Friday, September 29, 2006

So I had this dream last night...

So I had this dream last night…

Normally conversations like this don’t end well for listeners, especially if I’m involved. But bear with me. Um…bare with me? Hmm…now I’m thinking of naked bears…as opposed to clothed bears like Yogi (even though he only wore a hat and tie, that kinky bastard!)

What? Don’t stare at me like that….

Anyways, so I have this dream where I’m a part of an elite fighting group for a king. Sorta like the Sovereign Guard (Hi, Sherri!) but we dress in black and kill people We kill ‘em good. The king has his normal, everyday, 9-5 cannon fodder soldiers. Then he’s got his knight in shining armor, went to the College of Whooping Ass with a Sword, tin-can on a horse, warriors. And then he has us, who, if we ever took a break from killing folks, could be the Deans at the College of Whooping Ass with a Sword. There are 9 of us, about, all with different abilities and skills but each one of us as deadly as the last. What was my power/skill? Well, apparently drawing pictures of naked women and having long, wavy blond hair. Yes, in this dream I was white. I’m still trying to figure that one out. I keep hearing ‘What’s a Nubian?’ from Chasing Amy. Moving on…

So I’m walking with the sexy, lithe princess, who’s a bit too…um…Nelly Furtado Promiscuous for the king’s tastes, when she asks me, ‘Sir Knight, what emotion were you trying to convey in this picture here?’ Then I see the picture she’s referring to; a woman lying in bed, under the covers, eyes closed, and a secretive smile on her face. But where are her hands? Oh. OH! Ahem! I hemmed and hawed and didn’t answer the princess, trying to find something else to talk about when the Kings men attack US!

(When I woke up, I thought to myself ‘I should have said “Self Discovery, Princess”! That would have been priceless!’)

Me, being the stalwart warrior of blade and brawn that I am, was not surprised by the surprise attack and engaged the foolish soldiers. We were sworn to protect the Princess and I guess the King got word that our leader had been protecting her with a little sword play of his own, if you get my drift. We wasted those guys pretty quick. They Are cannon fodder, after all.

Then came the archers and their clouds of arrows that they rained down upon us. More of my friends fell but me and three others escaped the castle into the deep forests nearby. That’s when things turned strange.

So we’re running from the castle when 6 evil Keebler elves, armed with swords, pop up out of no where and my friend says ‘Oh No! Not the Tricksters!’ My fleeing sword-brother runs Back to the castle, scaling a wall towards an empty room. Except the Tricksters magic is based on making people see things that aren’t there or not seeing things that are there. That empty room? Yeah…full of the kings elite soldiers. Poor guy is a pincushion before he’s inside the window.

I managed to shrug off the magical attack and take a few of the damn cookie-pushers down as I’m running. But then things go from bad to worse as the king lets out his hordes.

Suddenly, I’m surrounded by hundreds of evil, mace-wielding, green leather jerkin & trouser wearing oompah-loompahs who cackle manically and jitter around, all hopped up on Go-juice. So they jump us and I go into serious Jet Li mode…I mean I’m twirling and kicking and punching and dodging. The midgets are flying all over the place. It's AWESOME!

I can see the stream though. If I can just cross the stream, I’ll survive, I’ll be okay.

But then, to my horror, the world starts slowing down. The sappy Yo-Yo Ma cello & flute combo pipes up, and I start MONOLOGING!

Oh No! I know what this means! I don’t want to die! I’m totally gonna get raped by the crackhead oompah-loompahs if I die…I’m so close…but then there was only the monologue and then the fade to black.

That’s when I woke up…

What does my dream have to do with the price of milk? No clue, but I thought it was interesting and vivid enough to tell you poor, poor readers about it.

In other news…

Not much going on in the world of Benticore. Well, there was the party for Daimushi when he came home for a week. THAT was bananas. Raquita did a fabulous job organizing and getting our home ready, while I played the dutiful worker bee. We stayed up all night Friday cooking (3 meat Lasagnas, a roasted veggie lasagna that might be the single greatest pasta dish ever conceived, and a German chocolate cake that should probably be outlawed as a controlled substance) and painting (the stairwell, Cammy’s playroom), and cleaning (pretty much every space we had time to put a mop, duster, or broom to. The party was a smashing success, even though we told everybody 4pm when we meant 6pm so were still cleaning and cooking when the fist 15 guests arrived. Then we (me) stayed up till 6am Saturday keeping the party going, and then cleaning. I washed dishes for 3 hours straight Saturday night. Sunday we KINDA got to sleep in, but still didn’t really get to sleep because Daimushi had to get going (he spent the night) so we had to wake him up. But all in all, everybody enjoyed the party, and ate well. Now if we can only recover financially from it, we’ll be all good.

