Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in hindsight / things I learned in 2007

2007 is over. Get over it. I mean, we always talk about how years seem to go by quicker and quicker, (and they totally do) but it doesn't really do anything to talk about this. I mean, get used to it. I don't think that time's going to suddenly slow down for us again . . .

Things I learned in 2007 -

  • Sometimes, there is no reason or rhyme to why teachers do the things they do.
  • People care a heck of a lot more than I ever thought they did.
  • The 4th Degree "racing stripe" looks just as cool as I thought it would.
  • It is completely within the realm of possibility for me to suck at predicting the Oscars.
  • Sometimes, the hardest thing in the world is making that phone call, much less getting everything you wanted to say out of your mouth.
  • Being a manager is LOTS better than being an ordinary staff member.
  • When sparring Wilbert Moore, blocking is not the best way to defend oneself. It's best to just get out of the way.
  • Jordan Slomovitz will never lose a sparring round at a tournament, at least until he arrives in the next division.
  • Being part of a wedding party is an incredible experience.
  • Some of the best conversations take place pacing around my living room after 10 o'clock. (and then having to stop and stay in a smaller area because my phone needs to be plugged in)
  • Radiohead is still the only band in the world that can completely engage your mind and soul at the same time.
  • Radiohead is almost incapable of making bad music.
  • Radiohead's "In Rainbows" is one of the year's greatest records.
  • I still love Radiohead.
  • People that don't "get" Bob Dylan are majorly missing out and should be pitied.
  • I can actually write decent material.
  • After knowing each other since high school, David and I make a great songwriting team. We just never knew it until last summer.
  • It is entirely possible for a summer movie season to look so good and then suck so bad. Good heavens, that was ghastly.
  • The Police are an amazing band.
  • The Foo Fighters are not.
  • I enjoy writing poetry. Really long-winded poetry.
  • Not drinking alcohol can provide for some really interesting situations and nicknames.
  • There is nothing between Los Angeles and Sacramento except for large trucks carrying tomatoes.
  • You don't have to know some people for a really long time to count them among your closest friends.
  • Nothing hurts more than having someone close to you die. And it never completely goes away.
  • Sometimes, there is no logical reason for why we don't like some people.
  • Sometimes, family life makes no sense whatsoever.
  • There are few things worse than someone who uses religious faith as a crutch and refuse to think for themselves.
  • White Castle hamburgers have their exalted reputation for a reason.
  • Dr. Perebinossoff is the MAN.
  • I despise pretentious talk, particularly pretentious religious talk.
  • Just because I may be really nervous about asking a question doesn't mean that the answer will be no.
  • Watching "The Godfather" with people who have never seen it is one of the BEST ways to experience the film. Oh, the looks of shock on their faces . . .
  • Sometimes, just sometimes, things work out the way you want them to, and life is sweetly, blissfully, wonderful.

Here's to a happy 2008 filled with joy and surprises.

Peace, Love, & Understanding,


Saturday, December 22, 2007

This is something you would probably never guess about me, but . . .

. . . I feel really awkward in social situations. I think I just try too hard. I mean, sometimes, I know I should just shut up and sit there, but I can't seem to help talking/spouting off. Then, I tend to screw up doing simple things, which makes me feel really dumb. I know that this probably comes as a shock to many of you, since I seem to be a VERY social creature. But, so many times, I come away feeling like a failure, and like no one really likes me. I know that this is lame, and not really true. (at least, I certainly hope not. Those of you with a penchant for making biting remarks toward me, please restrain yourselves. :-) But, at the same time, that's just how I feel. I really don't want it to continue. I'm not saying that I want to turn into a cocky person who has a too high an opinion of himself, but this really low self-esteem is just not healthy.

How do you think I can make it better? Any words of wisdom?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Martha, my dear, though I spend my days in conversation, please remember me . . .

I haven't posted in a while. So, how are you? Things been going well?

School's finally out. As you can imagine, this has made me quite happy. It felt like a REALLY long semester. Now, for the most part, it was a pretty good experience. But, as is often the case, there were a few different things that tended to make it a bit more difficult than it needed to be.

One of my teachers was a strange cross between a rather nice person and a complete jerk. I would have preferred that she had chosen one or the other, personally. Another one of my teachers was all right, for the most part, until the final exam. See, we turned in this paper before Thanksgiving, and we didn't get it back until the day of the final exam. On top of that, after writing no negative comments in the paper, he proceeds to give me a B. Now, if I deserved a B, fine, but at least tell me why, for heaven's sake. Personally, I don't think that I deserved a B. I know that I'm hardly objective here, but I followed the directions and wrote a pretty good paper.

