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Author Archives: Von Simeon
[NOTE: My last full post for 2014. Happy Holidays and see you in 2015!]
Phew! Finals, amirite? Semester out of the way, kids stay home instead of stinking up your classroom, vacay in full effect! Aaahh…
Now that you’re ensconced in your house coat, fuzzy slippers and baggy sweats (or muu muu, depending on your climate), put Robocop on! “Why, Von?” you are clearly asking.
Let me serve for you in this post (maybe in life?) as your personal techno-philosopher. You guys know how much of a technophile I am, and you know I extol the virtues and sins of technological determinism whenever I’m up for it. Robocop is a very graceful interlace of two Digital Age explorations, technological innovation at the expense of human interaction and a free-willed spirit coming to self-actualization technologically. I’ll explain.
Alex Murphy is another Detroit cop doing his business, but crime prevailed, costing him his physical state. We experience a conversation between minds, Michael Keaton representing Innovation and Gary Oldman representing Reason. (As an aside, you know when Gary Oldman’s in a movie, you really can’t go wrong!)
Beautifully, these two argue the merits of utilizing Alex in this ‘Robocop’ capacity. Reason starts with the surface: Alex is a father and a husband and, with modern technology, can still fulfill these roles which are near and dear to him. Under the surface, Reason argues that Will, particularly, the will to exist, is much stronger than the high-tech body frame Alex inherits. You can literally strip a human being down to his cortex and shooting arm, yet the Spirit remains.
Innovation argues, quite rightly, that less human lives are lost when technologies are engaged to combat crime. Without letting hubris get in the way of his decision making, Innovation asserts that the human component cannot be manipulated or imitated; there has to be a human factor in combating crime. This position tells me this guy wouldn’t be a proponent of drone technology used in the battlefield.
Innovation upholds the caveat that, if we are engaging in human activity, technologies are purposeful only when they enhance, not replace, the human experience. Giving a hug, slapping a face, these are forms of communicating that are more efficacious than receiving a carbon-fiber hug or robot arm slap to the face.
Obviously, this is an action film, so they can’t spend too much time waxing over the merits of hybrid human-robot technology, but damn, in those carved out moments, they sure got the message out right. Watch for the combat simulation scene after Alex’s dopamine levels are lowered to non-existent. What Michael Keaton’s character says to the woman as they discuss the human component of this new tool is gonna give you goose bumps!
While this reboot retains the authenticity of the original, it’s more relevant to the world we live in now. Whereas the first Robocop was a futuristic look at things-to-come, here we’re examining things-that-totally-are-happening.
Of course, yes, Robocop is not an actual thing, but we do currently have military service men and women working with cyberkinetic teams to enhance their serviceability. It’s crazy to think someone would get their leg blown off, replace it with a robotic one, and still want to engage in combat after such trauma, but, yeah, that’s technological sophistication merging with free will in full affect!
And finally, Joel Kinnaman is not hard to admire. I fell off on “The Killing” but that’s where I first remember meeting that Scandinavian devil, and man, for a Swede, he sure pulls off Detroit well! The accent, the mannerisms, is pure D, and guys from the D, well…they hold a special place in my heart. :)
While you earn your respite, please check out this hilarious interview Joel Kinnaman did to promo the movie when it first came out. You’ll never unknow his Uncle Scotty story after you watch it! Daily Show with Jon Stewart Interview with Joel Kinnaman
Happy vegging out!
Before I go on blog holiday, let me share one piece of original work, a gift to you, my dear friend, as my thanks and gratitude. This has been quite the year on WordPress and in life. I’ve made friends, foes, trolls and frenemies here in the blogosphere, and each have contributed favorably to my art! :D
I’ll get you more details on a show featuring the First Place poem, so far I know this, from Keep St. Pete Lit‘s email: The show will be Sat, January 24th at Soft Water Studios https://www.softwaterstudios.com/ with two shows at 5:30-7:30pm and 8:00-10pm. Tickets will be $20.00
Whatever you get into these next few weeks, have fun, laugh often, and be excellent towards your fellow humans.
