Friday, June 27, 2008

What I'm NOT Writing

When I finally decided to create a blog last year, I had all manner of ideas for entries. I started a list, and my legal pad filled up quickly. When it came time to compose, well, er, couldn't do it. As I've stated, some things are just too sensitive, particularly for a public forum. I thought I'd get over that notion, but it hasn't happened as of yet.

DILEMMA #1 : I have many opinions and points-of-view that do not exactly jibe with those of my Christian brethren. Some of these ideas might even be considered heinous. A blog should be a place to voice such unmentionables, no? Perhaps, but it's still public. Even though it is much less of a concern these days, I still worry what others will think, even if they have no earthly idea who I am. But, I still berate myself for not just allowing me to be me. This is certainly the case in "real life" too. I've never been a saint, even if some have had that image of me. Weird dichotomy. I appear quite conservative to many onlookers, but I'm really not. Then I worry about my witness for Christ when I allow myself to be the somewhat caustic being that I still am.

DILEMMA #2: Past experiences of high drama. Case in point-the decadent 90s. That decade is fodder for all sorts of tomes on all the mistakes I made, and some were doozies. They would make entertaining (if tawdry) efforts, with my intention being 1. therapy for myself and 2. cautionary tales for others. But, I don't know if I'm willing to put it out there. Nothing I experienced is all that unique, but a good deal of it is like slashing an old wound that is (mostly) healed.

My time in grad school was also quite the soul rattler. My faith in God and the support of a loving gf/fiancee is what got me through. Many painful things occured during those years, and again, I'm not sure if I'm up to talking about it.

DILEMMA #3: My career. But this will be remedied. I WILL discuss audiology here, but I haven't so far because I deal with it all day! Trying to make it interesting to the layman will take some doing, but, that is doable.

I HAVE written some personal things (I admitted I talk out loud to myself!), but, there's so much more. Stay tuned!?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I was just doing some badly needed edits on my entries (yes, the spelling and grammar have been horrid, and I'm usually quite the meticulous one), and I noticed a theme. Looking back. Memories. Most of them deal with what has already played out, and how it affects me now. I wasn't always like this, but in the last few years.....

A phase? Dunno. You get older, you start thinking about the twisty trails which lead you here. My present is better than ever: loving fiancee, good health (better than ever), cool career, peace in my faith, friends. But it is also filled with some sorrow: very sick mother, continued battle with laziness, fears about the future. Maybe reconciling my past helps with the present, and future.

So, bear with me if I seem to be, nostalgic. Or introspective. THAT I've always been. Empty rooms continue to fascinate me, places others would flee (there's no one here!). That's who I am. Are you still reading, invisible audience?

Ode to Cinema 70 (& General Cinemas)

I had another surreal enconter with my distant past this evening. On YouTube I found some clips of old General Cinemas ads, previews of coming attractions bumpers, and the like. I spent several years watching these clips at the long gone Cinema 70 in West Palm Beach, FL. One of my childhood theaters, a place where I spent many an hour from childhood through early college.

It began with STAR WARS. That was to be my intro to the place. At that time, it was still just one screen. But in the late 70s, the multiplex was taking over. Following suit, Cinema 70 was split into three smaller rooms around '80 or so. Through those years and beyond, I practiced a religion of sorts. STAR WARS began a lifetime of celluloid obsessiveness. Often a lonely pastime, the zeal of which I've only been able to share with a handful. Sure, most people love to go to the movies, but how many like to ponder over them, say, over a Coke at the also long gone S & S Cafeteria next door? Really serious analyses, not just "that was righteous!" And when you're only 9!? Not too many. So, Cinema 70 and I had a bond. I was a strange kid, make no mistake.

In the earlier years, my father or grandmother brought me. Only to G or PG films, natch. As the 80s wore on, I began to attend solo quite a bit, watching all manner of pop culture like GHOSTBUSTERS, SUDDEN IMPACT, ALIENS, SCROOGED, and many others I can't recall at this late hour. The theater became a second home. I never felt self-conscious about going by myself. Film watching obviously lends itself to this.

Then, around late 1989, it closed. I can still see the final marquee, advertising DANGEROUS LIASONS and some others. It stayed empty for several months before it was bulldozed. It was disheartening. Of course, this was a theme to follow me to this day (ref. previous entries). A part of me, as they say, had died. I could not share these feelings with anyone at the time, I thought. It seemed trivial in the grand scheme, but it affected me strongly.

So here we are in the 00s. YouTube has brought back a number a visual and aurals that were lodged deeply into my long term. Commercials, music videos, newscasts, they're (almost) all there. So odd to find yourself knowing every beat, every pause, like no time at all had passed. Beloved chestnuts from your youth, for years just hazy memories, now laid bare. I'm sure you've experienced it.

The General Cinemas spots proved to be especially startling. The spinning reels on the animated projector, the hypnotic percussion of themes, the familiar backgrounds. I was transported. So eerie. Little pieces of my history, still preserved. God bless those who upload these little gems. That little guy in the dark would never imagine that he would one day be reliving these ditties on a laptop computer. Isn't life funny.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Train Horn

How I love the train horn. Always have. Ever since I was a wee child, new to this sunny clime, I lived close enough to the tracks to hear the roar. Yes, it's pretty frightening when you're close. Later on, I lived a mere block from the track, and I remember seeing the light slice through the darkness minutes before the locomotive raced past.