In my production class, my teacher was awesome, except when it came to grading. She tends to be a bit too harsh, although this is offset by the fact that she's one of the coolest people I know. I got the chance to shoot a 4 minute "drama" live in-studio. Based on our strengths/preferences, my partner (for the assignment) and I made a deal: I wrote the thing, and he designed all of the shots. So, we ended up with a little comedy sketch set in an Italian restaurant. I had never tried my hand at writing comedy before, but I think it ended up pretty good. (again, I'm hardly objective here) It was pretty awesome knowing that we were taking something that I had written and actually shooting it. Unfortunately, while we got a pretty good score, I felt that we deserved better. Our talent (that's geekspeak for "actors") was awesome, and I thought that my partner and I did a really good job directing the piece. My partner was awesome too. You know those times when you get assigned to be a partner with someone that doesn't pull their weight? This was absolutely nothing like that. We worked together great and both shared the weight equally. Although we both kind of got stuck with each other originally, as everyone else already had a partner, I couldn't have asked for a better one. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you something else. I actually acted in another team's drama. It was a LOT of fun! Now, I hadn't acted since middle school, but this was great. It was a "dramatic" piece that my co-star and I were instructed to play like a soap opera. As you can imagine, the results were hilarious. Let's just say that that piece will probably be shown to a select audience. . .

But, despite all of that, the crown jewel of the semester was my Screenwriting class. In this class, I actually wrote a full-length screenplay. It's 91 pages, and it's called In Search of Puccini. By this, I mean the following: I wrote a blinkin' movie! What's more, I got an A on the sucker, which, as I'm sure you can imagine, made me very happy. My teacher was the man! I've had him for 5 classes now, and, to be honest, I wasn't sure how he would teach this class, considering the fact that it didn't seem to play to his background and strengths. But, in the end, I thought that he did an awesome job. At school, we have an awards banquet at the end of the year put on by the TV Film Society (which is the club for our major). I'm going to enter my screenplay in the writing category. We'll see how that goes. I already know what I want to write next. I'm hoping to get started during the break . . .

Now, I have a question for you. I tend to be somewhat random in terms of what I post here. Sometimes, it's poetry, other times, it's a rant based on something that's bugging me, other times, it's an update on my life, or a movie review, or the link to a video . . . et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Is there anything in particular that you'd like to see on Visions of Johanna? Is there something that you particularly liked that I posted previously? Maybe there's something in particular that you'd like me to comment on? I don't know. What I'm trying to say is this: if there's something you'd like to see here, let me know, and I'll try to accomodate.

Peace, Love, and Understanding,

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Response to a Response

Walking in circles is an uncertain occupation
It tends to leave either sorrow or a certain adulation.

But if you ask me . . .

It's best when done with not one but two
I'd be glad to walk in circles anytime with you.

-Adam G.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Small minds

I am upset. What's worse is that I'm not entirely sure how I should best formulate this in order to help you understand exactly why. Well, I should start somewhere, so here goes.

I am so tired of small-minded people. For the most part, I refer to small-minded religious people. I think you know of whom I refer to. Currently, these people are up in arms over a film called The Golden Compass. These people, I think, are the same people who started campaigns against the Harry Potter books/films and The Da Vinci Code. What bothers me is not necessarily that these people have the opinion that they do. What bothers me is that they refuse to listen to other opinions that differ from their own.

OK, Let's review some of the facts. 1. Phillip Pullman is an atheist. Big deal. Is there some kind of a rule that states that people of religious faith have a monopoly on having their voices heard? Is there a rule that states that atheists are incapable of creating meaningful art? 2. Pullman, apparently, wasn't too big of a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia. Who cares? Personally, I think that they do tend to be venerated a bit much. This isn't to say that I didn't like them. On the contrary, I quite enjoyed them. I'm just not sure that they're as good as some people think. (just my humble opinion) 3. He wrote the His Dark Materials trilogy as a response to Lewis' books. I think that it's actually kind of cool that someone would create an entirely new series as a response to an existing one.

Now, tonight, my brother mentioned the film and a few of the people that we were with went off on how it supposedly preaches atheism. Perhaps these people ought to do their reading. If they had, they would have learned that, ever since the film was first adapted for the screen, (the current screenplay is actually the second version that's been written) the "anti-religious" aspects of Pullman's novel have, apparently, been dialed down to focus more on the heroine, Lyra, and her journey. Besides, as an intelligent moviegoer, (and a total film geek) I think that I have the mental capacity to differentiate between what is real and what is just a story. I don't watch a Star Wars film and then try to make a flying leap to cross the street because I saw it in one of the movies.

