Let slip the dream.

August 21, 2011

I haven’t been writing here because I’ve wanted to keep the Aaron Smith posts on my homepage in some vain hope of keeping that part of the dream alive.  Dreaming precludes work, but work is meaningless without a dream.  I’ve been resting on the former and neglecting the latter.  Time to switch things around, be profound and work, write, speak without a sound.

Aaron Smith may someday leap out from the distant past, and my personal past, with his enigmatic smirk and become very real again (in a post-modern sense).  Until then, onward.

I’ve been busy not working on this new screenplay.  Living instead.  Well, not even that.  I think I’ve been in a waking coma for the last several months.  Like insanity…one cannot self-diagnose in these cases.  I am reaching this conclusion based on my total lack of output since February (or earlier).  And in this retrospective moment, I have been struggling to scream and nothing can escape me.  I am a prisoner within me.  I don’t want to listen to me anymore.

Ummm, that’s not wholly precise.

The wrong part of me does not listen to the right part of me and I am mostly the wrong part of me in many regards.  An internal uncivil war because there’s only one victim…me.  Or so I think.  There are many around me who could claim to be casualties of this war.  Friendly fire.  Shrapnel.  Debris.  Hubris.

Bullshit.  All of it.  Time to get back on track.


Long time (some bad destination)

August 21, 2011

I wish the world was full of simple wonders for me.  To marvel at a tree, not for photosynthesis and things of the like, but for its august stance, its many-coloured robe, rough skin and roots.  If I stretch my memory far enough, I can recall my first real, startling scientific revelation about trees.  Everyone who lives far enough north or south of the equator has witnessed the leaves annual change of suit and descent.  Although incredible, this is something I’ve experienced since my pre-memory.  This ‘fall’ is part of the natural rhythm of nature, so is not what startled me.  It was the rings inside.  A marker of age, health, climate.  The way this information is embedded in the rings of a tree, like grooves on vinyl or bits on a dvd (to be current!).

Then I start thinking to myself – be weary of rings, for they bind you.  Any kind of ring is binding by its very nature.  We imbibe the ring with deep meaning or beauty, in which we can enthrall ourselves and forget about the being bound aspect of it.

Bound is another one of those words whose various meanings conflict.  In the simplest phrase – one’s bounding (leaping) is bound (restricted) by gravity and it is bound (destined) to be this way.  Discombobulating is not something that can be combobulated, and it’s somewhat upsetting.  What happened to the combobulate?  Maybe it implied too much hope and was therefore struck from the official record.

What came first – the desire (long) or the distance (long)?  They both imply some sort of gap between ourselves and something we want, one emotional and the other physical, one destiny and the other destination.  Destination sometimes sounds like the digestion of destiny.

“Oh man…I have some bad destination.”

And I guess the destination is the consumption of destiny…if you get to where you were destined to be.  Anyways…it’s becoming clear that I don’t really have a destination for this post, in mind or in sight.

I began with the thought of my three year old daughter, who wanders and wonders at everything around her.  I sometimes find myself melancholic over the loss of that simple wonder.  When I really think about it though, I realize that as much as my world is full of complex and often incomprehensible wonders, it is still ripe with the simple ones as well.

I have brought this full-circle and within this ring I have bound some meaning.


How Shit Is My Job? (part one)

February 23, 2011

I am really trying to be less negative at work, but it seems to be impossible so long as people keep forcing their own personal dramas into my life.  Don’t want it.  Don’t need it.

Here’s a perfect example of the kind of shit I don’t need.  At work, I’ve sent several emails to two co-workers, both in management.  These two have a terrible track record for responding to emails, and when they do, they leave me with more questions than I had at the onset.  I need timely answers.  Well, I’m not getting them.

This is not an issue limited to me, so a new policy has been put in place.  Send the email once.  If you have to resend, copy this other manager.  If still no answer, copy the owner of the company.  Unbelievable, right?!

I’m kind of nice, when I shouldn’t be.  I don’t escalate the emails to other managers.  I quietly resend.

Today, I took the time to go through my sent mail folder and resend all of the emails to which I have not rec’d a response.  As I pushed the send button I made a friendly bet with a co-worker:

I’ve sent these reminder emails.  Now, you watch.  In response, I will get my own reminder email from one of these guys & this will happen within two hours.

Sure enough – there it is.  And the prick copies the owner!  Okay…so this makes me look bad.  At least that’s what my co-worker is trying to do.

