Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bad Advise From Good People


Good intentions. Who among us are without them. Intentions are like... opinions. Everyone's got one. Or; There's nothing more annoying than a well meaning asshole. Doing Well is not the same as Intending Well. In a highly polarized world it appears the uniting bond is mere intention. In the words of Tiberius Caesar "These statues DO!" And to steal an idea from the Hitchhikers's Guide to The Galaxy... I'm buying a robot that will believe things that I am unable to believe in myself. "Hey you believe me don't you? - No but I have a robot that will". I ask; What is the value of good intentions (other than not being bad). A great deal of good intention seems to accompany bad results. Is there a level of intent. Can a we measure the amount of a persons intent?

I'm not going to define the word - intention. We all know what it is and what it means. You were going to do something or think something and you forgot. It slipped your mind. You just haven't gotten around to it. Can a person attain great command over their ability to express wonderful intentions without the responsibility of producing desirable results. Yes I wax rhetorical.

A great amount of bullshit can be sold if mixed with a little truth. It's as if you keep the bullshit thick so the truth is even more noticeable. "I'm sorry I can't understand you. Could you bullshit me more so I can more clearly comprehend the point you are trying to avoid". Walk into a room and dramatically freeze and state that you "feel a weird presence" and watch how many people agree with you. I don't want to elaborate any further on the Germanic Anglo preoccupation with fecal matter. It's weird and I don't care if I'm coming off as closed minded. Just say no to public excretion and regurgitation. Jesus H. Christ isn't there already laws in place to protect me from having to see this sort of behavior? Yes you can turn the channel but you can't unsee a vomituous commercial fast enough to turn your eyes or mute the remote.

Colored water has probably made more dishonest money than any other nonvolatile substance on the face of the planet. The numbers game is on your side when selling snake oil. The placebo effect explains how so many forms of "healing" are validated. People heal on their own without intervention of any kind. Bullshit artists sell you colored water knowing that 3 out of 5 will heal regardless - and then lay claim to being responsible for the results. The blue coloring wasn't bad for you. The water was not bad for you. But telling you that blue water was responsible for your recovery is a deception that even learned people accept. Perhaps our unending need for gimmicks beget this acceptance.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Surviving Random Variables

Beyond training in martial arts I don't engage in high risk activities as I have in my youth. I bought a motorcycle last week as a primary means of transportation. I wasn't really in the market for a motorcycle but one became available and I had to jump on the "opportunity". "One mans opportunity is another mans crisis"... and that's how the saying went on a sunny afternoon while I innocently waited at a stop light... BAM. I get rear ended by a white woman in a mini-van while she's text-ing.
Being the skeptic sort I get uneasy when streams of bad things happen. Especially when they happen to me. I pride myself in my level of self control and when control starts slipping away I'm forced to reassess my wits. It blows my mind how so many people get away with living"normal" lives without having seemingly a particle of control in their entire body. You know the type and perhaps you're one of "them". They walk across busy highways oblivious to traffic and go unharmed. They jump off of high mountains and buildings and remain unscathed. They lick the floors of public urinals and never get sick. To me they are the only "real" proof of god or a higher power and he is definitely on "their" side.

I am living the opposite reality of "theirs". I'm bound by Murphy's Law. Anything that can go wrong will... in SPADES! This has taken me aback for many years. But as I approach "old age" I've come to realize the concept of random variables. Wikipedia reads: " a random variable can be thought of as a quantity whose value is not fixed, but which can take on different values". This certainly explains the value of insurance companies. They make their living off of random variables as most Americans do I suppose.

So it seems as if I am pushing the boundaries of chance but I'm actually a victim of random variable. I've done everything in my power to prevent being a victim of circumstance but no one can control the Random Variable. Luck is your best friend when it comes to the random variable. Gives new meaning to my Grandmothers saying "if it weren't for bad luck you'd have no luck at all".

So living a life of having to survive an onslaught of random variable (and I have plenty of eye witnesses) has at least made me prepare for it. And when you prepare for a random variable it doesn't surprise you as much as it catches you off guard. And when you neglect to prepare for a "known random variable" you really can't whine too much. You knew the unknown was bound to happen. I'll have to resort to another age old saying. "Expect the best but prepare for the worst". Perhaps it should replace "In God We Trust" on the dollar bill. "In Random Variables We Fear" doesn't really flow now does it?

