237

237

JackntwinsI kinda like the books of Stephen King.  I wouldn’t say that I am a huge fan.  But I like what I have read (or at least the first ¾ of the books…  Some of them, I feel that he didn’t know how to finish…  The clown was great and hugely scarey…  But [SPOILER] alien spider?[/SPOILER]…  Meh!

The Shining is one of his best books (IMHO).  And the film is great.  I’ve seen it a couple of times, and it has not failed to creep me out.

Then I saw ‘Room 237’.  Not seen it?  It is a documentary about the film.  And it is not only a great piece of work in its own right.  It is also, almost, as disturbing as the film.  But for OH SO MANY other reasons.

I feel that I should first laud it’s greatness.  So many documentaries that you see these days are vehicles of the documentary maker.  Promoting their greatness at asking insightful questions and catching people off guard.

237 is not like that.  There is no interviewer.  All you hear is the words of those that the program is about.  They are not being led by questions.  They are simply expressing their opinions.  And as such, I love it all the more.

Many documentaries that you see today are guided by the interviewer to produce the conclusion that they seem to want to achieve.  I did not get the feel of this from 237.

Of course, editing can achieve the same result.  But watching it, you can only believe that the producers wanted to allow the interviewees to make their points.  For that to be goal.

Admittedly, my personal opinion is that nearly all of their points were so far up their own arses as to be farcical.  But then I am not a Kubrick officianardo.    I know he was a clever feller, and wacked loads of references into his films…  But the plight of the Native Americans, the holocaust and the moon landing expose…  All in one film?  (Yes, I am glossing over the carpets and the physical layout things here…  Seriously.  Watch the film, then watch 237.  It will make more sense then).

This documentary did not enlighten me to the hidden meanings of the film.  It did point out that Kubrick put more thought into his films than I originally imagined (and WAY more than Uwe Boll.  WAY, WAY more).  But the one thing it really did highlight for me…  If you are talented, and try to be clever with your works, arsehats will try to second guess your intention at every turn.  And they will try to sound as intellectual as you.  But they really are arsehats.  And they will spend far too much time seeking out and seeing what they  want to see.

If you look for subliminal images and ‘shot line ups’, you will see them.  But then, if you walk down a high street thinking about cupcakes, you will see the references at every other step.  You want to see it, you will see it.

People are carrying carpets in meaningful way, carefully timing a shaking of hands so an in tray becomes phallic, fading into suitcases as a metaphor for genocide, the moving furniture, the typewriter that changes colour, the Minotaur…   And the impossible office window!!!

But my favourite…

‘ROOM No. 237’ does make up the words ‘Room’ and ‘Moon’.  But he missed the third word…  ‘moron’.

And yet, once again, I seem to be straying away from my point.  Or trying to make it through disparate comments.  It is widely recognised as Kubrick being a pretty bright  bloke that made good films.  But in the case of this one, was he trying to tell us more?  When he made The Shining was he simply trying to make a good film, or was it just a vehicle for purveying hidden meaning (or was it both?)

Is this an expose on the footage of the moon landings?  Or a commentary on the holocaust? Or highlighting the plight and injustice thrust upon the Native Americans?  Or a conspiracy theorists analogy of the world?

Or is 237 just a bunch of people with too much time on their hands seeing what they want to see?

I can’t say.  When it comes to Kubrick, I just see his films.  And I kinda like them.  But I don’t feel the need to analyse them, or him.  Jack chopping though the door scared me nicely.  Private Pyle freaked me out just enough.

If people want to scrutinise and theorise the films…  I say, fill yer nutty shaped boots.  But if you take part in a documentary and sound like a fixated nutter, please forgive me if I think of you as a fixated nutter.  Even if the occasional point you make may sound mildly plausible.

Ultimately, if you wanna intrinsically analyse a film…  If that makes you happy…  Fuckin’ go for it.  Personally, I’ll just go for the pretty and leave it there.

But 'Room 237'?  If nothing else it made me think.  What more can you ask from a documentary?

Happy (slightly belated) halloween.

 

Everything is awry as usual – Leisure Sickness

Everything is awry as usual – Leisure Sickness

Everything is normal as always in the good ol' USIA (United Society of Internet Assholes) or Denmark if you ask Shakespeare. I never completely understood why this place was mentioned in Hamlet, but it put us on the world map… for people who wanted to read Willy's work. Not that i am complaining or tangential. He made a long and violent story where people could die and love and die for love… I think I just found the reason for all our extremely crummy series. There has been two good series 'made in Denmark' in the last 50 years and they both suck!

