Archive for January, 2011

An Experiment in Destiny (Mayan Apocalyptic Pre-New Years 2012)

Posted in General, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2011 by jezzywolfe

We’re doomed. Yep. And that’s being optimistic. We’re so screwed that our threads have been stripped. 

Or at least according to the Mayans. And the Hopi. And those six skeptical dudes that I stayed up late one night to watch on television, only to retire to bed feeling uneasy and frustrated. Hell, even Nostradamus has us slated for beetle grub.

Or does he…?

Nope. All the Nostradamus 2012 specials are complete hype. There is absolutely no evidence that the creepy book of watercolors is based on his prophecies. In fact, his actual prediction of annihilation occurs in the 3700’s. We’re more than a couple years off from that. And the Mayans and the Hopi? Well, I’d be more impressed if they weren’t trade buddies. If the two societies had never met, never traversed each other’s paths, then fine. Lots of weight would come with their eerily similar predictions. But as history tells it, they met in the ‘Zone of Silence’ to trade goods. And information.

Am I wagering that they sat around getting shitfaced and decided to play a good joke on us all? Well, no. Although I don’t argue, that would make for a funny apocalyptic theme. Hmmm…

DIBS!

My point to this meandering is this: I have spent a crazy amount of time watching all these doomy shows, and it’s not doing wonders for my outlook. The world does indeed look significantly darker when you look at it with the realization that it could be gone in 2 years time. I have kids and I want to see them grow up to live long and happy lives. I have ferrets, dammit! I want to live!

Now… here’s where ‘enlightenment’ happens.

I watched Brad Meltzer’s Decoded last week. I’ve skipped most his shows because so far they’ve been just goofy. But I wanted to see what they came up with for 2012. Certainly they weren’t gonna mimic everyone else and say that we are indeed slated for extermination that winter’s solstice. Doesn’t every show need an edge?

Surprisingly, they actually had one.

One Nostradamus ‘expert’ pointed out that Nosty (…nice) predicted many bad things, but his end date is much later than the Mayopis. (See that? I just jammed those two together. I’m totally impressing myself!) And let’s face it. Nosty was a poet by necessity. Hey, dude didn’t want to get his block knocked off. Which means that none of his predictions will ever make sense until something happens. So they’re not very successful ‘warnings’, are they? To be honest, some of them are so generalized that they really could be multi-purpose quatrains. The “quicker picker-upper predictions”. So while I am always interested in Nosty’s views, I’m not betting the bank on them.

The Mayans made a big calendar. They based it on the planets and alignments. My guess is that like all calendars, theirs had to end too. I don’t know or completely believe that the end of their calendar is more than just that. And hey, yoo hoo! If they were so spot on, why didn’t they save themselves? It’s like sitting in the middle of the African bush, predicting the deaths of tribes that haven’t even appeared yet… and getting snuck up on by a herd of stampeding elephants. “Holy shit, where did those pissed off pachyderms come fr–“ SPLAT! Yeah. Nice try, guys. Let’s play again in a few thousand years.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m willing to believe that something will happen. Sooner or later. Magnetic shifting, solar flares… yeah, I get it. I’m not happy about it at all, but I know we’re helpless when it comes to the extra extra big picture. I could say, “Hey, let’s all jump up and down starting at 9 am on Dec 21 and keep it up for the next 24 hours and maybe all that jumping will push the entire planet down until we’re out of that dark rift.” But even I’m not that idiotic. We’re headed for something. But until it happens, no one knows what the something is.

So as Brad’s team tried to find holes that would save our collective asses, they came across one of the developer’s for the Web Bot. You’ve heard of this, right? It predicts future events by scanning the internet and picking up codes. It predicted 9-11, amongst a myriad of other events. And as I listened to them explain how it works, sheer genius was bequeathed to me. I’m talking genius like OPRAH genius. Yes, THAT fantastic!

Bear with me on this:

The Web Bot is predicting our future based on ALL the information on the internet. This thing is reading and analyzing everything we put here. Including this cockamamy post about how it is reading and analyzing everything we put here. Including this post!

Uh, where was I?

Oh yeah! Genius! Guys, it’s reading US. (No, not the magazine!) It’s predicting what happens to us based on what we say. So doesn’t that stand to reason that maybe we have some say in what happens in our future? It’s predicting doom and gloom cause that’s ALL we’re talking about!

Quick interesting side note before I make my proposal: It hasn’t made a real prediction about 2012. It’s just saying ‘cataclysm’. Which is really specific, thanks  a lot, Web-ster. And the men monitoring the programs said the thing is, all predictions stop on Dec 21, 2012. And they don’t resume until May 2013. A-HA… but they DO resume. Isn’t that kinda like good news? Maybe?

