Harlan Ellison

June 28, 2018 Leave a comment

ellison

Harlan Ellison has passed away. I don’t even know why I’m writing this. There’s nothing I can say about Ellison that won’t already be said countless times in other areas of the internet today, but in a month during which we’ve already lost Anthony Bourdain, it felt right to say something.

If there is a pantheon of writing gods out there, Harlan has been in it for decades. His list of accomplishments is staggering, the influence of his work and voice is far reaching.

No one can sell Harlan Ellison better than Harlan Ellison, so here are a few clips that sum him up perfectly.










 

If you have the ability to watch the 2008 documentary DREAMS WITH SHARP TEETH, I highly recommend doing so. It’s such an interesting look into Harlan’s world and his life.

Godspeed, Mr. Ellison. I’m going to drink a beer and read some comic books. I like to think you’re doing the same, somewhere.

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Categories: 2018, Writing Tags:

Life Is Weird

June 17, 2018 Leave a comment

I’ve slept a lot in the last twenty-four hours. Made the climb up the stairs, glance out the window before climbing into bed, wrapping myself up in blankets and drifting into unconsciousness. I’d woken up a few hours later, come downstairs and made myself a sandwich, then repeated the process listed above. Then again, then again.

I’ve lost track of how long, broken up over a day, that I’ve slept. It feels like too much, it feels like not enough.

Sleeping is a coping mechanism for me, as it was for my father. When things got to be too overwhelming, when everything seemed it’s bleakest, my father would turn off the lights, turn on the fan, and crawl into bed. Now, I do the same. I’m a lot like him, in a lot of ways. Some of them make me proud, some of them make me wonder.

Father’s Day is today, as of this writing, and I just never know how to feel on this day anymore. Every time it comes around, I reach for the phone to call my dad and tell him I love him. Every time I do, it hits me all over again that he won’t be on the other end of that phone.


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Anthony Bourdain passed away last week, another life claimed by suicide, and it has hit me considerably hard. I did not know Bourdain, had never met him or spoken with him in any capacity, but through reading his books and following his television shows (No Reservations/Parts Unknown), I felt like I did. Through reading various articles he’d written, various interviews with him, I felt like we all got a glimpse of his soul. A soul that was scarred and embattled.

Bourdain’s struggle with mental health was never a secret, was never kept hidden from viewers of his shows. No, in fact, Bourdain was always a champion of speaking out, be it in interviews or on Twitter, about depression and mental health issues. He always seemed like someone who had been deep in the fight for many years, always punching upward, but that made him one to admire and respect.

For someone who suffers from depression, for someone who has dealt with this pain his whole life, to see someone like Bourdain going out there and shining a light on so many problems in our society (the #MeToo movement and harassment/abuse in all industries, causes dealing with mental health, being critical of political regimes including our own what are bordering tyranny) and doing it with such wisdom and charisma… It made an impact. It gave me hope.

But to lose such a vital voice in this time of strife, to lose such an important warrior in the current culture war blowing up outside, is devastating. I had said on Twitter that losing Bourdain now is very much akin to losing Hunter S. Thompson during the G.W. Bush administration at the beginning of the (latest) Iraq war. A modern scholar who has a unique take on life and the world around them because they have had unique experiences, had survived unique trials and tribulations, and were made better for them.

My heart hurts, not just for the loss of a television travel host, but for the loss of one of the most vocal proponents of the fact that we are all the same people living on the same planet. We should respect one another, we should care for one another, we should put all this strife and pettiness behind us and focus on healing the world and making it a better place. Showing us the beauty of different cultures, their histories and art, to make it less scary that these cultures are “them”. In fact, that there is no “them”. Only “us”.

To know that Bourdain’s death was self inflicted, that his demons had finally overpowered him, that the darkness was too strong for him to fight it anymore, is what has hit me the hardest. To know that a man like Bourdain, who had been through so much, seen so much, been connected to the entire world in such a unique and powerful way, was still taken over by such sadness that he would hang himself… It scares me to my core.


It’s raining again.

I think blogging about things is helping. I think I’ll continue.

Couch Nap V. Bed Nap: Dawn of Holy Shit What Day is This Even?

April 26, 2017 Leave a comment

I fucking love naps. I do. They’re little slices of heaven in what can sometimes be a hellish day. Who doesn’t love drifting off into unconsciousness, allowing their problems and the world around them to fade into black, all while nestled warmly under a nice big blanket?

But while naps are a great way to recharge your stamina for finishing daily tasks, or simply a way to escape the overwhelming complexities of life for thirty minutes or so, the age old question still remains: Which is better, Couch Nap or Bed Nap?

The debate has raged on for as long as naps have existed, but I walk the thin line down the center. I believe both types of naps have their merit and deserve their place in the sun (or moon, the time of day you take your naps is your business).

