13 bak’tun.

Tomorrow is the first day of the end of your life.

from here.

Tomorrow is the end of the world as we know it.

Only, you know, it’s not.

I have somewhat of a New Age streak to me, but a lot of this 13 bak’tun, Nibiru, and “galactic synchronization beam” shit, the works of Terrence McKenna, and any of the panicked reports on the Long Calendar you hear about on the internet is just silly. Interesting, but silly. It’s fun, when it’s tongue in cheek, but still silly. It’s your average modern confusion. It’s fun to joke about, to make funny macros of, but it’s as important to our lives as cat memes.

Cat memes like Colonel Meow:

I want Colonel Meow to replace Xenu in the hierarchy of cosmic nogoodniks.

Today a girl I know came into my job. I like her because she’s a bit silly and we can talk about goofy science things sometimes, but I’ve been growing increasingly worried because she’s deadly serious about being terrified about 12/21. She’s been telling me for weeks how she’s been meditating continuously, trying to affect global consciousness shifts for the better. She’s memorizing maps of ley lines and trying to save up good karma to release into the atmosphere. She told me that she’s bought plenty of cat food and is taking tomorrow off of work and that she plans to spend the whole day meditating.

I hear meditation and I keep thinking masturbation.

Could I meditate for a whole day? Well, the manly bragging side of me says sure, that I could certainly give it a try, but honestly, I think I’d run out of material after a while. After a while it’d be just vapors…

Anyway.

Its all about me-ow.

I like the think of the world in terms of chess, or more appropriately, abstract chess metaphors. It’s all about analysis, experience, knowledge, imagination, and movement. Progressions. There is a board, a set pattern, but also, there’s a field that stretches out. The moves we make exist before we make them and they continue to exist after they have occurred. The game has ended before it’s even started, and by the time you’ve played it out and finished the game, another one has already started.

The wave harmonics of history, fuck yeah!

That sounds like a endorsement of reincarnation of some kind of psuedo-Buddhist notions. I have none such. To me, metaphysics and God are exactly the same: I am curious about them, but I do not believe in them. Except for the “mysterious ways” in which they work that can all be boiled down to simply physics and scientific understandings of the world.

I’m obsessed with time. Just the same as you, just the same as anyone. People still wear watches. The time readout is a huge part of most cell phone dashboards. We look at calendars, we read our morning horoscopes in the newspapers, and we make plans (and we make God laugh). We can both travel in time and change the past when we use our memories.

The end is the beginning, and vice versa.

To borrow from The Invisibles: Time is the soil in which we grow.

Get comfortable in your Fiction suits.

I believe that everything is possible. Or, everything is permitted (and nothing is possible), as Hassan-i Sabbah said, but all is determined under one strict criteria: Perspective.

Creation is the same as destruction, and one follows the other, and always has, at least if you look at it in the right light. Anything can happen (and similarly, can not happen), but it all depends on your scope. The sky is the limit, but only if you let it be.

The end of the world makes for good TV. It makes a bad joke a more often told joke. It probably translates into pageviews right before Christmastime. It turns small minds into bemused minds into fearful minds, and stupidity abounds.

Sing it, Randy.

Prophecies are a cool idea, the same as foreshadowing in stories, but they only come true when they’re made to come true. There is no difference between fate and free will. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, whether we’re talking about the end of the world, the perception of the web of time around us, or even the end of this very blog: Mektoub.

It’s fascinating to look back at ancient cultures and see how they perceived time, how they built up Gods and Demons and explained the world to themselves in stories. I find all of that history of yesteryear interesting, but I’m not afraid of it. I’m more terrified of where the cultures of today go next. Times are hard, paychecks don’t last as long, and we really need to start worrying about where our next LOL will come from.

We should look forward to the moments in which we outgrow our fairy tales, but never forget how important they were to us, especially since they lead us to this…

Probably not.

Whatever this is.

Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.

