I Don’t Mean To Ignore You, Baby…

But it’s been a pretty hectic time in my life. I know I committed myself to updating this thing every day, but I also committed myself to getting a Machine of Death story written and submitted. I’ve been struggling with one story for a couple months now, but it took a conversation or two with my good friend Mach Mefner to realize I was going in a completely wrong direction, and needed a new idea. Which I got, and it was so much better. And just this morning, after a SINGLE TEXT MESSAGE, I knew what the ending of my story was. Seriously. If you ever have writer’s block, just talk to this guy.

He’s like a literary laxative.

PEW PEW!

Lookin' at you, buddy!

And on top of that, I’ve just started writing for a website, and have been working on my first articles for that (which I’ll write more about on Monday, but trust me, I’m very excited about this).

All that being said, however, I am also in the process of looking for work as a writer, which means I need to turn this into a more professional asset I can show to people, as well as express my discipline and dedications. So expect some changes in the coming months.

Have a great night.

Advertisements

Skyway 2: The Picturing.

So I took these last week, but I got distracted by the enormous task of going to Portland and seeing Kung Fu Panda 2. They’re iPhone 3G quality, so don’t expect too much. I am no Heather Olson. Still, enjoy.

 

It Begins

Mysterious giant pillars, rising from the earth.

Less mysterious, but no less impressive. They crackle.

I am ASTONISHED no one has turned this into "Jackle & Hyde Field", and yes, I know.

I don't know why this is horizontal. But it doesn't make it better.

I don't know if you can see it from this shot, but this veranda is roofed in grass.

 

And the crowning achievement.

HOLLA.

Skyway Park: A Harrowing Tale

So I just went for a walk.

A Slight Exaggeration

The accomplishment isn’t that I went for a walk, it’s that I did it here, in my neighborhood, on a path I’ve never walked before. While I’m not fundamentally opposed to this sort of action, and in fact I do it all the time around my work, and downtown Seattle, and downtown Portland, and really just anywhere that’s not Skyway. Because of crime, and also, possibly, racism. But really crime. Skyway Park, located just down the hill from my house, is apparently prime territory for a gang of local roughs (I had a lot of fun writing that phrase). And, the stories are true, they were there, manning their post. But that’s not what this is about—at least, not directly.
Back in Ireland, my family moved into an in-development neighborhood (our house was actually the model for the cul de sac, and you could have a model home because all of them were identical). This meant that for a solid year at the start there, we—the local roughs—had construction sites to play, and possibly die, in. Even after that, just a couple blocks up the road was a large abandoned factory*, a canal, a highway underpass, and a longer, more post-apocalyptic-seeming stretch of the same canal. And throughout our entire stay at 6 Talbot Downs, Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland, any part of this was under some stage of construction. And despite the fact that everything I’m talking about is right next to a major highway, to my young mind it was at the exact halfway point between pure wilderness, and stark civilization.

Skyway Park is sort of the reverse. There’s a clear sense that people have lost their hold on it. The park, as it is, is pretty nice—a couple softball diamonds, a track around the edge, and the whole thing is bisected by three giant towering electrical cable lines that, if you stand and listen, crackle with energy—and it’s still well maintained, but there’s a definite sense that, stuck somewhere between the park and the houses that surround it is an entire world that mankind has simple forgotten about.** Fences and signs and even houses lie in disrepair, and the trees are clearly returning to claim their own. Halfway between wilderness and civilization, only this time it’s going the other way.

*One of my great regrets is that I never broke into that factory and explored it. Then again, the interior spontaneously combusted at a rate of twice per year (minimum), so maybe it shouldn’t be.

**Of course, this is actually the realm of the homeless and the drugdealers***, and the same was true of my old neighborhood in Ireland. It’s just nice to try to view it through the lens of childhood.

***I left my phone at home while I was out, and it got dark while I was writing this, but tomorrow I’ll go out and snap a couple pictures.

(Pro-Tip: If you ever get the urge to Google Maps your old neighborhood and/or elementary school on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, don’t. Spare yourself the mindfuck.)

Stop Productivity. Listen.

Nothing puts me in a good mood like musical theater.

And I'm not the only one.

Is that surprising? It’s probably not. Here’s the skinny: the day after my birthday is ALWAYS a bad day for me. Part of me thinks it’s simply petty depression that I don’t get to act like it’s all about me, while the other half thinks it’s clinical depression that I don’t get to pretend that there are people out there thinking about me and wishing me well.

(have we talked about my crippling self esteem issues? Another day, maybe. When you’re interested.)

Either way it’s bad. But not today. Today’s a good day.

Today, NPR is streaming the entire cast recording of the new hit broadway musical, The Book of Mormon. And I haven’t stopped smiling in an hour. To the uninformed, The Book of Mormon is the brainchild of Matt Stone and Trey Parker, better known as the guys who gave us South Park, and Robert Lopez, half of the creative force behind one of my favorite things in the world, Avenue Q.

Mormon is the story of two young missionaries, Kevin Price—an upstanding, firm believer who’s sure he has a great destiny ahead of him—and Arnold Cunningham—a shlubbish loser who doesn’t know all that much about his faith, but plenty about Star Wars—who are sent to Uganda on their mission. They are confronted with war, poverty, AIDS, and a group of people who don’t think God’s all that hot. Obviously, crises of faith (and hilarity) ensue.

It’s a pretty simple story, jovially told.

