Thursday, March 09, 2006

This Crap is Meaningless!

I am gonna speculate upon some nonsense.

I am a few weeks away from getting started on writing the first draft for a feature-length screenplay idea I have. I've had the idea for awhile now and there are a couple of things in it that have always been definite in my mind. These things will HAVE to stay in, my mind says to me. Some are plot points, some are character traits, one is the ending itself! The thing that is funny to me is this: I'm not even sure why I'm so adamant about some of this stuff.

The content of my screenplay is going to be very violent and very upsetting to many, I'd imagine. If I were to ever make it into a movie and someone were to question my decisions on certain things, imagine if I just said "I dunno why I did that. I just thought it had to happen that way." Considering the content of some of it, I guarantee it would piss some people off and they'd probably deem me an incompetent hack. IS THIS WARRANTED?! HMM!!

In some respect, I suppose it is. I have been annoyed by things like this in the past. For example, I have a bit of a fascination with really sick movies. And by fascination I don't mean I like to watch them, because I'm not sure I could stomach them. However, I can waste hours at a time on IMDB reading comments about one screwed-up film after another simply because I'm trying to ascertain what the hell the point is.

It's such an irritating thing because doing something violent and/or disturbing is really not very difficult at all and it automatically turns your story into a heated topic of conversation. I can think of something atrocious now...OCULAR PENETRATION. I could put some of that in a movie (and it actually is in at least one, High Tension) and disturb and gross people the hell out but I feel like if you're going so incredibly far to offend people you'd really oughta have a good reason.

The guy who wrote Kids also wrote and directed a movie called Gummo. Again, maybe my opinions on these films would be different if I'd actually seen them but I kind of don't think so (I've rented Kids but haven't gotten around to watching it, but I'm not sure I'd ever touch Gummo). From what I gather, Gummo is more or less a series of horrible events, one after the other with little to no apparent plotline. A number of the scenes feature a kid in a bunny suit and I recall reading a quote from the director in which he said he just put the kid in the bunny suit because he thought it'd look cool or something equally dismissive. The bunny suit is hardly the disturbing part, but, again, when you've made such a nasty-ass bit of cinema, I sort of feel like you should be coming up with a reason for just about everything. You should be able to justify yourself to the very last cut, no?

Actually, and unfortunately, no. For one thing, I'm obviously being hypocritical. Like I said, I'm going to put disturbing subject matter into my screenplay, subject matter I am almost positive I would in no way consider changing. It's not entirely unfounded, however. I think there's some reasoning there, I just haven't fully grasped it or fleshed it out yet or I, in fact, may have even knew why I thought some of it was necessary at one point in my life and have since forgotten. Regardless, I think when I devote some serious thought to the content of my screenplay, I'll be able to justify everything in it, at least to myself and, if not, I may decide I actually can lose it.

Still! Although this may matter to me it doesn't have to matter to other people. Notice that it's important to me that I justify these things to MYSELF. What the hell does anyone else care then? I may put in my gross scene and nod to myself knowingly and someone else will say "What the HELL is wrong with this weirdo?" And, sure, if someone ASKED me about it I could explain my position on it (the likelihood that they would alter their opinion entirely as a result of my response is rather low, I imagine) but isn't a big part of art to just make the thing and let everyone else interpret it? Forcing your opinion on others destroys (or at least dulls) the possibilities of gaining different messages from it. So why is this different for violent and disturbing content? Well, it ain't!

It's a PERSONAL belief of mine that offensive content should be justified (and I'll admit to often letting this rule slide because certain degrees of offensiveness are just funny to me in their own right). There's no rule saying someone can't put OCULAR PENETRATION!! into their movie and have no message behind the act (and I really have trouble finding deep meaning behind such a thing, I must say).