Going to the Game Saturday to watch the Cards either get back on the good foot or continue one of the biggest end-of-season collapses in baseball history. I’m rooting for the former. Not much in the way of housework this weekend, I think, since we gotta get Cammy some clothes.

My question to you is…

Because my imagination sometimes (read: always and without fail) takes me to places that I don’t always want to go (read: I like it and it makes me grin but makes me impossible to have normal conversations with some days), I’m having some trouble imagining dreams that people might have that are mundane and don’t involve 1001 Freudian images to delight, disgust and confuse. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. So I wanted to ask, or start a sort of meme, I guess, about your dreams. Here it goes:

Worst Nightmare: The one where an immortal, relentless being hunted me, trying to kill me. No matter where I went or what I did, this demon was inexorable drawn to me. It knew where I went and I couldn’t shake it. I knew that if the demon touched me, it would burrow its way into my chest and make my heart into an egg for its millions of babies, to soon burst out of my chest and destroy the world. The demon? A Worm. But what a worm! Nothing could kill it! (Did I mention that I have a small phobia of worms? I don’t mind snakes or spiders but worms *read anything slimy, segmented, or having more than 4 legs* creeps me the fuck out) In the dream I knew, that no matter what I did, where I went, I would never be safe because sooner or later, the Worm would find me.


Best or Favorite Dream: The one where the cyborg is hunting me and my friend and we devise this intricate plan to go to City Hall, get the blueprints for my house, find the gas line, lure the cyborg into the house, light the gas line and blow both my house up and the cyborg. Um…you know, in the dream, it made perfect sense and was the coolest Idea EVER! But before we could get to the place in City hall with all the records, the cyborg caught up to us in the elevator. I woke up as the thing revealed the long, sickle-shaped knife it had underneath it’s coat. Sounds like a nightmare but it seemed SO COOL! Like a videogame that I ALMOST won but took a wrong turn at…I never had that dream again but I still remember it like it had happened last night…

But why did I want to blow up MY house? Huh…

Reoccurring Dream: There is a carnival that I travel to in my dreams every couple of years It has the strongest scents of popcorn and fireworks, autumn and wind. Each time I come, things have changed, and the woman who runs the ticket booth knows everyone by name and knows that time has passed. The rides in the carnival are interesting if not spectacular but something always happens that I find particularly resonant, like the time I saw myself on several monitors. In the monitors I took my own life a I was being pursued by some gangsters. I later had that dream. So a premonition of a dream within a dream, I suppose. I wonder around the place, talk to some people I haven’t seen since last I was there, and then, as dusk approaches, the park closes down, everybody files out, and the lady at the booth winks and smiles at me and says, ‘See you next time Benticore’. I think its about time to revisit the carnival.

So. If you wouldn’t mind helping me out, write out your dreams for all to see. Or email em to me, if you wish. I don’t care how strange or mundane, just as long as they’re yours. Thanks in advance and have a great weekend.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

I'm also sick...Just so you know...

I’m Late! I’m Late!

I’ve been meaning to post a…um….meaningful blog here for awhile, but those pesky constraints of the space-time continuum (You know, no time travel, no 36 hour days, things of that sort) have made blogging a bit more difficult as of late. The spirit was willing, the flesh was willing, but reality was weak. It’s hard to get used to the structural integrity flaws of our reality, and sometimes it really fucking chafes, but I’m dealing with it. Sort of. I mean…I don’t try to talk to my hallucinations anymore. I just look the otherway, and sing songs to myself while they implore me to save the Monkey God Kifu and his Rod of Greasing Justice (Not Greasy, but Greasing, as in it’s function is to grease OTHER things…don’t ask) and such. Not THIS boy, firmly rooted in his comfortable, yet flimsy reality. I don’t need the distractions. Why? Glad you asked. I wrote a song about it…like to here it? Here it go…

Mr, Miyagi would be proud, and then he’d give me one of those classic cars, then I’d run his old ass over for making me paint his fence…

I’ve been the painting fool this week, doing a number on our forlorn and forgotten stairwell, to adorn it in the most glorious of colors: mustard yellow. It looks much better than it sounds though, and it shines with a warm, sunset glow, that reminds me that no matter how much I try to deny it, the Monkey God Kifu awaits his champion and…


Anyway…the wall looks nice. I painted it…it glows. Still gotta paint the baseboards white, and try not to splatter paint in my eyes…again…

After the stairwell, I’ll take my +2 Brush of Painting (NERD ALERT!) to the Foyer, and then the dining room. Have to finish it all by Friday. Why? Well, because the illustrious Daimushi has returned to the good old US of A for a week, and we’re hosting a mega party on Saturday. But since we’ve um…invited a whole bunch of hungry, dirty people to our house, we (read everybody else) thought it would be a good idea to expand the shindig to both floors.

