Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dexter And The Bad

Dexter is over. I kind of feel as if the very favourite episodes for me were with Trinity. That season was truly killer. I loved John Lithgow and the suspense between the killers.

But Dexter didn't die a slow death...if anything, the tv show took an opportunity to really play out with big ideas and big red flag topics under the guise of a "serial killer story".

In the past final season every episode was a brilliant metaphor for taking life into one's own hands and playing judge. The series became stronger at exploring capital punishment and self-defense.

I spent most of the last episode crying. I did not want Debra to die. I'm really torn up about it. I was also conflicted about Dexter going to South America with Hannah. I don't think  really ever understood Hannah and her role as a murderer. I guess she really was a victim of circumstances and if a relationship is a catalyst then how does  that effect the people in the relationship? She was a murderer because she was kidnapped and controlled by a murderer?

My over all feeling about the series is...Okay Dexter isn't "bad" but he can't be happy.

On top of Debra dying the series was an existential argument about the nature of human life, and if we can or can't  be all good and all bad...can we do the right thing ever? And can be happy even if we do the right thing? Just because we aren't bad, and we do kill for a "good" reason...we can not reconsole that killing. I believe we have rituals because we need to reconcile killing in order to live. We need to kill animals in order to live, therefore, I believe we should worship those animals and gve them good decent lives before we eat them.

With Dexter killing bad people, terrible murdering creeps he is doing good for society and his community. But he pays a price. He can not be happy and the people he loves can not live in peace. Living in peace, with peace of mind...is the elusive goal in the tv show.

Breaking Bad has one more episode. I feel that these are really two of the greatest tv shows ever to be ade. There is still one episode left for Breaking Bad...and we have yet to find out how morality will be left, reconciled, or not. what kind of moral universe is Breaking Bad? At this moment it is one where violence, greed and dog eat dog rules. Because Breaking Bad is a Manichean formula narrative in many ways it has seemed it's been a battle between Walt who is all brain/intellect and Jesse who is all heart/emotions. Both characters are not whole but connected as one by this separation of mind and heart. Both their decisions are controlled by this spilt their strengths and weaknesses.

I believe the only person who is at all well-adjusted on Breaking Bad is the son, flynn. I was very glad during this week penultimate episode that Flynn totally stood up to his dad, and told him how wrong he had been with his choices and how he betrayed his family and community. Finally! In some ways it might have been worse than killing Walt White for him to hear this...of course the only thing that Walt really gets worked up about is his revenge for being perceived as weak. When his former business partners claimed he was useless...we can guess Walt will take revenge on them in the final episode. Will the redeeming character of Flynn have another stand? Is his strength his understanding of being a whole person enough? How will that be manifested in the last episode. I'd like to see Flynn have some kind of action to amend the mess. Does he need to face off more to his dad? Can he? Or is it enough he stood up and said what he did? I believe his words would have really hit Walt...but because Walt is such a machine, will it heal him be awakening? Or will Walt make Flynn dead to him in his heart?

I suspect his revenge at public humiliation by Grey Matter will be his focus. His opportunity for grace is through his own son though...
But is there any healing or positive community future in the moral universe of Breaking Bad?

There is in Dexter but it's a terrible price. The price is the idea that can't we have "happiness" in the way we've been taught to expect it, or in a peace of mind reconciled with the horrible things and people in the world? No we can't says the show Dexter. We can't be happy with how we act out justice right now in our community. It's not working.

In Breaking Bad these are also some similar challenges.  Can we have well-adjusted even middling fair justice and community in the world driven by greed? Will Breaking Bad take a stand or offer a reconciliation for violence and greed for our community? Does either Dexter or Breaking Bad fail if they can not reconcile living with greed or evil? I don't think so, I think they have given us an opportunity to meditate on those concepts.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Next Day At The River, And Ladysmith

 Another day at the Nanaimo River, but a different spot. Stunning. We swam and we also went second hand shopping. Some of the best places. We were second hand shopping in one store for about 3 hours. We brought stuff all the way across the country with us in the trunk ha!

 We had wonderful meals here are some fresh vegies from Jennifer's garden. And we watched movies at night...or The Vampire Diaries. Even the dogs were exhausted. So silly...Bodhi and Courage the dogs sleeping on top of Jennie.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


 Oh it was so good to get to my friend Jennie's place. Here are pictures from last time we were here: click here
 These top three photos are from the Nanaimo River where we went swimming.

