Monday, April 30, 2012

The Shamans and Seattle

The thing with comparing two cities is that it’s dishonest. I can’t really compare them. I lived in Syracuse, New York until I was twenty-five years old. I especially can’t compare Syracuse to any other place because it’s where I grew up. That place is the benchmark and foundation of all my experiences. If I say Seattle is big, I mean bigger than Syracuse. My first few months of Seattle were eager discovery, whereas I refused to crawl over the dead body of Syracuse more than I had to. It might be for the best, actually, for all to start their life in quiet, little places. That way life can get better.

Seattle, as far as traveling major distances, is easy. Even when the speed limit is 65, there will be plenty of econocreates, decades old, chugging along at 40-45. Traffic hangs around in the right lane, discussing exits and seeing to the mergers. Seattle is gentle as can be for first-timers. Until the streets proper are investigated. Then the game becomes brutal . Devoid of reason for trial, though always patient to extinguish any new hope that comes along. The patient drivers save the day though. For when lanes start becoming Onlys through complex intersections or just in the middle of a stretch of road, the kindly wave of thanks becomes very heartfelt. Queen Anne is the very worst of all possibilities. The roads are overflowing with parked cars. They are the wise who abandoned the driving endeavor. While searching for apartments, I was lucky to find a spot, a single spot, only a few blocks away from the destination. That owner was showing another property he had right after and offered to lead me there. Yes, horrible, despite being lead there I still got lost. Called the guy and said “never mind”. Aurora seems to run right through the middle and is this unforgiving “end of the world” type of road. There is no option to cross from the North lanes to South, or I have not found it. I am sure, still, that it is an “it” because there would only be one. It is easier to go into downtown and turn around on I-5 or something than it is to navigate Queen Anne. Beautiful place, I hope to never find anything I need there.

But the drivers. The people. As soon as I got in to Seattle I met two wonderfully nice people. They had Dalmatians. I was yet to discover that everyone in Seattle owns a dog, though I haven’t seen any other Dalmatians, so this was classified as a cool thing. They were just walking. Incredibly laid-back. I could feel their comfort falling and dissolving like a mist off them. They had noticed my New York plates and easy –as-you-like started up a conversation. The only part of which I really remember is that once I pointed to the place I’d rented, they both did this quiet stare. It was a harder stare than normal. Of seeing a person get themselves into a situation they didn’t understand and wouldn’t want. But they soothed right over it, saying the previous owner was a writer, and hey, I was a writer, so how about that? In Syracuse, there wasn’t any animosity or friendliness between average people. People generally ignored each other. Though I was to find this a brittle layer indeed when my sister (who drove with me most of the way across country) partially wrecked her truck leaving town. People just pulled over and started helping. The nice kid who worked at Midas chatted like we were all great chums on a sunny day while he changed the tire. He shared a similarly low opinion of Syracuse. But it was a “what are you gonna do? This is my town” sort of attitude. Much fun as I derive from mocking Syracuse, mostly to tease friends still living there, it isn’t really possible to bash Syracuse. It’s not the greatest place on Earth but isn’t bad. That’s about how accurate you’re likely to get. Depends on the weather.

I didn’t pick up on it at first but Seattle is very intolerant of franchise restaurants. Which I love. I came here for life and character. I love to see the shapes and sounds of a personal aesthetic stamped in the real Earth. Barbershops with chairs, THRONES!, older than I am. Little Italian casas that could seat, maybe, a dozen people. “How do you make a ton of money without a ton of seating!?”. You don’t have to. You can meet the owner, or have your father call to setup a gift certificate which takes the form of a torn yellow piece of paper with the balance written on it, look at real history decorating the walls, then eat the best dish of your life. I was in L.A. a few months ago. I don’t recall seeing a one-of restaurant. For sure, the different establishments of various Brands had different character of a sort. This Toll House place validates parking! A good friend of mine described L.A. as “the end of civilization”. I’ve quoted her many times because that’s perfect.

