Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Move America Forward is a Republican Front

(or: the sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11 is happening NOW)

I will try to blog properly while a small rodenty critter runs around on me. Okay, so I have been thinking and reading more about Fahrenheit 9/11 since seeing the film on Friday night. Normally I don't ponder a film this heavily for this long, but Fahrenheit 9/11 has turned into something of a phenomenon. If you've been following the controversy you probably know by now that there have been all kinds of accusations about it being propaganda and that it shouldn't be screened in theatres. Most of this slander has come from a group calling itself Move America Forward, which purports to be a citizens group but is in fact funded by Republican money and put out by a Republican PR Firm (PR Darling, PR!) by the name of Russo Marsh and Rogers, although they would just DIE if you knew that. Oops, I guess you do know that now. The site is registered to these freaked out dudes, and if you want to send complaints, the administrative contact for it is Douglas Lorenz, Tell him how you feel about censorship in America.

So in my casual little review I mentioned that the film didn't really explore the censorship and suppression of dissent which happened post Sept 11. I would like to amend that now. I believe the film operates on a much more sneaky and intelligent level, bringing these issues right in your face by the virtue of it's existence. There is no way the current administration can allow a film like this to be shown, going so far as to invent a citizen's group like Move America Forward to hide behind while trying in vain to enforce national censorship. And yet everytime they try to tell people to boycott it, the demand to see it increases. Now another Republican group called Citizens United are trying to go to court to get it's blockbuster status curtailed by banning Fahrenheit 9/11 commercials from playing on television under election campaign laws. As someone who has seen election campaign ads, I don't believe Fahrenheit 9/11's ads are ANYWHERE as negative as any campaign ad.

This movie has stuck a major chord in America, one can only hope that from now on Americans won't be afraid to speak out against their fucked up neo-colonialist government. And let's hope Bush is outta there!

I wonder if the film had any effect in the suddent shift here in Canada away from Stephen Harper. Hmmm.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

What follows is a casual review of the by now infamous film Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's latest venture. Winner of the Palme D'Or at this year's Cannes film festival, much to this dismay of Godard (although I think most of that was sour grapes), there are some good points and some not so good points about this film.

To begin with, I have to say that although this has so far been one of the most informative and groundbreaking "mainstream" (getting a big release to me qualifies as mainstream) films to be made about September 11th, it is by no means the definitive September 11th film, nor does it purport to be. There are many important issues which are either skimmed over or skipped altogether. The treatment of Arab people after the attacks, for one thing. We don't hear about the people who were killed on American streets in retaliation for the suicide hijackings. Another unusual thing is that nowhere is the modern day concentration camp Guantanamo Bay mentioned. And while Michael Moore does an excellent job at explaining how both subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were done for profit, for the oil, not for American security, he doesn't delve into the fact that so much of the spin of these wars is from a colonialist perspective of bringing civilization to the "savages." Nevermind the fact that Iraq is the cradle of civilization.

The other unfortunate thing is that although the film is called Fahrenheit 9/11, it really doesn't fully explore the censorship of dissenting and critical thought after the World Trade Center was hit. There was a certain intellectual terrorism perpetuated by North Americans against North Americans when someone dared question where all this patriotism could lead us.

That all out of the way, essentially I liked the film. I talked about it with the two friends I went to see it with tonight (got a nearly sold out screening and people were lining up an hour before it started just to get seats) and while we picked at holes and brought up points that weren't touched upon on the film, it was still a very illuminating documentary which touched both intellectual and emotional nerves in it's audience. I think it's important to remember that Michael's really an All American Boy, and this film is primarily made with love for his fellow Americans. I think we also have to remember that this film is really about the Bush Administration and how it handled the crisis, how it used the crisis, and how the Americans have been flim-flammed by their government. It's also one of the first times I've seen the really brutal war footage of Iraq that has the same intensity as images from Vietnam.

I've heard rumour that Bush is really upset about some of the war footage getting out, as well he should be. Aside from that he comes off as a buffoon, a clown, and also one of the most money hungry presidents to date. Will this hurt him in the election? Probably, as it should.

