Tag Archives: movies

Morning Movie, Memories, and Mental Detours

Good morning. It’s grey, dreary, quiet. I’m down to the last mug of the French press, contemplating a fleece jacket. I’ve not yet acclimatised to living on the ocean, despite growing up near it.

I’ve lived on the river for the last 12 years, on the Mainland, with the ocean a few kilometres off, but this waterside-life on the southern tip of an island that’s the last stretch of land in the Pacific Ocean before one reaches Hawaii, well… it’s an altogether more chilly beast on an early spring morning. One day, I’ll adjust. Today, there’s fleece… and time to think.

A Cinematic Escape

One of the many neat alleys in Victoria. By moi.

Lazily, I’ve had a “slow” morning. Quiet, breakfast, and coffee, watching David Lean’s A Passage To India. Thinking.

It was my mother’s favourite movie. I think I saw it as a youth, and I remember seeing it on PBS or something 10-12 years ago, shortly after her death, as I was consuming all manner of things loved by her in a deluded attempt to keep her memory alive. Needless to say, the movie didn’t really sink in then, either. I didn’t “get” it.

Now I’m about four years away from the age my mother was when she first saw it. Maybe now I’ll see what she saw.

A lot’s gone down for me in the 10-12 years since I last saw it. I still remember next to nothing of the film, so I’m quite enjoying it from my new eyes of being a woman in her 30s who also had two roads to choose from and picked the more complicated, daunting one after a good long think.

I also get to watch Passage in HD on my big-ass still-new-to-me TV, and the detail is so much more beautiful than I imagine it was back then. David Lean movies are like a master class in photographic composition. The lines, the colours, the light… things I’m really looking at as I fall back in love with photography in my new and highly-photogenic home.

A Riding We Will Go

I smiled and paused the movie to come write for you and I once the protagonist Adela goes cycling into the Indian jungle and finds a lewd temple depicting sexual scenes in stone, a la Kama Sutra, then has aggressive monkeys chasing her away. “What fun,” I thought. “And that’s what’s great about cycling. It’s so easy to just go a little further and investigate.”

Yesterday, I got the good wordword from my chiropractor that it’s okay to bring cycling back into my life, slowly, after a six month break. It’s my favourite way to discover the world around me, and if I’d never had back issues with it, I’d never have stopped riding, so… I can’t tell you how excited I am that a cycling life looms for me.

That’s why, when Adela has her first real “adventure” in India as a result of finally going cycling off the beaten path, it made me smile ear to ear.

There’s much of “real” Victoria I have never seen, and much of it can be cycled in 30-60 minutes, provided I make my life easier by using a bus to get to outlying parts, then cycle back to civilization. I have saddlebags, I can get to some of the neat food purveyors in other seaside areas, cycle home. I can bring cardio back into my life in a beautiful scenic way. I can photograph all the miles and miles and miles of coast and nature around me here.

It’s an incredibly exciting development. But I have to ease into it. And that’s okay too.

Moments of Doubt

Speaking of easing into things, I’m nearly four weeks into the move and, yes, doubts have risen from time to time.

I see I'm not the only one at a loss for where to go next. A perplexed seagull in Victoria's Fisherman's Wharf. By me.

The doubts don’t last long, and I don’t invest much in them because I know they’re just normal-humans-being-scared overthinkings. Did I make the right choice? Will I get a life, get a man, get a move-on? Will I have fun here? Did I unpack too quickly?

It comes, and quickly goes.

All I need to do to get my head back on straight is go for a walk (or: bike!), see some neat new thing that makes me like a certain element of Victoria’s citizenry, stumble on a new view somewhere, or return to Dallas Road’s incredible beaches, and POOF, I think, “Well, it’s a pretty damn good mistake, if I did fuck it up.”

And then I remember that my mother wasn’t the only one in my family who was into adventure. My dad lived in the Yukon for a year at the same age as I went Yukon-ho on my own — 21. My brother did his own kind of adventuring too, from hang-gliding to scuba-diving, and he’d be doing more now with the means for it. I think we’re supposed to be adventurers, us Camerons. I think I got root-bound staying in the same place too long.

When my mother saw A Passage to India, it was near the end of her marriage to my dad. It would be a long strange couple years and, with the hindsight of being a grown-up woman staring at the end of her 30s, I’m now wondering what books and films inspired her to set out on her own. Was this one?

