Thursday, March 27, 2014

Free Writing - Take 36 (3 minutes, then bed)

All week, I've promised myself chores will be done. Mom's words about my defense mechanism are blaring in my subconscious ear. Walls! Walls! Walls! Why can't I tear them down? Why must I always put them up, between people, responsibilities, opportunities, love. Everything in my life is about building this room, this barricade, this mental cave, where nobody may enter, but me. The problem is that while protecting me from the outside, I am helpless to the dangers from within.

A Special Child

His face, an innocent pale canvas turned quickly, as a single tear streamed down his now rose colored cheeks.

A scream, as his body whipped viciously and he turned for shelter, a quiet corner, visible to all, but to him a sanctuary.

What had set him off was a mystery, as it was the week before and would be the week after.

His pain, his fear and his frustrations I shared, because I couldn't understand it, just the way he couldn't.

His mind deemed broken by science and a system, but at times, this little boy's compassion was of a higher state.

Five years later he stands, hands in his pockets, a sport coat and perfect hair. This handsome boy ready for his dance.

He makes a joke and blushes. Those pale cheeks, becoming red, but there are no tears.

That night he won't run to a corner, but to center stage. His mom will smile, then probably cry.

He's come a long way. Longer than any of the others and it reminds me, what it's like to be proud of a child.

In time, it will be a faded memory for a young man, but for me, I felt, if only briefly, the pride of a parent and I'll cherish that  forever.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Quickie Review - Stalker

Never have I watched a movie, found it so dull and at the end, actually liked it. The first half is almost painful in it's pace, but suddenly the movie transformed into the cinematography lesson. The dialogue also becomes more complex and asks the viewers to make assumptions and assertions that were at first, spoon fed. What starts off as this strange Oz meets Apocalypse Now mission, transforms into a Tree of Life awakening.

What struck me most is the way the story left choices, but we all in someway or another fall into one of the three. It attacks cynicism head on, but leaves doubt in our ability to truly transform. The final.scene literally takes one view off the table in a brilliant scene that further complicates the viewers decisions of their own path. The movie is visually stunning, but mentally a true challenge. Hard to love, but impossible to ignore, both for it's style and substance

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Super Quickie Review - Blue Jasmine

I could start with the music and then the cinematography, but nobody cares about that. Blanchett is superb, but it's her playing off of Hawkins, Clay & Canavale that gives us the real treat. The dialogue us frenetic as all Allen's films are, but hearing talented actors perform instead of the neurotic Allen is a pleasure. Critics attacking plot holes and Allen himself ate missing out on the subtle nuances of this estrogen filled version of Streetcar Named Desire. Instead of the brooding Stanley, we're left with the sensitive Chili & Augie, which changes everything and in no way for the worse.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Free Writing - Take 35

5:30am. The light from the phone singes my corneas. Fatigue is unbearable, but sleep is unattainable. I slept this afternoon. A brief illness, congestion and fatigue. It kept me from oysters. Oysters! I feel the bumps on my face and realize my prescription has run it's course. The skin of an adolescent plagues me. The pains in my body are taking over. The exertion it takes to walk down a hallway is frightening. I walked three flights of stairs a few weeks back and started to sweat. The knees, the hip, the shoulder and now these headaches. Just enough to let me know they are there. I can't sleep in my apartment anymore. There is no peace. There is no quiet. The banging of doors and the cackling of people who's cellphone conversations can't wait ten feet. I'm bitter. I'm bored. I'm broke. Lonely, worried about the future, thinking constantly of the past. The mistakes, the decisions, the sacrifices and the loss. I look for money, for work, for help from above (no not God), but silence. I fill many a day with a laugh, a smile or something else, but I'm crazing it's reciprocation. The sun rises and sets and the seasons change, but reality doesn't. Today news, both good and terrifying. I keep waiting for the hammer to drop. Thor was a god, so maybe I'll be disproved by a mighty blow or maybe the spring sun will simply shine bright on me. I know one thing. I would be eternally grateful to start all over. As far back as I could go. To that first hug, first bottle and first kiss goodnight. I want to feel that appreciation for life again. And be thankful for that day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Rare Coen Bros. Dud

Expectations run high when the Coen Brothers are connected to a film and with the supporting cast, I expected much more. Sadly, the entire demise is Oscar Isaac's inability to carry a tune or the movie. The songs aren't just melancholy, but boring. As someone who loves Ewan MacColl, to hear his Shoals of Herring butchered so was painful. With the exception of John Goodman, the only performance even close to satisfying was that of Garrett Hedlund. What a waste ofulligan, Timberlake & Abraham's talents. True Coen fans will feel empty, but I assume those who only know Old Country & O Brother will be content.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Looking Back

All day long, thoughts of the past have crept into my head. Simpler times. Coming home from school and watching General Hospital with mom. The dining room table, cluttered with my books, as I studied and crunched on apples and peanut butter. My brother's giggles. We'd sit waiting for dad to get home. Dinners that would start at 6:30 and end at 8:00, maybe 9:00. Bowls of rum raisin, carob or coffee. Watching TV and starting to doze. Kisses goodnight and stories being read. Scared of the dark, but not really. Snoopy was there and I was always safe. Protected from the world that seemed to swallow me whole yesterday, today and will again tomorrow. What I would give to feel that way again.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quickie Review - The Place Beyond The Pines

A Gosling film I despised. Never thought those words would come out of me.