Write On... Z




Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lists Quotes and One Liners


Lists are what you turn to when your not busy doing something else. As an after thought they're handy as a check list. If you save your lists they can become like a journal of sorts. Because a list tends to be within constant reach other things get put on the list. Quotes, ideas, one-liners and creative reminders litter the page with milk, cereal and toilet paper. I have volumes of lists that I've saved over the years. It's perhaps the most honest diary I've ever written. I've also saved receipts for years and have all of 2005 glued into the pages of pocket bibles. An artistic juxtaposition of extremes. Brutal trust and blind faith.

I consider writing my memoirs often and in various forms set out to do so many times over the years. I haven't stopped to look back and read much of what I've written. There's already at least a couple books that could be derived. The only book I have written I recalled after about a year of self publication and distribution. Just like much of the music I've recorded - I keep it away from people. Turns out the internet wasn't the cure all for artists but instead became a floodgate for thieves and plagiarists. [Side rant! Blogger spell check sucks anus! Google rocks, and it better, it owns the world. All hail Google the god that was mis-spelled. Oh the multiple levels of irony.]

Tell me if you can guess where this quote is from: "Very numerous examples of a like nature might be cited, clearly showing the fact, that only while under the dominion of fear do men fall a prey to superstition; that all the portents ever invested with the reverence of misguided religion are mere phantoms of dejected and fearful minds; and lastly, that prophets have most power among the people, and are most formidable to rulers, precisely at those times when the state is in most peril. I think this is sufficiently plain to all, and will therefore say no more on the subject." It was written in 1656 by Benedict De Spinoza. He was born a year after Galileo's indictment by the Spanish inquisition. You can read Spinoza's work at http://www.yesselman.com/ttpelws1.htm .

It may be true that in order to tell a short story- story tellers tell lies. But I'm not sure this is the only way or the best way. Post 1950 Hollywood archetypes are fading in favor of multi-dimensional characters. Ms. Phillips says that a whole person is a schizophrenic within the story mind. But I wonder if this is true as more people begin to demand complex characters. I understand to a degree the purpose of antagonist and protagonist in the story but I have a hard time submitting to their use. Perhaps this stems from wanting to portray people as they might become rather than what they are. Indeed a large percent of our species are drawn to simplicity and prefer a good excuse over an explanation. But we are still left with the need for an explanation least we suffer our own ignorance. Concurrently we must also survive as a symbiotic organism amongst those that insist upon archetypes. Science save us from your geometrists and essentialists.

In evolution there is a theory called dormancy. It refers to physiological changes in domesticated species and how those changes are restored when the species are set feral. Perhaps our own "artificial selective" processes of homogenizing our perspective and self domestication has created a dormancy that is only now being restored through the exercise of free thought and expression. Attaining our humanity through ferality. The return of our multi-dimensional sensory functions. Our need is not to evolve (which happens regardless) but to restore that which has been dormant.

Things are STILL not what they appear to be. Exposition is our savoir. I need another cup of coffee like I need radiation poisoning. Ahhhh death - the prize for living. Write on.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Relativity of Mental Illness


There's no doubt about it. There is a great deal of mental illness in the arts. Some of my favorite artists are out of their minds. Imbalanced and incomplete. One in five Americans are purported to be mentally ill. Could this be the breeding ground for the worlds art community?

I have a theory that suffering and suppression (internal or external) spawns artistic behavior. It seems when there is little to no suffering there
is little to motivate you into production. Naivety of youth accounts for a great deal of artistic suffering as does the refusal to mature. But greed is what will keep you in the game. Obsessive
need for praise and affirmation of self worth are like oxygen to the "successful".

I've talked about art vs craft in a previous post. It's related to this topic as well. Balance between art and craft is an obvious trait to behold. Knowing this balance
point is vital. You can stray off from it but you can always return to a point of personal control. It is of great concern to the artist that wishes to sustain themselves within their art.

Can I sit and pound out words every day? Not yet. But I take solace in understanding that no healthy minded person wants to sit and write for an extended period of time. Hopefully there are better things going on in your life that you don't feel the need to isolate yourself in a room shut out from the world.

