Sunday, December 20, 2015

Jabba The Hutt Just Might Be The Only Real Hero In The Star Wars Movie Universe

Reliving childhood fantasies is always a favorite pastime of the holiday season and this year the return of the Star Wars movie franchise provides ample opportunity for a nation revisit one of the defining myths of a generation.

Also, it's easier to debate the merits of a pop culture theology than talk about the much darker real world impact of religion that usually ends up in racist talk about deportation, terrorism or some other uncomfortable aspect of old world myths which aren't quite as sophisticated as content devised by suits at Disney.

And so, this is the season of Star Wars wherein the struggle between good and evil gets a lot simpler than the current political discourse. Simplicity might be key given that throngs of people have made the pilgrimage to horrible movie theaters in order to witness the latest "Jedi" installment while churches and voting booths have become desolate places in the Western world. It's not a hard decision, there really is no competing with movie special effects and soundtracks. Also, Supreme Court gay marriage victory makes the old world religious struggle seem antiquated and unnecessary. The Force is alive and well while real world ancient superstitions struggle to stay intact.

And so, now that Star Wars and the Force have become America's new religion. The theology deserves some examination in order to weigh its merits. No, talk of midi-chlorian counts would be a waste and actually represent the horrible screenwriting of creator George Lucas. More often than not, "The Force" is a really a great plug for poor plot structure or otherwise lame movie transitions. Unlike Youtube clips, movies always have some kind of downtime and metaphysical conversations make great filler. Still, talk of the force is just about as vague as politicos referring to their religious views in a way that affirms their humanity but lacks any real detail that might offend voters or turn away the legions of Christians who appreciate dressing nice on Sunday but don't want to be judged in any meaningful way.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Celebrating Christmas In Paris And Kansas City As The World Fights Terror War

Kansas City is the heart of American flyover country and probably one of the cheeriest places in the world around Christmastime.

Even the most miserable and tired soul would find it hard to stay in a bad mood amid this global capital of holiday celebration. This town is home to the Hallmark corporation - And in the midst of the massive decline of the greeting card industry, this business is going down with enough celebration to give the house band on the Titanic or Emperor Nero a moment of pause. And while it's too easy and cynical to say that Christmas represents serious business for some people. In Kansas City, there is no doubt that Christmas is a way of life.

Setting the scene, it's hard avoid trite holiday pessimism. There are far too many screeds dedicated to this hard fought festival of consumerism. Even the Pope is kind of a bummer this year as he calls out the Christmas season a charade with the world at war. Credit where it's due, in the aftermath of religious violence that rings out across the globe, the Pope will forgo a bullet proof vest. All Catholics know that Popes have a funny way of getting killed during times of crisis, so this end of year truth telling should engender at least a modicum of respect from even the most strident skeptics.

This year, terrorist atrocity in Paris which killed 130 people seems to define the holiday season for better or worse. In the immediate aftermath, the city of lights defiantly celebrated Hanukkah with a political bent that seemed exceptionally appropriate. However, the Christmas celebration in Paris doesn't seem so bright as lagging world economies begin to show signs of strain.

And so the topic of Christmas cheer brings us back to Kansas City and the industry of celebration dedicated to Lord and Savior of Christians and merchants peddling consumer electronics.

There is no real Islamic terror threat in Kansas City. Sure, there is no shortage of online trolls and hateful chatter which pops up from time to time in KC but there's just not a renowned target worthy of destruction in this sleepy little town that would resonate throughout the world. Again, global economic reality rears its ugly head - Even the terrorists are trying to do more with less and increasingly limited resources. Some say that a gathering of 800,000 people after a World Series win was the highlight of this year for Kansas City and that gathering was surprisingly free from violence according to authorities. Again, in Kansas City there is a politeness that's ruthlessly enforced among nearly every mainstream faction of local society.