Willy, why you no talk about Germans instead, they can't be bad people. Look at all the money they are pouring into the European Union. But I digress, digest and di-… I want to use the word Boon more often, I like that word.

Before the white flag of target practice is raised I just want to make clear that I don't care much for anything these days. I am tired, I am stressed out of my skull and I am sick as flipping usual!

The point of this little adorable mutant baby of a post, with all it's Halloween like spirit, displaying verbal vomit, skeletons on the closets and ghosts in the very empty attic, is that I want to talk about something I hold very close to my Lungs. Sickness.

Being asthmatic, problematic, chromatic, melodramatic, phlegmatic, EMPHATIC and a boon to the promotion of prolonged verbal bullhonkey; I have found myself downed by stress or pneumonia and all its cousins. For some illogical and annoying reason I am having problems with my lungs and throat in weekends or when I have any kind of vacation and or break for work. Why is that, if I may ask the question for you to speed this excruciatingly slow train of thoughts along a railroad made of pudding and beer coupons?

Leisure Sickness is not an actual sickness in class with my so-called pneumonia or hilarious forms of cancer, like the man from Australia who had cancer in his left leg which got amputated after a crocodile attack. Leisure Sickness is more in the category of the stress and homespun mental illnesses we think to develop ourselves to get by in this world of uncaring businesses. On that note I feel that people are forgetting what a clinical psychosis really is! There are too many fearing being nuts because they have nothing else to occupy their time… am I such a nut… does it take one to know one? Can I say yes or no if I don't know?

To make it clear for us all and bring this strange thought back on track for the two seconds I am able to keep it there I will try to explain what Leisure Sickness actually is in the eyes of the "professionals."

[Here is a link if you want their long explanations: http://articles.latimes.com/2007/dec/31/health/he-leisure31]

For one; it is workaholics having trouble adapting to the non-demanding lifestyle, having free time on their hands. Their head and body can't cope with the issue of having nothing to do in contrast to their highly demanding life. This theory leans against the Paradise Syndrome (look it up)

Secondly there is the theory on the body being able to suppress biological warnings and signs of illnesses.The brain does not allow your body to have those kind of interruptions. When the body and mind finally have time to relax, the symptoms will break through and "crash" the host. (It's getting nerdy i know.)

To put it in plain English: You will feel sick because you have time to be sick. You were sick before, but your determination was powerful enough to trick your mind. Now that is scary if true! So we can be sick and not know it. We can ignore or diminish our own sense of un-wellbeing? I am surprised and disappointed over my body, but for different reasons… still I find this mind blowing that we are our own worst enemy.

We are so close to ourselves and still able to lie? I know so much crap about me, if I would lie to myself about something as important as sickness, what else would I hide from me? I could live a second life I never know about… could this be the reason I am always tired, I never get the chance to sleep!

If I would lie to myself about my health, why not lie about my age? I feel like an old man, my bones rattle and my knees hurt? Am I 31 or 81?

What if I lie about my personality? I find sarcastic and subtle humor ferociously funny and I glorify anyone who can talk about the hate towards others being nearly as bad as towards themselves. What if that is a lie? Maybe I don't like sarcastic humor! Maybe I never knew what sarcasm is, like the rest of USIA and their dog?

Leisure… to sick to enjoy leisure time? I know that I always have projects to do and tend to start two before I finish one, but still… The way I see it I'm a sloppy emetophobe, I hate being sick and don't care enough to throw up about it. I fail to see the relevance in fearing sickness, as it would make you sick being sick… a meta pun in the making. I tend to get sick around fall and winter, but isn't that because of the unstable, cold and awful weather? Haven't they placed all the fucking holidays in the cold months? Yes they have! September to May…

I will not ignore the trend of Neo-Illnesses and strange psychological development catered to a lazy bastard who hate's everyone nearly as much as I hate them. To make up a series of mental diseases to compensate for a lack of feeling "normal" due to overexposure of soaps and sitcoms with "normal" families, are as pitiful as the denial of your children strugling from obesity being a problem because you are fat yourself!

If I am able to lie to myself, then I might lie about other things too! The only thing I know for sure is that I lied about the Australian man… How do you lie to yourself?