I’m quite curious about the end of the world, and how things get dismantled over time. I think about that kind of thing especially as this blog draws to a close, as the song slowly fades to its inevitable conclusion, and we put the chairs up and flip off the lights before we go. Let’s leave it with the sage wisdom of the distant past: Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…

Tales told by an idiot…

So, yesterday I was thinking about the idea of “today” and today is yesterday’s tomorrow and you could really go on with that kind of talk forever. And it gets you thinking, every single yesterday and today and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…

And of course I’m talking about the soliloquy from Act 5, scene 5 of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. You know, that thing they made you memorize back in high school. The scene itself is brilliant, starting with Macbeth learning of his wife’s death and followed by the news that his enemies are fast approaching and that the prophecy that will end him is unfolding before his eyes, but there in that brief moment, Macbeth has some time to himself alone in his own ruin, and he can wax on with resignation and anger about the dreaded continuation of life, the despair and the agony and the lack of choices we get, and the futility of it all. Death comes. It always comes. But it’s left up to debate if Macbeth is possibly choosing his own death right then and there.

In fact, that was the nice thing about how we have Shakespeare’s plays now, so lacking of most stage directions, leaving them open to a vast majority of interpretations. And when you’re thinking about tomorrow, whether you’re dreading it or eagerly looking forward into it’s complicated winds, the last thing you want is anything written in stone, right? Things should always be open, breezy, the path changing along with you…

Anyway, some videos. Above is Ian McKellen tackling the role in 1978 (with Judi Dench as Lady Macbeth) and the soliloquy and below is Jon Finch doing it in Roman Polanski’s 1971 adaptation (with Francesca Annis as a younger, softer, more determined Lady Macbeth [who did her sleepwalking soliloquy – “Out, damned spot!” – in the nude]). They’re obviously differently staged since Polanski’s is an actual film treatment of the play and McKellen is starring in a TV adaptation of Trevor Nunn’s run with the play, but McKellen’s just absolutely seething and nearly exploding with presence and Finch just looks like a guy doing a bit of acting after a few rough weeks or maybe a bender or two. To me, anyway. But while watching the video above, I got a little bit of a flashback to James Marster’s peformance as Spike on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I wonder if the works of young Ian McKellen informed Marster’s English impression/accent? Or maybe that’s just me too.

And, because I find it interesting, below I give you Sir Patrick Stewart (with something of a porn star mustache) giving you a little advice on how to perform the “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” speech just as it was given to him by McKellen. I think it’s interesting that they both stress that the word to be emphasized is and.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life.”

Today I was minding my own business and this song came on:

That’s Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” But you’d have to know that, right? The people who don’t know that are probably these same weird people that I keep running into lately that have never seen Back To The Future or have NEVER HEARD (lower case wtf?) of The Empire Strikes Back. Anyway. Hearing this song today reminded me of four things:

1. I think I’m locked into a vicious cycle of having to always pause whatever I’m doing to do the air drums when the drumming enters this song. Is that an unattractive quality? I hope not.

2. The first time I did the air drums at the exact right time that they came into the song when I was a stupid little kid when one of those amazing moments of victories that you experience as a stupid little kid. I felt invincible.

3. I had a friend named Steve, who… well, that’s a long story for another time. But Steve was a drama major once upon a time and I remember him telling me once over a few drinks how it was his dream to do the lyrics to this song as a monologue on stage at some point in his life. I’m sure by now that Steve has awarded himself quite a few Oscars for performances so far only witnessed by the bathroom mirror.

4. I’ve said this many a time before, but I miss this era in Phil Collins’ career. He was just likable and a simple pop star, but he really mined a dark corner of the human psyche and added synthesizer and that’s what the top 40 looked like back then. Just listen to songs like “Mama,” which he did with Genesis, or “I Don’t Care Anymore,” or even the classic “Against All Odds,” they’re just so sad and desperate and dark and… amazing. There’s this grand urban legend built up about the lyrical content of “In The Air Tonight,” which people take quite literally, assuming that Phil Collins perhaps watched a person drown while singling out the guilty party at a concert during the performance of the hit song he wrote about it, which is a little insane, but is fascinating to watch it grow over the years, mostly by what we call “Telephone” here in America, but they call “Chinese Whispers” in England. It just seems so strange and appealing to me, that period of keyboard and lack of… flash. I mean, seriously, back in the day this guy…

…was one of the leading pop stars of the day and age. This guy…

No joke, that. And yet, pre-Disney soundtracks, he was like the Bob Hoskins of pop.

