Monday, May 29, 2017

Movie Tips:

Flutter ****
(2014) Lindsay Pulsipher, Johnathan Huth Jr.
Grimy, gritty, intimate tale of a mom and her boy and the love that will hopefully hold them together through the hardest period of their lives. The tension comes in artful waves as they dance ever nearer the jaws of disaster.

Take Me to the River ****
(2015) Logan Miller, Robin Weigert
More mom-son stuff and the tension here is constant but subtle with an oddly elusive creep factor and plenty of hints to see the twist coming. One of those lucky library reservation mistakes (I was actually seeking the 2014 soul music documentary of the same title).

Collapse ***
(2010) Documentary by Jared Diamond
Compelling material around imperialism and climate gets watered down through an infotainmenty approach and limited scope. Worthwhile though, to the young or otherwise uninitiated.

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media *****
(1992) Documentary
Sometimes-meandering exploration of the core material of Noam Chomsky; one of the most intelligent, self-sacrificing, important and under-appreciated men alive. Or ever. Mandatory viewing if you wish to participate in the real world.

The Polar Express *
(2004) Animated Adventure
Awkward and unintentionally creepy (severe uncanny valley factor) attempt at a holiday redemption story, starring Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks and Tom Hanks. How he let himself get railroaded into this mess...

Infinitely Polar Bear ***
(2014) Mark Ruffalo
This production seemed like a culmination of decent efforts; the unfortunate math of which, usually amounts to a mediocre result at best. Yet here, it somehow held up and delivered decently overall in terms of engaging my interest and emotions. But I have to pass on this opportunity to praise Ruffalo as one of the more under-appreciated actors (if he still is) because this was not his best acting and a lot of his scenes seemed forced to me.

War Dogs **
(2016) Jonah Hill, Miles Teller
Dull, lifeless, uninspired telling of a dull, lifeless, uninspiring true story which surely made for a far better newspaper article than a feature film. That it admirably exposes yet more of the infinite bastardism of the American Military Empire is laudable but not a good enough excuse for a theatrical lemon, at least not in my house.

We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists ****
(2012) Documentary
An elegant choice of material allows this examination into the concept of “eco-terrorism” achieve laudable objectivity.  Very worthwhile and of great potential future relevance.

10 Cloverfield Lane ****
(2016) Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman
Tense, well-acted dystopia-flavored thriller keeps you guessing!

A.I. Artificial Intelligence ***
(2001) Haley Joel Osment
What starts as a brilliant haunting masterpiece devolves suddenly into a Disneyland experience. As bi-polar as The Deer Hunter but without the obvious intent.

Cloud Atlas **
(2012) Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant
Watching this movie requires serious effort. Two words of advice. One: Turn the subtitles on ‘cause you’re going to get some weird-ass dialect a-comin’. And two: Think about reincarnation perhaps, as your lifeline as you attempt to follow the unwieldy plot.

All In Good Taste *
(1983) Jonathan Welsh
Thoroughly goofy flick tastelessly re-packaged recently to look like a Jim Carrey movie. In fact he played a tiny non-speaking role, on screen just long enough to flash his bare butt. Don’t get fooled into watching this. Unless you really want to see Jim Carrey’s ass (rather than him acting like one).

Friday, May 26, 2017


Last night, after visits with Aqualad, Dog Whisperer and Earth Writer, I came home inspired, logged onto the video game from hell, tried to bring myself to destroy my cities, chickened out like a spineless jellyfish (which is not a particularly rare form of jellyfish), left a farewell note for the members of my remaining fellowship and then departed from it, and changed both city names to TEMP INACTIVE.

I’m praying this buys me some time until I can grow up and put this thing permanently out of my misery.

After coffee with Earth Writer I heard myself saying, “You know, it’s clear that the struggles in the world are going to get a lot worse before they possibly get better. There is so much need for people with the capacity for gentleness and peace to achieve that and to have their effects on others. I need to achieve that. There is too much good work to do for me to be wasting my time.”