Furthermore, what about the notion of the questioning of organized religion? Why is this a bad thing? In addition to that, I think that art that makes people think about what they believe is a positive thing. If you don't know why you believe what you do, isn't that really a very shallow place to be in? What does that really say about you?

Now, I've seen the trailer for The Golden Compass and it looks interesting. A friend and I have talked about going to see it with some other people. Now, with all of this hoopla over it, I only want to see it more. I think, in some way, I don't want to let these small-minded people win. Maybe that's childish of me to be so rebelliously idealistic. But, maybe, just maybe, I might be right.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Sometimes I
Sometimes you
Sometimes we
Sometimes I want to know why I don't like people that I should
Sometimes I wonder why I like people that I shouldn't
Sometimes I wonder if things that I've been taught are just stories
Sometimes I think that they're not
Sometimes I realize how fast I'm actually driving on the freeway
Sometimes I don't
Sometimes I'm sad when I should be happy
Sometimes I'm ok when I should be sad
Sometimes I just want to know what's going through her mind
Sometimes I think that I am the only one left who is sane in this world
Sometimes I think that I am the only one who is confused
Sometimes I am entirely too trusting
Sometimes I am entirely too cynical
Sometimes I want to know what he's thinking
Sometimes I want to know why they're acting that way
Sometimes I think that no one understands
Sometimes I am glad to see that some people do
Sometimes I think that no one cares
Sometimes I'm amazed at how much some people do
Sometimes I wish that I understood what was going to happen
Sometimes I'm glad I don't
Sometimes I am glad to be who I am
Sometimes I think that I'm not anyone special
Sometimes I talk too much
Sometimes I wish that I understood anything at all
Sometimes I think that there is a grand purpose to everything hiding just out of view
Sometimes I think that that's a dumb idea

Most times I move along, trying desparately to get somewhere, anywhere
Doing something, anything

Sometimes I write long-winded, semi-pretentious things to put out into the void

Well, just


. .

. . .


Saturday, November 24, 2007

As promised . . .

Well, I promised a review of the new film by the Coen Brothers, and a review you shall get. Here is it, folks, No Country For Old Men is one of the best films of the year.

What’s really interesting about it is that it doesn’t have a lot of the typical Coen weirdness. If you’ve ever seen one of their films, then you know what I’m talking about. There’s usually one scene (at the very least) in the film that makes you wonder what in the world you’re watching. In Fargo, for instance, it’d have to be the woodchipper scene, among others. With Intolerable Cruelty, it’d have to be the courtroom scene. (which, by the way, is so zany that I think it achieves a form of brilliance. Ah, I digress . . . ) This is what makes No Country For Old Men so unique. There really aren’t any scenes that belong in that category. It’s almost as though Joel and Ethan decided to focus exclusively on the storytelling, without embellishing it with their usual antics. As such, the direction is not particularly flashy in the way it goes about telling the story, but you never for a moment doubt that they know exactly where they’re going. The writing is great, and, from what I understand, is a faithful rendering of the novel. The acting is uniformly strong, with Javier Bardem deserving extra notice for his work as Anton Chigurh. I have to mention that No Country For Old Men is not really a film that lets you figure out how it's going to end. I thought that I had a decent idea, but there came a certain point at which I realized that all bets were off as far as the "ending prediction business" went.

I think that the film will garner multiple Academy Award nominations. If I had to guess, I could see the film being nominated in the following categories: Best Picture, Best Director (although I don’t know if they would nominate two people for the same award), Best Actor (Josh Brolin), Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem, and maybe Tommy Lee Jones), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing. Personally, I’ll probably be rooting for it come Oscar night, unless some other film comes along and knocks me sideways. Here’s hoping that Joel and Ethan finally win that little gold guy that a lot of people felt they should have gotten for Fargo . . .

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's just too heavy for Superman to lift . . .

OK, so it's the grand old time of 1:10 AM as I post this. I have to work early tomorrow morning, I'm tired, and I should be in bed. Yet, despite this, I'm writing at my computer so that what I'm about to say will be broadcast into the cyberexpanse.

