Category Archives: Other

Horse Meat Owens

They called him Horse Meat Owens because when he was a few hits away from knocking out his opponent, his eyes would bulge and his lips would draw back like a frightened horse.  His muscles would tense and blood vessels would rise like ropes underneath his skin.  When Horse Meat Owens came at you with his match-ending fists, you’d best drop before he could hit you.

Not because you wouldn’t be able to get back up or that it would hurt a lot…it’s just that sometimes he didn’t know when to stop.  His body knew the fight was over but his brain wasn’t satiated.  If he was having a bad week, Horse Meat Owens would pound your face in so hard and so fast, you’d be lucky to have a structurally sound nose before the referee could pull him away.

It was just last night that Horse Meat Owens’s opponent didn’t fall quickly enough.  Had he preemptively hit the floor of the ring, his chances at keeping a pretty face would’ve been quite high.  Horse Meat Owens didn’t like to beat excessively guys that knew when to surrender.  If he had been in the military, he would take a peaceful surrender.  Some believe there is no honor in it, but Horse Meat Owens saw no point in wasting bullets or life or limb on principle.  By the time he was done bashing in Hamstring Greyz’s face, there was hardly a nose left to reconstruct.

The referee and the trainers for both fighters pulled Horse Meat Owens off of Hamstring Greyz.  I watched all of it happen from a slit beneath the announcers’ booth.  The scent of sweat, musk, and iron wafted through the air like a misted air freshener.  I didn’t like what I was seeing but I couldn’t stop watching.  There was such determination in the downward whooshing of his gloves — in a different context, he could have been chopping firewood or demolishing drywall.

I was supposed to interview Horse Meat Owens before the match during the press conference but my iguana wouldn’t eat her dinner and then wouldn’t get back into her enclosure so I had to pick her up (which meant two scrapes to my hand that had to be disinfected).  By the time I got to the coliseum, the press conference was over and I found myself underneath the announcers’ booth.

I am not discounting the talents and skills required to be an effective boxer, but where does the inspiration come from?  What reservoir of rage must exist to guide the movements and focus of a successful boxer?  Horse Meat Owens has been on the amateur circuit for just under three years and he hasn’t lost once.  Who pissed him off in a past life that could sustain that kind of intense energy?

And can he teach me how to wield mine?

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~!~

The above is entirely fictional.  I felt like writing and the name “Horse Meat Owens” came to me.

What It’s Like to Be a Police Officer

I started watching Officer401’s YouTube channel a couple of weeks ago.  I don’t remember how I came across it (probably as a related video to those I was watching about encounters between motorcyclists and cops).  This video provides a glimpse into the intangible aspects of enforcing the law.

The true crime, forensic science, and mortuary science books that I’ve read discuss death and decay due to violence or natural causes in great detail, but to hear some of what it’s like to “see” death through the eyes of a law enforcement agent transcends the written word.  Even when I can’t see his face or its shape, it’s just his great narrator’s voice and a hand or two for elaboration, I feel privy to something profound.  I am also reminded that I while I can imagine what it would be like to come across a dog hovering around the body of its dead owner or a household of severely malnourished children, I can’t know what it’s like.

I wonder how long it takes to habituate to smells, sights, and textures that one cannot un-smell, un-see, un-touch?  Do people with lousy sensory perception acclimate faster?  I’m sure there are Reddit threads about it.  I found this thread about the stupidest call an officer has ever taken (good read).

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Gotta Do It Right Now

I had lunch at Fuego Mundo today; I ordered the yucca fries and chicken with Spanish rice and cucumber salad.

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It was a busy lunch for the two waitresses bringing out orders and the woman clearing tables.  As I was enjoying the delicious yucca, chicken, and rice, I observed the waitress who was ostensibly single-handedly taking orders, giving checks to respective diners, and distributing dine-in and take-out food.  She moved with the smoothness and briskness of a summer breeze.  I wonder how many miles she walks just between the dining area, the beverage counter, the registers, and the kitchen counter (which is visible to the customers).

As far as I could discern, the other diners were patient in their requests for checks, waters, being seated, and readying to give their orders.  In the last ten minutes I was there, waiting for a to-go box, a bag and the check, I watched this woman handle the momentous demands of things that have to happen now.

In my line of work, even when I have ten emails I need to prioritize to read and answer whilst figuring out why an image isn’t appearing correctly on a web page and app as well as looking for a better image to upload for a different web site and app, the sense of urgency to complete these tasks isn’t so heavy that I can’t focus on what really needs to get done “now” vs. within thirty minutes or before the end of business hours.

This woman’s list of “do now” truly means do now.  If that “now” becomes “in a couple of minutes,” most customers would probably understand.  There’s probably a best practice of order of operations.  For instance, seat new diners, get their drinks out, then check with diners who appear to be finished if they want desert or a box or just the check.  Bring out drinks before orders that are ready?  Deliver additional napkins, silverware, straws, or dipping sauces before you take the food orders of the table you know have been ready for the time it took you to seat another party and take their drink orders?

What other jobs or industries consist of a similar air of do now?  Combat soldiers, paramedics, firefighters, airplane pilots, surgeons, school principals, receptionists, bank tellers, plumbers, electricians, hosts of live TV shows, what else?

What’s the worst that would happen in your profession if you didn’t do something “now” or you focused on the “wrong” sequence of things?

Would an athlete participating in a televised game feel any differently than an athlete in a non-televised competition in the matter of “do it now?”  Or, do the rules of the game mitigate legitimate, adrenaline-inducing urges to score already.