But aren’t you remodeling upstairs right now, Benticore? Isn’t it filled with the paraphernalia of DIY home remodeling? Why yes, gentle reader. Yes it is. So I gotta get on the good foot, so to speak, and get all the stuff done. A man’s work aint never done…But Wait! There’s More!

Me and my Evil Twin have decided that you should read it…

So I’v given the first 1/3 of Lion and Spear to my loving, darling wife to read. Ahem. I don’t know what else to say. I usually don’t like other people reading my work when its unfinished, especially as unfinished as it is right now, but she asked me, and then I, in a moment of terrifying clarity, asked her to read it for me, knowing that a) it’s a rough-rough draft with lots of things (characters, plot, title, language, little stuff like that) still up in the air. So she’s reading it right now and I’m trying, trying, Trying not to bug her about it with thousands of questions about what she thinks. And THAT is hard. I’m a meddler. I meddle. I wasn’t able to cook properly until I leaned to control my meddlesome ways enough to let something sit in whatever oily substance it might be cooking in without poking and prodding it like a dinosaur egg. I’ve burned water because I kept watching the pot…that damn water never boiled but it sure did burn up! But I digress.

So she’s got my fledgling novel in her strong, womanly hands and I’m both exhilarated and scared shitless. I desperately want the novel to be good, the idea to resonate in others as much as it does in me, and that the writing not hold the ideas and the images back. But I’m a long ways away. That’s fine with me; writing is a long process and the people who think it’s easy are either crazy or have never really done it before. But I also have a tendency to belittle my own efforts. Hence the Evil Twin. When it comes to my own works, I’m probably my own worst critic. I can be harsh. Cruel and merciless even. Sometimes Kifu hides his face in shame when I get started on how much SUCK I can incorporate into a single paragraph. I’m normally not like that at all. But my evil twin, my darkside, boy, that motherfucker is an ASSHOLE! But just to me! Everybody else cant really tell us apart.

But Raquita can. She hates the Evil twin as much as I do and she calls him on his shit, every time, without fail. So I’ve had to bottle the twin. So…not only do I not get to pepper my wife with questions at 500 QPM (Questions per minute) but I ALSO have to keep my snarky, self-depreciating comments to myself. Now THAT is a hard task. Hard, but I’ll not shirk from it. The bottom line is this; the novel, it aint great right now, but its very rough, and it needs polish and help. I think it can be good. It might even be better than good. But I can’t give up now. And I won’t The Crystal Kingdom of Ghorivaan needs me. Take THAT evil twin!

*High-fives Kifu, the Monkey God*

*Cries in corner*

Welcome to the Inner Circle

Let me let you in on a little secret; I love conspiracy theories. Love em. The stranger the better. JFK killed by a penguin assassin on loan to the CIA because of Kennedy’s Anti-Penguin rhetoric? Great! Aliens landing on the moon to set up alien fast food franchises serving human burgers? Awesome! I loved the Illuminatus! Trilogy and highly recommend the book to anybody who has the intestinal fortitude to wade through it. But I digress.

A good friend of mine recently started working for Starbucks and he noticed, during his training, some mention of their logo, as a siren. He asked what the origin of the logo was and nobody could rightly tell him, so he asked our resident sleuth Gikinmaro to take up the case, and take it up he did. Gikinmaro eventually found a post that goes in depth into explaining all interesting and, frankly, creepy images and ideas that are found not only in the Starbucks Logo, but in the Name itself. IF you’ve got like 10 minutes, I HIGHLY HIGHLY suggest you read this before you order that half calf mocha latte.

That’s it for now. I’ve got to prepare for this party tonight so I’ve got lots of work to do. Take care of yourselves and each other and don’t forget to spay and neuter your pets.



Monday, September 11, 2006

Joy and Villainy..all in 1 post!

Absolute Joy in a jar…or in this case, 4.8mb

I have found the secret to happiness.

