29 February 2008

Agony

From last Sunday until yesterday morning, about four days, I had intense abdominal cramps.Very little sleep at night due to the pain, missed three days of school, and a day of work until I finally went to the doctor who suggested probiotics, the magic bullet of bacteria and enzymes that within an hour had me feeling fine.

It was hard to really concentrate on much of anything during this time, the pain really kept me from drawing or writing much although I was able to read and did a little bit of writing on my final paper. I didn't leave the house much, couldn't really see my friends, missed three days of school, and a day of work. What I ended up doing was a lot of movie watching. A lot. More than usual.

And it occured to me,I really wanted to be around other people, I was getting lonely in my room all by myself.

I was watching movies to compensate. Is this a pattern I've been playing out my entire adult life?
Do I compensate for lonliness with movies?

28 February 2008

Medical Saints



The first two in the ongoing saints "series".

27 February 2008

Lupita Tovar

Mexican born American film starlet Lupita Tovar

In the Spanish language Dracula:

24 February 2008

Feelings



I woke up at 8am this morning with stomach cramps. I worked on my anthropology paper for a few hours,then watched Dragon Wars, The Host, and finally The Pom Pom Girls. The first and last were dumb.

My departing roommate is crazy.

Bruce Lee

A statue of Bruce Lee was erected in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina in 2005.


Bruce Lee Statue


Apparently it didn't last long.

Sound Of Da Police

19 February 2008

18 February 2008

San Pancho



This is the linework for THIS final illustration.

Ratking


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratking



Other mummified animals



15 February 2008

Don't Tell Me

I don't want to hear it.
I'll continue to decry all the saccharine crap that I am jealous of for that very reason. I'm jealous of it. That's why we in the restaurant industry call Valentines Day "Amateur Night". Who actually takes their date out on V-Day?

I wish I had someone to take out on V-day.
Yes, I am jealous of people with romatic relationships. I know very well that I am capable of having one, but I still see myself as too selfish to really make a sucess of it. What I mean is, I have so little time. I mean, I came home from work tonight and sat down at the drawing table for 2 hours. Tomorrow morning I'll do more of the same, try and write the last bits of a grant, start a paper, capture movie stills for said paper, try and exercise, and finish a book for class. And then, at noon, I'll go to work.

I hate the scattered, yet goal oriented thing that is me. I want to be vacant, empty and open. As things stand, I sadly do not see myself as anything more than a blur. Who can get a grip on a shadow?

Fuck this, can't I give up and just be a hedonist!?

I guess, in the breakdown, I am, and my gluttony is deadlines and (poorly executed, procrastinated, reluctantly divulged) finished product.

12 February 2008

Black Rain

I haven’t read much Japanese fiction outside of graphic novels. In fact, the only other Japanese book I think I ever read besides Black Rain, was Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore which I really didn’t enjoy. I have however watched a lot of Japanese movies, from the Samurai cinema of the 50’s and 60’s to the splatter horror of the 80’s, and the Yakuza action films of modern times, and I think I get it, in a Gaijin kind of way, at least I know that I enjoy it.

Black Rain has the feel of a lot of those older samurai films in that there are long periods of subtle existential exposition punctuated by rushes of sudden frightening (sur)realism. The beauty of Japanese storytelling (at least in the case of samurai film, and Black Rain) seems to be in never over-dramatizing the climactic moments, but rather letting the reality of them speak for itself. I do not think that this is merely a function of the “diary” context of much of the narrative in Black Rain, because I believe it is evident in almost every Japanese film I have seen.
In Black Rain author Ibuse uses the daily activities of Shizuma and his small family unit to illustrate the innocence and simplicity of the average person, in any situation, but certainly in the wake of the American Atom. In particular, I appreciated the use of the wife’s diary of their daily food to lay bare the sufferings of the average Japanese citizen at the hands of their own government. To me this illustrated almost perfectly the idea of a war being waged by a priveliged power elite on the backs of the mass of citizens. After the bomb has fallen, Shizuma’s recounting of the various stories he hears of peoples difficulties getting help from the bureaucratic military system they had been serving, and in particular, his own attemps to secure a ration of coal, are particularly indicative of the self-serving greed of a hierarchical system of class domination. At the same time, he also witnesses scenes of cooperative organization, people helping each other, and working together to ease their suffering, improve their condition.

To me, Black Rain is much more of an indictment of the Imperial Japanese government than of the Americans. It’s a story of people being used and brutalized by a global system of capitalist hegemony, suffering for the glory of an elite class, and finding out the hard way that they have only themselves to count on. (This was driven home even more powerfully by the documentary White Light, Black Rain, in which the survivors had to fight the government to get benefits)

In particular, the final two pages of chapter eleven had a profound impact on me as I read. Shizuma walks through Hiroshima among the razed buildings and maggot covered swollen corpses and recalls a poem;
“Oh worm, friend worm,
Rend the heavens, burn the earth, and let men die.
A brave and moving sight.”


