This is what I learned today. The sound of a bullet sliding into the chamber of an automatic pistol sounds exactly the same in the movies and real life. This truth came to me one block from my apartment with the assistance of two Latino thugs, one big, one small, and both straight out of central casting.
Before the gun it was just a demand for my money and I made a manly stand, tossing the small one into a car. The fat one said he had a gun while backing up, his hands remain in the pockets of his hooded nylon coat. I hesitated. Then came that sound.
It's such a pathetically small machine to hold such power, the gun. Really. I hope few of you have to experience that realization while one points your way. It just felt baffling that our bodies can't withstand anything it could propel. The Moore's Law of death would apply it seems, things getting smaller and more potent.
They took $32. That's it. No credit cards or cell phone. Just the cash.
I don't know how to end this. I want to give it a snarky little bow and reveal some depth of my consciousness, but who gives a shit.
Of all the dark, dangerous places I've wandered I get mugged at gunpoint a block from my apartment at 7:30 at night. I just don't know much longer I want to live here.
And I can't help wishing that those cunts didn't have a gun.
The only food we had packed was a small bag of egg-salad sandwiches. My companion ate all of them in a fit of hunger and frustration at being on an unknown island a thousand miles from home on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately these sandwiches were made the day before, and poorly refrigerated. She was incapacitated within hours.
This left me with an opportunity to wander around the deserted town we were now residing in. There were lots of houses that looked like contestants for an urban decay prize, but they all had people inside. Most of them were watching tv, or me. The forest was stunning, I've always loved the way bonsai trees grow, and apparently everything grows like that there.
Christmas day was spent climbing the nearest mountain just because it was there. Also, we thought we saw something on top. After a few hours of climbing and getting lost we found a shrine. Fucking amazing view from the point that didn't come out on film at all. Oh well, it's inside my head and I remember. I also remember our hike was made interesting by our new benefactor's small dog following us all the way to the top of the mountain. It was cute in an OHSHITDON'TFALLOFFOFTHAT kind of way.
Later that day we were invited into the home den of our benefactors. They served us the best Kimchi Jigae I've ever had, as well as a pot of soaked sweet rice drink. We spent the evening basking in their openness, generosity and television. I've never seen so many creepy Christmas shows in my life. One special was nothing but elementary aged girls dancing to some strange choreography. I've never wished for the simple puppet Christmas story so much in my life.
The trip ended well, with us learning that making a noise like a broken radio is a sort of a country dialect and an uneventful ferry ride. A good time to look back on and remember. I will cherish it.
Edit: Just heard from the TV in the other room some guy say "I take aspirin because I enjoy living." You know what aspirin guy? Fuck you. Die in a fucking electrical storm. You're putting off your time because you want to suck up more resources better used by the young and productive, you golfing geriatric piece of wallaby mucus. Hell, I'm young and productive and I don't think I even deserve those resources. I don't care if you're old, I have no respect for you. If I ever see you in person, I'm going to take the bat in the trunk of my car, and I'm going to break your knees. Both of them.
You think you're better than me? You do. You know you do. Well one way or another, no matter how successful you are in your two minute fictional world, everyone you've ever known and loved will die. Many by my hand. Others from emotional trauma inflicted from aforementioned slaughter. I will beat you, and I will break you, and I will bury you underground. There is nothing that can stop me. I am become death, destroyer of you.
And you will be the start. Next I will turn my malevolent forces against those that have wronged me before. After finishing with them, I will turn the Earth into a hell of pain and suffering that which has never been perceived by Gods or Men. From my tower of bone, atop my throne of skulls, I shall decree only sorrow and dismemberment. The worlds forces will have nothing to stop me from achieving my goal of global dominance, for the dark things I bring to me shall easily dissuade the use of the gun and the bomb to be replaced with swift and unending disemboweling evil.
From my place of power, I shall sing the song the ends Man and devour all that has ever been.
LO, I AM THE CONQUEROR WORM, AND I SEEK SATIATION.