Seattle feels like this collective of Woods People, who’ve technically constructed a city, but they don’t treat it that way. It’s their experiment. If for any reason, shit just started going wrong, they’d all happily hop in their station wagons and take off for their cabin on the side of some mountain. All the big cities I’ve lusted after have always shown themselves as a Great Metropolis. Building and road for so far you forget what dirt and hills look like. Trees are a cute decoration. “Remember those?”. Seattle People didn’t even bother leveling the land before building. I was showing my father my pictures of downtown, and this classy bus stop, and these multi-colored buildings, and people actually walking around their downtown area!, when he asked if everything was on a hill. Yeah, I guess it is. That way you can climb to the top of the nearest one to get a good look at Mount Rainier; remember where all these Seattle People came from. Be reminded of the uninterested forest that surrounds this city. And the sea not too far over there. You don’t gaze around Seattle, moved by the awe of man’s ambition, you gaze with a small sense of “this is how the world fits together”. I don’t feel a message blasted into me from the Great Past, the Inherited Present, or the Boldly Unknown Future. I feel a tentative, anxious, wave sweep over my eyes and through my stomach. Of opening a great door to find a world unfit for my stock of sense-making metaphors. An honest warning of the swirling danger with no bottom balanced by the welcome to make what you will. Seattle trumpets no claim, denies no rumors, but when asked what it is it reflects the question back to you. Everyone loves it here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Lack of Faith in the Self

Honestly and Truth aren’t always intellectual pursuits. Most of the time, they’re a feeling. As though it confirms and at the same time gels fragments of memories or thoughts into a single coherent idea. Evidence of their truth has been dripped to you all life long yet specifics are impossible to vocalize.

Such is my belief that negative emotions are more honest emotions. If all people have various selves, which they interchange rapidly as the need or desire arises, then anger and its ilk are the ones closer to the “true” self. Because an angry outburst doesn’t represent a quick fabrication of lies, but the release of feelings long stewing. Because happiness is a response to stimuli. So is anger. But happiness feels like an involuntary reaction. Like laughing. But then, have you ever shown the funniest comedian’s best work to a friend that doesn’t laugh?  Laughing isn’t a voluntary response! It is something that happens to you. Or so I thought. Anger is a thought process that arrives at an unbalanced equation. Fairness is not being represented! Yet I trust it more because it feels as though I am thinking. Nefarious. On the nature of and what constitutes thought, I turn to feelings as the sole judge.

Another thing I firmly believe is that whenever anyone makes a general claim about how the populations psyche works, they are invariably talking about themselves. It’s another trick that emotion plays upon the mind.

Adversity doesn’t reveal character but creates a situation in which only an honest self can live. It can feel as though layers were being peeled back. Too long living in comfort builds a maze of other and alternate selves while the core isn’t needed so is lost. It’s a laziness I can’t explain. The very best and most capable self is the first jettisoned. The ease with which fantasies are slipped into is inversely proportional to the difficulty in maintaining a thinking mind. Yet who is the one managing these multitudes? Is there a core more core than the thought-to-be core? Honestly another tool on another layer to deal with difficulty? I immensely distrust anyone who has the least confidence in who they are. Anyone who can describe themselves with authority. I think they’ve taken the candy shell for the sum total. Fooled by some malicious or lazy self that wishes to be.

A discussion of selves and the mind is filled with statements balanced with “and”s and “or”s. A trick of language (and by extension culture), or a fair representation of the brutal dichotomy? The Good and Bad self. Thinking verses Feeling. Yet I keep coming back to the question: who has taken the step back to analyze both?

The Truth is a reduction of all superfluous material into a single core observation. How can I send a corrupted (superfluous) self to investigate it? And why are all metaphysical activities only understood by this animal brain’s need for physical metaphor (the truth is at the center), from which metaphysics is supposed to be… above, beyond?

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Friend Of Mine Said

Annotated to correspond with speech, not the rules of writing.

“Within a day I will sunder all of my electronic gadgets for failing me, continuously, contemptuously. Freed of their domineering distraction, I will be halfway through my book, which would have been hailed a master piece, when the demons of this universe express their will and my pen breaks and paper disintegrates for no reason. I will then write a freestyle poem, in blood, on my bathroom mirror before the expense of blood kills me. The poem will confuse, startle, enlighten, and terrify the day’s religious and philosophical thinkers. History will mark it as humanity's first 4th dimension, or hyperpoem. I shall be snuggy in my grave, happy to have dropped another distraction & finally gotten out.”

