Archive for the ‘Pop-Culture’ Category

With the start of the fifth season of True Blood only days away, vampires have been prominently on the brain. Aside from indecent thoughts about a certain Viking Sheriff, we’ve been wondering about the internal workings of the undead and how the intake of colloidal silver would affect them.

“Colloidal silver: In stock and overpriced at your neighborhood health food store.”

In Season 3, Episode 35 (“Fresh Blood”), Pam demonstrated what happens if the liquid is sprayed on a vampire. (Seriously, Bill… You did have it coming.) But what happens if an unsuspecting vamp ingests the stuff? For example if they feed on someone from, let’s say, Cambodia who drank water from a Ceramic Water Purifier (colloidal silver filter). Would their vampy insides melt? Or would the micronized silver particles – painful perhaps – eventually push themselves out of their body the way silver bullets do?

And what about Paul Karason, the man who turned blue after allegedly drinking too much colloidal silver?* What would happen to him if he was turned into a vampire? Provided he didn’t immediately turn into a bloody, gooey mess, would his skin go back to its normal hue once the silver left his body?

These are the things we think about late at night when we’re up waaaay past our bedtime. And though we’d really love for Charlaine Harris or Alan Ball to provide us with answers RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND, at least we’re no longer wondering about vampires and silver fillings (they’re actually made of amalgam, with only a small percentage being real silver. And we imagine if that’s a problem, vampires would have little issue in yanking the teeth out themselves).

Now back to nekkid Eric fantasies… 

* Karason suffers from Argyria (caused by improperly prepared silver - in this case his own homemade silver chloride, prepared with salts, and containing large silver particles; not a true colloidal) and colloidal silver has been wrongly blamed for his condition. Still, a vampire might think twice before bitting him.

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The new book, Diary of a Harry Potter Addict is out now! Paperback available at our Amazon affiliate eStore. eBook available via Amazon, iBookstore, and B&N with more online retailers to be added soon.

A humorous take on a serious issue, Diary of a Harry Potter Addict captures the struggles of an anonymous Harry Potter fan coming to grips with life post-Deathly Hallows. Part diary, part clinical narrative, the book spans several years in the character’s life, from the moment they first pick up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone through their exploration of ways in which to manage – and eventually make the most of – their chronic Harry Potter addiction.

Utilizing diary entries, original artwork and interviews with members of the International Quidditch Association and the Harry Potter Alliance, the book offers alternative ways to ease the pain of saying good-bye to old friends and goes great with a swig of Butterbeer.

“An essential part of any respectable Harry Potter collection… A national treasure.” –Antiques Roadshow

“Not good. BRILLIANT!” -Rupert Grint (as Ron Weasley)

“A very interesting literary approach to the subject of Harry Potter Series End Disorder (HPSED)… These women are dangerous.” –Dr. Juana Fuchenstein, DFA

“I laughed… I found it a loving tribute to the fanbase and the running dialogue is great. I need to mention that the cover is awesome!” -Josh Guerrero, ETS

“I do have high hopes and fired imagination that DIARY OF A POTTER ADDICT will serve as the second and last stepping stone between amusing proposals and compensated publications.” –Michael Murphy, literary agent, tour guide, & putt-putt impresario

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Though we are now living in a world with comparatively (pre-WWW) unlimited media source options, people continue to succumb to easy-viewing television. For those who have lived in or visited countries that maintain strict restrictions on information, you realize why so many idolize America. Yet, what typically happens when you have freedom, or so they say, is that you are less apt to appreciate it. If the internet was heavily censored or no longer available -yeah, just suddenly, one day, you weren’t allowed to upload, download, or post content online- there would certainly be an uproar. And maybe in the end we’d take advantage of it more; go for the challenging or enlightened thoughts. Skip a few sitcoms and check in on more alternatives to mainstream politics, news, opinions, anarchistic activities and other conceptual or investigatory work that goes against the grain and against what the “powers that be” would prefer you to be focusing your attention on.