It is a very interesting time to be me right now. Academically, I'm really ready for the current semester to be over with. I have about had enough of one of my teachers. Seriously. Long term, I graduate in the Spring, and I have no idea what's supposed to or is going to happen in my life after that. Socially, I probably have more friends/pals/acquaintences than I've ever had, but things are still extremely interesting on that front. My family's been in the midst of some "stuff" too. It's not that anything's necessarily wrong, but it is our supreme wish and prayer that things STAY that way. I really can't go much more into it than that. At work, I'm still plugging along and enjoying myself, which is nice. I have reached a certain point at which I can relax a bit more than I used to. (I'm basically one of the managers just under the owners)

I think what gets to me most is the uncertainty. I would feel a lot better if I had some kind of clue as to how things are going to turn out. I know that that's not really possible, but that doesn't stop me from wanting it, you know? Part of me wants to go back to simpler times when all I had to worry about was whether or not the bookstore had the book I wanted, or if the computer was free for me to play my games on it and such. But, unfortunately, (or perhaps quite fortunately; the jury's still out) that's just not the way life works. I guess that that's a good thing, in the end. I know that we're supposed to treasure the journey, but I really want to know just where it is that I'm going to.

Thanks for listening.

Peace, Love, and Understanding,

P.S. I'm going to go see No Country For Old Men on Sunday. It's supposed to be great so I'll try to post a review here eventually.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Eleventh Commandment

"Thou shalt not think for thyself."

You won't find this one anywhere, but far too many follow it anyway.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Another bit of punchable narrative poetry. . .



You see, I do not recommend dying
For I tried it once.

Above all, it was frustrating,
filled with sounds.
Sounds both happily terrifying and alone.

It might be the idea of many that the dead cannot hear at all.
This is wrong.
Hearing does not lessen upon the closing of the eyes
and the rotting of the flesh.
It magnifies and becomes more intense.
It is not that the dead hear nothing, but EVERYTHING.

When I was dead, I walked and sometimes flew,
or maybe I floated the whole time, I’m not sure.
It is so hard to remember.
I passed by the homeless man sleeping
the sidewalk with a
knit cap pulled down over his ears.
I passed by the woman walking to work in her
cold in the morning air.

But I felt no cold.
I felt no heat.
I felt nothing.
That is to say, absolutely nothing. (very like a ghost)



I digress.

Let me tell you how it was . . .


There are things I wish I understood
And death is one of them.
When I was dead, I thought I would
understand it better.
I did not.

I passed by a man who was walking
toward his doom and I tried to stop him.
But I couldn’t.
He passed through me when I confronted him.
Like I was a mist,
a shapeless thing
unfelt by
anything and
I shouted at him,
but he did not hear me.
But it wasn’t that he wouldn’t.
He just couldn’t.

It was then that I wished
that I hadn’t shouted,
because it (my shout) howled
through my ears without pity or mercy.
The sounds around me,
of men walking their dogs,
of women on phones,
of children at play,
these were nothing.

These I could have dealt with.

It was the thoughts that I could not manage.

The truth is,
the dead can hear thoughts
clearer than they hear
the spoken word and other sounds.
The thoughts are relentless.
Putting my hands over my ears did nothing,
for I can’t be sure that I really had ears to begin with.


So, in my state of
I tried to make some sense of it all,
but nothing worked.

I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.

The sounds wouldn’t leave me alone, unrelenting.
I couldn’t even pray for death.
Do you have any idea how terrible it is to not even have that consolation, at least?

I do, for I experienced it.

I don’t know how I came back to tell you this
Perhaps I wasn’t really dead.
Perhaps I was only dreaming. (though I doubt this)
Maybe I was in that place between sleep and life
where the dream creeps before your eyes
and you see, almost, the truth behind it all.

So, take my word for it:

I do not recommend dying,
for I tried it once, and it was bad.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Member of COOPO Speaks Out . . .

This is frustrating. I had an entire post finished, and now, thanks to Blogspot's infinite wisdom in the way they created this program, I've lost it. So, now, I must try to recreate my original post . Please bear with me . . .

Something cool happened the other day. I was at Starbucks with a friend of mine and, behind me, a woman started singing along with Diana Krall, who was singing "I've Got You Under My Skin" over the speaker system. Some of it was a form of scat-singing and some of it was more of a straight-up sing-along type of thing. She was pretty good too.

Here's the thing: I envy that woman. I envy her lack of consideration about what other people might think of her. I have a problem doing that kind of thing. See, I'm a member of COOPO, the Cult Of Other People's Opinion. (I suspect you might be a member too) I have trouble being as spontaneous as I'd like to be because I (way too often) think about what other people will think of what I'm doing. Who gave them this kind of power to dictate how I live my life? The truth is, I did. It's my choice to allow other people to control me because of what they might or might not think about what I want to do. It's frustrating.

