Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fear and Loathing in Overland Park pts 1-5

Here, for your reading pleasure, presented entirely for you, the first few parts of Fear and Loathing in Overland Park. Please enjoy.

An ongoing look.

Part 1

"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."

- Dr. Samuel Johnson

Every morning starts exactly the same. 615 wake-up. Alarm clock goes off playing some random song or some random newsclip or some random idiot talking. No attention paid. Up and press the button. Out of bed and into the shower.

Shower. Dress. Make breakfast. Out the door by 645.

Behind the wheel is where the day is different. Behind the wheel of the car, the day lays out in front of me, beckoning me to start. To pull forward. Or reverse and go back.

Bend it backward and remember where you were this same day years back. 15 years ago on April 4 you were in grade school. Still a kid so things look big and bright and the future is in front of you.

15 years later you're over a drum throwing up those dreams instead of following them. 15 years later you're crying into your beer instead of creating new beer for the world around. You're no longer an inventor. You're at the mercy of the inventions. No longer Prometheus with dreams and desires unbound.

In the car these things rush through my head as I drive down Quivira, heading toward the oblivion that is my daily grind. The same cars pass by every morning. BMWs, Mercedes, SUVs of all shapes and sizes and colors. More and more of the bigger and glossier looking vehicles that people desire.

Everything mashing together on the not so long drive. The trees. Golf courses. Soccer moms with bumper stickers proclaiming themselves Pro-life while they drive 30 mph over the speed limit of a school zone in a hurry too big to be work or school-related. Liars and the lies they hide behind crowd around me as I make my way to work.

And I put my head down and hide behind the music. Whatever music put on leads me to my destination. Keeps me sane. Awake. Listing bands in your head that matter to you more than those next to you. Radio? Lost cause. Never for me thanks.

There are not enough drugs in the world to force me into this daily routine, this unending day that goes always the same. Why do we do it? Why not thrash back?

The world doesn't even know I exist. I've stopped lashing back and rebelling. 15 years have passed quicker than you could even imagine. And my car rolls down the road, toward my destination. Someone else's invention rolling me (someone else's invention) toward my destination (built under someone else's architectural invention). We are all someone else's invention.

As soon as you learn that you are nothing more than an invention, a cog, a machine, an automaton built for the things the world wants (babies, more automatons, more inventions), you have a choice. Fight or continue on your pre-ordained path. Roll down the road next to the rest of the inventions behind their glossy leather coated steering wheels and their insane knowledge of sports from Great Britain and the vast array of teas they have procured in their travels, or...


Or just be part of the or. Part of the different.


Part 2

"Dare to choose to wear the shoes."

-Jim Krueger

An eerie calm sets in on the brisk Saturday morning. My stomach in knots the night before, probably no thanks to the msg and the painkillers involved in my nightly activities. Something about the taste of General Tso's tinged with the cottony after-effects of so much pain killed yields a wonderful vibrant mindscape.

Saturday would have been simpler had it not involved the Overland Park Trade center and a smattering of comic industry professionals. Still slightly mentally instable, the day was awash with strange sights and sounds, smells and some awful taste left in the mouth. Simple yet different, we were the bastard children of an industry churning us into popcorn fare.

There are few who enter who don't suffer the same consequence. A portal opens into another world where these bastard children smile. Pose. Abruptly stop in front of a table adorned with various trinkets and toys and dog-eared graphic fiction. The portal is beset with the stench of body odor, wrapped in the sweaty air that hangs above every single inch of the center.

Sardines get better treatment.

There are those entertaining thoughts of other worlds without the use of massive hydroponics. Families matched head to toe in Jedi garb. Jawas. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker make out behind two dumpsters. Quintiles employees and volunteers collectively gather their last vestigials of humanity and grab a smoke in the smoke-free building.

And a lone smile crosses my face as I argue with an artist about the qualities of Peter Sellers' work in Murder by Death while a group of hangers-ons and Trekkies wage a verbal war over who deserves more floor space, Chekhov or R2-D2. A human character from a TV series from the 1960s and a large number of sub-par films from the 70s onward. Or a robot character resembling little more than a trash can that appeared in 3 great films and 3 crap films.

Overweight stormtroopers walked next to skeleton men who weren't even wearing costumes. If a stronger dose had been taken, seizure may have been the outcome from the immense outburst of colors and shapes around.

Three things changed the face of the day: Jai Nitz. Great name. Great conversationalist. Manic love for the art form that he follows and is a wonderful part of. He genuinely knows what he is doing and has the love to fail miserably while trying to do it.

Chris Samnee, my arguee. Argued against the virtues of Murder by Death stating one of the worst Truman Capote related projects (is he a Capote aficianado? He did art for Capote in Kansas). His level of knowledge of the artform and his wonderment of the pen astounded EVERYONE.

