October 6, 2010

Sometimes things work out. A week ago I didn’t think anything was going right. I had my flash drive stolen which had all of my work on it for two classes, both of which had projects due within a week. I decided not to waste any time getting back to work on my Web Design work and Typography problem. I started building them both back up and actually came up with a better design for my website. I started working on my nipples sculpture over the weekend and soon found out that it wasn’t going quite the way I had hoped. The foam didn’t seem right, the proportions were odd and the rubber coating didn’t leave it the color I was attempting to get. I was a little worried for a moment but then decided to return to my initial idea of making a large cigarette in a pile of accumulated cigarettes that would represent smokers’ seeming belief that throwing cigarettes on the ground is not littering.

Between spending long hours in the computer lab at Westby working on my other assignments, I went to Lowe’s to find materials for a large cigarette. Once I gave up hope on a large aluminum trashcan I sat in my car and thought. I suddenly thought of using duct pieces. I found a piece in the store that was smaller than I had originally imagined but I felt like it would probably work out even better.

Sunday night was spend putting together my Typography work, missing only 3 of the 10 pieces we needed for a complete project (Jan had given me a one-class extension.) I turned everything I had in on monday, happy with the presentation and the paper I wrote describing my process and feeling about my work. I met with Jenn to ask about a technical problem with my website after class and she showed me how to fix it. I sat there and put together my website, getting it completely working in about a half hour. I was done another thing. One less thing to worry about as I searched for sculpture pieces to put together and construct.

I spent the night spray painting my cigarette piece. It started to look like a cigarette right away. I was happy with that creation and went home. The next day I planned on painting more into the cigarette but I ended up getting busy and when I attempted to do it at night I wasn’t happy with the outcome so I left the extra painting out of it. It started cracking in some spots so I repainted it and then bent it so it looked like a cigarette that someone had put out. The discolored, cracking paint was bother me at first but when I looked at my pile of cigarettes that I had been collecting I realized that they were all weathered, broken and discolored as well so it worked out for me. I came in to set it up this morning and I was happy with the results and placement outside of a door near the ash can. Almost all comments during the critique were positive. It also created a conversation about how it made people feel, which is basically the point.

I just need to get some feedback on my website and I’m hoping that will be positive as well. I’m happy with today in general and I feel productive. I can usually only be productive right before something is due. That is just my personality. It seems like it might be a hindrance but somehow things come out pretty good most of the time. It’s hard to break that habit when the results are positive much of the time.

Sometimes things work out.

Ends in Themselves

October 5, 2010

“Over time I get used to everything and start taking it for granted.” – Stefan Sagmeister

This is too true. Things that seem new and exciting at one point will get old and become commonplace. I feel like this can’t be helped in some situations, especially with how frequently things are updated/outdated in our techno-overload society. When discussing the disposability of modern products in my art history class a few weeks ago, a girl shouted out “New Every Two!” referring to the Verizon contract plan that allows you to update your phone every two years. Everything is made to break. If it were made to last, companies would have a much harder time staying in business and making money. I’m sure there are far more advanced versions of iPods, smart phones and computer processors out there that we could have but companies benefit much more from slowly upgrading our equipment and adding on a few extra things to our phones so they can keep selling a slightly improved product every few months. That’s completely a sidenote but an example of how society is set up to satiate people’s needs for something new and probably it’s the consumer culture that has caused us to think this way in the first place.

I am thinking again of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy that we must never treat people “as means to an end,” rather we must treat them as “ends in themselves.” Basically, don’t use people. People have intrinsic value and should always be respected as having such. I fail at this particular thing quite often. Today it seemed to be staring me in the face more strongly than usual. I allow myself to make up problems with people that don’t exist yet I convince myself they are there and I start believing it and treating them as if it really does. Reading Kant and Sagmeister, I find myself wanting to try very hard to be a different and better person. I know who I want to be but getting there is difficult. Art makes me happy though and I feel like I can work out some issues by incorporating them into my creations. I will create until I get better.