What kind of doubt did she nurse as she considered doing what no other woman in the family had done — leaving her man, while still raising kids? Going back to school in her mid-40s, starting a career, providing for herself? If she did those things without doubts, she must’ve been a super woman, but I have a whole lot of evidence that she was normal, weak, and flawed like the best of us.

I don’t know what her doubts were, and safe to say, I never will.

But, as much as I love my dad, they just weren’t happy together, and the lesson I learned from their divorce was: If you’re not happy, make changes. It hurts, it’s hard, it takes worth, but there’s a lot of life to be left lived and doing it unhappily just isn’t the way to go.

My move here, to Victoria, is part of that life lesson their divorce gave me two-plus decades ago. If you’re unhappy, change it.

Did I make the right choice? I have no crystal ball but I think I did.

I do know staying in Vancouver would’ve been the wrong choice. So, there’s that.

Here’s to adventures, cycling, and seeing new things in a new life.

And here’s to finally feeling like writing more often. Looking forward to this feeling.

A Life Lived In Fear is No Life to Live

It’s cold and flu season, and I’m your canary in the coalmine. Got railroaded by the bug last week and I’ve been sick a full week.

I spent my weekend being The Human Spigot and exploring my all-too-close love-affair with polar fleece and cozy slippers, sipping honeyed tea and regretting food choices that turned me into The Loudest Coughing Neighbour Of All Time.

But all this time under the weather around All Hallow’s Eve has given me a chance to watch horror movies I’ve always been too cowardly to see. I was never a “horror” fan. But I never gave it a chance, either. They were scary, so, no, I wouldn’t watch ’em. Ever. A + B = Not A Fucking Chance.

Having crossed a number off my list now, the experience has left me sort of pensive after my horror-movie-spree of Halloween week. I still have more horrors on the trusty PVR, and I’m not worried about watching them.

I began wondering if maybe my fear of watching horrors was part of the problem with my general fears about life. If there’s any one thing I most regret from my childhood, culturally, it’s that inability to confront All Things Scary in horrors. I’m not sure where my apprehensions came from. Maybe it’s just demonstrative of my unlikely tendency to face fear in general.

It’s the cultural chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. Did my fears come first, or was it my fear of feeling fear?

I know that even today I’m a big old scaredy-cat. There’s so much I’m scared to face, so many excuses I find for honouring that fear and not facing those things which I should have the balls to face.

On some deeper level, this “I’m gonna watch horrors” movement I’m in reflects that I’m finally trying to do some of those things that scare me. I’m trying to take the scare out of the figuring, and make choices that don’t come from a place of avoidance due to fears. But, it’s hard.

A friend of mine does theatrical classes with kids and had a big scary day planned for his class today, but the asshats who run the school (and I know they’re asshats firsthand, having worked for the jerk owner myself) said it was “inappropriate” and now he’s doing a “harvest” class because the ghouls and goblins are nixed by administration. Probably partly on religious grounds, since I know who’s doing the deciding there. Whatever, lady.

When I heard about this, it made me angry. The thought of kids being raised coddled and protected, without the experience of being scared shitless, well, that’s not working out so well for me in my middling age, and I think it’s a recipe for failing the next generation.

Every kid needs to experience horror, fear, and the idea that Evil Lurks Somewhere.

Fact is, life is a big scary place. Evil is lurking. Bad things happen. But the further fact is, we usually outlast the fear. We get over it. Things scare the bejesus out of us, then we laugh it off, take a deep steadying breath, and carry on with life. That’s the human condition… most of the time.

Except we’re trying to handhold everyone out of fear — whether it’s Big Pharmacology trying to medicate the shit out of our anxiety or bubble-proofing kids, we try to “protect” ourselves. Don’t tell the politicians and the newsmedia, though — their whole industries exist on sneaking fear into our daily lives.

Today’s playgrounds — rubberized so kids don’t “get hurt” — are an example of just how ridiculous we are about life and its trials. God forbid Little Johnny should scrape his knee.