I'm going to try to cancel my membership with COOPO and live more authentically. Maybe, next time, I'll sing a duet with that woman in Starbucks . . .

In other news, thanks very much for the kind words about my poem. They mean a lot. I'd like to post some more soon. We'll see how that goes.

Over and out.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Girl From The North Country

I think this performance is just beautiful. I thought you might like it too.

I hope you enjoy this.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"The post in which Adam will try (and probably fail) to explain why he loves Radiohead's music."

So, as I said earlier, I've been listening to In Rainbows, the new album from Radiohead, since yesterday morning. Yes, that means that every single chance I've gotten, I've been listening to it. Again. And again. And again. I've been telling people this all day, but, you know, it's just as true now as it was the first time I said it: listening to a new Radiohead album is like eating at a fine restaurant after eating (mostly) fast food for a few years.

They're that good.

Out of all the bands that make music for consumption by the masses, Radiohead is one of the few bands that makes my shortlist of the "bands that really matter." See, their music is like a great piece of art. You might not fully appreciate it at first, but, if you give it time, you will be richly rewarded. After downloading the new album, I confess that I was underwhelmed at first. I thought to myself, "this is what we were waiting for?" But, I kept listening, and Radiohead's music, once again, did what does best. It bloomed.

Now, a lot of music can be judged on first listen, but not Radiohead's. Of course, sometimes one of their songs hits you the first time around, (a la Fake Plastic Trees or Karma Police) but, with a lot of their music, you just have to wait until the moment you've been waiting for comes. The songs come alive. Your body sways hypnotically to the beat, your mouth sings along the words you've just learned, and your whole being positively exults in the glorious sound.

Now, for the actual album itself. It hearkens back to the melodicism of OK Computer, with the complex rhythmic structures of Hail To The Thief and the synthesizers of Kid A thrown in. There's not a single song that I dislike, but there are a few that deserve special mention. First, Bodysnatchers is an example of flat-out guitar rock. (make that superb guitar rock) Nude is lush and beautiful, and I'd argue that it's one of the better songs they've ever done. All I Need is a beautiful love song. But, Reckoner? Reckoner is just gorgeous, and very groovy too. (just saying that it's "gorgeous" still isn't nearly enough) Finally, there's House of Cards. What can I say? It's probably the most straightforward love song they've ever done, and it's probably going to take its place among my very favorite Radiohead songs. All in all, this is a terrific album that I'd highly recommend you get as soon as possible. Go to and follow the directions for pre-ordering the download. (it's perfectly legal, by the way)

Radiohead is not easy listening, that's for sure. It is music that is completely unique and often difficult. Their music is the music of hopes both lost and found, fear, pain, joy, despair, and love. In other words, you could say that it's music that encompasses what it means to be human.

Wow. Just wow.

I'm listening to the new Radiohead record, In Rainbows, right now. They essentially leaked their own album yesterday. ( I'll post more about it later tonight.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Words of a Giant

Leonard Cohen is a giant among men. First a writer/poet, he decided to write songs, and what wondrous songs they are. I think he's one of the finest songwriters of the rock era, after Dylan, of course. Most people know his most famous composition, "Hallelujah," but have no idea that he's the one who wrote it. They've probably just heard the Jeff Buckley or John Cale versions. (or one of the countless others that exist) Now, while these versions are nice, (particularly Cale's) I personally think that Cohen's original is the best. The song has about 15 verses, and, depending upon which verses you use, the song can take on a number of meanings. Cohen's version is easily the most spiritual of the interpretations that have been made. But, the point is, while "Hallelujah" is a terrific song, (and one of my all-time favorites) Cohen has written so many more. I've included the lyrics of one of them below. I hope you enjoy it. I'll probably post more of his work later. If I was really gutsy, I'd post Ginsberg's "America." But, I guess that I'm just not really gutsy . . . ah well, another time.

The Stranger Song

It's true that all the men you knew were dealers
who said they were through with dealing
Every time you gave them shelter
I know that kind of man
It's hard to hold the hand of anyone
who is reaching for the sky just to surrender
who is reaching for the sky just to surrender.

And then sweeping up the jokers that he left behind
you find he did not leave you very much not even laughter
Like any dealer he was watching for the cardthat is so high and wild
he'll never need to deal another
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger.

And then leaning on your window sill
he'll say one day you caused his will
to weaken with your love and warmth and shelter
And then taking from his wallet
an old schedule of trains, he'll say
I told you when I came I was a stranger
I told you when I came I was a stranger.