I'm setting my watch I'm watching the time And in twenty minutes- -no, thirty minutes- -no, two minutes- -something... - ..er.. nothing? Something something will happen. Riiiiiiiight.... ...now. Er.... ..maybe now. How about- -now? Huh. Hasn't happened. Something must be wrong with my watch. I'll set it again. If I stand here long enough and stare at it long enough something will happen. Right about- now. Ten minutes- -thirty minutes at the outset. Yep. Just have to wait. Almost time.
I suppose most Western nations have experienced some type of anti-Islamic/xenophobic/right-wing epidemic post-9/11. Sweden, my home, is no different. The largest Nationalist party, Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats, or SD), has led a fairly marginal existance for years, ignored by media and most voters. The 2006 election, however, changed all that. Although they did not attain the necessary 4% of national votes to enter parliament, they were locally very successful; in some areas in the south (which is where I live), they were the third largest party, behind the Conservatives and the Social Democrats. (There are currently seven parties in the Swedish parliament) SD's roots are deep in the White Power-movement of the 80's. In recent years, they've tried to disguise themselves as mere patriots, guardians of Swedish culture and welfare against outside enemies, and all the usual nonsense. The truth is, they have a violent history, and to this very day, links to Nazi groups in other nations. And here's what keeps me up at night: Recent polls among voters have given SD as much as 3,7% of national votes, a mere inch from parliament. Now, the next election is still two years away and many things can change, for better or worse. A part of me says it's a case of temporary insanity on a mass scale; that most SD-voters in fact vote AGAINST the political establishment rather than FOR SD. On the other hand, a vote is still a vote, no matter what your motivations may be. I just hope I'll never have to see the day when Fascists are allowed to influence the direction of national politics.
Life is weird. Anything can happen. So one day due to an incredible set of coincidences and events you might find yourself inside your TV in a generic serial killer horror Jason-esque movie. Here's a little guide of how to survive there:
1 - Don't have sex with anyone
In serial killer movies, whoever has sex gets killed first. That's a rule of thumb, probably created by Jason. Horror movies always have handsome actors and beautiful actresses playing complete nymphomaniacs, but you have to resist. Even if it's Jessica Alba. But if you think in that case it's worth dying for, well, I can't blame you.
2 - Don't do drugs
Junkies get killed right after nymphomaniacs. Rule of thumb number two.
3 - Kill whoever has better character development than you
Someone has to survive in the end of the movie. That person is usually the man or woman with the best lines and best character development. Kill her. Work your way up the ranking.
4 - Don't bother trying to find out who's the killer
Serial killer horror movies don't make any fucking sense nowadays. I mean, did you see the villain of "White Noise"? Yeah. Therefore, trying to find out who's the killer and slotting him before he slots you is useless. Try staying alive instead.
5 - If you hear a noise, STAY RIGHT THE FUCK WHERE YOU ARE
Don't do what most brain-dead characters do. "Mike? Was that you? Mike? C'mon, Mike, stop trying to scare me. Mike, it's not funny. M...AAAAAAAAAAAH!!". If you're lucky, the noise will be just a cute little animal. If you're unlucky, it'll still be a cute little animal. And two seconds after you breathe in relief, your throat will be slit by the actual killer sneaking up behind you.
6 - Don't be alone
Sitting alone in a living room with a killer on the loose is quite stunningly stupid. Find company. Preferably, a junkie or a nymphomaniac, to give you a head start when the killer shows up.
7 - Be nice
Audiences like watching a bastard being slaughtered, and most directors do too. So be nice to the characters, even to that typical muscle factory frat boy who acts obnoxiously and insults you every chance he gets. He'll be killed soon. Horribly. Unless, of course, he happens to be the hero of the movie and he goes through a five-minute-character-development from obnoxious frat boy to upstanding human being. In that case, follow rule number three.
Its no secret that I used to work in Biology, and took several courses on the subject. It has made me laugh, giddy and euphoric, and made me sob like the world was going to end.