Personally, I know my stubbornness probably made it unlikely anyone would have succeeded when I was young and saying “No, I won’t do that, it scares me.” I wish I’d had craftier people around me that could have manipulated me past that fear. I wish my brother had taunted me less and supported me in confronting those deep, dark, scary places where having a big, strong brother with me holding my hand rather than trying to up the fear-ante might’ve taken the edge off things. I wish I’d had a lot of things, but that’s the way the growing-up-in-the-real-world cookie crumbles.

I think it  comes down to us being one of two types of people — either we focus on the exhilaration of relief we feel when fear subsides, or we get hung up on the terror that comes with fear’s rise. I’ve always been the latter, unable to get past the scare and celebrate how awesome it feels to realize we’re safe.

And maybe watching horror movies doesn’t mean a fucking thing in the long run of life. Maybe it’s a stupid waste of my time.

Or maybe it’s a sign that I’m changing some fundamental philosophies inside and opening my eyes to the reality that most of those things I’ve feared in life have been without point, and overinflated by yours truly’s excessive imagination.

Because, in the end, none of those movies scared me. A couple made me angry. “THIS? THIS is a horror classic? Carrie SUCKS. I didn’t even gasp once!”

In the end, the most common reaction I had, though, was that there was never anything I needed to fear, and I could’ve gotten it over with literally two decades ago.

Now I need that line of thinking to my day-to-day, because waking up on the fear side is no way to live.

PS: The Exorcist is still a fucking awesome movie. Saw it a decade ago and still love it.

On Capote: Writing is a Dangerous Business

On November 16th, 1959, Truman Capote read a New York Times article with only 300 words that would change his life, and American literature, forever. The article began:

A wealthy wheat farmer, his wife and their two young children were found shot to death today in their home. They had been killed by shotgun blasts at close range after being bound and gagged. The father, 48-year-old Herbert W. Clutter, was found in the basement with his son, Kenyon, 15. His wife Bonnie, 45, and a daughter, Nancy, 16, were in their beds. There were no signs of a struggle and nothing had been stolen.

It’s ironic that it’s on American Independence Day that I’m watching Capote, the film of how the book Capote would write transpired.

An early cover from Penguin's release of In Cold Blood.

I’m starting to realize what an important movie it is in my collection, from a million different perspectives, almost all of them to do with writing and what it means to me or what I feel it says about writing.

And in that realization, I found myself at a loss for a brief moment there, “pause” frozen on my screen, pondering what effect Truman Capote’s original book, In Cold Blood, must’ve had on the mindset of America.

The murders themselves, of course, resonated with the country then, but I wonder who, other than Capote, realized what it meant in the adolescence of his country. These days, it would seem he was ahead of the pack in those observations.

In the five decades since the Clutter Killings, one could say we’ve witnessed the death of the American Dream. With a look across the cultural landscape, one can’t ignore the economic strife America’s battling, the crime that has redefined the geography of the land, and the loss of the Here-vs-There that once existed — the “safe”-country-versus-the-“bad”-city mentality.

Where is the America that existed before it all? Gone, like any culture any other place in the world — a victim of modernity and technology?

About In Cold Blood, Wikipedia says:

The book examines the complex psychological relationship between two parolees, who together commit a mass murder, an act they were not capable of individually. Capote’s book also explores the lives of the victims and the effect of the crime on the community where they lived. In Cold Blood is regarded by critics as a pioneering work of the true crime genre.

It’s safe to say that In Cold Blood was one of the first mass killings in which the rest of the country had to say, “My god, if it could happen to them, it could happen to us.”

With that came fear, a fear that’s forever stained the fabric of America.

Anyone who’s paid attention to USA’s politics since 2001 knows just how destructive it can be to adapt to life under a regime of fear.

Well, by 1960, America had inklings of what “fear” was. It was the time of McCarthy and the Cold War, and a decade-plus of post-Holocaust reality that, out there, Evil existed.

And now, with the handiwork of killers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, the fear lived at home, too.

Capote’s true-crime masterwork is a book widely accepted to be a jumping-off point for what fine literature was able to do to real-life on the pages.* In it, a real and tangible look was given into the headspace of these killers — one of whom had very much the same sort of horrible childhood of abandonment and abuse as Capote, offering this brilliant author the opportunity to internally juxtapose the life he’d been able to create for himself despite his tragic beginnings, versus the horror Smith wreaked upon others as a result of his own.

