Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's the subconscious trying to tell me?

Please tell me. I'm taking a quick break from the severe moralizing that I do to jot something down here. It's another dream I had (the first written one being here). I would want comments on this more than anything else, only because it's completely objective and other spins on it would be interesting.

Parental Advisory: This dream is Rated R for Graphic Violence and Disturbing Images

I'm somehow floating over the bathroom, I guess, as a ghost. I will call it "the" bathroom although I have no idea where I was or whose house I was in. The extreme despair/guilt that I'm about to describe myself feeling may indicate that it was mine.

At any rate, a small, friendly kitten is in the bathtub, hunched together near the drain, eyes wide open and hissing to the outside of the tub where a light brown dog is. The dog jumps in and they fight for two seconds. This whole thing is generally a blur, but at some point the dog sinks his teeth into the kitten's body. The next thing I know, the dog has jumped back out of the tub, pacing around as if he's just looking for a spot to sit down and pass the day in, and the kitten has become a loose collection of some intestines, a piece of his backbone sticking out, one of his feet turned inward towards what used to be his body, the tail mysteriously gone and his semi-disconnected head showing a face of lowered eyes and an agape mouth, as if he was using his last bit of energy to howl for help.

Now.....I love cats. I love dogs. I love pretty much all animals except poisonous ones and skunks. I also love those dishes best served cold and could care less about natural selection. So, at this point, after I've become a full, embodied person and have landed on the bathrug in front of the sink, it's just a matter of deciding whether I'm going to use a black, iron pan or a sledgehammer to knock the dog's skull back through his rib cage and out of his ass. But this is secondary. I kneel next to the bathtub and look, and my heart is heavier than two Lincoln Navigators piled on top of each other with 5 passengers in them each, all of which weigh over 450 lbs. I cannot, for the life of me, believe that I let this happen. My throat has a knot in it, my stomach is quivering, and my face is soaked with warm tears and mucus, but this is all drowned out from me repeatedly saying "what....what the....awww, come....." and looking all over the place. Even breathing becomes something of a task and the amount of guilt and grief I feel is a limit that only a certain supernatural being can carry without definitely committing suicide.

Now for some reason, my subconscious switches to the image of dawn. The sun is just peeking up over some hillside forest, the tiny delineations of shine poking away at a looming steel grey morning. I think, since this picture came up, my conscious brain decided to tell me that I was in a cabin in a clearing on the side of a mountain.

There's notably thin smoke billowing from the chimney, although I don't remember any lit fireplaces. I do however, remember that I now look like Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films) dressed like Paul Bunyan. I know it's me because my consciousness is within this body (I think, therefore I......am?). There is also another cat.

At the point that I come into the dream, the cat kitten has already been gravely injured. It appears that a ravenous claw has torn through its body and it's bleeding profusely. He's/She's laying on it's side, calling to me to pay attention to the traumatizing affliction, and I come over with a towel and wrap the kitten up in it, putting pressure on the wound. Standing there, breathing warm, misty breath into the chilly air of the dark, unlit cabin with the kitten resting on my arm and the feeling that death is inevitable for it, I pick up my sawed-off shotgun and head outside resolutely. Of course, the gun is not for the kitten.

See, I noted the point at which I came into the narrative of the dream because for some reason I already knew that this blemish-to-other-humans/moral tragedy of the kitten was committed by none other than a pack of wolves......who were circling and still waiting for something or other when I stepped outside. I look at them, and they, tongues hanging, corners of their eyes curled up in malevolent intent and staring with hungry countenances, studied me. I stood for a moment, went back inside to gently place the kitten on the suede couch, and returned to the circle of predators.

Now.....I love cats. I love dogs. I love pretty much all animals except poisonous ones and skunks. I also love those dishes best served cold and could care less about natural selection. So, at this point, I walk to the center of their circle and say something along these lines to them. I throw forth the double barrel of my firearm, making sure that fresh, explosive shells full of buck are in each one of them. I cock it back into place, and I remember saying "You gotta pay." Time for attack.

