Archive for the Journals Category

Writing, Podcast & News

Posted in Books, Inspiration, Journals, Life, Poetry, Writing with tags , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by blakejohnson

Disclaimer: This post will not resemble the title’s order of topics.

Now then, I’ve been getting out a lot more recently, I’ve taken to daily walks down to the waterside, picking different sitting-and-watching-spots each time I go to the park by my house. It’s about 6 blocks away, down the hill and across the streets, and I go when the sun is almost setting, to soak in the last few rays and feel the breeze on my cheeks, to breathe the fresher air and remind myself that there are other people living and moving around me, no matter how I shut myself up in my apartment room.

On these walks, I bring a book – Dune, for you curious types, and I’m almost done with it…a review should follow, but that simple mention is not a promise – and a notebook for recording ideas and thoughts, describing the sun and the mountains, the waves that lap the rock-cement seawall, or for remembering the old couple who wander down the path at sunset. I’ve begun writing much more, much like I used to, endeavoring to rediscover that spark I had before, the endless flow of ideas and thoughts that formed themselves into words, phrases, the lyrics of my mind that came pouring out like fresh, cold milk, coating and soothing and solidifying into a sweet cream… letting me understand their substance and intent.

And even now, inspired by a podcast series from the Open University (hurrah! for open learning initiatives) on creative writing, I’ve decided to link said podcast and some new writing of my own.
Continue reading

I’m in town!

Posted in Friends, Journals, Life, News, People, Realtionships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2008 by blakejohnson

Staying in Seattle with my brother and his wife was wonderful.  Now, living in my apartment, I realize and admire how comfortable of a life they’ve built for themselves.  It was great.  They’d be at work, and I’d be home.  I ventured off a couple of times and found a bookstore, a music store, a cafe.  Most of the time, I was home on the internet, or watching one of the hundred movies we pulled out for me to see, just the classics I hadn’t seen like Jaws, Predator and Alien.  And then there was The Usual Suspects, the Bourne movies and the Goonies.  Most all of the movies I watched there I liked.  Tuesday nights were game nights, so I met their friends I hadn’t seen since the wedding ceremony.  We had an action movie night one night, and a few other friends came over then.  Their two housemates were great as well, always friendly, always interested and joyful, joking.  And of course visiting Vancouver with them was even more fun then sticking it out alone.  I’ve seen a ton more movies since being up here, and rated and reviewed around 350 more online in the last 3 weeks or so.  Tuesdays were pie-making days also, when Juliana didn’t work she’d stay home and we’d make pies from her massive pie book together.  She’d really make them, I’d just help.  But it was fun.  And they usually tasted quite good by the end.  That was Jesse’s favorite part about Tuesdays.  He’d come home from work, say hi to me and the dog, and walk straight into the kitchen for a plate and a fork and dig in to the pie of the week.  It was fun.  We also did a baking day on Superbowl Sunday one weekend.  Nobody was interested in the Superbowl, but the food was excellent, so they made chili cheese dip, popcorn shrimp, bacon and potato skins, all the good parts of a Superbowl celebration.  And us guys watched some good action movies in the living room while most of the women cooked.  It was a good day. 🙂

Vancouver.  Vancouver is awesome.  The city itself couldn’t be more gentle or fun.  The apartment I’m in is just the right size for three guys who don’t typically cross paths for more than a minute.  My room is nicely sized, comfortable and well-lit…now.  And the people… Canadians blow me away.  Why aren’t Americans this nice to random people?  Maybe it’s because we’re roommates or maybe it’s because they’re friend of my family, but everybody I’ve met so far has been more than willing to drop whatever they’re doing and help out in some way.  It’s shocking, but nice.

I start school in about a week and a half, so I’m still getting used to the area around the apartment, finding new places to get groceries, household things like tape, light bulbs, etc.  I just got the internet set up today, and the roommates will pay me back for the router when I see them later tonight.  So far it’s been pretty quiet days at home, since the roommates have school and/or work, and I’ve got neither, and then some movie and food later on, with the occasional interest of one of them.  Tim goes to the school I’m going to be going to, only he’s in the Game Design program, so he’s doing a lot of 3D modeling and texturing, making characters and stuff for games.  He’s almost done with his clay version of a character, he said, and he’ll be 6 months through the program once I start.  Andrew’s finishing his masters in Health Economics.  That was a shock to me, since when I saw him he looked like he was just out of high school and starting college for the first time.  It was also a field I never thought existed until he mentioned it, but it’s something I now can’t imagine not existing, even though I’m really not sure what it is.

