Saturday, September 24, 2011

I'm Bruce Willis

I'm Bruce Willis from wreckandsalvage on Vimeo.

Not perfect, but I love the concept and excecution-- though I'd prefer it focus less on Die Hard, and include footage from more of his other movies.
We need more of these.

Story of mine

Multiples Of One
2014; November 8:
I’m searching for someone. A missing part of myself.
Wandering through a mall, I stop at a presentation demo showcasing make up artists transforming people into human-animal hybrids with paint and prosthetics so detailed that they look like genuine genetically engineered, gene-spliced creatures. Displayed out front in barbershop chairs backed by a mirrored wall are finished samples; I look behind the scenes, see the magic happening— so I know it is not actually genetic manipulation.
Borrowing a pogo-stick sort of hopper thing from an adjacent kiosk, I bounce away to check at a toy store, which I discover is now almost empty from a going out of business sale. A part of me is there, but it is not who I thought I’m looking for. I leave with a toy Voltron (lions, of course). I bounce back to return the hopper, seeing the presentation crew prepping more volunteers off to the side. I continue my quest elsewhere on foot, but now I’m a hamster. I locate who I’m looking for, and find my soul mate: the yang to my yin. Although he looks and feels like Gevrall, somehow I Know this is really an artificially flavored simulacrum.
When we meet, he begins alternating between human and hamster form, and then so do I. He insists we can’t be together until we find a way to be fully human again.
So we reluctantly part ways, and seek a means to break our curse. We run into each other again, and this time he is morphing from human to hamster to ferret, while I am morphing back and forth into a hedgehog. Our anguish is palpable— a horrid, living thing. Stealing a few too brief but glorious moments in each others’ presence, we fret over our dilemma like Romeo and Juliet. We wonder if we could make our relationship work as we are, but decide to separate to continue our quest.
We meet one more time in some anonymous glass trinket shop, and regrettably still no resolution has been found. Shamed by his malady, but not giving up hope, he ventures away from the mall indefinitely. Away from me.
A dreamscape shift, and I’m outside.
I resent the unnecessary complication of simplicity, and its resultant inefficiency.
The adult world is so cluttered with over complication. I miss childhood. I miss who I used to be, when I was a kid. Who I could be because I was a child.
Maybe it’s because I’m nearly age 40, but I’ve been thinking about her a lot recently. What I’ve gained; what I’ve lost by “growing up”.
Fortunately, I’m still on speaking terms with my younger self:
I love the way you are. It's who I am— so I don't have to try hard.
I remember all those crazy things you said. You left them running through my head.
And the truth is that I really miss all those crazy things we did. Didn't think about it… just went with it. You're always there, you're everywhere. And, right now, I wish you were here.
(this is my dream journal, so I’m not legally obligated to give credit to Avril Lavigne)
And she was here— which is to say, there _I_ was… me as I am now, watching myself as I was way back then-- a child, maybe 6 years old-- squatting by and staring into a water puddle on the sidewalk, the remnant of a hardy summer rain. Back then, she wore her hair long enough for pony tails, which was often her preferred style. Feels like morning, and locale is reminiscent of a small town suburb, like the ones I grew up in, when I took breaks from circus life. For some reason, older me is out walking a toy Voltron on a leash when I… “find” myself. Voltron might represent a kind of matryoshka doll or Kurlan naiskos; and also a totem of my being a Leo.
