Friday, April 30, 2010
From the darkness of the new moon, the compound was an intimidating mass of bricks and concrete. The place looked like an old prison or a mental institution to the eyes of Shinya Yoshida. He had been jailed before in a medium security establishment in Hokkaido and John Rasmussen's place reminded him of these two strange years where he had to cultivate beets eights hours a day with his feet chained. Who, right in their mind, would live in such a desolate place? From the photo reports, the writer made the interior pretty cozy, but there were still high concrete ceilings and barbed wire under the windows, to prevent any ill-advised escape attempt. Shinya could understand that a deranged mind could feel secure living in a place like this, but considering what he was hired to do, he couldn't help but wonder if Rasmussen ever though about the potential need to escape from his own fortress.
This was almost too easy. A big chunk of land, no neighbors and six muscle heads hired by private interests to cover him. ¨The Chosen¨ had organized clever security around John Rasmussen, but like in anything, time and comfort made them cocky. There were two cars parked permanently in front of the domain. A Subaru van and a little Hyundai car. Both looked empty, but a sentry lied down in permanence on the Hyundai backseat and a monitoring team dwelled in the back of the van, wiretapping his phone calls and constantly watching the security camera, getting ready to interfere with any trespassers.
Nothing had been attempted against Rasmussen for a little while now. Last time was three years ago when the CIA tried to bomb the compound with a rocket launcher. Surprisingly enough, Rasmussen escaped unscathed. The government thought that brutality could make up for the lack of subtlety, but they were wrong. Within a week, the compound was rebuilt. Rasmussen was taken to an undisclosed location and hired workers labored over there day and night to make sure nothing would show to ¨The Chosen¨'s superstar. For the last ten yars, strenght had been used to try and penetrate the compound, but it failed everytimes. Bombs, rockets, assassins, mobsters, everything had failed, but for Shinya Yoshida, there was no such thing as this. Failure was a temporary hinderance to a latent success. He would succeed where everybody had failed because he was different. He always was different than the others and that's the reason why he was constantly hired for this kind of job.
There was little chance for the writer to expect what was coming to him. For Rasmussen, it always had been a question of politics, warfare and virtue. ¨The Righteous¨ was his sacred quest to rid the Occidental Society of the upper floor thieves and criminals that ruined the everyman's life for their personnal gain. The fight was in-between him and the upper floor. Shinya wasn't a part of this battle. He was hired as a mercenary in a fight in between execs. This was about ¨The Righteous¨ and not John.
Shinya looked at his monitor given by his new boss and Rasmussen had resumed writing after the unsettling phone call. The call had for a use to make the surveillance team hop over the phone wire when Shinya hopped on the domain. They didn't hear anything of what John and him said to each other. All they had was a publicity for re-runs of ¨MacGuyver¨ that were airing on the same channel than ¨The Righteous¨. Wrong numbers and software malfunction were things that could happen, even with the most sophisticated, expensive, top of the line gear.
Now that he penetrated the domain of John Rasmussen, Shinya planned his next move in the surrounding woods. The place was thick and dark enough to obfuscate his presence to every living being on the outside (especially on a moonless night), but ¨The Chosen¨ weren't idiots, they wouldn't leave a perfect hiding spot where you could plot an attack against their star writer. No, two sentries were walking in the forest with maglites, scanning for potential threats all night long. Their word was to stay in the woods all day or all night (depending on the shift) in order to get their eyes used to the movement of the branching.
In order to get passed their torches, Shinya timed himself with the halos of light, so he climbed up a tree while the two sentries had their backs turned to his hiding spot. Over there he could change and prepare for the initial phase of ¨Operation Eight Ball¨.
In the comfort of his living room, the stress of the enigmatic phone call was quietly vanishing into the back of his mind. What was important, what was always the most important was the writing. Conrad and the adventures he only could wish to live himself. Freeing America from opression with fiction was, for John, as noble as freeing them with guns and blood. Even moreso. The quest had been uninterrupted for three years now, his words were more powerful than guns and his voice was the one of a new Che Guevara. He was indestructible.
Then, the doorbell rang. Twice, the same night, and the cavalry still wasn't there. John took a dive under the living room couch that he adopted for a bed many years ago and yanked a 9 mm. Glock from there. He called the weapon ¨his life insurance's life insurance¨. In case everything else failed, he still could count on himself. He never shot with it before, but the internet was full of manuals that taught him the inner functions of the 9 mm. hand gun. The initial clip that the salesman put in it twelve years ago was still intact. ¨The Chosen¨ would freak out when they'll see the security footage, but John didn't care. He was scared for his life and no one was in reach.
He walked cautiously to the front door with his gun in hand. He looked through the magic eye and the colors didn't quite made sense at first. There was a clown with balloons on his porch.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
You can tell a lot of crap to a kid. He'll take it and ponder about it like it's a golden piece of philosophy. My generation was the first to grow up with the home tapes of Walt-Disney. Our parents could sit us in front of one of the Disney classic to shut us up and take a break for a few hours. Nothing against the exercise, really. I might just do the same with my little one when it's going to be time to take a breathers from sessions of diaper changing and toothache induced cries.
These tapes could all be summed up with the same message: "Believe in yourself" or "Believe in your dreams". I don't want to blame it all on Walt, but this is the kind of message that sticks with you for longer than you would have thought, or wanted at the first place. Walk through the corridors of any given high school and you'll find loads of kids high on Disney. The symptoms are: wild dreams, high expectations and a blatant disregard of the ways of the world.
But hey, why not huh? Why not aim high? Life is short and hard like Ron Jeremy so might as well try and take any opportunity you can to make your dreams come true. Then high school ends with the prom night, where everything is possible and kids get hurled into reality. College, competition, bills, tuition fees, apartment, jobs, crooks...I'm 27 and I'm starting to realize that the 20's is the time where you dreams have to stand the test of reality. Or...maybe it's the opposite, maybe it's the time where you test if you are dedicated enough for your dreams to happen.
What you discover once your parents aren't there anymore to cover your ass, is that there are two axis to life. Dreams and Security. Due to this great invention called Facebook, I could keep track of all these future professional athletes, singers and celebrities that I had the luck to go to high school with.
What did I found? A complete change of tone. They became "mature", which means giving up dreams, finding a "secure" job even if it's not the most fulfilling, breeding as much as you can (In order to make up an excuse for your broken dreams) and spend all of your money renovating your house while waiting to die. For some people it's the life they always dreamed of, so it's cool with me, it's just not my cup of tea. But when I see a future actress or lawyer, "settling down", going back to school at something easier and trying very hard to enjoy "THE SIMPLE JOYS OF LIFE". Isn't it strange to see the people who called you "a hopeless loser" and "the less skilled person I've ever know" adding you on Facebook and discussing the ethereal beauty of a sunset from the bottom of their house in the woods? There is satisfaction to be had.
I'm 27 and I'm proud to say I'm still holding on tight to my dreams. They changed when I faced reality, they adjusted to what I am really capable to do, but I'm still happy to wake up every morning and have a hill to climb. I still have things to look up to and dream about. You know this Mickey Mouse & friends things about "dreams becoming true", I somehow still believe in it. You need to work harder and accept to take the risks that other people won't. I take joy in risking and knowing that the most memorable battles are the ones that you're fighting constantly. When you're bruised, tired and bloodied, you've never felt so alive.
This is a scary game. Invented in 1987 by Hungarian author and sex symbol Fingyes Karinthy, Six Degrees Of Separation is the idea that you are only at a maximum of six handshakes from everybody in the world. Try it at home, it can get scary really fast. Here are a few of mine.