Enter VBS (otherwise known as Vice Broadcasting System) to remind you of some of the cool shit the internet can provide for an aching mind. Though it’s been a little over a year since it’s launch, they’ve compiled a compelling array of audio/visual content – all free to you. Even though they have some deal with MTV, (which supplies the funds and resources to produce their shows), I don’t believe MTV has any say in content, which is oft on the edge. Much of the foreign undercover or eco-journalism variety filmed despite some kind of mitigating circumstances that adds an element of danger. There are a variety of shows to satisfy a roving curiosity, even in regards to things you didn’t know you were curious about. No lights, no make-up, pretty raw footage, still the quality is solid, the editing well-done, and the sound, considering some of the scenarios, is better than most guerrilla video.

I’d say my favorite thus far, with my fave documentary host, is Shane Smith’s “The Vice Guide to North Korea.” Smith -one of the Vice creators when, in its humble beginnings, was a lil’ Canadian magazine- is subtly hilarious, perceptually interesting, attractively intelligent, and a lot bit lucky. Their ramshackled trip to North Korea (which would have been hard to do any other way) was absolute genius – and I still do not understand how they were able to capture it on video. Yes, it’s annoying that it runs in 14 segments, but that may appeal to a general public’s low attention span and lack of time – but I wish there were a “play all” button. As well, the low res loads quickly, but I’d like the option for full screen viewing. Especially, at least, the segment on the Arirang – absolutely unbelievable (link for that piece provided, but you really need to watch the whole thing to fully appreciate the overwhelming finalé). Seriously, if this crew didn’t win any awards for this piece they should have. (It makes me sad we didn’t take Ben Is Dead Magazine to this level – an obvious next step that we were ill-prepared to make at the time – but boy, if we had the funding now!)

Witnessing the insides of North Korea, as an example of censorship in its most pure form, might be a helpful visual for those naïvely oblivious to limitations on personal freedoms and why its important never to take them for granted or assume they will always be there. In that sense, that this kind of work may appeal to the next generation of more conscious MTV viewers is hopeful.

You know, I’m going to skip getting into detail about any of the other shows – it’s all a matter of taste. Sure there are some misses, though the standards are high (and their viewers seem to expect to not have to wade through junk) but similar to TV you can simply “change the channel” as there are lots of viewing options to chose from within a number of categories á la: art, music, culture, environment, skate, sex… and so on. Personally I enjoyed: Manila’s City of Garbage, Inside Sudan, and the Made in China series which gave us a varied three week tour of the country DIY-style – from punk rock to pop rock to Toxic Linfen. I should mention, Spike Jones, famed “Being John Malkovich” director (who almost directed our “Every Day Is Brenda Day” video during the I Hate Brenda fiasco, ehem) is the creative director for VBS.tv, doing his own “Spike Spends Saturday with…” series – the last one with Britain’s über-hip M.I.A.

So if you find yourself trying to decide between some brain-dead local news reporting, YouTube’s prank video of the week, or catty behavior streaming on Big Brother, maybe give VBS a click and see if it speaks to some of the brain’s less-often satiated, thought-provoking cravings.

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tudou logo 2

our pick for best streaming tv and movies sites… with links… but you must read on…

When I was growing up, unless by accident, emergency or there were no other options, we never bought anything made in China, Taiwan, etc. My father had his rules, and besides not getting our ears pierced for fear of getting kicked out of the house, we were smart not to break them (mom, sis and I broke the ear piercing one so he couldn’t kick us all out…). But you know, the righteous, moral, core value rules…at least we tried as a family to adhere to those. He wasn’t racist, it was that fascist regimes, dictatorships, child labor, slave labor, sweat shops, and the destruction of the entire American manufacturing industry were important issues to consider before making a purchase. By buying these products, you were supporting: the government that allowed such practices, the businessmen who profited at other’s expense, the lose of people’s jobs, the suffering of many…. It was considerably different than walking into Wal*Mart and filling up a basket. We had to check every label – meaning there would have been next to nothing we could have been able to buy at most of those corporate chains.beijing olympic symbol

But right now, I have to admit, I’m totally addicted to something from China. Surely it’s less of a moral issue, than boycotting the Beijing Olympics because of Sudan or Tibet (my heart is with you). I’m simply clicking on a web site… no money is exchanging hands… is that so wrong?

