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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes

Hey all,

I managed to sneak in a couple of movies the last few days and I thought I would post my thoughts on the first of which, director Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey, Jr and Jude Law. Sherlock Holmes is a very modernized version of the classic literary character based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's series of novels about an increasingly brilliant detective in England who uses his supreme powers of observation to solve crimes. He is ably assisted by Dr. John Watson, a former Army medic and now the partner of Holmes as he investigates cases both private, and for Scotland Yard.

Our film features Robert Downey, Jr as Holmes. In director Guy Ritchie's version Holmes is both a man of superior wit and intellect, as well a seasoned brawler who is always ready for a good fight. Jude Law plays Watson, the long suffering foil to Holmes idiosyncrasies who wants nothing more than to wrap up their final case together and marry his betrothed. Or so he thinks.

As the film opens, Holmes and Watson foil a plot to sacrifice a young girl at the hands of Lord Blackwood (played by a brooding Mark Strong), a noble man and occultist who has been praying on people throughout London. He is captured and sentenced to hang, but not before issuing a warning to Holmes, that more murders would occur. Holmes, undaunted, returns to his home on Baker Street, to find the former love of his life, and the only woman to ever fool him, Irene (Rachel McAdams) waiting for him with a job. Compelled by old feelings, and deeper suspicion, he takes the job, finding out more than he bargained for in the process, including the supposed resurrection of Lord Blackwood and a nefarious plot to paint Holmes as a traitor, if he isn't killed first. As Holmes delves deeper into the mystery, he and Watson uncover a plot designed to attack London at the very core of its government.

Overall, the film is a very fun movie, an exciting Victorian action piece that is sure to alienate Holmes purists, and appeal to more modern cinema goers. The over riding factor in the film is that it is a gritty action take on what is perceived as dull material. Ritchie imbues a sense of dark humor and dirty film making to toughen up the movie. He still manages to preserve Holmes keen detection skills, they are just extrapolated to include a number of other activities, like fighting. By attempting to bridge the old with the new, Ritchie tries to walk a very fine line between camp and seriousness, that I don't think he could have pulled off as well as he did with Downey.

Downey and Law are really the keys to making this work. As Holmes, Downey imparts much of his own pathos into the role, sparking moments of humor and levity with intensity and angst. He takes the material and gives it a life on the screen in such a way that makes you believe in this version of the famous detective. Even Law brings a bit of flavor to Watson, so often portrayed as an overweight sidekick. Here, Watson is the capable military man that more belays his past, and he adds just the right amount of prissy dowdiness to make the character both believable and relatable.

The films sets and costuming are first rate, as well as the visual effects. The team did a great job of making it look like Victorian London and not just a CGI set. The buildings and people had a lived in look, dirty and harsh. Even in the small details, like Holmes pipe or violin, tweaking them to give it just a modern enough flair so as not to appear old fashioned, but to appear proper in the context.

I did have a few complaints with the film though. The script is a loose affair, taking technological leaps of faith with Victorian era capabilities. It also tried very hard to keep the film moving at a quicker pace, though I thought at times the film felt rushed, when simply showing the audience a little bit more of the situation would have gone a long way towards getting a buy in to the script. Especially the final sequence, in which the threat to Parliament takes a huge leap of faith with the capabilities of science at the time.

Another minor complaint I had was with Rachel McAdams. I didn't think she really brought any character to the role, she could have easily been replaced by an number of other attractive actresses. I don't think she is a bad actress by any means and her performance doesn't HURT the movie, it just doesn't bring anything to the table with it either. Still both these complaints should not take away from your enjoyment of the film, its still a very fun popcorn flick.

I can honestly say I liked the film, and I could even see this develop as a new franchise for the studio. I've always liked Guy Ritchie as a director and I especially like that he finally has another hit on his hands. He brings a unique sensibility to his films, movies like Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, are different films. Bringing these edgy "indy" feelings to mainstream studio movies often breathes a new life into flagging franchises. Besides Robert Downey, Jr is on a role right now, with this film and Iron Man 2 coming out soon, he is on fire. All you need to go see this movie is an excuse for a good time, where you can put away all complex thinking and enjoy a fun action movie that does all of the hard thinking for you. Sherlock Holmes is a fun movie, it's really the easiest way to describe the picture.

End of Line.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 27

I made my way down Baker Street that night. Annie hadn't been happy about me leaving, saying that I shouldn't do this on my own. Frankly, I didn't want to do it either, but I had taken a job. I had tipped of Mike with the info I had, and while officially he couldn't lend any badge help, he had said he would see what he could do. I had told him thanks and while I hoped he could help, I couldn't wait any longer. The longer I delayed, the better the chance of Johnny Sixx finding out it was me that beat on his boy. Also the better chance that I'd lose my only lead on Elsa Lomack. Either he'd move her, or I'd be far to fucking late.

The Barrows were quiet tonight, that alone would unnerve the best of men. I checked the clip on my gun and the spares I had stashed in my shoulder holster. I could still feel the firm weight of the lead baton tucked up my sleeve. I had also snagged a new cell which I secured in my coat pocket. Tonight was going to be ugly and it was best to be prepared for anything. I knew that Sixx had Lomack, Horner had fed me what he knew. More importantly, he had also told me where to find him. The Crooked Cue, a pool hall in The Barrows that Sixx was using as a front. That meant a lot of armed guys waiting for someone like me to make a move. A lot of guys I was going to have to hurt.

I waited down the block from the Cue and lit a cigarette. Mike had promised to let me know what was up by 10pm, and I had a few minutes still. I smoked, watching the tendrils of fume wisp towards the pale glow of the streetlight, and pulled my collar a bit tighter as a soft patter of rain began to fall. I was on my second smoke when my pocket began to buzz. I flicked open the cell and opened the text message, it was from Mike and simply said 5 minutes. I clicked the phone shut and slid it into my pocket, finishing the cigarette in a long final puff. This is usually the moment people begin to worry, where their muscles tighten up and that empty pit inside your stomach threaten to empty itself on the sidewalk beneath you. That didn't happen to me though. I was ready to face this one on my feet.

I ground out the butt beneath my heel and walked towards the Cue. There was an alley way across from the club that I watched a battered Impala turn up into. Mike's Impala. I walked over to the alley as Mike got out. He was dressed in all black, but from the lump on his chest I could see he had a vest on. He looked at me, nodding. He pulled two pump action shotguns from the backseat and tossed me one. I had told him what had happened to Annie, and about Lomack. He had said that for once in his life, he felt like he needed to make a difference. He had been itching for a crack at Sixx since our days on the Force together. Besides he had said, he still owed me one for not turning him in when I testified.

We cocked the shotguns, and prepared to enter hell.

End of Line.

Friday, December 25, 2009


Happy Christmas Everyone!

The holidays I think for so many people are really a time to look upon the blessings of your life, a time for family, friends, and good spirits. This year has been a little different for me. I think this is the first time Christmas has really not felt like a holiday. Maybe it was work, or maybe it was the fact that so much of my family are spread out. I know it was difficult for Dad this year. Being so far away from us, I certainly detected a bit of melancholy in his voice. Especially missing my brothers kids. Not being able to be a part of their every day life is tough on him, and the little moments that people come to look over, become memories he isn't a part of.

I miss Dad a lot myself. When my parents when through their bitter divorce, Dad was really there for my brother and I. His knack for making us laugh and smile, his sense of humor, his dependability, was an important source of strength for us. It's really around the Holidays that I find myself wishing I could just hang out with him again. This year my brother really has his family going, my best friend and his girlfriend have their things, it's really the first time I have felt a little isolated on this day.

