Wednesday, October 26, 2005
I took part in a conversation about conspiracy theories today, ranging from JFK to 9/11. When, as I usually do, I rolled my eyes at the concept that W was behind the 9/11 attacks, the Michael Moore wannabe snapped, "Hey, after what I saw on Prison Break last night, I'll believe anything!"
Monday, October 24, 2005
Let's look at that word senseless. That means that I haven’t used any of the five senses in writing this. I also must not have used the sixth sense, otherwise known as common sense.
Enough of this gay banter. Let's talk about advertising. In this city, every possible square inch is covered with advertising. The bottom of my apartment door is regularly assaulted with circulars, fliers, and menus. The MTA long ago made sure that every available surface of my commute is covered with ads. Kids pay money to proudly advertise for companies with their clothes (Nike, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger...) Hawkers on street corners & subway stations regularly thrust free newspapers (AM & Metro) in my face, shouting, "free paper!" One of these actually shouted at me once for ignoring him. "Don’t walk away, muthafucka- this is my JOB!"
So what, right? You can’t fight Madison Avenue. THE POINT IS THAT WE'RE ALL IGNORING THE ADVERTISING. The louder and shriller it is, the more we ignore it. I estimate that between the commercials, banner ads, pop up ads, billboards, fliers, previews, posters, designer logos and idiots on the corner shouting at me to take their "free" product, I'm ignoring about 35% of the world I live in (I'd guess 15% for those who live in the suburbs.) Now, what does it mean to ignore something? Normally, that means that our conscious minds are not paying attention to stimulus registered by the sub-conscious. We all do this every second of our lives- one of the symptoms of schizophrenia is the inability of the conscious to filter out unimportant stimuli- say, the taste of the saliva in your mouth at any given second. But what I’m talking about here is consciously registering that something is advertising and choosing to ignore it. That takes effort and energy. The brighter the flashing neon sign, the more annoying the announcer, the more energy it takes to ignore it.
Advertisers know this as well- that’s why they keep pushing the envelope. Ten years ago, were there ten minutes commercials in movie theaters, or silent commercials in the corner of the TV screen while a show was playing? Product placement is nothing new (2001, a Space Odyssey was released in 1968, after all) but it's become bolder and bolder over the years. (See I Robot, amongst others.) We ignore this assault, so the assaulters constantly up the ante.
NOW THE PUNCHLINE: Could this unwitting drain of mental energy be a contributing factor in the exponential rise of mental illnesses over the last hundred years? In addition to the ever-rising pressures of society, are our minds also so busy ignoring unwanted but unavoidable stimuli that our brains are starting to crack? Anyone collegially minded out there want to expand on this?
Oh- I just wanted to mention I’m going to take part in Blogger.com's Adsense banner ad program. It's about time I made some money off this thing.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Here we are, another Illustration Friday. Thank God for IF. If it wasn't for IF, no one would come to this goddamn blog at all. Why the hell should you? You all have lives (I hope.) Click on the damn thing to see it in full. Go on. CLICK IT!
Anyway, for those interested, this week's IF is REMOTE. Yes, I'm still on a philosophy/ psychology kick- and yes, I'm still on a Robert Anton Wilson kick. Now, the gist of RAW's work (which he got from Timothy Leary) is that we're all robots, programmed by everything that has gone on in life up to this point in time. You're sitting here, right now, reading this crap, because everything in your life has led up to that moment. Did you just lean to the side and cut one? Guess what- everything in your life has lead up to that moment too! We robots are just puppets, controlled by remote (aha!) by time and our pasts. Everyting you think, everything you do, is because you ARE THE ROBOT. There's no sense in trying to be something or someone that's not in your nature: you are what you is, and that's all it is (as the late great Frank Zappa once sang.) "Oho!" I hear you cry, "I'll just CHANGE my nature. Sure, you can, it takes a lot of work- but guess what? The idea to change your nature- how you wanted to change it, and what you changed it into- was all preprogrammed by your past! Psyche!
As I usually do, I worked my ass off to make a very detailed production, only to decide at the last second to wipe out the detail in the name of style. For example, a much younger image of my grandfather's face was used in the clock dial:
Now that we're done with the art lesson, let us discuss. I'll let you in on a secret.
I hate my job.
