Thursday, October 31, 2013

today is halloween

to all you boils and ghouls on this most magic of days


go out and fill your trick 'r treat bags to the brim


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

everyday is halloween

halloween iii: season of the witch [1982]

yes virginia this is the third film in the john carpenter halloween franchise but with a wrinkle: michael myers is absent this outing.  no bogeyman except for an evil halloween mask maker named cochran, played with glee by dan o'herlihy, who wants to kill a shitload of children because of a deranged notion that doing so is linked to the ancient traditions of samhain.  cochran has implanted tiny bits of stonehenge within each of his masks and bought some serious airtime on TV so that an on appointed hour all the children wearing cochran's masks and watching his television special will keel over while spiders and snakes crawl out of the masks.

yeah, real creepy.  tom atkins, that stalwart character actor, is an ER physician investigating a murder-suicide that happened on his watch.  the trail leads atkins to cochran's company town populated with robot goons in suits and with very bad '70s hair.  atkins uncovers the plot and well the rest is, you know, curtains for a certain mask maker.

i like this movie not because it is any good but because it is an anomaly.  i gather when the studio got the final box office receipts it was decided that myers will always be the big monster in this franchise.  i imagine teens flocking to the theaters in '82 all let out a huge collective HUH!? when they watched the final production with nary a hatchet onscreen.  after this movie the franchise returned michael myers and that was that.

still, there is some gorgeous halloween imagery in this flick.  the director, and screenwriter, of this film, tommy lee wallace, had an interesting idea by making halloween, the eponymous holiday of the films, the central character of this movie.  the idea is only half-baked.  o'herlihy is a fine bad guy and the movie would simply be flat-assed boring if it wasn't for atkins and o'herlihy being its principals. 

this film is like that jack o'lantern sitting on the neighbor's porch three weeks after halloween, rotting a little but present in its physicality, its shape a reminder of the beauty, terror and mystery of the highest of high holidays, halloween.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

everyday is halloween

haunted house heartstoppers

i asked my father if he'd go to a haunted house with me and he said yes.  but which one?  i love watching videos of haunted houses on TV and youtube but it's been many many years since i've been to one.  i did a little checking online and found heartstoppers, a western-themed haunt, located in the downtown mall, the very mall that is slated to be bulldozed next year or the year after so the basketball team the kings can have a new arena and thus stay in town.

thinking that one haunted attraction is much like another -- they are not -- my old man and i left the house at 8:00 pm and walked the two plus miles to the mall.  it was lovely time bs'ing with my father.  we have only so much time on earth and hell i will do my best to tell the people i love and appreciate them as best i can.  besides my father is a bit of a thrill-seeker like me and i figured he'd like a fright or two during the high holiday scary season.

there are four different haunted houses within heartstoppers and this was a sunday night so the place was sparsely attended.  nary a head for scaring among all the ghouls.  still it was fun walking among the decor of zombie cowboys and tumbleweeded graveyards.  the actors all looked like kids, which they were.  i didn't want to break the spell but part of me really wanted to say something smartass back when the kid-ghouls tried to make me jump.

not that my old man and i didn't jump for we did.  there was one haunt called the tomb of shadows where entry is thru a very tight piece of fabric.  that's what i did, i entered the tomb and felt no end to the fabric that had me in a death embrace.  i couldn't see shit and i got claustrophobic.  i exhausted and said, i don't know if i can do that and the lead ghoul at the entrance, the one who crossed the name of the haunt off our wristbands told me it was only 10 ft in length.  so i went back in.  and pushed thru till i came out into utter darkness.  i could see nothing.  my dad could see nothing.  that was it.  a maze of utter blackness with voices whispering over here over here to guide you.  it was quite unnerving.

the best house was the insane asylum.  i forget its name.  the lead ghoul at the entrance asked for our names as she crossed the name of the haunt off our wristbands.  then she yelled, richard and william will be joining us!!! forthwith the whole of the haunt started taunting us with our names.  the actors were very enthusiastic and it was a helluva a lot of fun as they jumped from the corners to startle me to tears of pleasure and pain.

crazy and fun.  my father too was startled by fright like a 10 year old.  there was one creaturely thing waiting in the final room of a haunt that was rocking back and forth.  i couldn't quite make out what it was.  the thing was tall and looked like it was standing on its hands.  i walked past it just as my old man was approaching the creature when it walked toward my father and he ran like a kid.  i fucking lost it.  i laughed so hard my ribs ached.

after we had a lovely time walking the two plus miles back home stopping at a local diner for dessert and lingering in our conversation.  then my father got into his car and drove home.



