A New Year

Hey. You.

First of all welcome to the new year. I have just came out of my festive bunker, and seeing that the world has not yet ended, I am slightly disappointed in those Mayans. I now have to buy Christmas gifts for all those people I didn’t think I would have to buy for.

I took a few weeks off writing for the site to focus on well, myself and my writing. As such I have started writing a few things which you guys and gals will see. And fear not, they are NOT poetry. You guys seem to get enough of that.

I just recently started working out again, which gives me more time to work on my posts and my writing too. This is funny because as a meathead you wouldn’t think I could write and work out, but it actually gives me quiet me time to focus and rethink my stories.

A funny thing I noticed in the past three weeks is that almost all of society’s problems stem from one simple issue. Self control. Self control, not even moderation seems to be the thing lacking most in society. I can go without moderation, but I think we need to re-evaluate what it means to not have self control.

Turn on the TV. What is it that we watch now? Honey Boo Boo, Jersey Shore, The Biggest Loser, Jackass spinoffs, The Real World, The Real Housewives? What do they all have in common?

No self control at all. We watch these shows to see people lose control. We watch them because they do whatever they want with no concern. YOLO is bullshit. I get frustrated watching these kids, and adults live life as gluttons. I do not mean so in a biblical or even fat way (Honey Boo Boo excluded). I mean they get what they want now or they lose it. Then we sit back and laugh.

Do we? I think more often then not we emulate these behaviors, hence the reason that these shows become popular. No self control is something that we strive for. According to the UN, obesity is now a bigger killer in the world then starvation. Get that we are now EATING SO MUCH FOOD that more people are dying from that then from NOT HAVING ANY FOOD. There is something wrong with this picture here isn’t there.

We need to step back as a society and say “You know what I want to do _______” and not let it hit the ground flat. Alot of people make New Years Resolutions, I don’t. I think they are stupid hollow promises that we tell ourselves to get out of actually doing anything. Instead of telling yourself that you are going to do something. GET UP AND DO IT.

My mom used to always say that I complained longer about having to do some stupid task, probably the dishes or laundry or some other form of child labor, then it took for me to do it. As an adult it is true. We have become a society of thinkers, and whiners. We are not the doers we need to be.

Want to change the world DO IT. Want to lose some weight DO IT. Want our generation to go down in history as doing something, anything for this planet? Then do it.

Peter

Perks of Being Infinite

Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Directed by: Stephen Chbosky

Written by: Stephen Chbosky

Cinematography by: Andrew Dunn

Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Mae Whitman, Melanie Lynskey, Paul Rudd

Rating: B+

Coming of age films are tough to tackle. For one, they have the difficult task of appealing to both the age group they portray, and the adults that once used to be that age. We all know John Hughes was a master of the genre, with Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), but there’s also Stand By Me (1986), Dead Poets Society (1989), A Bronx Tale (1993), The Sandlot (1993), and City of God (2002), to name a few more that truly created a lasting impact for me.

And now there’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a moving and haunting piece of film, based on the novel by Stephen Chbosky, who also happens to be the writer and director. It follows the story of Charlie (Logan Lerman), dreading the arrival of high school, having no friends, and no sense of attachment to much in his life. He’s a troubled teen who keeps to himself, until he meets Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his step-sister Sam (Emma Watson). Charlie, now accepted into a circle of friends, starts to alter his lifestyle with parties, school dances, mixed in with music, drugs/alcohol, and of course, young love. The ups and downs of these new found relationships and experiences provides the crux of the story.

The film flew under my radar, just as the book once did. I was a senior in high school when my English teacher mentioned the book to the class, and only a handful of kids had read it. His interest in it, and his emotionally charged words about it, led me to head down to Borders and pick it up, and I managed to read it in one sitting. The book is written as a series of letters by Charlie to an unnamed Friend. It’s a striking form of storytelling, because it makes the mind race, eager to want to learn more of Charlie’s own perspective in these letters and get an even bigger picture. Going into the film, that was my biggest concern. How would the film seemingly adapt all those little nuances, details, and most of all, that unique method of storytelling in a medium that now adds a visual element far removed from merely reading letters. My concerns however, were completely put to ease with this film. It’s not a groundbreaking story, and honestly, most coming of age films aren’t. It’s all about the characters, and the emotions, that drive why these films work for an audience. This film gets almost everything right. Now I wasn’t the most popular kid in high school, and I was hardly what you’d call a jock. I was probably a nerd with far too much confidence than that stereotype usually allows for. Did I relate with exactly everything Charlie, Patrick, and/or Sam go through? No. But those themes are so universal that I’d be surprised, if all of you, at least at some level, don’t connect with some of their situations, even if they’re not the exact same circumstances.

As mentioned, this film hinges on performances, and the three leads deliver in spades. Logan’s Charlie is a character far removed from the likes of a Percy Jackson, and allows for the actor to shine in a way that will truly open doors for him. He plays Charlie perfectly, almost like a teenage Bruce Banner, struggling with the darkness that surrounds him, while trying to hold onto the only source of light he has. He plays troubled, but in a way that isn’t in your face. It’s quiet, and that’s perhaps what makes it so disturbing–that this sweet kid is experiencing all this seemingly alone, and throughout the course of the film, you’re left thinking what he’s thinking, and wondering what his next move will be. At his lowest, you’re right there with him, and at his highest, you’d do anything to not only stay there with him, but keep him there. The same can be said about Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, who break away seriously from their previous characters of the overachiever Hermoine and the teenage psychopath Kevin, respectively. Watson plays Sam as damaged, but pure at heart; as vulnerable, yet severely powerful; and I dare anyone not to fall for her the way that Sam does. She’s very much the driving force, and the precious constant in Charlie’s life, and that particular relationship’s ups and downs make for the film’s most endearing, heartwarming, and heartbreaking moments. Likewise, Miller takes Patrick and infuses him with an energy that makes it hard not to gravitate towards him. The supporting characters, from Paul Rudd, Mae Whitman, and Melanie Lynskey all do a great job in rounding out this universe and creating a world I never wanted to leave.