For some reason, I'm now a boxer dressed precisely as Mr. Stallone was during his character's training in what was probably the only good film he's ever done.

The wolves are quickening their pace around me.
When one leaps, I have to pugilistically assault the mid-section.
When it leaps.
I got my fists up, doing my own sidesteps and preparing myself.
Streams of warm, wispy breath shooting in lines out of my nostril, spanish bull style.
One begins coming towards me.
It runs.
Then leaps!

I sidestep right on time and deliver a right-hook to the ribcage that Ali himself would be proud to call me son for. The wolf tumbles on the floor and rolls, wiggling itself around furiously to regain footing. Whilst looking at him, a wolf decides to run up from behind and assault me. No sweat. I turn on my pivot foot and deliver a sweet roundhouse kick to his neck. Another comes. As it jumps on me, I grab his paws, place my foot on his stomach and roll backwards on the ground, leg throwing him right down the hillside. When I get up from the ground I'm Robbie Coltrane/Paul Bunyan again, replete with sawed-off shotgun.

The wolves are now scrambling all over the place, but my intuition tells me that there is one that is planning to run right past me, into my cabin and right to that suede couch for a quick snack. It's one that's sitting across from me, prepping itself to make the dash as soon as I turn around. But how will it run when..........BANG! The explosion of the buck echoes all up and down the mountain, causing a flock of crows to fly out of a nearby fir trees and a deer licking at a pond somewhere to look up.

I don't kill him, but I definitely put one arm out of service. The rest of the pack have scattered away.

As I slowly walk over to him with my amiable sawed-off rested upon my shoulder, I kneel down and look him, laying on his side and flopping his hanging-by-a-bone paw around in pain, whining and looking at me with sad eyes of regret. "I don't care how you guys work around here...." is what I remember saying, before I woke up and immediately began to type this post.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Samurai meditates on The Inauguration.

Today is Inauguration Day for our new United States President. We are officially letting in a breath of fresh air and kicking that heathenous, mud-brained, pus-filled boil of a human named George W. Bush to the curb. To tell you the truth though, I'm a bit nervous.

An estimated 2 million people (the most ever for an American Inauguration) have left their homes days before today to travel to Washington D.C. for their seats on the west side of the National Mall (left pic), that long park from the Washington Monument to the United States Capitol. They're excited, anxious, inspired and hopeful: the "Promised Land" that Martin Luther King. Jr hath seen from the mountaintop when the Lord gave him that vision in 1968 is further realizing itself through a (relatively) young, humble, and sagacious Kenyan named Barack Hussein Obama. This is a greater good that even Martians have teleported real-time satellite images to their extreme hi-def monitors to witness. But I am nervous.

Yes, a black man, the first black man in history, is officially becoming President today. But I daresay that I don't want to put too much stock into this particular moment, not after that attempt by the two white Supremacists last October. I didn't vote for him just for the image of an African backside being planted in the seat of the Oval Office, I voted for him because of the promises and principles he said he would embrace while he was there. With that said, after a small period of rest from the debates and cabinet assembly and Abraham Lincoln references, he needs to hit the ground running, as Lyndon B. Johnson did when he first went into office after Kennedy was taken. As soon as he does plant his ass in that seat: assault the economic depression; stop this 80-million-dollar-a-month business to the Iraqis and make a decision on Pakistan; fuel, widen and renew the education system; give more power to socially responsible stockholders of corporations and strengthen unions; give carbon emission watch companies federal status (there may have been a raise in attention to the environment, but in popular media, I feel like people still think this is just tree-hugger agenda crap); and naturally, Health Care in the economic perspective has to be taken care of. And for Chrissakes man, someone do something about this Darfur crap!