Okay, maybe it’s a little more than that, I am in love. And look, I don’t throw the term around willy-nilly (well, only so much as a school-girl does). And I didn’t realize my love until two days ago when I couldn’t connect with…him. He was out, at the doctors, getting maintenance I suppose, but I was on the Season Two finale of “Life On Mars” and jonesing! I had to cheat on him with TV-Okay. But he’s back now, and he excused my dalliances. I don’t understand his foreign tongue, the strange symbols. I have to pretend I can read Chinese, so we can communicate. Daddy, you’ll like him, his name is TUDOU.

First I’ll mention, I have never had cable in my life. Okay, wait, think we had Showtime for one year when I was a kid. Back then, ehem, you purchased each cable station individually, and there were only a few. But since then, every cable show I have watched is because I was visiting someone and they had the TV on, or later when I would housesit or petsit for someone with a television. I gave up on TV, or at least having one in my home, after becoming obsessed with Twin Peaks when I was young. I realized it controlled me, having to be home to watch, a certain day, certain hour (no Tivo back then, just fuzzy VHS recordings). Sure, it didn’t stop us from doing our 90210 one-off The I Hate Brenda Newsletter and on occasion I’d borrow a TV for specific reasons (LA riots, sanity, business purposes, or to watch network shows my friends created or wrote for or appeared on…).old ad how television benefits children

But me and TV’s – they don’t seem to allow one to accomplish as much when they are perpetually playing in the background, as they seem to end up, brainwashing with low-IQ information and vibes. I prefer a player with no regular television source attached, or better yet something that could play whatever my heart desired, on demand, whether it be movie, tv show, anime…. My multi-tasking-self likes viewing it on my Mac, ’cause I can do some of the more mundane research, writing, design work, emailing while it’s playing in a box in the corner. On top of that — American commercials suck! And you always end up watching repeats. Or god-forbid a sitcom (though Christina Applegate’s new one is cute!). Waiting ’til next week cliffhangers are a bore – when you can watch the whole season in a row! I don’t wanna deal with picking up or dropping off at the post office my Netflix. Or the dregs of downloading off Limewire (unless it’s to watch later when one is no longer online – though with most streaming sites you can let the stream load, keep the window open, and watch later without using up precious hard drive space). Considering these scenarios, it’s just sooo easy to get addicted to free streaming video – the immediate satisfaction kine love I’m talking about!

It’s been hard though, as the crack down on streaming sites has been intense. Just as you get comfortable, just as the relationship seems secure, its suddenly taken away from you; love shut down in its prime. They must start these up in various parts of the world with hacky pros creating complicated maneuvers to keep the powers-that-be from discovering the source. But Tudou, it’s from China… they seem to be able to get away with… just about anything!

Never heard of Tudou? Or perhaps you’ve stumbled upon it in your searches? Well, the scoop:

Tudou, Romanized Chinese for the word “Potato” – guess as in “couch”, was started in 2005. It’s the largest video sharing website in China. Take YouTube and then x’s it by 5 and that’s how many billions of minutes of video are up there (Tudou came out just before YouTube did). There aren’t the same length restrictions either. Also, the videos are streamed quickly; if your connection is good you are watching without waiting – not DivX quality but fine.

You need to play around with it in order to find your show, the searches work for shows in English because they maintain the English title, but from there you gotta get logical about the buttons you click. I’ll help get you started. (As far as technical requirements, it plays on my MacBook without any downloads…but check the wiki if you are having problems with your PC).Project Free TV

The trick I found to finding many shows -and then playing the whole season in order- is by finding registered users who upload things I enjoy watching. So if I do a search for a certain show, instead of just clicking the link, I look at who is supplying it, check their home page, and snoop out some of their other offerings. The best will give you the whole series in order in a scrollbar format and they play one after the other. So you can watch from season one, episode one through the last show of the season (sometimes two seasons), in a continuous playback. (Two tips: If you’re in the middle of streaming a show, don’t disconnect until the whole thing has streamed to your machine; otherwise you’ll have to start from the beginning the next time, and sometimes after you’ve streamed it part way it won’t let you reload from the same source).