QUICK AND DIRTY

One benefit of a Couch Nap over a Bed Nap that I’ve found is that it’s easier to take brief naps on a couch than it is on a bed. For me, a Couch Nap is always a quick thing. I can fall asleep easily on the couch, but I can’t stay asleep easily on the couch. So, this leads to short naps (15 – 60 mins).

TIME VORTEX

Bed Naps are a strange beast. I climb into bed, pull the covers over myself, settle my head onto the cool side of the pillow, and drift away. The only problem is that, if left unchecked, a Bed Nap can get out of hand. I’ve crawled into bed, fully committed to only sleeping an hour or so, only to wake up a full eight hours later. That’s a whole night’s sleep, for most. My eyes shoot open and I immediately wonder where the hell I am and what year it is. These naps always make me feel ten times worse (re: more tired and physically destroyed) than before.

A MATTER OF OPINION

I know people who view this as a very clear cut/black and white decision. They have chosen their hill to die on. They are #TeamCouchNap or #TeamBedNap and if you try to sway them otherwise, they will fucking fight you.

These people are lacking the benefit of including both in their lives. They lack the foresight to realize that, with a little careful deliberation, they can choose the right nap for the right situation. Sometimes a quick Couch Nap is all that is required to boost your drive and redirect your focus. But sometimes you need the warmth and solitude that only bed can offer, which may or may not lead to you waking up forty years in the future and unsure of whether or not you still qualify as human.

IN CLOSING

I really like naps. I’m also very tired and I just finished eating a chimichanga and now I’m a little gassy.

Current Status: Monday, February 27 | 8:25pm

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Current Proof of Life:
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Current Audio Saturation:

 

Current Ramblings:

The snow has receded early this year, giving us a preview of spring. The brown tattered grass and naked tree branches seem as unprepared for the death of winter as the rest of us. Sunlight warming my face, gentle breezes on the air instead of biting cold winds, neighbors in shorts and t-shirts. All of this is uncomfortably unfamiliar in February for Minnesota.

Never talk about the weather.

I turn 33 in 3 days and while it’s just another birthday, it dawned on me recently that this will be the first birthday of my life without my father. My father was there, either physically or as a voice on the phone, for every single one of my birthdays since day one and this will be the end of that.

As we get closer to the one year anniversary of his passing, things are getting harder again. Emotions are running wild, sleep is growing more and more in rarity by the night, nerves and anxiety in full force. All of this was finally falling under control, I was finally getting a grasp on the sadness and the emptiness, finally learning to live normally again. Is this what life is, now? Almost a full year of fighting for control of my own emotions, my own heart and mind, only to lose it all when it is finally within my grasp?

The photo album helps. It helps and it hurts, but mostly it helps. Seeing photos of my father holding me as a baby, seeing photos of us on family vacations and the like, reliving those memories, that’s helping me in a lot of ways I never thought it could.

Just another birthday.

I have to work on my birthday this year, which is normal and not usually a problem, except I’m not sure in what state I will be when the day comes. Will it be a happy day, of friendship and laughter? Or will I spend my time barely holding it together? Time will tell.

Just another birthday.

NATIONAL NIGHTMARE: DAY ONE

November 9, 2016 Leave a comment

Wow. So, here we are. The beginning of the end.

Last night, when I left work, I walked right over to the local liquor store and bought a case of beer. I then went to the local supermarket and bought a chimichanga. When I got home, I flipped on CNN, took a deep breath, and let the madness wash over me for the following few hours. The combination of shredded beef, Spanish rice, refried beans and all the fixings, along with beer after beer after beer, could do nothing to properly prepare me for the horror that would unfold.

In fact, in my half-drunk, very-full state, I ended up going to bed before it was all made official.

I’ve made it clear in the past that I’m not a huge fan of Hillary Clinton. I’ve made it clear that, once the nominees of both political parties were officially announced, that I felt we’d be screwed either way. But in different ways, in more subtle ways, depending on which side of that terrible coin we fell upon November 8th.

But make no mistake here, do not take me as a person who is unaware of what just happened to our country last night, we now face the worst possible outcome of this election. If Clinton had won, I would have sighed a sigh of relief and then been somewhat worried about where her policies were going to take us. But I would have had no real fear for the future, nor would I have felt the concern or fear for the people of color and LGBTQ community that are my friends and family. To me, this election was truly choosing the lesser of two evils. And the worst evil imaginable is who won.

Everyone has a voice. Everyone has a vote. Everyone deserves to have that voice/vote be heard and counted. This election was about what kind of steps we would take into the future, what face we want to present to the rest of the world, to let them know who we are as a nation and what we stand for.

 

trump

This is the face we chose last night.

I don’t even know what I think or what I feel, and it has already been nearly twenty four hours since the decision was made official.

I do know one thing: If you are a straight white male, I do not want to hear “It’s not that bad” or “it’ll be fine” or really any other kind of white bread optimism, because it’s not us I’m worried about. White straight men aren’t going to be targeted, white straight men don’t need to live in fear for the next four years, white straight men don’t need to fear harassment or assault or denial of basic human rights. White straight men don’t need to fear, not for the next four years.