It’s a rare treat to see a film adaptation being done so by the author of the novel in question. So when it’s not just the screenplay credited to Chbosky, but the direction itself, it’s doubly exciting, for perhaps no one understands these characters and can direct them better than the man who created them. True to its title, Chbosky takes a wallflower approach towards the film, allowing entire scenes to just play out, sometimes from a distance, with very minimal cuts, save for a close up here and there. Everything remains simplistic, even when the surroundings suggest anything but. There are a few standout scenes that I see myself not only revisiting, but being a complete wreck every time that I do, and that’s a true testament to the young actors and a writer/director, who completely understand the material, both written and performed. This is a film that doesn’t try to be that quintessential coming of age film; it doesn’t try to ape the classics or anything that came before it; it is merely an honest look at one life, and the perks of being around some special people at what seems like a truly bizarre point in time for a lot of us.

Out of the mourning, into the morning

I like schedules and updating and because it’s been holidays I’m just like throwing all of like bits and pieces of things I had written down before. Basic Frankenstein’s monster if his monster were shitty, sad rhyming verses.

We live on the cusp of death thinkin’ that it won’t be us
It won’t be us, it won’t be us, it won’t be us
Nah, it won’t be us

Thursday night, 3AM
Stuck here again
So why am I sober?
My old life’s over
Cause this is the real world
Story unfurled
Real time, real night
Quick, player, rewind

Moving on, moving on
Why does this take so long
A second’s eternity
Time’s locked, infinity
Frustration to the third degree
What do you do to me?
We’re not a Community
But I’m no stranger to “aww, Annie”
It’s true I’m the hold out
Ace of hearts, fold, I’m out

Oh girl this boat is sinking,
There’s no sea left for me,
And how the sky gets heavy
when you are underneath it

This stupid Community.
There, I said it, nothing’s new to me
Hashtag Annie’s move too soon
It’s true; don’t want a pillow fort room

I’m in your head right?
Cause someone’s gotta be.
Can’t turn these thoughts off
Johnny, I need a lobotomy

Things don’t get better no, they just get less real
Tell me, does going forward still have its appeal?

Oh I want to sail away from here
And God
came down down down down down down down down
And sailed
Nothing

well damn, you got nerve kid. and no, I haven’t known anyone like this. take a swing, maybe a miss. I think we call that braveness. two paths diverged, Robert Frost. and you took the one less travelled: LOST. you took Jack straight out of the box. tell me, is it worth the cost? I thought this was Titanic. every day’s Halloween, alright, trick. there’s no -or treat here. just night and an iceberg of fear. heart of darkness, savagery in wilderness, camaraderie in sadness? you left the emptiness.

Merry holidays,
Point of diminishing returns (teach me how to understand Christmas) Ani

On Fridays, we wear survival packs

So, seeing as I’m going to be posting on Fridays, it seems only fitting that Friday happens to be the end of the world.

12/21/12:

Maybe I’ll just preach world peace
But that’s like saying come here man, assassinate me
Gotta be more than clever one-liners
More than what-not-to-do reminders
All these flowery words in my repertoire
Too bad I’m just a dog, reservoir
A smooth criminal though? Nah I’m obtuse
Every word’s cheapened by my overuse
Heart hardened by all the misuse
Dreams inceptioned through all the abuse
Now I’m solo, so solo, Han Solo, I’m so low
More like Ford’s Indiana Jones though
All these trap doors, trap floors
Trapped me, but what for

You think you can close the loop? That it’s over?
Let me tell you nothing’s concrete when you’re sober
Not that everything’s clear when you’re bottles in
But words are straight forward with glasses of gin
Words words words, that’s really all I’ve got
How to act, even misguided, I’ve forgot
All my ghosts are existential regret
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Le langue est source de malentendus
That’s probably why I’ll never have you
Or my jouissance, my wor(l)ds too limited
A perfect phrase; could never think of it

So Voltaire thinks a pen’s mightier than sword?
Good thing the dead don’t get many awards
Cause writing down my demons don’t bring me any sleep
But maybe slaying dragons will bring you back to me
Shadows on the wall, still mean nothing at all
So come pull me out of this cave, doll
Need to be dragged, kicking and screaming
Blindfolded so you’ll give me something to believe in

Homo fuge, Faustus, leave me
Latin’s dead, but so will you be

Leave the past, move forward
But what am I looking toward?
Haven’t booked a flight out yet
Cause there’s that little piece of regret
and hope, hope in time’s end
Earth’s funeral, check Facebook, will [attend]
I know I should let it go, let it go, let it go
but it’s black this Christmas, no snow
No, I don’t want you around
I just want #apocalypsenow

Ani, zombie fighter edition

But Fear Itself

Didn’t you know I was waiting on you?
Waiting on a dream that’ll never come true.
Didn’t you know I was waiting on you?
My face turned to stone when I heard the news.
When you decide to break the rules,
Cause I just heard some real bad news.

I first had hot chocolate when I was in the fourth grade, while building gingerbread houses in class when I was eight. I wouldn’t know what a lockdown was until the following year, but even years since then, I had nothing to fear. But fear itself. But me myself. But you yourself? I hadn’t met you yet. I hadn’t regretted it. I hadn’t broken down until I saw the coverage, and finally found out that life is elementary, but these kids would never be. And while you and I could never be, we still had all our lives ahead of them. Tear stained ellipses. Lifetime of heartache. “We can’t tolerate this anymore. And we must change.”

People will talk like it’s old news.
I played it off and act like I already knew.
Let me ask you how long have you known too?
You played it off and act like he’s brand new.
When you decide to break the rules,
Cause I just heard some real bad news.

How fitting that the last thing you asked me was “How Singh?” You knew we were impossible, it’s my fault, the burden’s on me. And the proof’s all there, and it’s no longer in the pudding. Sorry Cosby. You tried hard to sell me, on the idea that it was possible, that I should hope for a maybe. It drained me. It slayed me. It was a dragon story, and I was Bruce Lee. Thirty years later when I wake up in my bed, I’ll have the love of my life near me: a paper and a pen. Covered in ink stains, a far cry from love’s pain, in crumpled sheets, with crumpled paper, of crumpled hearts, in waste baskets because of basket cases. That’s me.

