Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tenth Daughters of Memory, 2010: Volume 2

The Tenth Daughter of Memory keeps on keeping on. It's been a fun ride, so far, and I look to keep on keeping on as long as it stays fun. Yeah, I've given up my role as the lead admin, but that's only because I'd rather spend more time participating in 10thDoM than running 10thDoM.

Anyway, here's what went up in the second half of 2010:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Q & A: 20110324

Harnett-Hargrove asks: 'La Boheme' is opening here next week, are you offering your novel to burn on stage? Could be fun. Are you auctioning your hair to fund your travels? Is there really an overuse of ... going around? Why do you not answer the really important questions? -J

JeffScape answers: J, I've no doubt burning a novel on stage is a riot. After all, Hitler did it, and everyone thought he was the cool kid. Except for that silly mustache and vile propensity to commit genocide, which is an act most consider a vile propensity. As is repeating one's self. It's a bit rude, don't you think, having to point out something twice in case someone else didn't grasp it the first time? Can you imagine falling from a cliff and not grasping the ledge the first time? I'm not entirely certain, but I'm willing to bet one doesn't get a second chance in such a situation. Nope, I'm pretty sure everything just ends in a big splat. It certainly does for the bugs on my windshield. Who says washer fluid is worthless? Although the passenger wiper usually is. Why is it that aftermarket wipers never seem to fit the windshield properly? It's a conspiracy, I tell you. Probably perpetuated by the same asshole who came up with the 9/11 theory. Why can't I just have clean windows? Do we really need to bring suicide bombers into the equation? That just makes a mess.

Getting a haircut also makes a mess. But, they say one man's trash is another man's treasure. Although I'm pretty sure Gloria Steinem doesn't say that. Such a remark would be considered sexist. Or should it be genderist? Couldn't someone interpret sexism as prejudice against having an orgasm? Who would be prejudiced against having an orgasm? Oh, wait... never mind...

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Really important questions are answered on a daily basis. For instance: should I piss before I brush my teeth in the morning? Or brush my teeth before I piss? Or, perhaps, I'll just piss in the sink while brushing my teeth, thereby saving time and water in a misguided attempt to be more environmentally conscious. You know, like those "tree-huggers" who claim to hate all things petroleum and artificial, yet sit there blogging their rhetoric on their plastic computers made from refined silicon in factories powered by coal. Who doesn't love a good hypocrite?

Hope this satisfactorily answer your questions. Perhaps others can lend further insight.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ecstatic Ramblings


Am I drunk? Read this before you answer that: The Ballad of Robert Weston Smith.

But, no... not drunk. Maybe a little crazy. Okay... a lot crazy. Seriously, though, that above piece was the result of having an elbow and wrist injury. Then again, I wasn't even medicated when I wrote it... yeah, I'm fucking nuts.

So... what's new? Other than my reemerging propensity to overuse ellipses, that is. Hmm... no, that's pretty much all that's new. Just my reemerging propensity to overuse ellipses.

My hair is the longest it's ever been. Seriously, it covers my nipples. That's right... my nipples. Not to worry, though, since I'm getting it chopped while I'm in Australia next month (there might even be pictures, but don't hold your breath).

Charlie Sheen is a douchebag. So are NFL players and owners.

A friend of mine got a novel published (go Mike!). And I accidentally wrote one. I'll probably burn mine before it's polished, but I'm going to read his on the 14-hour flight to Sydney.

U2 is playing SoCal this summer. Anyone want to go? I'm buying. Dan Black played SoCal last fall... I just found out. I missed three shows within driving distance. Fuck you, Twitter!

This is no shit: I was asked to accompany a group of people to Libya a couple of weeks before the hoopla there. Glad I said no. Then again, the pay probably skyrocketed. Eh, whatever. I've got a trip to Croatia to finish planning. I'm counting on there not being another Yugloslav civil war. Probably a safe bet at this juncture.

I'm afraid that the back of my head is going to feature prominently in an episode of a dancing show this upcoming season. Ugh. No, I'm not dancing in it.

A friend of mine claimed that I'm the only person who would travel half-way around the world just for the chance to see a 6-foot earthworm. Oddly enough, the first two people I mentioned this to have gone on record as also willing to travel half-way around the world just for the chance to see a 6-foot earthworm.

Books I've read so far this year: 2010: Odyssey Two, The Other Side of the Sky, The Drowned World (okay, so I'm currently reading that one), The Thing. I only mention this because I'm making a concerted attempt to read more this year than last year.

