Sunday, February 8, 2009

Movie Review: Across the Universe

The library dvd wouldn't play correctly on the big screen setup but it played fine on my computer. Probably operator error. Who knows.

This is a very well done flick. The soundtrack is all Beatles and done by killer singers and musicians. Someone is very creative and clever I think. The people who designed this film. And it's a friggin musical. The way the music was done and the general look of the movie kept me captivated for the duration. I give it several stars.

Out In The Fog

On my deck, a much more inspired title came to mind. By the time I came in, got the computer switched on, played a few meditative licks on the didgeridoo, and began to write, the title disappeared from the shelf in my brain of items I can recall.

That brings to mind a song, which I will paraphrase, written long ago during one of my semi-sad periods, of which there have been many. I've learned to curb the sadness better now. It is still there, but it has been weakened through much effort and good fortune.

Before I bore anyone with the paraphrased/revised version of that song, I will tell the tale of birthdays; 2008 and 2009. Last year I do not recall much of it, except that I was to the point of no return in the planning of my escape from the rut I was in. The Ballistic Tour was far into the planning stages. I'd sold the condo and had only to get the clutter out of my way and hit the road. Fortunately, it took until May 10, 2008 until I was able to clear the last of my goods out of my apartment and embark on the journey into the unknown. As it turned out my favorite points along the tour were just then cleared of snow, opened to auto travel. That is an example of the sort of luck I have which offsets my ignorance.

It was a birthday of hope and anticipation, even if it felt a little lonely and I was feeling blanketed in that heavy-as wet-cement fog which characterized much of my life. What I remember most is the video a friend in California made which included various people from that social circle, and even a few others. They had been coached to say something about me as if they knew me. It was the coolest film ever made. Obviously, I knew I had to include San Diego on the Tour after viewing that. She who started out enthusiastically then became strangely mercurial and unavailable was even in it.

This year, I tried to pretend I did not know my birthday was at hand, and even connived not to be in town on the 4th. That's my day, February 4.

Next thing I know, I had phone calls with singing voices and orders to be in town on the 6th for my birthday party. What can you do? I haven't had a pleasant birthday celebration in so long I've forgotten. I'm sure I must have had OK birthdays but I generally block them out. It has to do with childhood horror parties in my stupid neighborhood at an early age. I'm not sure if it was because I had to beat some kid up who left no alternative or what, but I know as young as age 8, I adamantly requested NO PARTY every birthday.

There was one surprise party when I was married that should have been nice. I remember my wife or one of the in-laws gave me a harmonica, and I was pleased about that. The fact that it was the day the cotton mill got the air quality tests back from the lab which showed my machines worked, accomplishing what everyone in the industry said couldn't be done, proving the idea which had appeared on paper a year and a half before actually worked, made it a red letter day. I wasn't crazy, I was right. It was the high point of my achievements before or since, I think.

I'd been at that mill, fiddling with the machines, enjoying the smiles and congratulatory pats on the back from the mill's president and V.P.. I was on top of the world. I couldn't wait to get home and tell the wife. First I had to do a little work to the prototype machines, then I hit the road.

When I arrived my in-laws were all there. I was fond of that family, but the wind swiftly left my sails when all I heard was how I was late, and how they'd been waiting. No one cared about the good news. At that time, the documented results were believed to be as good as millions in the bank. (That should have been the case but I lacked the savvy to know how to proceed, another story, another time). So, a very nice party, a surprise party and I was the bad guy because I had not anticipated my part in the play. From then on I avoided any celebration of my birthday.

This year, I was left no alternative but to show up, and it was like a chapter from some other person's life; a person with nice friends who like to make things pleasant. Normally, this would have been way out of the comfort zone, but it was comfortable, and even fun. I should add that I no longer know what or where my comfort zone is. I was pretty comfortable with the giant, heart shaped chocolate cake--very good stuff--and the balloons and the sign expressing the fondest of sentiments and affection.

All through the evening I thought how lucky I am that people would take the trouble to make me feel good about being born. Maybe it is because I like all those involved and they like one another as well. I don't know. Maybe I am not as tense as in the past. It looks like I am locked into this tennis thing now. Birthdays offerings involved a very nice scheme to ensure that, as well as my favorite Bollywood soundtrack and my favorite roast of cafe in the universe.

On the actual day, I was feasting on lasagna at M's, the scuba chick. And playing pool on her very nice table. Some of the shots I was able to pull off back in the Pfeiffer college game room manager days seemed to come back. I thought I'd managed to go through my birthday unnoticed but she was already aware of the upcoming party. They all acted like this was just the normal way of things. I'm spoiled is how I see it. People who know me probably agree. For a lone moper I do get a lot of special treatment. I think I always have.

Only now, I don't feel guilty for it or feel tangled up in the strings.

It's strange that I can't remember any specific birthdays for the last 20 years or so. Only these last two. As far as the usual, "Oh no, a year older and nothing more to show for it", I don't feel anything one way or the other. I'm here and it is against all odds that I am. Things have changed since coworkers were wanting me to let them pay for a life insurance policy and make them beneficiaries. They never thought I'd live past 35. I think I was 34 or 35 at that time. I'm glad I don't have the need to get drunk on days like that any more. Birthdays are still no big deal in and of themselves to me, but being blessed with friends who like to let you know they are glad you are here is a very big deal.

One possible change in me is that I am a little bit more receptive to such affection than I was in the past. I know I have made it extremely difficult for those who wanted to show kindness or affection at times. I guess I don't feel like there is a hidden harmful aspect to things, and before, I did.

It's doubtful any other group would have found me less defensive. Whatever the reason, that is how it is. That is a big change. I've been unable to know when affection is a cover for an unpleasant ulterior agenda in the past, so I often shielded when maybe it was the wrong thing to do. This is a new world; to feel secure and natural at such a simple thing as a small gathering, eating incredible home made calzone, pasta whatnot, and birthday cake. Since it comes at such an advanced age, relatively speaking, I guess something must have screwed with me for decades, stunting my growth and limiting my ability to live life.

This is getting lengthy and involved. I have one major goal for this year. Even though I know you can't force or put a timeframe on some things, some unknown soul is in for an interesting surprise if it works out like I hope.

the song

In the misty night
a baby dreams
a mother weeps
a flower screams

and the fog
from the hills
rolls and rolls
stealing the sight
from the valley

It actually has a meaning of sorts. Everything I write is either about innocence, redemption, or what EVAH

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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