Christmas was always my favorite Holiday. The look on peoples face as they opened a present, or the food, or just the simple laughter, while all things I enjoyed pieces of today, it felt more like a sample taste than the full course of Christmas. Going to work didn't really bother me, not much, it was the lonely hours after that, the hours sitting here in front of the screen, that really turned back the clock on my memories. Whether watching A Christmas Story (long a tradition in my family, even before the marathons on cable) with my Dad and brother, or playing games on Christmas morning, its the small moments that you miss come time.

In the end though, I decided to turn to this blog. As a forum for my thoughts and fears, as the ultimate expression of all the things I don't say aloud, I did want to remember the good things about Christmas. Whether poetry, short stories, or popular culture, my blog has always allowed me the freedom of thought and expression to bear truth to the feelings I have. For that alone I wanted to thank everyone who reads this blog, and everyone who has taken the time to follow the poor ramblings of a slip shod writer at best. Thank you all. Merry Christmas my friends, I am a far better person today, for the road I traveled yesterday.

End of Line.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Flash Fiction: A Little Piece of Mistletoe

A Little Piece of Mistletoe

The snow was falling pretty heavy outside. I watched as one guy in a grey jumpsuit shoveled the walkway from the dorm to the cafeteria. He piled the snow in huge mounds on the side, tremulous drifts that threatened to topple with each windy gust. The trees were barren of leaves, save the few evergreens that rimmed the campus walks. Such a far cry from my home in the desert. There a terrible winter saw temperatures drop into the forties, here, the howling of wind was enough to send a shiver down my spine.

My first semester at school had been a lonely one. My room mate had dropped out after only a week, and while I had enjoyed having the room to myself at first, by the end of the first month the walls seemed so much closer around me. St. Christians Academy was an accelerated school, very private, very insular. My dad had gotten me in, but I knew that the cost of tuition here was really stretching the family. I hadn't wanted to go, but they had insisted. I had been stifled in public school, here was a place where I could excel and set my life up. Here I could realize my dreams.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the curriculum. The Science and English departments were some of the best in the country, graduating from here could mean a free ticket to the college of my choice. Medical school, the works. All because of what my parents were doing. The part that didn't appeal to me were the other students. Rich, spoiled, I didn't really get along with most of them. My clothes were not good enough, my books not new enough, even I wasn't good enough. I mostly stayed in my room, out of the way.

Hence today, staring out my dorm room window at the flurry of snowfall outside. It was Christmas, and I missed my family terribly. They couldn't afford to fly me home for Christmas and I understood. Mom had cried a lot telling me that, and Dad had said that they would make it up to me this summer when I went home. But it didn't change today, I kept thinking about all of the things Mom and Dad did at Christmas. Dad use to let me pick out the tree down at the lot next to the supermarket. He always let me pick, even the year I had picked one that shed needles all over the floor, Dad had let me pick it. I remembered decorating the tree with Mom. Each of us placing out special ornaments on the tree. My two, an old wooden angel, painted and cut out from balsa I had made when I was five, and a red orb adorned in silver with my name on it. Each of us had one, Mom, Dad, My brother Donny, My sister Edie, and me.

I could almost smell the ham Mom always made on Christmas morning, or the gleam in my Dad's eye when he caught his first glimpse of pecan pie. I remember Donny waking me up with noogies to get me downstairs, and the way Edie would roll her eyes when she opened a present she thought she was to old for. It was all these little things, the things I had taken for granted that really seemed to make this Christmas that much more unbearable.

I pulled the curtains closed and got up, looking at the strewn wrapping paper laying on the floor. Mom and Dad had mailed my Christmas present, a new Ipod, as well as a small bundle of cookies and winter clothing. The Ipod was nice, but I think I would have preferred the ride home. They had probably been saving for months to get it for me, or purchased it even months back. I was grateful, really I was. I pulled the thick grey sweater over my head and shoved my feet into a battered pair of steel toed boots that were the only water resistant shoes I owned. I pulled on my coat and cap, grabbed the Ipod, and made my way down the dorm hall.

The dorm was mostly empty, with all but a handful of students back with their parents. There was a small holiday dinner planned in the cafeteria, turkey and stuffing, for anyone staying here over the break and it sure beat eating off of my hot plate. I slipped on the earbuds and let the warm wash of music flow into me as I cut across the quad. The wind bit at my exposed flesh of my neck but I huddled a little deeper and quickened my pace. As I neared the door, I saw someone squatting on the ground, gathering up dropepd paperwork. I grabbed a piece of paper as it flew by me, Chemistry notes from the look of it, and helped them gather up remains of their work.

I couldn't tell what the person looked like, they wore a huge black parka and had a scarf and hood drawn over their face. Thick blue mittens and a pair of black parka pants completed the outfit. We made our way inside the cafeteria, the hot air catching us in the face as we entered the building. I stamped out the snow that clung to my boots and shoved my cap into my pocket as I watched the stranger pull down the hood of her coat. Long brown hair bound in a single plait fell free and as the scarf unwrapped, I noticed the stranger was a girl. Her pale skin was flushed red, especially her cheeks, as she brushed snow from her coat. I watched her hang the jacket on a hook and wipe her glasses on the hem of her long sleeve shirt.

Her name was Penny Martin, from Lubbock, Texas. She started talking the moment her scarf fell free, and I am not sure if she ever stopped. She was half a semester ahead of me, focused on Chemistry and Advanced Mathematics, though secretly her passion was Philosophy. She was staying over break to work on her Chem project and was super grateful for me helping her out. We sat together at one of the small tables in the cafeteria and shared our Christmas meal. She talked about Socrates and Aristotle, and how she used their teachings to apply to Chem.

I had never been transfixed by someone like this before. She didn't look like a girl on a magazine cover, but she looked beautiful to me. The way her glasses slipped down on her nose, or the way she cupped her hand when she got excited. For the first time since I had came to this school, I didn't feel so alone. We sat in the cafeteria until they started flicking off the lights, lost in time. Eventually I walked her back to the girls dorm, huddled together against the wind as I strained to hear her talk through the thick layer of scarf over her face.

She finally drew quiet as we stood together in the dorm common. It was nearly curfew and I had to get back to my room. She loosened the scarf around her neck and gave me her cell number. She smiled awkwardly and shook my hand, wishing me a goodnight and a Merry Christmas. She started to walk to the stairwell, he back to me. She took a few steps and as she got to the bottom of the stair, I called her name. She turned around and looked at me, her warm, brown eyes peering beneath her foggy glasses. I walked over to her and told her to look up. Her eyes peered upward, to the single bough of mistletoe that someone had hung overhead. She looked back to me quickly, he face flushing red even more furiously. I pulled her scarf loose and kissed her. The first time I had ever kissed a girl.

It lasted for just a few seconds, but I still tasted her as I walked home. She had blushed furiously and ran up the stairs, though she had turned back at the top, a huge smile lighting her face, as she wished me a good night and a Merry Christmas. I slipped in my earbuds again, the shuffle pulling up one of the Christmas songs my Dad had indubitably loaded, an walked back to my dorm. Suddenly it didn't seem as cold anymore and I began to sing along with the song. "Home for the Holidays" suddenly had a whole new meaning this year, all thanks to a little piece of mistletoe.