Best of video (movie/TV) streaming sites to check out:

Tudou YoukuTV OkayTV Links66 StageVeoh (need player, avoid “clips only” / previews)Link ReelShareTVShow LinksTUProject Free TVVideosticHuluJooxJust VidsTV LifeSurfTheChannelMegavideoWatch TV SitcomsKumfumble
UPDATE: One of my new fave sites is SIDEREEL – they include sweet selection of available links (note the link tab once you click on the show or movie’s main page in order to access) and are well organized and updated regularly; often new episodes posted the morning after they air. Check ’em out.
Will update as they come and go, so if you have any to add, let us know! Note: some link to different source sites [often Tudou or Youku -which is also from China], stating that they don’t “host any videos” to avoid legalities; a few require players; some show 5 minute previews so check the number of play minutes and avoid! Might also want to avoid the sexy-time links. Certain sites require you to register – but I tried not to list many of those. Also note, most “just released” flicks are likely video’d in the theater!
• • • • •

To get you started on Tudou, my fave uploader’s home pages:

Lucy (Britishy/Classics)
• • • • •
Sometimes it’s easiest to go to the source – certain channels have their own players where they’ll show you the last few episodes – or for shows like “Lost” complete seasons. Only ABC’s player is any good (though it’s been crashing Firefox lately) but it seems the others have tried to make improvements. (Actually, now that I mentioned it, almost all players run better with Firefox, so you’ll want to access through that web browser.)
• • • • •

And, just cause I luv U too, a few faves to catch up on – with easy direct links:life on mars

Life On Mars: My absolutely new favorite (okay, it’s a couple years old; 1/2006 – 4/2007) Time travel / mental breakdown / coma hallucination cop show. It’s so brilliant that I hate David Kelly for even thinking about remaking the dumbed-down American version. Just let it be!!!! Thankfully the British stars declined to participate! (Though a movie version is a possibility… I wouldn’t mind that. But what would it do to the ambiguous ending?!?). I love the actors/characters, dynamic relationships, the intensity, the spit-quick dialogue, the questioned reality. Makes you realize how brain activity is more mainstream for the populous elsewhere in the world. I like morphed analogies, but, hmm, Barney Miller plus Trainspotting plus Fight Club mixed with some ’70s English glam rock…. or not. Friggin’ hot soundtrack! (p.s. just read on wiki a Spanish TV bought the rights for it and will remake the show and base the first season five year later in 1978 post-Franco Spain….huh? • Oh, and Ashes to Ashes… you decide if the sequel should have been done. Personally, I dislike the repeated “wink wink” jokes referencing LOM – and hard to keep up the pace and freshness of the original – but there are a few moments. Main factor for it being done at all, and in this I assume we can agree, is we all want to keep on watching Glenister.

madmenMad Men: As in “ad men” (as in advertising) based in the ’60s. This show irritated me at first, hard to watch what women had to go through in this weird not-that-long-ago world…. This is the email review I wrote my friend who recommended Mad Men to me, if I can be so ridiculous as to quote myself: “Reminds me of the cavemen that live here. Shows so well male species teetering on the edge of control and the facade required to maintain it. Despite the things I love and hate about it… absolutely brilliant.” (Created in 2000 by Sopranos writer Matthew Weiner -before he worked on Sopranos, but pitching it was how he landed the gig- first aired July 2007. Season 2 coming Summer 2008). Season two streaming link here!

Nip/Tuck: I think it was my sister or my friend Pyne who said every other season of this show is good. Whatever it is, Season 5 sucked and I’d recommend avoiding itnip/tuck because it pulled what was an overall five star rating down a star. I avoided watching this show for so long, because of misconceived notions and avoidance of visual gore (for the sake of)… but got easily addicted and watched through all five seasons in two weeks (caution: you start dreaming theme music when you do this – also loved ones may be annoyed with your obsession.).

Hustle: British comedy started in 2004 – by third season AMC had a major stake in it. Exciting long-con plottings, fun characters, twisting stories, etc. (Conceived by Life On Mars writers; couple of the same actors make appearances and Glenister’s bro has a leading role).

