Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"F.A.R.T.: The Movie"

1991
-directed by Ray Etheridge
I watched this movie (not to be confused with Farley's F.A.R.T. movie) today!
Well...
More precisely, i watched twelve minutes and 21 seconds of it.
Because twelve minutes and 22 seconds would have been, um, 742 seconds too many.
It was a dollar store purchase. I didn't have high hopes, but for a buck...well, let's just say the filmmakers aimed solidly for the lowest common denominator.
And hit their mark.
Now understand, i'm pretty sure i'm no elitist. I remember being stunned when someone once opined that THE NAKED GUN was a "shallow" movie. If so, then i'll stand with the shallow.
But this movie was an insipid shame, because it had a great title. Rife with resonance. And as i wandered north of Port Authority tonight, looking for my favorite gag gift store (i needed a fake turd), i thought about what that movie should have been. Instead of some godawful wretchedness about a guy who farts all the time, it should have been a documentary. Stay with me, this could put some aspiring filmmaker on the map. The heart of the documentary would be interviews of people talking about farts. A multi-cultural epic, with the interviewees respresenting every country, color, and creed on the planet. A hysterical, barrier-bending film. We'd find out that every culture around the globe has their Uncle Lous extending their finger to a new generation. That every culture has their Grammy Griselles, whose sphincter control isn't what it once was (or so she claims). Beautiful.
In the process, we'd all become a little more human.
But this got me thinking that...i'm going to lose some of you. No really, i am. A part of me wants to think that my writing will be so compelling or funny or true that by golly everyone will love it. But for heaven's sake, i already almost lost my own mother because i mentioned boogers. And if i'm going to really embrace total openness in these writings...well then i'm really going to lose people. Because being real is still not the kind of world we live in. Your favorite actor or politician or uncle...if you were to really see exactly what their lives were, do you think you'd still idolize them? Probably not. Your friend/sibling/lover, if you suddenly viewed every thought they ever had and every deed they ever did, how much chaos would our society be plunged into? Beyond that, we're all kind of loony, each and every one of us. We all have our beliefs and views, and to us those views seem quite rational. But the process of getting to know someone almost always reveals that other people are morons! They must be, because they don't have our views. Even smart people who seem to share our views...eventually we peel away one layer too many and discover a moron! And even after we patiently try to set them straight, they don't get straightened! We're absolute loons, every one of us. We're loons because we think we're not.
So yeah, i'm gonna lose some of ya. Look around and hug the person reading this next to you, because who knows where the hell they'll be tomorrow, after they discover i talked about (blank) in my (blank) post. And i'm thinking particularly about a post-to-come, one that will endear me to some of you, but may well expose me as shallow and stunted to others.
Ah well.
Sadly, i learned tonight that my favorite gag gift store is out of business. Anybody have a spare fake turd? I can't promise you'll get it back after my planned practical joke...or rather, i don't think you'll want it back.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

nobility

Nobility hurts.
If it didn't, it wouldn't be nobility.
These thoughts came to me through recent romance. How often do we find nobility? Throwing yourself on a grenade, that's about as classically noble as one can get. But in this comfortable society, the opportunities for that kind of nobility are almost non-existent. There are relatively non-painful examples of nobility...a noble speech, or law...but on a day-to-day basis, pain is a pretty good indicator of nobility. Nobility is not bravery. Bravery deals with fear, nobility deals with values.
My own experience of nobility has most always come when romance was involved. Nobility is self-sacrificing. With each of the two women i've been profoundly in love with in my life, i acted nobly. I'm very proud of who i was and what i did. But it hurt. My nobility manifested in restraint. In each case, doors were opened to me. I chose to not go through those doors, knowing that if i gave in to the satiation of short-term desires, much unhappiness might result.
One of these women wasn't ready to love herself deeply enough to truly love another. I knew that rushing into something she wasn't ready for might poison the friendship and trust i was determined she would always, always have in me. I choked away a desire unlike any i'd ever known, one in which i drowned for two years. I knew that my sacrifice meant i might never hold her. But nothing was more sacred to me than never being careless with her. I did what i did happily, eagerly, but a price was paid.
With the other, i knew that her willingness to be physical with me was tied up in her desire to be free of one she loved, and probably her willingness that he be hurt, as she had been. I knew there was an excellent chance she would hate herself a bit if we gave in. The months of nights i spent holding her, always keeping desire in check, were some of the truest and most beautiful nights of my life. But a price was paid.
What happens when an impulse of love is twisted? What happens when emotions are cut off and choked? What was the cost of my nobility? There is a fabric of life in one's spirit, perhaps in the very universe as well. And my fabric was torn. A part of me wonders how entirely necessary it was...whether a goodly amount of my pain was due to the stupid fumbling of a society based on self-hating Judeo-Christian ethics. How (and this is the part that resonates particularly with my new situation) can any loving impulse be a threat to someone's happiness or security? Is there not a hole at the center of the human spirit that needs fixing?
Envy the brave. May we all know bravery.
But do not envy the noble, for they hurt. Giving up your spot on the lifeboat hurts. Caring for an ailing parent so another may chase their dreams, hurts. A parent who gives up a job they love to spend time with their children, they hurt. Falling on the grenade, it hurts.
Give the noble your admiration, but envy them not.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