End of Line.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Poetry: Because I Love You

Hey all,

I wanted to throw up another post today to some separation between my upcoming Flash Fiction posts. My goal will be to work on my Christmas story for Friday, and get to a potential back to back Flash Fiction post this weekend with Noir Story as it heads towards its final few chapters.

Anyway this poem was a bit of work I have been hatching out in my head over the past couple of days. I had the rhythm of the poem, the cadence, stuck in my head for a while, and after a bit of playing with it I found something That i was okay with structurally. I wanted something that was ultimately about love, though from the point of vie of someone in love with someone not capable of love. Often my poems are told from a first person point of view, with the object of love being the idealized perfection and the writer being the one flawed. This time I wanted to alter that, and try something where the writer is in love with someone deeply flawed. At any rate I am happy with the poem now, though a few days from now may change my opinion. Let me know if you like it.

Thanks for reading.

Because I Love You.

Standing apart so alone,

With such heavy sins to atone,

But you know I'd forgive you.

You try to push me away,

Deflect the feelings you allay,

Because you know I'm there for you.

Terrible things have past,

The abuses have grown so fast,

Why do you blame you?

But you know that I'm concerned

About the bruises and the burns,

Oh how I'd heal you.

All the ways you shoulder pain,

Are the reasons I remain,

For I'll never leave you.

The moments that you fake,

To cover feigned mistakes,

There's no lie I wouldn't tell for you.

And every time you cry,

A little part of me dies,

All the more reason I need you.

It's every time you hurt,

I want to give a little flirt,

And show all the ways I want you.

Why can't you ever say,

Why is everything so stowed away?

I'd take the burden from you.

You know I'll always wait,

Pay the destiny of my fate,

That's why I'm meant for you.

There's no easy way to write,

The reasons for your plight,

I won't give up on you.

So everyday I'll hope,

That one day you'll learn to cope,

And I can come to you.

Until that day will pass,

I'll pray a single mass,

For God to hear you.

And when cleanse your soul,

I'll be there to make you whole,

To finally calm you.

You're the only girl for me,

I'll be as happy as can be,

Just so I could thank you.

All the years may pass by,

But my heart won't grow shy,

It's just because I love you.

End of Line.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Flash Fiction: Flashback!- Catching Christmas

Hey all,

Bonus Flash Fiction Post Today!

I wrote this story a year ago for Christmas, and though I am at work on a new story for this year, I thought I would re-post this from last year. It was really my first attempt to write for all ages and craft a holiday tale that was very accessible. I would say its also one of the few things I have wrote that I didn't outright hate, and the specter of that is weighing heavily on the new story I am working on. Anyway hope you enjoy this bit of flashback, and happy holidays.

Catching Christmas- First published Dec 24th, 2008

I can tell you one thing for sure. This was the year. Yep. This was the year I was gonna catch him! See, Dad had read me an old fairy tale (he was into that kinda stuff) that if you caught him in the act, he had to grant you one wish. Just one wish but it could be anything you wanted! Every year for the past WHOLE two years I had tried to catch him but he was a tricky old sucker. This year, I, Jimmy Prachett, was gonna catch Santa Claus.

This year I had a plan, a GOOD plan. I had been preparing for this since last year when I missed him and some how he had gotten around the security systems Dad had helped me set up. See, we lived in a house that had a fireplace in the basement, on account the house was a historical one or some such. There use to not have any heat down there in the winter time before we moved in so they had used fireplaces to keep warm. When Dad bought the house he had done some remodeling and had covered up the old fireplace on the main floor when he put in central heat. SO that put the tree upstairs by the big bay window so you could see it from the street and Santa's primary means of entrance (the fireplace) downstairs.

He had all kinds of tricks to get inside of houses though so I had worked up a plan. I covered the basement and watched the fireplace, while Dad kept a lookout on the tree. See, I figured that I would see him first and get the wish, or Dad would catch him coming through the window on his way to the tree and call me. See Dad was to old for his wish to be granted anyway, he had told me so himself. I had ran security traps all through the basement and around the front door. We had string and tin cans and EVERYTHING! There was no way he could get by us. Until Dad fell asleep and he snuck in that is. I guess its my fault. I mean Dad is OLD. He was like almost 30! He just can't stay up that late anymore. He's not as young as me.

This year there was gonna be no mistakes though. See, I love Dad, but he can't be relied on for a mission of this importance. I tried to let him down easy, telling him that I wanted to do this on my own. I think he was okay with it cause he smiled and told me so, but you never can tell with grown ups. This year the plan was full proof. I was a whole year older, I was Eight and a Half now you know. I was smarter to! Mrs. Miller, my teacher, said I had a fourth grade reading level already.

I knew now that whatever place I watched for him to come in, he'd go in another way. And if he had magic to get down a chimney, then he would have magic to figure out any traps I set. So the key was to catch him AT THE TREE. See, he HAD to go to the tree right? I mean where else would Santa leave presents? It was so simple, even a Seven year old could figure it out! So I would hide in the hall closet and leave the door cracked to keep an eye out. When he stopped to eat the milk and cookies me and Dad had left out (a cleverly baited trap Dad had said) I could spring out and catch him. No way could this not work right?

Finally, the night of Christmas eve came. Dad had warned me about me staying up all night, telling me all that stuff about Santa not coming to little boys houses who weren't in bed and that it could put me on the naughty list. I had checked before hand though, when Dad had taken me up to the mall to tell Santa what I wanted for Christmas. See, last year I had made another mistake when I had told him that I was gonna stay up and catch him in the act and get my wish. See, he was ready for me and knew that I was waiting for him. It was a mistake any Seven year old could make. This year, I was gonna be much sneakier.

See, when it was my turn in line, I grilled the guy on whether I was on the naughty or nice side of the list. He had said he was gonna check with my Dad, who said that I HAD been a very good boy at home AND in school. Santa had winked at me, telling me he just wanted to "Check the list twice." So now I knew that he was coming, and I didn't tell him I would be waiting. Pretty smart huh?

Dad had agreed in the end though, telling me that I WAS Eight and a Half now, and that a young man like me oughta be able to stay up if he wanted to. Good thing Dad has saw some reason. So he helped me set up the milk and cookies bait(soy milk cause Dad was lactose intolerant and he said Santa wouldn't mind) and I got into place. I had my flash light and my blanket to stay warm, and Dad had let me borrow the digital camera to take a picture of Santa when I caught him, though I had to promise not to break it. I settled into the closet and closed the door, leaving just enough of a crack to get a good view of the tree.

I gotta say that Dad had really did a good job on the tree this year. All lit up, waiting for Santa, it was only now that I was really looking at it, that I saw it. Lights of red and green and blue and all that tinsel. Oh, and the star on top. Dad had told me that it was the same star that Mom had used when she was a girl, and Grandpa before her. It was old, made of some kind of thin metal, but shone when the lights fell on it. The tree looked just like the one Mom had decorated when I was just a baby, back when I was only Five.

I was still looking at the star several hours later, rubbing my eyes to stay awake, when I heard a noise upstairs. The old house made all kinds of noise when people walked around, but each squeak and creak seemed louder when your alone in the dark in the middle of night. My heart jumped up into my throat as the steps drew closer and I heard them fall on the first step. I could hear the slight groan of the railing as they moved down the stairs. The blood was pounding in my ears and my throat was dry as I nervously gripped the flashlight. This was it!

