Monday, May 30, 2005

Judgement passing and all its thrills

I managed to catch a bit of shit when I dared share this particular observation out loud, so uh, I decided to toss it up here. Thing is, I can't decide if this particular phenomenon represents something good or bad, a positive side of human behaviour or a negative. "What are you talking about Holmes?" Ah yes, let us peer into the observo-mato-tron and see what we can observate, shall we?

So I'm watching the movie "Sideways" with a few folks the other night, which by the way, the Holmes highly recommends. If you don't like it, you're either a kid, which is forgivable, or an idiot, which is less so. Anyway, while the movie was playing, there was a whole other show going on in my living room with everybody just railing on Thomas Haden Church's character and what a complete and total dick he was....which he was, totally, no doubt about that. An absolute shithead, the kind of guy we know is out there doing his part to turn heterosexual women off of men, probably forever. But oh man, the venom! The sheer vitriol issuing forth from my movie-watching companions towards this man's character was fucking palpable. You didn't want to get caught in the crossfire of this shit. These folks were really getting something out of their system.

Not that I'm surprised though. It's an occurrence you can observe pretty much anytime you gather people together and watch a movie that features an asshole main character. Inevitably, it seems that the audience will gang up on the bastard and let loose with every bit of anger and hatred built up from frustration after annoyance after frustration after disgruntlement after irritation after disappointment after frustration after annoyance, all built up over the course of time. For some reason, I find this behaviour really, well, annoying.

Have you noticed how writers have started putting ", well," near the end of their sentences right before words that they seem to know they're overusing, as if to apologize for it by pointing out that they recognize their own shortcoming rather than trying to come up with a different word or expression to communicate what they have to say? I do it too. I'll probably do it again. Just making a, well, observation.

As I was saying, the whole judging characters thing really rubs my raisins wrong. Part of it, yes, is the fact that it's being done during the movie, and in my book, pretty much any talking during a movie is a sin. And talking TO the movie? To the characters? Dude, there are entire dormitories being built in hell as we speak to punish such evildoers. Which, sadly, includes pretty much everyone I know and love, but hey, it's not my rule. Or wait, actually, it is. Never mind then.

But the taking part, that's not the entirety of it. There's something about the act of judging fictional characters that just...I don't know...or even characters who represent real people. Maybe it just seems silly to me. Or maybe it's the fact that I come at it from a writer's point of view, which in my book, means never ever judging your characters. Actors should take a similar approach. Be honest about your characters, accept them as they are, and let them tell their story. It's when you start judging them that they begin to become the stereotypes that everyone expects, and they cease to be interesting, to be people, to be real in any way.

But then, is that really the audience's job? What is the audience's job? Why watch movies or plays at all? Is there any reason, beyond entertainment, to spend time watching actors play out stories for us, either in a live theater setting or in a recorded format? Maybe having such strong feelings of recognition for a character that people start yelling at him or her is a sign that the creators of the work did their job, and maybe the "getting it all out" part is just a part of the fun that, unfortunately, some people (like, uh, me) get all worked up over and start overthinking and then have to go type way too long a blog posting to sort it out in their heads.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Dad can't be weak

Okay, so of course I know that both parents gotta be strong in many ways, but we're talking about dads today because, well, that's what I'm gonna be, so that's where my mind is.

So a couple of months ago, I got this sudden irresistible urge to start working out. Not just work out, but to do so with the goal in mind of getting stronger. It was weird. Weirder than that was that I followed this inclination and started working out 3 - 5 days a week, doing both cardio and weight training. That's definitely weird for me. Even weirder: I started paying attention to the food and drink I ingested, both the type and the quantity. Two words: FUCKING WEIRD.

Now sure, I've had brief bouts of health awareness here and there over the years, but never were they serious, nor did they last long...geez, I talk about it like a disease. This time though, it feels, well, different. As in, more lasting. Like, I might keep this up for a while.

