My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Archive for July, 2008

More Dark Knight

July 19th, 2008 | Category: Opinions

Okay, there are things I didn’t like about The Dark Knight. I thought it ran a little long. I thought Harvey Dent’s CG disfigured face looked ridiculous. Christopher Nolan’s Gotham is very real, there’s not a hint of fantasy, it’s a look and feel that separates his Batman from the rest. It’s a style that is entirely consistent until Harvey Dent wakes up in the hospital. His disfigurement is rendered in CGI that just doesn’t fit within the context of the world Nolan so painstakingly built. Lastly, Christian Bale’s “Bat Rasp,” the voice he uses as Batman, is incredibly stupid. It ruins all of his dialogue, which is particularly unfortunate since he has far more dialogue in The Dark Knight than in Batman Begins.

However, the entire movie is absolutely worth seeing solely because of Heath Ledger. His Joker is entirely worth nine dollars and two and a half hours. The character is brilliantly acted and written. He’s so cold, so dark, but so driven. He truly enjoys mayhem and destruction. His entire purpose in life is to prove that chaos is the only true constant. The only thing that’s reliable is the fact that nothing is reliable. He’ll do anything to prove his point, even die. He’d gladly die for his cause. One scene in particular gave me the chills…

Batman’s moral code won’t allow him to kill, the Joker wants to prove that this code will break like anything. After an extended chase through Gotham, the Joker stands in the middle of the street with Batman quickly bearing down on him atop the Bat-cycle. He stands, not moving, not planning on moving. Being run down in cold blood would serve his purpose. He says, “come on, hit me…” over and over. In that moment, he’s ready to die, he wants to die, if it means completely destroying the part of Batman that is most precious. It’s my favorite scene in the entire movie, it’s why I’ll go again.

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A local thing

July 19th, 2008 | Category: Life,Opinions,Random Thought

So, this is kind of a local to Tampa hate blog. On Saturday the 19th we’ll be host to the first annual Red Bull Flugtag. Basically, the event involves people building homemade flying machines and riding them down a 30 foot ramp in order to soar over Tampa Bay. However, most of them don’t so much soar as crash and sink. Yet, it’s THE BIGGEST EVENT IN TAMPA, it’s on the news every day, people are burning with Flugtag fever. Some cities get art festivals or renowned stage-plays, we get Flugtag. Oh, and to make the event even more classy, their web site has super awesome embedded audio which makes any site extra cool.

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I just don’t know

July 18th, 2008 | Category: Opinions

So, I’m back from the midnight screening of The Dark Knight, and honestly, I don’t know how I feel about it. I know that whenever Heath Ledger was on-screen doing his Joker thing I was entirely entertained. His Joker is entirely different from Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Ledger’s Joker takes absolutely no pleasure in anything but chaos. He doesn’t care about money, or power, or controlling Gotham’s crime syndicate, or even his own life. He burns things just to watch them burn. He also has no definitive backstory. No name. No previous criminal record. He doesn’t exist until he becomes The Joker. He tells different stories about his disfigurement, but they’re all probably lies. Ledger played the role perfectly. I could have easily watched two hours of the Joker being crazy and talking about chaos, but sadly, I suppose, they had to have other characters and such. Though, I was really happy to see Cillian Murphy back as the Scarecrow for a few minutes.

Maybe I have to see the movie again, under less hyped up circumstances. I know I should be raving about it, but something just felt off.

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Creating the Fantastic

July 17th, 2008 | Category: Opinions

I read some pretty strange fiction. It’s dark, it’s surreal, it’s gorgeous. Whenever I read something like Veniss Underground or The Etched City, I always wonder who could take such truly bizarre works of the imagination and create them visually. Who could bring such strange creatures and worlds to life in movies? Anyone? Until last night, I didn’t really know. Until last night, I hadn’t seen Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

I’ve decided that Guillermo del Toro can take anyone’s wildest dreams and bring them to life on the big screen. He takes cold CGI and gives it warmth and vibrance. His imagery is so absolutely outlandish, yet utterly believable. I guess I should have realized it after Pan’s Labyrinth, but I didn’t actually see that in its full theatrical glory. Also, there’s such a sharp contrast between Hellboy and Hellboy II, the former being a fun, but typical comic book movie and the latter being a simple yet elegant fairy tale with absolutely stunning visuals. With the right budget, I think del Toro could bring any world alive.