Me now, I am a reflection of my former self-- as if seen through a dirty mirror with my pixie hair cut, literally & metaphorically standing in the girl’s shadow behind her, looking over her shoulder as I listen to what she has to tell me.
Now, I’m talking to myself. Again.
“What we like,” young me continued, while casually moving the tip of a small stick fallen from a tree through the puddle in a figure 8 motion “—what we ARE like—is always changing. We don’t live in the moment. We are not who we are. We are suggestible, allowing ourselves to be influenced. We act as—and ON— what we were and what others are… and what others say we are.” Me and mini-Voltron stood silently, but attentive beside her.
Younger me paused, staring a moment longer at the puddle, before standing up to look at me.
She still held on to that stick.
“We like those who understand us, who know us--” she told me, “even when we forget ourselves.”
She paused again… seemingly finished.
“This is why,” young me sagely revealed, “old people, like you, are the future.”
I looked at her askance. Old? Me?
“I’m 37,” said I, with a smirk, amused by my cunning Monty Python reference, “I’m not old.”
Even though I am actually 39. Is that right? I don’t keep track of my age anymore. I suck at math, but I remember I was born in ’75--- so you do the math.
I don’t lie about my age— defying yet another womanly cliché, I was only making a joke.
To which younger me simply shrugged without looking up at me, her gaze directed somewhere down the street; nonchalant, as if to say “whatever” or “you know what I mean”.
I knew what she meant. Her pronouncement may seem contradictory to conventional wisdom, which says children are the future.
But “old” people like me remember a world before the Internets.
And then I am being summoned. I can sense a transition bridge forming, my dreaming merges into someone else’s.
But before I go, early me looks me in the eyes, holds up one finger and says, “First” with a tone and mannerism that indicates a word association, so I say, “Love”. A second finger sequentially joins the first, and she says “Second”, to which I reply “Chance”.
As I anticipated, she adds a third finger, saying, “Third”-- I kindly reciprocate with “Act”.
Bits and pieces of that some other mind comingle and blend into mine, as the me of yesterday fades away, momentarily co-creating a dreamscape, as each dream overlaps until I fully cross over.
I don’t always dream walk, but when I do, I prefer going into the most interesting people in the world.
Pulled into the dreaming of an excellent and favorite actress of mine playing the main character in one of my favorite shows ever--- Fifth Wall. The well known semi-spin off of the Star Quest TV series, currently in its third season. The show is about a contemporary TV cast and crew producing a sci-fi series called Matryoshka, with the same 1970s sci-fi aesthetic used in the original Star Quest series. The series comments on and reveals the creative, political and business aspects behind the scenes of making a TV series. Plus, a few episodes are actually full episodes from the sci-fi spin off they are making.
She played a Doctor Who type role in a drama cleverly and brilliantly combining the cerebral elements of Andromeda with those of House and Studio 60.
I say played, past tense, because... this 30-ish year old Indian woman took her character so seriously that she gradually began thinking she IS the character--- experiencing a fascinating psychotic break… a personality/ identity schism.
Her actual identity increasingly became suppressed and overwritten by her fictional persona.
In an interesting and innovative creative decision, the show runners began integrating this development into her character— before she had to be written out of the series recently for obvious reasons. Heather Bishop is lobbying on Professor Nelson’s behalf to get her sent to The Prometheus Institute for observation and treatment.
Since I am not restricted by doctor-patient confidentiality, this is the story of what I saw in her head…