I moved up on Sunday, and it’s Wednesday now, so I’ve got no good excuse not to learn the bus routes soon.  Tomorrow I’m taking the closest one down to my school to see where it is, and meet one of my brother’s friends or a brief visit in the middle of his work day (see what I mean, and he’s not even Canadian!)  I’ll wander around and explore the area a bit, and finally come back home when I’ve explored enough for the day.  I hope it’s just so exciting I go back again on Friday, only it’s supposed to rain Friday, so maybe I won’t.  I’ve always got the apartment to stay in.  It’s still surreal, being in the apartment, thinking it’s partly mine.  Walking into the kitchen thinking it’s my kitchen, my living room, I don’t know if it’s sunk in or not, but it’s an odd feeling.  It’s kind of a feeling like I have this freedom, this ultimate freedom where my life isn’t determined by the schedules of other people, my daily life is completely and entire up to me, down to the absolute minute details, and yet I haven’t changed anything about my habits yet.  Maybe I will with time, and maybe finding new friends will cause that, but for now, I’m happy to have a place to sleep and eat and a brand new city to explore.

I'm in town!

Posted in Friends, Journals, Life, News, People, Realtionships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2008 by blakejohnson

Staying in Seattle with my brother and his wife was wonderful.  Now, living in my apartment, I realize and admire how comfortable of a life they’ve built for themselves.  It was great.  They’d be at work, and I’d be home.  I ventured off a couple of times and found a bookstore, a music store, a cafe.  Most of the time, I was home on the internet, or watching one of the hundred movies we pulled out for me to see, just the classics I hadn’t seen like Jaws, Predator and Alien.  And then there was The Usual Suspects, the Bourne movies and the Goonies.  Most all of the movies I watched there I liked.  Tuesday nights were game nights, so I met their friends I hadn’t seen since the wedding ceremony.  We had an action movie night one night, and a few other friends came over then.  Their two housemates were great as well, always friendly, always interested and joyful, joking.  And of course visiting Vancouver with them was even more fun then sticking it out alone.  I’ve seen a ton more movies since being up here, and rated and reviewed around 350 more online in the last 3 weeks or so.  Tuesdays were pie-making days also, when Juliana didn’t work she’d stay home and we’d make pies from her massive pie book together.  She’d really make them, I’d just help.  But it was fun.  And they usually tasted quite good by the end.  That was Jesse’s favorite part about Tuesdays.  He’d come home from work, say hi to me and the dog, and walk straight into the kitchen for a plate and a fork and dig in to the pie of the week.  It was fun.  We also did a baking day on Superbowl Sunday one weekend.  Nobody was interested in the Superbowl, but the food was excellent, so they made chili cheese dip, popcorn shrimp, bacon and potato skins, all the good parts of a Superbowl celebration.  And us guys watched some good action movies in the living room while most of the women cooked.  It was a good day. 🙂

Vancouver.  Vancouver is awesome.  The city itself couldn’t be more gentle or fun.  The apartment I’m in is just the right size for three guys who don’t typically cross paths for more than a minute.  My room is nicely sized, comfortable and well-lit…now.  And the people… Canadians blow me away.  Why aren’t Americans this nice to random people?  Maybe it’s because we’re roommates or maybe it’s because they’re friend of my family, but everybody I’ve met so far has been more than willing to drop whatever they’re doing and help out in some way.  It’s shocking, but nice.

I start school in about a week and a half, so I’m still getting used to the area around the apartment, finding new places to get groceries, household things like tape, light bulbs, etc.  I just got the internet set up today, and the roommates will pay me back for the router when I see them later tonight.  So far it’s been pretty quiet days at home, since the roommates have school and/or work, and I’ve got neither, and then some movie and food later on, with the occasional interest of one of them.  Tim goes to the school I’m going to be going to, only he’s in the Game Design program, so he’s doing a lot of 3D modeling and texturing, making characters and stuff for games.  He’s almost done with his clay version of a character, he said, and he’ll be 6 months through the program once I start.  Andrew’s finishing his masters in Health Economics.  That was a shock to me, since when I saw him he looked like he was just out of high school and starting college for the first time.  It was also a field I never thought existed until he mentioned it, but it’s something I now can’t imagine not existing, even though I’m really not sure what it is.