 Here we are just taking a walk around her farm. She has some chickens but used to have horses here. It got to be too much work unloading the hay bales for the horses every year by herself...so she's taking a break from horses for now.

Jennifer and Sharona in a field. We have know each other since we were teens.

Sunset Strip Outakes

What an incredible documentary! On showtime...

Finally Johnny Depp and Keanu Reeves in a movie together!

Also Mickey Rourke, sharon Stone, Slash, Hugh Hefner...it's awesome!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Going To The Island

 We're off to see good friends Jennie who lives on Vancouver Island and Sharona who lives on Saltspring Island. Sharona is going to meet us at Jennies since we only have a few days.
 During the entire trip we've had super hot days. This is our first rainy day but it clears up once we get on the ferry towards the islands. While we wait in que for the ferry we stroll around the little village and get some brunch. We saw a blue heron on a park bench!

 You can see the skies start to offer some blue...I love taking this ferry! No whales today though.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Great Day

 One day in Vancouver,  I took my nephew over to my friends place whose son is the same age. These two families have known each other for 20-odd years. We all used to hang out and party together and then they had kids around the same time too. So the boys are 10. In the spring Stagg had a work party back in Chicago...where all the staff put on an art show, a talent show...singing, doing stand up or having tables with food they made or art they made. One of the young women had made "punk rock shirts in a can" which I bought to of them knowing I would be in Vancouver ina  few months. I put them in the back of my trunk till I got out west. So this day....the guys started making their shirts. the kit came with a great t-shirt with graffitti style cartoon...some flourescent sprayed on them and zippers and safety pins and needle and thread. So we set the guys up and started making their shirts.

 Later in the afternoon John and I and the two boys drove out to University Of British Columbia to find Isaiah. YES! Isaiah of Ultimate Games in Chicago a couple weeks earlier. The boys threw their disc of two hours while John and I watched the games...and they also got to meet Isaiah for another photo op. See the photo bomb John's son did...HA!
 Then after the Ultimate tournament...my nephew and I drove back to my sisters where we had a girlfriend come over...here are some photos of her at my sisters place two years ago
. Below a whopping huge bowl of muscles and clams and we had olive bread and wine...and a good chat!

Related Links:

Some pictures from last time
we were in British Columbia in 2011

Pie Contest

 My sister and her oldest son, my nephew, had a pie contest one night for our supper party. She made coconut cream pie and he made banana cream pie. WOW were they delicious...it was a real tie...but participants leaned with the banana cream pie because of the chocolate crust. Life in Vancouver is tough. I miss it every day.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Vancouver Family And Friends

 We were so excited to get to Vancouver we drove an extra long day after leaving Pendleton Oregon.
 We got into town in time for supper and got unpacked at our friends house and it was so much fun! Lots of food and talk!

 Here is one of my beloved spots in Vancouver. I've probably posted several pictures of this very spot in thepast...as I always take a picture here. This is part of Vancouver harbours, at Granville Island. My sister and her family live right at Granville Island. A terrific location with the market of little shops and fresh produce and seafood booths. I used to work at the bookstore here...and at my sisters kitchen store here. I actually popped into Blackberry Books
and said hello to my old boss. He is still hanging in there even though the book business is a warzone.
 Here my sister, bro-in-law and the nephews showed up at our friends place. Everyone is on holidays at the same time so we had a lot of time to get together and hang.

 Above is my sister in her kitchen. they did some great things with space saving in their urban apartment..I love the racks and shelves behind her. She has tons of cooking equipment and tools and cookbooks...so its real puzzle solving.

 My oldest nephew is obsessed with fishing. here is one of his favourite lures.
 Note the small painting ona  shelf at my sisters...it's one of Eugenes!
Of course we had salmon!!! My nephew caught this one...delish!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Synopsis Writing

Once you make a film...what do you do with it? You try to find a place for people to see it. Short films used to open major film releases? Yes...it used to be that you'd go see a movie like INDIANA JONES and the theatre would show ads, previews and often a short film. But i haven't seen a short film before a feature movie in twenty years. So the life of short films is supported almost exclusively by film festivals. I have submitted my recent short film into a few more film festivals for consideration. I had to write a synopsis...and I always have a nervous surge when I have to write such things. But I do try to make it fun...and talk out loud with Stagg. Since this is an experimental film I saw no reason to write in a linear logical manner. I felt like I wanted to write in a way that supports the style of the film. I set aside nerves and tried to have some fun with it....here is what I wrote...thought I'd add the trailer with these words...