Monday, October 28, 2013

a short note on lou reed

i was in anaheim yesterday walking in downtown disney when anna checked her iPhone and told me lou reed had died at the early age of 71.  i was shocked not by his death.  we all will pass away someday.  but by his age.  i am not being ironic when i call dying at 71 'early' for nowadays it is.  but that reed for me was ageless in a way the very cool are ageless.  reed for me bypassed youth long long ago and entered time like a delta bluesman where things like youth and seniority matter not and a person becomes a Presence.  lou reed was such a Presence.  when i was a screaming punk rocker an older sibling of a friend had the warhol produced LP the velvet underground and nico with the banana peel sticker intact.  i went to school on that album.  later when i began reading and writing poetry i learned reed had studied with delmore schwartz, a bygolly real poet.  i was hooked.  i know two poets who named their kids reed after the poet-rocker.  that is the highest compliment i know. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

oh like keep it real

jumped online for a few minutes to see what's to see

anna and i are on our annual fall holiday

doing house projects [my hands & fingers thick with paint]

got thru a haunted house attraction with my old man and lived to tell

got a slight cold runny nose and doing my best to ignore it

oh but you should see the light in northern california

read a few essays in pinoy poetics ed. by nick carbo

got the real live energy from joel b tan and paolo javier

as for me i do try to occupy the wandering border

like the itinerant scholar nomad poetics

rather for me travel is the spaces between noun and verb

like the french poet who wants to be home

when the bread comes out of the oven

Monday, October 21, 2013

everyday is halloween

the corn maze at cool patch pumpkins 

would it seem my silence here at really bad movies as a lack.  instead i've been having, all told with all the shit that had gone down that does not deserve a phrase, a blast.  for instance, this weekend was filled with all sorts of halloween things.

let me start with the corn maze.  located in dixon, california, a small farming community up the road some, is cool patch pumpkins.  it has reportedly the world's largest and most difficult corn maze.  that's no small boast.  forthwith, anna, nick, b. c., j. and i went forward last night into the maze not knowing we would find our way out or in.

the maze is huge with four bridges each in a corner of the maze.  the bridges act both as markers for passage and as rest stops on the journey.  the maze is also immensely popular so that foot traffic is quite dense in certain passages.  that is no matter for each person within the maze will get lost and will find himself or herself all alone in the corn.

we started like this.  we paid our entrance fee and was given a map of the maze.  the map is a dense figuration of passages with print so small superman himself would have difficulty deciphering it.  we began our journey at dusk, a little after 6:00 pm.  i am the father of a cub scout.  i came prepared with a flashlight, bottled water and snacks.  anna and c. each had their iPhones with a flashlight app.  we stepped to the entrance, handed over our tickets and stepped into the corn.

the temperature fall immediately about 10 degrees.  the corn was so high it felt as if you were in the lush rain forests of amazonia.  and with map in hand we set out for the first bridge.  we found the bridge with little difficulty.  we hadn't had dinner yet so i broke into the snacks and shared them with the group.  nick and j. were jabbering as boys are wont and the moon was large and orange.  a halloween, gorgeous, kind of moon. finding the second bridge, forget it.  we were lost.  we also lost daylight.  we couldn't read the map too well with our middle-aged eyes.  the flashlight was only so strong.  we made our way the best we could.

and then it happened.  the flashlight quit working.  batteries were dead.  it was dark.  the moon, full as it was, it's light couldn't penetrate thru the tall thick stalks of corn.  we had the iPhones but even then those batteries would only last so long.  we hooked up with another group who wore headlamps and knew how to read the maps.  they were good.  we followed them till the second bridge.

then we lost that group of professional spelunkers.  we were on our own.  b. is good with a map and he, and anna, got us pretty far into the maze.  we went around in circles.  we hooked up with another group who looked like they knew how to read it a map.  then we lost them or they lost us.  somehow we made it to the third bridge.

the dark had firmly settled.  the corn was thick with fellow travelers.  some passages were so narrow you wondered how a corn snake could get thru.  anna's iPhone battery gave up the ghost.  we were in the dark.  totally until anna found nick's little microscope we bought him in nevada city the previous weekend.  the microscope was equipped with a small light.  a little later c. found at the bottom of her purse a little flashlight.  light!  again, light!  we read the markers in the intersections of the passages and on the map as best we could.  we heard lots of people whooping it up nearby.  we knew were close the the fourth and final bridge.

