Trippy

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Every once in a while you run across someone who makes you feel trippy.

It’s like space and time have welled up in what amounts to a tsunami to you, but to the universe is a ripple. Macro or micro doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you’ve suddenly recognized that everything is in motion.

There are three distinct ways this can happen.

Sometimes you feel as though you knew this person from somewhere before. They feel the same way. But then you both talk about where it could have been and nothing matches, not school or work or prior homes. You both start to consider your prior existence. That train of thought only makes you perceive eternity…and then the ripple effect takes hold of you again. Raising you up with it, bringing you down too fast so your insides feel all queasy and uneasy.

The second way is when someone tells you a fact which you knew to be true, but that you forgot somehow, or it had been troubling your inner mind until you heard it in the way only that person could say. You rise up of a sudden, you’re on top of the ripple, and you get it. Senses reel with the feeling of universal movement. Truth lends the dynamic feeling eternal continuity. You ride the wave of that new perception of truth, and though it’s outside of you, it feels like it’s persistent inside your head. Your brain sways like a drunken sailor on a sailboat in a high wind.

The third style of trip is when the person you meet has a repellent aura around them. You don’t see it as it is. Not at first. Your first impression is probably more simple: “I hate this person.” You sense the irrational nature of hating a person when you’ve just met them. That knowledge doesn’t permeate the hate, or diminish it. If you get to the trip too quickly it can take over your reasoning. If you get past it though, then you have a chance. You might comprehend that the hate isn’t something about them, it’s something around them. It isn’t a rational hate, it’s a manufactured hate. Some thing in the spaces between you two is ready, willing, and able to promote a hateful relationship between you.

If you can arrive there quickly, you can also divert quickly. Find some interesting favorite you both have in common before the outer influence convinces you there are no commonalities. Realizing you’ve avoided an immediate impression of hate and the potential mistakes of misjudgment, will give you a sense of power beyond the ripple. That sense of the pond we call space-time might still feel trippy, but you’ll be closer to mastering it.

Making the Call

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Smell hamburger? It’s your own leg. Remember the accident? No? You’re still in shock. See the dead man over there? He was in the accident too. You didn’t kill him. Don’t worry about that. You’re not guilty of murder. You wouldn’t need that kind of trauma anyway. Losing the leg is enough.

Do you remember the trains? Yes, trains. More than one. Don’t look. Trust me when I say the rails are not far behind you. You made it this far before the pain knocked you out. I think you dragged the leg with you. Judging from the smeared, dirty, blood trail, that’s exactly what you did. Dragged it.

Now your arm, that’s another story. What? Oh, sorry to upset you. Never mind the arm. Lie still.

If you stay calm, you’ll be better off. Nine out of ten people who get in life-threatening accidents, like you did, die from worrying about their injuries. The worry raises the heart rate. Raised heart rate pumps more blood out the wound hole. Lose too much blood and you’re done. Lights out.

Especially you, because you have so many wounds. I told you it looks like hamburger, right?

Then again, there’s a lot of dirt in your wounds. Bleeding might clean you up a little. Look at that one. What’s in there? Asphalt? Concrete bits? Maybe you shouldn’t have dragged yourself across the…but yeah, you were getting some distance from that last train, weren’t you?

I saw it all happen. I got video. The scene was fantastic! The first train got hit from behind by the other train. You and those other people were crossing in front of the motionless train, when, BAM!

It got hit and got shoved ahead. It leapt off the tracks. I’m not kidding. The train that hit it came pushing through, like a long, hungry, metal worm. You were there. You leapt too, but too late. You didn’t clear the rails before the first train hit you and the second train pushed its way toward you. You were conscious enough to see the second one coming. I saw that much. I didn’t see how you got out of the way of it, because I was taking video by then. I got some amazing video of the second train throwing sparks from scraping alongside the first train. Crazy.

What did you ask? How did I get video? On my phone. Did I what? Call paramedics? No, I didn’t. Good idea. I’ll call them now.

Hey, stay with me, man. Don’t blink out now. I’m making the call.

I’m making the call.

Off Road (And sometimes just Off)

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Even though I love the Easter Jeep Safari, I decided to zoom on over there before the place got too crowded.

Moab is a fun place to be. It rained a little while we were there, and it was interesting to see so many people unconcerned about walking around in the rain. Not only were they walking, but they were driving those little ATVs and UTVs around like they didn’t care at all that they were soaking wet.

One thing about the off-road culture, you do get in the weather, all kinds of weather. I guess if you’re going to get into a rugged hobby, you’re probably a fairly rugged character. So, what’s a little rain?

People who own a Jeep can plan on changing out a few, if not all, of the parts on their Jeep at some point in their ownership. I have one, so yes, this is first-hand knowledge. I’ve had to replace parts I never knew existed. Even while I was there in Moab.

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Did you know that every Jeep is fitted with an anti-rollover gyro-rotor? You didn’t know that? Apparently this is the most commonly stolen part, so it makes sense if many Jeeps don’t actually still have them. It may have been ripped off of the Jeep you own at some time. Scavengers are everywhere. Even in your own neighborhood. I had to replace mine while I was in Moab. This nice man told me about that mysterious part. He was just walking through the Taco Time parking lot while I was in the drive-through, and he noticed mine was missing, so he sold me one on the spot! You really meet some nice people there in Moab, and this guy was the nicest. He said the gyro-rotor usually goes for a whopping 1500 US$, but he sold me one for 500 US$. In case you’re wondering, it looks like this:

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Jeeps are great, but I don’t want to jabber on about Jeeps all day. There were some really super cool alternative vehicles over there in Moab. I actually saw a couple of these Cars-like cars. I only got one good picture though, and it was of this familiar looking character.