So we keep striving toward our goals and hope not to lose momentum or inspiration. But none the less a healthy minded writer needs to incorporate the disciplines of their craft.
One of my favorite quotes: "You got to get in before you get out; and getting out is what it's going to be about." - Chili Peppers. Writing has to become a habit. Preferably a healthy one. In other words, I may have writers block (or lack of writing discipline) but at least I'm not crazy... well?

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

[Images courtesy of the world wide web. No ownership implied.]

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Dogma of A Thousand Words

Intellectually I like the approach of committing to writing 1000 words a day. At the bottom of this blog I've posted a WORD COUNTER. Microsoft Word has one built into it and you can find various versions of word counting programs on-line. Seems like something that should be in all word processing tools but it's not. Part of getting in my thousand words a day include writing for this blog. If I'm not writing a movie script I'm writing for this blog. I have several other blogs but I do not count those as part of my 1000 word quota. They tend to be more technical or instructive in nature whereas this site is more focused on the creative craft of writing. Yes I said creative craft.

I've posted enough rants. They're fun and at times entertaining but our focus is on the craft of writing. Which brings us to another approach on writing - one of my favorites - stream of consciousness. Although my favorite I don't feel it's most productive. It is fun to just blurt out words regardless of content, form or function. But one eventually needs to wield command of ones writing. If we are to communicate a story to others we must exercise the skill so as to produce the desired effect with the least amount of ambiguity.

And since a story is not a single tale but multiple tales, maintaining the points of these tales are
critical in conveying a cognizant story.
Points can be made in many fashions. But they must not be neglected. Part of the craft of writing is getting to the point keeping in mind that it's the journey not the destination that entertains an audience. Even if you want your story to be open for interpretation it must be crafted as such. The difference between art and craft may be that craft is less of a gamble on the end product.

Art is natural to me. So is playing music by ear. But sitting down even when I'm not the least bit artistically
inclined has been a massive challenge but one well worth the effort.

By committing to write every day we get closer and closer to having more command over our muse. We also open up more opportunities for creative writing to take place when we are in the act of writing. Just like playing music I'm most likely to create music when the instrument is in my hand.

There may be those that can do all this in their heads and only write when everything is in place and achieve satisfactory results. I suspect they are very talented or highly unproductive. Since the world is full of lazy artist types I'll stick to working steadily toward attaining greater command of my story telling skills. This represents over half of my 1000 word requirement at 503 words. Write on!

Ps- It just occurs to me that if I'm to write 1000 words a day then I should be reading 3000-10,000 words a day. There goes more of my "free" time!


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Historical Perspective on Hand Dryers

I was channel surfing and stopped a few minutes to watch The Glass Menagerie. It was filmed in 1950. The play was written by Tennessee Williams in 1944. In one of the scenes Kirk Douglas washes his hands and dries them with an electronic hand dryer. I was startled to see a gadget being used 60 years ago that is still in use today.

There's not a lot of information on Frenchman Alexandre Godefoy but he did invent the first hair dryer in 1890. Harry McLeckie from Chicago invented the hand dryer in 1948. Again not much

to be found on him either. McLeckie's device looks like a smaller version of Godefoy's contraption. Another point of interest is women back in 1890's used vacuum cleaners to dry their hair. They just switched the hose around like a shopvac and used the exhaust to blow rather than suck.

Of course we all know old Danial Hess of Iowa invented the vacuum cleaner in 1860. However our propensity to suck has no limits and many people after him invented new ways to suck and obtained patents as well. The vacuum pictured is from 1910.

These inventions seem to be spaced by the length of a lifetime. I wonder if one person had to die before another could take the idea and profit from it. Hummm?


I'm not sure if the hand dryer in the movie was a "plant" or a "product endorsement". It was only 2 years old at the time the film was made so it must have caught peoples attention as a new fangled device. When we watch it today the hand dryer doesn't register in the same manner.

There are a good deal of things that must not register when we watch old movies. Things that were new and exciting 50 years ago are taken for granted now. It might answer to why old films have a limited audience. They don't get the same excitement level of being exposed to new THINGS.

The conventions of the story haven't changed too much either. Granted the MTV generation has all but killed holding a camera shot for more than 2 seconds. But human drama hasn't changed face over the past 100 years of so.

Observation: The more things change the more they stay the same. Slow progressive evolution. Spiral advancement through time and space. Man am I hungry.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Creative Time Wasting

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