Full ekphrastic poem: arcangel_secondplace
To win your upcoming Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest, you’ll need minor sewing skills, an eye for the gaudy, and a few days to assemble a psychosomatic episode in cloth form.
Start with, the sweater:
This flinch-inducer was discovered at my friend Irene’s thrift shop. To be certain, I had a run-off with some other candidates but this one was the most “EGAD!” of all.
The next thing you’ll want to do is hyper-accentuate an item of the sweater. In my case, I saw all these jingle ball details, so I invested in a box full of jingle bells:
The larger, the noisier, but then I want to consider not driving myself crazy while wearing it!
To add a “WTF?!?!” factor, I found utility in these two Peruvian finger puppets, gifts from my dear friend Alex upon her return from teaching in Lima:
Let’s go ahead and create a creepy backstory for these two. One sunny day up on Machu Picchu, Celia (left) and Chiquita (right) were steadily packing up their wares, ready to head back down the mountain to their humble home in the adjoining city. The next sensation they shared was the taste of pennies in their mouths and a burning sensation in their nostrils. They looked about and found themselves nowhere near their tourist store front, but instead, chained at the waist to columns supporting a bleak, rickety house. The only response to their calls of “ayudame!” was their echoes…
And now, we sew:
Basic single stitch, feeding double cord, approximately 1/4 inch loop. If you don’t know how to sew, look up a video on YouTube, cuz I ain’t got that kind of time!
We affix Celia and Chiquita to their outdoor prison:
And here’s the final nightmare:
Already we have a winner, right? But remember folks, these contests are won with popular vote, so you need to throw in a little suh-um-suh-um to win over the fickle! Here’s what I’m adding:
Because there’s gotta be a little naughty, a little nice, or there’s no point to Santa Claus.
For the younguns in attendance, who don’t comprehend why Mommy is spelling S-L-U-T towards her friends:
Event pics forthcoming. Wish me luck friends!
*This is a test! Trying to move from handwriting to completely Swyping my random thoughts. All activity here conducted on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3…so far, very impressed!*
If ever there was a time i felt most determined by the stuff i have, it is now, with this tablet, my first accessory i don’t actually need! Do i feel guilty? Yes. Do i feel indulgent? Also yes. Do i feel deserving of this sophisticated device? Actually, yes.
I am willed towards device technology, and i am sorry. But people can change their perspectives, and really, why am i still trying to uphold an old man’s lamentations, when the most sophisticated communication device of his era was the transatlantic cable? Is this conformity? I feel not. It’s that buried catholic guilt that’s making me feel bad. Think of the poor, think of the have nots. If they had their hands on this, wouldn’t they revel in its awesomeness? Hell yeah, they would! So play along, be determined, just don’t compromise your creativity just to accommodate a tool. Remember, this is just a hammer. You could just as well break a rock by hand. It’d hurt like hell though.
12 days into December, and I’ve yet had a proper come-down from the literary Iron Man that was National Novel Writing Month. Because of the food holiday break and an unfortunate event involving my truck, I’ve ignored acknowledging my experience, which is important to do if one intends to continue writing. So I’ll use this slice of space-time to vent out the lingering emotions. Come along with me if you’re brave enough…
This NaNo was two years in the making. My very first NaNoWriMo entry was a novel titled The Black Parade. This was a very ‘thinky’ work, exploring the applicability/feasibility of Ayn Rand’s political philosophy, objectivism, to the modern American Conservative. During contemplation, the Republican National Convention was in town, sexy ass Paul Ryan was extolling Atlas Shrugged as his most influential work, and I was still smarting from a less-than-glamorous exit from Texas politics. It was a very angry work, resulting in sending the United States of America into a socio-political, economic collapse.