I moved up on Sunday, and it’s Wednesday now, so I’ve got no good excuse not to learn the bus routes soon.  Tomorrow I’m taking the closest one down to my school to see where it is, and meet one of my brother’s friends or a brief visit in the middle of his work day (see what I mean, and he’s not even Canadian!)  I’ll wander around and explore the area a bit, and finally come back home when I’ve explored enough for the day.  I hope it’s just so exciting I go back again on Friday, only it’s supposed to rain Friday, so maybe I won’t.  I’ve always got the apartment to stay in.  It’s still surreal, being in the apartment, thinking it’s partly mine.  Walking into the kitchen thinking it’s my kitchen, my living room, I don’t know if it’s sunk in or not, but it’s an odd feeling.  It’s kind of a feeling like I have this freedom, this ultimate freedom where my life isn’t determined by the schedules of other people, my daily life is completely and entire up to me, down to the absolute minute details, and yet I haven’t changed anything about my habits yet.  Maybe I will with time, and maybe finding new friends will cause that, but for now, I’m happy to have a place to sleep and eat and a brand new city to explore.

Feminine Opression

Posted in Get Meta!, Inspiration, Journals, Life, School on December 3, 2007 by blakejohnson

I would personally like to know why in a class like Sociology, we’re simply learning about the history and the psychology and the sociology of gender conflicts. It makes sense to approach the topic from such an angle in such a class, but think about it…if all we’re talking about is the history and the dynamics of inequality in gender issues, then who the hell is doing anything about them? Honestly, for me, reading almost two pages (not even), I got sick and tired of what i was reading, fed up with simply learning constantly, through life, about the damn gender issues that permeate our society. Right, I fucking get it that women were oppressed, forced into conditions they often didn’t like and were even more often unfair, but you know what, teaching me about it again isn’t going to make me any more sympathetic towards the issue! If you want me to get the point then fucking send me out to some women’s rights group so I can actually, you know, do something instead of just hearing about it and developing this intolerance for constantly hearing about gender issues. You’re being counter-productive by teaching me again and again and again about the same shit and not making people go out and do something about it. To be completely honest, I think it’s pretty fucking obvious that women have been oppressed, and there was a movement, and there still is a movement, but analyzing it in a controlled environment like a classroom is the entirely wrong direction to go now, I think. Technology changes wicked fast, and so I think should education techniques. We should adopt to the new society where most people can presumably k ow that at at least women weren’t treated well, they are fighting for better rights, and now things are getting better, but just learning about it doesn’t contribute to that effort, nor help anyone in truly raising awareness or really getting into the thick of the battle to see what’s really going on there. It helps us see the issues, sure, about 5 years after they’ve been through the tabloids and the press and had the time to get into some textbooks for us to read in class…but things have changed since then! And now I think it’s time to teach activism, not just analytics, in school…especially in a college environment, where you’re teaching them for their life, where they’re learning the most adult methods to grow up and live their own lives before they are truly on their own. It’s time in college to teach things like “Today and tomorrow we’re looking at the history of gender issues and how it affects us in society. The rest of the semester, we’re going to talk about ways we can make a difference, talk to people we know about what’s going on in gender issues around here, and globally. We’ll have guest speakers coming in from around town and nationally to speak about different issues, and every time we’ll have a discussion and follow-up paper, combined at the end of the semester with an activist project of your choosing, all relating to gender issues and the topics and people and instances we’ve discussed in class, as well as some broader brainstorming as to what can be done to help the society and the world in it’s super-fast changing movement we see every day. We’re making a difference, not just talking about it.” And yet, we don’t do that in my class. It’s about knowing your stuff, reading the textbook, and passing the tests. Sweet. Well I’ve got that part down. And while I’m at it, I’ll probably develop a little bit more of a dislike for hearing about gender issues because of the class and it’s lack of effort and energy to get me involved in something that actually matters on a larger scale than my presumably lacking intellect. Thanks, guys, for a casually wasted semester in classic Sociology 101.