3 Films in 2 Days

When I was in college, it wasn’t uncommon for me to watch three movies over the weekend — one on Friday night, one on Saturday, and one Sunday.  Other times, I’d watch two movies on Saturday at different movie theatres.  It’s been many, many years since I’ve done anything similar (film festivals notwithstanding).

I’ve been wanting to watch three films ever since I knew they existed and this weekend, they came out in my fair city.

 

I saw Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2017) Friday night and Raw (Julia Ducournau, 2016) and T2 Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 2017) today.  Olivier Assayas’s film stars a Kristen Stewart that resonates with her performances in non-blood-sucking roles (Clouds of Sils Maria, Welcome to the Rileys, The Yellow Handkerchief, and even Fierce People).  She plays Maureen, a woman who can see and sense the dearly departed and yet still doesn’t know what to call them.  The film follows her as she tries to connect with her deceased brother and fulfill her personal shopping job obligations to a high-profile woman.  I didn’t think the film would be genuinely scary (damn sound design and horror film tropes), suspenseful and sad.  It inspired a poem.

Minor spoiler alert — highlight words at your own discretion.  I also wasn’t expecting the film to depict apparitions.  I didn’t think the director would go there narratively, but he did.  And what of the ending, the very last line spoken?  How much of the inexplicable goings-on of the plot were all in the titular character’s head?  As much as I enjoyed the secondary story-line that features onscreen texting with page-turning intrigue, I was much more psychologically invested in whether or not Maureen and her brother ever really connect.

Product placement and branding: Google, Apple, and Cartier.

 

Julia Ducournau’s morbidly erotic examination of repressed appetites focuses on a veterinary school student and the unintended consequences of freshman hazing.  Raised a vegetarian by her vegetarian parents, Justine (Garance Marillier) discovers that not only does she have a taste for animal flesh but her hunger for sustenance is both sexual and cannibalistic.  It’s not suggested, it’s stated.  From a certain angle, she’s more or less a vampire who wouldn’t necessarily let the rest of the kill go to waste.  Raw is reminiscent of Claire Denis‘s Trouble Every Day (2001) in the way it presents the blood/flesh-lust as biological rather than metaphorical to the characters in the story world.  For Justine and her older sister, who is also a veterinary student, sisterly love and hate are taken to a whole new level given certain inherited details.

What bothered me more than watching a vegetarian eat meat (of any kind) was the hazing activities and the periodic representation of enclosed spaces with too many people.  If you don’t like being in small spaces with lots of people, lots of people who are sweating and spilling beverages all over the place, be prepared to close your eyes.

By the time Raw had ended and I was making my way to the other theatre to watch T2 Trainspotting, I was hungry and started making a mental grocery store list.  Danny Boyle’s sequel to his 1996 film was a good way to bring Saturday to an early evening.  I laughed and gasped and went “hmmm” a few times.  I haven’t fully formed my thoughts on it, so I will just say this much: is it ever good to be a tourist in one’s own youth?  Mark Renton was by far my favorite of the group, but was that because he was portrayed by Ewan McGregor?  Considering some of the scenes from the sequel, he’s just as flawed as Sickboy and Begbie.  Is Spud actually the “best” person of the lot?  Be that as it may, I like them still.  All of them.

 

 

A Sense of Belonging and the Miraculous

When I was washing my hair tonight, my mind wandered to what-if scenarios involving gunshots and holy texts.  Imagine, if you would, a group of friends (or strangers) traveling in one car on the way to an interfaith service.  With their destination just around the bend, they get caught in a crossfire at an intersection between a band of thieves and a few off-duty police officers.  Each of the five inhabitants of that car gets shot.  Legs, arms, torsos, and abdomens get punctured.

Or do they?

Customers at a nearby gas station hear the gunshots and call the paramedics.  After arriving at the emergency room and receiving treatment from the hospital staff, it becomes apparent that even though these individuals were each struck three times, none of the injuries were life-threatening.  Major arteries missed by centimeters, ball-and-sockets missed cleanly, and no reproductive parts were put in disarray.

Imagine the look of disbelief or curiosity on the nurses and doctors’ faces when they summarize the condition of the patients to the patients.  The Buddhist was saved by his Star Trek dvd box set that he clutched against his chest while driving.  The Muslim, sitting shotgun, was saved by the Qur’an leaning against his chest.  The non-denominational Christian was saved by the pocket NIV Bible he kept in his breast pocket.  The Wiccan was saved by an Oxford Dictionary, you guessed it, leaning against her bosom.  The football player was saved by his playbook and his 10,000 Youtube Subscriber award.

Would each person thank their god?  Would each person feel that their surviving is proof that there is a god and that there is only their god?  Or, would they be back to square one wondering that if they all lived, it’s impossible to know which god is “right” and if there really is a god at all? Which holy text is right?  Moreover, the football player puts a variable on things.  Either he made it because he was with deists or because it was a coincidence and his presence somehow negated the certainty that the rest of them had regarding the nature of the Divine.  The Buddhist would probably be the most chill, right?  He’d chalk everything up to the rhythm of life as would the Wiccan.

On the other hand, if this car were filled with atheists and one law-of-attraction practitioner and they were saved by various non-holy texts (a Bluray box set, a cookbook, an iPad, a giant stuffed bear), would they attribute their survival to coincidence? Dumb luck? Or look at the law-of-attractioner for an explanation?

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