Not the secrets of life eternal (who’d want to live forever? That’s why I always though vampirism was the worst of curses. Everything changes, but you stay the same, and the world grows more alien around you)

Not the secret even to eternal happiness.

Probably not even the secret to Your Happiness.

But I found mine – The Price is Right (Techno Remix)

There is something sublime in the chorus, the melodic chant that makes me grin from ear to ear like I’ve just gotten out of school for the summer, my grades are good, and I’ve got friends coming over for a night of video games and soda and other nerdly delights that does my heart good.

I can (and most likely will) be humming the theme song to the Price is Right, for the rest of the day. Can’t you hear it?

Bah-bah Bu-daaaaaah
Bah-bah Bu-daaaaaah
Bada bada bu-dada bu-dada
Bah-bah Bu-daaaaaah

Bah-bah Bu-daaaaaah
Bah-bah Bu-daaah-deee-daaaah
Badah badah badah bedah-dah-dah
(Repeat ad nauseous)

For the love of all that is right in the world of aural pleasure, I can hear it! I can FEEL it! I’ve found MY happy, in a small downloaded file that pumps musical pleasure into my ear at 192kbps. For me, today is a beautiful day. I hope yours is as blessed.

OH Yeah, before I forget…

Remember how I went on this long rant about the lack of Black Super Villains (BSVs) and how if I could just get a good, competent, ruthless villain, I’d be happy?

Leave it to Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy, Angel, and the Unforgetable Firefly series to right the wrongs of the universe and make all well and good in the land of make-believe.

Enter Serenity’s Assassin, ‘The Operative’.

Ruthless. Cunning. Faithful. Self-Aware. Dedicated. Powerful.

Yeah. I’d say that’d work as a bad-ass villain. Here’s some dialog from the movie…

The Operative: I'm sorry. If your quarry goes to ground, leave no ground to go to. You should have taken my offer. Or did you think none of this was your fault?
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: I don't murder children.
The Operative: I do. If I have to.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Why? Do you even know why they sent you?
The Operative: It's not my place to ask. I believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: So me and mine gotta lay down and die... so you can live in your better world?
The Operative: I'm not going to live there. There's no place for me there... any more than there is for you. Malcolm... I'm a monster.What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.

Sigh…I can rest easy now…

(I know it’s the 5-year anniversary of 9-11. I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said. Besides, we’re supposed to be in the Pursuit of Happiness. That’s what I’m doing. If I don’t do that, then the terrorists win, right? Right.)

Bah-bah Bu-daaaaaah...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Et Tu, stupid blog?

I've received some reports about the blizzog acting up since I posted those three cute movies over the weekend, so I deleted them. If you still are having problems with posting comments or seeing the blog, hit me up an email, and I'll try to work something out.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Be careful what you wish just might get it...

So a while ago, I went on a semi-rant about the lack of black super heroes and villains in comics and movies. Primarily I was focused on the lack of villains, mainly due to the lingering stereotypes that have pervaded fiction, principally that black folks aren't smart enough to BE super villains, that deep down inside we're the best people in the world and that its truly our poverty and our circumstances that make us resort to crime. If given all the opportunities in the world, we'd NEVER resort to criminal mastermind-ery.

HOGWASH! Boulderdash, I say, with great gusto and furious flying spittle!

But it is an old rant, and one that I had thankfully laid to rest, engaging myself in other, gentler pursuits, like The Onion, Joystiq, and Rapebear (Go to the June archives and scroll down to the 'On Follow-up Calls' entry. Just trust me).

But my good friend Gikinmaro had other plans for me. Other plans indeed. You see, my amigo, The Gikin, as he is sometimes fearfully named by those foolish enough to anger him, is an avid collector of comics and graphic novels. This all started when he birthday-gifted me with a copy of Truth: Red, White, and Black, which is the story of how the military perfected the serum that gave Captain America his powers on black soldiers long before they gave it to Steve Roberts. He loved the comic so much and it opened his eyes to the artform in its entirety and how it had grown (mostly) out of its infantile stages of protraying women as bra-busting sex objects and men as tough-as nails, musclebound freaks who get off on violence. Since that day he has been a virtual comic-hound, seeking out the best, the most interesting the most poignant comics that have graced the printed page. And then he shares them with me.

Oh how I enjoy those random late-night visits when he shows up at my doorstep, a handful of comics in one hand, a ridiculously bad horror flick in the other, and a grin on his lips that says 'Oh wait till you see what I got for you THIS week!'

