Thursday, September 3, 2009

Early morning after an all-nighter

I got caught up with computer issues tonight, mainly organizing an iTunes library. Usually when I work at the computer I watch television. I don't really have television habits; by that I mean that I don't sit down for the evening news, watch the Simpsons, or CSI or whatever the latest reality show is.

Instead I channel surf which may be annoying if I had a roommate. But left to my own devices, I surf. Sometimes I have the sound muted and listen to the iPod, when it's not in sync hell. If a program catches my attention, I usually just mute the commercials.

There are times I like quiet. It rained tonight. I opened up the door and let the cool air fan through the apartment, then rode my new bike down to the Shell on Sandy between two small downpours. There was little traffic, and I let the bike coast down the hill on the way there and cycled somewhat in the middle of the street on the way back. I can't remember the last time we had rain. It really is very refreshing after a dry spell, and I caught sight of the moon (full?) moving between clouds.

I caught a little of Rachel Maddow, the last time it aired tonight, and there were the images that brought to mind Abu Graib and Cheney and torture and then I channel-surfed some more and came across the 2006 remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and like the ditzy character in the end who can't help but go up the staircase, I was drawn in.

Horror movies are one of my guilty pleasures. The formula is so well-worn, but there's suspense — will good prevail or the victims survive? — that keeps me watching. TCM has no zombies, vamps, unleashed demons, or supernatural. Just a crazy, sadistic family out in the middle of nowhere Texas.

The original TCM was marketed as based on a true story, although the story originated with Tobe Hooper, a documentary cameraman and professor at the University of Texas in Austin, who observed the graphic nature of the local San Antonio news and was intrigued by the ideological/political/cultural tensions of the late '60s/early '70s. The movie is based on serial killer Ed Gein, the product of a severely abusive upbringing in a fervent Lutheran family with an alcoholic father and a mentally ill mother who read to her sons every afternoon the more violent and graphic stories of the Old Testament. The movie garnered such a violent reaction that it was subject to censorship.

When the movie ends I'm truly creeped out, it is 2 or so in the morning, and I switch back to CNN for a moment to catch the news and it's about the security guard/frat boys that reminded me of Abu Grahib and Cheney earlier.

On there's a reporter covering some Korean's practice of eating dogs. He takes a tour of the barns housing the dogs, and it's hard not to think of them as pets. The dog farmer being interviewed, as well as those involved in the dog farming, were afraid of controversy, or slanted coverage, so they were on the defense about the practice. Really it came down to the farmer saying, "I don't care what you think."

Actually, I'm thinking of being a vegetarian after tonight's television viewing. I don't eat a lot of meat, though I do eat the occasional burger or chicken or salmon; but I do see the value of not taking the life of another animal unless absolutely necessary, and here in Portland there are plenty of alternatives.

From there I surfed to Tibet where a Buddhist monk was affirming the spirit of all life and the acceptance of death. I tranced out for awhile and let my thoughts drift, cycling through what I have to do tomorrow and then I shut off the television and laid in the dark for awhile before getting up for a shower and then sitting down to write.

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