Other shows to catch up on: Men In Trees (sorry, I’m a woman, this sappy shit [ha, sappy!] is in the genes — better than what Sex and the City devotees are expected to move on to… Lipstick Jungle [not quite Candace!] and Cashmere Mafia don’t thInk sooo [tho Ms. Lucy Lu, u always rock!]), Freaks and Geeks (classic, good for repeats), the Tudors, Rescue Me, The Closer, Damages, Weeds, Rome…..

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Keala Kennelly John From CincinnatiI recall this summer, my So. Cal surf buddy Marguerite made a funny comment regarding HBO’s then new “John From Cincinnati” while we were walking to the showers at El Porto and found ourselves bombarded with the show’s poster campaign. Well, the comment was more cleverly phrased but the gist was something to the effect of, “You’ve never seen a more miserable group of surfers.” That I had, a few nights previous, tried to sit through two unbearable, incomprehensible episodes of that bummerama -thinking I was somehow just not getting it- I found myself happy and relieved to agree. I mean, even on the most annoying or frustrating day out in the water, I still feel better than the characters on that show. As in my previous piece referencing the perils of Hollywood trying to capitalize on the surfing lifestyle (“Point Break 2: Young, Dumb, and…More Surf Movies to Cum“) no matter what pro-surfers you infuse in the mix, most of the supposedly story-driven (as opposed to surf-footage-driven) movies and TV shows regarding surfers or surfing seem to miss the mark. While most of the surf genre go so far into cliché you aren’t watching john from cincinnati posteranything new, this show wanted desperately to prove they were anything and everything but cliché…and ended up running so far in the other direction they left you in their wake. And as far as representing the essence o’ surf, these Hollyweirdos always, on cue, miss the point — guys, you can’t buy “it”, you have to experience it!!! Yeah, I know co-creator Kem Nunn surfs (as far as I can tell he only wrote Episode Two and co-wrote Episode One, with a jumbled mix of writers and directors for the rest of the season) and is supposed to be Mr. “Surf-Noir” (Tijuana Straits, Tapping the Source…) but…he probably rides a longboard. Seriously, maybe these things have to be written and directed by surfers -you know, during a break in the swells- so it doesn’t get filtered through the hallow minds of executive money-men. HBO – I expected much more from you! Especially with this as your Sopranos replacement!!!.

Posted on the Surfline website, writer Paul Holmes compiled a nicely written piece (“Space Aliens Take Over HBO…“) regarding the cancellation of the doomed series (somehow linking it to the fact the alien-infested junk tabloid Weekly World News was canceled as well: “It can’t be a coincidence that another bastion of quasi-mystical fantasy entertainment, The W.W.N., announced it would cease publication the same week.”). The only two things I found interesting about JFC were: my friend’s ex-wife rebecca-demorney.jpgRebecca DeMorney, who has not done any decent work in a long while, was…pretty decent (considering), and Keala Kennelly who actually “retired from the ASP World Tour (and moved to LA) in order to pursue her acting gig on the show” (seriously!?) was absolutely adorable.

So who was this “John” from Cincinnati anyway? Did anyone think they would find out…or care? Maybe it could have been interesting if they didn’t complicate matters with this savant-kook. But frankly, the real mystery of “John” and the whole show in general is how it got made in the first place and how with so many good actors you find a way to make them so unlikable and uninteresting. And why none of the truth-seeking soul-surfers on the set, all amped-upjohn from cincinnati set like it was a killer day at Pipe, bothered to stop mid-fantasy to infuse some reality into the scenario, “Ho!!!! Guys, it’s only 1 foot, high tide, on-shore and there’s a sewage spill…This shit stinks!!!”

Dear Hollywood, I’m really busy right now but if you pay me the six figures I will write your dang surf flick, or series… I’ll direct and edit the fugger as well. Other than that, can you stop the abuse already and move on to some other sport. Maaaahalo!

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john cusack 1408Well, there are at least a good handful of reasons why John Cusack is still a hottie. But do we really know specifically what these reasons are? What is it about John Cusack that’s so damn appealing?