Who owns facial hair?

Four flâneur walk an urban landscape as a form of self-reflection, meditation and study.

Is there freedom in a bandana?

Repeated motifs offer visual homage like incantatory texts contrasting the silence of the characters.

Is there a post-industrial spiritual being?

If society forcefeeds a narrative on us what happens when we become the storytellers?

Is banjo the new EDM?

How do we portray a history of thought or cinema or art or the individual?

Sometimes perhaps the struggle for freedom and action is a quiet manifestation.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Early McCarthy Interview

One day in 2008 I found the following interview with Cormac McCarthy online. It was excerpted from BRICK Magazine 1986, Toronto. I had posted it here before with a link to the authour...but the link has long disappeared. So I have no idea who interviewed McCarthy by phone...

I reached McCarthy by phone in Texas and put it to him that perhaps the public found his tales a mite bleak. “Jolly tales,” he said, “are not what it is all about. My feeling is that all good literature is bleak. When a work gets a certain gloss on it with age, and the current reality of it is dulled, then we can say what has and what does not have the true tragic face. I’m guided by the sweep and grandeur of classical tragedy. Mine are the conditions common to people everywhere and finally the work has little to do with any personal aberration of the characters.”
I suggested that perhaps one reason his work has not secured its deserved audience was that his characters were indeed cast adrift in some “unanimous dark of the world,” within a “lethal environment” which offered neither relief nor instruction, pre-wheel times, time without mercy, time presided over by the implacable face of Nothingness, with a will to survive, fortitude, as the only and last testament. Whereas today’s reader wanted events explained, lamented, accounted for: Lester is the way he is because he comes from a broken home, his parents whipped him, he had no shoes until he was ten years old.
“I don’t doubt it,” McCarthy said. “Modern readers are a lot more familiar with Freud than with Sophocles.”
I asked him how difficult he finds it to write these amazing novels. “I work on each for several years,” he said, “and am brought to the brink of innumerable suicides. I want, even for the worst of the characters, grace under pressure, some slinking nobility.”
I asked him what he had been reading lately.
“I’ve just finished Shakespeare and the Common Understanding,” he said. “And one of your guys, Michael On—? How do you say it?”
“That’s right. Ondaatje. Wonderful stuff.” 

From Brick 27, Spring 1986, 

Highway 84

 Mus from Yellowstone. Driving the Beartooth Highway, a protected historical "All-American road"or "national scenic byway"
and through Yellowstone Park were two of my favourite routes. Just stunning. We were excited to get into Boise early and have a walk around the town and some dinner. We had perfect weather and got into Boise about 3 in the afternoon. Found a patio for happy hour cocktails and then walked around the cute town. Stagg and I were in Boise two years ago...it was one of our favourite places on our road trip then.
 When we were looking for a place to eat supper in boise...we came across this place below...which really gave us a laugh. We actually found a place down the street. There are all kinds of awesome bars and restaurants in a small group of blocks in downtown Boise making it a great place to relax and shop. We drove from Yellowstone Park, via Highway 33 and Highway 20 to Interstate 84. This took us from the Park to Boise, Idaho and then to Pendleton Oregon.

 Tis swimming pool was one of the utstanding places we stayed. We would set up a few driving goals, no longer than six hours of driving a day...and book hotels accordingly.  This hotel pool is in Pendleton oregon, at a Red Lion Hotel. I kind of fell in love with this chain of hotels as they are retro vintage decor. Sort of the 70's slash 80s. I might try to post a series of hotels interiors later this month if I can track down the pics I took of some great hotels. This pool was great because it had such a stunning view...and we made cocktails and took them to the pool and really kicked back this night in Pendlton. We also had a great meal in their restaurant. Steaks, highbrow meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes and fish and chips. Excellent food! We ate some terrific meals most of the trip.

 The mountains in these last two pictures are at the edge of Oregon and Washington. We were pretty excited to get to the "pacific northwest" and the climate change was immediate. As were the forests.