Which brings me to the end of my casual little review and to a more immediate political act all my Canadian readers should keep in mind. The election is this Monday, June 28. Go to Elections Canada website if you don't know where your polling station is. I moved and didn't update my registration, but I found out by calling their lovely toll free help line that I could go to the polling station in my riding with a piece of mail and my id and I would be able to vote. So go vote everybody! If you don't vote you can't complain! Michael Moore is pushing for the Liberals or the NDP, we don't want Harper being buddy buddy with G. W. Bush!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I forgot my mood stabilizers

(and my anti-psychotics are running out)

Bleh, what a day. First I stepped on the g-damn fly strip that had fallen down a couple weeks ago and I never picked up. So I had fly strip stickiness all over my foot and leg. Then I had slept for twelve hours straight and was gonna be late for the bus, so I put on some old t-shirt and ran out the door to get to work. I get to work and realize number 1) My t-shirt is all linty, and number 2) I didn't bring anything interesting to read in the moments between making phone calls. As it happened number 2 turned out to be a good thing, because the supervisors were cracking down on people reading. Working in call centres sucks ass, but hey, it sometimes pays the bills and that's what counts.

Operation Emily Carr Registration is going horribly. If it's not one thing it's another. I called my family today to ask if they could help me out $$$-wise because I owe big money to ECIAD for tuition. They were sweet enough to help and called ECIAD and the cash was transferred in some magic telephone-credit card way. But then tonight when I got off work and went home to register, some NEW problem has cropped up. Anyway, apparently I am not allowed to register for classes still. I am wondering if they are secretly making up reasons for me to be unable to register. Maybe they don't want crazy biracial bigendered freaks overrunning the institution. Or maybe I have fallen into the giant ass-crack of ECIAD.

So to cap off, I am a mess. I am quitting smoking AGAIN, for probably the 12 billionth time. I need to see my doc about getting more anti-psychotics. And some weird guy I once cybered just signed into MSN. Oh go away! Meh, I want it to be the weekend again!!

I think tomorrow I may go to ECIAD to get help registering. On the other hand maybe not. Maybe I should just phone. Urg, but I am on the telephone all day!!

Remember those Sesame Street aliens that came down and say "Yip yip yip yip yip, uh huh, uh huh, telephone, brrrrrring! brrrrrrrring!" That's what working in a call centre is like.

But not nearly so cute.

This entry is pointless so there, it's not going to change just to please you! :P

Saturday, June 19, 2004

I blog therefore I am

There is a word for people who compulsively write. It is called hypergraphia. Anything can be pathologized if done to an excessive degree. And here I thought it was called "being creative."

You can brush your teeth too much. It is true, once upon a time I brushed far too much. My gums started being brushed right off my teeth, slowly being eroded by my intense urges to cleanse myself of plaque.

When I was a kid the dentist used to give me these pink pills that I could chew on (tasted good so I ate them as much as I could) that stained all the plaque so I could see all the places I missed. Being a weird and morbid child I loved those little pink pills. I loved anything bizarre like that.

The dentist doesn't give me pink pills anymore.

You can write too much. I blog therefore I am. Sometimes I feel like I have to keep producing so that people won't forget I exist. I am terrified of the void, of falling into the void, of a big social blackhole opening up and swallowing me. I fear my own wallflower tendencies. So I write. And I write and I write and I write, because when I'm talking with people in a group social situation people have a dreadful tendency to talk over me whenever I'm about to make some interesting point.

Perhaps writing too much is like brushing your teeth too much, slowly I will have written so much that my own existence will become redundant. No one will need to hang out with me because they can have the Thirza experience all on their own in front of their computer screen.

On the other hand it is ridiculous to fret about such a thing as hypergraphia when so many things are going on in the world. I'm just glad to have my own little spots here and there on the internet.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Paperwork is an instrument of Evil

I hate forms and paperwork and ahhhhh! I am drowning in it! Doing anything these days involves so much filing and sorting. Here is something I don't understand: birth certificates. I mean, obviously if you are here you were born right? And what about these cards I have to carry around that say I'm an Indian and belong to Little Pine reservation? Isn't that a little peculiar?

Bureaucrats sure do love these pieces of paper. When I went nuts there was a lot of paperwork to be done about the state of mind I was in. The commitment papers, those were creepy. Some lawyer's errand boy came by and thrust this legal thing in my face saying all these things about how long they could hold me against my will. And then when I was getting out of the hospital, more paperwork. My shrink wrote some piece of paper that came in triplicate about me going nuts and how now I needed to be on disability. Went to the welfare office with that, my lease, some other shit. Waited for two hours. Got restless, I WAS a newly released mental patient after all. Got denied money because I missed my appointment. I missed my appointment? What do you mean I missed my appointment? My appointment missed ME!

