Monday, December 30, 2019

Happy New Year 2020!

Welcome to 2020! 

I'm mostly now adjusted to being out of the 1900s and now I have to acclimate to entering the third decade of the new Millennium....
Just please 2020... be better than 2019?!
But really, so glad you all could make it to here!

OK. To start off with I'd like to offer you a new book to start your year with. Written by the author/cartoonist of Dilbert, Scott Adams. His book is, Loserthink: How Untrained Minds Are Ruining America". It's funny, irreverent and America needs this bit of rational consideration. For both sides of the country and all sides of the political spectrum. Here is a segment of him on C-SPAN2's BookTV

2019 treated far too many of us with utter contempt and disrespect. I look forward to 2018 being much more congenial and powerfully friendly. And if it's not...then I look forward to wrestling it to the ground, crushing its face into the mud and beating the holy tar out of it because This year...I'm not putting up with that crap any longer.

As we enter this, the third decade of the new Millenium... so say us all!

Let's celebrate. Or would you rather skip all the trouble? I know, I know. Many of us have felt through this year that it would be better not to bridge that gap and just relax and fall to end it all. But a new year brings hope. And more strenuous efforts to deny the stupid, remove the ill-mannered, and better everyone's lives, not just the few.

I mean, what are holidays for anyway?

Who cares about them? Why should we care about them? Especially if we find in them, celebrating things we are not that partial to, or in support of, or see only the negative in them. Like an "Uncle Mike's" annoying habits, or a "grandpa's" drunken grouchiness. Aren't they just another waste of human resources? Emotional exhibitions with too frequently no need or basis in logic? Or reality.

Obviously, holidays are for the celebrations for which they were originally intended.

Though some do supersede those original reasons. Such as Christmas. A birthday. New Year's, Halloween, etc. They are a reason for celebrating their original intent, to be sure, but also for sharing communal experiences, renewing old alliances, expanding one's relationships.

They are for exceeding one's normal experience of any normal day. A reason to do the exceptional, a thing to plan for and enjoy the planning of, not to ruin it by stressing over that planning, not for exceeding oneself to the point of misery or destitution.

But to be the abnormal, in a positive sense. To pamper oneself, or others. To use that which we save up for over time (to use, not abuse), to remember our reasons for existing in the first place. Whatever that may be. To show others that you care when normally it isn't considered, executed, or appreciated.

We have to face the fact that holidays are not only for what they are claimed to be, or originally were all about.

They offer one an opportunity to shine, in various ways. To know one is appreciated, to show that the appreciation of others. To build memories that will last a lifetime. To, in even the smallest of ways, give others acknowledgment of your appreciation of their existence, of their help, or their care for you. And to assure that this relationship continues or even expands in ways that are a benefit to yourself, to themselves and to your associated communities, both local and extended.

They are there to enjoy ourselves in our own experience of them and through the experience of others sharing in those experiences with us. It can be a bonding experience far outweighing the effort of experiencing them, as well as in the shared memories of those events many years into the future.

Or even beyond life itself if recorded and later shared by friends, family or even unknown descendants or merely other citizens.

So don't blow off these holidays.

Do not fear them. Or the potential the future holds for the next one.

Embrace them. They will embrace you back.

In the end, we may all very well benefit from them.

All the best to you and yours in this new year of 2020!

Monday, December 23, 2019

What "Merry Christmas" Really Is To All Of America

Merry Christmas! It seems like a fairly innocuous greeting. Right? I'm sharing now last year's Christmas blog, for a reason, in these our such divisive times.

Do you find this offensive? Some do.
It has inherent goodwill intended. Which confuses some.

Because we live in a diverse world, a diverse multicultural, multitheistic country and environment, we merely need to be aware of that in our thoughts, speech, and actions.

No, it's not asking that much of us. For myself, I was raised Catholic, old Slovak Catholic. I went through stages of seeking God and found how humankind invented all this thousands upon thousands of years ago.

I have in my search for what is truth in religion, or "God" in a supreme intelligence, or whatever you wish to refer to it as been through many stages. I see using the gender of "Him" (or "Her") as questionable in ascribing a kind of anthropomorphism to an entity far beyond our understanding and why ethereal beings need gender is quite beyond us, though not really).

From my childhood and deep into my 20s, I have experienced being a "born again Christian" in my late teens. Then in my research and studies to "find God", an agnostic, an atheist, an agnostic again and finally a follower of reality as best it can be defined, through science, through the Buddha Dharma when lent itself to the Christian form of restructuring Judaism, and also Aikido, "the Art of Peace".