But now another stranger seems
to want you to ignore his dreams
as though they were the burden of some other
O you've seen that man before
his golden arm dispatching cards
but now it's rusted from the elbows to the finger
And he wants to trade the game he plays for shelter
Yes he wants to trade the game he knows for shelter.

Ah you hate to see another tired man
lay down his hand
like he was giving up the holy game of poker
And while he talks his dreams to sleep
you notice there's a highway
that is curling up like smoke above his shoulder
It is curling just like smoke above his shoulder.

You tell him to come in sit down
but something makes you turn around
The door is open you can't close your shelter
You try the handle of the road
It opens do not be afraid
It's you my love, you who are the stranger
It's you my love, you who are the stranger.

Well, I've been waiting, I was sure
we'd meet between the trains we're waiting for
I think it's time to board another
Please understand, I never had a secret chart
to get me to the heart of this
or any other matter
When he talks like this
you don't know what he's after
When he speaks like this,
you don't know what he's after.

Let's meet tomorrow if you choose
upon the shore, beneath the bridge
that they are building on some endless river
Then he leaves the platform
for the sleeping car that's warm
You realize, he's only advertising one more shelter
And it comes to you, he never was a stranger
And you say ok the bridge or someplace later.

And then sweeping up the jokers that he left behind ...

And leaning on your window sill ...

I told you when I came I was a stranger.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

On How Life Is (for real. NOT the Macy Gray album)

So, I'm sitting here in my room, writing this when I should be studying for mid-terms. Surprised? You shouldn't be .

I never said how my TaeKwonDo testing went, so, here's an update. I PASSED!!! I now hold the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt in Chang-Hun style TaeKwonDo. This has many benefits, as I am now eligible to judge National Testings, (like the one I just participated in) I now have a one-inch black stripe that reaches the length of my uniform pants, and, of course, I can now add the all-important 4th bar to my belt. Although, I'm going to just get a new belt, rather than adding a bar to my existing one. This'll be weird, because it's the only black belt I've ever owned, and it'll be weird to break in a new one. Anyway, I'm very happy right now. The tournament itself went all right, as I placed 4th (funny, no?) in forms in my division. Now, I move up to the "big boys" division: 4th and 5th Degree (men). I'm going to miss competing against my friends in the 3rd Degree division, as we have a good time together. But, hey, they'll be joining me soon enough, right? Strangely, the part of the tournament that I worked, (as a judge) was somewhat slow. Our ring only had 3 divisions all day. (which is a REALLY slow day) I guess that the powers that be that assign the divisions to rings didn't always know that we were free, and could have done more.

On a different note, have you seen that commercial where people just push the easy button and things just work out great? Part of me wouldn't mind such a system actually existing. I mean, I know that part of the great thing about real life is that it can be messy and strange, and occasionally (hopefully) resolving into some sense of beauty either in place of or amidst the chaos. But, it would sure be nice to be able to have the proverbial "God sitting at the kitchen table" experience. I have some unanswered questions that I'm not sure what to do with.

In other news, I'm writing a waltz. I'd share it with you when it's done, but I don't have one of those digital video cameras. If you know me personally, you'll just have to pester me into playing it for you. It's pretty cool, because I've written a bunch of songs, but never a waltz.

Now, I should go, because I have some things to do. Do me a favor and comment if you read this. I'd kind of like to see how many people actually read Visions of Johanna. (not that I should expect many, considering the, shall we say, "infrequent" nature of my posts)

Over and out.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I may regret posting this later . . . but I hope not.

Ok, this is something a bit different. I'm kind of a poetry nerd. I never really realized this about myself until several weeks ago, but it's true. Then I found myself on a major Ginsberg kick, (seriously, he's something else) and I had the idea of trying to write a long poem. I've written them (poems) before, but I'd never written something really long. So, I decided to give it a shot and sat down at my computer with no idea of what was going to come out. Over the next few days, something did come out, and I've included it below. I guess you could describe it as a narrative Beat poem. It might communicate best if you read it out loud. (just an idea)

Rhythm In Four Parts

I. Like a Dream of Blue

You surprised me this evening on my way back home
as I looked out over the cooling pavement to find you
standing in the same place that I had left you two weekends ago
on the last night of summer, when we had the long talk
about the meaning of the streetlights and their rhythms.

I didn’t know that you would be there all that time,
waiting for me, when I told you that I wouldn’t,
and couldn’t,
come back to see you.

Maybe when the end has come you’ll still be holding on,
and maybe you won’t, I don’t know.