But anyway, he needs to hit the ground running, because major change like this brings in major reactions. White Supremacists, regular ole' Republicans, and those old Blacks who cannot process the idea of a slave now being master are probably foaming at the mouth and burning Crosses all over the place while thinking up schematics to assassinate Obama. And before this can happen, disillusioning and corrupting the most respectful and moral of hearts in the process, Obama needs to work on/instill the Change he said he had for us. Before it's too late.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Patience Problems and The Final Solution

As we last left off, I picked up and began reading "Last of the Mohicans", which I had defended reading to a co-worker who recommended that I put that down and instead read a Robert Ludlum work, "The Matarese Circle". Unfortunately, not only did I need to resume reading a few books for research, but there were other contemporary novels that I was much more eager to read as well as me not really being in the mood for classic romanticism. I'm up to my upstairs neighbor's neck in books that I want to attack right now, but I have hard time believing that reading 15 books at once will get me any progress. Reading has to share my time with other things. Patience! I'm always eager to read the book version of films before they come out in theaters. Not because I want to compare the two, but because I'm usually that eager to get to know the story. But anyway, now I'm reading "The Final Solution" by Michael Chabon.

I had been reading about this author before and his stories sounded like they would be interesting. He is perhaps most famous for two of his works: "Wonder Boys", which was a 1995 novel and a 2000 film starring Michael Douglas and Katie Holmes-Cruise-Alien-Hubbard, was about a college professor's quirky and complex journey to finish a 2,611 fiction manuscript as a follow up to his previous hit novel. Chabon's other hit was called "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay", a New York Times Bestseller which many have called one of the key literary feats of 2000 as well as being nominated for PEN award. It's about the lives of Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, a Jewish artist and a Jewish writer respectively, through the beginning, middle and end of World War II. It's one of those books that's named after the sentence "From the author of" on every single work that Chabon follows up with, until you are convinced to stop beating around the bush and just go pick it up to see what the artful hype is about.

However, "The Final Solution" is a more low-key, measly 166-page novella about an old man who decides to help a little boy, a German-Jewish refugee, find his missing parrot. The true identity of the old man is never said in plain words, but it is heavily hinted that it's indeed Sherlock Holmes. The title of the book references both Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "The Final Problem" and the plan of Nazi Germans to commit genocide against European Jews. This definitely grabbed my attention more than anything else, if only because I love the character and a film about him by Guy Ritchie starring Robert Downey Jr. and (I think a miscast) Jude Law is coming out this November.

In the few pages I've read, it's pretty good. Chabon is not an accessible author, as he peppers every sentence with about 2-3 words that you'd probably have to look up in the dictionary or take a few moments to define within the context of the sentence, but he's done his job in immediately interesting me in who this boy and his parrot is.

As always, I'm up to my neck in books that I'd like to finish and films I'd like to watch (films that haven't been released yet). Such books as:
-"Hannibal Rising" by Thomas Harris, a prequel to the main three Hannibal Lecter novels
-"Live and Let Die" by Ian Fleming
-"The Caves of Steel" by Isaac Asimov
-the last two Harry Potter books (I was pissed at the end of the 5th one)
-"Twilight" which I'm not hyped or excited for but want to read to see what's grabbing everyone.
-"Pygmy" by Chuck Palahniuk, one of my favorite authors.

Some films that look great are:
-"9", the gothic stop animation/CGI film
-of course "Sherlock Holmes", as I've already mentioned
-"Public Enemies", the Great Depression-Era gangster film by Michael Mann (Collateral) with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale
-"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus", the fantasy film by Terry Gilliam starring Christopher Plummer and partly Heath Ledger before he passed away, but now features as replacements Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. My curiousity is very arrested by this film: the story of a 1,000 year old theater troupe leader who, after making a deal with the devil, has the ability to show people their own imaginations through a magical mirror.
-I suppose many think "Watchmen" should be on this list. I think that film will suck, as I am not a fan of Zack Snyder's work and I don't really see a way to squeeze this graphic novel into a film. But I am curious.

Bollocks. Here's my resolution for 9002*, this will truly be the year of Progress!
*done on purpose.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Clandestinely brazen, and Brazenly clandestine.*

*A reference to a fellow blogger.

