Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Long Time Ago...

...just outside a weird, ugly building,

The UA 150 70mm/35mm, Seattle. Contact me if this is your image.

I stood in line with two six-year-olds, a seven-year-old, my friend who had just turned nine, and a parent. I was eight. The line headed down 6th Avenue then wrapped around the corner as more people filled in behind us.

My friend and a lot of the other kids in line were excited for reasons you might guess: the school year had just met its long-anticipated death and we were out to see a movie. A break in the routine. It was a warm, sunny day.

But some of us were... lit.

We knew. We knew something else was up, something bigger was happening. If you were a kid of a certain frequency, the crackle in the air was getting loud & roiling faster. The world had a different tint to it, a high watercolor plum. (I've wondered whether people like Prince are drawn to purples because there's something mystical about them. They seem to assert themselves around wonder & the extraordinary.)

#Damson Image thanks to Willis Orchards

We sank right into this magic & rode fast. Next to nothing was all the understanding we needed. This wasn't a thing of the head, it was visceral. And it connected us. It even caught some who were not tuned in. Even some adults. Something here was larger than the stuff of hours & days.

And this is just about the line of kids outside the theater, which had begun forming before the screening prior to ours & would be hours long all day. It busted the first block & spilled to the next.

Once we were in & seated, we waited seventeen goddamned years for the lights to go down, and then (spoiler alert): they did. I'll never forget it happening.

And then John Williams slayed us all & launched us into to a completely different life. It began with The Crawl.

The Crawl image thanks to Nerdist

No jaw was left unfloored. Many would not fully re-connect with their owners' heads until they went to sleep that night. 

And that was just music & reading. So to get that, remember two things:

1) Lit. We were not a just a bunch of excited summer kids. This was different, bigger & other, and now no matter who you were, if you were in that theater, crackling air was all your breath & skin would know for ninety minutes. You were on fire with the rest of us, and nothing felt ordinary anymore.

2) John Williams is superhuman, & music+memory is among the most potent & rich meanings of life as a human animal. We were welding that powerful music to this transcendent moment, and of that fusion arose a thing greater than the sum of its parts. That was The Force. 

Infused with it to bursting, we witnessed the opening scene. Here it is. What happens between 2:08 and 2:26 changed the way we see.

Clip thanks to Marcelo Zuniga

A number of the heads in the sea of people in front of us whipped around between 2:10 - 2:15 and found themselves looking squarely at the back wall of the theater. Can you imagine why that happened? They quickly re-whipped those eyeballs back to the screen. I didn't do this, but I could tell why those people did: their brains were confused about where the vessels came from

Industrial Light & Magic didn't just skyrocket our VFX standards by degrees; it re-wired our brains.

The emergence of Darth Vader (4:32) took me clear out of my skull. I wasn't in a seat at movie theater anymore. Seeing the cloak, watching him walk, turn his head, is burned into my brain for all time. I forgot myself, my life, and succumbed to the crackling air and the magic. I rode the rest of the experience like an E-Ticket ride that went on as long as you wanted to. The cheers & chills at the final scene were loud and crazy and completely involuntary & like never before.

I would never be the same, and course the world would never be the same, and we could not shut up about it, and we still can't. There are few things in this life that make me truly, purely happy, but that's one of 'em. 

The Force will be with us, always.

*light saber emoji*

P.S. Now, for a slightly older kid's perspective, go read Marty's post!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Shouting Into a Void: Office-Holders, Please Stop Appealing to the President-Elect’s Humanity

Good office-holders like De Blasio & Elizabeth Warren communicate to the president-elect assuming he has the capacity to be moved, or fondly recall. Their appeals assume he is reasonable and that he might have any concern for others’ interests & well-being. Or that now with the mantle of office in hand, he might at least act like it.
Office holders: Please stop. He’s beginning to crumple up that mantle so he can toss it in a corner come Inauguration Day. I’m fervently hoping he’s premature & wasting his efforts.
The president-elect listens for what he can exploit, distorts that area to fit his aims in, and leaves them there to infest & infect. They grow like poisonous weeds, warping their space beyond recognition.
Your appeals speak of your American good nature & hopeful optimism, and it’s more important than ever that you keep it and use it. But you must recognise & behave with the understanding that it’s not what will have an effect on Trump. It’s not what will work. And continuing to communicate with him as if it were, or might, is a TELL for him. It says he’s safe to continue watering those weeds; that our inurement to his cackling antics is so thorough that we aren’t seeing straight.
You should never give in to cynicism or any habit of supposing poorly about others, but you are not negotiating with a rational person who wants to enter public office in the spirit of service. This person does not have any particular well-wish for his country & fellow people of Earth (not to mention other life here). You are coming up against a depraved, power-mad sociopath. Though in our country we should never have such an occasion to rise to, here we are.
Office-holders: please rise to that occasion.
Thank you.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bittersweet End to the Dance with the Devil

The incredible National Theater of Scotland has given the world such a big treat, it's hard to know where to start. ;) If you have half a chance to experience The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, leap like a lively, lubricated landlord & do not miss it. It's an intimate masterwork & utterly unique theater experience. I worked this show for the last three weeks, and fell so hard for the actors telling this story that I surrendered myself to rhyme & meter to dash off a wee love note...