My cohorts. The Dr. Gonzos to my Raoul Duke. 3 cohorst enjoyed the same wonders and sadness and general disgust for those same bastard children I mentioned previously. My posse, entourage, what have you, through thick and thin they follow me places sane men or women or children or dogs or cats wouldn't follow. For no reason other than camaraderie, they are there. The others. Part of the same disgusting tribe of bastards being glossed over in immense Hollyweird versions of our childhoods being torn apart before our very eyes on screen.

Dark clouds loom over head and these three things compound to make the trip into Overland Park a success. This once. Different and more vibrant.

Repeat: next time increase the amount of painkilled prior to event happenings in order to incorporate more sights and sounds of the events that transpired.

Lastly, the different rolls on. More and more and more and more the aspects of the or are shining through. Overland Park isn't so bad when compared to the asscrack of an overweight stormtrooper. The or made its way through in various aspects. The sun rose on the west that morning in my eyes.

A change is coming.

Part 3

Included within: review of ASHES dIVIDE's new album Keep Telling Myself It's Alright

"I pretend and pray it all away...searchng for a place to hide"

-Billy Howerdel

We all pretend it's all okay as we walk along the edges of the Earth. Billy Howerdel just decided to talk about it and write it and sing it. ASHES dIVIDE, their new album, feels like A Perfect Circle minus Maynard James Keenan.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

Walking through the tempered glass into the store to peruse for a copy of the album. Couldn't find one. Couldn't be found. I kept telling myself it's alright, they'll have it. Found it. They did. Of course they did. The love erupted into my ears and my heart tinged a little with the sadness welling up inside.

My destination and my adventure had ended quite prematurely. If possibly I had chosen a different place, one not attuned to the sales of compact discs (say a restaurant, library, dumpster) then maybe the adventure could have taken me to new and exciting places.


That was left to the music itself. Howerdel transports the listener into his gothic world of madness with the erupting noise held within his brain. Not only that, but upon continuing down the road, a sound never heard before clasped and clapped loudly as if a pinion broke underneath my vehicle.

I pulled to the side of the road to investigate but never got out. Turned the key off. Drivers threw their arms in the air, questioning my hasty decision to pull to the side of the road. No one knew what I was doing and neither did I. The music had collapsed around me and pushed me through into a madness, and I had to tell myself:

It's alright.

Turned the key in the ignition on and the car started. Fine. No blinking lights. No hazards. No warnings of future concerns. The adventure boiled down to the crashes of drums the adventurer was not quite ready for.

Safe. I was safe in the knowledge that the music had corrupted me. My innerness. My inner being. It had driven me onto the psyche of Billy and continued me down the journey he wanted me to take. Into his paranoia. His musically driven madness.

Flowers never break through the stones but I was breaking into his head. Howerdel did most of this album alone. On his own steam. It was his pet with help from various friends and a musical family. And it is astonishing. It is wonderfully capable hands that have warped these thoughts into a musical spectrum/landscape, and he is met along his path by Paz and Devo Keenan and Josh Freese.

Sounds from Clouser and Reznor eek forth from this album, sounds like the invention of a someone who wants something different, slightly different or immensely different, from the cookie cutter music found on pop radio or MTV. Sounds from someone who is a part of the or.

Someone like us.

Howerdel is part of the different. The change rolls down the road behind the wheel of a massive 77 Pontiac Le Mans with spokes wheels and the top down. The change rolls down the road in a banana yellow auto that looks like it should be in Swedish porn but instead belongs to a regular family man with a regular family job.

Howerdel embraces the or. Embrace it yourself.


Part 4

"After 2013, Time Warner couldn't exploit any new Superman-derived works with a license from the Siegels and the Shusters."

-Marc Toberoff, attorney representing the heirs to the Superman dynasty

Trying to publish a comic is hard. Trying to publish a comic in the shadow of comic's largest titan is even harder. News hit that the Shuster heirs received a trademark on the Superman comic.

What's it all mean?

Superman Ruling

There are a few things this means for those trying desperately to break into an industry not known for helping out the little guy. It gives us hope. A glimmer. A ray breaking through the gloomy clouds. It gives us depression as well. Every other person trying to break in is thinking the same thing: why create a character who I may one day want to sell if I won't see a penny for it til 20 years after I'm dead?

That's not all. Driving along I-35 headed NB into the graying skies of North Kansas City, the Sudafed finally kicked in. Didn't realize it was a sleep aid as well. Should have grabbed the non-drowsy version. Too late now. A ray of sunshine does in fact break through the clouds, golden like the hand of Zeus reaching down to touch the forehead of some newborn titan.

Or possibly blessing the actions of this legal ruling. Judgment finally came to pass that was beneficial to the creators families. Ridiculous how long it took.

Maybe I didn't really see that ray pop through. Maybe my brain is playing tricks on me. Maybe the enormous elephant rolling down the hill on a large big bowling ball isn't really there and maybe Zeus' ashy beard didn't really smile down upon the Shuster and Siegel families.


