shitemare (before christmas)

bacciSorry, couldn’t resist. Anyway, the inspiration for this post is my wife complaining this morning of disturbing dreams — about our new pug’s maddeningly irregular pooping habits. It turns out that animals, even the remarkably robust and well-behaved Bacci, do not poop on a schedule. And since we are now unsure about the extent of his housebrokenness (tho xlnt for a coupla weeks — there have now been incidents), it’s easy to obsess. He went out, yes, but did he poop? Did you see it? For the love of God, DID THE LITTLE GUY DO HIS BUSINESS!??

We’re committed to defusing the fecal fixation. Let him go when he needs to. ‘Cause even when he doesn’t, he dutifully follows us into the backyard anyway, in the cold of night, and tries to figure out why we’re just standing around staring at him. I only hope we haven’t already given him some sort of Freudian fixation…

lost

pryorContinuing the obit theme (and sepia imagery), let me just say I’ll never forget seeing “That N*gger’s Crazy,” and laughing myself stupit. I say seeing, tho I am hard pressed, now, to find much mention of it ever being a film, not just an album. Oh well. Maybe the bits were just so funny, and his storytelling so vivid, I just imagined seeing it. Either way, it was the kind of comedy that made you gasp, snort, and almost forget to laugh, it hit so hard and moved so fast. BTW: Pryor made his last film appearance in David Lynch’s Lost Highway.

living vs. lasting

lennonBeing alive (usually) makes us want to continue living, as long as we can. But another desire kicks in later in life, just as strongly — especially if you’re an artist: wanting to leave an impression, a lasting mark on the world. And this is where things turn in on themselves, since one (sadly oft-proven) way to achieve — or certainly enhance — the possibility of achieving this is have your life cut short while still capable. What might we have been capable of? Rendered unanswerable, the question takes on the added power of imagination, and/or projection, and there is no limit.

For a rare few, however, the added mystique of death seems wholly and demonstrably unnecessary, as the impression they’d already created was indelible, immense, and lasting.

the final frontier

eminemSo love is in the news again. I remember Deepak Chopra saying something about intimate relationships being the ultimate challenge in human experience. I’ll buy that… Why else would we have a world with so many damn people in it? That’s why I always have trouble with seekers looking within, at the expense of looking without. Sure your big, personal breakthroughs are nice, but what are you like with the rest of us? Or better yet, your mate? ‘Cause that’s the real test: being a good hubby/wife… Just ask Mr. Nem, here, who is (reportedly) remarrying his biatch old lady again. Love. You go, Emmie — you can do it! What up, yo.

trust bomb

highwayYou may know you’re basically honorable, but it’s nice, every once in a while, to get a chance to prove it. Back in my musician days, I worked as a driver for a smart, successful, Neo-Orthodox Jew, very active in the community. One day, “Elie Wiesel” (someone important, I gathered) came to LA, and I was loaned out to drive him somewhere… Big Bear, I believe. On the way back, he became concerned about the sound of the tires, pup-pupping over seams in the road. “Is ziss a flat tire?” he asked politely. “No, no, it’s just, y’know… The road. Heh.”

Pup-pup. Pup-pup. “Are you, eh, sure?” he insisted. Vaguely annoyed, I repeated that it was nothing, did my best to be reassuring, and got him back safely, without incident. Later, I read about who this guy was. Elie Wiesel had survived Auschwitz, and Buchenwald, and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Only to find himself that evening, alone on a mountain road, in the hands of a scruffy, and somewhat glib, goy.

cashOy. It wasn’t the first time my boss had dropped the trust bomb on me. My very first day on the job, I was sent downtown, alone, to cash a check — for several thousand dollars. He later attended my first wedding, and cheered me on: mazel tov! Years passed, and when that marriage went belly-up, I remember feeling (amid the jumble) a distinct pang of guilt, at disappointing � of all people � my old boss. Whom I no longer even worked for. But who had given me the opportunity, in his small way, to prove that I could be counted on.

redemption

I’ve always thought capital punishment made little sense as a “deterrent.” It only seems to work, really, on two levels: First, to restore a simple balance: Take someone’s life, forfeit your own. Second, as a last chance at redemption. I learned this, of course, at the movies.

