Monday, August 30, 2010

dreamt of dreaming

i was reading before sleep
then slept & dreamt
i was reading while sleeping
knowing i was dreaming

& dreaming became the text

Sunday, August 29, 2010

spookiest damn trailer i'd ever seen

which is no damn mere boast. i recall the teaser trailer to ridley scott's gothic horror masterpiece alien [1979] which doesn't feature a single frame of the film. i don't know when the teaser was released but i'm pretty sure it was at least 6 months to a year before the movie was released. what i do remember is thinking, in my child's mind, what the fuck?! in a good way. not only does this teaser capture the mood and tone of the movie it makes you want to see the film even if you have no idea what it's about. remember way back in the late '70s there was no such thing as the internet. what little info one got on upcoming flicks was gleaned maybe from fan mags and word-of-mouth, which were not the stellar sources of accuracy. the movie was even greater than the sum of its parts and lived up to and beyond this teaser's early promise. however, i'd not seen the teaser in many, many, many a moon. i've seen variations of it, often with scenes of the flick spliced in, but not the whole as i remembered it. well, lo! tonight i've been exploring the excellent website trailers from hell where filmmakers and writers discuss their favorite movie prevues and i found the teaser i remembered all in its creepy glory. trailers are an art form too and this is simply one of the best in its simplicity, minimalism, terrific ambient soundscape, and one of the best taglines ever concocted. remember, in space no one can hear you scream.

click here to watch the teaser trailer with or without commentary, and should this piece of filmmaking scare the crap outta you don't blame me if you go crying for your momma if you can't get to sleep tonight. fair warning.

Friday, August 27, 2010

[like a] poem

life imitates art

i've always thought that is an asinine statement

whose to say what is real and what is not

ain't life like art and vice versa

one can't be without the other

both nourish each other

and finally both are another

it was that my mind was blown this morning

when a priest came to my window at work

and said don't you think those ancient mayan carvings

of people with those large heads are aliens

the ancients came from space ships

and their heads were big because those were helmets

it turns out he went on to say even the science

dept. of the vatican published a paper stating that christ

came from the heavens on board a star cruiser

no shit it's documented look it up

now how can life not be art and art be a life

after witnessing that exchange

Thursday, August 26, 2010

quote unquote

Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!

--samuel l. jackson

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

one crazy summer [1986]

the fall catalogs are here. big time. stuffed the mail box yesterday and today -- jammed full. fall catalogs, such as pottery barn, filled with autumnal, golden light, umber leaves, wine-cozy, sweater weather, halloween gee-gaws, i look at them like they are porn mags. fall is, i say it again, my favorite time of year.

but what happened to summer? the hot months, and boy today it was hot, triple digit weather, by the time i got home i was dripping with sweat that i peeled off my work clothes and headed straight for the shower, the hot months have a kind of carefree, languid feel that seemed to pass me by this go round.

summer is good for lounging and taking life slow. it's also good for swimming at the pool, cook-outs, cold beers, and drive-in movies. as for movies, the best summer films are silly, they are even kinda stupid. e.g. the '60s beach movies starring frankie and annette, produced by american international pictures, and directed by william asher. these are cartoons made for the drive-in circuit where your attention can roam from the screen to your girl to your beer to your ice cream cone and back to the screen without missing a beat of the story.

because summer movies are essentially plotless. the zany ones are. they are cartoons and the better examples of the summer film exploit there silliness to such a degree that humanity can be divided in to two camps: those who hate, say, beach movies because they are so silly, and the rest of us who love them because of their goofiness.

filmmaker savage steve holland, who made two john cusack features, the brilliant better off dead [1985] and this flick, one crazy summer. i suppose holland's style can be summerized by the phrase, kitchen surrealism. e.g. the mother, played by kim darby, in the former movie made meals that would crawl off cusack's dinner plate. but holland would frame this bit of weirdness as flat as he could. dead-pan. because in holland's movies sometimes your food would simply come alive and crawl off your plate. without you noticing your dinner just crawled away.

