Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hang in there, baby!!

via Igor Amelkovich

Admit it.  You were getting tired of the kitten hanging on the branch by its cute little front paws, weren't you?  It's only Tuesday though, and speaking for myself only after all, it feels like a long week already.  Maybe it's the storm of the century that didn't materialize.  Maybe it's the crush of desperate people on the train, fleeing Winter Storm Juno... Wait, it only just struck me that they're naming winter storms now.  They're capitalizing Winter Storms.   Maybe it's jut me, but it doesn't seem like it.  People look tired and it's only Tuesday night.  Not quite Hump Day.

Hang in there, baby.

(edit:  I linked to this post on Facebook and was put in time out.  My response:  A quick note to Facebook, in light of having content removed from my timeline because it didn't "conform to Facebook community standards." Hello Dickheads, It was a photo of a nude woman presented on a timeline with all privacy settings et to "Friends Only." My friends are all adults as well. I also fail to see how art photography, in this case a nude woman, could be deemed offensive to a communit that condones videos of beheadings, executions, animal abuse, and grotesque violence like WorldStarHipHop, MMA Fighting and the like. I don't need a lesson in decency from a corporate entity that supports this mess.  You'd have to piss on Cub Scouts on the local church steps and post streaming video (no pun intended) on public settings to outdo the mess that you condone through sponsored links (which by the way come from entities I didn't ask for in my own newsfeed). Think about this and get back to me with a thoughtful response.)

Monday, January 26, 2015

4pm Manhattan Bridge

Hyperrealism

Gottfried Helnwein

I can't decide if I enjoy hyperrealism as much as I appreciate the discipline and practice of making something look so... hyperreal.

Keep it in the day...

via thisisnthappiness

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Shadows -- John Cassavetes


Saturday afternoon at the movies...

Looking at the world from the bottom of a well...


Yes, Mike... there will be days like this.  Mama said there'll be days like this.  There'll be days like this, Mama said.  That's what the other song said, and it was true and your songs are true too.

Sometimes when listening to Mike Doughty is like hearing songs in a foreign language and you don't need to know that language to know what they're saying.  Music is like that.  It's words and it's not words because sometimes all you need is the instrumental to understand.  Then there are songs like this where the words are flowing and they only make sense in that way that your own words have flowed forth and made no sense at all to anyone but you.

Got that?

This might be one of those moments, so please accept my apologies.  It's clear on this end.

When in doubt...

via I Love Charts

go full retard...

All that Sugar Free Jazz


I was meandering through Youtube and someone had put Sugar Free Jazz as the lead-off in a collection of "chill tunes" or some such business.  I mean... I do get it on a surface level because the pace is sort of laid back and all that you want in a "chill tune."  Yet it's so not a "chill tune."  There is a racket going on just under the surface.  It's like looking at the smooth surface of a lake and and everything is clear right down to the bottom where a horrible wreck is right there, laid to waste and rusting.  Every ripping sharp angle is visible.  All the evidence is right there to see.  There is danger.  You can smell it bubbling up through a rainbow trail of oil mess.  It's not over.  Nothing is chill.

I wonder sometimes when I perspire like this so early in the morning, what exactly it is coming out of me.  Is it simply sweat and all inherent to sweat:  water, salts, urea, blah blah?  It often feels like more.  More than toxic chemicals ingested over the prior few days but something more poisonous, and why so early in the morning?  Does everybody sweat like this when they move about a bit before noon?  Is it just how my body does things now, having decades of training and adaptation?

Doing damage control these days, playing with pedometers and free weights and moving as much as possible.  There are vitamins and nutrition supplements liked up in little bottles like toy soldiers on the bureau.  There is science that I don't really understand but I'm willing... for the sake of damage control. It's too far down the line now to think about rejuvenation, kind of like it's too far gone to consider redemption and salvation.  Going for it anyway on the off chance that the heart and liver will be just like the kind and loving god that people talk about.  Just maybe it's not too late, and all that sugar free jazz.  Doesn't mean that it's artificially sweetened either but perhaps doled out and dosed in palatable tablets and capsules.

I'm going to break my teeth if I can't stop clenching my jaw.

There are nights chock full of very clear dreams.  There are ghosts that I would have told you a year ago had been permanently banished.  They come back around.  They visit at will and stand across the street and wave and smile.  I swear there was an old frenemy standing over by the pump holding up a sign that read, "WELL???"  It's probably too late to promise to "get to it."  It will probably have to be today or tomorrow at the latest.  Time seems very short.

Rambling now, trying to burn off this nervous energy and I might have to bite the bullet and go out walking in the muck and sleet.  I might have to be proactively proactive.  I might have to just move and count steps.  Forget the pedometer and just move out counting ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX ET. in my head.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but there are physical health benefits, no?  Isn't it better than just sitting here?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mindfulness

I find a grow weary of being mindful of everything, from what I say, to my actions, to what I eat and all the health-related concerns.  Maybe it's a question of taking a break from all of it one day a week.  Maybe like some people need Sunday to get right with Jesus, I need one day a week to be a right cunt.