I was surprised to find how much "Buddhist" beliefs fit into Christianity and general psychology orientations during my university years of study toward my degree in psychology, and in Phenomenology, and physics.

That being said, I don't just have a problem with Christmas and below I'll explain why.

IF one cannot function appropriately and positively in that kind of life, one in America's "tossed salad" citizenry and community, one of diversity, of inclusion, of acceptance and fellowship, then one is of limited mental, emotional and cultural capacities.

Do you find this offensive? Some do.
So before you start ranting about the ludicrous immature belief in a "war on Christmas", of which there is none, but is rather an opening of awareness of others besides one's self or one's culture or religion, or in some cases, one's "bubble", do consider you are merely extending that well-intentioned greeting to other to whom it may have no meaning to them.
Not everything is as we believe. 
  • December 25th is understood to not be the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. 
  • The song Jingle Bells was originally intended for Thanksgiving, and was titled, "One Horse Open Sleigh" 
  • December 25th was originally a pagan festival day but the Catholic church absorbed it in order to compromise and assimilate pagan cultures when they were moving into.their region. 
  • Christmas now has transcended the Christian faith and spread out in a secular fashion to those of other cultures and religions. How is that a bad thing? The underlying principles are still there and if Jesus were alive to see this, he just might be okay with it. Because what he preached was the reality and not the dogma, not the diction, not the rules. But the people. And compassion for one another. 
  • The Golden Rule is based on the principle Jesus Christ taught in Matthew 7:12: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them,” adding, “for this is the Law and the Prophets.” The significance of Jesus "Christ’s" statement here is huge. What we call the Golden Rule is the summation of God’s entire view on the way of life.
So much of Christmas is about peace and love, make it so!

What we believe to be is different originally than we thought to begin with. So there is really no need to be zero tolerant, or uncompromising, or to believe in a war on something merely because of a call for greater awareness and understanding of other's different cultures or religions. Essentially...

It's Okay! We need either greater awareness and compassion for one another or have more wars and cultural friction and misunderstanding of one another. Especially during a season that calls out for greater compassion and caring, help and sacrifice for others, it truly is, okay.

So why would you offer it to them? It is obviously out of ignorance either in an understanding of our country or specifically in another person, you do not know very well and perhaps should take the time to consider and address them appropriately in a way they can understand what you mean and intend.

To wish them goodwill and happiness this season. Christians, many of them, like to point out the original intent and meaning of "Christmas" is all about Jesus. But as was pointed out above, that is at very least disingenuous and even, ignorant.

It really just means we have to give some thought to something we may never have given much thought TO. Which is actually the original intent of that greeting. to wit, if you are NOT giving it enough though, in the first place. You are actually, in the bigger picture of things, going counter to what you are trying to do and say. In trying to point out to others that there is or was a war on Christmas, you are the one missing the point in coming from Christians who cannot actually give the greeting enough thought and feeling, in order to share it in the most appropriate and productive ways.

Even if that means using another greeting.

This really isn't all about you after all.

What we all really need more than anything else in this world, is simply to all get along.

Because that is in the end, the Thought...that is in the end, what counts. Isn't it?

So with all that being said, I really have to end here with this...

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays, whatever you believe and practice!

Reality of America

I have been railing against "corporate thought", or "corporate thinking", for decades.

We are now at that crossraod. Corporating thought has invaded the US Government through Donald Trump.

So what IS "corporate thinking"? OK. Here we go...

Monday, December 16, 2019

Slash Night shorts, December 2019

As I write this on Sunday, December 15th, 2019, last night was our third ever, monthly Bremerton, Washington "Slash Night" shorts at the Historic Roxy Theater. With the exception of this month, it is being held on the first Saturday night of each month.

FYI, for January 2020 Slash Night it will be held on January 11th due to conflicting events at the theater.

We really have to thank the crew at the Roxy for being so supportive and awesome. This is an event for local indie filmmakers and fans of horror and well, local and indie filmmakers. We had some interesting attendees in the audience.

Kelly Hughes at the front door lobby and vendor table area.
Slash Nights is an inclusive and pleasantly positive arts event conceived of and executed monthly by local indie horror director and event imagineer, Kelly Hughes. This is in support of our annual Gorst Underground Film Festival coming up next year in September for our third annual festival. It is also very much in support of our local and indie filmmakers and all fans of indie horror.

Here are some video links from the LgN Production Youtube channel for the Q&A's Kelly did.

First up is the introduction and welcome Kelly gave at the beginning of the night's events. This was just after the Bobby4Bobby performance that opened the event. Then came the first block of three of the films we showed (see the list below).


