Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tagged Like an Animal

On das iPod: The Beatles, Goldfrapp, Isis, The Beastie Boys, Mogwai, Wilco, Holy Fuck, Neurosis, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, The Flaming Lips, Pink Floyd.

Geosomin has tagged me as she was tagged by Pacian. The rules of this little chain are thus: "The Kreativ Blog award rules are: Link to the person who tagged you. (done) Post the rules on your blog: Write 6 random things about yourself. Tag 6 people and let each of them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. Go back to the awarder and let them know that your entry is up."
And so...

1. I work as an autopsy technician, am not bothered by the gore that my job entails - but despise "slasher" flicks like Saw, Friday the 13th, Hostel, ad nauseam. Such films are more accurately described as torture porn and I have no interest in them. Interesting how some people assume that I would be into these films, wondering if these films are what desensitized me enough to do my job. I would counter that maturity, life experience and the perspective that comes with age allowed me to me job. I wouldn't hire on a person for my job if they were into torture porn. I can't tell you exactly why I am able to do the job that I do, I just am.

2. I practice accents when no one is around. I don't act anymore and there are no commercial outlets for my talents, but I am obsessed with developing an array of British Isles accents. The "Northern" accents (Manchester, Leeds, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Sheffield are the hardest I have found - they also cut into my Scottish accent. (which is becoming more decidedly Aberdonian I have been told) Why do I spend private time doing this? Pure enjoyment.

3. I view myself as a Vancouverite/Lower Mainlander first, British Columbian second and Canadian third. My home region and I may not get along, but I have a peculiar sense of fidelity to it. I almost feel guilty leaving it in some ways.

4. I have a reoccurring dream since the age of eleven where I am forced into playing the role of Prometheus. The dream usually entails that a group of people I know (often some of the people in my Grade 6 class still figure into the dream) are placed into the roles of Greek gods. The monastery in Mission BC becomes Mount Olympus. I am always cast in the role of Prometheus and I usually spend my time thwarting the other "gods" and decrying our so-called divinity.

5. I am in incredible procrastinator. In fact I have been thinking it is time to see someone about the problem. I suppose I will get around to it, eventually.

6. Talent and intelligence are aphrodisiacs. There are many things that will attract me to a woman, but talent is something that seals the attraction. Hidden talent or unrealised talent have much the same effect. This especially true of artistically gifted women. Not that I am attracted every artistically talented woman I have ever met, mind you.
A friend, Blair, once write that "stupid people are ugly" and he is right. Intelligence, particularly assertive intelligence play a big part in attraction. One woman I was very interested in caught my eyes, ears and every other sense in my body just by asking "why", by doggedly pursuing a line of inquiry and not letting me get away with easy answers. She questioned me until I had to say "I don't know" and the attraction was sealed.
Banality is a great way of making me uninterested. Be like everyone else, desire nothing but what you are "supposed" to have, do nothing, think nothing interesting and you have lost me.

I don't have a great many friends on the blogosphere and two have already been tagged by Geo. So I tag Thoth and I tag Glenn and anyone interested enough to pursue this chain. If need be, respond in my comments if you lack a blog of your own.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Position is This