His response is one of revulsion, echoed by the soldiers he meets shortly therafter burning bloated rotting bodies.
“These stiffs are getting out of hand.”
“If only we’d been born in a country, not a damn-fool state.”


I don’t think you have to be Japanese to get that.

10 February 2008

My Average Is Well Above

Suddenly, after almost two hours of cordial banter, the subject of my sweater came up. Out of 9 of us, somehow, someone asked about my benign sweater. I pointed out the hole in the sleeve, just below the cuff, and that it was my grandfathers sweater. Perfect they said, it's a hand warmer, a Seattle grunge sweater.

No. No I said, I won't put my thumb through that hole, it's not appropriate.
No thumb hole. I don't like holes.
I feel sorry for your girlfriend. A woman said that, a girl said that.
Don't I said, I don't have one, so don't feel sorry. I won't have one.
Why? Because I can't be what a woman wants I said, I don't have it. I don't have the foundation, an anchor worth mooring your ship to. These seas are too rough. The tide unpredictable.

I covered it up by saying women want to dance, and I can't do that.
Ha ha, she said, whatever, I'll teach you how to dance.
But that wasn't the point.

09 February 2008

Memo

The parts of my body interact like the departments in an office.

Don't Tell.

Shhhhhh.
Shh. Shh. Keep it down.

08 February 2008

What To Do? (A Response)

T,
Peoples History is, in my opinion a great book, I’ve heard some people complain that Zinn is a pacifist yet unwilling to admit it, but those people, by their own admission, haven’t read the whole thing. And anyway, whats wrong with being a pacifist? If you don’t come out and advertise it, it may actually be a calculated choice to avoid driving people away from the get-go. I’ve done this myself with various issues.(velvet glove)

The thing that bothered me about the Iraq invasion was that I had read so bloody much about Vietnam, that the haphazard comparisons that I had heard put me on edge a bit. Also, I found myself bitterly criticizing war protesters as being innefective, and then suddenly wondering what it was that I was doing that was so much better than yelling in the street. I still don’t really know what either option has to offer beyond adding a voice to the cacophony of dissent. I’m realizing now that every voice counts for something.

I haven’t seen “The Power of Nightmares”, but I’ll look into it. At the moment it is not available from Netflix, so I cant use my gift membership to get it. That raises another issue, which I will address shortly.
In the realm of documentaries which I would recommend to you, there are several, although they are only a jumping off point.
To really understand how oppression works, one must understand how the American system of global capitalism (which most of the world has eagerly adopted) works, to this end, I highly recommend the Mark Achbar film, The Corporation. Once you have some idea how that beast functions, I would recommend another Achbar film, Manufacturing Consent, a documentary ostensibly about Chomsky, but on a larger scale about Chomskyan politics (libertarian anarchism or something along those lines) and how corporate owned media, uh, well, manufactures consent. The system of capitalism, that is, the concentration of wealth and control of resource production into the hands of an elite few, is the essence of global capitalist politics, the subjugation/numbing of the masses.

The frightening question that one must ask when one arrives at the point where I am at right now, (and you, and other people will surely approach this issue from some different, personal version of revelation) is, “What do I do about it?”

Living in Europe has its benefits, and its drawbacks. I have never done it, so I can’t tell you from a firsthand POV, but, I’ll say this; as an American, you really only have the “right” to write, or speak about the ills of the American system. To criticize a foreign governments’ policies, is inappropriate as an outsider. Should you attempt to criticize your home government/culture, you should be sure to address your criticism to an audience of primarily Americans. In essence, you must speak to those who are in a position to do something about the problems you point out. Chomsky said something like; “It’s not appropriate for American intellectuals to criticize Russian policy, but for Russian intellectuals to do so, because the Russian people are in a position to do something about it.” (This is not verbatim, as I cannot find the original text).
Don’t get me wrong, writing about these problems, especially if you don’t really know the answers or causes is very important. It’s important to bring them to the attention of other people, even if you offer no answers, because people will want to find their own answer anyway, although it is not “wrong” to offer possible answers or explanations, and dialogue.