Of the Q&As, first up was mine, JZ Murdock, regarding the five minute recut Kelly did of my film, "Gumdrop, a short horror", which is about fifty minutes at this point in post-production.

Next up after the second block was William Stancik and his Laslo Films crew.

Finally, it was Travis Darkow and his crew.

As usual, we have a vendor table in the lobby. The event begins at 9PM giving people time to mill about, meet one another and meet the filmmakers, and for them to network with other filmmakers.

Roxy screen, from filmmaker Travis Darkow
The MCs

Kelly has had an MC at each event. First up was drag MC Helen Bedd. Last month was drag MC Poppie (seeing a theme here?). This month he is taking over as host and allowing performers to focus on performing. We had the exquisitely entertaining, Bobby 4 Bobby, composed of Bobby Lee, and Bobby Rae, local Kitsap County drag performers. They pulled out all the stops last night with a Christmas werewolf themed performance that came off in a rather amazing fashion to the celebratory screams and applause of the audience.

Bobby Rae and Bobby Lee on left

Among filmmaker attendees and their films were long-time favorites of mine (well, three-month-long anyway... which is how long we've been doing this event), the Laslo Films crew (whom I've mentioned in a previous blog on this event). They are always a real crowd-pleaser with their quirky, bizarre films. More on them in a moment. 

Darkow crew on stage with Kelly Hughes
The Darkow crew with their film "Deadcember" was also a real crowd-pleaser. As was Jackson Cooperman's "Happy Birthday", a grindhouse kind of faux trailer that was pretty funny. But the Darkow film I was warned, that you'll never look at another Christmas elf the same again. That was so right. I won't go into detail as one really needs to see it, to understand.

The audience lost it laughing and at times a bit reticently out of anticipation and perhaps, a pleasant form of anxiety. This was a great way to end an evening of unusual and entertaining films.

Travis Darkow with..."The Elf"! You'll never see the Elf the same again.
The Laslo Films crew with filmmaker William Stancik with their surreal and hilarious film, "Dead Hooker Hotel". Both films brought waves of joy and laughter (and at times, appropriate groans) from our audience in the same vein as their last two submissions. Like last month's, "Snow and Oranges" and our first month's event with their "Amphetamine Trucker's Lament 2". I do love their films!

The MC for the show was Kelly Hughes, but the live entertainment and raffle callers (yes, with your $9 ticket you get a free raffle ticket for our several raffles over the evening, with extra raffle tickets a buck)... was Bobby4Bobby's, Bobby Lee and Bobby Rae. Full disclosure, I'm "Bobby Lee's" dad. I may, therefore, be a bit compromised in my judgment, but on the other hand, I'm a pretty critical judge and I wouldn't lie. 

Fab.Dragestry "Ray Gun" on their vendor table
Bobby4Bobby also had available some very interesting sellables.

Bobby4Bobby's FabDragestry theater lobby vendor table
Bobby4Bobby rehearsal while crew (friends Andy and Z) work on stage
Anyway, it wasn't just me, but the entire audience loved their performance. Especially when it kicked out of the cute segment and into the dark in an extremely tasteful and rather beautiful exhibition of the horror genre and the wolf-in-the-woods story.

The Films

We had three blocks of short films and between each block was a Q&A with one of the filmmakers in that previous block. I was up for the first block. Then the Lazlo Films guys and finally the Darkows.

Happy Birthday - Jackson Cooperman
Perturbado - Fernando A. Fisher
Gumdrop (plus Q&A w/director JZ Murdock)

Good/Evil - Kelly Hughes
The Springs County Psycho - Christopher Stem
Dead Hooker Hotel (plus Q&A w/director William Stancik)

That Very Special Night - Mark Pollock
Green State - Kelly Hughes
Pencil Me In - Scott Ennis
Deadcember (plus Q&A w/director Travis Darkow)

If you noticed Kelly had a couple of films in this, no, he's not abusing his power. There were some technical issues including one of the films dropping out last minute so he simply made up for it with some pretty entertaining replacements.

My film as I said, was "Gumdrop". I'm currently in post-production on "Gumdrop, a short horror". A fifty-minute short horror film based on a true truly horrible serial murderer. Last month the trailer for my film was shown. What happened was, and in the consideration of filmmaker collaboration, Kelly offered and I jumped at the chance, for him to recut my film into a very short film. He got it down to five minutes with music by Postvorta, an Italian band. 

Part of the reason for this event is to lend a place for local filmmakers a place to network and meet and share and view on another's works. And for fans to also have access to this as some very interesting things tend to happen at these events. 