I'm only a handshake or two away from everybody in fighting sports, due to the way I've been spending my weeknights for the last seven years. Here are a few examples.
Me - Firas Zahabi - Dana White
I'm one handshake away from the president of the UFC.
Me - Mike Moffa - Lennox Lewis
Again, I'm one handshake away from one of my favorite boxers.
Me - Alexandre Choko - Muhammad Ali
One handshake from Muhammad Ali!
You get the concept. I've been dwelling in the gym for so long that I'm zero handshakes away from GSP or Keith Jardine for example. Let's kick it up a notch. The teacher that told me about Six Degrees of Separation gave me an example that...ties me to his example.
Me - Teacher - His Teacher that met Heidegger - Martin Heidegger - Adolf Hitler
ARRRRRRRRRRGH! I'm three handshakes away from Hitler! Now it's really starting to creep me out.
A few years ago, my dad shook prime minister Jean Charest's hand at a public place in Quebec City...which makes for a lot of interesting avenues.
Me - Dad - Jean Charest - Barack Obama
BAM! Two handshakes away from the president of the U.S. Let's dig a little deeper....
Me - Dad - Jean Charest - Barack Obama - George W. Bush
Me - Dad - Jean Charest - Barack Obama - George W. Bush - George Bush Sr. - Saddam Hussein
This game is creeping the hell out of me.
I met ex-prime minister Jacques Parizeau once...
Me - Jacques Parizeau - Gen. Charles de Gaulle - Joseph Staline
All right! All right ! I stop. But see how this game can turn out? If a person of your family shook a politician's hand...hell, you're only two handshakes away from everybody he met in his life...and three handshakes away from historical figures. Try it, it's scary but it's fun. Makes the world a small place.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
It's just one of those days where nothing you do comes to fruition. Been trying to write an article since noon and it just doesn't work. Or I get disturbed, or I drone out. Can't be productive everyday. Let me be honest with you guys and not post anything instead to give you something shitty. Meanwhile look at this awesome driver that caught a handbag thief without even moving from his vehicle.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I like internet memes. One of the greatest gift of the world wide web was to make America's Funniest Videos obsolete. Making a fool of yourself and making money off it was now at the reach of everybody with an internet connection. Most memes have a mind numbing story to them, this one, who has been named meme-of-the-year in 2007 by I-don't-remember-who, so its story has been leaked quite a few times. The star of the show has been invited on national TV to account for is behavior.
That all started during John Kerry's unconvincing campaign tour of '04's election. The charismatic beast that is John was putting University of Florida in a coma with his speach when Andrew Meyer, the mandatory know-it-all politics student that has a cocaine-like addiction to conspiracy theories had his turn on the microphone. In the full video of the event you can see him ask questions about the free masons and different secret societies (that are really nothing more than a depraved frat house for graduates).
Meyer gets all fired up by the oh-so-original and groundbreaking truth he announces to the world, starts yelling to loud for Kerry to answer and security gets involved. Now, Andrew yells out to censorship in America, appeals to the power of the illuminati to recognize the truth (yeah, like millenial secret societies will listen to you) and gets handcuffed for his efforts. Andrew, like a man possessed refuses to lay down and the police present unholsters the most lethal unlethal weapon ever know to the world *tadaaa* THE TASER.
The brave, courageous and fearless amateur journalist Meyer shrivels up and yells: "DON'T TASE ME BRO!" followed by a girly "aaaaaaaargh" before being escorted out into county jail.
Why do we love it so much?: The righteous quest for the truth of Andrew Meyer is so amusing because no one but him gave a shit about what he had to say. John Kerry was a senator (or a governor, American politics confuse me), heading for a surefire defeat in presidential election and honestly, who gives a flying fuck about John Kerry being in the free masons? There are a lot of scarier people that must be members of this organization.
Meyer's intervention was a gratuitous move of self-importance, that had no interest whatsoever about the truth, the free masons, the illuminati or John Kerry. That was Andrew Meyer trying to shine(and maybe get laid) on John Kerry's expense and got tasered for his efforts. The taser use in Meyer's case was warranted and hilarious. If you're looking to get insulted by police work with the lethal non-lethal weapon, check them out tasering multiple times this Iranian student for forgetting his library card.
Today, Josie and I decided to offer our appartment's free room to one of her friends returning from a one year trip around the world. I hope she accepts because roommates are one of the greatest generator of random situations. This is just one of the great and random things that happened to me since I started dating Josie three and a half years ago.
That never struck me before I started dating her because I never suffered from it, but I'm some type of loner. I don't go out much and I enjoy time spent on my own. Maybe a little more than I should, so my girlfriend's plans are always welcomed to shake up my droning monotony. Being on my own never scared me. Some of the time, it can be heavy and alienating, but it's time well-spent when you're your own best friend. I remember in high school that the loners were always pointed at and made fun of, but that's such a sheepish mentality. If every member of the herd thinks the herd is there to protect them, no one is protecting each other. I'd spend even more time on my own if I had to do it again.
But people dread being alone. Some even commit suicide over it. Some blur it out in club music, alcoholic brevages and sometimes even drugs. Is it so miserable to spend a few hours isolated? I can't judge people who cannot do it. I can't say they aren't strong enough because their curse might not be mine. I separated the phenomenon in two categories. Loneliness and Solitude.
Loneliness is what you feel when you have been rejected and left behind. It's the sound that the wind makes when people pass you by. You cannot think about loneliness without thinking about loss. It's a hole, created in a situation where there was a happy fulfillment. I experience loneliness every time I tried to reach out too hard. Reach out to worthless friends or to worthless girls back in my younger days. I don't have the most experience with that feeling though, what I know best is solitude.
Solitude is the conscious choice of removing yourself from social situations in the pursuit of something. Sometimes, what you're looking for is not in the others, but it's within yourself. Sun Tzu, Confucious, Lao Tzu or I-don't-know-which-Chinese-philosopher said that the superior men seek answers from within. Solitary men don't suffer, but they are really self-absorbed. Seeking the depht of your mind can be an enthralling entreprise, but it's also making you some kind of a barely functionnal mess.
When I started dating Josie a few years ago I had been on my own so much that every small pleasure I discovered with her was a major revelation. I had forgotten how to have an everyday conversation that didn't revolve around martial arts or highly intellectual pendatic stuff. Having a discussion about how to move a book shelf through a doorway became an adventure for me. That's when I realized I wasn't cut out for academic lifestyle. There is a healthy dose of "being normal" that a human being should have in order to be truly great.
Sometimes, my significant other doesn't understand why I don't get pumped up for some things. Travelling, for example. This is something I'm really looking forward to (and scrambling restlessly to accomplish), but it's so new to me that I have a hard time to understand the whole experience. It's just another adventure that Josie pulls me in. She's my fine balance with the world. Loners, when accompanied, can live solitude without ever falling into loneliness and melancholy.
I'd advocate a healthy dose of solitude to everyone. Stepping away and spending time on your own can prevent people leaving you in the dust. Healthy is the key word here. Too much is like not enough like my dad would say.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I received an email from Josie on Friday afternoon saying:
I am going to see a conference by Peter Balakian at the Delta tonight. You're not invited. Wait for us outside and we'll have lunch with AT after.
She was reading Balakian's book Black Dog Of Fate this week, pretty rad coincidence that the dude would parachute out of the sky and give a conference in town as she was reading the book. So like the child of my time that I am, I googled this shit up. I found that Blue Metropolis Festival was happening and there was a crapload of writers invited. I didn't know any of them but James Frey. Following my significant other's lead I registered for an activity the next day called: "Becoming A Writer" which was, according to the festival's flyer, different accounts of successful roads to publication by local writers.