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Emmy Time

July 17th, 2008 | Category: Life

Well, the Emmy nominations are in and This American Life is up for five, four of which are attached to my episode

That show saved me in many ways, so I’m really glad to see it so recognized. I hope my actual life lives up to the episode.

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A Good Experience?

July 16th, 2008 | Category: Life

So, I’ll be honest, I think that overall I’m much better at writing about bad things that happen. If zombies showed up tomorrow I’d definitely write something spectacular, whereas if the Rapture came and it turned out that God decided to just forgive and forget everything, I’d probably be inclined to ascend and not write about God being such a good sport. Still, I have to say…

I have had some really fucked up trache changes, especially the one in June. However, my last one, on Monday, was pretty spectacular. My anesthesiologist was Doctor Devenard Manger, an absolutely excellent doctor. I’ve had him before and he always treats me perfectly. He’d heard about my last astonishingly bad visit to the OR and said he’d make sure that nothing like that will ever happen again. He gave me his card and said to just let him know before I come in, he’ll make sure he personally handles every procedure. I fell asleep feeling safe and happy, which is all I really ask.

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2.6!

July 16th, 2008 | Category: Random Thought

Well, it was a little harrowing, but we are up and running under WordPress 2.6! I’m really glad I backed up my old install because I screwed something up on my first two upgrade attempts. Had I lost this blog, I’d have walked off my roof, which would actually have been the most amazing suicide of all time

The Father: Wait. What happened?

Jesus: Yeah, no shit, he walked off his roof.

The Father: Wait… What?

Jesus: He. walked. off. his. roof.

The Father: You’re shitting me.

Jesus: No, Father, I’m not shitting you. He definitely walked, off his roof.

The Father: Really?

Jesus: Sigh…

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Inspiring?

July 13th, 2008 | Category: Life

A reader recently wrote…

“I wonder sometimes how you feel about being an inspiration. Because you are, as many have noted (including myself).”

I’ve actually been thinking about this and wanting to write about it for awhile. I understand that people think my life is admirable and that I’m brave, but I feel oddly about it. I mean, if my life and the way I write about it helps people, I’m glad, but I’m not trying to be inspirational. I look at myself and I see a list of flaws a mile long. As I think about it, the idea that I inspire people, I’m trying to figure out why it bothers me. I guess there are a few reasons. I feel like people admire me for things that I’m not. People tell me that they love my “positive attitude,” like I’m some sort of motivational speaker, but honestly, I’m naturally melancholy. I’m a little dark, sometimes I’m a lot dark. Sometimes I feel like Aimee Mann is absolutely fucking right about everything. Sometimes I feel like she’s writing about me. 

but you sit there in the darkness, 
and you make plans but they’re hopeless
Another favorite:
So here I’m sitting in my car at the same old stop light 
I keep waiting for a change but I don’t know what 
So red turns into green turning into yellow 
But I’m just frozen here on the same old spot 
And all I have to do is to press the pedal 
But I’m not      

People are tricky you can’t afford to show 
Anything risky anything they don’t know 
The moment you try – well kiss it goodbye 

