FX’s “Legion” – A Review [Rant?]

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On the surface, Legion deserves a grand amount of praise for such unique scriptwriting techniques. Showrunner Noah Hawley has taken a modern superhero mythos established by Marvel and twisted it, arguably forced it, into a new mold of highbrow television. Wednesday’s episode (“Chapter 4”) served up some classic tropes from speculative fiction such as the mind maze involved in telepathic investigations (as seen in the “X-Men” films and Christopher Nolan’s “Inception”) as well as 70’s era drug visions and American Horror Story type intrigue. The story ratcheted up the mystery behind David’s powers and if anyone was not yet afraid of The Devil With Yellow Eyes they certainly will be now.

Yet more is needed from the FX’s potential-sleeper-hit in order to earn its namesake.

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Flash Fiction Friday: Group Therapy

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    They pull their chairs into a circle, allowing Dr. Carlin to be the focal point of which they all centered about. He remains, as always, closest to the door of the dust-grey walls that are the basement of the church house to the First Baptist Church of Laurence County. Though there is only eight, it is more than enough to fill the space of the mildew scented basement of the lame church house. Carlin is entrusted with their mental care and they were still not used to the change. The church house certainly provided a comfortable way out of the public eye that the local rec-center certainly could not, it unfortunately was also leaving an offending stigma with its bleak colors and broken tiles that should have probably been changed back in the 1980’s. The group had a harder time sharing and Carlin was determined to watch them carefully this time around to figure out why.

He observed the men while sharing the strange trough-like urinal they shared in their restroom and he observed the women as non-nonchalantly as possible while they crammed their mouths and purses with powdered donuts and coffee.

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“Our Apartment”

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I haven’t posted in awhile. This is ramblings and rough draft stuff from a book idea I’ve had recently.
The three-decker apartment was the first house on the left at the corner of Cherry Lane. In this building, on the first floor, was where Edgar Delgado and his family had lived for 13 years. No other tenant had lasted more than two and several lasted only months. Edgar didn’t mind.
Sheely the real estate agent, pushed this apartment hard to Joel and Susan once she heard how desperate the couple were. Joel and Susan had each taken time off from in between colleges, choosing to take a year to save money and re-evaluate before deploying Graduate Applications. The location was perfect and they were unlike any other candidate that had tried to make it work at 144 Cherry Lane before. The others had all been families or single men. This was different. A young, engaged, couple. Two floors away from Edgar.
Sheely typed their e-mail carefully and made sure she included pictures of both the clawfoot tub and the double-parlor. She sent the e-mail and got up from her desk to pour some water for herself. She had only been a part of the realty company for a year and already this location, the one each newbie was assigned as a sort of rite of passage, had stumped her twice. This time though, this would lock it. She could get tenants to stay for at least a year here. These kids only wanted a brief window of time before grad school applications came in anyway.
Her phone vibrated on the desk and shook her from her thoughts. She took the six steps back to her desk and lifted her phone. It was an e-mail from Joel. Already.
Let’s see it.
        -Joel

———————————

Joel was shorter than most guys and always had been. He actually matched Susan’s height at 5’9″. Susan liked this though. For her, Joel wasn’t trying to compensate for his stature. He seemed to rely on wit and charm rather than expensive things, loud personality or exuberant or unpredictable behavior.
Wen the two would linger in cafés on the east side, sipping at their mixed drinks and cups of tea, he would entertain her with stories of his youth. From what she could tell, it seemed as though Joel long ago dealt with all his passive-aggressive behavior relating to his height and the compensation and other baggage that came with it. Now, at nearly 30, Joel was a warmhearted, albeit slightly over-opinionated, kind and decent man who put his everything into his artwork and his partner.
Susan always reciprocated.
In some ways Joel was afraid Susan was actually his unconscious way of compensating for his height. She was a leggy, long haired brunette withs lender shoulders and a healthy and fit body. When Sue first met Joel he felt like a shlep in comparison to her. In his young and malleable freshmen mind she was that gorgeous “babe” who found guys like Joel and labeled them “Friend.” Men like Joel never expected to deliver more than mere friendship or paying for the movie ticket at an awkward three’s company girls night. When the two unexpectedly found themselves dating, Susan made it unabashedly clear to Joel that his gentle nature, his art and intellect were what drew her to him.
Hearing this terrified Joel. It motivated the young man into taking better care of his body. He felt the personality quirks alone, the parts of him that she professed to find so endearing, were, alone, never going to be enough.
In almost every way Susan drove Joel to success in college and into a healthy lifestyle, without ever actually pushing him. Sue was, to Joel, the best thing that ever happened to him and that’s why he proposed to her on July 29th at their favorite little restaurant in the East Side and got an apartment together.
They had looked at a myriad of places. Many were beautiful but nowhere near their price range and the rest all seemed to be total shit holes or managed by near-incompetent landlords. One apartment had a landlord who couldn’t even show them the stairwell because he had lost the keys to his building. Joel asked if they should reschedule, despite Susan’s stares of disapproval. He quietly stated that he had no idea when or where his keys would show up so perhaps that would not work out. With a shrug the two struck that apartment off their list and continued their search.
The search took months and it was painstaking.