Does the mask of sarcasm or the chuckle of irony desensitize you? Can we become better people by looking inward or are we just making excuses? Are we laughing at others because it is not us getting hurt and deep down enjoy being better than everyone else?

It is said that you only truly know yourself in a crisis or watching Dr. Phil. Are we ready to seek a crisis to find ourselves or are we scared of the person we might find at the end of that bloody rope? I have never been in a life threatening crisis so I can only imagine myself handle a fictitious emergency, but on the other hand… I have stared so long into the mirror before; that my reflection left before I did.

Happy Halloween

I adore Lady Plum.

I adore Lady Plum.

plum

I do. I love her. She is the most amazing redhead and my life would be so incomplete without her. She brightens my days (when she’s not getting on my very last nerve) and lights up my nights. I’ve loved her from the very first time I set eyes on her, I think, and I my mind was made up even before I felt the strength of her horses.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve loved all my cars (maybe apart from the Ford Sierra – sorry, no personality at all). I started off with an ’83 Nissan Micra – bought from my mum in 1991. The Micra was the little red wasp, and as such, no gender assigned. I wouldn’t call the wasp an ‘it’ either – when a wasp buzzes around you, gender is not of importance. The wasp was so much fun. The engine was tiny, smaller than a light motorcycle, but had such heart and soul. We’d race through the night, going all over the world – agile and swift, could turn on a penny and used so little petrol I actually drove the tank empty. Saved my life a couple of times, too. Until it all ended on a bleak February night…

The next car was an ’86 Toyota Hilux that I purchased in 2001. Having been carless (and licenceless, or so I thought) since 1993, it was *huge*. But so much fun! 4WD and was a work horse through and through. Could drive into the forest and pull out huge logs, never mind ditches and creeks and slippery slopes. Lux-one was quickly joined by Lux-two, an ’83 model that had been used for forest rallying. Nice, wide tyres, the exhaust had been transferred onto the plane so it sounded like a boat – and not meant for road driving at all! There’s a long tractor road in the forest, full of mud and a great test of driving skills. No matter how good a driver, no matter how many times they were told to never *ever* let go of the accelerator, they did – and we got stuck – and they’d be wading in mud, trying to find a tree big enough to fasten the winch to.

The Toyota Tercel (being two people, we needed two road cars) was a great addition. A station wagon that was as safe on the iciest winter roads as on dry summer roads, and nicknamed the snowplough. Unfortunately, the rust killed it, so it was replaced by a Ford Sierra, and then we found a Togliatti Niva! The owner was selling it because “he was so alcoholic that he would never be sober enough to drive again, and wanted it to go to a loving home”. And that it did! Originally produced by Lada, the Niva is the most perfect car for fun and games in the forest. Stuck to the road like a magnet, it was all fun. My most memorable moment was when I encountered a huge, American SUV that was stuck in some mud – I stopped and offered my assistance, and the owner of the SUV gave me a disdainful look as if he thought I was joking. Seeing as the tow truck was four hours away, he nevertheless gave me a shot. The look on his face when I pulled them right out, with no hesitation or problems whatsoever! Priceless!

Rust killed Ivan too. Rats eating Lux-one’s wiring caused a fire in the engine and he was sold to a crazy kid who fixed him up again. This time I got a ‘proper’ car – an Audi 100 station wagon. The luxury! The comfort! And the speed! Wow! Alas, he was old, and in constant need of repair, and was kept on life support for the last few months. I couldn’t lock any doors, the driver’s door couldn’t be opened at all, there was a fuel leakage (somewhere) and several water leakages. One mirror was broken and replacing it would cost a small fortune, and one day he just died.

I’d already started looking for a replacement, but nothing fit my criteria. I had the full backing of my garage – without them I’d be lost! – but nothing. All of a sudden a pitch black, menacing, 7-seat Mercedes turned up – and looked absolutely perfect for me – so I sent it to my garage owner whereby he sent me another ad – for a similar car, only $1000 cheaper, 100,000 fewer km and a mere year older. She was purple and I loved her from the moment I laid eyes on that ad.

That afternoon I took the train to Oslo, met the guy who was selling her, we drove to his house and exchanged keys for money. Then she was all mine! Didn’t need a test drive, didn’t get her vetted at the garage first, just bought her and drove off. The first thing I noticed that her brakes were in excellent condition – she was an automatic, and the last time I drove one was in England some 20 years earlier.