what's a wildflower?

I'm a wildflower. Not my claim, but i like it. This appellative was given me by the woman with whom i had the first wonderful romance of my life. The fact that most of us are incapable of that kind of love, makes it no less true. In the years since, my willingness to not settle for less has made for many lonely nights. Being called a wildflower was healing - being understood doesn't happen often. Especially for me, since i don't push my wildflower ways (or depth of experience) in people's faces. So many people walk around silently (or not so silently) demanding that their importance be "recognized". Me, i just like being alive.
How am i a wildflower? Some laugh, and say it's because i've never had a job. Which is untrue. Despite my dedication to leisure, and awareness that humans are genetically designed to work only a few hours a day, i've worked hard. I've been paid to wipe people's asses, and to stop people with serious intent from hurting each other. I've been a ditch digger, under the Florida summer sun. The busiest week i ever had on the clock was eighty-five hours, and i've regularly devoted that kind of time to running little theaters. My life's vocations? Paperboy, babysitter, food prep, ice cream scooper, bookstore clerk, busboy/maintenance, mentally retarded vocational instructor, graduate assistant, marketing personality, tree trimmer, nude model, substitute teacher (public & prison), actor, director, construction, artistic director, producer, Greenpeace canvasser, mover, mascot, editor, wedding officiant, and woman wrestler. I've loved every one of those in some way. Many were freelance. I sometimes don't know what i'll be doing until that very day, and have nothing further scheduled. I've had busy months, and months in which i've worked just a few days. That's nice, it's given me writing time. The price (if you want to call it that) is instability. But I've never lacked for food or shelter. By the standards of my society i'm poor...but every day of my life has been one of conspicuous comfort compared to most on this planet. I rarely have four digits in my account, but in a world where so many have so little, there is spiritual comfort in having no more than what one needs. Only once in a while does this prove irksome - i haven't had medical insurance in a long time, and the funds for travel or producing my plays often just aren't there. Sometimes i half-consider a real job, if only for a year or less.
But on the other side, the rewards of being your own person are immeasurable. Most people wouldn't believe how little i get by on, but living simply is simply a choice. My rent is around $400 a month, plus another $200 for sundry. I have a big TV (just dvds, no channels thank you) i didn't pay a penny for...but that may only be possible in silly cities where silly people leave huge TVs on the curb when they buy an even huger one. I earned that TV though, getting it home with just a kidnapped grocery cart...a silly, exuberant day that was. And you mortals just whip out a credit card. Pheh.
Don't look for me at the Gap. I buy shoes and socks and underwear when i need them. I buy food. Beyond that, most of my stuff i get at thrift shops or garage sales. I went in Macy's this year with a gift certificate, and in eight floors couldn't find a single thing i wanted. I felt a strange sense of culture shock as i looked at the faces of the shoppers. A scary level of emptiness. Maybe it was me...
What else is a wildflower? A closeness to nature. Emotionally wide open. Happiest when naked. So much of our society is just surface and noise. I don't self-medicate with recreational drugs. I understand the need for that...to escape life, or increase the chances of sex...but life is far too amazing just as it is. To be able to think and feel...amazing.
I use an alarm clock a few days a month, if that. The rest of the time, i wake when i wake. I don't relate to "looking forward to the weekend", and sometimes can't recall what year it is. I instantly recognized and loved the existential/taoist philosophies on how the past and future are not real. I avoid dishonesty or pretense or wasted time, and seem almost congenitally incapable of self-promotion.
I don't like makeup or hair product or heels...combine that with my non-materialism and suspicions about monogamy, and before the first hello i'm romantically incompatible with 90% of the females in this silly society. Even though i'm well above average in intelligence, health, morals, and romanticism, the only person i've ever met who was more "unmateable" was a drug addict with personality disorders. It's okay to laugh, that's funny...
I'd like to think that i carefully crafted the person i am, but i wasn't in a lot of control my first two years, perhaps the most critical in personality development. Once in a while somebody perceives my life with admiration or envy, or is deeply struck by my bravery. But mostly i just do what seems sensible. What's brave about that? One thing i've fancied has set me apart...i believed certain wisdoms i heard when i was young. I mean actually believed them, instead of just nodding my head and going about my business. Perhaps the most significant would be "you only get one life". For whatever reason, certain thoughts and thinkers (thoreau, gandhi, gibran, lennon, seuss) snuck into my spirit and stayed, in ways they didn't seem to for others.
Why do i write? I've almost never made any money off it, i'm not published, and truth be told i've done damn little to try to be so. I've submitted a poem or two, and a few plays. But i'm simply not a seller or pusher (which is very buddhist, come to think of it). I'm not even convinced that my writing is worthy of publication, but when pushed on the point will respond that if any writing is worthy of being known, just try to stop it. I've even had the thought that for me to create what i must, i must remain relatively unknown. In this culture of celebrity, rewards of money and adulation must affect the spirits of those few creators who receive such things. They must. I'm not saying it's impossible for a rich person to be uncompromised, but...
Anyway, don't get me wrong - if someone is determined to offer me a grand a day to be the court poet/philosopher/foole, i promise i'll consider it.
Mostly though, it would be really cool if someone i don't even know were to really dig, say, one silly little something i wrote.
That sounds like fun.