Let’s back-track a little.  I am resending emails that are one week, two weeks old.  I am missing information these guys are supposed to provide.  Quirky decisions are being made.  For instance if we have to assemble X number of finished goods, then they produced X-Y goods for no apparent reason.  One of the emails is wondering when the balance of goods will be completed.  This is critical, time sensitive shit.  It’s also an example as to the subject matter of my inquiries.

The reminder email that came in retort (copying the owner) was originally sent to me Friday afternoon around 4pm.  It was a request to have something done by Wednesday afternoon (today).  Saturday and Sunday constitutes the weekend, at least where I work.  Monday was family day.  I didn’t get to it yesterday, but that’s fine because it’s requested for today.  At noon, halfway through the day, I get this friggin’ reminder.

Needless to say…it was a petty response from a very insecure co-worker.  Like the first thing that went through his mind was – “Oh yeah?!  I’ll show you.”  And he didn’t.  I still met my deadline.


S/ashes & Un\wanted Punctu@ti.n

February 5, 2011

I’m still learning this keyboard.  New laptop.  I can understand why it’s easy to grow resistant to learning.  It’s frustrating.  I should be a lot further along in this post than I otherwise am.  Of course, you’d never realize in reading.  Still I trudge along, fingers falling on foreign keys, incessantly hunting for the backspace button.  My thoughts whirling through the hinterland between keys and dribbling onto the floor, wasted off of the screen.

I hate not being able to correctly name this medium.  I think ‘screen’ is most appropriate…or ‘monitor’.  If you actually care to see this, you will more than likely view it on one or the other!  Funny words too…very Orwellian.  If you were more inclined to Huxley, then I guess you could call it a ‘display’ or something open and Utopian as such.

No matter.  You are being ‘screened’ and ‘monitored’ as you put pretty much everything on ‘display’.  Never before has this been more true than now.  Big Brother is watching you through the soma.  Shit…he’s the pusher.  Cute.  You see where I went with that…a blend of 1984 & Brave New World.

It occurred to me this morning, I’m not even a blissful idiot, which is a nice sort of idiot, imbecilic and cute.  I’m a miserable, opinionated, increasingly uninformed kind of idiot.  Unbearable.  Phew!  It feels nice to write that.  I think a little self-depredation is healthy and realistic.  It doesn’t necessarily keep me tempered to any degree.

No matter how steep my learning incline is with this keyboard, I am very pleased that I can sit and write again in the morning.

 


Judgment (turn your doubt inside out).

January 12, 2011

As  mentioned before (maybe here, but possibly somewhere else), my writing partner and I have completed drafts of 5 feature-length screenplays (4 original + 1 adaptation).  Pretty cool (I suppose).  The stories may not always be better than their predecessor (arguable), but the execution of the script always improves.

We’ve also completed outlines for 3 other features.  I should’ve had the first draft of one of these outlines complete before Christmas (I’ve written 5 pages).  Moving a little slow.

What the hell is happening to me?

Two factors weigh heavily on my ability to write:

1. Time

2. Confidence

I don’t have enough of either and am getting desperate for more of both.

In terms of confidence, my biggest problem is finding, then getting feedback from someone who is qualified to give it.  And then believing it when it comes back positive.  It drives me nuts.  Mainly because it’s all subjective bullshit.

I am remembering something that’s making me feel better.  We did receive some negative comments on the first couple of scripts…but after that almost nothing negative.  That’s impossible.  There has to be something wrong.  Why?  I don’t know…maybe because it would be unrealistic to believe it’s perfect.

What we receive are suggestions as to how we can take a good story and make it better.  Surprisingly, I get very excited when people offer a good suggestion.  I thought I would maybe be possessive.  Nope.

Coincidentally – you know what gets the most criticism?  The titles.  Yep.  Very superficial, but very important in a culture with little time to be anything more than superficial.

It’s a love/hate relationship trying to craft the perfect title.  We’ll spend hours over days (months) working out potential titles for our scripts.  In the end, it doesn’t really bother me.  It’s much easier to change the title page, then it is to change any page after it!!


The Slump (is over)

January 4, 2011

I’ve been in a mental slump as of late.  My mind, too tired to wander.  My time, too precious to squander…on anything other than the basic essentials of daily living.

Work, care and clean.  Go to work.  Care for my family.  Clean the house.  That’s about all I do.

In terms of money – income=output.  Some months you could replace ‘equals’ with ‘less than’, but never with ‘greater than’.  I am as broke as I have ever been.

My hands are riddled with eczema (stress).  I sweat profusely when (if) I sleep at night (stress).  My back muscles have been in a state of civil war for a few months now (and more stress).

