Category Archives: Reflections

Meditative diatribes, prolonged ramblings and chasing shadows

Priceless Art

It is difficult to define a work of art because the perception of it is highly subjective. But for me, the most powerful and beautiful works of art cannot be bought, hung on a wall or placed on a pedestal.

In the area where I live, people frequently construct little shrines along the roadside in the spot where a loved one died. There is a surprisingly large number of these markers throughout my city. Today, when I was riding my bike, I saw one that was more impressive than most that I’ve seen.

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It was a powerful thing, and it made me sad. I wasn’t sad for the youth who had lost his life at this location (I had never known him); I was sad because the beauty which stood before me screamed of the powerful emotions that had been invested in its creation.

It was not created for profit; rather, it had been created as a result of a tremendous loss. It was not created for the purpose of adulation — only for commemoration. It will not stand the test of time, nor will it ever be re-created or re-envisioned by historical societies.

The flowers will soon wither, and the city’s public works employees will soon clear it away as they would random debris. And only the family and friends whose pain resulted in this work of beauty — as well as any random passersby — will ever know that it existed…for, oh, such a brief period of time.

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Grammadness…

While writing the latest article for my Horror Works site (where I write articles about horror entertainment events throughout the greater Los Angeles area), I am suffering something of a breakdown.

I am an American, and in so being, I had been taught the conventional — rather than the logical — usage of commas in regards to their placement within the proximity of quotation marks. However, during my undergraduate years, in a 300-level British literature course, my professor introduced me to the more sensible British usage. Since then, I have essentially adopted the British style, but today I really wanted to revert to my native, imbecilic American style…just cuz.

Please, someone….Grammar Gods…take this pain away and make the rules universal, wouldja?

A Bit of the Eternal Flame

I believe it was during the summer of ’78 when a 16-year-old Wisconsin girl named Sheri came to watch over my brother and me while our parents vacationed.

Over the next 30 years, give or take, once in a while, someone in my family would make a fond reference to Sheri, our summer girl. Other than that, the memory was particularly hazy for me since I was only 4 years old at the time. Regardless, she did not forget her summer with the Feinblatts, and when the Information Age provided her with a convenient way to reconnect with us, she did, and she brought with her this photograph of me.

Photo of Scott Feinblatt (age 4) at Marriott's Great America (circa 1978)

Photo of Scott Feinblatt (age 4) at Marriott’s Great America (circa 1978)

In addition to the photograph, she brought fond recollections of my family and a general sense of cheer and appreciation at the opportunity to reconnect. In one way or another, I gradually learned that she had been fighting cancer; though nothing in her regular communications with me revealed this fact. Moreover, she was principally interested in seeing what “little Scotty” was up to, and when she became aware of my many creative pursuits, she became one of my few dedicated champions, lavished me with no shortage of praise and encouragement and frequently told me how proud she was of me. She never judged me or the morbid nature of some of my creations — rather she shared both my delight in the creative process and my feelings of accomplishment in achieving my various goals.

I just learned that her mortal flame went out during the night before last. And the fact that she never brought anything but light to my life means that my life has just gotten a bit darker. However, insofar as I can recall her light and share the story of its illumination, her flame will continue to burn.

Sheri Marx November 9, 1960 - October 15, 2013

Sheri Marx
November 9, 1960 – October 15, 2013

What 9-11 means to me

The phone rang. It was my cousin, Barry, telling me to turn the television on. I told him I didn’t have cable and got lousy reception. He told me to turn it on anyway.

I saw the coverage.

Incredulity, a hand on the forehead and lots of “Oh, my god”s.

The emotion roused my sleeping cousin, Barry’s son Nate, from his room (ordinarily, he wouldn’t have been up for a while).

Riding my bicycle five miles to work (I believe my car was in the shop for transmission problems — a whole other story), Olympic Avenue was eerily deserted from Vermont to Robertson. Flags were at half staff, and there was a sort of mist in the air.

Then there were the words of the good doctor, Hunter S. Thompson, who commented that the powers-that-be had clamped down on information, and all news coverage was dedicated to emotional angles. He accurately assessed that life as we knew it was over; for the rest of all of our lives, we would be at war with an invisible enemy that would essentially cost Americans most of our freedoms.

In the wake of feeling incredibly vulnerable to potential future terrorist attacks, a wave of Nationalism hit the country. People reached out and donated blood. People bought little flags and stuck them on their cars. People joined the military.

Following this, George W. Bush manipulated the country’s chaotic emotional energies towards a personal / business war agenda. Hate crimes against Arabic Americans occurred. Big Brother got much bigger. Fear mongering gained a level of legitimacy that it holds to this day.

In short, we were closed in on by ALL sides. The bad guys struck a blow, and the good guys tightened their “protective” hold on us to the point of additionally hindering our way of life.