boring bloggy blues

Okay, i don't really have the blues. Just couldn't resist the alliteration.
I'm listening to Najee's "Love's in Need of Love Today". One of those cover versions that's so sweet and perfect that you listen to it the first time with mouth slightly agape. The rest of the album, a tribute to SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE, is uneven, but there are other gems.
I've been waiting for another daily entry, before launching this blog. But the past few days have been kinda boring. Not to me, but...i've spent most of the past few days creating this blog. Understand, I'm not going to avoid the mundane experiences of life herein. For instance, did i just eat one of my little boogies? A leftover infrequent habit from youth...what can i say? My sister was the nail biter, i ate my boogies. But too much mundanity(?) would be interesting not.
Which brings up the question of whom exactly will want to read this blog. I happily admit the target audience is a little unspecified, as opposed to the blog next door for druidic sudoku-crazed single mothers of Eurasian/Dutch descent. People who like poetry, of course. People who are curious about someone who lives rather outside the mainstream. Plus people who like to laugh. People who like books and music and movies. Probably the stray sci fi fan.
I did have a pretty nice day yesterday. I went to a thrift store in the middle of a snowstorm, on the promise of a boom box. Being somewhat silly, i went by bike. There were already five or so inches. I got into a little snowball fight with my youthful neighbor Paz. I got a little splatter from passing cars, and had one precarious ice moment, but nothing serious. I came home with no boom box, the fellow was very sorry but it hadn't come in. I picked up a cd with studio band cover versions of rock musical songs. It'll probably be horrible, but you never know when you'll accidentally uncover the next SOUL OF SUPERSTAR. I had dinner with M and a couch-surfing acquaintance of hers, Mars from Egypt by way of Canada. He was delightful, and we had much in common. We've both been immersed in biblical research for the purpose of writing a book. Me, i'm writing a play which uses recent archaeological and textual discoveries to separate the mythology of Jesus from the actual man. I know, i know, JC is the last person who needs more press, but the play was spurred by the reading of an astoundingly brilliant book, "The Jesus Dynasty", by James Tabor. It's the only Jesus-related book i've ever read (Bible included, of course) which seems almost completely free of the writer's own personal agenda or bias. Mars is writing a sweeping historical fantasy about...hm, i said i would keep his idea to myself...let's just say that it could be a wonderful step in bridging the chasms between world religions.
Oh yes, that reminds me...the subject of discretion, as relates to this blog. I promise you, i will be ridiculously indiscreet when it comes to me. Heck, you could say that's a part of my life's purpose. The gap between what people say and what people think...the two-track reality that is most people's existence...that's a gap i've long been dedicated to breaking down. Not completely of course...when a library needs to be built or the dam is bursting, self-revelation can be counter-productive. But my point is that the disconnect between thought and word is one of the things that retards human progress, individually and as a species.
No taboos. Break the barriers. We all age and bleed and die. We all want to be loved and protect the children, and the sooner we all REALLY understand that, the sooner fear and hatred will slip into the shadows of history.
Now, i can't guarantee 100% indiscretion regarding myself. But it's not an unrealistic goal; i know myself that well. I'll at least come staggeringly close. I also can't guarantee that the existence of this blog won't change my daily behavior at all. It's possible it will, maybe one decision out of a hundred. But my dedication to total honesty is so strong...i don't want to hide a single thing from you, whomever you are.
So generally the only discretion i will exercise herein will be for others. Not everyone is ready to have the most intimate realities of their lives put on public display. Far from it. So i will use the already-seen device of not naming certain people, rather referring to them by "M" or "Q". Well, maybe not "Q".