So over the last couple of months, I've seen and felt my body change. The story doesn't end there though, nor does the oddness. See, the other day, I was talking to a good friend of mine who happens to be the father of a child of his own, a one year old I think. And this topic comes up, and I tell him about my newfound regimen, and he pipes up with, "Yeah, well, you'll need it when the kid's born." And starts telling me about all the physicality of being a parent and the stuff he does with his kid and how he'd have probably slipped a disk by now if he hadn't gotten in shape. Later on that same day, I'm talking to a guy at the gym who, it turns out, had messed up his back about a year ago, but was in the gym staying fit for the express purpose of being able to play with his three kids.

This gets me to thinking...was this sudden urge to take better care of myself some kind of inborn instinct that kicked in with the impending onset of fatherhood? It's not like it would be the first one I've noticed. From what I can tell, little children look up to their parents like they're superheroes: strong, good, capable of any feat. Was this tractor beam pulling me into the gym actually a subconscious desire to get myself ready physically to meet that challenge? Whatever it is, I now feel that I'm working with a purpose, not just wanking with weights. Beyond all that, it certainly makes me start to think about the non-physical challenges ahead, and if I am at all ready for them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The science behind sarcasm

Once again, science has proven that which we suspected all along: people who don't get sarcasm are brain damaged. Perhaps the Holmes shall begin using sarcasm as his litmus test for intelligence.

Suddenly I feel like an evil bastard.

Friday, May 20, 2005

How I feel about Star Wars

So I've been sort of brooding on this latest Star Wars episode...not so much on the movie itself, which I'm seeing tomorrow, but more on everything surrounding it, and I finally sort of snapped, albeit via IM, yesterday. So I guess, as excited as I am about seeing it, this IM conversation gives away how I feel.

Smashley says:
so im hearing star wars iii is good. do you want to see it at some point?

Travis Holmes says:
i do, but i don't want to want to...nomesayin?

Smashley says:
oh yeahwurd

Travis Holmes says:
i'm tired of seeing darth vadar in M&M's commercials or sitting atop Burger King franchises in inflated form.

Smashley says:
for real yo

Travis Holmes says:
i'm tired of the myriad goddamn mass marketing's like taking a childhood fairy tale and commercially buttfucking it

Smashley says:
totally dude

Travis Holmes says:
even tho i know the same was done when we were kids....

Travis Holmes says:
it just seems colder now...more sinister...more of the dark side

Smashley says:
it was yes

Smashley says:

Travis Holmes says:
and you can make fun all you want, but it meant a lot to me as a kid, so there

Smashley says:
and why wouldnt it. it is the epitome of cowboys and indians in psace

Smashley says:

Travis Holmes says:
no, it is NOT cowboys and indians in space

Smashley says:
yes it is!

Travis Holmes says:
the indians were clearly on this land first, it was stolen, the whole conflict between cowboys and indians is bullshit.

Travis Holmes says:
star wars is about a fight between good and evil, the shades of gray that lure characters in between them, and the fight for freedom.

Smashley says:
oh ok

Smashley says:
i really dont remember it much

Travis Holmes says: looks what you've done

Travis Holmes says:
you're made me talk that

Smashley says:
you're all upset!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I hung out with a bunch of devil worshippers last night

Okay not really. Actually I just bopped on down to Emo's to check out a band called Team Sleep. It was a great show and all, but I couldn't help but notice that a lot of people kept throwing up their I found this odd because Team Sleep isn't really kind of music. It'd be like going to a
Radiohead concert and trying to start a moshpit. I suppose it has to do with the fact that the singer is also the singer for the Deftones, which definitely practices a brand of music that one could label as , although I feel it my duty to point out that Deftones is very different from, say, Metallica or Pantera or, going back a bit further, Black Sabbath . Keep in mind though, when speaking with lovers of all things , there's really no need to get into the subtle differences betwixt various forms of . It just goes without saying. The Holmes has definitely been known to toss up a every now and then, but whether getting over- excited in a moshpit or simply expressing appreciation for something, anything, that has that inexplicable quality, I always feel a bit cliche flashing my ...which is fine I guess. In fact, maybe that's why I do it. Maybe that's why everybody does it, a whole bunch of people all in on one big joke. Except I'm guessing there are at least a few diehard types out there who take their very seriously. Probably Norwegian black-metal types. Anyhow. on.