The car rolled to a stop and Joel and Susan got out. The driveway to the new apartment was long and thin but widened into three spaces once you got past the apartment itself into the backyard. The pavement was fresher in the spot furthest to the left, like someone had paved over a portion of the grassy lawn in order to make room for three cars.
They parked their little Toyota Yaris there and both got out, hoping to find the realtor.
Still not there.
Together the young couple began to look around. Joel removed his ball cap and wiped sweat from his brow while he took a long gaze around the perimeter of the yard. There was still a fenced lawn, room for a picnic table and at least a grill for two of the three floors to keep outside.
Susan gazed to the tall, bleached-white building with black trimmings and window shutters. She was primarily concerned (and wrestling with a mixture of anticipation in fear of being disappointed) about the inside of the apartment. Dealing with sharp maneuvers and reversing in or out of their spot, weaving around the apartment in order to back out of the driveway – as much of a pain in the neck as it sounded it was still a dream apartment from all the pictures they had seen online.
It was a stacked apartment complex and to Joel’s surprise it was considerably taller than in the pictures and also a brighter shade of white than he had anticipated. Surprisingly white as the window panes, trim and gutters looked the least maintained of all the houses on the street (which is still a compliment as it simply meant this past year they had not seen any adjustments).
This was going to be it. she thought to herself. It had to be.
The neighborhood quiet. The two walked to the end of the driveway. Going down the road some were similar-fashioned houses (all built around the same time presumably) and each with kids tricycles, tiny-tot slides and dads washing cars.
Each home was finely and recently painted with half-way decent to well maintained shrubbery and floral gardens. Houses had trims that had seen upkeep, hammocks in backyards, cars that didn’t have rust holes on the bottom.
How could they possibly have landed such a perfect location? Joel asked himself.
The house across the street had two broken down cars on their lawn. One was wheel-less and raised on cinder blocks. The other’s hood was lifted with no visible engine inside. The latter appeared to be in the midst of being gutted by two scrawny and shirtless men. The apartment and this house with the scrappers marked the end of the road.
Sheely, the realtor who had been in contact with them for several of the locations that Joel and Susan had already investigated, finally arrived in her tiny Mini Coop, beeping her horn excitedly at them as she turned onto the road.
“Isn’t Cherry Lane just adorable?” she practically shouted as she got out of the car. Her voice was high-pitched and excitable. Her left hand clenched a paper coffee cup from a city coffee brewery the young couple were actually familiar with while she butt-checked the car door shut. Under her she pressed a clipboard to her ribcage. This same arm was shouldering the weight of her satchel which she kept trying to adjust with the free fingers that did not grasp the coffee cup.
As she scurried over to them in her high heels she struggled with her spare hand to go from adjusingt the satchel strap and her dirty, blonde, curly hair which kept falling in her face.
“I’m sorry I’m a mess! Such a late start, I forgot the damn scrunchy at home!”
Joel smiled kindly to her and offered to take her satchel while Susan went through her purse to retrieve one of her own to give to the young realtor.
This caused a smile of genuine kindness from Sheely and she let Joel take the bag while she fixed her hair, sticking her clip board between her legs as Sue held her coffee cup. Sheely’s smile was toothy, as her mouth was wide. She had dimples and cheeks that would make great aunts everywhere squeal and pinch. She had freckles that decorated her cheeks and, as Susan would later comment, “the perfect eye liner.”
“You guys are too kind!” she gushed.
“It’s no big deal.” Joel said.
“So, okay -“ Sheely retried her items from Joel, Susan and her own knees and began to walk to the front steps, pulling out a key on a ring from her satchel. “This place is really great, but don’t get freaked out by the stair case, okay? The landlord is pretty old and he hasn’t had a lot of time to touch it up. His nephew has been working on both this apartment and his Uncle’s home, which is the red building right behind this one? But he keeps telling me his Uncle’s home is priority – or something.”
Joel and Susan looked to each other, prepared to be disappointed once again.
At one point in the apartment hunting process, early on, finding ransacked apartments with horror movie-esque staircases was amusing. They laughed their way out of the showing and would laugh about it together later that night at their own ratty 1bedroom apartment in the shit part of the city. Now, with this being so close to the end of the search, it was disheartening.
Steely put the key in the hole and turned it back and forth twice. Nothing. She tried lifting the handle and butt checking the door.
“Everything okay?” Joel asked from behind her.
Sheely’s gaze drifted to the window on the first floor. A curtain was pulled shut and it drifted a bit in the wind as all the windows were open.
“Yeah, it’s great! Why don’t we use the back door? It looks like Harry gave me the wrong key.” she guided them to the back, keeping her gaze on the first floor windows as she walked. “The tenants here have been here for a long, long time. Harry says they’re pretty unshakable. They’ve been here for almost as long as he has had the building.” Joel and Susan nodded.
“Stable tenant and landlord relations then, that’s good.” Susan proposed.
“Right!” Sheely agreed. She passed their car parked in the third spot. “Good job parking there. Try not to park behind the guy on the first floor. He’s pretty specific about his parking.” she pointed to her own car out on the street.
“Oh, okay.” Joel said, shooting Susan a look of concern.
“Ah, here we go.” she gently turned the knob and pushed the door open. The door was blue and looked as if it needed a touch-up on paint. “This door only locks from the dead bolt inside, but John asks that tenants leave it open during the day so there’s no confusion. The key to unlock the deadbolt exists, but right now only the first floor has one.”
Sheely flicked the light switch in the dingy stairway. The staircase begged to be dusted but besides that it was fine. The wall was separated into two halves. The bottom was cheap, faux-wooden siding and the top eggshell white paint. It looked funky and retro. Susan commented she liked it. Joel agreed, even though he really didn’t find it that great.