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Short story I wrote: BONUS!

Into the Land of Ghostly Schemata
In the year 2008, Cassie O’Brien sat with her best friends Akasha and Efram in their shared living room, watching TV—something on the Sci-Fi Channel.
During a commercial break, a promo came on for a pseudo-documentary about lost historical artifacts and relics, like the Holy Grail.
Saying what Cassie was thinking, Efram commented, “Why do they always assume these things haven’t been found?”
“What do you mean?” Akasha asked him.
“How do they know,” Efram elaborated for her, “someone doesn’t have these artifacts hidden somewhere?”
“Right,” Cassie added, somewhat disingenuously, “Like Indiana Jones—The Ark is not lost, it’s just kept secret in a warehouse.”
“Good point,” Akasha noted, “Just because ‘The World’ (she says with air quotes) doesn’t know I have, say, a lava lamp… doesn’t mean it’s missing.”
18 months ago, an undisclosed location deep underground… Conciliator Onobanjo spoke to Cassie of the foolishness in trying to summon a demon or elder god—either they are not real and therefore a waste of time… or they are real and would almost certainly wreak havoc. It’s not that the world is full of darkness, the aged man sagely kibitzed… with Cassie appreciatively acknowledging and conceding the revelation... it is just that we have closed our eyes.
He only mentioned this to her as obtuse metaphor; analogy for their current dilemma.
When the Conciliator had requested her immediate presence, without explanation, Cassie—out of reverence-- arrived without preamble or question.
Inadvertently, she tended to look more approachable than she actually was, so people tended to get an impression that they could—or should-- impose or encroach on her. For good or bad, Cassie had an innate kindliness and sanctity that inclined people to trust her, to like her. But in truth, she was too earnest, too honest; not meant to cope with things as they are. She often felt as if she wasn’t the person people were talking to—or thought they were talking to. People tended to assume things about others—for example, they frequently expected or attributed a particular degree of “Irishness” to her because of her culturally loaded surname, and were unduly disappointed because she did not speak Gaelic or even with an accent. Nor was she Protestant or Catholic. She wore her Irish quietly, on the inside—which, she admitted, may seem like a contradiction.
Perhaps we expect too much from names, give them too much power… too much credence.
The danger in names is that they are too regionally or propensionally subjective… too variable and maleable.
Onobanjo described the delicately troubled situation as the two of them strolled urgently down a corridor toward the primary entrance to The Arcanum Reliquary. Most of those allegedly lost or missing historical artifacts you hear about (and many more you don’t) are neither missing nor lost… they are kept here. As a logical extension of Arcanum’s self appointed task of observing and preserving the truth of human history and knowledge. American-centric legitimazation is routinely imposed on other cultural histories. An egregious historical gentrification was being conducted through deliberate mistranslation and mistranscription for the convenience of various parties “in power”; so Arcanum existed to correct the “official” public record.
Plus, safeguarding the so-called lost artifacts was a protection against the inevitable ramifications if an item like the Holy Grail were loosed in a society lacking the wisdom to comprehend.
Nevermind that the Grail is really symbolic of the Messianic bloodline and philosophy of Jesus Christ; not the commonly presumed chalice icon.
Since the early 1900s, Arcanum facilities utilized a cybernetic-crystaline tesseract technology, delivered from the future by The Traveler. For security and simplicity purposes, Onobanjo is one of only three “key” people in the whole world at any one time with unfettered access to the warehouse.
Not counting The Traveler. Or The Wandering Jew—which goes without saying, since he founded Arcanum. But she the Traveler and he the Wanderer were both currently incommunicado.
So, technically, that actually makes five authorized personnel. Decades later, Cassie would become one such person.
No one entered unless ushered by any of these individuals; after which, visitors are granted the trust of free reign.
The Reliquary itself is governed by a rudimentary autonomous artificial intelligence— essentially a living brain—with a kind of mind of its own. And it, for reasons yet to be determined, had ceased to acknowledge access for any of them. This has never happened before, and should not have ever been possible. If they were dealing with any conventional or mainstream computer system, Cassie would recite her mantra that “computers are stupid”; but this computer -- being no ordinary marketplace computer—was explicitly designed to not be stupid.
As a pre-eminent dreamwalker (and, fortunately, Arcanum member in good standing), Cassie was to attempt exploratory immersion into the machine’s demi-subconscious… and resolve this mystery of the absent mind.

Making Books Better by Making Better Books

I am a big fan of self publishing books, but not necessarily a big fan of self-published books. Admittedly, and regretfully, most self-published books are crap. But, so are most mainstream Gatekeeper published books.
If you don’t treat your book like a real book, why should anyone else?
How can we expect our books to be taken seriously as real and legitimate books if we just slop them together and toss them out onto the public willy nilly? How can we expect to be taken seriously as real and legitimate authors if we don’t take our book seriously? If we don’t bother to edit and refine before releasing? Too many people are self publishing books on a whim--for their own amusement or ego… just because they can.
A true vanity publishing-- nothing more than a disposable trinket.
Like most web series creators, most indie publishers neglect and lack self editing. Beginning at the “is this really a good idea and should I do this?” stage.
Also, don’t rush into printing. I learned this after the fact. In my over-enthusiastic excitement at discovering I could write fiction-- as well as having compiled my first sci-fi short story book, I rushed production of that anthology. I could go back and “fix” these errors, but I choose to leave them in, as a mark of my development as a publisher/ author.
Too many self-publishers fail to respect and understand the importance of editing. Why would you want to contribute more to the already over-abundance of crappy books? Why would you want to be responsible for that and hurting the struggling credibility of self-publishing?
Too much of self-publishing is merely doing what’s been done. What’s expected. What’s contemporary.
But the advantage of Do It Yourself publishing is that you are beholden to no one.
You don’t have to follow the usual rules and standards of Gatekeeper publishing. That’s the point and value of self-publishing.
So why not experiment?
Play around with storytelling and style and technique and structure and format. Do something different, unique and unconventional, instead of copying the way Big Publishing does things.
Don’t rehash and repeat the same kinds of stories, with the same kinds of methodology that Big Publishing endorses and produces.
Don’t help proliferate homogenizing American Cultural Imperialism by perpetuating U.S.-centric tropes. Indeed, eschew tropes and clichés of any kind where ever possible—except when done for effect or affectation.
Our goal as self-publishers should be to be better than all that. We should seek to elevate the story.
Find those things that no major publisher will approve or accept-- but you have passion for, and put it out there.
The future of self-publishing isn’t merely in storytelling. It’s in the structure and design.
Do not be constrained by the way “everyone else” is creating stories, or by what the market says you should do.