Finally, I saw a ray of light as it rounded from the stairs and fell on the tree. There was a soft shuffling as I watched the light bob over the tree, Don't jump to soon Jimmy boy, too soon and you may not catch him in the act. The shuffling grew louder as the light turned away from the tree, it was then I heard him speak.

"Jimmy? Son? You still awake?"

Rats, it was just Dad. I opened the door quickly and flicked on the light and motioned him in, whispering, "Quick Dad!" Once inside, I told him how he could have ruined my chance at finding Santa! I mean what if he had come by and saw Dad creeping around and thought it was me? He have been scared off. Dad had assured me that it was okay, see he had been watching the news upstairs and they reported that Santa was just spotted up in Winston, and that was just an hour away! He had wanted to tip me off to be ready. He slipped me a mug of hot coco to keep me sharp, and told me that he wouldn't bother me anymore. he knew what I was doing was important!

I drank my coco and watched my Dad head back upstairs. I stayed at the crack of the door for what felt like hours, my eyes getting heavier every minute. I drank more of the coco, tasting the warm milk and chocolate powder, saving one marshmallow for the last drink. After I finished it, I slid the mug deeper into the closet, and snuggled up in the blanket. The last thing I remember was sitting at the door, peering out the crack.

Imagine my surprise when I felt my Dad shaking my shoulder. I had tried to tell him that he had promised not to check on me 'till morning, but he had opened the door wide and the sunlight was streaming in. IT WAS MORNING! I HAD FALLEN ASLEEP! I bolted from the tangle of blankets and sped to the living room. There the tree was, still alight. You could see a fresh blanket of snow outside through the big window, it had fallen pretty heavy last night. More importantly, you could see the pile of gifts under the tree. I had missed him.

I sat down on the couch, staring at the empty plate of cookies and the looking at the small ring of soy milk around the bottom of the cup. I can't believe I had missed him. Me, Eight an a Half years old, in the prime of my life, and I had fallen asleep on the job. Dad didn't have to ask me why I looked so sad. It was Christmas and Santa Claus had brought me tons of presents. My stocking was stuffed and I even saw that new bike I had wanted (with pegs for doing tricks!) with a big bow on it beside the tree. He already understood I think. I had wanted to catch him and get my wish. See, if I had caught Santa then I could have wished Mom back. That the accident had never happened and that we could be a whole family again. I missed Mom.

Dad put his arm around me on the couch and and handed me a a red envelope. It was tied with green ribbon and and great green bow. I looked at the name on it, my name, and it was written in gold lettering, sparkling with little golden flecks.

"This was left for you beside the cookies Son."

I tore open the letter, ripping the ribbon off with my fingers. I opened it an inside was a plain red card with gold and green foiled words on it. I cracked it open, looking at the fancy script (Cursive!) and read it. It said,

-To Jimmy,

I see you have not given up on your dreams of catching dear old Santa Claus in the act. Don't give up on those dreams my boy. I have never met a boy full of such wonder and promise, who offers me such challenge year after year. You were very close this year my young friend, very close. Perhaps next year you will get you wish. Don't give up hope young man. Christmas is time for dreams, don't give up on yours. Merry Christmas!

It was signed by Santa Claus! I had almost got him! Me, Eight and a Half year old Jimmy Prachett! I showed the letter to Dad who smiled, his eyes lighting up when he looked at me. He pulled me into a great hug, laughing and rustling my hair. The Dad congratulated me and swept me up, setting me down by my presents. You know what I thought, there IS always next year. Santa knew what I was capable of and I was gonna catch him. Why should I be sad, I had my Dad, a sweet new bike, and a load of other good stuff, though there probably WAS some clothes in there. Santa can't keep avoiding me forever you know. After all, imagine how smart I am gonna be next Christmas, I'll be Nine and a Half by then!

Merry Christmas!
End of Line.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Movie Time: Rewind: Holiday Inn

Hey all,

I'm back for a bit of belated posting, focusing on a Christmas edition of The Rewind, where I look at some of the great films made before the year of my birth, 1976. I've had a few new readers on the site thanks to joining Twitter so I thought I would take a few moments to talk about why I love old movies. I think at a certain point in your life you just want to watch quality films. So many movies today are all effects and glamour and action and the emphasis on story is almost lost. Most of the highly anticipated films of today are not particularly good movies, trading in quality of scripts for bigger budgets and special effects, never realizing that the most important quality of a film isn't just in how much money it makes, but how good the film is itself. Audiences can see through bad movies. For me, that is where the classic film comes in. Actors like Cary Grant, Steve McQueen, and Grace Kelley; directors like Hitchcock, Kapra, and John Ford made such a wide array of films and for the most part, they are well acted an scripted films made during a time when cinema was the entertainment of the masses. Each month in The Rewind, I post a particular movie highlighting either an actor or director or the films impact and why I think you should watch it. I know classic films are not for everyone, but there are some truly classic films out there that entire generations have never seen, and hopefully this can open an eye or two.

For this month, since its Christmas, I thought I would take a look at another perennial Christmas classic, Holiday Inn. Released in 1942 by Paramount Pictures the film starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire and two members of a song and dance team. Crosby is set to retire from the act with his fiancee, Lila (Virginia Dale) and move to his Connecticut farm. Lila decides that she isn't ready to retire and that she has fallen in love with Astaire. They are going to continue the show, and crestfallen, Crosby moves north. A year later Crosby has hit a rough patch, with life on the farm not being what he dreamed it would be. He dreams up an idea of creating an Inn that will only be open holidays and will feature elaborate show themes based on each holiday. Re-connecting with Astaire at a nightclub, he meets Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds) who is convinced that he is a big shot talent scout. After a mix up with Astaire, who gave her the ticket and the perception of Crosby, she goes to the Inn, where both she and Crosby discover they they stretched the truth about who they are.

Eventually Linda decides to join Crosby in the act and help open the inn. Meanwhile Lila dumps Astaire for a rich Texan and distraught, he goes to the inn as well, soon falling in love with Linda after an amazing drunken dance sequence. The next morning his memory is fuzzy and he can't remember who he danced with, but his agent has him convinced he has found the perfect partner. As each holiday roles around, Astaire gets closer to finding out the truth of who he danced with, while Crosby tries to keep them apart, from sabotaging dance numbers to deliberately keeping Linda from the Inn. In the end, Astaire invites Linda to Hollywood to film a movie version of Holiday Inn, which she accepts, mostly because Crosby never told her how he felt about her. As Crosby mopes throughout Thankgiving, he comes to realize that he loves Linda and wants her in his life. The ending is then a reversal of the beginning of the movie, with Crosby stealing Astaire's girl.

The plot of the movie is a lot like many other romantic light hearted musicals made during the golden years of the musical, light and shallow. What makes this movie such a classic is the films score and musical numbers. All of the songs were written by the great composer Irving Berlin, and with the exception of Easter Parade, were all written especially for this film. It introduced two all time classic Christmas songs, including "Happy Holidays" and the number one best selling Christmas Single of all time, "White Christmas." This is the film that established what is for many people, the ultimate voice of Christmas in Bing Crosby. He is so identifiable singing this song that even after almost 70 years, his version of "White Christmas" still remains the gold standard. Holiday Inn boasts 4 Oscar winning songs, all sung by Bing Crosby, and the impact of "White Christmas" was so profound, that in 1954 Crosby would go onto re-make a very similar version of Holiday Inn, called White Christmas with Danny Kaye.