———————————

Farley the cat wore a collar with a little bell on it that jingled as she scampered around the house. They kept it comfortably loose so she wouldn’t fight it off and as she was an indoor cat, they weren’t worried about her jamming her tiny head and body through small places like fences or brushes and slipping out of it.
Everywhere the cat went the jingle followed. She could be heard from any point in the apartment and even halfway up the stairs. When returning home they could hear her little paws, if they were especially quiet, flailing on the tile of the kitchen and sliding onto the carpet. The tingling of her bell would ring up and they knew she was waiting by the door for them.
It is this reliable behavior and sound that immediately alerted Susan something was wrong when she awoke and found the house void of jingling the morning after the fight with Edgar.

“Left or Left” – A really weird dream I had

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It’s rare for a break up to be as amicable as it feels at the time of it’s occurrence.

 

Last night I had an extremely detailed dream. I have not had a dream this vivid in quite some time.

There is a great amount of vagueness still surrounding my memory of the events, or at least the order of them. I feel like in dreamstates your mind is showing you the images in the order you need to see them not necessarily the order in which they should occur. There is no canonical series of events in a dream. Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey and so forth.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

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Before I met Jessica, I lived a life of subjective privilege for much longer than I care to admit. With her help, I came to a point in my life where I had two roads. One was “keep going the way you have, where it’s easy and your ideas aren’t challenged because you don’t surround yourself with challenge” or “take in a new way of looking at the world and understand it’s not perfect. Understand you can change it and as an ally and a partner in a healthy relationship, you can support these ideals that benefit society just by being a good person and acknowledging where you make mistakes. Welcome criticism. Accept people who challenge your ideas. Don’t just project yours.”