A popular belief among the more..........economically focused of us earthlings is that it is much better to teach your children only the "useful" stuff. But then the question comes up: Useful to what? To who? To the leading capitalists in those sheeny, glass-cased high rises who just want other people to keep the monetary faucet running into the bathtub that is their offshore bank account? Useful to society? To the planet? To your cat? People almost never say. But it is assumed and expected of you to think the first suggestion. And coming to the answer to that question would provide the answer for the secondary one: what's the "useful" stuff?

Well, why only teach them the useful stuff? Well, surely you'd want your son/daughter/transsexual to grow up and become a computer programmer. Or work for a Fortune 500 (nowadays these things come from the ground up and are made by our generation so often that I'm tempted to call it some new form of a grassroots movement. YouTube? MySpace? Girls Gone Wild? Google? Gosh......). Perhaps you'd want them to be an engineer of some sort. Is the dream of being a fireman or astronaut or garbage pick-up outdated? I don't know, but my point is that parents feel safer knowing their kid is going to ground that's already tread. This way they can direct some of the cash flow into their own direction so that said transsexual could help his/her/its parents with the mortgage and gas bills. They could secure a home for his/her/itself so that he/s/i can support their (adopted? surrogately mothered?) child or children. And this will go on for years and years to come as the parents teach their kids to do the same thing in the future...........effectively making a whole branching family of people whose lives mean essentially nothing.

No, no, no, no. Now wait a minute......yes, yes, and I agree. A person's career is not the only place they can make a difference. No, of course not. No....yes, I know, not everyone has to go out and pursue being meaningful to the world. No, its not necessary. Yes, everyone has meaning. Yes, I as a Christian am supposed to believe that. Now shut the **** up so I can talk.

The reason I bought this up is because I was reading a blog post about how the blogger (who is an art teacher and a most spiritual woman, whether she considers herself this or not) had once, in her travels to one of her school's offices, had come across an old quiz, one of the questions of which was "Name Three Metamorphic Rocks"note below. She postulated the point that students were sure to forget these things when they graduate, as well as it being a pretty useless fact in today's world. I mean, I don't know anyone who could use that knowledge. And I'm hard-pressed to find any use for it in my own life. But does that mean it's useless? Noooooooooooooo. Should we stop teaching it to our kids? Noooooooooooooo. Should we only teach our kids the fields (or tidbits) of knowledge that are making money in the world today? Nooooooooooooo.

We should be teaching our kids the knowledge which could end up having them make a difference in the world of tomorrow. This, just in case you did not guess, is ALL knowledge. Well, the most that we can teach them anyway. And being the person of the political and cultural type that I am, I will go ahead and say that the arts and crafts top all of this, but this is another discussion altogether.

There is no way to know what piece of knowledge may inspire what thought that brings about what great conquering feat of nature or massive status of world peace. Alright, that may have been too much, my point is that you never know what the future holds. So, you cannot predetermine what is the right bit of knowledge to teach a child and what isn't. Just because certain fields are making money way over everything else doesn't mean that we should only teach our children these things. That is a surefire way to turn everyone into brainless sheep who will encounter a massive era of suicide from the sharp despair of trying to deal with a shifted and changed world in their future. We should teach our children the basic fields of knowledge, the sciences, the maths, the languages, the histories, the arts, the phys eds, and make them as detailed-but-broad we possibly can. The more subjects that are taken seriously in an infrastructual institution (including showing detailed pathways to careers when you can), the more students and kids that put their faith in the system. And this all (which is included in arts and crafts teaching) is compounded with the notion that kids should take facts and apply their own rational perspectives.

I mean, let's say your kid wants to study the sciences. Would you rather they work their way into helping to make nuclear arms because that's where the money is? Or would you rather them work fervently on some obscure science that ends up having the cure for a closing Ozone Layer or has the ingredients for a cheap, renewable and non-carbon emitting gas?

noteGneiss, slate and quartzite. There is also skarn, phyllite and marble.