I'm local and I want to be published so I figured out I could learn a thing or two from these people. There were five of them: Isabelle Lafleche, John Calabro, Joan Carter Roberts, Catherine Mackenzie & Claude Lalumiere. I didn't know any of them, talk about a rocky start. I had joined the Quebec Writers Federation a few weeks before though so I perservered through this, telling myself I would come to know these guys somewhere down the line. I thought that 75 minutes with the writers was kind of a short time to get comfortable knowing them. I had yet to understand this was a security measure.
As I stepped in the room, I understood I was in ennemy territory. Greay heads, everywhere. I have nothing against old people, but when people with their hair bi-colored by age in this kind of meeting, I can feel the winds of despair and frustration blowing in the smell of rotten dreams. Notebooks also, notebooks everywhere. Looks that were desperate for attention and recognition. Not exactly what I had signed up for. I paid five dollars to hear writers talk about their road to publication, but with a few circular looks, I knew what I was going to get.
The writers themselves were great, very humble. They exposed their story without vanity or self-indulgence. I clicked with some, more than others, especially Claude Lalumiere who seemed to share some of my ideas on writing. I say often that you need humility in order to get good at something. If there is a parrallel to trace in between fighting and writing, it's that you need to go through a thousand failures in order to achieve one success. I was sitting with fifty other people walking through the desert of failures with me and apparently not coping as well as I was with the hunger for success. The pain is always lesser when you don't have anyone mirroring it to you.
Things went downwhill when the question period kicked off. First person on bat was a middle aged woman with a spring in her buttocks, waiting to fire off:
"I HAVE WRITTEN A MEMOIR ABOUT MY LIFE, I SELF-PUBLISHED, I SOLD 250 COPIES, I DON'T KNOW WHY NO ONE WANTS TO PUBLISH ME *breathes in* I ONLY HAD GOOD COMMENTS, PLEASE TELL ME WHY PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO PUBLISH IT, IT'S GOOD *breathes out*"
That's the kind of questions they had. I felt really bad for the writers who had to fend off broken dreams more than talk of themselves and their road to success. People in the audience were infuriating, they had no respect for the writers, they seemed jealous more than happy to talk with them. The "why-did-they-pick-you-instead-of-me" attitude. Because they were more humble I guess. I tried to break the cycle that was making up spiral downwards into our impending doom by asking a question about how they balanced editing into that writing process, which is something I find self-destructive at times. I have two failed novel projects to account for this.
John Calabro didn't quite understand the question and though it was dumb. "I completely disagree" right off the bat, in polite language can be decoded as: "You're dumb, but here's how you do this..." As I was debating the fact of whether to tell him or not that I thought it was incredible to meet an Italian person with the word "bro" at the end of his name, Claude Lalumiere caught on to my question and basically told me that I was on the right track. Writing is a question of time, dedication and patience. Knowing that my method (writing at first draft, THEN editing and getting feedback) can work, I feel better going on with "Solace". He also said that a lot of writers had a lot of crap to writer before getting good. Maybe that's what Dead End Follies is for. Filtering the gnarly stuff and occasionally producing gems since 2009.
There was this woman sitting next to me (grey head also), she was wielding the notebook like Paganini on his violin. Back when I was in school, I always felt bad to take less notes than the possessed chick in front of me, but when I peeked over her shoulder to see what she wrote, I understood that despair and retardation had met and crushed her soul:
-LAWYER, NEW YORK
-WRITER, LAWYER, ARTISTIC
-BUTTER, TUNA, MILK
-DON IS A TIRE
-DA DA DEE DA LA DA
She was willing to sell her soul to find the magic trick that would land her a publication deal. I don't know if she has one or ten manuscripts ready, but she was looking for something magic that would give her recognition. She(and everybody in the room) betrayed Sgt. Brown's rule applied to writers: "Story, Readers, Me". That was sad. I was sad when I left this place. I would've had a coffee with Lalumiere and I would've got the same result. I'm going to check out his Objects Of Worship book. I should check out of this mentorship thing with the QWF too. I'm not successfull yet, neither could I call myself a writer, but I know something from now on. I'm not a worldly writer.
Screw "Toxicity", "Aerials" or even "Sugar". This is the greatest System Of A Down song. Short, simple, catchy and absurd, unless you like to overanalyze symbolism. The appeal of this song lies in the tone its using. Serj Tankian makes the most out of his vocal abilities. He varies his pitches and tempos, which makes for a great performence. He's outshining the other members of the band in this one. Maybe that's what's so good about that song.
Back in the days of the academy, we had an option class called: “Organizational Briefing”. Trevor and I were in that class and as usual, we bombed at the exams. Due to the lack of necessity, I had lost most of the things I acquired in this class, but Trevor seemed like he perfected these concepts down to a science. I had forgotten that you could cram that much information in twenty-two seconds.
Trevor didn’t give much background on the Society Of Jesus, but he knew this: we were four well-armed guys and we were going against at least twenty armed, but moderately trained guys and all in all, around fifty security guys. The ceremony was held right in the ballroom and from the look of an outsider, it would be impossible to difference it from a very intense catholic office. “Cross bearing and all” said Trevor. I wasn’t sure if he meant it in the literal sense of the term. In that case, any idiot could difference it from the Sunday morning communion.
Once we got Tony’s wife Louise and maybe Karen, our way out was an elevator. Wartime logic would have them cutting out the power, but according to Trevor, there wasn’t just society people on the boat. In case of emergency, the word was to muffle the problem so hard that no one would be supposed to hear it. Some guard slammed their way through the kitchen doors like cowboys in a saloon, just to be gunned down by Tony and three accurate bullets . Two guys were shot in the throat and one in the forehead.
“Minus three we have to worry about” said Trevor.
He pulled a sawed off shotgun from his black trench coat, charged it and invited us to follow him with SWAT hand signals. Since I was the only one with a background in police work, I was the only one who got it and cued the others with an arm windmill. Trevor took a steel plate and put it through the doors to look for potential enemies down the corridor. He nodded at us, so we headed into the corridor and downwards.
Nothing seemed to stop the ceremony downstairs. As we were getting closer, details of the picture were getting clearer and a whole lot stranger. There was a guy in underwear on the Altar and two other people in robes had tied up ropes to his arms and were about to lift him up from the mezzanine. The whole purpose of the operation was – I think – to put him up on a giant black steel cross. That could happen. Most definitively, that could happen if the poor expandable Jesus’ arm wouldn’t pop out of its socket at first.
I was scanning the crowd as fast as I could on my way down. First, to find Louise, then to find Karen, who, I think could give us a few interesting pieces of information on the Society Of Jesus. Scanning was hard, because every damn drone in the crowd was wearing a hood. I calculated we had fifteen more seconds to find at least Louise before we would hit the canvas reception room and serious chaos would ensue.
Tony identified Louise as she turned around when she heard us storm down the flight of stairs. She was one of many people that turned her head to the ruckus, but he spotted her immediately, pointing her with his finger like a child identifying the source of a stink in the schoolyard. We hit the floor and dashed towards the second row, where Louise was, in between two tall dudes.
Operating a dynamic takedown requires less preparation than one would think. Show leadership and go forward without hesitation despite your fear and your men will follow you through bloody stomps in the snow. In a mathematical disadvantage like the one we were it, flashing our pieces and moving fast was of the utmost importance. A direct, fast moving and hard-to-hit threat is the worst nightmare of every large and unsuspecting group.