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There were tricked out Tacomas and other trucks too. There were some crazy looking military vehicles. There were also some vehicles that probably should never have been taken off-road that were still off the road. I swear I saw a Corolla out there in the sandstone, among other cars. Oh well, some people don’t have any respect for their vehicle until it’s broken, then suddenly—-respect!

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Besides the obvious off-road adventures, there are loads of other things to do in the areas around Moab. Arches National Park is a popular destination for a lot of people. It really is magnificent. And as far as landscapes go, Arches National Park is one of the most photogenic. The sandstone arches that decorate the area are what inspired Bill Watterson to draw the alien landscapes in his famous Spaceman Spiff* comics. You didn’t know that either, did you? I’m full of mindless trivia today.

Saw this little lizard out there.

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He paused for a picture, and showed us his tail. Someone must have tugged on it too hard and pulled it right off. Now his tail looks like a piece of licorice. The culprit might have been this guy.

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Look at him, sitting out there, trying to be inconspicuous. Sure. We believe it. Just kidding. Crows and ravens are usually scavengers. They don’t attack live…wait a minute…scavengers? I’ve heard that word somewhere before. Do you think this bird took my gyro-rotor?

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*Calvin and Hobbes

The Artist Is In

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There are so many types of art, I feel amazed that I feel a sense of respect for all of them.

Sure there’s “modern art”, that tongue-in-cheek form of artistic expression which seems more accidental than planned, but I still have some respect for it. After all, it does supply us all with a focus for our sarcasm. You can’t look at a canvas covered in speckles and drips and think of it as a 100% serious endeavor. If you can look at some of the examples of modern art without a laugh, a chuckle, or even a snicker, then I think you probably have a sad and sorry life. Learn to laugh more.

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Aside from the so-called modern type of art, there’s art out there in which the artist has attempted to capture the beauty of life, whether it’s in the form of oils on canvas or photography or even noodle art. The artist struggles to express the feeling they received through an experience. That’s where my respect originates, in that desire to show others what your experience, even to attempt to transfer that experience to someone else. It’s one of the most noble causes. Right up there with childbirth.

And that’s exactly how some artists feel about showing off their work. It’s as labor-intensive as childbirth. It makes you hyper-tense, it makes you sweat, and it makes you want to scream out for spinal drugs. “Kill the pain, before I expire!”

Artists sometimes get too dramatic about their art.

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Finally, I’d like to say that there are people out there who, despite their overly-dramatic self-derision, have earned some respect as they make their art better and better every day. If you see them, and see through their low self opinion, then the next step is to tell them what you really think about their art. Do you enjoy it? Or does it make you want to leave the room in a hurry? Or does it make you want to display the work in a conspicuous place where everyone can see it? Do you want to come back later when they’ve improved? Do you want to share it? Maybe you want to say, “I know the artist personally. Isn’t this a fine piece of work?” Do you want to help others see the beauty of the art?

If so, then that’s what you should do—help others see the beauty of the art.

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse

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I watched Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse recently. It was a cute show. I say cute because it felt like it was aimed at kids. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it. It was worth some time vegging on the couch. I don’t feel like my time was wasted.

As a whole, the mood that struck me was one of watching an episode of a cartoon for children rather than a movie made for theaters and general audiences. The feeling would have been complete if there were station identifications and commercial breaks. In fact, I think the concept would be ideal for episodes.

The animation was really well done, and so was the voice acting. I was totally surprised to find out that Nicolas Cage was one of the voices. I didn’t recognize his voice as the Spider Noir character. I learned after the movie that he voiced that character. My opinion of him as an actor is extremely low. I can’t stand him much in any movie. Voice acting could be a really good career move for him though. He truly has a great voice. And I have to adjust my opinion of him now to include the category of Character Voice: quality—even though the category still exists in my opinion of Actor: substandard.

By the way, all the other voice actors do superb work in this movie.

As for the major elements of entertainment.

1. Drawing power: Does the story pull you in and make you feel as if you’re part of the world? YES

2. Interest factor: Is the story something you want to hear, see, know? Are you craving to discover how it ends? YES

3. Offensive factor: Does it present sex, violence, cursing too abundantly or too vividly? Does it present a querulous agenda? NO, this movie is not offensive.

4. Range of emotion: Is the story serious when necessary? Do the jokes come at appropriate times? Does the story present emotions at pleasing intervals? YES

5. Character factor: Are there good actors (not necessarily famous ones) in the film? Yes. Are there quality protagonists/antagonists in the literary work? Is there a quality dynamic between the characters? Yes. Is the narrator mostly invisible? At times, the narrator becomes front line fodder.

6. Style: Does the film use sloppy-cam? Does the literary work use loose plot lines? Are all the words in the right places? Are all the props in the right scenes? A little sloppy with the 3D. The colors seem odd at times because of the 3D style. The plot is fairly transparent. It was obvious to me that there would be five amazing Spider-characters. Action scenes aren’t too sloppy. Most of the time you can tell what’s happening.

7. Proper length: Does a fantasy world require multiple manuscripts? Does a dystopian world beg to be spartan or truncated? Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse has a good length.

Total score 5/7 stars.