If you're a fan of Robotech, you should check out the Macross Saga (the original series the first portion of Robotech was adapted from). It's free on Hulu right now and is amazing for two reasons: the story is remarkably human and it's obvious the recent Battlestar Galactica mined the series for ideas. Oh, they'll deny it. Probably even claim to have never seen (or heard of) it... but they kiped it for all it was worth. Okay, maybe not... but the similarities are ridiculous.

Music lovers should buy Rebecca Loebe's albums, especially if you're a fan of American Folk. She has (so far) sent me all of her albums for free, but you should pay for yours! Damnit. It's good stuff.

I'm done rambling. Time for bed.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Table of Contents: Exodus Lost

This story is a personal favorite of mine, not because it's caused a bit of behind-the-scenes ruckus, but because it is insanely fun to write (then again, maybe the ruckus is what made it fun). I stated it when I posted the first part and I'll state it again: there is no commentary on religion intended here. The only intent is to tell a adventure story that happens to encompass the scope of Western religion. So don't get your knickers in a bunch.

"Exodus Lost"
Talbot pauses to stare at the stained glass image of the Madonna over the oak doors. He's seen the image - similar ones, at least - many, many times, but for some reason this one appears to be brighter in color than they usually are. The crowns on Jesus and Mary's heads... Read More

"The Man in the Fedora"
"Eyes on?" McGonigal asks into the headset. He's been in Los Angeles for over a month, leading a squad from Gabriel platoon on what was turning out to be a wild goose chase. Nobody had said anything, but it was becoming obvious that none of the men thought this... Read More

"Garden of Fire"
The Adversary smiles, lost in the irony happening on the field of battle. They have devolved to not only using men as soldiers in their war, but to using the tactics of men. Then again, it is those men who managed to dictate the necessity for those tactics. Not bad for cockroaches... Read More

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Theme Thursdays, 2010: Volume 2-2

You might remember me complaining about how odd Theme Thursday got last year. Or you probably don't. Anyway, it did. And I announced my intention to quit participating. Then an admin there asked me for suggestions. So I gave some. And then they implemented pretty much all of them. So I kept participating in order to not look an asshole (even though I am one). And then I quit again, but for other reasons. Ah, well. Check it out, though.

Here's what I linked (titles marked with * were not originally posted for Theme Thursday):

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Irreviews, 2011: Issue I

    Okay, okay... while I used to only review movies that were new to me, I've decided to go ahead and review anything I've watched recently that I've not reviewed here before. I mean, why not? What the Hell else am I doing?

    Oh, and I've also decided to put the Bond films in their own section.

    Sin City (2005)
    Director: Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez
    Writer(s): Frank Miller (graphic novels)
    Starring: Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen
    -----
    Robert Rodriguez' near-perfect adaptation of Frank Miller's Sin City comics, this is a movie for comic fans and noir fans alike. No, it's not a near-perfect movie, just a near-perfect adaptation of its source material. And it's very, very good. A unique look (until Miller's ghastly The Spirit, anyway), a unique tone, and a unique setting make this a fun-yet-slightly-disturbing film. Probably a little over-the-top for a lot of film-goers, but that's sort of the point.
    Verdict: SEE it.

    Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006)
    Director: Richard Donner
    Writer(s): Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Tom Mankiewicz (uncredited)
    Starring: Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Margot Kidder
    -----
    The firing of Richard Donner from the completion of Superman II is a well-known story in Hollywood and had, for two decades, been the cause of fan curiosity concerning his vision for the film. As everyone knows (or should), Richard Lester was brought in to complete the original film. Even though Lester's version was comedic and campy, it was still enjoyable (his Superman III, however... ahem). But... it definitely seemed out of character. Donner's cut is, for the most part, a superior movie. With more and more powerful scenes featuring Reeve, Margot Kidder, and Marlon Brando (though I'll admit to missing some of the scenes involving Superman's mother), this entire cut is a treat to behold. Combined with the original Superman and Brian Singer's highly underrated Superman Returns, we finally have a trilogy worthy of the Man of Steel.
    Verdict: SEE it.