The movie doesn't stop with just Crosby's vocals though, you still have Fred Astaire in his dancing prime. He dances several numbers, including his unforgettable drunk dance with Marjorie Reynolds, as well as a minuet/jazz combo that is quite good. I think it is his Fourth of July firecracker dance though that really sets him apart in the film. Using small fireworks, he literally explodes across the floor in a beautifully choreographed dance. Fred also actually had several drinks during the drunk dance to add some believability to the performance. Astaire and Crosby are two of the biggest musical stars of the 1940's, and having them together in this film is another bonus of this holiday classic.

Mind you there are some flaws in the film. The Abraham Lincoln number set during Abe's birthday comes off as especially dated, with Crosby singing a number in black face. While an accepted act at the time, today's viewer will see it as an especially uncomfortable look at a tie in American history where prejudice was still overlooked.. Some versions of the film have edited that number out of viewings, especially the AMC channel, though if you can catch it on TCM you can see the whole piece.

Holiday Inn may not have the same Christmas weight of It's a Wonderful Life (which I reviewed last year) or A Christmas Carol (which I nearly did this year) but it does have a very important place in history. No other movie can boast a greater repository of holiday songs, Christmas or otherwise. Fred Astaire dancing, Crosby's vocals, all in the warm-hearted package that you all want from a Christmas movie make this a percent holiday film for everyone to enjoy. If you want to check out Holiday Inn, AMC is running an edited version of the film throughout Christmas Eve, so take some time out to watch a great Christmas treat.

Thanks for reading, next month's Rewind will take us into the action genre with the spotlight on James Cagney.

End of Line.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Hey all,

Sorry it's been a few days since I posted. I have been spending a lot of time this week volunteering as Santa Claus for the local children's house and our local chapters of the Ronald McDonald Houses. I've played Santa for the company for the past few years, and though last year I worked one day at the Ronald House, this is the first year they have asked me to do all three days for the organization. Basically I have worked my 9 hour shift, then gone straight to the House to get ready and play Santa for a few hours.

For those of you who may be unaware of what the Ronald McDonald House does, it provides a place to stay for families of children who need long or short term medical care at a hospital but don't live near one where there are appropriate facilities. Commuting to hospitals, especially on a daily level, or living in a hotel can be costly, sometimes more expensive than more families can afford. The Ronald House provides a room (similar to a hotel) for little to no cost to the family. They also have a community kitchen and dining area as well as laundry area for all the families to share. Part of the Santa's Workshop experience here is to provide the children both in the hospital as well as in the House a small semblance of a regular Christmas experience in a place where they wouldn't normally get one.

We gave away presents to the entire family, even the Mom's and Dad's, which we wrapped and took to their rooms. I went to the rooms of some of the sicklier children and gave them their present personally. I had a little area set up where the kids could come and see me and give me their Christmas lists and pose for a picture. The last night we even had Ronald McDonald there too. The organizers of the event where just fantastic and even though it was a long and tiring day, the look of joy on each child's face and their smiles made it all worth while. I have a little more volunteer work this afternoon, then I should be caught up. I've put a few pics of me as Santa up top, hope you enjoy them. These are just teh ones from my personal camera, most of the pics of the really sick kids were taken by even staff on hand.

I will say this, one young boy was facing surgery on Wednesday and on Tuesday he came to see me. His attitude and positive energy was so inspirational to me. He wasn't scared or worried, it was very matter of fact for him. Though he did tell me a joke that made me laugh. What do you call someone who is afraid of Santa? Claustrophobic. I thought it was such a smart and funny joke from someone so young. It was really awesome to be able to bring a small measure of comfort to his day. That's what Christmas is about. See you all soon with a new post.

End of Line.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 26

I woke up the next morning sore in place I had forgotten I had and most of them not from the fights I'd been in the previous nights. I rolled out of bed and gingerly moved into the bathroom, cranking the heat on the shower and started taking off my bandages. The steam begin to fill up the bathroom and the mirror fogged over as I slid in, the warm water stinging the fresh bruises and cuts. The sweat and dried blood flecked off as I gently cleaned each wound and began to work over the more tender areas.

There was still one piece of the puzzle that didn't fit. What Johnny Sixx wanted with this Elsa Lomack. He had to have some kind of angle on her inheritance, or think there was some way this would benefit him. This guy was smart and getting mixed up with someone like the Lomack family meant he had an angle. If he shows up with her before the statute of limitations faded on the will. Lomack is worth a fortune and Sixx must figure he has got some way of getting in on that. The only thing i can't figure out is why he hasn't made a move on it yet. There is still one piece missing. One piece I was going to have to find out the old fashioned way. Tonight.

I walked into the bed room, Annie framed in the doorway to the living room, her hair pulled back and clad in a robe. Her tattoos poked out from beneath the sleeves of her robe as she sipped a cup of coffee. So beautiful and fierce, it was these quiet moments I treasured, when she let her guard down. She left me a cup on the dresser and I tossed it back, tasting the spike of whiskey she had laced in it. I tossed a couple more pills with the last of the coffee and got dressed. Annie had gotten a clean suit for me yesterday and I slipped it on. Gray pants with a black shirt and gray jacket. I slung the dark tie on and slipped my shoulder holster on, wincing as I pulled the jacket over them both.

I walked over to Annie and took her in my arms. I could smell her shampoo in her hair as I held her close, her face nuzzled in my chest. We stood there a long time, the intense fury and adrenalin from last night washed away,leaving us with the realization of just what we had done last night. Of just how close we had come. Annie shivered slightly and I hugged her a little tighter. She knew the score from last night. I still had one more door to knock on. A door she couldn't follow me to. One more door tonight and this job was going to end, one way or another.

End of Line.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Hey all,

Yet another poetry post. I am not sure where the inspiration is really coming from this month to write so much poetry. Usually it's a tough call for two poems a month, this is like my 4th or 5th poem in a two week span. Tonight I think inspiration came from being alone in the house. It's dark and kind of cold, and I think it was a very cleansing post. I think the theme is pretty easy to get, just honesty in yourself and your work, honesty in baring your soul into the creative process. Maybe you'll like it, maybe not, but I was actually pretty happy with the turnout. Thanks for reading.


Its cold and dark and I hear no sound,

The curtains drawn as light's gone to ground.

Subtle silence has quelled the clamor,

And the shines paled off the glamor.

The house is barren yet filled with ghosts,

Made once of dreams but now faded boasts.

A pale glow cries from my screen,

As the thought of cheer feels obscene.

Crouched in the black staring vacantly,

With the emptiness looking back at me.

Jumbled thoughts placed to words,

All the things I don't want heard.

Just the cleansing of my soul,

So the loneliness will make me whole.

A scribbled rush to pen my cries,

To capture inspiration before it dies.

Just sitting here in the dark,

Coming to grips with emotions stark.

Truth is often the hardest friend,

'Cause it's all your left with in the end.

A lie saves face but not the heart,

Each falsehood kills another part.

So in the dark I type alone,

And pay this penance to honor atoned.

An aching tithe to truth and pain,

It's all I've left to keep me sane.

As the chill world turns to storm,

I feed this flicker to keep me warm.

My thoughts, my heart, and what's within,

Whether earnest hope or deepest sin,

Shall be penned, upon this slate,

As I given myself to this fickle fate.

So empty house you are my muse,

To lay true my hearts abuse.

And as the glow dies from the keys,

It's only then I feel at ease.