September 15, 2010

So this needs to be a journal. I’ll start with the Right Now. I’ve been thinking about my place lately, both in the world and in a more personal way. I’ve also been thinking about my home and what that really is. I have this place where I sleep and where I watch TV shows on the internet but that’s about all. I think I’ve always felt like this was temporary. I guess everything is temporary on a long enough timeline. Like Tyler Durden says, “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” What I mean by temporary is that I always want to be moving and going somewhere new. I don’t want to feel like I’ve been rooted anywhere. I guess by convincing myself that this is temporary I can fool myself into thinking I’m not stuck. How long do I have to be here before I realize that I haven’t gone anywhere though? Since Jimmy moved in a few months ago and I moved out of my old room and into the big one, I have left the room in disarray, with boxes of books, movies and random other things piles against the walls and a desk haphazardly placed in the center of the room, leaving a walkway to the closet that I only use when I feel like taking my shirts out of the laundry basket to hang them. It feels either temporary or just messy. I think it’s become the latter since it’s been that way for some time now and there’s no sign of me leaving. The catch is, with my current housing situation, that is paying no rent because the mortgage company has yet to reply to my mom about what they plan to do with her payments, it feels quite tenuous and I could be given the word at any time that I need to find a new place to live right away and get out. That’s not a fun position to be in, especially when I’m not able to get much work right now. I was thinking about this in the morning as I looked around my room and then I picked up a letter at the post office from the mortgage company this afternoon. Kinda funny that we’ve been waiting for any word from them for months now and the day I start thinking about what I would do if I were suddenly in need of a place to stay a letter comes in the mail. I haven’t heard what it says yet but I’m expecting the worst. I’m always expecting the worst. The worst in this case might be for the best, however. It would force my to pull up my roots and put myself on a temporary shelf somewhere for the rest of the semester. Since this is my last (undergraduate) year of school, I wouldn’t be kept here by an obligation to finish my degree and would therefore be free to move on and out to wherever I want. I don’t feel as much of a connection to this place as I once did so I think I would be better off moving and starting over somewhere else before it’s too late. We’ll see what comes of this soon but for now I must finish some reading for class and get ready to go out tonight. Weyerbacher night at The Abbaye!


March 18, 2010

What are we all going to be doing in the future? We’re always asking ourselves that but the truth is we’ll be sitting around much like we’re doing right now, looking back on these moments in the past and wondering why we wasted so much time wondering about the future. Time to stop wondering and wishing and start wandering and living. Take the time for a second look at the things you overlooked the first time around. Take a few steps back but keep moving ahead. The rose colored glasses we all wear are fading quickly. We’re running away and fading with time. Choose your steps wisely.


No Man is An Island

March 14, 2010

I’ve not yet managed to actually write everyday. I’m going to just write when I can and hope that I’ll do it more often on the trip. I applied for two positions with SUP and had my interview for them the other night. I didn’t over-prepare for it because I just wanted to be myself. If they wanted me that’s good, if not then that’s fine. I thought the interview went really well. I felt like I gave really good answers to the questions they asked. They gave me some random ones like “what three words would you use to describe SUP?” and “if you were a pizza topping, what would you be?” Strange questions, the reason for which I am curious about. I wonder how my saying that I would be a mushroom if I were a pizza topping helps them decide if I’m right for a position. Regardless, all of the answers that I gave seemed like good ones to me and they seemed to respond positively. I walked out of the room feeling confident that I would get a position, even if it was my second choice.

I got an e-mail that night that said the choices were posted on the board. I went the next morning to see them and my name wasn’t on the list. I wasn’t really surprised even though I felt confident about my interview. I’m used to disappointment so there was always a part of me that thought I wouldn’t get it. The worst part was that one of the positions I interviewed for was left unfilled. So I wasn’t even good enough to fill a position they didn’t have anyone else for. I don’t get it really but I’m going to be busy next semester as it is. I was just looking forward to being a part of something and doing something fun and exciting for my last year in school. I guess I spent too long not doing anything to expect everything to work out now. Lesson learned. Maybe. I’m going to e-mail them to ask what I could have done better/what they were looking for. If nothing else, I could get some tips for future interviews.