Oh, you just gonna keep another, no you won’t.
Oh, you just gonna keep it like you never knew.
Oh, you just gonna keep another love for you?
Oh, you just gonna keep it like you never knew.

While I’m waiting on a dream that’ll never come true.
Oh, you just gonna keep it like you never knew.
My face turned to stone when I heard the news.

OD’d on chocolate chip cookies and a cold glass of milk binge. Woke up the next day and had the luxury of watching Saturday morning cartoons. Cringe. Water filter didn’t work, it’s time to replace you from my fridge. And from my fringe. My mind’s unhinged. Toss and turn in my bed until 2 AM. Keep seeing their baby faces, crying, and running scared. Find myself in the mirror in a lip sync  It’s Milli Vanilli syndrome, I took a mile, and you gave an inch. I learned cursive in the second grade, curses from the mall’s arcade, and courses had a way to never really teach me things. Like a bag of chips, we were salt and vinegar. Is that a racial slur? No. Forever singular. Is that a racial slur? No. It’s interracial. Forget it Kanye, just begin the instrumental verse.

— Jesus WalKed Away

Epilogue. May no one ever know. Heartbreak. Like this. Heartless. Childless. Godless. Senseless. Violence. Currently listening to Without You from Prabh Gill’s Endless on an endless loop. The last minute kills me, why’d she have to appear on the track? When I had it down pat, and she never had to know. Then she spoke up, that she loved me too, just as I walked away, stone heart and cold feet? We were always hypothetical. We were always inevitable. We were always inseparable? That’s a stretch, more like I was expendable, and I was in denial of, but you were always worth the while of being the eternal sunshine of my spotless mind.

Killing U.S. Softly

Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly (2012)

Directed by: Andrew Dominik

Written by: Andrew Dominik

Cinematography by: Greig Fraser

Starring: Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy

Rating: A

It’s rather telling, if not bold, of a film, to spend its first twenty-five minutes with characters the audience perhaps doesn’t expect to see, and might even be heavily turned off watching. Yet Killing Them Softly, an adaptation of George V. Higgins’ 1974 crime novel Cogan’s Trade, not only does it, but in doing so, creates what I believe is downright the rawest film I’ve seen all year. It clocks in a little over an hour and a half, and like the book, it moves at a brisk pace for much of its running time.

Set during the 2008 presidential election, we’re introduced to Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), small time crooks, employed by Johnny “Squirrel” Amato (Vincent Curatola) to hold up a local card game run by Markie (Ray Liotta), who has already “robbed” his own game once. Blame falls on him yet again, but Frankie and Russell don’t exactly make a clean escape. Enter the Driver (Richard Jenkins), who brings in Jackie (Brad Pitt) to take care of the mess, who in turn, brings his strung out, drunk, and newly divorced partner, Mickey (James Gandolfini) along for the ride.

A film of this nature is tough to fully get down. It immediately throws you into this world, and doesn’t really wait for you to adjust your eyes to it, or your focus, or your mind, or even your ears. While that may be seen as a tumultuous start for many, I found myself only stumbling through the first few minutes or so, trying to wrap my head around the sound direction (of hearing any combination of Obama, Bush, and/or economic politics), the cinematography (of seeing a ravaged New Orleans harbor), and the thick Boston accents coming from the screen. Once I settled in, I was hooked. I was an observer. I was privy to information that yes, wasn’t always essential in moving the plot forward, but it was essential in getting to know who these characters were.

As mentioned above, the parallels between the mob, the economy, and the politics underlying the two, are absolutely crucial, if not blatant within the film’s narrative. There are moments where the characters are just sitting at a bar watching TV, or in the car listening to the radio, and the scene is driven by the words being echoed by then-presidential candidate Obama, or President Bush. Billboards of “Change,” and John McCain’s face litter the background, and if I didn’t know any better, I’d say the mob was probably the most well informed constituent in that particular election. It’s not jarring, but sometimes, it’s also not the most subtle reminder of both the times, the motives, or the parallel itself. Then again, it’s probably not supposed to be. All that leaves is the film itself, a gripping crime drama, that’s well aware of its world, and its stakes, and it just doesn’t stop. Even when it takes a break to relatively slow down, it’s nothing short of a fascinating insight into a world inhabited by brilliantly despicable characters.

Ray Liotta plays Henry Hill from GoodFellas (1990) all grown up, and you sympathize–that this a guy who wanted nothing more than to be on his own, and run his own show–but somewhere along the line, he lost both his touch and his control. His downfall creates one of the film’s most showstopping scenes. The two lowlifes, as played by Mendelsohn and McNairy, had the tough job of keeping an audience engaged for the better part of the first half. Mendelsohn is completely wasted in the role, doing his part and nothing more, but it is McNairy that rises to the occasion. He plays his character in two shades, but it is only in the second half of the film, when his path finally crosses with Pitt, that I started to really relate and find his character out. James Gandolfini, Mr. Tony Soprano himself, completely surprised me in the brief time he’s in this flick. You could take his character completely out of the film, and the narrative wouldn’t skip a beat, but why on Earth would you do that? This man nails every scene he’s in, that you want to do nothing more than to let Pitt go on his merry little way and just watch and live in Mickey’s world. The man’s a powerhouse that I was afraid might be overshadowed by playing a character so close to Soprano. But I can safely say, there is a moment in this film, where Gandolfini made me cry with a certain line delivery. These are absolutely despicable people, but I found myself caving to the humanity brought to them.

That just leaves Brad Pitt, who walks into the film under Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” and walks out of the film to President Obama’s victory speech, and in that time, remains the same character throughout. This isn’t a man we love because he grows, or changes in the course of the film. We love him because he’s precisely the same guy all the way through. He knows what he wants, but more importantly, he knows how to get it. It’s a very understated performance; not over the top, and dare I say, very stoic. He’s in constant control, even when things aren’t going his way, and there’s never a moment where we hesitate about his character’s intentions or motives, because he doesn’t. He gets the film’s final lines, and it’s a scene that’s worth the price of admission on its own.