we made it.  we paused long enough on the bridge to look out into the corn.  we could see in the far and near distance the flashes of light from other people's lamps and flashlights.  they looked both near and remote.  the image was spooky and yet oddly familiar.

we left the bridge made only one wrong turn and then we were out of the maze.  i looked at my watch.  9:30 pm.  our feet were achy and we were tired.  but we have bragging rights that we made it thru the world's largest maze without having had the authorities use a helicopter to help us get out.  a beautiful feeling it was.  we walked back toward our cars with the sound of people still in the maze hollering and yelling from fear or pleasure, i don't know.  for all i know some of those fellow travelers may still be lost in the corn and won't be found again until the farmers of cool patch pumpkins go to harvest the crop.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

everyday is halloween

pieces [1982] 

a DADA kind of ditty produced by veteran exploitation stalwart dick randall, who also helmed the screenplay, directed by spanish filmmaker juan piquer simon, starring christopher george, lynda day george, jack taylor, paul smith [who played bluto in robert altman's revisionist adaptation of the cartoon popeye the sailor man, and edmund purdom as an erstwhile college president.  with a line-up like that how can you lose at the box office?

i dunno, really.  i didn't become aware of this movie until i started reading about it in the late '90s.  i bought a cheap DVD of this movie in 2002 and in 2008 in purchased the grindhouse releasing DVD.  not because the movie is that good but because it is so wacky and fun to watch.

not that i'm in to the slasher genre so much.  jason vorhees as a villain is for me not interesting.  neither is the set-up of slasher pics, a crazed murderer hacking his [it is almost always a he] way thru a group of teens.  but every now and again comes a film that transcends the limitations of its genre.  hence this movie moves at a fairly quick pace with some very interesting set pieces.  little in the way of psychology or explanation over the killer's motives except that as a child his mother scolded him for putting together a jigsaw puzzle of a naked woman.  for her pains the mother is given 40 whacks with an axe.

queue 40 years later on the campus of some quaint new england liberal arts college.  taylor is the popular professor, purdom is the president and bluto is the groundskeeper.  guess which one is the culprit?  randall's script is rather heavy on the red herrings and none are convincing.  the killer is shown in shadow mostly and wearing a long overcoat.  the tool of choice for his kills?  why a chainsaw of course.  how the hell the killer roams the campus with a  rattling chainsaw without rousing the least bit of suspicion from the student body is beyond the script. 

speaking of pieces the film is so clunky edited that it looks like a postmodern pastiche of the slasher genre.  it is near genius in its syntax.  this is the kind of movie luis bunuel would have made if he made a slasher flick.  not too little praise, i know, but this movie comes with a caveat.  it ain't much but it is expressed in the movie's promo tagline, it's exactly what you think it is.  you have been warned.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


time can be so specific

wednesday october 16 2013

being silent is not like staying silent

life moves in only one direction death

if you know you will die will you start to live

bright stars clear skies a halo around the october moon

i worry that i forgot some thing but then i remembered to forget

Sunday, October 13, 2013

nevada city haiku

outside the window of the diner
protest march GMOs/MONSANTO
as a fly sidles up to my fries

* * *

bishop's pumpkin farm haiku

seas of
& green

Friday, October 11, 2013


television blue snow script for the sitcom

aching back there is no art to growing old

set before the computer like a monk in the scriptorium

reading militant poetics the lyric is dead

listening to john adams but prefer the ramones

there is a say here say hi stay high

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

everyday is halloween

halloween wars: food network

for the past three years the tv channel food network has teams comprised of a master baker, a pumpkin carver, and a nuclear physicist and/or rocket scientist to compete against each in creating the most outlandish and crazy horror themes and scenes made in a kitchen.

it is unreal.  and a tad silly.  nothing is edible.  it is all for show.  and yet if you are a geek for the scary season this program is must viewing.  usually there is a celebrity guest judge from the horror genre among the three-panel judges.  for 2011 it was rob zombie, for 2012 it was tom savini.  i don't know who the guest judge is this year because tho i've recorded the season opening i've not watched it yet.  so please no spoilers, okay.

if you want to know what a zombie cake would look like here's your chance to find out.  if you like to see your fondant look like rotting flesh than bam! here ya go.  if you like your marzipan to mimic the rotting fangs of a bloodsucker look no further.

during house chores on saturday i watched the repeat episodes from 2011 and 2012.  i'm rather fond of the first season.  for in 2011 we spent a long weekend in monterey.  after a long day of beach combing, aquarium exploring, and wave watching we settled into bed at the hotel.  we turned on the tv and watched halloween wars.  it was a very lovely experience.  and the winning team was led by one of the coolest looking women i've ever laid eyes on.  i can't recall her name.  she was a professional baker and had a style that was part 1940s/1950s.  i mean she is on a level of cool that would make the fonz blush.

i hate competition and i'm not fond of competition shows.  but this one is a little different.  my guess is that all members of all the teams are pretty successful in their respective careers.  each team creates awesome treats even if you can't eat them.  what the hell.  i like my desserts that look like they do go bump in the night and will bite you back.      