I ran up to the front of the room and used the first bench to propel myself up to Louise. In the air, in the heat of the moment, the tall guy on the right turned his face to me. John, what the hell were you doing in that herd of strange birds. I thought you were just a driver for Louise to assist to these ceremonies. My motion was already started, I couldn’t stop my foot. I kicked John in the face and fell over him and he fell over a bench and came crashing down backwards. I had a quick flash and thought I didn’t cause any spine injuries while landing on him.
I got right back up and as I expected, Louise was already on Pat’s shoulder, jerking in every possible direction, in a frail hope to escape my brother’s grip. Tony, strung out from all these emotions, was randomly gunning drones down in the first rows. I could’ve panicked and thought Tony was losing it, but in fact, he was creating a way out for me. A nice trail of bloodied bodies in strange robes. Trevor was on the Altar, threatening the master of ceremony, who strangely looked like him. That didn’t catch me as being surprising. The Society Of Jesus had been an affair of Greenwell from the start. There was more to their involvement that both sides wanted me to know. I couldn’t hear what they say in the raucous atmosphere we had created, but Trevor and his seemingly brother were arguing about something pretty intense.
I scrambled to my feet and dashed towards the elevator, who was right next to the staircase we got down from. When under pressure, I bomb at visual recognition. I missed my vocation, I should’ve been in the army. In a record time, I was able to get to the elevator and hammer down the downward arrow, so the steel cage could pick us up. Of course, the thing probably didn’t have any use during the evening and was most likely on the first floor.
The guys follow my lead and retreated to cover our exit road. Trevor was the last to join in at he gunned down two guys with rifles that were on a higher level. With the two Tony killed in front of the kitchen that left sixteen of them alive. The elevator finally came down and opened up its doors with a “ding” that seemed pretty idiosyncratic in the situation. We hopped in faster than our shadow. Right before I went in, a wild leopard – or just a really frenzied person – jumped on my back. Luckily, mother Gravity worked in such ways that we ended up inside the elevator, with Trevor firing blind shots to the potential party crashers. No one would steal our title. Especially not in a tiny steel box.
The powerful hands of Tony grabbed that person off me and slammed her against the steel door. He put in a few slaps across the face, for good measure. They were so hard I could hear a clear “WHAP” every time he hit. Tony, like many important mob people had mastered the art of the slap in the face. He dished out five or six of those along with his makeshift curse-words like “Cuntshit” or “fagboat” before Pat yelled: “Oh shit, stop this, it’s Karen.”
“Really?” I asked, turning around.
Karen lied against the door, unconscious , with her eyes opened and her jaw probably broken. She made a strange snoring sound that meant she had blood in her throat.
“Fucking nice of you Tony, how is she going to speak up now?” yelled Pat.
“You’re lucky I didn’t slit her throat straight up Parker” answered the boss with the same vital energy.
Louise had seemed to have given up the fight. Trevor was holding her at gunpoint with a smile of satisfaction. He looked relieved for the first time since the start of this adventure. We had dodged a bullet, but we weren’t out of the grave we dug ourselves in. I’d hate to think of what was waiting for us upstairs.
I will never know that. Abruptly, the lights went out and the steel cage of the elevator started to rumble like there was an earthquake.
“Holy fuck, what’s going on?” I asked.
“I’m not sure” said Trevor. “But my guts is telling me that we should exit this box if we want to get out of this boat alive.” He shot open the emergency trap with his shotgun and pulled himself through there.
His premonition echoes through me and I followed him through the hole. I could see from the top Tony, punching his wife out before handing her to Trevor through the hole. There was a serious rumble on top of the elevator cage so I grabbed one of the cables to prevent falling. I went swinging like Tarzan for a few meters before landing back. That was quick , but enough to see water filling up the elevator cage at a blazing speed.
“FUCK, LET’S HURRY, THIS SHIP IS SINKING.”
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Noir is a genre where there are no heroes. Protagonists are not motivated by the greater good. There are no White Knight in shining armor, no damsel in distress, nothing conclusive. Courage and virtue are not as important as strenght and smarts. In Noir, characters are so secretful that they try to keep things from their writer even. You know your character is strong and has a lively personality when you have to take time off writing to get all the correct information write.
One of its numerous fascinating aspects is that it's a genre that always plays with the notion of law. Every mystery obviously has the law involved in it, a way or another, but it's always something clear cut. Good Vs Evil, Police Vs Cops...or the opposite. In Noir, this is not so clear. Everybody is rotten, or tainted as I like to say. The law is distorted by power struggles and individual gain.
Now, I'm no self-righteous daydreamer, but I think that Noir has enormous power when it's time to make a statement about individualism vs idealism. "Solace" is a step in this direction and it's just the beginning. I have plenty of ideas I want to develop, some you will see in "Versus" which is very Noir in its plotting, more than in its action, which is hard to tag under a genre.
I'll comment further on Noir when I'll have more observations to share. Just thought I'd put up these few points I've thought about while working on "Solace". I've always liked the classic "hardboiled" of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and the other early kingpins. Since Dennis Lehane though, something has changed. The loss of the mandatory clichés, the departure from Los Angeles, the modernization of the issues broke the tunneled vision afflicting the genre. There is a new life to be brought to Noir and I want to be a part of it.
There are not many things I claim to understand better than most people. Fighting - and its implications - is one of these rare things. Sam Sheridan in The Fighter's Mind said: "Fighting is tragic, even in victory". I've been in the amateur circuit for nearly seven years now. As a prospect, a fighter and now as an organizer. I've had wins, loses, seen some friends have great triumph and sour defeats, saw true fighters and posers and I can't explain the true nature of the sport better than Sheridan did in that one accurate sentence.
Fighting broke my bones, my soul and left me a different person. I see a lot of guys entering the gym with their head high and their shoulders large, convinced that they are the next big thing, the next Georges St-Pierre. Every single one of them will be broken at a point or another. Pain, self-doubt, fear and humiliation are all mandatory step to a single fight. The only measuring stick the coaches will have to evaluate your serious is your willingness to put yourself through those hardships in order to get a single chance to fight. When you walk into a gym, you can recognize the fiercest fighters as they are getting clobbered on the ring by more experienced boxer or they are getting their asses handed to them on the mats by guys at a higher level in brazilian jiu-jitsu. That guy with the tattoos and the hair gel that hits the bag super hard is seeking status, not a fight.
You hard road doesn't stop there. Now that you are bruised and broken, it's time to fight. This is even harder then everything you've been through yet. You will step on a ring (or in a cage) in front of a few hundred people who don't care who you are, don't care if you're hurt, if you're feeling awkward or if you have two children to think about at home. The only thing they care about is that you give them a good show. That's where most fighters decide their fate and the magic appears. You can remain yourself and fill up your mind with fears and worries or you can forget about everything for a moment of your life and become an instrument of destruction. A gladiator that has for only goal to please the crowd. All of these hardships, the real fighters, they endure them for these few minutes of eternal bliss where they become their superself.
When lights go out and the fights are over, you go home with a thin pay check, nothing, if you're an amateur, knowing that after a week of vacation, this whole cycle is going to start all over again. I stopped fighting competitively because I wasn't going anywhere with it. I was collecting major injuries (broken arm, broken jaw, concussion) and decided to leave competition before competition would leave me on the sidewalk too fucked up to do anything else productive. My life went elsewhere, but every week I still hit the gym and do my best to help these guys that want to make it big.
