31 December 2008

New Calendar

This is the first of many years that I have not actually purchased a new wall calendar for the coming year. I've been doing it since I was about 15 years old, skipping a few years here and there, but pretty solid. To be perfectly honest, it's a habit I picked up when I was young because it was an excuse to buy cool art. At the time it wasn't on my radar to buy a of art, and anyway you cant hang a book on your wall.
Initially I was buying calendars with Larry Elmore art, he was one of the elite Dungeons and Dragons illustrators when I was a pre-pube, and yes, I was big into RPGs. Later, I bought Masamune Shirow calendars for a couple of years, he's the manga artist who did Ghost in the Shell. For a while I was just getting the Sierra Club calendars my ex-girlfriends mother would give us, then I started getting Alphonse Mucha calendars. Mucha was a big part of the Art Nuveau scene in the 1860's I believe, he's got some pretty amazing line work which I really admire. For 2008 I had an Arthur Rackham calendar, which led to me buying a Rackham book shortly therafter.
This year I don't think I'm going to get one. Why? With a very few exceptions, I've never once used one of my calendars for anything other than a cursory glance. Not only that, but I was thinking about the concept of a "new year", and honestly it doesn't make much sense beyond the marketing opportunity. Sure farmers and all that, that's where the concept of a renewed lunar/solar cycle originated right, with seasons and all that. But considering all the different cultural traditions around the world, both current and extinct, it's really pretty arbitrary (unless you're a farmer). Particularly to a culturally bereft White Generican like myself. I've heard plenty about other "new years" but I know very little about them, and I think I'd better find out before I buy a new calendar. I want to make sure and get the best one.
A quick overview of modern New Year celebrations (and there are quite a few) can be found at Wikipedia: New Year

In any case, as far as calendars go the Maya Calendar is pretty outstanding.

Another one that I just discovered is the Discordian Calendar, used by adherents of Discordianism a modern religion that believes that chaos is the only constant.
Not that I'm a fan of religion, but this is an interesting concept.

There ya go, start your new Gregorian calendar year off with that.

Deadly Is the Female


Deadly is the female, crazy like a bee, a super dynamo of fathomless aggression. It doesn’t make sense and never has. Why would she behave like that, going from saccharine cling-wrap, to a cloying chalkboard nail?
Surprises every time, every time. She’s an unpredictable reaction set off by god knows what guilty thing.
The first thing that comes to mind is some sort of chitonous exoskeletal insectivore, but that description might be too easily fitting in a case that requires surgical suggestion. The impulse to blame biology is also misguided, again too easily explained away.
She’s the draw, she’s the sickening gravity of falling down a well, she’s the lightbulb.
She just watches you get close enough to burn before you stumble blinded, into the arms of the spider

Read my co-conspirator's piece inspired by the same pulp-postcard at: Gone to Croatoan

And my previous blog about the star and screenwriter of Deadly Is the Female: Deadly Is the Female Prelude

29 December 2008

Deadly Is the Female Prelude



Deadly is the Female was released in 1950 and was written for the screen by Dalton Trumbo, author of the anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun, and member of the Hollwood Ten, a group of writers, directors and producers who refused to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in Oct. 1947, and were subsequently blacklisted.
Trumbo penned Deadly is the Female under the pseudonym "Millard Kaufman".

The film stars Peggy Cummins, a Welsh actress, and was released on DVD with the title "Gun Crazy" under which it can be checked out of the Seattle Public Library, but you'll have to wait until I return it.

28 December 2008

Surprises at Work



Sometimes there are special moments at work, like today when I got there in the late afternoon and one of the folks in the meat department told me to go into the cooler and find the surprise box.

Paraphrasing Bakunin

The harmony of natural forces emerges only as the natural product of that continual tension that is the very essence of life and movement. In nature as in society, order in the absence of struggle amounts to death.
Natural laws are merely manifestations of fluid modalities of greatly varied phenomena. Nature herself is above laws, being a representation of that infinite variety of phenomena. Which is why, thanks to such inexorability of action, universal order can exist, in effect, does exist.

27 December 2008

Cool and the Crazy

Cool and the Crazy
She's was the cool and calculating leader of a savage band of six clinically diagnosed psychotic sociopaths who swore a satanic oath of servitude to their sadistic leader like a tyrant queens personal guard.
They were the bloodthirsty insane automatons whose only thoughts centered around beating people into gooey scraps on her whim.

They were six cool guys, longtime friends, pompadoured, popular in social circles and on a path to productivity and prosperity. She was a fire maned seductress who wanted nothing more than to drive men insane with lust. She couldn't be satisfied to have one man, she had to have them all at the tips of her fingers. She had to have them all at each others throats with irrational homicidal jealousy.

Oops, without realizing it, I wrote two scenarios in which the woman is evil. I actually would kindof like to see this movie. The poster I think is pretty intriguing, and the tagline really drives it home. It sounds like a 50's version of Last House on the Left except that in this one, instead of raping and murdering, these hoodlums refuse to call their fathers "sir" (perhaps preferring "pops", or "old man"), and drive souped up jalopies.

