27 March 2014

Moar Stuff 2014...just rambling

Okay okay so it's been four years since I've posted to this blog. With the advent of Facebook and Tumblr, there isn't really any need anymore...I get people that compliment me on the rubber Tumblr blog now than I do the Blogger one; to which I want to retort, "but you realize how much more work it is to actually create content on a blog than it is just to re-blog a picture, right? Be careful what you say, a**shole!"

Just kidding. I'll take any compliments I can, anywhere anytime.

So once again I'm thrown into a frenzy with my life the past six months. Most of you know that I've been happily with my partner Paul for almost four years now, had a bit of a tryst with sexy Anthony for six months last year additionally while travelling to Victoria and having some fun together with some others semi-regularly for the past six months or so too. Sue me, I'm horny!

So, some of you also know that Paul hasn't been well for awhile. I went into this relationship knowing that he had the condition lymphedema in his left leg and had had it for six years before meeting me. It wasn't a show-stopper for me; I just find him so damn sexy and was ga-ga for him ever since Murad introduced him to me.

We've been living together since (officially) May 2012 and I basically sold everything or put everything into storage that I had hauled out here from Calgary in 2009, so some of the stuff I only had for a couple years before getting rid of it again. Luckily most of it was second hand and I've managed to repurpose some of the stuff I bought new, but a lot of my stuff and some of the stuff I inherited from Murad has been in storage for almost two years now....what a stupid waste of money.

I had had full intention to just let go of enough stuff to get rid of the high priced storage locker this winter, then the unthinkable happened...Paul started getting what looked like scabs on his lymphedemic leg which progressively got worse, until he was diagnosed with a angiosarcomic tumour on his lymphedemic leg in mid-December 2013. The doctors had high suspicion of what it was in late November however it wasn't official until December 23rd...nice Christmas present eh?

Anyways, the surgeons decided a full left leg disarticulation was the only way to ensure the highest chances of survival for Paul, so on January 9, 2014 they amputed his leg left right to the hip socket.

Those three weeks between December 23rd and January 9 were probably the worst and longest three weeks of my life...four years to the day that Murad died. It was a crazy couple of days, waiting for him in the Surgery Wing waiting room, waiting the days it took for him to get off the anesthetics. It was a terrible terrible situation and to have to face an obvious, visual, aggressive cancer tumour right in your face every day was one of the worst things I've ever had to deal with. Paul was an absolute wreck and initially wasn't on any painkillers so in addition to the pain neither of us was sleeping, trying to keep everything together, and basically having the worst Christmas imaginable.

I was honestly relieved after January 9. Despite having to now life with an amputee partner, at least that fucking cancer was gone. The last three months have been recovery, stabilization, adjustment. Paul seems to be adjusting to his new reality fairly well. I am trying to keep us afloat financially; already saying goodbye to a chunk of my retirement plan to keep the mortgage paid...it's probably going to be at least another year before he works again. I've been busy with Rubbout the past month and feel bad that I haven't been focusing enough time on getting Paul's paperwork done; filing insurance claims, submitting tax credits to provincial and federal governments, gas tax credits, transit and transportation option applications, entertainment card options, amputee benefits, on and on and on...oh yeah, and now 2013 Income Tax is rearing its ugly head. I will get at that stuff soon enough, but now Paul is being asked to start chemotherapy and now that we're reading up a bit more on angiosarcoma, he is freaking out and figuring he's going to die within the next couple years and frankly freaking me the fuck out again.

I typically have to go through a week of worst case scenario imagery in my head before getting a grip again and moving on. I do worry about him a lot and I pray (if that's the right word) that the chemotherapy isn't going to be overly horrible for him. He's been through enough already...I wish this would end but if you talk to anyone who has had cancer, it never really does end. I just feel exhausted just thinking about it. I can't even fathom losing another boyfriend. I can't even fathom having to go through another cancer situation again. I've told him I move forward with the belief that the cancer was all contained within the leg and none has made it into the rest of his body, and even if a few of the cancer cells did, the rest of his body has the immune system to keep the cancer at bay, something his leg didn't have a chance with.

I've been handling things okay, I think. I know for a fact I've been channelling my stress and frustration into epic situations in the bedroom with our lovers or solo sessions, rubber or not. I haven't been particularly overboard with partying or drinking or anything and I try to involve Paul as much as he wants to get involved. We have a great relationship that way.