They all have fire in their eyes and the desire to transcend their everyday reality. Every night I hit the gym, I give everything to these guys without any second thought. I know they all long for these few minutes where the world will look at them and them only. Win or lose, it's all about these few minutes. I had other ways to reach out but for them, it's all about this bliss. Then it will all start again...pain, fear, injuries... So Sam Sheridan was right. Fighting is tragic, even in victory and that's what makes the beauty of it. Every fighter that steps on the ring or in the cage is the hero of his own tragedy. He lives, dies, gamble with his health for the pleasure of his audience.
Most of the fighters, they are 10-3 or 5-15 they will tell you. Winning is fun, but the greatest feeling is to perform well. The greatest thrill is the fight.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Gear up for a second edition of the Novel-O-Rama. Nothing to read? Maybe I can convince you to read one of these novels in a few sentences.
Neal Stephenson - Zodiac: Sangamon Taylor is an eco-friendly scientific that has to unfold a pollution scheme and battle a Satanic cult of heavy metal fans. Hard to ask for more.
Cormac McCarthy - Blood Meridian: The story of a teenage narrator who flees home to become a man with a gang of outlaw. An odd, harsh and manly novel about learning and development.
Life is feeble within the web of the internets. Ex-US Army nurse William Melchert-Dinkel has been charged with two counts of aiding suicide through the internet. Apparently, he'd have pushed Mark Dybrough 32, from Coventry and Nadia Kajouji, 18, from Ottawa to commit suicide through the deception and chicanery of a computer screen.
Masquerading as a female nurse, he locked suicide pacts with his victims...and came back to his life, thinking what he did had no reach whatsoever, that people at the other end of the wire separated thing as well as he did. Reportedly, he has said to the police that he "felt terrible about his role as an advocate for suicide".
Or that guy is dumb, or he's dangerous, maybe both. He's also a great inspiration for a villain. He's a man that probably though his actions were benign and that the internet was just all fun, but for his fragile victims, he made the world crumble. He's fun to dislike, yet I'm curious to know more about him.
I'll try to stay in touch with that story to see if USA's buff justice will give him what he deserves.
I've been meaning to write this afternoon. I really tried to dish out a non-fiction piece, but it's Friday and my brain is unbelievable scrambled. Nothing I write makes sense, so I'm leaving you with the song that has been in my head for the last few days.
I'm really into Audioslave lately. Their rock n' roll attitude and their uplifting lyrics have been very inspirationnal. Great songwriting from a tireless, hardworking band is always enjoyale. Here are the lyrics from Cochise...
Audioslave - Cochise
Well I been watchin
While you been coughin
Ive been drinking life
While you been nausous
And so I drink to health
While you kill yourself
And I got just one thing
That I can offer
Go and save yourself
Take it out on me
Go and and save yourself
Take it out on me yea
Well Im not a martyr
Im not a prophet
And I wont preach to you
But heres a caution
You better understand
That I wont hold your hand
But if it helps you mend
Then I wont stop it
Go and save yourself
Take it out on me
Go and save yourself
Take it out on me
Go and save yourself
Take it out on me
Go and save yourself
Take it out on me yea
Go if you want
And Ill see you in the bottom
Where you crawl
On my skin
And put the blame on me
So you dont feel a thing
Go and save yourself
Take it out on me
Go and save yourself
Take it out on me
Go and save yourself
Take it out on me
Go and save yourself
Take it out on me yea
“My life is like a loaf of white bread. I’m so good that people want to eat me alive and shit me down the drain. Oh well!”
The phone was ringing, breaking the silence for the first time since John Rasmussen closed his television eight hours ago. His hands froze over the keys of his Underwood Five typewriter. For a short moment, he tried to remember when was the last time he had a phone call, he couldn’t. The last months had been a blur of writing. His only contacts with the outside world had been through the television and W1R3 V 1.05, the information software of “The Chosen” he had opened on his computer 24/7.
John got up from behind his desk and looked black rotary phone. The loud ring made him uncontrollably nervous. He knew he had no reason to be, every call he ever received since he moved to the compound had been from his mother or from “The Chosen” and was from the utmost importance. He couldn’t help feeling uneasy. With all these things he read on W1R3 V 1.05, that he put in his episodes of “The Righteous”, he couldn’t help but to think he’d eventually pay exposing the truth so many times. The show, despite being a tremendous success, had a limited reach as a motor of social change. Common sense won the battle and John picked up the phone for the first time in months.
“What is it?”
No answer. That was not unexpected. His contact with “The Chosen” talked through a vocoder, with took a few seconds before kicking in. John was the only member of the “The Chosen” whose identity was known and he wasn’t even a real member since he didn’t know the identity of the others. He was their celebrity member, their leverage in society. He didn’t fight on the field, but his important reach made him a necessity. He needed to be protected, which implied to keep things away from him. He understood that. As long as he kept writing, he was a happy camper anyway.
The person at the other end of the line hung up and panic settled in. John started walking back and forth in his living room, his mind racing to put in perspective what just happened. That could have been a wrong number. It’s not like it never happened before. He had a guy ordering Chinese once, a few years ago when “The Righteous” was just starting. John saw only one smart thing to do, which was to message his contact with the righteous and warn him of this unusual development. The phone rang again as he sat down on his computer chair. This time, he threw himself at the receiver to answer. They had his line wire-tapped, so it must’ve been them.
“What took you so long?” he answered.
Once again, no answer. Not beyond the normal delay of the vocoder. John’s nerves got the best of him this time.
“YOU BUNCH OF WEEKEND WARRIORS CALL THAT PROTECTION? IF ANY FUCKING PEASANT CAN GET MY PHONE I’M GOING TO GET ABDUCTED BY THE FEDS. THEY ARE GOING TO DEPORT ME TO MARS.”
No vocoder. Just a voice, a human voice with a strange accent. Asian, probably Japanese judged John, because of the strong and choppy greeting.
“Who the fuck are you Hiro Hito? How did you get that phone number?”
“Who am I is not important Mr. Rasmussen. As of today, this is all about you.”
John hung up. There was a security breach, an important one. This was not a drunk guy ordering Chinese, the man knew his name and talked non-sense. The writer started pacing around in his apartment again, trying to pinpoint the moment where he could’ve slipped and gave a piece of information to the enemy. He hadn’t left his compound for years, “The Chosen” took charge of ordering food, doing grocery and even cleaning for him. His life was taken care of. The only time he exposed himself to the outside world was when he mowed the lawn of his domain, which he usually did around midnight on Sundays.
Calling the emergency contact seemed like the most rational option for John. He sat at the computer and logged into “Red Button” the emergency chat of his guardian angels. An untraceable, custom made application, which sometimes had its problems, but allowed members of “The Chosen” to have support for emergency situations at any time.
CK: I had a phone call
WJ: Who was on the line?
CK: I DON’T FUCKING KNOW, I WANT YOU TO FIND OUT DUMB HIPPIE
WJ: What time did he call you at?
CK: Two minutes ago, Einstein.
WJ: O.K, we’re sending the cavalry over.
CK: The cavalry? Is it necessary? Just find out who this guy is for fuck’s sake.
WJ: No, I’d rather take no chances.
CK: Whatever, tell them to be fast please, I have writing to do.
John logged off and went to sit on his couch while waiting for the cavalry. He had to with them a few times before. Noticeably when the CIA attempted at his life three years before. The cavalry was a spectacular and unpleasant safety process, which consisted in calling as much members and hangarounds as possible and make the isolated target a public place. When the CIA launched a rocket in John’s living room, by the time he woke up, there was a hundred people in his living room, acting shocked and hurt. The police was there, the press and bystanders were around. The pressure made by the media had the CIA closing the incident as a “misfire, related to gang rivalries”.
