And Then There Was One

I am, in industry parlance, the LMO, The Last Man Out. The production is completely shut down, the facility sterilized, the rentals all returned, the accounts closed, the crew and staff all given their t-shirt and final paycheck and sent on their way. The gig has played out and all the things most people think of as 'making a movie' are done with.

Only I am left to sweep the floor, shut off the lights and lock the door behind us.

Normally I find this to be cathartic, a bittersweet moment, an exhalation and a congratulation after a job complete. I drive away from the empty production office on my final day, secure in the knowledge that all of the loose ends are tied and that I may confidently add a line to my resume and IMDB. Usually I take a week to watch old movies, re-read my favorite book and overindulge in Japanese beer before striking out to find the next gig, before seeking the chance to do it all again.

Not this time, though.

With two days to go on this show and naught but the dumpster and the copy machines to be picked up, I was offered a slot on a new show that starts Monday. Moreover, this new show is moving into the production space that my old show just vacated. I took it, of course. This business is just too fickle to turn down work so I'll just have to make it without the usual decompression. I'll have to forgo the release of saying that I'll never be back this way. I won't get my tidy personal coda of a cigar and a stroll into the metaphorical sunset. And, that's just the way it's going to have to be.

Once more, unto the breach.

submit to reddit


Fuck All!

That's something that I say a lot, my personal catch phrase, "Fuck All." I'm concerned that I have not effectively communicated the depth of the maxim. It seems this has been taken as a throw away statement, an empty signifier meant to communicate apathy. This is not so. Allow me to elaborate.

George Bush, fuck him. Fuck the Republican party, which is poor name for a group so dedicated to the erosion of the republic. Fuck the Democrats, too, but not as hard because, even though they’re every bit the bunch of shmucks the Red Dogs are, at least they mean well. Fuck politics, the people, the process and the pretense of power.

Fuck relationships. Fuck chocolates and flowers, cuddles, smiles and mock joy. Fuck PDA. Fuck the very idea that somehow we need someone else in order to be complete and fuck the fact that nobody realizes how dysfunctional that is. Fuck everyone that has ever said "I Love You," and not meant it. Fuck everyone who has ever cheated and everyone who has ever been cheated upon and not had the balls to walk away. Fuck anyone that has ever used sex to get something they didn't deserve and double fuck anyone that fell for it. I'm okay with half of all marriages ending in divorce but fuck the other half that end in death.

Fuck working and slaving at serving and cleaning up after ungrateful fucks that think a fat wallet counts for something other than compensation for a tiny cock. Fuck people that don't say thank you and fuck anyone that doesn't think before they speak. Fuck the rat race and the lie of a better life than our parents had. Fuck your boss who's only getting what he's getting because he pays you less than you're worth.

fuck punctuation?

Fuck body image and fashion and pop culture. Fuck the here and now. Fuck popularity and ten thousand - thousand ideas and ideals of how someone should be. Fuck rock hard abs and platinum blonde hair. I think I'm going to eat chocolate and fried cheese until I break out like a herpes grenade on my chin and forehead just so that I'll have an excuse not to fall in line with Carson fucking Daley, the guy on Queer Eye. Oh, wait, fuck me, that's a different Carson so fuck everyone named Carson because it's a stupid fucking name. Fuck cultural literacy and fuck everyone that wants to sell my own rebellion back to me. Fuck the colors for the season but don't fuck runway models, it's too gratifying to feel the knobby bones of their pelvis through their emaciated flesh, besides it's not good for their hunger addled minds. Fuck a sandwich and then feed it to them. Fuck The Swan and Extreme Makeover; fuck self help books and personal empowerment and anyone or anything that tries to instruct someone else on how to be.

The Guy in L5P that wears the Chinese cap and rides the dilapidated bicycle, definitely fuck him. Fuck him with something sharp. While we're on the topic of people in lil'5, fuck that ugly, foul smelling wench that has asked me for change every week for the two years I've been living here and then gets bitchy at me when I say no. "But I need help!" she says. "You need more help than I'm gonna give you now sod of and fucking die.”

Fuck Elisha Cuthbert, if only I could.

Fuck intellectualism. Throw it down on the hood of Dale Earnheart's car and fuck intellectualism senseless; it needs a good shagging. Fuck DeSassure and Marx. Fuck criticism. Fuck theories of all kind. I have a theory for you; theories suck. Fuck Mulvey, Heidegger, Lacan, Nietzsche, Rand, Descartes, Spinoza, Malebranche, Pascal, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, and Hume. Fuck Einstein, Hawking, Durkheim, Darwin, Sagan, Burke, Newton, Franklin, Dr. Mengela and fuck Jesus, too, just to make sure I've covered everyone, covered them in the steaming semen of my disdain.

Fuck anger and fuck frustration. Fuck disenfranchisement and fuck your contempt at my contempt. Fuck a world that never realizes that the height of human civilization is only a finger's width from the muck from which we climbed and can just as easily descend back towards.