I have felt just like that so many times. Wait. Before we go any further, I have to say right now, the core of my melancholy isn’t solely from my disability, I definitely don’t want people thinking that, that answer is way too easy. I’m not that archetype. My disability causes obstacles, definitely, but my frustrations are more born from difficulties that I have getting around things that are in my way. I don’t lie around wishing that I could walk, it’s more that I just want the workarounds to be easier. My family’s just as fucked up as anybody’s, but for as long as I can remember, being disabled has been a non-issue. I was never told that I’m “special,” nor was I raised with the idea that being disabled means that I’m expressly limited or broken. I wasn’t raised with the saccharin-sweet idea that I can do “anything,” but I was also never told that couldn’t do things. My disability just has certain facts. I can’t walk, or drive a car, or play football, but so? There are a million other things to do. I grew up with the idea that I can always try just about anything, though I probably have to do it differently. So, if I am melancholy, unsure of myself, it’s more because of general anxiety than me being disabled. So, I hope we have that straight.

At any rate, I’m definitely not one with an eternally sunny attitude. I’d feel better if I didn’t get complimented for it. I am drawn to dark music and fiction for a reason, and that reason sure as shit isn’t because I’m constantly chipper.

I’m not perfectly brave either, but I feel like people think that I am. I’m nervous and uneasy as often as anybody. I’m scared every time I cough a lot. I’m scared before every trache change. I’m scared because so many of my thoughts go unsaid. I’m scared of dying. I’m scared there’s a Hell and I might go there. Sometimes I’m scared to leave the house, or even sleep. I don’t feel particularly heroic. I was so freaked out after seeing The Diving Bell and the Butterfly that I drank a bunch of brandy and passed out. That definitely wasn’t the brave thing to do.

Now, here’s the tricky part. I’m melancholy, prone to reverie, doubtful, fearful, yet I’m also endlessly hopeful that as bad as anything is or feels, there’s a chance it will get better. I’ve experienced some spectacular things, so I totally know that life can be amazing. Good experiences are like heroin. I’ll endure a million bad experiences just for the chance to have things that I know are incredible. Something inherent in me keeps me chasing that fix. No matter how down I feel sometimes, I can’t quit. I’ve hit bottom so many times in the last two years, but whenever I hit that dark place, something about me lights up and I go again. Maybe I’m just an addict to anything that gives pleasure. I don’t entirely know. I just know that if I want to see Europe, or wake up next to Sara every morning, yeah, deep down, I’m willing to die for the chance. One can just as easily die living a life they don’t want.

If I come off as inspirational, that’s fine, but it’s also not intentional. I just want what I want. I’m flawed, I break, I adapt and I keep going. That is how I want people to see me.

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Morbidly Obese

July 12th, 2008 | Category: Life,Random Thought

I feel the need to note that by way of my peg tube and lots and lots of foods, I’m clearly becoming morbidly obese. I didn’t actually realize it until my Sara pointed out these photos…

Pre-peg

Post-peg

Please, somebody, call or write Richard Simmons, or even Maury Povich. Help me get the help I obviously can’t get myself.

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Diving Bell: The Interactive Experience

July 12th, 2008 | Category: Life

So, it’s been kind of an odd experience being social post-trache. Honestly, at the beginning the entire prospect of making new friends and keeping old ones seemed really difficult. At 27, I was pretty used to talking. I always used to be fairly socially self-conscious, internally far more than outwardly. I’d run everything by my little internal censor thirty times, then he’d run it by a committee of nuns, then if everything passed I’d say it. I also had this problem with my jaw getting tight, which definitely made me feel awkward sometimes. Still, I was talking, which seemed better than not talking. However, when life goes really insane, you either adapt or break. I’m adapting more than breaking. Though, I’ve broken enough too.

Well, Tuesday, I decided I’d go meet an old high school friend for drinks at Starbucks, we started talking again through the magic of Facebook. Lately I’m oddly compelled to catch up with people I knew back then, though it’s a little hard to explain why. Like I said, I was pretty reserved back then, and I had a great deal of social and general anxiety that kept me from doing a lot. Today, however, I’m not afraid anything that used to scare me, I’m sure as Hell not afraid to talk to people. I suppose almost dying a bunch of times, a little drug addiction, some hard drinking and a lot of brilliant sex changes a fellow’s perspective. I guess I want people to know I’m not that quiet kid who got lots of A’s, but didn’t really talk to people. At any rate, I invited Priscilla for coffee, which ended up being steamed chocolate soy and tea.