Anyway, here’s what I suggest. We are in control of our so-to-speak destiny. It’s taking its cues from us and all the rhetoric and propaganda and bad Palin jokes that we plug in here everyday. Is all this pointless banter worth the inevitable demise that is being predicted because of it? Are these words of fear and paranoia worth a future of pain, desolation, and Larry the Cable Guy with a show on the History Channel? Do I remember what I was talking about?

Oh yeah.

What if everybody, for an extended period of time, picked one subject. Only one. And then proceeded to ONLY write about that one thing on the internet. Everywhere. From emails to dating sites to social networks to blogs to ‘BeatYourPorkChop.com’… If everyone only talked about one thing, doesn’t that invariably affect the data the Webot gets? And wouldn’t that be a funny as hell joke?

Say, just as an example, everyone just typed the word ‘Dook’. Nothing but billions of people, all just saying ‘Dook’. Do you think the Web Bot would get a dose of that and be like, “Holy hell! WTF does ‘Dook’ mean?” And is that future so scary? No. There’s nothing scary about ‘Dook’. Although in retrospect, they’d probably misinterpret it as ‘Doom’…

Uh.

Okay, scratch ‘Dook’. Lets come up with something fun and fluffy. Something we can all look forward to. Hell, it’s our future, peoples. Let’s get creative. And goofy. If nothing else, we’ll find out if the Web Bot is programmed with a sense of humor.

The bottom line is — we are in control. Maybe not over planetary alignment mumbo-jumbo, but when it comes to social conscience and compassion and knowing when the fuck to lighten up, oh yeah, it’s all us, baby.

So let’s turn this around. Any ideas for what we should all talk about?

Black Swan

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , on January 17, 2011 by jezzywolfe

Directed by:
Darren Aronofsky

Starring:
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel 

Overall Impression:
A timeless Degas. On acid.

I’m not at all surprised that Black Swan has so many award nominations. Undoubtedly, it is a beautiful film. Which is ironic considering how it focuses on the malignant darkness of a  mentally broken woman, normally an ugly perspective, indeed.

Ballet is probably one of the most stunning performing arts you will ever witness. But with that characteristic grace and strength comes a very crass behind-the-stage look at what a ballerina’s life is like. As with so many athletic sports, ballet thrives on youth and stamina. The brutal reality of what a dancer does to her body in order to grace the stage is a ruthless reminder of what an  extreme illusion every performance is. In that sense the movie is spot on. It’s not all tutus and tights and willowy creatures… it’s torn ligaments and broken toes and eating disorders. And (at least in this case) psychosis.

Natalie Portman portrays Nina Sayers, a young woman yearning to emerge from the company as its new prima ballerina. Her predecessor is Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) an axed diva who has simply aged past her prime and forced into early retirement. For someone with so few actual scenes, Ryder gives a stellar performance. As Nina is selected to be the White Swan in the company’s production of Swan Lake, her mother, played by Barbara Hershey, worries that her daughter cannot withstand the pressures of being the lead. Add to that mix the demanding director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) who uses sexual tension to fuel Nina’s performances, and her rival/potential best friend Lily (Mila Kunis) and you have on screen the formula that is Nina’s undoing.

I could give you an in-depth account of what I believe happened in the storyline. But another aspect of the movie’s allure is that it is open to interpretation. After all, the one thing everyone agrees on is that Nina is fastly losing her mind. The question is how much of what she experiences is in her head. Her mother is clearly disturbed as well, after having given up her life’s dream of being a ballerina to have and raise Nina. She shelters Nina to the point of suffocation.  Is she the catalyst for Nina’s downward spiral, or was she simply protecting her daughter from her fragile state of mind? Then there’s Lily. She wants to be Nina’s friend… maybe. Or perhaps she wants to be Nina’s lover. Or maybe Nina admire’s Lilly’s wild abandon so much that she is sexually attracted to her. Or maybe Lilly is nothing more than the corporeal manifestation of Nina’s psychosis. It’s just one of the unanswered questions you will walk away with.

There are layers of darkness that borderline actual horror in this film, and personally I enjoy that tremendously. The mind is a twisted, visceral landscape, and this movie travels it well.  It reminds me a little bit of Jacob’s Ladder — how much of it happened in the head, and how much was real. I could watch it repeatedly and still not have all the answers.

And that, my friends, is what gives it kick. Perpetual intrigue will always keep you coming back for more.

With an entire cast of fantastic performances and an impressive storyline, this is a film well worth the cost of a movie ticket. See it at the theater, or wait to see it at home. Either way, you will not be disappointed.

Black Swan receives 4.5 out of 5 fuzzies  

The Last Exorcism

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , on January 9, 2011 by jezzywolfe

Directed by Daniel Stamm

Starring Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, and Iris Bahr

Overall Impression: Like the little engine that could… but then didn’t.