It's a good job- an honerable trade- it keeps the wife in denim and the kids in diapers and there are fantastic benefits- and I'm damn good at it. But I hate it, for the simple fact that it's not what I want to do with my life. Never in my life did I dream of being a construction worker. It was a way to take care of my family. I'll stop whining, as the only one who can fix my problem is me, when I get around to it or when I have a heart attack, whichever comes first.
But I digress. Let's talk about the people. People are people. Most of the time I work with good people, sometimes I work with assholes. We've discussed this before. (Keep in mind that an asshole is someone who sees life differently than you do.)
I was happy for a few months: I was working for/ with a great guy. Now, however, I seem to be stuck on a job full of Alpha Dogs. (Almost) everyone is trying to be Tony Soprano. Every conversation is started with an insult. Words go back and forth, volume rises. They bark, then they growl, until one of them backs down. Some days I feel like going out and buying a pack of dog biscuits and just throwing them in the middle of the shanty when it gets to be too much. Or I feel like walking up to one of them and bopping them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.
I do what I usually do- I act like myself, which comes to the usual problems when I'm working with Alpha Dog Wannabees (as you can imagine, the construction industry is full of them.) "You think you're better than us, don't you?" "HOW old are you? You look and act like you're 50!" I try to remind myself over and over again that I am a robot, that they're all robots, and they just can't help themselves. Nature and nurture has programmed them all up to this point. Throw them a milk bone and move on to the next one. Sigh.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
The multitalented Carla was kind enough to tag me. As I never could say no to an attractive (yet very intelligent) blond, here it goes.
20 random things about me:
1. I love milk Feel free to make your own list or not.
2. I hate bananas.
3. I had a dog named Bananas. French Toast Girl named him Bananas because "she goes bananas every time she sees us!"
4. French Toast Girl is my sister Elena.
5. I have another sister, Mary. Although Mary is quite a hoot and a holler, she does not have a blog.
6. I delete half the things I almost post to my blog, as I am afraid that people will think I'm even more sick, twisted and perverted than I already am.
7. I actually wanted to be a priest at one point in my misguided childhood.
8. In the words of the late great Grahm Chapman: "There's nothing an agnostic can't do if he really doesn’t know if he believes in anything or not."
9. I've always been obsessed with science.
10. I never actually wanted any of the jobs I've held: soldier, factory worker, Waldenbooks manager, S'barros manager, electrician…
11. My favorite high school job was being a projectionist at a local movie theater.
12. I know all the words to "American Pie," "We Will All Go Together When We Go," and "The Biggest Ball of Twine in
13. When working in a factory, ten years ago, a spilled bucked of acid burned a good bit of the skin on my right leg off.
14. I have written about 200 pages in 5 books, none of them ever finished.
15. I once did all my computer artwork on an Amiga. I paid $200 in '93 to up the processor to a whopping 60mhz and put in 24 megs of ram. I thought I was da shit.
16. I still have all my notebooks I've accumulated over the years, full of doodles (mostly of Star Trek, Star Wars, Tolkien & Dr. Who) various bits of creative writing, and love letters to girlfriends.
17. One comment from my first girlfriend- Alex (poor girl)- that has stuck with me is that I am "fashion unconscious."
18. I used to play Dr. Scott in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (in a movie theater floor-show cast.)
19. My two favorite albums are Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" and Frank Zappa's "Joe's Garage."
20. I can't stand chain letters, so I'm not passing this one on.
Feel free to make your own list or not.
The Illustration Friday word of the week is COLD.
The lovely Jennifer says I have to explain this one. Here goes:
Cold is the absence of heat. Heat is the amount of movement of atomic particles. Therefore, a dead atom is pretty damn cold. The poor fellow was stabbed by a jilted lover- probably an argon atom. (I have it on good authority that argon is a petty, insecure little element.) Fear not, however. The universe seeks equilibrium. As soon as this little guy comes in contact with another atom, he'll absorb some of its heat (energy) until they are of equal temperature.
Yes, physics make vampires of us all.TTFN
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Sunday, October 02, 2005
I've just finished Myst V, all by meeself! BWAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA! It's not as pretty to look at as its predecessors, and I was a little disappointed by the lack of imagination in the endings (why can't I choose to keep the power all for myself?) But it was a load of fun. David Ogden Stiers also does a great acting job- this time with a Slavic accent instead of a
Now I guess I can think up something for "float…"