24 July 2008


I just saw the most infuriating commercial, for AT&T. "so-n-so doesn't have any bars because she doesn't have AT&T." "More bars in more places." What a crock of shit! Why can't I talk on the phone in my house? Why can't I send a text message anywhere near Central Square? Frak those guys.

19 July 2008

let's play 'funny not funny'!

Funny Not Funny

An old dream

In my dream, there was a party at my house. It was my house, but it was also my dream house. There were a lot of people, but not too many. Everyone was pretty jolly, me too, but I was also nervous, like I get at parties, until my ex-GF showed up. (This is impossible. She would never come to this house again, nor would I invite her.) I think I was a little scared to talk to her, but she smiled at me and we chatted a bit. I asked her if she'd like to take a walk with me later on so we could chat. She agreed. This is when things started to get out of hand. More people showed up, with more booze, and took over every square inch of the house. I started to get very uncomfortable, very scared. I roamed the house for a bit, acting the role of the party police--"Hey, watch that beer, don't spill it." "Careful, this is my living room floor where you're throwing your cigarette butts." I was policing the party, but I was really looking for her. I really wanted to get away from the party, but I wanted so much more to take that walk with her. I was near tears, in fact, I started crying. I found one of my roommates, in fact it was both of them combined into one, as your dreams will do, and I broke down. Sobbing, I told her I really didn't want this many people in the house and that I was leaving. What I didn't tell her was that if I could have found the ex, I'd have no reason to cry, which was exactly how I felt. I left the party, broken, sobbing. I don't really know where I went, can't remember, maybe it's not important. When I left, I was sad. When I came back, I was angry. As soon as I arrived back at the house, I started kicking everyone out. Some were strangers, some were friends, some very good friends, didn't matter, party's over, get the fuck out. I kicked a few people, shoved a few more. They tried to talk to me, but I wouldn't hear it. Still, I was trying to find her, because if I could find her, I'd have no reason to be upset. I never found her. I went room to room, breaking up the party; this took a long time because in my dream house there are many mansions. When I got to my bedroom, the door was closed, but I could hear yelling, music, clinking bottles, etc., and I got even more enraged. I opened the door just as someone in my room dumped something out of a huge bucket onto someone else's head, flooding my room with something, probably beer. And Mary wasn't in there. I went nuts. I physically grabbed each person in there and threw them out, except the guy who dumped the bucket. I beat him senseless, with no sense of victory or justice, only pain and loss and anger. After everyone had left, I surveyed the destruction. My room was trashed. My bed was full of dirty plates, beer bottles, cigarette butts; my sheets and comforter were soaked in booze.

Of course I never found her. I don't know how long the dream lasted after that, but I was like Burgess Meredith in that old Twilight Zone episode, wandering, just part of a destroyed landscape, looking for the One That Got Away.

It's a subtle difference that makes all the difference

I'm gonna keep this short because if I don't I'll be up for hours choosing the exact right words. If I'm 147 years old and I see Juno on my 3-D holo-projector, it will be you I think of. Punch my ticket, sign me up, I'm on board.

Q: Which mythological creature would you be?

I don't know which mythological creature I would be. Sometimes I feel like the troll under the bridge, but I would like to think I could be Prometheus, a man who stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. Problem is, Prometheus, like Orson Welles, spent the rest of eternity chained to a rock getting his kidneys pecked out by vultures. Orpheus bravely descended into the underworld to find his beloved, and he was allowed to take her back to the land of the living, on one condition. He would have to just walk out, and she would follow him, but he could not turn back to look at her until they were out of the underworld. Of course, he was unable to wait, and turned back to look at her, and lost her forever. I recognize the self-destructive, counter-productive impulse in myself that doomed Orpheus to a life of loneliness. The genius of Orson Welles, the great loving heart of Orpheus, the drive to do something new and unexpected that destroyed Andy Kaufman, all these things are great gifts and terrible burdens. I don't want to burn that brightly, I only want to be true to myself, say what I have to say, keep the right people close, enjoy.

If you can accept a movie only 70 years old as mythology, and I think you can, I would probably compare myself to all 4 of the travelers on the Yellow Brick Road. Like Dorothy, I often feel like I'm not where I belong, like I've lost something, something I'm desperate to get back to. Like the Lion, I wish I was braver. Like the Scarecrow, my head is fulla stuffin'. And like the Tin Man, sometimes I have a cold spot in my heart, a place of anger and sadness and loss. We know now that each of them had what they needed all along, and what they really needed was just to walk the path, to take the journey and do the best they can

Has he ever appeared somewhere he wasn't supposed to be?