So, I start off by making a few spectacular decisions. I pick the busiest Starbucks in the area at 5 PM, a time during which it’s guaranteed to rain torrentially. We pull into the parking lot and on cue, the sky promptly opens up and rain begins to fall. Flashes of lightning result in instant and astonishingly loud claps of thunder. It’s probably like what Noah saw right before things went really wrong. So, my assistant, Sarah (with an H), and I get fairly damp hoofing it inside. Since I haven’t seen Priscilla in over half a decade, I decide to go all out and bring along my travel computer and my switch in order to converse via the wonders of technology. The thing is, I don’t actually take my computer out much socially. It’s a lot to carry, I can’t move around and use it, and if my hand isn’t warm enough I can’t use my switch, which makes the computer useless anyway. Taking a computer and feeling the need to take a computer everywhere is a struggle for me. I find that if who I’m with is willing to talk via the alphabet, I have a much more relaxed time. It’s nice to be able to take a break from typing, from being tethered to so much technology. It’s nice to just go somewhere and not worry about having to use my switch, not having to worry about my hand being too cold to type anything. Really, I don’t like the idea that without a computer I’m completely fucked, it’s unsettling having to totally rely on technology just to have a conversation or to say that I can’t breathe. Going out and having a good time, feeling safe without a computer is truly freeing. I learned that from my Sara. We can go anywhere, have spectacular conversations and not be tied to technology. Still, using the alphabet is different for everyone. Some people still can’t get used to it, the potential slowness, the initial awkwardness. Intellectually, I understand it, but it’s discouraging sometimes. I can’t talk to my brother when we go out, he still can’t get used to my third language. Thus, my plan was to sit outside, away from the air conditioning, to chat digitally with Priscilla. 

Of course, with the torrential downpour, we’re inside. It’s ice-cold because of a state law that demands all Florida buildings to be hyper air-conditioned from April to October and we’re relegated to one tiny table because nobody wants to sit in the rain, but nobody wants to go home either. Also, I’m rather damp, making my hand extra cold. The computer is useless. Now, some months ago, I would have been pretty mortified. I’d have assumed that Priscilla would be bored and hate me. I’d have wished I’d stayed home. Fortunately, that me died, probably after the last trache change. Seriously, sitting there in the freezing cold Starbucks, the lights flickering after cracks of lightning, all I’m thinking is, “Holy Christ, this is going to be fun to write.”

Priscilla arrives and Sarah explains that my hand is really cold, so I can’t use the computer, but we can still talk using the alphabet. Unlike many, Priscilla catches on quickly. She takes over of my fancy pen, and my little notebook, we don’t have to translate through Sarah. I should explain, talking with the alphabet involves a person saying each letter of the alphabet and me signaling with my eyebrows when to stop at a particular letter. Then, each letter gets written down in a notebook. I have a ridiculously decadent forty-five dollar pen, because if I have to do something so absurd, I should have a really nice pen. It ends up, at least from my perspective, being a really nice evening. I want to tell her, “it’s Diving Bell, the Interactive Experience!” But I don’t. It’s a lot of letters and I’m not certain she’s even seen The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It’s a joke I let slip. Interestingly, we end up meeting a woman who saw me on TAL and was quite “inspired” by me, convinced that I’d be really excited about “accessible playgrounds,” and a professor from my stint in design school. He was absolutely certain I’d done a spectacular project on jazz in the roaring 20s and I totally said I remembered, but the closest I’ve ever come to the roaring 20s is dressing as a zombie flapper for Halloween. Still, it’s much easier to let him remember my project. 

I had a good time, I’m pretty sure Priscilla had some fun, and I definitely got something to write. 

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