I think that, in the end, all I really do know is
that the sky is not supposed to be blue,
as though blue were something I thought of once as I was dreaming.
In my dream, blue was put together,
Put together with something other than what it should have been,
like a tree or a bear, and was merged with it.
(For that is the way with dreams)
I can’t be certain whether the thing I was dreaming had anything to do with the sky, except for the change in the seasons,
which reflects itself in the sky like a leaf floats in the waters of a stream,
bobbing up and down.

As I walked by you, you didn’t even seem to know I was there,
even though I kept looking in your direction,
thinking that you would at least call out or do something
to show that you knew I was there.

But NO!

You stood and stared at the door as though it would suddenly open
and I would stand before you and invite you
inside for a glass of orange juice.
(even though you hate all juices)

Maybe when the sky falls, you’ll have somewhere to hang your hat,
and maybe you won’t, I don’t know.

II. Reflection

I think I may have been wrong about a few things,
which surprises me,
because I’ve grown accustomed to being right
about everything,
or nearly everything,
excluding the one episode with the stars and
the angle
of the roof.

I don’t suppose that you would still hold something so trivial against me.
How could you? It didn’t mean anything anyway.
It was only an argument
followed by a kiss.
Don’t things like that happen to people all the time?
Hasn’t that ever happened to you before?
It’s happened to me so many times that I forgot to remember them all.
(and something tells me that’s a good thing)

I don’t know if I can trust someone who’s never had that happen to them before.

Lately, I have the strangest feeling, like I’m
being watched by someone who’s not there at all.
It makes me shudder,
particularly late at night, after I’ve turned off the television
and, for a second, just a second,
I think I see someone behind me in the glass.
Or maybe the person I see isn’t behind me at all.
Maybe it’s in the TV itself, watching me from its prison of wires and plastic.

I don’t know.

What surprises me most is that you still don’t say anything to me.
You must know I’m here.
Why are you still staring at the door?

I never took you for a fool before.

III. Nobody’s Home

So, I wanted to tell you what happened to me yesterday,
but I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance.
What luck to find you
here! Now!

I was waiting for a table at a restaurant,
and in walks this guy without a shirt on.
When he asked for a table for five, the host said no.
The man couldn’t understand why! Not for the life of him!
I knew that you loved stories like that, and I’m so happy,
Now that I was able to finally tell you.

What’s happened to you?

Did you hear me at all?
You’re not even smiling!
What’s happened to you?

I don’t understand.

I want to know why you treat me like this,
staring at the door like I wasn’t even standing here
talking to you.
Can’t you see that the lights are out,
and no one’s home?
Have you become blind, as well as deaf?

What’s happened to me, for that matter? I wish I knew.

IV. Talking In Circles Again

So now it’s over.
Done, finished, without a penny to its name.
Whatever IT is.
I don’t understand what happened, maybe I never will.
Does the world really spin in circles?
Talk about going nowhere.

I will never spin in circles.

So I’ve been waiting over here,
leaning on a fire hydrant, talking to you.
(or am I just talking to myself?)
You haven’t answered yet, but I’m hopeful that will change.
It’s not as though I need you to answer,
but I don’t want to walk away from you for the last time (again)
with you being rude like this.

I wish that I could be free of you, and know now that I never will.
This makes no sense,
this crossing
and double-crossing
what I’m saying.

Maybe I don’t know what I mean, or want, at all, and maybe I do. I don’t know.

I really thought that we would last.
I thought that our present would never be past.
I thought that, when all was said and done,
we’d always have each other, and that would be enough.
I was wrong.

So, goodnight, dear lover, don’t wait by the door anymore.

I’m not coming home.

I'm back again. Again.

Well, I think this is turning into a bit of a tradition.

I go away for a long time after promising to post regularly.

Not cool, huh? Ok, I'm going to try to be a bit more regular. First, I have to apologize for my Oscar picks. I was REALLY far off, which was frustrating, as I was 5 for 6 in the major categories in the 2 preceding years. But, The Departed? I didn't think THAT was going to happen.

I did have a good summer. I went on vacation, and attended not one, not two, but three weddings. (and people say that the Summer of Love is long gone? I know better . . . ) I was in one of them, and had a terrific time. It was one of the greatest honors that I've ever received, seriously. Of course, about 10 days after the wedding, the bride and groom packed up and moved to New York. How's that for loyalty? :-)

I'm going to be really glad when this week is finally over. I have to go to TaeKwonDo America's Grand National Tournament in Kentucky to test for rank (4th Degree Black Belt). I'm excited, and I feel prepared. But, as I'm sure you can imagine, I'm really ready for it to be over.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The OSCARS are here!