Thursday, February 21, 2008

getting to M's, the adventure

I walk out of the theater, and call M. It's pretty cold. Okay, gotta get to Northern Blvd. on the RVG line. I have my bike, but with my knee still acting funny, i'll take it on the subway. Hm, she just recommended taking the E, which is one block behind me now, but if i bike the ten blocks to the 34th station, i can get the R and not waste time on a transfer. Also, the smaller subway stations sometimes, like the one behind me, close turnstiles at night, so i'll gamble on the bigger 34th station.
Okay, got food. Here's 34th...carry the bike down, and...NIGHT GRATES! Damn, here? Okay, i'll just walk a couple blocks to the other end....damn, MORE grates...yeah, around this side too...okay, i'll bike to 42nd Grand Central...okay, here i am...walking down...and people coming up saying it just closed...okay, back onto the street, over to the main terminal a couple blocks away, and...yay, i'm in...hm, will Northern give me a problem getting out...maybe i should just go to my home stop and bike from there...naah...hm, been waiting too long for a damn R to come...okay, i'll just hop on an N, and make the switch to any of her lines at Queensboro Plaza, like we talked about...here we go...here we are getting off at Queensboro, and...nope, no RVG here...hm, i think it must be at Queens Plaza like she originally said, but she let me wrongly correct her...oops, and now i'm carrying the bike down and up several levels trying to get out, as the nice man said that my station is only a couple blocks away...finally, an emergency exit...hmm, should i just bike to 30th at this point, and then north to her...hmmm, i don't see this RVG station yet...hmmm, fuck it, i'll bike the rest of the way...hmm, this road here seems to be pointing exactly where i want to go...should i take it and maybe save myself a mile or two, or go where i know...could end up getting lost, of course...fuck it, let's do this...hey, it's Northern Blvd.!...perfect, this should lead directly to her...yup, i keep seeing RVG stations...okay, a beautiful night, and...Best Buy!...okay, don't see the station, but time to call!...waiting...okay, here she is...hm, she sounds drowsy and unexcited and impatient...it's fucking cold, stop asking questions, M...what...wait, i'm still talking and she's awful quiet...hmm...oh shit, my phone just died!...that's never happened before, though i've been dealing with dying battery issues for months and months...can i get it alive again...nope, it keeps on dying, just as i dial...and i don't have her phone numbers written down...hm, okay, just find my way to 50th and 30th...no, i don't think left was the way to go...okay, i found it...maybe i can get my phone to come alive again long enough for me to read her number...inside Papa John's, this nice counter girl seems to like me, and gives me her phone...okay, got the number...here's M, is she having second thoughts or is she just too tired...second thoughts would be understandable, we still hardly know each other...we talked at 5:30 today, at which time i said five or six hours, and despite everything i'm still within that timeframe...maybe she thought i was exaggerating on the estimate?...dammit, i've come too far, don't want to give up...okay, here's the building...i'm in...hm, small elevator, okay i'm in...her floor...okay, i think the thing to do is just say hi and bye and chastise her tomorrow for her ongoing dumbass behavior in the face of being sick...maybe just maybe sickness is the body's way of saying "Hey fucknut! Slow the fuck down!"...but she keeps working too-long hours and socializing afterwards...forget other compatibilities, she's obviously not intelligent enough to take care of herself (sarcasm, mostly)...
Okay, that was actually a kinda nice hug...back to the cold...hm, really gotta pee...well, the streets are deserted, and there's this shadowy place at the big tree to the left outside M's building...ahhhhhhhhh...back on the bike...it's a rather beautiful night...so peaceful and quiet in the cold...what a cool way to learn my neighborhood...and the Papa John's girl was nice, can i wave at her as i pass?...been a bit of an adventure...who knows, maybe this night will turn out to be more fun than watching improv tomorrow night...got my yummy food in my pack, and it's actually not as late as it feels...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Birth! Of a blog!

