Wednesday, April 28, 2010
"Californians have long suspected that their hapless politicians were smoking something. Now they are seeking to join the party, as it were. Nearly 700,000 people, far more than required, have signed a petition to put a binding measure legalizing and regulating marijuana on the ballet for the Nov. 2 election. A similar initiative in 1972 went up in smoke, but the flower children of 38 years ago are today's middle-class taxpayers in a state making big service cuts to stay afloat financially. Marijuana is California's largest cash crop and taxing it could raise $1.4 billion annually. The measure deserves serious consideration, and not just for financial reasons. Murderous Mexican gangs that control much of the market probably have the most to lose." Source: The Financial Times.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
My wife got this in the mail last week from the landlord of her art studio. She was out of town and I was working at home that day, but someone was celebrating that afternoon. Note how civil she was. You've gotta love California.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Dope smoking, gun shooting, motorcycle riding, whiskey drinking, tight pants wearing, music stealing, mustache trimming, book selling, dog hugging, pass-out-on-your-floor freak that I am, I quit drinking coffee last year. But before I did, I was a proud member of this club.
Does anyone else suspect they might have been getting down with a little more then just a cup of joe? You gotta love the ELO tune though.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
When words fail me, a simple gesture often gets the message through. This is my one handed, double, middle finger (soon to be trademarked so don't you dare). Thanks to my model (me) and my Sharpie (black).
Not only is it the national day to celebrate weed, but for all the good in the world, lets not forget there are also sinister events too. I won't be too much of a buzz kill, but here are a few to keep in mind:
1939-Adolf Hitler was born.
1999-The Columbine High School massacre happened.
1992-100th episode of Murphy Brown airs.
Don't get too high or medicated today.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Be it wise or simply superstition, I am a believer in karma. I try to practice good karma, but I often expect something good to come my way after the fact. Maybe it's this civilized Eastern concept crashing again my very Western ways. Just because I know what the downward dog yoga position is, doesn't mean I don't still subscribe to the concept of good people doing good things getting smiled upon by...well, someone or getting something back. I'm a backsliding Catholic at best, but the pragmatic and Protestant attitude that working really hard will lead to success is a bit ingrained in many Americans. Just stop someone on the street and ask them how they feel about receiving nothing for doing something. They'd get away from you almost as quickly as if you asked them if they would like to take a personality test.
But I still look for opportunities to do good deeds when they present themselves. I wait for circumstance to come up and ask me to dance. This happened the other days as I was getting off my motorcycle at the Rite Aid. A guy in his late twenties/early thirties in dirty clothes with a dilapitated green backpack at his feet, asked me if I ever got cold riding. I told him there was usually a 10 degrees drop when you were on the freeway. He then asked me if I could buy him some food. He said anything would help. I am so used to being asked for money from the homeless that I immediately agreed as I walked inside. Now I did consider leaving our another exit as there were two to this store, but then I found myself buying water, mixed nuts and some bagel chips for this guy. A total of about seven dollars at best. I walked out the door, handed him the bag and rode off feeling like Mr. Courageous for my act of kindness, even though I was asked to do it. I had a 50/50 chance of doing the right karmic thing, I suppose. I slapped myself on the back and thought about what a good person I was.
Not too many days later, I was out drinking with my sister and future brother-in-law. We'd been at it for a while and were walking to a friend's new place somewhere in South Park. It was dark and we had a few more blocks to go when I decided my bladder wasn't going to make it. I ducked into the shadows of an alcove along the way and let the water flow. My sister started yelling at me. "That's a church! What's your problem?" Now, I was drunk and I knew it was a church, but I didn't care. And in mid-stream, I thought about bad karma. Had this emptied out my credit from earlier in the week? Did it matter? It was in bad taste, but then again so is covering up for pediphile priests for years. So I finished up, leaving a sizable puddle behind. I went on to get a lot drunker and at one point passed out where I was standing. Someone caught me on the way down, but it could have been bad if I had hit my head.
I got locked out of my house on Saturday. I didn't have a phone or my wallet. It took a few hours to get back in and of course I had to get a locksmith and most of my day was shot. It was annoying and could have been avoided if I had my phone, but I had my dog with me and it was beautiful out so we walked downtown, killing time until the locksmith said he could make it. Many hours went by and I didn't think about any kind of karma or a bank my good deeds or bad deeds might be housed in, but watched my dog being patted by a little girl as the the clouds rolled out over the city and out to sea.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Most people are not familiar with the works of director John Frankenheimer with the exception of his 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate. This film was yanked out of movie theaters after the assassination of JFK and was remade into a sad shadow of itself by Jonathan Demme in 2004. But I want to talk about another of Frankenheimer's films which often gets overlooked. After my night of drinking and smoking had come to an end, I came home and watched my Netflix copy of Seconds.
Coming out in 1966, it stars actor John Randolph as a wealthy middle aged man who feels like his life has come to an existential dead end. This is until he discovers a secret organization which can offer him a new or second life. He's death is faked and he is given extensive plastic surgery and a new life to become a swinging, successful artist, played by a haunted looking Rock Hudson. But this deal comes with consequences which our hero comes to realize later.