I just love Oscar season! Ever since I was a wee lad, I've watched the show. This year should be good for a few reasons. #1. Ellen Degeneres should be a good host, maybe even a great one. (it won't take much to beat Jon Stewart. . .) #2. The Best Picture race is WIDE open this year. Anyway, I know you've been waiting with baited breath, so here are my predictions in the major categories . . .

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Breakdown: This one is a no-brainer: Eddie Murphy. He won the major awards leading up to this and has had the most buzz, so I think that he’s got the best chance to win.

Predicted Winner: Eddie Murphy

If I was voting: Djimon Hounsou

Possible upsets: Alan Arkin, Mark Wahlberg.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Breakdown: Again, this one is a no-brainer. In fact, I think that it’s even easier to call than the previous category. Jennifer Hudson will win this one walking away.

Predicted Winner: Jennifer Hudson

If I was voting: Abigail Breslin

Possible upsets: Not going to happen.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Breakdown: This one’s tricky. Forest Whitaker has won all of the major awards leading up to this, AND he’s the heavy favorite. However, I think that the Academy may not be able to resist giving the honor to Peter O’Toole. Think about it: he’s been nominated 8 times and has never won, and it would be a classic Oscar moment.

Predicted Winner: Peter O’Toole

If I was voting: Peter O’Toole

Possible upsets: Forest Whitaker (although, technically, O’Toole would be the upset)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

I’m not even going to waste your time, because no analysis is necessary. Helen Mirren should already have a space cleared out for her little gold man.

Predicted Winner: Helen Mirren

If I was voting: Meryl Streep

Possible upsets: None.

Achievement in Directing

This should be Martin Scorsese’s year. However, people have been saying that for a long time. Like O’Toole, Scorsese has been disappointed on Oscar night a jillion times. However, look for Scorsese to finally get his due.

Predicted Winner: Martin Scorsese

If I was voting: Paul Greengrass

Possible upsets: Clint Eastwood. (NEVER count him out)

Best Motion Picture of the Year

This one is pretty wide open this year, which is very rare for a Best Picture race. I think that it’s fairly safe to count “The Queen” and “Letters from Iwo Jima” out, but that’s kind of risky. I think that the two main contenders are “Babel” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” I think that “Babel” will win it, although “Little Miss Sunshine” might just turn out to be the little film that could. . .

Predicted Winner: “Babel

If I was voting: “Letters from Iwo Jima

Possible upsets: “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Departed.”

Keep in mind that, no matter how certain a category may seem, this is the Oscars and they just love to confound us with their picks. . . (“Shakespeare in Love,” anyone?)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy New Year and random thoughts . . .

Happy new year to you all. Well, all two of you that may actually read this, at least! Here's to a great year filled with all kinds of great and glorious things.

Do you ever feel like your life is going nowhere fairly fast? I do, particularly lately. Before going deeper, I must make a few qualifying statements. I have a terrific family. Despite the occasions in which we feel the crushing need for mutual strangling, I really love each member of my family. Also, I have a great job that I love. I've really got it going well in these areas, so, you may ask, why am I complaining?

Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have much of a life. For most of my life, I’ve defined fulfillment as the ability to do the things that I enjoy doing, like playing video games, reading books, watching movies, and listening to music. Or, I’ve looked forward to certain events like concerts, or scheduled “hang out time” with friends. But, as of late I’ve been finding these activities strangely empty. They’ve always brought me joy and satisfaction, but now they don’t. It’s really weird. I mean, for about as long as I can remember, I’ve found satisfaction in these things and now I don’t. It’s almost like having the flashlight turned out in a dark room, and that flashlight was the one that I always used to find my way around.

Also, I’m part of the weirdest contradiction. When I’m in school, all I want is to be on break so that I have the free time to do these things. But now that I am on break and have the time, I find myself bored. I made the mistake of mentioning this to my Mother, and she had the "terrific" idea of putting me to work around the house. But, here’s the thing, while I want to have something to do, that’s not it. On the other hand, I do think that I’ve been becoming a somewhat more responsible person lately, at least in practical areas. For example, I’ve been making an effort to complete jobs that need doing, even if it’s not really my responsibility to do them. I’ve also tried to do things without grumbling, which I’m not always successful at.

Then, to top it all off, I find myself in a place of uncertainty about where my life is going to end up, and how I'll get there. (wherever there is)

So, forgive me for venting like this in a Happy New Year post and thanks for listening.

P.S. This song really sums up how I feel.