Since then, only one attempt was made to his life, from an unknown source. A booby trapped parcel destined to him had exploded in the UPS truck. John looked at his watch, six minutes have passed and all that surrounded him was the weight of a perfect silence. The cavalry wasn’t coming. John understood that when another chat prompt shook him from his torpor.
WJ: We have verified the phone registries, your phone wasn’t used for external calls in the last six weeks. Please don’t abuse the Red Button service sir.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
This is a text I wrote for a project I'm involved in for Henry Rollins's 50th birthday. I was asked by the project instigator to tell how he influenced my life. He was a very big influence indeed and here is how. I'm publishing on Dead End Follies anyway because I want to make this text available to my readers anyway.
Everybody has their own problems. You might have been born with no arms, you might have lost your parents in a civil war or you might have messed up your knee and killed your chances at playing hockey on a professional level. These are all valid problems to me. You life dictates the scope of your problems. When you're bleeding, many will tell you: ¨look at this guy laying on your right, he has a severed leg, do you hear him complain? No, so take a number buddy.¨ It's true, some people can survive a severed leg. It's also a fact that some commit suicide over a lost love or a wasted career opportunity. When your problems make you wish you didn't wake up this morning, they are valid to me.
My problem is, and always will be alienation. For people like me, there is a wall that separates us from the rest of mankind. The wall makes impossible any attempt to live the moment like the others do. You can't scream your joy when you're happy, you can't pound on the first victim when you're mad or go to bed at night to sleep soundly. No, all you have is the wall and the sounds from the other side. People chatting, mingling, crying, laughing, being alive. You hate the wall because he separates you from them, but you like it because it's when you stick your ear to the wall that you're the closest to them. It's also when you're close to them, that you can hear them talk about you. That fuck up, that stone faced creep that eavesdrop on the living. Then you like the wall because he protects you.
During a life of alienation, you will meet a few people that are on the same side of the wall. The lucky ones, like me, will even find a significant other. But let me tell you about the first person that ever broke my solitude. I know him well and I know he knows me too, but we have never talked. On the other side of the wall, you relate to people through stares, silences and words. The first time I've seen Henry Rollins talk, he wasn't trying to be funny, he wasn't trying to relate. He alone, in the middle of the stage, sweating under a spotlight and talking about the death of his best friend.
He was not teaching, not trying to amuse or being somewhat driven by any will to relate. Henry shared his pain without trying to move you, a gift without expectations to be given back. The pure generosity of an alienated being resides in it's antagonism. Henry's story had no heroes, no happy ending and no heartwarming life lessons. That was a gift of reality, a stab at your inner self and the comfort you built around the trust you have in the others. I found a joy in that story. Not in the death of Joe Cole, but in the sincerity of that gift Henry gave me. Beyond the walls of alienation, a good slap in the face gives you more energy to fight than a meaningless group hug. Call that regeneration through violence.
I had an ally, another presence on the right side of the wall. Slowly, I started learning more about this unlikely mentor I had found. He was no Zarathoustra, he wouldn't preach the word on top of the mountain. He showed me something much more valuable. Through his books and spoken words shows, I learned that I had it all wrong. I learned that I didn't have to accept. Rebellion, living in the margin of social norms is O.K if you are ready to work hard enough and assume who you are. Henry climbed over the wall and jumped on the other side. You can do this as long as you remember where home is. Being alienated doesn't limitate yourself. You only can put limits to what you can do.
It's O.K to disagree, to refuse and even to say ¨Fuck You¨. It's all right to challenge what people believe are facts. It's good to trust what you believe instead of what everybody else thinks. You'll never be like them anyway, so better make the most of it. Societies grew and mankind went forward by contesting what was known and accepted. We're alienated, you turn your back on us, but you need us. There is a world outside the herd that I and my alien peers can only see and live in. I'm a necessity and I need to fulfill my road.
A few weeks ago, I went to the tattoo parlor. A birthday gift from a girl that understands me better than I understand myself. Now on my right forearm is forever written:
The initial inception must be pure. All energy must by put to use. The end must never leave your sight. Complete Destruction must be had. You must maintain drive that goes beyond obsession, beyond purpose, beyon reason. Every movement must be in the forward direction. When in the woods, seek the clearing. The path shines so bright it's almost blinding.
Some of you might remember this from Get in the van. This is my first tattoo. You might call me crazy because I got it in one of the big ¨no-no¨ places, but the only thing that goes through my mind when I look at it is: ¨why did I take so long?¨. Why did I take so long to write down on my arm what was on my mind this whole time? Why did I wait so long before making this irreversible? Was I feeling so good in solitude and alienation? Maybe I was feeling good, but I didn't feel alive like I do now.
This is more than just a tattoo. This is more than just words and occasional moment of inspiration. This is the map to the way Henry showed me. The way to where there are no walls anymore.
Thank you Henry.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Read that, closely. That's why I hated high school and ten years later, I still hate it. I didn't learn anything then except maybe to bow down to the authority of the stronger person. I guess Michel Foucault was right when he said school and prison had similar structure. I'm just happy to see it's the same way everywhere and that kids speak up when they are right.
An ignorant is an ignorant, whether he's a teacher or not is irrelevant. I hope his Adam Hilliker guy gets fired. Thanks to Cynical-C for the find.
I have something I need to admit. I feel pretty guilty about posting a picture of Full Metal Jacket on top of the Sgt. Brown article. As much as I like Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann, he's a bloated parody. Sgt. Brown was not like that. I know that it's a seducing thought for leftist and non-Americans to think that the troops are bloodthirsty savages, but that's not the reality. Good and evil, except in a very few cases are in the eye of the beholder.
Today, I wanted to share with you another fascinating element of the U.S Army. Cadence songs. I know they serve their purpose, to hold the cadence and keep the privates' minds occupied during physical efforts, but I can help finding them beautiful. There has been a lot parodies (and a lot of original funny cadence songs too) but listen to the ones I posted, particularly "If I die". There is a sincerity to them, in the lyrics and in the delivery, that makes them somehow heartwarming. Expect to see some of these songs appear in my stories somewhere down the line....
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Don't get me wrong, I love Facebook. But I hate it too, I have a relationship with this web site that one could compare to someone's relationship with cocaine. It's good, but it can destroy your life at any moment.
I'm barely exagerating here. You know I have absolutely no sense of hyperbole whatsoever. That all started saturday evening at AT's birthday party. Throughout history, birthday parties have been used by jerkoffs like me to rekindle relationships they have been too lazy to keep up during the year. Birthday parties and funerals, that's the rule.
Last saturday I met Maggie, who I hadn't seen in months. She's a friend of my girlfriend Josie who became a friend of mine due to her sheer awesomeness. To my defense, she has been a pretty busy girl lately, so we were both happy to see each other, eat steak and get AT drunk. During the dinner she tells me: "Ben, I'm working with this guy, he's been a drill sergeant for the Marines. He's amazing, you'd love him."
"He's like Sergeant Hartmann?"
"You know...I don't know but I've been told...eskimo pussy is mighty cold..."
"I'd love to meet him anyway"
"He's coming to town next Monday, want to go for dinner?"