One thing I love about John is, like a good boyfriend, you can count on him. That despite the character he is portraying –whatever character it may be– there’s always an essence of that comfortingly familiar Cusack angst. Sure, that can be considered a bad quality for an actor, but not for John. And in actuality, he’s like a great surfer, who you don’t think is as good as he is, because he’s so casual about it -it comes so natural- that he makes even the most difficult maneuvers seem easy.

cusack cuteThat still doesn’t explain away his sex appeal. Cusack is our generation’s anti-hero, anti-celeb, anti-sex-god. And unlike other actors that reasonably or not are considered for the role -Clooney, Pitt, Penn- he doesn’t need to advertise it. I went out to dinner last night, and even the guys in our party (all straight) concurred. Frankly, I was surprised; to what extent men are equally a sucker for Cusack’s charms. When I threw it out there that if you dissect him, piece by piece (his kinda thin, strangely shaped lips, his new wave eyebrows, his grungy lanky stance), that John Cusack is not a very attractive man, well, I was met with fierce opposition. One guy actually seemed to be offended by my comment, challenging me with his response of “He’s attractive. What are you talking about? Come’on, you know he’s good looking!” Okay, okay, yes, he’s cute – I mean, I’m bringing up the topic in the first place. I’m just not certain why! Why is Cusack still such a hottie?!? cusack hottie

In his new movie, 1408, co-staring Samuel L. Jackson (whom you might hesitate to trust as incentive to potentially wasting two hours on a horror flick), Cusack displays his lasez-fair brilliance, practically without you noticing. The whole movie lies foremostly in his lap. In actuality, a movie like this could have easily gone the way of a plane full of snakes. Not everyone knows how to interpret King’s masterful play with suspense, and not every director gets King’s humor; as easily 1408 is perfection it could just as easily have gone cliché. And a scary movie that gets blessed with a leading actor who can convince the audience to be realistically horrified by an unrealistic scenario is gold. In the scene when John is holding his dead daughter, reassuring her he will not let go, that they will be together forever, just before she turns into a pile of rocky ash, you have to pretend you’re rubbing your eyes because you’re tired, not because John Cusack is actually making you cry. He’s a cynic like you’re a cynic, he’s a punk like you’re a punk, he’s always a little bit at odds with the world in a non-conformist way that isn’t too proud or self-righteous. Just like you, he doesn’t want to believe, and you seem to bond with him in that regard, from his very first moment on screen…in every movie he is in. (And note, I saw the movie with my mom, and though she couldn’t relate so much with the horror flick, she sure did feel the same way as I did about John!).

“It’s the idea that hell is a state of mind filled with the demons and conflicts you bring with you from your past,” Cusack says. “It’s not like a slasher film, where you’re running away from something or you have to face some monster. Room 1408 is some version of purgatory, where all your problems are waiting right there for you.”

better off dead cusackInstead of the promise of hope found in a repeating day, á la Groundhog’s Day, 50 First Dates, even the new (torturous yet decently accomplished TV show) Day Break, where the idea of being able to correct one’s mistakes and take advantage of second chances exists, 1408 showcases the potential nightmare of repeating one’s most horrible day -compounded by reliving the feelings of the worst events of one’s life- over and over again. The weight of the idea of it is enough – thank god. There are a few of those M. Shyamalan twists, though even the most unchallenged minds in the audience are used to those by now, come to expect them, and enjoy trying to guess what they might be.high fidelity

Even when appearing in shitty movies, at least we get to watch him; John Cusack can make virtually any film character likable or enjoyable. At 41 –as of a few days ago (happy birthday)– Cusack had appeared in over 50 movies. (My only point of contention, and I’m a stickler when it comes to this, is that I wish he never appeared in a Woody Allen film post-Soon Yi; but that’s another matter for another moment.) He’s had a self-conscious touch of jaded as of day one, a sort of anarchistic sneer that keeps the best of us from conforming to the lowest common denominator. john cusack astrologyHis private life has not been sold out in exchange for false-idol self-worship. His comment that “celebrity is the worst thing that can happen to an actor” is easy to make from the outside looking in, but impossible for most tabloid-driven love-hungry ego’s to see. On marriage (and while deterring notions of his unmarried-self possibly being gay because his name appeared on the cover of the SF Chronicle’s “Pink Pages” – sorry boys, he was supporting “Gay Pride” not being gay!) Cusack responded in The Guardian,