She was patient and ran like a dream. I took her to the garage the next day and she was admired by all – she is so beautiful! They checked her out and apart from needing an oil change and such, she was good to go. And fast! And soooooo comfortable.

She sounds pretty awesome, huh? And expensive. And high maintenance. And I sound like some kind of car freak who goes to all the shows and polishes her every time she’s been out. She’s nothing special – not really – she’s a ’91 200 TE S124 who hasn’t seen much of the world (currently at 190K).

What makes her so special, is what she symbolizes for me. She’s my freedom. Sometimes one of my legs is really wonky, but I don’t need two working legs to drive an automatic. She’s a Mercedes-Benz (Janis was right about that one!) so all hand controls are on the left side of the steering wheel. Perfect for me, seeing as my right arm doesn’t always work properly. So even if half my limbs are on strike, I can still get out of the house.

That probably doesn’t sound like much. Except I live in the country – far away from train stations – and I have a body that isn’t fully functioning. It would never endure the 8 km walk to the train station or bus station (which I used to cover in just under an hour). I can’t use my bike either, as I have a cease-fire with my hips: I don’t demand anything from them, and they don’t wilt under pressure. With Plum, I can travel! And watch other people do stuff. Or go to work and try to get something work-like done. 

My life would be incomplete and horribly difficult without her.

Perspective: Halloween

Perspective: Halloween

Without further ceremony, I present my first intermission; a break from the usual June/Jonas narrative. I have not had the time this month due to extraordinary circumstances to write out my usual 4.000 – 6.000 word epic of deranged interactions that constitute my usual monthly contribution. The defense of my master's thesis was in the way. Rather, I am summoning a subject I have wanted to talk about for a long time, brief as it may be, and to American readers this might seem appaling. Let me get it out in the open: I hate Halloween. Every aspect of it.

Yes, October 31st is approaching rapidly and thus the yearly tradition of trick-or-treating in silly costumes ensues once more. Seems it has been this way forever, but what you have to understand is I am not American. English is not my native language. I am a Dane and Halloween in Denmark is something that has been introduced slowly but steadily since I was in the middle of elementary school. I did not care for it then and I do not care for it now because it coincides with one of my favourite yeary celebrations; All Hallows' Eve. I wish to underline that Halloween is not the same thing as All Hallows' Eve. I am not about to explain what Halloween means to me, because it means nothing and I am not one to tell you what Halloween means to you, because you already know the answer to that better than I ever could. What I will do is explain what All Hallows' Eve in Denmark is and why I hold it in higher esteem than the American Halloween.

I could start out by going back to the Christian origins of All Hallows' Day, but to be honest I do not want to turn this into a history lesson. Once it was May 13th. Then it was moved. Then it was to celebrate the rise of protestantism initiated by Martin Luther on the 31st of October 1517 on the door of the Wittenberg Church and then it was not. It has been so many things and what it turned into over time is to me what is the most important.

A common denominator for both the Danish All Hallows' Eve and the American Halloween is the superstitious belief that the undead spirits roam this world on the night of October 31st. This is just about the only common ground there is between the two yearly celebrations. Sure, us Danes do carve lanterns, but not Jack-o'-lanterns. Actually we do not carve pumpkins at all. We carve sugar beets. And we do not even carve scary faces or images into the beet lanterns. We just hollow them out. What is important to note here is that the jack-o'-lantern is meant as a trinket to scare away the evil spirits; to prevent the spirits from entering your home. The Danish beet lanterns lit simply by candle light are meant as beacons for the spirits to follow. We do not believe the spirits to be inherently evil. Rather, we believe them to be stuck.

So welcoming the spirits into our homes, we do not celebrate the day or concept of All Hallows' End at all. There are no major activities October 31st other than the carving of the beet lanterns, which is often handled by the kiddywinks under sage supervision of the adults. It is, after all, children handling knives. We feast that night with our friends and families and what follows next is perhaps the farthest away from the American Halloween you can get. We sit down and this one evening every year, we toast and remember our departed loved ones. Both recently and long departed. And we invite the spirits in to take solace in the acknowledged heritage of the departed spirits, that they might find rest and move on. No bobbing for apples. No horror movies. We sit each and everyone and remember the departed to ensure they are not forgotten as well as make sure we have not forgotten them. We tell stories. We bring out and dust off the family photos. The kids do not go trick-or-treating. No one dresses up, but rather we share the most beloved stories and memories such that they are not forgotten.