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Biting off what I can chew

I joined a small role playing group. Four of us meet online every other Friday to play World of Dew. A sort of collaborative story-building game in the Samurai genre.

I’m starting to get more shifts at work now and stand a chance at full-timish hours until November perhaps. And if this does not gel I’m ready to pull the trigger any time with regards to seeking a second employer; one more of the night watchman variety. I have some good leads.

I am falling back into a more substantive role within the Support Circle community and being moved by the tremendous attitudes of special people; volunteers and former offenders alike. The trust, the generosity, the wisdom, humility and acceptance. The courage in the face of uphill battles in pursuit of dignity, well-being and some semblance of belonging. The genuine camaraderie. No volunteer, including myself, goes out of their way to demonstrate to visitors or new participants that we are one of the volunteers and not one of the offenders. How’s that for genuine camaraderie?

I’m now thinking about a return to the lacrosse community in some smart limited scope; without getting completely sucked in, now that the baggage has dried up and the love of the game, it seems, has remained.

I’m thinking about a couple other volunteer opportunities too, now that I’m driving a reliable car again thanks to fifteen hundred and sixty well-spent dollars. 

I feel very positive.

I feel like I have the strength to defeat this damned video game habit and get more productive again.

I feel good about my writing and my excellent Scooterville writing pals who are at this blessed moment re-considering their schedules to see if we can accommodate a bit of re-structuring to write-in schedules so that I may participate more.

My burgeoning friendship with the Courageous Comedian has buoyed me. Facebook suggests that she is outrageously popular yet I boldly messaged her and said, hey, I think you are awesome in a world of mostly dickheads! You want to hang out and chat some time? A day later I thought, fuck a duck. Does she think I’m after a creepy date? But no. She finally messaged me back and said that sounded awesome and we would have to make that happen. Though it has never been apparent to me, C.C. battles mental illness of some measure while championing noble causes and educating us about them. She sees the troubled world with brave unflinching eyes and performs on stage her very fun jokes and sometimes her screamy screamy music with her band which I will probably continue to avoid!

And Neo is now finished at university. He has been so busy that I have missed him much but we are to gather very soon and I will find out what sort of plans he now considers and to what degree they might overlap my own. I suspect that there may be opportunity for collaboration of some form.

Yes, I do feel positive. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


April A-to-Z:  A Celebration of the Automobile! (If You’re the Devil)

Life in Southern Ontario works pretty much like I expect it does in just about every corner of Fabulous North America Ass-Kickers Of The Woeful World: Our loathsome bottom-feeding politicians and our loathsome bottom-feeding corporate elite, with their hands deeply buried in each other’s pants (and from precisely the same community of good ol’ boys) run everything precisely the way they want it, while the rest of us dull helpless mewling sheep either keep their mouths shut about it and enjoy the comfortable temporary benefits of temporarily-upper-tier slavery (most of the people I know) or somehow remain ignorant of this most basic structure of our society (most of the people I generally avoid) or – three – regret the slightly-diminished complicity in our own individual personal circumstances, and often rebel in largely ineffective manners (myself and most of my favorite peeps); all of us having one thing in common: We all let our rulers run just about everything precisely the way they want it.

As such, the future of southern Ontario’s infrastructure is being mapped out with more and more semi-circular toll highways radiating into the countryside, killing farmland and precious biodiversity and paving the way, well into the future, for the proliferation of car culture, car manufacturing, gas stations, drive-thrus, public-raping toll consortiums and as much cash-in-the-pants as politicians and their gleeful gruesome sugar daddies can possibly fondle.

There are pockets of meddlesome opposition to their rosy plans; some of them making a laudable din about proposed mega toll-highway 413, to be built just a few kilometers alongside current mega toll highway 407. One particularly stupid and soulless cretin defended his political complicity in the scheme by claiming “Everyone knows that cars aren’t going anywhere [so we need to build more roads]”.