The creator can just put crap in because they feel like it. They can even admit to that if they like. That notion of judging the art, not the artist comes into play here. Personally, I think a nasty horror sequence will usually ring hollow to me and come off as little more than a nasty horror sequence but someone else might get some kind of LIFE-CHANGING interpretation out of it! Even if the director intended nothing of the sort! And, you see, this is the point of all forms of media and, although I myself might not much care for the nasty stuff, I don't HAVE to watch it (but I have to admit to being really curious and yet scared of it) and I'd rather it were allowed to go down than for any sort of censorship to occur.

Besides, beautiful stuff can come out of random nonsense. I consider Frank Black/Black Francis of The Pixies to be one of my favorite lyricists. In "Monkey Gone to Heaven" he says "If man is five, then the Devil is six, and God is seven. This monkey's gone to heaven." In regards to this he once commented, "Why is God seven? Because it rhymes with 'heaven'."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Medieval Story (set to the music of Richard Strauss' Don Quixote)

I went and found on my PC an old short story I wrote in college for a music class that I dropped right after. We were supposed to listen to the piece "Don Quixote" by Richard Strauss and write whatever came to us or something. This story has a very quick, explanatory nature to it as a result. It also gets really dumb nearer to the end. ENJOY!!!

A Medieval Story
(set to the music of Richard Strauss' Don Quixote)

Outside, spring is beginning to blossom. A butterfly sails from stalk to stalk. A mole emerges from the ground and examines his surroundings. The mole quickly retreats back into the ground as an army suddenly comes trudging through the woodlands on horseback. The leader of the pack signals for everyone to halt as he surveys a parchment map. A young knight three horses back dreams of his beloved, the princess.

Meanwhile, in the castle, the princess is having a terrible nightmare. She awakens and discovers everything is all right. But, suddenly, the sky darkens outside of her window! She runs over and looks out and sees swirling dark and purple patterns in the sky! A sudden gale forces her to the floor of her chambers.

The young knight has a sudden urge to press onward and calls to the leader that he believes he knows the way!

The wizard materializes within the room and casts a spell upon the poor girl! She is instantly transformed into a thousand beads, which maintain her form for only an instant before plunging to the floor and scattering in all directions. The wizard cackles and flees through the window.

The king is distraught. He is meandering the many halls of his castle, worried that without his army back something unfortunate could happen to him. He prays for their safe and swift return.

The knight wishes his party would advance quicker. He thinks only of the woman he loves. Suddenly, the band comes upon an altercation on the path. Two men are arguing over a wagon accident. The leader halts the army and goes forth to investigate.

The wizard presents himself before the king. Irritated that no one has taken note of his treachery, he informs him of the crime he has committed and demands the throne and the right to the princess’ hand in marriage. The king does not believe what the wizard has said. The wizard tells him only to go check in on his daughter and see how she is. He tells him he has a month to consider the proposal before the princess’ change will become permanent and leaves laughing.

The young knight cannot withstand the foolery of this wagon accident any longer and bursts forward on his horse past the other men and the wagons. The leader yells for him to come back.

The king enters his daughter’s quarters only to find a floor littered with dark purple, green, and blood red beads. He falls to his knees and weeps.

The knight begins a two-day journey back to the castle. Upon his return to the castle he is distraught to learn of the princess’ condition. She is currently being kept in a jar. The castle’s sorcerer relates to him the tale of a magical root that could cure the princess. As time is of the essence, the knight assembles some provisions and quickly sets out on a journey to find this cure.

He has a vague idea of where to head based on the sorcerer’s advice but nothing is certain. He encounters many mystical creatures who he asks for assistance. He spends a night dancing with a band of nymphs who like him so much they agree to point him in the direction of the mysterious cure.

he king keeps the beads that are his daughter beside him at all times and worries. The wizard returns to taunt him and ask him if he has taken his offer into consideration. The king curses him and orders him to leave. The wizard laughingly obliges.

The knight believes he has reached the land of the cure but there are still many obstacles to face. Back in his volcano hideout, the wizard views the knight’s progress through his crystal ball and laughs.

Without warning, the sky turns from a picturesque blue to a foreboding black. Streaks of purple lightning rain down from above. The knight knows it is the wizard’s doing but refuses to be frightened off. He enters the forest and is drawn by a terrible bellowing sound. He ventures closer and closer to it until he finds a spirit laid out against a log.