I chose the latter.

Jess clarified for me, on several occasions, her understanding of feminism is that a major part of the whole package is the act of change. Not necessarily transformation, but even paradigm shifts or new perspectives. Whether it’s accepting that people can change or changing for your own needs within the lifestyle of feminism, change is a necessity. And a pretty constant one at that.

Our society has ways of controlling both men and women through the patriarchy. The attitudes and behaviors prior to the realization that the patriarchy is fucked have us treating one another, specifically women, rather awful. We believe in comparisons of gender to the point where “throw like a girl” is a negative thing and “men growing beards when they don’t work with their hands/pray to God/hike a lot makes them posers of masculinity/terrorists” is this actual concept that have men and women grouping together on social networks and claiming they have petitions to ban beards in businesses. ‘Cause y’know, Hipsters have beards, real men wear beards. Malarkey.

Unfortunately, there’s a constant flow of negative things about women whereas men, well… less so. Men, in our Western Patriarchy, still have to meet an absurd standard as well, don’t get m wrong. To those who fight feminism and call themselves “Equalists,” there’s this privilege and separation gap that prevents them from understanding this. Those that say they do most likely still don’t. I know I still don’t always understand where my privilege lies.

Hence why I check my privilege.

Thankfully, change can happen.

I was an idealist who fought for equal marriage but I was one of those wishy-washy white guys who thought saying he wanted gay marriage let him get away with saying some pretty terrible slurs. Continue reading

Why the FUCK did I say yes to this Nissan Sentra?

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I have a 2005 Nissan Sentra and this thing was given to me under circumstances beyond my control. Previous car was a ’97 Ford Contour well on its way out the door and I, in a rush for a new car, allowed my parents to “gift me” with this used lemonmobile. There’s more to that whole “gifting” part, but I can get to that another time. But trust me, it was say yes to a car then, or risk another $800 car repair after that. The Ford was a money pit and I was stuck behind it’s wheel.

Taking the Nissan there were almost immediately a series of problems. He warned me not to drive it so much in the rain, an uncommon suggestion in Rhode Island. I didn’t like that, but my father seemed to be so full of pride and promise that tires would be slapped on the car soon and everything would work out that I just went with it. I want to say I was confident of the car as well, but in truth I was afraid of disappointing my father who was using his* money to buy me a car. He really wanted to help and his intentions were all purely good and paternal.

But the car shuddered.

It also had a service engine soon light come on two days into having the car.

It tended then and still tends to now have issues with brakes and I’m not thrilled with the rims or trucks of the car, they magically rusted, practically over night, and are now an eyesore as well as a screeching reminder that this car is probably not going to make it another two years.

But none of this is as immediate as what is currently occurring in this car. In January my car began to draw from the battery even with the ignition off and keys out. It was just off. Y’know? OFF. But the battery was still on. Continue reading

Trying nonfiction out

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Background in writing: Short stories, essays, non-fiction, reflective narratives, investigative journalism, interview based journalism, critical reviews, critical op-eds, event news, poetry, speculative fiction, graphic novel scripting, performance scripting

things I want to mention: researching for fiction, working collaboratively with other creators, managing student newspapers, teacher assistantship in high school allowing me to teach a segment on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, creation of a student paper, personal drive to finish and be published

purposes in pursuing degree: To educate and inform. To help bolster literary pursuits and to thaw the minds of students frozen in the new age of immediate gratification. To implore better understandings of literary works and to draw out writing skills and potential. To shape, at the very least, an ability to read and comprehend as well as why it is important to be well written and well read.

Writing interest: Humanity. The preferred genre or writing method is speculative fiction or graphic novel. Thematically, stories or essays that wrestle with defining humanity inspire me to write. Defining purposes in life past interstellar or biological coincidences. Defining humanity without underselling the worth of fault.