Pure Green Poison

Posted in Get Meta!, Inspiration, Journals, Life, People, Realtionships, Writing on November 26, 2007 by blakejohnson

I’ve been obsessing over a certain actress recently in my life whom I’ve never met, hardly seen, since she’s not huge, and doesn’t desire to be, something I admire about her.  But the temptation to simply look at her face, to see the smile and feel the gaze, to daydream about the companionship she might bring if ever we were to meet is intoxicating.  Poison slipping and oozing down my throat, its green and gooey texture filling up my lungs until I can’t breather without her face before me; it coats my veins until I feel I can’t live without feeling her fake digital gaze on too my face, and into my eyes, filling with the cold, dark green of the poison she envelops me with.  It spreads throughout my body like a cancerous growth, but unseen and untouchable, simply there, asphyxiating in its uncontrollable and un-understandable power.  And it finally comes upon my heart, and hardens around my strongest muscle, my life source, and turns a cold, hard, black color that clenches tighter and tighter, every moment away from her digital face force its grasp to hold tighter and tighter to the only warm thing in my body, the only thing trying desperately to reach my brain with its pure bloody thoughts of life beyond her life-saturating face.  Only to become mixed and overcome by the poison of the obsession before it even reaches the outside of the heart from which it comes.  The cold dark green obsession with someone I’ve never met, in some place I’ve never been, in a field of work I’ve never felt comfortable in, and in a state of mind I know I’m not in.  She sits atop a throne while I cower at the base, not even daring to look up, to gather the resources around me to fly up and finally see the surroundings of her childhood, her upbringing and the country that she calls home.  Nothing do I want more than to escape the wretched cocoon of my room where I retreat each day, all day, to call my infinite palace of knowledge and growth, my social life extends into the vastness of the world, but only through the tentacles of a digital age’s capabilities.

My social interactions are limited, and mostly with my family.  The cold room where I sit, day after day after day after day, contemplating my life and how much I would adore soaring away from this cold, dark place.  I can’t bear to be here any longer.  I feel only unsatisfied with every moment, every second passes through me a dark and wintry second as if they were snowflakes passing through my veins, and the poison had frozen them up so cold that the snowflakes didn’t even melt through their journeys.

Something whispers to me in the night, and I perk my ears up to listen, only to find that it’s the simple longing for something new, for someone new, for some warmth that is not familiar, some strange loving care that caresses my shoulders, my head, my legs, my whole body and wraps me up, embracing me for a full twenty minutes with no selfishness at all, and nothing to tear it away.  Simply loving me.  Simply caring enough to exude the warmth of the sun a thousand times over with nothing held back, no otherworldly goals, no shadows in which to hide its secrets.  The only thing that whispers to me in the night is the lack of that warmth, day in and day out, again, and again, and again.

And so I wake up the following morning, retreating to me screen and my keyboard like someone out of the Matrix in their control room, ready to take on the world, only I am already full of the realization that the world has no knowledge of me, that I matter not to the way it functions, to the way it turns and spins.  If I simply disappeared it would not lose its course in the universe.  If I simply disappeared people would not fly to the streets with signs and banter about the right cause of the life and the necessity of the unity of man.  My leaving would cause no such fuss.  My leaving would simply be that: me leaving.  And I think that, day in and day out, that my leaving may simply be the best thing I could do in the world, for the world, for myself.  Maybe some time in some distant land that I know nothing about would be my savior, would find me that warmth, would bring me closer to the sun and to the cure for this poison that rots my insides as if they were already dead.

I’m wrapped up in my own private world.  Nobody sees it, nobody knows it, and yet I tell people almost every day what parts of life are like.  What parts of my life are like.  Hopelessness, the other poison, must be the fermented version of this green gooey obsession, this sadness that fills my being.  The inescapable torture that it brings with it, the desire for difference, for life, for something warm and something new.  The rotting insides of my cold, hardened body all completely unseen by any innocent bystanders.  The daily ritual is suicidal, and the urge for random, eclectic travel seems out of my reach, and so where do I possibly go to for a source of life but the digital fakeness of imagery and audio that is simply replication of the beauty I see in the digital versions of something that must in real life be utterly incomprehensibly gorgeous.  I’ve been told not to get too obsessed, not to let it get under my skin, to seek help if things get “out of hand.”  Life is already out of my hands.