Today I share with you the tale of the Frog that Would Not Die; inspired by Templesmith's twitter post linking to The Brain that Would Not Die.
I do not know where our frogs came from. They were leopard frogs, apparently wild-type, standard prey of biologists across the generations. We were to dissect them, monitor with fancy computers, electrodes and techno-gadgets, muscle responses, and Learn Things.
Durring the lab, several frogs kicked the bucket, as is expected when you have had your brain scrambled, and vital organs removed. By the end of the lab, everyone's frog was dead, but ours.
A skin, a head, heart and lungs was pretty much all that remained of this poor creature. Distressed that our animal continued to breathe and its heart beat, my lab partners and I beseeched our teacher to do something. We were told to wait a bit. A half hour passed, than an hour...
It continued to breathe, it's little heart continued to beat. We became increasingly upset. We demand the teacher do something. We asked about cruelty, and pain, and were informed that the animal could not feel pain, it's brain was scrambled, it was not suffering.
We poked the frog. We prodded it. We zapped it. Its heart continued to beat.
For a moment its heart stopped, and we held our breath, thinking: Now, now this poor animal has gone on to a better life... and as we exhaled in relief, the animal's heart began to beat again.
Finally our teacher sighed, told us to give him the frog. We expect him to kill it somehow, but instead, he just put the frog in a plastic bag, inside a garbage bag with the other dead frogs.
Its heart was still beating. It was still breathing; and while logic says the animal must be dead by now, several years later, some part of me thinks: Somewhere, in a plastic bio bag, is a frog. A frog that will not die.
I have a fear. We've seen a movie about Ray Charles, and it was quite flawed despite Jamie Foxx's amazing work. We've seen a movie about Johnny Cash, and that one was good, with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Whiterspoon on their best (I don't know how innacurate it is historically, though). We've seen a movie about Diana Ross and The Supremes, although the movie, Dreamgirls, claimed to be fictional (yeah, right). Oh, and it sucked. Terribly. We've seen a movie about Andy Kaufman, and it was good due to Jim Carrey and director Milos Forman (the same from the magnificent Amadeus).
My fear: that they'll make a movie about Bill Hicks and fuck it up.
Bill was, quite simply, the best human being I've ever seen. He meant what he said and he wasn't afraid of saying it. He broke taboos and opened people's eyes, including mine, and he would have done that so much more if cancer hadn't gotten on his way. So there's someone who deserves his life story on Cinema.
The problem is, Hollywood has an habit of fucking biographies. They change stuff for "dramatic purposes", which means "so the audience will feel more comfortable". A good example? Max Baer turned into a prick in "Cinderella Man", so James Braddock would look more heroic. Note: the script was co-written by Akiva Goldsman. Surprise, surprise.
I'm afraid of this. Hollywood, most of the time, can't take the truth, and they change it so it will be easier to digest. I hate that. Even when the result is beautiful, I hate that. Like in Donnie Brasco. When a character, knowing he'll die, says goodbye to his none-the-wiser wife, saying he'll go out, and when she turns her back he puts his things in a drawer for her to find later and goes out the door. In reality, the real life person represented by this character didn't die. It was someone related to him who did this. But that way it's more dramatic. And it is a beautiful scene. But I still don't like the alteration. And I fucking love Donnie Brasco.
I don't want to see that kind of thing in a movie about Bill Hicks. If there HAD to be a movie about Bill, then Peter Morgan (The Queen and The Last King of Scotland) should write it with John Cusack as Bill Hicks. Possible directors could be Ang Lee or Martin Scorsese. With that I believe there might be a chance of it doing justice to Bill.
But there's such a huge chance of Hollywood fucking it up, that I wish this will never happen.
So, Amsterdam is an amazing city where you can't take pictures of anything.
Thats is too say I have no shots from inside any of the Museums, no shots from inside the Anne Frank House, and I was not about to risk life and limb (or at least risk camera) using it in the Red Light District.