Anori: Inertly Happy in the Book

At the moment, I am in an oddly happy place in my writing. I have another 60-80 pages to go in the first draft of Book One of my science fiction trilogy, Anori. IMG_3153I am fairly certain how the book will end – and then leading into the next – and have done the heavy lifting of the narrative to get to this point. I only have to bring the story together with a final series of events that will lead Dee away on her great voyage. And it all seems so clear and whole…and yet I wait and procrastinate the work. Yes, I am a victim of my inertia-loving self. 20140625_210115But it also seems more than that. There is a feeling that I don’t want to lose, being in something that just might never end, being safe in this eternal-seeming thing.

There is a wide and open road behind me, most of it clear, and then the world ahead, knowing sharp bits, dreaming of them on their own, letting them hover high in my head, not grabbing, tying anything down. It is too final to do that, pointless, leading only to a barren landscape. 20150301_133111While I know that there is always Book Two – and then the Third – this book, this journey I don’t want to end. I like the edge, broiling up on the crest, anticipating, arching ahead with that, and dream of staying until I can’t take it anymore.DSCN2352

The Trap of Being Free

We were young. We hid and ran. There was a house that was falling down. The back wall had only been partially rebuilt and we climbed over that. It was wonderful and chaotic. 20150421_102729An old camel lived there. We were told that he was almost 300 years old. He would lay his neck over our small bodies and sleep. We stayed there overnight. And then we realized that we were not allowed to leave. We tried. We posted lookouts and plotted escape, but we were caught and threatened. 20150301_141807One girl was sexually assaulted and sliced the gaps between her fingers to get them to leave her alone. We felt bad that we didn’t protect her. And then we escaped on a boat. We fished and dragged the camel behind us. It was dead, but the boat went fast. Screenshot (914)It was like a dream, the water deep blue, everything ahead.

Palmyra: History on its Side

Palmyra has slipped behind the ISIS shroud, a terrible thing not just for the 50,000 inhabitants but also for the ancient place itself.
Syria 227Syria 226Syria 238I had the privilege of visiting Palmyra in 2010 and was entranced, like many, by its remarkably picturesque setting. Syria 250Syria 213The city has seen its share of conquests over its 9,500 year history, from prehistoric times through Queen Zenobia to the present day.Syria 254Hopefully this dark chapter will soon be closed.Syria 216

Kubrick and Weir: The Laudatory Human Condition

Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick has been praised as a great filmmaker and artist, one who probes the shades of humanity in such great films as Lolita, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Barry Lyndon. Kubrick and Weir: The Laudatory Human ConditionBob Weir, not as highly praised, is certainly recognized for “chasing the music” as he says, on his 50-year journey as rhythm guitarist with The Grateful Dead.  Kubrick and Weir: The Laudatory Human ConditionAnd so I was intrigued to watch documentaries on each man this weekend to perhaps gain an insight or two through understanding their trials and tribulations.

It was not to be.Kubrick and Weir: The Laudatory Human ConditionStanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2007) offers brief moments of filmic analysis amidst a tidal wave of laudatory praise, Steven Spielberg gushing, “He was a conceptual illustrator of the human condition”. Kubrick and Weir: The Laudatory Human ConditionAnd so despite a 50-year career, we are left with the trite summation that Mr. Kubrick worked terribly hard and loved his family, little else.

The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir (2013) is worse. While some fellow musicians offer comments on Bob Weir’s work, the documentary is almost solely guided by bland recollections by Weir – “Here’s my Jerry Bobbblehead” – occasionally, boyishly and evasively hinting toward his notorious off-stage reputation. Kubrick and Weir: The Laudatory Human ConditionHis band mates are only briefly interviewed, likewise alluding, saying little else. Kubrick and Weir: The Laudatory Human ConditionIt’s a shame that both of these these documentaries offered so little, not that they should focus on personal scandal, but that they veered so very far from the very same human condition that these men had endeavored to understand and instead settled on empty praise.Kubrick and Weir: The Laudatory Human Condition

A Big Fix for Canada’s Team

I blogged in February on The Five Big Problems of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Happily Team President Brendan Shanahan agreed on the most important point. CFeApxQXIAAM3-m.jpg-largeBy hiring Mike Babcock as the new head coach – $50 million for eight years – Leafs management sends a clear message to media, fans and players alike: this team must win now.

