Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rickard Through the Veil: Frogs

Rickard Through The Veil

Sometimes people will ask me: “What do you like to do?” And maybe I will say: “I like to be outdoors.” or “I'm kind of a club rat.” But it's a lie, worse yet, a fabrication.
Mulholland OverlookI like to stay inside, with the doors locked up, the windows latched tightly, and music playing loud enough to hear, but not loud enough to disturb others. Most importantly of all, I like to be left alone. I don't like the company of others. I find it to be very much like a man in a straight jacket. Your arms are confined to mere shrugging motions, and the only thoughts allowed into your head are plans of escape. I experience every symptom of loneliness, yet I am not alone.
But I should explain, you see...
I was floating chest up in a pool of cold water. I remember asking why it was always cold? When you slice your wrists, are you so worried about the temperature? Then I thought about hot water, how good it would have felt right then, curling over my ankles with spirals of warmth. Then I thought about the cut. I thought about the rub burns from Jiu Jitsu, how after they soak in warm water, how badly they burnt. I couldn't imagine an open wound. But I could rest assured in the knowledge that I was in cold water, not because of an informed decision, or because I researched it. I did it because of a decision that a Hollywood producer made during the production of an art film I saw when I should have been enrolled in college.
Approaching The Void
I always think about how embarrassing it would be if you failed a suicide attempt. People would feel obligated to come and see you, and spend actual time looking into your face with nothing but caring thoughts because that's what brings us together. Crisis. Someone almost biting the big one, catching a wave to the undertow, the big goodbye, salutations, farewell, and goodnight.
But I wanted to be alone. That was the difference. I concentrated on the song playing in the living room. I put it on repeat, so the neighbors would complain. I didn't want to rot away in a pool of muddy corpse sludge. I wanted to have a nice looking corpse. One that people would say, man, what a handsome guy. He had everything to live for. Sob, manly hug, turn, and wipe eye with instep of thumb for maximum coverage.
I had nothing to live for. I had a job. A job is no reason to live. It's a reason to die. The water was turning to merlot around me, and I could hear old Layne crowing:
Why's it have to be thissa way?
“Beeeeee thissa wayaaaayayyyyyyyy?”
Beyond The VeilAnd at that moment, when my eyes went black, I saw my first birthday. I didn't retain the memory so young, so in effect, it never happened, but somehow, just then, I saw it. It was as if I had stored it away somewhere, just forgotten where I put it.
So there it was, playing out in front of me like an old reel to reel projector playing on the wall of my skull. The color of the eighties, and the innocence of being too young to understand the crushing burden I have thrust upon my parents just by being born. This was one of the few innocent moments in my life, and it was gorgeous. Everyone was smiling. Relatives I hadn't seen since that day were there. They hired a clown. A clown! This was a celebration of all the good things you bring. You bring life, the potential of life, and the sorrow of loss, but you don't stay that way, and suddenly... I didn't want to die. I wanted to live.
Into The VoidI wanted to change my life forever and turn over a new leaf. If I lived through this, I would never take another day for granted. I would be the life of every party, the one everyone wants to know. Of course it was already too late for that, because the room was already black, and I had passed beyond some veil which covered me in shadow. All the light in the room was getting further away from me, receding back to a vanishing point in a black rippling fog. After a few moments the walls started to shake, and before I could react the water was pulled from the tub, and became part of the singularity forming at the base of the bathroom. The world was fluxing, and I felt my head, my body, then my legs being pulled into a tiny ball of light. The light grew brighter, and brighter, until I could not see my feet, then my waist, then my hands, and it was finally like falling face first into snow, but keeping your eyes open.
And then we exploded.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

America: Stockton California

America: Stockton California

An example of the deteriorating cities of America. Stockton was one of the first cities in California to officially declare bankruptcy, but this city's decline was well in the making quite some time ago. I went to Stockton with eyes full of diamonds, and well wishes. I was sent there to film a fight which would air at a later date on HBO. I was excited because not only had I not seen a fight in a while, but I also hadn't been behind a broadcast camera in an even longer time. When I arrived at the hotel, I was greeted by an electrically sealed door at the entrance to the lobby. Now, I'm not that well versed, but I have never seen this done before. When I asked the person at the courtesy desk if there was anything interesting close by that I could photograph at night I was told: “That's not a good idea. It gets pretty bad at night.” Not exactly a glowing endorsement. In fact I learned that the only places open in this city at night were the strip clubs.
America: Stockton California

So I waited until the morning came, and rose early with the sun to get some pictures when I came across the most peculiar thing. A giant radio tower, some 50 feet tall, tension wires and all, right next to two houses, and surrounded by apartment buildings. A lady saw me taking pictures, and asked me if I worked for the city. We exchanged words, and I learned that she had been finding dead birds next to the tower, and her mother was admitted to the hospital for migraines. She said the tower was put in when the city went tits up. Seems like Stockton's new gold rush is a land grab.
America: Stockton California

The thing I noticed in my walk about, was the lack of a police presence, and just how quiet the city was. Then I stumbled across the court house. It was empty. No one going in or out of the thing. It showed all the signs of neglect without the obvious boarding of windows. I later found out that among other things, the city had to let go of it's police force, and with it, it's courts, and in cases of dire emergency, they call in officers from other cities. The only security presence I found were rent-a-cops, and even they seem disinterested.
America: Stockton California

I had the distasteful pleasure of accompanying one of the photographers of this job to one of the aforementioned strip bars, in the guise of looking for a ring card girl. The humanity of these places. The desperation evident in every single eye on stage. The sheer business like attitude of some, I couldn't get out of that place quick enough. (Not a terribly big fan of these places as it is) If this was evidence of where the place had gone, and where it will soon be, Stockton in a few years will be a sink hole.
America: Stockton California
The silence, and darkness in the recesses of a place forgotten. Stockton is an interesting case study in the decline of the American city, and if it is any indication of what's to come, I pray for the future of Los Angeles.