I don't know where things are going or how much I'm going to have to sacrifice to help Paul get through this but I love my man and will stay with him as long as I'm needed. I know he appreciates it and I don't want anything in return though I do find I have to vent my frustrations on him sometimes which isn't good but he expects it from me so it's not that bad if he knows to expect it, perhaps? I am learning to be more careful what I say.

I'm riding my bike every day, slowly getting back into running again, Rubbout 23 is going to be amazing, the summer is looking up so long as Paul is going to be okay. I'm going to Seattle with friends at Easter and Chicago for IML in May. Lovely.

06 March 2013

Confessions of An Economic Hitman

from Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins p xii

“Some would blame our current problems on an organized conspiracy. I wish it were so simple. Members of a conspiracy can be rooted out and brought to justice. This system, however, is fueled by something far more dangerous than conspiracy. It is driven not by a small band of men but by a concept that has become accepted as gospel: the idea that all economic growth benefits humankind and that the greater the growth, the more widespread the benefits. This belief also has a corollary: that those people who excel at stoking the fires of economic growth should be exalted and rewarded, while those born at the fringes are available for exploitation.

“The concept is of course, erroneous. We know that in many countries economic growth benefits only a small portion of the population and may in fact result in increasingly desperate circumstances for the majority. This effect is reinforced by the corollary belief that the captains of industry who drive this system should enjoy a special status, a belief that is the root of many of our current problems and is perhaps also the reason why conspiracy theories abound. When men and women are rewarded for greed, greed becomes a corrupting motivator. When we equate the gluttonous consumption of the earth's resources with a status approaching sainthood, when we teach our children to emulate people who live unbalanced lives, and when we define huge sections of the population as subservient to an elite minority, we ask for trouble. And we get it.”

26 November 2012

“I am a sick man…” – The Depravity of Collapse

by Sandy Kulturcritic

“I am a sick man… I am a wicked man.” So opens Dostoyevsky’s small literary offering, Notes From Underground. It is, in significant respects, a profound critique of modern rationality, our perverse preoccupation with self-interest, and the crisis currently facing our global community.

In a world that is already bracing for cataclysmic failure, the political and military elites of the most advanced nations on earth are making a mad – that is to say, a sick and wicked – dash to the finish line. As world economies teeter on collapse, and more primitive polities fall prey to greedy and over-reaching imperial aggressors, the Western hegemony drives full speed ahead, hastening planetary failure through global looting and pillaging of any and all appropriately objectified ‘resources’– natural or human. It is a game of capture the flag like none the world has ever seen before.

In the face of stark climatic disruption, urban-industrial-induced global warming, and run away resource depletion, the captains of Western industry and political economy are competing for the final bits of increasingly rare, but once plentiful earthly treasures. The visceral reactions of mother earth, along with the cries of indigenous populations, be damned! And commercializing our circumstance only exacerbates the real problem when, for example, the climate news blog ThinkProgress awards cover of the year to Bloomberg Businessweek for its Monday morning quarterbacking diagnosis that “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.” We all then dutifully salute, applaud, and go on our merry way living the high life. It is the same strategy exercised by all the new green companies now peopling our airwaves, including those clean-coal and other energy strategies touting safe ways of extending the parade.

Let super storms wash away the continental shorelines, let tidal waves engulf our cities as well as the placid island holdouts, let fault lines cringe and crack against our drilling and horizontal fracking, let the indigenous and the poor vanish into the black-hole of rapacious commerce; as long as we civilized ones get our stuff! Let the glaciers melt, the oceans rise, homes disappear, and fires rage – so long as we have our way! There seems to be nothing to deflect us from the current path of planetary annihilation. In a world now peopled with purely profane ‘objects’ for manipulation and control, nothing sacred remains to be cherished except acquisitiveness. All is expendable in the incessant drive for progress and prosperity in the refined atmosphere of the elite first world.

Yet, this project of constant advancement and the unrestrained expansion of our Western hegemony has become a farce – a fantastical caricature of itself. The clowns in business suits have taken control of the bus and are driving it straight into oblivion with all of us onboard. Why, even the latest “terrorist” plots are seeming rather farcical, like cartoon characters cobbled together by the hands of our own militaristic propaganda machine. Even an old and pathetic Osama, gunned down by a crew of professional military SEALS, was memorialized in a fantastic story told by one of the fools, and then sold as a book for self-enriching profit while the going was good. But what good does such a spectacle achieve? Of course we had to do it, because the only just alternative was unacceptable – get out of the Middle East. So, we kill, and we stay, and we kill some more so we can keep up our lifestyle with more oil, markets and commercial successes. A chicken in every pot has now become a McDonalds, a Subway, or a Cinnabon shop in every city and village across the globe, and armed drones to protect their profit margins and labor costs.