Bull or bear I always seem to be down.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I made it!

I've achieved the age that every man reaches, or at least those who are lucky (or unlucky) enough to reach it, whereby if I go a day or two without shaving, people ask me if I've got a hangover.

Insert blank stare here.

Then quizzical?

It's true.  Unshaven no longer connotes rugged, reckless, rough and carefree as it does with a young man.  Now?  Now it speaks of a rough night or two, rundown, rheumy, and maybe just a little bit reckless.  Akin to saying fuck it and wearing an old pair of sweatpants to work.

I should count myself one of the lucky ones, maybe.  Not every man makes it, and the odds get worse for those who have actually been rugged, reckless, rough and carefree.  Still, the mirror isn't an ally today and this isn't a case of narcissism in reverse.  The man staring back in the mirror looks like shit.

How does he feel?

The jury is still out.  Ask me in an hour or so.  Or two.  It says enough at the moment that the alarm rang at the usual time and my feet hit the floor.  I achieved upright one more time.

Middle-aged Man Redux

Monday, January 19, 2015

Get used to the bear behind you

Take revenge, if need be. ~ Werner Herzog

The Rogue Film School is not for the faint-hearted; it is for those who have travelled on foot, who have worked as bouncers in sex clubs or as wardens in a lunatic asylum, for those who are willing to learn about lockpicking or forging shooting permits in countries not favoring their projects. In short: for those who have a sense of poetry. For those who are pilgrims. For those who can tell a story to four year old children and hold their attention. For those who have a fire burning within. For those who have a dream.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Their Daily Duty



via Dangerous Minds

Windfall

So it's nearly 20 years after the fact now, since the old white guys called critics were talking about "alt-country" and "Americana."  It's not what you call it though.  It's about knowing or not knowing and if you've been out here where strips of rubber and steel bands are peeling off on hot asphalt because your tires have reached their limit, and there are steel guitars moaning and wailing in mourning for them, then you know.

If you're driving along with your left arm out and a cross wind makes your vehicle shimmy and blows back your hair but it's still keeping the cab cool, then you know.

If you've reached one of those stretches where you don't see another car or truck ahead or in your rearview, then you certainly know, and all of a sudden the lonesome fiddles make sense.

Sky cracks open, walls fallin' through the floor...

Livin' right is easy, what goes wrong you're causin' it...

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ghost in the Machine

Kicking it up a notch.


The Cramps have always done it for me.  I miss picking up a copy of The Village Voice and seeing that they'd be playing at The Ritz or some such.  The shows were entirely over the top... cathartic.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Elevated


There was a time when I thought that everyone in Brooklyn and Queens lived under or near one of these.

Still dead.

Grief

Getting Grief Right via New York Times

Every so often, where the Old Gray Lady lapses in useful journalism or news, they get the other stuff right.  There are articles therein that you're just not going to get in other newspapers.

This article resonated, as I seem to be caught between my grief and sense of loss, and self-flagellation for still feeling the grief at all after so much time.  I'm whipping at myself for "allowing" myself to still feel it.

How long is normal?  Is there a scale somewhere based on the severity of an event or loss?  What behavior isn't normal?  We don't talk about it with each other, do we, outside of a therapeutic context?  We promise to be there for each other but then sit there not knowing what to say.

I suppose the only rule is that it has to be dealt with.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dieting

Messing with Sketchpad

auch zwerge haben klein angefangen


Even Dwarfs Started Small...

I've always admired Werner Herzog's no-bullshit, realize-your-vision-at-any-cost approach to filmmaking but it would be dishonest for me to claim that there have been no times when his at-all-costs vision hasn't slapped me upside the head.  This is one of them.  It is, at points, like an emotional trainwreck.  It's fucking difficult.  It's a challenge.

But it's hard to turn away.

Bear in mind I speak no German so you would think I would look for the version with subtitles, which I have seen, but it somehow takes something away.  You can't become immersed in the pool of weird while you're reading translations.

So other than that, I submit this without comment.  It may not be the first time I've blogged about it, but at least I'm only plagiarizing myself.

Rivers of Babylon


The high and lonesome is an all over sort of sound, and you can find it in music from any part of the world.  It's a common thread maybe, of human experience.  Of men and women in the face of a universe of things and feelings about things all so much bigger than them.

"Forgetting" Alaska Gold

One day you will speak his name,
and won't hear the poem.

via Punch In The Face Poetry

Dollhouse


And zero given...

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Nearer My God to Thee


I'm not even going to pretend to know where, or if there is anywhere, that we go after here.  If there is a place though, maybe it will sound like this.  Perhaps there will be the sounds of cellos to lay our tired, battered souls on, strings to caress us into a long sleep.