This was how I came upon the wonderful graphic novel 'It's a bird!' by Stephen Seagle, a semi-autobiographical tale in which a young comic artist must come to grips with the task of writing a superman comic, even though he hates superman with all his heart. The story is well crafted, deeply personal and resonates on many different levels. Definately worth the read if you have even a passing interest in comics or superman.

I have since been bitten with the comics bug. The graphic novel bug. I had it when I started reading The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman but it died down again when I didnt have the heart (or the money) to persue any more comics, partly for fear of buying stinkers and burning the damn things on the barbecue grill as kindling.

But today, gentle reader, today was a new day! Something inside me told me to take up the old rant, but this time Do something about it. I Searched for Black Superheroes. Like a wandering fool in search of enlightenment, I asked my question to the Google Priest ontop of the mountain (or in the browser) who brought me without delay to...

The Museum of Black Superheroes.


I hit the muther-trucking GOLD MINE! They're Here! They're all here! Blade! The Green Lantern! War Machine! Even the very first black Marvel Superhero, the subtly named 'Whitewash'! I was overjoyed. I was ecstatic! I clinked on the gallery pictures, which brought up websites of black heros I hadnever heard of!

This lead me to a new site, Urban Style Comics. It is here that my joy waned and my trepidation grew. Dreadlock? Okay, he seems pretty cool. I guess. Son of a God, Blessed with powers beyond mortal reckoning. Dreadlocks. Seems pretty straight forward. But then we get to Jihad-A.D.? Huh? Pharohn? Okay. But then...

Nubian X?? and happiness completely replaced by confusion and despair.

But, bless my heart, I kept clicking.

That led me to (seriously, thats the name. Click on the link!) another Urban Style Animation. Whats Urban Style? Oh, I guess its city themes and black folks. Cause all us black folks live in the city. What, didnt get the memo? Its around here somewhere...

Well, Gettosake, has all sorts of wonderfully odd superheroes, from the powerful Chocolate Thunder and the enigmatic Johnathan FIERCE!, to the sublime Venus Kinkaid and the artful Soul Sista. I mean, with heroes like these, how can we, as black people, NOT rise up?

But this is what you wanted, isn't it Benticore? Black Superheroes? A place where the african-american hero can thrive and tell tales that matter culturally to you and your kin? Isn't this the genesis of your dream of the eventual and inevitable Black Super Villain? Isn't this your WISH?

I thought so. But now I'm not sure. I know these artists have poured a lot of hard work into their product and I dont mean to make light of their achievements. It's's almost a pyrric victory. One of the reasons why I never got into comics as a child was because they seemed so masturbatory in their glorification of impossible male and female forms. And their stories sucked. They just felt like it didnt matter, that it was an in-club thing. The power of the Interweb allows all ideas to have at least a small random audience, if nothing else, and it is in this vast and terrible wasteland that these black heroes are starting to get their due. But I guess this is part of the growing process. Mainstream comics went through it. Indie Comics are going through it. So I guess the Black Super hero has to grow up some too.

Nubian X, though? Seriously?

Maybe I want too much too soon. Half of me wants the race of these superheroes, and therefore ALL race to not matter. The other part of me wants to have my ethnicity put on stage and glorified for all the world to see. I cant have it both ways. Welcome to being Black in America, Benticore! Glad you could make it...sigh...Maybe its not a bad thing. Maybe these superheroes are the burgeoning mythos of the Urban African American culture, the backbone of myths and legends that african americans are woefully short of thanks to the incalculable power of Slavery to block the past from the present for so many black folks. Maybe one day, my grand daughter will be telling tales of The Negromancer, who brought knowledge and hope to all those who would listen to his music, and how he didnt save the world but he saved peoples lives one day at a time, one song at a time.

I can hope.

I'll keep searching for the gold, keep reaching for the brass ring, and keep an eye out for the things that truly matter, be they the Black Superhero who isn't a cliche, to the Black Villain who has an aspiration towards evil and has the ability to carry out those aspiriations. Once I find them, I'll let you know.

But hey, at least they havent gone the whole Black Sword fighter with the 'avenge my parents' complex who says cool witticisms to his defeated foes, right?

Oh, wait.



*EDIT* Maybe I spoke too soon...I checked out many of those links and most are dead. Maybe the age of the black superhero has come and gone...maybe its too late for the Urban Style Animation and it's purveyors...maybe...

Oh wait...Nevermind...forgot about Wesley Snipes...Mr. Always-bet-on-black himself.

Well, that's that then.

*Lights himself on fire*