Up at 6am and go, go, go until at least 9pm.  In bed somewhere between 10-11pm.

When do I write?

And this question lays at the base of all my complaints.  I need to write.  It’s ultimately becomes a biological imperative.  If I don’t satisfy the need, then I develop frequent headaches. become moody and self-destructive.  I don’t want to dwell on this aspect of myself.

I need to move forward.  Bring change (growth?) to my life.  Rid myself of my daily dragons.  This constant combat is killing me through attrition.  I have to make a break and finally reclaim myself.  I have to.  Don’t want to.  Need to.

I simply wish I could reduce my wants to the level of my needs.  I guess a billion Buddhist’s are trying to do the same thing.  Very challenging.

Time to refocus and remember my mind generates my reality.  I will be more positive without and therefore, I will be more positive within.  Within and without, although polar opposites, are really the sum of a greater oneness.  It is this greater unified reality which I need to behold and embrace.

Get my life back on track.  Mark my words – big things will start happening for me.


The Hangman’s Reel

August 7, 2010

I’ve been given a length of rope.  I can tie it in a knot, tie it in a noose.  Or be wise and put it to good use.


“To Perceive is to Suffer.”

August 7, 2010

We can thank Aristotle for the title.  That the Earth was considered the centre of the Universe for more than fifteen hundred years longer than it otherwise should have been can also be attributed to Aristotle.  He had so many powerful ideas.  His ‘errors’ carried as much weight.  Ah well, where would we be now if only Aristarchus of Samos wasn’t in the shadow of Aristotle?

Green Onions in the background.  Maybe I’ll Take Five next.  Groovin’.  My desk is amuck, a mess.  My mind too.  Amuck, I mean.  Ha ha ha.  Devil Inside.  Random shuffle.  A cluster of half empty Coke cans, Oh Henry wrapper, empty pack of smokes, pizza coupons, digital copy codes, hair bands, an empty Toy Story dvd case…what the fuck is Undercover Brother doing here?!  Buried under some empty zip-locks and an iPhone.  Only 3G.  I can’t see the surface.  Suffocating. 

There may actually be a little Oh Henry left in that wrapper.  Is it bad if I eat it?!  It’s only from last night.  Not even twenty-four hours ago.

Seriously, though. 

French Kiss.  Trip into the deep well of your lover’s chest.  Dance to the heart beat.  Synthesize your nerves.  Symphonic frenzy.  Let your lust wander. 

To perceive is to suffer.  Be free.


Wordwall

August 5, 2010

I build walls with words.  I hurl ideas in your direction.  Big bricks to keep you out.   To ward away your affection.


August Heat

August 4, 2010

When I was a kid, I fell in love with old time radio.  It’s one of the few rituals that survived through to now.  Never before has access to old time radio shows been more open.  As a kid, I had to wait until 11pm every Sunday night for Theatre of the Mind – where two shows would be aired back-to-back.  Otherwise, I had to go to the public library and borrow cassette tapes of old time radio.

Now – there’s podcasts, audio streams, XM radio – plus subscription sites (the best would be RU Sitting Comfortably or RUSC).

Moving on….

There’s an episode of Suspense, titled August Heat.  It’s a peculiarly chilling episode.  An artist is overcome by the feverish heat of an angry August day and compulsively sketches a picture.  He isn’t lucid until he nearly completes the picture.  It’s of a strange man whom he’s never seen before.  Oddly, the artist did not draw one of the man’s hands.  It appears as though it would’ve been holding something, but the artist could never know because the ‘inspiration’ is gone.

Later that day, the artist is out for a stroll.  He comes across a stone carver working in his shop.  Something draws the artist into the stone cutter’s shop…he’s not certain what.  The stone cutter is working on a display piece for his store front.  This piece happens to be a gravestone.

“How do you pick a name?” asks the artist.

“I just make a name, birth and death up.  See.”

The stone cutter turns the gravestone around – it is carved with the artist’s name and birth date.  The date of death….is today.

And it goes from there.

Well, today is one of those days.  40 degrees Celsius outside.  Humid as hell (if the fires of hell allow for humidity!!).  I am losing my mind.  Everyone around me is losing theirs too.  All I ask – where’s the snow?  Bring on the snow.


Aaron Smith – Pirate? [Part Three: Questions]

July 30, 2010

We have this picture of Aaron Smith from his narrative The Atrocities of the Pirates.  Smith was the poor victim of pirates, the wimpy man who was bullied into committing various atrocities (including killing other men, albeit pirates), the just man who was unfairly put on trial by his peers.

