30 June 2009

T Shirt Idea

"A Government Should Tremble When The People Speak"*

*Has somebody done something like this already? If not I claim it but you can use it as much as you want, and also pass it on so other people can use it and pass it on...

Country Boy

I've been doing this whole Seattle, responsible independent adult thing for quite a while now, but sometimes I still feel like a dumb hayseed.

21 June 2009

Thoughts on Self

It often happens when I find myself drifting alone in the world that I take time to consider my personality and psychology. No easy task, but in the circumstances I take it as an aside rather than a full blown analysis.

One of the things most heavy on my mind at the moment is my role in relationships.
Another thing pretty high up on the list at the moment is childhood experiential context and adulthood behavior patterns.
Believe it or not the two are related, far be it from me to psychoanalyze myself.

Strangely, I often enjoy the sensation of being depressed and/or lonely and resigned to both as part of some "fate" I've percieve for myself.
I have this memory of myself as subject to a great deal of scrutiny and judgment as a child. A sortof perpetual analysis under which I had to assume multiple roles at various times, each one constructed to please or appease the audience at the time and never self gratifying. Parents, teachers, friends, girls, each within some standard behavior set which was previously scripted and which I was expected to fill. I hate being a disappointment, and I have consequently learned to be perpetually self depricating and stand-offish.

I think this is why I've had such a difficult time in my adult life in coming to terms with being myself and fuck-all to other peoples perceptions. It's why I think I'm such a self-reliant and solitary person, yet I crave attention, acknowledgment and companionship. I think it's why I want to set an example yet I hate to be noticed (and why I hold others to such high standards).
It's why I've striven to do my best yet I've never felt good enough.

It's why I always feel like I've failed.
It's why I try to be selfless despite the fact I feel horribly selfish.

19 June 2009


He's practically radioactive. Now I have to go to work for 7 hours. Bah!

The next to last stage in the Saint Bronson project.

St. Bronson Pre Halo

Yes, now I must add a halo of golden gouache around his holiness. Another stage in the Saint Bronson project.

18 June 2009

Tarawa Puzzle

I made this puzzle years ago. I was gonna do something for a girlfriend at the time and then she wasn't my girlfriend so I didn't. Instead I read a book about the brutal fighting between the USMC and the Imperial Japanese Army on a tiny little island in the middle of the pacific, and made it into a war puzzle which I gave to my good friend. He probably appreciated it more than she would have anyway.


More preliminary sketches for THIS tattoo design. Other sketches for this project are HERE.

17 June 2009


Systematic institutionalized racism begins at an early age, but at least the colors match so that's cute.

prison population at midyear: 2,103,500
white: 712,500 (34%)
black: 846,000 (40%)
source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

2006 US population of 299,398,485
white only: 221,331,507 (74%)
black/African American: 37,051,483 (12.37%)
source: US Census Bureau

11 June 2009

Guy With Top Hat Stealing A Manuscript

For a review of a fiction book about the theft of the manuscript of Charles Dickens' last book. Should appear in Real Change next week?

09 June 2009


ink a Dystopia is distinctly different from the concept of "post apocalypse", and I find that it rings a little untrue for me I don’t think they are necessarily synonymous or symbiotic. I have trouble seeing movies like Mad Max as dystopian. This question was raised by my rediscovery of the band Dystopia whose lyrics I find silly, but whose album artwork is pretty good. A recent local newspaper cover had a photo (above) that struck me as distinctly dystopian in flavor. I am especially interested in photographs of "dystopian concepts", so I encourage you to send them my way. Furthermore, what I consider “dystopian” versus post-apocalypticseems to differ with the Wiki definition somewhat at the very least cinematically, so I want to clarify this point.

To me:
Children of Men and THX1138 are dystopian but not post apocalyptical.
Escape From New York and the Mad Max series are post apocalyptical but not dystopian.
12 Monkeys, The Matrix and to a lesser extent 28 Days Later are both.
I do not have any knowledge at all of the literary traditions of these concepts, so with this example I’m basically just defining my parameters in the best way I know how.

It is possible for a post-apocalyptical world to be dystopian, but this is only one of many possibilities, it could just as easily be egalitarian. It seems to me that it is the circumstances that make the difference.

Basically what I want to know is not what the “definition” of dystopia is, at least not just according to a dictionary. Dictionaries always seem to be far too objective when it comes to social perceptions. Dystopia is basically a “bad” society, but what defines it as bad is what I’m looking for, what makes a society “bad” enough to be dystopian. (not as a judgement of any particular society, just so I can know what the basic and commonly held criteria are) What I’m trying to figure out is what people envision when they think of dystopia. Since it has been pointed out that I don’t really know the territory, this is really just a series of questions and hypothises. I’m still trying to define my conception of a dystopia, and I think a broader idea of the generally held concept will help me do that. One thing I don’t want to do here is to impose my own hazy definition, or fill that vaguery with “evidence” selectively chosen from my surroundings. That’s not inquiry, it’s browbeating.