And that, friends, is often what brilliant writing is — the seeking of truth in everything, and the ability to own it within yourself. The inability to do the latter in a lasting way, however, can be devastating to a writer, and Capote’s decline should be a warning to all writers.

Reading In Cold Blood was a defining point in my life as a writer/reader. True life’s tragedies could be rendered in beautiful language that conveyed so much more than just photographic evidence of its horrors.

I doubt it was Capote’s work alone that stirred a new consciousness of the possibility of Evil Within amongst Americans — much of society was headed in that direction at the time, powered by media and politicans.

But Capote did what I love that good writers can do: Through a seemingly miniscule event, he correctly understood the quickening pulse of his country, and that this event — a seemingly small rural tragedy, buried a few pages into the newspaper on his morning read — was something that spoke of a world to come, of changes that loomed in his country’s previously untouchable heartland.

______

As much as this film makes me want to be a writer, it terrifies me — the price it suggests one would pay for being great seems far too high.

Capote, I feel, was destroyed by his subject (and himself).

A young Truman Capote by Irving Penn.

With his book’s success bound to his subject’s journey to the electric chair, and his need to understand the parallels in their lives, Truman Capote slipped into depression and guilt. He almost certainly was traumatized by the reality that he knew Smith’s execution was necessary for his book to be the brilliance it could be.

Deep down inside, I’m sure Capote realized having Smith living would contradict the “truths” the writer would write in the book, that it might be dangerous to his masterwork’s longevity. No one wants to think like that, but I guarantee you the thought would occur to any intelligent writer. What if…

Today, speculation does exist that Capote fictionalized entire passages of what was boasted to be true in every word. Evidence of the fictionalizing has been hard to come by.

Having that “what if” of execution work out in your favour — guaranteeing the “truthfulness” of what would be your masterwork — standing there to bear witness as the noose snaps the neck of the man who is all that’s wedged between you and literary immortality, that must induce some pretty horrific guilt-laden realities for a writer.

In the end, it took him 4 years to write the book, and 18 years to drink himself to death before his 60th birthday in 1984.

The book came out in ’65, and Capote became somewhat a mockery of himself within the next seven years. He would never again write anything considered “great” and, by 1978, was comfortably threatening suicide on national television, the punchline of many a joke.

I believe, ultimately, that his willingness to go as far as he could to write about those murders and to draw parallels between his life and the life of Perry Smith is what drove him into his alcoholic haze that choked the greatness from him.

Writing is a dangerous business.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The choices we make of holes to dig and skeletons to reveal, they define who we writers are in that moment and who we’ll become down the line. Writers must accept that these words they trifle with hold powers they maybe don’t expect, and the journeys taken to weave words can burrow deep into a writer.

Some opened doors will never be closed.

Capote couldn’t close his, so he drank to numb the opened doors away.

One could say he should have truly dived into the abandonment he felt as a child — that he was only comfortable peeling away the truths about others but terrified what doing so might reveal of him.

After all, he was an openly gay Southern man when being gay still meant being “one of them”. He was an outsider, born poor, spent a lonely childhood never belonging anywhere, and found his solace in writing.

When he stopped pushing envelopes and didn’t publish anything of significance beyond In Cold Blood, I would suspect he lost that solace and instead felt as though he had betrayed some part of who he was.

Not having been true in life and now not on the page, I’m certain Capote probably felt like a fraud and found himself seeing life through the eyes of Perry Smith, believing he could never really belong where he socially was perceived to be.

In my lowly opinion, the greatest, most tragic men in “big” American literature in the last 100 years were Hemingway, Capote, and Hunter S. Thompson.**

Each searched for an ideal, a life they felt obliged to enjoy or a dream they held about Their America and what the modern world could be. Each never found what they sought. Each engineered his own demise.

Ironically, though, Capote did achieve what he sought — the execution of a man he fell in love with after identifying with everything that made Smith the monster America believed him to be, a monster Capote possibly wondered if he himself had inside — and it gave him the book he dreamed he could write, solidified his placed as a master of American English literature, and it is, one could argue, that achievement (and guilt for it) which destroyed him.

Writing is a dangerous business.

*Some would argue too that Capote’s take on the killings romanticized and even justified the murders from a sociological point of view, and that the “literary” non-fiction approach may have led to the erosion of facts and journalistic irresponsibility. These aren’t entirely wrong, nor right.