Still, the holiday cheer hasn't managed to resonate among Kansas City's poorer, minority and disenfranchised communities where the murder rate equals some of the most violent cities in the nation.

Nevertheless, the industry of Christmas continues in Kansas City, referred to long ago as the "Paris of the Plains," as locals do their very best to tune out the troubles of the rest of the world. It's not quite certain if the dedication to Christmas in Kansas City is pathological or simply the only real excuse to move merchandise and crowds during the winter doldrums. Whatever the case, this American way of life seems unchanging and strong even as a kindred city is scared and scared this season.

Despite tech advances and this digital world where every place is seemingly connected by some kind of device, what we see this year during Christmas is an ongoing and seemingly eternal struggle to truly find any kind of real common ground among enemies or allies. There's a neat theory among religious fanatics of many factions that the impending fall of Syria will bring about the end of the world. More reasonable media watchers simply lament the ongoing carnage of continued fighting in the name of so many Gods who remain silent. Forgive the digression, but the only thing that anybody can seem to agree on is that Adele's new album is remarkable, bittersweet and the real anthem to the 2015 Winter season. Meanwhile, retreat into traditions, skepticism or even the faiths which inspire deadly fighting across the planet endure but seem just a little bit less sacred to anyone really paying attention.

And still the season seems blessed not for the call to peace that's eternally ignored by all of mankind but for the glorious wasted effort perpetually recycled around the world in the face of war, terror and endless doubt.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Stepping Up Again And Again

The work on other projects is complete and now it's good to get back back to steady grinding. Accordingly, it's time to step up this blog.

This is something we've wanted to do for quite a bit and there's even a game plan of sorts. But now it's time to commit. At the very least, and again and again, it's time to grind because dedication has always been more important than talent, study or even genius.

Let's remember that this exactly a journal and it's not exactly a look behind the scenes BUT HOPEFULLY this "place" can be something that people might find interesting and check out from time to time.

There's a lot to write down and getting started (again) is the easiest part. Although, restarting isn't as fun as beginning anew but the persistence to putting down the words has always been the same. In this space the words and the pictures are the most important thing. Once again, as always, this is about commitment and a reminder to focus on this space as well.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bridge To The Better

It's never a a bad deal when I'm working on other stuff and haven't had time to bang out any new stories or short movies . . . As long as the other stuff is worthwhile.

This time around I'm working on a project that should produce about 20 short clips that will hopefully be somewhat important and work to inform voters before an upcoming election in my hometown.

It's not groundbreaking stuff but I notice that nobody else is doing it. So it's important to me.

As long as work is getting done, I'm happy . . . I've read that people still work on projects in the back of their head no matter what's going on . . . So, I'll assume that the latest story is still percolating somewhere.

On the not-so-bright-side . . . Looking at some of my old notes, I've discovered that I've had this story in some form of draft for over three years.

So when I get done with my videos, it's finally time to finish this tale that's been in the back of my head for quite some time.

Hopefully soon . . .

Friday, March 20, 2015

Springtime, The Outline And The Written Word

I swear I'm gonna punch myself in the face if I don't get moving on this story.

Finished up most of my other work for the week and realized I didn't take any time to write my story.

On the bright side, I realized that this blog is mostly going to be a place to show off the stories and then keep myself updated about how the writing is going. Did I already say that? Possibly, but the idea is solid IF I can actually start putting up some writing besides these bloggy entries.

I doubt anybody is ever gonna check out this blog post but the plan here is to work on a few short stories and make sure I get at least one book done by the end of the year. Two would be a success and three would be a major achievement.

Sadly, the writing goal went out the window on pretty much day one.

It's not really time to reassess but Springtime simply another chance to keep moving forward, keep trying, probably keep getting it wrong but still trying to put out as many ideas as possible.

The plotting is always the most fun part for me . . . Probably because I don't have that many complete written projects to my credit. The plotting is when best intentions are put down on paper and the story makes sense inside my head. The hard part is THEN taking that and putting down the words to connect the ideas. That's the hard part. That's what's coming next. Hopefully, again.