She explains how the wizard trapped her soul in this world to guard this area and how she can only be released once she takes the life of an enemy of the wizard. She therefore must kill the knight. The knight manages to reason with the spirit, who is really quite kind, and finds out there is a loophole in the curse. There is another magical root that will free this spirit at the opposite end of the earth. The knight promises he will quest for it once he has cured the princess. The spirit believes him, which is good because he doesn’t actually ever remember to help her.

With the kind and beautiful princess gone, the entire kingdom is in a state of grieving.

The knight discovers an elf who dances about and sings in riddles. The knight questions him about the cure and the elf gives him a seemingly nonsensical response, jumps all over the place, jumps on the knight’s head, and runs off. The knight considers the elf’s riddle for days and then forgets about it but somehow stumbles upon the right way anyway.

The knight reaches a spooky cavern. The structure of it resembles a skull with holes for eyes and the entrance being the mouth. There are clearly spirits swirling all around. There is a constant state of windiness and horrible wails can be heard. The knight enters bravely.

Inside he finds a torch and takes it with him. He also discovers a grey monkey-beast, which he kills pretty quickly.

He finds the root, but as he picks it up the cave begins to shake and large pieces of rock fall about him. He begins to flee but the shaking abruptly ceases and his torch goes out. There is a bright light at one end of the cavern and the knight rushes towards it only to find it is a huge lava monster that rises from the ground and advances upon him. The knight, in shock, falls down and begins clumsily clambering away from the monster. The monster advances upon him effortlessly. The knight finds his footing and runs. He doesn’t kill the monster but it doesn’t really matter.

The knight returns to the castle with little time to spare. As the jar of beads is brought out, the evil wizard appears. He casually explains to the knight that everything was his doing; not only the monsters but also that he even placed the cure there and everything. The castle’s sorcerer pipes in and admits he was in on it too. As it turns out, the wizard and the sorcerer belong to the same secret society and they had a bet going as to whether or not the knight could make it through the trial they set up. The evil wizard, knowing how these stories usually turn out, actually bet in favor of the knight and won a whole lot of money. The king breaks down and weeps again because he joined the bet later, also betting against the knight’s chances.

The root is ground up and sprinkled over the beads, which merge together and restore the knight’s beloved princess to her original form. He receives her hand in marriage so they are both happy but a lot of people are kind of pissed off because they were all betting he wouldn’t make it. The wizard laughs in his hideout and counts his money.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It's Okay to Feel Like Your Life Sucks Sometimes

I'm a spoiled little punk. I grew up in the suburbs and I've never had to work or take care of myself all that much. I'm only twenty-three. Still, I complain about things. I complain about people because they're annoying and stupid. I complain about how horribly inept I am at finding a woman. I complain about my constant neck pain. And, goddammit, I don't think there's a problem with this.

Let me make what I've just said clear. It's not like everything out of my mouth is a complaint or something otherwise negative (that was me in high school, hell, that was everybody in high school). In fact, I try to joke a lot and be sociable with the people I care for. God forbid we all went around bitching all the time...oh, wait. I live in America and we do. Okay, well, let's just pretend people are mostly peaceable.

Here's a simple way to put it. When you have an issue, let's say, for example, you're feeling unhappy and overstressed. You say to someone, "I have so much work to do these days! I never get any sleep, I don't eat right, and I have no time for a social life!" And, in response, the lousy twat says something to the effect of "Hey! At least you have money and you can eat! People in [FAVORITE THIRD WORLD COUNTRY HERE] are starving like there's no tomorrow!"

Okay, sure, this person is right. You have privileges that you should be thankful for. I suppose it's okay to put things in perspective from time to time but, really, this is a profoundly stupid-ass statement. The message here is that NOTHING bad that happens to you is really all that big a deal because, hey!, at least you aren't dying of starvation! What's that?! You're not happy in life!? You're lonely? You fear death!? At least you have time for these things instead of spending every day scrounging for a scrap of a meal! Shut up and enjoy yourself! Your depression has no basis!!!