**Without getting into a lengthy debate with hugely relevant but lesser-knowns like David Foster Wallace & John Kennedy Toole. Just of the “big scene” American writers.

Fuck You, Hollywood.

We’re witnessing the end of an empire at the box office.

Sex and the City 2 is lying there like a dead fish, with all the appeal of a used-up 45-year-old prostitute after a night of chasing 8-balls with gin after running the line for a sex-train at a frat party.

Naturally, Hollywood is CONVINCED it’s because the chicks in it are all old.

“Well, of COURSE Sam needs a vibrator — she’s 54!”

Let’s for a moment forget the ages of the women acting in the show. Let’s forget that they’re all around 50+ now.

Let’s do something wacky and think about the movie itself. And, hey, let’s think about the writing.

First: Have I seen it? No.

Here’s why not.

If I’m watching a show where some lead actor/actress from a flick is out whoring their movie, putting on the charm, and they play a clip — just ONE 30-second clip from a 90-minute movie — and the clip sucks shit? I mean, they’re supposed to be showing the one most appealing, funniest, engaging, COME-WATCH-US clip they have from the ENTIRE movie. And it’s shit? Well, I know the other 89:30 probably isn’t gonna be an improvement.

But if that 30-second clip is from a 2-hour-and-25-minutes-long movie and it still sucks shit?

I’m in favour of euthanizing everyone who views it in the theatres.

The shame!

Everything I’ve seen of Sex & the City 2 looks like has-been writers puked up every failed cliché they’ve ever heard, slapped some pretty weird dresses and shoes I’ll NEVER afford onto fancy-pretty chicks, and spliced that shit together.

Let’s see what some of the critics on Rotten Tomatoes are saying about it:

  • There’s only one thing worse than faking an orgasm: faking laughter. Shame on you, Sex and the City 2, for being a 2.5-hour laughless fake-a-thon that never finds the right spot.
  • Shoes, money, outfits, shoes, vagina, money, shoes, jewelry, outfits, money, shoes.
  • It goes from being what we know and love to… what were they thinking?
  • A flagrant insult to the audience that made the first film a phenomenon. Shame on the writers of this soulless drivel for trying to pass this Canal Street bootleg sow’s ear off as a genuine Alexander McQueen silk purse.
  • Early in Sex and the City 2, I started a list of things that could easily be cut because they go nowhere. It’s a long list.
  • It has no plot to speak of, little in the way of wit or intelligence, and is about 50% longer than can reasonably be justified.
  • A degrading portrait of women through an unfunny story about four Ugly Americans abroad.
  • It’s supposed to be Sex and the City. This is Sects and the Souk.

And that’s what pisses me off.

This movie isn’t failing because of the actresses. It’s failing because a director with shitty judgment had his hands on a shitty script that some fucko chose in a Hollywood office, and Decider Dude’s probably been sleeping with vapid starlets and hasn’t had his finger on the real-life pulse of America for three decades.

YET he thinks he knows what’ll appeal to broad-spectrum women around the world. Yeah. Right.

This movie is failing because it’s nothing of what the original series contained — cynical-but-true jabs at being single, sexy, smart women trying to get by in a big-city life at a changing time in American city culture.

So, it’s got nothing that made it great, except for actresses that play characters who aren’t the characters they were when America fell in love with them. Brilliant. Sure, that’ll be a raging success.

And the problem with these failing movies that have “older” actresses is, they’re usually shit from the get-go. They were shit on paper, they’re shit being shot, and they’re shit when they’re edited together for the screening room.

What’s the deal? Actresses don’t get great money-making projects past 45, so they get all scared about their future, then jump when Hollywood says they’ll slap a couple million payroll for ’em onto this lame-ass “but it’s sure to be a hit, look at all the OLD actresses we’ve lined up to appease the suburban-mom contingent!” movie.

The even bigger problem is with fans who’ll take anything shovelled at them under the guise that it’s even REMOTELY connected to the original story enterprise. Yeah, you know who you are.

This has NOTHING to do with the original series. It’s a bunch of chicks doing stupid, contrived things that only a BAD Hollywood writer would come up with.

We need great indie filmmakers to make awesome movies about women in their 40s and 50s that are edgy, ironic, bitingly funny, and not apologetic about crashing a few stereotypes. (I remember one called The Graduate.)