This is what I signed up for. That's what being a writer is all about. I have this strange dark fascination with the American army. This is an institution where people join in for more than a career opportunity, one of the last resorts of idealism. Would my fanboy admiration for the U.S Marines hold to the reality of Sergeant Carson Brown? I spent my whole Sunday doing push ups and sprints, pondering how real these characters of fiction I admire so much could be? I didn't want to look down on Captain Willard and Colonel Kurtz next time I watched Apocalypse Now! Sergeant Brown had to live up to my demented imaginary as much as I had to live to my role of passionate writer I have hard time to assess with the serious it deserves.
As I entered Dominion Square Tavern, a circular scan of the area gave me an immediate visual on Sergeant Brown. I knew he would live up to my chimerical expectations. From a quick glance, I understood why people said that you can leave the Marines, but the Marines never leave you. I have many friends that are enrolled in the Canadian Army. Some of them are highly ranked officers, but none of them live up to the presence of Sergeant Brown. A proud, broad shouldered man with a buzz-cut, an iron handshake and eyes that told tales that didn't needed words to be clear. We don't find that kind of people north of the border.
Sergeant Brown comes from a family of fisherman. He enrolled in the army at 17 years old and was dispatched all over the world. He was bound to a life of travels by his family traditions, but the army brought down other walls around him. There is a specific glow, a spontaneity to well-traveled people. Yesterday, I found out that well traveled Marines are different. Sergeant Brown has been in combat in Lebanon, seen the horrors of war, which gave him an different outlook on the nomadic life he lived.
You look on a man that has faced war with an angle. What Sergeant Brown gives is without subtle implications, without a second meaning, without irony. I talked with the man, shared food with him and he gave himself to me and Maggie without holding back anything. The glow in his eyes changed with the tone of his stories, everything he told us during that dinner, he stood behind entirely. It's something you can only achieve by living your life to the fullest at every moment. By giving yourself so much to the task that you fall in bed from exhaustion night after night. The life of Sergeant Brown is a road well-traveled itself.
This is what novels are made of. People who lived their lives as large as they could. People that didn't stop to look at themselves and ponder: "what do I really want?" or "is this the best for me?". No self-indulgent crap got in the way. The 3M rule applied: "Mission, Men, Me". That's something can can easily adapt to writing: "Story, Readers, Me". I have enjoyed the hell out of my evening in the Marines. Thanks to my friend Maggie for organizing it and thanks to Sergeant Brown for being so generous!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Criticism often tears down promising career. Writing is about giving what moves you to the world to be a judge of. It's hard when people think it's shit. Smile though, some of the best writers got put down by other great writers. Another proof that art is something that is judged differently from people to people. Click on my source link of you want the whole list, but here is a play by play of the best kick in the balls writers gave each other...
Vladimir Nabokov thinks Hemingway is shit...
As to Hemingway, I read him for the first time in the early 'forties, something about bells, balls and bulls, and loathed it.
Gore Vidal gores the living hell out of John Updike...
I can't stand him. Nobody will think to ask because I'm supposedly jealous; but I out-sell him. I'm more popular than he is, and I don't take him very seriously...oh, he comes on like the worker's son, like a modern-day D.H. Lawrence, but he's just another boring little middle-class boy hustling his way to the top if he can do it.
Nabokov strikes again, bashing Dostoevsky...maybe the guy takes himself a little too seriously...
Dostoevky's lack of taste, his monotonous dealings with persons suffering with pre-Freudian complexes, the way he has of wallowing in the tragic misadventures of human dignity -- all this is difficult to admire.
Jane Austen takes the first of a line of beatings, this time by superior writter (personal opinion) Charlotte Brontë
Why do you like Miss Austen so very much? I am puzzled on that point. What induced you to say that you would rather have written 'Pride and Prejudice'...than any of the Waverly novels? I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses
William Faulkner gives Mark Twain and all of his quoters something to think about...
A hack writer who would not have been considered fourth rate in Europe, who tricked out a few of the old proven sure fire literary skeletons with sufficient local color to intrigue the superficial and the lazy
Evelyn Waugh on sacro-saint modern writer Marcel Proust
I am reading Proust for the first time. Very poor stuff. I think he was mentally defective.
Hemingway pimp slaps his co-American Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner (I like both writers, but this is pretty funny)...
Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You're thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes -- and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he's had his first one
Arguably the best hit in there.Mark Twain goes necrophiliac on Jane Austen...
I haven't any right to criticize books, and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read 'Pride and Prejudice,' I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone
Gore Vidal, like Nabokov, seems to show little love to everybody but himself. His next victim? Solzhenitsyn...
He is a bad novelist and a fool. The combination usually makes for great popularity in the US.
Tom Wolfe on Ernest Hemingway and his legacy...
Take Hemingway. People always think that the reason he's easy to read is that he is concise. He isn't. I hate conciseness -- it's too difficult. The reason Hemingway is easy to read is that he repeats himself all the time, using 'and' for padding.
Virginia Woolf tears James Joyce a new one...
I dislike 'Ulysses' more and more -- that is I think it more and more unimportant; and don't even trouble conscientiously to make out its meanings. Thank God, I need not write about it.
My man Hemingway gives James Joyce another well-deserved beating...
To me he is an enormously skillful f#*&-up and his book will do great damage to our country. Probably I should re-read it again to give you a truer answer. But I do not have to eat an entire bowl of scabs to know they are scabs...I hope he kills himself....
You guys had enough of Jane Austen rips? Too bad, here is another by Ralph Waldo Emerson. All in class and sincerity...
I am at a loss to understand why people hold Miss Austen's novels at so high a rate, which seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in their wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world.
Gore Vidal isn't immune to Martin Amis's spite...
Vidal gives the impression of believing that the entire heterosexual edifice -- registry offices, 'Romeo and Juliet,' the disposable diaper -- is just a sorry story of self-hypnosis and mass hysteria: a hoax, a racket, or sheer propaganda.
Norman Mailer gives an elbow drop from the third rope to Tom Wolfe....
The book has gas and runs out of gas, fills up again, goes dry. It is a 742-page work that reads as if it is fifteen hundred pages long....
At certain points, reading the work can even be said to resemble the act of making love to a three-hundred pound woman. Once she gets on top, it's over. Fall in love, or be asphyxiated. So you read and you grab and you even find delight in some of these mounds of material. Yet all the while you resist -- how you resist! -- letting three hundred pounds take you over.
Keep smiling and keep working on your stories. It's not because a published writer or a stupid editor doesn't love them that they aren't good!
The S.S. Odyssey was a strange place if I’ve ever seen one. Docked in Seattle’s municipal pier for as long as I could remember, it served every purpose possible without actually sailing on waters. That was more of a floating reception hall and a lavish party place than anything else. I would’ve been curious to know who that thing belonged to. Everyone that I knew in Seattle had been onboard at least once. I had been multiple times during my tenure at Seattle Police Academy. Among things, we had two semester ending parties over there. Wild memories.
We boarded the odyssey like pirates lead by a very nervous captain. When the security guard was Tony’s face, he didn’t even put himself in the way. He cleared the boarding ramp and said: “Have a pleasant evening Mr. Cullen”. That made me smile. You could be built like a brick wall, but if you had no balls, you’ll bow down in front of a five foot six guy because he looked angry. Tony was a bit of a special case though. Failure to comply would’ve given place to a random act of serious violence. The boss was a third degree black belt in the art of kick in the balls; I had seen him lift some very heavy guys off the ground with a single blow. Apparently he was a kicker in football when he was younger.
I was stopped in Tony’s trail of shoving and throwing by my phone.
“Hello Parker” said the voice of the phone. Trevor Greenwell.
“Hey man” I said, unexplainably happy to hear him. “What have you been up to old coot?”
