Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spock Days, 2009

With Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock himself, making his long-awaited first visit to the town of Vulcan, I figured I'd go ahead and post this piece I wrote at last summer's Spock Days, which got the spike because I guess a Toronto newspaper somehow had something more interesting to run than coverage of a strange event that had already happened on the other side of the country. Go figure.

Abbot K'Obol Chang-K'Onor of Klingon Assault Group (KAG) Kanada, a fan club dedicated to the culture and costumery of Star Trek's fearsome warriors, is glaring at me through his space-shades, sun glinting off sharpened teeth. Handmade leather armor creaks as he sets his shoulders; a twin-headed flail, replete with wicked spikes, dangles menacingly from his gauntleted hand.

"Your understanding of Klingon philosogpy," he growls, "is... imperfect."

As a senior Klingon cleric, the Abbot (aka Doug Welsh of Halifax) would know. His head freshly sheared in the "Shave a Klingon for Cancer" event here at Spock Days/Galaxyfest in the town of Vulcan, Alberta, I made the mistake of asking how he reconciles such charity work -- and the dozens of other good-cause events, from MS fun-runs to fundraising daffodil sales, in which KAG Kanada participates -- with the apparent cruelty of survival-of-the-fittest Klingon culture.

"Klingon philosophy is not about destroying the weak," he explains, as patiently as is possible for a Klingon;"Klingon philosophy is about making the weak stronger. We think everybody should be Klingon!"

They're making a good start on it here in this farming community of 2,000 that's trying hard to turn the sci-fi cachet of its 94-year-old name into precious nerd-tourism dollars. A concrete-and-steel replica of the Starship Enterprise presides over the highway, in view of the seed-cleaning plant; the futuristic headquarters of the Vulcan Association for Science and Trek offers souvenir Spock Ears and a rather cheesy virtual-reality "Vulcan space adventure"; Trek murals dot downtown, and street signs are styled after Starfleet insignia. With the KAG's 20th-anniverasry gathering coinciding with Galaxyfest, the town's rolled out the blood-red carpet: a local cafe's menu board offers, untranslated, such Klingon delicacies as "Throck," "Mool" and "Bartas bir Jablu"; the tavern of the Vulcan Hotel is offering $1.50 mugs of refreshing "Klingon Beer" -- pisswater draft tarted up with lime juice and red food coloring.

It's a strange intersection of cultures. Without its spacey trappings -- out of costume, you could say -- Vulcan would be more or less the epitome of the dire little struggling farmtown, but GalaxyFest's combination of rural county fair and Star Trek convention makes for a surreal appeal. An elderly lady sporting pointy-eared prosthetics rolls by on a handi-scooter decked out in spaceship regalia. The local old-folks' home leads the parade with a replica Enterprise float, complete with command-bridge cockpit and laser sound effects. Characters like "Ysnap the Peace Klingon",  her costume a combination of star warrior and glam hippie, line up along with weatherbeaten farmers and truckers for bratwurst Spock Dogs. Another Klingon tries to wipe away tears without smudging his makeup as a woman on the Community Stage karaoke-sings a country tearjerker about childhood cancer. Local dudes at the beer garden out by the softball diamond horse around with town mascot "Ee-Cheeya", a furry cat-thing modeled after Spock's childhood pet.

"It's amazing," says celebrity guest Lolita Fatjo, a veteran of Trek TV and movie production crews and now operator of a company that books guest appearances for Trek stars; "I've been booking talent for [Galaxyfest] for six years. Everybody I've sent up here has come back and said 'Oh my god, that was so fun.' Usually we go to a hotel, we never see the light of day, we're in that hotel for two or three days..."

Suzie Plakson, who's played several Trek aliens ("I'm a multiracial, global trekkie-gal") including Worf's half-Klingon mate K'Ehleyr, agrees. "A mainstream convention -- and I don't mean this as derogatory -- the description is 'mercenary'. Because it kind of has to be. But this is just pure heart. There's something more... organic about the Trekhood of this town. It's something woven into everything."