A lot has happened since 1966. Men and women still have their midlife crisis, but they can have their second life on Facebook or...uh...Second Life. Rock Hudson's hidden life (rumors of him being gay were around for years, but not confirmed) was made public to the world when he was diagnosed with AIDS. And hopefully, Seconds will never be remade because the original is definitely worth seeing. Hudson said it was his favorite performance next to Giant and it is one of the three great "paranoia" films of Frankenheimer including Seconds, Seven Days in May and The Manchurian Candidate. Take some time and maybe a little puff of MK Ultra and rent these films.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Much like watching CNN or any reality show ever made, J.G. Ballard's short stories are not meant to be read before bedtime. A majority of Ballard's writing can be considered science fiction, but unlike the epic, but slightly wilting saga of Frank Herbert's Dune series or the druggie, paranoid after effects of reading Philip K Dick's works, these stories' spooky humanity leave you philosophically uncomfortable about a tomorrow which may or may never come to be.
From an overbuild city obsessed with the current going rate of square footage (San Diego County take note; Los Angeles, it's too late) to three men who are genetically altered to never sleep again (yes, I'm sure you'd get a lot done, but to get some vacation from myself, I would be a drooling addict of some sort), this set of short stories is not coy about squarely putting man's obsession with science against nature's ability to mess with the before mentioned program. You want bioengineering so your unborn kid can have blue or green eyes, red or brown hair? This may be the first step torwards creating a new sub-species, opening a possibility for a multitude of unseen outcomes banging on your door late one night like something from The Monkey's Paw. Sounds good for a ludicious Hollywood pitch (which will be shot in 3-D, of course), but it is a real life scary of possible things to come if we aren't prudent.
Before he died in 2009, J.G. Ballard wanted us to know we might want to be a little less impressed with our ability to make things "better." Have a happy future!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
San Diego continues to be a growing city in search of a better defined personality, restaurants which it can one day brag about and a thriving arts & literary culture. Like anything worth while, it doesn't happen immediately. Perhaps one day this beach city reputation will take a back seat to some great art, writing and film here. Many people who live here like to simply complain about a lack of those things and state people only come here for the beach and the weather. Well, maybe so, but this attitude is not only cynical, but a corroding agent for anyone trying to muster a literary scene, some counterpoint reporting on politics and a growing music scene.
If you don't like it, please go. Move to New York in a huff about San Diego. Please. I dare you. And if you are not discovered: your manuscript is laughed at, your art mocked, films panned as too West Coast, education ridiculed, this good looking building is in Union Square. I invite you to take a one way elevator ride to the roof, take a long look West and jump. We don't want you back. We don't want to hear your comments in our ears anymore. In fact, we didn't want to put up with it when you lived here in the first place. You didn't want to help so jump already. Some of us are making an effort here.
Update: Full disclosure here. As I like to be as honest as possible on MMN, I moved out of San Diego in April 2011 to Los Angeles. I needed a bigger city and now that I look at this, it seems a tad bit harsh. However, I am still not for anyone trashing anyone's city they reside in. And if you find yourself bored or fed up with where you are, you should move. Adventure starts and end's with your own actions. So shut your mouth or do something.
Monday, April 12, 2010
OK, I haven't seen Avatar yet. And there is not a very good chance I will be seeing Alice in Wonderland, Clash of the Titans and any of the other big boom, action packed movies which are now being reformatted to 3-D in order to get that many more asses in seats. This crackerjack mentality, so specialized in Hollywood, floats for the same dumb reason people who couldn't afford houses got $600K loans. So bring on the super-sized explosions, killer robots or just dump the entire plot, actors, sets locations and all into the great CGI movie making machine they must have on site at the major studios. It all makes me long for the low-fi technology and good times of Jaws 3-D.
The player who is strangely absent from this table is the pornography industry. They have always been on the forefront of technology. Pornography along with gambling pioneered and helped build the internet, but has passed on this. Perhaps they wait in the wings on the dawning of the 3-D HDTV as the porn theaters are pretty much all gone, wiped out by the emergence of video three decades ago.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I was in New York City all last week for work and had no time for new posts because of my drunken running around the city and maybe a little bit of work. This shot is from a set of statues placed around multiple buildings surrounding Union Square. I'm not sure of the artist. I will update this posting with his name when I find out who it is. As always, I hung out with wonderful friends, had much fun and enjoyed feeling like an East Coaster again for at least a few days.
Or so the saying goes for folks who ride motorcycles and want to shed their stock exhaust pipes for ones which growl neanderthal-like announcing your presence on the streets and freeways of the world.
I am a freak for new vibrations between my legs (insert very easily set up joke HERE), but I have to agree with the wise motorcycle cops of the Oakland PD. I understand that noise annoys and there is the general lamenting choirs of "those goddamn bikers," but would you rather swear at us roaring by you or scrape us off your bumpers & broken windshields? At best, you risk a high insurance payment with some minor body work or, at worst, you'll have to hire an attorney to fight vehicular manslaughter charges and deal with some fundamentally bad karma.
Loud pipes cost more, are annoyingly loud, and make the neighbors and even some strangers hate you. Loud pipes also give the cage community a heads-up not to kill us as we are cruising through your blind spots & save many lives from the hassle of everything between paint & panel replacement to death ever after. May this come off as my wish that we all try to be a little more kinder to one another on life's roads.