Monday, March 9, 2015

An Object In Motion

Upon reviewing woefully inept camera pix . . .

There's one theory that goes: As long as you keep moving, you'll get somewhere . . . It may not be the place where you thought you'd end up but it'll be a different place from where you started.

Motion creates emotion.

Most people think that this theory is misguided and busywork is the enemy of a thoughtful plan that at least tries to find a direction and goal.

I'm not sure about either school of thought, but I'll admit that forward momentum is a powerful force and moving through traffic is much more appealing than standing still.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Writing Bug And Real Life

Another week goes by and absolutely NO PROGRESS on this story.

Love writing, love having written but don't have a lot to show for it.

Short stories are the best place to start but it's hard to block the time out to get them done. The writing bug looms so large and it's best to focus efforts where they are most successful but sometimes things have to get done for their own sake.

It's a shame that I haven't finished this short story because it's a really great idea that should be shared.

But it stays buzzing around my head like some kind of insect that keeps buzzing, distracting and tormenting and needs to be dealt with before we can move on to anything else.

Time to kill this bug one way or another. Always remember that there is no such thing as incect politics because they don't have them. A great many things exist in this world purely on a survival basis and always ready to do battle . . . It's not the best way to live but it is certainly one way to get things accomplished.

More on that topic coming soon . . .

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

City Of Fountains And Ideas

I gotta stop writing at coffee shops, the people watching to just too damn good.

Right now these two country folks are probably ending their relationships over cheap espressos "enjoyed" right next to the toilet.

He's wearing hunting gear and she's adorned in a bright neon pink workout jumpsuit top with black yoga pants that were probably never a good idea. They must've stopped by this place after things got too rough along the truck ride home. Can't avert my eyes. The real world human drama is just too captivating. He's pushing back his deer hunting trucker hat, holding her hands in his and gazing longingly into her eyes. It's not all giggles, she's wiping away tears in between toilet flushes.

On the topic of writing, which is really why I'm here: The story I'm working on is still stalled and I'm too much of a lazy creep to get going with it but it's just hard to compete with this kind of tragic display.

Also, I gotta go install a new cable adapter at my Grandma's house. Talk about po'folk, she was unprepared for the switchover to digital television and she's far too cheap to buy a new console. Also, she just turned 90 and is practical about her use for new technology.

So it goes as I gotta get outta here or I'm gonna end up offering this poor woman a ride home. I'm pretty sure she probably lives in Buckner, Missouri or some place equally awful. He just took a call and she's coughing. This could be brutal.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Actually, The Waiting Isn't The Hardest Part

I've been working on and thinking about a short story for more than a year but so far I've got nothing. That's a painful sentence to write but its accurate and the whole point of fiction, for me, is to scribble down the truth in a captivating way when other people can't or won't.

Another big thing: I've finally figured out what to do with this blog . . . Again.

It's gonna be like my writing diary of sorts where I can keep up to date on the progress of my work and make sure that I'm always producing something . . . So I don't spend a year working ONE DAMN SHORT STORY that has been plotted out long ago.

Fact is, I need to start moving on this stuff quicker if there's even the slightest hope of getting people to read it . . . Which is the whole point of writing it after all.

So, in a very small way . . . The public shaming and tacit admission of procrastination is to keep myself working.

Another thing: I'm setting a 2k a day writing quota independent of the work I do already. It's not much but it's a start and it doesn't have to be all on one project. Still, 2k a day puts me on track to to FINISH stuff on a reasonable deadline.

More than anything, getting the word DEADLINE back into my vocabulary should hopefully be a powerful motivator.

Now, hopefully there will be minimal blog post bloviating in the future and far more discussion about writing and working projects . . . THAT is the point of this place on the Internets. And even as I write that, it's important to realize that these "starting over" posts are always the easiest to produce . . . But I digress.