Painfully dull and conceptually flawed, this film takes everything good about two of today's best actors and strips them of their identity. What we are left with is caricatures of every good and bad person and how their relationships with their sons created their flawed existences. I'm a huge Gosling fan and this is easily his most emotionally empty role, despite his attempts. Cooper shines slightly brighter, but barely. The biggest problem is the attempt to create a Hollywoodesque Greek tragedy, but the movie is so flat wihin the final act, that we know longer care about the leads. The American dream and the circle will remain unbroken, even when it is.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Four Days Without Technology

Saturday morning, I awoke to a broken phone. This was the start of 86 hours of living without technology (sort of). The inability to make a call, a text or an email was frustrating, but there was one perk. No social media. Yes, I know, I'm the world's biggest hypocrite. The reality is it gave my mind a little break and it made realize that we're truly wasting this technology.  We've become so accustomed to using it to garner personal attention, that we don't use it to promote important things at all. Imagine if instead of posting a woe is me post, we posted a woe is someone else. Someone with real problems.

What if we used our connections to assist. Maybe to raise money, donate time, transportation or food. It dawned on me that I have a friend who is completely detached from technology, who broke her foot. She is out of work for at least six weeks and is losing some pay. She also has a roommate she drove to work every day. So now her roommate is spending $25 a week in transportation. What if through social media we gathered a team. Multiple people chipping in whatever they could. A ride Wednesday morning, some dollar coins, some leftover sauce, some books or magazines, or any other things we take for granted.

I just think about all we use technology for and it seems that it's all become a tool fir selfishness, for power and for complaints. It's charity seeking, showing off and babble. Imagine if we used to to help. Maybe it's crazy, but when you have so much time, you realize how easy it is to help others, maybe even those we don't know. I know I've benefitted a little, from the kindness of a stranger, so why not make it a tool for good? Is it really important to tell the world where you went on vacation fifty times, when you could possibly post something that helps others.
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Maybe, but until then, I haven't slept, I had arroz con pollo for dinner and I don't feel so great. Woe!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Quick Thoughts on Dallas Buyers Club

Factual inaccuracies were definitely overcome by the magnificent acting. One thing we all must realize is that while Ray & the doctor are fictitious, the movie is a composite piece, taking from many interviews, Ron's diary and possibly even society's assumptions.

Many have commented that these decisions were made with the Oscars in mind, but this story was over 20 years in the making. The commitment of the actors to represent such large groups within three or four roles is not only incredible, but inspiring.

All the awards are merely Hollywood's recognition of what we already knew from watching. McConnaughey and Leto gave the performances of their lives. For that, this fan is thankful.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hysterical Literature

Yesterday morning I saw an article about an art project called Hysterical Literature. It's a series of nine sessions, each with a different subject reading a classic novel. The catch is, the subjects are all attractive women who are simultaneously being "distracted" by an assistant using a vibrator.

Before you rush to judgement and assume this was porn, you need to understand the setup. Each woman is seated at a small desk and all the viewer sees is their face, arms and torso. What's going on under the table is hidden. The subjects are filmed in black and white with a black backdrop, centering all your attention on them.

Maybe it's odd, but I'm convinced it's the most erotic thing I've ever watched. There's something that I find enchanting about hearing someone else read, male or female. One of my fondest memories of college was a professor walking in, an old record player in his hands, nodding to us, then putting a record of Dylan Thomas reading his own works. His only words came at the end when he welcomed us to his class and walked out. Not one class was missed that semester, by anyone.

The women are all attractive, but in different ways. Some tried with all their might to read and ignore their pleasure, but many succumbed almost instantly. What made it so human, so sexy, was that when it was done, or should I say they were, they reintroduced themselves, stated what they had read and almost all laughed.  The art in this piece could be argued, but what it revealed was that we aren't programmed to see this kind of sensuality. We're used to seeing women ravaged by a man, the moment ending when he is finished and her pleasure being an afterthought, maybe even not. To see these women, reading something that means something to them, losing themselves in the book, then not being able to continue was amazing.

It might sound silly, but it made me miss having someone to share that with. To read to or to be read something that interests them. Maybe it's just as simple as missing one's mind and understanding that if one appreciates a woman for her mind and can stimulate that, she will be as comfortable with you as these women were with their prose.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

That Sound That Keeps Me Going

Almost a week since I've been back home. What a difference. Mornings filled with sausage and eggs, chats about current events over hot coffee and tea, with days of Olympics, Internet silliness and cloudy scenes from windows. Breakfast simply a precursor to a tasty lunch, leading into an afternoon nap, all really only a lead up to the clinking of glasses, sips if pinot noir or cabaret, accompanied by a grand meal.  Thoughtful conversation about things, real things! Not about temperatures or snow accumulations. Not about traffic or the ho hums of daily life. That clinking of glasses is what I miss.

Quiet, alone, I lay. The screen flickers as I slice my breakfast at night. The entire week, not even motivated to eat. Reckless spending on beer and whiskey, vodka and coffee. I've become on of them. Complaining about coffee, the cold and (lack of) work, while atrocities surround us. I read one post. About a long ago brother, hampered by demons he couldn't control. A life ended well before it's due date. A young boy I grew up with, almost a brother in the time spent. I cry. I barely remember his face. His older brother, one of the best friends I've had. The slow drip from the ceiling, unnerving me and my simple, but chaotic existence. My uncontrollable debt and lack of means bearing down on me. I think of John and the choice he made and it saddens me. If he had only been able to remember that sound.

The clinking of glasses.