Still, this is Vulcan the out-of-the-way grain town, not Vulcan the planet of calculating space-philosophers. In front of the Cinnastop cafe, whose windows sport a mural of what looks to be Captain Kirk and Scotty running toward an alien mirage of giant milkshakes and hamburgers, a pair of shimmery-cloaked Talosians (the bum-head aliens from the original series, remember?) stroll by pushing a dummy replica of crippled Captain Pike, Kirk's predecessor. A trio of old ladies watch them pass, bemused looks on their faces.

"Well," one remarks, with that inimitable small-town cluck of the tongue; "there certainly are a lot of strangers in town today."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

“The living self has one purpose only: to come into its own fullness of being, as a tree comes into full blossom, or a bird into spring beauty..."

I think there is an animal in there, in my brain, walking and eating and laughing and shitting in there. I think it is gnawing wires for kicks.

I think I am losing control but I mean I really can't help it this time and I drink and do drugs and fuck to shake it but no; no, it is in control and there is nothing I can do anymore but observe and tell you about it.

I tried again to keep it under control but I made another mistake again and have to write a report about it. Again.

I'll write it in the morning. Tonight, though, tonight is time for a swim.

The still phosphorescence as I forward-crawl through the lake is enough. I mean I know I am mad, but why lights? Why at night?

But, do you know why I struggle so?

It's for you, my lost love. I swim for you.

And drown too.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Perpendiculars, Book one, Part one -- excerpt

“Char me the trunk of a giant redwood, give me pages of white cliffs to write upon, magnify me thousands of times and replace my trifling immodesties with a titanic megalomania… then I might write large enough for our subjects.”
-- Charles Hoy Fort, the Book of the Damned


A late October morning, see-your-breath cold. Frost on the ground and the dirt track feeling stiff underfoot. A morning for quiet contemplation of the coming winter, for watching the pinking east through a cloud of coffee-steam… or for staying in bed, cozy, until the sun softened things, chased off the frost.

Without coffee and without a bed – I’d rolled up my rim about twenty kilometers back on the highway, and my blankets were two chilly hours behind that – all I had on that country morning was a mission and a message, a bagful of mojo dynamite. I fingered the battered satchel at my side, feeling my own flimsy hocus-pocus over and around the dark and ancient secrets within. It felt transparent; only a lazy idiot could fall for this gimmick. Lucky for me, I guess, that laziness and idiocy are powerful constants in this unpredictable world. What else can you count on?

The house itself was unremarkable. Hardly the pulp-novel image of a wretched hive or a royal refuge, which was of course the whole point, since it was both. Vinyl siding, cedar deck, tar shingles… just another ranch-style farmhouse on a medium-sized acreage in a typically pretty chunk of some run-of-the-mill geography. A retirement plot, exactly.

Except this particular piece of Freedom 55 – Freedom 5,500, if you want to get cute – was a long way from country-kitchen fantasies of thanksgiving with the grandkids. I could smell it from the foot of the drive, mystic stink overpowering the molecular diesel aroma of Addy’s idling Rabbit, the Brave Bunny. Scent of decay, mouldering mansion… something majestic gone sick and wrong. Piss in the corner of a palace, a cathedral repurposed as a dungheap, and through it all a whiff of incense, of camphor, of clean reeds from my bag. I pumped as much will as I dared into my metaphysical odor-eater; I didn’t want the shitdwellers scenting the disinfectant. Not yet.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. "

Sandra Concepcion interviews Sid Heart, one of this century's greatest fuck-ups.
Here is the full interview:

Concepcion: "Good morning, Sid, thank you for doing this at such short notice."

Heart: "...unh..."

Conception: "So, um, can you give me a break down of your recent writings and the success of them all?"

Heart: "...fuck, what?"

Concepcion: "It just seems with your last bit about mushrooms and regular proclamations of loneliness you are, well, not very interesting as a writer.

Heart: "Well that's something I go through all the time; I never said I was good, I just write. But 'polls', or shit like that, have never troubled me much."