I can't believe even going crazy involves paperwork.

Anyway, so I am going back to school. Yay me. But it sucks because of the seemingly immense amount of paperwork, and now I am for some reason put on hold. I can't go back to school yet and I wish they would have told me why, but they didn't, and this is frusterating. I'm slowly sinking into a great pile of white eight by eleven inch paper. Someday someone will accidentally recycle me. Whoops, there goes Thirza. Made from recycled Thirzas.

If you're REALLY crazy you get a free bus pass. Now you know why there's so many weirdos on public transit.

Weirdos like me, who are suffocated by paperwork and so forth. People who couldn't hack a system where there's so many spaces to fill in with your personal information.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Love & Numbers: A tape is born!

Well, it's been three very gruelling years since my last video Anhedonia, which won an award and played at festivals here and there. Now I finally have a new tape out, after much effort and difficulty I might add. First of all I was working in Imovie. Why? Because my computer is stupid and needs upgrades before I can use the fancypants software I wish I'd been able to use. But I figured, oh, I'll just do my rough edit in imovie and then import it as a quicktime into Final Cut Pro. Ha ha ha. First of all, I had techie issues exporting it as a quicktime. Read on a dv forum on the net to locate the imovie.plist file and throw it away. For other people with this same problem DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR PLIST. It means imovie will forget your project ever existed.

So I died. And then I was ressurected, and worked for half an hour pulling my tattered plist out of the trash and finding the freakin' folder that it came from and replacing it. Sigh! This motivated me to just finish the video in imovie and export it to the digital camera I have on loan from the lovely people at Indigenous Media Arts Group so that I can say "Yes, I have a new tape!!"

Sometimes making art is trying. I forget who said it, but someone said intellectual labour takes you out of society. It is true. There are a lot of lonely moments making videos, when you're writing, or when you're editing, or if you're like me, when you're shooting as well. It can also be a great way to bring people together though. But I'm not about that right now. I'm about being alone and making art.

I think I like it. It's a fairly dark piece, but I think it captures the essence of global and psychotic paranoia, and the desire to find human contact and love in these troubled times. It's pretty intense. I think I want to make a fun video next, you gotta balance yerself out after all. But this little video (eight minutes running time) has been percolating at the back of my mind and was aching to get out. So it's out, I gotta make submasters and that, but it should be at Video Out distribution here in Vancouver by the end of the week, and at Videopool, V-Tape, and possibly GIV within a couple months. It's called Love & Numbers and it will be screening this fall at ImagineNative film festival in Toronto. I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Tales from Inside a Mental Hospital from Something Awful. Takes me back to the good old institutionalized days!

Tips for the Aspiring Director

Working on video all day has led me to the dreaded video blahs, that point in making a tape when suddenly EVERYTHING, the visuals, the audio, the freakin' STORY, becomes white noise. Zzzzzzzzz, an incessant buzz, and I just want to turn it off and it's my own freakin' movie.

Time for a break! A little goofiness to carry me over to the next editing day. There are good ways to take a break and there are bad ways to take a break. I went and saw a movie. Not always the number one option, after all, you've been working on video and/or film all day, and now you're going to see one? Weirdo! Yes, I am a weirdo. I went and saw Stepford Wives though. Something completely goofy and ridiculous and also starring one of my hollywood crushes. My hollywood crushes are legendary. I collect movie star crushes the way pre-teen boys used to collect hockey cards. Does anyone still do that?

In film school my breaks from editing weren't always the healthy choices. In fact, if you can come out of film school without having used and abused some substance, more power to ya! We went for beers so many times, oh my god. I'm surprised my liver still likes me. Beer breaks, pot breaks, cigarette breaks of course. But probably the all time worst drug I abused during a break was coffee. Too much coffee plus one undiagnosed manic depressive equals amusing yet scary trouble.

The worst time was when I got my hands on some chocolate covered espresso beans. I was an experimental film student after all. I decided that if one gave me a mild buzz and could get me through a 7am to 3am editing day, then by god, 15 chocolate covered espresso beans would get me to the moon baby! It started rather innocently with me laughing uproariously while fiddling with some reverb and electronic sound equipment. Editing room rave! I started spinning out of control, running between editing suites at emily carr, jumping around, talking way too fast, and then, the CRASH.

Thud. I was on the film department couch. Home was a fifteen minute walk away. There was no way I was going to get off that couch unassisted. Finally a dutiful friend (thank you Eileen) dragged me to her car and drove me up the hill and into bed, where I slept for the rest of the day.

