Friday, October 24, 2014

Walking Down Union Into A Wider World

Things are going on, I'm spending so much time on computers that the last thing I want to do is write for myself. This is why I need to take walks. When you walk you see things that are only glints in eyes as you drive.

There was a painted Chevy van in the in the USC Pacific Asian Museum parking lot. From a distance it look like someone got happy with a spray can. I move closer to it and find out there is a story and meaning behind the art work.

No spray can was involved. This was an installation created by artist Haider Ali for the exhibition From the Grand Trunk Road to Route 66: Visiting Truck Artist Haider Ali.

I guess it is a fusion of traditional Pakistani truck art with some of the icons of California and the U.S. painted added. It is vibrant and colorful. Step a bit closer and there is meaning on top of meaning.

The few people that stopped for a moment looked at it; did not see it and walked on. There was an information sign that gave background about the work but most people glanced and walked on.

When I cam home I did some research about Pakistani truck art and that is how I moved just a bit into a wider world.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

On This Day It is About the Choices

On this day it seems time to come back to the stoop. Never a good idea to type in anger and I was really angry for a long time. I still am, but I've coaxed it back into the chamber of invisibility. I've soothe it and fed it some ice cream.

I've told it humans will ok in the long view of things. I've held my anger as we read books of magic and fantasy. I've given it a carrot spinach potassium boost. Maybe too much Hop Woo's Soy Soaked Chicken.

I've let my anger watch that scene from Luther where Alice does what needs to be done.

(Spoiler Alert: Don't Watch if You Haven't Seen the Series. P.S., this is a rough scene, beautifully written and acted but harsh like real humans. The UK accents can't cover-up everything so, yeah you have been told.)

Alice is straight up crazy but the girl has got style.

And she deals hard. Alice does what some of us wish we could do to the bad people of the world.

We don't because there wouldn't be anybody left breathing. I think we intellectually know this and millions have watched Alice give a listen to her uninhibited side that says "F-ck it, remove the problem."

I hear you Alice, but no, no we can't go down that road. We have to find another way.

As I type this I think there has been another school shooting. Damn.

A.O. Scott from the NYT has an essay about the death of adulthood. I don't agree with all of it but I don't disagree with some of it.

I haven't given up comic books. I'll read anything that has print and if that happens to be a YA book yeah, what's it to you? I shouldn't read Neil Gaiman's Sandman? Cuz if I have to choose between reality TV and old school Doom Patrol then it is the Doom Patrol all the way.

On this day I have to learn not to be so defensive about my choices.

Some days it is hard to listen to what passes for conversation and debate. There are some mean, ignorant SOB/Bs in the world. But you can't allow them dominion either.

So on this day I keep working on the projects that I think could help myself and others. I'm trying to  reduce the amount of unnecessary yakity yak and engage with people who have some sense. A lot of people have been de-friended or digitally kicked to the curb. Others I'm giving a wider bit of distance.

I want to be thoughtful. I want be respectful. But there is that teeny tiny part that is keeping a side eye on Alice. Keeping an side eye on the Alice in all of us; which can be exhausting.

On the archiving tip, I think I'm going to hang out a bit more at the BBC 1914 website where they are reviewing events in that year. The site is 1914 Day by Day. You might find me in the cartoon section. Hmm, the podcasting section looks tasty too.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Flip the Script, Chip Away and Go Forth

I've laid low because I had some pain issues to work out. You shouldn't type when you have a need to f-this and the sumbitch that regurgitated pile of dried ....

Yeah, still may not be time but I am working on ideas to make into reality. In my inner rage to damning a good chunk of humanity to hell I started to to think about those people that don't need to go wayyy down south. What can we do?

There is always something to do.

Now what can we do to invoke a change? Networking is good. Meeting in real life with like minded but different folks is also good. Most of the time politics ain't worth shinola to me but I think I have a change of mind.

We need to sneak up and kick asses out of our local and state legislatures. Federal too with a bit of networking. 

Back in August, Cynthia Lui invited me to a political networking and information meet up in San Jose. I went because I wanted to hear about the doing in health care and stayed around for some of the other stuff. One of the business cards I got was for The Plus1 Project. Very simple idea. Take somebody with you to the mid-term November 4, 2014 elections.

I say let's snatch the sucker from them. From city to federal. The hate is so high they will not expect it from us. Fox Vomit has already declared African Americans as a less than model minority group.

I say we roll with it and make Fox weep again come election night. Rope a dope 2014.

So this is a prototype of an idea. Imperfect. Each time I see it I see another mistake. But it is in fixed form. The next one will be better. And so on. We can't wait. Ain't no leader is going to fix this.

We as a community will force an answer one way or the other. 

There is an old song from the Impressions. called "We're A Winner. There is a lyric in the song that says "just keep on your leaders tell you to."

There are real leaders that put their foot on the ground every day. There are leaders that teach, heal, politic on the public behalf and even some in the entertainment industry that understand what time it is. There are people that take journalism seriously.

And then you got other media carpetbag proclaimed leaders that feast on rays of radio or television lights. They switch into assimilation mode. I have to speak correctly, dress correctly, be employed and have never, ever done anything wrong. Then and only then will we believe you.

Ask Charles Belk how he feels about that ish.

Not going to spend too much time with the modern children of Dathan. They are showing themselves but the rest of us are going forward.  Chip away at the crud and let's get going.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

So There Might Be One Thing More Missing

This is a weird day. I have chores to do. I want to create something but all I got is cement in the brain. I'm looking for escapism and I am finding it.

Maybe I shouldn't be looking. Maybe I should. So much to do and yet not really.

Damn it to hell.

I have un-articulated hurt and pain and I have to find a way for it to come out. Making something would help but I have to figure out what and how.