Meanwhile, the mass of the industrialized West stands idly by, even cheering the militarists on, as the aggressive and apparently psychotic Israeli’s decimate the more traditional populations of Palestine, unwittingly accepting as purely objectified ‘collateral damage’ the lives of innocents. Yet, we continue to justify our own acts of aggression and death-dealing among the innocents in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere, while severely chastising the similar fate of innocents in Syria. Will the hypocrisy of this empire never cease? Our policies would be comical if they were not so very tragic. Somebody should consider placing Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama together in a rubber-padded cell to contemplate the depth of their own depravity and inhumanity. Why not try members of the Israeli government for crimes against humanity… along with Obama, Clinton, Petraeus, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and the rest of the cadre? And we have not even touched on the crimes of the corporate elite, the 0.1%

The dissimulation, the sickness, indeed, the wickedness of this charade – this race to the bottom – is as frightening as it is demonic; destructive to the earth and its diverse inhabitants, including ourselves. OK! So, we are lost in this labyrinth, my friends. And what are we to do? As Derrick Jensen once pronounced: taking shorter showers is not the solution. Nor is implementation of new salvific technologies. This will only serve to extend the reign of terror loosed by our Western curriculum. As long as the politics of salvation, the myth of infinite progress, and a futuristic vision of global expansion continue to permeate our souls, the endgame is already lost amidst the propaganda and the promises.

The only “hope” is to hope-against-hope that the intellectual scaffolding and epistemological underpinning of the system will implode from greed-laden-overload and overly enlightened self-interest. I understand that my position may seem irrational, indeed inhuman from a certain majority perspective, but majority rule is not equivalent to egalitarian democracy. The irrationality and inhumanity of the system itself dictates that reason may only be the crutch enabling us to forge ahead blindly and happily into the future. On this view, un-reason may be a fundamental requirement to correcting our fatal and fateful course. But, of this, I am uncertain. Why? Because it is a fundamentally irrational position. And I, too, am Homo sapiens sapiens, a twice wise and hyper-rational animal.

I am a sick man… I am a wicked man. I am an unpleasant man. I think my liver is diseased. However, I don’t know beans about my disease, and I am not sure what is bothering me. I don’t treat it and never have, though I respect medicine and doctors. Besides, I am extremely superstitious, let’s say sufficiently so to respect medicine. (I am educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am.) No, I refuse to treat it out of spite. You probably will not understand that. Well, but I understand it. Of course I can’t explain to you just whom I am annoying in this case by my spite. I am perfectly well aware that I cannot “get even” with the doctors by not consulting them. I know better than anyone that I thereby injure only myself and no one else. But still, if I don’t treat it, its is out of spite. My liver is bad, well then — let it get even worse!
Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground

13 February 2012

R.I.P. Whitney

I know everyone's consoling and opinionating, but Whitney Houston's death has hit me hard. All negativities, problems, tragedy, and criticisms aside, Whitney was one of my five divas (along with Madonna, Olivia, Sheena, and Kylie) who helped me cope through my challenging 80s and 90s until I came out of the closet, then remained steadfastly there belting out the amazing songs off My Love Is Your Love as I was coming out and testing the waters. So many memories, so many chills up my spine and big smiles whenever I felt her power. I grew up with you, and it pained me to see you struggle so much. I will miss your magic, Whitney, and the world has less shine to it now that you're gone. I hope you are at peace.

27 October 2011

03 October 2011

The Occupation of Wall Street

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

Posted on September 30, 2011 by NYCGA

This document was accepted by the NYC General Assembly on September 29, 2011
Translations: French, Slovak, Spanish

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.

23 September 2011

Disturbing...


“What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here?” Williams asked. “The mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?”

“I think Americans understand justice,” Perry replied.

I think Americans are clearly, in the vast majority of — of cases, supportive of capital punishment. When you have committed heinous crimes against our citizens — and it’s a state-by-state issue, but in the state of Texas, our citizens have made that decision, and they made it clear, and they don’t want you to commit those crimes against our citizens. And if you do, you will face the ultimate justice.