My first thought was to compare widely held virtues (at least in Western tradition, I’ll stick to what I know best, if not well) and see if dystopia could be defined by their opposites.
Virtue – vice, temperance – excess, etc. but that doesn’t seem to work. It’s a nuanced and oversimplified definition because I suspect that dystopia is highly subjective and continually changing.

Wikipedia defines dystopia, and it might further help the discussion to look at this explanation and its opposite “utopia” as well as other explanations of society, of which dystopia is only one hypothetical category.
One of my main questions is whether dystopia is and end, or a means to an end.
I suspect that it is the latter, and that apocalypse is one possible end. In this way I think we can look at dystopia as a process, and so it might be better to say dystopian (adj.) rather than dystopia (noun).

What is dystopian society?
One final idea that I will put forward is warfare as part of dystopia (though this would classify practically all societies as dystopian to some extent). Trench warfare in World War 1 is a good example. Men fought over a wasteland, gaining little or no ground, devising new ways in which to destroy and maim each other, yet at times setting animosity aside and behave in a friendly comradely manner.
Society outside of the trenches, in the rest of the world was largely normal (not utopian, but not the perverse hell of the trenches), yet in this place men were behaving insanely.

"Destroying the village to save it", sounds to me like a uniquely dystopian sentiment.

05 June 2009


It's not normal for me to have very little of substance to say about an image, but here is one such case. It's an interesting picture but I honestly don't know what to say about it. The only thing that comes to mind if flaying.
The Aztecs had a god called Xipe Totec whom they worshipped by flaying young men. The priests wore the skins until they rotted off and sometimes used the flayed femur bone of the sacrificial victim to bless people. It is thought is that the symbolism related to the life cucle of maize (corn) in which the sprout grew from the husk of the kernel.

It's probably true that by focusing on the most gruesome aspects of a culture, ancient or modern, that we in some ways totally misconstrue and misrepresent that culture. The Aztecs weren't all about horrific human sacrifice and cannibalism, they were also amazing horticulturalists.

Speaking of cannibalism, did you ever stop to think that we could "kill 2 birds with one stone" by eating people? The more you eat the less you have to feed.

Hopefully Gone to Croatoan has something more intelligent to say about this.

04 June 2009


Here's a random calculation on green virtues and moral responsibility. Two things which I will not bother explaining because I don't want to take the time and I already have to do so for a grade.

I received in the mail an off for a six month subscription to The Economist.
Regular cost: $175
My Discounted Cost: $67

So that's $2.57 per issue for a weekly magazine.
A very thick and dense magazine.
A pro-business magazine.
I already have subscriptions to two magazines, both dense, one thick.

Here's the calculation:
PLUS: I might read 2 articles per week in The Economist. They would keep me informed of the "pro-business, pro capital" point of view (no minor thing). Then I would recycle the magazine.

MINUS: The cost of shipping the magazine (in fuel and labor) from wherever it's printed (probably in the US even though it's a UK magazine). The cost of recycling; i.e. the chemicals required to remove the inks from the wood pulp, the gas for the recycling truck that comes through my 'hood, the energy and labor required to sort the recyclable materials, the energy required to reprocess them, and assuming they will be re-used, to ship them back to paper distributors...

EQUALS: Not worth the 67 bucks. All that hidden cost (or as some including me call it "true cost") is ridiculous given that I would only be keeping myself ever so slightly informed of the enemies point of view.

01 June 2009

Racism or Realism?

I'm sorry, but the whole right-wing "Sotomayor is a racist" because she said that she hoped that a Latina woman would reach better conclusions than a white man because of her experiences, is just ridiculous.

Particularly coming from Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingritch. If ever there were a demographic whose best interests are to keep the white boys at the top of the heap. Those interests are at the root of the conservative value system, they value system that only allowed to the Equal Rights Act of 1964 to pass because redneck Senator Howard Smith thought he could freak male senators out with the addition of the word "sex" to the bill thus also guaranteeing women the same rights as men. It backfired because racist southern women Senators demanded that African Americans shouldn't have more legal rights than they.
Granted neither Gingritch or Limbaugh was present for that grand affirmation of idiocy, but we're talking about a value system legacy.

My point is that it is ridiculous for a rich white conservative man to call anyone racist. Anyone. It is offensive when persons in the richest and most powerful clique in the world, white men, try and claim that someone who belongs to several groups of the least powerful try and claim that they are being racist, particularly when the first group rose to power partly through the exploitation of the second.

Especially since Sotomayor is probably right. That's what has the white boys up in arms, its hard to have the accusing finger pointed at you, particularly when you are guilty.
I con only hope that the crass stupidity of these statements will illuminate more people to the inveterate systematic racism and sexism in American culture.