The movies we’re making for women have NOT improved. This is the same stupid-ass writing that’s brought us horrible, horrible, horrible chick flicks like The First Wives’ Clubs and The Women and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and all those cliché my-time-of-the-month films.

Apparently all women have to do in their 40s and 50s is to be unhappy about love, confused about life, and needy about having friends.

The problem here isn’t the age of the actresses.

It’s that Hollywood doesn’t know what real life for women actually entails. It doesn’t know that life’s more complicated than soccer-practice “taxi” trips and bill-payments.

Hollywood doesn’t understand that not every woman gets manicures or pedicures.

It doesn’t get that not every woman is sitting around deviously hatching a plan to manipulate a man.

It doesn’t get that some of us actually love ourselves and our lives.

It doesn’t get that my quality of life isn’t determined by the ratio of man-delivered-orgasms versus personally-given ones.

Hollywood doesn’t understand women. At all. It didn’t 20 years ago, it doesn’t now.

I’ll confess: I’ve never been a real fan of Sex & The City.

That’s more because I’m not a girlie-girl and don’t really get into “girl” shows. I enjoyed some of it sometimes, but I’ve always been annoyed at how much validation its characters received from the male sex, or how much they all had to rally together and prop each other up against the un-validation given to them by male characters.

It always was a cliché — but a really well-written cliché with great laughs and realistic characters, and more true to some of the struggles of women in their 30s/40s than it is about them aging.

Now, though, it’s just another money-grubbing cliché-spewing pathetic example of why the mainstream movie machine is still broken.

And you smart, sexy, intelligent, successful women who are giving your money over to the box office to watch this piece-of-shit movie that stereotypes, demeans, and mocks the modern woman:

You’re part of the problem.

Shame on you.

My Culture of Disconnect

I don’t want to read the news today.

Or have conversations of consequence with friends.

Or watch TV or movies that require braincells.

I sure as hell don’t want to read.

I want to drift away and disconnect. Be anywhere but here.

Heavy shit’s coming down, again. Dad’s lined up for serious surgery three provinces away. For anyone else, it’d be a major-but-fine surgery. For him, much risk comes with.

I mean, hey, cancer, diabetes, heart disease — which one do you think offers the best chance of surgical complications?

Sometimes, there’s only so much space you’ve got for matters outside the personal realm. Sometimes, thinking about things in the world just gets overwhelming in the face of the struggles you’re wading through on a daily basis.

Sometimes.

I don’t think I’m at that point. Not about this. I’ve been to the sick-dad rodeo one time too many. Sad as I am, weary as I am, I’m pretty much prepared for whatever comes.

I fucking hate that I feel that way. But I do. There’s only so many times you can stand peering over the edge and be terrified.

Sooner or later, you just get to knowing what it’s like, and the fear’s there, but it’s a fear you’ve metabolized now.

Sort of where I am with Dad. I’ve metabolized my terror. Don’t tell my shaking leg or queasy stomach that, but it’s true. I’m a pretty passionate girl. This is Stress-For-a-Loved-One Lite™.

Part of that is just me being older, wiser, more worn, jaded, and exposed. I done been around, man. Heart’s been broken more times than I need to count from life and its woes. That’s just my experience on planet earth.

It takes a lot to break me down, now. I take body blows like a heavyweight champ. With that shock-absorbing tendency comes the ability to not react much anymore.

As an example, the other day, this dude keeps cracking his little one liners at a pub. Eventually he’s all flustered because I’m not laughing at his jokes.

Well, I don’t laugh easily. I’m funny as hell, man, but making me laugh takes something unexpected or just flat-out smart. I’m a student of comedy. I’ve heard it ALL. I smile, or grin. Now and then? A full-on laugh.

But just because I don’t “react” doesn’t mean I’m not dialed in. I’m removed, but I’m listening. I’m probably thinking why your joke failed, where you went wrong with timing, or where I’ve heard a variation of it before, but, you know, I’m listening.

And we’re all sort of doing that these days. Most of us, anyhow. Dialed in but not. Listening but disconnected.

We’re sponges. Taking from society but never giving back. Surfacing.

My life of the last decade has been much like that.

One day, I stopped reading my three or so newspapers daily. Eventually, I fell away from reading books.