So the idea was to make a documentary style film about an evangelist who agrees to perform an exorcism on film. He’s your typical camera ready evangelical creature… in the business for the profit and celebrity, and completely lacking in faith and sincerity. To prove the hoax he maintains that they are, he takes his small crew to Louisiana for a paying gig to exorcise the proverbial farmer’s daughter.

He probably should have taken his job a little more seriously.

I don’t need to tell you that his lack of belief blinded him to what was really happening. After faking his way through a laughable performance — and had it been an actual documentary even the most backwoods dullard would’ve seen through his sham — he decided what the girl really needed was a shrink. Despite her fairly convincing contortionist bit in the barn (think of a far less comely Emily Rose doing a flawless split and then offering a ‘blowing job’) he still tried to blame her bizarre antics on ‘teenage shame’. Really? Does shame enable the back of one’s head to soundly rest on their ass? Nope. Tried it. Just not possible. What other explanation is there that could account for such seemingly satanic flexibility? Well, I’ll tell you what:

Incest… apparently.

And it ends the exact same way all the other ‘let’s try to make this look authentic even though they’re gonna recognize some of the actors from previous films’ mock docs ends… you screaming, “Run faceless camera man, run!” And then a thud. AND finally the closing screenshot of rocks and gravel.

Whoops! It’s wrong to reveal endings, isn’t it? Well, if it’s any consolation, there’s an unexpected twist before it’s over. And I will be nice and NOT tell you what it is. Or you can pretend the previous paragraph doesn’t exist.

Occasionally predictable plot aside, I was irritated by the movie early on. In the beginning Cotton is being interviewed, and he explains how Lucifer became evil. Now, maybe they intentionally got that bit wrong to reinforce Cotton’s lack of integrity as a supposed man of God. Either that was a deliberate snafu meant to ensure authenticity, or it was poor research in writing.

All griping aside, the movie wasn’t horrible. It had some moments of true creepiness scattered throughout the predictable set-up. But it’s not as scary as the dvd cover art implies. And it really could’ve benefited from a less been-there-done-that conclusion.

In my opinion, Emily Rose was a far more unsettling film. But that’s just me. You will have to see for yourself if I’m wrong.

The Last Exorcism receives 2.5 out of 5 Fuzzies   

 

 

 

My Anti-Climatic Two Days After New Years’ Eve New Years’ Post

Posted in Uncategorized on January 3, 2011 by jezzywolfe

Despite all outward appearances… or should I say nonappearances…  the past several months have not been a bust.

While my internet presence has been minimal, my real world job was a doozy this holiday season. Retail always is when it comes to Christmania, but this year was my first at management helm, and I am happy to say it went fine. So now that the New Year has begun, I can switch gears.

When the clock struck 2011, I was ‘taking care of business’, so to speak. I renewed my security software, ordered additional memory for my laptop, and began researching Photoshop and Photomatix programs. It’s time to get back to my photography. But this time, I’m going for “Big Dog” status. My Minolta SLR is in need of repair, but soon as it’s fixed I’m getting out there and searching for… well, whatever catches my eye. No more excuses. I’m through with them.

But don’t think that means I’ve quit with the writing. Far from it. I currently have the first part of my haiku selection, ‘Thirteen Haikus and a Midnight Movie Massacre’, appearing in the December issue of The World of Myth ezine. The piece is scheduled to appear (in it’s entirety) in their next issue, so when I get the release date for that I will announce it again. Be sure to check them out. They are a fine zine with a wonderful team, and considering they were the first publication I had the honor to appear in, I’m rather fond of them.

Oh, and in addition to appearing in back to back issues of the ezine, they’ve selected one of my Mad Milly stories, ‘The Mysteriously Magically Maddeningly Missing Mocha…uh…Mystery’, to appear in the upcoming book anthology, The Best of The World of Myth Volume II. Release date on that is forthcoming as well.

🙂

Which brings me to another fine publication that deserves much appreciation – Support the Little Guy. Founded and run by Brandon Layng, it is both a Twitter campaign as well as an ezine, designed to promote both small press publications and authors. If you’re browsing Twitter you will undoubtedly see #SupporttheLittleGuy attached to various tweets frequently on any given day. Between the Twitter campaign and the newly launched ezine, Brandon has successfully worked hard to spread the word about the importance of supporting small press. That said, I am very fortunate to be appearing in the next issue of Support the Little Guy, with my flash fiction story, ‘To the Victor Goes the Soil’.

If you haven’t already, stop by the STLG blog or check out the ezine, and show your appreciation. Small press needs you.

Thank you very much, Brandon, for all you do!

‘THE WALL’

No, it’s not the Pink Floyd cult classic film, sorry.

If you look at my sidebar you will see a new page for banners and links. So if you’re a publisher, author, or artist with a snazzy banner, drop me a line and I’ll put you up there. (And if you don’t have a banner, I can add your website or blog url to my sidebar.)