In that vein I allowed and Kelly took on the task of cutting my film through his experience and sensibilities. And it was interesting to see on the big screen. For any filmmaker to allow that can be terrifying. But if one takes the risk you get a chance pre-release to see a different version of your film. Considering I'm still in post-production, I still have the opportunity to tweak my film and hopefully add something to it I may have missed. Or to utilize a form I hadn't considered, known about, or realized I could do. 

Filmmaking, is collaboration. It benefits us as filmmakers to utilize that in every way possible, whenever the opportunity arises. In that same vein, Kelly has taken the chance and opportunity for a filmmaker in South Carolina to show a screenplay of his, which was to wrap this past weekend. 

Slash Night 1, was admittedly a kind of disaster. But we pulled it off and everyone had a great time. Slash Night 2 was last month and was also fun, and everyone enjoyed themselves and was much better. Slash Night 3 this past weekend was bordering on amazing and people are definitely looking forward with great interest to next month's event.

IF you have a local event like this and are into film...go. Support your local filmmakers, and yourself. 

We don't know where this is going. But we do know, we can all now see...this is definitely going SOMEWHERE!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Abusive Thinking Be It Conservatism or Vaping

This isn't just about conservatism but also "corporate thinking", ignorance, discare.

Conservatism has lost its way. Little doubt about that. And for those misogynists who are homomisanthropes who question my orientation as not separate from my art, political, and psychosocial leanings... I am a white male getting on in my years, heterosexual which I know because homosexuals do not concern or disturb me as I am secure in my orientation and happy for diversities, while other's concerns of purity is a rather childish view of existence in their confused eschatological sense of reality.

Diversity has proven itself time and time again to be a stronger and best effort example in evolution.

"Purity" is a short term paradigm for the most part, especially in social concerns. Hitler rose to power and was brought down as a prime and perfect example of the pollution and dysfunction of, for instance, the white supremacist's functionality, and self-inflicted inferiority. And, proof positive of the ignorance, immaturity, and self-destruction through the ridicule and destruction of others that has affected America, especially since the infection and abuse of Donald Trump as POTUS.

Abuse of women's rights merely as self-deficient bullying behaviors of one human being over another is the same as with those who choose to abuse one religion over another. When, in reality, it is the theists in general who are lacking. Certainly, too many times as regards humanity at large, as well as too often, reality, and even history.

It really takes standing apart from one's environment, one's tribe, one's xenophobia through one's ignorant geo-ethnocentricism.

To wit, it is self-abasement by one who is lacking self-esteem, who has not yet enough proven themselves to themselves, as well as to others.

And in the end, it's anti-American, in a country based on freedom, education, and self-actualization.

Open up. Brave up. Face reality. Deal with what is here and not just in your own back yard of how you understand reality and your country. There are others here, than merely you.

And they do count, too.

What is conservatism? It's a governor on reality. It's what you use when you need to but not as a life orientation, which is ridiculous.

An example. Climbing a mountain. You go at a pace and maintain it. You want to go as fast as you can as you have a vast distance to cover, as we do in life. But you slow down, become conservative when you hit a rough patch, a dangerous patch. And then when you get to the main patch you pick up speed to what is nominal and gets you the furthest the fastest and the most economical, speaking of energy and overall expenditures of resources.

But you do not go forward as fast as the slowest point, you progress, are as progressive as you can be. And if you've ever traveled with someone vastly slower than you? You choose a partner more compatible with you, who moves more surely and more quickly.

Otherwise, you are forever slow. Restrained. Retarded from your potential. Held back from a more progressive reality, a more reasonable reality.

One might argue that some systems simply work better at a certain speed. That is true. But one should also be working, striving, progressing to find better systems, to find a way for that current system to function better, faster or more efficiently. And that is simply not the orientation of America's defective form of conservatism today.

Life, is a lot to deal with. Restraining oneself is to cripple oneself. To conserve one's abilities is to never see the mountaintops you can achieve, either in sports or in life. In personal issues or in cultural issues. In spiritual issues or in religious issues. The latter of which by its nature is designed to constrain, restrain, conserve human potential out of fear.

And fear is the real issue in conservatism. Fear leads to abuse. Retarding human potential.

We need to think, to consider our path forward, but we also need to move, to achieve, to see what we can do unrestrained.

Otherwise, what's the point?

In another vein along similar disingenuous lines...

There's a lot of unanswered questions in an article on vaping ("Marijuana vape users are getting incurable "cobalt lung").. I wondered if it wasn't about the more powerful vapes, unlike the one I use. This one from Forbes makes more sense and answers some of my questions.