What came first, the head injury or my apathy? I don’t know, I don’t even remember anymore.

Things have changed.

Apathy isn’t enough. It’s not a meal that’s filling. Its price is too high. All the things it’s cost me, man…

I feel like a spectator in the intellectual world, and I’m more than that. I’m a smart woman with a unique world-view. I can’t just watch and not contribute.

To be a part of it requires I be of it, that I be immersed in it, be surrounded by it.

So, somewhere inside, I feel like the joke has been on me.

Sure, I’ve survived everything I’ve been through. But for what?

I fell out of touch and love with music. I stopped being clued into the political, cultural, and societal happenings, something I’d been very much in tune with since I had my first newspaper addiction at the age of 9. I stopped seeing movies. I mean, I’m the kind of girl who plans the music in advance for roadtrips — what works with what stretches of highway, what tracks tie into what scenery.

Or, I used to be.

What’s the fucking point in surviving if you’re not gonna thrive as who you are, right?

It’s what happens to a lot of us, I guess. I’ve got pretty good excuses, but they’re still just excuses, and I still feel like a cop-out.

It’s like the themes explored in Fight Club and American Beauty, the disappearing of identity and the cover-up of disconnect by way of commercialism and cluelessness.

We think we’re growing up as we fall away from our youthful passions of music and movies, politics and society, growing jaded and distant.

We’re not. We’re not “growing up”. We’re losing our leisure, thus losing our souls, as Virginia Woolf once wrote.

I want the happy medium between my savvy survivalist self, and the jazzed-up involved youth I was.

Some people I know still balance these things well, and maybe if life hadn’t gotten in the way, I might be the poster-girl for being a plugged-in hipster, too.

But I’m not.

I’m a part of the problem. I’ve joined the throngs of the Great Ignoring.

It’s not cool. It’s selfish. It’s not helping.

The disconnect isn’t working anymore. Not for me. Not for you. Sure as shit not for society.

It’s not really about “movies” and “music” and “news”.

It’s our soul as a society. Who are we if we’re just a bubble-gum-chewing collective dying to swallow the next reality show?

Art, culture, it was my soul, it was who I am. At my core, I’m an invested, impassioned, intelligent person, and living any way but that is antithetical to who I need to be.

My father’s disconnect has him at 350 pounds, with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, while awaiting major surgery. I’m pretty sure “disconnect” is not working for him, either.

I imagine my father would approve of my learning this lesson this week. I’m hoping he survives the week so we can have a talk about that.

Either way, it’s time I suck a little more cultural marrow out of life, because what I got ain’t sustaining much.

The Requisite Quarterly Drunken Posting (Hicc)

So, I’m drunk. It’s been forever and a day since I’ve drank and blogged, so you’re owed, dear reader, you’re owed.

Of course, there’s about 60% chance that this posting will suck, but I’ve given you the “I’m drunk” caveat and I’m good if you are. :) Mm, wine!

It’s a cheap and dirty Californian Burgundy. I know, “They have Burgundies in California? It’s a region, you know… Burgundy? Like, in France? Hence the name? Like, French?”

I know, I know. I know. Hey, it’s $6.99. It’s probably one of those proverbial 99-cent bottles of wine from the great Sunshine State. Whatever. It’s all right. I find, sometimes, that life’s just so much simpler if you opt to lower your standards a notch or two, and open your mind. There’s only something wrong if you choose to notice it, right?

So, I says: Fabulous. Tasty, that. I had one of the lofty government liquor store employees recommend me something tasty and light that would work with sauteed salmon. I say it works with getting drunk, that’s what I say.

I decided a second ago that I needed candles and some music, so I’ve opted for Elton John Live in Australia, and lit four candles. And I had a moment… just then. On my quest, I flicked on the light and caught my gaze in a mirror. And this toned, getting tanned face was looking back at me. My face has been lost in an overgrown bad haircut for more than a month… and I’ve lost about 15 pounds in that time. Tonight, wow. It shows. I hadn’t seen that yet, and I cycled 30km today. And to catch myself off-guard, you know?