End of Line.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Word Balloon! Kabuki

Kabuki Volume 1- Circle of Blood

Kabuki Metamorphosis

Hey all,

This month's installment of the Word Balloon is highlighting one of the first really independent comic books I ever bought, David Mack's Kabuki. Originally published in 1994 by Caliber Comics, Kabuki was another indy book from the huge wave of indy publishers that sprang into existence after the formation of comics super group Image Comics a couple of years earlier. At the time I was very much against reading comics published by either DC or Marvel, and was looking for other books to whet my comics appetite. The first issue that I read of Kabuki was actually published by a studio called London Knight Press called Dance of Death, a one shot not associated with the primary story at all. I only picked up Kabuki because of the publisher, who at the time specialized in creating "bad girl" comics, which were comics known for there penchants for violence and T&A. Admittedly now they are terrible books, really exploitative, but I don't regret that short phase of collecting, because they lead me to this wonderful series called Kabuki.

Kabuki is the code name of a woman named Ukiko, the grand-daughter of a World War 2 general and an Ainu comfort woman. She has grown up to become an Agent of Noh, a highly specialized assassin who is tasked with eliminating and controlling the various Yakuza groups in Japan. When Ukiko comes across the Kai Syndicate and their leader Ryuichi Kai, she disobeys direct orders from her controllers to eliminate him because he has close and painful ties with her own past. The Board Controllers of Noh send the other assassins (all of them are female) to kill her, but she manages to defeat the board before dying. That isn't where the story ends though, Ukiko is revived at a place called the Control Corps, a rehabilitation and prison installation for former operatives, and must fathom a way to break free and forge her own life.

Now all of this sounds like a very straightforward comic book plot. What sets it apart is writer artist David Mack. Mack's singularly unique visual and literary style make this unlike anything you have ever read. I don't want you to get bogged down by the surface story, it's the underlying one that really counts. While the first volume of Kabuki's series is more of a traditionally penciled comic, its the second and third volumes that change the game. Mack's unique visual style and artistic endeavors literally changed how I viewed comics. He doesn't let one look compose his comics style, he uses a myriad of forms, from pencil and paint, to collage, magazine and paper scraps, clipped letters, crayons, even graph paper and paper cutouts to compile his images. Looking at his work I had never seen anything like it and even now, 15 years after the first book was released, he continues to find new media to work into his books. You really see this art style pick up in the second volume, Metamorphosis, which literally chronicles the change and growth of both Kabuki, but of Mack's visual style.

One thing I noticed even before the growth of this new artistic style was the writing though. In the first trade, Circle of Blood, which collected Mack's First miniseries, Mack took what was easily a standard comic book tale, and really made the heroine journey more of one about personal inflection. It's a story about dreams, thoughts, religion, philosophy, and memories. It's about one person finding herself in the world, and through her, finding out more about yourself. The book is a deep journey into the sub-conscious, where the comic becomes so much more than a book about capes, its literally a book that can affect how you see the world.

This really isn't a book that is easy to break down into simple bite size chunks. You can't just look at one element of the comic, you have to look at the digestive whole. The fluid combination of art, words, images, lettering, editing, all combined to form something else entirely. This is not a comic book you give to someone looking to get into reading comic books, this is a comic for people who already love the medium, or who think the medium is childish, to say look at what is possible. It's the unique blend of all of these elements that makes the book special

David Mack's Kabuki is probably the book I have collected for the longest frame of time. Though it wasn't the first indy book I bought, it was the one that changed how I looked at comics. Suddenly it seemed like I could expect more from a comic book, an insight into not just the character, but into the creative mind of the the person making the book. I remember the first time I met David Mack at Con, and gushing how much I liked his book and what kind of impact it had on me. It told me that comics can become something intensely personal, and that the story you told didn't have to conform. He drew a small sketch for me, I watched him in seconds take a series of errant lines, and craft this lovely small picture. What really amazed me was that he drew it upside down, so I could watch the picture form before my eyes.

Mack is a personal inspiration in my writing, and his art continues to impress me. In his latest Kabuki series, The Alchemy, now published by Marvel's ICON imprint, he journeys into self discovery and identity, using collage, cut-outs and repeating imagery to tell the story. Kabuki challenges the conventions of the medium and more importantly it challenges the reader itself. You have to dig deep to find meaning, and can't just relax on the surface story. The true power in the book is in creating your own understanding. I still use the book as a source for inspirations and creativity. Looking at Kabuki is a reminder that within each story, a more personal one can be found.

I can't compliment the book enough. Start out with Circle of Blood to get the back story, but do us both a favor and skim through Skin Deep or Metamorphosis, the next two trades just to get a peak at what's in store. There are few trade collecting one shots as well, but these two are the next long form stories. Kabuki is a beautiful book that deserves wider recognition and while it may not be what you expect, it will be something you cannot forget.

End of Line.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Decade in Review!

Hey all,

A lot of people are starting to compose best of lists for the end of the year. While I usually post my best of the year movie list in January, giving me a little time to catch the holiday releases, I did read a very engaging article in Entertainment Weekly, highlighting their best of the decade list. I thought that was a really good idea, and decided to pick my top films, books, comics, and whatever else I feel like listing. Remember, this won't be a necessarily be list of the BEST of something, rather a list of my favorite things over the past decade. While I may quantify some of them as the best, I will be basing the list off of my preference.

Top 3 Songs of the Decade

I think music is a very personal choice, so this is going to reflect what three songs meant the most to me these past 10 years. It is strange that my list includes no punk or ska, the musical style I would say most describes my tastes in music. Though I'd give Rancid my nod at honorable mention as the best punk band this decade (hell and maybe the last decade as well) with their song Under the Red Hot Moon.

3-Weezer - Perfect Situation
While not my favorite Weezer song of ALL time, it is a significant song to me because this is the album that really got me into digital music, and downloading songs off of I Tunes. Weezer is my favorite band and it wouldn't seem right to not include a song on this list from them. This IS my favorite song of theirs this decade though.

2- Jenny Lewis - Rise Up With Fists
This song meant a lot to me, opening a whole new world of music that I had never heard before. Her soulful voice showed me that music was far more than what I had surrounded myself with, and it brought me to another place.

1- Johnny Cash- Hurt
Such a powerful vocal performance from a legend. He gave us one final song, a song that carried all the pain and regret and hardships of his life across the vocals. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails may have wrote the song, but Cash made you feel it.

Top 3 Books of the Decade

I am a voracious reader and the past 10 years saw a wonderful range of books released. Books are really a thinning medium as more and more people go digital, but there is something about holding a book and the feel of the pages that I will never want to give up. I'd like to give an honorable mention to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code in this category. While certainly an important and huge book, it didn't measure in the same way to me.

3- Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis

A little known book by comic book author Warren Ellis, it is easily the one I have read the most. It;s a dark dark look at the usual mystery thrillers and its the first time I have ever sent a book to my dad, that when he was done reading it, immediately read it again to make sure he got it all. Its a work that pushed the boundary of what is acceptable in the world, and it felt like it was written with my type of humor in mind.

2- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

A wonderful blend of super heroes, Jewish history, sexism, homosexuality and racial intolerance, the book is Chabon's love letter to comic books, chronicling the life of two young Jewish comic book creators and the lives they lead during and after World War 2. Comic books become a back drop for the lives of these two people, as each faces thier own demons and tries to come out the other side.

1- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter is the biggest series of the decade, and Rowling manages to do the impossible, finish the series about our favorite boy wizard in a way that is satisfying and complete. During her 7 issue series, we watch Harry grow up, and as the book ends, we see Harry enter adulthood, not as some great hero, but as a boy who becomes a man.

Top 3 Comics of the Decade

Comics are such a huge part of my life and they mean a lot to me. It was something I shared with my Dad, and it is still something that I treasure for that. I appreciate the medium as a whole, the writing, the art, the characters, its the only medium where anything is truly possible. I didn't want two comics by DC's Vertigo imprint, so an honorable mention to Bill Willingham's wonderful Fables series.

3- Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli

Published in 2009 and something that took the better part of the writer/artists decade to produce, this book published by Pantheon Press is a real reminder of what the possibilities of comics can hold. It is art, it is prose, and above all poignant. It elevates comics above the medium.

2- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume 2 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

Published at the beginning of the decade, this volume builds on the first series, uniting some of literature's greatest character, Mr. Hyde, Alan Quartermain, The Invisible Man, Captain Nemo among others to combat H.G. Wells alien Invaders. It transcends the regular action comic and shows that this truly is a literary form. Moore and O'Neill wave in a myriad of literary and cultural references, and it remains the only comic I have ever read that made me feel unprepared. Volume 2 is published by Image Comics and should in no way, shape or form, be confused with the terrible movie of the same name.

1- Y- The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra

Released by DC Comics Vertigo imprint, Y tells the story of Yorick Brown and his quest to re-unite himself with his girlfriend, after learning he is the last man alive on Earth. Writer Vaughn and artist Guerra weave what could be a very hokey premise, and challenge the concepts or religion, sex, nationalism and a myriad of other topics proving that comics are not just capes and cowls, but merit a social consciousness.

Top TV Shows of the Decade

This has really been a decade of great television. Great writing, great acting, TV has established itself as a viable alternative to movies for the first time in a long while. TV hasn't been this good in a long long time. My honorable mention goes to Mad Me. Compelling television at its finest, its dark, sexy and uncompromising look at life in a very changing era once again changed the way cable television operates.

3- The Office NBC

Maybe my favorite sitcom of all time, The Office is bold, funny, and above all fresh. It opened a new type of show, a documentary style show where pain and awkwardness is both hilarious and tragic. It has some of the most fearless performances I have ever seen, and is one of the reasons I look forward to Thursday nights

2- Deadwood HBO

This is without a doubt my favorite TV show of all time. The first "real" western on TV, it featured incredibly smart scripts, brilliant acting, and a commitment to reality. It showed the west for what it was, brutal, dirty, violet, and unforgiving.

1- Lost ABC

While Deadwood is my favorite, Lost is the BEST show of the decade. Taking episodic TV to new heights, Lost created a great mystery and some of the most engaging television of all time with its deep rooted mysteries, incredibly complex plots, and its brilliant acting. Lost is a television phenomenon the likes of which the world had never seen, and when its gone TV will truly be diminished.

Top 3 Movies of the Decade

This is easily the hardest lists for me to compile. I knew what number one would be before I even started, so in picking the rest I tried to find a nice balance. FOr this list I really didn't focus so much on what the BEST acted films were, just more or less what the best films in terms of what I liked are. My honorable mention goes to Moulin Rouge! Completely and utterly the least manliest of movies, it, much like my third choice, changed the way that audiences, studios, and movie-goers looked at movies. The musical, after nearly 50 years, was back.

3-Spider-man- Sam Raimi

I can't honestly say that this is the third greatest film of the decade. I do think it bears merit though for the impact it had. Spider man showed for the first time that super hero movies could be successful at the box office without the word Bat in the title. It changed the game, opening an entirely new genre of tent pole action films that could be both fun and well made. From cast to script, Sam Raimi showed everyone why Spider-man is the most relatable hero ever, and it showed audiences around the world what super hero movies could do. Without Spider-man, there is no Iron Man or The Dark Knight, arguably better films that would have never been made without this success.

2- Wall-E Pixar Studios

This decade was marked by a perfect run of films from Pixar, from Monsters, Inc and Finding Nemo, to the Incredibles and Up. It was Wall-E, to me at least, that showed the studios dazzling brilliance. A funny, poignant movie about a music loving robot that is lonely. Its a film that doesn't need words, but tells a beautiful story and is what I contend to be the greatest animated film of all time.

1- The Lord of The Rings- Peter Jackson

There really can be no doubt that these were the biggest films of teh decade. Picking one is nearly impossible, I almost view the trilogy as one film, though if I were forced Fellowship is my favorite. Here is a perfect blend of action, acting, and story, so perfect that even the Academy recognized its social and cultural impact. For the first time ever, it was possible that Star Wars may not be the best trilogy ever.

There you go, my best of list for the decade that was. I am sure there are PLENTY of disagreements on that list. I am not sure I even agree with all of my choices myself. Undoubtedly there will be a film or book I stumble across where I realize that it was a better choice than the one I listed, but it should make for an interesting discussion point. Thanks for reading the blog these past few years and stay tuned throughout the rest of the month as I still have plenty more to come before 2010 rears its head.

End of Line.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Out to Sea

Hey all,

So I was watching television and got inspired to write this based on a musical performance by the musician Jenny Lewis. Well not actually the performance, but a story she told based on the inspiration for one of her songs. A very melancholy tune, its called "Pretty Bird", and the song came from a story about a woman raped and murdered on a reservation. Now the poem itself is bit of a step away from that, but it is about death and love, and it defiantly channels some of that heartache and pathos that Jenny captures just so wonderfully. I certainly add my own homages of love and loss and a bit of tragedy. I also like some of the very quick and simple structural patterns in the poem itself. Anyway, enjoy the poem as you will, a far cry from my Christmas poem to be sure.

Out to Sea

Under a pale moon light,

Beyond the setting sun.

The coast line falls,

When the days come undone.

I rabbit from my flesh,

As my skin starts to crawl,

Exposed to the world,

Like they can't see it all.

Close my eyes,

It all feels to bright.

Even the roar,

Of softest candlelight.

The bluest of skies,

Lost under a sheath of stars,

The greenest of Earth,

Lay blackened from afar.

Have no sense of right,

When it all feels so wrong,

Which way is up,

Seems I've been lost all along.

Confusion is pain,

Wandering like a mess,

Hurting myself,

Because I don't confess.

Tearing me up,

The agony that I feel.

Every thing's so wrong,

It all got just to real.

Wish I could change,

All my damned mistakes,

Take back the hurt,

And the lies, so fake.

Wander out to sea,

The waves at my feet.

Salt licking the wounds,

Of a gradual defeat.

The chill hits my bones,

Frozen to the core,

All save my heart,

Which was like that before.

Drink the deepest drink,

'Neath a watery breeze.

Soon it all grows cold,

And brings me to my knees.

Goodbye cruel life,

And my fairest love,

Soon I pray to join you,

In the Heaven's up above.

The coastline is silent,

Save the watery tides,

Of the unending ocean,

Where I'll finally reside.

Washed away to sea,

This body but a shell,

My souls gone to Heaven,

My body's gone to Hell.

It's a small price to pay,

For all that I have done.

The horrible things I said,

And all the hurts that I begun.

I said no fare thee wells,

Not even one goodbye,

This is the fate I deserve,

A final place to lie.