    The Town (2010)
    Director: Ben Affleck
    Writer(s):
    Starring:
    -----
    Ben Affleck (as director) knocked one out of the park with his directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone. He continues his slugging prowess with his follow-up, The Town. No, it's not as good as Gone Baby Gone, but it's an excellent sophomore attempt and doesn't hurt Affleck's credentials as a film director. Hell, it even helps his credentials as an actor. An excellent heist film with excellent characters (Jeremy Renner's "Jem," in particular) and excellent car chases (in my opinion, the best since Frankenheimer's Ronin) makes for, well, an excellent movie. I've said it elsewhere, but Affleck is making a strong case for becoming the new Clint Eastwood.
    Verdict: SEE it. Definitely.

    ***

    You Only Live Twice (1967)
    Director: Lewis Gilbert
    Writer(s): Roald Dahl, Harold Jack Bloom (additional material), Ian Fleming (novel)
    Starring: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tetsurô Tanba
    -----
    In 007's fifth silver screen outing, he travels to the Far East in order to prevent SPECTRE and Blofeld starting a war between the USSR and the USA. It's notable for being the last consecutive Connery-as-Bond film, as well as for being written by Roald Dahl (yeah, the Willy Wonka guy). You Only Live Twice is a fun film, probably a bit over the over-the-top threshold for Bond, but it's a great farewell (although a temporary one) to Sean Connery.
    Verdict: A decent entry, helped by its setting and hurt by its "Bond in space" aspect, but SEE it anyway! Er... BOND it!

    On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
    Director: Peter R. Hunt
    Writer(s): Richard Maibaum, Simon Raven (additional material), Ian Fleming (novel)
    Starring: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas
    -----
    No discussion concerning the overall best Bond film is legitimate without serious mention of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Sure, it didn't meet expectations at the box office. Sure, it was directed by an inexperienced director (who was previously the primary film editor of the franchise). And, sure, it starred the least popular (and arguably worst) actor to play 007. But... the story rocked. Hell, the directing rocked. The action rocked (although Lazenby's over-exaggerated fist-fighting style is irritating to watch). Pretty much everything about this film (other than Lazenby) rocked.
    Verdict: One of the best. BOND it!

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Irreport, 20110306

    So... are you back?
    No.

    So... what's with all the posting?
    If you actually read here (and I doubt you do), you would remember that I mentioned I'd be burning-off a lot of posts that had already been written before I took a mental vacation.

    Where's all the fiction and stuff?
    Elsewhere. Again, if you actually read here, you'd know where. That last piece was an accident and that's the only reason it's been posted at IrreX2.

    Why do you have private and public blogs for your fiction and stuff?
    I've identified people whose opinions aren't completely full of shit - even some who are highly critical of my crap - so I let them read my garbage in private, where they're free to tell me I suck without repercussion or judgment. I'm sorry, but if 500 people are telling you that your stuff is awesome, and they're neither helping you get published nor paying for your work, they're completely full of shit.

    I thought you didn't speak in absolutes and that you believe there are always exceptions?
    Nope; yep.

    What does that mean?
    Yep; nope?

    Are you asking me?
    I have no idea.

    Did you mean all those rude things you said about (insert name)?
    Probably. Even if I didn't, those rude things are true. Yeah, (insert name), I'm talking about you.

    Purple or Violet?
    As a color, I'd pick Violet. As a name, I'd pick Purple.

    I heard you successfully predicted Libya. Is that true?
    No. I successfully predicted Lebanon (in 2006). I wasn't surprised by Libya. Although Al-Jazeera was.

    I was talking about football.
    Rugby, soccer, or gridiron?

    Soccer.
    The only real football is American football.

    Any truth to the rumors that the National Football League is going to contact you for assistance in resolving its current labor dispute?
    Like the illustrious President of the United States, I find that I have nothing better to do than to stick my nose into the administration of America's most popular sports league. Also like the illustrious President of the United States, I feel that - despite not playing football at any significant level... ever - I am highly qualified to provide commentary on the game.

    But... aren't you a proponent of the belief that the critical mindset is inherently different from the player/artist mindset?
    Don't pay attention to me. It's not worth the effort. And I actually like how the President handled that question. I'm just being irreverent. Surprise!

    Is it true that you're so anal, you actually hide typos in what you write in order to catch "skimmers?"
    I facking hate skimmers.

    Why are you talking to yourself?
    Wanted an intelligent conversation.

    That's lame.
    Never said I wasn't.

    You're an asshole.
    Never said I wasn't.

    You're proud of being an asshole?
    I'm proud that people know they can get a straight answer from me.