Driving into the heart of Kansas City North or North Kansas City or whatever it is, the speedometer crept higher. Closing in on 85. Not really paying attention on I-35 as I zoom past what appears to be a highway processional for some deceased businessman or woman. I zoom along, some loud thumps from what appears to be a radio with the face of Ed McMahon telling me to buy his book and put something in the tape deck.

Do I correspond with these actions? Yes or no?

Publishing a comic seems impossible all of a sudden. That was the point. Creating some immense creature for fans, kids, moms, dads, elephants, and anything that resembles a bi-pod will appreciate just seems immensely hard as Superman leaps down from the tallest building and updates the world with his awesome power.

But will the world really care about this new and improved Superman? Maybe I should just jump on the Super-bandwagon and create new villains and stories related to this super-Man. Who knows? Maybe it's easier than self-publishing a comic devoted to myself and my own intentions.

Take someone else's creation and make it your own. It's worked for Hollyweird. It's worked for the authors continuing the story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ubiquitous creation. Hell, to a certain degree, this blog is devoted to the ideal of another author. Why not continue the trend?

Because of the or. Don't take the easy road. Don't enjoy the fruits of someone else's labor. Zeus smiled down upon you AND the Shusters and Siegels, not just down upon them. The Sudafed didn't affect you as strongly as you feel it still is and the colors you see while your eyes are running with watery goodness aren't really there.

You create. You envision. The comic pitch idea is still before you. Who cares if you're 900 years old (in the ground) and the pitch finally gains some weight and people start to care about it? You can be what you want to be as this is your world. You are in control of your own destiny so long as you choose to move forward and struggle with your own choices.

Step out of the shadow of the Super-giant and make something new. Publish something yourself.

Any takers in this experiment of the or?

Part 5

Continuing the glimpse inside: Contained within, a movie review

"If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it."


Oncoming traffic swells around the beater banana yellow auto rolling down the hill toward the movie theater. No need to buy tickets, I'm paying for gas in this thing. Gas should come free with the purchase of popcorn, or buy the popcorn, get a free film ticket. My movie-going experiences are more lax nowadays. Not much coming out or going on besides big Hollyweird extravaganzas that might interest me slightly. Comic flicks make sense in my brain. Probably the pills.

The fact of having a partially photographic memory is not one that makes a damn bit of sense or wonder to people anymore. Photographs are stuck in the past. Everything is digital. Why have a photographic memory when you could as easily have a jpg or png or mp3-formatted memory, or even blu-ray memory? Why photographic. Doctors really need to get with the times and update those classic book mumbo jumbo things they have in their heads.

The continuing road offers nothing of newsworthiness so I turn on the news on the radio. Flip the dial, turn it, crank the treble and bass, and hear their voices discussing things at such a low pitch that it feels like John Lennon/Paul McCartney damning me to hell in a hand basket with a reverse-playing LP idling on the cradle.

Smallish Polygamy Town

There are numerous ways the world can take this polygamy case and we know most of them. But damning these people to hell for their actions is essentially taking their same tick and making it our own. I wish for blu-ray eyes as I scour the smallish town in my eardrums listening to the radio voice boom and bust regarding the logistics of this town. People with kids can't see their kids. And the voice of David Koresh comes flooding back in my blu-ray memory, struggling to gain hold of this information from a Waco-like incident. Doesn't it feel the same only less bloodshed? The Branch Davidians hit the newswave and I roll on down the road in silence.

Hitting stride in the banana boat under the astonishing wave of suda-pseudo-arthro-pills takes me into a parking spot near the middle of the theater in the front. I stumble out feet first onto the concrete, heading towards a viewing of CJ7, apparently a very strange movie-going experience from what I had heard. Outcome: pills help make it weirder. Strange alien creatures. UFOs. Dad loves kid. School chums beat on kid. Alien-like ET encounter. Colors vibrant and easy on the eyes and sounds easy on the ears. Sadness. Wish I had more things with me as I watch this flick. Close.

Pretty good overall. Suda making my stomach growl finally after hours upon hours of just water and no food. Enjoying the feeling of the suda-pseudo emptying my belly for the hours that I struggle with. Who knows what emptiness will follow me out of the theater and back into the world, but my blu-ray eyes open to the skies as I step forward out toward the yellow nana auto waiting for me, seemingly still idling after the hour and a half flick just witnessed.

And somewhere in the sky, Koresh wails and laughs as I turn the ignition and start back on the road. Enjoying the wave of colors coming back into my eyes, I wonder:

silence takes hold and I wander the streets at night sometimes without reason. Are my memories flooding my reality and pushing me out onto the streets? Recommend testing and possibly a partner-in-time/crime. Need to continue forward on the or trip.

"I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours."

-Hunter S. Thompson

The nine to five hours are corrupting the rest of the trip and pushing me into my weekly abyss of continuing damnation. Do I tell the truth? Or?

The or rolls on and into the new week. We will reconvene later and enjoy the day. Or...


Next time be here for 6-10. We're going to get them all out on this fine website and get a move-on. New will come soon.


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