If this was to be taken to the utmost extreme, it'd be like that Twilight Zone episode where everyone had to pretend to be happy all the time or that weird little kid would send them to the cornfield! Death and tragedy would have no meaning because what's a dead parent or two compared to an entire culture slowly dying out? Both are horrible and, terrible as it may sound, one is going to hit a lot more closely to home than the other. The fact of the matter is THIS IS YOUR LIFE. You're ALLOWED to be upset about things not going right in it.

Am I saying to go around all day hating everything? No! I'm just saying when something upsets you, even if it's fairly minute, get friggin' upset about it if that's what you feel like doing! Emote like crazy! You're a human being! It's what you do! If you think about it, the people who make these sorts of sweeping statements (luckily) don't pipe up when something good happens to you. "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to ETC.!" "Oh, how nice for you! That's a lot better than starving to death like in [COUNTRY]!!!"

No people don't do this but it's really the same thing, is it not? They are essentially telling you to quell your emotions because they're just not that important in the grand scheme of things. You deny yourself some unhappiness now, but soon they will come for your joy!!! And your anger!!!! AND YOUR INDIFFERENCE NOOOO!!!!!

The other thing is that a statement like this in a way implies that everything is basically perfect for you. You shouldn't be complaining because, really, this is just a little speed bump in an otherwise awesome existence. I live in America. It's very nice here, I'll admit that. I have tons of liberties and, well, belongings I probably wouldn't have in a lot of other places. But it's far from perfect. In fact, in some ways, it downright sucks. Aside from the fact that we have poverty and crime issues just like everyone else, a lot of our citizens are fat, superficial and, also, jerks!

Fat, superficial jerks might seem like a drop in the bucket compared with all the other problems in the world but the thing is, if we completely dismiss this issue because, well, at least we aren't starving, then the issue goes ignored. Things can be horrible on both ends of the spectrum. A society can be collapsing or getting too big for its britches (I'm sure there was a better way I could have said that, sorry).

Simply put, a general statement about how much worse life could be if you lived somwhere else is, at its core, just dismissing your entire life as a cakewalk and, also, dubbing emotion and progression within your society as stupid and wrong. I'm not saying completely ignore world problems, I'm just saying, you do have a life to live and you shouldn't be reprimanded for living and reacting to it.

The only time I think a statement like "AT LEAST YOU AIN'T DYIN' AND CRAP!" should be made is when someone really is complaining non-stop about the most inane and trivial of issues OR when the person saying it can follow up the statement with a concrete solution as to how to fix the problem they've brought up. Otherwise, shut the hell up and let us put on our frowny faces. We fucking deserve it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I Am Selling My Delicious Pie for, Like, Eighty Bucks

I have a pie that is really delicious. I haven't eaten any of it yet, but I know it is delicious because of the aroma of it. It is blueberry and it is so very pungent that my neighbors come around going, "What is that?" I tell them it is a pie and they want it very badly! I told them it is blueberry and one man said, "I am allergic to blueberry!" Then he thought a moment and said "HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT FOR IT!? BLARRRGH!" Oh! He wanted the pie so much.

The pie was made several days ago and came straight from God's pie-making bosom itself (a lot of people do not know about God's ability to produce pies from his bosom, but I have a connection). It is like a magical, SPIRITUAL pie or some nonsense. It soooo good, dawg. even though it has been at my house for a good number of days now, it smells like it is fresh out of the oven! Pie!

I want to eat the pie so badly, you know? Unfortunately, I have this wicked heroin addiction that needs fueling, you dig? Pie, heroin, pie, heroin...I find myself flip-flopping back and forth because both are so desirable. However, heroin is like Hulk Hogan circa 1985. Anything you put up against it is sure to be resoundingly defeated.

Anyhoo, I am thinking maybe like eighty bucks for the pie? Let me know if you think I could charge more for it because, I mean, it's like, what, like I don't need more heroin? Don't be stupid.