End of Line.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 25

Horner had spilled his guts, telling me almost everything I needed to know, even if it did take a little more "coaxing" on my part. Roger Horner had one been a part of an elite crowd, the debutantes and heirs, one of those people who get famous for being famous. Except he never got his break. He started heading into the Barrows to play at being "street." Seems though that he became a victim of his own fame. In that ind of world, having money can buy you a lot of friends, but once that money dries up it can buy you a lot of enemies. Horner spiraled deeper and deeper into the mess, dragging poor Elsa with him. She was in love, and the two of them fell farther out of control. It got so bad that Horner's parents cut him off, coincidentally I'm sure, around the same time Elsa'a father was marrying Alison.

The two took their weekend squatting and made it a full time thing and you can guess what happened from there. Horner starting doing whatever he could for another fix, and Elsa turned to the one thing she still had, her looks. Eventually Horner caught the eye of Johnny Sixx, who gave him a place in his organization, providing Elsa go with him. By this point Elsa was pretty much a bombed out shell. High and addicted, she still had her looks and that's why Horner thought Sixx wanted her. I wasn't so sure. Something still stunk, and it wasn't Horner's fucking cologne. Sixx knew something, the last piece of a puzzle that was really starting to piss me off.

I had Annie phone in a tip to my old pal Mike from Horner's apartment and told the girl in red to beat it the fuck out of here. I left Horner tied up in his room and Annie and I split. We took the stairs down and I peeked out in the lobby to make sure it was all clear. I had already made a big enough mess of things upstairs, I couldn't afford to get busted now. We hopped in the car, Annie pushing me out of the way to drive.

I looked at Annie as she hit the accelerator and rocketed towards home. She was practically glowing, a fierce light in her eyes. This kind of shit really got her off, the adrenalin, the rush, the danger. Some people get scared and shut down, Annie, the fear makes her feel more alive. Fuck, all I felt was the need for a drink after this kind of stuff. Annie, hell, she was ready to fuck your brains out. Somehow, I think the most dangerous part of my night was still ahead.

Friday, December 04, 2009


Hey all,

I really wanted to post today and I was having trouble finding a good topic. After a few hours of staring blankly, I decided to change the wheels and take a crack at some poetry. I usually do a holiday poem around this time of year, though this one is a little earlier than I usually post, but ever since I wrote the last one I wanted to do something positive and upbeat and this seemed like a good topic. Anyway I hope you like the poem, simply titled Christmas. It's about what this time of year means to me.


Its the crunch of the snow,

Underneath my feet.

Which has fallen so thickly,

In the whitest of sheet.

It's the cold bite of air,

Inhaled in my lung.

From the chill breath of winter,

The season has sprung.

It's the setting of the sun,

So early to dusk.

As the days grow shorter,

Shedding daylights husk.

It's bundling in coats,

To stave in the heat.

Wrapped in sweaters and scarves,

Dealing cold it's defeat.

It's giving of yourself,

For it's that time of year,

Volunteering for charity,

Full of yuletide and good cheer.

It's the decorations and lights,

Putting the star on the tree.

Unwrapping Christmas presents,

As children's faces light with glee.

It's in singing Christmas Carols,

Our voices filled with joy.

In the welcome arms of your family,

For each girl and boy.

It's watching Christmas movies,

The Grinch or A Wonderful Life,

Standing beneath the mistletoe,

Just to kiss your wife.

It's building a snowman,

Or the jingle of bells.

It's decking the halls,

Where your happiness dwells.

It's nearly the day,

So soon comes Christmas Eve,

So remember one lesson,

It's better to give, than receive.

End of Line.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Movie Review: Black Dynamite!

Hey all!

I have spent the better part of the last month trying to track down a film called Black Dynamite. It's a modern day blaxspoitation film in the vein of movies like Shaft, Cleopatra Jones, and Dolemite, the latter of which I reviewed on this sight as part of my Movie Rewind thread. Blaxpoitation films were low budget films made by the African American community in the early and mid 1970's. Hollywood at the time was still very much a white man's world, and many struggling minorities decided that the best way to make movies for their culture was to make them on their own. Several years prior directors like George Romero, Russ Meyer, and Roger Corman had been instrumental in creating a new breed of independent cinema not attached to the big studios, a brand of film that most audiences called exploitation films. These films usually were made very cheaply and exploited the audiences desires for films with action, sex, and violence.

Blaxpoitation was born as this same brand of film came as minority actors and directors began financing their own movies. The medium had largely died out by the late 1970's, but the films they had made had a lasting impact on many film makers today. Black Dynamite is a sort of love letter to that classic brand of film. It doesn't have the same sheen that a Hollywood film has, it's rough and dirty, with intentionally bad camera angles, flubbed lines, and exploitative humor, all of which hearken back to that brand of film.

Black Dynamite stars Michael Jai White, best known as the actor who played Spawn, as an ex-CIA operative who now protects his harem of ladies, a sort of super pimp. When his brother is shot and killed by the Man, the CIA drag Black Dynamite back to work for them to track down who killed his brother, and to discover the source of all the bad drugs that are littering his streets and hooking kids on dope. There are homages to many of the great films of the 70's. Everything from Super Fly, to Shaft, to Dolemite, even a bit of Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon, sneak in. Their is more jive talking smack talk than you could ever hope to hear, and the kung fu fights border a line between awesome and hilarious. It's set in the early 1970's, as Black Dynamite forms up his crew of bad ass pimps and hustlers to clean up the streets and find revenge.

White brings just the right qualities to the role, intentionally bad ass when he needs to, and intentionally acting terribly when it calls for it as well. There is a really great supporting cast who get the film as well, Arsenio Hall, Cedric Yarbourough, Mykelti Williamson, and Nicole Sullivan all of which treat the film exactly how it should be. This film is a comedy under the guise of an action film. I can honestly say that it isn't a great piece of film making, but it is something that many movies have forgotten to be. Fun. It's unapologetic and fun and just a great movie to laugh at. It's worth it for what is maybe the greatest fight scene concept ever at the end, where Black Dynamite takes on The Man himself, and there really can be no greater representation of oppression and fear mongering than this man.

The film was written by Michael Jai White and Byron Minns, and directed by Scott Sanders who bring an obvious love to this style of film. They somehow have crafted a film that is at once a parody of the medium they cherish, as well as actually be PART of the same medium. It's a spoof that turns into the very thing it's spoofing. From the intentionally bad film making buts, like changing actors mid scene, or reusing continuity shots, the films creators at once hearken back to a much simpler (and cheaper) film making style, but manage to inject a perfect mix of humor and fantasy to the role. A blend that lets you both root and laugh for these characters at the same time.

I have not had this much fun watching a movie all year. Watch it, rent it, burn it, hell download it, but please check out Black Dynamite!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Assorted Nuts!

Happy December all!

Another month flown by and 2009 has almost reached the end. It's strange, it doesn't feel like it was that long ago that the year started, now we are less than a month until the end of the decade. In reflection it seems time is moving at a much quicker pace as I get older, things happening faster and faster. Its a topic I will try to sound out for a poem before the end of the month, along with a holiday poem.

I am going to try to ramp up the posts a bit, I have been quite committed with work lately and this month is looking just as relentless with the holidays, business being up at work, and the volunteer work I have scheduled coming up. Still, I will try to round out my flash fiction with a post every Sunday this month and lead into the end of the current story arc. I also have a double feature movie review I want to do talking about two films that I saw, Boondock Saints 2 and Black Dynamite, neither of which are new releases by any means, but still merit commentary.

See you guys back tomorrow with a new post. Thanks for reading.

End of Line.