Rick Santorum answered the question, and said that the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay servicemembers was granting them special rights. From the debate transcript:

I would say any type of sexual activity has no place in the military. The fact they are making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to and removing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military’s job is to do one thing to defend our the military, wh I all-volunteer the ability to do so in a way that is [Inaudible]

Holy crap. It seems all anyone in the Library heard was 'gay', not 'soldier'. No respect from any of the candidates for this particular individual serving in the American Armed Forces in the Middle East. Unbelievable.

The last two Republican presidential debates have been some of the most macabre on record. Last time around, at the Reagan Library, the crowd gave the biggest applause of the night to the 234 executions that have occurred in Texas while Rick Perry was governor.

In Tampa, Florida at the CNN/Tea Party Express debate Monday night, the tea party-filled audience literally cheered aloud for the uninsured to be allowed to die.

The moment came during an exchange between moderator Wolf Blitzer and Ron Paul, whose libertarian views often make for good theater at Republican debates.

Blitzer asked if under Paul’s libertarian philosophy, a sick man without insurance should be allowed to die in the hospital rather than have the state pay his medical bills. Before Paul could answer that question, shouts of “yes!” and cheering bubbled up from the audience.

Who are these monsters in the crowds (and sometimes on the stage), seriously? Things are going bat-shit crazy south of the border...

03 August 2011

10 Things I Have Learned

Ten Things I Have Learned
www.miltonglaser.com
Part of AIGA Talk in London
November 22, 2001

1. YOU CAN ONLY WORK FOR PEOPLE THAT YOU LIKE.
This is a curious rule and it took me a long time to learn because in fact at the beginning of my practice I felt the opposite. Professionalism required that you didn’t particularly like the people that you worked for or at least maintained an arms length relationship to them, which meant that I never had lunch with a client or saw them socially. Then some years ago I realised that the opposite was true. I discovered that all the work I had done that was meaningful and significant came out of an affectionate relationship with a client. And I am not talking about professionalism; I am talking about affection. I am talking about a client and you sharing some common ground. That in fact your view of life is someway congruent with the client, otherwise it is a bitter and hopeless struggle.


2. IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE NEVER HAVE A JOB.

One night I was sitting in my car outside Columbia University where my wife Shirley was studying Anthropology. While I was waiting I was listening to the radio and heard an interviewer ask ‘Now that you have reached 75 have you any advice for our audience about how to prepare for your old age?’ An irritated voice said ‘Why is everyone asking me about old age these days?’ I recognised the voice as John Cage. I am sure that many of you know who he was – the composer and philosopher who influenced people like Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham as well as the music world in general. I knew him slightly and admired his contribution to our times. ‘You know, I do know how to prepare for old age’ he said. ‘Never have a job, because if you have a job someday someone will take it away from you and then you will be unprepared for your old age. For me, it has always been the same every since the age of 12. I wake up in the morning and I try to figure out how am I going to put bread on the table today? It is the same at 75, I wake up every morning and I think how am I going to put bread on the table today? I am exceedingly well prepared for my old age’ he said.

3. SOME PEOPLE ARE TOXIC AVOID THEM.

This is a subtext of number one. There was in the sixties a man named Fritz Perls who was a gestalt therapist. Gestalt therapy derives from art history, it proposes you must understand the ‘whole’ before you can understand the details. What you have to look at is the entire culture, the entire family and community and so on. Perls proposed that in all relationships people could be either toxic or nourishing towards one another. It is not necessarily true that the same person will be toxic or nourishing in every relationship, but the combination of any two people in a relationship produces toxic or nourishing consequences. And the important thing that I can tell you is that there is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them. Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energised or less energised. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.

4. PROFESSIONALISM IS NOT ENOUGH or THE GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF THE GREAT.

Early in my career I wanted to be professional, that was my complete aspiration in my early life because professionals seemed to know everything - not to mention they got paid for it. Later I discovered after working for a while that professionalism itself was a limitation. After all, what professionalism means in most cases is diminishing risks. So if you want to get your car fixed you go to a mechanic who knows how to deal with transmission problems in the same way each time. I suppose if you needed brain surgery you wouldn’t want the doctor to fool around and invent a new way of connecting your nerve endings. Please do it in the way that has worked in the past.
Unfortunately in our field, in the so-called creative – I hate that word because it is misused so often. I also hate the fact that it is used as a noun. Can you imagine calling someone a creative? Anyhow, when you are doing something in a recurring way to diminish risk or doing it in the same way as you have done it before, it is clear why professionalism is not enough. After all, what is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success. So professionalism as a lifetime aspiration is a limited goal.