And you know what, fuck you, too.


Handin' Tickets out for God

"You'll grow up eventually," he said, my old boss from that summer job I had more than a decade ago, "You'll see how silly that is when you get older." He sneered, chuckled and strode into the back. His sentiment was hardly unique. I hear it, in some form or another, to this day.

It seems that a vast segment of America feels Paganism is somehow not real, that it's a joke, live-in performance art or misguided role play. They seem skeptical that people like me actually believe these things.

When I deign to mention my faith in mixed company, which I do with less and less frequency, I get statements like those above. I get furrowed brows, one sided grins and assertions that I'm just being contrary and will come to my senses eventually, that is if I'm not dismissed as a freak or foreigner too difficult to bother understanding. I'm told that it's natural to sample naturalistic, pantheistic, individualistic, tree-hugging bullshit when one is young and that my feelings on faith will eventually gravitate to something more reasonable and self-evident. I'm told that, barring anything else, I'll make a death bed conversion on the implicit knowledge that Jesus is the light and I've been knowingly fooling myself since I was fifteen.

These people must all have had a free spirited sibling that tried on a half dozen religions in their twenties only to come back to the church when they were told they'd be cut out of the will.

I have news for such people; I'm thirty years old. I'm not going to outgrow my religion. This is not a phase, not for me and not for the estimated three million other Pagans in North America. Faith is not a dalliance; it is a way of informing one's interaction with a vast and often hostile world. It is a method of understanding one's self, of building community and of framing the challenges of life, itself. I don't need scripture. I don't need teleological justification. I don't need salvation.

Do Jews experience this? Muslims? Who else's faith is dismissed as a temporary aberration of opinion that will one day correct itself, like we somehow feel that Pascal might go all in and force us to fold because the hand of our faith has been a bluff all along.

Enlightenment is at the end of many roads.

submit to reddit


The Gimick of Prosperity Gospel

For those uninitiated, Prosperity Gospel is the Biblically dubious concept taught at many evangelical churches that god bestows material wealth on those whom he favors. Generally, this is with the explicit instruction that one must tithe to the church in order to receive the lord's good will. Typically, church leaders who espouse this philosophy become very wealthy on the largesse of their congregation and then use this wealth as a validation of this same policy.

This teaching, that one's worldly life will be improved by devotion, strikes me a symptom of the weakening of faith on a mass scale. The congregants of such churches, whether they realize it or not, don't really believe in afterlife rewards anymore. Salvation isn't enough anymore. The promise of heaven seems empty so religious institutions need to make more immediate promises in order to recruit and retain followers. They must sell religion as an investment scheme rather than a path to enlightenment.

There was a time when Xians were supposed to be absolutely contemptuous of worldly things. God could shit on you your whole life just to see if you'd remain faithful as he did to Job and no reward could be expected while one was on Earth. Poverty brought one closer to grace. The meek shall inherit, camels through the eyes of needles and all that.

No one in Evangelical America believes this anymore, of course. They may say that they do and might even believe it but, like all the business of religion, simply believing it does not make it true. The poster children for todays Xianity are rockstars that make fantastic amounts of money. Mega-churches are palaces that rival sports stadiums in size and multiplexes in comfort. The pastors at these churches often make six figures or more and they promise likewise to the most devoted from their flock.

In today's America, faith has become a ponzi scheme because greed sells better than God, himself

submit to reddit


But, I Like Chai

Despite my last post, I've recently developed a taste for Chai. That's actually what started the train of thought that led me to write said post.

Some people have suggested to me that I can't be a tea purist and still drink chai. I argue that I can because Chai, when prepared properly is still 'tea' using my operational definition. In fact, "chai" or some variation is the word for tea a a number of Asian languages. What we call chai-tea is properly called "masala-chai," which means "spiced tea" in Hindi. Masala style is the traditional method of tea preparation in much of India and Pakistan.

The problem in the US is that most places don't prepare it properly. Rather than steeping the tea and spices in a blend of hot water and milk, they use a chai extract. It's a sort of tea/spice demiglas that they quirt into the hot water much like hazelnut syrup into a frilly coffee and then add foamed milk. This is where we get the "chai latte" popular at many chain coffee bars.

Personally I prefer it the original way. Try this recipie if you're interested.

Combine 1 flat teaspoon of loose-leaf darjeeling tea and a large pinch each of crushed cinnamon stick, crushed nutmeg, cardamom and two whole cloves in a large stainless steel tea ball or filter pouch.

Mix three parts water with one part whole milk and heat until just shy of boiling. Stir if need be to keep the milk from scalding.

With the water and milk still over heat, add the bag of tea and spices and let heat for 1-2 minutes.

Remove the mixture from heat and allow it to continue steeping for another 2-3 minutes.

Add sugar or gum syrup to taste.

There are hundreds of other styles so dig around on the internet to find the one that suits you.

submit to reddit