Mikhail sat alone in The Flame, lost in memories of old wars and new rumors of war. He looked out the window and saw a boy, a black boy about 10 years old. The boy was soaking wet and looked like he was whispering to himself. Mikhail got his gun and went to the door. He yelled out, asked the boy who he was. The boy looked right through the grizzled Russian. Mikhail opened the door and the boy was gone. He turned around to go back inside and the boy was in front of him. "They want your eye." said the boy, and as Mikhail took a step towards him, the boy became a tall column of swirling black smoke and blew past him out into the jungle.

14 July 2008

Look at this kid!

Look at this kid!

1 for the road

Today, Monday, the 14th of July, marks 9 years since I have had a drop of alcohol. Life is so much better without drinking. I've grown to dislike bars, parties, anyone who's a little tipsy. I don't get headaches or stomachaches very often, and I always wake up in my own bed, except when I don't, because I chose to sleep somewhere else. If I never pass out and wake up with Sharpie graffiti all over my face again, it will be too soon. I never was an angry drunk, more happy and silly or sad, but occasionally I would threaten to take my pants off in a room full of people; once or twice I actually did it. (I didn't expose myself, I was just trying to be funny.) Now I take my pants off at the appropriate time, in the appropriate manner. Being drunk was pretty fun, if I'm going to tell the truth. I was outgoing, if not charming, and bold enough to go to all sorts of parties and shows the likes of which would scare the hell out of me these days. What was missing was a sense of moderation, the idea that I can be ok and deal with my life without the crutch of a beer in my hand. What I had then that I don't have now is the boldness required to write confidently and prolifically. Writing scares me a bit now, I'm much more timid behind the keyboard than I was. I don't want to offend anyone. There's more, there's always more, but that's enough of that.

08 July 2008

The Running Man syndrome, or Why Does Hollywood Keep Ruining All Your Favorite Books?

I read Stephen King's The Running Man when I was 12 or 13, and I absolutely loved it. Set in the year 2025, when the TV network (they all merged, apparently,) and the government have become one, Ben Richards, an unemployed, dirt-poor father of a very sick baby, volunteers for a game show in which he is set loose to disappear into the world while he is tracked and hunted down, with the audience participation coming in the form of a 1000 dollar bounty on his head, payable upon his death. While it is a futuristic, dystopian novel, it is also a comment on urban poverty, what happens to the people who have lost everything while the fatcats sit back with their fancy Cuban cigars. Also, not to ruin it for you, (COLETTA FACTOR: I'M GONNA TELL YOU THE END,) but an airplane is flown directly into a skyscraper. Needless to say, that ending has taken on a lot more significance in the last few years.
The Running Man was made into a movie a little while after I read it. I was of two minds: I was a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, (youthful indiscretion on my part) but it wasn't the movie I wanted. It was a popcorn flick, lots of action, comic-book villains, light on social comment. They changed the story entirely; all they really kept was the basic idea of a game show where you fight for your life. I really enjoyed it at first, but I watched it again recently and it's terrible. Arnold should never have been the hero of that movie; at that time (1987) any movie with Arnold was an Arnold movie first and foremost, and the public expected certain things from his movies. (This was even a year before Twins, Arnold's first comedy.)

All the substance was replaced by style, the characters replaced with cardboard cutouts.
I saw the first 4 Harry Potter movies before I read the books, and I thought they were great, at the time. They were exciting, and touching, and suspenseful, particularly the 3rd chapter, The Prisoner of Azkaban. Having now read all the books, I saw the 5th movie, Order of the Phoenix, and it was dreadful. Granted, book 5 is a long, complicated tale, but to see it butchered like that was painful. The actors didn't seem to like it very much, either, as most of them phoned in their performances. Last night, I caught about an hour of the 4th movie, Goblet of Fire, on tv, a movie I enjoyed immensely before I read the book, and I hated every minute of it. They made up scenes, combined characters, lost so many plotlines and fine details, all in th name of profitability. There are not enough Harry Potter fans to make a movie just for them, they have to appeal to as broad an audience as possible, which is the problem with most mass-produced entertainment today. There have been a few movies that have been faithful to the books and have been successful: The Green Mile, The Godfather, The Virgin Suicides. While these movies were literally faithful to the book, they also retained the tone and the flavor of the book. Even Contact, with Jodie Foster, was a good adaptation. Carl Sagan adapted the screenplay himself before he died, and while much of the story was changed, it retained a lot of the sense of wonder, and it had something to say. But these are few and far between, most adaptations are garbage.