So the moral of the story is one: do not rely on substance use for your diversions, and two: never eat fifteen chocolate covered espresso beans.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Gently Used Crappy Art for Sale

Being a blogger as opposed to a semi-anonymous diarist has changed my life in small ways. For one: I feel compelled to have a more interesting life than I currently lead, so that people reading these words won't feel cheated out of a good time. On the other hand, I know that some people become these weird public figures by having a blog, column, or other publicly read/viewed series.

I'm anti-everything though. So because these people become semi-known individuals, because I could become one of THEM, I have decided to avoid an interesting life. Nope, I will not start having sexual romps that take on mythic proportions. I will not subject myself to situations which put my life in the hands of fate. I won't eat worms, ew. I won't carve reader's names in my arms and sell the dirty bandages later. And you can't buy my used underwear.

My gently used underwear.

Remember when things were gently used instead of secondhand?

However, I have been considering putting out a small t-shirt series. As in, the series will be small, not the t-shirts, unless you like that sort of thing. Proceeds go to me and my art practice, and to little Clive who looks so cute when he wants food. More info will be coming soon!

You wouldn't want my underwear anyway, it's full of holes and the elastic is starting to show. I have the most un-sexy underwear, I mean, they aren't gramma gaunchies, but they're pretty boring.

In other news, I am working on that new tape, tomorrow I get the camera and then the fun begins, I really hope that it turns out. I think that it will. Eeeee, a new tape, how exciting and nervous! I hope I don't make crap. I'm always terrified of making crap, because it's such an easy thing to do. Oops, who put that crappy art there? I did? Oh my gosh, how embarrassing. It's this fine line between intelligent and crap. Eeeep!

Spooky times People!

This country is poised to swing all the way to the right again, there's a strange mp3 floating around on the net with an impact date of June 19th, artists are getting in trouble with the Patriot Act (it was bound to happen), and a weird killer rash is spreading around. I've been having tons of dreams about girls too. Kissing girls. Cute ones. I think one was Nicole Kidman. Speaking of which, to totally switch gears, did you see the Robbie Williams video she's in where she totally cruises a woman at the bar? Ow! Hot! It's so hot she sizzles! Ah, I love femmes.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the whole world going to hell in a handbasket. Well, yeah, it was going to happen eventually. I blame the baby boomers.

It's called Something Stupid. That song, the cover by Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman. Go download it because I said so and I'm the boss. :P

The Mayan calendar runs out in 2012. That gives us eight years to get our shit together. But I see stuff like this, and this, and I wonder what's going to happen to us. Maybe we'll find out we were just a science project that went incredibly awry and they've decided to start with a clean slate. My mother would like that, she's so stubborn. She'd point and laugh at all of us who believed in God. It would be like being on Candid Camera on a grander, more cosmic scale. You've been had, this was all an experiment. Although some noble things came out of the experiment. Like Mrs Butterworth. What could be nobler than Mrs. Butterworth? In my interior iconography she outdoes Mount Rushmore as a statuesque symbol of America. She doesn't outdo Miss Liberty though. Maybe I have unresolved issues with domesticity. Oh hooray, one more thing to process.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Pharmaceutical Chicken Little?

I think all of us, at some time or another, become terrified that we have some horrible ailment that is going to complicate or shorten our lives. For those of us who are lucky, we turn out to be wrong. I am lucky enough to be wrong. The doctor checked me out top to bottom, ran a battery of blood tests, and as it happens, I am in tip top shape. No diabetes, no parkinsons, just my bipolar tinging my life with a touch of sadness these days.

I am relieved. I am tired of worrying that my drugs, which really do help, could be responsible for destroying other parts of my health.

Aw, I'm hungry. I'm gonna run to the wee cafe in the hood and eat something. I will write something more intelligent later.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Heaven is for Worker Ants

Once when I was a little kid I was watching this little ant. A little red ant, it had found a large white feather. It had decided it needed this feather, needed to take it across this side walk. Centimetre by centimetre it struggled mightily, pulling with it the feather. I was amazed at how brazen it was, how determined and noble. It pulled and pulled. Half an hour later it was in the middle of the the sidewalk.

Somebody stepped on it. I cried. The little ant was dead, expired. Gone to ant heaven. The feather remained where the little ant comrade had fallen. I wanted to give the little ant meaning, wanted it's life to be worth something as noble as it had been. All I could do was move the feather to the other side of the sidewalk. After death, it's mission had finally been accomplished.