Of course there are many people who know damn well that cars will be going away, one way or the other, no matter how much we pretend otherwise, or how bad we fuck ourselves over (or rather our swiftly-approaching descendants by delaying this transition. Some are those who have a healthy curiosity for science despite formal education’s best efforts to make science a tortuous learning experience, and some are those who have a healthy awareness of the egoic corruption of the mind and the ubiquitous insanity of the modern human which convinces us that anything normal or common is automatically legitimate (which is pretty much never the case).   

Barring specific technological leaps, near impossible in the short term, Cars will indeed go away. It’s a logical certainty. In no way can the Earth possibly sustain them. But with respect to the A-Z format, that’s a story for another day.

Oh and yeah – It’s April 46th in Fantasy Writer Guy land by the way.

Oh, and simultaneously it’s April 411th 2016 with regards to last year’s April A-Z which I have also not officially given up on. It’s my blog. I make the rules. So there!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Baby steps

I have not quit playing the insidious city-building video game. In fact I played it a bloody lot the other day. In my defense, we are inside a two-week quest period where great rewards abound for those with sufficient organizational skills.

And yes, that is no defense.

I also did not leave the fellowships yet, as Aqualad prescribed. But here is what I did do today:  I wrote twin emails to the archmage of each of my fellowships and proposed the following: I said that I needed to cut back on game play in order to address personal issues and would begin decelerating my participation next week and then in nine days, at the close of the current quest: I would resign from the fellowship. I asked for consent to the exit strategy before I would message the group as a whole.

So there. It’s a half step but better than nothing. And it’s sincere.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Fifteen year hiatus

It must have been about twenty years ago when I agreed to produce a web site for a local Junior A lacrosse team which my young brother was playing for.  The internet was not what it is today. The site was a bulky laborious one by today’s standard but quickly became the most substantive one in a league in which probably half the organizations didn’t even have a team site yet.

I photographed and interviewed the players and other team officials and began writing articles and attending the games in order to track statistics. The site was even featured in a national lacrosse periodical.

I kept stepping up to fill holes within the organization and the community at large. I became the team statistician, was appointed Director of Media Relations,  headed up fundraising efforts, produced the most voluminous game program in the league, served as timekeeper or ball boy on occasions and was soon elected Vice President. I served occasionally on the Junior A council and began touring the league watching games and posting game stories online under the pen name Blue (my dog’s name and my presumed nickname due to a misunderstanding). I was embraced by a small community of eccentric “internet reporters” and developed a following around the Ontario lacrosse scene. My game stories were then picked up and published on Ontario lacrosse’s premier web site which garnered thousands of hits daily.

This experience was important because it gave me some cred and confidence as a “writer” which I’d never before imagined I would become.

But aggressive parents, organizational politics and tribal delusion began to wear me out. I had a voice and thus became a target of the posturing and positioning of everyone with an agenda: mostly unhealthy ones. After five years I was burnt out and exited the lacrosse scene entirely. I didn’t even attend games as a spectator.

I have aged well though , and peace has worked its magic. It has dissolved bad memories and strengthened the good memories: Like the artfulness of the masterfully creative native teams I admired; the dazzling performances of so many great young players and their eventual promotions to the pro league; the road trips with lacrosse pals; the accolades from random spectators who spied my note-taking and asked, “Are you Blue?” The warm greetings of players who thanked me enthusiastically for my service to the team; and perhaps mostly: the amazing feeling that came from giving back to a community from which I once benefited as a youngster. I was astounded to discover that the joy of giving back was not just some platitude. It was precisely real.

Last Thursday night, after about fifteen years, I finally attended another OLA lacrosse game: A Junior B tilt between Scooterville’s Bengals and the visiting Thunderhawks. It was a joyful return. The junior B game appears to have evolved mightily in a decade and a half. I would have believed it a junior A match. What a treat to just enjoy the game without the shadow of diplomacy lurking over me.

The home squad jumped to an early lead and carried it comfortably until the end. The boys were all new to me of course though some had familiar names: like the son and the nephew of players (and coaches) I once knew in their prime.