It wasn’t until I was 25 that I realized my ultimate end goal was to become a published author and an educator. Thankfully I had fallen into a group of student journalists at the Community College of Rhode Island and surrounded myself with literary thinkers who thrived on the same interests as I had for my entire life. Together we founded a student newspaper, The Unfiltered Lens, and organized a singular student voice. I served as Entertainment Editor, writing several reviews of films, books, restaurants and plays, and even as Editor-in-Chief. Being surrounded by provocative thoughts and progressive ideas of student rights and censorship helped sway me to a degree in creative writing when I transferred to Rhode Island College after my graduation. mention modern literature with Steve Forleo?

At Rhode Island College I began to spread my wings in writing. While I had taken poetry and fiction writing courses at CCRI, it wasn’t until RIC that I was required to take critical creative writing courses and analyze fiction through several varied filters. My course in African-American Literature with Professor Scott (now Dean of the English Department at Rhode Island College) pushed me into the interests of speculative and science fictions. Here there is a sense of wonder that resides in the unknown; a potential for a bright future if only we could change the murky present. By marrying this growing interest in a very specific field of literature with my love for comic books, I began to seek out books and tutorials on writing my own comic book script. I discovered and worked with an artist in developing pages for the premiere issue of this book over several months and learned the ins-and-outs of co-operative storytelling, the benefits of visual writing, and also the importance of copyrights and registering creative properties.

During my time at RIC I also served as the Life Editor, the Entertainment Editor, and the Managing Editor. As Managing Editor I oversaw the entire editorial staff, set and enforced deadlines, and employed a unique spreadsheet system designed by the Managing Editor before me which kept track of the progress on photographers, events, articles, and layout.

Whenever your brain experiences harmful stimuli within the human body’s nervous system, it processes that information very quickly. This action is called nociception. Your brain sort of bookmarks these harmful stimuli and your body produces an ability to sort of “sense” harmful stimuli afterward, based on the data your brain crunched from your pain receptors within your nervous system. An even simplified version is when you bend over into your new car for the first time to get that thing you forgot and completely underestimate the distance of the roof of the car to your head. You slam your skull into it and it stings or throbs, and you immediately feel the pain. Now, your brain has learned to be more careful and be more aware of where the roof is in proximity to your head when getting out of the car. The more pain you receive in that area, the more concerned you are with avoiding it in the future. There appears to be three different kinds of pain receptors, cutaneous (skin), somatic (joints and/or bones), and visceral (body organs). A lot less is known about visceral and it’s almost always more dangerous. Somatic pain is described as a dull ache or a throbbing sensation, usually pretty localized on the body. Picture a break or a fracture. Cutaneous nociceptor receptors, the ones found in the dermis and epidermis of our skin tissue, indicate pain. There’s another kind of cutaneous receptor (thermoreceptor) for temperature. Pretty neat stuff how all of these intertwined systems send signals throughout the body; that is through the nervous system and into the brain, and from it our brain mines and collects the data almost instantaneously and delivers our bodies fight-or-flight reactions. The nociceptors (“pain receptors” from here on out) only respond to damage from chemical (e.g. really strong cleaning material on your skin, lemon juice in the eye) mechanical (e.g. a pinch or an abrasion), or the aforementioned thermal (heat and cold) stimulations.

What is fascinating to me is how long our bodies can stomach the reactions our brains want to give us based on the data they collect from these receptors, based solely on something silly like an emotional stimuli such as pride or guilt. Because I was too afraid to be that type of patient in a children’s hospital who cried all the time, I endured a lot of pain and tried very hard not to complain until it I either experienced severe discomfort, as in past a point of maintainable pain, or my immediate health felt at risk. Almost all of these instances involved my chest tubes. They were an ugly color, tinted like yellow boogers, and they often had a stench. This stench, combined with puss or oozing of mucus from the tissue where the tubes were protruding from my abdomen, were cleaned several times a day. I was assured that it was all perfectly natural but the sensations, smells, and tangling of tubes while I slept felt anything but natural. It felt like I was a science experiment; an inorganic life form being slapped back together slowly. I pictured Dr. Jonas operating on me looking at nurse Neena and saying, in a quiet rumble with his thick Australian accent:
“We have the technology. We can make him better than he was.”