Sunday, October 06, 2013

everyday is halloween

800 lbs pumpkin

we made our annual autumn pilgrimage to apple hill, a confederation of apple growers nestled in the foothills of the sierra nevada mountains that open their farms to tourists every fall.  the first stop is the immensely popular high hill ranch, with dozens of arts&crafts booths, food stalls, fish stocked pond, and a view of the hills to die for.  the place was crowded but soon to be unbearably packed.  we had our annual slices of dutch apple pie.  nick had to climb a tree, because it was there, and we did the rounds of one of the shops that sells apples [natch] and all sorts of foodstuffs.

then it was time to stop at boa vista farms, another popular destination.  if you want to buy apples, pies of all kinds, and various crafty nick knacks this is your place.  there is an old man who sells all kinds of stones and fossils.  he's been there for as long as i can remember.  he is a kind man and his love of fossils is evident in his speech.  to nick the display of stones and fossils is akin to being in a toy store.  nick fell in love with a piece of copper from a michigan dig.  nick is no stranger to this stall and was looking forward to visiting it.  last year he got a trilobite and a few other items from this vendor.  this year, let's just say when anna took nick to another group of stalls i bought the copper as a birthday present. 

boa vista farms also has a small pumpkin patch.  we wanted a couple of pumpkins to place on our porch.  next week we go to a pumpkin patch proper but today was a nice taste of the scary season.  i love pumpkins.  i love a good pumpkin patch.  i really love very large pumpkins.  there was a huge pumpkin, i mean a giant squash, in front of the payment booth.  it had a bit of writing on it, guess my weight.  i asked nick how much he thinks it weighs.  in reply, he asked me what i thought, and i said, i think it weighs about 800 lbs.  beneath the writing on the pumpkin was an arrow pointing the answer.  800 lbs!  not that nick was impressed by his father's acumen for large orange squash.  naw, he did what every eight-year-old boy would do in his situation, he tried to see if he could lift the gourd off the ground.


Saturday, October 05, 2013

from life is cliche

famous first words

is that a poem in your pocket or are you just happy to see me 

everyday is halloween

halloween in haiku

jack o'lantern on the porch
the world is fucked
i am still in love


Friday, October 04, 2013

got a kick out of this article how to look good while reading a poem out loud.  many poets treat poetry readings as a kind of solemn mass.  it's not.  any public speaking is a performance.  anything public is performance.  i'd rather the poet reading slip over her lines if she is enjoying herself in the act of recitation versus a slow, correct reading with no interaction with the audience.

just my preference.  but how one looks is important too.  my late friend pearl stein-selinsky thought fashion was just as important as poetry.  how we wear our hair and clothes, whether we have tattoos and/or piercings, whether you prefer being a square or looking like the fonz, matter a great deal.  even if you choose not to care about your appearance is a choice too.

thom gunn, that most fonzie of poets, in his late 60s and early 70s wore his hair close-cropped.  it was salt & pepper but only because it was dyed.  in her wonderful essay titled 'thom gunn' wendy lesser writes about gunn's hair, 'it would be completely grey if he didn't color it. "i think it's okay to dye your hair if you tell people it's dyed , don't you?' he says, in a confiding tone, to everybody.'

vanity or no we do care how we look and how we look to other people.  so when you get to that podium let your freak flag fly and fucking rock.  imagine going to see your favorite band in concert and they just stood there and desultory played their instruments and mouthed the words.  be a goddamned bummer right.  same for poetry readings.  don't be boring.  rock the fuck out.


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

everyday is halloween

a few years ago i posted this video when i found it because i think it is a great song by a genius band.  the song is also one of the spookiest tunes in the universe.  ian curtis' deep drone gives me the heebie jeebies, in a good way.  the performance is greatness unto itself.  could there be any better music to light your jack o'lantern to show us the way?