Greetings. I sit here in my home in Astoria, NY. It is early evening, and the only light comes from my computer screen, plus the ambient light coming through the second-story window at my side. All the buildings here on 29th Ave. are two-story row homes, probably thirty to forty years old. The nearest streetlight is across the street, and a second one is visible further away on a cross street, 23rd. In the distance, over the row houses on the other side of the street, i can see the lights of the uppermost portions of the Triborough Bridge. The only sound in the house is the music of Cassandra Wilson. It's a lushly beautiful album i'm hearing for the first time, which i bought recently because it contains a cover of "Harvest Moon".
Having a room with a window was very important to me when i moved here six months ago, as i spend many hours writing, mostly poetry and plays and before now. This window and the view therethrough have been lovely, except...it's one of those double-paned jobs, and moisture has seeped between the panes. Removing this moisture seems impossible, so my view of the outside world is a touch obscured.
Details...all these details. Why? Because life is in the details, if i may be so simplistic. Or more precisely, connection is in the details. If i hope to connect to you, i want you to know who i am. Nothing hidden, no layer of moisture obscuring our connection (i swear, i never had that metaphor in mind when i started rambling about the window).
And why a blog? When i first heard of such things, it sounded fine but a little too "geekboy" for me. Not surprising, as i've always resisted technology. I started writing in the nineties on an actual typewriter. After a few years i broke down and switched to a word processor. I resisted the internet until five years ago. I resisted cell phones even longer. But for about a year, i've been warming to this blog idea. In part because, as i go on in life, it is writing that captures more and more of my passion. It started about ten years ago with a play, a natural offshoot of my first creative passion, acting. I've long had a suspicion that writing might someday be a huge part of me. After a couple plays, i wrote a poem. This year has found me writing articles, and fun lists like "The 10 Worst Movies of All Time". So all these elements come together here in Astoria on this cold night.
Why "unboughtsoul"? I knew that my vibe wouldn't cater to any very specific target group; the most concrete description i can give for those who will be drawn to this blog are "free thinker". And the curious, for indeed my life is a bit of a curiousity when held up to the "average" american. The simplest way of describing me is to imagine me living with a sign around my neck reading "THIS SOUL NOT FOR SALE". I've always felt rather immune from the pressures to conform. I've done my thing, ignoring the mandates of middle class America from which i sprang. A large part of this is the rejection of materialism, and the idea of slaving away in the hope of a future day of leisure. I claim my right to leisure here and now. Understand though, i've been a hard worker all my life, generally standing out, be it in creative work or digging a ditch. I've worked happily for others, and more often freelanced. I won't say i don't know the feeling of prostitution, as i did spend some two months of my life in a Spongebob costume (one month would have been plenty). Sometimes i even embraced prostitute-like experiences, just to be in touch with that reality. But generally i've done what i wanted, had fun, and refused the 401K world.
Another thing that has made me different is my desire to live not in the past or the future, as so many do, but in the present moment.
So "unboughtsoul" seemed natural. Then i hesitated, not liking the religious connotation. I thought perhaps "unsoldspirit", which was better intellectually, but not as poetic, and "spirit" connotes a certain religiousity too, so i went with my first impulse.
And what will you find here? Aside from the obvious things like poetry and articles and lists, i'll make entries about the ongoings of my daily life. We unbought souls can be pretty amusing.
Silliness. Poetry. Randomness.
Today was a leisurely day. I masturbated. I answered a few e-mails about a poem that i sent to friends, "The Land Where I Grew". It's my first political poem...perhaps not great, but not bad and certainly sincere. I edited one of my plays. I took a bike ride to do banking and visit local thrift shops, looking unsuccessfully for a boom box (yes, i did mention that i was listening to music earlier, thank you for paying attention...my old cd player, a freebie from craigslist, is hanging on, barely). I met a very nice old man while out though, and bought a short story collection by a female writer about sexual awakenings in India, plus bought the movies FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION and GALAXY QUEST. With breakfast, i watched the first part of the movie DEATH OF A PRESIDENT, a fictional account of Bush's 2007 assasination. With lunch, i watched some of the documentaries that come with the STAR TREK classic series dvd set. The first one was rich, the second a little boring with the details of Shatner's horse passion.
And i wrote to you.
Such has been my life today. Not bad.