Tony turned around and dead eyed me at the sound of my enthusiastic voice. He was swimming in a family drama. When he was upset, everybody had to strike the same chord. He couldn’t tolerate any divergence of moods in general. When he was happy, we all had to party up and when he was down, it was in our best interest to follow and sulk. Pat knew better though, he knew me. I wouldn’t have stopped in my tracks and looked like I enjoyed the day if this wasn’t important to the situation. He put his arm across Tony’s chest as the boss was about to whack me and throw my phone in the water. He put his finger to his lips.
“I’ve been doing the investigation you haven’t been doing bud. That’s what.”
“Listen man, this thing has been more complicated than trying to sign up for the illuminati. I’m not sure what your family is up to, but I’m on to something.”
“I can see that.”
“Yeah? How’s that?”
“Well, I can see you.”
I looked around in the crowd. People weren’t talking and mingling anymore. The people thrown down by Tony were slowly getting back up, dusting off their evening wear. No sign of Greenwell. The upper decks were also full of people. Then I spotted him. The light from the upper right deck allowed me to see the vague shape of a man holding a phone through a cabin window.
“Hey man, you look in shape.”
“Thanks, I had a lot of unexpected opportunities to work out lately.”
“Yeah, I’ve been quite surprised not to see your name in the news though. You know? Running Man and shit.”
“What are you and your thug family on to Parker?”
I looked around before talking about that. People were resuming their conversations, trying to forget the presence of the most important mob boss on the American west coast. Tony took a patio chair and slammed it down with impatience before sitting down. Pat couldn’t contain a smile. Tony’s didn’t talk but his furious stare told me to hurry the fuck up.
“I don’t have any confirmation of this for now, but I can tell you that Karen implied that she’s a part of a secret society with your brothers, cousins or whatever members of your fucked up family that stabbed you in the back. That led us to here, which seems to be a reunion club for these free masons or whatever.”
Greenwell paused. He seemed unsure of my information, or maybe too sure. I must not be so bad after all. His silhouette was still in the cabin window.
“It’s the Society of Jesus” he said.
I had a very spontaneous laugh. The name sounded very cartoonish for a dangerous secret society. There was a lack of subtlety in their naming that betrayed a strong confidence in their beliefs and their ties to American society. Society of Jesus….
“I’m still there dude, just…pondering about the originality of their name.”
“There’s no time to debate, but yeah, they are fucked. I wanted out, so did Glen Winchester.”
“You know that all along?”
“No, when a member wants out he’s not yelling it out loud to the others. Point is, they are meeting tonight in the reception room. What you see around you is the Seattle chapter of the Society Of Jesus.”
I gave another glance to my surrounding. I had been pounding the streets of Seattle for my whole life. I knew every corner, every shop and most of the people in town. The S.S. Odyssey was filled with faces I didn’t recognize.
“Third floor, there’s a kitchen there that only serves for municipal ceremonies or bigger events. I’ll meet you there. Tell Tony he’ll find his wife at the reception.”
“Will I find-“
Trevor hung up. I had another circular look around me. This time I saw fast moving people at the back of the crowd. If these people had killed Glen Winchester, cut his body and fed him to the sharks, I’d hate to think what they’d do to Tony…and worse, what they’d do to the Parker family. I wiggled my index and middle fingers forward, giving the police code to hurry up and go forward. Both Pat and Tony were paranoid enough to have seen the movers, so I didn’t have much convincing to do.
We hopped into the open door of the cabin and went downwards into the soft, posh looking hallway I had seen so much police students puke in. The purple carpet was still unstained after years and years of debauchery, which I couldn’t explain myself, except maybe for constant replacement or patching up. Some kind of ceremony had started downstairs. There was weird, churchlike organ music and the round reception tables had been replaced by wooden benches. From a far, everybody looked like they were dressed the same.
“Hey Mike, I really respect your intuition and your investigation skills, but c’mon man, share the Intel, who’s chasing us down here? Why didn’t we back track?” asked Pat.
“We have a strategic meeting to attend to in the kitchen at the third level” I said, heading downwards the flight of stairs. “Trevor Greenwell is waiting for us there.”
Both looked surprised. Tony thought Greenwell was just a bad memory, that somebody cut his throat and buried him in the gutter. Pat knew a little bit more about my investigation, but he looked genuinely surprised that Greenwell wouldn’t try and be a mountain man for the rest of his life.
“That guy is still breathing? What the fuck does he have to do with Louise?”
“They might have met in a religious group sex ceremony. Tony, if you were pondering doing something horrible, now might be the time.”
Tony answered the call of duty like the true patriot he was. He whipped his cell phone open and took a few steps back. All that illegal artillery that was sleeping in his compound might have a use. We might not get out of this boat alive, but we would go out with a bang. I preferred dying under a rain of bullet than in a bed, after a long battle with illness. That hurts more, but for a lesser time.
“What the fuck did Greenwell tell you?” asked Pat.
“These illuminati type are named Society of Jesus.”
“Really? What a bad name.”
“I know. They’re meeting tonight, that seems important, Greenwell will tell us more.”
A few meters from the kitchen, two guys wearing white robes with red crosses on it blocked the way. They were bigger than the security guy at the door and looked a lot less impressed by Tony’s presence. That’s a lack of respect for a man of his rank so he pulled his Desert Eagle .50 and put a hole in these guys’ heads in an extraordinary display of marksmanship. I knew Tony could shoot, but I didn’t know he could shoot that well. That was straight from the book of Dirty Harry.
The kitchen was an enormous room plunged into almost pitch black darkness. Tony and Pat pulled out their Zippos. Rare were the situations where I wished I was a smoker. A metallic clang had us jumping a few feet in the air.
“Ouch…I’m here guys, don’t shoot.”
Out of the shadows, a pale, tired looking Trevor Greenwell emerged.
“So this is it guys, I have a few seconds to brief you so let’s get to work.”
Friday, April 16, 2010
This song is not well known from the mainstream music fan, but it's a cult hit in the underground. This is one of the songs that helped to shape form of punk after the strong years of the hardcore movement. Vocalist and leader Ian MacKaye had a career crowned with success; he's probably one of today's most successful artist that never sold out. "Waiting Room" is probably his biggest success, most of you having hummed the riff of the song without even knowing where it was from.
Some call Fugazi "the first emo band", to that I answer that I would've never had a problem with emo music if it always stayed like this. "Waiting Room" is an intelligent uproar, the gritty plea of an upstanding youth. There is nothing in that song that has anything to do with the teenage self-loathing that emo music is now. Here are the lyrics:
Fugazi - Waiting Room
I am a patient boy
I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait
My time is water down a drain
Everything is moving,
Moving, moving, moving
Please don't leave me to remain
In the waiting room
I don't want the news
(I cannot use it)
I don't want the news
(I won't live by it)
Sitting outside of town
Everybody's always down
(Tell me why)
Because they can't get up
(Ahhh... Come on and get up)
(Come on and get up)
But I won't sit idly by
I'm planning a big surprise
I'm gonna fight
For what I want to be
And I won't make the same mistakes
(Because I know)
Because I know how much time that wastes
Function is the key
Inside the waiting room
I don't want the news
(I cannot use it)
I don't want the news
(I won't live by it)
Sitting outside of town
Everybody's always down
(Tell me why)
Because they can't get up
(Ahhh... Come on and get up)
Up from the waiting room
Sitting in the waiting room
Sitting in the waiting room
Sitting in the waiting room
Sitting in the waiting room
(Tell me why)
Because they can't get up