Old habits die hard. I scribbled constant notes and swiftly began to glean the various roles, strengths and idiosyncrasies of each player who now seem ridiculously young to me at fifteen to twenty-one.

Afterward I had a beer with their general manager and coach, Mister D, who was a close associate years ago and has since won Ontario and pro league championship titles as coach and who earlier in the year sent me an email out of the blue to lure me out, without disguising his interest in getting some volunteer work out of me. I’m not ready to commit to anything and he was wise that night in not asking. But I know we’re both thinking about next season.

I do feel an urge though, already, to write about lacrosse again. It is sparked by a paternal inkling, as it was two decades ago though I did not understand it then. My inclination at the time was to write with players and parents in mind (though there were other followers). My artless policy at the time was to ensure that every player in the game was mentioned at least once in a positive light: some measure of praise for something done well; even if just a great pass or a faultless period on defense.

I think my reports would differ now though, for I am not much the same person, and that I would remain more neutral and noble and write more consistently from a non-partisan perspective; from the context alike the traditional native view. For lacrosse is an ancient game; a creative one; a game of collaborative rhythms; a game prone to serendipity; to beauty in motion. A game that, it was long ago said, was a gift from The Creator, and one to be played for His enjoyment.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Okay. Let’s stop pretending I have any credibility whatsoever with regards to any commitments to this blog. If I’m hoping and intending to correct that problem then I will just keep that to myself and stop making any promises here.

And now for the even-more embarrassing part:

I have been in a mire of non-productivity since Christmas eve/Christmas morning 2016. For the third year in a row I spent Santa's Magical Night of Yule on a 12-hr shift all alone at the main Tim Hortons store-slash-learning centre (Ingeniously called Tim Hortons U) with no actual duties all night, and for the third such annual gig in a row I dispensed with any notion of productivity and entertained myself with a video game of the challenging resource management variety, which I dig and did rarely indulge in. Problem is – I accidentally chose a game which was not the usual play-twice-and-then-get-locked-out-unless-you-pay variety (I never pay). I accidentally chose what looked like a typical resource management game and which was actually a massive multi-player city building game – WHICH – never locks you out. Surprise! It just bribes you to quicken your city-building experience by purchasing “diamonds” with real money. Diamonds are the universal currency which you can use to hasten any sort of transaction without waiting for goods or supplies or income to mature (but again, I never pay).

So here’s the confession: I got totally hooked; totally addicted to this insipid bloody game which I don’t even think I enjoy anymore but which I am constantly compelled to play because it’s like… It’s like blackjack. It’s the mental challenge of succeeding. I’m hooked on that challenge (though I’ve always been smart enough to carefully moderate my blackjack participation).

I’m also hooked on the creative component; wanting to build a city that is beautiful; that I would wish to live in, and also on the community aspect: I am the proud pathetic owner of two cities in separate “worlds” and in each I have joined fellowships where I can help – and be helped by – other players which insidiously triggers my paternal instinct. Anyway I feel like a complete loser.

I took my troubles down to Madame Rouge – sorry – I mean Aqualad – because he has plenty of experience around video game compulsion and a very bright head on his shoulders and he told me that step one of my deprogramming is to ditch the fellowships which are admittedly a bad influence. He also hornswoggled me a copy of SimCity, theorizing that this much-simpler game might satisfy my idiotic city building needs without such a destabilizing time-commitment.

I’m seeing him again this evening and will have to report that the strategy has so far not paid off. I’m still playing the damned game. And hardly writing. And hardly blogging. And hardly volunteering. And hardly exercising. And hardly researching. And not composing. And hardly addressing my growing employment-shortage problems. And hardly being there for people who deserve my attention.

So anyway… if you know me in real life be sure to slap me in the face the next time you see me and tell me to get my shit together and stop being such a dickhead.

FWG/Not-Much-Of-A-New-Day-Rising (who secretly still intends to start blogging productively)