the latter film, summer, isn't as fleshed with gags as dead but holland, and cusack, carry the flick with just the right dead-pan humor that recalls the best of asher's beach pics. what little of the plot, cusack plays a cartoonist who falls for rocker demi moore at the beach during the eponymous summer, is just enough of an engine to propel the gags. there's a subplot of a mean developer wanting to kick the kids off the beach, a yacht race with cusack and his loser friends, bobcat goldthwait et al., and the kid of the mean developer with his equally lame and vapid friends -- jeremy piven is one of these vapid friends, which should give you an idea how incredibly lame these dudes are [i don't know, i just think there's just something incredibly lame about piven, how the fuck has he managed to have such a long career anyway?] which is played for the usual underdogs make good and keep the audience cheering.

that's about it. the soundtrack is '80s synth rock. i don't know if moore really does sing when her band performs for her big scene onstage. that's neither here nor there since the music is more like audio wall-paper in a cheap hotel. you barely register it. yet holland achieves a kind of goofiness that makes this pic perfect, for me at least, summer viewing. there's an attitude to it and a feel that is redolent to spending the day on the beach. the cast are game and play their roles with a kind of glee that reminds me of, again, jody mccrea and john ashley in the beach films of yore. with a summer film were like this one i don't mind waiting a little longer for autumn.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

music for airports

just got off the phone with my brother who in addition to asking about our holiday asked about the flights. the flights, domestic: united airlines [757 jumbo jet], international: sas [airbus 340-300], were despite the lack of legroom fairly comfortable affairs. we flew to chicago on united and both flights to and from the city lasted between 4 to 5 hrs. the flights to sweden lasted 8 and close to 10 hrs. and both flights to chicago had a layover of close to 5 hrs while the layover in chicago for the journey home were 9 of the longest hrs we ever endured.

that's just it. chicago's o'hare airport is one of the busiest in the world. it is certainly one of the largest. it also has some of the most stringent security measures i've encountered. o'hare has some cool stuff, good public art, an efficient tram that takes passengers from one terminal to the next, and even a life-size brachiosaurus skeleton located at the united terminal. what o'hare doesn't have is a way for persons to stretch out and doze, hell even relax, during long waits for flights.

i've heard somewhere that airports are our symbols of our global village. it's amazing that you can hop on a plane and be anywhere in the world in less than 24 hrs. it sure beats travel even less than a hundred years ago when to get to say england from california would require several weeks passage on trains and a ship. so why am i complaining? because the seats and benches are so hard and narrow at all the airports i've known, not just o'hare, that any rest is damn near an illusion. airports are simply not comfortable places at all.

does it have to be that way? yeah, i know, there's the hilton located right inside o'hare, there's even some hotels and motels a short cab ride away. but the logistics and the expenses to book a room at the hilton or outside of the airport required are fairly substantial obstacles. did i mention the stringent security at o'hare? you don't want to go thru that more than twice.

would it be impossible to ask that designers of international airports like o'hare to build some micro-hotels? you can find these in japan, little honeycombs with beds where the traveler can bunk for a few hrs on the relatively cheap. resting in one of these certainly would've made the last leg of our journey more bearable. we were so exhausted that the last 2 hrs on the plane was an eternity. we moved beyond being tired into that realm where not only did our bodies ache but our souls were moaning too. we'd been up for 24 hrs at that point and i was looking down at the lights of lake tahoe as the pilot started our descent. a gorgeous view. i wasn't thinking of beauty. i was daydreaming, no more like hallucinating, big, big pillows, crisp sheets and blankets that reached the length of a football field. i was thinking oh sleep, where the fuck are you now. i kept repeating, there's no place like home, there's no place like home.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

don't be afraid of the dark [remake]

a few posts back i wrote a little anti-review of this 1970s made-for-tv movie. the movie lives in the shadowy recesses of my childhood memories, all with the delicious fear such horror fare created. i was nuts for this kind of shit. i still am. nights bent toward the blue light of our little black&white television terrified of the images, and thrilled too. these memories are fraught with nostalgia and the movies probably don't stand up with the terror we - or i - felt when watching them as adults.

which leads me toward a sort of ho-hum attitude toward the remake that is slated for a 2011 release. i'm not surprised. hollywood has been revisiting these old horror films since the beginning of this century. most of these newly minted old films suck. a few don't. seriously, do we need another remake of a crappy old film?

maybe. esp. when the solidly talented guillermo del toro is the producer. that is no guarantee that this film won't suck. katie holmes is set to star and the movie is tweaked a bit by having the kim darby role be replaced by a child. holmes is a pleasant enough actor, i guess.