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 21:  Nazem Kadri #43 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates after scoring in the first period against the Buffalo Sabres  at First Niagara Center on March 21, 2013 in Buffalo, United States.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

There are many next steps, the most important of which is to address player leadership, but the first step is the most important.

Said Babcock this morning: “I believe this is Canada’s team and it’s time to put it back on the map. I came here to be involved in a Cup process. I have a burning desire to win. I want to build a team that the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs can be proud of.”

13-05-13 - TORONTO, ONTARIO - Maple Leaf Square erupts as the Leafs score to even it up 1-1 in the 1st period. Toronto Maple Leaf fans react to the Game 7 action in Boston between Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. The winner of the game goes on to Round 2 of NHL playoffs Rick Madonik/Toronto Star

Terrorized by Dreams

In an attempt to confront our demons, we are compelled to drum up the worst we can imagine, images that terrorizes us in our dreams, and reproduce those in film for all to see. hqdefaultI am haunted by images of a man hurled into a pit of alligators, a woman’s head floating in a jar and a basement where evil lurks. gacy1011Seeing these things doesn’t do us any good; it isn’t a relief to the images out, but instead raises the stakes, inspiring more horror to behold. the-road-blu-ray-3-jpgAs Cormac McCarthy wrote in The Road: Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever.

Jane Says, “Sex and Violence!”

Jane’s Addiction is back on tour, playing their critically acclaimed Nothing’s Shocking from start to finish. Jane Says, "Sex and Violence!"As Perry Farrell asked the crowd last night at the Brooklyn Bowl, “Is it shocking that Nothing’s Shocking is having its 25th anniversary?” Jane Says, "Sex and Violence!"Meant to be rhetorical, it wasn’t. Because it is, shocking that is. Dave Navarro remains as tattooed and rocking’ out as ever while Farrell maintains his crackhead je ne sais crois. Jane Says, "Sex and Violence!"But even with the bra-and-pantied girls swinging above the stage, the music isn’t as raw, nor as overwhelming, but has deteriorated into more of a burlesque. Jane Says, "Sex and Violence!"All of which was made worse by the Williamsburghians, in their hats and beards, chanting “Let’s Go Rangers” at the bar.Jane Says, "Sex and Violence!"

Chris Hadfield’s “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life On Earth”

Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth is something to read.hadfield Self-reflective and detailed, Hadfield offers a glimpse into what it really means to be an astronaut. If the only thing you really enjoyed was whipping around Earth in a spaceship, you”d hate being an astronaut. You train for a few years, minimum, before you’re even assigned to a space mission. You practice tricky, repetitive tasks as well as highly challenging ones to the point of exhaustion, and you’re away from home more than half the time.(37)

Intellectually, I’d known I was venturing out into space yet still the sight of it shocked me, profoundly, In a spacesuit, you’re not aware of taste, smell, touch. the only sounds your hear are  your own breathing and, through the headset, disembodied voices. You’re in a self-contained bubble, cut off, then you look up from your task and the universe rudely slaps you in the face, It’s overpowering, visually, and no other senses warn you that you’re about to be attacked by the raw beauty. (89-90) Screenshot (961)Oh, and another thing about Colonel Hadfield: he certainly knows his hockey.hadfield

A Superior “Special Processed American Meat” Message

The punctuation is poor, the message ridiculous, but I do appreciate the details of Mr. Richard’s impressive fortune and tragic demise:

I am James West attorney to late Mr.Richard,who died in a car crash in London with his
family on November 5th 2001.He left behind a deposit of (9.8 million Pounds).poundsYour consent is needed by me to present you as the next of kin to the Bank to inherit his
fortune. Can I trust you on this? You can reach me on Email; and Re-confirm your full