So I watch videos from creative people and go, "Hmm, maybe I should go by some toilet paper or soap powder."

"Maybe I should hunker down and write something brilliant that would cause people to go "Ah, see that is what I'm talking about, clarity of vision."

No, I shouldn't On account I never have. Not intentionally.

I'll be fine. I just have to choose between buying toilet paper and being brilliant.

This might take a while.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Long Damn Week - Protect Yourself

If you are a person in the U.S. and you don't have bouncing and behaving hair then this video might interest you. If you are a person that has no need of a tanning salon you might find the video redundant to what you moms and grannies told you but it doesn't hurt as a refresher to the basics.

To my friends and acquaintances who have the ability to partake  (but not the desire) to patronize tanning salons you might want to watch this video as well. Cuz the Los Angeles Sheriff Department has been known to go nutzo-crazy and they don't care what color your skin is -- they will beat you silly. Not being hyperbolic. Not at all. Documented.

This is a video from comedian Elon James White for the ACLU that was uploaded around 2011. It is a basic primer on what to do when the police approach you and you know to your bones you haven't done anything wrong.

Now this video is telling you the truth about your legal rights. Elon also implies some common sense concepts like keeping your hands in sight of the officer. Answer only the question otherwise keep your mouth shut.

This will not necessarily stop you from being beaten or killed but it might slow up the cops from doing it. It might give you additional time to have the cops get distracted by somebody else running their mouth. But honestly, if they have a quota to fill or you get a nasty SOB then none of this will matter. It is the roll of the dice.

This use to be a fella thing but seeing how we have now have gender equality in getting the hell beat up by law enforcement I'm just passing it along.

What? You didn't see the video of the woman getting beat by the California Highway Patrol officer?

Or photos of the pregnant woman being placed in a choke hold by NY cops because they had the BBQ out in the front of the house and not the back?

Or the other woman who was dragged out of her apartment and left naked in the hall. The police went to the wrong address for a disturbance. Actually, the whole family went to jail on that one, including the child they were sent to protect.

I feel helpless. When I feel helpless I look for help and assistance, resources and a place to reassure myself that it is getting a little bit more crazy than I anticipated the 21st century to be. This is nothing like the science fiction books I read as a kid.

I don't have my flying car. No neighborhood hydroponic garden. No vacation on the planet of my choice. Not to mention my high speed train line across the world.

Nothing except the 1930s to 1960s on repeat.

It is a stone cold bummer.  

Friday, August 08, 2014

Waiting on The High Speed Train of the Future

An old school friend, Mike and I were talking about rail transportation. He likes to make videos about the trains he uses to commute to various cities. I like to watch them because I remember siting in those seats with the view of an industrial skyline.

It was a living metaphors of wanting to go somewhere. I was on trains all of the time.

Train videos connect me with my past and present time.

I hope that I will live to see hi-speed rail lines in California. I think it would be great for the environment and economy. It is a big state and no they will not carve it up into six islands of confusion.

They need to go buy an island and set up their Ayn Randian paradise.

Don't get me wrong, I like taking slow trains to San Diego. Those trips can mellow you out and drain the anger from you. But a two hour train to San Francisco could mean that I could go to a San Francisco event in the morning and make it home by night fall.

Very attractive. And probably not affordable but I like the idea of it. Maybe that is the point.

Having ideas. Having the vision to see what isn't and making it real.

Once upon a time a tricorder, a computer and scanners were the stuff of 1960's television shows.

I own computers, tablets and a smartphone,

I wish people would get busy and create the future while I still have time to enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Up Sell and When Does It Stop?

There are times when I hesitate to go into a retail store. It isn't that it retail stores are bad. Most are run quite well. It isn't that there is bad service or that the floor staff is being extra observant of me being in the store. My frustration level rises when I approach the counter with my goods and I am asked do I have the store's loyalty card?


"Would I like one? "

"No thank you."

"It will only take a minute?"

I'm not mad at the clerk. I know the manager is listening for the pitch and the effort to get us dumb ass clucks to sign up. For what? A few cents off on items that are overpriced if I don't pledge fidelity?

I love bookstores. Yet I try as hard as hell to stay out of Barnes and Noble. I know they are hurting.  I feel bad for them. However, every dang time I'm at the counter I get asked to plunk down $25 for the loyalty card. I don't want the card and I don't want the Nook.

When I come to think of it, we as consumers get the up sell all day long. Do you want fries with that? Can I interest you in our product protection plan? Would you like to sign up for our frequent buyer newsletter where we can sell you more stuff?

I'm not anti-capitalism. I'm not even anti-making a sale if done with a smidgin of class.

I am against sales harassment in all forms. Which is why The Verge's Comcast Confessions post has me shaking my damn head in what passes for corporate though now days. Comcast has a monopoly in many markets. Customers cannot go to the competition because there isn't any.

Shaking the Dead Money Tree

There is a finite amount of money that can be generated in a certain market. So in the current idiocy  that passes for management you short sheet your users on customer and tech services. You make unhappy customers that much more unhappy by "sales retention."Then you fight like hell not to let anybody go.

I keep hoping that Google Internet will spread but it doesn't look like it will anytime soon. I'm hoping that an alternate form of connection will be invented that will bypass the former phone and cable companies. That will happen but not as soon as I need it which is right now.

In the meantime, we will have to be resolute in our power of the No.

It will not be easy. Comcast will double down on their staff to ride out this wave of bad publicity. To be fair it isn't just Comcast. Pick a major corporation that deals directly with the public and you can find pockets of sales harassment and up selling as a corporate birthright.

Stay the course and keep saying no, "I don't want it." "No, I don't need it." No to the super sizing, no to the extended warranty plan and "No I don't want your store card!"

Collectively we can induce change if we are willing to turn off the money spigot.