Today is the day to remember that.

Stand your ground, soldier!

Walking away from a painful situation doesn’t necessarily result in rays of sunshine and revelation. There is loneliness. There is longing. There is the desire to silence these threats through irresponsible choices or the sinkhole of despair.

There is also the knowledge of the desolate and invisible road that waits for discovery through a leap of faith. But sometimes it’s hard to distinguish a leap of faith from the feeling of falling into an abyss…

Oh, Eternal Light, embrace my flesh and dissolve my anguished mortal shell.

Play List

Play ListTo make a Playlist on your Windows Media Player, basically, your computer remembers the address, or path, of each song file on your mix (ex. C Drive/My Music/The Beatles/Abbey Road/I Want You).

One day, my hard drive crashed, so I had to get a new one. I had a lot of important information on that drive, so after I installed a new C Drive, I was able to install the former drive. Unfortunately, it was now named F Drive. This was a problem because whenever I’d try to play my Playlists through Windows Media Player, many of the songs could no longer be found (because they were no longer located on the C Drive – they were on the F Drive, so the address / path was wrong, dig?).

In order to access my many custom Playlist mixes, I needed to use Windows Explorer to navigate into five sub-folders. Then, when I clicked on a Playlist, it would work because it recognized the song addresses / paths on the same drive (i.e. both the Playlists as well as the song files were on the F Drive). It was really lame having to navigate through so many folders every time I wanted to hear a mix, but I didn’t want to drag my huge music library (several gigs or whatever) to my new C Drive.

For convenience, I decided to move the My Music folder up about five levels, so it would just be located at F Drive: My Music (instead of F Drive: Users/Scott/MyMusic/Playlists). Additionally, I renamed the folder “0 – Music” so that, alphabetically, it would appear at the top of the F Drive, whenever I expanded the F Drive on Windows Explorer. The problem was that this changed the address / path, and even though the Playlists were easier to access, they no longer worked.

It was in this way that I came to appreciate the space-time continuum.

Oh Give Me a Road

???????????????????????????????????????The driver has the choice to turn right or left. Two signs, shaped like arrows, indicate that the choices are “this way” and “that way.” Whichever way he chooses, there will always be the curiosity about what would have happened had he turned down the other road.

It’s true that he can travel down one road for a while, realize that it is not the correct path and turn around. On his way back to the intersection, he will revisit the memories that he made while initially traveling down this road. He will never know what he left behind – he had only a preview of where that road led.

The paved roads rest upon the sands of a great desert. Suddenly, he doesn’t trust whoever it was that poured the tarmac or planted the signs, and he accelerates without turning the wheel. His ride leaves the road, the weight of the vehicle compacting the sand below its tires; the inertia of its momentum keeping it from becoming stuck in the sand. He adjusts the throttle, allowing the fuel to flow more freely into the engine. “It’s nice to feed the engine,” he thinks as he races with the Devil over the endless sands.

An aerial view of this scene would allow us to see that there are actually many roads scattered throughout the desert. Many of them are in the shape of recognizable geometric figures – the most common being the oval. Upon the oval roads, various drivers pride themselves that they are headed in the right direction for a while, then, thinking that they are not quite content, they follow the road’s curve until they are headed in the opposite direction. Ah, the freshness that traveling in a different direction brings! Then, as if anticipating their nostalgia for the way things were, the road curves again and brings them back to their former path. They become intoxicated with the sights and smells of familiarity. It is safe. It is home. Rinse and repeat.

Many vehicles are stuck, of course. Their drivers had recognized the limitations of the roads and tried to find their own way. Some of them lost heart and merely took their feet off the pedal – allowing the neutral sand to take hold of them; others ran out of fuel. Some of their skeletons remain in the cars to this day; others made a go of it on foot. Of course, given the strong winds of the desert, their footprints are long gone, as are any traces of their mortal remains.

Far off, there are things called highways. These roads contain multiple lanes and all head in common directions. They are always filled as there is never any shortage of people wanting to join others on a popular journey. Signs along these highways indicate that the travelers have made good choices. No one remembers who put the signs there or whether the path is still (or ever was) good. They just know the word, and they cannot resist the flow.

There is a myth that a unique road exists for each traveler, and if each traveler could find his road, only then could he know his true direction. How to choose when there are so many? The sacred roads must exist beyond the pavement because if they are truly meant for only one person, then no one else would know where to pour them or in which directions they should veer.

Fear and laziness keep the highways populated. Faith is foolishly placed on the ancient signs which read “Good,” and the company within the traffic, which frequently jams, provides enough comfort to pave over the fear in their hearts – like blinders on a beast. Still, it is their choice, and that old silver lining, she spells out that while numerous invisible roads evaporate for want of usage, the lone demon-eyed travelers find that they have all the space in the world.