5. LESS IS NOT NECESSARILY MORE.

Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realised that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless. But it sounds great because it contains within it a paradox that is resistant to understanding. But it simply does not obtain when you think about the visual of the history of the world. If you look at a Persian rug, you cannot say that less is more because you realise that every part of that rug, every change of colour, every shift in form is absolutely essential for its aesthetic success. You cannot prove to me that a solid blue rug is in any way superior. That also goes for the work of Gaudi, Persian miniatures, art nouveau and everything else. However, I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate. ‘Just enough is more.’


6. STYLE IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED.

I think this idea first occurred to me when I was looking at a marvellous etching of a bull by Picasso. It was an illustration for a story by Balzac called The Hidden Masterpiece. I am sure that you all know it. It is a bull that is expressed in 12 different styles going from very naturalistic version of a bull to an absolutely reductive single line abstraction and everything else along the way. What is clear just from looking at this single print is that style is irrelevant. In every one of these cases, from extreme abstraction to acute naturalism they are extraordinary regardless of the style. It’s absurd to be loyal to a style. It does not deserve your loyalty. I must say that for old design professionals it is a problem because the field is driven by economic consideration more than anything else. Style change is usually linked to economic factors, as all of you know who have read Marx. Also fatigue occurs when people see too much of the same thing too often. So every ten years or so there is a stylistic shift and things are made to look different. Typefaces go in and out of style and the visual system shifts a little bit. If you are around for a long time as a designer, you have an essential problem of what to do. I mean, after all, you have developed a vocabulary, a form that is your own. It is one of the ways that you distinguish yourself from your peers, and establish your identity in the field. How you maintain your own belief system and preferences becomes a real balancing act. The question of whether you pursue change or whether you maintain your own distinct form becomes difficult. We have all seen the work of illustrious practitioners that suddenly look old-fashioned or, more precisely, belonging to another moment in time. And there are sad stories such as the one about Cassandre, arguably the greatest graphic designer of the twentieth century, who couldn’t make a living at the end of his life and committed suicide.
But the point is that anybody who is in this for the long haul has to decide how to respond to change in the zeitgeist. What is it that people now expect that they formerly didn’t want? And how to respond to that desire in a way that doesn’t change your sense of integrity and purpose.

7. HOW YOU LIVE CHANGES YOUR BRAIN.

The brain is the most responsive organ of the body. Actually it is the organ that is most susceptible to change and regeneration of all the organs in the body. I have a friend named Gerald Edelman who was a great scholar of brain studies and he says that the analogy of the brain to a computer is pathetic. The brain is actually more like an overgrown garden that is constantly growing and throwing off seeds, regenerating and so on. And he believes that the brain is susceptible, in a way that we are not fully conscious of, to almost every experience of our life and every encounter we have. I was fascinated by a story in a newspaper a few years ago about the search for perfect pitch. A group of scientists decided that they were going to find out why certain people have perfect pitch. You know certain people hear a note precisely and are able to replicate it at exactly the right pitch. Some people have relevant pitch; perfect pitch is rare even among musicians. The scientists discovered – I don’t know how - that among people with perfect pitch the brain was different. Certain lobes of the brain had undergone some change or deformation that was always present with those who had perfect pitch. This was interesting enough in itself. But then they discovered something even more fascinating. If you took a bunch of kids and taught them to play the violin at the age of 4 or 5 after a couple of years some of them developed perfect pitch, and in all of those cases their brain structure had changed. Well what could that mean for the rest of us? We tend to believe that the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind, although we do not generally believe that everything we do affects the brain. I am convinced that if someone was to yell at me from across the street my brain could be affected and my life might changed. That is why your mother always said, ‘Don’t hang out with those bad kids.’ Mama was right. Thought changes our life and our behaviour. I also believe that drawing works in the same way. I am a great advocate of drawing, not in order to become an illustrator, but because I believe drawing changes the brain in the same way as the search to create the right note changes the brain of a violinist. Drawing also makes you attentive. It makes you pay attention to what you are looking at, which is not so easy.