Andrew Dominik has directed three films in his twelve year career. I have not seen Chopper (2000), but I absolutely fell in love with the magnificent slow burn that was The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), and Killing Them Softly is yet another feather in his cap. He’s a man who seems to genuinely love the cinema he creates, and relishes in the ability to tell a story using everything at his disposal. As a writer, he made the creative decision to move the setting and the time period of the film from the book, and it works on a level I never necessarily would have thought–of comparing mob practices to the economic crisis engulfing a nation. Every scene, shot, and line of dialogue is perfectly crafted, and it’s no doubt a testament to Dominik’s craft. Years from now, I have no doubt that there are scenes from this film that will rank with the very best that such cinema ever had to offer.

Just call me Dr Seussical, fitting that my life’s Dartmouth: The Musical

Hi I’m Ani and I plan on writing things and stuff. Mostly things and stuff on Fridays. Mostly meta sad things and stuff that rhyme.
I’m a different timeline version of Jas basically.

they call it wanderlust
I call it a sickness
or more like squandered trust
because home is where the heart is
and I’m heartless
look at that now,
I’m hurt regardless
all the fury but no sound, yes
and it’s timeless
my paradox lost is ruthless
again, which stream did I cross with?
somehow this is the darkest timeline (what a mess)
who you gonna call? ghostbusters, fuck yes.

I’ll take your burden and bear it
better than when I shot my albatross just to wear it
yes I’m a martyr, but only when it’s hopeless
I need to be grounded, I should toke less
are you in need of saving? that’s just a guess
officer, please put me under house arrest
I don’t want to attract the huddled masses
I just want someone with great ass…ets
I’m only kidding, wish I was shallow though
or at the very least, that I could lay low
but, could never resist leaving a good thing alone
til it went bad and all I needed was to atone
my mind’s the greatest martyr to my heart
for all its sacrifices that drove them apart

benson hedges, silver, 100’s
can someone tell me what the year is?
if I get my Delorean back from the shop
I can go back and take you off the shelf
chalk it up to bad timing, our timeline was fleeting,
hidden meanings in my hidden meanings
no double entendres, none that I’ve found
I mean, I got rebounds for my rebounds
you’re drawing conclusions when there are none
all this selective bias? so overdone.
I have more psych analyses than freud did
hating bradley cooper? that’s a freud slip.

this will be the metaphorical death of me
the metaphysical’s always testing me
man, I’m always on the subject of scorned love,
making my distractions in the form of
cheap liquor and dark beer
yup, still no love lost here

Ani; Edison out

Alternate Timeline

The following is the first ten pages of the newest script I’m working on. Conceived as Annie Hall meets Clerks, I’d appreciate any and all feedback, and hopefully, as the draft nears completion, I’ll be able to share more with you. Enjoy.

Me,Her
by
JasKaran Singh

EXT. PIER – JERSEY CITY, NJ – NIGHT

JAI VARMA stands on the abandoned docks, looking out at the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline, both shimmering in lights. He watches a ferry head in the direction of the Statue of Liberty, and can make out faint chatter and camera flashes. He finishes walking along the docks, gets into his car, and drives away.

INT./EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX – JACKSON HEIGHTS, NY – NIGHT

FARAH ALI heads out of her apartment in a hurry, clutching files, locks the door, gets on an elevator, gets in her car, and drives away.

INT. AUDITORIUM – NIGHT

CLOSE UP on Jai as he performs a stand up set, pacing around the stage. During the set, we get occasional CLOSE UP glimpses of Farah entering the auditorium and observing him. She’s intrigued by the performance, and even smiles a few times throughout.

JAI
I’ve been here a few days, and you know the best part about living in New York? That’s it. Right there. Saying that. You get to say that. You get to own that. Forever. Even when it’s no longer true. Anywhere you go in the world, even in this country, and someone asks you where you’re from, you can say “New York,” and get an applause, maybe even a few cheers. And you milk it. You could be from Albany or Buffalo, but you’ll never say that. You’ll say “New York,” because you know people will automatically assume you wake up in Times Square and have breakfast atop the Empire State Building. I’m from a small town in New Jersey. We don’t have anything like that. We don’t have that all essential city that we can name drop and everyone goes, “Ohhhh, you’re from that place!” like it was the greatest fucking place on Earth. What’s that? Someone in the back just shouted out “Atlantic City.” You’re only embarrassing yourself, sir. See, we don’t have a Boston, or a Los Angeles, and you know what? I’m glad. I get to keep my hometown all to myself. I get to be unique. Obscure. Nameless. A complete unknown. When I was a kid, New Jersey used to have a claim on the Statue of Liberty, and then you took it away from us. Your Giants and Jets still play in our state, so I really don’t see how we’re winning anything in this supposed takeover. We gave you The Sopranos, Bruce Springsteen, and Frank Sinatra, yet somehow we went from being the crossroad and military capital of the American Revolution, to now being known the world over as the gym, tan, laundry capital of the world. Not a bad legacy by any means, but it makes you wonder sometimes, where did it all go wrong? I mean, really? Where did I go wrong? Thank you, and good night.

When Jai’s set ends, the camera PANS around Jai to reveal an almost completely empty high school auditorium. Farah still stands by the door in the back. The rest of the audience is made up of the school’s custodial staff, gathered together in the first few rows. They begin to grab their equipment and head for the exit. Jai sits at the front edge of the stage and watches them leave. Farah makes her way down to the front.

FARAH
(places her files on the stage beside Jai)
There’s got to be some rule about coming into a city and making fun of its people that can’t be doing you any good out there.

JAI
And here I thought the audience was primarily Mexican and just didn’t get it.
(shouts out to the exiting custodians)
No bueno?

FARAH
You know they have a name for people like you.

JAI
Assholes?

FARAH
Political liability. But yeah, asshole isn’t too far off. What, are cab and convenience store jokes below your pay grade?

JAI
We’ve only just met. You don’t know what my pay grade is.

FARAH
Sneaking into a high school and performing for the janitors can’t be too high of a pay grade.

JAI
They prefer to be called custodians, and it sure beats trying to sneak into 30 Rock.

FARAH
This is New York. I’m pretty sure you need to get past a velvet rope and a bouncer to sneak into a dark alleyway. So, what, you’re a janitor?