2014, I follow The Black Parade with The American Manifesto. I’m still running with applied objectivism in this work, but not in the ‘let’s prove Ayn Rand’s attributes wrong’ style; instead, I prove how we exercise objectivism in our daily living. All I did was, take the existing caveats of Rand’s theory, layer over them our Digital Age (technological determinism), our economic condition (class disparity), and our war attitude (Americanism mixed with Totalitarianism), and from them, tease out the ‘refreshed’ caveats applicable to modern times. Here’s the breakdown:
In which OT stands for Simeonic Objectivism in Theory and OA stands for Simeonic Objectivism in Application. Yes, I do have the right to name socio-political theorems after me, see my About page for the credentials, and yes, you’re welcome to utilize this theory in your own scientific work, I have all the background data at the ready if you’re genuinely interested.
I know you understand as a creative being, how even the most rigid, structured plans for a project can be annihilated by the spirit of the work. In The American Manifesto, I intended to create a civil war, conceptualizing the need for dominion, control, and establishing order paramount to healing, community-building, and sharing. Instead, the work became very introspective, and the characters who carried over from Book One started behaving very opposite of what they exercised before. When we last met Andrea, she was a cold, indifferent, hatchet-wielding slayer of injustice, but in this work, she becomes very nurturing, self-admonishing, and open to suggestion. This comes from my current metaphysical state, where I’ve reconciled my previous existence for what it was, and now, very open to guidance and suggestion from elders/crones.
Under the recommendation of an equally empathic friend, I read Dancing In The Flames by Woodman and Dickson, an excellent primer on the exploration of the divine feminine in her many forms. Followers of this blog have experienced my various Jungian references to archetypes, so why not incorporate them into novel form? What followed then, was the appearance of new characters representing the most common social archetypes who, in my opinion, impede our ability to be the best Americans we can be toward each other. Essentially, I anthropomorphized OA.
Of those anthropomorphized caveats emerged a theme: Wisdom over all. Wisdom over weapons, wisdom over dominion, wisdom over divisiveness. This excited me so much, I admit I spent more time sharing how each character came to actualize wisdom than I did moving the story along to its intended end, which was the meeting of all emergent leaders in the center of America to decide how to move forward. Which means, of course, this is now becoming a trilogy!
What taxed me emotionally was the case for the Republic of Lakotah. About 2009/2010, I read a National Geographic article exposing the apocryphal conditions of an Oglala Lakota reservation. I remember becoming severely emotionally invested in reaction! My soul ached. I felt a deep set fury, a mother-like protectiveness, a sensation of, ‘how dare they hurt my children!’ which was confusing because I’ve never birthed children, so I didn’t know of this intrinsic power. Later I studied then realized it wasn’t me in the ego sense reacting, but the Divine Mother voicing through me.
I knew there had to be a method in which I could constructively communicate my disgust with the United States government – which openly and unapologetically exacts colonialism upon a free-willed people – and the liberty presented itself during this NaNoWriMo. The Divine Mother took many forms – Angry Mother, Crazy Mother, Nurturing Mother – as the discussion of healing carried on in The American Manifesto. Andrea Killsen is of Lakota origin, and in this NaNo entry, I delved into her history. Her family is predominantly in Arkansas, some split between Oklahoma and North and South Dakota. I followed Andrea’s history for explanation purposes, but then folded it out to represent conflict, an identity crisis, if you will. What Andrea experiences is representative of America’s identity crisis: we collectively ignore/refuse to acknowledge our shared pain in exchange for the glamour of global superpower status. How super can we be when we abuse and torture and starve and demoralize our own?
At the time of composition, the Keystone XL debate moved to the Senate, where during discussion, one brave Lakota stood and chanted above the politicos, a reminder that the debate as to the benefit of the pipeline has to consider first and foremost, who has the right to the land that the pipeline will run through? The Republic of Lakotah formalized its sovereignty in 2007, but that sovereignty has yet to be recognized. Given fairness, given an embracing of our fellow Americans, permission needs to be asked of these people. We Americans should not be shocked that the Lakota and other nations will respond with a ‘fuck you and hell no!’ but we as Americans should delight in what they can build from a positive collaboration with ethical public servants. My outstanding thesis for The American Manifesto became thus: until we collectively right that wrong, until we recognize these nationalists and promote their right to exercise their sovereignty, and until we invite them to the head of the decision making table, we as a nation, will collapse.