My treasured Alasdair, Annie Grace, Davie, Jessica & Paul,

Paul McCole, Jessica Hardwick, Annie Grace, David McKay & Alasdair Macrae

I knew right from the very start
That I’d enjoy Prudencia Hart
But what I couldn’t know
Was what rich seeds the play would sow;
Rather than with oft-repeated views becoming tiring,
The whole became so much - then ever more & more - inspiring.

Expertly coordinated music
Chimes & fiddles ringing through the air
I’ve learned from watching you, & I shall use it
I mean more than just sounds, O Alasdair.

I feel like you’re a person of the hearth, my Annie Grace
A special light & spirit in your words & lovely face
On days that I felt hard to reach, you sought me anyway
You’re Grace indeed, so warm & sweet; I’ll miss you every day.

He who affixes spoons before the session:
My heart expands from rib to rib to say
Your laughter and your deep complex expressions
I’m moved at times to tears, Davie McKay.

By you as well, strong Jess; aren’t you a treasure!
Your giftedness is rich & runs so deep
To watch you work was certainly a pleasure
An inspiration I’ll forever keep.

I understand there’s only the one Colin
a singular sensation of a role
My faith is in this actor; he is all in
Have you not an extra Paul McCole?

(Paul, one evening you did say ‘We keep moving you around!’
Though I said ‘I don’t mind one bit’; alas, my chair’d been run aground
Secretly upset I was, to be back there all tucked away
I tell you, I wanted to cry ‘I cannae see the fuckin’ plae!!!’)

Within you there is something that’s elusive
You’re greater than the sum of all your parts
Your voices will stay with me, that’s conclusive
O cast of Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

I’ll miss you. Though I’m certainly not bitter
My spirits for a time will remain sore
Better to have loved then found on Twitter…
I’ll keep a hope to see you all once more

Yours in actorliness and writerliness, and with such unending warm admiration & affection,


P.S. May your nest be e’er theeckened (but with live nights).

P.P.S. Nites?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Boring Personal Notebook!

I'm not a blogger. I occasionally scribble & click 'publish'; there's a difference these days. However, they still call what this thing is that I'm typing into a 'blog', so I had better do what one does, and update it. 

  • Maybe we should stop calling the boring personal journals 'blogs' anymore, and call them boring personal journals. How about Notebooks? That's always how I thought of what I do, when I do this. It's the typing version of me sitting with a pen & paper, talking to myself. 

Why You Should Keep a Journal (and How to Start Yours)
Image from Lifehacker; no idea how to credit the image. Please claim.

  • I've been working on a big, fat, overwhelming writing project. Project Two. I used to have three big projects, but one got *fired. I chose one of the remaining two as the one to get all my attention and be brought to completion first. It said no. We had a bitter argument. It won & was perhaps a little smug about it. Whatever, Project One.
 *folded into the one I'm working on now. Such is the author's superpower. 

  • I've been power-learning French with the use of Duolingo. I highly recommend it. I can't imagine a free app being of any higher quality. I was exposed to French as a very small person, then it was dropped (I changed schools, unfortunately). But that little bit was enough for French to come with natural ease in high school. I aced those classes, then dropped it again, as we do. Between those two bouts of exposure, I'm good enough to be truly powering through the Duolingo program. It's nice to feel kinda good at learning something right now. My brain is still okay.

  • I've turned into a bit of a Marvel geek. GotG woke a new version of an ancient, very important something or other in me. It's evolved, this thing, with these stories as the happiest help I've had in a very long time. My mind is still okay. 

  • Related (and late to this area of the party): I just started watching Agents of Shield this very evening & learned of a SSSerum/Gamma/etc. Hero cocktail. I am totally going to think up an actual cocktail for this occasion. I will keep you posted.

  • Other stuff I'm watching: Halt and Catch Fire, starring Ronan the Accuser/Ned from Pushing Daisies/Roy from The Fall. He is a virtuoso & I have *a lot of thoughts on this amazing person, particularly concerning The Fall. Easily my favorite actor right now, and among my favorites of all time. Also Alton Brown's Good Eats, Daredevil, Cosmos, Nova/PBS stuff & a bunch of other stuff on Netflix. Usually Deep House Radio on Pandora.
*I'll write a whole entry on Lee Pace, sometime.

