Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Cathedral of Unreason

I wrote a really long post essentially justifying why Paranormal Activity terrified me. Bottom line, it was well done. It scared me silly. We can address why later.

And, the Sheriff told me that she'd sleep fine (which I'm skeptical about) because there were no iconic scenes. You know, the type that burns itself into your psyche. Crab walking down the stairs, blood spilling forth from elevators, rooms filled with curing human flesh. At first blush, PA was missing those moments. But, upon reflection, which I've had all day to do, I think it is actually filled with those moments of terror.

It's a good movie. For those of you who love your horror, it's a must see. Watch it so we can talk about it. Consider it an exorcism.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


So, we went and saw old DJ the other night. Since the only people who read this were there, I'll spare everyone the recap (nice sweater!) As always, that asshole inspires me. He inspires me against my better judgment, he inspires he against my rationale self. That floppy haired, D&D-playing, non-dresser somehow makes me want to quit my job and blow up a dam (of course, then I'd go live under a log somewhere and play with baby foxes (kits?), live in harmony with nature...until a hungry bear ate me.)

I read his work and it changed everything. Now, I didn't and don't buy it completely, but I buy enough that I keep listening, I keep reading. Once I read the latest, I think I will probably have read more words by him than any other author. He has a way of framing ideas that are both disputable and inspiring. Who cares if he is inconsistent in his numbers for rates of sexual assault against women? If his most conservative estimates are close, it's still far too many. Who cares if it's not "90%" of the fish in the ocean? Say, it's 60% and it's only the large fish. That's still too many. Say there's not dioxin in "every" woman's breast milk. One is far too many.

Let's talk about what we can do. We can go and blow up dams(for shits and giggles - more shits that giggles, btw - google "number of dams in us"), take down cell phone towers, or lop off the heads of CEOs. The unfortunate thing is that this isn't The Monkey Wrench Gang and that they will kill or imprison us. We lose. One dam blown up, one dead white guy, one stupid cell phone tower down and that's it. They rebuild the dam; like the hydra, another CEO pops up in its place. We cannot win. Whether it means "getting there first with the most...," or "in war, they will kill some of us; but we will destroy all of them," we lose. We lose no matter which way you count it. Or spell it. Or sing it. Or dance it.

We can have well attended protests, beautiful and inspiring words, we hustle door to door to get out the vote. We lose. No one gets to a position to being elected without selling out, without being a corporate shill. That includes Obama, whose race occludes the fact that he is an agent of the status quo, and Clinton (both of them), who are agents of industry. They don't care about you, me, us. But this is old hat...

Let's talk about how this isn't a war to be won. Let's look at each other and be frank and honest. The war is lost. It was never a war; it was a slaughter. Any bloodshed that could have (maybe...) made a difference happened a century before we were born. Let us look at each other and admit that we are not going to change the world. Whether we are woofies or school teachers, bartenders or longshoremen. Yea, we can change a life here or there; we can work in a soup kitchen, or protest outside the SeaTac Mall (or Federal Way Commons - not ironic at all - or whatever it's called), or try to teach kids to read in our "spare" time, or we can do whatever, but what we are doing is useless. I'll spare you obnoxious metaphors about tweezers and sand. What we are doing amounts to vanity projects, to padding our social resume or appeasing our guilty consciences so we can go back to eating fast food at 3AM, smoking, porn, teen romance television, getting drunk, or whatever.

Full disclosure. More than you probably want to know (although it is a blog...), so if you don't want to go there, then click away.

Porn. Ok, so it was porn, smoking, and baseball. Now it's porn, football and eating meat. Which, after typing that out, sounds really gay...These are the concessions that I make that I am not proud of. I'll allow myself some porn erstwhile feeling guilty, not because I am watching porn, but because how the women are treated. I'm almost exhausted typing that because it's such a trope, but really, if you doubt it at all, then go to you porn and check that shit out. It's awful. Best case scenario, it's actresses pretending like they like to be raped. It's fucking awful. More than likely, it's a whole lot of women who have been assaulted, are sad, lonely, desperate, and don't even really know it. I remember reading Endgame when I was in Mexico and just wanting to hug the strippers or the girls pressing their tits into tourists faces. And like so many things, the feeling faded away with time. Now, porn.

But it's not ok. It's not ok to watch women get fucked, women who most likely have been assaulted early on (get there first with the most) and whose assault reverberates throughout their lives now reenact the violence for our carnal pleasure. Everytime. Every single fucking time I look at porn, whether I am out of mind (for whatever reason) or dead-to-rights sober, I think, "She's been raped." I know it in my belly. It's the same way I know it when I see it. Still, I left click until I find something that is not quite so disconcerting, take care of business as quickly as possible, then move on about my day. But, to be completely honest, I know what just happened. I know what I watched. I know what I did. It's despicable and I should be ashamed.
Lest anyone thinks that this is me being crazy about sex and all that, I have no problem with porn (eerily enough, the same way I have no problem with the death penalty) in and of itself; it's the knowledge that a fair number of the women participating are not doing so from an exhibitionist desire ("Yah, I totally want you to fuck me in the ass on camera so lonely, sad human beings can watch it on their computers late at night..." That conversation happens...), but from something far more unhealthy.*

Porn is bad. Porn is bad because of the probability or merely the possibility that these women are only doing this because they've been assaulted. Period.