I’m afraid for all of the Muslim Americans who are going to be targeted by idiot racists who feel justified in treating them horribly, simply because our new President feels the same way.

I’m afraid for any woman who has ever faced sexual assault on any level, because now the President of the United States is on the same level as the assailants they fell victim to.

I’m afraid for members of the LGBTQ community, including my own son, who will spend the next four years living in fear and uncertainty while a President and Vice President who have vocally expressed an anti-LGBTQ mentality in the past are in power.

I’m afraid of the message all of this is sending to the young impressionable minds of this country.

I’m afraid of all of that and nothing another straight white man says to me will alleviate a single bit of it.

I’m still processing everything. I’m still figuring things out. I’m still wondering where we’ll all be after January 20th, 2017.

In the meantime, I leave you with one of the few things I’ve found comfort in since last night: Stephen Colbert.

Hunter S. Thompson Day

July 18, 2016 Leave a comment

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Today would have been Hunter S. Thompson’s 79th birthday. I don’t make a habit of pointing out things like this, normally. The birthdays of people no longer around to comment on them. I made a post last year, on the tenth anniversary of his death, as a memoriam and a means to show how much I wish he were still around today.

The reason I’m bringing up the good doctor today, now, is because we find ourselves in the middle of an unprecedented clusterfuck of an election season and it’s one that I feel Hunter would relish in. I feel he would haul his 79 year old bones atop the roof of Woody Creek Owl Farm and, bullhorn in hand, shout to the world “I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO.”

I would love to see Hunter on CNN talking about Trump, the now unstoppable Frankenstein’s monster of the GOP, and his orange skin and black heart. Or Hillary Clinton and all of her pantsuit politics and shady behind-closed-doors dealings. The new era of democracy, the choice no one should be forced to make, with people voting to elect a tainted and uncertain future just to fight against the possibility of no future at all.

This is exactly the sort of thing I would love to hear Hunter’s voice on. Maybe he would surprise us all and be a Trump supporter (though not likely), maybe he would back him as a middle finger to politics in general, as a way to tear down the whole damn thing and build it back up fresh again.

Who can say? Hunter is gone, sadly. His voice on matters, old and constant, is always out there in the form of his writing. But new matters, new faces of evil flashing their shimmering eyes from Washington, are beyond his ability to comment. We can only imagine what he’d say.

As a reminder to what fueled Hunter, aside from a passion for life and politics, here’s Hunter’s “daily routine”:

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I think I’ll spend today reading The Rum Diary. You celebrate however you see fit.

Categories: 2016, Writing Tags:

That Captain America Thing

May 25, 2016 Leave a comment

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Marvel Comics has started a bit of hoopla this New Comic Book Day, with the release of CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #1. In this issue, Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, dons the costume once more and sets out to fight the good fight against the forces of evil. But in the closing pages, a huge twist that will have ramifications for the entire Marvel universe is revealed.

I won’t say what that twist is here, I won’t spoil for you a comic that has just come out. Comic Book Resources goes in depth with the spoiler here, if you’d like to be spoiled.

No, this isn’t about the spoiler specifically, or even the reaction to said spoiler, but rather the reaction… to the reaction of the spoiler. I know. My head hurts, too.

People are outraged by this spoiler. People are boycotting Marvel, people are threatening to burn their entire collections of Captain America comics, people are taking to Twitter and Facebook to voice their disgust. These are not the people I’m talking about.

No, the people I’m talking about are those responding to these fans. The people who are saying things like “it’s just a character!” or “it’s just a comic book, he won’t be a [SPOILER] for much longer!” or “stop overreacting!”

Here’s the thing, this particular twist isn’t the run-of-the-mill story twist. It’s not your cookie cutter plot twist that you see coming from a mile away and know in your heart will be retconned in a few issues. This twist is one that stretches all the way back to the conception of Captain America, it tarnishes the very idea of Captain America and what makes him who he is and always has been. It spits in the face of his Jewish creators in a way that is heartbreakingly sad and honestly very hard to deal with. It’s more than a simple change of personality or costume that fans don’t care for, it’s a change of the very definition of the character itself.

I feel the reaction has been justified. I feel like the people calling out fans as “overreacting” and telling them that “it’ll all be different in the next storyline, anyway! comic stories are retconned every month!” don’t get what Captain America truly symbolizes and what he means to, not just Americans in general, but a very specific cross-section of Americans.

Count me in the camp of people who hate this twist, count me among the masses who feel this is a cheap and dirty ploy to grab some media attention away from DC Comics and their big story changes going on right now (“REBIRTH”).

That said, I am willing to see where the story goes. I’m willing to see how they handle this grievous misstep in character management, this colossal misunderstanding of their own flagship character, and where they go from here. I’m a fan of story, after all.

But don’t fool yourself for one second into thinking that Marvel didn’t just do irreparable damage to one of the most beloved, and culturally important, characters in modern mythology.