I don’t want to fight this poison here, on my own ground, I want to fly away, soar through the clouds as high as possible, as close to the sun as I can reach, and to touch its rays with my hands, my face, my shoulders, my legs, as if it were holding me itself, as if I were simply a cloud on my own, floating around through the sky, oblivious to life and sorrow, obsession and poison, hardship and suffering.  As if they didn’t even exist.  I would much rather make a stand on foreign soil against this beast of green obsession than remain here in quiet isolation, joyless, friendless, loveless aside from what the typical family can give.  That almost doesn’t seem to matter.  I know it’s there, and I know I’ll at some time come out of this haze of infection and back into the world of reality, and I know they’ll only have noticed quietly, waiting for a word or a desire for help to be uttered from me, the quiet and isolated member of the family.  Only I won’t.  And so they won’t.  And I will move on into some other chapter of my life, into some new place of my life and hope that the poison will not envelop me again.  And I will strive for work or play in some foreign land where the sun always shines and the weather is always warm and the love simply flows from all people, smiles and friendliness are never surprising to find and the common sit-down coffee-shop really is the beginning of a long and blissful relationship, no matter who with, but someone who provides something of that warmth of heart, the beginning of the cure to the cold, hard heart that I’d acquired through strict obsession with the digital face of something rare and remarkable.

But until then, I suppose I just wait out the days and do my best with what I can.  Even if at times it seems that may be nothing.  I just travel on through the tunnel of life with the occasional beam of light bouncing off my now hardened and reflective surface, long enough for me to gaze in wonder and glory at the sight of someone else’s fortune, and then it’ll disappear, forcing my mind to race with methodical and spontaneous courses of action to achieve my own glory, to cast my own beam of light, and perhaps warm the hearts of others, less fortunate, who feel as I do now: loveless, lost, alone, cold, and empty.

Meaning of (my) Life Pt. 2

Posted in DIY, Film, Friends, Get Meta!, Inspiration, Journals, Life, People, Realtionships, Web on November 13, 2007 by blakejohnson

It seems like there’s so much time and
talent going to waste when all these super talented people all over the
place that always seem to catch my attention, but never the attention
of people who have the power to make a difference in the field they’re
in.  I like to think that if I ever got to a powerful position like
that, I’d do my best to get people from the online mass into studios
and the like as much as possible, even if only for a trial run on me
(and hey, if I had the money, what’s the loss?  It’s helping someone
with their dream, which is always nice to do).  I like to think I’d
always scour YouTube and sites like it, daily, for new talents to call
my friends in recording and film studios and other places so the
talents could get to work on the things they loved and make a
difference.  That could revitalize the field so much, just constantly
adding brand new talents to the works.  I like to think I would even
use the same actors in different films, nor the same musicians, unless
I had a super close relationship with them or they really fit better
than anyone else.  But I like to think I’d continuously look all over
the world for talent that can sustain my projects so I don’t have to
depend on the constantly-recognizable faces of most Hollywood actors
and actresses.  Watching a movie with good actors I’ve never heard of
makes it that much better for me as a viewer, because I forget they’re
acting and it seems all the more real to me.  When it’s Nicholas Cage
or John Travolta, I can always tell who it is, and I always know, and
sometimes they pull off roles well, and sometimes they don’t.  It
depends, but I like to think I’d make my films all the more real and
well-done because they’d have no big stars in them, and so people
wouldn’t be worried about veteran’s performances or obsessing over
their favorite stars… they’d go to see a good movie for what it was,
a good movie, which is supposed to be what filmmaking is about in the
first place, isn’t it?  I guess what I want is in a way what happens
whenever you get into this field, since it’s just a wide range of
contacts that can be called upon to help out on projects in the
future.  And when you’re in this business, you meet a heck of a lot of
people, and most of those will probably be hungry to come back for
more, especially if they’re on the low-budget end, which is what I’ve
become more and more interested in being in lately.  It doesn’t have
the Hollywood glitz and glamor, and though it doesn’t have the same
distribution outlets, those can be well-found elsewhere with plenty of
audience to boot.  But also, what it lacks in Hollywood rep, it makes
up for with ferocious talent and just pure love for the work and the
medium and the storytelling of a movie.  It’s the telling of a story
through visuals and sounds, music, emotion, that make this such a
lucrative and engaging, passionate field for me to want to get into. 
That’s why I want to make films, and only finding this attitude in the
lower-budget films so far, that’s why I want to stick with the indie
community of making them.  After all, who doesn’t want to work on what
they love with people they love to work with?  That’s essentially the
goal, to do that for myself and then provide the opportunities for it
to as many other people as possible, as often as possible.  It would be
a wonderful thing to be able to make that many people’s dreams come
true.  I would love to do that, and make movies, for the rest of my
life.  🙂