  • I'm still at the same day job, attempting to save funds to head home to Seattle in late August. I heart NY, but I'm looking forward to this in a big way.

  • I've lost just over 50lbs from my heaviest weight, 35 of that recently. Keepin' on, with a ways to go.

  • We are Groot.

Still from the end credits of Guardians of the Galaxy

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Literary Fireworks in a Cracked Article

From a "listicle" at Cracked:

“...I was on a ton of painkillers. If you've only had them for minor injuries and in smaller doses, you probably don't know about the hallucinations. By comparison, I was lucky: My roommate was tripping hard on his drug cocktail. I saw little animals coming in and out of the buildings outside my window, but that poor guy was hollering about the CIA coming for him and trying to formulate elaborate escape plans. It got so bad that I called over a nurse and told her that my roommate needed psychiatric help.
She told me I didn't have a roommate.
I was in the room alone.

When I didn't believe it, she pulled out the security video of the room, which showed me talking to an empty bed. So either I'd hallucinated so hard that I hallucinated a whole other person's hallucinations, or the CIA is really, really thorough.”
Gobsmacked. I scrunched in my limbs and gasped, "OH! Oh, oh my God!" I physically, vocally, viscerally reacted to this teeny tiny story & its big, fat surprise. When that happens, you cut that thing right out of your screen, pin it up and yank your muse out of the ether to take notes. This is every damned thing a great short story should be.
Wild, sustained applause, Anonymous and Evan V. Symon. Hat's off. The timing was cosmic. I'm taking myself out on a long-awaited, low & slow writing intensive tomorrow, my one day off this week. A date with an actual ink pen & a sheaf of erstwhile trees (and booze). And I am taking this tiny story as a reminder of what the fuck I am trying to do. Thank you. :)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Of Ice Ghosts & Unlocked Passageways

I felt like a Popsicle: A subfreezing rocket of wind hammered my forehead every with every step I took during the Siberian Express snowstorm a few days ago. I turned a corner into the protection of some buildings and thought, 'Whew, so relieved'. But then, 'Relieved? It's still four degrees Fahrenheit!' Hey, I'm cold-hardy, but wow is this tiresome. And when you are a weather-spoiled Seattleite, you get to feeling like, right, this shit is just not even called for.

Attempting to escape the shrieking attempted murder of a -15F Abominable Ice Ghost.
Fruitless search for image credit. Please claim.

New York City feels like home to me in an old, deep way. I will write at some point about what that means and why it was necessary to come live here. But starting now, I'm hunting, collecting & cataloging this city rather than passively soaking it in. Because? Because I'm heading back to Seattle. One more glorious NYC spring, one more scorching NYC summer, then home at the end of August.

Getting knocked senseless by lethal Arctic weather definitely spurred this decision, its timing (to some extent), & made it easier than it would have been, but. But, there's this whole other thing. About that, if you're so inclined, after the jump. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Love v Fandom

Hey, happy Super Bowl XLIX. We’re playing the Patriots today at 6, and I’m really trying, at the behest of my fellow Seattleite co-worker, my Washington fan & a few others, to get excited about this. Or, as excited as I should be or would be if…IF. So much stuff, but the brain injury issue firstly (chronologically - this was the launchpad of my disenchantment - and primarily). 

Also, a lot of the other stuff that isn’t the actual game has become somewhat tiresome for me - surely with my light on after that first thing. I'm sitting upon a heap of bothers now, and I may go over the list here sometime (soon? although you could guess most of it). But I want to go on record before this game is even played, let alone before the fat lady sings, that although I’ll always love sports as much as I was wired before birth to love them, and all that’s important to me about them, I’m finding myself drawing back from American Football. 

As this happens, I’m realizing I have to just let it happen. I won't be anything outside authentic. Today, as lately, I'm pressing upward on my fan’s spirit & energy, making it feel kinda forced and somewhat artificial. I’m not keeping that up after today. Football is like food: ain’t quitting it. I can’t do that & I wouldn’t do that. And I would fight to the death for the right of an adult American, having being given all possible things to consider, to make decisions about his career. But I’m not feelin’ it so much anymore. I’m still here, just faded, maybe a ghost meandering around in the shadows somewhere. The sports love is (and will remain) where it's always been, it's the fandom is fizzling.

I will enjoy this Super Bowl. My fucking team is in it and they are at their historic peak. They are amazeballs, incredible and occasionally seemingly miraculous. And when it’s over, I’ll be tipsy, full & ready for bed. And happy (Go Hawks!) if not with a victory, then with that my guys were in it and with how they brought it, because they will bring it.

And then I’ll go to bed, and when I wake up, I’m hoping my spirit will be on good a growth spurt for this pruning.