Read my co-conspirators piece based on the same pulp-postcard here: Gone to Croatoan

25 December 2008

The Amazing Colossal Man


The byproduct of scientific overconfidence and ineptitude, the amazing colossal man was created by accident in the nuclear laboratories of the United States government during the Cold War. During a dangerous atomic bigification experiment an ordinary prison inmate was transformed from an unapologetic incarcerated convict into a nuclear powered incontinent giant.

Despite having his brain atomically crossed with the brains of a number of crows kept in the laboratory for experiments and developing an unquenchable lust for shiny objects the collosus’ ability to control his bowels was reduced to the condition of an infant. Fortunately though, it would appear that his atomically heightened sense of hygiene and shame compel him to wear an improvised version of a gigantic diaper which for lack of sufficient substitutes, he constructs from the sails of our men-of-war.

It is hoped that in the face of a complete lack of effective conventional weapons –our nuclear assets being considered too catalytic- national domestic strategy should hinge on collective shame. Should the general public at any point find themselves in the proximity of the amazing collosal man, to not hesitate in the slightest to loudly and vehemently criticize its social graces.

Read my co-conspirators piece inspired by the same pulp-postcard here:Gone to Croatoan

24 December 2008

Solitary

An illustration for Real Change to accompany an article about the American prison population and it's relation to homelessness. It's a pretty good article and if you live in Seattle, I suggest you pick it up, I believe it's coming out today, so get out in the snow and find a vendor.

20 December 2008

I, Robot



No matter how many times I take a human apart I can’t figure out how they work, and they never go back together correctly.
I've never really understood them, and it's always been a part of my conscious existence, a very difficult part of my life, like a thorn in the side so to speak. One that could never be removed, like what I've always imagined it must be like to have a fatal illness that you don't ever want to tell anyone about because you can't stand to see them squirm and try to stutter out some kind of sympathetic catch-all. It's too irritating and sad to listen to, and you end up frustrated by their incapacity to understand, rather than trying to understand it yourself.

It’s almost embarrassing to admit, and I’m afraid that my own failure to understand this dilemma has been the primary cause of my failure to rise above my current position in the hierarchy. It must show in my behavior, some fundamental inability to comprehend these simple mechanics that follows me like a shadow, like some hideous deformity that everyone tries very hard no to look at.

Read my co-conspirators piece inspired by the same postcard here: Gone to Croatoan

18 December 2008

Professor Wasteoid

Last night I had a dream that I went to the first day of my World War I history course.
We met in the professors apartment, about twenty or twenty five of us sitting there with out notebooks ready to go. The professor looked something like William Foster Wallace, and he turned up late and wandered around the apartment mumbling and talking as if he thought that every disconnected epithet he hurled was somehow profound prophetic wisdom.

After a string of vaguely homophobic and mental illness comments one of the other students got up and wrote "Analism" on the chalkboard, which elicited another diatribe on how being an anus was underrated and in fact under appreciated.
He disappeared for a while and a number of the students left. I was getting a little irritated myself and so I went looking for him, finding him doing bong hits in a filthy bedroom and stuffing various items into a small backpack in preparation for leaving.

When I asked him what the deal with class was, he yelled at us again and said we were too up tight, and between stuffing his bong in his backpack and muttering "wisdom", slouched out the door leaving us all puzzled.

16 December 2008

Gang Girl


By the time she was 13, Debbie Patterson had learned that her parents had almost as little to say to her as they did to each other, and consequently she did just about anything she wanted with little sign of protest. Soon, she had stopped going to confession and started smoking and rolling up the cuffs of her pants.

Within a year she had dropped out of Mark Twain middle school in Caliope, Iowa, a middle class suburb of Des Moines and had begun drinking and masturbating.
Sometime around November 1957 little Debbie first started wearing men’s shirts, a symbol that was soon to be adopted by her brutal street gang, the Vicar Street Debs.

It wasn't until she sneered disrespectfully from a trash filled alley one balmy August evening the following year however, that the authorities began to take notice.
Before the year was out Debbie and her pals would be menstruating and voicing their opinions, leaving no doubt that they had become the scourge of society, independent adult women.



Read my co-conspirator's piece based on the same pulp-postcard here: Gone To Croatoan

Day to Day

I've been thinking a lot over the past 8 months, maybe even a year about jobs, what people do for a living.
What is it that makes the subject so delicate?
There was a person who was very close to me for several years (she is not anymore) who was very critical of my situation. I'm an artist, and now -a relatively new development since her- a (self proclaimed) writer. It was always an issue that I wasn't a professional artist, that I wasn't relentlessly pursuing that venue that I wasn't "there" yet.
It's hard for me to separate that argument into it's composite parts. It comes across as partially a desire for recognition/fame, and partly as an arrogance of position; frankly class privilege.