If things go right (write?) this should be just one post out of many along the way to documenting something that's actually worth reading.

The posts about the stories and work might be interesting and they're helpful to keep track of the big picture but really this is simply part of the process in getting toward COMPLETING bigger projects.

Tom Petty once told us that "The Waiting Is The Hardest Part" and that might be true if we're talking about a woman or check or something that involves the somebody else's work or consent. But when it comes to putting off labor of any sort . . . The waiting is incredibly easy and the enemy of a person would otherwise really want to get something, anything done but might know exactly how to go about accomplishing it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Under The Influence

The key to everything is context.

Comedy, tragedy and everything under the sun is simply a matter of perspective. It's funny to see people lose their cool when they hear one of those pessimistic post-modern truisms like "perception is reality" because it reminds us that even the most salient fact can be twisted. Everything is up for debate and nothing is ever settled. This fact of life shouldn't but lamented but instead celebrated as something that makes the world just a little bit more interesting between ice ages.

Still, influence is also a choice and picking out the most interesting and relevant points of a reference is tough in a fragmented culture that no longer has any dominant voice.

Like it or not, government has a clear cut influence in our everyday lives but the relationships between leaders and their constituents is growing more complex. Politics and legislative actions of most elected officials no longer dominate the culture. Drill down deeper and notice that local government celebrity is nearly unheard of and the sausage-making of civic affairs is done mostly in secret. Mayors, city council members and civic leaders rarely qualify as even minor celebrities in local life.  Local sports personalities, broadcasters and so many horrible local bands are easier to follow and connect with than elected leaders who still make a few decisions that impact local life.

Of course there are exceptions and they're mostly negative. Local politicos pop-up in the news every so often for their misdeeds but their notoriety is short lived. More than anything, this phenomena is probably what contributes to the quality of elected representation. The disconnect between people and their leaders in the U.S. right now is a very real thing and it doesn't start in the nation's capital - It's a fact of life in just about every small town in this country as the divide between rich and poor grows more pronounced every day.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Same Difference: Laughing Vs. Crying

Long, long ago in another life a teacher told me to look really closely at the people who were laughing hysterically and then people who were overwhelmed with grief. The facial expressions, sounds and mannerisms are nearly the same. There are brief breaks and other hints that giveaway context but basically, it's pretty much the same act. That same year a far more uptight lady teacher did a horrible job trying to explain the difference between the sex within the context of marriage vs. the acts that occur in pornography - I lost my argument in the later instance but the former insight stays with me to this day.

Context is always key and that usually distinguishes a laughing fit from a crying jag. But the similarities betwixt these seemingly contrary displays of feeling are still spooky and seem reminiscent of that whole "love vs. hate" comparison. Right or wrong, it's a widely accepted axiom that that the worst thing that a person can feel is indifference - Ironically, the most typical and publicly acceptable of all human sentiments. Tuning out is the safest and saddest option for just about everybody.

Across from me there's this group of Filipino hipsters laughing at what might be the funniest thing known to human kind. Everybody in the vicinity is pissed at their overzealous celebration. The foreign sounding  laughter is bringing out the worst in otherwise good people. Don't believe the gurus, there is no universal expression of joy. Every young boy is taught that smiling wide at an angry dog will quickly earn a bite.

Still, there's something to be said for the universality of human emotion; especially now that the world is getting stronger. It's important to know what motivates people if only for the sake of personal safety. The danger is that getting to good at reading people makes emotions seem manufactured and cheap. It's impossible to prove that we're all remarkably unique snowflakes unseen before in all of human history, nobody has bothered or cared enough to do the research.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

On The Topic Of Bright Ideas

Just a quick thought for tonight . . .

Bright ideas are easy, there are oceans of them around the world . . . It's the execution that's always the hard part.

TonyScribe is one of my favorite ideas and we've got more on the way.

But not necessarily right away.