JAI
No, I, uh, just came from a set a few blocks from here. Failed with flying colors. Went for a walk, pretty sure I got lost, saw a light on here, and thought I’d stop in for directions. And clearly some practice. And fail some more. Are, you, a, uh, janitor?

FARAH
No. I’m a sub. Filling in this week. Got all the way home before I realized that I had forgotten my lesson plan.

JAI
Must’ve been quite the trip.

FARAH
(smiles)
I got a free show out of it, so I guess I can’t complain. You been doing this long?

JAI
Which part? Sneaking into schools, being booed out of comedy clubs, or striking up conversations with complete strangers?

FARAH
I guess all of that.

JAI
In order: first time, what seems like a lifetime, and not often, but I’m glad I did.

FARAH
(checks her watch, grabs her files)
Flattered, but I should get going.

Farah begins to walk away.

JAI
Hey, do you any good food spots around here?

FARAH
You just walk out of here and you can’t miss them.

JAI
(smiles)
You want to come with me?

FARAH
Again, flattered, but I’ve got no time for a date.

JAI
Date? Now I’m flattered. Look, I’m new around here, and my experience so far hasn’t exactly been wonderful. Before I head back, I just thought I’d make something of the day. Again, if you’re too busy, I understand. It was nice to have met you.

He slides off the stage, and grabs his jacket from the front seat.

FARAH
(taps her files against her side)
There’s a nice Chinese place about two blocks from here.

JAI
(putting on his jacket)
Should I bring my car around?

FARAH
No, we’ll just walk.

JAI
Of course. “We’ll just walk.”

The two make their way out of the auditorium.

INT. CHINESE RESTAURANT

Jai and Farah eat and strike up a conversation.

FARAH
So wait, you want to live here?

JAI
I’m thinking about it. Just need to find a place.

FARAH
Good luck with that.

JAI
Where did you say you were living?

FARAH
Up in Jackson Heights. We have our own Little India. Brown people everywhere.

JAI
You sound dismayed at the thought.

FARAH
You would be too if everyone you ran into had the potential to eventually run into your parents.

JAI
You live all by yourself?

FARAH
I had a roommate, but she just left. She got engaged last year, and the wedding’s in a few months, so she moved back in with her parents to prepare.

JAI
It’s a wedding. What’s there to prepare? There’s an entire industry out there waiting to do all the work.

FARAH
Exactly.

JAI
At this point, all we have to do is show up. And even that’s not always guaranteed.

FARAH
How about you? You live by yourself?

JAI
I live with my mom.

FARAH
Oh.

JAI
You see, right there, that “Oh.” You’re already thinking, “What a loser.”

FARAH
I never said that.

JAI
You didn’t need to. I saw your face.

FARAH
So you live with your mom. That’s cool.

JAI
You can’t even say that with a straight face.

FARAH
(starts off composed, then smiles)
It’s…cool.

JAI
See?

FARAH
Well, I can’t now. You were expecting me to smile.

JAI
Yes, I still live with my mom. She’s all I have.

FARAH
What about your dad? Any siblings?

JAI
My dad and I don’t exactly get along. And no brothers or sisters.

FARAH
That sucks. You could’ve used the audience growing up.

JAI
Ouch. Well played. How long have you been holding that in? How about you? Your folks are cool with you living by yourself? Shouldn’t you be engaged by now?

FARAH
Very funny. I haven’t told them she’s left yet. But I’ll have to  soon. And then I’ll have to find a new roommate. Quick.

JAI
I can do it.

FARAH
You know someone?

JAI
Yeah. I can do it.

FARAH
Who did you have in mind?

JAI
Are you sure you’re a teacher?

FARAH
Yeah. Why?

JAI
Slow learning curve.

FARAH
Not nice.

JAI
I can do it. I can move in with you.

FARAH
Now I know you’re a comedian. Nice try.

JAI
I’m serious. I need a place. You need help with the rent. It’s win-win.

FARAH
You’re a guy and I’m a girl. No one is going to see that as a win-win.

JAI
Listen Sally, your parents, perhaps, but I’m speaking strictly economically.

FARAH
Even if I agreed, how are we supposed to hide that from my parents?

JAI
It can be temporary if you want. I can stick around until I find another place. It would only be for a few months. By that time, your roommate will get married, and then you can tell your parents, and find a new one.

FARAH
So, I’m supposed to lie?

JAI
You’ve been living alone for the last week. I’d say you already are.

FARAH
I guess we could try it.

JAI
I won’t even be around for most of the day. I work across the river.

FARAH
So you’re going to commute? Wouldn’t it just be easier to live closer to work?

JAI
I finish around five. Besides, I need some more exposure on the comedy scene, and we don’t have a lot of clubs nearby. This way, I get to float myself around the city, and you get to postpone being nagged by your folks for a few months. You get to live independently. I get to live independently.

FARAH
How do I know you’re not going to try and make a move?

JAI
Look, I’m flattered, I really am. But I just met you. And yeah, I like you. I think we could be great friends. But this is a move out of necessity, the bare essentials. I’ve got food and clothing covered. I need shelter, and shelter always beats love.

FARAH
How romantic. What’s in it for me?

JAI
I can make tea.

FARAH
I drink coffee.

JAI
I can vacuum.

FARAH
Hardwood floors.

JAI
Laundry.

FARAH
Laundromat’s just down the street.

JAI
My God, I really am useless.

FARAH
You put all those skills on your resume, do you?

JAI
Only if I can add you as a reference.

FARAH
Let’s meet up again on the weekend. I’ll give you a tour, and we’ll work out the details further.

She jots down her number and address on a napkin from the restaurant and hands it to him.

JAI
Well, if this doesn’t work out, at least I’ll always have something to remember you by.

FARAH
Don’t get cute. You were doing so well.

EXT. CHINESE RESTAURANT

The two exit and walk to their cars.

FARAH
Do you remember where you parked?

JAI
(points east)
In that general direction.
(points west)
The school was that way, right?

FARAH
(points west)
Yeah, I’m this way.

JAI|
All right, cool.

FARAH
You sure you won’t get lost?

JAI|
(waves napkin at her, smiles)
If I do, I know who to call.