Parker and Stone have described the play as “an athiest’s love letter to religion”, and it shows. As is to be expected from Tratt Starker (Mey Pone?), Mormon is filthy and irreverent. It’s also some of the sweetest, most enthusiastic music I’ve listened to in a long time. (That’s not true. I was feeling pretty down a couple weeks ago, and brought myself up by consuming the entirety of Les Miz five times over.) Go listen to it, but make sure you plug in some headphones before you do.

This is the least offensive part.

I don’t know why I’m often drawn to write about music (recall the Hot Bodies concert post that skewed my readership for a month?) when I lack an appropriate vocabulary to do it any sort of justice, except for the fact that I like to write about what moves me, and music most definitely does.

Counterpoint.

My friend Kendall has a blog. It’s better than mine. She updates regularly, and actually discusses her feelings in a worthwhile, constructive manner. This is my response to her latest post.

Stay tuned for maybe some birthday melancholy, maybe? Also more of that birdshit nonsense I’m writing.

Cloacademia

Big ups to Zach Lefler to the one-word prompt (as seen above) that started this whole thing. It’s turning into a much larger project than I anticipated, so here’s the opener to whet your whistle.

“We’re doing great work here at the Avian Fecal Reclamation Project.” Carol eyed the beak-nosed, big-eyed man in front of her, and wondered vaguely if he’d always looked like that, or if working at the AFRP for so many years had somehow changed him. She’d recognized him instantly as Professor Robert Ybarra when he came up to her in the lobby.

“You must be Carol, correct?” he’d asked with his ear towards her, making him look all the more like a pigeon.

“Yes, sir, Prof. Ybarra,” she’d stammered.

“Ah, you know me, splendid. I despise introductions.” He’d opened the front door, and waved her in. The lobby was much as she expected, not much different from her own school’s labs. Clean, modern, decorated with pictures of the various teams who’d worked there over the years. The only difference was the heavy plastic sheeting at the back of the room, blocking off the main hallway. “We’re doing great work here at the Avian Fecal Reclamation Project. Useful work. God’s work. But it’s not exactly glamorous work. Can I ask what drew you to us here?”

“Well, new technologies is such an interesting field, isn’t it?” Carol replied eagerly. “Dealing with the future every day, practically crafting it yourself!” Ybarra looked unsatisfied, so she ventured, “And of course I’ve always considered myself a bird lover.”

This seemed to appease him. “Good, good. Wouldn’t do to hate our feathered friends, no sir. Now Carol, may I call you Carol? Word of warning, Carol. Your first time can be a little… powerful.” He grabbed the plastic sheeting and flung it back in a dramatic manner that spoke of a youth misspent wearing a cape.

There’s a thing about animals in large groups, in that the smell and the noise they generate seem to be competing over which one gets to hurt you first and hardest. In the AFRP, though, scent and sound must have reached some sort of armistice. The assault was coordinated, a beautiful dance. First came the noise, an artillery barrage of a thousand birdsouls crying out for freedom, or possible food and sex. Below it, slowly, cautiously, along came the smell, like a gentleman out for a lazy stroll in a familiar park. He sits down next to you on a peaceful bench, and only after you give him a cautious, yet friendly, smile does he whip out his sword cane and slash your throat with it.

Later, after the vomiting stopped, Ybarra tried his best to be consoling. “It’s actually a good sign that you’re purging. We’ve conducted internal surveys, and to a man, everyone who didn’t vomit their first time went absolutely bonkers within two years!” He leaned in, and in a conspiratorial fashion, whispered, “We’ve had to dispose of thirteen altars to the stench.” Carol eyed him cautiously, hoping it was some sort of joke, but his expression betrayed the fact that, in his mind, he’d just made major headway in building a sort of working trust. She wasn’t heartless enough to deny him that.

Carol stood up as proudly as she could and spat out the last of it. “Shall we give it a second go?”

Dream Journal

I rarely remember my dreams. And even more rarely is the product of my horrifying psyche a solid idea for a short independent film. But this morning I kind of woke up with a gem. The basic premise is that a group of young friends are early victims of a zombie apocalypse, except the twist is that when they die, they come back to life at a different point in time (but always within the confines of said zombiepocalypse). And it’s a comedy.

The dream contained actual scenes, even, complete with cinematography and proper camera swooping. The earliest one I remember actually started off disconnected from the undead theme. It was a pastor at a predominantly African American megachurch giving a rousing sermon that was so uplifting it inspired a horde of young men and women, all of whom were unironically wearing angel wings, to rush the stage and embrace the pastor. Then more people—also in angel wings—come on from backstage. These people have been bitten, but in the religious fervor, who’s to judge?

Okay, you can’t really do that on an amateur budget, but whatever.

The first time we see our heroes having the reality of the outbreak come crashing in on their world is at a birthday party. (Which, last night, was a version of a birthday party I’m going to this weekend. Hoping I’m not clairvoyant.) The revelry is broken up when one of the friends, freshly bitten, obviously, is carried in and laid to rest on the coffee table. After absolutely no mourning by a guy who is clearly his best friend, he expires.

This is interrupted by a completely normal looking young woman landing on the balcony from somewhere up in the sky, dropping off some extra zombies, and swooping away into the night. She is our villain. The zombies overrun the party, every body dies, and cut to the two best friends waking up in a hospital, and fighting over the lack of proper grief in the previous scene. This is our introduction to the basic mechanic of the film.

Also there’s a pee joke in there. I’m serious. I dreamt a urine sight gag.

That’s about all I can remember, but I’m thinking of taking the time to build it into something more. Feedback appreciated, theft is not.