America, we are young and naive and self-congratulating and ignorant and close minded and annoying, an obnoxious teenager sitting in the back of the Global Unity classroom acting up for attention, while the rest of the democratic world rolls its eyes and wishes we would choke on the next spitball we make. Wisdom. We are starved of it. And nothing amplified that more during composition than the deplorable decisions and outrageous reactions in Ferguson. This work was fueled by erratic despair, and I will need some time to personally heal before I can read through it.
I dare not pretend I have all the answers, but I feel I at least started a plausible conceptual framework for the recalibration of Americanism through The American Manifesto. I believe very much so in these straight-off-my-proud-to-be-American-calendar statements:
But I also believe it’s going to take an extremely traumatic ass-kicking before we get our shit together.
This was a heavy work, but I am proud of it. It was birthed from an authentic place, incorporating historical facts and real-world examples with the best of my cognitive ability. I exercised scientific methodology but I encased it in storytelling, so that the bitter pill could at least taste sweet and feel fun as it goes down into your spirit stomach.
If you made it to this paragraph, thank you for helping me recalibrate. I have much more writing to do…
Visit http://www.republicoflakotah.com/ to learn more about the Republic of Lakotah and the beauty of North America’s original peoples.
When I moved here December 8, 2011, I had only one intention; to peel away the dead flesh and let someone I’d rather know emerge. I like Von Simeon; she’s a much more interesting person than whoever the fuck I was before.
Historically a flight risk, I’ve renewed my stay at this brownstone for yet another year. Why give up the mini-empire I’ve established? Since I got here, I’ve exercised zero tolerance for wannabe criminals sullying my block – chasing out stank hoes trying to work my building, getting assholes next to me evicted, and dismissing shady peace officers. Flag or badge, I’m on to you idiots like ‘white on rice in a glass of milk on a paper plate in the middle of a snow storm!’*
Just recently, I pissed off the OGs pushing drugs to the middle school kids up the block by slow rolling on their action and straight tellin’ their kiddie pushers to fuck off. One of the OGs tried to shake me while in my truck, but I laughed his idiocy off, like Riley does Grandpa Freeman. You see, I’m from a little town called Fort Hood, Texas, where the community motto is, “Just Give Me A Reason.” Ergo, if I feel comfortable in this space, I’m gonna maintain it as MY space!
My tenure comes with privileges… the maintenance team responds same day to my requests, the property managers know me on a first name basis, and every patrolman on overnight shift takes the time to check in with me and Bobby on our lakeview stoop. They, along with my neighbors and management understand, if something goes down within my perimeter, I’m gonna handle it, and THEN call them to deal with it. I’m no vigilante; I’m just a lame-legged retired woman who’s an excellent shot.
Already you’re thinking I live in a shitty ass neighborhood. Actually, I do not: I live in a middle income suburb on the coast, where manicured lawns and luxury cars reign supreme. It’s as if the Divine 9 held a general meeting 40 years ago and said, ‘we’re going to achieve excellence in how we live and how we raise our children by buying blocks of beautiful homes and invoking peaceful living.’ But just like other well-to-do neighborhoods in America, scabs come along on occasion, and ultimately, it is the charge of the individual to either tolerate or eradicate nonsensical behavior. That’s what I’m doing; this is how I contribute.
In reward, I’ve managed to embrace my creativity, address my disabilities, and renew my sense of spirituality all from my shaded balcony. This year the Universe felt generous enough to give me a partner in life, a proclaimed Florida Cracker, who loves me more than I can understand, but won’t refuse.
Today I celebrate locking one foot in the now, here in beautiful Pinellas County, and the other, flexed towards the future.
*Cool points if you can name the American movie where that quote is from!