FARAH
I’m going to regret giving you that soon, aren’t I?

JAI
I guess we’ll find out. Good night.

FARAH
Good night.

The two walk in opposite directions, until both are are no longer visible. All that remains is a quiet New York City street corner, the lights of the restaurant reflecting on the street below, as a few cars pass through the area.

To be continued…

The Old Light

Hey. You.

So I wrote this awhile ago. It never got through the editing process. However I was supposed to post something today and don’t want to leave you guys hanging. So here it is, The Old Light.

Peter

The Old Light

Written by Peter Buczkowski

 

“Shit that hurts” Micheal said as he looked down at his bloody arm. The hole in the roof was smaller then he had thought. On his way down he had cut his arm on it. He made a mental note to remember to be more careful going up

“You ok down there?” William called down. William was his real name. But all the other boys called him Baby Bobby. No one called him Baby Bobby to his face though. William was a big boy, easily twice the size of the other boys, which made the other boys like the nickname even more. Micheal didn’t like it though, he liked William. William was the type of kid that would tell you when the adults or elders were coming. Micheal thought that was the best quality to have in a friend.

“Yeah I am good. It is damn dark down here though.” Micheal said as he dug through his pack. “William, could you toss down the torch.”

The thud that the torch made echoed and bounced off the menacing darkness. “It is huge down here!” Micheal called up. One quick flick of the flint and the torch sprung to life. The little circle of light on the bottom of the cave grew with the added light of the fire but Micheal still could not see the walls of the cave. Micheal slipped the flint back into his bag, and pulled out his uncle’s knife. Better safe then sorry he thought.

“See anything down there?”

“No not really. The ground looks like sea-mont.” Micheal said peering into the darkness.

“Sea-mont? Really? Like the stuff in the stories about the old people? Aw man be careful down there.”

Of course Baby Bobby. Micheal thought, but instead he said “Ya.”

Micheal walked around the small circle of light on the sea-mont trying to catch the glimpse of anything. It would be really boring if this cave was only full of sea-mont, he thought. Maybe there would be some sort of treasure down here. Maybe just maybe, he thought as his pacing circle grew wider and wider.

The sea-mont was like a road Micheal soon found out. It was as wide as two oxen carts and on either side were rows of dirt. Hanging from the roof of the cave by what appeared to be thin webs of iron above the rows of dirt were thin tubes. Micheal looked at some of these tubes, which must have fallen into the dirt in some age passed, and noted that they were too big for his pack.

“I’m gonna go look around a bit” Micheal said up to Baby Bobby, not waiting for the undoubtedly negative worrisome, all-in-all kill-joy response that was sure to follow. The beam of light cutting through the darkness would be an obvious marker, Micheal thought as he headed in the direction the tubes pointed down the path of sea-mont.

The darkness flickered in the light of the torch. It wasn’t a lot of light, but there really wasn’t much to see. All around Micheal was darkness, sea-mont and the tubes. A minute after Micheal left the circle of light, he made his first big discovery.

“Whoa.” managed to from escape Micheal’s mouth.

On the right side of the path laid a metal table on wheels. The table was covered in smaller metal objects. The bright orange of the of the flame mixed with the cool blue of the objects. Micheal could make out what looked like a pair of shears, some tongs, and a knife. All of them found their ways right into his pack. But there was something else that stole Micheal’s attention.

Laying on the dirt to the right of the sea-mont path was a beautiful black tube. The flames of the torch danced around it but the smooth black surface seemed to absorb them. Micheal almost missed it when he had glanced over the table. But the very end of the tube was shiny like the table. Micheal slipped his uncle’s knife into his pack, and bent over to examine the tube.

The tube was a perfectly round tube. It got wider on the shiny end, and had a bump on it with a little rectangle on it. Micheal picked it up. It was heavier then it looked. But it felt good in his hands. It felt right he thought. With all the determination in his young body, Micheal pushed the little rectangle in the only direction it would move.

“Yawaa!” he screamed as he dropped the tube and the torch on the the dirt path. He held his hands to his burning eyes. The sudden movement and collision with the dirt sent a cloud of dust into the air. The torch sputtered and died leaving Micheal in the immense all encompassing darkness. Not that the physical darkness had effected Micheal. Micheal thought that he had blinded himself. All he could see was a series of circles floating through his sight. They didn’t go away even when he closed his eyes.

“Are you ok? Whats wrong? I am gonna go get the Elders!” William cried down to Micheal.

“No! I am ok I think.” Micheal called back up to the boy in the sky. If the Elders found out that the boys were down here, there would be real hell to pay.

Slowly Micheal’s vision started to come back to him. He opened his eyes and noticed that the tube in the dirt was shooting a beam of light as bright as the sun through the darkness. That is where I felt that before, Micheal thought, looking at the sun. He reached down and held his hand over the tube. The tube wasn’t hot with the light he noticed. Grabbing it he scanned the cave quickly.

The pattern of sea-mont, dirt ,sea-mont, dirt, continued to Micheal’s left and right as far as he could see. But there was an end to the cave straight ahead maybe another one hundred strides. Right in front of him was a door in the cave side.

He started towards the door. “Get back here Micheal!” Baby Bobby called out.

More distress then normal in his voice. Ok. Maybe I’ve gone far enough today Micheal thought as he scooped up the torch again. “Coming!” Micheal shout back. Shining the tube into his pack, Micheal found the flint and re-lit the torch. He slid the rectangle on the tube back to the resting position and the light from the tube disappeared. Amazing he thought.

Micheal scrambled to hide the tube with the other loot in his pack. Damn the cut in his arm burned. “Hurry up!” Baby Bobby called out. Now slightly more hushed then the last time. Micheal started back towards the circle of light from the hole in the roof and the hanging rope. “Some one is coming.”

“Shit” Micheal muttered and started to run back to the rope.

“What are you doing out here Will” a girl’s voice asked.

“Nothing.” Will said.

“Whats that you are standing in front of.” another girl asked.

“Nothing.” Will said again.

“Well then, why are you standing out in the middle of Mr. Robinson’s field if you ain’t doing nothing?” the first girl asked.

“Cause.” Will said.

