Saturday, February 26, 2011

And the Oscar Goes to...

Going to the movies. Few appreciate the true opportunity offered by the experience. I explained to my daughter once that the essential ingredient to enjoying any movie is the ability to temporarily suspend reality.

The type of film doesn't really matter. But by suspending reality, you can completely immerse yourself in the world of Despicable Me,  Edward Scissorhands, or James and the Giant Peach. If you are successful, nothing exists outside the theater for those brief couple of hours.

Then there are the actors. They suit up to assist you in the process. And when they are successful, I'm sure they suspend reality for themselves too.

That is escapism at its finest. Other than being fleeced for the price of admission and popcorn, you are no worse for wear. Perhaps you were engaged in a thought-provoking story that expands your understanding of the human condition. Maybe you were lucky enough to share the experience and quality time with a family member or friend. You can laugh about it or discuss it aftward. Because when the film is over, back out into reality you go.

I got started young. Before I knew it I was always in character. The character eventually took over and distorted reality all on its own. There were plenty of other actors. But the story had no meaning. I stopped paying attention to what's important and the character was eating me alive.

And as if by miracle one day the film was over. Or more accurately I left the theater. It was sunny outside. And my family was waiting for me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Melancholy Meat Puppets

Welcome to another installment of

The prompt for today's episode was to write a post about depression or something that has inspired you from a recent book.
I chose to write a generally non-fiction post from the perspective of a character in A Clockwork Orange because it seemed to fit.
For details about today's episode and entries of higher quality
see Kristine @ Wait in the Van.

Gettin' on in the lower east side was gen'rally all very horrorshow. Me ole man always told me how the beast was known to lurk on me Mum's side. No cause to worry o'course as I was pretty much Beige folk and a shiny happy one at that. Still, be wide he said.

Grandpa was apparently quite the manic and I viddy'd more than a touch in me own Uncle. Later come to find out me first cousin had a real horrorshow of a Black dog stayed with us one summer till she fell off a cliff and everyone felt real bad about that. 

'Bout that time me brother was on the doss spendin a lot of time in the land and me parents got to circlin' the drain. Never got to any tolchoks but off to therp he did go despite havin a full shilling. Dropped out of PS and commenced his spin. That's when the beast showed itself in me Mum. Course he had 'is share of run-ins with the millicents and has domiciles in the local Staja today.

Your humble narrator began to act the maggot himself and frequent the Milk-Plus mestos tryin to viddy what it was all about. Fore I knew it O my brothers I dint need no crew and there was a lot of suckin' diesel and more than a few trips to the land. All the time thinkin I'm twistin' hay and not wantin to be the sap it took some 30 years of watchin me own red flow till I did viddy the damage to me and my crew. 

I was up to ninety with me mum and ole man passed, the brother in Staja, and the pressures of the world around us. Gobsmacked I was able to keep the aul' doll at all and it took more than a good puck to get the ole napper headed straight again. Shattered and shagged of it all, your humble narrator counts himself grateful never to have heard the beast O my brothers, but be wide I shall like me ole man said.


Just a quick note on depression. It's not funny. We all have our ups and downs, but depression can occur when you've swung a little too far for whatever reason. External factors can certainly contribute. But being depressed is not a choice we make. A chemical imbalance occurs in the brain and it is rarely self-correcting. And like a badly sprained ankle if you've suffered it once it is more likely to occur again, only worse.

It's also nothing to be ashamed of. So do something about it. If you think you suffer from depression, ask for help until you get it. There are more suffering from it than most people think and there's a lot of support out there.


And I almost forgot - links to my previous product of silence entries can be found herehere and here

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Respite, Respite & Nepenthe

It's been a while since the last installment. There have been starts and stops, and drafts do lay on Gipetto's workbench, waiting to become a real post. However tonight insomnia brings me to the keyboard to post a belated tribute to that great artist, Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart.

I somehow missed his passing on December 17, 2010 but was alerted to it during the "In Memoriam" portion of the grammy show last week.
Probably few others noticed.

I was brought up on a steady diet of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Probably explains a lot. Early Zappa asked important questions, that resonate with me yet today. For example:

[timid, mousy voice feminine voice] Yes?

Indeed, what will you do when the plastic's all melted and the chrome is too soft? Who are the brain police?

And of course Frank offered meaningful commentary that reinforced our social fabric: "be a loyal plastic robot for a world that doesn't care", "brown shoes don't make it", and hopefully no one has forgotten that the yellow snow is not for tasting. But I digress.

My first taste of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band was via an album called "The Big Ball", which was a 1970 Warner Bros promo album that contained their song "Ella Guru". It was memorable, but didn't compel me to run out and buy the parent album Trout Mask Replica. And in fact, I heard nothing more from the Captain until 7 years later, a sophomore in college.

One day in the Campus Bookstore I happened in to buy a random spiral notebook. Arriving at my Geology class I opened the book only to find the entire lyrics of the epic tale, which I later discovered to be "The Old Fart at Play", from Trout Mask Replica. I share this below, so that you might appreciate how bizarre and at the same time awesome it was to find this scribbled inside an ostensibly brand new notebook.

[a continuous monotone diatribe, with off-beat background guitar work]

Pappy with the Khaki sweatband
Bowed goat potbellied barnyard that only he noticed
The old fart was smart
The old gold cloth madonna
Dancin' t' the fiddle 'n saw
He ran down behind the knoll
'n slipped on his wooden fishhead
The mouth worked 'n snapped all the bees
Back t' the bungalow

Momma was flatten'n lard
With her red enamel rollin' pin
When the fishhead broke the window
Rubber eye erect 'n precisely detailed
Airholes from which breath should come
Is now closely fit
With the chatter of the old fart inside

An assortment of observations took place
Momma licked 'er lips like a cat
Pecked the ground like a rooster
Pivoted like a duck
Her stockings down caught dust 'n doughballs
She cracked 'er mouth glaze caught one eyelash
Rubbed 'er hands on 'er gorgeous gingham
Her hand grasped sticky metal intricate latchwork
Open t' the room a smell cold mixed with bologna
Rubber bands crumpled wax paper bonnets
Fat goose legs 'n special jellies
Ignited by the warmth of the room

The old fart smelled this thru his important breather holes
Cleverly he dialed from within from the outside we observed

That the nose of the wooden mask
Where the holes had just been a moment ago

Was now smooth amazingly blended camouflaged in
With the very intricate rainbow trout replica
The old fart inside was now breathin' freely
From his perfume bottle atomizer air bulb invention

[Background music ceases. Spoken word, echoing to an open room]

His excited eyes from within the dark interior glazed;
watered in appreciation of his thoughtful preparation.

[A pause. It has ended. Another voice in the room]

Oh man, that was sooo heavy.

Hahaha! Unbelievable. Yes I ended up buying the album. And probably could have recited 90% of the above from memory, but searched it instead for the benefit of an accurate tribute. Can I say the other songs, such as Hair Pie Bake 1, Neon Meatdream of a Octafish, or Hair Pie Bake 2 were worth it? Well let's just say that was the price of admission. And it was worth it.

Alas - quoth the raven...