Meaning of (my) Life

Posted in DIY, Film, Friends, Get Meta!, Inspiration, Journals, Life, People, Realtionships, Video, Web, Work, YouTube on November 12, 2007 by blakejohnson

I’ve noticed myself shifting focus from pure filmmaking and obsessively following that career to an idea of a business or cooperative that consists of all the talented people I’ve met that essentially creates projects by ourselves and others’ and is a hub of creativity that only ever grows, with the addition of new contacts.  I’ve been thinking more and more recently of bringing together all of the people I’ve met, from filmmakers near the West Coast to singers in Australia and Vermont, to work on projects together, and all form a creative team of people working toward creating one solid piece of work that really doesn’t depend on money or star power because of its content and the quality of work that goes into it.  I find myself thinking more and more about creating a production company, somewhere down the line, that brings together all sorts of talented people that I’ve met over my life from singers and musicians to actors and dancers even, writers, directors, technical equipment and computer operators to pure business minds for successfully navigating the power-hungry world we live in to show the world that bringing truly talented people together with very little money but a hell of a lot of spirit is really possible, and that it happens all the time now, due to the bridging of the physical distance gap by internet technologies.  I love meeting new people online, making new contacts and fostering new relationships with people all around the world that may some day become just a friend, or help bring a project to fruition.  It’s inspiring in itself, the fact that people can and do come together on the internet and create as great a piece of work as any small-time filmmaking crew can when they’re all in the same place.  I think it’s wonderful that we can collaborate like I did on the “Friend In Need, Friend Indeed” project with filmmaker Ryan Nord all the way out in Ohio.  Maybe it’s my modern idea of an originally hippie theory of community, but it’s a wonderful thing when people don’t even have to care anymore about the distance between themselves and someone else and they just do stuff.  Of course, I would love them all to be in the same place, in a form of town all our own, full of creative types that always, always, were making something new.  But the distance is often desired.  And I’d love it.

I guess I feel the most proud of having met so many extremely talented people, from Ryan, to the crew over at Stick To What You Know, to ElizaAnne, to Cliff Burns, to Alejandro Lugo, and tons of others.  I’m proud to know so many talented and knowledgeable people that know their stuff and can get things done.  It’s the spirit of doing things and loving what you’re doing that can really get things done and that I love to find in people.  I guess the production compnay title AnimiVirtus (meaning “courage of the heart”) is very appropriate for this.  We would not only bridge physical gaps but age gaps, utilizing musicians and actors from all over the world, of all ages, through such publicity venues as Myspace, YouTube, and other such sites.  Whenever I need music, I’d look through YouTube and Myspace at the unsigned amateur artists, as both a way to get some great music, and give the musician(s) some publicity for their talents.  I love the independent, small-time, do-it-yourself spirit that seems to constantly permeate myself and now the internet filmmaker community.  It’s a wonderful thing to see people just go “Wait, screw the system, I love this project enough to get it done no matter what, and I’m not stopping until my story is told,” and then they go out and do it.  It’s the perfect age for a company like that to come around I think.  And I love thinking of the potential that we could tap into if we approached a project like that.  Alejandro Lugo said it great in a recent email to me when he said “You have to love what you’re doing… if not, find another job.”  And the greatest thing is that so far, out of all the people I’ve met that I mentioned here, they totally love what they do.  And it shows in the work.