“Now, if I am a child of God, His work, then desecration of the self is the highest insult. Actually, the only one available to me, in that case. Spite is often mistakenly wasted as contempt or dislike. Keeping the same body & soul, just using them to express “I disapprove of you”. Distant is preserved. Spite, properly, is invasive. The literal spit to the face. I don’t dance around like an idiot then at the end dedicate it to my memory of you. To spite, one must welcome in the dark & perverse. Transforming the whole body & soul. Then taking that foul talisman & inserting it directly into the other’s mind. A ruination of past work, current peace, & future hope. To not meld into but become another awkward appendage, which is a strike against their grace, and let the foulness infect them. Transforming them, now, into all those hated things.”

Continuing in the same hum of conversation

“I hate the approach especially, but all of dating. He must be dressed right, be in the right place, & say the exact right thing in a precise right way. Meanwhile, she gets to stand back, giggling, pretending her every bend & twist is a delicate sonnet to be carefully unfolded. Her plain words a gift to this brute, a rainbow All-Path, that could lead to her tender heart. He appeals to this divine judge, asking his worth, that if perhaps she would graciously allow, he could accompany her. She, in turn, invites him to play a game within a maze. And thus madness.”

My cup was empty but I couldn’t break this.

“In my mind I have this construct but that is a poor word for it as it’s not always all physical; corporal. I speak in metaphor and simile, attempting to convey through language’s poor tools the blueprint of this construct. So that you may build it & see or hear or feel or whatever it is that I do. Then all these people respond with a snarl in the literal. Nothing is more frustrating. They have shattered all bridges connecting us, leaving me an island unable to even relate that frustration. They are somehow the mainland. And even when talking in a one-to-one relationship they look around at support, as though phantom encouragement were being piled under them. And I have breached some terrible protocol. What I presented was not a gift but a perverse tapestry depicting the deflowering of God. Why do they morph my intentions? Why distort their vision to see evil?”

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ain't No Stoppin' The Cap'n

This Avengers vs X-Men is nonsense. Any single member of the Avengers can beat every X-Man. Captain America especially.

First, All the X-Kids? I throw my shield, bounce it off all their heads and turn 'em all into Super Powered Vegetables.

vs Cyclops? Please, you know what counters eye-lasers? A shield. Oh, you been fighting giant robots since you were a kid? I've been stomping faceless nazi ass since before you're mother had tits. DONE. Who else ya got?

vs Colossus? Ok, you do the steel thing but you still can't fight. I'ma drop your ass in the ocean, see that fat ass sink. When you power down and come up to catch your breath, all your gonna catch is a shield to the dome, NIGHT NIGHT!

vs Kitty Pride (Shadow Cat)? You can't even hit anybody!? I'll tell you what, I'll do you last so you can see all your friends get the shit kicked out of them.

vs Beast? Be smart here. Just lay down. There ya go. Sleepy time.

vs Nightcrawler? I'm a world class tactician! You do three BAMF Bullshits, I'll get your pattern, you'll be sucking my fist. Next!

vs Namor? Necksnap.

vs Magneto? Here, hold my shield. Oh you can stop that? How about my leather boots and gloves? No? Get your ass beat old man.

vs Storm? Ohhhhh! Some rain!? How scary. Rain, sleet, or snow this train is still pulling into station! Train being my fist. Station, your face.

vs Emma Frost? Go 'head, invade my mind. Psychic me will tear your up just as bad as physical me. And I'll grind your diamonds up with my teeth.

vs Psylocke? Glowly blades? Get serious. (Psylocke knows in her heart that the Captain is right. She sets off right then to train with all the masters of the universe. She dies never becoming a worthy opponent.)