Lately, I live a bit farther away but close enough to hear its muted cry as it races through the night. Where has it been? Where is its ultimate destination? What of its cargo? Never big questions for me. I just stop and listen. It's comforting, knowing that the train is there, blowing past my old neighborhood much like I did nearly 20 years ago. Racing, faster, never looking back. I have a entry to write about the old neighborhood, for sure. But right now let me just preface by calling on the old Chessies that rock the night with their vibrotactile dins, their frightening calls. Calls of decades gone by. Business at hand, and thankfully, coming through my neck of the woods for a few minutes. Then, it fades. A little more. Barely audible. Gone. Just like memories.

But the train still comes, and it's comforting. I see my entry has rambled, and I guess you can't understand unless you've been there. Hard to put into words. Watch Jim Jarmusch's MYSTERY TRAIN sometime. Maybe you'll understand. But many won't.........

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oh, Eddie, Eddie

THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE is the cinematic equivalent of a funeral dirge. Well, maybe that's innaccurate. Dirges are slow and lengthy. COYLE is neither. But similiarly, we watch Eddie Coyle (Robert Mitchum), proud middle class Son of Eire try to make a living for his family in Boston, and then march to his doom. The sad inevitability is present from the first moment we see a weary Mitchum, in an expert performance.

Coyle puts food on the table by selling black market firearms to the Mob. Oh, he also feeds info to the Feds and the cops, and he's not above ratting out any to the others. Being an informant never ends well, and every character in this bleak picture understands that, painfully well.

COYLE is unique in that it dosen't try to dazzle the viewer with action or scenes that ring with symbolism. We get a real bread-and-butter look at the lives of criminals and those assigned to nail them. We follow a gun runner as he explains his trade to colleagues and clients. We hang with a Traesury agent as he makes deals with all manner of hoods. Eddie is caught in the morass, hanging on to the vaguest of hopes, but somehow aware of his fate. When it comes, it's as random as anything else in his 10 cent life.

However, the real crime here is why this gem is unavailable, not just on DVD, but even VHS! This 1973 classic has never been released on homevideo. Unfathomable. Shame on you, Paramount! Multiple shame! A pox on your house for putting out all manner of Full Moon nonsense, but leaving worthy titles like this and LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR (don't even get me started) in mothballs!

I had to catch EDDIE on iTunes. That is the only place a mere mortal can see this. Perhaps there are screenings in L.A., N.Y.C., and hopefully, Boston. I know, "I don't want to watch a movie on my computer!" Trust me. It's worth it. You'll never forget it.

A Toast to the Extras

Been busy these last few's good to be still, if but for a short while.

-Dr. D jetted off to Sweden for the annual tinnitus conf. Perhaps he'll come back with some new protocols for our beleaguered patients, they of the chronic perceptive steam whistles and (heaven forbid) pulsations that mimic a syncopated backbeat in some old hipster's catalogue.

-I took a certification exam in Orlando (fingers triple crossed!). Sonia and I enjoyed EPCOT, complete with 360 degree world tours and half liters of spaten! It was our first road trip in far too long. More travels forthcoming. But damn those petrol prices! I still think of that lovely day in '95 when I pulled up to the QT in Gwinnett Cty, GA and got some 87 for 86 cents a gallon! A mere 13 years ago! Maybe I should form my own cartel?

-Went to lovely Minnesoter for my 2nd annual Starkey Summit. Even more fun this year. Met some really nice folks, one of whom was quite the wit (even quoted obscure Python). Two former classmates were vying for the same coveted rep gig; both are extremely intelligent, lovely ladies. I just learned who "won"; she was the more extroverted of the pair, and I guess that was what was needed. The other is itching to get out her hearing aid intensive job, and I know she'll do fine.

We also visited Starkey CEO Bill Austin's pallatial pad again. Adorned with rare art, themed rooms, and a large lake out back, it is certainly a highlight of these trips. As I killed another plate of sublime ribs with some folks, I recalled my time in this exact spot the year before, chatting with other swell people, none of whom were here this time (there is more than one summit per year). But, I thought about them, still so fresh in my mind.

Each person in my life, or movie, is very important. Some are mere walk-ons, extras, if you will. Onscreen only for a brief time. They all impress upon me in compelling ways. These Starkey visits provide such encounters. I have great conversations, share awkwardness, laughs, even meaningful exchange. Then they're gone. Back to Seattle, Portland, even Ft. Lauderdale. Many I'll never see again, but I still think on them. Yes, they may be ghosts* but they're still relevant to my movie. Your impact is far reaching in my days, very integral to the sum of my parts. I raise one of the multiple complimentary libations I received at the Starkey Zon Summit to you all! May your hearing devices all look sexy in the hand!!**

*"ghost" journal proper to follow
**Starkey gag. Go to their Zon website for the ref.