Friday, December 23, 2005

In the spirit of the season, I'm going to forgive the following people today:

1. To the person who honked at me while I tried to get on the Gardiner this morning to go to work, I'm sorry if you thought I cut you off, but I'd rather not die on the day before the day before Christmas, and I had to either get in the lane or hit the concrete wall. I chose the latter.

2. To the crazy lady who butted in front of me not once, but twice (once at the bank, the next time at the drug store); it's okay, we forgive you for being rude, at least you smiled when you were jumping ahead of me, each time.

3. To the idiot tellers at the bank who gave me a hard time about cashing my cheque from a US bank, I know you're only doing your job, but I'm just looking to get paid.

4. To the wacky drivers of Toronto, I know you're all just trying to get home for the holidays, so I'll forgive you for blocking the intersection, for honking at a traffic jam to get into the beer store parking lot that was holding up traffic, for just about every wrong turn and foul temper that made my afternoon that much longer.

I forgive you, all of you, in the true spirit of the holiday.

God bless us, every one.

Happy Christmas!

Be certain that no children are nearby. Thanks for the FWD: D!

Happy Holidays (notice I don't say Merry Xmas hehe)

Three days ago Cecille, my friend and co-worker and I walked towards Terenure from duty. Instead of riding, we agreed to walk; by that we could have more time and could share a lot of stories to tell to each other. She then suggested that we dropped off at Mrs. Greene's, a second hand shop as she wanted to look and possibly buy some nice things for her daughter. This shop has a lot of good books as well and from time to time I go in to check for books that would capture my interest.

As it is Christmas season, the music and melodies that you hear are naturally the Christmas carols. For forty-five years, I have been hearing and listening to these songs and melodies every Yuletide season and on this particular day, I really did not feel like singing any Christmas song at all. But in fairness to the Christmas carols, though most of them can be considered as "antique", with the singers all long gone and have their bodies turned into dust, still the songs and music have the capacity to warm some people's hearts, including mine bringing me to the core of the true meaning of Christmas.

As Cecille looked into the clothes hanging on the racks, I was looking into the books on the shelves. One woman said to me, "Your voice is lovely!" Another woman agreed with her and said, "Yes, she has a lovely voice. Keep on singing."

I was caught off-guard and was surprised!

"Thank you", I replied. I got carried away with the "Sleigh Ride" unaware that I already sang along with it while being played on the radio loudly enough for all the customers and the cashier to hear! I was only singing to myself!

"Oh, my God!", I murmured to myself feeling this embarrassment and bowed my head then partially covered my face with my left hand. I could feel the faint smile of amusement begin to appear on my face. There are times when I do not realize that there is something in me that I consider very ordinary and is always being overlooked and even ignored by me that takes other people to remind me that it is not really ordinary at all and instead have to thank God for that.

Man can be forgetful and ungrateful most of the time!


Tell me how to forget The beautiful season of AutumnWhen the bare treesThat are now earthy brownRemind me how their leavesWere then bursting with colorHave filled my mind and heartWith so much awe and wonderDifferent shades of green,Fiery red, and golden yellowThat is mentioning only a fewHave soothed and turned me mellowWhile looking at the beautiful hue"Amazing!", I uttered to myselfFeeling the worldA nicer place to live with.Though the trees are now bareThey once had their best to share,Their fallen leaves once have flutteredBy the winds they were scattered.With the cold frost of the winterThey could withstand no longerThough fallen, blown and goneAutmn's memory is aliveIn the grateful hearts of everyone.

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I was dutiful and didn't watch Renny Harlin's re-shoot of the Exorcist prequel, waiting instead for a chance to see Paul Schrader's original, rejected version. I'd heard some groans from those who saw Harlin's salvage mission--Renny Harlin made a dud? Come, come: This is the man who gave us Deep Blue Sea (1999), the sharks-smarter-than-us movie that has the distinction of killing off Samuel L. Jackson earlier than Janet Leigh was in Psycho, except Jackson's being swallowed had no plot impact. (I'll admit, though, it took me by surprise; fun, except when I realized we had to make it through the rest of the movie without Jackson--although LL Cool J steals what's left of the movie, which isn't much, but beggars/choosers, and so on.)

I kind of liked the fact that Schrader's movie was causing trouble. Fitting for The Exorcist, a movie I still insist is one of the great horror films, as close to expressionist/surrealist dream-logic as narrative film can get: that repetition of entering the dark room, compelled against reason, compelled by love--but buffeted by fears; still, the camera enters, and we aren't allowed to wake up, let alone look away. And Paul Schrader can be pretty compelling himself. As a writer and/or director, he has done the right thing many times: Blue Collar, Hardcore, the Cat People remake, Taxi Driver--AND Raging Bull--American Gigolo, Patty Hearst, Light Sleeper, Mishima, The Last Temptation of Christ, Affliction, Bringing Out the Dead--I like seeing them all lined up like this, difficult pictures with "God's lonely men" way out there on the frontier of self and soul. The Exorcist seemed a natural for him.

In some ways, it is. Schrader and his writers--William Peter Blatty, still minding his little shop of horrors, William Wisher, and Caleb (The Alienist) Carr--are deeply interested in Fr. Merrin's (Stellan Skarsgard) fall from grace, and the Mark of the Devil it puts on him all his life. It starts, naturally enough, with Nazis, who force him to confront his instinct for survival as it conflicts with his duty as a priest. He sees himself as failing this test, thus becoming Satan's pet project. The film shows us his confrontation with his demons--ho, ho--and sets him up, like so many Schrader protagonists, as the only one who knows the truth, and must carry it like Atlas to keep the world aloft. This happens again and again in Schrader films, and in this prequel he gets to write the story in very large letters.

The result is a satisfyingly low-key movie. Even the scary stuff is more under your skin than below the belt. At the end, one of the local African holy men warns Merrin to be careful: He's made an enemy of the demon, and it will follow him all his life. Of course, he's right. Little Regan is waiting in Georgetown with her pea soup and moves so startling they'll make her own head turn. Schrader's film counts on our superimposing of the two movies; doing so, we can more easily follow Fr. Merrin as he slouches toward 1973. And the prequel helps us see he will not come to a bad end, that it makes sense he will die in the attempt to compel the Bright Liar to leave us alone. Which he never will, of course; but people like Merrin are necessary as we make our way once more to that dark, roaring room, even down those vertiginous stairs.

So here I an sitting on Santa's lap, a grown man sitting on the lap of another grown man. This is our school's staff Christmas party and they usually the parents bring a gift for their kids and since we have none and I ask for toys my wife decided that is she was going to get me pez I must pay the price. Sorry the pictures a little blurry the camera wasn't on the right setting. I hope you all are enjoying the Christmas season, it's my favorite time of year. Even with all the crowds and commercialism I'm still a little kid this time of year.

So Alana and I have had our personal Christmas already. We had our Christmas this past Sat. night because we were going to Orlando (where were at now) and we didn't want to lug all our stuff there. It was a nice evening and here is a pic of the night before the opening of gifts. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and may you get what you want, but make sure that even if you don't you thank God for the reason we have to celebrate, Jesus. By the way like my mohawk, I loved it wish I could have had it longer, but I didn't want my Mom to freak, but is was my favorite hair cut in a long time. God Bless.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

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