Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Samsara, Interrupted

The other day I was hanging out in front of PerpetualStartup with a couple of schmucks from work, and a homeless guy wanders by, asking for change. Now I'm as conservative and intolerant as the next guy. I largely see the homeless as a longish-term solution to the problem of dwindling food supply, à la Soylent Green, but I gave this guy a couple bucks. "For food", he said. Whatever. My compatriots mumbled their excuses, and Homeless Guy #1 wandered off.

"Why'd you do that?" asked Knuckles, unimpressed. I explained the concept of Karma, that I mostly donate to the occasional mendicant bard in order to continue being a dick to co-workers like him, and that next time I'd have to consider giving a twenty.

We turned our attention to other things, and after about two minutes another homeless guy wandered by with a Tim Horton's cup, asking for change. This time I (legitimately, I thought) explained that no, I didn't have any change, sorry.

Lipstick (helpfully), to Homeless Guy #2: "He gave all his change to the other guy that was just here!"

I guess with karma, as with all things, "Easy Come, Easy Go".

This is probably a lesson that Homeless Guys One and Two have already learned.

Years from now, when you trip over my unemployed, drunken, prostrate form in some dark corner on the street near where you work, and I hit you up for some change, remember karma.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Color Me Unorthodox

Well it's Good Friday, and you know what that means. This is the happy time of year when zombie Jebus rises from the grave and rides o'er the land on his fanged, winged, slavering Dark Mount, the Easter Bunny, and delivers chocolate eggs and marshmallow peeps (a traditional Etruscan delicacy) to all the good Christian boys and girls. Then a month from now he'll do it all again, only this time in a funny hat, for the Orthodox Christians.

For Jews, today is Purim, sort of a cross between Mardi Gras (without the beads and public nudity), and Halloween (without the obvious satanic overtones). I'm not completely versed in the storied legacy of Purim, but I'm sure it has something to do with oppressed Jews overcoming tremendous odds, probably against a cruel (or incompetent) despot. I'm told that, in the grand narrative of the Jewish people's journey, it's something of a recurring theme.

A friend of mine at work has a four-year-old son who's dressing up for Purim as Indiana Jones, crusader for the preservation of Old Testament artifacts, and professional Nazi killer. I've never met this kid, but I know he rocks the clocks.

I guess my point is that we all do silly things in the name of the Invisible Sky Wizard, but what other religious holiday can you think of where drunkenness is required? Catholics may get chocolate bunnies, but Jews get liquor. That's just plain awesome.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Stereotype me, I'm Irish!

Your Leprechaun Name Is:

Fluffy Potfiller

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I Think I Can

One of the other things we talked about at dinner the other night, was Boxer and K's film, which I had seen at that conference thingy. I can't really do it justice, but my most constructive criticism consisted of "Needs more car chases. Also explosions".

Anyway, that film, wonderful as it was, is not the subject of today's post. Today's post is about the most amazing seventeen minutes in recent (non-documentary) cinematography. I'm referring, as if you didn't know, to the transcendent Madame Tutli-Putli, an existential allegory in stunning stop-motion animation.

I know, you never thought you'd hear "stunning" and "stop-motion" in the same sentence again. Not after the art reached it's zenith with those melting Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Well I'm going to go out on a limb here: in terms of stop motion bad-assery, Tutli has set the bar even higher. That's right, Madame Tutli-Putli is the new "melting Nazis".

You have heard of this film, but you know next to nothing about it. Perhaps you know that it was nominated for an Oscar. Besides the NFB's aggressive pursuit of total suppression of all of their work from the public consciousness (seriously, try to find their movies in any theater), the reason you don't know anything about this film is because it's pretty much next to impossible to describe.

Taking, once again, the example of Raiders, you could say something like "Yeah, it's an adventure film about a magical box, and it's got a bunch of melting Nazis and there's some pyramids. Pretty awesome".

My point being that there's a story there, a narrative that you can summarize. If I tried to summarize Tutli, it would come out sounding like: "One woman's metaphysical voyage into self-discovery as she battles Demons, shadows, and Jungian Archetypes. A journey we all must make in one form or another, but are rarely privileged to observe. Also, there is a train involved."

Utterly incomprehensible, mostly because my voice would come out muffled, by virtue of my head being buried up my ass. And so it joins the ranks of those films and books and games and dinner parties that cannot be described, but must be experienced, subjects that cannot be taught, only learned.

