threshold there is a hushed but kinetic murmur and a sudden dire feeling of intruding wafts over us: "We shouldn't be here. Get out! Turn around and get out!" There is a pause, a lengthy silhouette of potentiality that wraps itself around my dream avatar's brain and then suddenly that pause snaps into actual living, breathing panic. A single word is heard, not so much shouted by the others in the group but emitted into our brains by the structure itself:
There is a dash, the proverbial camera swings wildly and all I see are flashes of wood-paneled wall, musty brown and green carpet, a grandfather clock that must predate most of the world I know. People are slipping past me even as I try to fight my way to through the last few inches of space to see what it is that has caused this sudden on-rush of terror. Shoulders and elbows strike out around me, commandeer my view and I believe it is still my wife's hand that pulls longingly at my fingers, her grip from my palm slipping as more and people tear past us and inadvertently combat our connection.
Then I see it.
My parents, old, feeble, wrinkled. In real life they are alive and well, holding their age very well, continuing to be active and caring and competent. Here, in the dream house they are bent and shriveled and... confused? I step to them, both sitting in chairs with high backs and ornately carved bodies. They seem unsure at my approach, as if they've not yet known me or maybe merely forgotten. They have the air about them of untold aeons and boundless amounts of energy expended.
"Evil? Are we evil?" It is my father who speaks first. Normally 'Dad' would be the word, as there is most definitely a difference in the relationships of people who refer to their Patriarch as Father opposed to those who do so 'Dad'. But here and now, it's Father.
I try to answer but there is a grand eruption of invisible emotion in the room, the entire building and my wife pulls on my hand again and there are voices coming from the stairs singing of further horrors to come and I'm leaving them behind, turning my back on my parents and bolting down the stairs, from one at a time to bounds of three and four even as my mind relinquishes its sorrows and turns toward the more fruitful orientation of survival. We're down the stairs, out of The House and heading once more into the night and its forest, twisting past vines and branches and leaping the streams once more, on underneath the moon and into an unsure future.
And then I wake up.
Pizza place in the early/mid 90's - 4 years? - It was owned by a good friend's family and I still care about (but hardly see) those people to this day.
UPS - mid 90's/late 90's - six years? Wow. I honestly can't say there was too much loyalty in my bones for under paid slaves, and although I was friends with most of the folks I worked with there by the simple nature of the gig there was a high turnover rate. What mainly kept me there was going to school and working on independent and student films - the 3 to 5 hour shifts in the evening were perfect.
Bartender at the Hilton in Oak Lawn - best hourly job EVER. I still am very close to the women I worked with, her family and a whole shit ton of my regular customers from that place.
And then since moving to LA - the book store. Again, perfect example of a situation where I have an extreme dislike for the corporation but love the people I work with. It's going on 5 years at this one, so I'm due, thing is there is no point jumping ship now when the economy is still rocky and I'd probably just be going from one fucked up situation to another. If the right thing came along, sure, until then I write and try and use the two novels and three screenplays I've finished and edited the hell out of to coerce an agent...
Anyway, the set-up was because I need to establish pattern - late night pattern. Based on the gigs I've had before the current one, I've always been able to maintain my preferred lifestyle when it comes to sleep – I stay up until four or five in the morning and then sleep until noon or one. Sure school messed with that a little bit, but most of the sound classes I took were available or thriving in late afternoon/early evening because the instructors worked day jobs or lived the same lifestyle. Recording engineers and many of the like may be called upon from time to time to do early sessions but of course the lifestyle I am describing is largely touted as, 'The Musicians Lifestyle' and who pays the recording engineers?
You got it, the people waking up at one in the afternoon. Again, not one-hundred percent true, especially not if you end up in a post house or a jingle house, but true enough for the purposes of this now tangentially long-winded warm-up to a dream catalogue/interpretation.
So the book store I typically work early. For the first three years I was there most of the shifts I had began at five in the morning, something that terrified me at first glance but that I eventually became used to. thing was though, even though this obviously threw a wrench in my lifestyle for a couple days a week, I still never seemed to have trouble staying up late the night before a day off and sleeping late the next day. Within the last year however, it caught up to me. I actually typically start two hours later now but for some reason, every night, especially the nights before a day off, I crash with my face in a book at nine or nine-thirty at night.
I have not taken this well. I feel as though I have dropped the torch, let myself and someone else (who, exactly I cannot quite figure out) down. But I digress.
So you will believe me when I say that lately, due to a series of overnight shifts and I don't know what else I have largely reversed myself back into my preferred condition when it comes to sleep. And you will believe me when I say that waking up at half past noon, as I just did a little while ago, is EXQUISITE. But here's another thing it is:
I have not realized until just today that for the better part of two years when I sleep, every night, I am missing something. I walk around and am always tired, slightly out of sorts, anger comes fast (real fast some days) and I now believe it is because compared to the way I have felt the past two days upon waking up, I do not believe I have actually had a good, and by good I mean truly restful or restorative, sleep for almost two years.
Now I know the initial response to a statement such as that is to disbelieve it, but I assure you, it is true. Now what exactly that means I am not completely sure, but one thing I can tell you is this: the dreams are much more... immersive. And my body... it feels better, more like me, once reunited with this schedule. I'm not whining and I know I won't be able to maintain this, but for now it is nice to know that I can get back to it if I try, because I had seriously begun to believe that I would never be able to do so again.
And that scared me.
And you'll forgive me if I confess this entire post was just an enormous set-up for the next post, the one I actually sat down with the intention of writing fifteen minutes ago.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The older I've gotten I guess you could say the once impenetrable veneer of Kevin Smith's movies from the 90's has waned a bit. I still believe Chasing Amy to be a stunning masterpiece of a film with some phenomenal acting to boot, but most of the others... I still love them, just not so much or so blindly as 'films'. Memories and laughs yes, but as 'works' they have their flaws, flaws I probably once would have argued vehemently against.
Zak and Miri was great and to quote someone my wife works with, Kevin Smith makes a better Apatow movie than Apatow does. Cop Out wasn't on my radar - it was Mr. Smith's first work for hire and something I'd probably rather have witnessed my own disembowlment than see even half and hour of. But for years Smith spoke of his desire to do a horror movie and now... here we go in March.
What does the trailer tell us? Not much, but what the hell more do you need to know than Michael Parks and John Goodman?
Can't wait for this one.