My position is this, I'm theoretically a trained graphic designer, I have a degree that says so anyway, but I have no desire to take a position at a company where I would be pushing body-copy around to fit the appropriate advertisement. Wouldn't that be better, or more desirable, or better paid than cooking, or cutting fish? Maybe. It all depends on what you want from your life, and what you are willing to give up to have that.

It takes all people to do the work that makes a modern society function. Every job needs a worker, and every worker needs a job. Why should there be any shame, or anything less than dignity in doing everyday jobs? The only reason is that we live in a highly class oriented culture, and we've been led to believe (this has been building for hundreds of years) that work that doesn't lead to profit and elevation is beyond respect.

Put crudely; without the mundane work, the elevated and arrogant haven't a leg to stand on. Otherwise, they would do their own drudge. You telling me the rich and famous don't shit, eat or consume?

I recognize that there is more to it than class argument. There's a bit of a personality disconnect between a person who charged forward and took what she wanted and a person who was satisfied with what he had.
I'll venture a crazy guess that it's a philosophical difference between wanting more and wanting enough. There's a grey area, but never the twain shall meet. I've often felt that I wanted what I didn't have, but rarely anything that I didn't need, at least beyond my personal catharsis, (a DVD player 2 times in 10 years for example).

So I listened to a conversation at Hattie's for a little while tonight (12-8-8). A couple of guys were discussing something three tables away, I'm not clear on what exactly, but what I heard roughly covered recognition for artists.
The one guy seemed to be very adamant that an artist "putting a stone in the wall" of culture/history was important. It was an honor.
Far be it from me to suggest that it's an honor to collect the yard waste for mister special artist, but I find it a little ridiculous to suggest that art has anything to do with honor.
Art may be a despicable term to myself and many whom I respect, not as betters but as more practiced mentors, but it is something perhaps different than what many see. (Oh how I hate to have anything to do with this term, but I'll try and paraphrase)
Art is not recognition or aesthetic, it is message, idea, meaning.
I do not produce, to sell.
It is catharsis, it is a method of speaking truth.
Making money at it is an oops, accident, which either leads to what many call "selling out", or isolation, or both.
Art that makes money for its creator is not inherently wrong, but art whose primary purpose is profit is nothing but. That is the creative urge is natural, the profit urge is not.
"All art that does not contribute to knowledgement is unreliable."

Let's return to the original argument though, and my contention that the perception of some jobs as "not good enough" is a classist mentality. This line of logic should be simple enough, but I'll take a brief look at it. It actually took me a while to work out the logic concisely.

In a highly specialized labor culture what makes a person so special that they are "above" certain jobs? A person cannot be considered special because of their interests, music or car engines say, since we all have interests.
Once education became a commodity, that is, purchasable limited access, education became the realm of the wealthy, (on a relative sliding scale) thus "expertise", or specialization became purchasable limited access.
The poor then, have no access to expertise because they don't have the finances to acquire certification of their expertise in their field of interest.
(All this despite the fact that not that many jobs require "expertise". An aircraft pilot or a brain surgeon should have a lot of training and not only that, their jobs come at the end of a long line of predecessors)
That leaves the "shit" jobs that don't require certification to the poor who have no opportunity to rise, and thus the stigma of commonplace (but essential remember) jobs being inferior and unworthy.
What makes you special in your mind is not your interests, but your money, you have the money to purchase certification of your interests.
That's classism.

That sounds like a good reason to support minority education foundations, should you be financially disposed to assist in securing certification of an other's expertise.

13 December 2008

Meat Shit

I'm trying to write, I promise, I have three different pieces I'm stewing right now, but they all read ridiculous and insubstantial.

I can't write. Or at least, whenever I try I am too frustrated with my inability to effectively communicate without obfuscation.

The problem is I don't feel like I can articulate what I'm trying to say. My arguments feel too theoretical, too ethereal, tenuous. Mostly Poorly worded.

Fuck.

08 December 2008

Human Rights Day (Dec. 10)

For an article on Human Rights Day to appear in this weeks Real Change.

07 December 2008

Fukrot 7" Sleeve


When I lived in Albuquerque I was in this band Fukrot for a while, as their singer. The mascot was this fetal reptile-man and at the time I was really into cyborgs. It was never used because we never put out a second 7 inch.

Partman Parthorse T-Shirt


I worked with Marshall, the PMPH guitarist for a while when this band was just getting started. I offered to do a t-shirt design for them, but they never used it.

03 December 2008

Arm Day

Abstract Vomit


Over the past week or so I've been watching a series of British Horror films directed by Pete Walker. I saw a trailer for "The Flesh and Blood Show", and when I was looking for it online I found this Pete Walker set which includes F & B Show as well as
Frightmare
House of Whipcord
Die Screaming, Marianne
I haven't finished watching the last two, but the first two were pretty dull. I don't know what I was thinking when I bought the whole set. It was dirt cheap, and that trailer looked so good, but I should have known that British Horror films SUCK. Ok, there's a few good ones that have come out in the last decade but that's IT.
On the other hand, those Nazi Women In Prison movies I got last month, those are great, they're Italian, so of course...