i won't hold my breath. below is the teaser trailer.

cultivating lovingkindness

when i was doing my best to do 'very little' which is what i think i'm quite good at, even if i fail at doing it at all, in sweden, i had a lot of time to ponder. often the mind shifts in shallow, errant thinking. my mind at any rate wallows quite blissfully in small currents. yet, i made notes on my current environments and my own attitudes toward my life as a human. i thought of an absolutely unoriginal aphorism: to write well, one doesn't need to be an asshole.

perhaps it was modernism, and the romantics before them, that cultivated the persona of the mad artist who toiled in isolation and suffered greatly for her art. doesn't work for me. suffering begets only suffering and produces very little in the ways of living and the arts. better yet, isn't pleasure, however you define the word, the greater good? should we not as humans cultivate a lovingkindness in our lives, our arts, our writings, and by further extension, our technologies and our governments?

i work better when i'm happier. i know that and i prefer the company of people who can create pleasure in themselves and in me. lovingkindness does not mean an end to crankiness, or shallowness, or even being pissed off at the state of our world. but the practice of lovingkindness i think encourages others to do the same. i'm not sure where to go from there, of course. often, in our society when one is labelled 'a nice guy' that is quite often code for being weak and an easy mark. that code is a false marker. being nice and practicing niceness does not make one weaker. i recall something the gnostic philip k. dick once wrote, that to practice love is the greater of hate, because love is harder than hate, and greater for it being so.

better still, please see gabriel gudding's post on developing a kind mind by clicking here. gudding's rationale is more fine and an extremely crisp, lucid argument for what i've stumbled thru here. the intellect is also a great source of pleasure and gudding's mind is one of the better minds i've read on the topic of writing and lovingkindness. in fact, gudding is one of the rare poets who is actively seeking a writing of anti-meanness. poetry, i think, is made the better for it.

Friday, August 20, 2010


which is swedish for 'thank you'. it's also the same in norwegian, danish and icelandic, with variations on the spelling. 'thank you' in finnish is something completely different. the finnish language comes from a totally different language family. i love the way finnish looks on the page and the pixels, and finnish names are damn cool too. but it ain't a language i could know, even slightly. i think. old brain, i guess. mushy brain certainly.

reading thru my favorite blogs i hadn't realized that by not announcing that i'd be on holiday i'd be the cause of worry. as such i want to publicly thank everyone who expressed concern for my sudden absence on this here blog. anna and i thought it might be prudent to not announce to the world that we'd be gone for a couple of weeks and leave our house unguarded.

thank you, all of you, and you know who you are.

i didn't know blogs are dead. as the band the who once roared, 'blogs are dead, blogs are dead, long live blogs'.

i remember back in the '90s there was an article titled 'the death of poetry'. donald hall responded with an essay 'death to the death of poetry'. every now and again someone announces the death of something. the only time something dies is when there is no one to remember it.

death to us all. long live, well, us.


space was limited. airlines now charge a baggage fee and there is a weight limit. go over this limit and you've got to fork over extra dough. because of these limits we brought only a handful of books. the larsson mysteries, a couple of collections by anthony bourdain, zen mind, beginner's mind by shunryu suzuki, and for me the lit. journal lungfull!.

i did print out a few things from the net, such as john bloomberg-rissman's interview from otoliths, a couple of articles from poetry, and the pdf zine edited by welsh poet rhys trimble, ctrl+alt+del. i read each of these several times. even tho we had nothing but time i did very little reading. i made a lot of notes in my moleskin, wrote the outline of a sonnet for a collaboration i'm just starting, and did my best to do what i think i'm best at, doing very little.

it was quite marvelous, really. lotsa walks in the woods, lotsa exploring the cities and towns we visited. stockholm is one of the world's most beautiful cities. from the town gnesta, the first place we stayed in, we took the train to stockholm centrum and walked down to the vasa museet, a 17th century ship that sank right after launch and shortly forgotten, then raised from the bottom of the harbor in the middle of the last century, and after the museum we headed over to gruna lund, the amusement park that opened in the 1880s.

damn that amusement park was quite scary. attractions are jammed very close together because space is at a premium. the park is right on the water. but it was the funhouse that i thought terrifying. nicholas had a great time in it but the funhouse is different than the ones you find in the u.s. i don't know how to explain it but fuck me! there were sections that were pitch black and a section were i felt if you lost your balance you'd go tumbling down the rabbit hole.