dead man walkingIn Dead Man Walking — a story based on a fervently anti-death penalty nun — it is only in the face of his own, imminent demise that the condemned man experiences the first glimmer of honest remorse. Nothing more sobering, it’s safe to say, than one’s own death.

tookieYet the problem of “collateral damage” � innocents sent to their death � remains unanswerable, and the strongest (only?) argument against the death penalty, IMHO. What’s to balance, or redeem, if you didn’t do nothin’ wrong in the first place? Like Tookie, scheduled for death next Tuesday, who has maintained his innocence all along, despite damning evidence and an apparent slipup/confession early on. And whose own redemption has already been declared, and documented (of course) in a movie.

catwoman II

fluxNo, I haven’t seen it. And neither have you. Nor, for that matter, have any reviewers… The studio opened Aeon Flux “cold,” with no advance screenings. Which means it’s exactly the piece of cr*p it appears to be in those inane (and boring) commercials. If you’re putting me to sleep with a loud montage of the “best moments” (deadly grass??), why’d you even bother!? Go away. Charlize: How could you.

fakir

blaineI came across a pdf the other night, “explaining” all of David Blaine’s illusions. Remember him? “Street” magic? In your face, impossible stuff? He wound up suspending himself in an acrylic box, I forget for how long, just wasting away in plain sight. I guess so we’d have to believe him. Or something.

There is a point of diminishing returns, when it comes to “convincing.” The old “methinks thou dost protest” problem. Blaine took himself out of the game, in many respects, with that ridiculous stunt. I wonder if he simply couldn’t stand everyone saying “it’s just a trick, he’s faking it.”

I’ve always enjoyed saying that we’re all faking it. Isn’t there a certain amount of improvisation � bluff, even � to any endeavour, no matter how expert or “certain” one might be? Haven’t we all felt that pang of fear over being “found out,” called on our bluff? It’s one of the things that connects us: I won’t say anything, if you won’t. We all experience it, because on some level, it’s true. So if you make a living faking people out — as we all do, in a sense — sometimes it’s just smarter to keep your mouth shut. And let me enjoy believing that you can, actually, do something really special.

iCan’t believe it

imovieTECHIE POST: Okay, so I’m a “serious” video/animation pro, aspiring filmmaker, etc. I use fancy gizmos. Two monitors. Three, if you count the NTSC. I’m bad, I’m nationwide. So what am I gonna do with iMovie?

Oh, I wanted to use my “Pro” app for video capture, just like I always have… But the damn thing (okay, FCP) wanted to do so much (I learned, later — convert, on the fly, to QuickTime codec, strip in timecode, God knows what else), that it kept hiccupping. Which, if you work with this stuff, you know happens a LOT. Don’t know why I did it, but instead of “fixing” it, I launched iMovie. For the first time. Didn’t expect much.

importiMovie recognized my camera right away, and “just worked.” Real-time play-thru to DV out, onscreen/keyboard camera control, audio, the whole shebang. Alright. There it sat, asking me what I wanted to do. “Import” I said. So it did. After a while, I stopped it. Then I realized what it had been doing � and just about cr*pped my pants. (more…)

unready

iraqi trainingI just read a fascinating piece about the difficulty of training Iraqi troops. One major problem is that these poor guys are being pressed into “service” (survival) way before training is complete. And apparently, there’s nothing like actual combat to screw up combat training. Survival (understandably) trumps procedure. That’s why, when US troops return from combat, the Pentagon classifies them as “unready” until they can be rested and retrained.

I think this is brilliant. One complaint about formal education is that it doesn’t prepare you for “the real world” (it can’t, because it isn’t). The flipside of this, though, is that the real world is guaranteed to knock whatever good sense / integrity / principles you may have right out of you.

So maybe that’s what “time off” really ought to be, at least in part. Rest, of course, but also retrain. Think through why you are doing what you do, and how you are doing it. Review the fundamentals. Try to forget the workarounds, shortcuts, compromises, etc. that “reality” forces on us. And start anew. Ready.