This will no doubt sound like a weep fest, a night of tears, but truth be told we do move on from the departures themselves and get used to the fact they are not around; we move on. Next to no one sheds a tear that evening unless someone very recently passed away, but rather we focus on the merry moments, the funny and good memories to hold onto. This is what I love the most. Assuming the stuck spirits still roam this world, why scare them off, when you can show them that their legacy and heritage still lives on in those dearest to them, even after death and thus give the spirits rest?

Of course, it is all superstition, but there is indeed a different underlying philosophy. I will acknowledge that the American approach to Halloween, haunted houses, apple bobbing, trick-or-treating and pumpkin spice lattes might be more entertaining to the target audience, but it is also heavily commercialised. When was the last time you ever took out an evening to recall the departed and everything you loved about them among friends and family?

Obviously my culture makes me biased in my opinion towards Halloween. I do remember the Halloween costume parties though, both in high school and college, and with the recent return of Batman to pop culture I am happy that Catwoman entered the pop culture alongside her bat-shit brooding counterpart and that the description of every female costume at this parties could quite astutely be prepended "A slutty", i. e. "A slutty Catwoman", "A slutty Nurse", "A slutty Vampire", you get the idea. So there is that. Or maybe that had more to do with the girls I studied with than Halloween? And who cares?

How tight should it be?

How tight should it be?

So, as you may have heard, there is a bit of a recession going on.  Rumour has it that ‘times are hard’.  ‘Everyone has to tighten their belts’.

I live on a pretty meagre income, so I have been budgeting like a bastard.  So I tend to notice the little things.  Things like, the prices haven’t changed in the supermarkets.  But the sizes have.  They are looking out for us.  They are helping us save.  They are also helping us need to tighten our belts.  Cos our pennies are buying less food than they used to.

I’ll give you an example (but only one, amongst many, cos I don’t want to labour the point)…

PieTesco pies used to be a reasonable size (boxes of four individual pies).  They used to be rectangular and satisfying.  I would throw weights and statistics at you, but I didn’t save any of the boxes.  I didn’t expect them to screw us…  Not Tesco!!!

But now they are teeny and round.  Way smaller than they used to be.  But the price has not changed.  Of course, no one has said anything.  We are British!  We huff with indignation, then buy more veg to bulk up the meal.

Thank you Tesco.  You are encouraging our nation to eat healthier.  Not help us budget our growing expenses.  Not taking a slight hit on your profits by offering us better deals on the food we buy.  Not lowering your prices to help out your loyal customers that may be struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food in the belly’s of their children.  But your loyalty to your shareholders is noticed, and your (and their) altruism during this time when everyone is being encouraged to do their part…  When management of small businesses are taking no wage so they don’t have to lay off staff…  When communities are pulling together to help out the more needy amongst them…  You kindness and thoughtful care of your patrons is noticed an appreciated.

I wonder if the longer drive to Asda  would be offset by the savings I’d make buying really crap food?

 

As a small aside, I don’t want to just slag off the supermarkets (yeah, I know…  I just picked on one.  But I have no doubt that the pies are smaller in all of them).  I also want to slag off the morons that shop in them.

Not EVERYONE who shops in them.  Just the morons.  And they are many.  Today, I was bumbling down an aisle and was brought to an abrupt halt by a moron.  He was busy perusing the shelves with his trolley out behind him completely blocking the thoroughfare.  I’m a patient kinda guy, so I just waited and glared at him.  Twice he looked at me.  Twice!  Both times I was looking at him with impatient malice.  Not looking at products.  At him.  I was obviously not browsing.  I was waiting for him to shift his fucking trolley.  Did he move it before he had made his decision on his chosen hair product?  Did he fuck.  I so need to work on my menacing glare.

Having finished my shop, I was driving out of the car park.  What is it with people in car parks?  They bimble about like they are invulnerable to the half ton of metal heading towards them.  Do they do the same thing on the streets?  I can’t believe that they do.  Cos if they did, they would not be alive to stroll down the middle of the lane in the car park looking at me like I was wrong for driving down the bit that is clearly labelled as the bit to drive down.

Yeah.  I do have a problem with supermarkets.  But I have much more of a problem with some of the fucktards that shop there!

Rant over.