Would he like to get married? Put it another way. In his fantasy, is he married? ‘I’m not as interested in being married as in coming to some sort of clarity about the whole thing.’ Which sounds a bit constipated, but then, as he says, it’s not an easy subject. Complicated, in fact. ‘Don’t you think?’ Is he one of those men who falls in love all the time. ‘Not at all. I’ve been in love maybe two or three times in my life.’ A leaver? ‘No, so far they have been mutual leavings.’ Kids? ‘Yeah. That’d be good. But I’d want to be with someone I could stay with long enough for the kids to grow up.’ Maybe you’ve got to stop thinking so much, I say. ‘Yes,’ he says. ‘But that’s complicated, too, isn’t it?’

Yes John, it is complicated. But maybe we can help….

p.s. Please note the El Porto surf scenes where the -kinda retarded- surf accident that initiated the set-up of events into the dark side takes place. Does John surf?

Yeah, I’ve actually done a little bit, but I’m not a big surfer. Water’s kinda scary, especially those big waves. I actually have friends who do it, and I go out with them. I’m not a big surfer.

Again John, (forget Laird, forget Minnie) maybe we can help… xo

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good bad kittyI’m housesitting. It’s a nice and needed respite because I’ve been living in a tent in a rat-infested plantation house with termites to the extent that every once in a while you notice the wall crumbling to dust. Despite the sound of it, I am forever grateful to my friend for making his home available to me, because homelessness sucks even if you are in Hawai’i (the concept of “living on the beach”: coconut tree, beach shack…kinda lost in this modern world). And the nights I did have to sleep in my little putt-putt with my broken back were uncomfortable reinforcements of pain killer psychosis and suicidal tendencies.

See, this ungrounded state is a result of an injury which left me unable to work for much of a year (sure, sure, the symbolic, astrological, spiritualized purpose of the accident itself has much deeper roots…but rhyme or reason aside, the event leaves you in disarray). If you aren’t from a rich family or have a chunky savings account, and after you quickly, effortlessly run through all your resources, you soon realize the impossibility of living on $400 a month plus $240 in food stamps. What can one buy with $400 exactly? Rent? You’re lucky if you find a room for that much – and if you do your options here usually include a basement or trash-can frat house or some ramshackled cabin in the boonies. And then you have not one more penny for, god-forbid, medical bills, rehabilitation… never mind regular expenses like car, phone, utilities, pet food, credit card bills…. As far as food expenses go, anyone who lives in or has visited Hawai’i comprehends the futility of discount shopping when, for example, a carton of orange juice costs upwards of $8 (fatal when calculating in organic, non-GMO vices and desired satisfaction of cravings) – no, there are no Trader Joe’s and they don’t take food stamps at most of the farmer’s markets either.

But enough of this negative thinking – people just don’t want to hear it, even if it is the truth. Today there is an avoidance of anything that smells of negativity. Boy, all us realists are just percolating, waiting for The Secret* backlash that will surely come, as bottled up “negativity” finds no friendly place to exist in this “all-good” world. It’s like when the “politically correct” thing first became big late ’80s, and your dictionary had to change and quick or you were looked down upon, sued, fired, hated…. I recall one occasion, for example, reacting aloud to someone with the pre-p.c. common adage You’re so gay (okay, valley girl-common but none-the-less). Anyway a gay acquaintance in our group became mortified and reacted in a very aggressive way. How dare you! Now, he knew many of my friends were gay (I was in San Francisco visiting them for cryin’ out loud), that I’m not homophobic, but he was so tuned-up to react to keywords that the reality was besides the point. Maybe other people used that saying to round-aboutly demean gay people (I get offended when people use “girl” to put down guys for example – though on that note perhaps he should have been offended by people calling homosexuals “gay” at all). Personally, I never once thought the saying had anything to do with “gay” people. I wouldn’t be able to replace the word “gay” in the phrase (e.g. You’re soo homosexual). And since when did one group earn the right to words like “gay” to the point you have to tippy-toe around your own vocabulary? Heck, homosexuals can use whatever word they want, make up new words to describe themselves uniquely, but “gay” is a common word with many definitions in the dictionary before you get to “homosexual”.

All I’m saying before I so rudely rambled away with my thoughts is that, like P.C. then, we’re getting a little S.C. (secretly correct) and perhaps going a little overboard with the whole no negative campaign. Because people individually and as a social collective are emotionally (not rationally) determining just what is negative or bad and what is not, and the range seems to opt towards extremes. And I’d hate to say something and be interpreted incorrectly or not related to or totally dismissed, because people have a neurotic need to block out or close themselves off to anything that can be deciphered as remotely negative. Now that, to me, feels bad. Trends like this always seems to go too far. My friend’s kitty is a perfect example.

See, kitty-sitting comes with the two-week housesit. The meow meow is barely a speck, a shadow, a puff that can sit in the palm of your hand. My friend recently found this kitty at her house and took her in, ’til it peed on her bed, but essentially she now takes care of the kitty and therefore claims the self-entitled human right to name said kitty. And taking personality and behavioral issues into account – the peeing, clawing and otherwise rowdy behavior – she named the kitty “Bad Kitty.” When she told me, I didn’t even question the matter; Bad Kitty seemed like a perfectly understandable even adorable name for a cat. But she explained that she was having some resistance from people around her, as far as them calling her kitty by her proper name. Somehow the word “bad” just isn’t positive enough or “S.C.” One of the tenants that rents from this friend seemed dramatically disturbed by the whole thing. “No, no, nooo,” the girl whined with her air-head boppin’ side-to-side, “you can’t call her Baaad Kitty, you have to call her Gooood Kitty.” “But her name is Bad Kitty,” my friend declared in response. Trying to maneuver the scenario with a more upbeat twist, my friend then elaborated, “my kitty is bad-ass!” The girl thought for a minute, going through the motions of wholesome contemplation but twas useless, ultimately her mind was made up. “No, no, no” she repeated, “Gooood Kitty.”

So I’m thinking it’s just this tripped-out hippie who avoids “bad” vibes like the shower, but my friend said she brought her new kitty to the local vet and no one at the vet’s office – vet included – would call the kitty by its name. “They call her BK” my friend told me, kinda perturbed but at a loss. They insinuated her needing to rename her kitty, but since she resisted they simply did it for her. BK, I thought, isn’t that short for Burger King? (hmm, the last burger I got from there was pretty negative!)

Right now as I type, Bad Kitty is being especially “bad”, jumping on my head, on my keyboard, adding lines and spaces and distracting my focus. I toss her here and there but she’s back in a poof, a shadowy black flash, and is indeed bad-ass. And I’m in this nice house and for a moment my environment isn’t reflective of or aggravating my negative state. Maybe a few of these double negatives are actually joining together, in a transformative alchemy, to create some more positives. Surely we need these fucked up, shitty, horrible, evil, rotten, lame, boring, stupid, bad, bad-ass words and feelings and events and even people for any of the positive ones to truly exist; perhaps consciousness and understanding and even a lighthearted sense of humor makes them not so baaad. I was never looking for perfection in my life, just a healthy balance, sure, of positive and negative I suppose. I’m not worried, cause if a little blip, a dot, a dusky happy-go-lucky ruffian like Bad Kitty can overcome or transcend the negativity in her life, then I surely can too.

* * * * *

* the “it” film and book of the moment, with it’s semi-new age no-negativity campaign and Da Vinci code aesthetic providing your answer to the Secret (secret laws and principles to the universe – foremostly the laws of attraction or as some critics state a re-packaging of “The Power of Positive Thinking”) and how to use them to have “everything you’ve ever wanted…living life to the absolute fullest. That means happiness, health, and total abundance and freedom, every day.” Basically sold as the answer to having the life all rich, successful, happy people knowingly lead. The essence of this solution stemming from the idea that one must think and visualize good thoughts; avoid bad ones.

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