Concepcion: "O.k., well, why do you always write about love and beauty and lost things?"

Heart: "What else is there to document? I mean, for me. These are the things which captivate me and send me. You know?"

Concepcion: "Maybe. And maybe I might be able to swim through that, it doesn't mean our readers will. Can you simplify it?"

Heart: "No. Look, if someone doesn't understand heart-break then there is nothing I can do about that. They just don't know. It's like describing a colour to someone who has never seen said colour. Impossible.

Concepcion: "Interesting. Another question people want to know is 'why are you single?'."

Heart: "I don't know and have stopped trying for love. I mean not in a bad way, but I have recently decided to focus on me and forget the women. You know?"

Concepcion. "Yes. I think so. Last question, Sid, as I know you are on your way out, is there any advice you would give to young men out there?"

Heart: "Yeah. Have friends like Fish and Darren and Steve and Dwayne. These men have always made me better."

Concepcion: "O.k. Thank you so much and goodnight."

Saturday, March 06, 2010

"Even the river wanted him dead."

I tried writing on a mushroom jaunt; not very good.
But I did take notes and tried to record the times as best as I could. Thank god for the digital 12-hour cllock on my computer or I would have been fucked in that respect.
I was fucked anyhow. This was all that I could get out.
Alone in my apartment after a 10 hour trip with my buddy Chris, walking through Stanley Park and uptown. We had some beers and then I came home and ate a ton of mushrooms; still buzzing and just wanting to see if it would work, or something.
This is unedited, un-spell-checked and untouched.

5:20 p.m.

At 20 after 5 I am feeling the pull.
I ate a half-ounce of potent mushrooms at 5 today.
I have no plans and nothing to do, which is good, as I am sure to be fucked for a solid 12 hours; fucked from doing anything.
And I have a 6 pack of beer, just to keep me grounded.

5:26 p.m.

I have closed the curtains now, though I had thought of looking at the Yoga-practicing redhead in the condo across Nelson Street; always when I am drunk and smoking out there on the balcony, she turns on the back-lighting in her kitchen and then stretches beautiful in the living room.
But I have closed the curtains tonight. Even she can't save me now.

5:32 p.m.

The mushrooms come in yawns and heightened awareness. As my pupils dialate the dark becomes more friendly; I can see better. I doubt I'll be interested in documenting this much longer.

5:39 p.m.
I was right, except I am really fucking terribly aroused. I guess if you eat enough mushrooms, your cock becomes an iron rod. I bet I could have worked the spike-line on the railroad with this thing. i am feeling very thoughtful about trains a

/awareness shift(?)

something felt different again. I mean it was the music this time it really is the music after-all.


I am ruined. But laughing because you are all fucking ruined, too.

wait, wait. it's just drugs.
Smoke? This is shameful. But how am I supposed to know the difference?

6:48 What?
that was never just 20 minutes. was it? why does it look like everything has been painted by Robert Bateman?

this is stupid. fuck it. I need a bigger typewriter.

7;20 pm

I just made contact. She was waving something and by the fridge i thought it was awoman you know just forget it

i am so fucking high

that was just 15 minutes no fuckING WAY?????

7:46 p.m.
I have resumed control.
Rosanne Cash and a beer, rations.

Fuck this is like war.

I smoked some pot just now in hopes of getting sleepy.

8:00 p.m.
So, this is a never-ending trip broken only by time-checks?
let's go then. This is laughable. I need stronger drugs to challenge my MENTAL MONZTERR!!!

New reality show idea

8:07 p.m. eh?

8:30 p.m.
still incredibly stoned.

9:16 p.m.
I just ate so much food, feel better.
sleep soon I think, no?
not yet?

10:04 pm
I think I was on the phone but I never dialed and thought i was on hold the whole time.
I was reading before and am stsrting to chill out.
I dont know if I can sleep yet, but I am going to try. This experiment was shit.
Stupid idea I didn't write anything. Fucking fuck.



Tuesday, March 02, 2010