CD in Play: Goldfrapp, Seventh Tree

This post was started on 1 Novemeber, 2008

I was at the university a couple of nights ago and got talking with a couple of people after class. They are very active in their churches, falling into a more moderate faction within the Charismatic movement. One of them brought up an email he had received from a colleague in the US asking people to pray hard about who becomes President especially given Barack Obama's "liberal" position on abortion. I have always been a fence-sitter on the issue of abortion, disliking the extremists on either side of the issue. (and yes, there extremists on both sides of the argument)
My position hasn't changed so very radically in its substance but I am more comfortable calling myself pro-choice rather than pro-life or anti-abortion. I don't like abortion and I believe there are other choices that should absolutely be considered before deciding to abort. Part of being pro-choice is to make sure that women have all the information at their disposal so they can make as well-reasoned a choice as possible. I consider some so-called pro-choice people to be pro-abortion, since they are interested in promoting abortion -consciously or not - as an easy option for everyone involved. (especially themselves, whether they aware of that fact or not)
For me, the issue of abortion comes down to responsibility: both individual and collective responsibility. Pro-lifers/anti-abortion activists like to point at the mothers and talk about their responsibilities to carry the child to term, for reasons the mother may or may not accept, but largely fail to acknowledge their responsibility to provide an alternative. And Christians (who drive the pro-life/anti-abortion cause) are quite big on demanding alternatives and solutions when they are confronted with criticism from within. Anytime I complained about the state of the Church in the past I was told by MANY people that if I didn't have alternatives or solutions to offer along with my criticisms then I should just keep my mouth shut until I have something constructive to follow up with.
Some churches have met this challenge, providing shelters for single mothers where they can learn life skills like cooking, sewing, how to deal with their frustrations and how to manage their money so they can have something left over to treat themselves with. As I understand it, some of these places have follow-up policies with their mothers, regardless of whether or not they convert.
Still many church going "pro-lifers" I have met feel no inclination to be so charitable with either their time or their money. The mother screwed up and it has nothing to with them if she is unprepared to raise a child, unfit to be a mother, etc. That these children may grow up to be battered, neglected or fail to grow up at all is nether here nor their - abortion is immoral and not permissible. Life must be protected at all costs but when it comes to a question of quality of life? You're on your own kid. Lots o' luck. Excuse me, I have to go manicure my lawn, polish the silverware, go to my weekly home Bible study.
But so-called pro-choicers aren't of the hook either. Many make the same arguments about pro-lifers/anti-abortionists that I have just made but are just as callous towards impoverished children. Better to get rid of the kids rather than to try to turn the situation around. Some of the arguments I have heard from this faction are rather classicist and bear a rather strong resemblance to some of the American Eugenicist arguments from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
When you live in a society that refuses to take responsibility for itself, that allows so many of it own to fall through the cracks - why object at all to abortion? Reading the coroners' files on all the children in the province who have died due to neglect, to misadventure, to despair, to impoverished conditions, due to the natural consequences of history playing itself out - how could I deny that abortion doesn't make sense? Especially in light of the casual disregard and disinterest from all levels of society to these issues? I will object to abortion when society as whole makes it altogether unnecessary. I will object to abortion when society as whole accepts responsibility for making it so.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lonely Roads on Screen

I have been signing DVD's out of the Saskatoon Public Library, which has an astonishing amount of Criterion discs in its collection. I signed out Solaris in order to fill in the hour long gap I missed while snoozing at the Pacific Cinematheque a few years ago. I also slept through a good section of Citizen Kane - some films require you to be well rested. I also signed out Monte Hellman's 1971 road movie, Two-Lane Blacktop.
Two-Lane Blacktop is a film I have heard about and one that I have been curious to see. I like road movies when there is depth to them and I particularly like that period of of film making in the late 1960's and early 1970's where everything was wide open and filmmakers were making films they could never have made before. Filmmakers haven't had that same freedom that they had in this period, although the influence of the period can be felt in some of the more interesting directors in America. Richard Linklater is a fan of this film as well, and having seen it finally I can see its influence all over a healthy portion of his work. (see his 16 reasons to love Two-Lane Blacktop)
The film has completely captivated me in a way that a lot of films don't. It has reached down and touched something deep inside me. I find myself just thinking about it and its stark portrayal of the American landscape off of Route 66, the cars, the stoney, introverted awkward silence and moments of speech. It makes me wish I had an old car to go off across the country.
Hellman used three non-actors and one veteran character actor for his four principles. (not including the '55 Chevy Bel Air and the 1970 Pontiac GTO) Warren Oates - a personal favourite of mine- drives the emotional core of the film as the desperately lonely character simply titled "GTO" in the credits. Singer-Songwriter James Taylor plays "The Driver". Former Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson plays "The Mechanic" and a then 17 year old girl named Laurie Bird plays "The Girl". The chemistry works and I don't think that three professional actors could have played these roles half as convincingly - smoother definitely but nothing as real. Linklater is right, the ending is purely cinematic and beautifully one.
I'm not going to say too much more, you should watch the film for yourself. I do think it is a shame that the film was sabotaged by the studio, it deserves as high a place (if not higher) in film history than Easy Rider. I'd actually like to see if the drive-in theatre in town (if it still exists) would be interested in a triple bill: Two-Lane Blacktop, Vanishing Point and Dazed and Confused.

Ummm.... If anyone is thinking about a Christmas present for me, this would be a good idea. It is a Criterion disk so it will cost.