Note. in this context is not affiliated with The University of Texas.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Monday, May 16, 2005

A blog about an article about Jesus and his iPod

So there's this columnist for the San Francisco Gate by the name of Mark Morford whose work I am a big enjoyer of. You couldn't exactly accuse him of being an investigative reporter, but then again, reporting isn't really what he's doing. The guy's a full-blown balls-to-the-wall left-winger, a liberal's liberal if you will, writing about everything from evil grocery store chains to SUV's to Bush is an idiot to our culture is getting desensitized by constant bloodshed in the news to why do we only ever hear about the wack-job religious people to Bush is a fucking moron to prescription medication addictions and how we are a quick-fix society to why can't we all just relax a bit more and of course, Bush is an evil deathbastard. And I love every word of it.


So he wrote this article where he posed the most interesting question: What would Jesus have on his iPod? To which the Holmes had to say, "Hmmmm. Just what would Jesus, son of God, divinity made flesh, have on his iPod?" Now unfortunately, the Holmes hasn't gotten around to purchasing an iPod just yet, but I think the idea here is pretty clear. Knowing what we know about Jesus, who he spent his time with, who he showed mercy to and who his wrath was reserved for, knowing that he loathed violence but was not afraid to agitate those in power, knowing that he spoke a message of peace and love, well, just what kind of music might such an individual be into these days? Or rather, all days, seeing as how time doesn't quite work the same way for divine beings as it does for us earthbound human types.

The author himself offered some ideas, and then printed a nice chunky sampling of the responses he received from readers...needless to say, their answers were all over the place, you name it...blues, jazz, funk, protest anthems, love ballads, country, heavy metal, classic rock, classical, neo hippie chick, old school hip hop, emo, techno, showtunes, of course gospel, both Elvises....basically just list every category of music that you can think of before you realize that it's really difficult if not impossible to classify everything, then remember how that one song you like doesn't really fit into any one categorization, and then remember that there are a ton of songs out there like that, and then laugh thinking about that argument you got into that one time about whether that one band really qualifies as that one genre, especially after doing that one album or how one time you tried to organize your CD's by genre and it took you over a week of just sitting and staring at your collection before you finally got everything into some kind of order, but even then you ended up with categories with names like "Somewhat more feminine stuff that I got into some time after college when I realized that all I listened to was guy music" or "Really chill with sort of a hiphop influence somewhere in the beat" or "Bizarre Euro-Asian sort of thing that most American ears won't like and will actually hate which is part of but not entirely the reason why I like it." And of course "Other."

That's how many types there were. Are. And counting.

So just what tunes does the Holmes suggest? What would the Holmes expect to find as he scrolled through the divine iPod? Well, maybe I've got some ideas, but to be honest, that's not really the question that I'm incredibly interested in. What gets the hamster to jogging in the wheel of the Holmes's brain is the question, what does all of this tell us? All these ideas that people have about Jesus's musical tastes, what does it say? Well, it tells us that taste runs the gamut, but anybody who knows at least one other person should have figured that out by now. Maybe could it be that it tells us a little something about Jesus? Well maaaybe, but only in relation to how people think about him and who they think he is....or perhaps to put it more accurately, who they want him to be. So many suggestions from so many people expressing so many different ideas. It seems that people just want Jesus to like their music.

But that can't be it...not all of it anyway. Think about your favorite song, album, singer, band, opera, whatever, whether it's a recent discovery that you've been listening to nonstop all week or an all-time fave, that's the music you love and it's part of you. And it matters not one tiny split hair what anyone else thinks of it, what some reviewer said or how loudly your friends groan when you put it on, that is YOUR music and you love it. And when you meet someone who feels the same about it as you do, oh shit, the connection you get!