8. DOUBT IS BETTER THAN CERTAINTY.

Everyone always talks about confidence in believing what you do. I remember once going to a class in yoga where the teacher said that, spirituality speaking, if you believed that you had achieved enlightenment you have merely arrived at your limitation. I think that is also true in a practical sense. Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. It makes me nervous when someone believes too deeply or too much. I think that being sceptical and questioning all deeply held beliefs is essential. Of course we must know the difference between scepticism and cynicism because cynicism is as much a restriction of one’s openness to the world as passionate belief is. They are sort of twins. And then in a very real way, solving any problem is more important than being right. There is a significant sense of self-righteousness in both the art and design world. Perhaps it begins at school. Art school often begins with the Ayn Rand model of the single personality resisting the ideas of the surrounding culture. The theory of the avant garde is that as an individual you can transform the world, which is true up to a point. One of the signs of a damaged ego is absolute certainty.
Schools encourage the idea of not compromising and defending your work at all costs. Well, the issue at work is usually all about the nature of compromise. You just have to know what to compromise. Blind pursuit of your own ends which excludes the possibility that others may be right does not allow for the fact that in design we are always dealing with a triad – the client, the audience and you.
Ideally, making everyone win through acts of accommodation is desirable. But self-righteousness is often the enemy. Self-righteousness and narcissism generally come out of some sort of childhood trauma, which we do not have to go into. It is a consistently difficult thing in human affairs. Some years ago I read a most remarkable thing about love, that also applies to the nature of co-existing with others. It was a quotation from Iris Murdoch in her obituary. It read ‘ Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real.’ Isn’t that fantastic! The best insight on the subject of love that one can imagine.


9. ON AGING.

Last year someone gave me a charming book by Roger Rosenblatt called ‘Ageing Gracefully’ I got it on my birthday. I did not appreciate the title at the time but it contains a series of rules for ageing gracefully. The first rule is the best. Rule number one is that ‘it doesn’t matter.’ ‘It doesn’t matter that what you think. Follow this rule and it will add decades to your life. It does not matter if you are late or early, if you are here or there, if you said it or didn’t say it, if you are clever or if you were stupid. If you were having a bad hair day or a no hair day or if your boss looks at you cockeyed or your boyfriend or girlfriend looks at you cockeyed, if you are cockeyed. If you don’t get that promotion or prize or house or if you do – it doesn’t matter.’ Wisdom at last. Then I heard a marvellous joke that seemed related to rule number 10. A butcher was opening his market one morning and as he did a rabbit popped his head through the door. The butcher was surprised when the rabbit inquired ‘Got any cabbage?’ The butcher said ‘This is a meat market – we sell meat, not vegetables.’ The rabbit hopped off. The next day the butcher is opening the shop and sure enough the rabbit pops his head round and says ‘You got any cabbage?’ The butcher now irritated says ‘Listen you little rodent I told you yesterday we sell meat, we do not sell vegetables and the next time you come here I am going to grab you by the throat and nail those floppy ears to the floor.’ The rabbit disappeared hastily and nothing happened for a week. Then one morning the rabbit popped his head around the corner and said ‘Got any nails?’ The butcher said ‘No.’ The rabbit said ‘Ok. Got any cabbage?’

10. TELL THE TRUTH.

The rabbit joke is relevant because it occurred to me that looking for a cabbage in a butcher’s shop might be like looking for ethics in the design field. It may not be the most obvious place to find either. It’s interesting to observe that in the new AIGA’s code of ethics there is a significant amount of useful information about appropriate behaviour towards clients and other designers, but not a word about a designer’s relationship to the public. We expect a butcher to sell us eatable meat and that he doesn’t misrepresent his wares. I remember reading that during the Stalin years in Russia that everything labelled veal was actually chicken. I can’t imagine what everything labelled chicken was. We can accept certain kinds of misrepresentation, such as fudging about the amount of fat in his hamburger but once a butcher knowingly sells us spoiled meat we go elsewhere. As a designer, do we have less responsibility to our public than a butcher? Everyone interested in licensing our field might note that the reason licensing has been invented is to protect the public not designers or clients. ‘Do no harm’ is an admonition to doctors concerning their relationship to their patients, not to their fellow practitioners or the drug companies. If we were licensed, telling the truth might become more central to what we do.

15 July 2011

High To Low

Our Amazing Planet explores Earth from its peaks to it mysterious depths.
Source OurAmazingPlanet.com, Exploring the wonder and beauty of planet Earth through exclusive news, features and images.
I'm amazed how small the liveable zone is amongst all that scale of tall and deep.