At eternity’s gate.

Last week the Earth was in danger from it’s original inhabitants crawling from under the surface, but this week on Doctor Who, we’re more in what one of the greatest painters ever sees, be it in himself, or in his future, or in the eyes of a scary looking creature staring out from the windows of a church…

And that’s this week’s episode, which bears the rather low key title of “Vincent And The Doctor,” written by Richard Curtis of Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love, Actually fame.

The plot is relatively simple: The Doctor is showing Amy a good time, trying to make up for the loss of Rory in small ways, but it’s more about alleviating his guilt over what she can’t remember. They go to the Musee D’orsay in Paris and notice a scary face staring out from a window within Van Gogh’s painting, The Church At Auvers, and after finding a approximation of the date the painting was done, decide to back and pay Van Gogh a visit in his final and incredibly product days and do a little investigating. And adventuring.

It’s kind of interesting in that all of Moffat’s previous episodes of Doctor Who during the RTD run of the show dealt with things of an auditory nature, repeated scary catch phrases and noises of monsters, and this series it’s primary more about what is seen. And Van Gogh, dealing with his madness, is the only person who can see the alien creature rampaging through Provence, possibly because of his temporal lobe epilepsy (the part of your brain where God and other wonderful monsters live, as the God helmet taught us), and that monster itself happens to be blind.

The episode is pretty light on the plot and much more character-driven and kind of hauntingly wonderful in that regard. I didn’t dislike last week’s episode or “The Hungry Earth” before it, but ultimately I feel that it may be rather forgettable in the long run, and possibly “Vampires In Venice” as well (this episode was shot in the same Croatian village as that episode, standing in for France this time, rather than Venice), but this one is an odd keeper. And that, in itself, is interesting because a quick scan online has shown me that quite a few have actually hated this episode, which I think it’s a shame. It was lovely in a tragic way, but also rather life affirming of the beauty of both the good and the bad we experience in this brief and temporary life, especially since the Pandorica will be opening in a mere two weeks.

The rumored original title of this episode was supposedly “Lend Me Your Ear,” which is just too funny.

I can’t say enough good things about Tony Curran’s rendition of Vincent Van Gogh, who didn’t have a lot to do in this episode, not really, but did all of it with such incredible weight. The way he delivered the line, “When you leave, as everyone always does, I will be left with an empty heart and no hope” was beautiful in an incredibly touching way that just stabbed at you, and was in an amazing contract with the tears that streamed down his eyes as Bill Nighy’s curator character explained the effect that Van Gogh had on the world of modern art.

Also, keeping his natural Scottish accent and having him then assume that Amy Pond was Dutch as well was brilliant.

And then there was that beautiful scene of Van Gogh laying in the grass with Amy and the Doctor, having them look up at the night sky and seeing it from his perspective, the literal transformation from the real into a starry night.

And Karen Gillan was again, of course, beautiful in this episode, and again, felt somewhat wasted. I quite enjoyed her stuff at the end, after her and the Doctor showed Van Gogh how he changed the world of the future, and the way she hoped that they had had an effect on him that would’ve changed something in his life for the better, perhaps helped him to deal with his demons and live longer…

…but finding that their time with the artist only gave him the strength to carry out his life exactly as it already played out.

From her perspective, that is.

And the perspective of a time traveler can certainly be an interesting thing, I think we’ve seen so far this season.

It’s interesting watching Matt Smith’s progression as the Doctor this series, not so much in acting, but in writing. Part of that has to do with the showrunner, Stephen Moffat, writing more episodes at the start of the series, but there’s certainly much more of a weight to episodes like “The Eleventh Hour” and “The Beast Below” and, of course, in “The Time Of Angels” and “Flesh And Stone.” Life literally felt like it was on the line in those episodes, the situations were certainly more dire, and the actors/characters shown a lot brighter, and I’m looking forward to next week’s episode, but I’m really anxious to see Moffat return in two weeks as River Song returns (along with Rory and a whole host of baddies, apparently, if supposed spoilers are to be believed), the Pandorica opens, and silence falls…

Next time: The Doctor takes the slow path for a week without the TARDIS, becoming a lodger, playing a little soccer, and discovers the mystery of the staircase that people can go up but never come down.