Maybe you don’t. When you’re in a process of change like I think I’ve been in, just hitting it hard, and working to lose the weight — not relying on a diet plan or something like that to get you through, but sweating hard for six, eight, ten hours a week on top of full-time work, doing the whole “I cook and clean for myself” thing, and maintaining a life, a blog, all that, you get absorbed in life, you know? Months go by when you’re conscious you’re changing a bit, but all it takes is something completely new to enter the picture and you suddenly realize how much change there’s really been from then to now. A haircut shows new face angles you’ve not noticed, or a new outfit betrays new hot curves. Doesn’t take much. But it can blow a mind, baby.

So I’ve had my moment. Sure, I’m drunk, but I hope I remember it. Heh. Or else I get a two-fer and I have the same epiphany when I wake up and get sober. “Holy shit! I’ve lost weight!” Awesome. A two-fer! On a Saturday morning on a four-day long weekend? Fuckin’ a, I’ll take a two-fer. :)

Ahh, well. Here’s a promise I make you, readers. I’m stewing on a few heavy, heavy postings. To come in the coming weeks are possibly an entire series devoted to Teen Sex in America Today… or at least my take on it. That will segue into a story or two on the state of AIDS in the world today. I may tackle a sociological story on the demise of the tradition of abdication of femininity of Albanian women who wish to become the clan leaders for their family, a really interesting change in society that’s brought entirely about by media and the new chicks in the spotlight worldwide, an interesting story I’d like to weigh in on.

And, fuck, I can’t forget the long-awaited rise of gay marriage in California, now, can I? More importantly, but less covered, is New York’s decision to start legalizing the recognition of gay marriages performed in states where it is legal. Performing one isn’t legal yet in NY, I don’t think, but they’re opting to legally recognize ones performed elsewhere, so that’s fucking huge, man.

It’s been a really important month in sex and politics, but I’ve sort of needed to take some mental time off.

Tonight, drunk though I be, I feel really, really keen to start tackling some of the harder stuff.

The sex with teenagers thing in America, man, that’s just so depressing, and so very, very scary, and why the mainstream media isn’t covering it more when there’s four months before an election just baffles the fuck out of me. And I’ve been holding back, because when I let go on it, it’s going to be in several back-to-back postings. It’s important. When one in four girls who are 14-16 has an STD under an administration that has pushed abstinence-only education, something NEEDS to be said. 25% of mid-teens are carrying an STD, and it’s not a major issue?

HELLO? Scientists in Antarctica are given condoms on the government dime when sex with coworkers is considered sexual harassment, but kids aren’t taught about condoms in school? Like, what the fuck? Sure, the Wii is fun, but I’d much rather be playing with the cutie from Biology, you know what I’m saying? Can’t get drugs, can’t buy booze, but the bodies are there in the offing? “Duh.”

So, all right, I’ll be tackling that very, very soon. Fuck it, this weekend, even. It’s time, man.

I digress: Before my decision to drink a bottle of red wine (I have a glass in front of me still), I had cycled around much of the fabulous city of Vancouver this evening. About 30k. Gorgeous. It’s the night before a heatwave. In fact, it’s nigh on midnight and all my windows and doors have been open since eight, and it’s hotter now than when I came home. Still, I love me a heatwave and have a notion to do a long, long ride when the bitter hot-hot-hot kicks in tomorrow afternoon, after I scoot around town for the fine fixings for a great weekend from an assortment of farmers’ markets. I can’t afford big things, but I can afford locally-grown organic lettuce and farm-fresh potatoes, and isn’t that something fantastic right there?

I get to babysit a friend’s cat tomorrow night, which is really to say I get to babysit his Wii. My centre of balance is apparently dead centre, says Wii. I rock. Methinks I’m getting drunk again. I mean, if I’m dead centre anyhow, right? I’ll just make sure I move that glass coffee table to a galaxy far, far away…

Fuck, now I want to watch Star Wars and visit galaxies far, far away. Sigh. Great cheap red. I think it’s a hallucinogenic. God knows we loves our hallucinogenics.

My drunk ass needs to be elsewhere. But I feel fantastic! It’s going to be a fun few days. Ahh, cheap red wine, how doth my cheap ass love thee. Expensive red wine I also love, and can appreciate, but I just know how to slum when it’s necessary.

And, believe me… everyone needs to slum it some of the time. It makes the rest of the time feel spectacular. Still, for $6… I bet I feel richer than you right now. It’s good to be me. You have yourselves a fabulous weekend. I might be getting lost in the world a little. Shouldn’t we all?