Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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03/08/2004: "A surprise from my sister"

I came home from work tonight and found a package on my doorstep from my sister Traci...a very nice sweater and a package of woolen balls for my two cats to play with. It just had a simple note in it "we love you". No special occasion or anything like that. I just love it when people do such things out of the blue.

In other news, I went out and bought the DVD of 28 Days Later so I could listen to the director's commentary and see deleted scenes and alternative endings. I liked the original ending better than the one that ended up being their theatrical release even though it's very dark but it's more realistic too. It's similar to the two endings they shot for Bladerunner (another of my favorite noir films) the one that american audiences wanted (where Deckard and Rachael ride off into the sunset together and we learn that she doesn't have an expiration date like the other replicants) and the one that director Ridley Scott (one of my all time favorite directors, who happens to be British by the way) wanted to keep, where they leave together but she does have the expiration date and they both know she doesn't have long to live. They had to change it because of pressure from the studio after early exit polls showed the audiences hated the unhappy ending. A great book on the process of how this short story by Philip K Dick was turned into a cult classic is called "Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner" by Paul M. Sammon in which (if you register at Amazon) you can search the full text of the book for key words like "story boards" or "alternate endings".

I love learning about the behind the scenes intrigues that happen from movie making. Sometimes, when I have a very powerful reaction to a film, I worry that watching too much of the behind the scenes footage will ruin it for me. But in the end I'm always powerless to resist. As I have said many times before in this blog, if I could be anything in the world it would be a director.

One of the things I can say truly shocked me about this film is that it isn't a "film" at all. The entire thing was shot with digital video! Unbelievable. I am so impressed and inspired. Of course, they were using professional grade DV cameras and I can't even afford a nice prosumer model but one day I may be able to, after I make tenure in a couple more years I should get a slight raise...and maybe my paintings will keep selling and I'll start doing more paying web development gigs.

I think what I also like about the movie is that it touches on so many of my deepest fears; first the obvious fear of a pandemic caused by some scientist somewhere messing where they ought not be...(the little making of the movie special feature was all about the likelihood of another big one and was in some ways more disturbing than the acutal film) next, it touched on the fear of being completely abandoned in the world- then the fear of being discovered, (by rage filled monsters of our own creation)... and finally, the false sense of security you feel when you think you've escaped the bad guys only to realize the people who "saved" you are far worse. In the end the protagonists choose braving the zombies to staying with the soldiers who are still clinging to their own fucked up sense of "normalcy".

As I mentioned in my movie review section, I've also always had a thing for apocalypse films. One of my favorite growing up was a rather silly one called "Night of the Comet" which kind of reminded me of 28 Days Later because everyone is turned into Zombies except for a few survivors who have to band together. Then the main heroine is captured by soldiers in an underground bunker or something and the hero has to save her and they fall in I guess it's a lot like 28 Days Later (only much better of course). I wonder if director Peter Boyle was influenced by that film? That would be funny.

I also remember in "Night of the Comet" that at one point they go on a shopping spree in a mall and I remember as a Jr. High student thinking how much fun that would be, but at the same time thinking it would be terrible to be the last survivors on Earth. My parents were always buying into some doomsday prediction or another. I never thought I'd live to graduate high school let alone make it into my 30s.

I'm just now noticing that I have the hands of an 80 year old. I think of all the things I've done in my life, the most damaging to my hands was all the years of sculpting with clay and doing pottery. That shit really dries your hands out and makes a bloody mess of things.

I think I'm probably a little odd for a woman, in that I don't mind the markings on my body that show I've actually been alive awhile. I'm proud of my few gray hairs, wrinkles, stretch marks, and scars. Each one tells a tale. And I think once you remove the mythical quest for true love, you don't have to worry about living up to impossible standards or what happens if you "let yourself go". It's very freeing.

Of course, at work all day today I had this sort of anxious tension in my stage fright. I recognized it immediately. It's how I feel when I've fallen for someone. I haven't felt that in years, honest to god, in YEARS. So I just sat there wondering where the hell this was coming from, and at some point it hit me that it was from thinking about my paintings of Cillian Murphy! It made me feel, well, quite pathetic actually. I was never one, even as a teenager, to have posters of teen stars on my walls (ok, except for a brief period of Duran Duran). I don't normally feel anything for actors except to admire them in a distant kind of way for being talented or having a likable character in a movie or play. With Jim, the character Cillian Murphy plays in 28 Days Later, well, I feel all a jitter.

In a way it makes me want to care again. I think I actually miss feeling insecure about my looks. Like I should run out to the drug store and buy some hair dye and start working out and buy some new clothes...quit cutting my own hair. Not that I think this Irish actor and I would ever meet, but just because having a reaction to someone, real or not, made me realize the little piece of black coal in my chest hasn't completely shriveled up and died after all. At times it's nice to know that I still have a little bit of whatever it is that makes other people "normal".

Digital Muse

it starts with a line
a curve
a sharp shadow, blue tinged
a flickering light from a dark corner

there is voice
an accent,
accentuating in the silence
that which is missing

the memory of abandoned fire
each scene an escalation
long fingers close
hairs press against linseed

flesh that is two dimensions only
a line
a curve
A sharp shadow, blue tinged
A flickering light from a dark corner

cillian_murphy2 (35k image)

Here I tried to fix the right eye, which looked a little crossed in the other photo of the painting I uploaded last night.