Sometimes I still cry when I think of the little ant, a tear seeps out larger than the ant's body had been. Sometimes I wonder if I should have moved the feather and the ant, but I know that would have wrecked the story.

On the Outside/From the Inside

I am listening to Karen Carpenter sing "I'm on top of the world, looking down on creation, and the only explaination I can find, is the love that I've found ever since you've been around. You've put me at the top of the world. Something in the wind has learned my name, and it's telling me that things aren't the same." Strangely appropriate these days. A friend seems to be slowly spinning into the maelstrom that is mania.

I know what it's like to be in the inside of a manic episode. The edges of everything have a magical sparkle, and while you feel like you're happy and brilliant and finally standing up for yourself, friends drop away, look confused, upset, and you don't understand why. I know what it's like to be inside of all that.

But today I am on the outside. Madness doesn't have any easy answers, only uneasy questions. Is this person REALLY the person I knew of as my friend? Or is this an entirely new being? Is it her fault she is terrorizing everyone around her? Or is it the disease that she won't admit she has?

So many questions. I know I was a holy terror when I was a maniac. She's a maniac, maniac, on the floor. Ah, memories I wish I no longer had.

Life has a funny way of balancing itself out. It wasn't until months and months after my episode that I started meeting and talking with people who have been there on the outside of madness, trying desperately to reach their loved ones and bring them back to the safe places. But to get people to safer places, often one must take them someplace colder, more inhuman, like the psychiatric system. I think there need to be alternatives. But how? And what?

My friend needs help, of some sort, but people are too afraid to do anything. I don't think there's danger yet, but there is that unravelling. When I think of her I see a person who's life is in tatters at her feet and she is so unaware of it. When I think of her I see myself.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

How Do You Fill YOUR Hole?

Yes, I affirm that it is important for lesbians to have access to pornographic materials which "do it" for them. God, I hope Nike doesn't get after me for using their slogan. Recently I went with a friend to a lesbian strip show. An hour before the show we were full of sushi and feeling psyched. Bring on the boobies! Four hours later, we were depleted. Sucked dry and horny as hell, surrounded by dykes on the make. Meat Market Madness, ladiez were taking it off and sweating all over each other while I quietly sipped my beer.

Some of us are not players, looking deperately for a happy medium between burlezzque and potlucks. Something sexy yet serious, monogamous leather ladies. Where are they? I am disillusioned with the dyke dating scene. Tired of being treated like an easy lay by the easy lays. The hottest dyke sex scene in a film recently was Mullholland Drive, and yet there was no sex if you really look at it. Sometimes the hint of something is dreadfully hotter than getting it all.

No one knows this better than me. With a list of unrequieted loves longer than the string on my mittens, I have had tortured moments of agony that in their own strange way become exquisite. But I am digressing. I was not going to talk about my non-existent love life. I was going to talk about The Hole.

The Hole is what everyone feels but no one talks about, like a fart in polite company. We all have a hole in our life that we try to fill with some meaning to make the meaninglessness of it all a little more bearable. Some people fill it with casual sex. In fact, this is how I got onto the topic of The Hole to begin with.

My ex's have all moved on to have millions of romps. And they seem to have filled their Hole, and it makes me jealous in a way, because it's so celebratory. whereas for me, it seems so much quieter, my own private passions. But what do I fill my Hole with? Not casual sex, the last time I did that I got lonely halfway through and wanted to go to sleep. I'm not really the type to have sex outside of marriage. Good thing it's finally legal for me to get married. I'm only being half serious.

But really, what is my Hole filling hobby? I have an internationally recognized art practice that sometimes is fulfilling. But if I had to say what fills my Hole, I would say Media. The Internet, Television, and Movies. Thank God I was born in the 20th Century or I would be completely empty. Is that shallow?

And what is the Hole? Is it really emptiness, the void? Or is it the core essence of ourselves, the one part of being human that we avoid dealing with out of fear of being the embodiment of mediocrity?

Too many questions. I wish I was shallow enough that all I needed was meaningless sex. Or that I had enough sense that I could be happy with casual sex. Oh well. Time to smoke a j and surf the net and ponder big worldly events so I don't have to think about my own teetertotter existence.

UPDATE: Relevant Link to The Parking Lot Is Full comic that I've been reading today.