You see what I'm getting at? All these iPod ideas, they seem to express a need that runs deeper than just saying "I think this music is cool and I think Jesus would too." Well no, actually, that's pretty much it, but at the same time it's more than that. It's about connection and understanding. In a world where each of us is so often misunderstood, we want, dammit, we want so much sometimes just to be understood. To feel perfect wordless no-need-to-explain understanding. And in an age where warmongers and bigots and fascists and liars and thieves and hypocrites and violent extremists are shrieking louder than ever that their mandate is the holy mandate of God, more people just want to scream out NO! You evil bastards do not have Jesus on your side. Jesus is not guiding your missiles true to their targets or giving AIDS to the scary homosexuals or raising your stock because the Son of God that likes this song isn't capable of such atrocities. The Jesus that likes this song here, well, he understands me perfectly and I don't have to explain a thing to him because he knows. Even better than I do.

See what I'm saying?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Green Eggs and Ham

I read Green Eggs and Ham to the bump in my wife's tummy last night, and tonight I read The Tawny Scrawny Lion. Tomorrow I'll read it something else. I assured the fetus that these books are packed with all sorts of great pictures that it can look at when it comes out into the world with the rest of us.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


So last night, me and Mrs. Holmes headed out to Wimberley to witness the wedding of our friends Andy and Echo. If you've never been, I can only describe the Wimberley area as one of the most gorgeous parts of the Texas hill country. And on spring days like yesterday, it's a wee bit of heaven.

So this wedding, while traditional in many ways, was not what most Americans today would consider a "traditional" wedding. The bride wore no long trailing gown, choosing instead a simple white medieval-ish dress. The groom and his best man appeared to have stepped off of a Shakespearean stage, although nothing felt like a costume, and one certainly didn't detect anything as tacky as a theme. The invocation and the vows were earthy while still acknowledging the presence of the divine and the ageless wonder of love. And when the flower girl tripped and began bawling, there was no feeling that the perfect day had been ruined, but rather that an unexpected memory had just been made. All in all it was a most moving event.

I think what made it so very touching was that this wedding was so very much a direct expression of the two people at the center of it. In not one aspect, not one little area did you sense that the wedding industry had managed to sink its claws in. And that's what it is folks, an industry, a whole commercial sector that attempts to make people feel like if they don't have this kind of dress and this kind of tux and this many attendants all garbed in just such a fashion and you have to serve this much food and have this many guests and release this many virgin pure white doves into the air as a token of blah-de-blah-de-blah, if you don't have all this CRAP then your wedding will be total SHIT and everyone will POINT and LAUGH at you while you try to say your vows! When me and the Mrs. were in the planning stages of our own wedding, it seemed like we couldn't get away from this crap. There was actual effort involved to get away from it, but in the end we succeeded.

Beyond the commercial aspects, there was none of this wedding-day-only religion involved. You know what I'm sayin, people who you know for a fact aren't religious in the least, but just to avoid making waves or to please somebody's parents, they have a religious wedding ceremony. And sure, I guess that's fine if that's what you want, but it seems to the Holmes that faking faith just to please people who aren't involved in the marriage (ie, anyone except the people getting married) is basically just adding a pack of lies to an event that is supposed to be about two people committing their love, trust, basically their lives to one another....which kind of defeats the purpose of having a so-called religious ceremony, doesn't it? I know you don't know these people I'm writing about, but imagine the most eclectic hippie type people you know and picture them having a Christian wedding ceremony and you see how just not quite right it seems.

Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the "traditional" wedding or with religious wedding ceremonies, because for some people, that is the wedding that is right for them. The thing is though, it's not right for everyone, and it can be a challenge trying to break out of that mold and creating something that's right for you and yours. That's what me and Ash had to do, and that's what Andy and Echo did. It completely belonged to us, and always will. It's funny isn't it, how an event that is supposed to be all about you and the love of your life, about who each of you are and who you are together, how that seems to make so many people try to make you act like people that you're not.