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I feel the earth move . . .
Oct 30th, 2011 by Dr Karma

The other day, I apparently felt my first earthquake.

I was reading in bed, when I noticed that my dresser was shaking. I thought the neighbor couple on the other side of the wall must be enjoying themselves. When my bed seemed to move for a micro-second, I chalked the sensation up to my exhaustion.

When my friends then asked a few days later if I felt the earthquake, I put it all together.

However, the earthquake was just one sign of many of the coming end-times. The second sign was when I became possessed by Zuul. Then I met the keymaster:

P.S. Don’t forget to check out what Zuul and I have been writing lately at www.matchflick.com & http://www.examiner.com/scifi-in-sacramento/karma-waltonen

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Shows this Week
Oct 23rd, 2011 by Dr Karma

If I weren’t going a bit crazy from a bit too many things on my plate, I would write a loving tribute to Weird Al right now, in celebration of his 52nd birthday. If you really want one, though, checkout my matchflick column from this time last year: http://www.matchflick.com/column/2266.

Of course, if I weren’t going crazy, there would be far more entries here. There have been so many things to write about in the past few months. I always mean to, but then the “must dos” in life take all my time.

I wanted to mention these two shows, however, before time gets away from me again. First, last weekend, Kevin, Nathan, Vanessa, the boy, and I went to see Kevin McDonald and Scott Thompson, of The Kids in the Hall, do stand-up. Unlike most comedians, they alternated taking the stage a few times instead of doing the sets straight through. Kevin did very self-referential comedy, with some wonderful songs. Scott talked about sex, circumcision, racism, and the secret (which Denise and I have long wondered about) to getting him to have sex with you if you’re a woman.

Towards the end of the show, they performed on-stage together, as Scott pretended to be offended by Kevin’s jokes about him.

I was able to get a picture with Scott. When I gushed that this was my fourth time seeing him live, he said the Kids were thinking about touring next year. Fingers crossed (unless you’re using them to crush someone’s head)!

This weekend, Kevin, Vanessa, April, and Peter and I headed to SF to see Richard III with Kevin Spacey. (Gemma Jones as Margaret was a surprising bonus!) The production was awesome. It was set in modern costume to good effect. New music (mostly drums) enhanced the mood without being too distracting (with only momentary exceptions). Spacey brought out the comic potential in Richard, while also showing how charismatic he would have to have become to overcome his physical deformities. His hunched back, leg brace, and end position all looked very uncomfortable, but Spacey made it seem that Richard had long grown accustomed to bearing the burden of his own body. The long, standing ovations were well-deserved. (Dinner after also provided some of the best pork I’ve ever had, so despite all the crazy hours I’ve been working, it’s been a damn awesome week.)

 

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Ruminations on Creativity
Oct 15th, 2011 by Dr Karma

The other day, I was thinking about the boy’s many hobbies. Like many young people, he enjoys the glories of the internet, video games, and other forms of media. Unlike many young people, he is widely read. However, he also writes sketch comedy, builds musical instruments, and works on robots.

Then I started thinking about my own hobbies and the hobbies of my friends, noting that although we all read, we have a wide-range of things we create. We are writers, chefs, bakers, knitters, visual artists, musicians, etc. Part of the ties of friendship is the admiration we have for each other’s talents.

Many of my students have great hobbies as well. When they write about the things they create, the things they’re passionate about, their writing comes alive. I find myself caring about subjects I’ve never had an interest in and activities I’ve never actually wanted to do.

Sadly, many of my students don’t seem to make anything. Some students actually say they have no interests when I poll them. This never bodes well for their writing or their conversation. A sizable number report being interested in listening to music or watching sports, but their engagement is completely passive.

It occurs to me that my informal observations of my students has illustrated the need for a person to be a creator to be interesting. The availability of an immense amount of media we can passively take in can hinder our own creative impulses. How much easier, after a long day, to turn on the tv or to fire up youtube than to summon the energy for creation.

However, those of us with creative passions know that we need to create. We might not indulge every day, but if we go too long without our creative outlet–without writing, without trying out a new recipe, etc–we don’t feel right. Creation is hard & usually messy, but we can’t find peace, can’t find ourselves, without it.

I’m not saying that passive enjoyments are worthless. I happen to watch an unhealthy amount of tv, after all. But how much more  rewarding it has become when I end up giving a paper on Buffy (as I will next month) after all those hours? Or when I wrote that book on The Simpsons and I got to meet so many wonderful people who work there?

I’m so thankful that the boy has so many things he enjoys. I wish I could get more of my students to have creativity in their lives. I have the feeling they’d be better students & better fellow citizens of this wonderous world. I didn’t consciously set out to instill the creative spirit in the boy, so I’m not sure exactly how to plant that seed in passive, boring adults. Is it too late for them?

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