As always, one needs to eat, drink, smoke, vape or heat as little as possible for the desired effect.
Abuse, is abuse. Live smart. As Buddha wisely taught, "Moderation in all things". 

Use, isn't abuse, as many like to claim.

Life, is not just about fear. It's about being intelligent and always moving forward when possible. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Beware, Be Aware of Perception, or Lack Thereof

I was just trying to explain something to a professional associate regarding who I am, how I am, and how I think. As an individual, I am really very easy going. That's a story unto itself. But I love humor, and I can come off as a bit goofy, or a screw up even. But I am not.

That demeanor of mine has confused people... all throughout my life. I've been taken as a fool, or ignorant, or a slacker even, until one starts talking to me in detail and finds I shoot past them into issues unseen, unknown, or unacknowledged by my interrogator, or at times, my tormentor. It is interesting that when I used to fight in martial arts tournaments, I won fights with that same..."talent"? Don't judge the book by its cover? After years in IT work, at some fairly high levels, some of that has been sloughed off.

I spent the first part of my life, fully intending to go into espionage. I heard early on that those who stand out, tall, big, loud, do not make for good spies. They stand out. And a spy doesn't want, especially literally, to stand above a crowd. It's too easy to get shot that way. Or uncovered when... undercover. I learned to blend in, I could disappear into a crowd. And I was 6'2". I learned how to be seen as someone not to be concerned about.

But that began in grade school to avoid bullies, and groups of guys wanted to pound me into the ground. Because I was loud. Because I did stand up for myself. And because I was a big toddler, who got used to terrorizing bigger, older kids. Until one day I was smaller than the other kids and they realized they could fight back en masse. I didn't get bigger again until 10th grade when I lost a few pounds, shot up a few inches and then had to regain my footing.

It didn't help that in grade school I had been in five different schools, in two different states before sixth grade.

I started learning about killing people in fifth grade. I spent junior high school years learning military thinking and skills. I learned weapons, firearms. Hand to hand combat. I practiced sharpening my mind (for what it's worth). Sadly, I also found emotional issues difficult in my life and sought out because of my family life, my personal self, and the counter culture (which wasn't counter to me, it was my culture) in the 60s and 70s and even 80s. 

I entered the Air Force and worked around very serious equipment and people. The most serious in the world in working around nuclear weapons. Though we also had a good time. Work hard, play hard. 

After I got out of the service I went through various life events, got a couple of college degrees, one a university degree in psychology majoring in perception and phenomenology in the Awareness and Reasoning division from Western Washington University. I worked over seven years at the University of Washington, and at two major Medical Centers associated with the UW, one the regional trauma center 

My point being, I've had a serious high-level attention to detail lifestyle for much of the first part of my life. I've built a mindset that is based on life or death, unlike (and thank "God" for that) most Americans. I don't view things as armchair quarterbacking, but will if I will die if I get it wrong. That being said, sure, everyone is wrong sooner or later. But not usually on major issues. 

That is my basis for how I think today.

Yes, I've gotten lazier, older, somewhat sloppy in my old age. But that level of accuracy is still, as I've discovered repeatedly of late, above and beyond that of most Americans... on their best days. Yes, that is sad. No, that is not bragging. That is stating something I originally found surprising, and find on an ongoing basis, very sad, and at times, pathetic.

We don't take the time today, we don't delve deep enough into things today. We don't have the time, the attention span, the desire, the dedication, the awareness even. We are seriously lacking in many important considerations and our decisions are suffering for it. Our country is suffering for it. Humanity is suffering for it.

We need to seek the facts, not our desires. We need to seek reality, not our personal or tribal fantasies. We have to see into and beyond the issues into the bigger, and sometimes, the smaller picture. We need to see the forest for the tress and the trees for the forest.

We in a word, need to be, or become, "Enlightened" in the Buddha Dharma sense. In the Buddhist sense of reality.

When you bite into an apple, you need to feel, to "see" where it came from, who picked it, what their life is about, how they suffer in seeing that deliciousness into your mouth. How those trees exist. How they thrive or do not. How these trees support our air, our world, our physical and our aesthetic.

How those apples are picked, cleaned or not, sorted, bought, sold, transported and sold to us.

How we metabolize those apples and secrete them back into the world.

Doing that with all things, whenever and wherever possible, will bring us, some of us kicking and screaming, back into reality.

If ever we were there in the first place.

And the world and all of us, will suffer far less for it. 

Just, don't be this guy: