Aug 20, 2015

I really loved you, Katie. I really love you.

Jun 21, 2015

as you grapple with time passing, flailing on the cusp of your thirtieth year, you squint and blink heavily and rub your eyes with rough and tired hands. you flinch at the sun, with something like surprise at the intense burn that it is throwing at you, that it has always thrown at you, though you may have taken it for granted with a more regular obliviousness than you would like to admit. you kneel to tie your ungainly thick leather laces on your new-ish leather shoes that are starting to fray around the soles much faster than you would have expected. you'll need to fix them but it's not really urgent at the moment.

you get on the subway. it shakes around a lot, because you're on a line in deep brooklyn that is woefully under-serviced. you can kind of feel the thirty-six minute trip go by even though you're engrossed in your book. you get a text message on your stupid smartphone. nope, not her. maybe someday. you pocket the phone. maybe never. you still won't or can't believe that that thing that mattered to you more than most things, that you felt with so much earnest care and strength no matter how much you tried to keep it on the level, has ended. you move to pull out your phone again, maybe to be the one to speak first. you pocket the phone hastily, shaking your head, trying to focus on your book. you have no idea how to make sense of what to do with your time and energy and mind, but you have to try. chapter thirty-six rolls on by, line by line, and you repeat the same paragraph thirty-six times. you finally close the book with a sharp snap - too sharp, because some people are looking at you with that standoffish glance that suggests that they are assessing whether or not you're a crazy. you look out the window and they immediately forget about you. you feel like a crazy but you're relieved that you don't have to walk out of the subway with another label from other people.

you weave through the throngs of people, bounce up the stairs, maneuver your heavy bag away from the trajectory of people who aren't paying attention to where they're going, and step back into the blazing sunlight. you maneuver through another throng on the sidewalk, ducking large men carrying important boxes, taxicabs with lightning reflexes, and well-meaning yet mouthbreathing tourists. you finally arrive at your destination, and see whoever you're meeting sitting at whatever table they've picked in whatever place this is. you get ready to talk about whatever thing you've both agreed to talk about in an effort to distract yourselves from how scary life can be. thankfully it'll probably be a movie that you'll work on together. that would be fun. as you sit down, all smiles and desperate attempts at chipping away the ice that's suffocated your enthusiasm, you once more try to remind yourself that it doesn't matter how strongly you felt. you meant nothing to her, it meant nothing to her, and she's already moved on. you probably should too.

Jun 8, 2015

A preview of the novel I'm currently writing.

ONE
Anda would call the arrival of Tomas into her life the advent of her confusion, though her certainty that he had a smile which could raise a child on its own was clear from her speechlessness when together at social gatherings.
There is the hit of the sun in your eyes and there is the sting of the wind at your back. With the frantic misguided decisiveness that grips the overwhelmed college graduate, Anda chose to remain motionless between the sun and the wind. She chose to remain motionless between Tomas and his absence. She chose to remain standing at the fork between aimless adventure and higher choices. These opposing states were all simultaneously present, and none of them had her steadfast commitment.

She would blast forth through her life as a whirlwind person, a sub-person, a lord among persons, an average person, absorbing all things in sight and judging them at once. She would inform people in her path of these things. She would relish every chance to “talk-shop” over a neglected beer during after-hours at the restaurant where she played hostess. She never paid for those barely sipped draughts. She felt it was wasteful to not capitalize on the unwanted workplace perk of free booze. The racquet-ball bounce-board person to whom her rambling, passionate declarations were directed would casually steal sips from Anda’s glass until it was empty. In this way the tax of time was paid, though never in full.
Tomas was spared Anda’s rambling talking-at. She had attempted it after the first few days of knowing him. She found her words would fall away and leave her alone to deal with this man across from her, looking at her with his head. She would feel the shift in space caused by her breathing, then assess the shift, then breathe less noticeably in response to her suddenly conspicuous breaths. Rhinocerine breaths. She would hold those breaths and let them out slowly and replace them slowly, motionless, until dizziness threatened to make her slump over as a fool and then where would she be?

Anda and Tomas had known each other years before. Many things had changed. Time and space continued to carry on without them, neglecting to fill them in on current events, except with the bothersome courtesy of the annual holiday card from alleged relatives whom you wished had forgotton your address.
Anda and Tomas had precious few people whom they truly cared for. A family does little else but sit and watch you and behave garishly and expose your flaws with greater pleasure than the masochistic vomiting of a sexless youth at confessional.

She was living in New York City, like so many of her similarly anti-familial peers. A community of children with bills to pay and neuroses to nurse. Anda loathed them all. She aggressively resented her place in their ranks. She had always made public her plans to escape. She would stay for years, affirming with each fresh January her intentions to vanish and then like clockwork relent to picking up shifts until the hated rhythm, flush with an agendaless victory, was again entrenched. Her rent rose and her plants grew and her spare bedroom held a new transient roommate with every new season. These roommates would politely listen to Anda’s loud plans of escape during the rare moments when the apartment was buzzing with the happy accident of all the tenants at home simultaneously, temporarily in sync with their work schedules, all waiting for the bathroom in a flurry of shoes being kicked off and slipped on. The nods of “yes, I know the feeling,” and “no, no, I’m listening,” while staring at smartphones. The smartphone is the ultimate force of destruction. Any conversation in the presence of a smartphone has no chance of survival. Anda knew this, and resolved to increase her vocal volume until the incessantly texting, well-meaning rent-fraction would look up, sheepishly pocket the offending device, and submit with a blush. The embarrassment was stronger than the indignation. Anda would give up and retreat to her room. The smartphone wins.

Anda was a transplant. Her parents were kind-hearted people who were incapable of understanding their daughter’s desire to live in the unkind rat’s den that New York City had become. Anda was furiously aware of her own part in her adopted borough’s demise. She was an unwitting gentrifier, a drone in the invasive species. Her real degree was not in film directing but in moving to Brooklyn. It was the half-planned dubious payoff for locking oneself into a lifetime of double rent and resentment directed towards anyone in her orbit who would dare speak of their “dream of being a filmmaker.”
She would eloquently scorch these people. And she would have nothing to back up her massive attack, save the technically flawed college thesis films which she hid from view with a jealous rage. Her own inadequacies were all she could think of while verbally murdering some unfortunate shit-bro.

Tomas was a successful transplant, indistinguishable from the native organs. So seamless was his communal integration that Anda wondered whether he might regard her with the same disdain that she held for so many.

May 26, 2015

I'm walking to the subway in Bushwick at 3:00 AM. I come across a young woman from rural Illinois; she is apparently stranded in Brooklyn. She says "the taxi told me to get out here."

I look around at the empty streets and ask her if she has anywhere to go. She says that she has an apartment, but that she doesn't know where it is. I say "hmm" and ask her if she can tell me anything about where it might be. She tells me that it's at the end of the G train in Brooklyn. I tell her that I'm taking the G also, so I could show her the way.

We take the train together and chat lightly until we get off at the end of the line. We're walking in the general direction of my apartment, because I want to go home, and we're both hoping that she orients herself here. We pass an unremarkable apartment building. "Here it is," she says. I say "oh good," with relief, and say goodnight. As I'm turning away, she asks me to come upstairs. For a drink. I'm more curious than sensible at this point so I follow her inside, up the elevator, and into her one-bedroom that she has to herself. Somehow I'm surprised that her keys worked.

We sit at a table in a room devoid of furnishings other than the table, and she forgets about the drinks. She launches into a lengthy account of how much she hates her job, but that she's sticking with it because she's pulling in a couple grand shy of six figures. She interrupts herself to show me scratch marks all over her legs, lifting her skirt so I can see. Then she asks if I can come into her bedroom to inspect for bedbugs. I ask her if we can have a drink first, because bedbugs probably are not interested in people with a higher blood alcohol content. She doesn't hear me and jumps into the tale of her broken home life, her isolation in New York, the hypothetical way that she and I would treat each other if we were in a relationship, her suicidal tendencies, her interest in having me stay over, and her belief in the all-power of the law of attraction.

I give up on the drink and say goodnight. As I'm leaving, she gives me her business card.

Mar 15, 2015

Honing in on and identifying what the strangest characteristic of our relationship was is a pretty difficult thing to do, but a strong contender would be this: she doesn't remember at least half of what's happened, between us or independently, since the winter of 2013.
Half of the bliss, progress, struggles, conversations; no memory of the first time we said that we loved each other.

The helplessness that this fills me with is akin to scratching my way out of a room with no exits.

Feb 3, 2015

YOU'RE NOT MISSING ANYTHING YET

It seems like a pretty good deal. $30 for unlimited movies in theaters. In theory, if you saw three movies per month, you'd be ahead of the game. But the unfortunate reality of the thing is, I guess, that once you have access to the magic movie money, you don't really feel a pressing need to make use of it. "There are thirty whole days this month," you say to yourself. No need to do it tonight because it can totally wait. Tonight, you'll sit on your couch and look at the wall. You need that time to overthink things and have a mild panic attack about how you're misusing your time. It's so much easier to do that than to actually get up and make something of your hours. Best of all, it gives you the illusion of progress, because you get to remind yourself that you spent three hours "getting things done" (read: wasting time freaking out over how little time you have).

Do you know that feeling that comes over you when you're writing very quickly on a keyboard, and you find that your brain and your intention and your hands have all somehow found synchronicity and you can type close to the speed of your thought? When you're finally unpacking that impossible text which you've put off for months due to myriad distractions, that synchronicity becomes like a unicorn. 

So I cancelled the MoviePass. And the Netflix subscription. And the unlimited data plan on my smartphone. And the Google Drive storage plans. And the Crashplan hard drive auto cloud backup. And my IMDBPro account. And then I quit my job. And then my girlfriend left me (for the third time, this girl. And no, it had nothing to do with me cancelling my Netflix subscription). And then I sat and I looked at a wall.

Fighting against the city is not a good idea. This is clear. You duck, you leave, or you speed up. Forgive the simplicity of that sentiment. It remains true. You actually have to just stand there in the library or the coffeeshop until a table opens up. Don't leave and look for another place, because if you do, you will walk around with the same level of disappointment that you had just experienced, but now it will dominate your day. Acquiescing will rob you of an entire day. Don't leave. Stand there, and wait for one of your fellow assholes to grow weary of hunching over their laptop. They will leave. You will sit. You will win. You will have more fortitude than the subsequent goons to enter the library or coffeeshop. They will leave, disappointed, and they will lose one entire day. But you will sit, and win, and write, and fidget, and hold in your pee, and not move, and then you will have a finished draft which you will send to your old professor or to that one colleague for whom real friendship has proven too elusive, but will sincerely read your manuscript and talk animatedly with you about over a glass of whiskey, watered down by melting ice, at the next party that one of your other outer-net colleagues hosts within the month.

There is no sense to envisioning any future at all unless you take steps to arrive. If you ignore where you are, you will ultimately lose the ability to experience the moments that make up your days. It is akin to religion; ignore what you now have in favor of what you may someday get. Also known as The Fear Of Missing Out (syndrome).

Don't misunderstand me here; I advocate living as a shameless dreamer. But there's a big difference between imagining a future nostalgia, and inadvertently shunning life and love because you're afraid of what you might miss or what else is out there.

YOU CAN HAVE BOTH, YOU FUCKING GOON.

Jul 12, 2014

When you're finally alone for a moment, which is a very rare thing in New York City for a lot of reasons, tiny things quickly become big things. The clicks and squeaks of your knees. Small shifts in your weight when you walk which you might normally be unaware of. Empty space in your fridge. Extra time in your day. The sound you make when you breathe. Quiet thoughts which seize their chance to speak up.

For me, the most potent is the minimization of ego-willpower. No one is watching, which means I am allowed to be simple. This is not a bad thing.

The similarities to an image you love, whether it is a film, painting, or memory, remind you of your own awareness of yourself. Solitude creates reflection which heightens one's sense of self for a short time. Strangely, there is a sharp drop in that self-awareness once too much time has elapsed. You become a stranger to yourself, your thoughts bouncing off of themselves in a swirl.


Jun 21, 2014

got on at union square. they got on right after. he was maybe fifty-five, she was maybe forty-seven. she was drunk and he was exhausted. they got jostled getting onto the train.

"Yeah, that's why they call it the Hell Train."
"Ha. That's funny, a funny name. Fuck this train."
"Yeah, sit down here, it's too small for me too."
"Thanks."


ten minutes of silence.

"What are we doing first?"
"I'm hungry. We'll go see the Muslims, get some food."
"What kind of food?"
"I don't know. Cheap."
"We... We gotta get cigarettes first."
"We'll get 'em."
"Y'want to get some beers?"
"Yeah, we'll get cigarettes, food, and beers."
"It's funny, we're talking about food right now, because you know, I was so hungry today that when I got a sandwich... I mean, I got one of those sandwiches--"
"...yeah?"
"I got one of them and it was bad. It went bad, I demanded my fucking money back right then and there, and they gave it."


nothing for a few minutes.

"Hey, what kind of food do you want to get?"
"I don't know."
"Y'want to get some White Castle burgers?"
"Yeah, I could go for two."
"Yeah, we could get some White Castle burgers, and then go home, and get it bed, or get in-- get in Jennifer's new bed and give each other back rubs."
"Mm."
"Want to get some beers? I can buy 'em, I'll give you the money for 'em."
"Yeah, that'll be good."
"Yeah let's get a 12."
"We can't get hammered, we're working tomorrow."


a long pause.

"...We're working again?"
"Yeah, nine to nine."


she sat there for a long time without talking, until

"Well when are we gonna fuck?"

nothing for many minutes. man with a bicycle enters the train.

"Hey can I just touch the pedals? Can I just spin them--"
"Hey, stop. Just don't pay any attention to her, sorry."
"What do you mean don't pay any attention to me?"
"Just stop bothering people."
"I just want to look at the bike!"
"Okay, so fucking just look at it."
"Well okay."
"This is our stop."
"Well what?"


they both get off at Montrose Avenue. right after that, the train broke down in the tunnel. we all sat in the hot dark without good air for about an hour. the silence underground is startling.

a woman walked up and asked if the door opened onto the tracks. she was cold and lonely looking, waxed in makeup, sneering, unfocused. i said no, it doesn't, unless you open it. she didn't laugh, but gave the wolf-snarl that suggested i thought she should have. i didn't want her to laugh even a little, so she wasted that one.

Jun 10, 2014

Because my name is Tymon Brown, this filmmaking and directing reel of mine is called "The Tymon Brown Filmmaking and Directing Reel." Pretty self-explanatory and non-contradictory. Anyway, here's what I can do with a camera, so far.

Jun 9, 2014

Kazu, a good friend of mine, had a cinema blog called Naive Cinema which I used to read regularly. Visiting that page sparked another weird kind of exploration desire in me to find underground movie blogs and to engage with the new-age Cinemateque-lings of the digital realm. Slashfilm, Indiewire, FilmThreat, all worked in different ways. Then I found a strange little blog called Distant Voices, with this list:

Distant Voices - 100 Films.

Finding this list woke up a strange appreciation for calculated darkness that I didn't know I had in me. It's wild.

Jun 8, 2014



A few books - On Photography, The Piano Teacher, French Cinema of the Occupation and Resistance, Jean Renoir, The Second Sex, and Regarding the Pain of Others - arrived in the mail. Most of them were already old friends, because I never lend books.

At a right-angle to the red brick is the drywall and wooden support beams that hold up this weird culvert in the wall of my bedroom. Three naked screws on either side hold up a plank of wood that strains a little under the weight of hard and soft-cover Sontag, Bazin, Tolkien, and some weird books that came from somewhere.

I like to look at them almost as much as reading them.


Teaser trailer for a new film of mine.

May 9, 2014

Dec 16, 2013

MOVING QUICKLY, YES, QUICKLY, YES, HELLO, YES, YES, YES, YES.

One thousand pieces of ice fell out of the tree and skittered across the lightly crusted sun-snow and hit her car and hit my head. It was totally magic and a little bit scary but mostly just guffawingly new and weird and rarely seen. Her windshield wipers were even weird. One was bent bow-forward, making it useless and stupid. The sun was licking the snow all over and the ice from the trees just kept falling and falling and wouldn't quit. There was far more ice in the trees than I would have thought.

It was the last day of a long week in front of each other. A good week, but a long week, and I was sick for the whole damned thing. Sick on her birthday. Took care of me for a week and then got sick herself. Stupid belated birthday joke. Faced the hard thing a little bit this week that happens when you love someone a lot, which is this: what do you do when you love someone a lot, but you just want them to fuck off for a second so you can be a person by yourself for an evening? She felt like that a little and I felt like that maybe a little, but I'm a goon and not too much bothers me I guess, until it does. And then it really, really does.

This was a good thing though. Talking about what you want and what you need is hard. All the time it's hard, it's never easy, it always sucks, and it always feels like you're leaning too far over the edge of your relationship's roof, but it always (always), ALWAYS feels better at the end. You shit out a bad thing and it's fine.

The snow had many moods. Chunky, slushy, soft, lazy, squishy, ice, rain, ice, soft. Toasters on the floor and belladonna fever dreams and uh uh baby oh

Sep 16, 2013

A WHISPERED CUT

If one were to assume that any and all decisions made throughout the course of one’s life were merely experiments, devoid of the burden of permanence, then the worry of recurrence would instead be a salvation. The struggle to find meaning or purpose would not be present in an existence that is destined to repeat itself. Conversely, if all things are but once, then there is automatically the potential for total paralysis of the self; and yet there is also the potential for lucidity. Life, reality, and our actions can all be seen as a sequence of images, independent of one another and yet existent only due to the images that precede them. If we were to see each image but once, constantly moving forward through the sequence, we would soon forget much of what we had seen; we might become distracted, or the images might be too much for us to take in. Despite this, we will only be present at any given point in our watching of the sequence because of what has come before; we could not jump ahead in the image sequence, or behind, or stay put.

Each image in a sequence can be seen only once; but, in the very existence of that image, the foundations for the next image have been set. In our actions in life, we hold a trifecta of potential effects, always at the cusp of a decision. There is the moment preceding action; the action itself; and the effect.

However, if all of life is a sequence of independent actions with no possibility of repetition, then how does one make a decision about anything at any time? What if the decisions that we make, after careful deliberation, turn out to be the wrong ones? The heaviness of life and the options therein turn into a cancerous burden. On the other hand if, as Henri Cartier-Bresson stated, “life is once, forever”, then the lightness of being can manifest as an experiential immunity; the inability of one to be affected by the unknown possibilities of the universe.

But the lightness of being can become unbearable. Existence, human interaction, and even the enactment of desires can be seen as an empty exercise in frivolity. What can one do if one’s actions not only hold no weight, but neither do the relationships one fosters over the course of a life? How does one balance their desires with the knowledge that their desires ultimately do not matter?

The characters in Roman Polanski’s 1962 film Knife in the Water exist in a world that holds no promise of guidance. Every element of the film focuses on the transient nature of decision-making, while maintaining a level of objectivity that can only be sustained by the presence of the viewer; the act of watching the film shows us what transpires between the three characters in such a way that we begin to extrapolate what their future actions could be, with a level of objective understanding that the characters themselves could never possess.

Andrzej and Krystyna, a married couple, drive to a marina where their sailboat awaits them. The opening sequence shows a stillness between them that at first seems to be rife with bitterness; they do not talk unless they are in conflict of some kind. The conflict between them is never centered around any clearly tangible idea of contention until the end of the film; Andrzej’s explosive nature, in counterpoint to Krystyna’s overwhelming passivity, manifests its own struggle simply by the very nature of their interaction. Frustration and failure to communicate dominate their relationship, which makes it possible for the smallest, seemingly meaningless comments and events to take on a flavor of violence.

The opening shot - a long, drawn-out dirge of obscured vision through a heavily reflected car windshield - plays out with a strong resistance to being watched. The viewer is made to feel the distance between Andrzej and Krystyna by being separated from them twice; first by screen, and then by an obscured windshield. We are not let into their world, which they themselves struggle to participate in.

The dirge is broken by a sudden display of Andrzej’s aggression. Until later, under the presence of the hitchhiker amongst them, Andrzej’s attitude towards Krystyna is one of dissatisfaction, blame, bitterness, and control. The camera shows this to us by focusing squarely on Andrzej, in close up, whenever he raises a point of contention with Krystyna. His personal failings are directed at his young wife, and she reacts with an apathy that suggests many years of such interactions. Her unwillingness to meet his eyes in her own close up illustrates that she has long ago passed the point of exhaustion. She has been numbed by the monotony of her co-dependent relationship, and exists above it. Every inaction on her part is a decision; her relationship with Andrzej is thusly seen not as an invested course, but as a state of being for her body. Andrzej, on the other hand, deliberately places a weight to his unhappiness by projecting reasons and consequences on Krystyna; even if he does not blame her for the state of his personal life, he still directs his malaise at her, never realizing that his emotional disconnect is caused by this very attitude. Even in taking over the driving of the car can we see his inability to simply be. Unwittingly, he is fulfilling his own despair.

The sudden arrival of the hitchhiker throws Andrzej and Krystyna’s dysfunction into sharp relief, and the hitchhiker’s subsequent presence on their sailboat sets into motion the wild unraveling of a precarious state of being for the unhappy couple. From the very beginning of the trio’s interactions, a clear conflict grows. Andrzej flits between grudging acquiescence to Krystyna’s implied desire to help the young man, and condescending benevolence to the plight and inexperience of the hitchhiker. Andrzej’s caprice, Krystyna’s hands-off empathy, and the hitchhiker’s distracted countenance all highlight the weightlessness of their being. Krystyna has taken the state of lightness to an extreme; every action she takes, from expressing concern for the hitchhiker to swimming with a crocodile to her ultimate moment of passion with the hitchhiker, are not pre-meditated; they also do not seem to hold any special weight once enacted. For Krystyna, these decisions are merely moments that bring us to another image in the sequence, another action in the timeline. They are reality as it is - nothing more, nothing especially significant, nothing imperative over the rest.

However, this lightness of being eventually transforms for the trio into an unbearable state. What began as an easy and relatively carefree joyride on a sailboat quickly evolves into a battle of tension, with Andrzej and the hitchhiker both vying for the attention of Krystyna. While the antidote for this conflict is readily apparent (clearer communication), it is not easy to swallow. Clear communication requires a desire not only to be understood, but to understand your counterpart. Counterparts can take many forms; one’s spouse, one’s friend, the cashier at the post-office, the teacher and student, or the hitchhiker picked up and placed in your boat for the weekend. If one were only to care about themselves being understood by others, without a desire to understand others in turn, then aggression and rage would manifest. Violence erupts from these lapses in connectivity, which Andrzej and the hitchhiker demonstrate to great effect.

The boat becomes a prison for the trio. The disparity between desires and intention reaches a fever pitch when Andrzej pockets the hitchhiker’s most prized possession - a large knife. When the hitchhiker requests that Andrzej returns it to him, Andrzej antagonizes the young man. This conflict, set atop the floating cage of the couple’s sailboat, is the clearest indicator of the random and transient nature of the trio’s process of analyzing each other and their subsequent decisions.

The sequence in which the hitchhiker emerges from the bow of the boat is the breaking point for the trio’s journey. A standoff occurs between Andrzej and the young man, and in this flurry of shots it is made clear that there is no foundation of stability between them - they are literally floating, with no place to ground their power play. The shot/reverse-shot of Andrzej and the hitchhiker frames them against a cascade of clouds, and their positioning in each frame is unusual; they are set against the edge of the frame, weak and then strong, dominant and the defiant. Andrzej’s incessant, cruel toying with the knife finally results in the blade falling into the lake. In a flash, it is submerged - gone, drowned from view, as if it never existed. It simply ceases to be. There is no hope of retrieving it and no hope of making amends; immediately a scuffle ensues, and Andrzej flings the hitchhiker onto the sail of the boat. Krystyna, shocked into action by this sudden outpouring of violence, wildly attempts to hoist the sail back in and save the hitchhiker, who is suspended like bait above the water. His helplessness, whether a ruse or not, is keen in this moment; lying prostrate on the canvas and followed by the camera. The intercutting of Andrzej’s maliciously gleeful laughter at the young man’s plight cuts through the madness of the scene and shows us something else alongside the impending disaster; Andrzej is enjoying the moment of control. He is on a solid surface, his foe is flailing, and whatever consequence this action in the sequence may hold, it is far from Andrzej’s mind. In this moment, he is in power, and the weight of his actions is seen as meaningless and mean.

And then, just like the knife slipping into the depths, the hitchhiker is swept away, lost to the current. We do not yet know at this point that he can, in fact, swim, and neither do Andrzej and Krystyna. The apparent danger at hand quickly takes on the demeanor of a tragedy as Krystyna, in an effort to finally exert an active role in the sequence of events, rebukes Andrzej for his excessive use of force. She dives into the lake immediately to search for the supposedly drowning young man, and when there is no sign of him, the couple returns to three boat in the distance, at a loss for what to do. The boat has now become a place of conflict and discord; it’s original purpose is lost in the wake of the violence that has forever sullied it. Standing atop the deck, which is the scene of his crime, Andrzej is faced with the sheer magnitude of what he believes he has done; in an effort to escape from this sharply altered and corrupt reality, he dives from the boat and swims towards the distant shore. Krystyna is left alone, framed in the scene of the violence, the boat floating through waters which could hold the revelation of death in every inch.

This sequence clearly divines just how intense the unbearable lightness of being really is. Action, reaction; cause, and effect; Andrzej steals the knife, the lake devours it, blows are exchanged, and the hitchhiker is swept away. If one of the actions in this sequence had been altered, the subsequent actions would have certainly been altered as well, possibly changing the end result from one of total discord. This is not to say that each action is predetermined; A may equal B, but it may also equal C or D. But there is no way for any of us to know what could be. Seen in this light, the swiftness of this chain of events reads as insane chaos. Where once was a knife, there is a ripple, and where once was a hitchhiker, there is an absence marked by guilt. Andrzej, in his inability to reconcile with himself the finality of his actions, makes the only choice that he feels is available to him, and flees the scene of his crime.

The film ends on a note of total uncertainty. After it is revealed that the hitchhiker did not in fact drown, he shares the boat with Krystyna. They operate in a state of confusion and exhaustion, and then, while packing up his various effects in order to depart the boat, they find themselves upon each other in a kiss; the camera holds on Krystyna and the young man, sitting closely together while putting his things away, and then their hands touch while they both grab for the same item. The electric charge of their contact is seen immediately. They lock eyes on each other, the sail behind them undulates in a rhythmic pulse, and they press themselves together close and firm. Andrzej is not present, and so this action has no weight; they exist only in this image in the sequence, alone and separate, connecting for one time and then never again. There is only weight to this action when it ceases and they realize that their time together is over. Krystyna glides along the water in total kinetic unity with the momentum of the boat as the hitchhiker gingerly hops atop a scattered smattering of wood piles floating by the shore. His visual entreaties to Krystyna are unmet and fall into nothing. The boat is relentless in its forward movement, and the scenery whips behind the young man as he disembarks into unknown territory. The lightness of their time together is such that it has already dissipated; the sequence of actions moves inexorably forward, independent of their predecessors, and unbearably light.

And then the boat comes crashing into the dock. Waiting on the dock stands Andrzej, who makes not a mention of the young man or the damage to the boat, or to his guilt over what has transpired. Only when they are in their car, driving away, does Krystyna admit to Andrzej that the hitchhiker is alive, and that she was unfaithful with him. Andrzej refuses to believe her. Acquiescing his opinion on the matter to her admission of truth would be to relinquish his control over his situation and his tenderly honed sense of guilt, and as that is all that he can presently lay claim to, it would be unbearable for him to be swayed in his mindset. He remains determined to contact the police, but also remains motionless in the car at a crossroads.

The motionless car is perhaps the only indicator in the film that Andrzej and Krystyna have reached a point in which they will be able to consider the cause and effect of their actions. What could the next image in the sequence of events be? This is the weight of life and the weight of decisions. The unhappy couple, only a few days ago on their way to another repeated process in the unbearable lightness of their lives, have been stopped dead in their tracks. Is their dilemma lightness or weight? Is the paralysis of the self caused by the presence of a tangible burden, or the total lack of one? If Krystyna has seen life as maddening in its weightless silence, and if Andrzej has seen life as imperious in its aggressive weight, then here, at the end of the film in a motionless car with untold possibilities for what the next image in the sequence could hold, their minds have switched modes - however briefly.

TOTAL SLACKER

Waking up at 4:37 PM on a Sunday is a pretty clear indicator that your life has become a bit over-fucked. Or under-fucked. Whichever one suggests a dearth of agency is the one I mean. Whichever one is bad. The bad one.

Been feeling stretched thinner than the devil on doomsday these days. It's been an unreal few weeks. From losing my apartment to losing a great gig to losing my girl to losing sleep to losing my mind, I think I've had enough.

Sep 2, 2013

THE BONEYARD SHIFT

I firmly believe that before 10:00 AM, God is dead.
Or at the very least, cranky and vindictive.

NIGHTMARE TORNADO OF VAGUELY FUCKED EXHAUSTION

Six hours after returning my keys and making a glorious handshake faux-pas with an Orthodox Jewish real estate agent named Sarah, I closed the door to my apartment for the last time. Walking away for good from a homestead is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is always visceral.

Boy did she put up a fight. Took the better part of four days of unceasing work amongst four men to get everything packed up and spirited away. There was a new obstacle under every article we packed up; no hot water, no time, no tools, no convenience. Tadin and I between us spent maybe $100 on luggage-transport taxis alone since Thursday. 

I've never been bothered by hard work. This experience was difficult for a very different reason.

As of this writing, I am sitting in the kitchen of an apartment belonging to my good friends Frank, James, and Will, having just finished an edit for James (he's taking a shot at the Jim Henson grant). Last night I was at my friend Jen's place, finishing an edit for a short film we made (which you can watch here). And before THAT, I was:

Finishing the edit of a feature film,
Finding my way back to my Manhattan apartment all the way from Livingston, NJ in the middle of the night without any official transportation and no phone, 
Moving my brother into the city, 
Writing my thesis film, 
Editing/shooting a promo video for Caroline's (completely excellent) business,
Doing my laundry,
And,
Working my day job.

This was all happening as I was packing up my apartment for a one-month long stint of being homeless due to the universe reneging on the pretty sweet hand that I happened to have been dealt. 

Aug 26, 2013

DOIN' EVERYTHIN'

One of my favorite people, +Kate Dearing, asked me to edit some how-to videos that she was making with her buddy Jacob (who's a solid dude, we got along friendly as pigs).

These are those videos. DOIN' EVERYTHIN'!

How To Tie A Tie!


How To Draw A Cat Eye!


How To Link Your Exchange Account To Your iPhone!


How To Take A Screenshot On A Mac!

Aug 25, 2013

ABSOLUTE SEX

I have waited many long years for something like this to happen. Very glad that it was one of my best friends, +Daniel Onoda, who made it.

I MET A SEDUCER

One of my newer songs. Working hard on revitalizing Seth and the Swan with some good folks in NYC this winter.

FORCED HANGOUTS WITH RABINDRANATH TAGORE

Bob Siegel called me at just after dawn, almost a month ago now.

"You need an editing job? Bumped into this fella who is making a feature doc on Tagore. His previous editors were boneheads and cut together a shitty film. He needs someone to fix it, make it good, make it work. Rate is pretty good. Told him you could do it. Lied through my teeth about how much of an excellent, beautiful fuckup you are."

So I said,

"Hey, thanks. I'd love to. What's the turnaround?"

Bob said,

"About a week."

Here I am, one month later, and I'm half done (it isn't my fault, I swear). See, his previous editors were fucking goons; when they gave my client the project hard drive, they neglected to include about half of the files. I found this out after an agreement of pay had been made.


Rabindranath Tagore. This would be a great project to work on, if it wasn't so awful.


What was supposed to be a week-long gig in which I'd be essentially doing body work on a wrecked car slowly transformed into a total re-cut of an inherently troubled film. It doesn't help that my client struggles with English, and I am utterly ignorant of a single word in Bengali.

A typical conversation would play out like this:

Me: "I can't edit that shot in, because it's not on the hard drive that you gave to me. It's not in any of the folders. It's just not here."

Client: "Can't you just get the shot from the timeline?"

Me: "... Pardon?"

Client: "If the shot isn't in the hard drive, just get it from the timeline and cut it into the project."

Me: "How many of your AOL disks have you kept?"

Client: "How many do you need? Will they help?"

Me: "Wow."

Client: "What?"

Me: "Okay, uh, an analogy for the situation is this: imagine that you're making dinner, and some of the spices (movie files) are missing from the cabinet (hard drive), so you go check if the spices are hiding on your dinner plate (timeline). It doesn't make sense. The timeline is dependent on the hard drive for its content - not mutually, and certainly not the other way around. You know what I mean?"

Client: "Ah, yes, well, um."

So now I am tasked with re-cutting this entire picture upon pain of forfeiture of payment. I've pulled more all-nighters in the past month than I ever have during school. Couldn't be more tired if I tried. Constant explanations of reality to the client, leading to rage. Glorious rage. After my client suggested (for the tenth time) that I put my entire life on hold and come stay at his house for a week so I can edit with him looming over my shoulder like a golem, I was forced to put my foot down very firmly on his fine imported rug.

Me: "No."

Client: "My wife will cook you dinner for a week."

Me: "I will pack my bags and be there tomorrow."

I am easily undone.

THAT SPECIAL BLOODBURN

He told me to slow down, calm down, breathe up a bit:

- It's so easy to get caught up in your wild momentum,

he said,

- that it can be real easy to forget why you move so fast in the first place. 

She said, this morning, over a cup of coffee and her first cigarette in six weeks, after arriving to class an hour late:

- You get me. You get it. What that thing is like; living for your parents, or if not for them then for what they lived for. It gets so hard to pull yourself out of your brain and your heart; this weird old raised-to-be-guilty feeling, like any choice you make that goes against what your parent's end goal was is wrong. It feel like -

she took a drag of her cigarette, getting ash on my boot:

- kind of like being guilty for feeling and thinking. Thought crime, heart crime. But I don't know how to tell my dad that his success was for him, not for me. I don't care about his money, I care about him. I care about my life. I want to do what I want to do, not what his hard work wants me to do. 

Another guy said to me today, as we were trying to avoid a bee near the cafe, in the middle of the afternoon while resisting the urge to smoke cigarettes:

- I guess I believe in God because I don't see the harm in it. And when I thought my brother was going to die, after having a curtain rod go through his neck when he was six while we were playing around in the living room, and then bringing him to the hospital only to have a nun hold my hand and let me cry and snot and throw up from fear all over her, that's when I figured that God can be good, or at least a help. I'm not a practicer, but I'm a believer.

He lit a cigarette, and then threw it away, looking disgusted, and continued:

- I guess, though, that if my brother had died, I might've gone the other way on that one. 

SETH AND THE SWAN @ FIGHT CLUB

Just found this old video of the old gang playing at Fight Club in 2008. Good lord, I was thin back then.

MADE A FILM, AGAIN

My latest film. I hope you enjoy it as much I enjoyed being done with the damned thing.

THE SUN AND THE RED HILL

The enemy was all around, and Nick had been shot. Above his head were the branches, covered with their cherry blossoms, reluctantly sighing off a few of their petals with the wind. The bark of the tree was pitted with signs of weather and insect bores and the skittering claw marks of squirrels and such.

A rider approached at haste without warning. Nick flinched as the horse continued without its rider, some unseen marksman having found his target. Blood pulsed, cream-like, from the dead rider's mouth.

Nick studied his own wound. He was very scared, and thought it likely that his death would come soon.

A rustling on the crest of the hill; an old man with a gun appeared, surveying the road. Spotting the dead rider, the old man hurried to his side, taking his pocket book and sidearm.

"Did you kill him?" Nick said.

The old man freezes, turning to Nick, who he had not noticed. He finishes looting the rider and runs off after the horse.

The sun sets, and the sun rises, and Nick is there. He studies his wounds, and cries and forgets them, and he watches riders attempt to flee by him only to be dismounted by the vicious rip of an angry bullet.

The spring ends and the summer heat is violent. The cherry blossoms on their branches are made desiccate and the felled rider has become home to a family of voles. The heat is too much, so Nick closes his eyes for the summer, and exhales an exhausted sigh of ice that brings winter down to the hillside.

The intense cold makes the roads almost impassable, so Nick watches very few riders fall into death over the crest of the hill. The sounds of the battle that gave him his wound seem far off now. The cherry blossoms are frozen.

Scuttling in the snow. Nick opens his eyes from a deep sleep and watches the old man eat the newest murdered horseman.

Nick blinks away the horrific image and is in springtime. The voles have returned to their skeleton home, now pleasantly covered in moss. The cherry blossoms have returned. Nick watches as a squirrel crawls out of the wound in his chest. It doesn't hurt him.

He stands and walks by the mound of dead riders, and off into the distance, and towards a place that he doesn't know. The bullets zip by his head, all of them missing. The cherry blossoms float through the wind.

REVISITING, YEARS LATER

Hindsight may be 20/20, but it's also drunk.

I have ambition, but it has been crippled by a lack of common sense. After turning down a stable, lucrative position as videographer for the Kirov Academy of Ballet, I asked my oldest friend Shori if he would travel to Maine with me for few reasons other than to shake things up.

He picked me up at a house in Philly that I didn't want to leave from, but damn am I glad he got me out of there. We drove through the night and the morning, arriving at Orien's house in Cold Spring, NY. We couldn't drive anymore. Before we entered his home, we had an unusually satisfying breakfast at a deli/diner on the side of the road in the Hudson Valley. We felt strangely rejuvenated. We slept on Orien's living room floor. His mother woke us up and called us strange bears. She made us coffee and breakfast, and then Shori and I explored Cold Spring with Orien and Chen. Later, Chen took us to a studio he was using that belonged to a family friend and showed us a song he was working on. The whole experience being in a new place was exhilarating, and our exhaustion was gone. We stayed up late into the night playing music together and catching up. We were soon joined by Aaron and Kolson, which gave us another second wind.

After finally passing out, we hit the road again. The Hudson valley was blazing with light as we drove through the early morning at the onset of winter. As the environment we traveled through became colder and darker and less populated, a growing sense of dread welled inside my heart and did not leave for the rest of the day.

We finally found my parent's house, a summer-in-winter home by a frozen lake that they couldn't afford. We stayed for two days and then reached our final destination; an old office building (shack?) with no heat, save for a kerosene blast-furnace-thing in one room. We bought a nightstand lamp in the shape of Goofy that made demonic clicking sounds when turned on. It was strange.

At this point, I was still possessed of that sheltered brand of morality that cultlings find hard to shake off. I refused alcohol during the stay in our frozen home, much to Shori's chagrin and my future dismay. We hated each other after a month together. We were planning three.

We were running out of money and therefore we were running out of rice pilaf and fucking guava nectar, so we tried to find work anywhere, even though it was short notice and would be short-lived. We applied at coffee shops, gas stations, strip malls, restaurants, record stores, the Milk Room, and finally gave ourselves up to the good, sober-for-two-and-a-half-weeks folks at Labor Ready in a little cumrag of a town called Biddeford.

We woke up at 5 AM for a week straight and went to Labor Ready and wrestled with the concept of buying a cup of coffee and waited for hours for the possibility of manual labor being thrown our way for a good 50 bucks. It never happened. We met strange and interesting and terrible people, but we never got work.

My friends bought me a guitar amp for my birthday. Shori and Ranin and I played a show in Boston at Christmas.

Shori and I fought. I perceived him as an apathetic, self-centered sot with unfair standards. He perceived me (as far as I know) to be an over-sharing, overemotional contrarian with a hyper-evolved propensity to exaggerate, if not blatantly lie, about the most meaningless of things.

We struggled with each other and got over it, repeat repeat repeat. We finally moved out of the neglected office building and into my parent's house for a week or two.

During this time, I would see Shori every day, but I would not see him. He would not see me. We were either so tired of each other or so tired in general that our friendship and our path through life together took the far back burner to everyday interactions. I can't remember who broke this unpalatable ice first, but we snapped out of it somewhat. And then Shori went back down south with my brother, and I was stuck in Maine for another two months.

That was a very miserable time. I was alone, my absurd cult-baby relationship was falling apart before it began, and I was broker than broke. I spoke with Omata and Orien about starting a dark NYC-rock band in New York. I eventually hitched a ride with a man I hated to Pleasantville, NY, got a job with KP's video production dungeon boys, and turned my back on the snowfucked wasteland of Maine.

My naiveté was absurd. The "band" suffered a bit of a hairline fracture when one third of us decided to join his parent's band instead of doing his own thing. Then the economy collapsed and I lost my job and my apartment.

But none of this really matters, not really. It's all a ride, one that I forgot was a ride and began to accept. I have gotten up at 6 AM almost every day for the last two years because I accepted defeat. I accepted the routine of a mediocre life. I accepted the "fact" that things between my blood brothers and wolf pack and friends and family could never be the same as they once were, that they could never be as good.

But that isn't true. Shori is there. He is not dead. Despite the distance between us and the time against us, we have paralleled each other in many ways; I feel more emotional, mental and lifelong solidarity with that motherfucker than anyone else in my life. Because of this, I can feel the most pain from him as well. Old habits die hard, and while we've both grown up and have shed some old ways and changed some negative things, we have trouble breaking away from our programmed reactions to what we are perceiving to be each other's bullshit. I still feel judged by him sometimes, and I still feel like he thinks half of what I say is false from the get-go.

And maybe he feels like he can't trust me to follow through with things I say I will do or want to do. Maybe he thinks I am a flake. Maybe he thinks I have forgotten the patterns.

But I haven't. And I know he hasn't. And I know that none of our friends have forgotten. Because life is a ride, and we can change it. Because nothing in the universe matters, and because of that, everything matters. We need to take our blinders off. Because life is a ride, and we can change it with one choice, right now, between fear and love. Bill Hicks fucking knew it, but he's dead.

Life is too short to not smoke cigarettes or to hold grudges or to not ask questions. Life is too short to not shed our skins.

Aug 24, 2013

A DREAM

Let me tell you about one of my recurring dreams. This one first welcomed itself into my life when I was eight.

There is a room made from old wood. The scent in the room is of a summer attic; oppressively hot, stuffy, snappy cedar. There is a warped person of some kind sitting against one of the walls, with a small box in front of him. The box is either a toy box or a miniature treasure chest.
I open the box, and take out a small, felt-knit hat. The "person" closes the lid to the box furiously, but makes no sound or motion to stop me, or to retrieve the hat. He only stares at me. I turn to leave, walking away from the room and into a dark void that is, I expect, an exit.

cut to

There is only flatland desert as far as the eye can see, and farther than that still. It is, quite literally, a calm sea of blazing, impacted sand, stretching out into infinite space. There are but two things interrupting the deathly tranquility; a perfectly straight road, running along the "middle" of the desert, stretching forever, and a small roadside shop that looks like an abandoned newsstand. The shop sits along the road, right in the center of the desert.
I am riding a bicycle along the road. I stop abruptly, in front of the shop. Without dismounting the bicycle, and right in front of the shop, I look across to the other side of the road, at something in the distance. What I see is a break in reality. All of the sky, the earth, the air - all is blue normalcy, milky-melting into grey. And at the end of this sliding transition at the universe's horizon is nothing. Only doom.

The weight is inescapable. The air would ignite if there was any oxygen left to breathe. I am on my bicycle, staring at the elephantine mass of nothingness as it rushes to me at impossible speeds. The size of the void is incalculable; it is further away than anything could ever be, yet terrifyingly close, simply because of its existence. The speed with which it moves renders me breathless. I am terrified, fear beyond fear, enveloped in the only thought that could ever exist in such a place: doom.

Thousands of years pass. The void will never cease its advance, I will never move from my bicycle, and it will never reach me - because I always wake, just before the void rends my mind away with cold and sleeping hands.

FILM/CINEMA/MOVIE

I don't think that anyone really knows how to make a movie. It's probably a process of guesswork and technical understanding. I think that the greatest filmmakers know how to guess elegantly, and know not to resist with their bodies when plans change and their films begin to take on a life of their own. Resistance exacerbates the process, which is already hellish.

The process of filmmaking is mind-numbing in its psychosis. It is entirely unhealthy. Your days turn into standing pools of brackish water, waiting for something to occur, be it failure or progress. 

The anxiety that floods you whenever you have a new idea, or when an idea becomes real - when you schedule on paper the birth of your make-believe - is too much. Trivial pursuits are now felt as base and vile; social interactions take on a feeling of an undesirable necessity; being awake feels like exercise, or laundry. 

Even the feeling of completion is tainted. The finishing of a film is like a fever breaking, or waking up hungover, or climaxing with someone you don't care for. Relief and then reality: the impulse to return to the norm, as miserable as it is. An amorphous tongue is a necessity.

Marrying yourself to ideas, or storyboards, or clean aesthetics, will hinder you as a filmmaker and as a person. You throw away your biggest asset - adaptability - when you plan every thought you're going to have on set before you even get there.

Apr 26, 2012

HELL OF A THING

I will be fishing soon. That is good, I am relieved, I can stop burning out a little, maybe.

I'm having more trouble than I should be having. But of course, "getting over" someone who you thought would be in your life forever shouldn't really be that easy, I guess.

I think I may be going mad. Or maybe I'm just very sad. Either way, Kirsten is a manipulative, cowardly, lying, selfish fuck.

Or maybe she's just a stupid, scared, wildly out of touch child.

Or maybe she's just a normal human being, and I'm crazy.

Or maybe we're all fish.

I'm really glad no one reads this.