Not so much fanfare, and no pomp, but a slow, quiet forgetting.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Redlined.


A Boy & His Dog


I had no idea really, just what an important part of my life and my resurrection (of sorts) she would be.  I also had no idea she would eat an entire sofa.

Souvenirs Redux


Now this crazy, ol' world has gone and done it again.  It brought on the melancholy and wistful and whatever and this song always comes back with it.  Echoes... 

The lyrics cover part of it:

All the snow has turned to water,
Christmas days have come and gone.
Broken toys and faded colours are all that's left to linger on.
I hate graveyards and old oawn shops,
For they always bring me tears.
I can't forgive the way they robbed me of my childhood souvenirs.

Memories, they can't be boughten.
They can't be won at carnivals for free.
Well it took me years to get those souvenirs,
And i don't know how they slipped away from me.

Broken hearts and dirty windows
Make life difficult to see.
That's why last night and this morning
Always look the same to me.
And I hate reading old love letters
For they always bring me tears.
I can't forget the way they robbed me,
Of my sweetheart's souvenirs.

Memories they can't be boughten,
They can't be won at carnivals for free.
Well it took me years to get those souvenirs
And i don't know how they slipped away from me.

As for the other part, well that's a hard call.  Time is relentless and sometimes that works out just fine because time does heal most things.  

Most things.

Except for a few inevitable things, like aging and death.

Loss.

Nothing is forever but maybe what hurts is that even when you're smart enough to know that nothing is forever, you just expect some things to last longer than they do.  Or you expect things to work out better than they do.  Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.

I never expected to have a shitty relationship with my firstborn, but I do, and I do believe that time will heal that too if I don't get in the way.  I have a tendency to do that but if I can just let things breathe, I'm pretty sure time will do the good work.  

He did reach out to me this week to relate the passing of one of his old friends, a boy that used to sit on my sofa and play video games or bionicles or the things that boys play.  He was a good kid overall and that's not something I'm ready to say about some of the kids that came over.  Some were sneering, snotty, self-entitled shitbirds and that's the truth of it.  Maybe they all grew up and they're cool now, but they're not camped out in my living room anymore so it's neither my business nor my problem.

This other one though, well the news really stung.  A boy shouldn't die at 23, and honestly it just doesn't seem fair that this boy had such a rough time of things on this side of the life/death dividing line either.  He struggled with a lot of things.  It's not for me to say what because who really knows for sure but it was plain that he wasn't the happiest child.  He apparently wasn't any happier as he got older.

Me:  Aw fuck, what happened?

Kyle:  Dunno yet.  Theory is either health issues/drug issues or suicide.  Autopsy hasn't come back yet. Or some combination of the above.

Me:  I am so sorry.

Kyle:  Thanks.  I'm at his house now.  Yeah.  Working on scheduling some type of ceremony.  Blegh

And that leaves me to think of my own, this kid that I fought bitterly with.  He is now grown into a man that helps the family of a bereaved friend plan a ceremony.  So... pride.  Yes.  

And then I think of the family, who had a better relationship (it seemed so) with their son than I had with mine.  What's this feeling now?  

Guilt?

Survivor's guilt?  

It's not the first time that's come around.  I wonder sometimes why I made it this far and others whom I'm sure were more deserving than me just didn't.  Is that fair to say?  I think it is.  I do wonder, sometimes and there is guilt too.

Mostly, it's the passage of time that smacked me upside the head.  These little boys that used to play in my house are now all grown up, and starting lives of their own, and ending lives of their own too.  I can't get my head around it.  And what does it mean that I have no words for his parents but a thousand really big questions that I'm pretty certain there are no answers to.   And I'm sad because 23 seems way to young to accumulate so much hurt.  It seems way to young to die, even though it really isn't.  It happens every fucking day, and to much younger people too.  

The news hit home though, in a strange time and caught me with my pants down.  It reminded me of things as of yet not fully addressed.  Maybe even a few things not examined at all but put on the shelf, having come along at a time when facing them wasn't really an option.  We all have that shit, no?  


I do.  

And then there is David, somewhere out there in the Southwest.  How do you lose your brother?  How does a grown man disappear, unless he wants to?  I don't know.  I guess he knows where he is.  

Not sure where this is going or even if it has to go someplace.  Maybe it's just venting, but once again waking up in the middle of the night and reaching for the phone to call someone who isn't around anymore.  When is that going to stop happening?  

There are other words coming in from the ether too, like "let go or be dragged."  Good advice but my hands are still cramped from holding on for so long. 

Then there's "move a muscle and change a thought."  Take action.  I can do that.  I'm going to do something now to keep my hands busy.  Or I'll  have a mini-breakdown.  