Then we have the opposing image of Smith as painted by the Times of London articles.  Aaron Smith is an eloquent and influential public speaker – an ability which requires a fair measure of intelligence and confidence.  Aaron Smith is burly (albeit honest looking!), so he’s hardly the small, wimpy character from the narrative.

Even more revealing are his tendencies of:

  • violent outbursts – on two different occasions he viciously assaulted men.
  • disrespect for authority – no fear in court, whether on trial for life or assault.  He received additional fines for his behaviour in/out of the courtroom.
  • being involved in ‘shifty’ business schemes – comparative to ‘loan-sharking’.  Also a potential smuggler.

We have these two diametrically opposed views of Aaron Smith, somewhere in between lies the real Aaron Smith.  I don’t know if he set out to be a pirate.  I don’t know if he took advantage of the opportunity to make some money when he was in the company of the pirates.  I don’t know if he was the victim he claimed to be.

All I have are these various voices speaking out from 140-170 odd years ago.

Who was Aaron Smith?


Aaron Smith – Pirate? [Part Two: The Trials]

July 30, 2010

Now begins an investigation into the life and nature of Aaron Smith.  Below are actual contemporary newspaper articles pertaining to Aaron Smith.  These articles go well beyond Aaron’s experiences on the pirate ship Zephyr.  As you will see, there is a definite pattern of violent behaviour.

The Trials of Aaron Smith:

December 21, 1823 – Piracy & murder – acquitted.  This was the first trial which resulted from the events contained in The Atrocities of the Pirates (Industry & Vittoria).

July 15 1829 – 2nd piracy trial – acquitted  This was the second trial which resulted from the events in The Atrocities of the Pirates.  Smith was recognized by a victim of the 3rd shipped he assisted in sacking (Dutch – Prevoyante).

July 22 1842 – Smith linked to a fraud trial – referred to as “an atrocious swindler.”

???? 1848 – Smith brought up on warrant for assaulting Richard Owen.  Read this article.

April 5 1850 – civil trial – Smith sues man (Heath) for recovery of 300 pounds on Bill of Exchange.  The defendant claimed that Smith altered the acceptance of the original bill without his consent.  Additionally, the altered bill was never presented to Heath.  It seems that Smith has taken up the profession of a ‘bill discounter’ (basically equates to modern-day pay-day-loan services).

December 10 1850 – Smith v. Cooke – libel suit launched by Smith as a result of a series of letters which appeared in the Times of London between June & July 1850.  Cooke accused Smith of being a ‘pirate’ (essentially stating that Smith ‘got away with murder’.”  Smith ultimately wins the suit – using the duress defense which was successful at two previous piracy trials.

July 30 1852 – Smith brought up on another warrant for assaulting an omnibus driver.  Read this article.

And then this little snippet from the July 30 1852 Times of London:

February 17 1855 – Smith v. Chubb & others.  Smith (as bill discounter) brings civil action to “recover damages for negligence in not investigating the title of one Edward Hughes to certain property, which he mortgaged to the plaintiff (Smith) as a security for certain loans of money.”  It didn’t work out for Smith in this case.  Read the comments of the judge and jury.

August 1 1859 – Smith v. Bird.  Smith brings action against Bird to recover funds against a bill of exchange.  Bird claims Smith isn’t the bona fide holder of the bill.  There’s a long story as to how the bill landed in Smith’s hands.  In the end, the jury found in favour of Smith.  However, here’s a little clip of the article, which contains some discourse between Smith and the defense attorney.

Then there’s a couple of articles from March 8 & 23 1861:

Please continue onto Aaron Smith (Part Three).


Aaron Smith – Pirate? [Part One: The Atrocities of Pirates]

July 30, 2010

There are many notorious characters poking their nefarious heads out of our history books; from Saddam Hussein to Blue Beard and beyond.  But none have attracted so little attention as a brutish British sailor from the early 19th century.

I’d never heard of him before someone brought him to my attention.  How about you?  Have you ever heard of (Capt.) Aaron Smith before?

No?  Not surprised.

Well, Aaron Smith was accused of being a pirate and murderer.  His first trial took place at the Admiralty Sessions of the Old Baileys on (or around) December 21, 1823.

It’s a long and complicated story (which I will be getting into), but he used duress or compulsion as his defense.  Essentially, he stated he was forced to commit piratical crimes (including murder).

His accusers testified otherwise.  However, Smith’s testimony resonated with the jury and he won the day (and his life!).