27 May 2011

Kylie Aphrodite North American Tour 2011 Playlist

"The Carnival of the Animals" (Instrumental Introduction)
"Aphrodite"
"The One"
"Wow"
"Illusion"
"I Believe in You"
"Cupid Boy"
"Spinning Around"
"Get Outta My Way"
"What Do I Have to Do?"
"Everything Is Beautiful"
"Slow"
"Confide In Me"
"Can’t Get You Out of My Head"
"In My Arms"
"Looking For an Angel"
"There Must Be an Angel (Playing With My Heart)"
"Love at First Sight" (contains elements of "Can't Beat The Feeling")
"If You Don’t Love Me"
"Better the Devil You Know"
"Better Than Today"
"Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)"

Encore

"On a Night Like This"(contains elements of "Heaven")
"All the Lovers"

20 May 2011

WTF?!?!

It's a huge shallow pool, and there are definitely a lot of candidates to sift through without delving too deep into the parodies. There are a couple of parodies here (since there are some YouTube phenoms that have based their entire existence on gaying up hit songs) that are actually pretty good. And of course the gay porn stars trying to jump into a music career and the perennial gay faves like Ultra Nate. Enough flaming going on here to burn your body hair off.

Here are a few of the gayest videos produced EVA.

WTF from Matt Zarley on Vimeo







05 May 2011

The problem is....

- Christianity along with all other theistic belief systems is the fraud of the age.
- It serves to detach the species from the natural world, and likewise each other.
- It supports blind submission to authority.
- It reduces human responsibility to the effect that ‘god’ controls everything and in turn, awful crimes and great successes can all be justified in the name of the divine pursuit.
- most importantly, it empowers those who know the truth but use the myth to manipulate and control societies.
- The religious myth is the most powerful device ever created, and basically serves as the psychological soil upon which other myths can flourish.
- In the deeper sense, and the religious sense, a myth serves as an orienting and mobilizing story for the people. The focus is not on the stories relationship to reality, but on its function. A story cannot function unless it is believed to be true in the community or the nation. It is not a matter of debate, if some people have the bad taste to raise the question of the truth in the ‘sacred story’ the keepers of the faith do not enter into debate with them. They ignore them, or denounce them as blasphemous.

28 March 2011

My thoughts exactly

I love this comment from Clusterfuck Nation this morning. It's how I feel, EXACTLY. The comments were made on the topic of James Howard Kunstler's review of Charles Ferguson's documentary, Inside Job.

Jim, I tend to agree with you that our B-schools produce a lot of blinkered thinking:

"shameless academic mandarins caught on camera trying to weasel out of their greed-driven misdeeds"

On the other hand, last week I had lunch with a prominent academic economist. He shocked everyone at the table with his belief that our economic system, since long before the Crash, has been based on hallucinations and that the "recovery" is as fragile as a 100-year-old dowager with a bad cough.

He did not sleep the week after the Japan catastrophe. He also believes that it will only take one such event to lead to a new and deeper Crash, including an American default. It does not make the papers, he noted, that the Fed is quietly buying back Chinese-held US debt so keep America from collapsing. China has lost faith in the idea that American debt is worth a thing, he claimed. We just don't know it yet.

He says to watch two indicators: the value of the dollar vs. a market-basket of other currencies, and the price of oil, to see where the nation is going.

And yes, he understands and accepts the premises of Peak Oil. Maybe we'll get a new breed of economists in a future who understand scarcity and help others understand it. If we have universities.

Over lunch this guy stunned his listeners (but not me) by saying it's over, essentially. His students don't want to believe him when he tells them "the US will have to default on its debt. There is no way to repay it through either tax hikes or spending cuts. We are screwed."

Those Millennials had best learn some 19th century skills and stop texting on their smart phones.

I'll only disagree with you on one count: we may, in time, see Bernanke and his ilk less as cowards and shills and more as sad and doomed figures who knew the lumpenproletariat were not ready for the hard truth.

I think these financial kingpins in government will be recalled, in whatever histories we write in 200 years, as desperate men who tried to prop up a doomed system, based upon promises and emptiness, that took them down with it.

22 February 2011

15 Styles of Distorted Thinking

1. Filtering: You take the negative details and magnify them, while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. A single detail may be picked out, and the whole event becomes colored by this detail. When you pull negative things out of context, isolated from all the good experiences around you, you make them larger and more awful than they really are.

2. Polarized Thinking: The hallmark of this distortion is an insistence on dichotomous choices. Things are black or white, good or bad. You tend to perceive everything at the extremes, with very little room for a middle ground. The greatest danger in polarized thinking is its impact on how you judge yourself. For example-You have to be perfect or you're a failure.