Selah

Bumpkins - Hunter or Hipster & Smoker

Rebecca Morgan

Death From Above

Crossing Over

Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World, by Sherman Alexie


The morning air is all awash with angels—Richard Wilbur, “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World”

The eyes open to a blue telephone
In the bathroom of this five-star hotel.

I wonder whom I should call? A plumber,
Proctologist, urologist, or priest?

Who is blessed among us and most deserves
The first call? I choose my father because

He’s astounded by bathroom telephones.
I dial home. My mother answers. “Hey, Ma,”

I say, “Can I talk to Poppa?” She gasps,
And then I remember that my father

Has been dead for nearly a year. “Shit, Mom,”
I say. “I forgot he’s dead. I’m sorry—

How did I forget?” “It’s okay,” she says.
“I made him a cup of instant coffee

This morning and left it on the table—
Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years—

And I didn’t realize my mistake
Until this afternoon.” My mother laughs

At the angels who wait for us to pause
During the most ordinary of days

And sing our praise to forgetfulness
Before they slap our souls with their cold wings.

Those angels burden and unbalance us.
Those fucking angels ride us piggyback.

Those angels, forever falling, snare us
And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.

(for Ngeci, because sometimes I forget and pick up the phone.)

Emotional weather report?

Thursday, January 08, 2015

The D'oh!! of Pooh


Juxtaposed

Uh huh huh huh-appy Birthday



Welp... Happy Birthday to the King of Something or Another.  It might be considered irreverent or even mean-spirited to post a less than flattering photo of a man who seems to have meant so much to so many people, but being cruel (when you're told in so many ways, "Don't Be Cruel") isn't quite the point.  Not this time. See, it's not so much that this revered pop idol got fat and gross or has been exposed by historians for being an often less than savory human being...

Even though he was...

No, this is somewhat different.  It's more a question of my tenuous connection to the ability to worship at any altar, whether it be pop idols or desert gods.  Even that isn't a question of atheism but rather an ongoing skepticism where the human ability to discern who and what is worthy of our adoration is concerned.  There seems to have been, historically speaking, more than a handful of dodgy decisions of not just who to worship and serve but how to worship and serve.

Who are my sacred cows?  Are there any?  That remains to be seen.  There are none that I can readily name.  There are a few ideas, but no recognizable people or objects.  Top of my sacred list:

1) Don't Be Cruel (har har) -- no seriously.  Just don't be cruel.  I fall short of this often enough, usually smacking someone or something down just to feel better about myself.  That's pathetic isn't it?  There you go.  It's not a New Years Resolution.  It's a morning resolution and it's gotten better, even if I rarely make it through the day without a bit of raw-edged meanness.

And that's about it.  Be kind to people.

Was Elvis kind?  There are mixed opinions and the jury remains out for eternity, it would seem.

I remain skeptical about gods and idols.  There are ideas that don't make sense to me.  Top of that list, given the murders yesterday in Paris, carried out presumably by Islamo-fascists, would be killing in the name of anyone's god.  It's impossible not to think about that.  It would seem to me also that if you think your god needs you to exact reprisal against personal insults from cartoonists, then your god is not  only pretty small and impotent, but really rather shitty and petty.  It's a ludicrous idea that a kind and loving god would want you to commit acts that are not kind and loving.  I refuse to accept it.

Then of course you've got the situation in Israel/Palestine with an eons-old real estate claim.

Or you've got The United States sending armies around the world "spreading democracy" and shouting God Bless America!  If this god blesses America it would stand to reason that there are countries that he doesn't bless, therefor validating us bombing them, right?  Then we are venturing into territory that isn't so far removed from walking into a magazine office and shooting the place up.  It's just on a larger scale.  I guess I'm saying that if you are running around with a gun in your hands and the word god on your lips, then your idea of god is pretty lousy.

My skepticism runs from top to bottom.  As soon as someone tells me where or who to worship I lose interest.  The Beatles, for example:  It's not for me to say who is the best this or that of all time.  They just don't move me and I can't say I've been open-minded about it.  It always seems that I wasn't given a choice and that put me off right away.  Maybe if gods and idols were all presented in an "attraction not promotion" setting?  I don't know why it's so hard for me to believe in things.  It's always been "contempt prior to examination."  That can present problems, for sure.

In any event, I've got a photo up there of a big, fat man who liked narcotics and young girls and gawdy home decor.  Beneath what anybody thought of him was a man that had the world on a platter but still couldn't manage to be happy.  That is a level I can relate to him on.  That is a level of recognition that immediately tempers any disdain I may feel.  It's not you, Elvis.  It's the onslaught of false idols and dishonesty I've been hammered with.... maybe.  I hope you found peace.  I'm hoping to find mine here. It's not schadenfreude either.  It's recognizing that you were unable to find it despite achieving everything we're told success would grant us.   We're connected in that sense. We were told the same lie.

RIP, Big Man.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015