The trip is rapidly approaching and we have a lot of stuff still to do. I need to pack most of my stuff up I think. I need to throw a lot of things out but I need to put the rest in boxes in case the house is sold while I’m on the trip. We need to make some definite plans and get the stuff we need for the trip itself. I need a car most of all but hopefully I’ll get that this week. Joanna needs to tell her mom that we’re going. That’s the biggest obstacle at the moment. At least she knows we’re dating now. She has a problem with my age; that seems to be her only problem with me. Well, I have a problem with it too but I can’t do anything about it. I hate how much emphasis and expectation goes along with age. If you’ve lived a certain amount of time, certain things are expected of you. It’s nonsensical. Everyone is supposed to be unique but still follow the exact same guidelines when it comes to your age group. Just add it to the list of things that annoy me. I don’t think we’ll ever understand the human mind; we program it from birth to death and no matter how much we try to break free we’ll always be restricted by societal expectation and the one-track minds of the masses.

I got off track there for a while. But I’m never really on track. Rainy days suck when it’s warm out. Unless it’s really warm out and you can stand out in the rain–in that case, they are awesome. They do allow me to sit inside in bed and write which is nice. I’m going to make a daily checklist and try to follow it. Why do I bother, you ask? I always make these kinds of lists and just don’t follow them. I guess I hope that one day I will actually do it for long enough that it becomes habit.

In the good news column, Argyle Gargoyle is having a good month. We have a show this Friday opening for the Ataris again. Opening for them last year was amazing. It was something all of us had wanted to do since we started playing music. To get to do it a second time is crazy too. We’re excited but we need some work. We’ve been playing with a new drummer that is not bad but he just needs to practice our songs more. It’s been sounding better so I’m hoping that tonight we can get it down perfect. It will be great to be on a stage playing again either way. One week after that show we play a battle of the bands at Rowan for a chance to open ProfStock for Reel Big Fish, Sean Kingston and Third Eye Blind. That’s a big show. We’re one of five bands playing so we’ve already been chosen out of a pool of 26 bands and even if we don’t get the big show, I hope the battle will be a decently well-attended show that we can gain some fans and get our music out. Either way, I’m going to have fun playing in front of people again. That’s something that always makes me happy.


If I’m Not Mistaken

February 14, 2010

The Forecast is making me happy right now. It’s a great feeling when a new band makes you feel so good. It’s like you just unearthed something amazing that you can keep forever but even better. And then you want to listen to them all the time to make up for all the time you didn’t know about them. I’m sure this cd will be on repeat for quite a while until I know it well and then it will go into my collection like an old friend that I don’t always see but I know is always around. First impressions can be pretty amazing.

Sometimes you need another look though I guess. Even though this band is making me happy, that’s not the only reason I’m smiling. It’s been all great lately. Nothing to complain about. Except maybe snow, but I can’t even be mad at that for long. We have a lot of things planned in the very near future that I’m looking forward to. On top of the trips, the band has another show opening for The Ataris which we assumed was a one time thing last year but they asked us to do it again this year! Too bad the band isn’t really together… we need to get ourselves a drummer and practice. Either way it’s going to be a lot of fun to be on stage playing again. I hope whoever drums for us might want to continue playing so we can play shows again. Playing in the band was one of the things that I loved doing most so I hope we get to do it longer than one show. In any case, everything is great at the moment.