3. Overgeneralization: You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again. 'Always' and 'never' are cues that this style of thinking is being utilized. This distortion can lead to a restricted life, as you avoid future failures based on the single incident or event.

4. Mind Reading: Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to divine how people are feeling toward you. Mind reading depends on a process called projection. You imagine that people feel the same way you do and react to things the same way you do. Therefore, you don't watch or listen carefully enough to notice that they are actually different. Mind readers jump to conclusions that are true for them, without checking whether they are true for the other person.

5. Catastrophizing: You expect disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start "what if's." What if that happens to me? What if tragedy strikes? There are no limits to a really fertile catastrophic imagination. An underlying catalyst for this style of thinking is that you do not trust in yourself and your capacity to adapt to change.

6. Personalization: This is the tendency to relate everything around you to yourself. For example, thinking that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you. You also compare yourself to others, trying to determine who's smarter, better looking, etc. The underlying assumption is that your worth is in question. You are therefore continually forced to test your value as a person by measuring yourself against others. If you come out better, you get a moment's relief. If you come up short, you feel diminished. The basic thinking error is that you interpret each experience, each conversation, each look as a clue to your worth and value.

7. Control Fallacies: There are two ways you can distort your sense of power and control. If you feel externally controlled, you see yourself as helpless, a victim of fate. The fallacy of internal control has you responsible for the pain and happiness of everyone around you. Feeling externally controlled keeps you stuck. You don't believe you can really affect the basic shape of your life, let alone make any difference in the world. The truth of the matter is that we are constantly making decisions, and that every decision affects our lives. On the other hand, the fallacy of internal control leaves you exhausted as you attempt to fill the needs of everyone around you, and feel responsible in doing so (and guilty when you cannot).

8. Fallacy of Fairness: You feel resentful because you think you know what's fair, but other people won't agree with you. Fairness is so conveniently defined, so temptingly self-serving, that each person gets locked into his or her own point of view. It is tempting to make assumptions about how things would change if people were only fair or really valued you. But the other person hardly ever sees it that way, and you end up causing yourself a lot of pain and an ever-growing resentment.

9. Blaming: You hold other people responsible for your pain, or take the other tack and blame yourself for every problem. Blaming often involves making someone else responsible for choices and decisions that are actually our own responsibility. In blame systems, you deny your right (and responsibility) to assert your needs, say no, or go elsewhere for what you want.

10. Shoulds: You have a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act. People who break the rules anger you, and you feel guilty if you violate the rules. The rules are right and indisputable and, as a result, you are often in the position of judging and finding fault (in yourself and in others). Cue words indicating the presence of this distortion are should, ought, and must.

11. Emotional Reasoning: You believe that what you feel must be true-automatically. If you feel stupid or boring, then you must be stupid and boring. If you feel guilty, then you must have done something wrong. The problem with emotional reasoning is that our emotions interact and correlate with our thinking process. Therefore, if you have distorted thoughts and beliefs, your emotions will reflect these distortions.

12. Fallacy of Change: You expect that other people will change to suit you if you just pressure or cajole them enough. You need to change people because your hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on them. The truth is the only person you can really control or have much hope of changing is yourself. The underlying assumption of this thinking style is that your happiness depends on the actions of others. Your happiness actually depends on the thousands of large and small choices you make in your life.

13. Global Labeling: You generalize one or two qualities (in yourself or others) into a negative global judgment. Global labeling ignores all contrary evidence, creating a view of the world that can be stereotyped and one-dimensional. Labeling yourself can have a negative and insidious impact upon your self-esteem; while labeling others can lead to snap-judgments, relationship problems, and prejudice.

14. Being Right: You feel continually on trial to prove that your opinions and actions are correct. Being wrong is unthinkable and you will go to any length to demonstrate your rightness. Having to be 'right' often makes you hard of hearing. You aren't interested in the possible veracity of a differing opinion, only in defending your own. Being right becomes more important than an honest and caring relationship.

15. Heaven's Reward Fallacy: You expect all your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, as if there were someone keeping score. You fell bitter when the reward doesn't come as expected. The problem is that while you are always doing the 'right thing,' if your heart really isn't in it, you are physically and emotionally depleting yourself.

*From Thoughts & Feelings by McKay, Davis, & Fanning. New Harbinger, 1981. These styles of thinking (or cognitive distortions) were gleaned from the work of several authors, including Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck, and David Burns, among others.