    But you're just an anonymous name on the Internet. That's probably not even your photo.
    I'm talking to myself. We've already established that I'm crazy. And I never said it was.

    So, you tell the truth even when you're drunk and/or angry?
    Of course not. Don't be stupid.

    And you're not drunk and/or angry now, yes?
    I'm sober, but you're irritating me.

    Need I remind you that you're talking to yourself?
    I'm typing to myself, idiot. There's a difference.

    You just wrote that you're an idiot.
    Never said I wasn't.

    What else are you?
    Hmm... according to this hot chick: arrogant, creepy, and pretentious. She also called me an idiot.

    That's quite the gamut.
    Never said I wasn't.

    What? A gamut? Do you know what "gamut" means?
    I will once I look it up on an online dictionary and pretend I've known it for my entire life.

    Who does that?
    Uh... everyone on the Internet.

    You're an asshole.
    You're repeating yourself. Can I go now?

    One last question: any regrets?
    Just one. Having to give up my dogs, Jasper and Jax. Miss you guys. Starbuck does, too.

    Starbuck, Jax, Jasper: A Long Time Ago...

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    Magpie Tales, 2010: Volume 2

    Well, I kept a promise to myself and participated in Magpie Tales a bit more frequently than I had been, but I have to confess to linking far too many pre-existing stories to the writing group. Still, there's something both inspiring and memory-inducing about the images posted there.

    That stated, I'm tired of the group. Too much, too fast, not enough talent. And way too much "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." Sorry, I subscribe to: If it's good, read it; if it's not, don't. Is reciprocation the only thing that drives bloggers?

    Yeah, I said it. Sue me. I still recommend it if you're looking for a place to post your stuff, though.

    Anyway, here's what I linked for the second half of 2010 (as well as 2011, before I split):

    *Pieces not originally written for Magpie Tales are marked with an asterisk and their original posting dates.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    A Life in Dialog

    *This went up accidentally on January 28 (it was intended for Panoramic Mindscapes), but since some managed to read and comment on it, I'm going to put it up here again.


    "I'm just a trigger-puller, bro. You're supposed to tell me what to shoot at."

    He laughs. "I resigned, remember?"

    "Yeah, dickhead. The new guy's an idiot."

    "Not my problem."

    But it's nice to be missed. At least for a little while.

    Neither man has spoken to each other since. Neither even knows if the other's alive.

    ***

    "When are you leaving?"

    He shrugs. "I don't know. Thursday."

    "Thursday?"

    "Wednesday better?"

    Little did either know, the sooner he leaves, the sooner the other's life falls apart.

    One's off finding himself. The other's trying to save his marriage. Neither really knows what they're looking for.

    ***

    "All talk. That's all you are. Fucking talk."

    He smiles. "My foot's broken."

    "So?"

    "Tired of walking, is all. It hurts."

    There was never a light at the end of the tunnel. People like them rely on night vision. Eyes open, eyes closed... makes no difference.

    Both have experienced the heights of success. Both have lost it. One is content to stay at the bottom. The other's scratching his way back to the top. Neither can explain why their choices are important to them.

    ***

    "I have to admit, when you said 'leave it all behind,' you meant it."

    He frowns. "Nah, not really."

    "Then why did you?"

    "You can only turn your back so many times before they forget what you look like."

    Forward is the only direction, whether they like it or not. It's all about time. And the clock doesn't turn back.

    One often forgets what day it is. The other counts the seconds on his watch. Neither admits they just want to be kids again.

    ***

    "You missed the funeral. You never miss a funeral."

    He nods. "I can't handle it."

    "Oh, come on. Nine years and I only ever saw you break down once."

    "You never saw me at home."

    It is not the recall of memories that depresses them. It is the imagining of memories never made. A reminder that it's too late now.

    Often, the faces of those they'll never see again haunt their dreams. For both, following dreams means something else, entirely. Neither will confess that there's nothing that they want to follow.

    ***

    "You moved again?"

    He grins. "That's a surprise?"

    "No, I guess not. You ever going to settle down?"

    "When I'm buried, I'm sure."

    There's something strange about constantly being in situations that are designed to kill you. The dichotomy of keep moving and keep your head down confuses the meaning of life, if there ever were a meaning of life. Being safe is unnatural state of living.

    Neither will ever figure out that war is the only place they'll ever feel at home. Too many people will tell them otherwise, will tell them that they're wrong.

    ***

    Too many people talk too much.