it was a long day in stockholm and nicholas was a trooper. the walk back to the train station was quite far. the boy asked to be carried, so i did that. i placed him on my shoulders. i could feel the weight of the child, firm and solid. then as we were waiting for the light to cross the street people were looking up at nicholas smiling and chuckling. now the swedes are not necessarily publicly demonstrative with strangers. the u.s. habit of smiling at people you make eye contact with is not done in sweden. i think we smile at people here in the states because we want assurances from strangers that we mean no harm, we ain't gonna kill ya. also, the california friendly wave, the wave of acknowledgement a driver does to another driver as a courtesy when that other driver let you have the right of way, is completely out of the question in sweden. i did that wave a couple of times before i realized it wasn't necessary. the looks of confusion i got from other drivers made that realization.

so there we were at the crosswalk waiting for the light to change and people were smiling at nicholas sitting on my shoulders and laughing warmly. it was then anna looked up and saw why these people were laughing. nicholas was sound asleep, out like a light, right there. on one of the best days of the best vacation ever.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

inside every swede is a californian wanting to get out

driving the archipelago

here's a short vid of us driving back from a day of exploring and shopping at the small town of norrtajle. i'm driving a rented audi a6 with a manual transmission. not used to that. tho i grew up driving cars with stick shifts i've been driving a manual transmission for close to 20 years. took some getting used to what with a few popped clutches and terrifying lurches down hill. however, with a little practice and with the narrow winding country roads i felt like mario andretti in pole position.

and anna has added many pics on her facebook account. check them out here.

damn jet-lagged

it feels that i'm fucked up

but i'm not i mean i don't travel all that often abroad

the last time we went overseas was in '02

however friends who do travel rather frequently tell me that the jet-lag hits them hard upon return

for me historically it was the opposite

i felt like shit for a couple of day upon arrival but felt good or at least not too bad when i got home

but on this trip i felt great and was pretty stoked when we landed in arlanda and that feeling lasted for nearly the entirety of our 2 weeks i sverige

and now i'm like totally zonked and have been all day but can't sleep

it is now 1:30 a.m. and my body is running on a clock that is ticking the time for lunch

i think i might be doing some serious snoozing tomorrow

oh well it was a beautiful holiday

weather was perfect rainy some days but sunny for the most and the highs were in the low 80s f.

i packed a few sweaters, just in case of cold, and long pants that stayed in the suitcase

swam in the baltic and in a heated pool at a house we were staying in the small town of gnesta where some of the film version of stieg larsson's novel the girl with the dragon tattoo was shot

everyone it seemed is reading in english and swedish larsson's millennium trilogy

nicholas calls this vacation THE BEST VACATION EVER

and remember the boy's been to disneyland

anna is also awake and reminds me to upload the photos and videos we took

i've not forgotten but man my mind is swathed in a black flog like london in the 1880s

if one were to have a 2nd home country than sweden is for me

if it is possible to retire than i'd like to buy a summer flat in stockholm for my dotage

before i collapse tonight i give a big thanks to alex for sending me a ceramic chicken from his mother's collection and a dvd of a really bad movie, the velvet vampire, that were on top of the stack of mail we picked up at the post office this morning

the gift is huge and is exceptional, a big hug to you, alex

among the piles of bills and catalogs was an envelope from geof

in that envelope is a poem that rocked me to my core

totally unexpected and a beautiful gift from a friend and poet whose dedication to the craft of writing and the art of friendship is nothing short of miraculous

to both alex and geof: 9 bows

pics tomorrow i promise soon as i gain some sort of consciousness and perhaps even a video or two of driving an audi a6 thru the dangerous country roads of the swedish archipelago

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

notes from the jet-lagged

we just returned from a holiday in sweden

got in last night after nearly 24 hrs of travel

and as you would imagine we - at least i am - are jet-lagged as all get out

sorry for not posting the past couple of weeks but we were staying mostly on an island in the archipelago without internet access or even tv

it was really marvelous to be outside the u.s. news cycle

we've had only a few hrs of sleep and still on swedish time which for us is now pretty damn late at night

gots to run a few errands before we poop out

many pics and stories to come

peace out y'all