February 4, 2010

As I sit behind a teacher’s desk overlooking a classroom full of middle school students, I have to wonder about things like authority. The idea of authority is funny. It’s especially funny in our society that touts Freedom(!) for all. Everything in America is Free. Free market, Free trade, Free society.  Aside from all the money it takes to live day to day, it seems like Freedom is costing us a lot of our Free-ness. We have appointed authorities for everything. I understand the societal need for authority figures and a systematic approach to our government and the way we live our lives, however the illusion we have that we are all “Free” just seems to be us buying into the propaganda that has been fed to us since we were kids. This is even more true for the previous generations that came out of the 1940’s and shortly thereafter when the country was in a state of national pride and general “Go America!” spirit. With the ingrained “We’re right and every other country is wrong if they don’t agree with us” ideals, our parents and grandparents taught us that we should be proud of our country and stand behind it, regardless of what’s going on and without examining the problem and both sides of it. Why? Because you’re an American, dammit. You were born here so you have to believe in what we tell you to! No questions asked!
This is the same anti-intellectual, anti-logical bullshit that makes me hate religion as a whole. Nationalism is a religion of sorts. People have strong feelings about the country they live in simply because they live there. In the same way, people strongly believe in their religions because they were raised by people who believe strongly because they were raised by people who believe strongly because they’re lazy and simply believe what their family believes. Before I get too far, I realize I’m generalizing and that not everyone is like this at all. I do realize that many people research their religion and actually take the time to learn about other ones before they blindly accept the one that they were born into. Those people are still delusional but maybe just not as lazy. I feel like I’ve gone astray on this tangent, which I tend to do quite often but I may as well finish this up before I get back on track. I feel like lazy patriotism is an American value that we need to get rid of. If you’re proud of your country, have a reason to be. Be proud of the things we do for the world and the things our government does for its own people. When your country starts arbitrary wars purely for monetary gain, to make the rich even richer, to make the powerful almighty, and to spread our hasty plan for democracy in countries that don’t want it just because (we act like) it works here so well and everyone should be like US, then I think you should think twice before announcing your pride. Oh, and how could I forget about Hurricane Katrina, when it took how long for helicopters, buses and supplies to reach New Orleans? Six days? Oh. Maybe I forgot about the time difference, but last time I drove from New Jersey to Florida it took about fifteen hours. There must be helicopters somewhere south of here and I think they can get there faster so unless I’m doing the math wrong… Anyway, I’m not trying to rehash that whole debacle, I’m simply hoping that people can apply that good ol’ 9/11 bumper sticker standard, “We Will Never Forget” to the horrible things our own government has done to us (here’s where the conspiracy theorists start talking about 9/11 being an inside job).  The point is, make sure you have something to be proud of before you start spouting off bumper sticker quotes and start looking at the world around you before asserting our ultimately flawed position in it.
So what was I talking about? Oh right, authority! Besides the societal need for structure and order to keep us all moving along, authority only exists because we allow it to. I realize that you can’t just break a law and then say that it doesn’t exist if you don’t believe in it to the cop that comes to arrest you. I mean, you could but you wouldn’t get a sympathetic ear until you got to a higher court, i.e. a higher authority, and even then you would be laughed out of court faster than FEMA could get supplies to New Orleans. Authority was appointed by us because we decided that we needed someone to keep groups of people in line. We need people to take people away who make society a nuisance for others and people to watch over them after they’re locked up in big facilities with other people like them. This need is understandable as the world would be chaos if everyone were allowed to indulge their every desire. Or would it? Would be continue to screw each other over if we knew our lives all depended on it? I suppose it was inevitable for society to evolve the way it did. From someone simply stepping up and saying, “Hey stop killing people, Roger! Not cool!” to the legitimized police forces we have today. It’s interesting who we listen to in general though. If someone exudes an air of confidence and authority most of us will listen to them. As it wasn’t that long ago that I sat in a high school classroom doing what the substitute teacher asked of us, it seems strange being that person that students listen to. My power is only an extension of the power their own teacher, the school’s principal and their parent’s have over them. They know that I can’t personally do anything to them but I can relay information to any of the previously mentioned authorities that will discipline them and they know that. I guess it’s like any authority system. I’m like the cop, who can’t personally punish the criminal (police brutality aside) but who can take them to someone who will do something more about it. So, substitute teacher = police officer. That’s what I was trying to say.


Theme Fiasco

January 17, 2010

Looking back on some of the posts I’ve made, it seems that a common theme is appearing. It is basically a tenet of philosophy I suppose: You can analyze things and figure problems out from a certain standpoint but that doesn’t make said problems any easier to deal with. Understanding the reasons that things happen do not often make the consequences any easier to bear. I thought about this while watching a video of Justin Pierre describing the meaning behind Motion City Soundtrack’s song, “Point of Extinction.” He says, “I can figure out the point of anything just not as quick as I can mess up my life.” And he mentioned that it’s basically about being able to understand things and find the meaning of all the things that happen in his life but it’s still messed up even after he realizes why it happened. I can understand where he is coming from since I over-analyze everything and think I’ve discovered the reasons behind all the curious things that happen in my life. These realizations don’t make the situations better in any way, I just feel like I understand the problem more rather than actually taking steps to solve it. Much like this post, it’s a somewhat innane and pointless process. And while we’re on that subject.. Yeah, philosophy minor!