vs Xavier? (Xavier psychically pleads with the Captain to stop his unstoppable assault) Hey chief, invasion of my mind is tantamount to invasion of America. Yeah, you just declared war on the US. (Cap flips Xavier's chair and makes ready to stomp out all Xavier's silly ideas, but can't bring himself to wail on a cripple who's crying)

vs Gambit? (Normally, Cap is a good sport and let's the X-Dorks at least use their powers. But such is his disgust with Gambit that the face he makes to express that disgust turns the Great Plains brown. Without allowing the Southern Slob a single twitch of his body, Cap grabs Gambit by his greasy hair, hurls him into the ground, whereupon Cap proceeds to pulp and liquefy his body. Afterword, Cap takes Gambit's signiture pole and javelins it into the sun. Cap is again the good sport and allows the other mutants a small reprieve while he washes his hands in one of the great lakes of upstate New York. The lake is transformed into the most polluted body of water on the planet.)

vs Iceman? (Cap takes a full force ice blast to his chest. No effect. Cap gathers up some snow and ice, chucks it at Iceman at barely under super-sonic speed, turning to find his next match before Drake hits the ground.)

vs Shadow Cat? (Cap stares her dead in the eyes) The second you come out of this phasy bullshit, I will be there, and I will rain down more pain than all the mutants in all the alternate realities, compounded by any and all Age of Apocalypses, have ever felt. Just know that. (Kitty Pride never again becomes corporal and dies of starvation)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Meeting Mr. Vasquez

Lemme drop some post-structural bullshit on ya'll. The point is: 'what doesn't deserve coherent'.

There was a jaunt out to the Emerald City Comic Con today for the express purpose of going to Mr. Vasquez’s panel. $30 for an hour of him talking? That was a little steep but you know, big city doings, living life, no regrets(!!!), ect.

Side Note: In regards to all those quotes about once a person is dead then they only can regret things they didn’t do / Live life (whooo!) / Express Your Soul In Loving Action: Eat Shit. Should be easy because you are full of it.

No offense Punisher

To those who didn't and don't know like me: don’t bother buying the ticket in the first place. Was I worried about the interspersed old folks who were pretending to scan the badges of the dozens of people flowing by them every second? I assumed security would be… present. Like they would take it seriously. Also: the show is a glorified shopping event. The thirty gives you’re the privilege to buy over-priced goods?

I love you!

Chunky girls strutting around, face just bubbling giggles whenever anyone looks at them. Paris is Burning. Your ass is your entire back. You aren’t celebrating any culture here, you’re appropriating a theme and a place to showcase your self-centered narrative. Dye from a can that only partially covers the hair. Kids, sometimes there are no poor man substitutes. Sometimes you should stay inside. The ever present Storm Troopers. Quality work fellas. Work in a dance number for the next go ‘round.

Tables and tables of books and books. This is what excites? Have I found the titillation? Wares that can be purchased on any normal day, in any number of others places, but today they are here! And they cost more. I’ve been fucking robbed! I paid to get into a mall!

It’s a new shopping experience. Flowing. No chance to pause for a look. This is a ride. See the currents? I am studying humanity. Gross, misfit, self-indulgent. Whee! Where’s the Topatoco booth? Seeing something that was real, then posted on to the internet(s), now is real in front of my eyes! It blurs my perception. I’m not used to this “real” stuff. Feels fake. Like Bluray movies.


So Mr. Vasquez starts off by declaring that Q and A style panels, for him, are always awful. Then, several dozen oblivious, posturing, losers line up to make his statement as factual as humanly possible. All questions were submitted in accordance with the following template: I am super cool, wicked strange, and crazy dangerous for reading and liking your books - Here is a question that demonstrates my profound ignorance of even the core ideas of your work. Shit wasn’t even rendered in comprehendible English in most cases.

But what is cool has to be cool. I made real something that was not. Also, “Jh” is “J” in Spanish. I would have paid sizable quantities of money on it being a “Y” sound. Seattle, as a whole, was in on that game with me.

Hustle hustle, run run. You see these strides? I’m a be WAITING for Vasquez when he gets back to his booth to sign. Oh! There’s already a line so long you aren’t lining up people anymore? Cool… Here’s another quote to live by: don’t throw good money after bad. I was home eating pizza and mac’cheese in the time it would have taken me to be turned out from the convention for it closing with no memento.

This picture was almost good!