It wasn’t enough for Smith to walk away a free man.  A year later, he published the account of his experiences in the novel The Atrocities of Pirates (1824).

In the novel, Smith makes several opportunities to insult and/or impugn his accusers.  These insults would sow the seeds of conflict between Smith and his primary accuser (Capt. William Cooke), which would climax in an 1850 civil suit (we’ll get to that).

Here is Smith’s version of events (in a nutshell) as published in Atrocities of Pirates:

  1. He was hired as Chief Mate on merchant ship Zephyr (which would be sailing from Jamaica to England during the summer of 1822.  The Zephyr Captain was a man named Lumsden (or Lumsdale, as seen in Times of London articles).
  2. The Zephyr was raided by pirates who were based on the north-east corner of Cuba.
  3. Smith was ‘abducted’ by the pirates.  The pirate captain needed a competent navigator.
  4. Smith lived under constant threat of death at the hand of the maniacal pirate captain.
  5. He witnessed other pirates being tortured & murdered.  He claimed to have been tortured on numerous occasions.  The most serious torture involved having gun powder detonated around his legs, causing extensive burns.
  6. He admits to participating (orchestrating) the murder of 8 pirates, but it was in self-defense.
  7. He admits to assisting (being the lead raider) in the seizure of three ships & crews.  The British INDUSTRY (Capt. Cooke’s vessel), the British Vittoria & the Dutch PREYOVANTE.
  8. Smith claims to have saved Cooke’s life from the pirate captain.  He then slams Cooke for being a liar and coward.  Challenges Cooke to produce any real evidence that he (Smith) was a pirate.  Cooke would not respond publicly to this accusation/challenge until 1850.
  9. Smith escaped his captivity only to be apprehended by Spanish (Cuban) authorities and handed over to the British for trial.

A few observations I had after reading Atrocities of Pirates:

  1. My mental image of Smith was of a small, somewhat defenseless man who was very easily bullied.  This image was corroborated by three other independent sources who also read the book.
  2. Smith could do anything (mend sails, navigate, ship doctor including surgeries, speak several languages, etc.).  He appears to be like a master of all trades.
  3. Smith admits to being armed and assaulting a man with a cutlass (sword) while on board the pirate ship.
  4. The story was too perfect in a dramatic sense – the love interest, the mutiny on the pirate ship, the plots to escape (failed and successful).  It fits too cleanly in the dramatic paradigm to be wholly truthful.

From subsequent reading – I came across several things which dashed my initial impression of Aaron Smith.

First, and probably most important – Aaron Smith was a large, burly man – considered intimidating.  Smith was more than capable of defending himself than he would have you believe.  In fact, it seems that Smith’s motto in life was the ‘best self-defense is a good offense”, as he was subject to violent outbursts.

The more I read about the actual Aaron Smith – what he had to say, what people had to say about him, what he did, etc., the less I believed his account of events.

Was Smith a victim of pirates or was he, himself, a pirate?  No one knows for certain – and this is what makes Smith such a compelling character in history..

I think he was a pirate and a master craftsman of lies.  However, there is fertile ground upon which to build an argument to the contrary.

Check out Part Two of Aaron Smith for contemporary newspaper articles pertaining to Aaron Smith.  Pretty cool (if you were to ask me!).


extinction distinction

March 27, 2009

had a good life

free from the strife

bags on the curb

after garbage day

wearing black

on labour day

I listen to what you heard

but not to what you say

exhaust from the car

exhaust from the dryer

exhaust from the fire

exhaust from the liar

green is the colour of blew

red the colour of what I knew

feeling the feeling of wondering

if we’re through

thrown it all away

grown at all this way

a fence between a flower

and a weed of distinction

the day of today is

a play at extinction

a wonder of dysfunction

have we had enough

play the day away

say you’ll stay

enough is enough

I’m going astray

I still listen to what

the baseball bat had to say

crack in the skull

crack in the ice

crack in the glass

crack in the vice

grasp me tight

free me from fright

say you’ll stay

tell me I’m not a stray

i’m not astray

i’m gone either way.


Smoke

March 27, 2009

where’s jesus

why can’t he ease us

where’s the devil

why doesn’t he please us

all i’ve got are cigarettes

and

a pack of plenty regrets

and

i live a life of vignettes

with 

spasmodic king-sized Tourette’s

where’s god gone

the great arranger

what about the word

the great deranger

all i’ve sought are cigarettes

and

to rid myself of regrets

but

i live a life of vignettes

with

bunches of one but no sets