Micheal stopped just outside the circle of light from the hole. Dammit they are gonna find out that I am down here, he thought. Then they will go straight to the Elders.

“What’s that rope there for Will?” the second girl asked. Micheal dropped his torch and put it out just in case the girls decided to look into the small hole.

“None of your damn business!” Will shouted with a near ferocity that Micheal had never heard in his voice before.

“William Johnson! How dare you speak to us lady-folk that way!” Micheal heard the girls say as they retreated. In a much fainter and more dignified voice he heard them say “We are going to go tell Mr. Robinson about you being in his field! And we are going to tell Elder Erikson about you swearing at us!” Micheal waited a full minute before calling up.

“Are you ok William?”

“Yeah just get up here. I am gonna catch hell.”

Micheal just finished tying the rope around his waist William started to pull him up. The ride up was not half as exhilarating as the ride down. Micheal thought. But it did give Micheal some time to think about his amazing loot. By the time he reached the hole he had already decided what to do with it.

A few minutes later as the boys were walking back into town William had finally regained his breath. The forty feet of rope secured in a pack on his back he asked “So why did you scream down there?”

“Oh, I saw a skeleton. I think it might have been one of the Old People.” Micheal said.

“Really? Thats horrible!” Bobby said. “Did you see anything else down there?”

“No it was just a big cave with a skeleton. I want to go back tomorrow maybe and look around some more. “ Micheal replied. It was partially true, he supposed. He did want to go back and look through the cave some more. Maybe even open that door.

That night after dinner there was a knock on the door of Micheal’s house. After dinner guests were a rarity in Handover, unless of course they were bringing bad news with them. Micheal could hear the voice of the High Elder of Handover, Mikkel and his father speaking briefly. He knew that it wouldn’t be long before his father would drag him out of his room to stand before the Elders. That bastard William must have told them everything.

As predicted, Micheal was standing infront of the High Elder Mikkel and the Junior Elder Erikson within the minute. Erikson had the charge of the young adults and children in the town. So he was the one who spoke to Micheal.

“Micheal. Your friend William said that you were in Mr. Robinson’s field with him today.”

“I was.”

“Did you see a hole in the ground there.”

“Yes I did”

“What did you do to the hole?”

“We dropped rocks into it to see how deep it was.” Micheal said. Mikkel made a disapproving face at Junior Elder Erikson.

“The girls only saw William and they said that they saw a rope going into the hole. Did you go into the hole Micheal?” There it was. It was a sin beyond all other sins to lie to an Elder. Without the Elders the town would be in darkness and remain there without their knowledge.

Micheal answered the question with complete silence. “Micheal, my boy. You are young, but you must know the stories of the Old People. Correct?” Mikkel asked through his white beard.

Still silence.

“You understand that the Old People nearly brought the devils down from the sky above? That they tried to harvest the power of the sun in their fish-on.”

“Yes Elder.” Micheal said. “It was the will of God that we were able to avoid death.”

“Aye.” Erikson agreed. “But He used their own fish-on against them. He turned all the Old People into Newtants, and cursed all of their artifacts.”

“Yes Elder Erikson, I understand the stories.” Micheal said.

“Johnathan leave us.” Mikkel said, and Micheal’s father went back into the house.

“Micheal we know that you were in the hole in Mr. Robinson’s field. Your friend William told us that much. We need to know what was down there.” Mikkel said.

Silence again was the answer.

“Boy listen. We are not interested in getting you in trouble. We are only seeking out any artifacts of the Old People. We cannot allow the Old People’s curse to spread through the village.” Mikkel placed a bandaged hand upon Micheal’s shoulder. “Do you know why Micheal?”

“No sir.” Micheal’s thoughts jumped right to the tube he had in his room. Everything else could be explained he thought, but the tube of light would be damning to him and his family. He knew the Elders could search his room if they wanted to and he didn’t want it to come to that.
“The curse of the old people spreads quickly. It causes severe illness and boils to form. People end up dying painful deaths. But we need to know if you were down in the hole and what you saw.” Erikson said.

“Sea-mont. There was Sea-mont, dirt, hanging tubes, and a cart.” Micheal told the Elders. “There were a few more tubes on the ground and a door.” He continued.

“Was there anything else boy?” Mikkel asked.

Micheal hesitated. “Some tools on a cart.”

“No skeleton?” Mikkel asked. “William told us that you had mentioned a skeleton, not a cart.”

“I lied to him. I didn’t want him going down there without me.”

“Hmmm.” Erikson said. “Did you take anything from the cave?”

“Some tools.”

Erikson sighed. “Ok boy, hand them all over.”

Micheal’s shoulders sank. He turned and walked back into the house, flanked by the two Elders. When Micheal reached his room, he bent down and grabbed his adventure pack.

“Boy” Mikkel began “Do you know why our hands are bandaged?”
“No sir.”
“Aye.” Erikson sighed. “Perhaps later Mikkel. Micheal please bring the bag, and anything else that was in the cave with you. Your clothes, your shoes, anything that was with you.

Micheal waited outside with Elder Erikson as Elder Mikkel spoke to Micheal’s father. Erikson was responsible for teaching all the children in the village. Micheal had known him for five years now.

“What is going to happen to the tools I found.” Micheal asked.

“Do not worry much about them.” Erikson replied. Micheal knew that Erikson was annoyed with him. So he stood there in silence until Mikkel reappeared.

That night in the High Church Micheal was examined. His clothes were stripped off of him. Elder Jamison conducted a brutal but short physical examiniation of the boy. It was the first time that Micheal had ever seen an Elder without his hands bandaged, and they looked like the claws of a monster. Red and raw, some parts burnt black. He flinched when he felt the slimy coldness of them over his flesh.

“Where did you get this?” Jamison asked pointing to the cut in Micheal’s arm.
“I got it playing.” Micheal responded.
“Before or after contamination?”
“Condamination?”
“Before or after you were in the hole boy?” Jamison corrected.

“Before.” Micheal supposed this was the most correct answer given his choices.
“Aye.” Jamison said.