Those are my favorite types of things, because then you can ask someone "Do you have kids?", or "Were you in 'Nam?", or "Hey did you see those melty Nazis?", and if they say yes, then you instantly have that shared experience. It doesn't matter, in this context, that that experience may have been utterly the most abominable thing they've ever been through ("Hey, you're a recovering alcoholic too?"), what makes the concept of this unconveyable gestalt interesting to me is that anyone who hasn't been there cannot possibly understand no matter how you explain it (viz: most of this blog).

And since, as you may have guessed, I'm a lazy fucker who doesn't like to explain things anyway, that's just fine with me.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Strong Juju

It started out innocently enough. Ironman got a new Indian cookbook. And it snowballed into a delicious couple of unpronounceable dishes that we scarfed along with The Directrix, Boxer, BigKid and K. Awesome.

At some point, during a moment of uncontrollable laughter, I tooted. Not a long, smelly, epic fart by any means, but noticeable. Sad to say, that was pretty much the apex of my erudition for the evening. Epic wit, charm, style and grace, these I possess in abundance, and they were as useless as prayer.

Grocery shopping in Ironman's neighborhood is like a little slice of heaven. The most amazing butcher's shop I've ever seen. The best patisseries, the best fromageries. When Directrix arrived, we were in the tastefully appointed kitchen, chopping herbs, each with a glass of wine, occasionally nibbling some camembert on baguette, and - get this - James Blunt playing on the radio.

"Holy crap. This is gayer than a handful of rainbows", she said. Somehow we hadn't realized. So I took off my apron, we broke out the beer, and put on some AC/DC, and wrestled some bears in an attempt to restore our temporarily misplaced masculinity. And later I farted, which helped a lot.

I suppose, now that it's public knowledge, I can share the happy news. Ironman's lovely wife Goldylocks is preggers. Also the Directrix is harboring a stowaway of her own, so you would have expected a lot of talk about pregnancy and diapers and swollen ankles and whatnot, but aside from a moment or two of pensive silence as we tried to guess the Directrix's current (impressive) bra size, the conversation was surprisingly free of such predictable fare, which I guess is one reason I enjoy hanging out with this type of riffraff. Thoroughly unpredictable.

By way of unpredictability (lit "non sequitur"), a bible quote:

God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.

Numbers 23:22 (KJV)
How's that for marketing? "Your God: Strong as a fucking UNICORN."

Come to think of it, I would not be a bit surprised if they actually have unicorn meat at that butcher, nestled between the fois gras and the bison loin. It was that incredible. I never wanted to leave.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

More Die of Heartbreak

Yeah, it's been a while. A couple times I almost came back and tried to write something, but then The Fear would stop me. It's been so long, what if I can't pull it out anymore? What if I suck? My mind is a blank, what will I write?

Well, I'm tired of caring, so I'm just gonna wing it.

A warrior lyricist of my acquaintance had recent cause to lament an urban development project that threatens a bit of cherished childhood (or at any rate post-adolescent) real estate. I often hear her wax nostalgic, but more often for some aspect of "the good old days", rather than for any specific childhood memory or experience. Or maybe I'm just not listening. Salome, veiled, dances with Mnemosene, and all memory becomes art.

Once in a while, though, some tantalizing glimpse of previous lives (of which I am sworn never to speak) is revealed in a gap between the shifting veils, and I collage it in with the various other pieces in hopes of constructing a coherent whole. Living in an abandoned office building? Now where did I put my pencil...

And That Makes Me Think Of:

Isn't it funny when you go to some reunion, and look around at all the people you went to high school with, and realize how much they've all changed? There's a real cognitive dissonance there, seeing the balding, overweight forty-something guy in front of you, and trying to reconcile him with the captain of the football team, lady's man extraordinaire, who used to steal your girlfriend and shut you in your locker. You have a view of both ends of a story arc, when most people see either one end (current coworkers), or the whole thing (family members). But there's a middle piece missing.

Everyone has changed, you think.

Everyone but me. I'm the same.

So, with time, people change (duh). And this phenomena is symmetrical. What that means to me, I guess, is that your new best friend, who you've known for a couple years maybe, was a very different person way-back-when. Maybe not a person you would look twice at. Or dangle a participle in front of.

Hey, I didn't say it would make sense. I said I was winging it.