But really, what can we do everyday, that resists the leviathan? I have no concrete answers, just a few suggestions to things that I have done to try and get myself “off the grid”:
As much as possible and stop consuming corporate products. This includes just about everything you own, or want, or need. How can you fight this?
· Don’t smoke.
· Don’t own, or drive a car. Use public transport (and pay your fare!)
· Grow as much of your own food as you can.
· When you can’t grow it, buy it locally grown and organic. If you must chose, local is usually better than organic because it uses less petroleum to travel to you.
· When you buy processed/packaged food, buy it raw, i.e. uncooked pinto beans vs. canned & cooked. Raw garbanzo beans vs. canned. Etc.
· Don’t buy or consume fast/packaged foods or drinks, like soda or convenience store crap.
· Buy food and other products with minimal packaging. (use a reusable grocery bag, don’t put each produce item in it’s own bag. I also use a recycled coffee travel mug to get coffee at local coffee shops, something that can make a big difference vis-a-vis trash in a coffee addicted town like Seattle)
· Become a vegetarian, or better yet, a vegan (just watch your protein intake).
· Don’t buy new clothes. Fashion is a scam.
· For that matter, don’t buy anything new that you don’t have to.
· Support your public library.
· DON’T use a credit card if at all possible.
· Anything you can buy local, i.e. not from a chain store, DO IT. Unless, like me you are poor, and have exhausted all other options.
· Use multiple, and alternative news sources to compare and contrast. I use Spanish, German and several English internet radio stations.
· Join and participate in political action groups and organizations
· March in the streets.
· Talk to people, listen to them, and dialogue.
· Read a lot and write about what you find, read, see, hear. (blogs may seem silly, or superfluous, but really, it can’t hurt, “become the media”)

You may find it ridiculously frustrating to make these changes in yourself, and watch other people continue down the path of conspicuous idiotic mindless consumption. I often do. Just today (2-7-08) I listened to a bunch of people in my “anarchy” class rant about political tyranny and corporate irresponsibility while 90% of the class had disposable drink or food containers in their hands. The teacher condoned this by saying, in regards to environmental contamination “These people (government organizations and corps.) don’t take responsibility for their actions.” I couldn’t help thinking that this itself was a way of avoiding responsibility for ones actions. To openly, and eagerly participate in the consumption of the goods that the very entities we profess to oppose produce, is complicity! (to do so while bitching is an icing of hypocrisy) A failure to acknowledge ones own duplicity is simply avoidance of the issue. One must first point the finger at oneself. (Nevertheless, I regularly stumble and fall on these issues and am always looking for ways to improve myself, and reduce my impact.)

“Yes, I recognize the irony, the very system I oppose affords me the luxury of biting the hand that feeds. That’s exactly why privileged fucks like me, should feel obliged to whine, and kick and scream, till everyone has everything they need.” (Propagandhi - One of my favorite punk bands.)

Talk minus action equals zero.

Let’s all figure this out together, there’s strength in numbers.

-S

04 February 2008

An Explanation

girl: You left the party without saying goodbye.
boy: Yep, I did what I needed to do.
girl: What, get shitty drunk?
boy: No.
girl: No? Well if that wasn't it, what was?
boy: I had to kill the part of me that still loves you.
girl: Did it work?
boy: No, it's used to alcohol.

03 February 2008

The First in A Long Time


Phill and I decided that we needed some Kung Fu Grindhouse merchandise to sell to the adoring crowds. He already had a screen made with the Splatter Dead design above (made from a photo of himself in zombie makeup), but he had never printed it. After making a few of those shirts we repurposed the screen for the inaugural KFG design.


It featured the Mantis In the Meatgrinder logo Phill had designed along with a banner proclaiming "You must be tired of living!" We sold these for a couple of years before coming up with a new two color design.

Separation Anxiety

02 February 2008

E-mail War

An link icon I found on Hotmail. Lord only knows what service it links to, but the use of military language in benign civilian situations points to a militarization of civilian life. Bombarded by images promoting and reinforcing warfare desensitizes and aclimates the public to its perpetuation.
i.e. If you sell war, the people will buy it.

Preventive Force



A link to the full article: The Strong Arm of the Law

Basically the gist of it is that Seattle cops use preventive force, i.e. taking someone out, violently, to avert possible violence against them. This strikes me as remarkably similar to the rationale used by the Bush regime in Iraq and the "War on Terror". AKA, "shoot first ask questions later".

A'ight Wi'it

I wore the smallest, or fittingest pant I ever wore today. I think I am a cowboy. I don't mind being a cowboy, I would be okay wearing a cowboy hat. I think I have a chivalrous/coarse cowboy attitude already, I might as well play it out. Anybody got a grey Stetson?

I'm not surprised that the act proves to be the main feature with this girl, though I am a little dissapointed. I watched her giggle and fiddle around for a couple of hours, then I shook my head, gave her the blues CD I made and got the hell out of there. Huh.

Tomorrow, politics.