That day and the following night Micheal was placed in a locked room in the High Church of Hanover. He slept most of the day and sat on the bed looking over the rest of the room for the periods he was awake. Around lunch time Elder Erikson came into the room with a few pieces of bread and a chunk of beef. It was all very salty, and made Micheal thirsty, but there was no water. Elder Erikson did not bother making conversation. Elder Jamison and Mikkel followed shortly after.

“Take off your robe.” Jamison said and Micheal listened, standing naked in front of the three men.

Mikkel stepped forward and began to look the boy over. “This cut, were you bleeding in the cave Micheal?

“Yes sir.” Micheal said. His spirit was completely broken. He only wanted to go home.

“Put your robes back on.” Mikkel said. Micheal began to wrap himself back into the medical robe which Jamison handed over. “I asked you last night if you knew why the Elders wrap their hands.” Micheal shivered thinking of the slimy hands poking and prodding him. “Judging from your reaction you have seen Jamison’s hands.”

Mikkel handed Micheal a cup of water, which he greedily drank down after eating that salty beef. It was a godsend he thought.

“I think we owe you an explanation.” Erikson said. “The Elders are in charge of tracking down the Old People’s artifacts.” Micheal nodded, he knew that much already. “The only way to ensure that we do not get sick is to burn anything that comes into contact with the artifacts.” Erikson continued.

“Aye.” Micheal said.

“Tonight we will be burning the tools you found, the light tube, your clothing —” Erikson continued.

“And your body.” Mikkel interrupted. “Your blood was exposed to the contamination.”

Micheal began to speak but he was unable to open his mouth. The world began to spin around him.

“The water which you drank was actually a poison. I am truly sorry, but we cannot risk the town because of one curious boy.” Mikkel continued.

Micheal tried to hold himself up as his knees began to give way.

“This is the least painful way we could think of.” Mikkel finished.

Micheal tried to force his mouth open but he had lost all control of his body. His eyes began to spin around the room looking for something to lock onto. They caught the light coming in from the window, and followed it up past the three men standing in front of the window. The three silhouettes standing before the light.

His irises opened as the poison reached his heart. The sun burned brighter then ever before.

The light cut through the darkness.

Music From My Dream

Cloud Atlas OST

Cloud AtlasOriginal Motion
Picture Soundtrack (2012)

Music Composed by: Tom Tykwer,
Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil

Label: WatchTower Music

Rating: A+

Confession: I still haven’t not seen Cloud Atlas. Then again, judging by its box office, neither have many of you. In order to ease the pain of not having seen it, I purchased both the David Mitchell novel, and the original motion picture soundtrack. Consisting of twenty-three tracks, the album is composed by Tom Tykwer (also a co-director of the film), Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil. While I’m not familiar with any of their other work, be it individually or collaboratively, this score puts them on my radar in a big way. The film’s log line is as follows: “An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future.” And you know what? That’s exactly how I’d describe the soundtrack. Interconnecting. Intertwining. It’s absolutely masterful how the soundtrack perfectly reflects that precise theme of the film.

At the very outset, we’re introduced to the short and simple Prelude – The Atlas March. Remember it well, because it will return throughout the soundtrack. This soft touch of piano, just a little over a minute, is the thread that holds the entire album together: past, present, and future. There are moments where the piece will creep into another track’s narrative, and you’re reminded of how universal this theme truly is. Cloud Atlas Opening Title is a mysterious track that perhaps better sets the tone for the rest of the album, or at the very least, the tracks to come, by starting out quiet, and having a somewhat reflective quality to it, all the while building towards something much bigger in sound and scope. This trend is kept up with such tracks as Travel to Edinburgh, Sonmi-451 Meets Change, Won’t Let Go, and The Escape. At around the halfway mark, Temple of Sacrifice, no doubt true to its name, switches gears and offers the album a chance to sprint to the finish in a truly epic way. Every track, from here on out, is heart pounding, heart stopping, and heart wrenching, be it the return of the strings in Adieu, or the haunting piano in New Direction.

This brings me to the soundtrack’s finale, the final four tracks, starting with Death Is Only A Door, and including Cloud Atlas Finale, The Cloud Atlas Sextet For Orchestra, and Cloud Atlas End Title, which are honestly worth the price of the entire soundtrack alone. It begins with a serene quality to it, of being in a trance, listening to the different sounds, the combination of strings, begin to merge together. By the time it reaches the Sextext For Orchestra, I could listen to that particular track on repeat for hours. By the time it ends, I found myself in tears and I don’t know why. It’s as if I’ve discovered, or rediscovered a part of my past that is only now bursting out of my heart and mind just as the orchestra consumes the entire room. End Title literally brings the album together, from the Atlas March onwards, and is a tribute to the fine work that came before it.

When I sat down to listen to the soundtrack, I was anxious to see if it would still work, not being able to put a particular piece of music to a scene. After all, film is a visual medium, and the score generally aids in enhancing that experience. The job of a score is to elevate the film and its themes in ways that mere performance alone sometimes cannot. The score is another actor in the ensemble as far as I’m concerned. If a particular role, or scene, or line of dialogue stands out, then so can a singular musical cue, with its ability to transcend the screen and be carried home with us. However, while it should stir similar emotions in us akin to actually watching the film, a good score should also stand apart from the rest of the film. I realize that it’s somewhat difficult to separate the two, but years from now, when the film is no longer playing, or not nearly as fresh in our mind, the score should still live on, as an excellent piece of music.

My first score was James Horner’s Titanic in 1997. I was an eight year old, sprawled out on my carpet, my Walkman to my ear, mesmerized by the fusion of Irish pipes with classical strings and piano. I’m twenty-three now, and every so often, I still put on that score, and it moves me perhaps more than the film itself ever could. Other scores I still bump in my car (do people still say that, “bump?”): Daft Punk’s TRON: Legacy and Alexander Desplat’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I hope Cloud Atlas truly lives up to not just the expectations of adapting the novel into a film, but also now, to a soundtrack that on its own, is nothing short of a masterpiece. North American audiences didn’t spend eleven dollars to watch this film, but I would urge them to spend ten dollars on iTunes, or dare I say, go down to your local record store, and pick this up. It won’t leave your mind for days, and if you’re truly lucky, it won’t leave your mind for lifetimes.