Absence makes the heart.

January 13, 2010

It’s funny that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” It’s true but the way it works is interesting. I’ve been a victim of this many, many times. The heart in this case (as in all other cases) actually refers to the mind and our emotions. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought about someone that I haven’t talked to in a while and remembered all the fun things we did and thought, “I should really call her, we used to have so much fun.” In most cases I was forgetting the reason we don’t talk so anymore. Either we just don’t get along that well or they’re annoying or boring. Most of the time it’s one of those things. This isn’t always true of course. Though the person I’ve been missing this time is someone I always end up fighting with for no good reason, we really do often have a lot of fun. I think. Maybe I’m just under the influence of absence at the moment. Maybe a combination of absence and nostalgia. And Sam Adams and ice cream. I can never make concrete decisions that I stick to so that’s also a factor. I always hesitate and think too much about what could have been or what could be. I rarely have any kind of closure.

Another thing I have noticed over the past few days of being out of town and away from people I normally see regularly is a strange correlation to the “absence…” saying. While growing nostalgic for the times I had with one person, I have begun to feel contemptuous toward someone whom I normally have nothing but love for. It’s strange that it seems to be working in the exact opposite way of suddenly growing more enamored with someone that you may feel indifferent towards or someone you may be at odds with. In this case, someone who usually fills my days with happiness has become the person I have been feeling most annoyed with.

I think the saying should be “Absence gives the heart perspective.” It seems like that’s what is really happening. At least with the latter example. When you spend so much time with someone it’s hard to be objective and realize what’s really going on. When you get some distance it seems to become a little clearer. This doesn’t make it any easier to deal with but maybe the realization can help figure out what’s really happening. Aside from analyzing how the mind starts working these things out, I have no idea where to go from there.


Change (seasons and otherwise)

January 5, 2010

Winter days have a dim color to them. They always just look cold. Even when the sun is out it seems gray and bitter. The temperature doesn’t help things either. Maybe it’s because I’ve been looking at pictures of tropical islands a lot more than usual but this Winter seems much colder than some of the ones I remember. Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending more time outside in the wind and cold trying to play disc golf. Either way, I don’t remember it being quite a bad in recent years. That’s just an observation.

How does one start to reinvent one’s self? Even if the problem is evident and the desired change obvious, where does one begin? The problem with attempting to reinvent yourself is the same as trying to clean a large, messy house. You have to start somewhere. The task seems overwhelming because there are so many things that need to be done but if you focus on one room at a time it suddenly becomes much easier. Putting effort into changing the part rather than the whole could be a good jumping off point. That works for a house but I don’t know if it works the same with a personality. Maybe a sudden overhaul of the entire system is what’s really needed to create change. If you only change one thing at a time, the things that aren’t being changed could anchor you in place or drag you back down to where you didn’t want to be. How do you really change who you are though? Isn’t your personality just who you are? Obviously this throws out the idea of any type of rehabilitation. If you’re stuck with whatever personality you’ve got then any rapists, molesters and killers should just be executed to relieve taxpayers of one more worthless mouth to feed. I somewhat feel that way already so it wouldn’t be a stretch. However, if you can change your personality, I do think it takes time. It can’t happen overnight and that’s where the hard part comes in. You need to devote time and effort to something and you’ll need to really want it. If you feel strongly about changing the kind of person you are then you will be able to put in the time. This is by no means something that I’m trying to put out there as advice, rather it’s a letter to myself that might remind me that I can change and I’m not stuck being a horrible person. There’ s a chance to change things and I just have to actually start changing. Every day that I wait and put it off is one more day that I will regret being the person I always have been. Time to start.