Ever since reading DMFJ for the first time, I've been unable to reconcile any idea of resistance with the fact that I smoked. I was consoled by the fact that many other people who read him or felt the same way smoked as well. Janice died. That was the last night I smoked.**

I banged most of this out with ESPN on in the background. K gets whatever teen romance makes her forget her shitty day, I have baseball and football. I can do better. We can do better. Nate once challenged me to stop watching, listening to, and reading sports. In return, he would give up meat (except at the mom's, which is fair to middlin).*** I failed long before I had a chance to catch up to see where he was at. Progress not perfection, I suppose.

Here is what we do. We are all very busy folks. This makes dinners difficult. So we rally when we can. We get together, we stay in touch, we stay close. When we get together for dinners and drinks, we savor it and appreciate it. And.


We make dates. Ya, let's have dinner and rally the troops. Let's get greased and talk politics. Let's scare our more timid friends and inspire those that are ready (it's happened already...). Let's also go shoot guns, take gun safety courses, and learn how to clean and maintain firearms. Let's go fishing. Clean and gut fish. Let's garden. Then we can have real dinner parties, the way it really should happen. Harvest celebration. Let's talk first aid, preservation techniques (see gardening). Let's have pickle and jam parties. Let's have stitch and bitch, all genders welcome. Let's talk self-defense. What do we do? Let's stockpile food and each summer, if the worst hasn't happened, tap into it for our camping. Then build it back up each year. Let's be creative about this. What's the worst that can happen? And in the interim, we can work to make our community better, our world better. Hell, we can and should challenge each other continually. We can be better than we are in virtually every imaginable way.

And in the meantime, if there's any question of what we can or should do, I would say rally around the family...

*This most definitely is not the word I want, but I'm going with it for the sake of expediency.

**On an edit of the last paragraph, I'd left a sentence that I'd thought read, "And I hope I'll never do it again." I read it multiple times and I had a subsequent paragraph that mas o menos responded to the idea of hope. Well, the actual sentence was lacking the never. It took multiple passes for me to notice. While sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes it's a cigarette haunting you.

***Give me the opportunity again. I'll both go vegan and throw down with the sports abstinence. If you got it in you...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A picture, well...

Yeah, that's green chartreuse and one of the Sheriff's beers. And I'm done. I'm so tired after working a shift then posting over at the 1022 blog that I'm falling asleep with a drink or two in my hand. But in the interim before passing out and finishing a few fabulous cocktails, I feel like I need to get in a few words...

It's been a rough few weeks. Down right shitty. I've been thinking about how to write about this a lot. I've been thinking about how to articulate my feelings and about who reads this. I struggled every night. Posts died (justifiably) on the cutting room floor. So, here I am. Here we are. Ready to do this.

Janice was amazing. There's no getting around that. No on is ever going to reveal one of her flaws that will change that opinion. She was one of those rare people that was beautiful. She was the type of person that was so genuine and kind that I would be embarrassed if I lapsed into sarcasm, cynicism or disingenuous behavior around her. She was one of the rare people that by dint of the quality of her person she demanded humanity out of the people around her. (There's going to be a gap between this sentence and the next that I'm not sure I'll ever be able to fill.) And here's where I need an aside to say that I knew her only casually. I never had the opportunity to ask her if she did this purposefully (which I doubt), or if it was merely a by-product of her being an amazing person. I wonder if I can stop crying today because of how beautiful she was or by my selfish loss of not getting to know her better. I can't explain why I break down every time I hear Asleep.

Really, having listened to the song again, I think I know why. You know when you meet someone who is better than you at something? For instance, you're on the basketball court and the other guy is obviously way more athletic; or the other girl is skinnier or prettier, or whatever; or you're sitting across from someone and they have a cold recall of facts that is vaguely inhuman; whatever it is, you've met that person that is better than you at whatever, painting, fucking, cooking, smiling. Janice was a better human than me and the majority of people I've ever met. Period. She was kind and gracious in a way that I always strive to be. She smiled in a way that I wish I could smile. Honest and easy, like she was happy. She was so kind and gracious that I took it for granted that she'd be around forever. I figured that I had a lifetime to get to know her. A woman as beautiful as her doesn't die a year after her wedding, weeks after she turns 30. I've cared for and loved people who've died by self-inflicted gunshots, cancer, COPD, and cardiac arrest. Her death was a tragedy. It was terrible and it shouldn't have happened. It's a testament to her person that I still cannot imagine this world without her.